Obedience to the Vision from Heaven
| Dr Daniel Juster, Director |

I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. Acts 26:19

The great apostle, Sha'ul-Paul, defended his ministry on the basis that he was true to a vision from heaven, to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom to the nations, and to go first to the Jew first in this mission. The completion of the Gospel witness to Jews and Gentiles would issue in the return of the Lord and the fullness of the Kingdom. Paul also made it clear that he laid foundations as a wise master builder and warned others concerning how they should build on this foundation. Some would build with good material that would last, but others would build on wood, hay and stubble that would be burned up.

The Messianic Jewish Vision from Heaven

I believe that in the early 1970's God revealed an apostolic vision from heaven. I was not the first to receive this vision, but was one of the early leaders in the contemporary Messianic Jewish movement. Let us call those leaders who received this vision and had leadership in the Messianic Jewish movement from 1970-1975 the fathers of our movement. What was the vision of the fathers? It was to be instruments to plant congregations that would be effective in bringing Jewish people to the Messiah and that would disciple these Jewish believers to remain part of their people. A congregational people movement for Yeshua was to grow up within the Jewish community. I spoke in those years concerning the importance of discipling Jewish believers in their covenant responsibilities since the Bible says that the gifts and call of God (to Israel) is irrevocable. (Romans 11:29) Again and again Paul makes it clear that Israel still counts and that Jewish believers are both part of the larger Body of Believers and part of the destiny and purpose of the nation of Israel. This teaching became foundational in the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations and continues to be foundational to this day. It was also foundational to the formation of Tikkun International.

As for those from the nations, the Gentiles, these were most welcome as equal partners in this task if they received a calling from the Holy Spirit to give their lives in a primary way to reach the Jewish community.

Passion for the Salvation of the Jewish People

The fathers of the modern Messianic Jewish movement were passionate about the salvation of Jewish people. They shared something of Sha'ul's great anguish of heart for his people, a heart that could wish to be cut off for the sake of their salvation (Romans 9:3). Passion for outreach to the Jewish people indeed was foundational to all the fathers and to the whole movement in those days.

We can do many good things, but if we miss the center of our first priority, to see Jewish people come to faith in Yeshua and to fully enter the Kingdom of God, we will lose our primary reason for being. A few years ago, my dear colleague in Israel, Asher Intrater, came to the conclusion that he was doing many good things, but not the most important thing. To lose the most important thing for good things is wrong. He gave up many of his other responsibilities and gave himself to reaching out to Jewish people who did not know Yeshua. This has been effective and very fruitful.

The Passionate Center of our Movement and the Danger We Face

The goal of growing a movement for Yeshua that is Jewish is the passionate center of our movement and a key to the favor of God. Much fruit has been produced world wide. In Russian-speaking lands and in Israel, a wonderful growth has taken place.

Yet there is a danger. It is that some are following a different vision and calling it Messianic Judaism. This vision is more to see the Church embrace its Jewish roots. This is important when done in balance, but is not the center of Messianic Judaism. Others are seeking to provide a place where Gentiles can live a Jewish life. There is nothing wrong with Gentiles loving Jewish culture and expressing their faith in Jewish ways. Yet this is not the center and without Jewish believers, is inauthentic. In addition, not all Gentiles have a responsibility to live and identify as Jews, but only those who have a special leading of the Spirit. To form congregations of Gentiles who follow Jewish liturgy, and chant the Torah while having no Jewish members was not a goal of the "fathers."

We began the race running well. However, it was harder to win Jewish people than some thought. When the Church in the area is not in revival, it is harder. It requires much prayer, time building relationship in the Jewish community and supernatural power. It is easier to see Gentiles engage in Jewish practice than to see Jews embrace Yeshua. There are, after all, so many more Gentiles and so many more Christians. So, when there is failure in winning the Jewish people, some have comforted themselves with the "success" of having won Gentiles to live a Jewish life. We now have movements that are primarily geared to this. Indeed, some of these movements even say that the true Christians are really the lost tribes of Israel. These groups have conferences, publications and more. They call what they are doing Messianic Judaism. What has happened?

An Analogy

Let's say the government of the United States decided to send men to Mars. The rocket is sent up with great excitement and fanfare. However, the report later comes back that the rocket did not reach Mars, but instead landed on an asteroid only half way there. What would you say if the astronauts and government leaders all joined in great celebration for landing on the asteroid and declared that this was as good as the original goal?. Then they took another step and declared the asteroid to be Mars. This is analogous to what is happening in some circles regarding Messianic Judaism.

Conclusion

There is an apostolic vision from heaven called Messianic Judaism. It was delivered by the fathers of this movement and all are called to be faithful to it. Anything less is not really successful by the standard of the original goal. In addition, any other vision is not Messianic Judaism. May we all face our responsibility to embrace our true purpose, a purpose that is the passion of Tikkun International in every place where we minister. That vision is to bring Jewish people to the knowledge of Yeshua and disciple them while maintaining genuine corporate Jewish identity. The acid test of the success of our movement is to bring Jewish people to Yeshua.

By Daniel Juster

 

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Comments:
15:46 20Jul04 Jeffrey Seif -
I enjoyed this article It, in my opinion, does a good job of reminding MJs what the initial vision was, and it is my hope it helps some to focus the moreso on primary purpose and not be too side-tracked. Thanks Dan. J. Seif, Dallas

19:08 20Jul04 Christine Tranchell -
Amen to what you have expressed. Another weakness I have observed in some Messianics is the need to be "more Jewish" to "prove" yourselves to the unbelieving Jewish community.

22:01 20Jul04 Stephen Shores -
Thoughtful and precise.

