“Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior! They will be put to shame and even humiliated, all of them; the manufacturers of idols will go away together in humiliation. Israel has been saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; You will not be put to shame or humiliated to all eternity.” (Isa 45:15-17)
“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery–so that you will not be wise in your own estimation–that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB. THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.’” (Rom 11:25-27)
There is a mystery that exists between Christianity and Judaism. If you were to categorize the two religions it would be fairly simple: Christianity rests its case upon Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah of the ages. Judaism does not. The picture can be much more complicated but this is the bottom line issue.
Another reason that must be taken into consideration is that the new covenant was actually made with Israel as a people group. This is plainly stated in Scripture. And so the redemption of the cross began in Jerusalem, it reaches into all the world, and it will fulfill its end in Jerusalem.
Yes, Israel is going to turn to Jesus.
A Story not Ended
In this very hour there are untold numbers of Jews who are turning to Jesus as the true Messiah of Israel. The hearts of many Jews are tiring of all the misinformation written about Jesus by their sages and otherwise.
For centuries the Jewish people did not even know that Jesus and all the apostles were ‘sabras’. (Native born Israeli.) It had been planted in their thinking that Jesus was some sort of Roman god, or at best an apostate Jew. Jews everywhere are beginning to realize that Jesus Christ is indeed the Savior of all people.
The heart of the Jew is turning.
It is here that I would like to share the testimony of how certain Jewish notables over time have come to view Jesus. Please take your time to read these testimonies:
The testimony of notable Jews, about Jesus…
Joseph Klausner, Jewish author:
“Jesus was a Jew and a Jew he remained till his last breath. His one idea was to implant within his nation the idea of the coming of the Messiah and, by repentance and good works, hasten the ‘end’…. In all this, Jesus is the most Jewish of Jews, more Jewish than Simeon ben Shetah, more Jewish even than Hillel.”
Modern Jewish theologian and rabbi, Pinchas Lapide, notes:
“The love of Jesus and the academic interest in him and his impact were implanted in me by Jewish teachers like Joseph Klausner, for whom Jesus was ‘The most Jewish of all Jews,’ Martin Buber, who perceived him as ‘his great brother,’ and Leo Baeck, the last luminary of the German school of rabbis, who in the year 1938 at the time of the Nazi Kristallnacht managed to write of him: ‘We see before us a man who according to all the signs of his personality discloses the Jewish character, in whom the purity and worth of Judaism is so specially and so clearly revealed.’”
Heinrich Graetz, considered by many to be the greatest of Jewish historians:
“Like Hillel, Jesus looked on the promotion of peace and forgiveness of injuries as the highest forms of virtue. His whole being was permeated by that deeper religion which contributed to the mildness of his face. He has made humanity honour; he has carried the highest wisdom to the homes of the lowly and the ignorant of the world. He has carried it beyond all barriers of schools and temples, and for this, only, he had to die a death of shame.
“The redeemer of the poor, the teacher of the ignorant, the friend of all that faint with toil and are oppressed with cares must die on the cross. Over the supreme tragedy let the angel of sorrow spread his wings. Veil thy face, sun! Be darkened, sky! Let the earth tremble and men mourn in tears! The most angelic of men, the most loving of teachers, the meek and humble prophet is to die by the death of the cross.
“He felt within himself the call to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel…. He, by word and example, raised the sinner and the publican, and filled the hearts of those poor, neglected, thoughtless beings with the love of God, transforming them into dutiful children of their Heavenly Father. He animated them with his own piety and fervor, and improved their conduct by the hope he gave them of being able to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Moritz Lazarus, philosopher:
“I am of the opinion that we should endeavor with all possible zeal to obtain an exact understanding of the great personality of Jesus and to reclaim him for Judaism.”
Christ was the mouthpiece of God…
Baruch Spinoza, the great Jewish philosopher:
“Christ was not so much a prophet as the mouthpiece of God. Christ was sent to teach not only Jews, but the whole human race; and therefore it was not enough that his mind should be accommodated to the opinions of the Jews alone, but also to the opinion and fundamental teaching common to the whole human race; in other words, to ideas universal and truth.”
