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Days of the Maccabees

December 2nd, 2013

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

The week Yeshua (Jesus) was in Jerusalem, prior to his crucifixions, his disciples asked him when he would set up God’s eternal kingdom (Read Matthew 24).  They did not yet understand that he had come, not as the victorious Messiah son of David as promised in passages like Isaiah 9:6-7, but as the Suffering Servant Messiah son of Joseph, as promised in passages like Isaiah 53.

Yeshua warned them that, like the days of Noah, people will not be prepared for its coming (Matthew 24:37).  That is an interesting statement.  After all, Noah was 120 years building the ark, and in that time he surely proclaimed the truth of what God was doing.  The fact is, they just didn’t want to hear it.  The truth is that in the “days of Noah” there were two kinds of people.  God’s people, of whom there were eight, and the people who spurned God and wanted nothing to do with His ways.

This stark contrast is very obvious in the story of Hanukkah.  In those “days of the Maccabees” there were two types of Jews in Israel: Jews like the Maccabees who wanted to follow God, and Jews who wanted to follow the Greek ideals of the empire begun by Alexander the Great.  It was the latter who backed the evil incursions of the Seleucid King, Antiochus Epiphanes, which instigated the Maccabean rebellion and victory that our Hanukkah celebrations commemorate.

The name Hanukkah comes from the Hebrew word meaning ‘dedication.’  It is a fitting name, since the festival encapsulates the dedication and faithfulness of God’s people in the face of great persecution, as well as the dedication of God to His faithful people.

Are we not living in “days of the Maccabees” now?  Do not the words of the Apostle Paul, quoted in the passage above, ring true with regard to the world we live in today?  We live in a very pagan world, where the idea of a God who created and loves is unpopular and often denigrated.  His expectations are spurned and ignored.

Like those days, God’s people are called to be perseverant in their dedication and faithfulness to Him.  Why?  We do so because he continues to be dedicated and faithful to His followers.   Time and again He has shown his faithfulness, just as He did for the Maccabees and their followers – the followers of God.

No greater evidence is there than His faithfulness on the Cross.  He promised a deliverer in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and He provided that deliver as we see evidenced in the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament).  That deliver is Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).

Don’t take my word for it.  Read the Tanakh and the B’rit Hadashah and see if it is not so.  We would be happy to send you both.  Just contact us; we would also be happy to answer any of your questions.

Hag Hanukkah Sameach!

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Following God, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish festivals, Jewish holidays, Jews and Jesus, Messiah in the Tanach, Redemption, Serving God, The Bible | No Comments »

Anti-Missionaries Miss the Point

January 18th, 2013

There is a lawsuit in the Israeli courts against the Israel Army Radio, filed by the anti-missionary organization Yad L’Achim.  Apparently, the IAR refused to air a Yad L’Achim sponsored commercial telling people not to be deceived into believing in Jesus.  IAR did not air this because it felt it was considered controversial by the general public, and that it was offensive to some.

This is how a Yad L’Achim spokeman represented their position:

Christian mission is based on deceit. Its emissaries do not present themselves as Christian but as Messianic Jews, who represent a Judaism that believes in Jesus as the Messiah. Those ‘Messianic Jews’ hide their connection to a sub-stream of Protestant Christianity. Some of the leaders of the Messianic congregations have been ordained, some are Gentiles, and some are converted Jews.” Though their behavior is Jewish, “their theology is Christian.

Yad L’Achim’s lawyer used the persecution card, saying:

All through the exile Jews were forced – sometimes through torture – to convert to Christianity. Other Jews, including entire communities, forfeited their lives by refusing to convert. How can it not be permitted, in the State of Israel, to air an ad that warns against missionary activity?

In other words, since Jews were forced to convert to Christianity in a time gone by, people should not be given the chance to voluntarily hear the Gospel now.  For more about that, see our recent article, “Is the New Testament Anti-Semetic?”

In the end, all of Yad L’Achim’s rhetoric points to one thing: anti-missionaries don’t get the point.  They don’t understand what Christianity is all about, and how those Jews who believe in Yeshua (Jesus) view their faith in him.

For us, faith in Yeshua is the biblical faith.  It is the continuation of the work of God that was begun in Genesis and which will find its final fulfillment in the Book of Revelation, the last book of the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament).  This continuity is clearly visible with a simple reading of the whole of Scriptures. 

