Te Anau Project

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Please take a moment to dream with us about a new opportunity for reaching Israel with the Good News of the Messiah, Jesus.

A fantastic opportunity!

With so many thousands of young Israelis flocking to NZ every year, our primary means of reaching out to them is through the ministry of accommodation.  One thing we know for sure: Outreach through accommodation WORKS!

outreach

By offering free accommodation to Israeli travellers, we’ve had the opportunity to share the love of Messiah with more than 5000 guests!  During the tourist season, our facilities are brimming with Israeli travellers, many of whom are responding positively to our resident staff members who are taking every opportunity to introduce our guests to Israel’s Messiah, Yeshua.

Perturbing Love – God’s Love for Israel

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“I will make you my wife, forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion.” (Hosea 2:19)

God’s love for unfaithful Israel is unsettling:
Who can love a “whoring” spouse?

This sermonic journey through the narrative of Hosea unveils the shocking, unspeakable commitment of our Lover, God.

This message by Scott Brown was given in Jerusalem in 2018 during the celebration of Israel’s 70th Anniversary.

Why Are the Jewish People Special?

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The following was offered by Dr. John F. Walvoord at the dedication of Chosen People Ministries’ International headquarters building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Why a Jewish mission? Why don’t we have an African mission, or a French mission, or an English mission? Of course the reason is quite simple — the Jews are a very special people. This is not a matter of our opinion, it is a matter of Scriptural revelation.

It’s rather amazing that you can study the history of the church and see how blind the theologians and leaders of the church often were to the declared revelation of the Word of God concerning the special purpose of the nation of Israel. In fact, some of their theologians went so far as to say that it was impossible to save a Jew. How could they be so blind? After all, the early church was predominantly Jewish!

A Peculiar Place

We have Paul raising the question regarding the peculiar place of Israel in Romans 9, 10, 11 and in verse 3 and following in Chapter 9, he said this:

“I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brethren, those of my own race, the people of Israel.”

Then he lists the things that are distinct.

“Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”

A Distinctive People

What a distinctive people! Not by human choice or by an accident of history, but by Divine choice they are a chosen people. I think that it is so significant that this mission has now adopted a name (Chosen People Ministries) that embraces that concept of a “chosen people” who require a special ministry from God.

Now let’s review just briefly some of the reasons why the Jewish people are so special.

In Genesis chapter 12 , we’re introduced to Abraham, mentioned also in chapter 11. It is indicated by prophetic declaration that Abram was going to be a great man and that he was going to be a father of a great nation and that the whole world would be blessed through him. Those are great and extensive promises and you can’t say that of any other person. And it’s all been graphically fulfilled already. He is a great man. We’re talking about him 4,000 years after he lived!

The Promise of the Land

Then there is the promise of the land. You remember in Genesis 12:7 how He promised that Abraham and his heirs would inherit the land. It sounds so simple, but this happens to be a dividing point for systematic theology. There are many who try one way or another to explain that text away and make the land refer to heaven. How often in our human knowledge we talk about the land of Canaan and being in heaven, or crossing the Jordan and going to heaven. The Jordan isn’t crossing over to heaven. The Jordan River typically is the death of Christ and Canaan, the land that Israel possessed in our present experience.

No, the land means the land. And sometimes as I preach I like to go through the whole Old Testament – text after text after text. Genesis 13 where God tells Abraham to look at the land and says, ” This is the land you received through an inheritance.” Chapter 15 where He gives the boundaries. Chapter 17 where He promises that they’ll inherit Canaan forever. And Chapter 26 where He repeats the promise to Isaac. Then Chapter 28 where He repeats the promise to Jacob. Then you move on into Deuteronomy and Moses’ declaration. Joshua Chapter 1 where it says the promise will be extended through him to possess every bit of land that they put their foot on.

And as you read through the prophets, the major prophets and the minor prophets, it’s almost overwhelming, again and again and again – the land. The land that God promises Israel, they would somehow inherit and possess and never be dispossessed again, as we’re told in Amos 9:15.

Blind to God’s Purpose

To me it’s unbelievable that capable scholars who were undoubtedly devoted Christians and who read the same Bible that we read could be so blind to God’s purpose for Israel. That’s why the early church after the first century didn’t have any special missions to the Jews. They just neglected them, condemned them. They held that the curses of the Old Testament fell on this people but the blessings would not – they were transferred to the Church somehow.

