Category Archives: Jews and Christians

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Dear friend,

Shalom and Happy New Year from Chosen People Ministries! We are praying that 2018 will be an amazing year of hope and promise! We are excited about reaching Jewish people with the Gospel in new ways in the new year!

We have developed some powerful new ministries in the United States and abroad—especially in Israel! We now have more than twenty workers in Israel and three centers (Jerusalem, greater Tel Aviv, and the Galilee). We are continuing with our children’s camping programs, a ministry among Holocaust survivors, outreach through our Isaiah 53 Hebrew-language campaign, and much more! Our center in Ramat Gan (a suburb of Tel Aviv) opened in 2017, and it is already a bustling hub of ministry activities designed to meet the spiritual needs of young professional Israelis and their families.

Also, I am proud to report that our work in the “other Holy Land,” Brooklyn, continues to grow. The five boroughs of New York City are home to more than two million Jewish people and have the highest concentration of Jewish people in the world outside of Israel. Five years ago, we did not have a presence in Brooklyn, but by God’s grace—and the support of our generous Chosen People Ministries extended family—we are now ministering in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn! Here is an encouraging comment from Robert W., our Brooklyn branch director:

Recently we met with Sarah,* a former Hasidic woman living in Brooklyn. She has walked by our Feinberg Messianic Center building countless times, often enraged by our presence, but, through friendship, the Lord began to soften her heart. We met with her, prayed with her, and rejoice to share that Sarah has prayed to receive Jesus as her Messiah!

Thank you for your faithfulness which makes the labor of the Gospel possible! We hope to see the seeds sown in 2017 bear fruit in the New Year.

A New Survey

In December, the United States again formally acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and initiated the process of moving the U.S. Embassy to the biblical and historic capital of the Holy Land. Israel’s neighbors and their supporters around the globe disagree with this pronouncement.  The violence within Israel has been limited, but unfortunately, an innocent Israeli young man lost his life in a knife attack. We need to keep praying for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6)!

This past summer, Chosen People Ministries, along with Joel C. Rosenberg, helped design and support a survey conducted by LifeWay Christian Resources called “Evangelical Attitudes Toward Israel.” The results were released in early December at a press conference held in Washington, D.C. The survey results were discussed by The Jerusalem Post, Jewish News Service, The Forward, The Times of Israel, CBN.com, Christianity Today, Religion News Service, and forty-plus news outlets.

We were happy to see that 69 percent of the respondents are positive towards Israel, though that number seems to be going down among younger Christians. When asked about the modern rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948 and the re-gathering of millions of Jewish people to Israel, 80 percent of respondents said these events were fulfillments of Bible prophecy that show we are getting closer to the return of Jesus Christ, and 20 percent said these were simply interesting geopolitical events.

Sixty-six percent of evangelicals believe that Israel’s existence, security, and prosperity are things they should support. On the other hand, 23 percent of Bible-believing Christians said that the Palestinians should be allowed to create their own sovereign state, while 31 percent disagreed, and 46 percent were not sure! That is a massive amount of uncertainty for such a crucial question.

This uncertainty should be a signal to those who love the Lord to think through what the Bible says about the city of Jerusalem because knowing what the Bible says about Israel is so important at this moment. Israel needs the support of born-again Christians. My chief concern at the moment is for the future because younger Christians are undecided about their views on the modern State of Israel.

Your Mission to the Jewish People hopes to continue influencing the Church with great resources and communications intended to form a deeper love for Israel and the Jewish people among Christians.

What Makes Jerusalem So Special?

Do most Christians believe that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel? Most of us do not think of these questions in our daily lives, but, in the coming months, I believe it will become more relevant for us as the process of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem begins.

