Help Us Hate What Satan Loves and Love What Satan Hates

February 2016

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Dear friend,

Antisemitism is a scourge! Don’t you agree?

In fact, I believe antisemitism is Satan’s favorite tool to use in trying to destroy the Jewish people!
And I am sorry to say that antisemitism is on the rise both in North America and across the globe.

All you need to do is turn on your television and watch the news. Most of us watched in shock a year ago as we viewed reports of four Jewish people in Paris being gunned down by the Islamic terrorist, Amedy Coulibaly. The only “crime” of these victims is that they were born Jewish!

Antisemitism is not only emerging in Western Europe but also in our own country—especially on campuses.

A serious study exploring the issue of antisemitism on U.S. campuses discovered that 50% of the Jewish students questioned had experienced or witnessed some form of antisemitism on campus.

In a recent survey of Jewish people, we discovered that a high percentage of Jewish people in the United States are very concerned with antisemitism today.

My hope and prayer is that true Christians will also be concerned about the growth of antisemitism as well!
Antisemitism Is the Devil’s Tool to Keep Jewish People from Believing in Jesus 
I remember my installation as president of Chosen People Ministries almost 19 years ago when Dr. Paige Patterson (now president of Southwestern Baptist Seminary) encouraged us to “hate what Satan loves and love what Satan hates.”  His comments were based on Revelation 12:13, where we see the devil again trying to destroy the Jewish people.

I agree!

If God loves it, I want to love it…if the devil loves it, I want to “hate” it.

Clearly, Satan hates the Jewish people because he understands the role of the Jewish people in God’s plan. God promised Abram that great things would happen for humanity through the Jewish people!
…And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3).
An Unholy Chasm Between Jesus and the Jewish People
I was raised believing that “Christianity” inspired the Crusades, pogroms, the Holocaust and that Jesus Himself (whom I knew very little about) was anti-Jewish! Imagine my surprise when I found out that Jesus was Jewish!

The devil has created the myth that Christianity is the fountain of antisemitism. But we know from Scripture that though some forms of more institutional “Christianity” have been hostile to the Jewish people, the true Gospel is actually all about a Jewish Messiah who is the Savior of the world! In fact, true Christians love the Jewish people and oppose antisemitism!

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The Christian Response to Antisemitism
I am writing to you because I see the world again turning against the Jewish people. Radical Islam is fueling much of the global antisemitism, in the same way the Nazis did! Many Jewish people think that traditional “Christian” countries are in one way or another sympathetic to Islamic antisemitism today because they have not done anything to stop it and have not repented of their past. 

What I also find to be both tragic and intriguing at this time in history is that the very same people who are persecuting the Jewish people and opposing the right of the modern state of Israel to exist are the very same violent extremists limiting the rights of and even killing Christians in the Middle East,  Africa and in other spots across the globe.

I believe this co–persecution of both Jews and Christians is issuing a wake-up call to the Church to oppose antisemitism and to see through the thin veneer of anti-Israel rhetoric and propaganda. Sometimes passionate views about Israel spill over and become anti-Jewish.

As those who believe the Bible and follow the Jewish Messiah, Jesus we must respond! 

Christians must unite in support of the Jewish people by denouncing antisemitism in our countries and communities. Let us bless the Jewish people and not curse them by hearing and not responding (Genesis 12:3).
What Should We Do?
There is so much that we can do as believers to help the Jewish people at this difficult time. May I make two quick suggestions?

Pray For the Jewish People
First of all, and perhaps most importantly, we can pray. The psalmist (Psalm 122:6) asked us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and so in obedience we should pray that God would bring His peace to Jewish people. This goes far beyond political peace and strikes at the very heart of the matter—the Jewish people need the Prince of Peace, Jesus, in their lives.
I love what the Apostle Paul, himself Jewish, said in Romans 10:1, Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.

It is not enough to simply pray for political peace—we must pray for spiritual peace and that only comes when individuals receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

Oppose Antisemitism
I hope that you will oppose antisemitism in your local community. You could write letters to the editors of your local newspapers if you witness antisemitic acts or attitudes taking place in your hometown or perhaps on a local college campus. You can also approach your state and federal representatives if you spot an antisemitic incident on a national or international scale.

Most of all, I hope you will not stay silent when Jewish people are attacked. I hope that you will be very sensitive to the lines that can easily be crossed by those taking a political position critical of Israel and a position leading to antisemitism.
Shine Your Light
Growing up in a Jewish home, I “knew” Jesus was not for the Jews and that most Christians did not like Jews. My attitude was probably shaped by the Holocaust which had ended just a few years before I was born.

However, this dark background actually proved to be very important in my spiritual journey. The contrast I experienced when I began meeting Christians who loved the Jewish people amazed me. In fact, I would say that one of the major reasons Jewish people believe in Jesus today is because of the love shown to them by a Gentile Christian.

Countering antisemitism is one way of showing Messiah’s love for the Jewish people. Believe me, it makes a big difference!
Support Jewish Evangelism
As I mentioned before, one of the devil’s greatest victories is convincing Jewish people that Jesus and His followers are anti-Jewish.