Both the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and the B’rit Hadashah are wrapped up in the history, the culture and the religious beliefs  of the Jewish people.  It represents God’s dealings with them and, through them, with every nation of the world.  To say that faith in Yeshua is the biblical faith is to say also that faith in Yeshua is the biblical Jewish faith (as opposed to the faith of the rabbis, or rabbinic Judaism).

That is what Jews and Gentiles who put their faith in Yeshua believe.  Whether we call ourselves Christians, or Believers in Jesus, or Messianics – that is our belief.  As Israel is ostensibly a pluralistic country, those who believe should have a right to express that belief, with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).  Yad L’Achim, Jews for Judaism and organizations like them want to keep that message from you.  You can heed their voice or no.

If you would like a chance to hear the message, why not contact us.  We would be happy to send you the Scriptures so you can consider these things for yourself.  If you have any questions, we would be happy to help you out – and by all means ask your rabbi too, or even Yad L’Achim if you wish.

As one follower of Yeshua put it:

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 Gentile. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17; quoting at the end from Habakkuk 2:4)

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

 

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, The Bible | No Comments »

The Wrong Jewish Experts

January 9th, 2013

The “Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies” sends a regular media report of Israeli articles dealing with Christian issues of relevance to believers in Yeshua (Jesus).  Recently it reported this:

HaMekomon Petah Tikva, December 26, 2012
In a short snippet addressed to children, Itzik the Clown explains what Christmas is: “During Christmas the Christian faith marks the birth of Jesus.” He adds that “today, Christmas is the most popular and most beloved holiday in the Western world. It is celebrated by religious and secular alike. Those who believe pray a special prayer in church, called Midnight Mass.” In his final message to the children, Itzik the Clown writes that “we [Israelis] who live in a land that is sacred to all religions must learn about those who live in our midst. This is how we will learn to respect one another and live peaceful and quiet lives. The religious wars caused lots of problems, and that’s why we need to respect one another.”

Itzik the Clown, a popular Israeli radio and TV celebrity, is genuinely trying to foster a spirit of peace, and for that he should be lauded.  Sadly, this article also highlights some of the ignorance of Christianity that the non-believing Jewish community often exhibits.

While Christmas is an important religious day for most Christians, it is not so for all.  This is especially true for many Jewish believers who do not observe the day (while many Jewish believers do).  It is also important to recognize that, while Christianity is the most popular holiday, especially to the secular world, from a religious perspective it is Easter that is of greatest importance.

The most egregious mistake in this article, to my mind, is when he says that, “those who believe pray a special prayer in church, called Midnight Mass.”

  1. Midnight Mass is a service, not a special prayer.
  2. Only Catholics celebrate Midnight Mass.   There are a great many believers outside the Catholic faith that celebrate in a variety of ways.
  3. Most believing Christians honour the Messiah’s birth throughout the day, and not just at church.

I suppose the error is trifling, but it highlights an important point.  Most of what Jewish people understand about Christianity comes from Jews who have no idea what Christianity is about, not just in Israel but everywhere.  And so Jews believe that:

  1. Christians worship three gods (which we don’t – there is only One – click here for more).
  2. The New Testament writers were anti-Semitic (which they weren’t – see this recent article).
  3. That baptism makes you a Christian (which it doesn’t – faith does).
  4. That the Pope speaks for all Christians (which he doesn’t – only for Roman Catholics)

These are just a few of the many misunderstandings of Christian belief that my Jewish people get hold of and believe, simply because Jewish “experts” who are not Christians say so.  It is amazing to me how man Jewish people go to such sources for their information, rather than to the people who do know: Christians.

If you are a Jewish person who doesn’t believe in Jesus and you are reading this, ask yourself this question:  am I rejecting Jesus because I know what faith in Jesus is really all about, or because people who don’t know Jesus are telling me not to?

Why don’t you speak to Jews who believe in Jesus and find out what we really believe and why we believe it?  Get the information to make your decision about Jesus from a knowledgeable source.  We are here to answer your questions about what faith in Yeshua is all about, honestly and without pressure, so that you can make an informed decision.  Contact us!

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

Thanks for trying!

January 3rd, 2013

As someone who grew up in a small Jewish Community, I spent most of my time with people who were not Jewish.  The neighbourhood kids I played with and my schoolmates were, for the most part, Gentiles.  Now many of them were not kids that went to church or had a religious upbringing.  I cannot help but think, however, that some of the hundreds of kids I went to school with were bona fide, dyed-in-the-wool, born-again believers in Jesus Christ.

