Once again Zola Levitt Ministries and Shalom, Shalom Messianic Congregation commissioned and sent Kevin Parker and me to Israel to bring the hope, peace, and love of Y’shua the Messiah to the Chosen People. This was our third consecutive Gospel outreach to them.
Our encounters with the Israelis found them particularly open and receptive to our message of support and love based on the Scriptures about God’s divine plan and program for the Jewish people, who find completion in the first and second comings of the Messiah.
In the wake of terrorist attacks and international censure by the media and pro-Palestinian governments, the Israelis we met eagerly listened to the message of redemption, victory, and restoration for Israel. In a time when most Jews in Israel feel hopeless, misunderstood, abandoned by the world, and betrayed in some measure by America’s incoherent and duplicitous Mid-East policy, God’s Spirit worked through us to reassure them they are not alone. Below are a few of the many experiences we had in taking the Jewish Gospel to the Jewish people in Israel.
In Tel Aviv we walked the streets, visited the cafes (one of which was bombed a few days later by a suicide bomber), and stopped in the shops, encouraging the Jewish people from the Scriptures that God has not forsaken them (Isaiah 49:14–16). One Jewish man we spoke with was the owner of an Internet cafe. In our witness to him, we plunged into a deep discussion of what Bible prophecy says about the Messiah and His relationship to Israel, covered topics like the regathering of Israel, the future war of Gog and Magog as predicted in Ezekiel 38–39, and the return of the Messiah. He was open and interested in the evidence from the Tenach (Old Testament) that proved Y’shua (Jesus) was the prophesied Messiah. The Holy Spirit no doubt had prepared this man’s heart for our preaching. He gratefully received, and even enthusiastically anticipated, our giving him a Hebrew New Testament (Brit Hadasha) and a Messianic Jewish tract that lays out the steps to salvation. As we were leaving, the man’s parting yet memorable remark to us was: “Thank you for bringing me the light.” How correct he was! Jesus said in John 9:5, “I am the light of the world.”
After four days in Tel Aviv we drove to the Galilee to begin our outreach there. One day while we witnessed and passed out Gospel tracts, three Jewish children came over to us and wanted to play. Little did Kevin and I realize that these seven-year-old children (triplets — two boys and one girl) would be instrumental in opening the door for us to minister the Gospel to the entire family for three days. “And a child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6). We became close almost immediately, so much so that they invited us to stay with them when we return in September. We spent the entire time discussing the divine calling and plan of God for Israel as revealed in the Bible and how this fits with the current crisis in Israel (see Deut 4:28–30; Ezek. 35; Ps. 83; Zech. 12–14). They read with amazement from the Scriptures how all this was foretold long ago, and how it is being fulfilled up to the present time.
We reasoned with them that if the prophecies of Israel’s history are true and have literally been fulfilled, the many prophecies about the Messiah were also true and have been literally fulfilled as well. This was the warp and woof of our witness in all of Israel. We pointed to the prophecies that pertain to the first coming of the Messiah in the Tenach, and then pointed to their exact fulfillment by Jesus in the Brit Hadasha. These dear friends made the obvious connection and understood quite clearly from their own Scriptures why we believe Jesus is the Jewish Messiah.
Through our witness of the Gospel both in love and in the spoken word, this family has adopted Kevin and me as life-long friends. We believe it is only a matter of time before they become a household of believers in Y’shua (Acts 16:31, 34). We ask Zola’s readers to fervently pray to that end as our witness continues with this precious family.
A few days later we ventured into Tiberias during the evening and decided to eat at one of the restaurants, eventually striking up a conversation with the owner’s son. He was a Jewish man of twenty-three years and had lived in New York City. He told us he worked a block and a half away from the World Trade Center and was a personal eyewitness of what happened on 9-11. He was still suffering from posttraumatic stress. He knew he had to return home — to Israel. He revealed to us later that he had also been taking narcotics and felt tormented and controlled by an evil spirit! We explained to him that there was a battle going on for his soul between God and Satan, and that only the power of Messiah could set him free. Kevin and I then demonstrated to him out of the Jewish Scriptures from the Hebrew text that Jesus was indeed the prophesied Messiah of Israel who came to set humanity free from the captivity of sin (John 8:34–36). After looking at a few of the prophecies for himself, he exclaimed, “Y’shua really is the Messiah!”
The young man became teary-eyed and prayed with us to accept Y’shua into his heart as Lord, Savior and Messiah. Afterwards his face glowed with the peace, joy and relief that only the Prince of Peace can give. He is now a new creation, a completed Jew born anew and delivered from the power of darkness, translated into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). What a thrill it is to harvest souls for our Lord!
From Tiberias we journeyed to Jerusalem to conclude our ministry there. While staying at Kibbutz Tzuba, the Lord allowed us to minister restoration to a backslidden Jewish believer who had been a pioneer of the Messianic movement in the 1970s. At first he was guarded and distant. But after two days with him the walls came down. He too was on the verge of tears as we extended God’s grace and comfort to him and helped to relieve him from the heavy burden that was on his shoulders (Galatians 6:1–2).
On Good Friday, as Kevin and I were coming from Golgotha (the place where Jesus was crucified) we ran into three young orthodox Jewish men in the Armenian quarter as they were headed for prayer at the Western Wall. Our witness to them naturally focused on why Jesus is the Messiah of Israel. We talked about what the rabbis called in Hebrew the “Chevlei Ha Mashiach” (the birth pangs of the Messiah) as the time of the Great Tribulation for Israel, accompanied by certain cosmic signs (apostasy, false Messiahs, wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, etc.) that serve as guideposts for the soon return of the Messiah (see Matthew 24). We told them that what Israel and Jerusalem are going through now is a prelude to those future events that indicate the fact that the Messiah is coming soon (Zech. 14:1–3; Jer. 25:15–38; Ps. 83; Joel 3:1–2).
They listened as Kevin and I recited the major Messianic prophecies that mark and identify who the Messiah would be when He came and how the life of Jesus of Nazareth was the only One who could have possibly fulfilled these prophecies as the Messiah. They expressed sincere interest and took Gospel tracts from us and said they would study further what we shared with them. Truly this Gospel outreach and others like it in the Church are fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 62:10–12! Here we have an amazing prophecy that says God will send Gentile believers to Jerusalem “from the ends of the earth” to proclaim to the Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem that the Savior is coming to redeem and rescue them. These ambassadors of Messiah Jesus will prepare (perhaps like John the Baptist did when he prepared the way for the first coming of Jesus to Israel, Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:3) the way for His soon return that is described and predicted in the opening chapter of Isaiah 63.
Lord willing, in this vein we will resume our outreach to Israel in September 2002 during the Feasts of Trumpets and Tabernacles as God provides and empowers us by His Spirit to do so. Amen.