Profound. Mature. Thorough and challenging. Those words describe the faithful and diligent teaching of Gil Kaplan. Perhaps even more moving are the words used to recount the nature of this man of truth: Humble. Genuine. Encouraging.
The Jewish Voice family and Messianic Jewish community are saddened by the loss of a dedicated teacher of God’s Word. Gil Kaplan passed away on June 11, 2022.
Gil, the son of Jewish Voice founder Louis Kaplan, grew up in ministry. Their family musical group traveled to churches around the country in the 1950s, singing gospel songs and sharing their experiences as Jewish Believers in Jesus. These early years helped build Jewish Voice, which was founded in 1967.
As an adult, Gil served his country with distinction in the Vietnam War, earning 14 medals, including the Purple Heart. He helped pastor two Messianic Jewish congregations. He was a teacher of truth who authored several books and taught in congregations, at various conferences and Bible colleges.
Gil’s hunger for “rightly dividing God’s Word” and teaching about Jewish roots of faith in Jesus led him to earn a Bachelor of Theology degree in 2002 and a Master of Theology in 2006. In 2003, Gil was ordained as a Messianic rabbi by Jewish Voice Ministries International.
In 2017, Gateway International Bible Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, conferred on Gil an Honorary Doctor of Theology degree, a fully recognized Doctorate and “an honor reserved for those who have achieved a high level of excellence and compiled a substantial, credible and recognizable body of work in their realm of ministry.” Commenting on how well-deserved the Doctorate was, Gateway’s Chancellor said he had watched Gil – despite being a profound and learned teacher of the Word – humble himself to enroll in his Bachelor’s and Master’s courses and receive further biblical academic training when he very well could have taught the instructors.
Gil taught passionately about a biblical perspective on the time each of us is given. “One of life’s most important lessons is learning to view time as precious,” he said, “and how to use it wisely. It is a neglected topic, seldom taught in discipleship training. Your time is your life, and your life is your time.”
Gil was a true theologian, deeply respected by his peers and well known as an avid encourager.
He unselfishly served the Lord with a heart toward helping members of the Body of Messiah find their deeper calling from God.
Gil is survived by Brenda, his loving wife of 38 years; children Susan, Mike, Steve, Rachel and Stacey; and his brother Dan and his wife, Nancy.
“We are just a heartbeat away from eternity,” Gil said during his doctorate ceremony. “So, in the time we have left, we must make our time count for the glory of God.” Gil Kaplan spent his life doing just that. He will be deeply missed, but we look forward to seeing him again in Heaven.