In Bible/Theology, Blogs by Ty Perry6 Comments

H e sat across from me, his steel blue eyes examining my own. Those eyes had seen many things during their 80+ years—the forced expulsion from home, death marches, ghettos. They were witness to the Holocaust, one of the most horrific events of the 20th century, an experience that shaped his life. And here they were, looking into my own eyes, searching.

“You know,” he began in his thick Hungarian accent, “you are the first Christian I have ever met who loved Israel and the Jews. I thought Christians hated us.”

I was stunned. This man, a survivor of the Holocaust, in his nearly nine decades, had never before met a follower of Jesus who loved his people and their nation. How could this be?

As Christians, we sometimes forget, as do many of our Jewish friends, that Christianity is not a Gentile religion. On the contrary, the Bible is a Jewish book, with Jewish themes, penned by Jewish men, all pointing to the Jewish Messiah, Jesus.

Unfortunately, the words of my elderly friend are not unique, nor are they entirely misinformed. Down through the ages, the Jewish people have been persecuted, maligned, and killed in the name of “That Man,” the title many substitute for the name they dare not utter—Jesus Christ.

How is it that the church became associated with Jew-hatred? Besides the fact that all human beings have wicked hearts capable of such prejudice, I believe history proves the root of much of this animosity within the church stems from the theological scourge known as Replacement Theology, a system of thought that, in its various forms, pushes Israel from its rightful “seat” in God’s plan.

As Christians, we sometimes forget, as do many of our Jewish friends, that Christianity is not a Gentile religion. On the contrary, the Bible is a Jewish book, with Jewish themes, penned by Jewish men, all pointing to the Jewish Messiah, Jesus.

It was through the Jewish prophets that God made some very specific promises to the nation of Israel, among them a land, a nation, and the promise of both receiving blessing and being God’s conduit through which He would bless the world (Genesis 12:1–3). He also promised that the kingdom of David would be established forever (2 Samuel 7:16), a Kingdom that would be ruled by the Messiah (Isaiah 9:6–7).

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Because the early church was predominantly Jewish in its membership, its expectation was that God would literally fulfill these promises to Israel. They believed that the land of Israel was the Jewish homeland promised to Abraham and his descendants forever. They would have understood that the days would come when, although God had scattered Israel throughout the nations for their disobedience, He would restore the Jewish people to the land He gave to them one day. They also were yearning for the day when the Messiah would return to Earth to set up His promised Kingdom (Acts 1:6).

Additionally, the missions program of the early church was to take the gospel to the Jew first and then to the Gentile nations, as Jesus commanded (Acts 1:8) and as Paul later reaffirmed (Romans 1:16). As the gospel went out, however, the makeup of the church changed due to the astounding number of Gentiles coming to faith in the Messiah. The church became a beautiful, ethnically diverse body of people from all over the world. But this change in makeup eventually led to a tragic transformation in the way people viewed both the Scriptures and the “People of the Book,” now a minority in the church—a transformation that would affect both the church and the Jewish people for centuries to come.

As I looked back into the eyes of my elderly friend, I could not help seeing him as a link to an ancient story, a Jewish story. It was this man’s ancestors with whom God identified Himself. It was to them that He committed the Scriptures. It was to them that He promised the Messiah and His Kingdom. It was to them that He gave the gospel first. May the church throughout the world never forget either Jacob or the chair God has given him in His plan for history.

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Ty Perry

Ty is the Assistant to the North American Director for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. He assists with strategic planning, organization, and growth of the North American Ministries department. He also ministers to the Jewish community by building relationships through volunteer work with various pro-Israel/Jewish organizations, a Bible study with rabbis, and care for Holocaust survivors. Ty also speaks in churches and at Christian colleges about Israel and the Jewish people. Ty resides in the Metro-Detroit area with his wife, Lissy, and their two children. You can support Ty's ministry online here.

Comments 6

  1. How is it that the church became associated with Jew-hatred?

    Came from the Roman church very early on.
    Marched around as Jews were being burned alive singing Jesus we adore Thee.
    It was the Roman church that gave Hitler the idea of extermination.
    Martin Bormann’s son was a Roman priest and through the Roman church provided
    escape documents for Hitler’s henchmen.

  2. Dear Ty Perry,
    I was glad to read Your article STEALING JACOB’S CHAIR: PART ONE. I leave and work as a reformed pastor in Hungary for 25 years. I know from inside the thinking and view of the church members about the „People of the Book”. The Jewish Christians are in minority in the Church, and they are indoctrinate to think they need to forget their Jewish roots and origin, because in Christ we are all one and equal. Yes, we are equal, but not the same. There is also present a Replacement Theology as You have mentioned. Another problem is that in most of the so called traditional, historical Churches there are nominal, not born again christians, who don’t undersatand the Bible. A few of us, who love the „Apple of God’s eye” the Chosen Nation, need to teach, and teach about the Biblical role of Israel. That God has His plan with His Nation, that His Covenent is everlasting with Israel, etc.
    May the Lord Jesus, The Messiah bless Your work and life. I send my greetings to the Stuff of the FOI,
    rev.Tibor Vajs ref. pastor
    P.S. I write articles on the theme of Israel, but in hungarian language.

  3. AMEN!!
    Thank you for this blog, I was always taught to love & respect the Jews. I will continue to pray for Israel & the Jewish people.

  4. Thank you for your excellent article – one of the best I have read ! You write beautifully and cogently – so much in a small space ! GOD’S Truth in HIS Love !
    I was raised Gentile, in churches, and received JESUS – with blond hair and blue eyes, like mine – as my SAVIOR and LORD !
    Later – it was the secret in our family, due to persecution – I learned my mother’s father was raised Orthodox ( Jewish ! ) A photo of his father confirms this ! So now CHRIST is also my Jewish MESSIAH !
    And through F.O.I., I get to have the joy of obeying ( I Cor. 16:1-3 ) !

  5. It’s so neat to hear the Word of God through Jewish teaching……My heart longs for the Jewish people to come to know their Messiah Jesus of Nazareth……I was recently in Vegas in 2014…. and met a young girl on the strip selling those mystic balancing bracelets with the special stones…..she was so eager to sell me and my friend one, and I knew they were just a gimmick…..but our conversation turned when I ask her where she was from… Israel. I have never met a Jewish girl and it has always been my passion to share the Gospel to a Jew!!! I had an opportunity to share Jesus with her and I was so excited I told her over and over……that I would buy her bracket just because she was Jewish……I often pray for her…….I wish I could tell her about you’re program there in Vegas……who knows in God’s Providence you may meet!!!

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