It is a strange method of interpretation and it really wasn’t until the last part of the 19th century that there started to be an awakening of which this was a partial result. In the great prophetic conferences held in the last part of the 19th century, as they faced the question of the future, it gradually emerged that Israel was the key to understanding God’s purpose. Then on into the 20th century, not only this Mission, but many others have attempted in a special way to reach the people of Israel.

Then, of course, so much more could be said about the special places Israel and Jewish people occupy. To Israel was given the Mosaic Law and all of its regulations, the promises of the Davidic Kingdom – that there is going to come a son of David to reign upon the throne forever. And of course this is related to Christ’s second coming and His Millennial Kingdom.

A Special Love

Yes, Israel is a special people and they deserve special treatment. When you study the history of the church you find that what the church preeminently did was to kill Jews who wouldn’t accept Christ – they killed them by the thousands. I think it calls for a special love and a special consideration and special treatment for these who, racially, have been chosen of God to be a part of the Jewish nation. Then we must do what we can, of course, to bring them to Christ.

I think it is very important to put into the hands of a Jew not simply an oral testimony, but a measured, reasonable approach and presentation of the Truth.

And it’s so important that we support this work in our prayers – that we are patient with Jewish people who don’t catch on immediately and with a work like this that you support it financially. Obviously, many works of the Lord are hindered by a lack of financial support and how important it is that this ministry have all that it needs to extend the Gospel through its missionaries.

So tonight we’ve come to a historic time in the history of this mission. I think it’s thrilling that after these many years this Mission has taken a gigantic forward step into this new Headquarters and all that it entails in increased efficiency in its operation and ministry. We pray God’s blessings upon the work and that this organization will prosper under the good hand of God.

Dr. John F. Walvoord, Chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary, first had contact with this ministry in 1942 in New York City, when, during the war, a great Bible conference was hosted by Joseph Hoffman Cohn, the son of Rabbi Leopold Cohn, the founder of Chosen People Ministries.

Do You Have to Stop Being Jewish to Believe in Jesus?

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Written by David Sedaca

Although this question is frequently asked, many attempts to answer it are based on misconceptions or prejudices rather than pure facts. The simple answer to this question is that a person DOES NOT have to stop being Jewish to believe in Jesus. The reasons for this are as follows.

In first place, being Jewish is much more than being a practicing Jew. According to the American Jewish Congress, more than 50% of American Jews are either non-practicing, secular, humanistic, agnostic or atheist. But the remarkable fact is that those Jewish people are still considered Jews! So if religion does not define one’s “Jewishness,” why should the belief in Jesus change one’s “Jewish status”?

Another aspect of this question depends on who gives the answer. According to religious Jews, if a person chooses to believe in Jesus he has “crossed the line.” In other words, if a person chooses to believe in Jesus, he or she has made a conscious decision to become something other than a Jew.

But if Judaism is not defined by one’s beliefs, why should faith in Jesus automatically result in being cut off from the Jewish people? What can be more Jewish than believing that Jesus is the promised Jewish Messiah, who came to fulfill the Jewish prophecies as foretold in the Jewish Bible?

An erroneous view has also been held by the historical Christian churches from the middle of the third century to the present time. The fallacy is the belief that if a Jewish person wanted to follow Jesus, he or she had to forfeit their Jewishness and become a Gentile for all practical purposes.

The First Council of Nicaea, called by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325 AD, resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. The purpose of the council was to resolve the nature of Jesus in relationship to the Father; in particular, whether Jesus was of the same substance as God the Father or merely of similar substance.

But another consequence of the Council of Nicaea – followed by the edicts of the Council of Chalcedon and many others – was distancing the church from its Jewish roots. For instance, the council stated that if a Jew wanted to accept Jesus and be part of the church, he had to abandon the Jewish traditions and practices and even change his Jewish name!

Another result of the council was an agreement to abandon the biblical Hebrew calendar and adopt a calendar based on the vernal equinox. All of these changes began to make it impossible for a Jew to believe in Jesus and retain his or her Jewish identity.

The fact is that neither the rabbis’ nor the church’s decrees can take away someone’s Jewishness. The belief that one must stop being Jewish in order to believe in Jesus is as unsustainable as holding that a Scottish, Italian or Chinese person had to stop being Scottish, Italian or Chinese if they chose to believe in Jesus. There is nothing more biblically Jewish than to believe in the Jesus as the Jewish Messiah as described by the Jewish prophets in the Jewish Bible.