Yet not once do I recall any one during my public school or high school days trying to share the Gospel with me.  Oh, we recited the “Lord’s Prayer” in junior public school (I didn’t know then that the prayer was straight out of the New Testament – Matthew 6:9-13), and I remember singing Christmas carols, but not one person ever tried to explain to me what it all meant; who Jesus was, and how he died on the cross for my sins.  I probably wouldn’t have believed them, but that’s a moot point – no one tried.

The same can be said about my university experience, except with one exception.  At a dorm party I spent a lot of time talking to a girl who shared the Gospel with me, and tried to show me that Jesus was my Jewish saviour.  I can’t remember what her name was and only vaguely recall what she looked like.  In response I was incredibly cynical, certainly arrogant and quite possibly rude.  To her credit, she was perseverant.

I can’t say that what she said at the time left any impression upon me (only  God can say for sure), but now that I am a believer in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) and vocationally involved in sharing the Gospel with others, especially among my Jewish people, I can’t help but wish that I could meet her again.  I would like to thank her for caring enough to take the time to share such a momentous message with a tough nut like me.   I can’t help but think that she prayed for me afterward.

Still, the nagging question is why did not more people take the time to tell me the Gospel?   When it is a matter of eternal life or death – at least to those of us who believe – what can be said about those who cannot be bothered to pass the message along?

Was it because I was Jewish?  So what?  I still need Yeshua, the one who said to Jewish people, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Too many people avoid sharing the Gospel with anyone, but this is even more true with Jewish people.  Whether it’s because they think Jews won’t believe, or don’t need to believe, or, God forbid, don’t deserve to believe – and such anti-Semitism does still exist in the church, unscriptural though it is – many refuse to fulfill our God-given calling to preach the Gospel to the world when it comes to the Jewish people.

So I am grateful to those who do.  Thank you for taking a chance on your Jewish friend or acquaintance.  Thank you for offering to share with your Jewish workmate or classmate.   Many won’t thank you for doing it, and you might occasionally be belittled or ridicule; but know that you have sowed seed, or watered and nurtured.  Though you don’t see the harvest, that doesn’t mean that your efforts won’t bare fruit.

I can’t help but wonder if that young lady in university, going home that night, ever thought it possible that the difficult Jew she spoke with could ever become a true believer in Christ.  As Jesus once said, “with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)”

If you would like to more about how you can share the Gospel with your Jewish friend or acquaintance, please contact us.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Goyim for God, Jewish Identity, Jews and Christianity, Personal Stories, Serving God, This, That, The Other Thing | 1 Comment »

Seeking Honestly is the Best Policy!

August 1st, 2012

“I love them that love me, and those that seek me earnestly shall find me.”
(Proverbs 8:17; Jewish Pulication Society)

I was walking along Queen Street in the midst of the packed crowd at the Beaches Jazz Festival.  Along with a colleague and some volunteers I was wearing a blue shirt that says, “Jesus Loves You,” in the midst of a Star of David. 

A woman passed by – looked at us – and said, “That’s disgusting!”

I am sure it was only meant as a pot shot, and she was taken aback when I turned to ask her, “Why?” 

She looked a little startled, but could only restate her objection, “That’s disgusting!”  I asked her why once more and she responded in the same manner.

Finally, I smiled and said, “You don’t know why, do you?”  She could make no response and turned away, with, “that’s disgusting,” still on her face.

This is not an uncommon interaction.  The truth is that most of my Jewish people, when confronted with the Gospel, respond negatively – not because they have knowledge of the Gospel (very few do) – but because they have been indoctrinated against the Gospel.  The reaction is a knee-jerk one, and not one that comes from an honest look at the facts, biblical or otherwise.

There is a social contract among the wider Jewish community that Jews cannot consider Yeshua (Jesus), that Yeshua is not for Jews, and that for a Jew to believe in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) is to turn one’s back on Judaism. 

There are all kinds of religious, social and historical reasons that can be discussed as to why this is the case, but they all boil down to one thing: the Jewish people do not give the Gospel message a fair shake.  When pressed for details, many Jews who claim to have looked into the Gospel and rejected it will have to admit that their search generally consisted of prejudiced rabbinic responses and, perhaps, a smattering of liberal “Christian” scholars that themselves do not believe in the Gospel as presented in Scriptures, but are acceptable to rabbinic sensibilities.  Such research can hardly be considered honest.