Max Nordau, author and Zionist leader:
“Jesus is the soul of our soul as he is the flesh of our flesh. Who then could think of excluding him from the people of Israel? St. Peter will remain the only Jew who said of the Son of David: ‘I know not the man.’ If the Jews up to the present have not rendered homage to the sublime beauty of the figure of Jesus, it is because their tormentors have always persecuted, tortured and assassinated in his name.”
Dr. Claude Montefiore, president of the Jewish Religious Union:
“I cannot conceive that a time will come when the figure of Jesus will no longer be a star of the first magnitude in the spiritual heavens, when he will no longer be regarded as one of the greatest religious heroes and teachers the world has seen….
“The religion of the future will be, as I believe, a developed and purified Judaism, but from that developed and purified Judaism the records will tell, however imperfectly, of perhaps its greatest teacher. Certainly its most potent and influential teacher will not be excluded.
“We Jews do not mind saying that the greatest influence upon European and American history and civilization has been the Bible. But we too often forget that the Bible which has had this influence is not merely the Old Testament. It is the Old Testament and the New Testament combined.
“And of the two, it is the New Testament which has undoubtedly had the greater influence and has been of the greater importance. Jesus is the most important Jew that has ever lived, to whom the sinner and the outcast age after age have owed a great debt of gratitude.”
Hans Joachim Schoeps, Jewish theologian:
“The church of Jesus Christ has preserved no portrait of its lord and saviour. If Jesus were to come again tomorrow, no Christian would know his face. But it might well be that he who is coming at the end of days, he who is awaited by the synagogue as by the church, is one, with one and the same face.”
Let us Jews be thankful there was a Jesus…
Rabbi Emmanuel Weill:
“Let us then as Jews be thankful there was a Jesus and a Paul. I do not know the secret of God, but I believe that Jesus and Christianity were providential means, useful to the Deity in guiding all men gradually and by an effort, keeping pace with the mental state of the majority of men, from paganism up to the pure and true idea of the divinity.”
Rabbi J.L. Levy:
“I have little but contempt for those who cannot see in Jesus of Nazareth something to admire. I have little respect for those who cannot find in the Nazarene something good and worthy of our deep esteem. I personally regard him as one of the greatest spiritual teachers the world has ever known. I look upon him as one of the noblest spiritual teachers the human family has ever had the privilege of observing. We have great faith in the noble character of his life, in the beauty of his teaching that may safely be attributed to him. We have great admiration for the pure life offered for the good of humanity.”
Rabbi H.G. Enelow, D.D., reform rabbi, writer and scholar:
“Among the great and the good that the human race has produced, none has ever approached Jesus in universality of appeal and sway. He has become the most fascinating figure in history. In him is combined what is best and most mysterious and most enchanting in Israel — the eternal people whose child he was. The Jew cannot help glorying in what he has meant to the world, nor can he help hoping that Jesus may yet serve as a bond of union between Jew and Christian.
“What does the modern Jew think of Jesus? A Prophet? Yes, crowning a great tradition, and who can compute all that Jesus has meant to humanity? The love he has inspired, the solace he has given, the good he has engendered, the hope and joy he has kindled — all that is unequaled in human history.”
Rabbi David Phillipson, Ph.D., reform Jewish leader:
“There is no backwardness nor hesitancy on the part of modern Jewish thought in acknowledging the greatness of the teacher of Nazareth, the sweetness of his character, the power of his genius.”
He was a gift of love…
Rabbi Gross of Brooklyn’s Union Temple:
“I, a rabbi of Israel, think we should accept Jesus. I think we should teach Jesus to children much as we teach them about Abraham, Moses and Jeremiah, and the rest of the great teachers and prophets. Jesus, as we all know, was a Jew. He was a gift of love.”
Rabbi Rudolph Grossman, D.D.:
“We Jews honor the Nazarene as our brother in faith, sprung from our loins, nurtured at Israel’s knee, a teacher of sweet and beautiful ideals, a preacher whose influence has been and still is among the mightiest spiritualizing factors in the world.”
