Dear friend of the Jewish people,
Shalom in His grace. I hope your new year is off to a good start. I am taking one step at a time and praying for the best. Our nation is struggling to control the virus, and hopefully, we will make further progress this month.
The Scriptures provide great comfort and encouragement during this trying time. For example, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
Passages like this fill my soul with hope.
One of the blessings of leading a 127-year-old mission to the Jewish people is realizing that the Lord can guide us through the toughest of times. Throughout our history, Chosen People Ministries has survived antisemitism and persecution, the Holocaust, two world wars, the Great Depression, the struggles faced by the nation of Israel at her birth as a modern nation, and even a couple of pandemics!1 Yet, we are still serving the Lord and growing in our ministry’s scope and strength because He is faithful and has a heart for His chosen people.
I believe the Lord will sustain us as a ministry until He returns—when there will no longer be any need for Jewish ministries! I cannot wait until Jesus returns so I can begin my new career as a full-time worshipper of the Jewish Messiah!
TURNING OUR EYES TOWARD THE FUTURE
As we turn the corner and work our way through this pandemic, it is time, I believe, to think about the future. We have a hope that will never disappoint and is full of confidence in the Lord who sent His only Son to die for our sins, rise from the grave, ascended to the right hand of His Father, and will return at any moment!
My dear friend, it is time to turn our eyes toward the Second Coming of Yeshua and to allow Scripture to fuel our hope and transform the way we live!
According to the Bible, we know that Jesus will return in the same way He left—physically—with great glory. Luke wrote, “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
The Lord of glory is on His way and could come at any moment. While there are still a few steps along the way, the next significant move for all who love the Lord is to spend eternity living in His presence. For you and me, that should cause us to smile and be encouraged.
A SURVEY OF THE END TIMES
A year ago, we co-sponsored a survey with Lifeway Research, an arm of the Southern Baptist Association. We discovered that many pastors say they are focused on the Second Coming and are confident in teaching and preaching about the “end times.”2
According to the survey of more than one thousand pastors, nine in ten see at least some current events matching those Jesus said would occur before He returns. Not surprisingly, 97 percent s say they believe Jesus Christ will literally and personally return to earth again.
Our board member, Dr. Darrell Bock, professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, noted that the Bible lists several signs of Jesus’ return, such as in the Olivet Discourse passages of Matthew 24–25, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Some include concepts of global sicknesses.
Dr. Bock notes,
“Numerous biblical texts speak of disturbances in the creation that disorient and trouble people,” said Bock. “These disturbances have quite a range with earthquakes and wars being the most common. However, Jesus mentions plagues or pestilence explicitly in Luke 21.” 3
The chart below is from the study and lists the signs and records the numbers of pastors and Christian leaders who believe these to be true!
One particular sign of the end times grabs our attention in Luke 21:10–11:
“Then He continued by saying to them, ‘Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.’”
Many English Bibles translate the Greek word loimos used by Jesus as “plague.”
In other words, when you see the signs, including the plagues, get ready, because He is coming soon!
LIVING LIFE IN LIGHT OF HIS SOON RETURN
In an encounter with the Jewish leaders of His day, Jesus asked the haunting question in Matthew 16:3, “Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”
We should consider this question too. We do not want to see signs that are not there or become cynical and allow occasional misinterpretations to keep us from the joy of expecting His return!
In light of the signs of the times, let us move forward in faith through the pandemic and allow our eyes to be on His return, whenever that day or hour might be.
WHAT ABOUT THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND THE END OF DAYS?
Now, this is where Your Mission to the Jewish People plays a critical role. In passages such as Zechariah 12:10 and Matthew 23:37–39, we see a link between the end-time turning of the Jewish people to Jesus and the Second Coming.
Let us list a few signs of the times that might already be fulfilled.
- The Jewish people are back in the land of Israel and returned in unbelief, as Ezekiel predicted in chapter 36.
- Jerusalem is in Jewish hands.
- Enemies still surround Israel—look east to Iran and Syria!
In 1 John 3:3, the Apostle John told us to prepare for His coming: “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
If we believe that Jesus is coming soon, then we should be drawing closer to the Lord, repenting of our sins, and getting ready for His return.
Yet, the Bible also tells us that we can do more to participate in Christ’s Second Coming by becoming involved with world evangelism, beginning with the Jew first, according to Romans 1:16.
Now why to the Jew first?
The Jewish people and the nation of Israel play a primary role in preparing the way for the Second Coming. Jewish people need to hear the gospel, as Paul told us that faith comes through hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Evangelism is the preparation that turns the hearts of Jewish people to the Lord and eventually leads to the salvation of an end-time remnant described by Paul in Romans 11:25–26.
Jewish people need to hear the gospel today, and we must pray for and stand with His chosen people in the United States, Israel, and worldwide so the good news of Messiah Jesus may be proclaimed to Jewish people—preparing the way for the return of the Lord.
The Jewish people’s role in world redemption will continue to the very end—when the remnant and the Jewish people as a whole cry out in repentance and turn their eyes to the One who was pierced.
He will return when the Jewish people turn!
My dear brothers and sisters, please join us as we turn our eyes to the future to the Second Coming of Jesus. Let us remember the importance of Jewish evangelism and the Jewish people’s role in these last days.
Thank you so much for your generous support and prayers.
1 Since the founding of Chosen People Ministries in 1894, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies four global pandemics before the current COVID-19 outbreak: the Spanish flu (1919), the Asian flu (1957–1958), the H3N2 flu (1968), and the swine flu (2009). “Past Pandemics,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last modified August 10, 2018, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/basics/past-pandemics.html.
2 The phone survey of 1,000 pastors from evangelical and historically black denominations was conducted from January 24 to February 11, 2020. It was sponsored by Chosen People Ministries, Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem, Rich and Judy Hastings, and the Hendricks Center at Dallas Theological Seminary. The calling list was a stratified random sample, drawn from a list of all evangelical and historically black churches. Quotas were used for church size.
3 Aaron Earls, “Vast Majority of Pastors See Signs of End Times in Current Events,” LifeWay Research, April 7, 2020, https://lifewayresearch.com/2020/04/07/vast-majority-of-pastors-see-signs-of-endtimes-in-current-events/.