One for Israel website writes:
We feel incredibly privileged to be alive at this time in history, and to be directly involved in this wave of revival that is happening in Israel and among the Jewish people. We are in the throes of a serious move of God among the Jewish people. Congregations all across Israel are feeling the effects of the unusual number of Israelis who are coming to faith from all kinds of backgrounds – Orthodox, secular, high flying professionals, drug addicts and gangsters, young and old. Yeshua loves each one!
All together, our videos of Jewish testimonies, gospel explanations, and answers to tough questions have been watched well over 23 million times at our last count in December 2016!! What is possibly even more exciting than the vast numbers watching our videos in English is that our Hebrew language videos have been watched almost 9 million times at the last count in December 2016 – that’s a million more than there are people living in Israel! The most popular video in Hebrew is our ten minute explanation of the gospel, shot in Jerusalem. That has been seen almost 1.5 million times.
We receive many messages on a daily basis from Israelis who write in response to what they have seen. Here are some of them from the past year: ‘It all started when Shmuel saw an advertisement for your videos on YouTube, we then watched your video about how Yeshua taught to love your enemies, later we saw how the prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures point to Him… our parents are really aggressive against our belief, but we want to keep in touch and ask you questions from time to time.’ (Two boys from an Orthodox background who have come to faith in Yeshua)
Three more like this came in on that same day, shortly after we released the video about the real origin of the rabbinic oral-law! (Note we have produced an article on this subject ‘Was there an Oral Law given at Sinai’ available on request or at http://messiahfactor.com/page55.html). Then there’s this one from a Jewish young man who works in a Jerusalem hospital: ‘I found Yeshua on YouTube, through one of your advertised videos about the falsehood of the rabbinic oral law. I felt that I had to check what it is all about and found a whole new world!! Yeshua changed my life and I’m thankful to Him and to you because of it. I want more Jews to know the truth, which is that Yeshua is the Messiah who we’ve been waiting for all along!’
‘I once asked about Yeshua and was told right away never to ask about him again. I decided to asked him: ‘If you are real, help me.’ Then, I came across the videos that Eitan and Moti produced which helped me greatly. I also started reading the New Testament and found out how godly this book is. How could they tell me Yeshua was anti-Semitic? I also kept reading more of your articles, realising how far modern Judaism is from Moses’ Bible. My family is religious, so I’m believing in secret.’ (A Jewish lady from a strict Orthodox background)
‘Today I found your videos, and I would like you to help me better understand. I am a Charedi (Ultra Orthodox) and attend a Yeshiva, but have stopped doing all the rituals. I don’t see a point in these rituals. I don’t understand why God would care what I eat or don’t or if I turn on the light [on Shabbat] or not? Help me find the truth. It’s not in my nature to believe in something just because that’s what I’ve been told. I want to know more!!!’ (Ultra Orthodox man)
God’s end time purposes for Israel.
This is an exciting development which lines up with God’s end time purposes for Israel. The Bible indicates that at the end of days significant events will happen to the people of Israel, not just physically but spiritually. The dispersion of the Jewish people to the nations will be replaced by their return to the land of Israel and a return to the living God through Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel.
Of course there is a strong reaction against this from Orthodox Judaism, which teaches Jewish people that they must keep Torah Judaism to preserve the chain of connection going back to Moses. From this point of view Yeshua, Jesus, is not the Messiah, but a deceiver who has led people astray. If a Jewish person believes in Jesus they are told they are no longer Jewish and have broken the connection to Moses and are cut off from Israel.
Judaism has been the main reason why the Jews have remained an identifiable and distinct people during the long years of the dispersion. Experience does show that when Jewish people cease to practice Judaism, in particular Sabbath observance and kosher food regulations, there is a tendency to assimilate into Gentile society and within a generation or two to lose their Jewish identity. Another reason why Jewish people have preserved their identity has been anti-Semitism. This has caused centuries of persecution, often in the name of Jesus, but in total opposition to His teaching and His purpose. God’s purpose is for Christian believers to share His love and mercy with Jewish people in order that they might understand the good news or the Gospel, which is ‘power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Gentile)’ Romans 1.16. Anti-Semitism reached its terrible climax in the Nazi Holocaust and the extermination of six million Jewish people at the hands of the Nazi beast.
However out of the ashes of the Holocaust came the fulfilment of the Zionist dream with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, as a homeland for the Jewish people. Ezekiel’s prophecy of the valley of dry bones speaks of this amazing event in fulfilment of many prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures: ‘Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,’ says the Lord.’’ Ezekiel 37.11-14.
