What is the difference between Messianic Judaism and Rabbinic Judaism?
Rabbinic Judaism is a Judaism centered around the teachings and writings of Rabbis. Its formation began over 1,900 years ago when the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. Before then, “Judaism” was centered around the Temple and the sacrificial system according to the Torah (the Law or the five books of Moses). After the destruction of the Temple the Rabbis reorganized Judaism, adding many new laws, rules and traditions. Today, their writings and commentaries (Talmud, Midrash, ect) form the foundation of Rabbinic Judaism.
Rabbinic Judaism consists of several branches: Orthodox (very traditional), Chassidic (Ultra-Orthodox), Conservative (middle of the road), Reform (liberal) and Reconstructionist (very liberal). Some are still looking for the Messiah to come in the form of a Man, while others are looking for a Messianic Age.
Messianic Judaism differs in that we rely totally on the Scriptures. Our faith is the Judaism of the Bible (Biblical Judaism) and is centered around the Messiah. We in Messianic Judaism believe that Yeshua is the promised Messiah and that we don’t have to go through the Sages or the Rabbis to know God. We have access to God because of the great atoning work of the Messiah Yeshua, who has fulfilled us as
Jewish believers (Mt. 5:17-19).
Messianic Judaism formation began with around 30 AD with all of the first believers. All 12 of the first disciples where Jewish as well as Yeshua himself. This makes Messianic Judaism about 40 years older than that of Rabbinic Judaism.