We should love and support Jerusalem and the State of Israel. Why? Because God promised the land of Israel to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 12:1-3). Again in Genesis 17:7-8, the Lord confirmed His promises to Abraham and his seed:

I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

His promise would include Jerusalem, of course, which King David declared as the capital of Israel when he moved his throne to the city and brought the Ark of the Covenant back to the holy city! Chuck Swindoll, in his wonderful book about the life of King David, writes,

With his headquarters in Jerusalem, David finally had the limitless reign he had been promised as God’s anointed leader. He had great power and great blessing from God. (2 Samuel 5:6-12)

We also know that the greater son of David, Jesus the Messiah, will rule on the Davidic throne in Jerusalem when He returns and fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6-7. In that day, the Messiah will reign as King in fulfillment of the promises God made to King David through Nathan the prophet (2 Samuel 7:8-17).

We Should Love Jerusalem Because Jesus Loves Jerusalem

Jesus wept over Jerusalem because He loved the city where the Temple of God stood (Luke 19:41)! He also showed compassion for Jerusalem, predicting that the Temple would be destroyed because His chosen people were rejecting Him and the Jewish people would suffer at the hands of the Romans (Matthew 23:37-39).

Jesus’ words unfolded exactly as He said they would. Two generations after His death, the Romans tore apart the Temple stone by stone, destroying the city and exiling the nation for two millennia (Luke 21:21-24). The next two thousand years were a grim time for Jewish people, as they were dispersed from their land and subject to the hatred and cruelty of Gentile host nations.

Today, many Jewish people pray for the Messiah to come and restore His throne in Jerusalem, ending the two thousand year exile and bringing about a reign of peace. Yet, most Jewish people do not yet realize that this very Messiah they pray for is Jesus! When the Jewish people as a whole (or at the time of His return) say, “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord,” Jesus will return (Matthew 23:39, Romans 11:25 ff.). What an exciting promise!

The events of the twentieth century, the creation of the modern State of Israel in 1948, and the regathering of (most of) the Jewish exiles from the four corners of the earth show us that this time is close at hand.

As 2018 unfolds, help us put Jerusalem and the promises the Lord made to the Jewish people at the forefront of our attention. Together we will look forward to the amazing things God will do this year through Your Mission to the Jewish People!

I am especially excited about our work in Israel, but also about our work in many countries where young Israelis travel after their army service. We are now reaching Israelis in New Zealand, Argentina, Germany, and New York City!

And remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you” (Psalm 122:6).

This peace can only come through the Prince of Peace, Jesus, who longs to live in the hearts of all who call upon His name!

In Him,

 

Dr. Mitch Glaser
President of Chosen People Ministries

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Our Message is Simple: Jesus is the Jewish Messiah – For All

Dear friend,

Shalom and Happy New Year! Thank you for your prayers and support for Chosen People Ministries throughout 2017! This year begins our 124th year of ministry. We are excited about what God has done this past year, and we are anticipating what He will do in 2018. 

Throughout the last year, millions have watched the evangelistic videos we produced in partnership with brothers and sisters in Israel. Our online campaigns have introduced us to thousands of Jewish people who want to know more about the Lord. We have had wonderful conferences, our Messianic congregations around the globe have been growing, and I recently attended the wedding of a young Israeli believer we led to the Lord in Brooklyn. 

We have touched the lives of more Jewish people for Jesus than ever before in our 123 years of ministry! And we could not have done this without your partnership—so thank you on behalf of our staff family.

Yet still…most Jewish people do not believe in Jesus! Chosen People Ministries exists to be God’s instrument in changing this.

Have you ever wondered why Jewish people tend to reject Jesus as the Messiah?

There are many reasons, but let me share with you what I believe is the main reason Jewish people do not generally believe in Jesus.

Jewish people reject Jesus today because they believe that if they accept Jesus, they will no longer be Jewish. 

Underlying this objection is the question of whether being Jewish means following a religion or belonging to an ethnic group. The answer to this is yes! Jewish people intertwine religion and ethnic identity and the two are really impossible to separate. 

As a Jewish person, I was raised to believe that my ancestors would rather die than renounce being Jewish; unfortunately, becoming a “Christian” was seen by most Jewish people as meaning you were “no longer Jewish.” I was raised with stories of Jewish martyrs who refused to become Christians to save themselves during the time of the Crusades or other periods of persecution, such as in eastern Europe. These were powerful stories about Jewish people who chose death over conversion.

