Jay Rogers
Director:
Jay Rogers

Recent Posts

The Forerunner

Being Jewish and Knowing Jesus

By Editorial Staff
Published March 31, 2008

By Daniel Juster

As a young philosophy student, I wanted to believe the Bible, but my academic training left me very skeptical. “Supernatural revelation?” I wasn’t sure, but I found one evidence for the Bible’s veracity hard to ignore: God’s faithfulness to the people of Israel. Scriptures promised that the Jewish people would never cease to exist as a nation. Even as he promised their dispersion throughout the earth, a curse and a punishment, God promised Moses: “Yet for all that, I will not forget my covenant so as to destroy them utterly … that they will never cease to be a people before God” (Leviticus 26:44).

Still, this was not sufficient for faith. I continued to search in intense anxiety as I wrestled with the meaning of life.

Yet despite this, God’s hand was on my life. I entered seminary and there found that archaeological evidence of biblical events, the fulfillment of prophecy, and evidence for the resurrection of Jesus were excellent. My faith became solid and sure – both spiritually and intellectually.

I left seminary with a deep desire to build a community of faith to counter the modern meaninglessness and alienation I saw in so many of my generation. Still, an abiding sense of God’s faithfulness to the Jewish people stayed with me. I entered the Presbyterian ministry, and, to my surprise, received my first call to the pastorate from a Presbyterian congregation comprised primarily of Jewish people.

This amazing happenstance opened up a floodgate of questions: What is God’s purpose for the Jewish people? Do they have a distinct future? Should Jewish believers in Jesus continue to live a Jewish life? Did God spend 2,000 years developing a cultural background for understanding the gospel only to completely do away with it? What dimensions of that culture, if any, have continuing validity? After two years of intensive study, I came to some firm conclusions.

Eschatology (the doctrine of “last things”) has never been easy for the Church. Often it leads to division and bickering. Yet my studies of the Jewish role in the last days led me to conclusions which I believe are relevant to the whole Church and not divisive. I share them because they’re what led me to intensive involvement in the Messianic Jewish movement.

I find in Scripture a promise that the Jewish people at the end of this world’s present age will turn overwhelmingly to Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew name), accepting him as their Messiah, their Savior. This promise comes not because the Jewish people are in some way superior, but because of God’s love and the covenant that he made with their forefathers (Romans 11:29). God’s covenant with Abraham, and Abraham’s response, not only blessed the great patriarch – it is spilled over into his descendants as well. While God promises to punish the wickedness of men three and four generations down the line, he also promises to bless a righteous man to one thousand generations (Deuteronomy 7:9).

As miraculous as Israel’s continued existence is, her election does not imply automatic salvation. Jews, like everyone else, need to repent and believe in Yeshua. The gospel, said Paul, “is the power of God for everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Romans 1:16).

Yet still there’s something unique about the Jewish people. Later in Romans, Paul says that, “As far as the gospel is concerned they are enemies on your account, but as far as election is concerned, they (Israel) are loved on account of the patriarches, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:28,29). What is that gift and that call? It is a call to demonstrate God’s faithfulness to the world by keeping Israel as a people and a nation despite humiliation, persecution, faithlessness, and wanderings throughout the earth. Whether scattered in unbelief or regathered, Israel’s preservation demonstrates God’s existence and his covenant faithfulness.

Even more than a demonstration, Jewish acceptance of the gospel brings enrichment to the entire Church. As Paul shows in Romans 11: “Because of (Israel’s) transgression (i.e., rejection of the gospel), salvation has come to the gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fulness bring!” In a sense, the Jewish people are parents of the Church. Jewish Christians led by Jewish apostles brought the gospel to the world. Israel’s salvation as a people would be like a child’s joy as he sees his parents come to follow the Lord. Not only did Yeshua come into the world through Jewish parents, but the Jewish people also left a cultural heritage rich in symbolism that 4,000 years has prophetically prepared the world for God’s Messiah – something Greco-Roman culture hardly offers.

Israel’s hardening is only in part and only for a time – “until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved” Romans 11:25,26).

