Defining the Messianic Faith
The Messianic Faith consists of disciples of Jesus (almost always called by his Hebrew name Yeshua by adherents) who seek the original uncorrupted truth from the Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. Disciples of the Messianic Faith use the Bible as their only authoritative religious text.
Messianic Disciples believe they are returning to a form of faith in God before Judaism and Christianity corrupted it. It is therefore important to identify the differences it has from Judaism and Christianity. Judaism rejects Messiah, Yeshua. Messianic disciples accept Yeshua (John 1:1). Christinity rejects the Law, or large parts of it that can be practiced. Messianic disciples accept the Law (Matthew 5:17-19). Those are the fundamental defining differences that set Messianic disciples apart from Judaism and Christianity.
In terms of belief, Messianic disciples believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is the visible almighty son of the invisible almighty Father. The Father, Son, and Spirit co-created all that exists, yet they make up one everlasting Almighty.
Messianic disciples believe that Yeshua died for the sins of the world, and that he rose from the dead on the third day, and they believe most everything in the New Testament that Christians assert, with some important differences, held in common with the practices of Jews.
Disciples practice the laws of the OT (which they call the Law or the Torah), including resting on the Seventh Day Sabbath (Saturday), keeping other annual feasts, like Passover, and observing Kosher laws (abstaining from pork, shellfish, and carrion birds). Contra Christianity, disciples don’t observe Christmas or Easter, and hold to a different chronology of Yeshua’s birth and Passion, and observe these events at different times than Christians (Yom Teruah, feast of Trumpets, and Passover and the Resurrection Sabbath).
Messianic disciples believe that salvation begins with affirming a commitment to be faithful to Yeshua, to be faithful to keep his commandments, and then in keeping those commandments as best as circumstances permit. As long as the faithful commitment exists in the heart, the Messianic disciple will tell you that all sins are forgiven through Yeshua’s death wiping away the penalties of sin, including all sins before a person had a faithful commitment. Messianic disciples do baptize, and what Christians call “communion” is practiced at Passover.
Messianic disciples believe that Yeshua will return to wipe out all rebellion against him, and to set up his and his father’s kingdom on earth, that he will sit on the throne of David, and keep his covenant with Israel, ruling the nations, and giving them an opportunity to accept him. Messianic disciples believe they are full citizens of the heavenly kingdom of Israel, as much as any Jewish person might claim to be. They believe they will receive immortal bodies, and live forever in a recreated and perfected earth, which will be rejoined with heaven. They also believe in a last judgment, where evil doers, will be cast into a lake of fire, and be destroyed. Generally, however, they do not believe in the eternal torment of the lost, but only a very long and substantial torment for the Devil and his angels.
Where will you find Messianic disciples? Being seekers, they are scattered and widespread. Some will be found in Messianic Jewish congregations. Some will be found in home assemblies. Many will be found online. Many will be found to belong to various Seventh Day Churches, or will attend them without believing everything they teach contrary to the Messianic faith. They come from many nations, so many that they cannot all be listed, and nations lacking them will be small, but all believe they are included in eschatological Israel.
Disciples are nearly always social conservatives, and hold to a Judeo-Christian worldview, oppose abortion, and anything called marriage except one man and one woman. They tend to be strict creationists.
The Messianic faith does not necessarily reject all other Christians as unsaved, but as it is a seeking faith, most are patient with those who seek (since they come from so many different backgrounds in the first place), though it has its share of zealots who are quicker to condemnation than to instruction, and its share of professing heretics and cult leaders, who have no business being disciples. Just like Christianity is plauged by Arianism, Sabelleianism, Modalism, and other heresies (which don’t agree with the religous texts), so too the Messianic Faith.
The Messianic Faith remains largely an individual commitment, and that of families holding to it. There is no large religious institutional structure to oversee it, though there are those who wish to achieve this. Most disciples believe in individual freedom of thought, and freedom to interpret the Scripture, and don’t smile on the idea of controlling institutions.