You see…NOT believing in Jesus was—and continues to be—viewed as an act of Jewish loyalty!

But the number of Jews who believe in Jesus is growing significantly and appears to be far larger than we thought during the past decade, according to recent surveys we have done of Jewish communities in the United States and Israel.

Yet, this objection of losing your Jewish identity is still number one! Jewish people also do not believe that God can become a man or that God is three in one. However, most Jewish people are not driven by their theological beliefs.

Telling My Grandparents

I remember when I told my grandparents I had become a believer in Jesus. They could not understand why. They genuinely believed that I was a spiritual traitor to my people and never talked to me again. That hurt! But, I understood why—because they left Eastern Europe to escape from the persecution they experienced by alleged Christians. 

My parents’ generation felt this same way and so do most of my peers. Add in the Holocaust, which Jewish people generally believe was caused by Christians, and you can see why your Jewish friends do not want to talk about Jesus.

Is the above true? Do you need to leave your Jewishness at the door when you believe in Jesus? The answer is NO! The Bible in many ways teaches the opposite, since when a Jewish person believes in Jesus they, in fact, become the Jewish person God has always wanted them to be! 

After all, Jesus is the Jewish Messiah for all! 

I am Jewish and so is my wife. We raised our children to be Jewish, to celebrate all of the Jewish holidays, to love Israel, and to identify with the Jewish community. Creating the Jewish people was God’s idea…just ask Abraham when you see him (Genesis 12:1-3)!

Change is in the Air

But, let me tell you the good news. Most of the Jewish people I talk to about the Lord often seem to know a Jewish person who is a believer in Jesus. The presence of Messianic Jews, like myself, and the fellowships and congregations Chosen People Ministries and others have started around the globe have changed the landscape of Jewish evangelism. 

I believe we are in a new season of Jewish openness to Jesus as we move toward the day, described by the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:25-26, when “all Israel (who are alive at the time) will be saved.” 

The Testimony of Christians Who Love and Support Israel

I am also grateful for Christians who love and support Israel. According to a recent survey conducted by LifeWay Research, which we helped sponsor, the number of Christians who support Israel is more than 70 percent and even higher for those ages 45 and up! This is very encouraging news, but I am also concerned because the same study revealed that this support is declining among the younger generation of Christians. We are doing a lot to educate younger Christians about the Jewishness of Jesus, their Abrahamic heritage, and the ways in which Scripture continues to include the Jewish people in God’s plan for the ages.

Plans for 2018

We are preparing twenty-plus additional video testimonies of Jewish believers in Jesus that we filmed in the fall. This will give us almost one hundred beautiful testimonies of Jewish people who have found the Lord. We have also partnered with other ministries to develop an online video discipleship course based on the Sermon on the Mount for new Jewish believers and seekers. We continue to see incredible interest in Israel, especially among younger Jewish seekers, and we have sent more than 2,000 Isaiah 53 Explained books in Hebrew to Israeli seekers within Israel this past year. We hope to double that number in 2018 as we invest more money in Facebook ads in Hebrew, English, and five other languages!

Will you please pray with us for these efforts to reach Jewish people with the Good News of Jesus? The Gospel goes out online through social media, and from person to person through our staff evangelists and congregations. We are especially excited about the opportunity to expand our ministries in Tel Aviv, the most populous city in Israel, and to take on a few younger Israeli missionaries to develop these ministries.

 

Blessings in 2018!
Your brother,

 

Dr. Mitch Glaser
President of Chosen People Ministries

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More and more Jewish people will turn to Jesus as we draw closer to His return!

Dear friend,

Jewish people around the globe are open to Jesus, and you and I have the unique opportunity today to be a part of the future God is preparing for our world…by reaching out to the Jewish people with the message of the Gospel!

