Category Archives: Messianic Jewish

A New Year of Ministry

I love this time of year as we reflect upon God’s goodness and grace. I hope you had a joy-filled Christmas and were able to give more thought to the dozens of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament. Last month, I highlighted a number of these prophecies that have impacted the messianic expectations of my Jewish forefathers. I am excited to share more with you about some of them.

One of my favorite prophecies describes the promise of God to David through Nathan the prophet:

“When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. . . . Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David. (2 Samuel 7:12–13, 16–17)

We know the baby born in Bethlehem, in fulfillment of the prophecy in Micah 5:2, would be the promised Davidic King and sit on his throne forever. But those meant to be His subjects—my Jewish ancestors—did not accept Him. As John wrote, “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11).

As a Jewish person, I wish my Jewish ancestors had accepted Him as Messiah.

We will not realize the complete establishment of His glorious kingdom until my people—the Jewish people, His chosen people—declare their loyalty to the one true Messianic King of Israel. Paul wrote of that day, “And so all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).

I believe that day is coming. According to the word of God, the emergence of this glorious and literal Davidic kingdom is unstoppable! As sure as He came once, so He will come again! Luke wrote:

And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? 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 1:10–11)

Maybe we will see Him face to face in 2022!

FIRST TO DIE

Jesus fulfilled a hidden and more mysterious element of messianic prophecy in His first coming as His journey to the Davidic throne included suffering and dying for our sins.

Isaiah wrote in chapter 53:4–5, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”

I recognize that this rejection by many first-century Jewish leaders was part of God’s plan as it would lead to His death for our sins. We understand that the Son of God was born to die so that the sons of men might become the children of God—through His finished work at Calvary.

But this is not the end of the story.

He would also rise in triumph by resurrecting from the dead and then, one day, taking His rightful place as King of Kings and Lord of the nations.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:2–5, “. . . which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake.”

We pray that God will use you and our 127-year-old mission to reach today the remnant of Jewish people who will come to faith in the promised Messiah.

We also believe the calling of Chosen People Ministries is to stir the hearts of our Jewish people to prepare them for their end-times turning to Jesus, which will initiate the final series of prophecies related to His return. Again, the apostle wrote in Romans 11:25–26, “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.”

Jesus promised this end-of-days turning of the Jewish people to Himself when He spoke to the Jewish leaders during a pivotal point of His ministry, “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Matthew 23:39).

I take great comfort in knowing that the day will come when the Jewish people will welcome Him, and He will reign forever. This eternal reign is our biblical hope.

UNTIL THEN . . .

In the meantime, we will work tirelessly to bring the message of the King to the Jewish people. As I think about all the Lord accomplished during 2021, and what He is doing today, my heart is encouraged, but we need your prayers and partnership more today than ever before! We hope and pray that Chosen People Ministries will emerge from the pandemic strong as we draw closer and closer to the day of His return.

Allow me to share some of the blessings of this past year and some hopes for the future:

  • In Israel, we recently took about two dozen Holocaust survivors to Haifa on a retreat, which was a first over the last eighteen months. We prayerfully hope the landscape will change in the coming months in Israel, allowing us to fully reopen our Ramat Gan and Jerusalem Centers to meet in person without restriction.
  • Last month, we took forty young Israelis for a retreat in the desert for fellowship, and several seekers joined us for the trip.
  • Our Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies initiated our first virtual class in Israel through Zoom! Dr. Gregg Hagg taught Hermeneutics and Bible Study Methods. This addition to our seminary program is an exciting step forward in making disciples in the Land!
  • We are developing a brand-new and innovative website in Hebrew to reach younger Israelis. This site will cover many of the challenges that younger and more secular Israelis face regarding relationships, education, the stress of serving in the Israeli army, and other emotional issues like loneliness.
  • We are also getting ready to begin our new “Hosting Israelis” network in the United States and other countries where Christians can invite Israelis traveling after their army service to spend a few days in their home. This network will give Israelis an opportunity to see what a Christian family is like and it will provide our hosts the opportunity to talk to these precious young people about the Lord.
  • We are developing other digital media tools for evangelism, including a new animated “gospel tract” for Facebook and other social media platforms.
  • We had great success with our online Hanukkah and Christmas outreach as thousands responded and requested our booklet, The Gospel according to Hanukkah!

ADVANCING TOWARD HIS GLORIOUS FUTURE

By God’s grace, we have certainly experienced the Lord’s blessings throughout 2021, but I believe 2022 will be a year of more incredible progress in sharing the gospel with the Jewish people. We plan to continue our advancement strategy focused on three areas: training a new generation of Chosen People Ministries staff; expanding our ministry through social media, videos, and websites; and growing our exciting work in the Holy Land as we continue to add new young staff members.

I so appreciate your help, prayers, and generous support throughout 2021 and hope you will continue to stand with us in 2022.

The encouragement and trust you have shown me and our staff reflect your heart for this ministry and your continued commitment to making the gospel known among God’s chosen people.

Please pray for our efforts in working with hundreds of local churches by marking January 16, 2022, as “To the Jew First Sunday.” We have provided videos, various books and booklets, and other resources to make this a special Sunday for God’s work among the Jewish people. For more information on “To the Jew First Sunday,” please visit chosenpeople.com/priorityinfo.

May the Lord fill your heart and home with great joy during this new year. Zhava and I and the Chosen People Ministries worldwide staff wish you a happy and hopeful New Year.

Leave a comment

Filed under evangelism, Holocaust Survivors, Israel, Jews and Christians, Messianic Jewish

Messiah, Son of David

Merry Christmas! I hope and pray you will find this wonderful season of the year to be filled with the presence of the Lord.

How does a Jewish person come to faith in Jesus the Messiah? In my case, it was by discovering the ways Jesus fulfilled dozens of Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. Growing up in a Jewish home in New York City, I would have never imagined the Hebrew Scriptures pointed to Jesus. It would never have even occurred to me that such a thing was even possible!

Yet God can reach even the least likely person, in a most unlikely way. One day, I found a New Testament in a phone booth in the middle of the Redwood Forest in Northern California. I was nineteen years old and asked God earlier that day to show me the truth—especially if Jesus really was the promised Messiah. Two of my best friends had recently become believers, and during my efforts to talk them out of it, I became intensely interested in finding out if Jesus was the Messiah of Israel.

The Son of David

My favorite Bible hero growing up was King David. I admired David but never gave much thought of him as the great…great-grandfather of the Messiah. Though raised a modern Orthodox Jew, I was still very secular. I could read the Bible in Hebrew by the time I was ten years old, but I did not really know what I was reading!

I still remember reading the New Testament I found and was simply stunned by the first verse of the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew: “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

Immediately, the New Testament, which I thought was a book for Gentiles, warmed my heart. When I read about Jesus’ relationship to King David, I was encouraged to keep reading. Linking Old Testament prophecies with what I saw in the Gospels eventually helped me come to accept the Lord.

I cannot overstate the importance of this connection. It is essential to show Jewish people how Jesus fulfills the Messianic promises of the Hebrew Scriptures as they demonstrate that Jesus is the promised Messiah to a Jewish person who is sincerely seeking. Without the reassurance of this Jewish connection, even the most indifferent Jew will hesitate and turn away.

The Davidic Covenant

The covenant God made with my hero David, including the promise of the Messiah, has come to mean a lot to me over the years. It all hinges on that frequently misunderstood title, “Messiah.” Let’s unpack it a bit and trace the connection between David, Jesus, and the role of Messiah.

The writers of the New Testament clearly believed that the Old Testament spoke of a Messiah who would save Israel from her enemies. Not only that—they taught that Jesus is that Savior. He rescues all who believe in Him from sin and judgment!

“Messiah” and “Christ” are the same term. The Hebrew word Messiah literally means anointed and refers to the process of oil being poured over the heads of key leaders within the nation of Israel as a symbol of God’s Spirit empowering them for their ministry. Christ, our English term, is derived from the Greek term christos, which is actually the Greek word for Messiah.

The Hebrew Scriptures describe three anointed offices in Israel: prophets, priests, and kings. In our understanding, the Messiah is the one who combines all three offices in one anointed person.

That is, the Messiah is God’s prophet, priest, and king, and we proclaim that Jesus fulfilled each of these anointed offices. He spoke for God as His prophet, He is the high priest interceding for us, as well as the once-for-all sacrifice for sin, and He is also our king, both today and tomorrow.

We read in 2 Samuel 7:12–16 the following prophecy of King David’s eternal kingdom described by Nathan the prophet,

When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.

