WHAT JEWISH PEOPLE BELIEVE

What Jewish People Believe
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There’s an ongoing joke that says if you put three Jews in a room you’ll get twelve opinions. Having grown up within Conservative Judaism I saw that reality play out time and time again. The Jewish people were meant to be leaders and leaders are supposed to be able to give wise counsel, not just opinions stemming from ignorance. But where the Scriptures are concerned, most Jewish People haven’t a clue what they’re all about.

When I teach in congregations I’m always quick to make this statement, which is true from my vantage point. If you’ve been in a Bible preaching church one time, you’ve probably heard more Scripture than the average Jewish person has over their lifetime. “My People perish for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)

Jewish People are taught that they can’t understand the Bible and that it’s the pursuit of the Rabbis to unlock the secrets of our ancient books. The average Jewish person may read books the rabbis have written, but hardly ever do they crack the books of their Holy Scriptures. And when I say may, I mean may. In Israel it’s reported that 42% of the Jewish People identify themselves as “secular.” I doubt that very many of those have either read the Scriptures, or any rabbi’s commentary on them. Because of this reality, for the most part, the Jewish People do not know about the Messianic prophecies that fill the pages of the Old Testament – what they call the “Tanakh,” an acronym that uses the first letters in the three divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Torah: The five books of Moses, also called the Chumash (“five part” in Hebrew) and Pentateuch (“five scrolls” in Greek). Nevi’im: “The prophets”. Ketuvim: “Writings”. In the Jewish Scriptures the Ketuvim encompass “The Wisdom Books” of Job, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs; “The Poetry Books” of Psalms, Lamentations and Song of Solomon; and “The Historical Books” of Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles.

Jewish People may know stories from their Bible, but most do not understand the concepts of the sacrificial system, blood covenants, covenants, the fall of man and its results upon humanity, the calling of the Jewish People to be a light to the nations and the promised Messiah who would bring restoration to a backslidden, idolatrous people.

Because of this, it’s essential when speaking to Jewish People to frame your conversation as if you’re talking to someone who has little to no understanding about the Messiah, or what the Holy Scriptures teach. Don’t assume that they have a correct understanding of the concepts of “sin,” “salvation,” or our need for a Savior.

In the Old Testament, illustrations of the Messiah can be seen symbolically through much of what God has revealed. We can see the Messiah in the Ark that protected Noah and his family from the flood that destroyed the earth; it shows us that Messiah will protect the people God has chosen, and who are obedient to Him, from eternal destruction. We can see the Messiah in the man Moses, who led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt; Messiah leads us out of our personal slavery to sin. We can see the Messiah in the wilderness tabernacle and all its furnishings, as a place that God dwelt, and where people could meet with Him. It’s through Messiah that we can have an intimate and personal relationship with God, and these are only a few examples. The life of Joseph closely parallels that of Yeshua’s/Jesus’. Also, there are over 300 Messianic prophesies and Yeshua/Jesus fulfills every one of them!

The good news is that as Jewish people read the Scriptures, many eyes are being opened to the truth that Yeshua is the Messiah, as prophesied by God through the prophets of our Holy Scriptures.

But back to the topic at hand – what do the Jews think? Let me give you some typical beliefs. Remember there are exceptions to the rule, but keep these in mind the next time you encounter a Jewish Person. I’m believing that by just reading this article you’ll have greater understanding of the lies that need to be broken down in order to help Jewish People come to know the truth about their Messiah.

