Olivier Melnick returns to the Prophecy Pros Podcast to talk with us about how and why the church should be active in witnessing to the Jewish people.
Learn more about Olivier at OlivierMelnick.com
- End-Times Antisemitism by Olivier Melnick
- THE TIME IS NOW! by Olivier Melnick
- Ha-Mashiach by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum
- A Quick Reference Guide to the End Times by Jeff Kinley and Todd Hampson
Listen to the Prophecy Pros Podcast and other faith-based podcasts on the Edifi Podcast Network
Produced by Unmutable™
Jeff: Hey, today we’re welcoming back a guest we had on a podcast previously, our good friend Olivier Melnick. You do not want to miss today. Olivier serves as a northwest regional director of Chosen People Ministries. He also serves on the board of directors for Chosen People France. He’s an author and a speaker and a personal friend of ours. He’s an expert on the topic of antisemitism and Bible prophecy, and how those two intersect. He was in season two, go check that out if you guys haven’t heard it yet. We wanted to have him back today, because we kind of left you with a cliffhanger. We talked about end times antisemitism. But we started talking about how do we as believers witness to Jewish people, but we wanted to give that the respect it deserved and the time that it needed, so that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Olivier, welcome once again to the Prophecy Pros podcast.
Olivier: Well Todd, thank you, Todd and Jeff. Thank you for having me back, and I remember the last question that Jeff asked me, said, “Olivier, what advice can you give us in the last minute that we have on how to share the gospel with the Jewish people?” And I said, “The best advice I can give you is to have me back, to give me the time to explain.”
Todd: Yeah, there’s no elevator pitch for that answer, right?
Jeff: That’s right. So the big question is, what zinger is going to Olivier throw at us at the end of today’s podcast, to come back on for another season?
Olivier: Oh, you got me figured out already.
Todd: Yeah. We’re on to you. We’re on to you.
Jeff: Yeah, no but seriously man, we love the fact that you would join us again, and we love this topic, and we want to talk about it, so-
Olivier: Thank you, Thank you. It’s a blessing.
Jeff: Appreciate what you do. Honestly, we’ve both learned a lot from you, seeing you at conferences and reading your book that we talked about last time. And feel free to highlight that again. And at the end we’ll share where people can find out more, but it’s an amazing work, and what you do is … you have an amazing ministry, a much-needed ministry, and a unique perspective from where you sit. So this is a great topic, and we’re excited you’re here with us today.
Olivier: And like I said last time, I think I definitely did not wake up one day and said, “I think I’m going to study and teach about antisemitism, because that sounds like a fun thing to do.”
Jeff: Right, right.
Olivier: It landed on my lap in 1999, and I’m just doing the best I can to educate people about it. But today we want to talk about something else.
Jeff: Yeah, so today we’re really talking more about specifically how do we witness to Jewish peoples. We know that, and we’ll talk about this in a little bit, that Romans 9, 10, 11 talk about one day all Jewish people will be saved. We all need to individually accept Christ as savior, but what you really kind of brought to our attention the last time was that there’s different … not all Jewish people are the same. That you got secular Jews, you have atheists, you have orthodox Jews, you have all these different segments, so we’ll get into all that. But a lot of people claim that we should kind of leave Jewish people alone, since they’ve been the victims of so much persecution by Christians, and honestly that’s something a lot of believers don’t realize, that at the hands of Christians, many Jewish people have been persecuted. Even beloved church leaders like Martin Luther, who started the Reformation, he was antisemitic, and did some horrible things that we don’t talk about. But we try to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly and tell the honest truth about what’s going on and how Christians have been deceived over the years, in being antisemitic. So what do you say about that, about that we shouldn’t leave Jewish people alone, that we should try to evangelize Jewish people because we love them?
Olivier: I think it’s kind of a reaction that Christians have had for the last few decades, that so much has been done against the Jews in the name of Christianity that we should leave them alone. And if you look at … I document some of that in one of my books, End-Times Antisemitism. I give the history of antisemitism, and at the end you go like, “I don’t even know what I can say to a Jewish person about Christianity,” because we have such a dark stain. And when I look at the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, it doesn’t say, go and make disciples of all nations except the Jewish people. It doesn’t say that. So the mandate is to make disciples of all nations, including Israel. And actually, if you go to Romans 1:16, there is actually that verse that says that “to the Jew first,” so not only we have an obligation to take the gospel to the Jewish people, but we have an obligation to make it a priority.
And a lot of people are scared of bothering the Jewish people, because of that so much has been done against them, and I think also there’s a certain fear. There’s … people are shy. They’re shying away because they fear that they’re not going to know how to approach a Jewish person because, well, that person must know Hebrew, they must know the Old Testament, they must know all the prophets, and it couldn’t be further from the truth.