No Longer Jewish?

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Written by Ben Volman

It is a widely-held misconception that a Jewish person who follows Yeshua as Messiah is no longer Jewish. This view has been mistakenly repeated both by Christians and Jews.

But if well-known atheists such as Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud are still considered Jews, how could a dedicated Jewish follower of a Jewish rabbi lose his or her Jewish identity? Some will answer that Messianic Jews are apostates who have left their religion, traitors who joined a Gentile faith that despises and degrades Judaism. However, neither passion nor mocking makes an argument true.

In fact, under religious tradition, a Jew is someone who is born to a Jewish mother. (Broader interpretations of Jewish identity now accept that Jewish heritage may also come through a Jewish father.) That person does not cease to be Jewish, no matter what their personal religious choices or disposition.

Another major reason for the misconception that Jewish followers of Jesus are no longer Jewish is a decision by the Israeli Supreme Court in the early 1960s. In 1958, Brother Daniel Rufeison came to Israel. Born Jewish, Rufeison was hiding in a nunnery during the Holocaust and later became a Catholic priest. Upon entering Israel, he claimed his rights under the Law of Return, which normally grants immediate citizenship to Jews.

The original court ruling denied his claim – never claiming to make a religious or final ruling on Jewish identity, but simply citing the prerogative of the State of Israel not to accept Jewish followers of Yeshua. However, under a 2008 Supreme Court ruling, that previous decision can no longer be applied to Messianic Jews who can attribute Jewish identity to a father, if not to themselves – so this is no longer a restriction on immigration.

In previous eras, Jewish followers of Yeshua were compelled to assimilate into Christian cultures to practice their faith. This is no longer needed, although one may choose to do so. The worldwide Messianic Jewish movement promotes and supports Jewish culture, holidays, traditions and faithfulness to Jewish identity among its adherents.

A common experience of Jewish people who come to faith in Messiah is that they have never have felt as Jewish as they do after the decision to follow Yeshua. That step of faith brings a rebirth of Jewish identity, not its end.

My Orthodox Grandpa

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By Nikki H.

Because of family circumstances, my grandparents helped raise me and were like second parents. They were Orthodox Jews, so every morning and evening, grandpa went to shul (synagogue) to pray, and they sent me to a Yeshiva (Jewish religious school) and to Hebrew school. I remember in the second grade telling my grandparents that I made a vow to God that I would never worship an idol (of course in my mind at the time, that meant the “Christian gods”).

I grew up hearing stories of how my grandparents’ seven brothers and sisters and parents all died in concentration camps. I was told the Nazis who murdered them wore on their belt buckles the words, “For the Glory of Christ.” After coming to know the Lord, I could barely talk about my grandparents with anyone without breaking down in tears. I loved them so much, and I could not see how they could ever come to know their Messiah.

My grandpa had a vague sense of what I believed, because over the years, we had many discussions about prophecy and the Scriptures; but every time I tried to actually share the Gospel with him, I would be thwarted by my grandmother or another relative (all of whom were certain that “it would be the death of him”). When my grandfather became ill and went into a nursing home, I felt compelled to go to Florida to try again to share the Gospel with him.

Everyone in my family had threatened to disown me if I dared to talk to him about God (they meant Jesus). I must admit I, too, secretly feared that in his state now, if I shared my faith, I could easily give him a heart attack.

In addition to the family and health concerns, I had another obstacle: Grandpa was hard of hearing. His nursing home was all Jewish, so in the past, when I had attempted to tell him that Jesus was the Messiah, I had to yell very loudly to be heard, and heads would turn in horror as I shouted “GRANDPA, JESUS IS THE MESSIAH!!” Despite all of this, I knew now that he was close to death and I had to make sure that he understood clearly…so off I went. Friends in my home church prayed for me.

Each of the five days I went to visit him, I shared one step of God’s plan. Though my family said he was not always lucid, every day that I showed up, my grandfather remembered with crystal clarity what I had shared with him the day before.

For the first three days, I did not mention Jesus, but explained God’s plan for relationship with us through sacrificial atonement. Finally, on the fourth day, I told Grandpa that this atonement would come through the Messiah. The next day I would tell him who the Messiah was.

The day came and this time I wheeled him into a private room. I asked him if he remembered what I was going to tell him that day.

“Yes,” he said.” You’re going to tell me who Messiah is. So, who is he?”