22:19 20Jul04 Betty Ames -
Dan Juster, as always you are on 'TARGET'. To me, you & Marty Waldman & a few others in the Messianic Movement are giants among men. I love every thing I have ever read that you have written.... The article is great, you are right ... what can I say.. I love you guys for the great work you do... I only wish G-D would clone you so SE Texas would have the benefit of a Messianic Ministry... it is very dry here... I am so blessed to share the vision and honored. Betty 23:30 20Jul04 Don Gartrell -
It is so awesome to receive your teachings. It's also great to be able to share them with friends on the Internet. I have really enjoyed the times you have spoke at Baruch Ha Shem where I attend in Dallas. I will start Christ for the Nations in the fall and have been excited to hear your name mentioned several times. Thanks for all you do! Blessings in Messiah! Don Gartrell Euless, Texas

06:15 21Jul04 Jim Luck -
I'm a gentile in a jewish synagogue and very happy with these circumstances. My personal perplexity with the happenings in this MJ house is that some of the new and not so new jewish believers are leaving. Is this a sign of gentile takeover or displacement of the jew from their own holy abode? MJ is for the jew first and then the rest of us. Thanks for touching on this in your article. B'Shem Yeshua.

12:40 21Jul04 Lina -
Thank you, Dan, for this timely reminder.

14:07 21Jul04 Ralph Finley -
The call to not lose the focus of seeing Jewish people come to Yeshua and forming congregations with a visible Jewish presence is important to hear and it is good that Dan has raised it. However, the part concerning Gentile involvement is too general and needs further development and clarification and some of the statements are vague and possibly could lead to a wrong understanding. For example, when Dan says "not all Gentiles are called to live and identify as Jews", it implies that the Gentiles in the movement should not only live as Jews, but also should IDENTIFY as Jews instead of IDENTIFYING as Gentiles who have been grafted in with the Jewish people! The other thought I have is that just as Peter who had a calling to the Jewish people of his day received a vision that showed him that that calling still involved reaching the nations, one must ask the question if the MJ vision of those that Dan mentioned in 1970's is also to be expanded to be more inclusive of reaching the nations with a Jewish rooted understanding. Even Tikkun has as one of its goals "the vision to see the Church restored to Jewish Rooted understandings of the Bible so that she might reach all nations in a fully-biblical way". I agree with Dan that the balance must be maintained, but I also think we need to make sure we do not lose the Jewish Rooted mandate simply because some have torned it away from the vision of Jewish people. Thank you. Ralph E. Finley, Ahavat Yeshua, Washington DC

22:43 21Jun04 Stacie Hengy -
While I agree that bringing Jewish people to the knowledge of Yeshua and discipling them to maintain their genuine corporate Jewish identity is important, I also believe that it is equally important for the Church to depart from its pagan ways and embrace its Jewish roots. God has always included foreigners and strangers along with Israel and he is doing so even now.
Exo 12:37-38 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a MIXED multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
Exo 12:48-49 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
Act 10:34-35 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
Zec 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that EVERY ONE that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
I attend a Messianic Fellowship with both Jews and Gentiles in attendance but I look forward to the day that we are not called anything but "the saints" and there is no more distinction between Jew and Gentile.
17:00 22Jul04 Jonathan Allen -
It is good to see Dan underlining Tikkun's vision that Jewish and Gentile believers, while both equally part of the body of Messiah, do have distinct and separate roles to play in G-d's economy. Just as there are not that many men who are having babies (cf Gal 3:28), so the Jewish witness and the Gentile witness are different in nature and target. It is so important that we don't lose our distinctiveness and become just a blur or mishmash that doesn't speak effectively to either the Jewish community or the Gentile world. As a living part of our historic people, Jewish believers in Messiah Yeshua have a critical part to play in these last days, not only witnessing to the as-yet-unbelieving Jewish community, but also living out a truly Jewish lifestyle as a witness to the nations in fulfilling our original calling (D'varim 4 & 7) to be a light and a standard. This calling has and never will be revoked (Rom 11:29) and as Jews we fail in fulfilling that calling when we don't see ourselves as a part of the corporate Jewish people and do our best to live within and as a part of the Jewish community.

17:46 23Jul04 Adriano Pereira Subirá -
Maybe some people are misunderstanding "to love and to like" the Jewish people with "to live like" the Jewish people. So, they are rejected by Jewish community because they are not exactly Jews..., and they are rejected by the church as "legalists"... As Jews and descendants, we need to hear the very calling, deep in our spirit, the Call of the Lord, the irrevocable call. "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy" (Psalms,126:5). Let's cry for our nation, let's attend the call of The Lord, "and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation (Shemot,19:6)". "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" (Psalms 122:6). How can our people experience peace without The Sar-El, The Prince of Peace? We need to pray and cry for our brothers and friends. "Because of my brothers and friends, I will now say, Let peace be with you"(Psalms 122:8). B'Shem Yeshua, Shalom Shabbat!

23:19 04Aug04 Josh & Lea -
Dr. Juster: You hit every point that has been on our hearts for many years. We cannot tell you how pleased we are to know that somebody has the wisdom, knowledge and zeal to express the feelings of other concerned Jewish believers. I cannot tell you how hard it is to bring unsaved Jewish people to a messianic congregation these days where majority of its congregants are not Jewish but attempt to live the Jewish lifestyle which is very deceitful and offensive to the Jewish people. Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. 20:31 05Aug04 Shantha Edwards -
Dear Dan, I agree with you 100 percent. I met you at a certain synagogue and found the congregation had gone off track. They turned away more Jewish families saying they were difficult than reaching them for Yeshua. So I left as my heart as a gentile is to provoke the jew to jealousy and bring him to Yeshua. One jew saved will bring 10 gentiles to God. So keep doing what God has called you to do.