Rabbi Gustav Gottheil, Ph.D., one of the founders of the Federation of American Zionists:
“The keynote of prophetic religion of the Jewish prophets was holiness of life and purity of heart…. To place the Master of Nazareth by their side can surely be no dishonor to him, nor can it dim the luster of his name. If he has added to their spiritual bequests new jewels of religious truth, and spoken words which are words of life, because they touch the deepest springs of the human heart, why should we Jews not glorify in him?”
Rabbi Maurice H. Harris:
“Unlike the Messiahs before him — all mediocre men — his name (Jesus) has been treasured ever since as one of the great religious teachers of the world…. Let us not lose our Almighty Father in pantheistic vagueness, merging Him in nature; let us view Him as our Living redeemer, our Saviour, for we often need to be saved –sometimes from the world, sometimes from ourselves.”
Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Ph.D., founder of the American Jewish Congress and the Federation of American Zionists:
“Even if Jesus had not been born unto Israel, even if he had borne no relation to the people of Israel, it becomes of importance for Israel to determine for itself what shall be its relation to the man who has touched the world nearly two thousand years as has no other single figure in history….It is no mean joy and ignoble pride in us of the House of Israel to recognize, to honor and to cherish among our brothers — Jesus the Jew.”
Had it not been for Jesus, the Jews would be little known…
Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of England:
“The pupil of Moses may ask himself whether all the princes of the House of David have done so much for the Jews as that Prince who was crucified…. Had it not been for him, the Jews would have been comparatively unknown or known only as a high Oriental Caste which had lost its country. Has not he made their history the most famous history in the world?”
Rabbi Kaufmann Kohler, President of Hebrew Union College:
“No ethical system or religious catechism, however broad and pure, could equal the efficiency of this great personality, standing, unlike any other, midway between heaven and earth, equally near to God and to man….
“Jesus, the helper of the poor, the friend of the sinner, the brother of every fellow-sufferer, the comforter of every sorrow-laden, the healer of the sick, the up-lifter of the fallen, the lover of man, the redeemer of woman, won the heart of mankind by storm. Jesus, the meekest of men, the most despised of the despised race of the Jews, mounted the world’s throne to be the earth’s Great King.”
Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof, reform rabbi, scholar and author:
“Scores of men have believed themselves to be the Messiah and have convinced many of their contemporaries, but those who believed Jesus to be the Messiah have built a great church upon
the rock of their belief. He is still the living comrade of countless lives. No Moslem ever sings, ‘Mohammed, lover of my soul’, nor does any Jew say of Moses, the Teacher, ‘I need thee every hour.'”
Ellis Rivkin, professor of Jewish history at Hebrew Union College:
“Of these Messianic claimants, only one, Jesus of Nazareth, so impressed his disciples that he became their Messiah. And he did so after the very crucifixion which should have refuted his claims decisively. But it was not Jesus’ life which proved beyond question that he was the Messiah, the Christ. It was his resurrection.”
Pinchas E. Lapide, senior lecturer at Bar-Ilan University:
“I have the suspicion that Jesus was more loyal to the Torah than I am as an Orthodox Jew.”
David Flusser, professor of religious history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem:
“I do not think that many Jews would object if the Messiah — when he came — was the Jew Jesus.”
Dr. Chaim Zhitlowsky, Jewish scholar and author:
“Every Jew should be proud of the fact that Jesus is our brother, flesh of our flesh and blood of our blood. We desire to put him back where he belongs.”
Is it only the Jew who is unable to see and hear? …
Constantine Brunner, Jewish philosopher:
“What is this? Is it only the Jew who is unable to see and hear? Are the Jews stricken with blindness and deafness as regards Christ, so that to them only he has nothing to say? Is he to be of no importance to us Jews? Understand then what we shall do. We shall bring him back to us.
“Christ is not dead for us — for us he has not yet lived; and he will not slay us, he will make us live again. His profound and holy words, and all that is true and heart-appealing in the New Testament, must from now on be heard in our synagogues and taught to our children, in order that the wrong we had committed may be made good, the curse turned into a blessing, and that he at last may find us who has always been seeking after us.”
