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.
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! : )
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
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...
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!
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.
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 (Godís 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,