Often, covenants in the Hebrew Scriptures are delivered as prophecies. For example, in Genesis 12:1–3, what is usually known as the Abrahamic Covenant, God promises that the patriarch and his descendants would become a nation, inherit a land, have a relationship with the God who chose them, and be a blessing to the world. It is a prophecy and also a covenant, and God is the one who makes sure these wonderful promises come to pass.

The promises in 2 Samuel are usually referred to as the Davidic Covenant. It is a prophecy and a covenant promising David a son who will be the future king of Israel and reign forever.

In the past, the Jewish people demanded a king, and God allowed them to anoint Saul as their first regent. Yet this choice came to the children of Israel without God’s blessing. Israel failed in following their chosen king, and the king failed to lead his people. He disobeyed God’s instructions regarding proper worship and lost his kingdom (1 Samuel 13:13–14).

God then chose a shepherd boy to be the king of Israel. Unqualified according to the standards of the world, He was nonetheless qualified in God’s sight and was also from the promised royal tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10) and born in Bethlehem, the city of David.

God, speaking through the prophet Nathan, promised that the kingdom of David would endure in perpetuity! The Lord assures King David that his dynasty would last forever. Even if David’s sons were disobedient, as was Solomon, the dynasty would still endure.

The Davidic Covenant falls into a category of covenants that are described as unconditional.

In Isaiah 9:6–7, we read about this coming Davidic King in majestic terms, spoken by the prophet Isaiah.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

The predicted names of this child reveal that He would be God in the flesh. Only Jesus the God-Man and King could fulfill this prophecy; He is the ultimate and eternal Davidic king.

These prophecies came to pass and provide a powerful rationale for our faith.

As a Jewish believer, I could not believe Jesus is the Messiah unless I was convinced that all He did was consistent with what was predicted in the Hebrew Bible. I was . . . and still am, more than ever!

Our Message of Hope for the Jewish People

I am privileged to be the seventh president of Chosen People Ministries. Our Mission was founded in 1894 by a rabbi who left Hungary to find freedom on the golden shores of our great country. Leopold Cohn found far more than he expected. He found Jesus, who provides true freedom and joy. We want our Jewish people, family, and friends to find that same peace, so we will continue to proclaim His love for all—to the Jew first and also to the Gentile—until the Son of David returns to set up His throne.

But we cannot do this without you. We are partners in this ministry to the Jewish people. Whether we are reaching Jewish people in the United States, Israel, France, Argentina, or the other countries where we serve, our message is the same. He is the Messiah, the Anointed One, and when we place our trust in Him, we receive the glorious gift of eternal life.

Thank you for your prayers and generosity. Have a Merry Christmas, knowing that the promised Son of David has come and will come again to fulfill every last detail of the promise to King David.

Leave a comment

Filed under evangelism, Israel, Jewish Christian Dialogue, Jews and Christians, Messianic Jewish

The Story of Hanukkah

Happy Thanksgiving on behalf of the entire Chosen People Ministries global family! I hope you will be able to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal with your loved ones! If you lost a friend or family member during the last year or two, I also pray the Lord will fill your heart with heavenly comfort and peace.

I am very thankful to God for you and the ways you have stood with Your Mission to the Jewish People this year. Your prayers and support mean so much to us!

We have so much to be grateful for in spite of the circumstances, as our staff continues to reach Jewish people with the gospel both in person and online.

Our outreach has even increased this past year as so many Jewish people are looking heavenward for answers.

Our work among elderly Holocaust survivors in Israel has increased as the need has been overwhelming. Chosen People Ministries—Israel has provided love and company for the lonely, food for the hungry, and of course, the good news of Jesus to these precious Jewish souls. Many young Israelis also attend our online ministry events when we cannot meet in person. We need your prayers as we resume in-person outreaches in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and throughout this country of almost seven million Jewish people.

In New York City, we recently commemorated the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 by honoring our heroes and reminding Americans of our unbreakable bond with Israel in combating terrorism. More than 40,000 people joined us for the event online and in person.

We thank God for all He has done in our 127th year of faithful ministry, and we are looking forward to the greater things He will do through you and our global staff in our 128th year (John 14:12). We are focusing on reaching Israelis in Israel and wherever they travel after the army with the gospel, expanding our outreach through videos, podcasts, and social media, and preparing our next generation for leadership in Jewish ministry through our Brooklyn-based and now online Charles L. Feinberg seminary program!

We have so much to be grateful for in Jesus, our Messiah. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

The Story of Hanukkah

I also wish you an early Happy Hanukkah, which is one of my favorite holidays. Growing up in a Jewish home in New York City, I loved each day of this eight-day festival because my parents gave us presents every night as we lit the beautiful Hanukkah candles.

We also eat wonderful foods like potato pancakes (called latkes) smothered in applesauce or sour cream. In Israel, delicious jelly donuts are also a Hanukkah staple. OK… so it is not the healthiest of Jewish holidays! We make our Hanukkah foods with lots of oil as both oil and light illustrate two of the great themes of the holiday.

Let me explain.

The story of Hanukkah takes place during the biblical “silent years”—the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments. In 168 BC, the Jewish people rebelled against the Syrian-Greek General, Antiochus the Fourth, whom the Jewish people called “Antiochus the Madman.” This evil Seleucid king took the name “Epiphanes,” which means “God manifest,” as he believed he was the manifestation of one of the Greek gods. Antiochus wanted the Jewish people to worship him rather than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which was at the heart of the reason for Israel’s resistance.

A priestly family called the Maccabees led the rebellion. They lived in a town called Modi’in, which is just a few miles

from Jerusalem. As the story goes, the representative of Antiochus entered the village and demanded that the Jewish people in Modi’in bow down and worship a statue of Antiochus, upon pain of death. In doing so, they would affirm belief in the gods of the Greeks, loyalty to the madman, and rejection of the God of the Hebrews.

This godly family waged guerrilla warfare against the mighty Greek-Syrian army and managed to defeat Antiochus. This victory was a miracle as once again, Israel beat the odds and defeated a much larger and more powerful enemy. Jewish people traditionally view this as God’s blessing upon the Maccabees for their faithfulness to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

After their victory, they traveled to the Holy City of Jerusalem to rededicate the Temple. The victorious band of priestly guerrillas was horrified as they entered the Temple.

They discovered that Antiochus had sacrificed a pig on the altar, signaling the Syrian Greeks’ contempt for the Jewish people. The Maccabees tore down the stones of the altar as it was deemed beyond cleansing. According to Jewish tradition found in the books of Maccabees (1 Macc 4:36–59; 2 Macc 10:1–8), the Maccabees set the defiled altar stones aside until “a prophet” comes, who would tell them what to do with the stones (1 Macc 4:45–46).

Then, according to tradition, they discovered the eternal light in the Temple had only enough oil to last for one day. So they immediately began to make fresh olive oil to keep the eternal light from being extinguished. According to tradition, even though it usually takes eight days to complete and cure the oil, the one day’s worth of oil miraculously lasted for eight!

We do not know whether the story is true or not. However, I was raised in a very traditional Jewish home and taught to believe it was true! Either way, the victory of Hanukkah is one of the great stories of both Jewish heroism and God’s loyalty to His chosen people. For these reasons and more, the Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah.

The festival is far more than an opportunity to enjoy the

beauty of family gatherings, Hanukkah parties, or even giving presents. The holiday is more than a wonderful time of playing games with our families, like spinning little tops called dreidels and singing some of the most moving songs within our Jewish tradition.

Jesus & Hanukkah

My wife and children love the holiday as it beautifully connects to our Messiah Jesus in so many ways. After all, Yeshua, Jesus, is the Jewish Messiah. He is the Light of the world (John 8:12), so there is nothing like the lights of the Hanukkah candles to remind us that Jesus the Messiah is the true light that illuminates mankind.

But there is more! Hanukkah is recorded as observed by the Jewish people in the New Testament—not in the Old! John wrote that Jesus celebrated the Feast of Dedication, a title that commemorates the rededication of the Temple after the desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes.

In John 10:22–30, we read:

At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give

eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

In the midst of this moment of intense and heated debate with the Jewish leaders of the day, Jesus makes one of the most remarkable declarations about His person found in the entire Bible.

He is not only the light of the world, but He is God in the flesh!

This message of His incarnation, light, and the deliverance He offers humanity through His death and resurrection is the message we hope to bring to every Jewish soul.

So please pray for Your Mission to the Jewish People—that the Lord will fill us with His Spirit, enabling us to continue our ministry to the Jewish people in Israel, the United States, and throughout the world.

The Future of the Middle East

I am also grateful for the Abraham Accords and other movements bringing peace and hope to a new and changing Middle East! But even more, I look forward to the reshaping of the Middle East when Jesus returns to reign as King!

