Jesus is the Reason for the Season

Shalom in the great name of Jesus our Messiah.

Can I tell you a very personal Jewish Christmas story?

I was raised in a traditional Jewish home in New York City. I was born in what I like to call the true Holy Land—Brooklyn, New York! Both of my parents were Jewish and fairly typical of their post-Holocaust generation. Although my mom was more religious than my dad, they were both very committed to their Jewishness and, as a family, we celebrated all of the Jewish holidays.

Hanukkah was, without a doubt, my favorite holiday. This eight-day festival of lights celebrates the great victory of the Jewish people over the Greco-Syrian “madman” Antiochus Epiphanes. We celebrated the holiday by lighting candles for eight days and by giving gifts to one another on each night. And there were the holiday foods—potato pancakes dipped in applesauce or sour cream and delicious jelly donuts, called sufganiyot—mmm!

Sound great? Family, friends, gifts, and very unhealthy food. There is nothing like it!

In New York City, Hanukkah menorahs or beautifully decorated Christmas trees grace the windows of homes and apartment buildings. It always gets dark early in New York around this time of year, so it is easy to see which holiday the families are celebrating.

I was raised as a Hanukkah loyalist, which I equated with allegiance to my Jewish people. When I began considering the gospel, I thought I would have to choose between Christmas and Hanukkah. At that time, I thought if I accepted Jesus and agreed to celebrate Christmas then I would be a traitor to my heritage and might be committing a version of ethnic suicide by believing in Jesus and observing His birthday.

Yet, God was working in my heart, and I was drawn to Him through the transformed lives of my two closest friends who had become believers in Jesus. It was still very hard to make the leap because I thought this decision would mean I was no longer Jewish. How would I ever explain this to my family?

I began reading the New Testament seriously and soon discovered that even Jesus celebrated Hanukkah, or the Feast of Dedication, as recorded in John chapter 10. At the heart of the holiday is the celebration of God’s deliverance of the Jewish people from those who oppress and persecute us. I also found out that the Old Testament, my Jewish Bible, predicted that the Messiah would actually be God in the flesh. Therefore, the whole idea of the incarnation was not foreign to Judaism but was there all the time in my Jewish Bible.

So, I embraced Jesus as my Messiah and discovered that it was possible to be Jewish and believe in Jesus.

You might ask, “What holiday do you celebrate now?” Both, of course! Why give away eight presents for one when you could have nine? Seriously, what greater present could even come close to the gift of eternal life resulting from a personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through Jesus the Messiah? Over the years, I discovered that it is easy to be Jewish and believe in Jesus. It is like the proverbial “hand and glove,” as Jesus is the fulfillment of all my people’s hopes and dreams. He is the Deliverer and Redeemer we are waiting for.

He is Messiah, Savior, and Lord. The son of Abraham and David, and the Son of God. As the great prophet Isaiah predicted, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

The prophet continued,

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:6–7).

JEWISH EVANGELISM IN THE 21ST CENTURY

And now I have the joy of serving as the seventh president of our 125-year-old mission to the Jewish people, and we are about to begin our 126th year of faithful service among the Jewish people. Thousands of Jewish people have come to faith through the energetic, visionary, and faithful staff of Chosen People Ministries.

And we could not have done this without your faithful prayers and support.

THE ROMANS 1:16 TO THE JEW FIRST CAMPAIGN

During the next 12 months, we want to continue focusing on three special areas of ministry. Let me briefly tell you what they are now, and I will explain further in the months ahead.

ISRAEL

We are pouring financial and human resources into ministry among Israelis. Our twenty-five full-time workers in Israel are reaching Israelis day in and day out. We are also reaching Israelis as they travel after their army duty. We have been touching lives everywhere from the Upper West Side of Manhattan to countries such as New Zealand and India. Soon we will be starting a new ministry among Israelis traveling through Brazil. These young people are incredibly open, especially when they are away from home. Also, we are able, with a good-sized staff in Israel, to follow up with those who show interest in the gospel when they return home from overseas.

DIGITAL EVANGELISM

We are also investing heavily in the modern “Mars Hill” of digital evangelism through websites, video creation, and social media. God is leading us to thousands of Jewish people each year who we meet through the web and who are interested in the gospel. It is not cheap, but it is absolutely worth it. We have spoken now to tens of thousands of people through these ministries!