I explained that it was Yeshua (Jesus) and began to go through Isaiah 53. As I spoke, my Grandpa’s head began to nod off as though he was having a heart attack. I thought now I had really “done it.” I had killed my grandpa by telling him about Jesus. I prayed quietly and suddenly he looked up and began to argue with me (a good sign as to his lucidity, since I would have been a bit suspicious if he had just complied with what I said). He wanted to know why, if Yeshua was the Messiah, he was sick. Why was there war? Why did the Prince of Peace not bring peace? I explained that the Messiah came first to bring peace in our hearts and was coming again to bring peace on earth.

We had a great discussion that culminated with my asking Grandpa if I could say a prayer for him and ask God to reveal to him if indeed Yeshua (Jesus) was the Messiah.

Instead of my saying a prayer, my grandpa suddenly began to pray out loud all by himself. “God,” he said, “If this is true then I want to know. I want to know this Messiah Yeshua, as Bruchah (my Hebrew name) described.”

Tears began to flow down his eyes. He looked up at me and said. “Bruchah, you’re beautiful. Thank you.”

Grandpa died three weeks later. Before his passing my mother had asked Grandpa if he remembered my visit that day.” Of course,” he said. When she asked him what we discussed, he replied, “We discussed ‘heavenly things.'”

I believe I will see my Grandpa in heaven.

Presenting Messiah to Your Jewish Friend

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Friends sharing Good News with friends

The Apostle John gives a good summary of witnessing in his first epistle: “the life [of Jesus] was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you . . . that which we have seen and heard . . .” (1 John 1:2-3). Effective witnessing is telling what one has seen and/or heard-much as a witness in a legal case gives a testimony. But witnessing to a Jewish person goes far beyond reciting the facts of the Gospel message. Witnessing must become a dialogue between two individuals, each with mutual respect and a genuine interest in the well being of the other. Because the best witness is the witness of a friend or close relation (see John 1:40-45), the first step in sharing the Gospel with a Jewish person is to develop a friendship. Your witness will do best as it grows naturally out of a deepening relationship.

Don’t befriend a Jewish person merely to “get him saved,” however. The person will sense this and feel you are only interested in him as a project or trophy. Let your friendship and love be genuine. It must not rise or fall on your friend’s response to the Gospel.

Witnessing encounters with strangers are certainly wonderful opportunities, but this pamphlet describes a witness that takes place within the context of a growing relationship. (And, for editorial efficiency, this pamphlet uses “him” to refer to the person to whom you may be witnessing about the person of Jesus.)

Try to understand your Jewish friend

It is important to understand your Jewish friend’s mindset towards the Gospel message. What is to you a beautifully clear story of redemption actually presents several deep-rooted obstacles to your Jewish friend. Here are a few simple points that can help you be more sensitive:

Have you noticed that Jewish people are frequently negative towards Christianity? You might be too if your people had been persecuted over the centuries in “Christian countries” and in the name of Christ! Many Jewish person believe that to become a Christian is to side with those who have mistreated his people. This is tantamount to treachery to one’s ancestors.

  • Jewish people cannot comprehend how a person can be a Jew and a Christian at the same time. They presume that if they accept Jesus they can no longer be Jewish.
  • Jewish people are not especially religious. Most modern Jews value the traditional and cultural elements of their heritage more than the religious. In fact, synagogue attendance in the United States is below 15%!
  • Jewish people are taught to reject certain essential teachings of the Bible such as the Trinity, the deity of the Messiah, and the Second Coming of Jesus.
  • Jewish people are not especially familiar with the Old Testament. Most would question whether the Bible was even inspired by God. Orthodox Jews do accept the Scriptures, but most modern and secular Jewish people do not accept the divine authority of their own Old Testament.
  • Most Jewish people are surprised to hear that Jesus was Jewish and the New Testament was written by Jews. They view the New Testament as a “non-Jewish” book that has spawned another world religion. Some even think Jesus was a nice Jewish boy who converted to Christianity!
  • Jewish people intuitively know that if they were to consider Jesus, their families and friends would not understand them, and some might even disown them. We see an example of this in John 9, where the Jewish leaders threatened the parents of the blind man with excommunication if they acknowledged that Jesus had healed their son.

Your Jewish friend might have other objections to the Gospel as well. He might be an agnostic or even an atheist. He might not believe in God or even in the coming of the Messiah. Before you present the Gospel, you might need to begin by establishing evidence about the existence of God and the reliability of the Bible.

