A man who was ahead of our times was the Polish-born American writer Sholem Asch, of blessed memory. Best known for his Yiddish literature, Asch also enjoyed writing about Jewish nuances of New Testament times, making him a forerunner of the Hebraic roots movement.
Asch gained a wide and loyal readership before and after the Second World War, but he was denounced by Jewish co-religionists for writing historical novels about Jesus, Mary and the Apostle Paul. Those novels gained Asch an international readership. His non-fiction essays and dramas proved that he cherished Judaism, while also seeking to incorporate Christians into his world view.
Asch’s monumental essay, “One Destiny: an Epistle to the Christians,” was published at the close of World War 2, and served as an indictment against Europe’s scandalous anti-Semitism. But it was also a prophetic plea for healing and reconciliation between Christians and Jews. I strongly believe that Asch’s “One Destiny” is truly a prophetic epistle from a Jew to Christians in our generation.
Asch’s remarkable epistle “One Destiny” is more relevant now than when it was penned more than 50 years ago. His ability to see the bigger picture was visionary. I was deeply moved when I first read his epistle describing a new but essential movement of God in these Last Days to prepare for the redemption of Israel. I agree with Asch that Christians and Jews have a common destiny. His desire was to direct both Jews and Christians away from theological debates to focus on our common wellspring.
Asch grasped that we both have a messianic world view; at present we disagree on the Messiah’s identity, but neither Judaism nor real Christianity can exist happily without the hope of the coming Messiah…for Jews it is the hope of his first coming, and for born-again evangelicals, it is our “blessed hope” of his Second Coming. (As several Israelis have told me on more than one occasion within the last decade, “When the Messiah comes, we will ask him, ‘Is this your first or second coming?'” The question is made as a quip, but it is also represents a paradigm shift in Jewish thinking.)
The heart of the message of Sholem Asch’s “One Destiny” is that Jews and Christians must stand together as a united front against forces of evil, the powers of darkness operating behind the scourge of anti-Semitism. Whoever is infected by the disease of anti-Semitism is unable to think clearly and therefore such individuals and nations are ruled by what Asch called “anti-Semitic insanity.”
Asch wrote in “One Destiny:”
I, as a Jew, [speak] …first [of] the miracle of the preservation of Israel; second, the miracle of the spread of the Judaeo-Christian idea in the pagan world. The whole thing to me represents a single, divine event. I see in both phenomena the single will of the God of Israel. Not only because I consider my Christian brothers as the spiritual children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but also because I see in pure Christianity an entirely justified share of faith in the God of Israel–through the Messianic idea–equal to my own Jewish faith. The preservation of Israel and the preservation of the Nazarene are one phenomenon. They depend on each other. The stream must run dry when the spring becomes clogged, and Christianity would become petrified if the Jews, God forbid, should cease to exist. … That is why, as a Jew, as an ‘outsider,’ I claim the right to call you my brothers … to talk with you openly and freely as children who have the same parents, children of Abraham …..
Amen! Jews and Christians are increasingly realizing that we are joined at the hip–or more accurately–we are root and branches. Our eyes are being opened to the fact that the jihadists vow to murder both Jews and Christians as the Peoples of the Book. As the slogan of Islamist militants goes, “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.”
This year our ministry celebrated our 17th Passover conference in Israel to recover the celebration of the Resurrection when it really happened during the festival of Passover and not during the pagan holiday of Easter named after a fertility goddess. It’s a tragedy that the Church in its 2,000 year history began to disassociate itself from our holy heritage, our patriarchs in the faith. Jewish holidays were neglected or reinvented. The days, times and seasons were shifted–the Sabbath was removed from Saturday to Sunday. Our salvation does not depend upon Sabbath-keeping, but the richness of the sap of our Hebraic roots had been tragically forfeited until recent times.
Now believers in Jesus the Messiah, Yeshua is his Hebrew name, are making up for lost time! In the spirit of Zechariah 8:23, we are taking hold of the prayer shawls of the Jewish people, and saying to Israel, to paraphrase that verse, “We will go with you for we KNOW God is with you!” Jesus put it succinctly in John 4: 22, “Salvation is of [proceeds from] the Jews” because they are our root source.
The Apostle Paul taught in Romans 11 that God is not finished with the Jews. Israel is truly an eternal nation. Evil may threaten to destroy Israel, but the blessing God bestowed long ago upon the Jewish nation is supernatural—it is the blessing of preservation. Meanwhile, our readiness for mutual recognition, the growing love and respect that Christians and Jews hold for one other, is working together to bridge the deplorable divide that has separated us for too long.
