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Ministry Update from Israel

Shalom from Israel!

As I write to you, I am looking out over the beautiful Dead Sea. I am in Israel for several weeks to encourage our twenty-five staff members serving the Lord in the Holy Land. What a joy to see the power of God unleashed in Israel today.

But first of all, let me thank you for praying for Chosen People Ministries. We could not do this work without your love, encouragement, prayers, and faithful support!

I believe our ministry is in good health in all areas: spiritually, financially, theologically, and strategically. I thank God daily for the wonderful sense of unity within our ministry, from the board level to the staff. We have so much to be thankful for over the course of more than a century of ministry.

Our staff continues to be filled with vision for the future and an enduring passion for the salvation of our Jewish people. The heartfelt cry of those who serve with Chosen People Ministries resonates with the words of the great Apostle Paul who wrote: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them (the Jewish people) is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1).

Please allow me to reflect for a moment on some of what the Lord has accomplished through our dedicated staff this past year in His Land!

We maintain two outreach facilities: one in Jerusalem, which we own, and another in greater Tel Aviv, which we rent—the Ramat Gan Messianic Center. Through these facilities and others, we distribute food and relief across the country, sponsor concerts, Sabbath meals, Bible studies, and ministries to young parents and their children.

Our Isaiah 53 online campaign continues to reap good results in Israel. During this past fiscal year, we received more than 3,000 requests for the Isaiah 53 Explained book in Hebrew. Of these requests, 90 percent are from non-believers.

We continue a robust program of children’s camping programs in Israel, as well as trips for Israeli children to Poland and Germany. During this past year, we had more than 600 children and teens in our programs, with dozens of decisions for the Lord among the young people we are serving.

Our ministry among Holocaust survivors continues to thrive as we serve this rapidly diminishing community throughout Israel. We sense an urgency for this ministry, as Holocaust survivors will not be with us for much longer. Maxim Katz, our dedicated staff member who needs a kidney transplant, is the one who leads this ministry. He continues to need our prayers.

We are also serving the next generation of Israeli Messianic leaders by training them through our Living Waters mentoring retreats each summer. We usually take a group of 35–40 leaders, which includes husbands and wives, and oftentimes children. We usually go to a hotel on the beach for a retreat and provide a speaker from the United States who addresses a relevant topic. It is our vision to help equip both vocational Christian workers as well as those in a variety of occupations, including army careers, to develop in their leadership as they serve the Lord through their local congregations or in some type of ministry.

Our Partnership
Thanks so much for your prayers and faithful support. Without you, none of the above would be possible. We are partners in the gospel! We are looking forward to the most intensive outreach we have ever had as we bring more than 125 people to serve on the streets of New York City from July 27 until August 10, 2019.

Again, Zhava and I are grateful for the opportunity to serve with Chosen People Ministries in the United States and around the globe in reaching our Jewish people for Jesus! The fiscal year 2019 was a year of good growth and celebration of our 125 years of faithful service to the Lord, and we look forward to continued celebrations through the end of December. We are especially looking forward to our November 15 banquet in New York City, which is part of our Chosen People Ministries heritage weekend. For more information, please visit chosenpeople.com/anniversarygala.

Thanks for caring, and have a blessed remainder of the summer!

Your brother in the Messiah,

Dr. Mitch Glaser
President, Chosen People Ministries

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Israeli Soldier Encounters Yeshua

Shalom from Jerusalem! I am writing this quick note from the Holy Land. I have been here for a month working with our staff, participating in Chosen People Ministries’ celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel, mentoring young leaders, and sharing the gospel with Israelis.

We also organized a special outreach event at our Ramat Gan/Greater Tel Aviv Center. We invited all those who have responded to our Hebrew Facebook ads by ordering a copy of the book I wrote, Isaiah 53 Explained. It was billed as a Meet the Author event. Of course, the author of Isaiah 53 is only Isaiah in part, since God Himself is the true author of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16)! So, they came to meet me, but I was hoping and praying they would meet Him!

A handful of Israeli non-believers attended, for which I was grateful. The conversations were lively with a lot of interaction, and they respectfully listened as I shared the truth of the gospel from this great chapter of the Bible. Afterward, I spoke with Ronit,* a young woman currently in the army who attended the event in her fatigues! She came with another young female soldier from her unit who was her friend. Ronit approached me with a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained in Hebrew and asked if I would sign the book. I did, and I also asked her what she thought of my talk. She was all smiles and told me how much she enjoyed it. Then she said something I will never forget. I asked her if she had heard about Jesus before and she said, “Absolutely!” When I asked how, she hugged her friend and said, “This is my friend and she has been talking to me about the Messiah…and it is beginning to make sense to me.” She replied that there was another female soldier who was a believer in her unit, and with a big smile said, “They are the best people I have ever met!”

I was delightfully surprised by her heartfelt and evident respect and love for her two believing friends. There is no doubt in my mind that she is not far from the kingdom. I was reminded of the power of our personal witness in word and through our lives! As Peter describes,

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15).