The Apostle Paul, put it this way,

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. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! (Romans 11:11-12)

God is not and will not be finished with His chosen people! Israel was chosen to fulfill a holy destiny which was promised to the patriarchs and prophets. One day, Jesus the Messiah, the greater son of Abraham, will rule and reign on His rightful throne, in accordance with Isaiah 11:9, “for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.”

God called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees and promised to create a nation that would bring truth, blessings, and light to a dark and sinful world.

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

God chose the Jewish people to be His bridge of redemption to a broken and sinful world!

I also believe, unfortunately, this great calling upon the Jewish people is the cause of antisemitism—past, present and future! When God chose the Jewish people to bless the world, the devil made the Jewish people his enemy. History records the devil’s plots and schemes to destroy the Jewish people and prevent these promised blessings to the nations from taking place!

The Egyptians, Babylonians, Medes, and Persians, along with the Romans and Greeks, all tried to destroy the Jewish people and prevent the coming of the Savior of the world!

Satan was behind Herod’s plot to murder the Jewish children and murder the Messiah before He had a chance to fulfill His ministry! We also see the devil’s hand behind the persecution of the Jewish people throughout time, including the Russian pogroms and the Holocaust.

Nonetheless, God has preserved His chosen people throughout the centuries, enabling the Jewish people to withstand Satan’s fury!

The devil’s nefarious efforts have come to naught because of God’s faithfulness and power. The Jewish people cannot be destroyed because God’s plan must go forward! This includes the first coming of Jesus, and His awaited second coming when He will reign as King over a redeemed Israel and the nations of the world.

And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one. (Zechariah 14:9)

We see sparkling signposts of promise reminding us of the bright future He has planned for all who believe!

May I quickly share a few of these signposts to encourage your hearts and motivate you to pray for the Jewish people and the peace of Jerusalem?

End-Times Stirrings in Israel Today

In Romans chapter 11, the Apostle Paul explains the Jewish rejection of Jesus by taking his readers back to the terrible days of apostasy during the time of Elijah. Paul acknowledges the fact that many Jewish people turned their backs on the Lord, but he argues that the Lord has also preserved a remnant who is faithful to His Word.

In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. (Romans 11:5)

I would extend this principle to our day as well.

I recently returned from Israel where the modern Messianic movement is growing in remarkable ways! There are literally thousands of Messianic Jews in Israel today! Many of these men and women were born in Israel to believing parents.

These godly, dedicated, Hebrew-speaking young Israeli believers are fluent in Hebrew, have served in the Israeli army, and were raised in first generation congregations in Israel by parents who became believers in the 1960s and 1970s—many of whom paid a dear price for standing for Jesus in Israel.

What a bright star of hope it is to see these young people dedicated to the Lord and willing to stand for Jesus amongst their fellow Israelis!

Your Mission to the Jewish People has 25 staff members in Israel and we have planted a half dozen congregations in the Holy Land. We are also mentoring and training many of these young people, helping them grow in faith and service for the Lord. These are exciting times for God’s work in the Holy Land!

We are working with dozens of young people in Israel, holding international conferences for Jewish and Gentile young adults who are concerned for Jewish evangelism, hosting global conferences of Russian-speaking Jewish leaders, and training a new generation of young leaders through mission trips to reach Israelis in New Zealand, India, South America, and, of course, Israel.

We are also training young people at our Charles Feinberg Seminary program in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn!

The Future of Jewish Evangelism

Would you join us in investing in the future of Jewish evangelism?

Paul tells us that there will be a massive turning of Jewish people to the Lord prior to the second coming of Messiah. In fact, Paul predicts that the entirety of the Jewish people who are alive at this incredible time will come to faith in Jesus.

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…. (Romans 11:25-26)

Some interpret this turning of the Jewish people to be a cataclysmic event that takes place in a moment, and perhaps this is true of the final moments of this movement, but I see this movement of Jewish people in the last days to be progressive.

More and more Jewish people will turn to Jesus as we draw closer to His return.

I believe this is one of the great signs of the soon return of the Lord and we are beginning to see this movement of Jewish people coming to Jesus in Israel, the United States, and in many countries around the globe. How exciting and encouraging to see God at work in drawing a remnant to Himself today.