We are grateful for your faithful partnership. Have a Jesus-centered and joyful Thanksgiving and a Happy Hanukkah!

Leave a comment

Filed under evangelism, Holidays & Festivals, Israel, Jewish Holidays, Jews and Christians, Messianic Jewish, Middle East, New York City, Thanksgiving

Hope in Suffering

Everyone from the angelic-voiced Mahalia Jackson to the great Louis Armstrong sang the traditional African-American spiritual entitled, “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” The lyrics are worth noting:

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory Hallelujah

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory Hallelujah

This great song poignantly expresses the loneliness and heart-rending nature of suffering. Have you ever tried to tell your story of personal pain to another individual, especially someone who is not very close to you? Have ever you felt like your story sounds hollow and trite as soon as you begin to recount it to someone else, even though the experience was deeply agonizing for you? If you have, then you know the feeling of emptiness when you realize the other person simply cannot appreciate your pain.

In moments like these, when the gap in understanding is so deep and wide, we might just decide to give up explaining and suffer in silence to avoid trying to give good reasons for why we are hurting. Nobody likes having their suffering minimized by someone else’s inability to empathize and feel their pain. We should never be put in the position where we need to justify why life hurts.

The moving lyrics of this old spiritual and its haunting melody breathes authenticity into its testimony of pain. We know it grew out of the bitterness of slavery and a desire to rise above that hateful circumstance and turn our hearts to God who alone understands life’s trials. It is sad but realistic as it seems the only time our hearts reach out to heaven is when life’s solutions are elusive or shrouded in darkness, and we have come to the end of our proverbial rope.

Everyone suffers, but the history of the Jewish people is best understood only through the lens of national suffering. The saying, “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!”—always mentioned with a wry smile—is tender, touching, and true. So much of Jewish life tells the story of survival, celebration, and remembrance. “Never Again”—declared in remembrance of the Holocaust—is a mantra that befits the Jewish experience and helps us seize the future with defiance and hope.

Our Jewish people have been enslaved, persecuted, oppressed, and virtually destroyed during the Holocaust. The prayers, poems, and songs of our people encourage us to turn toward God who is above and beyond all and gives meaning to the pain and suffering that would otherwise be meaningless.

The Shehechiyanu prayer expresses our corporate gratitude and acceptance of the destiny God allows. Along with heartfelt mourning, our tradition reminds us to be thankful that we are still alive! This sentiment is captured in one of our most familiar prayers when we recite,

Baruch Atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech Ha’olam, shehechiyanu, v’kiy’manu, v’higianu lazman hazeh.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to arrive in this moment.

This traditional Jewish response to good times and bad, to suffering and celebration, is prayed at almost every Jewish holiday. Recognizing God’s hand of protection upon the Jewish people as we have lived to enter another year’s holiday season, it speaks of the faithfulness of God. He is the rock in the midst of our suffering.

The Mourner’s Kaddish, another well-known prayer, is prayed at perhaps our greatest times of suffering as we come face to face with the death of a loved one.

There is nothing like death to make us appreciate life.

The Mourner’s Kaddish is a magnificent, eloquent, and hopeful prayer that is mistakenly understood as a prayer for the dead. The opposite is true. It is a prayer of praise to God for life itself. The Kaddish is life-affirming, and it is at the heart of the Jewish response to suffering and death. The Kaddish lifts our hearts as the words we say glorify God and extol the virtues of His divine perfections. The prayer gives voice to our suffering by reaffirming our acceptance of His plan for us personally and as a people. This acknowledgment enables us to be thankful to God in the face of great loss and the worst of human pain.

The ability to recite the prayer in a heartfelt and sincere way is in itself a victory over the potential emptiness of suffering that can consume us. Although the Mourner’s Kaddish is only recited once at the end of synagogue services, versions of the Kaddish are repeated throughout. At the heart of every variation of the prayer is the following statement about the character of God:

Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, honored, elevated, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, Blessed is He—above and beyond any blessings and hymns, praises, and consolations which are uttered in the world; and say Amen.

When we pray these words together as a family and community, it becomes easier to accept the isolation and desolation of suffering.

I believe this Jewish approach to hope is found in the Bible—in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. The well-worn words of Job, the master of theodicy, enable us to walk into the “whirlwind” of distress with faith and hope in the character of a good and gracious God. Job, in a perfect illustration of submission to God’s will, said, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15).

We might understand suffering today in deeper and more profound ways than ever before. COVID-19 has shattered many of our lives in so many ways. Some of us have unfortunately lost loved ones. We have also recently witnessed terrible floods, earthquakes, fires, and wars we thought we would never have to fight again.

Yet, we can have hope in the midst of suffering!

Bitterness, hopelessness, and anger are self-destructive options , but there is a whole range of life-affirming choices we can make as well. We might never quite understand the why of our pain, but we can still find peace in suffering when we entrust our souls to the God who made us.

The story of Jesus as told in the four Gospels is worth reading as you will see how the God of the universe chose to suffer on our behalf and repair the damage brought about by sin. In fact, He clothed Himself with humanity and endured pain and loss and injustice, just like we experience. He did even more for us. He died for our sins and rose from the grave to pave a new way into the presence of God. His suffering is the ultimate solace for our suffering! Once healed, this new and personal relationship with God through Yeshua the Messiah will become your greatest source of joy and give meaning to your suffering.

As the venerable rabbi and apostle Paul wrote so many years ago,

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3–5)

Like most of us, you are probably suffering in one way or another today. How can you avoid it? You do not have to be a weak person to suffer—we all have our limits. Loss and disappointment are a part of life, and we desperately need to find ways to cope. I and so many others affirm that knowing God intimately and personally, through Jesus the Messiah, is not only true—it will transform you!

I was searching and quietly suffering when I read the following for the very first time. Growing up in a Jewish home, we did not read the New Testament, of course! Jesus said,

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

These words were so comforting, although at first, I did not even know who said them! I hope and pray you will discover what the Messiah promised to be true for you as well.

Leave a comment

Filed under Anti-Semitism, evangelism, Jews and Christians, Judaism, Messianic Jewish

The Mystery of Romans 11 and You

You might want to get a cup of coffee or tea and take out your Bible as we reflect on one of the great doxologies in Scripture, a praise to God in Romans 11:33–36.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again?

Paul then triumphantly declared in verse 36: “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

God knows the beginning, middle, and end of our pilgrimage on earth. He knows what is next, and all things are unfolding according to His plan. We should be comforted by this glorious truth—He knows everything and is never surprised by what we go through in this life. Therefore, we can trust Him fully as we walk through challenging and sometimes dark days.

GOD IS FAITHFUL TO HIS PROMISES

All human history is marching toward a Romans 11 future, which will be to the praise of His glory! Israel and the Jewish people, who are so critical to God’s grand plan of redemption, are part of that bright and glorious future. As Paul wrote in Romans 11:25, “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery.”

We really need to understand the mystery!

The apostle explained it:

A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The deliverer will come from Zion…. This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins” (Romans 11:25b–27).

The mystery to be revealed is that all Israel will be saved one day, demonstrating God’s faithfulness. Israel’s salvation answers the question Paul asked earlier, “I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin” (Romans 11:1).

God cannot renege on a promise! Paul’s salvation is evidence that God will keep His promises to the patriarchs. One day in the future, the Jewish people, as a nation, will turn to Jesus.

He added in Romans 11:29, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

Paul understood that God did not remove the Jewish people from His purposes for all time; it was only temporary. The Jewish people still had—and have—a role to play in the drama of world redemption.

THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE

Zechariah describes the day of Israel’s turning to the Lord. On that day, God 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” (Zech. 12:10). Zechariah envisions the Lord’s feet standing on the Mount of Olives, which will split in half, and afterwards, He will judge His enemies (14:2–3).

On that day, the Jewish people will cry out, Baruch haba b’shem Adonai, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39). At that moment, the Lord will save the Jewish people, conquer His enemies, and establish His throne in Jerusalem.

Paul was familiar with Isaiah 53 and may well have remembered that the prophet predicted a state of temporary national unbelief on the part of the Jewish people toward Messiah and that God would eventually open their eyes to Jesus.

Isaiah wrote:

He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3–5)

This passage points to a day when Israel would recognize that her Messiah died for her sins! I know this is true, as I am a Jewish believer, and that day came for me almost fifty years ago when I embraced the Jewish Messiah. One day, what happened to me will happen to the nation of Israel because God is faithful to His promises.