This passage, along with other Biblical prophecies, points to a physical and a spiritual rebirth in Israel. In terms of eternity, it is the spiritual rebirth which is the most important. During the long years of the dispersion among the nations Jewish people have not only been out of the land of Israel, but also for the most been away from the living God of Israel. Judaism may have helped to preserve the Jewish people, but it has also brought in a belief system and practices, which have separated the people from God as revealed in the Bible. Judaism teaches that there is an Oral Torah, equally inspired by God as the written Torah, which was given by God to Moses at Sinai and then passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation since Moses’ time, and only written down in the Mishna, Gemara and Babylonian Talmud between around 200 and 500. This has added laws to laws and obscured the meaning of God’s word since it becomes the prism through which the Bible is to be understood. These teachings were already around in the time of Jesus and are the basis of His disputes with the scribes and Pharisees when He challenges them over the ‘tradition of the elders’ which He rejects, quoting Isaiah 29.13. ‘This people honours Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ Mark 7.6-7. Religious traditions which are the commandments of men, not the commands of God, generally replace the commands of God and blind people to the truth of the Word of God. We note that this has happened in Christianity also, especially through the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Paul also told the Corinthians about this when he wrote of his own people: ‘For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Moses. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.’ 2 Corinthians 3.14-16. It is interesting that in the comments made by Jewish people responding to One for Israel quoted above, many of them refer to the Talmud and the Oral Torah, and the fact that they recognise that it is wrong as the beginning of their quest for the truth in Yeshua. We have produced an article ‘Was there an Oral Torah given at Sinai?’ on this subject, available at www.messiahfactor.com or from our office.
Hosea prophesied the condition of Israel in the Diaspora and the turning back to the Lord in the latter days: ’For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.’ Hosea 3.4 This means that Israel will experience a long period of time without a prophet, priest and sacrifice, and king. This has been the experience of the Jewish people since the fall of the Temple and the dispersion as Rabbi David Kimchi (1160-1235) acknowledges in his comment on Hosea 3: ‘These are the days of the present Gentile captivity in which we are in the power of the Gentiles, and in the power of their kings and princes, and we are without a sacrifice to God and without an image to false gods, and without an ephod and without teraphim – without an ephod to God by which we could foretell the future as with Urim and Thummim and without teraphim to false gods. And this is the condition of the children of Israel in this present captivity.’ However the next verse says: ’Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.’ 3.4-5.
‘David their king’ points to the Messiah, Son of David, who is the Prophet, Priest and King of Israel. Jesus is the Messiah who came the first time to suffer and die for our sins, fulfilling the prophecy of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. He is coming again to complete the Messianic programme, when He will rule and reign over restored Israel and the whole earth in the Messianic kingdom.
He is the Prophet like unto Moses spoken of in Deuteronomy 18.18 ‘I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.’ He is the sacrifice for the sin of the world, prophesied in Isaiah 53: ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’ He is the coming King who will save Israel and bring peace to the world: ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS’ Jeremiah 23.5
God will bring the Jewish people back to the land of Israel and then back to the Lord: ‘For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.’ Ezekiel 36.24-28.
After gathering His people to the land of Israel, God will give them a new heart and a new spirit as He cleanses them from sin and puts His Spirit within them. His purpose is to bring them into the new covenant by which they will know the Lord, have His law written on their hearts and their sins will be forgiven, as Jeremiah the prophet foretold. ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.’ Jeremiah 31.31-34.
Ezekiel speaks of having a new heart and a new spirit. Jeremiah prophesies the new covenant which will replace the covenant with Moses as the means by which we can come to know the Lord and have our sins forgiven. Both of these are fulfilled in Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah, who died for our sins and rose again to give eternal life to all who believe in Him. Through His blood shed at Calvary our sins are cleansed so we can receive the Holy Spirit and be born again to newness of life as His law is written on our hearts by faith. He ascended to heaven from where He will return in person at the end of this age and bring in the Messianic kingdom of which the prophets spoke. At the time of His return He will find a Jewish reception committee, who have called on His name for salvation and welcome Him as the Messiah.
There is a fascinating scripture in Hosea where the Lord says: ‘For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue. I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offence. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.’ Hosea 5.15-6.3.
Yeshua has come as the Suffering Servant Messiah, to die and rise again from the dead, then to return to ‘My place’, heaven. From there He will return again when they (the Jewish people) acknowledge their offence (not receiving Him as Messiah and Saviour). They will return to Him in the midst of a time of affliction (the tribulation of the last days) and earnestly seek Him and He will heal them and raise them up to live in His kingdom where all who are redeemed will know the Lord and the eternal life He has come to give us.