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Is Jesus the Jewish Messiah?

Answering Common Jewish Objections.

Dear friend in the Messiah,

Shalom in His grace. Every October we produce an evangelistic newsletter that you can share with your Jewish friends. The title of this year’s newsletter is pretty straightforward – Is Jesus the Jewish Messiah? and subtitled: Answering Common Jewish Objections.

I believe that the number one reason why Jewish people do not believe in Yeshua (Jesus) is because they believe they would no longer be Jewish if they accept Him. Of course, nothing can be further from the truth! When a Jewish person becomes a believer in Yeshua, he or she is simply embracing the Messiah we have been waiting for over thousands of years. Our Scriptures and tradition teach us that every Jewish person in the world should follow Him when He comes.

Chosen People Ministries was founded in 1894 by Rabbi Leopold Cohn, a native of Hungary. Rabbi Cohn traveled to the United States to seek a better life for himself and his family. He heard a sermon by a Polish Messianic Jew who was preaching the Good News of the Messiah at a Dutch Reformed Church in Manhattan. After months of discussing the Scriptures with this preacher, Rabbi Cohn accepted Yeshua as his Messiah.

He was ostracized in his Jewish community and even his wife threatened to leave him. However, God was merciful and she also came to know Yeshua as her Messiah. Together, Rabbi Cohn and his wife traveled back to Brooklyn where they established the work of Chosen People Ministries, which I have the privilege of leading today.

I am so grateful that someone took the time to speak with Rabbi Cohn about Yeshua and patiently answered his questions. I meet many Jewish people who have questions about God, the Messiah, and the Bible. I enjoy engaging in these conversations. Like the wonderful man who answered Rabbi Cohn’s questions, at Chosen People Ministries we really have all the time in the world to speak with or write to anyone seeking the truth.

We want to help you share the Gospel because we know that God is going to use you powerfully in the lives of the family and friends you love and pray for. If you send us the name of your Jewish friend – we will send them a free copy of this wonderfully evangelistic newsletter. If you would like extra copies, please let us know. Click here, or call 212-223-2252 and just ask!

I Found Shalom

We have produced more than 60 Messianic Jewish video testimonies that you will find on the website, ifoundshalom.com. We are doing testimonies in French, Spanish, Russian, and recently created one of our video testimonies in the Yiddish language! This site is a wonderful tool that you can use in sharing the Gospel with your Jewish friends that provides living examples of Messianic Jews from every walk of life who know and love the Lord.

As you can see, Your Mission to the Jewish People is doing all we can to reach out in creative ways to reach Jewish people with the Gospel. You know that we cannot do this without your prayers and support.  

Warmly in our Messiah,

Mitch

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Young Men and Women are Answering the Call to Jewish Missions

Reflections on Dr. Feinberg

May I share some of my reflections on Dr. Feinberg, who was one of my heroes in the faith? This is one of the reasons I chose to attend Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California after graduating from Northeastern Bible College in 1974. There was only one person in the entire world with whom I wanted to study further—and that was Dr. Charles Lee Feinberg.

Dr. Feinberg was something of a legend among the young Jewish believers who came to faith during the turbulent days of the “Jesus Movement” in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Most of those believers were hippies… and I was one of them!

My parents brought me up in a traditional Jewish home in New York City, and I came to faith in Jesus when I was 19 years old while traveling around Northern California. It was not only me, but many of my Jewish friends became believers too! Most of us were the only believers in our families, and we thought that we were completely alone. We did not know of any rabbis at the time who were believers in Jesus, and we were hungry for leaders and role models with a more traditional Jewish experience who had come to faith. We were regularly accused of becoming believers in Jesus only because we did not know enough about Judaism, and we needed someone to help us speak to our parents and community leaders!

Dr. Charles Feinberg became the role model and spokesman we were seeking.

Dr. Feinberg was trained as a rabbi and eventually earned a Ph.D. in Archaeology at Johns Hopkins University. He was in one of the first graduating classes of Dallas Theological Seminary, then stayed on to teach Hebrew and English Bible at that institution for a number of years before he moved west for an exciting new role as Dean at the new and growing Biola University (formerly known as the Bible Institute of Los Angeles).

As I mentioned before, the Jewish community at the time constantly questioned the validity of our testimonies. Oftentimes, we were accused of actually rejecting Judaism, and abandoning our people and our Jewish heritage by believing in Jesus. But we knew that we had not rejected Judaism—we had simply accepted Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah.

We discovered that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was real and that the Bible was true. This meant that being Jewish was ordained by God, who had created the Jewish people for His own purposes. We were Jews because God made us Jews, and we knew that we needed to better understand our own identity and the Lord’s plan for our people and for us!