THE NEXT GENERATION

We are looking toward the future and providing training for the next generation of missionaries to the Jewish people. With a track record of 125 years of faithful service for the Lord, we fully understand the importance of passing the torch to the next generation. In light of this, we are continuing to train young people through our Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies seminary program in Brooklyn. We are investing in the next generation of Israeli leaders through our Living Waters mentoring program in Israel and around the world via our global young adult conference, Muchan (Hebrew for “ready”), usually held in Europe. We are also providing a variety of internships and extending our outreach among Jewish students. We call this next generation effort The Joshua Initiative because we want to raise up a new generation of leaders like Joshua who will serve the Lord faithfully with courage and power (Joshua 1:5–6).

We can do this because of Him and your partnership and prayers.

YOUR FAITHFULNESS

May Jesus, the joy and reason for the season, fill your home with warmth, happiness, and grace during the holidays. I want to thank you for supporting Chosen People Ministries. You are an important part of our ministry family.

We are now serving in nineteen countries around the world and in twenty-five cities throughout North America. As we wrap up our 125th year of celebration and begin 2020, I cannot help but reflect upon His faithfulness, the amazing things He has done, and how much we have expanded the ministry, even this year. We want to be ready for tomorrow. And, by God’s grace, I believe if we embrace the opportunities of the New Year together, arm in arm, following in the Savior’s footsteps, we will.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Because God became flesh,
Mitch

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Filed under evangelism, Holidays & Festivals, Israel, Jewish Holidays, Uncategorized

A Vision for the Next Generation

Dear friends,

Shalom in His grace and Happy Thanksgiving. I am sure you are grateful for all the Lord has done in your life and in the life of your friends and family.

Years ago, I did my master’s thesis in seminary on Psalm 119. I examined the supposed synonyms for the Hebrew word Torah (Law) in this lengthy psalm of 176 verses! I concluded that the various terms that seemed to be interchangeable with Law—commandments, testimonies, judgments, etc.—were actually different parts of the corpus of the Law and not merely synonyms. It was a fascinating study and I learned to love the Word of God even more than before! But one of the added benefits of the project was that I regularly had to pass through Psalm 118 to get there!

Psalm 118, which invites us to thank God for His lovingkindness and mercy, and for His person, is quite different from Psalm 119, which teaches us to appreciate God’s Word. The two psalms are fairly close in theme and are great portions of Scripture to read and reflect upon during the Thanksgiving Day meal. Of course, if you read all of Psalm 119, your turkey might get cold!

David writes regarding the Law, the true love of his life:

O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day (119:97).

How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth (119:103).

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (119:105).

Therefore I love Your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold (119:127).

These are beautiful words and an invitation from the King to feast on Scripture and not just on mom’s delicious sweet potato casserole! I find myself grateful for His provision of the Bible as I am able to better understand the will and mind of God and be guided by His Word to live according to His holy plans and purposes.

I am thankful for the Word of God and the beauty of His person.

His nature is also revealed in Scripture and by His Spirit in my everyday experience. As the psalmist penned, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (Psalm 118:1).

I rejoice this Thanksgiving because of Him. He is good and He is gracious! The Hebrew term chesed, translated lovingkindness, should be understood as “covenant loyalty.” I am grateful He is a loyal God who cares for His children. And further, His grace and loyalty to me and to the Jewish people extends throughout eternity.

125 Years of Service for the Lord on Behalf of the Jewish People

Your Mission to the Jewish People has experienced 125 years of this loyalty and love! In fact, we only have one more month to go in our celebration of 125 years of ministry to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It has been a wonderful year of joyous celebration. On November 15, we concluded our year of gratitude with a gala in Brooklyn, where we were born as a ministry. We heard from Jay Sekulow and we were blessed by Janet Parshall of Moody Radio, America’s most beloved radio host. We heard testimonies from Chosen People Ministries staff workers in Israel and Brooklyn and from friends of our ministry who were able to testify to God’s transforming power in their lives through the work of this 125-year-old ministry among the Jewish people.

