The fact Dan has perceived an issue among Gentiles as to where to place themselves among Messianic Jews comes as no surprise to me. I can certainly identify with the confusion that comes with Christians who suddenly awaken to the calling of Israel in God’s plans and our unity in Messiah Yeshua. Once I read the Torah and had the somewhat backward revelation that the life of the old testament Hebrews mimicked the life of Yeshua (obviously, it’s actually the other way round, but at that point I wasn’t even aware of the term, ‘foreshadowing’) and later became familiar with the ‘one new man’ discourse in Ephesians 2 I began to wonder what sort of denominational box I fit into. Was I a Christian Hebrew, Hebrew Christian? Was I a Messianic Christian, Messianic Gentile or Jewish Christian?
After searching the rabbit hole of denominations available on Wikipedia I sort of gave up. I began a discipleship soon after, at a Christian Community and settled for ‘non-denominational’ although I was from a Baptist background. During this discipleship I saw a talk on TV by Asher Intrater of Revive Israel which created a fascination with Messianic Jewish Theology. Asher’s ability to expound on scripture impressed me greatly and no talk has had such a strong impact on my biblical understanding than one of his, about Covenant relationships. In 2008 I attended the first UK conference of Toward Jerusalem Council II. Dan Juster, Peter Hocken were there presenting the initiative and I have been a member of TJCII UK since that year.
It can be very tempting to think of oneself under the banner of one of the various Messianic movements such as the Ephraimites who claim Gentiles are the lost tribe of Israel, since this makes people feel like they’re really Jewish after all. Other movements exist and many Gentiles who have a heart for Israel I’m sure, latch onto the Messianic movement because they are disillusioned with their own denominations and begin to take on elements of Torah which they technically need not follow. I have been blessed to read Dan’s work and statements on such behaviour, and thankfully after various attempts to merge these things into my life (including avoiding pork and shellfish for a whole year and trying to celebrate some form of the Jewish feasts) I finally accept the concept of the One New Man being a relationship of mutual blessing through distinction and being made in the image of God.
I believe we are better able to bless by not pretending to be something we are not, rather meeting our Jewish brothers and sisters by being brought near in the Messiah. Paul teaches us we are grafted into the olive tree of Israel and fed by that root and the calling for all of us, is to be the faithful Bride of Yeshua.