I was just asking the Lord tonight to show me if any of the writers in the Talmud
ever considered the possibility that their Messiah might be divine. Your website
popped up right near the top and I had my answer within minutes! Thank you so
much for the in-depth research and clear presentation of so much wonderful
material on Israel!
I am a Jewish believer of many years who is delighted by the treasure trove of studies I just found on your site!
I would very much like to know how/why brothers Iain and Brett have come to understand and believe the love that God still has for His Jewish people? So many gentile brethren have lost this conviction and affection. I wish I could send you a love offering, since "a workman is worth his wages".
One last question...
Can you give me your position on the Millennium? I look forward to seeing you here, there, or in the air!
now there's a good Biblical name! Thanks so much for the email. Always nice to hear from a Jewish brother for whom the veil has been taken away (2 Cor 3:10-18). Thankfully there is more and more like you in these last days as I'm sure you are aware. I'm pleased that you have enjoyed the site and what you have read so far.
You asked how I came to have a love for the Jewish people. Jews often don't understand why a gentile supports Jews and Israel.
I remember as a fairly young Christian picking up a Jewish hitchhiker in my country and telling him about the Messiah. He had no where to stay so he came back to my house for the night. While there I got out the books I had on Israel and the Jews. He couldn't believe it! He even videoed them all and was speaking in Hebrew so that when he got home to Israel he could show his friends. It just didn't make any sense to him. He just couldn't understand how he would come to the total opposite side of the world (I live in New Zealand), among Gentiles, and have someone that had so many books on Israel! : )
My love for Israel and the Jews really came as soon as I started reading the Bible. I didn't know much about Israel before that. I got saved in my first year at University when I was 19. I hadn't read the Bible before that but as I read and starting digging into Bible prophecy I developed a great love for the Jewish people as God's chosen people. Your history is so rich. Your highs and lows so great. Your future so wonderful (though yet first through the day of Jacob's trouble). So much of the Bible (including the New Testament and future prophecies) revolves around this story. As I read the gospels I could see that Jesus, as a Jew, had a great love for his people. Even when they rejected Him He wept over Jerusalem because He wanted to gather them life a hen with its chicks. But I also read that that rejection is not the end of the matter... for God knew all this and had a far greater and amazing plan/story for the nation of Israel that stretches right out in the days still to come.
I also love the Jews because It isn't easy being God's people. Not for Jews or Christians so I can sympathize with that. It puts a target on your back from the enemy who seeks to kill and destroy. It explains the vast degree of anti-Semitism that is growing around the world. It explains the ridiculous resolutions of the UN against the nation of Israel. As I learnt about the history of the Jewish nation, especially over the last 2000 years, this was rammed home to me. I learnt of hardships and difficulty, trials and tribulations (all in accordance with what Moses & the prophets had said would happen)... yet I also learnt about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who maintained His faithfulness to his word to bring about the fulfillment of His promises given to the nation of Israel through His prophets. How can you not love that? Don't we all need that? How can you not root for those people whom the world persecutes yet God has promised such great things for?
The way I see it, the prophet Zechariah tells us that in the end all nations will come against the nation of Israel. He also pictures the return of Jesus showing how He comes to rescue and protect His Jewish brethren. (Zech 14:1-5) He also pictures the great weeping that will go through all the tribes of Israel when they finally realise that Jesus is the Messiah (Zech 12:10 - 13:1) That is how it has been decreed. And do we not see that forming now? So I will not side with the world on this. I will be found on the same side as God is on as shown in His word.
Having said that I am not blind to the failures of the Jewish people. Are we not all failures? God said this through Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 36:19-27 "Also I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the lands. According to their ways and their deeds I judged them. (20) "When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, 'These are the people of the LORD; yet they have come out of His land.' (21) "But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went. (22) "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. (23) "I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD," declares the Lord GOD, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. (24) "For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. (25) "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. (26) "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (27) "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
So I don't put the Jews up on a pedestal or overlook their failure. No, they fail like we all have. But God is fulfilling His word and promises to them, which is being played out before our eyes on the global stage, and because of that I will always be on their side. And praise God that we have a God who can be faithful to that which He has promised and will do that for His names sake! I find it silly when people think that God is no longer going to fulfill these promises to the Jewish people because of their sin because if He did that, how could we trust Him not to change His mind with us when we sin? Thankfully, God is not a man that He would change His mind!
Paul also talked about the glorious future when 'all israel' will be saved once the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. This is when this historic story comes into its final act... He writes:
Romans 11:12 Now if their (the Jews) transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!