This breaks my heart. 

One of the reasons Jewish people feel defensive when true Christians talk about Jesus is because they believe, as I did when I was not yet a believer, that accepting Jesus meant I was giving up my Jewish heritage. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth! So many Jewish people who become followers find that being Jewish now means more to them than ever before.
The devil has sold us a lie—that one cannot be Jewish and believe in Jesus.

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Would you help us love what the devil hates and hate what the devil loves and bring the glorious Gospel of Jesus the Messiah to Jewish people around the world? In order to do this, we need your partnership—in prayer, financially, and by allowing us to help you shine the light of the Gospel to your Jewish friends.

We do need your financial support as February is traditionally a “low donation month” for a variety of reasons—and shorter as well!

Thanks for your partnership in the Gospel!

Mitch
P.S. Remember to pray for our online campaigns now going on in the state of Florida—to more than 800,000 Jewish people!  We are able to reach out in this way because of your support and prayers!

Earlier, on March 19, 2012, four Jewish people, including three children, were killed at the
Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in Southern France.
http://www.trincoll.edu/NewsEvents/NewsArticles/Documents/Anti-Semitism Report Final.pdf

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How Should We Pray for Israel?

Dr. Mitch Glaser, September 5, 2014 for Ministry Today

The Psalmist encourages us to pray for Israel, but believers may not fully appreciate the reasons why God instructs us to pray specifically for Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).  Yet, our motivation to pray for the peace of Jerusalem is embedded in the very words of the Psalmist themselves.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.”

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is a prayer for physical and spiritual peace – which only comes through the Prince of Peace. Praying for peace reminds us that human beings are incapable of creating peace for themselves and that only God can bring peace to a broken world this side of heaven (Phil 4:6-7) and in the world to come (Isa 2:2-4; 11:6-9).

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is, in reality, praying for Jesus to return, as peace will only come to the world when He takes His rightful throne in Jerusalem and reigns forever (Matt 23:37ff; Rev. 11:15). Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is a way of asking God to implant His peace in the hearts of both Jews and Gentiles by personally accepting the Prince of Peace as Lord of their lives.

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem also brings blessings to those who pray, especially as God views our prayers as blessing the Jewish people (Gen 12:3). God still has plans for the chosen people. As Paul reminds us, “they are loved on account of the patriarchs” (Rom. 11:28-29).

How should we pray for the peace of Jerusalem?

The following might give you some ideas about how to pray for the peace of Jerusalem more effectively.

  1. Pray for Jewish Israeli and Palestinian leaders to both negotiate a temporary, politically-based peace and to also find peace in their hearts through accepting Jesus.  These are the people we should pray for at this time: Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah) and Khaled Meshaal (Hamas); as well our leaders in the US, President Barak Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

We can pray that God guides these leaders to make decisions that bring peace instead of war and suffering for their citizens.

  1. Pray for the work of God’s people in bringing the message of the Gospel to the almost two hundred thousand Holocaust survivors Holocaust survivors living in Israel. By God’s grace, Chosen People Ministries, the ministry I lead, has been able to enjoy a growing ministry among these precious people.

During the recent conflict with Hamas our staff was able to provide care for many of these survivors, both materially and spiritually. One of them describes the peace of heart he has now experienced through receiving Jesus as Messiah and Lord, 

Something happened in my life when I went to Poland on a Chosen People Ministries Israel trip for Holocaust survivors. I received a Bible, which I read day and night while we were in Poland. Since then, I have dedicated myself to reading Scripture and studying. I was baptized and know fully that Jesus the Jewish Messiah has died and conquered death for me!”

Your prayers can make a difference serving this treasured community, which may die out within a decade!

  1. We should also pray for the quiet reconciliation efforts of Jewish and Arab believers in Israel seeking to encourage one another by developing deeper relationships between the Jewish and Palestinian Church. There are over 140 congregations in Israel, ranging from small house fellowships to established places of worship. Pray that the work of the Prince of Peace will grow among Jewish Israelis and Palestinians and that they are enabled to provide a powerful witness of Messiah’s reconciliation among their neighbors.
  1. Pray as well for God to help the Church in the United States to be better informed about what is happening in Israel and to find ways to glean information for continued prayer outside of the slanted approach of the media.
  1. Praying for the peace of Jerusalem reminds us of our blessed hope! Even though peace is elusive today, it is still our prophetic destiny. As Isaiah the prophet writes, “He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war” (Is 2:4).

The Shalom we are seeking is now available for all people, as this peace transcends the terror of ISIL, the war with Hamas and whatever conflict or suffering this world thrusts upon us.  Jesus said,

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

His peace is all we need today to keep our hearts from being consumed with fear.  His peace is our destiny, as one day the Prince of Peace will arrive from heaven and establish His throne in Jerusalem (Isa 2, 9:6-7 etc.).