In his epistle to the Christians, Asch challenged his readers to turn from divisions to the uniting force of faith. Certainly I marvel at the faith of many Orthodox Jews who defy the world in their plans and preparations to build their Third Temple in the face of incredible animosity . I admire the faith of visionary Jews who resist Isalmic hegemony by resettling in their Biblical homeland of Judea and Samaria. Evangelicals can identify with their brand of faith because true Christianity is based not upon works but upon faith. Born-again evangelical believers have, by the grace of God, the free gift of salvation by faith. We’ve been brought near to the God of Israel by faith through our relationship with the Messiah of Israel who made atonement on our behalf at Passover.
However, my real and ever-present concern is an issue Asch couldn’t address: my beloved Israel, which has suffered unspeakably before finally being restored in its historic homeland; my beloved Israel whom I’ve known my entire life as my elders in the faith; my beloved Israel who are like family to me because of Abraham, Joseph, Deborah, beloved David and Daniel, my Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul– alas, my beloved Israel will tragically welcome (if only for a short season) the false Messiah. The New Testament clearly warns about the ultimate Man of Sin who will emerge during the coming world-wide deception. Will there be a remnant of true god-fearers within modern Israel who will not be deceived to embrace the false Messiah? I think so. It was the Israelite leadership, not the entire nation, who rejected the true Messiah. Who amongst the leadership or populace of modern Israel will be temporarily deceived, along with the rest of the world, to embrace the dangerous man of pseudo peace?
As a wolf in sheep’s clothing the coming Man of Sin will appear to be a great saviour. This world dictator is scripturally called the Anti-Christ who unfortunately will be unveiled before the Second Advent of Jesus to test the entire world.
I do believe the Bible teaches the doctrine of a pre-Tribulation rapture. (The rapture is the translation without dying of an entire generation of believers into immortality at the Appearing of Yeshua). As the rabbis say, “Sometimes salvation comes in the blink of an eye.” In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul taught this in 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52, “Behold I show you a mystery: we will not all die but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye.” Therefore, we who are alive will meet the Lord in the air when He comes suddenly in the atmosphere prior to the Great Tribulation.
Jesus taught that his completed Bride will be exempt from the Great Tribulation, which is a time yet in the future. In Luke 21:36, Jesus warned us to pray that we would be counted “worthy to escape” the horrors to come. There are types and shadows of the rapture in the Old Testament such as Enoch and Elijah who were both raptured alive. Jesus said this translation (rapture) will be selective and sudden in all time zones simultaneously: one will be taken from a bed and another left; two will be working in a field and one will be left behind, and so forth. The Rapture is a reality, a doctrine not built on a single verse. The mystical Bride of Messiah will be complete at the end of the Times of the Gentiles, which began to draw to a close when the Jewish people recaptured Jerusalem in 1967. (Luke 21: 24) Believers are presently going through many tribulations, but the Great Tribulation will be unique, unprecedented horrors.
Therefore my pressing concern is to warn my Jewish family [yes, Jews are like family to Bible-believing Christians] not to receive the coming anti-Christ, the Man of Sin prophesied by the Bible whose satanic mission will be to deceive the whole world. The Bible teaches in Daniel 9:27 and elsewhere that the Final False Messiah will make a seven-year peace treaty with Israel but in the middle of the seven years, the Man of Sin (2 Thessalonians 2:3) will demand worship in the rebuilt temple of God. At that time, the Israeli leadership who endorsed this imposter will recognize that they have been double-crossed. God will miraculously shelter the remnant of Israel, and finally they will summons the true Messiah in fulfilment of Yeshua’s Matthew 23: 39 prophecy, “For I tell you, You will not see me again until you say Baruch haba b’shem adonai, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”
Therefore, do not confuse the present trials and tribulations rampant in this world for the soon-coming Great Tribulation. Described in the New Testament, the Great Tribulation is the Time of Jacob’s Trouble foretold in the Old Testament in Jeremiah 30:7. They are one and the same. The present birth pains– earthquakes, terrorism, diseases like Ebola– will increase exponentially after the Rapture.
My prayer is that as many persons as possible will be counted worthy to escape the coming Great Tribulation by believing in the one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah. Put your faith in Him now and your eternal salvation is secured. However, if you do not put your trust in the Savior now, and you continue to live during the soon-coming Great Tribuation, you will be subject to a powerful strong delusion. (2 Thessalonians 2:11) Therefore remember my warning not to receive “the mark of the Beast” in your hand on in your forehead. Whoever receives this mark in order to buy or to sell will have sold his soul for material gain and will be eternally condemned. (Revelation 13: 16) “But I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)
Because these are the most sobering of times, I urge you to put your hands in the hand of the man from Galilee, for there is safety in the Lord’s salvation. God made the Gospel simple for all to understand: if you will repent of your sins and if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. (Romans 10:9) And you will reign with him from Jerusalem when He returns to Jerusalem. But if you are reading this blog after the Rapture of the Church, do not receive the mark of the Beast. Put your faith in Jesus the Messiah and you will be safe. Amen and Amen!