Romans 11:15 For if their (the Jews) rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
Romans 11:25-29 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; (26) and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." (27) "THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS." (28) From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; (29) for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
I'm sure you know all this so I'll leave it there. But it is a glorious future that is planned for both Gentiles and Jews who believe, and the players in this end time drama are all moving into position.
You also asked about my views on the Millennium. This is the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ from Jerusalem, planet Earth! It is the fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies that HAVE to come to pass. It is a big topic. I have written about it in these series of studies if interested:
Your turn now. How did you come to have the veil removed and see the Lord Jesus as the Messiah?
Iain, What a joy to hear back from you - and such a long reply as well. I really appreciate it!
My story began in 1971. I was a university student and I heard a Jewish evangelist named Arthur Katz teach that Jesus had himself claimed to be the Jewish Messiah! I was intrigued and repelled in equal measure. Art spent the day with me as we went round and round about this message. I had about 10 years of Jewish and Hebrew education and I felt compelled to overturn this outrageous claim. In the back of my mind, however, I could not shake the nagging thought that if we indeed had rejected our own Messiah, it would easily explain the past 2,000 years of suffering and sorrow in a way that no rabbi, author or sage had ever been able to do! I ended that day by praying a prayer suggested by Art to "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" to show me if Yeshua was really who he had claimed to be. God began to answer me within the hour!
I received a package from home and there at the top of the box, was a Christian book called, "Run, Baby, Run" by Nicky Cruz. Art's Christian hosts had tried to give me the same book earlier that day, but I refused it. Now here it was in my hands again, placed there by an unbelieving father who had mistaken it for an anti-drug message! I could smell the breath of the Holy Spirit as He pursued me.
I took a year of from school and sought to find the truth. Eighteen months later, the accumulated weight of fulfilled messianic prophecy and numerous additional miracles like the "re-appearing book" caused me to "fall on the Rock and be broken". I did not love Yeshua. I did not like Yeshua. I did not trust Him for anything beyond my salvation. But the Jewish God and the Jewish scriptures had persuaded me that Yeshua was my long-lost Messiah, so I bowed my heart to Christ as I had promised Yahweh I would do if He would provide me the evidence. My "life-verse" could be John 7:17 (Classic Amplified Version):
"If any man desires to do His will (God’s pleasure), he will know (have the needed illumination to recognize, and can tell for himself) whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking from Myself and of My own accord and on My own authority."
That was 44 years ago next month. He has made Himself and His goodness so real to me so often over those years that I have grown to like Him, love Him and do my best to trust Him with even the smallest matters. I still get so excited when He helps me or whispers to me that I am filled with joy! I don't ever want to return to my "first love" because it was so contemptibly small. He has wooed me and won me 1,000 times over since then and caused me to feel genuine affection and devotion for Him that I did not feel for the first 10 years! It is embarrassing to admit these things, but I want to magnify the Lord's patience, kindness and love in the way He has worked with me (as He is willing to work with anyone) over all these years.
Iain, I am always so touched by the small minority of gentile believers who understand the Father's still-burning love for Israel as I believe you do. Thank you for letting me share my story. I will be praying that God will expand the tent-pegs of your ministry to accommodate much fruit in this end-times harvest and will bless you with His love, Asher
thanks so much for your testimony and amazing poem! Both my mother and sister read it and were impressed. I also shared part of it in my church on Sunday. Thanks also for the honesty in your email as you spoke about not loving Yeshua first off... but how He has since wooed you 1000 times over! : ) I also liked how you said
I could not shake the nagging thought that if we indeed had rejected our own Messiah, it would easily explain the past 2,000 years of suffering and sorrow in a way that no rabbi, author or sage had ever been able to do!
It makes a lot of sense. I have to speak about Joseph this weekend and when, during the 7 year famine that forced Joseph's brothers to seek his help (without knowing it was Joseph yet), when things went wrong they said:
Genesis 42:21-22 Then they said to one another, "Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us." (22) Reuben answered them, saying, "Did I not tell you, 'Do not sin against the boy'; and you would not listen? Now comes the reckoning for his blood."
All of this is highly prophetic. The seven year famine period points to the coming 'day of Jacob's trouble', in that last 7 year period known as Daniel's 70th seven (or week). The distress that comes upon Joseph's brothers causes then to remember that they are guilty of their brothers blood - this is a prophetic pointer to the Jews starting to see that they rejected and condemned their Messiah. And of course, the story doesn't end there but with bitter weeping and reconciliation just as Zech 12:10-13:2 states.
Anyway, I'm sure you know this. It's just what I've been studying lately in preparation for my message this weekend and your comment above gave me a great example of this (which I'll use in my sermon! : )
Thanks and all the best,