Praying for Israel and the Jewish people reminds us of the Shalom the Lord has planned for all humanity.  There is a beautiful Jewish prayer that sheds new light on Psalm 122:6.

May He who makes peace in the heavens make peace descend upon us and all Israel and let us say, Amen!

 

 

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Reaching Jewish People for Messiah

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Shalom and Happy New Year!

We are one year closer to the return of Jesus! And in light of current events I bet you just want to get up and shout along with me…“even so, come Lord Jesus!

We begin 2016 with our eyes turned to the Lord, hearts filled with faith and a myriad of concerns for our country, the nation of Israel and for the legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren.

We will face challenges this year, which include the unraveling of our most cherished values, ISIS, and the clear and present global danger presented by Islamic extremists who seek the destruction of all we hold dear. These are times of great desperation for the Jewish people, as antisemitism is growing globally and the rise of personal terrorism attacks in Israel is becoming a “new normal” for Israelis.

We begin the New Year in something of a kosher pickle! But, the Good News never changes and Jesus is still the SOLUTION to life’s deepest and most difficult problems and we need to constantly learn how to trust Him!

So, more than ever—the work of bringing the Gospel to the Jewish people needs to continue—in full force.

A Vision for 2016
One of our staff members asked me to write a letter sharing my vision for Chosen People Ministries for the coming year, and I am more than happy to do this. I hope it will help you pray and know how to invest your giving to Your Mission to the Jewish People this year.

Let me give you a quick overview of our plans for 2016, and you will see how important people are to all that we believe God wants us to do!

Continuing What We Are Doing
My greatest hope for the New Year is that by God’s grace we can continue the good work we have been doing in 2015! We have dedicated and well trained missionaries who are serving the Lord in more than a dozen cities in the U.S. and in 15 other countries around the globe! My hope and prayers for our team is that the Lord will bless their everyday efforts in evangelism and discipleship and that their families will remain safe (especially those in Israel and France) and wholesome.

My hope is that the families of Chosen People Ministries’ staff will be blessed and protected and that the children of our staff members would grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus.

With this in mind, let me share with you some of my additional hopes and goals for 2016!

Israel
We will continue to reach Israelis wherever they travel after their service in the army: India, New Zealand, South America and even New York City! These young people are very open to the Lord. We now have a permanent work in New Zealand and actually own a backpacker facility that is constantly filled with 40-plus Israelis with whom we are able to talk to about the Lord.

We have built a great team in Tel Aviv now as well so we can follow up on those we meet around the globe when they get home to return to “normal life” and go to college, get jobs and start their post-military lives.

We will expand our ministries among Holocaust survivors living in the Holy Land as well through visiting them, taking them on trips and providing food staples through our distribution centers around Israel. We cannot speak about Jesus when we are providing food, etc., however, we do build relationships with people in this way, and it is wonderful to see how they initiate the discussion about faith.

By God’s grace we recently baptized five of these elderly Israelis.

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We will begin a new ministry in two larger urban suburbs in the greater Tel Aviv area that are currently without a witness for the Lord. So far, we have placed three full-time young couples in these areas to reach younger Israeli families, whom I believe will be the building block for the future church in Israel.

The names of the “urban suburbs” are Ramat Gan and Givatayim. We are trying to rent a storefront on the main commercial street as a center for our activities but so far, we have not found an Israeli landlord that will rent to us! But, we know that God will provide.

The Charles Feinberg Program
We have had a blessed few years training new missionaries to the Jewish people through our fully accredited seminary program that is a partnership between Chosen People Ministries and Talbot School of Theology (part of Biola University). We rejoice with our 14 graduates and continue to recruit those who are led by God to serve in Jewish missions.

As you might know, we purchased and renovated a former Jewish funeral home in Orthodox Brooklyn and have been using the center to house the seminary, as well as our new congregations planted in the heart of this community of almost a million Jewish people.

By God’s grace, we have no debt on the building and therefore the funds donated to the Feinberg Center go towards running the Center and to the ministries housed in the Center!

We hope to recruit a dozen new students (twice the usual number) for the Feinberg seminary program this year and to expand this wonderful ministry by developing online courses as well.

Online Ministries – The Daniel Project
We have created an online evangelism team at our New York City headquarters that we call the Daniel Group! We chose this name based upon the prophecy of Daniel 12:4,
But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.

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We believe we are in the end times and…let’s face it…the web has transformed the way we learn and has made knowledge available to everyday people as never before. This includes the Gospel! We are able to tell people about Jesus—in ways our forefathers never dreamed of. The web has transformed Jewish evangelism work in the same way that air travel transformed missionary work in general.

We are living in wonderful days of opportunity.

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Chosen People Ministries now has two major evangelistic websites and I hope you will visit each of them. We have Isaiah 53 and I Found Shalom.

The Isaiah 53 site focuses on offering the evangelistic book Isaiah 53 Explained that is now in eleven languages! I Found Shalom has approximately 40 video testimonies (and growing) of Jewish believers in Jesus of every age and walk of life.

