TO THE JEW FIRST AND LAST

(Open doors to the Jewish Community conference at Deltona Alliance Church, Florida, 30-31 Jan 2010)

Jn 16:8-11  And when [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  of sin, because they do not believe in Me:  of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

The gospel is for sinners.  The Lord Jesus says here that [the] sin is not believing in Him.  Not believing in Him leads to lawlessness of all kinds.

The gospel was first brought from Messiah Yeshua to Israel and the Jewish people:  to His own.  This good news and its necessity to the Jewish people has never been changed . . . by God!  The cross is still a cause of stumbling to the Jewish person – the idea that our God would actually become a despised and rejected Man hanging on the cursed tree!  And even worse, that we insisted that He be killed in that way!!

The Holy Spirit in us who believe, whether we be Jews or not, bears witness with our spirit that we are sons of God, and without the Holy Spirit no one can call Jesus for who/what He is:  LORD/YHVH.  How then is it that some today teach that the Jewish people do not necessarily have to believe in Jesus in order to be saved; that God has another way for them, or that because of wrongs done to them by the Christian church He has shown partiality to the Jewish people regarding salvation?  There is no other name under Heaven given to men by which they may be saved!  There is no way to the Father other than through His Son!  If we are uncertain in our own conscience about this mystery of the faith, then who will be convicted of the sin of unbelief through our evangelism?!

The gospel came first to the Jews, and praise God, He is faithful to keep His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and He is bringing it back to us!  Judgment is also to the Jews first; so is honor:  to whom much is given more is required; the first-born son has responsibilities greater than those less privileged.  This is not a post-missionary time for the Jewish people.  The Great Commission which the Lord Jesus Himself gave is until the end of the age, which has not yet arrived, but, thankfully, is getting nearer!  God is so much more concerned and able to accomplish what He has commanded us to do than we are, that He will even be sending out angels to finish the job of preaching the everlasting gospel. (Rev 14:6)  The glory will be His alone, who alone is the only wise God and Savior – both of the Jews and also of the Gentiles!

As God opens doors for you into your Jewish communities, if you are Gentiles (i.e., not Jewish), first of all, do not be embarrassed that you are not Jewish.  Secondly, the Lord has given you a special calling as Gentiles to provoke His people to jealousy by your knowledge of Him more than they have:  in Christ our relationship is personal, not distant.  At the same time, God has called you to have mercy upon His people, since by their being put aside for a time, He has done that in order to show mercy to you.  At the end of the day, we who have been saved will all know that we have all been disobedient, and have needed the mercies of God in order to be found worthy to stand by grace before the Son of Man when He judges the living and the dead.  Such is the wisdom of our God and Father!

For those of us who are Jews, we know that it is God who defines who and what a Jew truly is.  We can have a boldness such as Peter had after Pentecost when speaking with our own people.  Jews may not be that honest, but they want to see integrity in others.  Let them see it in us, that we fear God and not man, and we know who it is that we believe in, because Jesus is the one of whom Moses and the Prophets spoke and wrote.  He is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

Is 49:6   It is a light thing that Thou should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. . . .

AN EXHORTATION – 5 Jan 2010

There has been much official editorial and public reaction to the burning of a mosque in the town of Yasuflast month.  Both the Prime Minister and the President of the State of Israel rightly spoke out strongly denouncing such an act against those of another religion within Israelby Jewish zealots.  (Praise the Lord…let us remember that He even seeks out the fear of God amongst religious nationalists.  Simon the Zealot (kena’ee, not kana’ani/Canaanite) was one of Yeshua’s apostles!)

Yet, when an evangelical congregation of Messianic/Christian believers are attacked and prevented from acting in lawful ways; or, when a Messianic family is specifically targeted for murder because of their faith in Yeshua; or, when a Messianic believer is deprived of legitimacy for her bakery because of perverted kashrut regulations (acceptable foods and preparations under rabbinic supervision), nothing is heard from those same government and public leaders to denounce such actions motivated by religious misguided zeal.

It is not yet certain what will be the verdict and consequences of our current civil lawsuit against the Beer Sheva Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Yehuda Deri, and against the anti-freedom of conscience organization, Yad L’Achim.  We have our last courtroom appearance scheduled for March 9, with Judge Iddo Ruzin’s decision expected any time after that up till April 9.

But one thing is becoming clearer to me – and I hope to you, too:  the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not comparable to any other religious faith!  It is neither Judah-ism (ask any self-respecting Jewish person who does not believe in Yeshua/Jesus for who He is), nor is it Christian-ity as a mere form of godliness but denying its power.  Both of these two similar faith groups on either side of the cross focus on themselves, whether Jewish or Christian.  The faith once for all delivered to the saints is a personal living relationship with the living God – our Father in Heaven and His Son through the Holy Spirit dwelling within all born-again believers.  Not all Israel is Israel; not all the Church is the Church/Body of Christ.  We are hid with Messiah in God, and are a new creation. . .thank God!

The cross is an offense to the Jewish people (and to many others who have the pride of life in their chosenness or election), and Yeshua the Nazarene is the Stumbling Stone which YHVH God Himself has placed in the way for all those ‘on a journey’.  “Whosoever falls on this Stone will be broken; but on whomsoever It falls, It will grind him to powder”. (Mt 21:42-44)  Yeshua/Jesus is still a sign spoken against; He is still destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel (and in the Church), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. (Lk 2: 34-35)

I do not know much (as I have been told by more than one more than once), but I thank and praise God that He knows me and has given me to know this:  Jesus Christ is Lord/YHVH!  And the time is coming, and now is, that we who say we believe are going to have to be with Him if we do not want to be against Him.  Love for Him and for all the brethren – Jewish and non-Jewish (or, to put it another way, Gentile and non-Gentile) – is a distinctive of the ‘true religion’.

Should we continue to hear “solidarity statements” from our leaders and intellectuals over offenses to other people and institutions of faith, but not to us and ours, let us remember the words of the apostle John:  “. . .every spirit that does not confess the Yeshua Messiah has come in the flesh is not of God.  And this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.  You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.  They are of the world; therefore, they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.  WE ARE OF GOD.  HE SHO KNOWS GOD HEARS US (the Apostles whom Jesus chose to write the New Testament Scriptures); HE WHO IS NOT OF GOD DOES NOT HEAR US.  By this we know the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error.” (1Jn 4:3-6)

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israelis that they may be saved.  For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.  For Messiah is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom 10:1-4)

“See that you do not refuse Him who speaks.  For is they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on Earth, much more if we turn away from Him who speaks from Heaven, whose voice then shook the Earth, but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the Earth, but also Heaven”. (Hag 2:6-23)  Now this, “Yet once more”, indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  For our God is a consuming fire!” (Heb 12:25-29)

May there be many who repent unto salvation, and unto righteousness for holiness this new year!

Your brother and fellow servant in God’s vineyard and His whole field,
Howard