Very Humble Origins

As you know, we were founded by Rabbi Leopold Cohn who came to the United States from his native Hungary in the late 19th century. Not long after he arrived, he heard a Polish Presbyterian missionary and preacher on the lower side of Manhattan proclaiming the gospel inside a Dutch Reformed Church. Once the Lord gripped the heart of the rabbi, he committed himself to the lifelong effort of reaching his fellow Jewish people with the gospel, and before his death, baptized almost 1,000 Jewish people!

I am the seventh president of the Mission and grateful to be called by God to this incredible position. I know the value of Chosen People Ministries because it was this mission that discipled me, paid my way through Bible college, and gave me opportunities to serve the Lord. Chosen People Ministries also helped me gain the skills to help others who want to tell their Jewish friends about Jesus.

My wife came to faith in Los Angeles through the work of a Chosen People Ministries missionary who trained a group of Korean Christian teens at a very Jewish high school to share the gospel with the Jewish people and, praise God, they shared the good news with my wife.

I have been president of Chosen People Ministries for twenty-two years, and am as excited as ever about the growth and potential of our ministry. Of course, you have heard the aphorism, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!” Funny thing about this…it is true. Walking with Jesus is never static; it is always dynamic. Our world is changing, the Jewish community is changing, and Chosen People Ministries is changing, too.

We are not changing or adapting the eternal message of the gospel, although our culture pressures us to do so each day. We remain more committed to the essentials of the gospel than ever! But our strategies, methods, and tactics are changing in order to reach a new generation of Jewish people with the gospel.

Without you, we simply could not do the ministry to which God has called us. Your Mission to the Jewish People is now in more than twenty-five cities in North America and in nineteen countries around the world serving the Lord among the Jewish people.

And as we step into 2020—our 126th year of ministry—we are ready, available to God, and thankful for the opportunity to serve our Lord, Jesus the Messiah.

Three Major Focuses in 2020 and Beyond

After a long season of prayer, planning, and discussions with our staff, board, and friends, we have decided to embrace three major areas of ministry starting in 2020 and beyond.

Israel

First of all, we are going to do all we can to reach Israel with the gospel. There are more than six and a half million Jewish people in Israel, and more are moving there all the time. Israelis are now more open to Jesus than ever before. I believe that it is the time to strike while the iron is hot—we are increasing our staff and establishing congregations and centers all across the country. We now have ministries in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and in the northern part of the country among young adults, children, Holocaust survivors, and more! We have more than twenty staff members serving the Lord in the Holy Land.

Digital and Social Media

We are using the power of digital and social media for His glory. We want to focus on evangelism, discipleship, and building community online for those who come to faith. We are having good success through our Facebook campaigns that engage people with Isaiah 53 and a new discipleship series entitled Follow Messiah. Soon, we will roll out other websites like Chosen People Answers, an almost encyclopedic apologetics website for Jewish people that I believe will revolutionize Jewish evangelism.

The Joshua Initiative

We are also investing in the next generation of Messianic Jews and leaders in the field of Jewish missions. This is why we started the Feinberg Seminary program in Brooklyn almost fifteen years ago, which has graduated thirty students, most of whom are serving the Lord in Jewish ministry. We are discipling new Jewish believers and helping them become part of our congregations and centers. We will also intensify our efforts on college campuses and emphasize children’s ministries through camping and providing educational resources. What a joy it is for us to train young people for the Lord.

The Future Is Bright for Israel and the Jewish People

According to the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:25–29, a day is coming when all Israel will be saved. But until then, please join me in praying, supporting, and helping us reach God’s beloved chosen people with the unchanging message of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.

On behalf of our staff, I cannot thank you enough for your faithfulness in response to His faithfulness.

Thankful to the Lord and for you.

Mitch

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1).

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We live in exciting times!

Dear friends,

Shalom in His peace.

We are excited and energized by new ministry opportunities in 2020! Allow me to quickly share some thoughts on three trends in Jewish ministry that profoundly impact our work and that we believe will lead us forward in new and dynamic ways!

Three Significant Trends

An increase in congregations and believers in Israel

When I first went to Israel as a believer in Messiah in 1976, there were fewer than 500 Messianic Jews living in the land and just a handful of congregations, especially Hebrew-speaking ones. There were some Jewish believers who survived the Holocaust and a few who had moved from North Africa to Israel, but most of the believers were not native Israelis. They had come to Israel as believers from other parts of the globe. Some came to be part of the great Israel experiment and others came to serve the Lord in the Holy Land. Now, 70 years later, there are more than 150 congregations and upwards of 25,000 Messianic Jews, most of whom came to the Lord in Israel. 