Dr. Feinberg loved the Lord and loved his students. I remember going into his office to talk many times during my first couple of years at the seminary. Usually, I had some problem with the way he had graded one of my papers, but most often he was not all that interested in talking about academics. Dr. Feinberg would first ask about my family and about my ministry. Then, like a Jewish grandfather, he would take my hand, hold it warmly, and begin praying for me, for my family, and even for my ability to accept the grade that he would not change!

Dr. Feinberg came to faith through Chosen People Ministries, which was known at the time as the American Board of Missions to the Jews, and he became an instrumental presence in the growth of the Mission. Some of his books, including his superb commentary The Minor Prophets, began as a monthly Bible study in The Chosen People magazine, to which he contributed regularly. He wrote many Gospel tracts, sharing both his testimony and arguments from Scripture for Jesus being the Jewish Messiah.

He wrote these tracts in English, Hebrew, and even in Yiddish. His classic work, Premillennialism or Amillennialism, which was his thesis at Dallas Theological Seminary, is still one of the finest, most coherent, and well-argued polemical works ever written about the future role of Israel in the plan of God.

Dr. Charles L. Feinberg demonstrated in both his life and his ministry that one could be Jewish and believe in Jesus. He loved the Lord, he loved his Jewish people, and he loved our Mission—Chosen People Ministries. And it was in his honor that we dedicated both the seminary training program and the Feinberg Messianic Center in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn.

The Seminary Program

This unique program prepares individuals from every walk of life who sense God’s call to enter into full-time Jewish ministry. The curriculum includes the study of Hebrew, Greek, rabbinic literature and theology, biblical studies, theology, church history, and areas of practical theology.

The Charles L. Feinberg Messianic Jewish Center in Brooklyn, NY

The Charles L. Feinberg Messianic Jewish Center resides in a 14,000-square-foot facility that includes seminary classrooms, dormitories, a 10,000-volume library, and is home to two Messianic Jewish congregations—one English-speaking and one Russian. Located in Midwood, Brooklyn, the Feinberg Center is a hub for evangelistic outreach and discipleship among the neighborhood’s dense Orthodox and Russian Jewish populace. The Center is also an ideal place for Feinberg students to study, worship, and gain valuable experience reaching Jewish people with the Gospel of Jesus.

Studying Jewish theology was always something I wanted to pursue, but did not think it was possible to do it from a Messianic perspective. My education from the Charles Feinberg Program is preparing me for the ministry I’m called to—in the most hands-on way.
– Jessica, Jamestown, NY

Students are immersed in the Jewish community where they live, as they study and serve in ministry among the Jewish people in New York City. Another student, who graduated from Moody Bible Institute, writes,

My name is Joel, I’m 30 years old and from Long Island, NY. Living and studying at the Feinberg Center has greatly improved my ability to build relationships with Jewish people that eventually leads to a comfortable atmosphere for witnessing to them as a trusted friend. I find that my Jewish neighbors are genuinely interested in what I believe and why, and this opens a big window for Jewish ministry.
– Joel, Long Island, NY

Charlotte, a recent graduate who came to us from Vero Beach, Florida, comments,

The Feinberg program has stretched me in so many ways, strengthening my walk with the Lord and giving me an in-depth training for Jewish ministry. The Jewish people are distinct from every people group in the world and have very specific theological, cultural, and historical objections to Jesus. It is imperative to be able to address these objections, and the Feinberg program does just that. Students learn biblical and modern Hebrew, Rabbinic Literature and Theology, and Jewish History in addition to the standard seminary curriculum. I am currently on an outreach to Israeli backpackers in India and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Feinberg program’s superb training. I am also blessed to graduate debt-free thanks to the generous subsidies provided by Chosen People Ministries, through supporters like you! I can’t thank you enough! My time here has been a blessing!
– Charlotte, Vero Beach, FL

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Help Israeli children learn about Yeshua

Dear friend,

Shalom in His grace. I am writing to you from Israel where I am visiting our dedicated staff who are serving the Lord in the Holy Land. We currently have 24 missionaries and administrators working in Israel-—most of whom are Israelis, and we are so thankful for the growth of our ministries in Israel!

As you may know, our Israeli staff host a number of children’s camps each year. Just a few weeks ago, I was told of a tremendous opportunity we have to reach Jewish children in the Holy Land.

Our Camp Director, Maxim Katz, and our Israel Director, Michael Zinn, asked me to provide sponsorships for the growing number of children who want to attend our Messianic camps but cannot afford the costs since they come from poor immigrant families. Many of these kids are from unbelieving homes. Even so, their parents have given us written permission to teach them about Jesus through our camping programs. This just amazes me!

I asked Maxim to tell me in his own words what his team of youth workers has planned:

Our children’s ministry is growing. Each year we have children’s camps; two of them take place in Israel on Passover and the other on the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) in the fall. In each camp we have around 130 people including the leadership team and children from different congregations throughout Israel.