We here at New Covenant Forum want to help the Jewish people to take an honest look at the message of Yeshua as both Messiah (Saviour) and Adonai (Lord).  We simply have a message to pass on that we believe in with all our hearts, whether we are Jew or Gentile.  We wish for this message to be heard and considered honestly.

To my fellow Jews, I wish to say that – though I don’t agree with the rabbis – we do not ask you to ignore them.  We merely wish you to hear the message we believe we have from God and consider it in an unbiased and honest manner.  Listen to your rabbi, to be sure, but please also listen to us.  Pray and ask God to reveal to you His truth, and then be willing to believe and follow that truth, whatever it may be.

If you would like more information, you can check our website out or contact us.  We also have the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and the B’rit Hadashah (New Covenant or Testament) that we would be happy to send you free of charge.

Honesty is the best policy – especially when it comes to seeking God.

“And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.”
(Jeremiah 29:13; Jewish Publication Society)

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Following God, Jewish Identity, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, New Covenant, Personal Stories | No Comments »

A Christian Jew and Happy to Say So!

May 16th, 2012

I was reading the Caspari Review, which reported an article in the April 20th issue of the Israeli newspaper Yediot HaEmek in which the Mayer of Upper Nazareth was demanding that some billboards be taken down because they were missionary in nature.  What concerned me in this issue, was not the mayor’s reaction – such reactions are typical of the somewhat less that pluralistic atmosphere of Israel concerning faith in Yeshua – but what the organization responsible for the billboards said. 

Quoting from the Caspari review, this was their response:

‘It’s not missionary material. We’re absolutely not Christians but Messianic Jews. We believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God of Israel.  Religious Jews living here might not like our faith, but we also have the right to believe what we wish. Through advertising we want to help people in distress. We living in a democratic state, and we have the right of speech and religion. This is an infringement of democracy. We will not be silent and we will advertise in other ways.’”
[Bold text mine]

Basically, this organization believes that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah, but doesn’t want to identify itself as Christian.  In some ways, I understand their response.  To the average Jewish mind, the word “Christian” is an expression of persecution and so is looked down upon and treated with suspicion.  That is not because this is true, but because of ignorance of what Christianity means.

The way to combat ignorance, however, is not to give into it or to accommodate it.  No, it must be combatted by information.  The first time that the word “Christian” was used was in Syrian Antioch in the First Century.  Although there were Gentiles in the followers of Yeshua there, there were also many Jews.  Paul and Barnabus are but two well-known examples, but there were clearly others as well.

“Christian” is simply the English version of the Greek word found in Acts 11:26, and which means follower of Messiah.  It is being a follower of Messiah that makes one a Christian.

I am a Jew, and proud to be so.  That was the nation I was born into and the culture I was brought up in.  I was born a Jew, and I will die a Jew.  But by faith, I am also a Christian – a follower of Messiah.  This is also part of my Jewish heritage and I am proud to be a Christian.

Let us not eschew those things that are valuable, simply because others are wrongly put off by them.  Let us, instead, help our Jewish people to understand who Yeshua really was, what he really taught, and what his role really is as Messiah and Lord.  Let us help the Jewish people understand that the Christian faith – that is, faith in Yeshua – is the Biblical faith.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, This, That, The Other Thing | 1 Comment »

Keeping Jews Jewish

April 25th, 2012

“Keeping Jews Jewish.”  That is the caption at the top of the Canadian website of the organization Jews for Judaism; an organization whose purpose is to prevent Jewish people from hearing the message that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel promised by Moses and the Prophets.

It is certainly a fine rhetorical statement.  It speaks into the hearts of Jewish people, who believe that Jewish identity is the greatest thing of value to the Jewish people, regardless of belief or practise or, in some cases, God.  Within the context of the website, it implies that Jewish identity is lost when one becomes a believer in Jesus.

When you come right down to it, however, rhetoric is all that this statement is.  It is a smoke and mirrors statement; a continued attempt to indoctrinate my Jewish people against the message of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).  It is, in essence, propaganda.

While believing in Jesus definitely puts one at odds with rabbinic Judaism, it by no means keeps one from being Jewish.  Any rabbinic scholar can tell you that.  The question is not an issue of being Jewish, but an issue of Judaism.  Is Rabbinic Judaism a correct form of faithful Jewish expression in light of God’s revelation?  It is our contention, borne out in the many articles found on this blog and website, that the answer is no.