Besides these particularly Jewish dynamics in witnessing, don’t forget that Scripture declares that “. . . There is none who seeks after God” (Romans 3:11). No human being, apart from the intervention of the Holy Spirit, seeks to admit his need for salvation before a holy God. So don’t let an initial rejection discourage you. Anticipate the first “no,” but then keep looking for opportunities to extend God’s love and patiently share the Gospel.

Four Biblical precepts for witnessing

While there are no foolproof techniques for reaching your Jewish friend with the Gospel, four fundamental precepts should guide your efforts:

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The Scriptures tell us that faith comes through hearing the Word of God (see Romans 10:17). Sometimes, because Jewish people are not familiar with the New Testament or even with the Old, we tend to use reason and logic more than God’s Word. The Bible has self-authenticating authority that can touch hearts: “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). The Scriptures should be the key benchmark of truth when we are witnessing.

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Don’t be discouraged when your friend rejects Christianity. There is often much historical baggage involved. Just remember: the Gospel is about a Person-Jesus the Messiah. It is about a relationship, not a religion. When you distinguish between Jesus and the Jewish understanding of the Christian religion, many objections dissipate.

Your Jewish friend does not need to feel that by accepting Jesus he is giving up his Jewish identity. You are not asking him to “convert” to another religion, but to become “complete” by receiving the Jewish Messiah.

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Certain words may have totally different, even offensive, meanings to your Jewish friend. Often, such words as “cross” and “Christ” bring up collective memories of persecution by so-called “Christians.” Be sensitive in your choice of words. Try using “Messiah” instead of “Christ,” “tree” instead of “cross,” and even “Yeshua” instead of “Jesus.” You want to communicate the Jewishness of the Gospel message.

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A witness declares what he or she has seen and heard. Although you have not seen or spoken with Messiah Jesus on this earth (as did the Apostle John), you can still be a credible witness to the life-changing reality of His presence in your life. This is not so much by your verbal witness but by the witness of your life, demonstrating that the Messiah lives in and through you. In other words, witnesses should only testify about what they personally know to be true.

Some icebreakers to help you get started

Some of the best opportunities to talk about the Lord happen during normal, friendly interactions. Don’t be afraid of offending your Jewish friend by bringing up the subject of your faith in Jesus.

Affirm your friend’s Jewish identity

By affirming your friend’s Jewish identity, you will be showing your love for him and making the statement that he can be Jewish and believe in Jesus!

You can do this tactfully by sending greeting cards on the Jewish holidays, showing an interest in current events that concern the Jewish people and especially by showing some sensitivity to what is happening in Israel.

Many of the Jewish holidays, such as Passover and the Fall Feasts, appear in the New Testament and can give you an opportunity to present the Gospel. Your friend will be intrigued that your belief in Jesus gives you an appreciation for Jewish heritage. Chosen People Ministries has materials available to help you be a more effective witness by incorporating a spiritual understanding of the Jewish holidays.

Share your testimony

Tell your Jewish friend that you believe in the Jewish Messiah, and then tell him what Jesus has done for you! This will be especially powerful if you are a Gentile and have accepted the Lord as an adult. Showing how even a Gentile needed to accept Jesus will counter the idea that Christians are simply “born into the religion.” Your friend may realize for the first time that this relationship is entered into by faith and not merely by birth. Go ahead and tell him that God did not make you stop being Italian, Norwegian or Oklahoman, and that he doesn’t have to stop being Jewish!

Look for an area of need

Your Jewish friend might tell you about a problem. This is the time to bring up an appropriate Scripture or even to pray for him. Perhaps you can suggest a Christian book that addresses the problem. Let him know ahead of time that the book is written from a Christian perspective, so that there are no surprises. Follow up later to get his opinion on the book’s contents.

Invite your friend to church

Don’t be afraid of inviting your Jewish friend to a special event at church that might interest him – perhaps a special speaker, video series, or musical event. You can offer to attend synagogue in return. Just the act of inviting him may open up opportunities to share your faith.

Ask direct questions

You might find that jumping in and asking thoughtful questions works for you. Here are some ideas:

  • As a Jewish person, how do you practice your religion?
  • How often do you read the Bible? What role does it play in your life?
  • What do you believe about the Messiah?

Introduce your friend to a Jewish believer

Another way to tell your Jewish friend about Jesus is to introduce him to Jewish believers. There are many ways to do this. You can contact Chosen People Ministries, as we are in touch with a worldwide network of Jewish people who believe in Jesus, many of whom would be more than willing to meet your Jewish friend.