In fact, I believe we are in the midst of a second-generation outpouring of the Spirit that has transformed the national Israeli Messianic body within the Holy Land. This movement of the Spirit has also transformed our ministry in Israel. We continue to reach younger generations of Israelis along with hundreds of elderly Holocaust survivors whom we have served for more than twenty years. 

This second generation of Jewish believers were born in Israel, speak Hebrew as their first language, were raised in Israeli schools, and served in the Israeli army. They are young, bold, Israeli through and through, and willing to give their all for Jesus the Messiah! 

This is the reason we continue our Living Waters mentoring seminar each year and why we have a newly rented center in the greater Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan. Each month, we organize outreach Sabbath dinners, concerts, café nights, Bible studies, reading groups for mothers and children, and so much more.

New ministry opportunities among traveling Israelis

We are also reaching post-army Israelis by meeting these wonderful young adults in places like the Upper West Side of New York City or on the South Island of New Zealand. We are also meeting them in India, Australia, Germany, South America, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. Additionally, we are about to open up a permanent mission station in Brazil to reach these young Israelis. We are sharing the gospel with them as they hike, over a BBQ, during hummus nights, through late night chats, or while enjoying a lovely meal of traditional Chinese cuisine! 

We engaged with 3,000 Israeli travelers this year, and we will be meeting more in 2020! Let me share a couple of stories:

“The Lord gave us such a wonderful surprise last weekend: an opportunity to host Idan.* Within 30 minutes of his arrival, Idan asked, ‘Why do you host Israelis?’ We love this question because it is such a catalyst to a deeper spiritual conversation with our guests. For the next two and a half days, our conversations about Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, were frequent! We quickly realized we were not the first to share with him. The reason our conversations were possible is because Idan was processing questions from the conversations he previously had with other Christian hosts. On the morning he left, Michael shared his testimony as well as the words of his very first prayer as a believer. We were able to give him a Hebrew New Testament as well as a copy of  Isaiah 53 Explained. Please pray for Idan as he continues to stay with other believing hosts in New Zealand!”
                        —Teresa and Michael, New Zealand

“Today I got an unexpected phone call from our Israeli friend, Tom, who wanted to congratulate us on our baby girl. Carissa and I met Tom on Christmas Day 2015 at the Shelter on the Lake where we were serving and sharing the gospel with backpackers from Israel and around the world. Those three weeks we spent in Bariloche, Argentina, were transformational. I got to teach my very first Bible lesson for seeking Israelis…on Christmas Day! We saw that hiking, rock climbing, and camping are strategic opportunities for sharing the gospel. We gained experience applying what we learned in Bible school. We stayed up until 2:00 or 3:00 AM many nights with Israelis talking about spiritual things.”
        —BJ and Carissa, Backpacking Ministry

An increasing openness toward Jesus and the gospel among Jewish young people

We are surprised by the great numbers of young Jewish people from all over the world who are responding to our social media and Facebook ads, as well as engaging with our new campus ministries. A Barna survey revealed that Jewish millennials (aged 23–38) are more open than their parents to the possibility that Jesus is both Messiah and God in the flesh. We also discovered that the majority of the more than 10,000 Jewish people we met online through our digital outreach campaigns are younger. These efforts include our Isaiah 53 Explained Facebook campaign in the United States and in Israel, as well as our I Found Shalom video testimonies broadcast on YouTube and other social media platforms.

I am also very excited about our new residential outreach ministry at New York University called The House of Living Waters. NYU has the largest concentration of Jewish students in the United States. We chose four young men to live in an apartment across the street from the campus, and they are actively engaged in sharing the gospel with dozens of Jewish students.  They also collaborate with and train Christian students to share the good news with their Jewish friends. 

Some of the conversations these godly young men are having are just wonderful:

“We met Isaac,* a young freshman photography major in nearby Washington Square Park. He was drawn to the Hebrew literature on our table. We showed him prophecies related to Israel and then had him read Isaiah 53. He was not sure who it was about, but, on reflection, he said it seemed like it could be Jesus. We asked him what he thought that would mean, and he said that if his family understood this connection they would not be happy. We gave him a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained and received his email address. Hopefully we will be able to meet with him in a few weeks and hear his thoughts about the book!”