Please keep reading for another moment and let me explain what really goes into my being able to meet a young woman like Ronit.

First of all, we need to write and edit books like Isaiah 53 Explained. We had to print the book and pay for the mailing costs, Facebook ads, and rent for a center in very expensive Tel Aviv. Remember, we cannot easily rent a church or another facility for an outreach as there is only one church within twenty-five miles of our center!

I am so grateful for your sacrificial gifts that help us make the message of the gospel known to a sinful and broken world.

In fact, if this precious young soldier is the only person that ever comes to faith because of the ways God uses our very “human and frail” efforts, then I will be satisfied and rejoice. But, we know there will be others and that God is faithful to His word. As Paul writes, “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:7).

Please continue to pray for the work of Chosen People Ministries. You have a vital part in bringing the gospel to Jewish people in Israel, Brooklyn, and around the globe through your prayers, support, and encouragement.

Thanks so much and I pray you have a great rest of the summer.

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Israel and the United States: A New Relationship?

Like you, my mind and prayers have been focused on the election this year.

Now the election is over, but our prayers must not stop. As America begins to heal and move forward, please continue praying for our nation and leaders.

There are two specific prayer requests I invite you to pray with me about:

  • Pray that the Lord will lead our new president to be a Psalm 1 type of person.
  • Pray for our new leaders to treat the nation of Israel with generosity and kindness, that Israel will be regarded as an ally and friend of America.

Both of these prayer requests are vitally important for our nation’s sake. Remember the words God spoke to our forefather Abraham:

“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 12:3).

This promise is as true today as when God made it to Abraham — which is why you and I must pray that our new president will follow after God’s heart and bless Israel by standing with the Jewish people.

At the same time, the rising tide of antisemitism around the world presents a critical opportunity for Christians to show their love — the love of the Messiah — to the Jewish people. In the midst of attacks and hostility, your love can be a powerful testimony of God’s grace and mercy through Jesus the Messiah.

And now more than ever, the Jewish people are responding to the loving and hopeful message of the Gospel … on the Internet!

Simply by posting ads on Facebook or other online sites, you and I are able to engage Jewish people around the world with the message of Jesus — often offering Isaiah 53 Explained or other written material for more information.

By God’s grace we have been digitally discovered by more than 10,000 Jewish seekers who have ordered an Isaiah 53 Explained book or some other type of Gospel material from our websites!

The Internet is just the starting point for an ongoing conversation. One of our team members or partners always follows up personally with a phone call or email …

Amazingly, the Jewish people are responding and asking questions about Jesus!

Gabriel, one of our young staff workers in the Tel Aviv area, recently shared with me about one of his follow-up efforts with an Israeli student named Lior* who discovered Isaiah 53 Explained online…

“Lior got in touch with me to let me know that she received the book and started reading it. She felt that the book was too evangelistic and was surprised that there was not a big warning label on the book of its ‘missionary’ purpose.

“So I asked her why she ordered the book in the first place. It turned out Lior’s professor commented that the entire Old Testament is important, but Isaiah 53 is forbidden by the rabbis to be read by Jewish people.

“That same day, Lior returned home, went onto her Facebook, and saw our advertisement, ‘Isaiah 53 — The chapter that will change your life!’ She ordered the book, shocked that — in fact — we are allowed to freely read this very important chapter of Scripture.

“Please pray for Lior as we are talking and looking into the role of Messiah according to God’s Word. It is exciting to share with Lior as she, in an honest and open way, wants to know more about Messiah and understand our need for forgiveness.”

Right now, we have had requests from more than 1,500 Israeli seekers to receive Isaiah 53 Explained in Hebrew — and this is happening in the United States, too!

Many years ago, I led my dear friend Boris, a Russian Jewish brother, to the Lord and discipled him. Now, Boris serves with Chosen People Ministries in Florida and recently wrote to me about Sam* …

“Sam was thrilled when he read the information he found on the Florida Isaiah 53 Facebook page. He shared with me that for the last ten years he has been very interested in Jesus, God, and the Bible. You can imagine my happiness …

“I spoke with Sam for a good hour and touched on many passages from the Scriptures, from Genesis through the books of the New Testament.

“Sam was very open and a bit argumentative— but at the end of the conversation, we agreed to meet together and talk more. I hope there will be a good friendship between the two of us and I will be able to witness to him about Yeshua!”

I could tell you story after story like these — of precious people who are discovering the Messiah through online ads, Isaiah53.com, and the faithful efforts of our missionaries.

Thank you for your prayer. I pray that the Lord will fill your heart with thanksgiving and joy!

Yours in Messiah,

Dr. Mitch Glaser

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A Christian Responds to the UNESCO Resolution on the Temple Mount

I asked my friend Dr. Randall Price to comment on the recent resolution by UNESCO which attempts to make a case for the Temple Mount having never been in Jewish hands.  Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, and this is why we have prepared a petition which I hope you will sign and pass along to others.  Please read Randall’s article as it provides some excellent basic information to counter resolution by UNESCO.

