It is estimated today that there are about 15,000-20,000 Messianic believers in Israel today (1), Israel’s population growth is at 1.9% and this year there are approximately 8.4 million citizens (2). This puts the population of Messianic believers at .24% at its highest estimation. In order to keep up with the population growth and not decrease statistically; the Messianic community has to grow through birth, aliyah, or make disciples at a rate of 380 people just next year alone. To reach 1% of the population at its current state (not accounting for the population growth incrementally), we have to grow to a population of 84,000 (a much needed projected increase of 64,000 believers).
While we are promised persecution from our Master; could you imagine for just one moment with me what it would look like socially, economically, politically, and evangelistically if we were to reach 1-5% of the population. Demographic studies have proven that the larger a population segment grows the more influence it wields in a given society, and the more accepted by the society you become. What would it look like if you were to give your grandchildren an Israel that is 5% believers and they are no longer considered a strange fringe in society? Recently, as reported in Kehila News, the Walla news source cancelled an interview series with Messianic Jewish figures after only two programs. Would this same cancellation be allowed to take place if we had more demographic clout than .24%? Would Israeli opinion be different about us if we represented a larger segment of society? We truly have an uphill battle.
As believers I believe it is time that we fulfill the Torah’s first command in all ways, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it”. (Genesis 1:28) This is by all means a call to have influence through a massive population growth. We see this concept repeated several times in scripture. In Exodus 1:6-10, we see a massive multiplication birthing boom of Israelites that caused Pharaoh out of fear to take drastic measures. Psalm 127:5 is another such occurrence where a quiver-full of children gives you influence in the city gates (where major community political and court decisions were made in Biblical times). A collective growth doesn’t only effect the spiritual authority that is perceived in a country, but also an individual family who experiences a population growth (quiver-full of children), can increase one’s spiritual and physical authority within a community.
Yeshua’s greatest kingly inauguration speech after His resurrection was the Great Commission that is mentioned in Matthew 28:18-20, Then Yeshua came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
In most democratic societies, authority is established through demographics. Yeshua amazingly is setting a precedent that He has established His authority simply by fact of His resurrection, and from there the influence of His authority will grow through His followers practicing disciple-making. Disciple-making is the way Yeshua established for His influence and authority to grow in a society. Although we will always be persecuted until Yeshua returns here to Jerusalem, and that persecution will more than likely be worse, we are also promised that Yeshua’s glory will spread across the earth, like the waters cover the sea (Habakuk 2:14).
This is a call for every believer in the body of Messiah to join the cause of disciple-making. Our spiritual authority and maturity only grows when we make disciples. Most of all, its a call for all of us to leave our grandchildren (if Yeshua tarries) an Israel with some sort of critical mass rather than being perceived as an unknown fringe group. Its time to make disciples.
Future blogs will be discussing the heart of disciple-making, challenges in Israel to disciple-making, and best practices in disciple-making.
1) “…There is also a community of approximately 20,000 Messianic Jews.” International Religious Freedom Report for 2012 United States Department of State: Israel and the occupied territories (report released May 20, 2013).