“We met Eitan,* a young performer in Washington Square Park who sang us a song. We talked a little bit about I Found Shalom and what shalom is, and he expressed interest in receiving a book and making time for coffee. We had coffee the other day and began building a rapport with him. He is not particularly interested in spiritual things, but he said that recently he has gained more respect for the Jewish traditions of his youth. We gave him a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained and asked him if he would like to come to a Sabbath dinner, and he said that he would really enjoy that! We are going to invite him for the Sabbath in the next couple of weeks, and hopefully he will come!”

All of these opportunities and the openheartedness of a new generation give me incredible hope for the future of our ministry. Such new horizons build my faith in the Word of God where Paul tells us that the day is coming when “all Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:25–29). However, we know what we need to do until that great day. By God’s grace, we must preach the gospel and be faithful to the unchanging message of God’s grace through Jesus the Messiah. 

With love and gratitude for His faithfulness and yours,
Mitch

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Understanding the Hebrew Scriptures

Shalom!

For decades we have dedicated the October edition of our newsletter to addressing both those who already believe in Jesus and those who are seeking the Lord. If you are one of those curious and brave individuals who is pursuing a relationship with the living God, let me especially thank you for taking the time to read the newsletter. This month, we are focusing on the Hebrew Scriptures, or as it is known to many, the Old Testament. Of course, if you are Jewish and do not accept the New Testament as holy Scripture, then there really is no such thing as an Old Testament! The Hebrew Scriptures is simply known as the Jewish Bible, with the first five books being referred to as the Torah.

We will discuss the impact and importance of the Hebrew Scriptures in Western society and in the hearts of those who believe these words were spoken by God Himself at Mount Sinai and through the mouths of prophets.

The Hebrew Scriptures impact every area of life: from issues of the heart, to practical wisdom, amazing prophetic predictions of the age to come, and of course our moral code and behavior. The older testament—if you can appreciate this new terminology—has been extremely influential in our lives, personally and corporately, even when we did not realize it! In fact, as the article will suggest, the Hebrew Scriptures have helped shape our culture and society more than the Constitution and Bill of Rights combined. Additionally, a good argument can be made to demonstrate that these documents that were so foundational in the formation of our country were based upon the words of the Hebrew Scriptures.

It would be virtually impossible for me, as a Messianic Jew, to believe in Jesus if I did not believe that the Hebrew Scriptures referred to Jesus in the promises and prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. This rationale for faith in Yeshua (His Hebrew name) is critical for a Jewish follower of the Messiah and also for those who are not Jewish. When more than a thousand years of biblical prophecy are so remarkably fulfilled in this one person, it gives us tremendous confidence in Him and also in the Old Testament where He is described. So much of what we understand about salvation, the nature of God, and His plan for each of us is firmly rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures. As King Solomon wrote so beautifully,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5–6)

Admittedly, at times, the Hebrew Bible is not the easiest to understand, especially in light of today’s cultural trends and ideas about morality. Frankly, the Hebrew Bible might seem out of sync with our modern world upon a first, surface-level glance. But, consider that the voice of the Hebrew Scriptures, though contrary to many of our current cultural values, might very well be a voice worth listening to. It has led so many of us to a fulfilling and meaningful life. The Psalmist David wrote about those who read, meditate, and obey what is written in the Hebrew Scriptures:

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1–2)

I hope that you will enjoy the rest of the newsletter. My prayer is that it will motivate you to study the Hebrew Scriptures, to learn more about God’s plan for you, and that the very specific predictions about the coming of the Messiah will become personally meaningful to you. There is so much in these 39 books of the Old Testament to understand, and I hope you will take the time to read through the entirety of the Hebrew Scriptures to try and better understand one of the world’s great works of literature. You might not take my position in believing that the Old Testament is the inspired Word of God, but I think, if you have an open heart, you will find so many of the statements in these ancient pages to be comforting, relevant, and life-changing.

Enjoy the journey, and, if you are seeking the Lord, may I encourage you to take a look at followmessiah.com, which is a 16-part video study of the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, which will help guide you towards a deeply personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

A belated Happy Jewish High Holidays!