Some erroneous beliefs:

 Jesus was a Catholic.
 Jesus hates the Jews and wants them dead. This belief comes straight from the Holocaust because the Nazis would tell the Jewish People that Jesus told them to kill them.
 Christians hate the Jews and want to convert them or kill them. This belief comes from the Inquisitions and the Crusades, as well as the antisemitism that some of the early Church Fathers displayed and taught.
 Christians are Catholics – there is little understanding of Biblical Christianity to the average Jewish Person. Many believe if you’re not Jewish you are “Christian.”
 I’m Jewish therefore I’m chosen and will automatically go to heaven.
 There is no hell.
 My good deeds atone for my sin when I go to the synagogue on the “Day of Atonement” each year.
 Because of the destruction of the temple and the abolishment of the sacrificial system, the rabbis now teach the people that good deeds, prayer and forgiveness atone for sin. This is seen nowhere in the Scriptures.
 The rabbis look to the Talmud (oral law and commentaries on the Tanakh) for the majority of the laws that they regulate and hold the Jewish People to. The written law (Tanakh) takes second seat to the oral law.
 Jesus isn’t the Messiah – he was just a teacher or a prophet.

Not only are these typical beliefs in the minds of Jewish People. There are actually Jewish organizations aimed at keeping Jews away from believing that Jesus is the Messiah. Jews for Judaism is one of those groups and they are supported by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. Have you heard of him? He’s the founder of the Fellowship of Christians and Jews. He’s the one marketing the Church saying that he needs your money to help the Jews move back to Israel. Well, in reality a large part of that money goes to keeping the Jews away from Jesus. And the worst part about it is that many Christians think he believes in Jesus when he doesn’t. He stands on the side of the anti-missionaries. What do they believe and teach? Let’s look at some of the anti-missionary statements that they feed the Jewish People regarding Jesus:

Anti-Missionary Statements about Messiah: The Criteria

Anti-Missionaries say: The Jewish tradition of “The Messiah” has its foundation in numerous biblical references, and understands “The Messiah” to be a human being—without any overtone of deity or divinity—who will bring about certain changes in the world and fulfill certain criteria before he can be acknowledged as “The Messiah.”

We say: I base all my belief on Scripture, and nowhere does Scripture say that Messiah wouldn’t be deity. Yeshua has brought tremendous changes in the world through the countless number of lives He has changed. Murderers, drug dealers, thieves, etc. have had their lives changed dramatically by the power of Yeshua. These changed lives change the world.

Anti-Missionaries say: First of all, he must be Jewish. “…you may appoint a king over you, whom the Lord your God shall choose: one from among your brethren shall you set as king over you.” (Deuteronomy 17:15)

We say: Reading the first book of the New Testament (Matthew 1) we find the genealogy of Yeshua through His mother’s side (Rabbis use biblical genealogy to determine whether you are of the Jewish bloodline); this traces His ancestry to Abraham and King David. The Scripture in Deuteronomy confirms Yeshua as King.

Anti-Missionaries say: He must be a member of the tribe of Judah. “The staff shall not depart from Judah, nor the scepter from between his feet…” (Genesis 49:10)

We say: In the same passage in Matthew it says that Yeshua was from the same lineage as Judah. And by the victory He won in the spiritual realm two-thousand years ago, He will always have the staff and scepter of rulership!

Anti-Missionaries say: To be a member of the tribe of Judah, the person must have a biological father who is a member of the tribe of Judah.

We say: In Luke chapter 3 Scripture traces Yeshua’s bloodline on His earthly father’s side to Judah. Once again, proof that He really does fit the qualifications of the Messiah.

Anti-Missionaries say: He must be a direct male descendant of King David and King Solomon, his son. “And when your days (David) are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall issue from your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will make firm the throne of his kingdom forever…” (2 Samuel 7:12 – 13)

We say: In both genealogies (His mother’s and His earthly father’s) King David is an ancestor. Yeshua is the seed whose Kingdom God will establish. On His mother’s side Yeshua is in the lineage of Solomon.

Anti-Missionaries say: The genealogy of the New Testament is inconsistent. While it gives two accounts of the genealogy of Joseph, it states clearly that he is not the biological father of Yeshua. One of the genealogies is through Nathan and not Solomon altogether!

We say: The Scriptures say that Messiah would be a descendant of King David, as the anti-missionaries already pointed out, and as I’ve already pointed out, He was a descendant of Solomon on His mother’s side.

