Witnessing to Jewish Friends

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[See also Words to Avoid]
Rabbi Greg Hershberg teaches on “Reaching Out to the Jewish People”
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six

Show your Jewish friends that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah by using the Tenakh (“Old Testament”), not the Apostolic Writings (“New Testament”). It is best not to refer to the Hebrew Scriptures as the “Old Testament,” as that term suggests “dated” or “no longer with purpose.” The “Old Testament” should be called the Tenakh, the Jewish Bible, or the Hebrew Bible. (It consists of the Torah or five Books of Moses, the Nevi’m or Prophets, and the Kethuvim or Writings). If the New Testament is used, it should be referred to as the Apostolic Writings or B’rit Chadashah (say b-rit hah-da-SHAH), which means “New or Renewed Covenant.”

Use prophetic scriptures from the Tenakh that point to the specifics of Yeshua’s life and death. Use verses from the Hebrew Bible in discussing topics like: Sin (Psalm 14:2-3, 51:5; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiah 59:1-2:), Atonement (Leviticus 17:11; Isaiah 53:5-6), Messiah (Isaiah 53; Daniel 9:16; Micah 5:1 [which is verse 2 in the Christian Bible]), and Faith (Genesis 15:6; Numbers 21:7-9; Joel 2:32).

For some, an explanation that all Gentiles do not consider themselves Christian may be necessary. Many Jews see all Gentiles and Christians as one and the same — anybody who is not a Jew or a Muslim is a “Christian.” They may also identify all Gentiles as persecutors of the Jewish faith. Humility, prayer, and genuine compassion must characterize your witness. Far too often Jewish impressions of Christianity have been characterized by arrogance, superiority, and a disregard for Jewish culture. Rabbi Sha’ul (Paul) warns us against this kind of Gentile pride in Romans 11:13-32.

Use terminology that emphasizes the Jewishness of true Biblical faith. For example, don’t refer to Jesus as “Jesus Christ.” For many that will mean that “Christ” is Jesus’s last name. Many Jews believe that “Jesus Christ” is the name of the “Christian God“ or the “Gentile God” in Whose name Jews have been horribly persecuted for the past 2,000 years. His name is Yeshua, which means “God is Salvation” or “God’s Salvation,” and His title is Mashiach (ma-SHEE-ahk), or Messiah, which means “Anointed One.” Instead of saying “Jesus Christ” you should say “Yeshua HaMashiach” (“ha” is the Hebrew word for “the”). [Click HERE for more information]

Emphasize the absolute Jewishness of true Biblical faith. Remember that the Bible is a totally Jewish book, written by Jews about Jews, describing Jewish lives in a Jewish land. It is the written record of God’s de dealings with the Jewish people, actually the family of one man — Abraham. It tells how the God of the Universe dealt with Abraham, with his ancestors, with his descendants, and with those who have been adopted by faith into Abraham’s family. It tells how Israel has been entrusted with this sacred record, and how Israel’s true place in the universe is to bring all of creation to a knowledge of the God of Avraham (Abraham), Yitzhak (Isaac), and Ya'acov (Jacob). It tells how God will be faithful to His Covenant and will restore Jerusalem as the political capital of the world under the rule of King Mashiach. Oh, yes, by the way, it also indicates that some Gentiles will also be allowed to participate in that plan—but taken in light of the entire written Word of God, the involvement of Gentiles is extremely minor, almost as an afterthought.

You should emphasize your belief in the absolute oneness of God, as the primary statement of Jewish faith is the Shemah: “Shemah Yisrael, ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad — Hear, O Israel, ADONAI is our God, ADONAI is one.” When you speak of God the Father, Yeshua the Son, and the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit), never identify Them as a “Trinity.” To most Jews this would be considered polytheism and they would stop you at that point. Use the term Tri-unity if you absolutely must, but it is best to completely stay away from this concept at all until they are at least receptive to Yeshua as their Messiah.

Never, never, never use the word “Jehovah” — this is a false translation of God’s sacred Name, and the word is absolutely impossible to say in the Hebrew language. You will simply be considered a fool and all future doors of opportunity will almost certainly be closed to you. In fact, never pronounce the Name of God at all, as most Jewish people will consider it blasphemy. It is best to refer to him as either God or HaShem (The Name).

Know and recognize the Jewish calendar and holidays. A Jewish friend will appreciate that you know enough to respect their observances. For example, 2001 is the year 5761 on the Jewish calendar. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is September 18 this year (2001) and will mark the beginning of the year 5762. And Yom Kippur, which is the holiest of the High Holy Days for Jews, is the Day of Atonement.

(Adapted from http://www.onmission.com/Archives/may_june99/tipsfor.htm)


The best possible thing by far, though, that you can do to effectively witness to the Jewish people is to live a Biblical lifestyle, walking Torah and observing God’s Appointed Times. In the Torah God has decreed seven “appointed times” for His people to appear before Him in corporate holy assembly: Shabbat, Pesach, Matzah, Firstfruits, Shavuot, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. He said that these are to be His “designated times of ADONAI that you are to proclaim as holy convocations” and that they are to be observed by all His people as “a permanent regulation, generation after generation” (a Hebrew idiom meaning “forever”).  If you are a non-Jewish Believer in Israel’s Messiah, you have been grafted in to the Commonwealth of Israel for the express purpose of provoking Israel to jealousy. (Romans 11:11-14)

Revised on Monday, 11 January 2016 at 06:21 AM

Page last updated on Wednesday, 03 August 2016 11:18 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes after May 3, 2015 are identified as "Revisions”)