In recent weeks I have had several run-ins with anti-missionaries. While I prefer not having such encounters as only rarely does anything good come of them, when they come to me, I have to respond as clearly and firmly as I can in humility and gentleness. Because many anti-missionaries are professional deprogrammers, they can be particularly dangerous to have extended conversations with. So, I’d like to share a few tools to defend yourself, should you or one you know have a similar encounter. But, before I do, I would like to share a few reasons why denying Yeshua and converting to Judaism is counter-productive toward reconciliation and damaging to the restoration of the Kingdom.
Because most who know and have relationship with Yeshua were reared in Christianity, most know the seriousness of denying the Messiah. I’ll not delve into His credentials or the reasons we need to maintain our faith in Him from the perspective of personal salvation. Rather, we need to take a look at the importance of maintaining our identity for corporate salvation.
The restoration of the Kingdom requires the fulfillment of prophecy. Any seeming restoration that bypasses prophecy is a false hope and works against the Word of God. Many, many prophecies can be pointed to that demonstrate the restored Kingdom has two parts that walk together. Those two parts are spelled out for us in Ezekiel 37:15-23, the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph. Verse 22 tells us these are two nations or two kingdoms. Hosea 1:11 confirms this. Two nations, two kingdoms come together under one head. Simply, prophecy cannot be fulfilled if Ephraim becomes Judah, nor can it be fulfilled if Judah becomes Ephraim!! (This is a long time envy/jealousy war between brothers that must come to an end and an acceptance of each other’s roles in the grand scheme…)
Denying Yeshua and converting to Judaism is a violation of Torah by both the one leading the convert toward Judaism and the one being led. Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17, and Proverbs 22:28; 23:10 all say similarly that we are not to move a neighbor’s boundary marker. One verse even says that he who does is cursed! Further, there are numerous Torah instructions concerning protecting tribal identity and affiliation. Just as we saw in the previous paragraph, Ephraim needs to remain Ephraim and Judah needs to remain Judah.
Denying Yeshua is to deny the one who returns us to covenant. Therefore, having been out of covenant and having only one door/means to return, Ephramites remove themselves from the covenant by converting to Judaism because their only avenue back into covenant is through Yeshua. While anti-missionaries would strongly argue this point, the testimony of Scripture is that the one like unto Moses is the only way of return. Conversion to Judaism is not.
While anti-missionaries are firmly convinced of their position, they, like Christians, tend to avoid the Scriptures that do not agree with their position, or they find alternate and sometimes fanciful ways to explain away what they cannot see or comprehend. (In order for God to fulfill His purposes, there has been a partial blindness on both houses: upon Ephraim towards the Torah and upon Judah towards the Messiah. Only the father can remove the blindness and He is doing so even in our day, however, we must be patient and not switch sides in an effort to speed the process.)
Following are some tools that will help confirm the person and role of the Messiah as well as give abundant fodder to answer the anti-missionaries.
Who is Yeshua?
When I first began to understand what it means to walk as Yeshua walked and what it means to keep ‘my commandments,’ I HAD to go back to the foundation of my faith and prove that ‘Moses spoke of me’ and ‘before Abraham was, I am!’ In doing that, I conducted a deep study of the Angel of the Lord who clearly claims all the authority of God Himself, while having human form and interacting physically and visibly with humans. This I turned into a study guide, available here.
Later, I found a cool book by Asher Intrater that confirmed and expanded what I had been learning. I recommended the book here with a strong warning about one specific chapter with which I disagree. All told, this is a must read book once convinced of the importance of Torah for all believers.
Additional study into Judaic sources will lead to the Memra, a favorite topic a couple years ago. Besides the Memra, particularly in authorized Jewish translations into Aramaic Targumim, I HIGHLY recommend the Return of the Kosher Pig by Rabbi Itzhak Shapira. (The other two books in that post are also dynamite additions for any library!)
My newest and ‘bestest’ defense against anti-missionaries is The Messianic Nazarene Yisraelite Believer’s First Response 911 Handbook. This downloadable and searchable 157 page document is very well put together. Download and save!! [IMPORTANT NOTE: I do not agree with the author on some other stances he has taken, however, this is the best ‘one stop doc’ that answers anti-missionaries that I know of. Until a better/more palatable author/book comes along, this is the one. Just recognize, the author has written other material that espouses positions with which I do not agree.]
The real beauty of this book is that roughly 120 pages are laid out in a very simple format. The ‘Accusation’ is listed then the ‘Truth’ is spelled out. Most, running less than a page, allow for easy reading and answering of the accusations against Yeshua.
In closing, I reiterate, Ephraim must not become Judah, and Judah must not become Ephraim, therefore, conversion by either to the other is NOT beneficial to the restoration of the Kingdom. Doing so short circuits the restoration plan of our Father. In the end, I believe we will all, both Judah and Ephraim, come to a full knowledge of the Messiah and the Torah, but even in that, I believe we will still be recognizable as the individual tribes to which we belong. See Revelation 21:12 and Ezekiel 48.