As a Jewish man, grew up in France, in an agnostic family, I did not know the difference between Hanukkah and Isaiah. You get the point. One is a holiday, the other one is a prophet. I was like, “I don’t know.” And so it’s not until I discovered my Messiah and accepted him, and started studying the Scriptures, that I really started to understand, and understood the beauty of being a Jewish man who put his trust in a Jewish Messiah. Christians are very scared of witnessing to Jewish people. And some, honestly, some truly believe that we shouldn’t, because of what you just said, that verse in Romans 11, 25 or 26, when it says one day all Israel will be saved.
So I’ve had gentile Christians come to me in churches when I spoke, all the time when I open the Q and As, they say, “Well why are we really bothering the Jewish people, since one day all Israel will be saved?” And I said, “Well first of all, if that was really true, that all Jews of all time would be saved, then what am I doing talking to you, trying to convince you that we should do evangelism to the Jewish people?” But you have to put that in a context of eschatology, of when is that going to happen. I think all of us are on the same page, that I’m premillennial, pre-trib. Like our good friend Arnold Fruchtenbaum says, “I don’t even eat Post cereal.”
Todd: That’s awesome. I love it.
Olivier: So in that context, we look at the time where all Israel will be saved, which I believe will be at the end of the seven year tribulation, you connect that to Zechariah 12:10, when all Israel will look up and say [Hebrew], “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” And that’s actually what’s triggering the second coming of Messiah. A lot of people don’t realize that. They go like, “Well, when all people, the number of gentiles that have been saved,” and that’s included in that, but what triggers the return, not the Rapture, the return of Messiah, is Israel calling upon him, which is crazy to think about it. And so why do you think Satan is trying to stop that, because he knows it’s over for him. So, but all Israel will be saved will not include anybody who would have died prior without Messiah, unfortunately. So that is why we have this Biblical mandate to take the gospel to Jewish people, because they need … everybody comes to God through the sacrifice that Yeshua made, Yeshua is Jesus’ name in Hebrew, that Yeshua made on the cross for you and for I, Jew and gentile. There’s no difference.
Olivier: There’s a difference in how you present it, but there’s no difference in what you have to accept to become a believer.
Todd: You know, Olivier, one of the points you just made was very interesting. Because if you think about in Revelation 12, the Bible says that the devil comes down after trying to do another coup on heaven, he’s defeated, it says he comes down having great wrath because he knows his time is short. So now he only has three-and-a-half years left. And the immediate next verses talk about an intense persecution on the Jewish people, in fact three different kinds of attacks on the Jewish people in the second half of the tribulation. What’s interesting to me is that what you just said is that the Jews are going to call upon their Messiah to come deliver them. Satan knows if he can wipe out the Jews, theoretically speaking, there’ll be no Jew to call upon the Messiah, thus Jesus can’t come back, and he can continue his reign on the earth-
Olivier: That’s his plan.
Todd: … and be worshiped and that type of thing.
Olivier: That’s right.
Todd: So we’re onto his game for that. And that’s one of the reasons why we’re having this conversation. So other than historically speaking, and just historic persecution, because as you said there’s some secular Jews that that probably aren’t as historically clued in to some of the past persecutions that the Christian church has had against the Jewish people, but just from a spiritual perspective, what you know about just the demographics, both culturally and spiritually about the Jewish people, why do you think many Jews are gospel resistant?
Olivier: Well, I think, even though I was absolutely not religious whatsoever when I was brought up in France … We went to synagogue once a year for Yom Kippur, to appease the elder of the family, and nobody cared. I mean in the kids we didn’t care. I didn’t keep kosher, I didn’t go to Hebrew school, I was not religious at all. And yet, and yet, I just knew, I knew that I knew that I knew, that Jesus was not for us. Why? Because I was told, “We’re Jewish. Jesus is not for the Jews.” And then the vast majority of Jewish people, that’s enough for them. They don’t try to check, they don’t try to look at Scripture. And my wife, who at the time was not my wife, when we met, she said, “Listen, look at the Bible.” To me the Bible was like the phone book. I didn’t care. It’s a story, and maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not, I don’t know. But she said, “Look, all the prophecies about the coming Messiah are in the Jewish Scriptures.”
And she’s not Jewish, but she was raised that way, to read the Bible that way, so it’s the Messianic prophecies that got me to the Messiah. For the Jewish people, for the vast majority, it’s a rejection of the person of Jesus as the Messiah simply because they were told that way. But a Jewish person looking into it with an open heart and an open mind cannot deny it. That’s what happened to me, 37 years ago.
