The Greatest Tragedy of the Jewish People

Being a response to a statement by First Fruits of Zion

What is the greatest tragedy that the Jewish People have ever suffered?

There are a number of possible answers to that question, including events that are recorded in the Bible such as the the disappearance of the 10 northern tribes following the Assyrian conquest in 722 BC, the Babylonian conquest in 586 BC which included the destruction of the First Temple and the following  exile from the Land, the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 AD and the catastrophic events of the following decades which saw the virtual annihilation of the Jewish communities in most of the Land of Israel and the exile of the last remnants of it following the Bar Kochba Revolt in 136 AD.

In the following centuries many tragic events and circumstances befell the Jewish People including of course the Nazi Holocaust which took place during the Second World War and continiuing right up until a the most recent round of rocket fire on Israeli communities from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip just a few short days ago.

All of these events have indeed been very terrible tragedies and deserve to be mourned and lamented, but I dare to suggest that none of them is the greatest tragedy of the Jewish People.

With all due respect to the millions of physical Jewish lives which have ended prematurely and/or violently in all the wars, pograms, exiles and even the Holocaust, the greater tragedy is the spiritual death these and many millions more Jewish souls suffered because of a lie that has been told to us for 2,000 years by the Jewish rabbis who said (and still say) that with all due respect to adultery, whitchcraft, murder, etc. the greatest sin we could ever commit is to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In 2021, we are witnesses to a tragicomic absurdity whereby a clear majority of Israeli Jews are atheists with no religious practice whatsoever while tens of thousands of Israeli Jews are openly practicing all kinds of pagan idolatry. Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of Jews outside Israel are either “unaffiliated” or they are practicing something called “Reform Judaism” which is nothing but atheistic secular humanism with a dusting of Jewish customs and cultural nomenclature.

While the Orthodox Rabbinic establishment in Israel and the Diaspora sometimes criticizes Reform Judaism they rarely have anything to say one way or the other about the fact that most Jewish people living in the world today are either militantly non-observant of any religion at all and if they are practicing a religion, it’s something which closely resembles the pagan idolatry that the Bible describes the ancient Philistines and other enemies of Israel practicing and which the Bible also condemns again and again.

That deafening silence makes it even more astonishing to hear and see the high-decibel raging and roaring of the rabbis in their condemnation of Jews who follow Jesus Christ and otherwise live according to the teachings and instructions contained in the New Testament.

This behavior is simply not rational.

I heard someone say once that if you see something that is impossible to explain rationally, the explanation is almost certainly to be found in the spiritual realm, and the resistance of the Jewish Rabbis to the Gospel of Jesus Christ certainly is born of spiritual forces, as Romans 11:25-27 says:  For I do not want you, brothers and sisters, 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; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written: “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”

So the sadness we feel when thinking about 2,000 years in which most Jewish people died in unbelief and went to Hell as a result, it is very good news for all of us to hear that when the Lord sees that “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” it will be time to remove the veil from the eyes of the Jewish People and their fullness will come in as well.

However, this is also tempered with sadness when we see all the ways the agenda of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is being resisted, including sometimes by people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. This included the Catholic Church for most of its history and it also (to their great shame) included some of the guiding lights of the Protestant Reformation.

In recent days, a group called First Fruits of Zion, which modestly claims to be the custodian of “authentic Messianic Judaism” made a public statement which seems to me to be continuing this error and making a contribution to the greatest tragedy of the Jewish People.

That statement, which was part of a larger statement that FFOZ posted on their website in response to the recent report in the Jerusalem Post which you can read for yourself, said the following;

“We denounce evangelism and proselytizing, especially when any deception is involved. Instead, like any movement with an ideology, we engage in discussion and hope that more people will see things our way. Our goal is not to win over converts to our creed but to influence society through reasoned, intellectually honest, and mutually respectful dialogue.”

There’s a couple of things I’d like to point out here.

One, this statement just sounds like a really lame attempt at using semantics to do exactly what it says it’s opposed to, which is being deceptive. Deception is ANY attempt to create an impression in the mind of whoever you’re communicating with that does not correspond to the truth. That includes outright lies and falsehoods but it also includes semantic arguments and omissions of relevant data which an audience would need in order to get a full understanding of the truth, and that’s what this statement sounds like.

The second thing is, even if it is an attempt to be clever, the first line of this statement is just horrible.

Why would anyone who cares about Jewish people “denounce evangelism and proselytizing” them? Why would you want a Jewish person to be prevented from hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the ONLY thing that can save their soul from spending eternity in Hell?

Is it more important for the leadership of First Fruits of Zion that Jewish people not lose their cultural identity as Jews here in this temporal realm than it is for them to lose their eternal soul? Is it really so terrible that a Jewish person would hear the Gospel, receive it, and start to attend an Evangelical church, and become culturally, outwardly indistinguishable from the Gentile Christians in that church? Is it better for them to remain culturally attached to a Jewish synagogue while remaining in unbelief?

Or, do you think (as some say you do) that you’ve got a monopoly on the REAL Jesus, and the REAL Gospel that can only be understood through the prism of the Jewish culture, while all the Gentile Christians (and a large percentage of Jewish Believers in Israel) who are reading the New Testament through a Greek cultural prism have got it all wrong?

Is that why you don’t want Gentile Christians to evangelize Jewish people, because you think these Gentile Christians will share the “wrong” Jesus and the “wrong” Gospel with them?

These are not rhetorical questions. I am publicly asking the FFOZ leadership these direct questions and I’d like to get some direct answers in response. I know I’m not the only one.

No more semantics guys, please! 

No more cleverness, no more word games, just tell us plainly what’s what.

Because if you DO think you’ve got the “right” Jesus and the rest of us have the “wrong” Jesus, than that’s obviously something that everyone needs to be aware of, if for no other reason than because the Gentile Christian Gospel you appear to find so objectionable is the same Gospel so many of the Jewish Believer ministries and congregations in this country are teaching and preaching.

If it isn’t that, then whatever other reason you might have for making this contribution, modest perhaps but nonetheless tragic, to the greatest tragedy of the Jewish people, then we still need to know about it.

For anyone else who is reading this, please be advised that whatever you might have heard, evangelism is PERFECTLY legal in Israel and as I said before, there are many congregations and ministries, most of them led by and made up of local Israeli Believers from Jewish, Arab and every other kind of background, who are evangelizing people here. If you are already supporting these ministries and congregations, please consider increasing your support. If you’re not supporting us yet, please pray and ask the Lord to guide you in this matter.

Time is short, and every Jewish person in the world needs to hear the Gospel of the Lord God Jesus Christ, just like every non-Jewish person needs to hear it.