Shalom Haverim v’ Mishpochah (Warm greetings, friends and family). Recovering from a total knee replacement operation is providing me time to reflect on the prophetic moment in which we Believers are living: a time of preparing the way of the Lord for His soon return. I’ve also had time to gratefully enjoy the well wishes and prayers from the Body of Yeshua. Katharine—my dear wife and behind-the-scenes heroine—has been serving and remaining extremely patient with this sometimes-impatient patient.
By the time you read this letter, I should be up and about and back to our normal full pace. I am looking forward to this ministry’s fall study tour of Israel and to the September 7 debut of our television series about Holocaust survivors who brought about Israel’s rebirth. During this fall’s tour, and with your continued financial support, our TV production crew plans to shoot film footage for a series of programs that will explore the Gospel message and the journeys to faith of both the Bible-times faithful and modern Messianics. Working title: Close Encounters with Yeshua.
Consistent prayer warriors and donors also make it possible for this ministry to proclaim the reality of Messiah through television, in our books and newsletters, and on the Internet. The numerous outlets for “content” these days inundate curious souls seeking answers with information and, unfortunately, endless misinformation as well.
Zola was a forerunner in bringing the truth of “Christianity through Jewish eyes” to the attention of today’s Church and the world. The Messianic movement has grown exponentially since the early days of ZLM. Concurrently with the Gospel going around the world, the stage is being set for the Jewish people to cry out collectively—as Yeshua said must happen—”Baruch Haba B’Shem Adonai!” (“Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!”)
Katharine and I seize the increasing opportunities to speak to Church leaders about the reasons for Jewish ministry. The power of unity is an essential raison d’etre (driving force) for us. She and I have always ministered alongside the international Church. We believe that Messianics need the power of the Church and that the Church needs the ancient wisdom and input of the Jewish believers in Yeshua. Our six-part message to pastors is straightforward:
- Why Jewish ministry is important
Yeshua is returning to Jerusalem—not to Washington, D.C. or Ankara, Turkey or Brussels, Belgium! No wonder the tiny nation of Israel is always in the news and always on the minds both of prophecy watchers … and of anti-Yahweh forces, who work fervently to thwart the will of the God of Israel as their time shortens. The great end-time events that pit the devil’s minions against the Lord’s elect will center on God’s Holy Land. As Yeshua was taken up…
Acts 1:11 — “‘Men of Galilee,’ they [angels] asked, ‘why are you standing here staring into Heaven? Yeshua has been taken from you into Heaven, but someday He will return from Heaven in the same way you saw Him go!’”
This promise that the Jewish disciples heard must have rung a prophetic bell, as it looks forward to “B’Yom ha Hu,” often translated “In that day,” but it also means “In His day.” Acts 1:11 echoes the same Messianic promise that Zechariah prophesied in 14:4 — ”On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem.”
Especially as the Last Day—B’Yom ha Hu—approaches, controversy swirls around the Land, the City, the Chosen People, and the mountains of the Lord!
- What the Church can expect as she embraces blessing Israel
The blessed life!—Praise God for a growing understanding among born-again followers of Yeshua that God has never rescinded His covenant promise to Abraham and to the nations of the world: Genesis 12:1
“Then Adonai said to Abram, ‘Get going out from your land, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.
2My heart’s desire is to make you into a great nation, to bless you, to make your name great so that you may be a blessing.
3My desire is to bless those who bless you, but whoever curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.’”
Many pastors report that as they included Jewish ministry and support of Israeli ministries into their congregations’ church life, they experienced growth: in numbers of souls saved, in finances, and in congregational intimacy with Yahweh’s heart.
- What central blessing the Church can give to the Jewish people
The ultimate blessing to come through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the Messiah, Yeshua. Many Christians feel intimidated by the Jewish people’s tight culture and religious training, and they mistakenly assume most of Abraham’s descendants know the Bible well. Such assumptions can cause Believers to refrain from sharing Yeshua’s Gospel. The most valuable gift that Christians can give the Jewish people is sharing their personal journey of faith and the truth of Messiah. We Jews need to hear the Gospel!
God’s promises are irrevocable and His generosity so phenomenal that He also uses the descendants of the patriarchs to bless the world (see Genesis 12:2) through medicine, technology, and all arts and sciences. Although the Jewish people make up less than .025% (two and a half hundredths of a percent!) of the global population, they have garnered 22% of REAL Nobel prizes for genuine contributions to the world—as opposed to “peace” prizes for the likes of Yasser Arafat, the patriarch of modern terrorism. My Jewish brothers and sisters need a revelation of Messiah. While we Jews have an “irrevocable calling” to be a light unto the nations (Romans 11:28–29), God has mercifully used our rejection of Jesus to open the door for non-Jews (gentiles). But Jews need to hear about their Messiah. Then you and I can expect resurrection life to follow the critical mass of salvation that is coming to Israel and to Jews worldwide.
“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes— the Jew first and also the gentile.” —Romans 1:16
“For since their [Jews’] rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead!” —Romans 11:15
- The developments Believers should watch for as we prepare the way of the Lord
Jesus’ mandates in the triumphant prophetic passages of Matthew (Matthew 24:14; 23:39) point specifically to two significant end-times events: 1) The Gospel will go throughout the world and, 2) the Jewish people will call on the Name above all names! Matthew’s verses help Church leaders connect the salvation of Israel to world revival.
Matthew 24:14—“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come.”