Anti-Missionaries say: He must gather the Jewish people from exile and return them to Israel. “And he shall set up a banner for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:12)

We say: In 1948 the state of Israel was born. It was the first time in two-thousand years that the Jewish people have been allowed to return to Israel. They are coming from all nations, from the four corners of the earth. We are seeing this today. There are more believers in Yeshua (Jewish and Gentile) in the world today than ever before. Believers know that Yeshua is alive and seated at the right hand of God in Heaven. Hence, He is doing the work of the Messiah as we see God’s plan unfold in the nation of Israel.

Anti-Missionaries say: He must rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. “…and I will set my sanctuary in their midst forever and my tabernacle shall be with them.” (Ezekiel 37:26-27)

We say: Now that Jerusalem is in the hands of the Jewish people, the Temple is actually being rebuilt! Believers know that Yeshua is alive and seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly Temple. Hence, He is doing the work of the Messiah.

Anti-Missionaries say: He will rule at a time of world-wide peace. “…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Micah 4:3)

We say: This will happen at the second coming of Messiah.

Anti-Missionaries say: He will rule at a time when the Jewish people will observe God’s commandments. “My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow My ordinances and be careful to observe My statutes.” (Ezekiel 37:24)

We say: God prophesied through the prophet Jere-miah that one day He would pour out His Spirit on all mankind, and that He would write His law upon our hearts (Jeremiah 31). This has happened. Believers in Yeshua are being taught of God how to honor Him, worship Him and keep His commandments. Messiah, David’s kingly descendant, is our King and Shepherd, as we hear His voice and follow Him. The fullness of the Jewish people’s observance of God’s commandments will come after the second coming of Messiah.

Anti-Missionaries say: He will rule at a time when all people will come to acknowledge and serve one God. “And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 66:23)

We say: This is going to happen at the second coming of Messiah, when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Yeshua as Lord (Philippians 2:9-11).

Anti-Missionaries say: If an individual fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, he cannot be “The Messiah.” A careful analysis of these criteria shows us that, to date, no one has fulfilled every condition.

We say: Yeshua filled every one of these conditions.

Anti-Missionaries say: Certainly NOT Yeshua.

We say: Whose leg are they pulling? None of their objections are based on truth!

And speaking of truth. Unless we know the truth we are captive to lies. That goes for any of us. Please pray for the Jewish People to come to the knowledge of the truth, which will set them free from the lies they believe. I truly believe, based on Romans 9-11 that you have a part to play in that. God has blessed us all with salvation so that we might provoke others to jealousy so that some might be saved. Thank you for praying for and sharing your faith, and the truth with the Jewish People the Lord brings in your path. Their acknowledging Yeshua/Jesus as Lord is a precursor to His second coming! (Matthew 23:37-39)

WITNESSING TO JEWISH PEOPLE

WITNESSING TO JEWISH PEOPLE…
A HELPS GUIDE

 

TO DOWNLOAD E-BOOK click this link: Tips for Witnessing to Jews…or see below for the text without all the pretty pictures…  🙂

 

When witnessing the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ (Messiah, Yeshua) to Jewish People, following is a list of things to remember. I’ve included the Hebrew translations of some Christian terms, as it’s helpful to use the Hebrew terms to make a Jewish person feel less threatened, and to begin to help them understand that believing in Jesus is the most Jewish thing they could ever do:

