The Jew First
While many rightly view the rebirth of the State of Israel and restoration of Jerusalem as important fulfillments of last days' prophecy, too few Christians are paying attention to other prophetic events taking place before our eyes. Among these are the large numbers of Jewish people coming to faith in Jesus as their Messiah; the rise and growth of the Messianic Jewish movement; and the regathering of these "lost tribes" back to their homeland. In my opinion, these are some of the most significant signs of Messiah's soon return.
In Romans 1:16 we are told that the gospel is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first" (emphasis mine). While some teach this is simply a fact of history and nothing more, I believe this is a biblical principle that is still in force today. In fact, it may be the missing key to our missiology. Is it possible that reaching the Jewish people opens the door to the salvation of the nations? Perhaps this is the mystery that Paul was revealing to us in Romans 11:15 when he declared, "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?"
So how are we applying this missiological view and reaching the "lost tribes" of Israel with an end-times perspective in mind? Since our first medical clinic in Gondar, Ethiopia, in 1999, hundreds of dedicated volunteers from church communities around the world have worked with Jewish Voice in more than 20 medical-clinic outreaches to help impoverished Jewish communities. By God's grace, we've provided free medical care and medicines to more than 211,000 patients. We've distributed 37,000 pairs of eyeglasses, performed nearly 700 eye surgeries and provided dental treatment to 13,000 patients.
While these statistics are wonderful, it's the spiritual message and outcome that is most important. Everything we do to physically help these people is with the end goal of earning the right to share our faith and demonstrating that we care. I often repeat the adage to the volunteers who work with us that "people don't care what you know until they know that you care."
Each of our outreaches features a prayer tent, where patients can pray with members of our team and hear about a God who loves them and sent His Son to die for them. We don't force anyone to enter these tents—our medical help is truly free—but we rejoice when they do. And the practical aid has paid off. Our teams have prayed with 38,644 to receive Yeshua as their Messiah and Savior. Jews, Muslims, Hindus, people of all walks of life have responded. We've also witnessed thousands supernaturally healed, delivered and filled with the Spirit of God. We've seen patients enter the prayer tent on their knees and walk out on their feet. We've seen the deaf hear, the blind see and the lame carried in and walk out!
Lost No More
God's preservation and regathering of the dispersed of Israel is a testimony of His faithfulness. As Jeremiah 31:35-36 declares, "Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for a light by day and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirs up the sea so that the waves roar, the Lord of Hosts is His name: 'If those ordinances depart from before Me,' says the Lord, 'then the seed of Israel also will cease from being a nation before Me forever.'"
He has sustained His people through famine, dispersion, persecution and attempted genocide. While they may be "lost" to the world, God knows where they are ... and He is actively regathering them before our watching eyes. He is not only restoring them physically to their land, He is restoring them spiritually through His Son.
Jonathan Bernis is president and CEO of Jewish Voice Ministries International, host of the TV show Jewish Voice with Jonathan Bernis and author of A Rabbi Looks at Jesus of Nazareth. See www.losttribesofisrael.org.
Jonathan Bernis shares how one of Israel's lost tribes has been discovered and ministered to in Ethiopia at tribes.charismamag.com.
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