All our camps are in Hebrew with translation into Russian for those who need it. The camps also give an opportunity to continue to work with the youth who are going to join the army, who are currently serving or have just finished their service. They help to prepare the program. We meet during the year to pray, have fellowship, and create the program together. We cooperate with nine congregations in Israel who bring their children and leaders to the camp. 

During the summer time we take 40-50 Israeli children to Poland where Polish Christians are eager to help us by providing the location and the staff for the camp, which incredibly reduces our costs! This brings together children from Russian Jewish families from Israel, and children from Germany and the former Soviet Union. The program is a joint Chosen People Ministries venture and volunteers come to help us from all around the world. 

We are happy to say that recently 30% of the children come to us from non-believing homes.

The demand to attend the camps is great, and we are planning one additional camp in Israel this fall for 85 kids and 35 leaders.

What an amazing opportunity we have to bless these Israeli children! We hope and pray that their young hearts will be open to receiving the Gospel, if not now, then when they grow up. We are currently raising funds to provide these children with sponsorships to attend our Messianic camps. August is a difficult financial month for most ministries and local churches, but I believe God will supply all of our needs according to His riches in Messiah. (Philippians 4:19)

In the name of our Messiah,

Mitch

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God Keeps His Promises

The modern state of Israel is simply the resurrection of the nation God created through Abraham.

 

Shalom in the Messiah,

I wish I had been alive on May 14, 1948!

I cannot imagine what it was like for Bible-believing Christians to see the Jewish people reestablished as a nation in the land of Israel. I would imagine that believers who heard the announcement on the radio or read about it in the newspapers probably thought about some very specific passages in the Old Testament, which promised that the Land of Israel would be the possession of the Jewish people. For example,

The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17)

On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates….” (Genesis 15:18)

“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.” (Genesis 17:8)

Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: “If this fixed order departs from before Me,” declares the Lord, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease from being a nation before Me forever.” (Jeremiah 31:35-36)

“I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord. (Ezekiel 37:14) Continue reading

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The revival of the Gospel in Israel

Dear friend in the Messiah,

Shalom! I never thought I would have the joy of writing to you about the incredible discipleship and training opportunities we have today among Israeli young adults! I remember my first trip to Israel in 1976, while still in seminary, and there were only a few hundred Jewish believers in Israel. Well, times have changed and the Lord has worked in great power to touch the lives of thousands of Israelis. In fact, we are now seeing what I call a “second generation” movement of Israeli young people coming to the Lord and dedicating their lives to serving the Lord!

This is why your Mission to the Jewish People has initiated a special training and mentoring program among this new wave of young Israelis, which we call Living Waters.

Let me tell you about our Living Waters mentoring program in Israel!

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Messiah in the Passover

Passover and Easter are like bookends holding together a narrative of faith 
that spans thousands of years.

 

Shalom!

Happy Passover and Easter season! I look forward to this time of year when we observe Passover, which is a foreshadowing of the most defining moment in human history—the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.

The two holidays are forever linked in much the same way as the Old and New Testaments are joined in one great story of God’s love and redemption. Yet, the historical distinctions between them are at the core of the religious self-understanding of so many Jewish people and Christians.

It is thought that Passover is for the Jews and Easter is for the Christians. However, in the Bible and in the mind and heart of God, I believe they are twin sisters of the same redemptive truth. The cross only makes sense in the shadow of the blood-smeared doors of the Israelite slaves in Egypt.

How I pray that my Jewish family and friends might one day recognize the continuity of this one great story and its fulfillment in the Messiah of Israel—Jesus. Passover and Easter are like bookends holding together a narrative of faith that spans thousands of years, dozens of authors, and Spirit-breathed texts (2 Timothy 3:16).

Yet, it is still one grand story of God’s love and creation, of man’s fall and spiritual wanderings, and of the prophetic hope exquisitely fulfilled when the Savior spoke these words at His last Passover supper with His disciples.

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.” 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 22:19-20)

In order to help this season be all the more meaningful to you, I have some really good news! 

Our staff has produced a 350-plus-page book entitled, Messiah in the Passover. It is a reference book and there is something in this volume for everyone! It includes an in-depth study of the Passover throughout biblical history, church history, and Jewish history—all of which leads to a deeper understanding of the Passover today and how the Jewish people celebrate this remembrance of the redemption from Egypt. 

We also cover some very practical topics, such as how to use the Passover in sharing the Gospel with your Jewish friends and linking the Last Supper, which was a Passover Seder, with the Lord’s Supper, where Jesus announced His death and resurrection through the traditional elements of the Passover meal.