  1. It’s the Holy Spirit’s (Ruakh HaKodesh’s) work to bring a person to faith in the Messiah, not ours.
  2. God doesn’t call us to be successful witnesses, only faithful ones.
  3. Prayer is essential when sharing your faith. Pray for God to give you wisdom in the words you speak. Also pray that the Holy Spirit would touch the person you’re witnessing to.
  4. Pray for divine opportunities to share your faith with people. (Jew & Gentile)
  5. Don’t be afraid to share your faith. That’s satan’s desire. Walk in faith not in fear. God will help you. Ask Him for help. Trust that He will give it.
  6. Don’t get discouraged. Remember that Jesus (Yeshua) was despised and rejected by men. Sometimes when we’re witnessing people reject us and what we have to say. This puts us in good company with the Lord. Find peace in that.
  7. Always speak to people from a pure heart of love and compassion. Pray for God to help you in this area.
  8. Sometimes the name Jesus brings fear into the Jewish person’s mind. It’s good to use His Hebrew name Yeshua, which means ‘God is salvation.’  Also use the title Messiah, instead of Christ.  Both mean the same thing – Messiah is the English translation of the Hebrew word Mashiakh and Christ is from the Greek – Kristos.  Both mean the Anointed One.
  9. Jewish people are afraid of the word convert because of the persecution they experienced in the inquisition and crusades. The word makes them think that if they believe in Jesus they are no longer Jewish. Try to avoid that word. It might be better to use the word completion instead of conversion. Jews do no stop being Jewish when they accept Messiah and are ‘born-again.’  They actually begin to understand their culture and traditions in ways that they never did in the past. Crusade, too, to a Jewish Person is a word that brings up fear and suspicion.
  10. Don’t assume the Jewish person you’re witnessing to knows Scripture. Many Jewish people do not know what it says in their own Holy Scriptures.  Jewish People may know stories from their Bible, but most do not understand the concepts of the sacrificial system, blood covenants, covenants, the fall of man and its results upon humanity, the calling of the Jewish People to be a light to the nations and the promised Messiah who would bring restoration to a backslidden, idolatrous people. Because of this, it’s essential when speaking to Jewish People to frame your conversation as if you’re talking to someone who has little to no understanding about the Messiah, or what the Holy Scriptures teach.
  11. Know your Scriptures. Study the Bible and know what it says about Messiah. There are over 300 Messianic prophesies in the Old Testament alone.
  12. Don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ if you’re asked a question you don’t know the answer to. Offer to research the answer and get back to the person. Your humility will be a greater witness than spiritual pride would.
  13. Many Jewish people do not understand the concept of sin, salvation or our need Savior. They don’t think they’re sinners. They see sinners as convicted criminals. It’s good to know the 10 Commandments and use them in your witness as a test to help people see for themselves whether they have broken God’s basic law, and are therefore sinners. Once they see that they’ve broken God’s law you can then tell them about God’s plan of salvation and the Savior, Yeshua HaMashiakh (Jesus the Messiah).
  14. Equip yourself to know how to pray with someone to lead them into a ‘born again’ experience. Jesus/Yeshua tells us that unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5).
  15. Words that are common to us, i.e.: faith, grace, repentance, works, righteousness, prophecy, etc. are not understood by unbelievers. Try to not use ‘Christianese’ in your witness. Be simple. Explain the concepts that you talk about.
  16. People need to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about religion. It is about relationship with God. In order to be in good relationship with God He requires us to repent. Repentance requires taking in a whole new point of view; looking at things God’s way. God simply asks us to turn. This is the way we accept His gift of salvation
  17. Jewish people do not believe that God has an adversary (satan) or that there’s an eternal place of torment (hell). It’s good to know Old Testament Scriptures that talk about satan and hell: Job 1; Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28. Deut. 32:22 Psalm 9:17 Ecclesiastes 9:10; Dan. 12:2
  18. People (Jews & Gentiles) need to be informed that there’s more to life than they think. It’s good to explain the fact that we’re born as triune beings with a body, soul (mind, will & emotions) and a spirit. However, our spirits are dead because of the sinful nature of man. There is a spiritual realm that is very real that includes the Kingdom of God. Our faith in Yeshua as Messiah brings life to our spirits and allows us to understand these truths.