– Dr. Mitch Glaser


A Christian Responds to the UNESCO Resolution on the Temple Mount

Randall Price, Ph.D.

On October 12, a resolution was passed by the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), which comprises representatives from 58 states. While not explicitly denying Jewish or Christian claims to the Temple Mount, the wording of the document used exclusively the Muslim term for the site while criticizing Israel of violations and affirming its Palestinian accusers. However, the resolution did state the importance of Jerusalem’s Old City for the three monotheistic religions. Nevertheless, the perception was that UNESCO had sought to change history by denying the claims of other religions to the Temple Mount and a firestorm of protests ensued, resulting in another vote being cast on the resolution on October 26. This vote, however, was the same as the former vote, referring to the Temple Mount compound solely by its Muslim names, “Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” and defined it only as “a Muslim holy site of worship.” But there was one glaring omission from the previous document. It removed the statement mentioning the importance of Jerusalem for any religion but Islam!

For the Jewish People, the Temple Mount is the most sacred site in both ancient and modern times. The First Temple housing the Ark of the Covenant, was built by King Solomon and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. A Second Temple was rebuilt by Zerubbabel after the return from exile in Babylon and enlarged and refurbished by Herod the Great. It was subsequently destroyed by the Roman Tenth Legion in A.D. 70. However, the site has remained the focal point of Jewish daily prayers ever since, with a hope of its rebuilding uniting the Jewish People in every age.

For Muslims, the site is known as Al-Haram al-Sharif (“the Noble Sanctuary”), or more recently as simply Al-Aqsa (“the Far Mosque”). It is recognized as the place where the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven, though not, as popularly thought, the place where, according to Islamic tradition, Ibrahim intended to offer his son Ishmael. That place is agreed by Muslims as being in Mecca (Saudi Arabia).

Christendom has also universally recognized the site as essential to its faith.  Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein reminded Cardinal Parolin of this saying, the resolutions are “an assault on history and is deeply offensive to both Christianity and Judaism.”[1] In the New Testament, Christ was found in the Temple from His dedication as an infant to His final week teaching in its courts. Like every male Jew, He would have made several annual pilgrimages to the Temple, one of which is recorded for His 12th year. The adjacent Mt. of Olives was the place both of Christ’s arrest and ascension. In the Byzantine period, a church was erected on the Temple Mount, and later the Crusaders turned the Muslim Dome of the Rock into a church known as Templum Domini (“the Temple of the Lord”).

Since at the center of UNESCO are the words “Education” and “Science,” it would be fitting to bring some education on the history of the Temple Mount and from the science of the archaeology that evidences that history.

First, it should be understood that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have all historically recognized the site as that of the Jewish Temple(s). Judaism’s history is well-known, and archaeological excavations since 1967 from below the Temple Mount to a Sifting Project of remains from the Temple Mount have revealed countless evidence of the Jewish claim. Among these are inscriptions, such as the Soreg Inscription, that warned (in Greek) Gentiles lest they pass beyond the separation fence between the Court of the Gentiles (outside the Temple) and the Court of the Women (inside the Temple) and bring ritual defilement to the site and death to themselves. The best-preserved copy of this inscription, found just outside the Lion (St. Stephen’s) Gate in the 1800’s, is housed today in the Istanbul Museum in Turkey, an Islamic country. The museum description on the artifact states it came from “the Jerusalem Temple.” Josephus Favius, the first-century Jewish historian for the Romans, gave an account of these warning inscriptions as he did for another stone found in excavations at the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount. This stone, pushed down from the pinnacle of the wall when the Romans destroyed the Temple, bears an inscription that says “To the Place of Trumpeting.” This connects with Josephus statement of the practice of the Temple priests in blowing a trumpet from this high point to signal the beginning and ending of the Shabbat. And the discoveries continue. In recent weeks, the revelation of a First Temple period (7th century BC) Hebrew papyrus mentioning “Jerusalem” and an assemblage of floor tiles and Hebrew inscriptions from the Second Temple, further affirm that the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount is undeniable. The same may be said for Christianity since the New Testament unambiguously records a Jewish Temple and its history is tied into that of the late Second Temple period from which these evidences have come.

In Islam, according to unbiased researchers, the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik originally had the Dome of the Rock built as a shrine for the Jews. Its octagonal structure in Byzantine Christian style was built in AD 691 by an architect named Yazid Ibn Salam, who was either Jewish or used Jewish assistants. They constructed the building around the Foundation Stone in the same manner as the Jewish Temple(s). In this early period, the Dome of the Rock also served as the site of Islamic worship services influenced by the Temple ceremonies such as ritual cleansing, offering incense, anointing the Foundation Stone with oil and enclosing it with curtains (as was done for the Holy of Holies).