We provide a Jesus-centered Hagaddah, or guide, to a family Passover that you can use in your own home and also provide Passover lessons for your children so that they can better grasp this great Old Testament story.

And, we included a number of delicious recipes so you can enjoy many of the traditional Passover foods yourself! 

The book is now available for pre-order. We are also happy to send you a copy of the book for your donation of $200 or more. As you know, we depend upon God and your generous support to continue our ministry of reaching the Jewish people with the message of redemption. 

We have also developed a new website entitled—you guessed it…Messiah in the Passover. So please visit www.messiahinthepassover.com to enjoy a bundle of wonderful features including Passover “how to” videos and some additional detailed studies that will enable you to learn more about the Jewish heritage of our faith.

Please remember to pray for Your Mission to the Jewish People this month as we share the message of Messiah in the Passover with thousands of Jewish people, both online through our Facebook campaigns, and in person through our Messiah in the Passover presentations at churches, and banquets at our centers and Messianic congregations. Find out more by visiting our website and find a presentation near you.

Passover, Prophecy, and Jesus

Allow me to share with you the following excerpt from my chapter written on the Passover in the Gospel of John from the Messiah in the Passover book:

Often referred to as His Passion, this last week is the most eventful of Jesus’ short life. Certainly, it is the most significant from a human perspective, as it includes His death and resurrection—the penultimate moment of human history.

His final week, according to John, also includes various teachings, which are unique to this Gospel [of John] such as His Upper Room Discourse, teaching on the Holy Spirit, High Priestly Prayer, etc.

The last week of Jesus’ life is also significant because many Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled during this week, especially those involving His atoning death and resurrection.

The agenda, goals, and purposes of His last week are outlined in both the Old and New Testaments and driven by the necessity for Jesus to fulfill all that is predicted about Him in the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, as well as His own predictions in the Gospels.

In particular, three Old Testament passages heavily influence the agenda of the Messiah’s last week on earth: Isaiah 53, Daniel 9:24–26, and Leviticus 23. These texts create a path for what Yeshua would do and when He would do it.

  1. Isaiah 53—The prediction of the Messiah’s suffering, death, and resurrection, along with Israel’s response to His message.
  2. Daniel 9:24–26—The prediction of the Messiah’s death as detailed in the prophecy of the seventy weeks.
  3. Leviticus 23—The pattern of the Messiah’s passion as revealed through the Passover, which will especially influence the last week of Jesus’ life.

The Jewish festivals found in Leviticus 23 appear to be prophetic types and in one way or another are fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus (we view the first four “spring” festivals as fulfilled in His first coming and the three additional “fall” festivals as fulfilled in His second coming).

Additional Old Testament prophecies such as Psalm 22 and Zechariah 12:10 also help to paint a prophetic portrait of our Messiah’s last days on earth. As the Apostle Peter writes,

As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. (1 Peter 1:10–11)

There is no doubt that the Savior of the world was born to die in order to fulfill many direct prophecies and types. Especially that of the Lamb of God, which is a direct comparison to the Passover lamb whose blood was smeared on the doorposts of the Israelite homes to protect their firstborn males from the tenth plague of the Exodus story.

The Apostle John, in the book of Revelation, describes Jesus as “the Lamb who has been slain” (Revelation 13:8). The Apostle Peter adds that we,

. . .were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold,…but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you. (1 Peter 1:18–20)

The predicted role of Jesus as the suffering and sacrificial Lamb of God who will die for sin and rise from the grave is not peripheral to the plan of God, but rather is at the very heart of who Jesus is and what He came to accomplish. Isaiah had already used the prophetic imagery of the Passover lamb in his well-known chapter 53.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

This last week of the Savior’s life would conclude with the Passover!

I hope you will be blessed and enriched and that the Messiah of the Passover will be more precious to you than ever before!

Your brother,

Mitch

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The Cup of Sanctification: The First Cup of the Passover Seder

The first cup is the cup of sanctification. Four cups of wine are poured during the course of the Seder. When drinking the cup of sanctification we recite, “I will bring you out from Egypt.” Isn’t the Lord wonderful? Think about it, the children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years. Their tears were bitter! They started out their time as dignified guests but with time and regime change, they became slaves. The yoke of slavery was burdensome and heavy. During Passover, we remember how God brought the children of Israel out from slavery and made us into a great nation with a name and a great purpose.  You see, Israel always had a purpose and calling—to be light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah 49:6, Acts 13:47) and to bring Messiah Jesus into the world! Without the Jewish people, without Passover, we would not have the Messiah—what a humbling thought!

When drinking the cup of sanctification, we remember God bringing Israel out of slavery and the miracle that the Messiah came through the line of David. We also earnestly pray for the many Jewish people who are still in spiritual slavery, who have yet to embrace Jesus, their very own Messiah.

Your brother,

Mitch

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