Although no definitive study has been conducted on how many there are, the numbers are not just rising, but spiking, observers say.
Jews for Jesus, the San Francisco ministry involved in Jewish evangelism since 1973, estimates—based on its mailing list and conference attendance—the number has increased from tens of thousands in the 1970s to between 75,000 and 100,000 today.
Other experts estimate the numbers to be higher. Rabbi Jonathan Bernis, president of Phoenix-based Jewish Voice Ministries International, and Joel Rosenberg, a New York Times best-selling author of fiction and nonfiction books about Bible prophecy and current events, believe the growth to be from several thousand in the late 1960s to 250,000 to 500,000 today as Jews come to Yeshua “in record numbers.”
“I couldn’t be more excited that more Jewish people are coming to faith in Jesus as the Messiah than at any other time since the first century,” Rosenberg says. “I believe this began in 1967 with the reunification of Jerusalem and Judea, and Samaria coming back under control of the Jews in Israel. The 1967 Six-Day War seemed to lift the curtain, as it were, on a spiritual awakening of Jewish people around the world.”
In Israel, it’s believed the number of Jewish believers has grown from fewer than 200 in 1967 to as many as 15,000 today. “In the last 20 years, more Jews have come to Yeshua in Israel than any time since the book of Acts,” says David Davis, senior pastor of Kehilat HaCarmel, where Elias spent a year while composing music.
Rosenberg’s observation about the spiritual awakening after the Six-Day War is what caught my attention. Possibly the most terrible thing about the Holocaust is how many of the survivors lost their faith in the Holy One of Israel, who didn’t, in their eyes, act to save the Jews from destruction as He did in the days of Esther or the Maccabees. The spiritual revival came about in part because in the space of a single generation, we saw Hashem give victory to Israel in not just one, but two wars that she shouldn’t have survived.
At the same time, we have seen an outpouring of love and support from evangelical and pentecostal Christians, who many traditional Jews such as Avi Lipkin acknowledge are not only Israel’s best friends in the world, but her only friends. Out of this love, and out of seeing the Holy One miraculously restore Israel to the Land, Christians became interested not only in the souls of the Jews, but in their lives and roles in this world as well. When I was able to visit Israel a few years ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a prominent teacher, Moshe Kempinski, who marked 1988 (forty years after Israel’s restoration, interestingly) as the exact time in which Christians stopped telling Jews what they believed and what they should believe and started asking instead.
We believe that the increasing number of Messianic Jews who no longer feel that they need to abandon or hide their rich cultural and Scriptural heritage is not just an interesting missionary phenomenon, but is a prophetically-predicted and Spirit-driven event. (See our foundational articles Messiah Son of Joseph and Ben Joseph and His Brothers if you haven’t already.) It is not without its problems. It is not without its controversies. It is certainly not without its enemies and oppositions. There are sporadic persecutions in Israel (though never to the degree known by our brethren elsewhere in the world). There are those who will never accept us as Jews.
But we will nevertheless succeed in the task that the Holy One has set before us: To serve as the bridge between the true Christians and the Jewish people and the bridge between Israel and her King. I believe this with all my heart not because I think that the Messianic movement is all that perfect, but because I believe in the Word of Hashem.
It’s therefore encouraging to see that just as in the Apostles’ day, we can once more say, “You see, brother, how many tens of thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Torah” (Acts 21:20). Baruch Hashem, and amen!
Shalom and Maranatha.
- Hanukkah: Particularly Happy for Messianic Jews (Repost from 2007) (returnofbenjamin.wordpress.com)
- Tunisian Jews flee upheaval for Israel (jta.org)
- Israel Plans 1400 New Homes for Settlers in East Jerusalem – Voice of America (news.google.com)
- Jewish leaders angry over Messianic outpost (nydailynews.com)