As modern testimony to this lost history among Muslims, archaeologists recently discovered a 10th century Arabic inscription located above a mihrab-prayer niche inside an active mosque in the village of Nuba, located seven miles north-west of Hebron.[2] It confirms that the original name of the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhrah), was Beit al Maqdis (Arabic بيت المقدس ) = Hebrew Beit Hamikdash (the [Jewish] Temple, during the early Muslim era.[3] Research of the inscription’s provenance reveals that the Jewish tradition concerning the sanctity of the Temple Mount influenced Muslim perceptions leading them to adopt and re-label Jerusalem as a city holy to Muslims. Asaf Avraham and Peretz Reuven who conducted the research found numerous 8th century Arabic documents and inscriptions, some from the founding of the Islamic faith, naming the Dome of the rock “Solomon’s Temple” Islamic coins of that period coming from the Temple Mount and other parts of Jerusalem contain the image of the Jewish Temple’s seven-branched Menorah. There seems to have been no dispute within Islam about these facts until after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and the 1967 Six day War in which the area of East Jerusalem (containing the Temple Mount) returned to Israeli control. As an example we can read the statement of the Supreme Muslim Council in their publication of a Guide to the Al-Haram al-Sharif: “This site is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest times. Its identity with the Temple of Solomon is beyond dispute.” This statement in the Guide remained the same from the 1930’s-1950’s. Today, however, the same Islamic Authority has its official position that there was never a Jewish Jerusalem and that the Temple(s) never existed.

So why would UNESCO cast their vote to sever millennia-old Jewish and Christian ties to the Temple Mount and declare it to be exclusively an Islamic site? This is the era of narratives, on display in this election year where fact-checking can be as tiresome as it is unwanted by the masses. In the Middle East, it has never been about personal conviction of right or wrong (what facts say), but about how one is affected by what others perceive as right or wrong (what facts do). Therefore, it can be understood that this decision had nothing to do with the facts of history or the rights of religions, but with the political bias based on propaganda and pressure from the Palestinian Authority and the Muslim world. However, for those who are still concerned with the facts, the facts are that the Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and the Temple Mount the site of its Jewish Temple(s). No resolution passed by UNESCO or any other men can counter that decreed by the Almighty, as recorded in Psalm 132:13: “For the LORD has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling place: ‘This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.”’


[1] “Pope Francis: God Promised the Holy Land to the Jews” (October 27, 2016). Accessed at: http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/77605/pope-francis-god-promised-holy-land-jews/?utm_source=Breaking+Israel+News&utm_campaign=2751e5b2fd-BIN_evening_10_16&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b6d3627f72-2751e5b2fd-86892777&mc_cid=2751e5b2fd&mc_eid=a0a5ab280a

[2] “Muslim 9th C inscription names Jerusalem as Solomon’s Temple site,” DEBKAfile October 28, 2016.

[3] David Israel, “Ancient Muslim Inscription Confirms Dome of the Rock’s Jewish Temple Origin

(October 28th, 2016) accessed at: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ancient-muslim-inscription-confirms-dome-of-the-rocks-jewish-temple-origin/2016/10/28/

 

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Stop the Violence…In Israel!

This morning three innocent Israelis were killed in a personal terrorist attack in Jerusalem.  This is another in a long list of what may only be viewed as a new method employed by the enemies within Israel to create chaos by destroying innocent families in hopes of political gain.  And some of us wonder why peace talks have stalled?

Seventeen people were injured in what appeared to be “twin attacks” in Jerusalem by seemingly random terrorists!  It is now becoming more than obvious that these attacks are well planned and that some sinister force is behind the coordination of these “personal terrorists.”

One can search far and wide for reasons and try to even understand what motivates individuals, who also are husbands and fathers, wives and mothers to perpetrate these attacks and even be tempted to sympathize with the victim mentality portrayed by these terrorists in the media.  But, we must resist the urge to think kindly or in any way even trying to understand the predicament that leads individuals to respond in this way.  The response is far more horrible than any alleged crime.  Besides, these three Israelis were innocent.

I appreciate the comments expressed by one individual writing in the Jewish Express online version of the story,

These mass terror attacks on Israeli Jews by Palestinians using knives, guns, and autos to run down pedestrians, is a natural direct result of the PA incentivizing terror. Abbas and the PA encourage such terror, they reward it, they pay money to the family of any terrorist who is killed, they name parks and monuments after terrorists. Abbas recently said that he honors blood shed for Jerusalem That is a direct incitement. It is not the statement of a peace partner. At the same time, when Israel defends its civilians, the PA, the UN, and the media accuse Israel of being aggressors and using disproportionate response. Shooting a terrorist murderer to death is not a disproportionate response. An Israeli died from rock throwing at his car. Israeli Jews die from stabbing by Palestinians. Palestinian throwers of firebombs attempt to burn the Jews alive. It is serious and deadly. Abbas shows clearly that he has no intention of seeking peace. The PA should be cut off from support by the US and the EU.  Their corruption and incentivizing terror disentitle them to money from western countries. (Jewish Express…Tuesday)

We need to ask our elected officials to help Stop the Violence…in Israel!  I hope you will join thousands of others as we voice our concerns to our elected officials and to our Secretary of State, the Honorable John Kerry, to do what he can to meet with Mahmoud Abbas and if possible the leaders of Hamas – still listed as a terrorists group by the United States and demand that they root out whoever is controlling these “personal terrorists” and put a stop to the violence against innocent Israelis.  As you can see from the above quote – the Palestinian leaders seem to be creating the climate for these horrific attacks to continue.