We also have translated the Isaiah 53 site into Hebrew, Russian, Spanish and now French.  These languages cover more than 90% of the Jewish population in today’s world.

We will soon create sites to match some of the other book translations—including our latest…Farsi. This will become the key strategy to reach the hundreds of thousands of Iranian Jews scattered throughout Israel, the United States, England, etc. with the Gospel.

We have learned how to use Facebook advertising to find the sites Jewish people search and have had more than 1,000 Jewish people order the Isaiah 53 book and the booklet we offer on the I Found Shalom site!  I have not seen anything like this in my 40-plus years of Jewish ministry.

We will expand these online evangelistic efforts beginning with a special outreach in southern Florida, the home of the third largest Jewish population in the United States, during the months of January and February!

We also plan to expand these online ministries to Russia, the United Kingdom and Australia this year. Our follow-up teams are busy calling the interested and visiting those who want a more intensive witness. However, what we have found is that most of the Jewish people responding to our websites are hearing the Gospel for the first time! So, we are prayerfully and patiently reaching out to these folks and we are further developing ongoing evangelistic e-blasts that we are sending to these seekers each month.

Can you tell I am excited? Because the web allows for some anonymity and enables a Jewish person to move at their own speed in seeking the Lord, it is almost as if the web was built for Jewish evangelism!

All About People
The most important tool God uses to reach Jewish people is people! The Good News is most powerful when preached person-to-person and heart-to-heart. Jewish seekers—like Gentile seekers—respond to the love, warmth and transformed lives of individuals, as people all need people.

Please continue to pray for all of these efforts, that the Lord will bless the work and that Jewish people everywhere will hear the Gospel and come to know their Messiah!

May I ask you to give generously this month so that we can recruit, train and deploy the dedicated, Messiah-focused people we need to do His work among the Jewish people?

Thank you for joining me by investing your prayers, support, love and encouragement in the staff of Chosen People Ministries!

Your brother in the Messiah,

Mitch

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God’s Faithfulness in 2015

Dear friend,
Shalom and Happy New Year! I hope 2016 will bring you even greater joy and blessings than 2015! This is my prayer for you, your family, your business, your friendships, your congregation and for your ministry. As believers in Jesus we long for His return and realize that the going will get tougher rather than easier in the days ahead. Yet, we can have His joy and experience the abundant life He promised, even in the midst of a broken and fallen world. As Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).

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This expectation is not unrealistic but comes through the Holy Spirit who indwells, empowers and makes Jesus real to us every moment of our lives! We preach a message that not only provides forgiveness of sin, but also leads to a beautifully transformed life. He promised that we would enjoy a supernatural peace in our souls that would not come and go with our circumstances, but remain constant because of His abiding presence in our hearts!

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful (Jn. 14:27).

We can face tomorrow with confidence because of His presence, power and promises to walk with us through this life and to be our guiding light when surrounded by darkness. Hallelujah…He lives and reigns…and one day will return as the rightful King over a world that is no longer tainted by our sin and the sin of our forefathers!

I hope you have a smile on your face!

We are not “pie in the sky” people or unrealistic—we simply know Jesus—and to know Him is life everlasting!

A Cup of Coffee…or Tea?
I really wish I could sit down with you and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and tell you about the exciting things that happened during 2015 through the efforts of Your Mission to the Jewish People! May I list a few and help broaden that smile?

1601PZLW_Mitch_12-2Our online outreach campaigns brought us into contact with more than 2,000 Jewish people who are interested in Jesus.

Almost 10 million people (yes…that is million) viewed the evangelistic testimony videos we produced in cooperation with our partners in the Land of Israel.

The Isaiah 53 Explained book is now available in French, Farsi, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Hebrew, and English, along with a number of other languages! We are reaching out to Jewish people living in the countries where these languages are spoken! In addition, 500-plus Hebrew-speaking Israelis have responded and requested the book and we are following up on as many of these seekers as possible.

Our missionaries in Israel baptized a couple dozen Jewish people including a number of newly saved Holocaust survivors.

We have increased our staff in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas and in other places with large Jewish populations…praise the Lord!

We have seen more than a hundred Jewish people accept Jesus as their Savior—which in Jewish missions (remember we are a remnant—Romans 11:5) is quite a banner year!

We ministered to a few hundred children through the Chosen People Ministries’ camping programs, provided food packages for thousands of elderly and needy Israelis, and opened a new center in New Zealand to reach “wandering Israelis” (who are traveling after their time in the army).

We have touched the lives of multiple thousands of Jewish people as Chosen People Ministries continues to minister in 16 countries and dozens of cities around the world! 

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A Tough Year for the Jewish People
I rejoice in all of the good things God has done through our staff and our partnership through your love, prayers, financial support and engagement with our ministry!However, it was a rough year for the Jewish people.

The world, including our own country, continues to grow more and more anti-Israel. The Middle East and the West are becoming more antisemitic and violent. Anti-Jewish attacks are on the increase this year…perhaps more than any time since the Holocaust.

