Jewish Voice Distinctives: Engaging the Church

If you’ve read the Jewish Voice mission and vision statement, you’ve probably noticed that our mission – how we carry out our vision - has three focal points.

Jewish Voice exists to transform lives and see all Israel saved. Our mission is to: Proclaim the Gospel, Grow the Messianic Jewish Community, and Engage the Church Concerning Israel and the Jewish People.

Why do we include “engaging the Church” as a vital part of our work? What does it mean and how to we do this branch of our ministry? Here’s some clarification and a few Jewish Voice “distinctives” that are important as we go about doing it.

Why We Engage the Church

What is Engaging the Church about? It’s about relationship. We engage the Church specifically about Israel and the Jewish people because the Bible links us together – not only in Messiah as one family but in another critically important way.

In Romans 11:25–26, Paul reveals that the salvation of “all Israel” is tied to the “fullness of the Gentiles.” So, “if we care about the salvation of all Israel (which is why we exist as a ministry),” said Ezra Benjamin, Vice President of Global Affairs at Jewish Voice, “then we’d better care about engaging with the Lord and His heart for the fullness of the Gentiles and our part in that.”

How We Engage the Church

A Believer, church or group can have one of several possible relationships with Israel and the Jewish people, ranging on a full spectrum from Antagonistic to Covenantal. (See Toward a Covenantal Relationship,by Ezra Benjamin). The first step in engagement is to Identify what type of relationship exists. The goal, then, is to grow that relationship from there. Each of the “non-negative” relationships mentioned along the spectrum includes good things. We always want to Affirm those positives in our interactions with Gentile Believers. We also feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to Challenge whatever may be dangerous, counterfeit or incomplete in their relationship with Israel and the Jewish people. And finally, we want to Invite them on toward a Covenantal Relationship.

One of the ways we engage the Church is through the Jewish Voice TV show. Another is through Jewish Voice Speakers. These ministry avenues teach the Jewish roots of faith in Yeshua (Jesus), the significance of the Jewish Feasts, God’s faithfulness and End Time prophecy concerning Israel and the Jewish people. We also produce print and digital resources to enhance Believers’ understanding of these issues. All of these enrich and deepen one’s faith. And as understanding increases, relationships grow.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s former Prime Minister, has often said that Israel’s best friends in the world are evangelical Christians. Because many evangelical Believers know that Israel is important to God, Israel is important to them too. However, as they reach out with good-intentioned eagerness to bless God by blessing Israel, some agree to make unfortunate concessions. We at Jewish Voice are distinctly committed to loving, blessing and building relationships with the non-believing Jewish community while not compromising critical components to forming genuine relationships – the Covenantal kind.

Jewish Voice Distinctives

Blessing Israel can’t be done without the Gospel. When forming friendships with the Christian community, Jewish people or organizations may be very welcoming but insist on one caveat: Don’t talk about Jesus. We at Jewish Voice cannot accommodate such a request because it is our very mission to proclaim the Gospel to the Jew first, according to Romans 1:16. 

Jesus’ earthly ministry was to the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24), and He came to save His people from their sin (Matthew 1:21). He wept over Jerusalem and the religious leaders who rejected Him as the promised Messiah (Matthew 13:34). Building friendships and bestowing blessings are excellent, but they are temporary and incomplete without the Gospel. They leave out the most vital blessing of all: the one with eternal consequences. One could argue that they are not blessings at all if they distract from the Good News. The Gospel is essential to blessing Israel. 

Blessing Israel needs to include the recognition of a Jewish believing remnant within Israel.   

Blessing Israel can’t be done without the Gospel. When forming friendships with the Christian community, Jewish people or organizations may be very welcoming but insist on one caveat: Don’t talk about Jesus. We at Jewish Voice cannot accommodate such a request because it is our very mission to proclaim the Gospel to the Jew first, according to Romans 1:16.

Jesus’ earthly ministry was to the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24), and He came to save His people from their sin (Matthew 1:21). He wept over Jerusalem and the religious leaders who rejected Him as the promised Messiah (Matthew 13:34). Building friendships and bestowing blessings are excellent, but they are temporary and incomplete without the Gospel. They leave out the most vital blessing of all: the one with eternal consequences. One could argue that they are not blessings at all if they distract from the Good News. The Gospel is essential to blessing Israel.

Blessing Israel needs to include the recognition of a Jewish believing remnant within Israel.   

Another relationship stipulation when the two communities come together might be that the Jewish half of the friendship may want to exclude Messianic Jews. Not believing that a Jewish person remains Jewish if they believe in Jesus, they don’t want them included in the conversation, project or relationship.

The fact that a Jewish person resides in both spaces – being Jewish and believing in Jesus – is challenging, and it may seem easier for both parties to exclude them. This is something Jewish Voice won’t compromise on – for the very reason that it is a challenge. If our mission is to “see all Israel saved,” and we know that faith in Jesus fulfills one’s Jewish identity rather than rejects it, we must allow the challenge. The presence of Messianic Judaism forces the biblical issue of Acts 4:19 – there is no other name under Heaven by which people can be saved, whether Jewish or Gentile.

We can’t accept the answer about Israel and the Jewish people that says, “I’ll wait till the End Times to concern myself with them.” Many Christians put the matter of Israel and the Jewish people on the “back burner” of their faith. Unable to or uninterested in understanding how Israel matters to God and His End-Time plans, they put off a decision about where they stand on Israel. They conclude that they’ll choose a stance when God makes things clearer during the last of the Last Days.

But the truth is, it’s never going to be easier to stand with Israel than it is today. It will only get tougher to do so as the days advance toward Messiah’s return. Today’s bias against Israel in the media and the United Nations is bad enough. But the Bible reveals that the day is coming when all nations will turn against Israel (Zechariah 12:3). We know that tomorrow will be more difficult than today to make the choice of standing with Israel. Therefore, we are committed to lovingly pressing the issue with those who think they can wait. Israel is precious to God (Isaiah 43:4) and therefore should be to each Believer.

Engaging the Church concerning Israel and the Jewish people is a privilege and a vital part of Jewish Voice’s mission. The Church and Israel are inseparably tied together in God’s purposes. We are interdependent and intertwined. Engaging, building, and developing Covenantal Relationships moves each distinct-but-unified set of Believers closer to the day when Gentile Believers reach their fulfillment and all Israel is saved. When that day comes, our vision – and our joy – will be complete.

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