OUR HOPE FOR TOMORROW MOTIVATES OUR MISSIONARIES TODAY

The day will come when the Jewish people in Israel, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Chicago, West Palm Beach, and all around the globe will recognize that He is Lord! It is this hope and understanding of the future that guides our work at Chosen People Ministries today. We serve the Jewish people considering what is to come. As Paul wrote:

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:14–15)

Your Mission to the Jewish People exists to plant seeds of faith in the hearts of Jewish people today through the proclamation of the gospel. Some of these seeds will bear fruit today, while others will blossom in the future when God moves upon the nation of Israel and turns the hearts of the Jewish people to Himself.

SPIRITUAL FRUIT IN THE MIDST OF WAR

As you know, Israel has gone through a tough time recently with COVID-19, unsettling elections, and an eleven-day war with Gaza. Some of those who suffered the most are the elderly Holocaust survivors who live in the border towns next to Gaza. We have served this community for many years and are beginning to see great fruit for our labors.

I recently received an inspiring letter from Maxim Katz after he took a group of Holocaust survivors on a retreat, after the shelling from Gaza stopped.

Maxim writes,

“We spoke on various topics from Scripture and offered words of support and encouragement that the Lord speaks to all of us through the prophets. Everyone was very interested because it was a real live dialogue. Many asked pressing questions, sometimes unexpected ones. Several people approached us with a request to pray for them. We prayed together for all those who wished to pray. We also joked and laughed a lot. It was a wonderful time!

Finally, I want to share the words of one person who has been battling cancer for the past three years. It was his first trip anywhere other than a hospital during this time. At one of the meetings, while we were reading and pondering the Bible, he said in front of everyone: ‘I was like a dry tree, but today, thanks to you and God, thanks to this trip and fellowship, I am revived as if they poured water on me, and I can breathe and come to life! How great is our God, Jesus!’”

PARTNERS IN THE GOSPEL!

Thank you for your prayers for the Jewish people. We continue to see Jewish people coming to faith. We are excited about the opportunities we have, both digitally and in person.

Thank you for caring!

Leave a comment

Filed under evangelism, Israel, Jewish Christian Dialogue, Jews and Christians, Messianic Jewish, Uncategorized

Ministry to the Next Generation

Dear Friends,

Shalom in His wonderful grace. I hope this note finds you healthy, safe, and filled with His joy! Your Mission to the Jewish People is doing well, and God is blessing our ministries among God’s chosen people worldwide. We are so grateful for your partnership!

I am greatly encouraged by the gifted and dedicated next-generation leaders God has given to Chosen People Ministries. We have done all we can to intentionally recruit, disciple, and train a younger generation of missionaries to the Jewish people.

These efforts offer a full range of ministries to children and younger adults. Chosen People Ministries has a long legacy of reaching the next generation. Our founder, Rabbi Leopold Cohn, was a diligent evangelist and teacher, and a caring father to his children. His love of youth prompted him to begin summer camps for boys and girls in upstate New York and Connecticut.

As a young man, I was blessed by Chosen People Ministries when I came to the Lord at nineteen. God used the Mission to disciple me as a young believer from a very Jewish home. They even paid my way through Bible college. Missionaries from Chosen People Ministries also discipled a Jewish, believing teenage girl who later became my wife! We are both forever grateful for the missionaries and programs that enabled us to grow in our faith and give the rest of our lives to serving Him among our people!

We want to pass these opportunities along to future generations.

Today, our mission reaches children, teenagers, and young adults worldwide in many ways!

YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY—A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

MUCHAN (MOO-KHAN)

Chosen People Ministries’ most extensive young adult outreach is called Muchan, which in Hebrew means “ready.” Muchan is an international conference for Messianic Jewish and Gentile believers ages eighteen to thirty-five. Muchan lasts five days, and past locations have included Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Prague, and Rome. Barring a pandemic, we hold these conferences every other year. About one hundred fifty young adults attend. Last time, we had about forty young adults from Israel and many others who could not easily afford this opportunity. We underwrite quite a bit of the expenses, but it is worth it!

LIVING WATERS

The Living Waters program is a retreat for Israeli young adults that has been going strong for fifteen years and counting. The retreat, which usually has fifteen to twenty congregations represented, includes Bible teaching and plenty of fellowship and worship. We also offer instruction on evangelism and apologetics, biblical financial management, and pastoral counseling. We put a hold on bringing Living Waters USA into fruition in 2020, but we hope to schedule the summer event in 2022 and are already planning for our next Living Waters when Israel is out from under its serious lockdowns. Once again, we provide funding for this disciple-making event.

THE ZULA LODGE

Located on the South Island of New Zealand, Israelis find out about this program by word of mouth and various websites, especially Facebook. Most of the Israelis we host at this facility come after their army service (22–24 years old). Last season, Zula Lodge logged more than 5,000 bed nights for Israelis, and every one of them heard the gospel.

Israeli believers also volunteer at the Zula Lodge. We choose a number of young Israelis who have completed their time in the Israel Defense Forces and are mature in their faith. They live in New Zealand for three months to serve at the Zula Lodge and have the opportunity to minister to traveling Israelis and learn the basics of backpacker ministry.

We have the joy of also sending short-term mission teams from Israel to spend time at Zula Lodge where they spend their days serving and talking to fellow younger Israelis about the Lord!

THE CHARLES L. FEINBERG CENTER FOR MESSIANIC JEWISH STUDIES

This graduate program offers an accredited Master of Divinity degree in Messianic Jewish Studies. We designed the curriculum to train those called to fulltime Jewish ministry. This dynamic program is a joint venture between Talbot School of Theology at Biola University and Chosen People Ministries.

The degree focuses on the biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek), exegesis of the Scriptures, and courses to help students better understand Jewish people. Students address essential matters of theology and Jewish practice through intensive study of the Torah (Jewish law), culture, and practical methods of reaching Jewish people with the gospel. The program is based in Brooklyn, and students are directly involved with Jewish evangelism throughout their educational program. We believe in learning by doing!

We now have thirty graduates serving the Lord among the Jewish people! The Feinberg Center is one of our most effective and fruitful investments in the future of Jewish evangelism.

Currently, we have students from five nations around the world studying to be missionaries to the Jewish people back in their home countries. We underwrite much of this program, including housing for young families in Brooklyn. Your help for the Feinberg program is critical.

UNIVERSITY AND STUDENT PROGRAMS

HOUSE OF LIVING WATERS

The first House of Living Waters began in 2019 in the East Village near New York University (NYU), which has the largest number of Jewish students in the United States. Four young men moved into a rented apartment to build a Messianic Jewish presence on campus by hosting book tables, weekly Bible studies, and Sabbath dinners.

Unfortunately, the program ended early in May 2020 due to COVID-19. Despite its short duration, the House of Living Waters has already proven to be fruitful.

We are eager to relaunch and even expand it as an ongoing ministry! Many Jewish students have heard the gospel through these young people, and we look forward to starting again this fall. Thank God, a foundation with a great vision for this work has helped considerably with the funding. However, we still need your help to cover the additional expenses.

OUTREACH ISRAEL & EXPERIENCE ISRAEL (SHORT-TERM MISSIONS)

Outreach Israel is a three-week service-based program in the Holy Land led by our staff in Israel. A dozen young college students usually participate, primarily from the United States.

Experience Israel is for young adults who are typically post-college up to age thirty-five. The participants share the gospel with younger Israelis through beach ministry, camping programs, and more.

COLLEGE INTERNSHIPS

Summer internships are available in various ministry areas, including evangelism, digital media, videography or photography, and finance. Our interns typically come to us with a specific area of Jewish interest, but we also offer a wide range of field experience for those who are unsure or want it all!

CHILDREN’S CAMPS

CAMP KESHER

Kesher is the Hebrew word for “connection,” which is what Camp Kesher is all about. Connecting youth to Jesus, each other, and the larger Messianic Jewish community is our utmost priority. We currently host Camp Kesher on the East and West Coasts, as well as a winter camp in Maryland called “Kesher Ice.” Many camp counselors are Jewish Studies students at our Feinberg Center or Moody Bible Institute and are often members of Chosen People Ministries congregations. We canceled last year’s camps because of COVID-19, but we did have some great online programs for young people. We are already planning to try and restart in-person camping as we are able this summer, and we (and the kids) are excited!