The new strategy of “personal terrorism” by radicalized Palestinians in Israel has taken the lives of many innocent Israelis and seriously injured hundreds.

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The Church in North America and the West seems to be growing cold to Israel and the Jewish people, both theologically and in their hearts.

I hope we will see the beginning of a new movement in 2016 among Christians who love the Jewish Messiah and care about the people of Israel!

We need to stand up and protest the violence. We should demand that our elected officials pressure those encouraging personal terrorism by their silence to put an end to the attacks. You can sign our latest petition by going to chosenpeople.com/petition.

Reaching Jewish People for Jesus in 2016
Most of all, we need to intensify our efforts to reach Jewish people for Jesus in 2016! I believe, along with so many Christians, that the Lord is coming soon. Followers of Jesus need to keep singing this tune…louder and more powerfully as the signs of the times point to a crescendo that might come sooner rather than later. As Jesus so poignantly asked the Jewish leaders, “Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?” (Mt. 16:2-3).

We need to discern the signs of the times in which we live. They point to the return of the Lord Jesus, especially if we look at Israel and the prophecies fulfilled before our very eyes!

Will you commit to pray for the Jewish people in 2016? Pray for their safety during these perilous times, but most of all, pray that they would come to know their Jewish Messiah, Jesus!

Now is the time to preach the Good News to God’s chosen people and, as you know, we need your support to reach Jewish people for the Lord! We are an independent faith mission and do not receive any denominational support. We are supported by Jesus-loving believers, local churches, Christian businesses and foundations—all who share our burden for the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Would you begin the New Year with a generous gift to Your Mission to the Jewish People? Your support sustains our online evangelistic efforts, the work in Israel and Brooklyn and enables us to provide for those behind-the-scenes administrative workers, without whom we could not keep our missionaries on the field.

I still recall the letter I received almost 19 years ago when I was given the privilege of leading our 122-year-old mission to the Jewish people.

I believe this gentleman was older as his handwriting was a bit shaky. He wrote, “Mitch, I love Chosen People Ministries and believe in your ministry, but how am I supposed to know what to give if you do not tell me what you need?”

I found his comment helpful and so I do not mean to tell you what you should give, as I view this as a sacred transaction between you and the Lord. I want you to hear from God about giving or not giving and the amount you give as well. All I can tell you is that it costs about $400,000 each month to provide the support staff, missionary project funding and help for those missionaries unable to raise their support—including many overseas serving in some of the toughest spots to minister! It would cost more than this but our faithful missionaries continue to raise their support.1601PZLW_SB15-EVANG-Subway_9534

I am so grateful for our missionaries and for those who support them—especially monthly! So, please pray about giving and you might even want to begin the year by also pledging to give a certain amount each month or quarter—and we have provided a way for you to do this through our Watchman for Jerusalem program. Please see the details on our website, and be sure to watch the video found at chosenpeople.com/watchmen which tells you more about the program and especially discusses the security of online giving.

On behalf of the Chosen People Ministries global family—Happy New Year and thank you for your partnership in the Gospel!

May the Lord fill you with His joy in 2016! And may the Lord come soon and find us faithful when He does.

Your brother,

Mitch

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The Gospel According to Hanukkah

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Shalom dear friend,

I remember the first time I read the New Testament like it was yesterday. I was attracted to the book—especially to the words of Jesus, but had sweaty palms as I turned each page.

You see, I was raised in a traditional Jewish home in New York City and though my family was not religious I was raised modern Orthodox. Everything I knew about Judaism was Orthodox and nobody needed to tell me that I should not read the New Testament. I cannot even begin to describe the guilt I felt in reading and enjoying the New Testament.

May I step back for a moment? I probably never would have even read from the New Testament—I was 19 years old at the time I encountered my first New Testament. And again, I would not have read it unless I had received it in a miraculous way. I was becoming interested in the message of Jesus, because the lives of my two best Jewish friends were transformed right before my eyes once they believed in Jesus.

They witnessed to me, but I resisted and tried to talk them out of it. I was trying to get them out of what I felt was probably some kind of weird cult. Instead they kept encouraging me to read “my Bible”—what is commonly called the Old Testament. As you probably know, Jewish people do not call the Bible the Old Testament—even though we do not read the New—because, in the Jewish mind, there is no New Testament! That’s the book that Christians read—not the book that Jews follow.

I loved what I was reading in the Old Testament and found myself wanting a relationship with God that was personal, intimate and even supernatural, just like Abraham, Moses and King David experienced. I had never noticed that what made these forefathers of mine so great was their relationship with God.

Weeks and months passed and I became more and more interested in knowing more about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I just did not want to believe in Jesus, because I would have to tell my family and I knew that I would be rejected.

One day I just could not take it anymore, and I prayed my first spontaneous prayer (Jewish people usually pray in Hebrew and follow written prayers). I asked God, “If you are real, please show me and show me how to get you.”

That night, believe it or not, I found a copy of Good News for Modern Man—a modern English version of the New Testament—in a phone booth in the middle of a campground in the redwood forest where I was working at the time! I began reading the New Testament and fell in love with Jesus. He was the smartest person I had ever met—He knew how to answer people and was nobody’s fool. What really struck me was how Jewish He was!

