In view - Israel & Germany
Having just returned to Israel from a trip to Germany, I would like to share some perspective on what I see God doing at this time.
Germany. In the history of Jewish Diaspora this word is associated with the Holocaust and mass genocide of the Jewish people. Today Germany has opened its doors for Russian-speaking Jews to immigrate there. I believe that for some of our people it is a positive, even if temporary station - place to re-pack both physical and spiritual baggage. One day the Holy Spirit will move them from the fat land of Germany and bring them into the Promised Land.
I see that God wants to use even this temporary habitation to transform the place of greatest shedding of blood into a place of blessing. On the one hand, the fact that Jews live in Germany brings Hitler's work to naught: he is dead, but Jews are living in Germany and prospering. On the other hand, there was a Messianic community in Germany before the Nazis, many thousand strong. Two hundred Messianic rabbis from Germany used to gather in Messianic conferences at the beginning of the 20th century. Today the Messianic movement of the Jews for Yeshua is growing and advancing rapidly. This is a sign to the Germans, many of whom are repentant of their fathers' deeds during the Holocaust. The ministry of the Messianic Jewish pastors is making Germans zealous for a living faith in God.
"For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion; that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in." Rom. 1:25
"But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Messiah is it taken away. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away." 2 Cor. 3:14, 16
I do not know if this is what is already happening now among the Jews who are dispersed all over the world, or if it's just about to begin; but I can say that in Germany there is an unseen enthusiasm, freedom and openness to the preaching of the Gospel.
Age-old prejudice and opinions about God, caused by many hypocritical people, who used the Name of God as a cover-up, are beginning to shatter. Many Jews are finally beginning to see the difference between selfish and false use of the Gospel and the real truth written on the pages of the New Testament.
"Every tree is recognized by its fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers." Luke 6:44
Until now, the words "church" and "Christ" in the Jewish mind were associated with the sword and with persecutions. But today the veil of separation and hatred is being removed.
First of all, the opinion of many Christians toward Israel is changing radically. Many church leaders are openly proclaiming God's special plans for the State of Israel and the Jewish people. As a result, many churches support Israel and the Messianic movement in Israel and all over the world.
Secondly, time is coming to an end. Yeshua said: "Look at the fig tree..." that is look at Israel and at what is happening here. Events related to Israel are felt both in the political and spiritual spheres of the world.
Thirdly, the Holy Spirit is raising up Messianic fellowships all over the world. They are restoring in measure the approach to Tanach (Old Testament) and the worship of God practiced by the first believers living in the Jewish culture and oriented to evangelize the whole world. This is also in fulfillment of the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:23: "And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again."
Fourthly, the Messianic Jewish remnant is already beginning to bless the Gentile part of the Church, as it is written in Rom. 11:15: "For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?"
The result of this is the increasing turning of Jews from different classes of society to the promised Messiah. The Messianic movement is not only to restore the worship of God among the Jews, but also to preserve the Jewish identity of believers. Anti-Semites over the centuries blamed the Jews for Christ's crucifixion, and this distanced them from Messiah Yeshua.
But thanks be to God, Christians today know that the Messiah was crucified for "our iniquities," and Jews understand that:
Faith is a decision of one's will, and not a dictate of genes.
If a Buddhist Jew and an atheist Jew are still considered Jews, then a Jew believing in Yeshua also remains a Jew.
It is Jewish to believe in Yeshua, whose coming was foretold by Moses, the prophets, king David and other people of God in the Tanach.
For two millenia the word "baptism" was frightening for Jews because it meant to stop being a Jew. Now this word is becoming understood from the pages of the Tanach, and many see that it is a ceremonial cleansing, in the spirit of the cleansing which the priests in the temple had to go through. John the Baptist, the son of Zachariah the priest, watched how his father was cleansed in preparation for the Temple service, and in a sense did the same for those people who came to him. Today many see baptism not as a betrayal of their people, but as the cleansing and dedication of a person to the service of God.
It may not be happening as fast as we would want, but revival is happening among Jews. As the Scripture puts it in Acts 21:20: "When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: 'You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law.'" In spite of great resistance from anti-missionary organizations, tens of congregations spring up and are recognized by the media and by people free of prejudices.
Many publications and the influence "to the ends of the earth," as was foretold in Isaiah 49, are the fruit of the revival and also part of its facilitation. During the Passover festival a few weeks ago, 4,000 believers assembled on the shores of the Sea of Galilee! Long ago the great teacher Rabbi Gamaliel said: "And now I say to you, refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought; but if it be of God, you can not overthrow it; you will only be found fighting against God." (Acts 5:38-39) Today, his wise words are fulfilled in a visible and powerful movement.
I could continue, but I'd like to conclude with these words from Isaiah:
Is. 49:3: "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor."
Is.49:6: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."