The controversy of the gospel

We as Messianic Jews believe it is our right and our calling to share the gospel of Yeshua (Jesus) to our people in love. Who we are and what we have to say is at times controversial, both in Israel and in the Church. Here are a few examples from the last twenty years:

  • Pastor John Hagee, in the promotion of his book, “In Defense of Israel” made the statement that Jesus did not come to be the Messiah of the Jews, just savior of the world. This statement is to explain his position as head of Christians United for Israel, that there is no need to be sharing the gospel with Jewish people.
  • Some years ago, a large demonstration was planned by ultra Orthodox Jews against the tiny community of Messianic Jews in Arad, in front of the home of Polly S. Polly is a widow and foster mother to 3 children. Thank God, that time the new police chief did a fine job of restricting the number of demonstrators and keeping the demonstration from becoming violent or disorderly.
  • Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, which has a tourist hotel and convention hall, has hosted many Christian conferences in the past. One year they were attacked by the ultra Orthodox because some of the conferences had Messianic Jews participating. Although the kibbutz was angered by these attacks, they were under great pressure to cancel any conferences featuring Messianic Jews.
  • In 2001 during the Feast of Tabernacles Jerusalem March, amidst tens of thousands of Christian Zionists and tens of thousands of secular Israelis, the police blocked a small group of Messianic Jews and pulled us out of the parade. Everyone else was allowed but the city government refused to let us march.

In response, let me answer a few questions:

Do we proselytize? Honestly, no. We evangelize. Proselytizing is converting someone to another religion. Evangelizing is sharing the love of Yeshua so a person can be born again in his heart. Yeshua did not come to start another religion. We are promoting revival, not religion. We have a religion: Judaism. We are Jews who believe in our own Messiah: Yeshua (who happens to be the savior of the entire world as well). Nothing could be more Jewish than that.

Is it against the law in Israel to share the gospel? No. There is an “anti-missionary” law which says that it is illegal to do two things: one, give financial benefits to someone in order to induce them to change their religion; two, forcibly baptize a minor without the consent of his parents.  We would, of course, never do either of those things. Nor would we want to. We do have a “mission” from God, but according to the definition of the word in Israeli law, we are not “missionaries.”

Are we against Christian Zionists who do not believe in Jewish evangelism? I do not believe that any truly born-again believer would not want someone else, anyone else, to receive eternal life as he has received, and that includes Jewish people. If the gospel is for everyone, it is certainly “to the Jew first” (Romans 1:16). We as Messianic Jews in Israel are willing to risk our lives to see our beloved people receive salvation (Romans 9:1; Acts 21:13).

Over 30 years ago, I wrote that there would be 3 great movements which would ultimately lead to a national revival in Israel. Those three “prongs” are: 1) the demonstration of love by Christian Zionists, 2) the evil hatred of worldwide Islamic Jihad, and 3) the witness of Messianic Jews that it is possible to believe in Yeshua and still be Jewish.

This article originally appeared on Tikkun International, May 24, 2019, and reposted with permission.