CHILDREN’S CAMP ISRAEL/KESHER ISRAEL

We had more than six hundred children attend our Israeli summer camps in 2019. Many of these children come from Russian Jewish Israeli families and are not yet believers. Alexi’s (not his real name) story illustrates the organic flow within our various youth programs. He was ten years old when he began attending Kesher Israel. As a teenager, he became a helper and then a counselor. He went on to help lead our camps, and then in 2019, he came to New York City to be part of the House of Living Waters program. He is currently attending Moody Bible Institute for Jewish Studies and is on part-time staff with Chosen People Ministries. Alexi plans to become a full-time staff member in Israel. He is a beautiful example of how we strengthen the future of Jewish ministry by investing in the future of children and teens for the Lord. 

We ask Israeli parents to help pay for their kids’ camping programs, but many are from poor homes, especially some of the Russian immigrants. Your help for our Israeli camping ministries is deeply appreciated!

THE NEXT GENERATION AND YOU

As always, your prayers are essential to sustaining and prospering our outreach to the next generation!

Thank you for your faithful concern and care for the children, teenagers, and young adults who are the future men and women at the forefront of Jewish evangelism in the twenty-first century.

Yours in Messiah,
Mitch

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian University, evangelism, Israel, Messianic Jewish, New York City

A High Holiday Sermon – Reminder: The Hope of Restoration

Introduction

We gather each year on the first night of Yom Kippur to hear Kol Nidrei, a traditional and moving prayer that serves as Israel’s appeal to wipe away sins by annulling the obligations of the previous year—vows that we made between the previous Day of Atonement and today. It is written in Aramaic, and its origins are disputed. Some scholars say it was written during the Gaonic period (ninth century), but many others have suggested the prayer was born out of the dark days of the Inquisition when many Spanish and Portuguese Jewish people were forced to convert to Catholicism under threat of death or expulsion.[1]

Although we are not sure why or when the prayer was created, once it was paired with the soulful melody that now makes the prayer so moving, the impact of Kol Nidrei on the hearts of Jewish people is certain. Whether religious or secular, this Yom Kippur tradition has become one of the most powerful prayers in Jewish life and faith. It is not unusual to have non-religious Jewish people attend synagogue each year on erev (the evening of) Yom Kippur simply to experience the Kol Nidrei prayer.

There are a variety of ways to present Kol Nidrei, some with unique adaptations. The following version was presented at Beth Sar Shalom—Brooklyn, and I thought it was especially creative and beautiful. Listen to it if you have a moment!

Versions of the Prayer

A traditional version of the prayer:

All vows, obligations, oaths, and anathemas, whether called ‘ḳonam,’ ‘ḳonas,’ or by any other name, which we may vow, or swear, or pledge, or whereby we may be bound, from this Day of Atonement until the next (whose happy coming we await), we do repent. May they be deemed absolved, forgiven, annulled, and void, and made of no effect; they shall not bind us nor have power over us. The vows shall not be reckoned vows; the obligations shall not be obligatory; nor the oaths be oaths.

The leader and the congregation then say together:

“And it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth among them, seeing all the people were in ignorance” (Num. xv. 26).[2]

A more modern translation/version:

All vows we are likely to make, all oaths and pledges we are likely to vow, or swear, or consecrate, or prohibit upon ourselves between this Yom Kippur and the next Yom Kippur, we publicly renounce. Let them all be relinquished and abandoned, null and void, neither firm nor established. Our vows are no longer vows, our prohibitions are no longer prohibitions, and our oaths are no longer oaths.

The whole community of the Children of Israel, and the strangers dwelling among them, shall be forgiven, for all of them were without premeditation.—Numbers 15:26

O pardon the iniquities of this people, according to Thy abundant mercy, just as Thou forgave this people ever since they left Egypt.

The Lord said, “I pardon them according to your words.” (three times)—Numbers 14:20[3]

Rabbi Eric Solomon, a reform rabbi, writes so poignantly about the impact of the Kol Nidrei,

Kol Nidre may have been initiated by the personal need of the marranos to repent for a forced conversion, but its power has reached far past that narrow scope. When we daven the Kol Nidre together as a community, we are looking beyond the simple meaning of the words; we are beginning to focus inward, preparing to unleash our darkest memories, and paving the path towards genuine reflection on God and repentance.[4]

The Appeal of the Prayer

Clearly, at the heart of the prayer is the request of the penitent beseeching God to withhold His judgment and to be merciful for not fulfilling vows of obedience, promises of changed behavior and keeping mitzvot. There is also an underlying understanding that when we live in obedience to God, we are blessed and when we do not, we are judged. Kol Nidrei is an appeal, asking God to release us from the promises we could not keep. The prayer expresses a desire to be forgiven for making unkept vows and for not meeting God’s expectations.

At its core, Kol Nidrei expresses our desire for forgiveness and God’s blessings. Somehow, we all know, in the depth of our souls, irrespective of our theology, that we are worthy of judgment and are in desperate need of forgiveness.

I cannot disagree with these sentiments. The Bible is very clear about these matters. Judaism typically does not affirm the depravity of man in the same way that Christianity does. Yet, the regularity of committing sin is obviously recognized by the very nature of Yom Kippur.

Biblical Blessings and Judgments

The Bible teaches that there is a causal relationship between obedience and blessings, and between disobedience and judgment. It is a theme woven throughout Scripture in more places than we can count, and it generally describes the nature of our relationship with God. In very summarized terms, when we do what He says, we are blessed and happy, and if we do not, then we are judged and, well, not very happy. Israel’s experiences of these blessings and judgments vary throughout the Old and New Testaments, but I am sure no one would argue this pattern is fundamental to Scripture.

Blessing and judgments are embedded in the very covenants the Holy One constructed to guide our relationship to Him.

The themes of blessings and judgments are tied to His perfect nature. He is holy and just, and we are sinful. Yet, God calls upon us to act against our nature and live righteously. If we do, we will be fulfilled and happy. If we do not—if we fail to act righteously—then judgment should be expected. If He should ignore our rebellion against His standards and do nothing about it, then He would appear to be unholy, unjust, unrighteous, and even weak, making demands that not even He could fulfill.

Would we really want to worship a God who had no standards? What if there were no ultimate justice? Or would we worship a God who had standards but did not act upon them? As uncomfortable as judgment might be, we would still rather adore and follow a holy and righteous God who enforced His standards…would we not?

Yet, the Bible teaches that this same God is also loving, gracious, and merciful. As He proclaimed to Moses when He passed by him on Sinai,

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord. Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:5–7)

We also read in the Bible of His willingness to override His justice and to show mercy, which is not getting what you deserve for your sinful behavior, and grace, defined as receiving what you could never merit.

God’s Covenants

Again, these relationships, on a larger and national level for Israel, are embedded within the covenants He made with mankind, including a promise to not destroy the world again by a flood (Genesis 9:9–17) and built into the two great covenants that form the foundation of Jewish national existence; the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant.

In the Abrahamic Covenant, the Lord promised Abram and his seed that He would preserve them as a people (Genesis 12), they will possess a land with boundaries outlined in Genesis 15, receive blessings from God (Genesis 12), and be used by God to bring these blessings to the world (Genesis 12:3).[5]

This covenant is described as without time or conditions. The Lord takes responsibility to fulfill these promises sometime in the future without fail.

The promised blessing (Genesis 12:2, “And I will bless you”) may be understood as including the people, the land, and Abram’s reputation, but seems to focus on the promise that God’s blessings are linked to His presence with His people.

The blessings go beyond the land to the hope given by God that His presence will remain with the Jewish people throughout their existence as a nation. Israel would be a nation that would ultimately know the presence of God in their midst. As the Lord promised to Abraham,

I have made you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. 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.” (Genesis 17:6–8)

These manifold blessings will be mediated through Abraham, reside with those who bless the children of Abraham, and flow to the entire non-Abrahamic world. If Israel is disobedient, then according to the covenant with Abraham, the Lord Himself will take the responsibility of turning the hearts of the Jewish people to Himself (Romans 11:25–29). Leviticus 26: 45 says, “But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.”

The Mosaic Covenant is a bit different. The covenant God made with Moses is causal in nature, and both judgments and blessings are linked to the behavior of the Jewish people; blessings for obedience and judgments for disobedience.

These two covenants determined the history of Israel. When the Jewish people were faithful, they were blessed and remained in the land, and when we were disobedient, the Jewish people experienced God’s judgment and were removed from the Land on the basis of the Mosaic Covenant.

722 BCE – The Assyrians dispersed the northern tribes.

604–586 BCE – The southern tribes go into Babylonian captivity and the Temple is destroyed.

AD 70 – The Romans disperse the Jewish people and destroy the Second Temple.

AD 132 – The Jewish people are further dispersed by Roman Emperor Hadrian.

