Monthly Archives: January 2017

2017: A Critical Time for Bringing the Message of New Life to the Jewish People

It was an exciting panel discussion — the exploration of one of the great passages describing the end-time salvation of Israel and the Jewish people in the last days — and I had been asked to be part of it!

The Carl Henry Center for Theological Understanding on the campus of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, hosted the conversation on Romans 11:25-29 … 

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” “This is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

The following is part of my contribution to the discussion of this prophetic passage — which has much to say about our work together and Israel’s salvation:

The questions that emerge from our reading of Romans 11:25-29 are especially important for me. Their substance forms the very basis for my identity as a Messianic Jew and my expectations regarding the future of my relatives and extended Jewish family.

I would imagine that this was no different for the apostle Paul, for I believe that Romans 9-11 is the section of this great epistle where the apostle bares his heart and soul for his people—the nation of Israel.

In Romans 11:25-27, Paul is describing the end of an era in which the Jewish people are estranged from God because the Jewish leaders had rejected Jesus at His first coming.

However, based upon Paul’s argument in these three chapters, it is clear that God has not rejected the Jewish people at all (Romans 11:1) and has preserved a remnant within the nation (Romans 11:5), until the day when the remnant will actually become the nation. In this passage, the apostle Paul tells us that in the end God will save “all” Israel, which I would understand this as the entirety of the nation of Israel who are alive at that time.

This cataclysmic end-time event occurs after what the apostle Paul describes as the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. It is evident from this passage that prior to the salvation of national Israel and the end of days there will be a season where God is working among the Gentiles in a special way—grafting numerous wild olive branches into the olive tree as described in Romans 11:16-24.

Israel’s Hope for Salvation

This great event is more fully described in other passages of Scripture—especially in certain sections of the Old Testament. For example, Zechariah 12 seems to prophetically document the process by which the end-time remnant of ethnic Israel comes to know the Lord.

Dr. Charles Feinberg, in his commentary on Zechariah, writes the following about the context of this passage:

The actual events, world embracing in character, which are presented include the world confederacy against Jerusalem:  the conviction of Israel nationally by the Spirit of God; the presentation of Christ as their rejected Messiah; the National Day of Atonement; the cleansing of the hearts of the nation; the purging of the land from idolatry; the crucifixion of the Messiah, the time of Jacob’s trouble, the partial success of the nations invading Palestine (Israel) and besieging Jerusalem; the appearance of the Messiah for His people; their rescue and his coming with his saints; the changed and renovated Holy Land; the Feast of Tabernacles and more![1]

The events described are future to our day. The nations of the earth will surround the Jewish people. Jerusalem will be about to fall. But God will intervene and send His Son to save His chosen people.

Verse 10 is clearly the highlight of the prophecy. The prophet writes,

And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn (Zechariah 12:10).

In effect, Romans 11:25-26 is the fulfillment of Zechariah 12:10. And if you add to this Romans 11:12 and 11:15, the picture of future redemption painted by Paul now takes on a greater shape and context.

Your Role in Reaching Jewish People for Jesus

Where do we stand today? In a practical sense, we should look back to Romans 11:11, where the apostle writes, “I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.”

I believe these are the marching orders for the Church with regard to Jewish evangelism.

Gentiles are called to make Jewish people jealous with the Gospel. This Gospel proclamation, through word and deed, to your Jewish friends and family will be God’s way to move us closer to the great day when all Israel will be saved.

You never know if the Jewish person you are talking to about the Lord might be one of those who are part of this end-time remnant of “all Israel.” And, of course, we hope to see our Jewish loved ones come to faith in Jesus now and enjoy the abundant life He brings.

So, what can you do today to make a difference in the lives of your Jewish friends?

  1. Pray for the salvation of your Jewish friends and loved ones.
  2. Ask God to give you an open door to speak to your friend or relative about Jesus.
  3. Share Chosen People Ministries resources with your Jewish friends. We have lots of tracts, brochures and books such as Isaiah 53 Explained you can give to your Jewish friends.
  4. Invite them to view our online resources by going to www.Isaiah53.com or to hear dozens of testimonies of Messianic Jews who have found the Lord as their Messiah at www.ifoundshalom.com.
  5. Invite your friend or relative to a Messianic congregation or Bible study. Check our website to see if there is one near you or call us at 212-223-2252 to find a place you can bring your Jewish friend to hear about the Lord.

