There are only a few significant differences between christianity and its offshoot, messianic “Judaism.” Let me tell you one.
Christianity is honest enough to use its own name to show that it is a different religion or philosophy to Judaism. Throughout history, there was Judaism and christianity, two separate worldviews, distinct. The Jews had their singular God, Moses, and the Torah and did not accept christian teachings. Then there was christianity opposing them, having mainly a three-in-one God, Jesus, and Paul’s redefinition of Jesus’ death, sin and atonement, and the abolition of Torah. There was no name, “messianic Jew,” as it was an empty phrase. The Jews of those days had a messianic hope; it was just that their promised messiah hadn’t come yet and it wasn’t Jesus. If a Jew accepted christian core doctrines, he would have to leave Judaism and become a christian. If a gentile christian happened to see more truth in the core principles of Judaism than in christianity, he would be shunned as a “Judaizer” and be pushed out of christianity (that’s if he wasn’t forced back in).
So there we had it, two separate worldviews, Judaism and christianity. At the very least, there was generally that honesty.
Important point: No link to Jesus
Now here’s the thing.
It is very important, crucially important, to understand that there was no traditional link between the Protestant christianity. Protestant christianity rejects the authority of non-written tradition. They claim to only go by “sola-scriptura” (only the text of scripture has the highest authority). Therefore when you ask a protestant christian what a verse in their bible means, when they give you a meaning, you must note that they never had any message from the flesh-and-blood living Jesus of what he really meant when he spoke, they had no message from the writers of their “old testament” of what they meant. There is no evidence that Jesus spoke to his disciples about what he meant concerning what is wrote about him, who passed this down to their disciples and so on and so on. So when a protestant gives you a meaning of a verse, it’s most likely based on what they see as plausible or logical or coming from more ancient christian commentators (who also had no such link with Jesus).
I’m not even going to get into their messages from the “holy spirit” because with the amount of protestant sects there are with conflicting doctrines and all claiming to have the holy spirit, it is much better to go with facts rather than claims.
Also it is important to note that the Jewish “church,” those who followed the actual disciples of Jesus (I exclude Paul from this group as he wasn’t a disciple) for all intents and purposes died off or were dispersed into obscurity shortly after the destruction of the second temple in 70CE. What remained was gentile christianity, the product of Paul’s work, Paul who wasn’t a disciple of Jesus and never met the flesh-and-blood Jesus, and thus never received any of his tradition, if he gave any, nor did he rely much on the disciples of Jesus according to his own words. He just went his own way based on his own “spiritual experience.”
Now, from this, something should become apparent. The history of the Jewish “church,” the followers of Jesus and his disciples is short and ends early, millenia ago. Paul’s christianity, gentile christianity is the christianity that has continued up until now. Protestant christianity, a major form of gentile christianity, has no traditional link, no direct teaching from Jesus himself (or even Paul) that has been passed down over the centuries about the meaning of the new testament texts. Protestants claim to be sola-scriptura which rules out tradition.
That leads us to the next part.
Thief! You’ve stolen my name but not my identity
In the latter part of the last century, in attempts to convert more Jews to Protestant christianity, the Protestants decided to use a new method. Years of oppression, cruelty and persecution of the Jews by christians (protestant and catholic) had left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Jews. A new tact was needed on the side of christianity. So out of Protestant christianity, and with the help of the few Jews that had become christians, was born the notion of dressing the christian in Jewish clothing. In a lot of ways, it was like this sort of thinking: “the way to draw in your target is to become like him.” They changed the name Jesus to Yeshua, painted some painful words, like “cross”, into words that would be easier for the Jew to accept, like “tree.” They had a product (their christian beliefs in Jesus), but they just changed the advertising strategy. But the only problem was the name. “Christian” and “christianity” had become keywords for evil and persecution for the Jews. They needed something different.
Over time, the more honest description “Hebrew Christian” or “Jewish Christian” – no different than Portuguese Christian or British Christian – was dropped for something more deceptive. They coined the empty phrase “Messianic Judaism” (see previous paragraphs) combining words that normally mean something else, a Judaism with messianic expectation, which could just as easily refer to the Torah Judaism, the enduring Judaism throughout history, the worldview distinct from christianity, but they pumped a different meaning into it. Now “messianic” meant “christian,” i.e., the belief that Jesus as the Messiah. And the Judaism bit? Well I guess some of them were genetically Jewish, and include in that, everything they used to clothe themselves as adherents of Judaism whilst promoting what essentially was christianity. As someone once said, wherever there is a difference between Judaism and christianity on core doctrines and beliefs, this “new” entity, “messianic Judaism” would side with christianity. It was and is christianity!
Yet they stole the name “Judaism” – something that is not christianity – and started saying “this is actually true Judaism!” If you really listen to what they claim, and if you know anything of christian doctrine, this would seem to be nothing more than a forward movement from the replacement theology of historical christianity, having its roots in Paul’s deception. Christianity claimed (and still does claim) that it, including its gentile followers, was the true “Israel of God” (from Galatians 6), that the promises of the new covenant that was meant of the houses of Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 31) was really for their gentile masses. They claim that a Jew is not one outwardly, but one that is “circumcised” inwardly with a circumcision not done by hand in the flesh, which included gentiles (from Romans 2). The prophecies and the glorious promises of the Jewish Bible given by the prophets to those who listened, i.e. Israelites, the gentile church attempted to steal and keep for themselves. Paul’s fingerprints are all over this sort of doctrine. But now the Jewish christians take it further by taking the name Judaism as well.
This advertisement/evangelism campaign had some success as some more Jews joined the movement thinking they were simply going into another form of Judaism, when they were just entering disguised christianity. And due to the emotional approach christianity emphasizes, it is not easy to get out once you’re in, especially once you’ve invested your emotions on the institution.
But its success, and its hold over its new Jewish adherents, appears to be rooted in a deception, a piece of identity fraud, making their product superficially identical to another to deceive Jews, especially the less knowledgeable or vulnerable of them, to forsake their heritage in Judaism-proper for christianity. In the business world, people could be sued for such plagiarism (copying).
Cutting to the chase, getting to the point
OK, I will just get to the point.
Messianic “Judaism” has one significant difference with christianity. Christianity is honest enough to say it is a different religion. Its name implies that it is something different. Historically, generally, christianity and Judaism has been opposed to each other with christianity trying to convert the Jew.
Messianic “Judaism” doesn’t have that honesty.