We also need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  The Psalmist made this clear in Psalm 122:6.  And ask the Lord to fulfill His promise found in another Psalm, 121:3-4 and prayed in Synagogues around the world, “He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold He keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep”.

And pray especially for the victims of the personal terrorists that the Lord would bring comfort to their families.

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Turning a Nightmare into a Gospel Opportunity!

Shalom in the great name of Jesus our Messiah!

I do not usually speak about political issues, though, like you, I care deeply about the direction of our country.  That is why every so often I feel I must say something! And this is one of those times.

We are in the midst of a real crisis. It is a crisis for Israel, the United States and countries all across the globe. Allow me to express my concern as a question…

What could be more disastrous for the world than a nuclear-armed Iran?

How Real Is the Iranian Nuclear Threat to Israel?1510PZLW_Iran-Stamp-BS52160233Can you imagine the level of threat when, one day, Iran will be armed with nuclear weapons? They have already developed the missile delivery systems to reach Israel and Europe within a short amount of time.1 The very thought of this puts fear into my soul.

And, I am so sorry that our country has complied with what could be a suicidal agreement with an unabashed enemy of the free world. Even a cursory reading of the deal reveals major flaws that are a danger to Israel and the West. This deal placed unearned trust in the terrorist leaders of Iran rather than our allies and experts who have voiced their dissent. Even our Arab allies decry the deal because it spells danger for them too!

A few months ago the president and spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, wrote a book entitled Palestine. It has not yet been translated into English, but the book calls for the destruction of the “Little Satan”—Israel…and the “Great Satan”—the United States!

One of the most disturbing comments in the book is this:  “Without destroying Israel, our victory is incomplete.” 2

The book describes Khomeini as “the flag bearer of Jihad to liberate Jerusalem,” with a chilling message: Israel has no right to exist and must be destroyed. Khomeini uses powerful words to describe his goal for Israel’s eventual destruction—nabudi (annihilation), imha (fading out), and zaval (elimination).3

Four Critical Reasons Why the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Is So Dangerous

Let me give you four reasons why this alleged “deal” with Iran is a nightmare and can lead to the destruction of Israel, Europe and other nations within the range of Iranian missiles…and why those who love the Bible, the Messiah, and the people of Israel need to pray fervently!

#1. The “deal” virtually guarantees that Iran will one day have nuclear weapons.

#2. Iran will have billions of dollars released to them that they can use to purchase conventional weapons, arming Israel’s enemies and themselves for a conventional war.

# 3. Iran will be able to develop a new economic relationship with Western countries, especially in Europe, which will give them a platform to influence politics and economies around the globe.

#4. Inspections will have no effect on Iran’s plan to build nuclear weapons, as the methods for inspection take so long they are rendered useless.

This is all very bad news for Israel and the West. This more affluent, influential and nuclear-powered Iran is nothing less than a nightmare.

The Jewish People and Persia

1510PZLW_Arab-protest_SS110509355

The Jewish people have a long history in Iran—ancient Persia (586–332 BC). Over the centuries, the Jewish people developed a rich culture and heritage in Persia, beginning with Cyrus who gave the edict allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem.4 Some returned but most did not and continued to build a life among the Persians which endured through centuries of Islamic rule.

In more recent times, Iran was probably the most Western of all nations in the Middle East and was quite favorable towards the Jewish people. However, after the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948, Jewish people living in the Middle East and North Africa had to flee for their lives. Many Jewish people remained in Iran until the fall of the Shah and the rise of a more militant and fundamental Islam under Ayatollah Khomeini.

Today, the number of Jews still living in Iran has dipped below 9,000. Most Iranian Jews live in New York City or Los Angeles with the greatest number living in Israel—especially in the Tel Aviv area.

Iranians are very traditional and often quite religious. This group of Jewish people in Iran is not easy to reach for the Messiah and there has not been a focused effort to reach Iranians Jews for the Lord. But this is changing NOW!

Your Mission to the Jewish People is partnering with a ministry in Tel Aviv led by a Persian Jew who has translated and published our Isaiah 53 Explained book in Farsi—the ancient language of Iranian Jews.

We have already begun testing Farsi ads on Facebook offering Isaiah 53 Explained books for free. We are focusing the ads in Israel and the United States for now and in the future we hope to offer the book as a download to Iranians living in Iran! It is highly likely that our ads will be blocked, but we are going to try anyway.

