Messianic Congregations are Prophecy Fulfilled
by Jonathan Bernis

Last year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jewish Voice treated 14,816 patients at our international medical and dental clinics in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. That’s nothing short of a miracle. I’ve probably shared this with you before, but the reason we put so much effort and energy into helping impoverished Jewish communities around the world is simple:

"I believe people don’t care what you know until they know that you care."  

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We treat bodies because we want to earn the right to minister to souls.

That’s why I’m writing to you today. I want to tell you about our core mission here at Jewish Voice. I want to tell you the full story of why we do what we do. 

To Scatter and Re-Gather

In the book of Deuteronomy, God warns the Jewish people that if they turn against Him to go their own way, they will be “banished” among the nations (Deuteronomy 30:1). But that’s only half the promise. If Israel turns back to God, even after disobeying Him, God says He will not leave them to suffer. “When you return to Adonai your God… you and your children… He will return and gather you from all the peoples where Adonai your God has scattered you” (Deuteronomy 30:2-3).

As the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures unfold, we watch that “scattering” happen. The people of Israel are first taken captive by the Assyrians, and then the Babylonians. Later, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah fall under Roman rule. With each war and conquest, more and more Jewish people are scattered across the world. 

Something changed in 1948.

That May, the Jewish people officially reclaimed their homeland when Israel was re-established as a political nation-state. This was a miraculous fulfillment of prophecy. Just as the world had seen the “scattering” of the Jewish people for centuries before, here they witnessed a visible sign of God’s promise to re-gather them. 

Don’t get me wrong - not everyone saw Israel’s victory in 1948 as cause for rejoicing. In fact, the Muslim world often refers to this event as “the great catastrophe.” But regardless of the reactions it received, Israel’s re-establishment happened in front of the eyes of the world. It was a visible, undeniable sign that God’s prophecy had come to pass. 

But I believe that God’s promise to re-gather His people is both physical and spiritual. My life’s ministry, and our mandate and mission here at Jewish Voice, is to work toward Israel’s spiritual re-gathering. We share the heart of Paul, who wrote in the book of Romans that his “heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they would be saved.” 

I can’t help noticing what Paul doesn’t say here. He doesn’t say “my heart’s desire is that the Israelites would be financially successful.” He doesn’t say he wants them to be physically healthy, or even politically successful. I’m sure he did wish those things for his Jewish brothers and sisters, just as we do. But his very heart’s desire – the most important thing – to Paul was that Israel would “be saved.” He wanted them to know their Messiah, Jesus. 

At Jewish Voice, this is our “why.”

This is why we provide medical and dental care for Jewish people scattered around the world. And this is why the medical care isn’t the end of our work, but just the beginning!

Our Mission: The Spiritual Re-Gathering

Our main objective at Jewish Voice is to establish Messianic congregations of Believers in Yeshua (Jesus) everywhere the Lord sends us. Whether it’s Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, India, South Africa, Ukraine… every time we hold medical or dental clinics or plan a Hear O Israel! Festival of Jewish Music and Dance, we work behind the scenes to meet, encourage and empower local Believers in Yeshua in those countries to build congregations in their own communities. God has blessed that effort in great numbers - to date, we’ve established and partner with more than 175 Messianic congregations around the world!

Our work doesn’t end after we’ve helped a local group of Jewish Believers establish a congregation, either. Jewish Voice – through the generosity of our partners, like you – continues supporting these congregations with things like financial aid, micro-financing, writing and sending Bible curriculum for adults and children… you name it. 

But we don’t merely send handouts. We don’t go above or before our Jewish brothers and sisters on the ground in their respective communities. Instead, we come alongside them. If a congregation needs a new building, for example, we might agree to pay for the building materials if the congregation can provide the workers. We aren’t merely benefactors. We’re co-laborers in the mission field that’s closest to God’s heart.

That’s why we measure our success here at Jewish Voice not by the number of people we’ve treated at a medical or dental clinic; or even the number of hands raised to accept Yeshua, Jesus as Messiah. Those things are important parts of our mission. But our true measure of success is whether we’ve helped to establish a healthy, thriving congregational network inside a country. 

In fact, it’s when we leave a country that we start looking for fruit: we want to be able to leave and then watch the work continue as local congregations keep helping their neighbors, evangelizing their communities and even planting more congregations.

Why Messianic Congregations?

I mentioned earlier that the restoration of the nation-state of Israel in 1948 was a visible sign to the world of a prophecy fulfilled. This was the fruit of God’s promise to re-gather Israel to their physical homeland. 

I believe that the return of Jewish men and women to God through belief in the Messiah, Jesus, is the fulfillment of God’s promise to spiritually re-gather Israel into His kingdom.

We saw the beginnings of the modern-day return of the Jewish people to their Messiah in the late 1960’s. What was known as the “Jesus People” movement here in the West prompted vast numbers of Jewish people to come to belief in Yeshua. That work continues today, and I believe it will continue until Jesus returns.

But saving belief in Yeshua is not the end of the calling for Jewish people; just like it’s not the end, but the beginning of a life of faith for any Believer. 

The Bible tells us in 1 Kings that the prophet Elijah was “zealous for Adonai” (1 Kings 19:10). But the Jewish people drove Elijah to despair by turning their backs on God. In fact, the Bible says Elijah was so dejected, he wanted to die. 

But God revealed something to Elijah in the wilderness: he wasn’t alone.

“Yet I have preserved seven thousand in Israel,” God tells him, “whose knees have not bowed to Baal and whose mouth has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18). 

God had preserved a remnant of faithful Jewish people in the world. This was no small miracle – and the news brought Elijah back from the brink of despair. 

What does all of this have to do with our work to build Messianic congregations among the “Lost Tribes of Israel” around the world? There’s a simple explanation: these congregations prove to the world, including the remaining Jewish people who have not yet believed in Jesus, that God has preserved a remnant. These public gatherings of Jewish Believers across the globe are an undeniable, visible sign to the entire world that God is, even now, spiritually re-gathering the Jewish people into His Kingdom.

If our mission at Jewish Voice was only to bring individual Jewish people to Jesus – a worthwhile and biblical goal – our work would look a bit different. We wouldn’t spend so much time praying for, hoping for, supporting and believing in the local Messianic congregations we’ve helped establish around the world. But we do that because when we gather together, the world sees prophecy fulfilled. 

My friends, I’ve dedicated my life to bringing Jewish people together, across the world, in saving faith that Jesus is their long-awaited Messiah. There is no higher calling for Believers in Yeshua, whether we are Jewish or not, to join in building the Kingdom of God. It is my sincere hope that by sharing our “why” with you, you will understand our passion for building and equipping Messianic congregations around the world. It is my sincere hope, in fact, that this “why” will become your “why,” too!

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