Gentiles & Jesus
Answering the Most Common Jewish Questions
Can a Gentile convert to Judaism? Up next in our "Ask Google" series, Gateway Center for Israel Director Nic Lesmeister tackles that big question and others related to Gentile/Jewish interactions.
One area where we get a lot of questions is actually from Gentiles. And Gentiles want to know, hey, how do I interact with all these things in the Jewish foundation of my faith? So let’s just Google what a Gentile can or can’t do.
Can a Gentile convert to Judaism?
All right, so that’s a good question. So the short answer is yes, any Gentile can convert to Judaism. You can go through a process with an Orthodox rabbi where they lead you into the Jewish religion, and you become a member of the Jewish community on the basis of your faithfulness to Jewish covenantal responsibility, which means you’re practicing Jewish religion very faithfully. Now, if you’re a Gentile Christian, you’re probably not going to be able to convert to Judaism because the rabbi’s going to ask you very clearly, do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah? And if you say yes, then that process is over because the Orthodox Jewish community does not believe that you can be Jewish and believe in Jesus. So if you are a follower of Jesus and you are Gentile, what if you want to convert to Judaism? I would say you don’t need to do that. There’s no reason for it. You’re already grafted in everything that’s available in the covenant that God made to the Jewish people is available to you, and you can remain as you are. So if you’re follower Jesus, please don’t convert to Judaism, please. All right, thank you.
Can a Gentile go to a synagogue?
Yeah, you can go to a synagogue. You can visit a synagogue. I encourage you to actually go to a Messianic synagogue and experience what a worship service is like on a Saturday morning or a Friday evening, or go to a non-Messianic synagogue. Just begin to make friends and build relationship with the Jewish community and understand what it’s like to live a Jewish life and be friends with Jewish people. I definitely want to encourage you to do that.
Was Jesus born on Christmas?
Okay, I’m sitting here wondering if I want to step on anybody’s toes. So let me just say this. Most of the Jewish believers in Jesus that we have a privilege of being in a relationship with at Gateway who are scholars and understand the Jewish tradition very well – none of them believe he was born on December 25th. Okay? I hate to pop the bubble, but it just didn’t happen then. Most of them believe he was born in the fall, and that would’ve been during the Feast of Sukkot or Tabernacles. And if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense, right? Because it says that Jesus became man and tabernacled among us. So it’s possible that he was born in the fall. Some believe he maybe was born in the spring feasts, which would’ve been like March-April-ish. So no, I don’t think Jesus was born on Christmas, but I’m not going to hold it against you if you want to still believe that he was. All right. How about this one?
Is Jesus in the Old Testament?
That’s a great question actually. I’m glad people are searching for that because yes, he is. In fact, there’s all these instances in the Old Testament or in the Tanakh, as they call it in Hebrew, the Hebrew Bible, where there’s this appearance of what is known as the God-man angel or the angel of the Lord. And the angel of the Lord visits Abraham, the angel of the Lord visits Moses, the angel of the Lord appears to all of these different people, and there’s a pretty good case to be made that that is Jesus. And there’s a great book on that called “Who Ate Lunch with Abraham” by Asher Intrater. And I encourage you to get it if you’re still wondering if that really did happen. But yes, Jesus is all over the Old Testament and Jesus, it says in John, was in the beginning with God. So he was in the Old Testament and he was definitely active in the lives of the patriarchs.
Now you know some of those answers.