So how does the Lord turn a nightmare into a Gospel opportunity? 

Well, in this case, by enabling Chosen People Ministries to reach Iranian Jews for the Messiah by sharing the Gospel according to Isaiah 53!

A Ministry to French Jews Too!

I also wanted to bring you up-to-date on our efforts to reach Jewish people in France, which has the fourth largest Jewish population in the world.

The more than half a million Jews of France live under tremendous pressure today.  They are surrounded by a sea of hostile Muslim extremists who, as we know, have violently attacked members of the French Jewish community. This is why many thousands of French Jewish people are moving to Israel.

We have put a strategy in place to reach Jewish people as they move from France to Israel and also those who are taking their chances by remaining in France. This is why we have translated the Isaiah 53 Explained book into French, and why we have created a French Isaiah 53 website. 

We can reach multiple thousands of French and Iranian Jewish people daily by placing evangelistic ads on Facebook, YouTube, and other forms of social media. We have budgeted $500 a day for these ads and we hope to continue at this rate for at least 90 days. 

This would be impossible to do without employing a growing media team. I wish you could meet every member of this team, and if you did I know that you would want to invest in their ministries. The work of this wonderful team of dedicated and creative younger people costs about $20,000 per month.

We want to invest our time and treasure in reaching Jewish people for Jesus. We have discovered that using social media to find these Jewish people interested in Jesus, then following up with them personally through our missionaries, is incredibly effective.

Please partner with us in prayer for the Iranian and French Jews as we attempt to reach out to them through these channels. In addition, would you pray about giving a generous donation today so that we can sustain our media department and purchase the necessary ads to reach Jewish people with the Gospel—both online and in person?

By God’s grace we have already received a gift that allows us to print an adequate number of books to provide for the mailings once they are requested. We want every Jewish seeker to have an Isaiah 53 Explained book for free.

Your generous gift today will be used to support our digital media department and the advertising costs for our French and Farsi outreach campaigns.

I certainly hope that this “deal” with Iran will be rolled back in the future. But the Messiah is all-powerful and turns nightmares into Gospel opportunities, because He is Lord!

Thank you for caring about the Jewish people.

In Him,

Mitch

P.S. Check out our online store to purchase  The Fall Feasts of Israel, written by my wife and myself. This is a great resource to understanding and celebrating the High Holy Days! 

 1510PZLW-Fall-Feasts

ENDNOTES:
1    Isaiah 45:1
1    Isaiah 45:1
2    http://missilethreat.com/missiles/sejil-123/
3    http://irantruth.org/exclusive-first-translation-of-khameinis-new-book-on-the-destruction-of-america-israel/
4    Ibid.

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Tabernacles Tomorrow

The People, The Land and the Future of Israel Conference – Toronto, Canada, October 2-3, 2015

Introduction

According to the Bible, the Jewish people are the chosen people but what are they chosen for exactly? What did God have in mind by making them a people set apart? The ancient prophets speak about Israel’s future repentance, redemption and eschatological rejoicing in the coming of her Messianic King in great detail. Yet, none of the Jewish Festivals are mentioned – none, that is, except for Sukkot, otherwise known as the Feast of Tabernacles. Among all the feasts of Israel, Sukkot is the only holiday that will be observed by all of the redeemed nations of the world, Jew and Gentile alike after the Second Coming of Christ (Zechariah 14:16).

The prophet Zechariah wrote about a future day when all the nations of the earth, not only the Jewish people, will be called upon to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This command might seem mysterious, but in light of Israel’s biblical calling and mission, the place accorded to Tabernacles is actually very well suited.

The Calling and Mission of Israel

The future observance of Sukkot by the nations of the world is connected with Israel’s election and mission. The universal nature of God’s plan for the Jewish people stretches back to His covenant with Abraham. In that holy agreement, God promised,

“And I will bless those who bless thee, and one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).

Israel’s election must always be linked with her mission to the Gentiles. From faithful Abraham’s seed, God would raise up His chosen people, Israel, to be a blessing to the nations! Israel was chosen to be God’s vehicle of blessing to the world!

Moses wrote regarding the choosing of Israel:

For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 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 (Deuteronomy 7:6-7).

God’s choice of Israel was not based upon Abraham’s merit or the obedience of the nation. God chose Israel because He decided to love the nation.

… 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 7:8).

God’s electing love falls upon unworthy sinners as He is a God of grace and a God of purpose. Oftentimes His election is linked to a particualr purpose He wants to accomplish and He chooses and uses whomsoever He wills – including Israel. Rarely in Scripture do those God chooses to use deserve the privilege!