  19. Most Jews have never heard the story of Jesus Christ. They do not know that He was Jewish and that most of the 1st century believers were Jewish. Tell the story. Show how Christ’s (Messiah’s) death was foreshadowed in the Old Testament in the Passover story. Help them understand that each of the Jewish feasts foreshadow an aspect of Messiah, and that is a beautiful sign given to us by God to help point us toward the truth. All the Spring Feasts of the Lord prophesy Messiah’s first coming, while the Fall Feasts, His second coming. (Lev. 23)  Help them understand that His blood put into effect the New Covenant that the prophet Jeremiah spoke about. (Jer. 31:31-33) Help them understand that Jesus Himself kept the Law perfectly and said that He didn’t come to abolish it, but to fulfill it. (Matt. 5:17)
  20. In the concentration camps of WWII the Nazis told the Jews that Jesus told them to kill them.  Help them understand that was a lie.  Jesus said that He came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt. 15:24).  Help Jewish People understand that Jesus is for the Jews and doesn’t hate them.  He was born a Jew, lived as a Jew and died a Jew.
  21. In today’s society secular humanism (a humanist philosophy that upholds reason, ethics and justice, and denies supernaturalism) is the predominant worldview. It’s important for people to understand the truth about the Kingdom of God, and God’s right to rule and reign over us. This is essentially what Yeshua came here to teach. It’s important for us to keep that the focal point of the Gospel message that we share.
  22. Use your own testimony to show how God has worked in your life when sharing the Gospel with people. Let them know how He’s answered prayer.  Show them that He’s real.
  23. When talking to people in order to witness to them maintain control of the conversation. Always steer them back to Jesus and talking about Him and their need for salvation.
  24. Jewish people do not believe in Jesus because they believe He was a man claiming to be God. Help them try to see that He was in fact God, who came to earth in the form of a man. Challenge them to think about the fact that God can do anything He wants to do, and that He had come to earth before. (Genesis 11:5) (Genesis 32:30).
  25. In Matt. 23:37-39 Jesus is looking over Jerusalem and He says “you will not see me again until you say ‘blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.’  Help Jewish People understand that their putting their faith in Jesus as their Messiah, sent by God, will hasten His return to bring total peace to this war-torn world.
  26. Jewish people say they will not believe in Jesus because God commands them to believe in only one God, and not three separate Gods. Assure them that you believe in only one God too. God Himself though has revealed Himself to us as having different aspects of Himself. Jesus (Yeshua) being one of those aspects. Remind the Jewish person that the most used name for God in the Hebrew language is Elohim, and ‘im’ at the end of a Hebrew word denotes a plurality. God even said in Genesis “Let us make man in our image.” (Gen. 1:26) God is a multi-faceted being, but yes there is only one God!
  27. Help Jewish people understand that God wants all people to be part of His family and that’s why He allowed the Jews to reject Jesus, so salvation would go to the Gentiles as well. In the last days the Jew’s eyes will be opened to the truth about Messiah. This is beginning to happen now. There are currently more Jewish believers in Jesus than ever before in history.
  28. Yeshua/Jesus is the world’s role model of how God wants us all to live our lives. Following Him by being obedient to His teachings leads us to live lives of righteousness and holiness in the power of God, and assures that we have salvation from eternal damnation and judgment. Having Messiah Yeshua as the foundation of all our work assures that we will accomplish things that will have eternal value in God’s sight. Help people understand that.
  29. Don’t be afraid to just ask people the simple question: “Have you ever received Yeshua/Jesus as your personal Savior?” If they say “No.” simply ask them if you could lead them in a prayer to do that right now.
  30. The Day of Atonement is the most holy day on the Jewish calendar. Help Jewish People understand that Leviticus 17:11 states that atonement is only made by blood sacrifice and Yeshua fulfilled that sacrifice.  Good deeds, prayers or forgiveness do not bring atonement to people according to God’s set requirements, no matter what the rabbis say.
  31. In Romans 11 Paul talks about provoking the Jewish People to jealousy so that some might be saved.  The way to provoke them is by the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in your life; by your knowledge of how their holidays prophesy the coming of the Messiah; and by your unconditional love for them. Spend time developing the character of Messiah. Learn about the Biblical Feasts of the Lord (Lev. 23). Be able to use Hebrew when communicating some simple Christian terms. In these ways you’ll be more fully equipped in your witness to Jewish People.  Another great way to provoke them is by thanking them.  Thank them for being the people of the book and for writing and preserving the Scriptures all these thousands of years. Tell them that it’s because of the truths that are taught in their Scriptures that you’ve come into a personal relationship with their God, through their Messiah.

