Jesse Dieterle, March 20, 2018
The church I pastor has at long last launched a Sunday series from the book of Romans (The Gospel of God), reacquainting me to the need to alert true evangelical Christians to acknowledge their Jewish roots and to prayerfully seek the salvation of lost Jewish souls (Ro. 1:16).
God and Jesus have prioritized Israel and her future, through covenants, scripture, patriarchs and promises, to the extent that the apostle Paul, author of Romans, so desired their redemption, that he wrote, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh (Ro. 9:3).”
Today’s MCT (My Captive Thought) blog is a guest post, from a thoughtful young Christian man, Jesse Dieterle, whose biblical and evangelical family have visited and blessed our church and have found Jesus to be the Messiah that came and is a coming again savior who fulfills the prophetic promises of the Christ. His own testimony and argument for Jewish evangelism speaks volumes, as Jesse writes….
On December 6th of last year, President Trump moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The President was fulﬁlling a Biblical, historical, and constitutional mandate (in doing so). The Senate, six months before had called upon Trump to fulﬁll the congressional, Jerusalem Embassy Act, by a 90-0 vote. This act has been waiting, since 1995 to be executed by an executive power.
Now, with this recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the lawfulness of the Six Day War (June, 1967), Christians should thoroughly wonder about their responsibility to the Jew.
Israel is a nation in the eyes of the world and according to the promises of God, we, as the Church and American citizens, support her national sovereignty. However, in the face of political success, we must not forget about the lowly state of “the Apple of God’s eye” and as Jesus said, “How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Matthew 23:37)” Our duty is not only to feed the body, but the soul of Israel.
Yet, the Church has forgotten her heart for God’s ancient people, because she has forgotten why Israel must be evangelized. The original church was composed of Jewish believers and throughout history a remnant, according to Romans 11, have adorned the Church of God. In Romans 1:16, Paul commands the church to preach to the Jew ﬁrst. The Early Church followed this command by starting in, “Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8).”
A humorous little anecdote rightly illustrates Paul’s command in Romans 1:16. The famous missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, at the beginning of each month sent a small percentage of his earnings to his friend, John Wilkinson, a missionary to the Jews around London. On the back of the check, Taylor wrote, “To the Jew ﬁrst.” His friend, sent a check to Taylor’s China Inland Mission and his check stated, “And also to the Gentile!” Why must we start with the Jews?
- The Jews are God’s Chosen People and honor should be repaid where it has been rendered.
We have a Savior and Bible through one people: the Jews. Their prophets and priests prayed daily for our salvation. Isaiah in the 49th chapter speaks of God’s wishes to visit grace upon the Gentiles. The Jews’ ancestors were our greatest heroes: Abraham, Joseph, and David. Romans 11:11, “But through their fall…salvation has come to the Gentiles.” The Church is indebted to the Jewish people and it is their duty to repay them by preaching the Eternal Covenant of Redemption.
- The Jews shall receive God’s judgment ﬁrst.
Romans 2:8-9, “indignation and wrath…of the Jew ﬁrst and also of the Greek.” Much was given unto the Jewish race and their stubbornness and unbelief caused them to forsake their promised Messiah. Yet, now much will be required at the blood of the Jews on the Great Day of Judgement.
The Church out of compassion should show mercy unto the people, who will be judged ﬁrst. A doctor cares for the deathly ill patient ﬁrst and likewise, the Church should provide the Balm of Gilead to the Jewish people ﬁrst.
- To preach to the Jews ﬁrst is God’s command.
We are not at liberty to circumvent God’s wishes to preach to the Jews ﬁrst. Theologians may take eternity to prove that God has forsaken his people, but the Lord’s heart is still upon that “stiff-necked people.”
“The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you because ye were more in number than any people, for ye were the fewest of all people, but because the Lord loved you” Deut. 7:7 (KJV).
The Church should obey God’s command and love those He adores. He describes himself as the mother of Israel, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely, they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. (Isa. 49:15)”
- There is a blessing to be gained for the Church in preaching to Israel.
“And in you (Israel) all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3).
God, in Romans 11, stated that the casting off of Israel provided Salvation to the Gentile nations, but Paul then rhetorically asks what then will be her restoration to the world? It shall be as life from the dead.
The salvation of all of Israel will cause a revival in the Church and world. If their persecution in the last two thousand years has been the growth of the Church, her salvation will cause even further growth. Zechariah 8:12 says yet more explicitly, “It shall come to pass, that as you were a curse among the heathen…so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing.”
The historical examples of preaching to the Jews is extensive, but we shall focus on Scotland’s love for Israel. Scotland was converted to Protestant Christianity in the 1550’s by John Knox. The nation’s next generation of theologians, the Puritans, focused on the importance of Israel in God’s Redemptive plan. It was commonplace in England and Scotland in the 1640’s to hold a deep compassion for the Jews.
It was Oliver Cromwell, the leader of the British people and a staunch puritanical Christian, who allowed the Jews to come back to the Island after 400 years. In 17th century British churches, prayers for the salvation of Israel occurred every week in the church service.
In the 1740’s, after the revival known as The Great Awakening, prayer services continued for decades for the salvation of the Jews and ﬁnally in the mid-19th century, their prayers were answered. In 1839, the Church of Scotland decided to send out four preachers to survey the situation of the Jews in Europe and the Middle East. One of the four was Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a 26 year-old pastor.
He always desired to be a missionary and on this nine-month journey on camelback, through deserts or through disease infested Europe, M’Cheyne and the other men shared the Gospel to the Jews and took notes on where a mission to speciﬁcally Jewish people was to be centered.
On returning from the journey, M’Cheyne visited his home church, in Dundee, and surprisingly found revival throughout his congregation, which he believed was a blessing from preaching to the Jews. This historical example is just one of many, where the church has been blessed by Jewish evangelism. It is now upon the American church, who are evangelical and prosperous, to become evangelistic towards the Jews.
America, founded by men, who loved Israel like Washington, Adams, and the Puritans, and whose government is based upon the Hebrew Republic, has a duty to unsaved Israel. The prosperity of physical Israel is not enough, we must preach to the Jew ﬁrst.
Israel’s embassy may be moved, but is her heart renewed? Do you have the heart of Cotton Mather (American Puritan)? He wrote in 1690: This day, from the dust, where I lay prostrate, before the Lord, I lifted up my cries: For the conversion of the Jewish Nation, and for my own having the happiness, at some time or other, to baptize a Jew, that should by my ministry, bee [sic] brought home unto the Lord.
The hope of these Puritans is exempliﬁed in the Scottish Puritan, Samuel Rutherford’s desire, “O sweet Jesus let me see that sight which will be as life from the dead, thee and thy ancient people in mutual embraces.”
As servants of the Lord, living in South Florida, the third most populated area of Jews in the world, our hearts should go out to the lost sheep of Israel to pray and preach incessantly for their return to the fold of the Good Shepherd, their Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Jesse Dieterle is a resident of South Florida. He is a home-educated High School student, who has published a book on the martyrdom of the Apostles, Dying for the Truth. Jesse is also involved in teaching biblically-based classes and is a mathematics tutor.