A Call for Jewish Believers to Discover Their True Identity
Author: Grant Berry and Leslie Crincoli/Reconnecting Ministries
Each month, Grant Berry and Bob Wolff join Dai Sup Han on Prayer Surge Now, a national prayer conference call for the Watchmen of the Lord.
Their focus in this prayer hour is on unifying the ekklesia/church in The One New Man (TONM) between Jews and Gentiles to help fulfill Yeshua/Jesus' prayer of John 17, understanding the greater depths of prayer for the peace of Jerusalem and the salvation of Israel and the nations. Click here for call-in information: reconnectingministries.org/psn/
Grant Berry initiated the prayer call with this topic: Jewish believers in the church discovering the fullness of their identities. He and his wife, Hali, and Susan Torregrossa, a prayer leader for Reconnecting Ministries, related their personal testimonies and experiences of coming to faith in Yeshua/Jesus and their subsequent understanding of their unique roles and calls as Jewish believers.
The call for Jewish believers to rediscover their identities is not religious per se but rather spiritual. As Israel awakens, there is a place in the New Covenant for Jewish believers to live as Jews from within the context of TONM, for Jews to be Jews and Gentiles to be Gentiles. Grant often jokes in His teachings that God loves pizza and Chinese food, and He also loves matzah ball soup. God made the Jews and He made the nations, a picture in the expression of the One New Man that illustrates our uniqueness and callings (see Ephesians 2:14-22). It is similar to the first century when the two groups were learning to live together in this beautiful One New Man that Yeshua/Jesus created at the cross and the Resurrection.
As God now shifts His focus into the fullness of the Gentiles and Israel's salvation (see Romans 11:25), the church must recognize the hour is at hand for Jewish people to believe in Yeshua and return to the natural branches of the olive tree (see Romans 11:24). God's children from the nations should not only grasp this regeneration but also bless and fully support it. Furthermore, we must also come to understand that Israel's salvation is a pathway to the Lord's return. The church is also beginning to discover that it has a major role to play in this awakening.
Jewish believers also have a responsibility to shine the light of Yeshua back to their people, clearly demonstrating that they remain Jewish when they come to faith in Him, which ultimately is the only true path of Judaism.
Within this context, a few themes resonated from the testimonies that illustrate some of the issues surrounding Jewish believers reclaiming their identities. These are items we need to commit to prayer.
Jewish Believers in the Church
The church is only now becoming aware that Jewish congregants should be encouraged to reconnect to their Jewish roots and heritage, especially by the pastorate and leadership. Up to this point, it has greatly misunderstood this connection.
Over the past 1,700 years, the church has been taught that differences no longer exist in the faith between Jew and Gentile. The church cultivated a belief that it had fully replaced Israel as God's chosen people. Many Gentiles believe that when Jews come to faith in Yeshua/Jesus, they should fold into the Gentile church and assimilate, following Gentile traditions rather than those the Lord established for them. In other words, "You can't do that Jewish stuff anymore."
Often, these Jewish believers sever all their Jewish traditions and heritage, and instead embrace Christian ones. As a result, many Jewish believers have become disconnected from their roots and lost their identities that was ordained by God. This obviously needs to change!
Jewish Believers in the Messianic Movement
Many Jewish believers in the Messianic movement want nothing or little to do with the church. Messianic believers have felt rejected for wanting to connect to their Jewish roots and heritage. But they have also felt rejected by unsaved Jews who denounce Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah, telling them, "You are no longer Jewish!"
This pushback has caused some Messianic believers to become isolated, sometimes holding too tightly to their identities in Jewish expression and practice, which leads to legalism. And some have become critical and judgmental toward the church. Just as God's children from the nations are instructed to love Jewish believers, Jewish believers are called to love their Gentile-believing family. This works both ways, and we need to pray for the family of God to be made whole and to fulfill Yeshua/Jesus' prayer of John 17.
Sharing the Gospel
Through the Holy Spirit's leading, Jewish believers can experience freedom to express their giftings and destinies that are different from the Gentile side of the family. They can identify with their people through a shared heritage, thus enabling them to share the gospel more effectively and helping to win Israel back to faith.
We Are One
Though Jewish believers may possess unique callings and giftings different from their Gentile family, God intends both sides to live as one in TONM. It is through the Father's heart of love that Jewish and Gentile believers will be transformed into unity, into one beautiful olive tree. Jewish and Gentile identities are upheld and equal as they are co-heirs in Messiah/Christ. This love equation will release dunamis (power, might, strength, ability) to open Jewish and Gentile hearts for God's kingdom purposes on the earth and His end-time plans to be accomplished.
You can listen to the recording here.