However, the Lord never allowed His chosen people to languish in captivity for too long and brought Israel back from exile—on the basis of the Abrahamic covenant. Today, almost seven million Jewish people have been gathered back to the land of Israel, but certainly not on the basis of obedience to the Mosaic Covenant! Their return is tied to the unmerited grace described in the Abrahamic Covenant and is part of His unfolding purposes predicted in Ezekiel 36–37 and Romans 11:12; 15; 25–29.

Two Passages that Predict the Future of Israel Based Upon the Covenants

Perhaps the two passages of Scripture that are well-known and speak so profoundly to this causal relationship and pattern—Disobedience:Judgement::Obedience:Blessings—are found in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, which are perhaps my least favorite passages of the Bible.

Deuteronomy Chapter 28

This chapter outlines the blessings and judgments that would befall Israel on the basis of the Mosaic Covenant. There are fourteen verses of blessings and fifty-four of judgment. The following three verses at the end of Moses’ discourse summarize the nature of these judgments:

It shall come about that as the Lord delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the Lord will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. Moreover, the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known. Among those nations you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul. (Deuteronomy 28:63–65)

We see that this has transpired and is a sober and serious reminder of God’s judgment for our sin.

Leviticus Chapter 26

This chapter is similar but includes more of a focus on grace and the Abrahamic Covenant. The two covenants are interwoven in this text. Chapter 26 begins with two additional reminders of God’s Mosaic commandments, and then, in verses three through thirteen, outlines the promised blessings of obedience.

For example,

If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land. (Leviticus 26:3–5)

However, Moses then presents twenty-five verses (Leviticus 26:14–39) of severe judgment for disobedience. Again, this is a reflection of the Mosaic Covenant and the result of our disobedience to the covenant demands. The Mosaic Covenant is a standard of holiness that reminds us of God’s expectations and standards that we will never achieve on our own.

Principles of Spiritual Restoration

We can learn so much from God’s plans and purposes for the nation of Israel. These principles govern our lives as well. Though the Mosaic Covenant is specific to the Jewish people and the Jewish people are the main focus of the Abrahamic Covenant, by virtue of its promises, it extends to the nations as well. 

The hope of restoration is also seen in the midst of His judgments—a reminder of the promised future God has prepared for the nation of Israel on the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant. We read in Leviticus chapter twenty-six:

If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me—I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies—or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land. For the land will be abandoned by them, and will make up for its sabbaths while it is made desolate without them. They, meanwhile, will be making amends for their iniquity, because they rejected My ordinances and their soul abhorred My statutes. Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God. But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 26:40–45)

Personally, as a Jewish believer, I do not view the high holiday season as valuable for purely evangelistic reasons, though many Jewish people come to faith in Jesus during this special time of the year. I also do not fast and pray on Yom Kippur simply on behalf of the sins of my Jewish people and family. I have learned that the true value of the high holiday season, for me and all who cherish their Messianic heritage, is remembering that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a renewing and restoring God, and I take advantage of this season of the year to seek forgiveness and find the renewal that I believe is tearfully sought by the Kol Nidrei prayer.

I suggest we can draw two principles from God’s covenantal relationship with Israel that apply to our lives and are especially evident during the high holiday season.

The Lord will respond to our repentance with grace, mercy and forgiveness. Remember the words of Leviticus 26:40–42,

If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me—I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies—or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land.

Notice the language. Moses certainly has the Abrahamic Covenant in mind. This covenant was made with Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham…in backwards order. This is the covenant that promises grace as the Lord staked His holy reputation on fulfilling what He promised. The day will come when Israel will experience these blessings again as the Lord will cause the hearts of the Jewish people to turn back to Him.

It is the reason we cry out for mercy on this holy day—because God is a God of restoration who keeps His promises. One day, Israel will turn from her disobedience and be totally restored as they live in the land, experience the blessings of God presence, and the nations will also enjoy the benefits of God’s kingdom on earth.

Theses verses remind us that judgment falls upon the chosen people because of our failure to obey the commandments in the Mosaic Covenant. But, the hope for Israel’s restoration is based upon a different covenant and different promises—those found in the Abrahamic Covenant. Even when Israel sins and is in exile, the Lord will still keep His holy hand upon His people. Not because of their obedience, but because of His faithfulness. “Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God. But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 26:44–45).

If we were completely honest with one another, we would admit that our lives are a battleground! We are constantly struggling and battling against sin. The reason most people do not see this is because the battle is within. We are constantly sinning, repenting, and asking the Lord for renewal and transformation by the power of His Spirit. If not, then we are feeling defeated or, even worse, have given up. The good news is that God is a forgiving God by nature, and constantly extends His grace and mercy to those who have been bought by the blood of Yeshua! There is always hope for overcoming the sins that beset us. Victory is available but it might not look like the spiritual victory described in some Christian books or trite spiritual formulas. The battle for holiness that rages in our souls is one we will fight until we are perfected.

My hope and prayer for all of us is that we will seek the Lord and His strength while realistically recognizing the darkness of our souls. We should continue to fight the battles within our souls. Why? Because we know that the war was won on Golgotha as He said, “It is finished.” But we must keep fighting until He comes, knowing that He understands our frame and weakness and is always available to give us help, strength, and as Paul wrote, “Who is the one who condemns? Messiah Yeshua is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us (Romans 8:34).

So, please do not give up! Remember that the fight for spiritual growth is part of walking with God. It is a battle worth winning though there will certainly be losses along the way. We need to expect some losses and remember that restoration is always available and begins with repentance.

I love Kol Nidrei. It is an honest prayer reminding me of my failures and the multitude of ways even the best among us break our promises to God and man. We might as well admit it! Though we believe in Yeshua, we still break His holy commandments written in both the Old and New Testaments. Does God cast us off for our sins? No! Jesus told us that time and again.

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37).

And again,

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:9–10).

Like Israel, we are secured by a grace covenant through the death and resurrection of the Messiah Yeshua. When we find ourselves drifting from Him, we must remember that He will not forget us as He does not forget Israel—He always has His hands upon us. There is always hope for grace and restoration, and Yom Kippur and the entirety of the high holiday season is a wonderful time to rededicate ourselves to the Lord, repent of our sins, and find grace that leads to restoration. This repentance and seeking His grace should continue every day of our lives.  We really need to live a repentant lifestyle, which leads to a grace-filled life, filled with His powerful and comforting presence every day.


[1] For more on the origins of this important Jewish prayer, see Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, ed., All These Vows: Kol Nidre, Prayers of Awe (Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights Pub., 2011).

[2] Jewish Encyclopedia, s.v. “Kol Nidre,” http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/9443-kol-nidre.

[3] Rabbi Ruth Adar, “What Does Kol Nidre Mean?,” Coffee Shop Rabbi (blog), September 29, 2015, https://coffeeshoprabbi.com/2015/09/29/what-does-kol-nidre-mean/.

[4] Rabbi Eric Solomon, “Kol Nidrei Collection,” SaveTheMusic.com, accessed September 25, 2020, https://savethemusic.com/collections/the-kol-nidre-collection/.

[5] See the excellent Journal article in the Masters Seminary Journal by Dr. Keith Essex on the Abrahamic covenant: Keith H. Essex, “The Abrahamic Covenant,” The Master’s Seminary Journal 10, no. 2 (Fall 1999): 191-212, https://www.tms.edu/m/tmsj10n.pdf.

Leave a comment

Filed under Holidays & Festivals, Jewish Holidays, Jews and Christians, Judaism, Messianic Jewish, Uncategorized

Looking Back on What God Has Accomplished

Dear friends,

I never expected the months after the joy-filled celebration of our 125th year would take us from the highest mountaintop to the lowest plane in such a short time. None of us could have ever imagined we would end up where we are today. The changes from July 2019 to June 2020 are unimaginable! And we have yet to reach our next normal.

Last July began a tremendously promising fiscal year. We had already enjoyed successful 125th-anniversary celebration events in three major cities, while also preparing for our Midwest Bible conference in Lake Lawn, Wisconsin, and Shalom New York, our most extensive evangelistic outreach to date. We finished our 125th-anniversary year with a Heritage Tour and Banquet at Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn, followed by a seminar at which three secular Jewish scholars, along with some of our staff, presented historical papers on the “Life and Times of Leopold Cohn.”

At the beginning of the spring coronavirus outbreak, most of us still had little idea of how the virus would impact New York City, and what it would do to our ministry, the economy, and all of the ramifications we have been experiencing since then. Thankfully, we were already using Zoom and online platforms for administrative work and evangelism. We had a Jewish man come to faith through one of our Brooklyn congregation’s first online services. We have also had several other Jewish people come to the Lord due to our Zoom Bible studies, services, and online evangelistic campaigns.