I believe this growing remnant is a sign of the good things to come!

Next Steps and a Prayer Request

Please pray for the salvation of Jewish people—especially as we see the day of His return coming closer!

We have also just completed an amazing two weeks of evangelism in Brooklyn, and our staff is busy following up on the dozens of Jewish people we met on the streets who are seeking the Lord. Please pray for the follow-up of Shalom Brooklyn.

Thank you so much for your love and sacrifice!

Your brother in Jesus,

Mitch

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Luther and the Jewish People

Dear friend,

The festivities in Germany and around the globe celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation have begun! These great festivities will culminate on October 31, 2017 as this was the exact date when Martin Luther hammered the 95 Theses to the door at the Wittenberg Chapel (arguments against the system of indulgences practiced by the medieval Catholic church). Of course, there is some discussion about the historical accuracy of this event as he may have simply sent the 95 Theses to the Archbishop of Mainze (in today’s Germany).

This event caused a spiritual revolution that transformed what followers of Jesus believed and the ways in which we practice our faith. There will be a lot to read and view about these events in the months ahead and it would be enriching for believers to better understand the role of Martin Luther and the impact of the Reformation.

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What is the role of the Jewish people today?

Shalom dear friend in the Messiah,

We are at war! Personally, I would rather not acknowledge this, because like you, I much prefer seasons of peace and prosperity. I would rather not focus on passages like Ephesians 6:12, where the Apostle Paul describes our warfare,

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

We understand that whereas the real war we are fighting is against Satan and his soldiers, these heavenly battles are constantly spilling over to planet earth. The devil is attacking every front, hoping to find us asleep, at ease or deluded into thinking that everything is okay.

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Respect Cuts Both Ways: Christians Can Celebrate Passover Too

This article was also published by Christianity Today on April 10, 2017.


On April 6, 2017, Christianity Today (CT) published an article entitled, “Jesus Didn’t Eat a Seder Meal: Why Christians Shouldn’t Either” by rabbis Yehiel E. Poupko and David Sandmel. The article argues that Christians should refrain from participating in Christian Seders as a matter of historical and ecumenical respect. We disagree on both points.

There is great interest today by Christians to learn more and participate in Seders to help them better understand the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. In particular, knowing more about the Seder helps Christians explore the Jewish background of the Last Supper celebrated by Jesus, whom we know was a first-century Jewish teacher, and his disciples, who were also Jewish. Both Jesus and his disciples would have grown up observing the Passover in whatever fashion Jewish people living at the time observed the feast.

We agree with the rabbis regarding the importance of caution in the way the sacred traditions of the Jewish faith are handled.

We also agree that Jesus did not celebrate the Passover the way Jewish people commonly observe the festival in the 21st century. However, the Last Supper accounts in the Gospels record a number of themes and practices held in common with the Passover Seder. Perhaps the Last Supper should be viewed as a primitive Seder, which was used by Yeshua as the backdrop for his claim to be the fulfillment of the types and prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures for a greater Lamb, a greater redemption from bondage (to sin), and a new perspective on salvation through His shed blood.

Many Christians and especially Messianic Jews (Jewish believers in Jesus) exercise caution in the way the Messiah is linked to the Passover Seder. In the introduction to a new book entitled Messiah in the Passover, which we edited, Christian readers in particular are encouraged to both study and celebrate the Passover as a way to deepen their appreciation for the Jewishness of the Savior. To describe the book’s approach Dr. Glaser writes,

In general, we have taken a very cautious approach and will try and understand the Jewish backgrounds of the New Testament as best we can and not simply presume that the Mishnaic tractate Pesahim or today’s Passover Haggadah can simply be read into the Last Supper. Yet, we point out where we do find striking parallels between the religious customs observed by Jesus and His disciples at the Last Supper with later Jewish religious developments, and so many of our authors will suggest that these traditions could have been practiced during the Last Supper.[1]