God chose the Jewish people as His means to bless all mankind. God chose to love the Jewish people, and through this nation, to express His love for the world.  Israel’s chosenness did not mean to assure indivudal Jewish people of personal salvation. Rather, God’s choice garauntees the chosen nation of ultimately fulfilling His plan as God never fails to keep His promises. So although it may seem like God limited His line of promise by choosing one nation above others, His redemptive plan was always universal in nature so that His plan of redemption would be offered to the entire world.

This is why the Apostle Paul wrote,

Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (Romans 11:12-15)

Witnesses of the One True God

The prophet Isaiah announces that the nation of Israel would be a witness for God among the nations:

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 (Isaiah 43:10).

In this passage, the prophet paints the picture of a cosmic law court, where God is the judge, and the nations of the world stand trial for their idolatry.  Israel is the star witness for the prosecution, chosen to testify on God’s behalf. Isaiah further details the testimony of the Jewish people regarding the nature and character of God, the prophet writes,

I, even I, am the Lord and there is no savior besides me (Isaiah 43:11).

Israel’s mission was to proclaim to the world that the God of Israel is the one and only true God and there is no other Savior but Him.

Missionary Priests

Israel was to be more than a witness to the nations; they were also to be intercessors for the Gentiles. They were commissioned for this holy responsibility at Mount Sinai.

God called to Moses and said,

You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I upbore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.  Now then, if you will indeed hear my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:4-6).

Once again God expressed His concern for the world when He declared, “…all the earth is mine.” He chose Israel from among all the peoples of the earth for an eternal purpose – that they might be His vehicle to restore and reclaim a rebellious world. Israel was not chosen for their own sake, but for the sake of the nations. God describes their unique position as “a kingdom of priests.” Their role was to intercede between the sinful world and a holy God.

In the passage above, God called the people by an endearing term: “a special treasure.” Although Israel was intended to be God’s treasure and possession, we must remember that the entire world belongs to the Lord and is the subject of His redemptive concern. It is God’s intention for Israel to serve as a nation of missionary priests mediating His truth and redemption to the nations.

Israel’s Failure

Israel failed in their mission to reach the world.  Not only were they disobedient to the commandments of God, but they did not extend themselves in missionary activity. And yet, the God of all grace did not renege on His choice. He would still use the nation of Israel to bless the world and ultimately fulfill His promises to and through the Jewish people (Romans 11:11-29).

Israel did not fulfill their mission as a witness to the Gentiles and so God completed the task Himself. He sent His Son Jesus to live perfectly under the Law, to be a light to the nations and to intercede once for all on behalf of Jews and Gentiles. The faithlessness of man can never thwart the faithfulness of God. The Gentiles most assuredly would share in the salvation brought by the divine seed of Abraham. Paul wrote,

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,” in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith  (Galatians 3:13-14).

It is tempting for some to think that Israel’s role in world redemption is completed, but quite the contrary– Israel remains chosen and still has a role to play in the future! The Apostle Paul declared:

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

And again he wrote, For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (Romans 11:15)

The Apostle spoke of a future day when Israel will once again don the mantle of obligation and fulfill her role as a missionary nation as Israel will again be used by God to bring the message of the Messiah to the nations; for Israel will be central to His Kingdom ministry.

Isaiah spoke of a day when Jerusalem would be restored, both physically and spiritually:

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning.  And the nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will designate. You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord and a royal diadem in the hand of your God (Isaiah 62:1-3).

In that day,

Israel will not be the tail, but the head of the nations (Deuteronomy 28:13).

Jerusalem will be the spiritual focal point of the world because the King of Jerusalem, the Prince of Peace, will reign in His chosen city. Isaiah wrote of that joyful occasion:

Break forth, shout joyfully together, your waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God (Isaiah 52:9-10).

The day is coming when a restored and renewed Israel will be a light to the nations, as the destiny of Israel is linked to the destiny of the world. Their testimony will be glorious and true because the One who is all-glorious in truth will sit upon His throne. In that day, the Jewish people will be “life from the dead” for the nations of the earth.

Universal Themes in the Feast of Tabernacles

God’s concern for the Gentiles is evident in the Talmudic writings regarding Sukkot. In Jewish sources, Israel’s role in world redemption was thought to be a major theme of the Feast of Tabernacles. The rabbis suggest that the seventy bullocks offered on the last day of the feast correspond to the seventy nations of the world and therefore, on Sukkot, the nation of Israel offered sacrifices on behalf of the Gentiles.

This is reiterated in the Midrash:

“At the festival of Tabernacles we offer up seventy bullocks (as an atonement) for the seventy nations, and we pray that rain will come down for them”  (Psalm 109:4).

Israel is viewed here as a nation of intercessors for the sins of the Gentiles.  This universal theme is also recounted in the later and more mystical literature of the Kaballah and the Zohar as well.

The traditional Bible reading on the second day of Sukkot is taken from the fourteenth chapter of the book of Zechariah. An additional portion read on Sukkot speaks about the War of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38:13-39:16). This seems incongruous – what thematic relationship could this Scripture portion have with the Feast of Booths? While it may not be evident to the casual reader, the common thread uniting these two passages is God’s universal concern for the redemption of the nations.