We can also tell you about Messianic meetings in various areas so you can accompany your Jewish friend to a Bible study or service that is Jewish in character, where of course Jesus is lifted up as Messiah and Savior. If you cannot take advantage of these opportunities, you can still introduce your friend to Jewish believers through written testimonies.

You can write to our headquarters and ask for a copy of the Chosen People Ministries catalog of materials, and especially the book, Jesus was a Jew, which includes several wonderful testimonies of Jewish people who have accepted Jesus as their Messiah.

There are many ways to make it clear to your Jewish friends that your hope for them is to enter into a relationship with the living God through Jesus the Messiah. You are not trying to convert them to another religion! By God’s grace, your Jewish friend will see that belief in Jesus is the most Jewish belief he can have!

Presenting the Gospel from the Hebrew Scriptures

Once you establish a friendship, and are sensitive to your Jewish friend’s special needs, you can present the Gospel in a number of different ways. There is no “right” or “wrong” way. After all, you are not witnessing to “the Jews,” but to an individual Jewish person who has ideas, needs, and personal thoughts and questions about the meaning of life.

Studying the Gospels

It’s always a good idea to encourage your friend to read the Bible on his own. If your friend is interested in studying the Bible with you, a good place to begin is the Gospel of Matthew, which was written especially to the Jewish people. In Matthew, he will not only see Jesus as the Messiah, but will discover many Old Testament passages about the Messiah which Matthew quotes (at least 47 references, most of them Messianic). You might also try the Gospel of John, as it will enable your friend to grapple with the teachings of Jesus.

When you study the Gospels with your Jewish friend, be sure to go slowly, explaining the meaning of unfamiliar theological terms. Go back to the Old Testament when the Gospel writers quote it. Be sensitive to the Jewish issues involved – the controversies with Jewish leaders, the celebration of Jewish holidays. Point out how Jewish the New Testament really is!

Studying Messianic prophecy

Another good way to study is to review Old Testament Messianic prophecy-which paints a picture of the Messiah-and then look to the New Testament for the fulfillment of those prophecies. Remember, your Jewish friend is beginning his study with little background, even in the Old Testament. Begin with some of the major Messianic prophecies.

Try to point out the context of the passages and allow your friend to discover many of the truths for himself. Ask questions as you go over the text. Let your friend read the passage and see if he can answer some questions you ask of the text. “To what does the prophet refer?” “Who fits that description?” These questions will help your Jewish friend grapple with the text and come to his own conclusions.

Encourage your friend to use his own Jewish Bible if he has one. Be aware, though, that the order of the books is different, and some verses are numbered slightly differently as well (we will note it when there is a difference).

We will now briefly outline some major Messianic prophecies. Try not to present too many of them at once. Your Jewish friend will need some time to “digest” the information before you go on!

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Evangelism: Comparing Kabbalah and the Scriptures

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Like the popularizers of Eastern Religion in the 1960s and 1970s, the New Age Kabbalistic teachings tend to focus on what “sells” most easily to the consumer. Here are a few of the commonly cited principles of Kabbalah and some witnessing tips and Scriptures to help you in your witness.

Stress the accessibility of the Scripture in its plain meaning.

The Kabbalists teach: There is a “code” encrypted in the letters of the Hebrew Scriptures that, once deciphered, reveals the hidden truth of God.

The Scripture says: “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

Stress the authority of the Messiah and His role as the “image of God” among us.

The Kabbalists teach: Everything that exists, exists within man. Man is a microcosm of all Creation. This is part of being created in the “image of the Divine.”

The Scripture says: “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:15-17).

Stress the “superiority” of the Messiah’s person and His teaching.

The Kabbalists teach: Kabbalah is the oldest and most influential wisdom in all of human history.

The Scripture says: “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

Stress the uniqueness of Messiah and His ministry.

The Kabbalists teach: The spiritual light of the Zohar banishes all forms of darkness from our world. The study of Kabbalah has influenced Abraham, Moses, Muhammad, Shakespeare, Freud and Jesus.

The Scripture says: “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life'” (John 8:12).

Stress that faith in Messiah is the “Way” to eternal life.

The Kabbalists teach: The way to become one with the Infinite Being is to struggle to be moral and spiritual while in this world, amidst a sea of temptations and challenges.

