Q: How and when did the Messianic Movement come into existence?
A: The modern Messianic Jewish Movement is essentially a revival of the Messianic Movement that was present in the Land of Israel up until the end of the fourth century C.E. While there have always been Jewish people who came to believe in the Messiahship of Yeshua (Jesus) throughout the centuries, they were generally forced to assimilate into the larger church and follow a policy of losing their Jewishness. The revival of the Messianic Jewish Movement continues to adhere to the fact that Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel, but at the same time it also affirms the right of Messianic Jews to identify as Jews and maintain a Jewish life-style, though the degree of practice may vary within different circles of Messianic Jews. But the roots of the modern movement actually began in East Europe in the early 1800s; in the latter 1800s into the beginnings of the twentieth century the movement grew into large numbers in East Europe. Unfortunately, the Holocaust decimated the Messianic Jewish population so that, after the war, only a small percentage was left and without a united voice.
In the 1970s, the modern Messianic Jewish Movement was revived in the west, particularly in North America, with a movement towards establishing Messianic Jewish Congregations and providing for Messianic Jews an environment to maintain their Jewish life-style and to maintain a Jewish identity for their children and subsequent generations. Thus, the movement today is spread out in all parts of the world where the larger Jewish community exists. It is still undergoing many labor pains and growth pains and it has not always been stable theologically, but the movement has made the public aware that a Jew can believe in Yeshua and still have a strong Jewish identity. Furthermore, it affirms various degrees of practice of Jewish traditions and customs, though it is just as varied within the Messianic community as it is with the larger Jewish community stemming from Orthodoxy to Reform.