These parallels include the drinking of at least two cups of wine:

And when He [Jesus] had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” . . . And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. (Luke 22:17-18, 20)

The breaking of bread, which should be understood as matzah, unleavened bread as we know this meal, took place on Passover. Luke records, “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching” (Luke 22:1). Yeshua says,

And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)

Dr. Bock notes in his chapter,

What makes this meal so different is that Jesus not only refers to the Exodus and ties the meal to Israel’s history, but also completely recasts the meal as a vehicle for describing His coming death as a substitutionary sacrifice. The Lucan reference “for you” points to the substitutionary nature of the sacrifice. In Mark 14:24 Jesus speaks of His shed blood given “for many,” an allusion to Mark 10:45, presenting the idea that Jesus will die as a “ransom for many.” This is in fact a very likely Messianic allusion to Isaiah 53:12, where the Servant bears the sin of the many.

In the Lucan version, the bread is His body and the wine pictures His blood shed for His disciples. Whether Jesus spoke of “the many” as in Mark 14:24 or of the sacrifice being “for you” as in Luke 22:19–20, the point is crystal clear, as Jesus is about to die as an offering made on behalf of others. The allusion to establishing a covenant (Mark 14:24) or a new covenant (Luke 22:20) also assumes a sacrifice and the shedding of blood (Heb. 9:15–22) to inaugurate a covenant.

So in both versions the meal is portrayed as a commentary on Jesus’ forthcoming work, which is the ultimate act of deliverance the Passover anticipated. What started as Israel’s deliverance also had in mind ultimately blessing for the world (Gen. 12:1–3). In places within the meal and service where you would naturally expect to hear about the deliverance of Israel through the first Exodus, we see Jesus pointing His disciples to His substitutionary death for sinners—a second and even greater Exodus deliverance.[2]

Dr. Glaser’s chapter refers to Passover traditions embedded in the Gospel of John, which reflect first-century Jewish life and parallel the celebrations of today.[3] First, John sets the time of the events recorded as taking place during the time of the Passover: “Now before the Feast of the Passover” (John 13:1).

The foot washing that takes place alludes to the various washings in the context of the Passover meal (John 13:3-12). Both the significance of the ritual and the timing as taking place during the meal goes beyond the usual custom of foot washing upon entry to a Jewish home. The dipping of the morsel seems to be more ceremonial than part of a meal and could refer to one of the dipping’s of the Seder, albeit these were further developed in time to come. We are suggesting that Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Passover the same way any other first-century Jewish family may have done at the time.[4]

It is understood that the Messiah did not celebrate what was created over multiple centuries. Yet, oral traditions may have existed at the time that was eventually included in the Passover celebration.

Christians read and believe the history of Israel recorded in the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament. Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Jesus believe the Passover is a paradigm for salvation that finds its fulfillment at the Last Supper when Yeshua gave new meaning to what was observed at that time. Christians who observe the Passover almost always use an adapted version of the Haggadah that takes this Messianic fulfillment into consideration. This is what Messianic Jews and various church groups and Christian church denominations encourage.

The rabbis might very well misunderstand what transpires during a Christian or Messianic Jewish Passover Seder. As the authors of the article suggest,

. . . adopting another’s ritual shows a lack of respect. Even when pursued with the best of intentions, taking another faith’s sacred ritual and transforming it into an expression of one’s own tradition displays a misunderstanding of the complex nature of faith traditions.

The Lord’s Supper, which was probably an adapted and early version of a Passover meal, is referred to many times in the New Testament (e.g., 1 Cor. 11:23-26). Jesus made it part of our faith tradition—not as an outsider but as a Jew who claimed to be the fulfillment of the Messianic hope of the Jewish people.

It can be assumed that the great themes of redemption and salvation had already woven its way into first-century Jewish Passover observance, as nascent as it may have been at the time of Jesus. Jesus affirms this and does not dismiss the importance of the original Passover deliverance commemorated at the Feast. He simply assured the disciples that there was more to come. This was why He used the Passover celebration as a jumping-off point to declare that God’s New Covenant with the Jewish people would begin with His sacrificial death.