Matthew 23:39—“For I tell you, you will never see Me again until you say, ‘Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai.’ [‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’]”
In recent years, Israel and the Jewish people have come to discern the true affection that many Christians have for them. When Katharine and I teach (right) about the olive tree at the Garden of Gethsemane during our Zola Tours study tours (you really should join us for one of these life-changing pilgrimages!), I always recount the testimony of a horticulturist who divulged that the best fruit results from grafting wild olive branches into a natural branch.
When olive trees age, they get weak and hollow. The shoots that grow up around the base from the roots wrap themselves around the tree, creating strength for the old tree against the elements and the “prevailing winds.” What a picture of the Church wrapped around and supporting the old olive tree, Israel! The Hebrew word for these shoots is “notzrim,” which comes from “netzer,” the root in the words Nazareth, Nazarene. Notzrim is even the modern Hebrew word for “Christian.”
Years ago, when Katharine and I led Christian pilgrims through the streets of the Old City, the shopkeepers would whisper to each other with sneering condescension, “Hmmpphhh, the notzrim are here.” I would despair in sadness over the gulf between my Jewish natural family and my spiritual, Christian siblings.
In the last few years, I have noticed a different sentiment. Sensing the love and support that genuine Jesus followers have for the Jewish people, shopkeepers now sigh with relief and respect, “Aaaahhhh, the notzrim are here.” As Christians have taken responsibility for their bloody history of institutionalized anti-Semitism and demonstrated political, social, and spiritual support, Jews are welcoming them. Israelis are saying, “Blessed are these who come in the Name of the Lord”—a profound first step toward eventually crying out to Yeshua Himself!
- The shared destiny of Jews and the Church
The olive tree metaphor for the shared destiny of Jews and the Church (roots and shoots) contains an additional symbol. This ministry has repeatedly taught that, like the new shoots springing up from the roots of the old tree, the Christians have sprung out of the Jewish people. And, by wrapping themselves around the old tree/Israel, the new shoots/Christians help it stand against the winds of adversity that blow in the rough neighborhood of the Middle East and the world in general. How is this grafting performed physically? By carving an “X” into the rootstock through which the wild shoots are joined to the natural tree. In other words…
…The wild olive is joined to the natural tree through the cross!
I hope you can employ the above ideas to gently and respectfully approach your pastor if need be with the importance of what you and I do together through ZLM. Many church leaders have had negative experiences dealing with arrogant and demanding congregants who try to force opposing changes in worldview upon them. The ironic part of that story is that very often such demands come from gentile Believers who have adopted the outer form of Jewish ceremonial life! Katharine and I train congregants to “go low and slow” when broaching these subjects. Be humble and entreating. Make creative suggestions, not demands.
- One Last Note: Being pro-Israel does NOT mean being anti-Arab or anti-Moslem
The God of Israel, Yahweh, invites all to partake of the riches of Ephesians 2, becoming “one new humanity” through the cross of Messiah. Embodying this mindset is very important, and communicating it is essential.
To help yourself put all of these concepts in perspective, please join us in Israel. The Word will come alive for you more than ever, and God will make sense of all the foregoing issues. He will personalize the Scriptures and deepen your love for Him. To come on a Biblical study tour with Katharine and me, contact our Zola Tours manager Sandra at 214-696-9760 or at . You can also find more information and registration forms at levitt.com/tours.
HERE ARE OUR SPRING 2017 STUDY TOUR OPTIONS:
|Israel & Petra||Mar 12–24||$5,488|
Earlier this year, we devoted ourselves to creating a series on the Holocaust and its aftermath for survivors. Beauty for Ashes will debut on September 7. Please check your local listing for exact times and stations.
Zola Levitt Presents programs for September include the following:
“Back to Jerusalem” with Brother Yun
- Even as communism held 20th-century China in its grip, a Biblical worldview arose to call the Chinese people into end-times ministry. This TV program features interviews with heroes of the underground Church in China and discusses the Back to Jerusalem missions movement.
On September 7, we are blessed to begin our new series contrasting the horrors of the Holocaust with the rebirth of Israel.
Beauty For Ashes (New series)
- The Hope
- To Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe, the “Work Makes You Free” sign over the entrance to Auschwitz offered false hope. Legitimate Jewish hopes materialized in1948, when the modern State of Israel was born in a day (Isaiah 66:8).
- The Ground
- Holocaust survivors recount riding in train cars bound for Auschwitz. The blood-soaked ground beneath the Death Wall contrasts remarkably with the life-giving produce grown in Israel today.
- The Survivors
- In Auschwitz, guide Teresa Wontor-Cichy informs Katharine of the extremely slim chances the Jewish people faced in surviving here. In Israel, a high-tech “start-up nation” today, we hear from television Producer Tal Barda and Solar Panel Company CEO Avi Brenmiller.
Katherine and I believe the Beauty for Ashes television programs offer profound and impacting teaching that will equip you and multitudes of other viewers to discern the “times and the seasons” as the same adversarial and anti-Semitic spirit persists in the world, mainly through Islamic ideology and jihad.
This ministry needs your prayers AND your financial support to keep such excellent television programs coming. Please prayerfully consider a generous donation in addition to your regular contribution. Our ministry team will use it prudently to continue proclaiming the Gospel of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) and upholding Israel.
Keep standing on the wall and watching over the city of of God (Isaiah 62:6). And please remember to Sha’alu Shalom Yerushalayim!—Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! (Psalm 122:6)
Your friend and messenger,
P.S. God is revealing His desire for Jews and gentiles to worship Him together. You are making history as you reach for His desires. Suggest incorporating Jewish elements into your church worship and/or find a local Messianic congregation to join.