Many Jews are caught up in belief systems contrary to a rabbinic perspective.  There are Jews who are atheists and humanists, as well as Jews who are Buddhists and New Agers.  But Jews for Judaism spares little, if any, time on them.  If Jewishness is part and parcel with rabbinic Judaism, then certainly they should be spending at least as much time on such “unbelieving” Jews as they do on those who believe in Jesus.  Certainly, within the Jewish community,  they are numerically a larger group than Hebrew Christians (for now).

I think it has quite rightly been said that Jews for Judaism should more rightly be named “Jews Against Christianity.” Better yet, “Jews Against Jews for Jesus.”  On the website’s homepage, there is a picture of me speaking with their director, Julius Ciss, captioned as a discussion with Jews for Jesus – a different organization altogether.  This is not by accident, but is one more piece of misinformation found on their site that shows that they either have no correct understanding of the Christian faith and practise or are deliberately misrepresenting it.

Perhaps groups like Jews for Judaism are combatting the truth, just as the prophets were combatting the truth in the days of Jeremiah and the other prophets of God?

Here is the crux of the problem for these organizations.  There are Jews that are thinking for themselves.  There are Jews who are seeking spiritual truths, which often lead them away from the rabbinic traditions of Judaism.  That there is truth in these matters is beyond question, but who has that truth?  Jews for Judaism and their ilk respond by telling Jewish people not to listen – not to consider – not to use their own judgment.

The message of New Covenant Forum (and Jews for Jesus and the rest) is different.  We want you to listen to us, and to your rabbis and to others.  We want you to then read the Word of God carefully, both the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) so that you can see how they work together to present a complete and consistent picture of Jesus as our Messiah.  We then ask you to pray to God and ask Him to show you His Truth.  Not our truth, or the rabbis’ truth, but His Truth.  We believe that if you ask God honestly, he will show you that Truth faithfully.

If Jesus is the Messiah promised by Moses and the Prophets, then there is nothing better a Jew can do than to believe in him.  If faith in Jesus, which is the Christian faith, is consistent with what God says in His Word, including the Tanakh, then there is nothing more Jewish than to enter into that faith.  That is what it means then to be a Jew.

New Covenant Forum is an organization who is interested in “Keeping Jews Jewish.”  Want to know more about the message of the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ)?  Contact us.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

 

 

 

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Following God, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, New Covenant | 1 Comment »

An Invitation to Faith

March 13th, 2012

I was walking with a friend when we came across a man in a wheelchair who asked us for some change. Now we have learned that cash is not always the best thing to give, but we offered to feed him.  He only wanted money, so my friend told him about something even greater than money. That thing, which is priceless, is the gift of Jesus.

The man, like many people, was already familiar with the name Jesus.  He also claimed to know about Jesus and to have read the Bible, though he doesn’t read it on an ongoing basis.  He knew a lot about Jesus, but he didn’t really know Jesus on a personal level.

The truth is that lots of people think they know Jesus, but they haven’t really listened to the things Jesus said, or believed what he taught.  That’s true among those who have come to church for years as well as those who have never crossed a church doorway.  I have come to realize that there are a lot of Jewish people who think they know who Jesus (Yeshua) is, but they have never been told the real story of Jesus, or his message.

The Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) taught that in order for sinners like you and I to enter into the presence of God our sin must be paid for by blood (Leviticus 17:11), after we repent and turn from our sinful lives to lives lived righteously for God (Psalm 51:15-19).  Yeshua affirmed this when he offered himself as a sacrifice on the cross, fulfilling the promises of Isaiah 53:10-12 and Jeremiah 31:31 when he said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Luke 22:20)”

Yeshua taught that the greatest commandment of all was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31)” Why is this the greatest command?  In Romans 13:10 it says, “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Yeshua’s love fulfilled the Law and brought about the New Covenant by which we can have eternal life.  Similarly, to have eternal life in Him, we must not only faithfully believe in these things, but we must do so in love – both for our Lord and for His creation.

My friend invited the man to Church, and expressed the importance of knowing Jesus on a personal level.  At New Covenant Forum, we also invite you to consider the importance of a personal relationship with your Messiah, Yeshua.

Feel free to contact us to know more.  If you would like to receive a copy of the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament), we would be happy to send you a copy free of charge.

