Monday, May 24, 2010

Moishe Rosen, 1932-2010

Moishe Rosen, the Founder and first Executive Director of Jews for Jesus, died last week. Mr Rosen had battled prostate cancer for an extended period. I was privileged to read some of his last writings as he continued to minister far past his expected time. Perhaps, it is very fitting that he died on Shavuot, the Jewish Festival of Weeks and the Christian Pentecost. The same day that the Law was given at Sinai and the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem as a deposit or guarantee of the promise, Mr Rosen claimed the promise and went to be with Christ forever.

Mr Rosen founded JFJ in September of 1973 and continued making the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to his Jewish people worldwide until his death. Mr Rosen had a great passion for Yeshua (Jesus), and properly understood that a Jew does not cease being a Jew by believing in Yeshua. In fact, he becomes completely Jewish by accepting the Messiah. This message is not always welcomed by Orthodox Jews. Dr Vernon Grounds, noted evangelical and President Emeritus of Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary once said of Rosen, “He was a dynamic and creative witness. When Moishe Rosen came into a city there is either a revival or a riot.”

A Memorial Page has been set up on the JFJ website. Mr Rosen also left a pre-written letter of encouragement for his co-workers in Christ, urging them to continue his work. I’ve personally met David Brickner, who took over as executive director in 1996, and Bruce Rapp, who serves as head of the Phoenix branch, and I can vouch that JFJ is still in capable hands with the Lord’s leading. Here is an excerpt from Mr Rosen’s last letter (the entire letter is available from the JFJ website):

If you are reading this, it means that I have gone on to my reward. As I write this, I can only think of what the Scriptures say and that is, "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, neither have they entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him." (1Cor 2:9) Well, I have a big curiosity and by now, I know.

As I go, I feel that I have left a number of things undone. I think everyone must feel that way… I'd like to encourage you to stay with Jews for Jesus… To be an honest ministry, it can only come from the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit can only indwell those who have the new birth and are born again. Therefore, I would urge you to think very seriously before you support any "ministry" that involves Jewish people and doesn't actually bring the gospel to the Jews. Likewise, I am concerned over something else that I never thought that I would see or hear and that is, Jews who have become believers in Jesus and have important positions in ministry yet feel that their primary purpose is to promote Jewishness and Judaism to the Jews.

I hope I can count on you to show love and respect for the Jewish people, but Jewishness never saved anybody. Judaism never saved anybody no matter how sincere. Romans 10:9-10 make it clear that we must believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus in order to be saved. There are no shortcuts. There is no easy way. Within Judaism today, there is no salvation because Christ has no place within Judaism.

I would also encourage you to be faithful to those Bible-teaching, Bible-preaching churches that give spiritual food. More than ever, the church needs faithful members who can be an example to the young people coming in. Maybe there are some features about your church that keep you from being enthusiastic - look around and see if there might be a better church for you. If there is, join it and enjoy it. If your church is doing a lot right, then stay where you’re planted.

I don't expect that Jews for Jesus will be undergoing any turmoil because of my demise. For many years, the leadership has been in competent hands… Anything done for Christ will last. Anything you do to help and encourage Jews for Jesus at this time will have lasting effects on all of us. So instead of saying "good bye," I'll just say, "until then - I'll see you in the sky."

Moishe

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