In Genesis 12:3, God promised Abraham that through his descendants the families of the world would be blessed. God chose the Children of Israel for just such a purpose. Many centuries later, God revealed to the prophet Isaiah that the promise made to Abraham would be fulfilled in the person of one particular descendant, the Messiah of Israel, saying, “I, the Lord, have called you [referring to the Messiah] in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a [new] covenant with the [Jewish] people, [and] for a light to the Goyim; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and those who sit in darkness out of the prison-house.” (Isaiah 42:6-7)
Two thousand years after the promise of blessing was made by God to Abraham, Jesus, the descendant who would bring the promised blessing of deliverance to the world through his sacrificial death (Isaiah 53:8) and resurrection to life, thus confirming the New Covenant foretold in the Tanakh (Jeremiah 31:31-14), gave the Great Commission to his followers, who at that time were entirely Jewish, commanding them to take the message of salvation provided by the New Covenant to all people, saying to his twelve disciples, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (as recorded in the Book of Acts 1:8 from the Complete Jewish Bible ).
So, that raises a question. If Jesus specifically commanded that the atonement offered by the New Covenant be shared with all peoples around the world, why does this website focus on Jews? To answer that question, I must tell you a personal story about an event that happened in my youth.
Back then I was in high school. All of us males were required to take a year or two of ROTC, which stood for Reserve Officers Training Corp, a prep program designed to introduce military service to young boys in anticipation of later being drafted. Course content included military history and customs. Cadets wore a surplus WWII uniform once a week and three times a week took part in physical fitness training and drill (marching) instruction, the latter a way to help cadets learn discipline and get a taste of how the military operates as a unit. Most of the time was spent in activity outdoors, but on rainy days we were confined to the basement to watch recent WWII combat films, and that brings me to the point of this reminiscence.
On one particular rainy day, we cadets settled in to watch an hour of what we expected would be a beach storming in the Pacific or a tank battle in North Africa or Italy. To us, movie day was similar to the John Wayne movies we often saw on Saturday afternoons at the local movie house, but without any story or sound. It was also subliminally unsettling because we knew in the back of our teenage minds that people not much older than us had died on those battlefields. As the movie projector started clicking away, the background chatter and horseplay began to subside.
By mistake, the Army film office had shipped our high school not war scenes, but instead had sent raw and unedited documentary footage of the horrific scenes of human degradation and suffering filmed as American troops entered and liberated the Nazi concentration camps all over Germany. It wasn’t long before the room was filled with 15-year-old boys, stunned into silence as tears welled up in their eyes. I was one of them.
That day changed my life. Never again would I be able to look at the world with the proverbial “rose colored glasses” typical of a post-WWII 1950s teenager raised in a loving Christian home, protected from the trials and tribulations of the greater world. Seeing the effects of the Holocaust was a stark reminder of what evil let loose in the hearts of men could do. It was also my introduction to the tortured saga of the Jewish people under the so-called Christian governments of Europe both in modern times and across the ages, a history I had never heard in church or in school.
On a spiritual level, the whole experience left me troubled and confused. As a believing Protestant Christian, I worshipped Jesus, a Jew, as my Lord and Savior, and yet the Holocaust had been carried out while the vast majority of people calling themselves Christians in Europe had stood on the sidelines saying nothing as it happened. How could that be?
Although it took me many years to understand, the answer to that question is simple. There are two types of Christians, those who genuinely believe and try to live by the teachings of Jesus, and those who don’t. The Holocaust came out of the mind of Adolph Hitler, who was not a Christian. Can anyone imagine him worshipping a Jewish man? Nor were those who participated in that crime following the teachings of Jesus, even though they might have claimed to be Christians. On the other hand, a small handful of “The Righteous,” mostly evangelical Christians risking their lives, tried to help their Jewish friends and neighbors avoid the horror of the Nazi regime.
And that brings me to why this website is focused on taking the Good News of the New Covenant atonement to the Jewish people. First of all, Jesus commanded his followers to do so, since Jews qualify as being included in the mission to take the Gospel to all people. Second, as Christians, we believe that the Bible teaches that entering eternity after death without an atonement acceptable to God means being forever separated from the presence of God, a fate worse than anything that man can devise, including the Holocaust.
Under the Law given by God and written down by Moses, Jewish individuals could only achieve atonement through a sacrifice of blood offered by priests on the altar of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem. That blood requirement hasn’t changed. After all, who in Jewish history has had the authority to change through oral tradition one jot or tittle of the Law of God that Moses wrote down at Sinai? See Ex. 24:4 and notice that Moses wrote down ALL of the words from God. Today, without a Temple and a priesthood available to attain atonement through an offering of blood, how can Jews (or anyone else) achieve atonement (at-one-ment with God)?
We believe that Jewish individuals, like all people alive today, are sinners before God and thus need to hear the Good News about the eternal efficacy of the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, shed on the cross to achieve forgiveness of sin and salvation to eternal life for all who have faith in him, fulfilling what the prophets of Israel foretold in the Tanakh. (Hebrews 10:1-18)
Telling every person alive today about how they can avoid an eternity in hell separated from God, and instead telling them how they can live forever in heaven in the presence of God’s never-ending love, is absolutely the most loving thing that we can do for anyone. Telling everyone else about how to avoid the judgement and wrath of God while at the same time excluding Jewish people from hearing what the Tanakh and B’rit Hadashah say about how to have everlasting life wrapped in Almighty God’s wisdom and love would make us even worse than the so-called Christians who silently watched as European Jewry was led to the ovens so many years ago.
On a secular level, I stand with the Jewish people in saying, “Never again!” And, God forbid, should the need once again arise, I shall so stand. On a spiritual level as a follower of the Jewish Messiah, I say, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” … hence, as an expression of love for Jesus and for his Jewish kin today, I offer this website.—Dan Bruce