The rabbis would do well to view Christian observance of the Passover as fulfilled in Jesus as a sign of appreciation and a way of honoring Jewish tradition. In fact, many Christians who take the Lord’s Supper in the context of a Messianic Passover Seder find it far more meaningful as it ties two of the most profound statements of Jesus to both Jewish and salvation history.

The first century Jewish backgrounds to Communion drives so many Christians to identify with the Jewishness of their faith. This should be viewed as a step forward in Jewish Christian relations as for so many years the chasm between Christians and Jews was wide and even antagonistic. Progress has been made and in many ways there is a greater appreciation and respect among Christians today for the Jewish faith than ever before. This should be affirmed rather than criticized.

Many have noted the deep roots of Torah, from Exodus 12, in whatever Jesus celebrated that evening with His disciples. The links between the two events existed historically and remain canonized in Scripture. Paul said Jesus is our Passover lamb (1 Cor. 5:7). What Jesus did at this meal was to fulfill an Old Testament type established in the book of Exodus. Both the original Exodus and the cross deliver people and show that God keeps His promises. When believers in Jesus observe a Seder, they affirm and celebrate these links and the continuity of the Testaments.

The rabbis conclude,

The Seder is uniquely Jewish, born of the Jewish reading of the Torah, shaped by the architecture of our magisterial Perushim-Pharisees and their rabbis, and given artistry and beauty through 2,000 years of Jewish experience. Christians best honor their Jewish neighbors, to whom they wish to express the love of Christ, by recognizing that the Seder meal is the unique spiritual heritage of the Jewish people and respecting it as such.

We believe such statements undo the bridges built over the last 50 years of Jewish-Christian relations. The question of whether or not Jesus celebrated a Passover Seder as we now know it today is to some degree moot. He observed the Passover in the same way as any other first-century Jew. This event can draw Jews and Christians closer to one another rather than driving an additional wedge between our faith communities.

What is concerning to us is when Christians do not see any identification with the Jewish people and the Jewish backgrounds of their faith. But more to the point, we simply cannot rob Christians of their heritage in Jesus—especially not the events of the Last Supper, which was clearly some type of Passover celebration.

We believe respect cuts both ways.

Dr. Mitch Glaser
President, Chosen People Ministries
New York, New York

Dr. Darrell L. Bock
Executive Director of Cultural Engagement and
Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies
Dallas Theological Seminary | 
Dallas, Texas


[1] Mitch Glaser, “Introduction” in Messiah in the Passover, ed. Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser (New York: Chosen People Ministries; Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2017).

[2] Darrell L. Bock, “Passover in the Gospel of Luke,” in Bock and Glaser, Messiah in the Passover, chap. 4.

[3] See Mitch Glaser, “Passover in the Gospel of John,” in Bock and Glaser, Messiah in the Passover, chap. 5.

[4] Glaser, “Introduction.”

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Finding God In Middle Earth

Dear friend in the Messiah,

Shalom in the glorious name of Jesus our Messiah! This newsletter will highlight our various short-term outreach ministries around the globe where we give volunteers and staff the opportunity to reach Jewish people.

Just recently, I was in New Zealand where I was able to witness the amazing work there among Israeli backpackers. Thanks to hundreds of Christians here who have opened up their hearts and their homes to traveling Israelis, Jewish ministry in New Zealand has exploded!

This morning I had an unforgettable experience as I walked outside my hotel room very early and came face to face with stars and constellations (in reverse configuration!). All I wanted to do was shout Hallelujah!, but it was too early so I restrained myself. I had what I can only describe as a “King David moment” as all I could think of was the Psalmist’s description of what he saw in the night sky above 
Israel reflected in Psalm 8.

David declared, 

O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! (Psalm 8:1)

And, dear friend, all you have to do is to take one look at the pristine array of stars filling the night sky rising high above the mountains of the South 
Island in New Zealand and you would want to do the same!

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