In Zechariah 14, the judgment against rebellious nations is pictured as God withholding life-giving rains from those nations disobedient and who do not come to Jerusalem to worship the Messianic King and celebrate Tabernacles.

Curiously, the judgment in Ezekiel 38 upon hostile nations is also described as rain – as judgment rains “hailstones, fire and brimstone.

The Lord declared, “I shall magnify myself, sanctify myself and make myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:23).

Whether in blessing or in judgment, God intends to show the nations that He is the Lord.

The Meaning of the Prophecy

The prophet Zechariah spoke of the end of days, when Israel and the nations would celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. In that day, Israel will be vindicated and her enemies destroyed. At the end of this great tribulation period, the Jewish people will cry out to God; and in His great mercy, the Lord will send His Messiah, Jesus, to deliver them from annihilation.

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn” (Zechariah 12:9-10).

Israel will be restored, both spiritually and nationally. Her enemies will be crushed and the Messiah will reign on His throne over Israel and the nations of the earth:

“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)

God does not want to destroy the nations, but to bring them into submission to His Throne. He will command the faithful among the Gentiles to come to Jerusalem and celebrate the Feast of Booths (Zechariah 14:16).

Why did God choose Sukkot, and not one of the other major festivals, as the test of obedience for the Gentiles? Some scholars feel that Sukkot, as the Feast of Ingathering, is the most appropriate time for God to gather the human fruit for His kingdom. Others believe that the heathen, who have been brought out of the wanderings of this life into the blessedness of God’s kingdom, celebrate the Feast of Thanksgiving out of their overflowing gratefulness to the God who redeemed them.

Most importantly, though, Zechariah describes the conversion of the nations to the one true God. In every age, God gives His people obligations. The Feast of Tabernacles must be viewed as one of the kingdom obligations of the Gentiles. It is their opportunity to worship God as well as His test point for their obedience. The prophet warned the recalcitrant and disobedient nations that there would be bitter judgment for any who would not keep the feast. The judgment, in keeping with the theme of the Feast of Ingathering, calls for God to withhold rain. If the nations were not willing to worship God in Jerusalem, He would withhold the provision of food as well as His blessings.

Yeshua the Messiah and the Feats of Tabernacles

Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Jewish festivals and this includes Sukkot. First of all we understand that Jesus Himself is the fulfillment of the Festival in that He is God in the flesh who “tabernacled” among us. As John writes,

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

The Greek term used for “dwelt” is skene, a word which refers to pitching a tent. The image is easy to grasp – God pitched a tent which was His flesh, veiling His pure glory, through the incarnation. Jesus pitches His tabernacle and dwelled among us for a short sojourn until the day reign. In that day The Messiah King will pitch a far larger tent that would include both Israel and the nations under His sovereign leadership and Lordship.

Jesus celebrated the Festival in John 7 where one of His greatest and most profound announcements of who He is came at the time of the Feast.  It is actually the seventh day of the Feast, Hoshana Rabbah and it was the custom of the Jewish people during this period to send a band of Levites with choir and orchestra down to the pool of Siloam to gather running water in giant urns and to then bring them back to the altar.

They would march around the altar crying our Hosheanah – Lord Save us…Lord save us… many times over…they would then pour the water out from the urns at the base of the altar. This symbolizes the future hope of the Jewish people looking towards the day when Messiah would come and pour His Spirit upon the people of Israel in fulfillment of Joel 2:28-29:

“It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind: And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”

These events were to take place when the Messiah appeared on earth according to Jewish tradition. This pouring out was foreshadowed in the Temple by the pouring out of the water at the base of the altar.  The water drawing ceremony as it was known was a portrait of the day when God would send His Messiah and His Spirit and the Jewish people would come alive spiritually as never before.

Jesus understood this tradition and therefore, on the seventh great day of the Feast He stood up and the following took place:

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).

Clearly, Jesus was telling the crowds gather from around the Jewish world for the Feast – one of the three of which it was commended for Jewish males to go up to Jerusalem…He was the Messiah, the Spirit of God is now poured out…and He is the living water and those who drink or believe in Him will never thirst again!

The Ultimate Sukkot

We would be remiss not to mention the ultimate and eternal significance of the Feast of Tabernacles, for the Apostle John wrote,

And I heard a loud voice from the thrones saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among men and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, crying, or pain, the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).

We believe God will fulfill the kingdom promises to the Jewish people and establish the throne of Jesus in a literal but renewed Jerusalem. But that is not the end of the story – there is more to come. Ultimately, the whole earth will become the Sukkah booth of God and He will reign through His Son for all eternity. This reminds us of Solomon’s prayer, where he understood so clearly God’s intention to fill His redeemed earth with His very presence. Doesn’t this give a whole new perspective to why Tabernacles is called the Season of Our Joy? What greater joy can there be than to be in the presence of God forever?


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