I soon found myself wrestling with Jesus the Jew rather than Jesus the Gentile and I began to be attracted to the very person that the Jewish people mistakenly thought had inspired antisemitism and hatred of the Jewish people. I just could not figure out how a Jewish person would have inspired antisemitism. Of course He didn’t, but like most Jewish people I really didn’t know a lot about Jesus.

The more I read in the New Testament the more I understood that He was Jewish, celebrated the Jewish holidays and held the answers I was seeking. I finally came to the point where His words brought peace to my heart.

Finally, I accepted Jesus as Messiah and Lord in November 1970. The first holiday I celebrated was Thanksgiving, and that was really wonderful.

Soon after, I came upon a dilemma because both Hanukkah and Christmas were approaching. Some of my new Christian friends thought that I would really enjoy celebrating Christmas and of course I was raised in Jewish New York and we celebrated Hanukkah, almost as a protest holiday to the majority who celebrated Christmas. I loved Jesus, but I was not yet comfortable with the holidays usually associated with Him, as I was not raised that way.

Someone pointed out to me that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah. I think at that point I was still trying to figure out when and how Jesus celebrated Christmas. I was a little slow and it took me awhile to get the point! But I was very intrigued by His celebrating Hanukkah.

In fact, the only time Hanukkah is mentioned in the Bible is in the New Testament. It is not mentioned in any of the Hebrew Scriptures. After reading John 10 and studying the passage, I finally understood that the Gospel and Hanukkah were intertwined…it was really the Gospel according to Hanukkah!

One of the greatest statements Jesus ever made about Himself was during the feast of Hanukkah. As you will read in this newsletter, Hanukkah is a post-Old Testament holiday that developed during the centuries immediately prior to Jesus’ birth.

I believe that Hanukkah is all about the Gospel. Please take a moment and read this text!

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At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand (Jn. 10:22-29).

The above statement is simply incredible! To think that the Messiah said this during the great festival of Hanukkah is astounding to me, having grown up in a Jewish home. But Yeshua did not stop there as He continued to infuse new meaning to the traditional festival of lights and redemption by showing the linkage between Himself and the Father.

The Apostle John records Jesus saying,

I and the Father are one (Jn. 10:30).

Believe me, the Jewish people of the day knew exactly what He was saying and His statement was not well received!

Look at what happens next,

The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him (Jn. 10:31).

The idea that a man would claim to be God is understandably offensive to the Jewish people who are taught that God cannot take on human form. I was taught this as well growing up in a Jewish home. And ordinarily this would be true. But, this perfect man would be the Messiah who died for our sins.

Dear friend, this is the Gospel according to Hanukkah. God sent His only Son as His greatest gift to you and me—better than any Christmas or Hanukkah present by far! And through this divine Messiah we have true spiritual freedom that will endure forever.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah—May the Lord fill your home with His light and joy.

Your brother in the Messiah,

Mitch

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Lessons in Thanksgiving from the Hebrew Bible

Lessons in Thanksgiving from the Hebrew Bible

Shalom and Happy Thanksgiving!

1511NLW_Hand-Pear_TS487018409During this season of Thanksgiving I want you to know that I am very grateful for you! May the Lord continue to bless you for blessing the Jewish people. Thank you so much for your faithful prayers and financial support—we could not do the work of bringing the Gospel to Jewish people across the globe without your partnership.

The Sabbatical (Shemitah) Year

As you know, the Jewish calendar is quite different from the non-Jewish calendar. The Jewish year is a lunar year with 30-day months, and the Julian calendar is solar with both 30- and 31-day months. This makes it a little confusing when you are trying to align the Jewish calendar with the Gregorian calendar. We are now just a few months into the new Jewish year of 5776, based upon the traditional rabbinic date for creation.

The Jewish calendar has received a lot of attention over the past 12 months because of the many books and articles telling us that the year 5775 was a Sabbatical year, also known by the Hebrew term shemitah, or in English, “release.”

The primary rule of thumb for observing the Sabbatical year, which occurs every seventh year, was that the Israelites were supposed to leave the land fallow so that it could rest. They were to refrain from planting crops in that particular year and to trust God to provide for them.

You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove (Ex. 23:10-11).

A second, and very important part of the Sabbatical year was the forgiveness of loans. The Scripture continues,

At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts. This is the manner of remission:  every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the Lord’s remission has been proclaimed (Deut. 15:1-2).

Again, during the Sabbatical year, the Israelites were to show special mercy and grace towards the poor. This was to be done in a few different ways. First of all, the “successful” Israelite was commanded to help fellow Israelites who were impoverished by loaning them what was needed for their survival.

If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks (Deut. 15:7-8).

Secondly, they were to release those who indentured themselves because they had probably fallen on hard times for some reason—perhaps health, bad crops or whatever caused them to “lose the farm.” The only way for them to survive was to become enslaved to one of their fellow countrymen.

