“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” — the Apostle Paul (Romans 1:16)
With so much bad news in the U.S., Israel, Russia and around the world these days, I thought it might be good to kick off 2017 with some very good news.
Here, then, is an update to a column I published on September 22, 2015 about “a big, untold story” that “the media isn’t reporting” but is very much “worth examining.”
“Millions of Jews have begun a quest to find the Messiah,” I wrote at the time, based on conversations with key Messianic Jewish ministry leaders in the U.S. and Israel. “For reasons I cannot fully explain, Jews are suddenly searching for answers to the deepest and most important questions concerning life and death and God and atonement and eternity, in numbers unprecedented in history. Some are searching through the Hebrew Scriptures for answers. A stunning number are actually reading the New Testament, most for the first time. They are searching on Google for information about the Messiah. They are even watching a new series of videos by Jews who claim to have found the answers. The videos — some of which have gone viral — were produced and posted on a new website called www.imetmessiah.com.”
The numbers as of September 2015 were nothing short of astonishing. “More than 10 million people have watched these [English-language testimony] videos just in the past few months,” I explained, while “more than 900,000 Hebrew speakers have watched the Hebrew-language versions of these videos in just the past four months.”
Since then, however — despite the stigma in the Jewish community against consider the claiming of Jesus — the videos have continued to go viral and are surging beyond anything I would have imagined.
Eitan Bar, a native Israeli and a devoted follower of Yeshua, heads a team that is producing the videos and helping to develop digital evangelism strategies for two ministries, One For Israel (based in Israel and led by Dr. Erez Soref) and Chosen People Ministries (based in the U.S. and led by Dr. Mitch Glaser). Recently, I asked Eitan if he had updated figures.
- “All together, our videos of Jewish testimonies, Gospel explanations, and answers to tough questions have been watched well over 23 million times” as of the end of December 2016.
- “Approximately 15 million of the total 23 million views were people watching our ‘I met Messiah’ videos.”
- “What is possibly even more exciting than the vast numbers watching our videos in English is that our Hebrew language videos have been watched almost 9 million times at the last count in December 2016.”
- “The most popular video in Hebrew is our ten minute explanation of the Gospel, shot in Jerusalem. That has been seen almost 1.5 million times.“
- “Over 2 million have seen the testimonies of Israelis who came to faith, sharing their stories in Hebrew, and our apologetics videos dealing with tough questions that many Jewish people wonder about have been watched over 3.5 million times.”
Eitan’s online report also includes numerous encouraging quotes by Jews who have been watching the videos and either started their own spiritual journeys to figure out who Jesus (Yeshua) is or who have actually become His followers.
A few examples:
- “Finally, I have reached the destination I was looking for, for years! …I considered myself to be an atheist for a long while, resisting any kind of explanation of God. Until, I came across your video about who Jesus is, that you did in Jerusalem. My jaw dropped. So I decided to keep away from your videos so not to fall for it. But, like a cat who is drawn to the taste of cream, I wanted more. Everyday I would visit your websites to watch more and more of your video teachings. I found truth and endless love that I never came across in Judaism. Thank you so, so much!” — a Jewish woman in her 40s who lives in central Israel
- “I found Yeshua on YouTube, through one of your advertised videos about the falsehood of the rabbinic oral law. I felt that I had to check what it is all about and found a whole new world!! Yeshua changed my life and I’m thankful to Him and to you because of it. I feel that my life was saved. All the information in your videos is so rich in content, pleasant to watch, and the way you explain things is so good that I came to that moment in my life of understanding who Yeshua really is. I thank you from the depth of my soul! I want more Jews to know the truth, which is that Yeshua is the Messiah who we’ve been waiting for all along!” — a young Jewish man who works in Jerusalem
- “First, I have no words to thank you (Eitan) and Moti for the articles and videos. I saw your video-ad on YouTube a year or two ago, but when I realized that it’s all about “Christianity” and “Jesus”, I switched it off. Lately, I came across your videos once again, and it grabbed me so I decided to read the prophecies in the Old Testament. I was surprised to find out they all point to Yeshua . Then I wanted to find out about the lifestyle of Messianic Jews – how do you live your lives – only to realize that it’s not about what we do, but about what’s inside, the change is inside the heart. …I found our Messiah and two days ago gave Him my heart.” — an Orthodox Jewish man
It’s amazing to think how few Jewish people have ever examined the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, the most famous Israeli in all of human history. Fortunately, that’s changing now.
As a Jewish follower of Yeshua myself, I am thrilled to see the Lord using these websites, videos and social media to spread the Gospel so broadly and so rapidly throughout Israel via Hebrew and throughout the English speaking world.
While surely many Gentiles are watching the English language videos, many Jews are watching them, too. What’s more, we can be confident that the vast majority of those watching the Hebrew language videos are Jews. This suggests the possibility that in a world of about 14.5 million Jewish people worldwide — and about six million Jews in Israel — more Jewish people have been exposed to the Gospel of the Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, in the last two or three years than in any other two to three year period in human history.
Would you be praying for each and every person that has watched, that the Lord would be drawing him or her to His heart? Would you be praying for all the people that work for these and related ministries for continued boldness, wisdom and discernment, and the Lord’s spiritual and physical protection? Also, would you share these videos on your Facebook pages, and through Twitter and other social media so that they are seen by even more people in 2017? Might you even consider giving financially to such ministries?
Thanks so much — may the Lord bless you and your family as you give Jews and Gentiles the opportunity to hear the Gospel for themselves and make their own personal decision for or against Yeshua!