May this year be a year of great blessing for you and your family as we take one step further towards the return of our blessed Messiah and Savior Jesus!
Yours in Messiah,

Dr. Mitch Glaser
President

 


[1] Feinberg, Charles, The Prophecies of the Prophet Zechariah, Chicago, Ill:  Moody Press pg. 219

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A New Year Tradition

Our Heritage

Chosen People Ministries is now 123 years old. We were founded by Rabbi Leopold Cohn who came from Hungary in 1892 to look for freedom and a safe place to raise his family because of the rampant antisemitism in most of Eastern Europe during those years.

To his great surprise, he heard a Jewish man preaching the Gospel at a church on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and accepted Jesus as his Messiah.

Rabbi Cohn then dedicated his life to proclaiming the Good News of the Messiah to his fellow Jewish people and began this work in Brooklyn.

Now, all these years later, our headquarters is in Manhattan, we have a beautiful new Messianic center in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn, and we are serving the Jewish people in 20-plus North American cities and 17 countries around the globe.

A New Year Tradition

It was commonplace for Rabbi Cohn and Joseph, his son who followed him in leadership, to write a special letter every January to remind their partners of the importance of Jewish evangelism.

Oftentimes the articles were based upon Romans 1:16,

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

I would like to continue this tradition and share a few thoughts on this great passage of Scripture, to remind us in this new year of the imperative to preach the Gospel to the Jewish people.

Romans 1:16 for Today

The Greek word used by Paul and translated “first” is protos.¹ It implies a priority,² rather than a sequential order of events.³ The word is also used in Matthew 6:33 where the Lord Jesus reminds us to seek first the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God should always be sought as a priority in our lives, even as we seek other things. In a similar way, reaching Jewish people with the Gospel must be a priority concern for all who know the Lord Jesus as their Savior.

Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, focused his ministry on reaching non-Jews with the Gospel message. But, this did not lessen his concern for the salvation of the Jewish people.

Wherever Paul went in his ministry among the Gentiles he also tried to preach the Gospel to the Jewish people living in that area (Acts 13:13-52; 14:1-7; 18:7-11; 19:8-10). He would regularly attempt to evangelize the Jewish people of a particular city before he spoke to the Gentiles.

The salvation of the Jewish people was an ever present concern for Paul and his actions in the Book of Acts reveal his understanding of what he wrote in Romans 1:16.4

The main reason Paul asks the Roman believers to prioritize preaching the Gospel among the Jewish people is because of what he tells them later on in Romans 11:25-27 regarding a future day when “all Israel will be saved.”

It is clear that the Apostle establishes a link between the second coming of Jesus and the salvation of the Jewish people (see also Acts 3:19-20). This is why, I believe, Paul asks the Church to make Jewish evangelism a priority.

What Now?

We cannot wait for what is prophesied when we already have a mandate to disciple all nations-—including the Jewish people.

As Paul wrote earlier in Romans 10,

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14)

We know the Gospel must be preached to Jewish people as some will come to faith today and others will have their hearts prepared for tomorrow.

The Jewish Evangelism Mandate for Gentiles

It is what the New Testament commands: the Apostle Paul envisions a special role for Gentile believers in presenting the Good News to the Jewish people. He writes,

I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. (Romans 11:11)

Considering this command…

  • How is it possible that a local church could not be engaged in Jewish evangelism, praying for and supporting Jewish missions?
  • How is it possible that our missions conferences do not include some type of emphasis on Jewish evangelism?

My dear brothers and sisters, though the Jewish population might be few, the salvation of Israel is still critical, since by reaching the remnant we are participating with God in accomplishing His plan for our world.

We do not want to do less to reach the nations of the world…we just want to do more to reach the Jewish people.

Yours in the Messiah,
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Dr. Mitch Glaser
President of Chosen People Ministries

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