If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free.  When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed (Deut. 15:12-13; see also 15:14-18).

Therefore, the “release” of the Sabbatical year meant that the Israelites could not plant crops in their fields, collect payments on loans, and keep all of what they produced and stored for themselves rather than giving generously to the poor. At the heart of the “release” was the opportunity to trust God for all of their needs.

Unfortunately the Sabbatical year was rarely followed and became the basis for God’s judgment during the 70 years of captivity in Babylon (Jer. 25:11).

Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete (2 Chron. 36:20-21).

The Year of Jubilee

The Sabbatical year was, of course, to be observed every seventh year, but then in the 50th year—seven sabbatical years—a year of Jubilee was to be celebrated by the Israelites. You might view this as a super Sabbatical year! The word jubilee is a transliteration of the Hebrew word yovale literally meaning “with a rushing noise” (Ex. 19:13, Josh. 6:5).

Whereas the Sabbatical year helped alleviate the immediate needs of the poor, the Jubilee year was designed to give the poor in Israel a chance to start all over again. Leviticus 25:8-12 provides us with a full description of the laws for the Jubilee year.

You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family (Lev. 25:10).

God Himself was also the original distributor of the Land to the twelve tribes of Israel, and again, He simply allowed His land to be used by the Israelites (Num. 32, Josh. 19)—as the giving of the Land of Israel to the Jewish people was always portrayed in Scripture as a gift from God (Gen. 12, 15, 17, etc.).

Moses also promises Israel that if the Jubilee year is faithfully observed, the Lord will miraculously cause the crops to grow during the years that the ground was fallow (Lev. 25:18-22). The God who demands that the land remain unplanted is the same God who promised to provide in abundance.

It is also interesting to note that the Jubilee year began on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 25:9) as the spiritual cleansing of the land began with the spiritual renewal of the chosen people.

As one Old Testament commentary describes,

This year of grace was proclaimed to begin with the Day of Atonement of every seventh sabbatical year to show that it was only with the full forgiveness of sins that the blessed liberty of the children of God could possibly commence. 

Lessons in Thanksgiving

There are so many lessons to learn from the Sabbatical/Shemitah and Jubilee years. The most important lesson for us is to recognize that all that we have in this world comes from God. He owns everything! This means that every single one of our possessions, even the ones we worked so hard to earn, are ultimately gifts from a good God who loves His children.

The Israelites are also asked to recognize the special place given to the Levites who have a permanent right of redemption to their houses and whose crops could not be sold. They did not own land of their own, but were to be cared for materially as they cared for the Israelites spiritually (Lev. 25:32-34).

Clearly, one of the great lessons of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years is that God has called us to be stewards of all that He provides. His gifts are designed to be enjoyed, nurtured and, most importantly, shared.

We are to help provide for the poor, respect the poor, and warned not to take advantage of the poor (Lev. 25:35-43). This is one of the reasons why Your Mission to the Jewish People is doing so much to alleviate the pain of poverty in the lives of many, mostly elderly, Jewish people.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year as it reminds me of how generous the Lord has been to me, to my Jewish people and to Chosen People Ministries.

Again, thank you for your prayers, love and support. I believe you are going to be blessed by reading the following expanded ministry reports of all God is doing in the lives of Jewish people around the globe.

Happy Thanksgiving and may the Lord fill your heart and home with His joy!

Your brother,

Mitch

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Stories of God’s Grace to the Jewish People

Dear friend,

Shalom from New York City!

I am grateful for what the Lord has done through Your Mission to the Jewish People this year. May I share several first-hand stories of “divine appointments” our missionaries had with Jewish people in which they had significant conversations about the Messiah? Some have even accepted Jesus quite recently through these efforts!

I know you will be encouraged and blessed to read these stories and most of all I hope you will pray for the Jewish people mentioned!

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The first story comes from Joseph who serves in Brooklyn and is a part of the team planting a new congregation at our Feinberg Center. Joseph writes,

A couple months ago I met a young Yemenite Jewish man at my book table. Shmulik* was excited to receive a New Testament in Hebrew. It was as if I gave him a bar of gold the way he kept looking at it and skimming the pages! I showed Shmulik where to start reading in Matthew and as he read the opening words in Hebrew he grew very excited, “This is the genealogy of Yeshua the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Shmulik was beaming from ear to ear yet pacing around a bit, telling me how he was taught to avoid the New Testament. He was scared and excited at the same time. I encouraged Shmulik to think for himself, that he will stand alone before HaShem (the Lord) one day and have to give an account. He agreed.

Kirill serves in Chicago with his wife Elena. They came to the U.S. from Germany, but are originally from Russia. God blessed their ministry in Germany but today they have started two congregations for Russian Jews in the Chicago area. Kirill reports,

We recently had a great baptismal service! The testimonies of the believers deeply touched the hearts of those at the service. The testimony of a Jewish sister was very important to me personally. This young woman visited our congregation for the first time three years ago. After that service, we prayed the sinner’s prayer together. Her new life after accepting Jesus was not easy.  After years of personal discipleship and ministry she was finally ready to be baptized. What she said before I baptized her touched my heart and life and is a great encouragement to my ministry. She publicly testified, “Coming to faith in Jesus the Messiah and understanding everything He did for me, I want to spend the rest of my life being in His service. What a blessing!”

