In this article, I will look to address a number of issues that will help Gentile believers improve their witness of the gospel to their Jewish friends. There are definitely things we can do or say that can make a difference when sharing our faith; and there are also some fundamental issues that can dramatically change the way we help Yeshua introduce Himself to our Jewish brethren.
Two such issues are: gaining a better understanding of the barriers that currently exist and learning to bring a Jewish gospel back to our Jewish friends.
We Must Present Them With a Jewish Gospel
To help reflect on these issues, let us take a look at the Olive Tree example that the apostle Paul used to delineate between Jews and Gentiles (see Rom. 11:17-24). Let us also try to understand the context of current Christianity, the Gentile branch of the vine, which for the past 1,700 years has presented itself distinctive and apart from its Jewish origins and apostolic Hebraic roots.
While this may have been acceptable toward the nations during the time of the Gentiles, as the kingdom now transitions in these end days to re-include the Israel part of the family (see Rom. 11:25-26), it is no longer appropriate. As the Father looks to finally unite His family between Jew and Gentile, which has been foretold in the above Scripture, we must look to restore our faith to its heritage so we can properly fulfill our roles to make Israel envious; and I will address this point more fully in next month’s article on “The Roles.”
Please do not be offended by this, and allow me to fully explain so you may understand where I am coming from. I am not criticizing the way in which the gospel is presented to the Gentile world, but rather focusing on how it should be presented back to Israel.
Let me explain: Is not the vine that all Gentile believers are grafted into of Jewish origins? And was not the Jewish branch a natural one, even though it is mainly still broken off due to unbelief? In fact, is not everything we have received of Jewish origins?
“Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ who is G-d over all, forever praised! Amen” (Rom. 9:4-5).
When we first believe in Christ, are we not grafted into all of Israel’s covenants and promises, and is not salvation from the Jews, as Jesus has told us (John 4:22)? So how can we expect to win Jews back to faith and make them envious when the gospel we are presenting back to them is so foreign from their own heritage?
For since the church broke away from its Jewish origins, Jewish people now think of Christianity as a completely separate religion, when in fact it is the only true and proper extension of Judaism, especially if we believe Jesus to be the Jewish Messiah. So when we present the Good News to Jewish people, if we do not reconnect the dots and present it back to them as if it was their very own in the first place, we completely miss the mark.
If we want to be fully effective in reaching our Jewish brethren whom we know from Scripture are still yet to be restored, we must remind ourselves of our humble beginnings and how we have been grafted into the vine in the first place: “After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree!” (Rom. 11:24).
As pointed out in my last two Charisma articles about drawing Jewish people to jealousy, it is our own personal and intimate relationship with their G-d, who is now also our G-d, that will ultimately make them envious. But when it is not presented to them as a Jewish faith, it completely misses its effectiveness in helping them to be grafted back into their own olive tree.
Are you following me here? If we were still moving in the gospel of the first century, it would be different, because the founding apostles were all Jewish and so naturally had an innate sense of how to bring the Good News to their own people. But when the church moved away from its Jewish connection, it lost this ability.
This could be best seen through the Christian girl that led me to faith who never used Christian terms or symbols but instead presented Yeshua to me as if He was my very own, reconnecting her faith in Christ as a Jewish concept. This naturally made my transition much easier, despite my bloodline resistance to faith, because of the inherent barriers of persecution. You can read more about this story in my first book, The New Covenant Prophecy.
Maria never quoted the New testament Scriptures, which she knew I could not receive at the time, but instead used the Hebrew Scriptures as her source while using New Testament terms through her own speech. She always referred to G-d as the G-d of Israel, and she was so incredibly grateful toward my people for giving her Christ, whom she said was Jewish, and always referred to Him as the Messiah.
She also told me about all of the Jewish disciples and that in fact Christianity was Jewish and that as a result of Christ, she now inherited all of the promises and covenants of Israel that were given to my people first. She also mentioned that the New Testament was written by Jewish believers, excepting Luke, and that they moved with the Holy Spirit to build the church, who led them to open up to the Gentile world.
