What Does the Future Hold for Messianic Jews in Israel?
Israel Today, December 2018
Israel Today: How do you see the future of the body of Messiah in the Land of Israel?
Guy Cohen: A difficult question. We have an obligation to be one body ready for His coming. But presently the body of Messiah is divided. I hope the situation will change, but in the meantime our testimony is not where it needs to be.
Is there a place in Messianic congregational life for Judaism?
That depends on the nature of the local Messianic congregations. The people of Israel need a change of heart toward Jesus, but the congregations in Israel need to be a worthy and relevant testimony of the Lord. In the congregation where I serve, we give expression to our Messianic faith by observing the Jewish holidays and the biblical Feasts of the Lord. It is wonderful that our people continue to celebrate these appointed seasons, even without faith in Jesus. When our people have the revelation of the Messiah, their understanding of the Feasts will be blessed and enriched because they will find that the Lord’s Feasts are fulfilled in Jesus.
Should Messianic Jews establish closer connections with the wider Jewish people?
The people of Israel returned to their land thanks to God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But Israel is still in sin and blinded due to religious laws and government policies
that deter our people from approaching the Creator in a living faith. As Jews who believe in Jesus, we live in this land together with our people. It is important that we are part
of our people showing them that we are loyal to the God of Israel, but also to the laws of the state and pray for the government even when we are not in agreement. I see the believer as a priest, so it is our primary responsibility to come before the Lord in prayer and beseech him to pour out His mercy on our people.
Do you see Messianic Judaism as another stream of Judaism?
Since the revelation of Jesus the Messiah 2,000 years ago, Messianic Jews have been a stream in Judaism, though much of this has disappeared due to decisions made by the Jewish religious establishment at the time. The current movement of Messianic Judaism is in a dilemma of identity as to whether we are Jews first and then Messianic, or first Messianic and then Jews. Only when we understand that there is no conflict between
the two, rather a perfect connection, can we begin to understand our true identity and the way in which we establish our movement as a stream of pure Jewish faith through our Messiah.
Should Jewish believers establish a separate Messianic school for their children?
I say yes, even though many will say that the children of believers should be part of the life of the local community in order to witness to the lost. However, a high percentage of
the children who believe in Jesus in Israel abandon a life of a faith because of the powerful influence that Judaism has on our children that faith in Jesus is unacceptable for a Jew. This creates a conflict for our children between what is taught in the home and in the Messianic community and what is taught in the Israeli schools. I recommend that there be a Messianic educational framework where our children can grow and study until an
age at which they will mature in the faith in the Lord. I would say until the ninth grade.
Where do you see the potential for growth in the body of Christ?
We must invest in the child and family. That is, to create healthy families and to give our children a formal Messianic educational, as well as informal afternoon programs. Today’s
children are the future of the body of Messiah in Israel.