Like many organizations, we quickly set up routines and processes to work from home. We currently have several task forces meeting regularly to consider new ways of getting things done and maximizing the lessons we have learned during the pandemic. We are also studying longer-term issues, as this pause provides us with the opportunity to reflect upon the work we do and the way we do it. We plan on reopening wisely, productively, and safely. Our task forces will spearhead our New York and Florida offices reopening, and our congregations, as well.

We look forward to a gradual return to the office, but we do not expect to be back in our Manhattan, Florida, and Brooklyn buildings until late summer. We anticipate resuming our services, Bible studies, and in-person meetings slowly. However, we will repopulate our offices with three imperatives in mind—we must do it legally, safely, and according to what is most necessary for the work.

Still, Your Mission to the Jewish People has been incredibly busy! I hope you enjoy this summary of our accomplishments since last summer and during this difficult time.

Your Brother in Messiah,
Mitch

Your Mission to the Jewish People has continued our evangelism and outreach efforts. We want you to know what has been going on:

Online Conferences held this year:

  • April 7 — Messiah in the Passover / 7,099 views
  • April 13 — Staff Town Hall / 114 views
  • April 22 — Donor Teleconference / 8,218 callers
  • April 22 — Eschatology Survey / 20,913 views
  • May 18-19 — Craig Keener Webinar / 5,406 views
  • June 5 — Music for the Mishpocha / 8,623 views

Many people viewed the ministry-wide “virtual” Messiah in the Passover demonstration. We also know of about fifty churches who showed the video to their congregants. The Zoom roll out of our Eschatology survey of 1,000 Evangelical pastors and our Bible conference with Dr. Craig Keener, the current president of the Evangelical Theological Society, were high points.

House of Living Waters

In September 2019, we initiated our new “residential” outreach near the New York University campus in Manhattan. Four young men lived in a rented apartment and ministered on campus during the past year. We received a two-year grant of $140,000 per year for this endeavor, so we will continue in the fall of 2021!

Youth Camps and Programs

  • Teen Winter Camp—Kesher Ice held in Maryland / 38 participants
  • Teen Outreach New York City—Kesher New York / 15 participants

The Charles L. Feinberg Seminary

We began offering courses by Zoom, enabling those who could not move to Brooklyn to take classes. We will continue to do this as well as provide more standard types of online, asynchronous classes. The total number of matriculating Feinberg students (including recent graduates) is 18.

Church Ministries & Missionaries

Our ministry in churches is uncertain for the moment, as we have yet to see how many churches will reopen and want us to come and preach as planned this fall.

This fiscal year, our missionaries completed only 501 church meetings (as compared to 1,144 meetings last year) that raised only $272,000.

Missionaries in the Field

  • US – raising support (paid) 72
  • US – raising support (unpaid) 6
  • Foreign – raising support 44
  • Foreign – deployed from US 13

International Centers

  • Argentina (2) (owned by CPMUS)
  • Jerusalem (owned by CPMUS)
  • Ramat Gan (rented by CPMUS)

Domestic Ministries Centers

  • Brooklyn Messianic Center
  • Manhattan Messianic Center
  • Boynton Beach Messianic Center
  • Chicago Kedzie Messianic Center

Domestic Congregations (8)

  • Sha’ar Adonai (Manhattan)
  • Beth Sar Shalom (Brooklyn)
  • Son of David (MD)
  • Kehilat Sar Shalom (Northern VA)
  • Beit Hesed (Chicago/Russian)
  • Yeshua Ben David (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Shuvah Yisrael (Orange County, CA)

Digital Campaigns

The ministry advertised the Isaiah 53 Campaign, I Found Shalom testimonies, and free booklet giveaways or downloads on Facebook. In response, we received approximately 79,806 contacts since last July.

Hebrew Isaiah 53 Campaign in Israel had 1,395 book requests

  • Jewish Believers: 86
  • Jewish Unbelievers: 1,158
  • Gentile Believers: 111
  • Gentile Unbelievers: 40

Video Testimonies

We now have 105 testimonies online at ifoundshalom.com, which have been watched more than 3,000,000 times on all of our platforms.

Our Hope Podcast

A weekly podcast is now available called Our Hope (ourhopepodcast.com). There have been more than 7,000 downloads to date.

Digital and Social Media

Our social media channels are very active and include YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, blogs, and videos that cross a variety of platforms.

We are developing Beth Sar Shalom, a stage one outreach site, and are still working on Follow Messiah, a second-stage seeker site and Chosen People Answers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Conference, Digital Media, evangelism, Israel, Messianic Jewish, New York City, Uncategorized

Three New Missionaries Join Us in Israel!

Shalom in His grace. As you probably know, we had a wonderful year celebrating our 125th anniversary. As we turn our eyes to the future, I want to take a moment to honor God by remembering the past. Rabbi Leopold Cohn—our founder—along with hundreds of missionaries, board members, prayer partners, and faithful supporters are now part of that host of heavenly witnesses cheering us on towards the future (Hebrews 12:1–3)!

We now must move forward in serving the Lord among His chosen people until He comes again!

Our missionaries will continue our everyday ministries, presenting Jesus the Messiah one-on-one and heart-to-heart to Jewish people in the dozens of cities and nineteen countries in which we serve.

We will continue teaching Bible studies, planting and leading Messianic congregations, serving poor and elderly Jewish people, and hosting children’s camps through the leadership provided by our Messianic Centers in densely populated Jewish communities such as Brooklyn, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and another half-dozen cities around the world.

Our leadership has prayerfully decided to focus on three distinct essential ministries.

We are calling this effort our To the Jew First campaign. As Paul wrote in Romans 1:16:

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

Allow me to summarize the three parts of the campaign:

ISRAEL

We will continue to build our work in Israel. We now have twenty-five staff members serving in the Holy Land, but we need more! We are finding that Israelis are more open today to the gospel than ever before, and we want to seize the moment!

DIGITAL MEDIA

We will intensify our ministry through digital media—utilizing the web, social media and videos—using all these modern tools God has made available to us to proclaim the gospel and disciple those who come to faith.

THE JOSHUA INITIATIVE

Finally, we will invest more time, treasure, and talent in mentoring the next generation of missionaries to the Jewish people. We have started new and unique ministries on many campuses, training more and more new leaders at our Charles Feinberg Center in Brooklyn, and bringing young adults together in training conferences to send into the harvest.

GOD IS DOING AMAZING THINGS IN ISRAEL!

Our ministry over the last two decades in the Holy Land has touched the lives of thousands of Russian Jewish immigrants and elderly Holocaust survivors, children through our camping programs, and many others through church planting and the general work of evangelism.

The Lord brought the right people to the right place for the right moment of ministry!

We are thrilled to see a second-generation movement of the Holy Spirit within Israel.

Many of those who are now serving the Lord in Israel are young Israelis whose parents became believers decades ago. This new generation of Israeli Messianic Jews is serving the Lord among their friends and family members in the Land.

They were raised in Israel, speak fluent Hebrew, served in the army, and many want to serve in full-time Jewish ministry. We are focusing on this next generation of Israeli young adults and families.

We will certainly not forget the older and very precious Israelis. But now, we must turn our attention to the next generation of Israelis, especially those who live in the greater Tel Aviv area, which has the largest population in Israel. For example, we are now active in a suburban community called Ramat Gan, which is adjacent to Tel Aviv. Ramat Gan and the surrounding area has about a half-million Israelis without one congregation or church. And—until we moved into the area—there were no missionaries serving them at all.

We now rent an attractive sixteen-hundred-square foot center in Ramat Gan, where we have some younger staff members already in place. Yet, for the last two years, we have been specifically praying for God to bring new staff members who are native-born Israelis and are willing and able to serve the Lord with Your Mission to the Jewish People.

Praise God—over the last twelve months, He has answered our prayers!

I have now served as the leader of Chosen People Ministries for twenty-three years, and what a joy it has been. I must say, that in more than two decades of service, I never thought that I would see such openness in Israel, nor such high-quality young people with a willingness to serve.

We now have three wonderfully gifted young Israelis who are well-trained and ready to move forward in service for the Lord. In fact, we have already taken two of them on our staff, and the third is just about to begin. These three staff members are currently involved in the ministry in the Tel Aviv area; meeting with younger adults and families, conducting Bible studies, mother’s groups, outreach concerts, Sabbath dinners for millennials, and hosting a series of regular public lectures that are gospel-centered and appealing to the more secular Israelis living in the area.