Mitch

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It is often lonely being a Messianic Jew

Shalom,

I recently was reminded of the importance of what we do when I attended the funeral of one of my closest relatives. It was really painful.

It is often lonely being a Messianic Jew. Most of the people I love are not yet believers. It is so difficult to watch my parents’ generation pass away, as most of my loved ones do not believe in Jesus.

So, please pray for them…and for me! It hurts.

There is constant pressure on our staff to be more “accepting” of other faiths, especially Judaism, the faith in which I was raised. Yet, I know from Scripture and personal experience that Jesus is the Messiah and is the only way to be saved and to have a personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I am pleased to serve with our 125-year-old mission to the Jewish people because we have not lost the fire as we share the gospel day in and day out with both Jews and Gentiles.

My wife, also a Jewish believer, was led to the Lord with the help of Chosen People Ministries. We even met at a Chosen People event! I was discipled years ago by a Chosen People Ministries staff member, and the Mission paid my way through Bible college! As a couple, we are grateful to the Lord for this ministry. In fact, our service to the Lord through Your Mission to the Jewish People is simply passing along the blessings that were bestowed upon us.

Chosen People Ministries is growing and continues to make the gospel known TODAY among the Jewish people in nineteen countries around the globe and in more than two dozen cities throughout North America.

  • We are working with students through our new House of Living Waters initiative on the New York University campus, which has the largest concentration of Jewish students in our country.
  • Our Israel team is serving throughout the Holy Land—in Tel Aviv, the Galilee, and in Jerusalem. We are sharing the gospel among young adults, Holocaust survivors, and conducting children’s camps six times a year, which serve hundreds of children.
  • I just returned from a training conference we funded and sponsored for Russian Messianic Jewish pastors, which was held in Kraków, Poland and attended by 150 servants of God from the former Soviet Union, North America, and more than forty were from Israel!
  • This summer, we had more than 125 staff and volunteers sharing the gospel in the greater New York area. The teams had more than 2,500 witnessing conversations in just two weeks!
  • We also had hundreds of Jewish seekers join us for a debate between Dr. Michael Brown and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in August. Perhaps one day many Jewish people who were impacted this summer will look back, as I now do, with gratitude to the Lord for using Chosen People Ministries to introduce them to the Messiah!
  • Our ministry through the internet has touched the lives of thousands this year. In fact, we have connected with almost 100,000 people, including thousands of Jewish seekers through our online Isaiah 53 Campaign and our I Found Shalom video testimonies of Messianic Jews, which now numbers more than 100!

Whew! I can barely keep up. God is doing so much through our dedicated and visionary staff! And you make it possible through your support and prayers.

We hoped to reach 125,000 people this year and to get their contact information for follow-up, and we are rapidly approaching this goal! We expect to reach our objective before the end of the year. Most of these contacts come from our online campaigns, though hundreds were generated from Jewish people we met on the streets of New York City during our summer outreach.

We spent the last nine months reflecting on our wonderful ministry heritage, celebrating our 125th year of work among the Jewish people.

Thank you for your prayers and support. We would have never made it to 125 years without you and previous generations of Jesus-lovers who had a big heart for Israel and the salvation of the Jewish people. Ultimately, that is what this is all about—seeing Jewish people come to a saving faith in the Messiah.

Your brother in Yeshua,
Mitch

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Israel, the Apple of God’s Eye

by Charles L. Feinberg
Written in 1964 and published in the book, Israel, in 1980

That Which Is So Precious

A man guards the apple of his eye because it is dear to him. It is considered by every man as one of his most precious possessions. The psalmist prayed to the Lord: “Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Thy wings” (Psalm 17:8). No one is interested in bargaining away the apple of his eye, nor in exchanging it for some trifling object. God considers the Jew as His precious possession. God has set His love on Israel and they are very precious to Him. Moses told them in the wilderness: “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:7–8). Second, the apple of the eye indicates that which is so easily injured.

That Which Is So Easily Injured

It is not necessary to thrust a knife into the eye to cause excruciating agony and injure it. A splinter, an eyelash, a speck of dust, or a touch will bring real pain. We need to be exceedingly careful how we conduct ourselves toward the Jew. He may appear without protector, but any injury hurts the heart of God, as He has repeatedly stated in the Word of God.

