“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” ’ ” – Zech. 8:23
69 years after the creation of Israel, we are now at crossroads in the history of the Messianic body and its impact on the global Church. It is almost impossible to fathom that just a few decades ago, the number of believers in the land could be counted on a few hands, and now this number has multiplied several times over, with thousands, if not tens of thousands of believers living in Israel today.
Not only this, but a higher percentage of these believers today more than any point in history are growing up with a native knowledge of Hebrew, studying and learning the Hebrew Bible at school, at home and in their congregations from a young age.
It may come as a surprise to find out that of the world’s 7,000+ languages, only 8% of these have a full Bible, (Tanakh & New Testament), and of the languages that have a New Testament, 1,188 have no Tanakh and no active work to translate one!
This is a startling figure, as we think of the depth of understanding of God, the culture of discipleship that was cultivated through the nation of Israel, the prophets, the Psalms, the rich moral and spiritual lessons from the forefathers, the Exodus, and the Kings and Israel’s eventual exile.
Today, for the first time in history, hundreds of believing young people are graduating from schools, colleges and the army with a secret treasure in their pocket that could transform the Global Missions Movement. It is not one they have earned by any special merit, or necessarily one that they have fought for (although in the case of the children of Olim, the opposite might be the case!)
However they have received it, this treasure is one for which new believers the world over are crying out, one for which they are desperate and starved. It comes in the form of their language. For whatever reason, God chose for His Word to be passed to us through the medium of the Hebrew language. And today, the Messianic Body in Israel naturally has the closest access. My 8-year old son, through no special work of his own, has a more natural feel of the language of the Hebrew Bible than some of the best Biblical scholars outside Israel!
This may not have come by choice, and it certainly may not be deserved, but neither was any of our election, calling or salvation. Yeshua said of the faithful servant:
Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? […] Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. Luke 12:42,48
There is real global Bible poverty in existence, entire peoples and nations starving for the Living Bread, while believers in the West are over-satiated with more Bible versions than we can count. This is no less of an injustice than the physical poverty that we see.
We are over-filled with the Word, while over 4,000 language groups merely have scraps.
It is time for a change, and the Messianic Body in Israel can be at the center of this. With some training, Hebrew speakers, young and old, can commit to the task of serving with the language they have in their back pocket. They can take this language and serve on the mission field as language consultants. They can teach translators the intricate nuances that are contained in the text. With native Hebrew speakers on a language project, the work of translation that currently takes 12-14 years can be reduced dramatically, accelerated by the presence of a living reference book!!
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:3
God’s Word is clear that the word will go out from Zion. This may have happened once already, but it is time for this to happen again.
A new day is dawning for the Messianic Body in Israel. This is a day when we are called to serve the nations as well as those within our midst, a day when we are called to participate in the Great Commission in ways that we may never have imagined:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt 28:18
Translation agencies around the world would willingly receive a new influx of passionate Hebrew experts, ready to bring their ‘five loaves and two fish’, ready to see that multiplied to feed thousands upon thousands.
Are we ready to answer the call?
If you want more information on how you can be trained to serve in the area of Bible Translation or Biblical Hebrew Teaching, please visit http://iblt.ac, and sign up to receive further info.
To support the movement by sponsoring students or through a one-off or regular donation, visit http://4220foundation.com/give