Israel Zangwill, Jewish author:
“We shall never get the future straight until we disentangle the past. To disentangle the past means to re-examine the trial of Jesus — myths woven purposely by our leaders around the greatest and most notable personality in history, only that we may not see and recognize the real Jesus.
“To us, my brethren, in this our day, is given the privilege to reclaim the Christ we have lost for so many centuries. Has not the crucified Christ more than fulfilled the highest and noblest of our greatest prophets? Is not he the incarnation of the essence of what the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets taught?”
When Jews become Christians…
Max Brod, Jewish author:
“I am constantly amazed at the naiveté of our teachers and leaders who are surprised when I tell them that the best of our youth, our intellectuals, become Christians out of conviction…. Our ‘leaders’ do not believe it. To them, a Jew never becomes a Christian unless he wants to better his position.
“That Christianity has drawn to itself such noble souls as Pascal, Novalis, Kirkegaard, Amiel, Dostoyevsky, Claudel, etc., etc., and that it exercises a most overwhelming influence on the most earnest truth-seekers among us, of that our teachers know nothing.”
Gustav Lazlo, Jewish author:
“The movement for the recognition of Christ by the Jews is not a fantasy arising from (my) brain. In the hearts and minds of many men, ordinary men like myself, traders, men of affairs, the fact that Christ is the only leader who can take us anywhere worth going to is coming to new recognition.”
Ernest R. Trattner, Jewish author:
“No Jewish prophet before Jesus ever searched out the miserable, the sick, the weak, and the down-trodden in order to pour forth love and compassionate service. He went out of his way to redeem the lowly by a touch of human sympathy that is altogether unique in Jewish history.”
Sholem Asch, Jewish novelist:
“Jesus Christ, to me, is the outstanding personality of all time, of all history, both as Son of God and as Son of Man. Everything he ever said or did has value for us today, and that is something you can say of no other man, alive or dead….
“Every act and word of Jesus has value for all of us, wherever we are. He became the Light of the World. Why shouldn’t I, a Jew, be proud of that? No other religious leader, either, has ever become so personal a part of people as the Nazarene. When you understand Jesus, you understand that he came to save you, to come into your personality. It isn’t just a case of a misty, uncertain relationship between a worshiper and an unseen God. That is abstract; Jesus is personal.”
Jesus of Nazareth, the Jew of Jews…
Isidore Singer, Ph.D., managing editor of The Jewish Encyclopedia:
“I regard Jesus of Nazareth as a Jew of Jews, one whom all Jewish people are learning to love. His teachings have been an immense service to the world in bringing Israel’s God to the knowledge of hundreds of millions of mankind…. We are all glad to claim Jesus as one of our people.”
Harris Weinstock, labor leader:
“Without Jesus and without Paul, the God of Israel would still have been the God of a handful, the God of a petty, obscure and insignificant tribe. Let the Jew, despite the centuries of persecution and suffering,
“…be thankful that there was a Jesus and a Paul. Let him more fully appreciate that through the wonderful influence of these heroic characters the mission of the Jew is being fulfilled, and his teachings are being spread to the remotest nooks and corners of the world by Christianity.”
An interview with Albert Einstein…
Saturday Evening Post, in 1929:
“To what extent are you influenced by Christianity?”
“As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.”
“Have you read Emil Ludwig’s book on Jesus?”
“Emil Ludwig’s Jesus is shallow. Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrasemongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot.”
“You accept the historical Jesus?”
“Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”
……. End of quotes ……
Here is a web site with a vast list of notable Jews who turned to Jesus as Messiah and Savior of Israel. Included are testimonies of former Chief Rabbis, of Jewish Nobel Prize winners, Prime Ministers, professors and many more.
There it is. I’ve only scratched the surface. According to one Jewish writer, more Jews have turned to Jesus in the last nineteen years than in the last nineteen hundred hears. Something to think about.
And it has just begun. Paul said that at the proper point in God’s plan of redemption all of Israel will turn to Jesus. Isn’t it interesting that the Bible is the only book on earth that tells history before it happens!
Think on these things. Here is a song for your meditation. ‘Shalom Jerusalem’ by Paul Wilbur.
Much love coming your way,