In the early seventies, I was in Hollywood pursuing a career in the movie business as a SAG union actor. I had received Christ just six years before and was attending Beverly Hills Baptist Church.
Although I had learned about the Jewish faith, Moses and the Ten Commandments and such, over time I also learned that the twelve apostles were also of the Jewish faith and that Dr. Luke may have been the only Gentile of the group of mostly earthy but Godly men. Of course, the main subject (Jesus) of the New Testament was also a Jew – humanly speaking.
Beverly Hills Baptist Church was rather small and intimate but somehow managed to attract guest speakers, probably because of the name.
In any case, that is where I first met and heard of Jewish converts to Christianity. It was the first time I ever met any Jews for Jesus, one of them being Lois Lapides. He and another young man were heading up a group of believers in Yeshua ha Mashiach (Jesus Christ). Since I was the most vocal and evangelical person in the church, we spent the day together along with another young man from the congregation, who I now suspect was a Jew.
This was the eye-opening experience that led me to set up a mission station in a Dunkin Donut shop in Miami sometime later. At the time, this was a place where many retirees came to socialize throughout the day and night. Many of the regulars were Jews who live in the adjoining apartments and condos.
Being one who was never shy about my faith, I had decided to make friends and share the gospel with anyone who would listen. During my years of stopping by there daily, I did make many friends. It got to the point that some would refer to me as pastor. No one seemed threatened by me, and I always tried to have an answer to their deepest questions.
It got to the point where my Jewish friends were inviting me to their homes or maybe going to the movies together. Many of them had been professional people at one time, and I learned a lot from them. All were non-threatening, and most were pleasant. There was one exception though, and this man had been a lawyer and councilman. He was a type A personality just as I am, and he always stood his ground. I handled him with kid gloves, and we got along fine after a while.
Ugene finally opened to what I had to say, and we talked about aviation and law as well as spiritual matters. This went on for a number of years, and I thought I hadn’t made any headway with this hardheaded soul. A few years later, after I had moved away, I went to visit an old friend of mine; and he told me that Ugene had become a Messianic Jew and that he had recently died. Knowing that he was going to die, he had my friend Richard sneak some matzo crackers and Mogen David wine into his private hospital room so that he could take communion before he died.
Today, The Jews for Jesus movement has expanded and branched out into what we now know as Messianic churches across the country and the world. According to some sources, many Millennial Jews are finally accepting the fact that Jesus was and is the Messiah and are even celebrating Christmas and Easter.
My contention is that this is happening in fulfillment of prophecy, and that those Jews who are as yet undecided are going to recognize and receive Christ during the tribulation period, hence the 144,000 evangelists who will turn many to Christ during those hellish times; and many will pay with their lives.
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible to convince Jews of Jesus Christ being our Savior is Isaiah chapter 53 in its entirety. Anyone reading this prophecy will conclude that Jesus was indeed the Christ – the long-awaited Messiah. Another verse is from the book of John in the New Testament where the Apostle John says,
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God….He came unto HIS OWN (the Jews) and His own received Him not, but as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God….” John nailed it in the very first chapter.
The “People of the Book – Jews” are a special people in the eyes of God; as a matter of fact, they are referred to as the Apple of God’s eye in the Bible. Thus, the Bible says, anyone cursing them (Jews) will be cursed by God, and anyone blessing them will be blessed of God.
We followers of Christ must realize that they are just as much in need of a Savior as the rest of us (Gentiles), since they too are capable of grievous sins. You might even say that they are a microcosm of humankind, the best of the best and worst of the worse. Nevertheless, they are God’s chosen people and we should recognize them as such, since it was through them that we are introduced to the one and only God – Jehovah, the Ten Commandments, the oracles of God and prophetic scripture.
NOTE: Mike Pence heads up a delegation of prominent U.S. Christians to meet with prominent Jewish leaders in the coming days – in Israel – the two most persecuted religions in the world.
“The Darkest Hour” was historically correct and could have been better lit (I can understand the nuance of having the movie dark at times, but it was a little overdone). At times the English brogue was hard to understand, but Gary Oldman’s performance was outstanding. Being a war movie, however, there was not enough action for me. I’m sure there was a lot going on at the time.
Clint Eastwood is a multi-talented artist (second only to Mel Gibson), so he should have known better than to let the true-life heroes of his latest film “15:17 To Paris” cajole him into letting themselves star in this film. There was no emoting (showing of emotion such as fear, hope, desire, etc.). The same can be said for the children in the film. Furthermore, much of it was like a travelogue. It could be that Clint was challenging himself in the belief that he could pull a performance out of these untalented real-life heroes. Mel Gibson can do it, but it is a very hard – if not impossible thing for others to do.