Third, the apple of the eye is that which is impossible to repair.

That Which Is Impossible to Repair

Parts of the human body can be injured and mutilated, and yet some type of replacement can be made. Hands, feet, and bones in the body have been replaced by skillful surgeons, or so treated that they are still useful. But the pupil of the eye cannot be repaired once it is severely injured. Some injuries to Israel, God’s people, cannot be repaired. How can the slaughter of six million Jews in Europe ever be repaired? How can this multiplied injury be righted? Impossible! And to think that everyone who touched them—let alone cremated them—was touching the apple of God’s eye!

Fourth, the apple of the eye is that which allows the light to penetrate.

That Which Allows the Light to Penetrate

The pupil of the eye is the entrance through which the light rays from without penetrate to the retina so that we may see the objects before us. Israel is God’s entrance way for the light of His Word and His salvation to enter the world. One day Jesus the Messiah said to a Samaritan woman: “You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22). These words of the Messiah and Savior were in perfect accord with the declaration in Isaiah (43:10-12): “‘You are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and My servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and there is no savior besides Me. It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, and there was no strange god among you, so you are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I am God.’” This was the intention of God for Israel and still is.

Fifth, the apple of the eye is that which is so carefully protected.

That Which Is So Carefully Protected

Remarkable and abundant provision is made for the protection of the pupil of the eye, of which many people are unaware. The protection consists of: (1) the strong frontal bones (to guard against a blow); (2) the brow and eyelash (to protect against dust); (3) the lid (to guard against painful glare); and (4) the tear glands (to provide continuous cleansing). With Israel is the omnipotent power of God committed to protect them. The psalmist clearly recounts the protecting hand of God over His people:

He has remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac. Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, as the portion of your inheritance,” when they were only a few men in number, very few, and strangers in it. And they wandered about from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people. He permitted no man to oppress them, and He reproved kings for their sakes: “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.” Psalm 105:8–15

Remember, God’s hand of protection is upon Israel as a nation, and He will not suffer them to cease as a people.

That Which Causes Intense Pain When Injured

When a man’s pupil has been injured, he feels intense pain. And this pain can be so great that he becomes sick. To injure Israel is to cause God intense pain. He says: “In all their affliction He was afflicted” (Isaiah 63:9). When Israel is mistreated, God reckons that His very name, His own excellence, is blasphemed (Isaiah 52:5).

We never dare to forget that he who touches Israel for ill will not go unpunished. Nations as well as individuals have proved the truth of this passage of Scripture. On the other hand, we must also remember that he who touches Israel for good, will not go unrewarded (Matthew 25:40). You, too, have something you must keep in mind. You must be willing to open your eyes to see the glory and the beauty of the Messiah or you will never be able to behold the glorious sight!

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Shana Tova!

Shalom in His peace! We are still following up on the hundreds of contacts we received through our Shalom New York outreach this summer, during which more than 125 staff and volunteers shared the gospel in New York City. What a wonderful start to the fall season of new beginnings.

In fact, the Jewish community worldwide is getting ready to celebrate the Jewish New Year, known in Hebrew as Rosh Hashanah (literally, the “head of the year”). Our staff around the globe will have “High Holiday” services, where we will celebrate the holidays and, through the worship and messages, point to the One in whom we have new and everlasting life. Please pray especially for the many Jewish seekers who will be coming to our services, as there will be hundreds!

Thank you again for caring and praying!

We also continue to celebrate our 125th year of ministry among the Jewish people by looking back on our rich history to encourage us for the bright future God has prepared for Israel and the Jewish people (Romans 11:25ff). We continue to be inspired by the lasting legacy of Dr. Charles Lee Feinberg who came to faith through Chosen People Ministries—then known as the American Board of Missions to the Jews—in the early part of the 20th century. Dr. Feinberg went on to become the first dean of Talbot Theological Seminary and one of the finest Bible scholars of the modern era. In honor of Dr. Feinberg and our 125th anniversary, we are happy to reprint one of Dr. Feinberg’s articles on Israel.

One of our staff was reading through our archives and found this article from 1964. I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to share it with you!

Please continue to pray for Israel and the Jewish people, the apple of God’s eye, especially during this holiday season. Happy New Year!

Your brother in Messiah,
Mitch Glaser

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