The Scripture says: “Jesus said unto him, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me'” (John 14:6).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Part of an effective witness is to identify “points of contact” with those with whom we are sharing the Gospel. Such people are “seekers,” and we should be respectful of them, gently and prayerfully steering them to Messiah.

Although there may be nuggets of wisdom in Kabbalistic teaching, nothing that deflects us from the authority of Scripture and our need for the Messiah should be trusted as a measure of truth.

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  • “Kabbalah Made Easy”
  • The Kabbalah Center
  • Yielding to Messiah

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    Rich Freeman, a Jewish believer in Messiah, came to faith in 1983 through the witness of his wife, Julia. When he told his father, Wally, about his faith decision, Wally was aghast. Born and raised in a secular Jewish home, Wally nonetheless had strong cultural connections with his Jewish heritage and culture. Serving in the Navy in World War II, Wally had also experienced anti-Semitism first hand. He could well remember sailors who called him “Christ-killer” and said, “The Germans are doing us a favor.”

    Although not a religious man himself, he was nonetheless dead set against Rich’s decision to align himself with what he considered to be the enemies of the Jewish people. Still, father and son remained close. He and Rich’s wife, Julia, had an excellent relationship, and Wally took pleasure in his grandchildren. Throughout the years, Rich witnessed to his father many times.

    In 1986, Wally was diagnosed with terminal cancer and fought the ravages of his disease bravely. Rich continued to share the Gospel with him, and throughout his illness, staff members from Chosen People Ministries assisted him in a number of meaningful ways and also shared their faith with him.

    Wally confounded his doctors by outliving their original prognosis. Rich recalls that at one point when the doctors were puzzled by an unexpected remission of the disease, they told him, “You must be praying people.”

    In 1989, Wally’s condition deteriorated and those close to him knew he was dying. Toward the end of his life, Wally called Rich with an urgent request for a visit. When Rich arrived at the hospital, Wally said, “I had a dream. I dreamed you were right.” While in Beth Israel hospital in Manhattan, Wally saw a vision of Rich. He told Rich, “I knew it wasn’t you, but you told me that your way ‘wins.'”

    “Do you believe it?” Rich asked. Wally smiled and said, “Yes.” Soon after, he fell into a coma. As the end drew near, Wally began to struggle. As Rich leaned over him, he whispered, “Dad, Yeshua the Messiah is waiting for you. Rest now.” Wally stopped struggling and died a short time later.

    The weekend before Wally died, Rich’s mother, Rita, also came to faith. While visiting at a service where Rich was preaching at Light of Israel Messianic Congregation in Yonkers, New York, Rita received the Lord. Shortly before he passed away, Wally was told of Rita’s decision and died peacefully in the Lord.

    What Does It Mean to Be “Born Again”?

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    “You must be born again.”

    These words of Jesus, spoken in John 3:7, are so central to the evangelistic message of the Gospel that one can scarcely imagine a Gospel without them. Yet what do they mean to us? What would they have meant to Nicodemus, the teacher of Israel and a member of the Sanhedrin?

    Part of the answer may be found in the words, “…unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Here, at least, was a point of contact. As a first century Jew, Nicodemus would long for even a glimpse of the kingdom of God. But Jesus’ revelation of the kingdom and the prevailing Jewish understanding of God’s kingdom promise were far apart-yet they remain instructive to those today who, like Nicodemus, seek the Messiah even under the cover of darkness.

    Alfred Edersheim, the reknowned 19th century biblical scholar who was himself Jewish, provides valuable insight in his The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. In it Edersheim writes, “…according to the Jewish view, this second birth was the consequence of having taken upon oneself ‘the Kingdom’ not, as Jesus put it, the cause and condition of it.”1

    In other words, Jesus establishes the “new birth” as the basis for entering the kingdom. It is a teaching that Nicodemus would have found revolutionary in the truest sense of the word. It establishes the priority of spiritual rebirth and Jesus’ implied teaching is that without it, one could not even hope to see, let alone enter, the kingdom. Nicodemus found this hard to grasp for the same reason many seekers today might shy away. It takes the initiative away from us. It makes us powerless and dependent upon God. Jesus makes the same point in Mark 10:15 when He says, “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

    But Nicodemus had one thing right. Something prompted him to come humbly and seek Jesus in spite of his privileged position. Did he come to faith? We cannot know for certain. But if we truly surrender to Messiah, we will certainly know what it means to be “born again.”

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    1. Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962), vol 1, p. 384.