Contributed by Ian Smith, who is interning with New Covenant Forum from Toronto Baptist Seminary.

Posted in A Gentile perspective, Evangelism, Following God, Ian Smith, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, New Covenant, Personal Stories | No Comments »

Sceptics Can Also Learn!

January 25th, 2012

There is this Jewish acquaintance of mine who used to be a lawyer in family law.  Marty (not his real name) stopped practicing because of how badly people treated and acted towards one another when divorcing.  He has since developed a passion of his from a hobby into an ongoing business.

Over the years we have had many intellectually stimulating conversations about most anything and everything. The other day I stopped by his place of business, and during our conversation he asked me what I was up to.

I told him about my role in New Covenant Forum as a messenger telling my Jewish people about Yeshua (Jesus). He responded by telling me that he was on the fence, so to say.

Marty told me that, despite the fact of his fairly Orthodox upbringing, he spent most of his life as a member of the secular Jewish community, which he no longer  felt a member of.  He was unsure of whether or not there was a God and considered himself an agnostic.

He was willing to entertain and discuss the topic of a Messiah, but with much scepticism. He actually apologized for being so sceptical about it. Jokingly, I told him not to worry.  After all, scepticism is a Jewish birthright, and I was much the same before Yeshua (Jesus) came into my life.

I was quite surprised by his willingness to discuss the issues.  Then I changed tack. “There is not much chance that the dictionary was the result of an explosion of a printing press,” I said.  I pointed to a jar on the counter and said, “this jar did not just happen.  Someone made it.”

Marty then asked if I believed in creation rather than evolution.   When I said yes, our conversation abruptly ended.  He said he was not getting into a creation vs. evolution discussion.  Of course he could have, but he wouldn’t.  Yeshua he could entertain, but his scepticism drew the line at creation.  But why?

Are you a sceptic? An agnostic? An atheist?   Don’t let your scepticism get in the way of seeking and learning truth.

We here at New Covenant Forum are happy to discuss this or any other question you may have about God, Jesus, the Bible or Spiritual issues.  Feel free to contact us to learn more.

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3)”

Contributed by Alan Friesner: a Jewish believer in Yeshua on the staff of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Alan Friesner, Evangelism, Jewish Identity, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, Messiah, Personal Stories, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

Operation Rescue

January 25th, 2012

“Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?”
(Proverbs 24:11-12)

These are very convicting words from the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures).  They demand that when you see someone on the way to calamity, it is your responsibility to prevent it.  The caring for others is of paramount importance to God.

We, who are believers in Yeshua (Jesus), must take this precept very seriously.  We also know that the greatest peril man faces is not mere physical death but spiritual death: eternal separation from God (Isaiah 66:24; Revelation 21:8).   Furthermore, we understand that eternal life only comes from a right relationship with God through Messiah Yeshua (Romans 6:23).

It is clear then that believers in Yeshua have an obligation to share the Gospel truth with those who do not believe.  To not do this, is to allow people to be taken away to death and to stumble to the slaughter.

In verse 12, the Lord’s admonition against the response, “behold, we did not know this,” is not dealing with ignorance of a person’s peril, but ignorance of God’s precept of intervention.   As expressed in modern jurisprudence, “ignorance is no excuse for the law.”  God has made it clear in His Word, and so we who are His children must act accordingly.

One of the most neglected people group in this regard is the Jewish people.  Although there might be a number of ministries, like New Covenant Forum, whose mandate is to share the Gospel with the Jewish people, we are nevertheless too few and far between.  Sadly, most believers – those who have the best opportunity – avoid sharing the Gospel with their Jewish friend or acquaintance.

One of our purposes at New Covenant Forum is to encourage, empower and equip people to be able to share the Gospel with the Jewish people; and, by so doing, to help them be better equipped to share the Gospel with most anyone.

If you want to know more about how to share the Gospel with Jewish sensitivity and sensibility, please contact us.  If your church would be blessed by understanding the Jewish roots of our Christian faith better, and how to build that bridge of understanding between the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament), we would be happy to help; you can click here.

And if you are a Jewish person who does not believe in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ), know that we are doing what God has commanded us to do.  Don’t be offended.  Rather, consider the possibility that through us God is forwarding to you an invitation to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23).  Why not contact us to find out more?

Posted in Anonymous, Biblical Interpretation, Evangelism, Following God, Goyim for God, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

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