What then is the future of the Jewish people? Despite many unscriptural views of a continued separation of the Church and Israel, Paul’s view of the future includes the ingrafting “into their own olive tree” (Romans 11:24). Though most Jews are enemies of the gospel today, they are elect and destined to believe for the sake of their forefathers. Hence, all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:28).

Paul looks forward to a day in which Israel will corporately accept Jesus as the Messiah and reverse the decision of the first century Jewish leadership (the Sanhedrin). This will end the terrible judgment of seven woes that Yeshua pronounced on Israel’s corporate leadership (Matthew 23). Yeshua ended this pronouncement of woeful judgments by expressing deep longing and hope for his people:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

So Zechariah predicts that the Jews would look upon him whom they pierced and mourn for Him (Zechariah 12:10). Peter connects this repentance to the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21). The salvation of the Jewish people is a key part of the restoration of the Church. The restoration of Israel does not destroy Jewish identity, but it does reincorporate Israel into the one people of God.

Consequently, Paul enjoins Gentile believers to live so as to make Israel envious and to show mercy to Jewish people that they might receive the mercy of God – a far cry from the history of institutional Christianity!

In light of this, I believe that Messianic Jewish congregations are part of God’s restoration in the Church. They provide an expression of faith in which the gospel can be understood in a Jewish context whereby Jewish people can embrace faith in Jesus as Messiah and Savior. We have not left the rest of the body. Rather, the history of the institutional Christianity shows that the body left its Jewish roots and often substituted Greco-Roman paganism and compromise.

Our congregations invite both Jew and Gentile to participate equally. All who appreciate Jewish roots and have a call to encourage an ongoing people are welcome in our membership. We seek out and maintain solid relationships with the rest of the body of believers. However, our chief aim is to be a movement preparing the way for the revival of Israel. We are concerned that our children are raised in their Jewish biblical heritage so that every generation will see a larger and larger percentage of the Jewish community saved. We do not wish to be simply a halfway house of assimilation into the Gentile world. This would not enrich the Church nor would it lead to a growing people movement for Jesus in the midst of the Jewish community.

Practically, this causes Jewish believers to express their New Covenant faith in Jewish ways. Fulfillment of the law did not do away with God’s moral standards. Nor did it do away with the Jewish people and their unique national existence. Instead of dismissing them, Jewish celebrations can now be celebrated in the context of their New Covenant fulfillment.

Hence, the feasts still function by pointing to the meaning of Yeshua for the Jewish people.

The last days revival of the Jewish people, and God’s supernatural work in Israel to bring Israel to himself, will be one aspect of God’s demonstrating himself to the nations. It will be an aid to the Church in her witness. We are a restoration movement. And so, we seek the support of all believers that through their mercy, Israel might receive God’s mercy.

Daniel Juster is a graduate of Wheaton College and McCormick Theological Seminary and serves as spiritual leader of Beth Messiah Congregation in Rockville, Maryland. Since 1973, he has pastored messianic congregations and currently labors as an apostle to Jewish congregations who seek to live out their new life in Jesus in a uniquely Jewish way.

Reprinted from People of Destiny magazine.


Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Restoration

Your comments are welcome!

Textile Help

Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!

Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)

Running Time: 145 minutes

$17.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine

Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese

Running Time: 28 minutes

$17.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


God's Law and SocietyGod's Law and Society (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.

Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!

Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:

1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?

Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.

Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!

Running Time: 240 minutes

Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Massacre of Innocence (DVD)

Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion

This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.

Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.

“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan

Running time: 85 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

Share |

Search this site:
View CCNow Cart/Checkout
View CCNow Cart/Checkout

RSS
Subscribe to
The Forerunner

Have The Forerunner Weblog sent straight to your inbox!

Enter your email address:

YouTube
The Forerunner Channel on YouTube


Promote Your Page Too

Featured Product
If you like the articles on this website, you may also be interested in:

Featured Articles

Live Seminar!

Real Jesus
The Abortion Matrix DVD: Update

The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
continued ...


View My Stats