This made a huge difference to me in how I processed Yeshua, as He was presented back to me in a Jewish manner. When I began to further contemplate the acceptance of Messiah into my life, Maria had already reestablished this Jewish connection for me, which made my final journey that much easier to enter into.
In light of the time that we are now living in, as we have entered this time of transition between Jew and Gentile, like the apostles, we must be willing to make adjustments and come into agreement with the Holy Spirit’s work to reconnect us so Israel can come forth.
Just like the Jewish believers that clung to the Law and wouldn’t let go as the Holy Spirit began to move on the Gentile world and awaken them, we cannot expect Jews to become like Gentiles when receiving the gospel, and we must bless them into their own heritage and calling, which is distinct from our own—for from within the one new man and the oneness of the Spirit, we both have unique roles and callings to fulfill, especially in the final days before Messiah is to return. For within G-d’s end time mercy plan, Israel cannot come forth without the church, and the church cannot come into its inheritance without Israel’s redemption. Thus the family of G-d must finally become one!
Understanding the Barriers
Secondly, we must gain a better understanding of the current barriers that exist that have prevented Jewish people from coming to faith. Even with Maria’s skill in communicating the gospel toward me, it was so incredibly difficult for me to even consider Yeshua. This was as a result of what my people have suffered due to the horrible persecution that was bestowed upon them by the church and the Gentile world throughout the past 2,000 years in blaming them for Christ’s death.
It is no longer only the fact that Jewish people did not accept Yeshua to be the Jewish Messiah that keeps them away from G-d, but rather what has been done to them in the name of Christ, which is why Christian symbols are so offensive to Jewish people, for they have been used as weapons against them. In light of this, we must gain a better understanding of the past to help us to be more sensitive in our witness.
Throughout my nine months of resistance to the faith when Maria came into my life, this factor played a huge role in keeping me apart from G-d and is the main reason today that keeps Jewish people away from their own Messiah. I write about these issues extensively in my second book, which will be on bookshelves this coming October, The Ezekiel Generation, and I would encourage you to pick up a copy and read it.
As we draw closer to the times of Jesus’ return, these issues are becoming highly significant to us in fulfilling our end time roles and destinies, not only to help win Israel back to faith, but also to see the L-rd’s return. For Christ will not return until Israel says, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the L-rd” (Matt. 23:39).
As a result, when we look to bring the gospel back to Israel, it must be from their own heritage, from their Jewish vine and their roots, in order that they can be reestablished back into their own natural branch and we can finally find unity with them as the children of the living G-d.
Below are some good tips of what to say and what not to say when sharing the Good News with Jewish people:
1. Don’t use Christian terms that have been used against them. Use Jewish terms.
- Yeshua for Jesus
- Messiah for Christ
- Tree for Cross
- New Covenant for Gospel
- Congregation for Church
2. When praying in front of your Jewish friends, use Jewish terms. Be careful how you explain the Trinity, as some Jewish people think we worship three gods.
3. Avoid Christianese. For instance, avoid the repetition of Hallelujah and Praise the L-rd in your speech, as they will think you are weird.
4. Learn about the Jewish feasts, and use them to share your faith.
If every Christian living around Jewish people committed themselves to one Jewish person or family—to love them, to pray and intercede for their faith, to hold onto them, as Maria did for me—how long do you really think it would take the Christian world to reach the Jewish people?
Grant Berry is a Jewish believer in Yeshua/Jesus and author of The New Covenant Prophecy and The Ezekiel Generation. He has founded Reconnecting Ministries with the specific focus to help the church reconnect spiritually to Israel and considers it vital to the kingdom of G-d in the last days. His message focuses on the unity, love and healing that the Father wants to bring between Jew and Gentile yet clearly points out the differences and misunderstandings between the two groups. Now is the time to look more carefully into this mystery to make way for healing and reconnection in the Spirit. For more information, please visit reconnectingministries.org.