Anna in Toronto tells this wonderful story…

Ronald,* his wife Sarah* and two kids, Samuel* (12) and Aren* (4),  recently immigrated to Canada from Israel. Vladimir and I befriended them, and invited them to our home. We spoke about the Lord, and they were very interested, but could not make a decision right away. Little by little, Ronald and Sarah opened up to the Messiah. Recently we gathered together for tea. The conversation about the Lord was long, and at last they made decisions to pray. At that moment the doorbell rang and their neighbor, Violetta,* dropped by. She began to ask questions too, and we explained to her the way of salvation. Then we offered Ronald, Sarah and Violetta the opportunity to pray; they agreed. Suddenly, Samuel got up from the sofa, came to the table and announced that he was going to pray with us also. We held hands and bowed our heads. So that day, these four souls became children of God. Praise the Lord!

Person to Person – Heart to Heart

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I hope these wonderful stories of God’s grace give you some idea of what He is doing among the Jewish people through our staff! I am thankful this Thanksgiving to work with such gifted and dedicated servants of the Lord who serve Him in the power of the Holy Spirit. We do all we can to help our missionaries by praying for them and providing the administrative support and guidance they need to fulfill their ministries. But, I realize that the core of our almost 122-year-old ministry among the Jewish people is what is done by the Lord through His people—person to person and heart to heart, one seeker at a time!

Robert and his wife, Joanna, serve the Lord in Brooklyn and are also part of the team planting a new congregation in the “other” Holy Land! Robert shares,

I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with a young Jewish man, David,* every week and to study the Bible together. After going through the story of the Exodus, I sensed it was a good time to make the clear connection to what God has accomplished for us through Jesus. We discussed how Jesus is our unblemished Passover Lamb, whose blood has been shed to set us free from slavery, to redeem us, and to bring us to God. The time was right so I asked David, “Do you believe this is true of Jesus?” David answered yes. So I followed up and asked, “Have you ever prayed to accept Jesus as your Savior and gone through the door from a slave to a free man?” He answered, “No…but I think that would be a good idea.” We then prayed, and he accepted the Messiah! 

Maxim, who serves in Israel, also shared with us a quick update and report about his incredible ministry among Holocaust survivors,

​One of our Holocaust survivors came to faith and got baptized recently. We were praying for his wife who used to say she was not ready for such a step. Nevertheless, she always asked for prayer that she might have the faith that her husband does. Praise the Lord! She said she is ready and received the Lord recently. She attends congregation with her husband and we are eagerly looking forward to her baptism.

Online and In Person
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As you know, we have initiated extensive online ministries during the last few years including our Isaiah 53 Campaign, as well as our newest endeavor—I Found Shalom. These websites utilize video testimonies of Jewish people who have placed their faith in Yeshua (Jesus) and are amazing tools to share the Gospel with Jewish people. We have received the contact information of Jewish seekers throughout the United States, Israel and many other countries with whom we are personally following up! May I share one quick testimony? A Jewish man who is married to a born-again woman watched some of the testimony videos we produced and accepted the Lord! The dialogue unfolds as follows,

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The Jewish man’s wife writes,
After watching some of your videos earlier in the week, he decided to pray and ask God to show him if Jesus is really the Messiah. I prayed too and ask the Lord to show him in any way possible His truth.

We found out that he lives near one of our staff and I asked our missionary to follow up. She writes a few days later,

Just heard from L. She conveyed how D. is growing and transforming in the Lord. They’ve already attended a Messianic congregation. D also now attends church and loves the pastor!

There are many other stories to tell you as our Isaiah 53 and I Found Shalom campaigns have introduced us to hundreds of Jewish people seeking the Lord and the follow up has almost been overwhelming…in a very good way!
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Thank You for Caring!
Will you commit to praying for our missionaries, as well as all the Jewish people (and Gentiles!) they are ministering to? Your prayers are a vital part of our ministry!

We deeply appreciate your prayers and faithful financial support of our missionaries. 

We established the “Daniel Fuchs Memorial Fund” for our under-supported missionaries who are still working on raising their full support (Dr. Fuchs was one of our former presidents who served Chosen People Ministries for many decades). Though we need your support in general, you might want to give a special gift this month to help one of our missionaries who have not yet raised their full support.

Your gifts keep Your Mission to the Jewish People moving forward for the Lord.

It takes a village to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world and to be able to follow up on individuals who want to know more about our Savior. So, your financial investment makes all the difference in the lives of our staff and, of course, in eternity for the Jewish people we reach for Jesus the Messiah.

​Happy Thanksgiving! I pray this season of the year will give you great joy for all He has done for us through His Son.

​Your brother,Mitch

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