I have included their pictures and a little more information about each of these young missionaries with so much potential, talent, and willingness to serve the Lord.

rsz_motiMordechai “Moti” was born in 1984 in Haifa, Israel, the only child of an Orthodox Moroccan Jewish family. As a young adult, Moti learned radio broadcasting and served in the Israel Defense Forces between 2003–2006. Moti traveled to the United States in 2007 pursuing his dream of becoming a photographer. He took classes at Photo Manhattan in New York while also working as a kosher supervisor on the Upper West Side. During this time, he became acquainted with Chosen People Ministries. He was challenged to read the Bible for himself and seek God on his own terms. After much prayer, thought, and study, Moti came to believe that Jesus was, in fact, his Jewish Messiah. When Moti returned to Israel in 2010, he signed up for classes at the Israel College of the Bible (ICB) to learn the Bible in a deeper way. Currently, Moti works with youth, soldiers, and students, teaching the Bible and sharing the good news in Israel. Moti and his wife, Orel, are both passionate about reaching their fellow Israelis, especially working with youth and young adults.

AyeletAyelet was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and was raised in a Messianic Jewish family. She came to believe the Bible and placed her faith in Yeshua at an early age. By the age of five, she was sharing the gospel. In her teens, she became active in camp and youth ministry. Ayelet always appreciated the cultural diversity in Israeli society, with Jews from all over the world. The Lord led her to study anthropology, Bible and theology, and apologetics, with a desire to minister to her diverse people in a culturally sensitive and biblically accurate way.

God has given Ayelet a heart for Israel and the nations, and she feels called to the work of discipleship, biblical teaching, evangelism, and missions. She recently completed her studies at Talbot Seminary, where she received a Master of Arts degree. Ayelet is excited to serve at the Ramat Gan center in outreach and discipleship. She desires to equip and challenge Jewish Israeli believers, calling our people to faith in Yeshua.

rsz_davidDavid was born in Latvia to a family of Jewish believers in Jesus. As a teenager, he moved with his family to Israel and then served in the Israel Defense Forces. David committed his life to the Lord at the age of seventeen while reading John 3:16 in a weekly congregation service. God’s love for him suddenly became so apparent and alive, he was amazed and devoted his life to serve and live for Him. David and his wife, Victoria, have always had a heart to share the gospel and make disciples by opening their home for fellowship, evangelism, and studying the Bible.

Currently, David is volunteering as the associate pastor at a large Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. In 2019, David joined the staff of Chosen People Ministries. David and Victoria are wholeheartedly committed to ministry at the Ramat Gan center, facilitating Café and Music nights, seminars, Sabbath dinners, and many other events. They have two children: Orel and Emanuel.

I know that so many more Israelis will hear the gospel and be saved because we invest in the lives and futures of these young missionaries. Three young Israelis like these do not come along every day.

We have a big vision—to share the gospel with hundreds of thousands of Israelis in Ramat Gan and the surrounding neighborhood. Finally, by God’s grace, we have the available people to serve!

I believe the Lord is about to do something marvelous, and you and I can have a part in this!

I hope you have enjoyed this brief introduction to David, Moti, and Ayelet.

For Jesus and for Israel,
Mitch

Leave a comment

Filed under evangelism, Israel, Messianic Jewish, Uncategorized

I am excited about 2020—are you?

Shalom in our Messiah!

Happy New Year! Your Mission to the Jewish People is now entering our 126th year of ministry. We had many wonderful celebrations for our 125th year including conferences, banquets, and evangelistic ministries in New York, Israel, and around the globe.

We spoke to more than 5,000 Jewish people about Jesus during our summer outreach in New York City and housed almost 2,000 young Israelis traveling in New Zealand who heard the gospel through our staff and volunteers. We also met almost 10,000 Jewish people online, many of whom asked for the free copy of our evangelistic book, Isaiah 53 Explained, in English and Hebrew!

Our I Found Shalom video testimonies were viewed by millions!

We prayed with Jewish people to receive Jesus as their Savior everywhere from New York City to Tel Aviv, as well as Jerusalem, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, and in many other countries around the world.

What a year, and by God’s grace we have now expanded our ministries into nineteen countries!

Last year, we took every opportunity to honor our spiritual forefathers who laid a solid and lasting foundation for Chosen People Ministries. But now, it is time to pivot toward the future and look ahead to the opportunities for Jewish evangelism in 2020 and beyond!

After all, we really do not know how much time we have until Jesus returns.

Do you believe we are in the end times? I do, and let me tell you why.

  • Israel now has the largest population of Jewish people in the world.
  • Israel is surrounded by enemies—especially the new coalition between Iran, Russia, and Syria in the north. This is especially dangerous, and we need to keep our eyes open and focus our prayers on this concerning situation.
  • Missiles continue to rain on Israel from Gaza, again funded by Iran.
  • Internally, Israel is in deep trouble because it has been unable to elect a prime minister, which creates instability within the country.

Followers of Jesus have been expecting His return at any moment since the day He ascended. I cannot imagine that Peter, Paul, and the other apostles thought it would take more than 2,000 years.  The fact that we have expected His return in every generation since the ascension does not mean we can become lax and not eagerly await His return today!

I still believe the Lord is coming soon! In fact, according to Zechariah 12:10, where the prophet tells us that Israel will ultimately look to the one who was pierced, Jerusalem needs to be in Jewish hands for this prophecy to be fulfilled. This happened, of course, in 1967!

When speaking of His return, it is true that “of that day and hour no one knows” (Matthew 24:36), but we should not ignore the obvious signs of the times!

There is a growing remnant of Jewish people in Israel and around the world starting to believe in Jesus. There are probably more Jewish believers in the world now than ever before with an increasing number of Messianic Jewish believers in the Holy Land. There are more than 150 congregations in Israel, and thousands of young Israelis are now serving the Lord….in the Land!  This is clearly a sign of His soon return in light of what Paul wrote in Romans 11:25–29!

Chosen People Ministries is in the midst of this exciting time through our ministries in Jerusalem, Ramat Gan (Tel Aviv), Galilee, and northern Israel.

I believe we need to preach the good news to the Jewish people more intensively than ever before!

Next Steps in 2020

This is exactly what your Mission to the Jewish People plans to do in 2020!

And this is why we are initiating our To the Jew First Campaign, based upon Romans 1:16, where Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

We will focus on three critical areas:

Israel

We are intensifying our outreach in the Holy Land—doing more and more as the Lord enables. We hope one day soon to purchase a center in Tel Aviv. For now, renting a center in the heart of Ramat Gan, one of the largest, most populated, but unreached suburbs in Israel. This has been an exciting venture as we continue to reach younger and more secular Israelis each week through our concerts, Bible studies, evangelistic lectures, and Sabbath dinners.

There were almost forty people who are not yet believers at our last outreach Sabbath dinner, along with protestors standing outside the doors of our little center in Ramat Gan!

We now have more than twenty staff serving the Lord in Israel, and most of them are native Israelis. Our efforts among Holocaust survivors, children’s camps, congregational planting, and much more is all going well!  Thank you for your prayers and for your ongoing support for this work in Israel.

Opportunities Online

We are maximizing the use of digital media in Israel, the United States, and around the globe for the gospel.

We now have more than one hundred testimonies of Jewish believers online.

Our Isaiah 53 campaign continues, and we are meeting lots of Jewish seekers online!  The campaign costs about five dollars per book, including advertising and shipping costs.

This year we will send out more than 10,000 Hebrew Isaiah 53 Explained books to Israelis!

We also developed a full range of online discipleship Bible studies so Jewish people seeking the Lord can study the Bible and grow in their faith once they become believers.

The Joshua Initiative

Finally, we are increasing our efforts around the globe to train young believers to serve the Lord.

This is what we call the Joshua Initiative.

This includes those seriously studying the Word of God and learning more about Jewish evangelism at our Charles L. Feinberg Seminary program in Brooklyn. Thank God, our beloved supporters enabled us to purchase the Feinberg Center’s facility without debt!

You can tell how excited I am about entering 2020 and beginning our 126th year of Jewish ministry!

I would rather be disappointed if He does not come today, tomorrow, or even this year. I still believe we need to do all we can with the greatest sense of urgency to proclaim the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles each and every day.

So, call me a fanatic!  I suppose I am and if you want to know why, please watch my testimony on our I Found Shalom web site and you will know why!

Please join me with your prayers and efforts in reaching out to a dark and broken world—to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.

Have a Happy New Year and know that our staff loves and appreciates you. We could not do all we do without your partnership.

Blessings in 2020—however long we have to enjoy it!

Your brother and fellow fanatic,

Mitch (Romans 1:16)

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Brooklyn, Digital Media, evangelism, Israel, Messianic Jewish, New York City, Uncategorized