Following is a sample explanation to share with someone and a prayer to lead them in to receive Jesus (Yeshua) as Messiah and Lord:

As the Creator, God is King of all the universe. His Kingdom is an eternal Kingdom. He has a right to rule in our lives, but in our pride we exalt ourselves as King. This pride is one example of sin (imperfection) and sin separates us from God, who is perfect. By faith (trust, belief) God puts His Holy Spirit into our spirit and makes it come alive. Having life in our spirit is what enables us to recognize and understand the truth about God’s Kingdom. It allows us to communicate with Him and turn away from our sin and live righteous and holy lives. This doesn’t happen automatically though.

God came to the earth in the form of a man, Jesus Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach (in Hebrew). He came to teach us about the Kingdom of God and to die on the cross so that the sins of humanity could be forgiven. Just as medicine prescribed by a doctor will not heal a sick person unless it’s taken, we too must believe in, and ask the Messiah to cover our sin. There is supernatural power in His shed blood that allows this to happen. When we confess our faith in Messiah and appropriate His blood to our lives this is called receiving Yeshua, Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Our making this choice causes us to be ‘born again’ by the spirit, and our spirits come alive to God and His Kingdom.

We know that there’s real power in the sacrifice and the blood of Jesus because though He was crucified and died, He rose from the dead. Hundreds of people saw Him alive. This proved that He conquered sin and death forever. The great healings that took place while Jesus lived on the earth also show us the great compassion of God toward us, and the power of His Kingdom.

Many people say many things about eternity and how many lives we live etc., but the Bible says we live only once and then we will be judged. If we have ever lied, stolen, coveted, or gone against any of the other 10 Commandments in God’s law, we will be condemned to eternal separation from God, and will spend eternity in torment. When we accept the forgiveness of the Messiah by believing in Him, and put our hope in what He can do in our lives God brings life to our spirits. We learn the truth that our eternal destination and home is with our Heavenly Father, God and that God’s Kingdom (a place of great joy and love) exists both here on earth, and in Heaven.

By proclaiming and living the truth that Yeshua, Jesus is Lord we come into right alignment with the Kingdom of God and reap all the benefits that God, the Creator of the universe has to offer us. Our lives become fulfilled and we begin to live out the unique destinies that we each were created for. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have problems or hardships, but we are assured that when we walk in God’s ways of living, as outlined in the Bible, and when we apply ourselves to know God more (through prayer and Bible study) we begin to live lives of fulfillment and abundance, no matter what life brings our way.

If you’ve never prayed to receive Jesus/Yeshua as your personal Lord and Savior just read this prayer and mean it in your heart. (Prayer is simply speaking and listening to God.):

 Lord, God, my imperfection is called sin. You are perfect God, and I understand that You came to earth in the form of the man, Yeshua HaMashiakh, Jesus Christ, to die as payment for my sin. I believe that You were raised from the dead and I have a hope that through my faith You can reveal Yourself to me. Forgive me of my sins. Come into my heart. Cleanse me. Turn my life around in the areas that need to be turned around, and guide me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, Your Ruakh HaKodesh. Help me to desire to study Your Word to know You  and walk in Your ways. Prepare me for my eternal home in heaven. Use me on this earth now for Your glory, Your honor and the furtherance of Your Kingdom. Thank you for saving me. It’s in Yeshua, Jesus’ name that I pray this and ask You to come into my life. Amen.