Mina Fenton’s worst fear is that Messianic Jews would be successful and that great numbers of Jews in Israel would become disciples of Yeshua. She thinks this would destroy the Jewish people.
Who is Mina Fenton? She was an Orthodox Jew who served on the Jerusalem City Council. Had she gone on a campaign against Messianic Jews? No, not Messianic Jews, but against Christian Zionist organizations! I wrote about this in a previous article. Why the campaign? Because she claimed that Christian Zionist organizations are fronts for “missionizing” Jews. In addition, Christian Zionist organizations, in her view, lower the resistance of Jewish people against Christian belief.
Mina Fenton did see some success. A high Rabbinical Court ruled that it was against Halakhah (the application of Jewish Law) for Jews to participate in events sponsored or co-sponsored with Christian Zionists. One Rabbi noted that while Christian support for Israel looks helpful in the short run, in the long run, cooperation was dangerous and could lead to dire consequences.
On the other side in this battle are the Christian Zionists and the Jewish leaders of Israel who cooperate with them. This especially includes the Christian Allies Caucus, which is an official group from the Israel Knesset (Parliament).
Evaluating Mina Fenton’s Viewpoint
Materially, Mina Fenton was and is wrong. Christian Zionists organizations do not focus any evangelistic efforts on the Jews. Their role is to garner support for Israel from around the world. However, they are of different minds concerning sharing their faith with Jews. Some will not do so. Some will only do so if Jews ask concerning their faith. For them, there must be a clear mark of the Spirit’s leading. None of them will denounce Messianic Jews, which Mina Fenton would require for any relationship.
Of course, Christian Zionists generally accept that Messianic Jews are part of a movement raised up by God, even though most Messianic Jews are not directly part of the Christian Zionist movement per se. In addition, the Christian Allies Caucus requires all Christians with whom they work to expressly vow to not engage in proselytism. Some Christian Zionist organizations have refused to do this, while others have agreed. With regard to Mina Fenton’s campaign, the focus was on the organizations that accepted the vow! She opposed them anyway!
Mina Fenton is Important
Mina Fenton is important for two reasons: not because she was right – she was terribly wrong. In this time of world abandonment of Israel, Christian support is absolutely crucial. She was really doing damage to the cause of Israel. She is important because she revealed the mind-set of a significant segment of Jews in Israel. The visceral hatred of Christianity and anything with parallel beliefs like Messianic Judaism is important to understand and to combat with great prayer, love and negotiation with Israeli officials.
Secondly, Mina Fenton unknowingly anticipated prophetic fulfillment. According to the Bible, true Christians (Gentile believers in Romans 11) will play a significant role in making Israel jealous. Their mercy will soften hearts; and this is happening today. There are many articles in the Jewish press in Israel that call Evangelicals “our best friends.” Mina Fenton did not want hearts to be softened towards the gospel.
What If Messianic Jews were fabulously successful?
For Mina Fenton and her ilk, Jews embracing Yeshua is a great existential danger to the State of Israel and the Jewish people. So, I want to respond by painting a word picture of a very successful Messianic Jewish movement in Israel. I believe we are to pray for this success, and I believe it is possible.
The Book of Revelation describes 144,000 Jewish believers from all the tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:14). They are described as virgin men. Many interpreters think that this is a description of Jewish disciples in Israel before the return of Yeshua. I take virgin to be symbolic of spiritual purity. If so, many may be married. So we may actually be seeing 500,000 to 600,000 Messianic Jews in Israel. This would be ten percent of today’s Jewish population in Israel. Can we picture this many? I can. It is only a third of the number of men gathered by Promise Keepers in Washington, D.C. some years
What would be the effect on Israel if there were so many Messianic Jews?
There would be an influence for reverencing the Law of God, not in the Rabbinic way of multiplied legal restrictions added to the Bible, but in the broad biblical lines of Law which have application to both universal morality and to Jewish life today. This would elevate the whole of Israel as a more law abiding society, both in regards to moral and civil law. At the present time, Israeli society is very lawless. The true Torah of God would be extolled through Messianic Jewish influence. As a consequence, the conscience of the people of Israel would be restored and the whole tone of society would improve. Abortion would be greatly diminished. Sexual immorality and prostitution would decline and fidelity in marriage and family would increase. Because Messianic Jews do not live in an Orthodox ghetto, they could be an influence in much greater ways than the Orthodox. Corruption in government would diminish and political leaders would act with greater integrity. Some Messianic Jews would even serve in government!
New Age spirituality would greatly diminish. The Torah explicitly condemns the idolatry, magic and witchcraft that are part of New Age spirituality and Eastern Religions. In the Torah, involvement in these practices is a capital offense. Yet, it is common in Israel. There is even an Orthodox Jewish form of such magic in some Kabalistic practices. There is no Orthodox outrage about such clearly anti-biblical influences. Yet, because Messianic Jews believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, that He is deity, and that God is uni-plural, they are condemned. These beliefs are not condemned by Scripture; in fact they are implied in the Hebrew Bible.
Such is our ironic, strange situation! The issue of Jewish continuance is dependant upon our world view and the spiritual purpose for living a Jewish life. The world view of Messianic Jews commits us to Jewish preservation, continuity, the Torah, the reality of God and so much more that is consistent with Judaism. Yet strangely, the Jewish establishment allows world views that are diametrically opposed to the historic Jewish world view, including materialistic atheism, New Age spiritualism and more. Messianic Jews would be a great antidote to these errors.
There would be a renewal of Jewish life. The biblical Sabbaths and Feasts would be celebrated with a new joy throughout the Land. Messianic Jewish celebration would become a model for all. The presence of the Spirit would make such celebration attractive. Instead of days at the beach, the Feasts would become both joyful and serious. There would be a balanced biblical appreciation for the Jewish heritage without idolizing and canonizing Rabbinic Judaism.
Commitment towards a more Biblical Zionism would be enhanced. The important conviction that we are living in this Land for a divine purpose that leads to world redemption will provide a raison d’étre for true Biblical Zionism. This is the answer to the disillusionment of the youth of Israel who find it difficult to see a purpose for the sacrifice and suffering entailed by living in the Land.
Christian support for Israel would become even greater as Messianic Jews make their case to their brothers and sisters from among the nations.
There would be a new movement of love toward the Arabs of Israel. This would include joining with Christian Arabs in a new quest for treating Arabs with justice and respect. The Gospel would be successfully spread among the Arab populations of Israel.
All of this assumes a Messianic Judaism whose constituents are spiritually dynamic and deeply committed to Jewish life and calling. It assumes a great discipleship pattern to be established in the community of Yeshua’s followers.
Contrary to Mina Fenton’s fear, the success of Messianic Jews is the greatest thing that could happen for the preservation of our people in this land. When the last days wars come, Messianic Jews will be in the forefront of prayer and witness. They will demonstrate confidence in the deliverance to come through the return of Yeshua. Our witness may be a key to Israel’s confession to Yeshua, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”