Jeff: This is an off-the-cuff question, but do you remember the first time you read Isaiah 53? And what did that do to you?
Olivier: Actually, Isaiah 53 was probably not … In a lot of cases, the Jewish people when they read Isaiah 53, I have had it read. I read it to a lot of Jewish people in my witnessing, and I will read it to them, and they will go like, “It’s talking about Jesus. I don’t believe in the New Testament.” Now remember, 90% of the Jewish people probably will not be able of identify, let alone locate, where Isaiah is in the Jewish Bible. Okay. They don’t know. So you read that without any introduction, go like, “Yeah, it’s Jesus.”
Jeff: That’s from John or … yeah.
Olivier: Right, and then you tell them it’s 700 years before Jesus, the crucifixion didn’t exist, and it’s a Jewish prophet, and no, no, no. To me, I read Isaiah 53 later. The book that brought me to the Lord the was The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey, which had all the old … I’m sure he talked about Isaiah 53 in it, but he had so many more little chapters about prophecies and how they were fulfilled. It got me thinking, and that’s what got me going on wanting to make a decision for the Lord. But Jewish people, when they’re faced with the evidence that we have in the Jewish Bible about the coming Messiah, one prophecy after the next, it’s really hard to deny it. Really is.
Jeff: And it’s funny, not funny, but it’s kind of sad. There’s a lot of misconceptions that Christians … even I used to have when I was a young believer. I was never taught that the Jewish people were still God’s chosen people and that He had a future purpose for them, and there’s unconditional promises that he made to them. That if He breaks those to the Jewish people, then how can we have confidence in the promises that he’s making to the church? But one of the huge misconceptions that I have seen in the church, and still see by and large, and it’s not really, in most places that I’ve seen, it’s not taught overtly, but it’s kind of caught and assumed almost, is replacement theology, that the church has just completely taken on all the promises to the Jewish people, and that kind of thing, which is sad because, when you dig into Scripture that’s not the case at all. And God has a beautiful plan at the end of time, when He merges both together, and it’s just … You can’t get past that. But what are some other misconceptions that you’ve seen, that Christians have about the Jewish people?
Olivier: Well, I find that the attitude that gentile Christians have towards the Jewish people are like on two opposite sides of a spectrum. It’s either, we want to replace them in God’s plan, that’s replacement theology. God’s blessings are all coming to the church now. And you notice, whenever there’s a replacement theology being taught, it’s only the blessings that God promised to Israel that go to the church.
Jeff: Yeah, right. Good point.
Olivier: The curses can remain the property of ethnic Israel. Just the blessings. [crosstalk] Seriously, next time somebody says that, you go like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ll take the blessings, they can keep the curses.” So it’s either that side, or the other side is another knee-jerk reaction on the other side is that, let’s not bother the Jewish people. Because there are actually people who believe, it’s known as dual, like two, dual covenant theology. So one side is replacement theology, we’ve replaced them, we don’t need them anymore. God is done with them. The other side is, they already are in by virtue of being Jewish, through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It’s called dual covenant theology. The gentiles need to come through Jesus, the Jews, they go through Abraham, they’re in. If that was true, in John 3, then Jesus would have said to Nicodemus, “Don’t worry, you’re Jewish, you’re in.” That’s not what he said. That is not what he said. He said the opposite. He said, “You have to be born of water, and born of the Spirit.” So there’s no difference.
So this dual covenant theology, to me, is a form of soft antisemitism. Because it’s people saying, “Let’s not bother the Jewish people. They’re in, we don’t need to share the gospel with them,” but not sharing the gospel with them and being kind and being nice to them, is to me a soft antisemitism, in a sense that we’re really hugging a Jewish person, without sharing the gospel, it’s akin to pushing them slowly over a cliff, holding their hand over a cliff, and then pushing them down. Because without the gospel they will not make it to eternity in God’s presence.
Todd: Well, that’s very well said, Olivier. I’ve encountered the same thing, where people are so surprised when they ask the question, “Well, aren’t all Jews going to automatically go to heaven?” Because they’re “God’s chosen people.” They don’t understand the difference between individual Jews and the nation of Israel, and how we all need the gospel no matter where we’ve come from. Flip the coin for us then, for a second, and talk about some of the misconceptions, perhaps, that Jewish people as a whole may have about Christians. They’re looking on the outside in on this bubble of Evangelical Christianity, so what do they see? What are some of the perceptions that are coming out from that?
Olivier: Well, one of the big ones is that … well there’s several, is we worship three gods. So the Trinity is really three different gods, and of course Judaism is monotheistic. So is Christianity, but we don’t have time to … maybe that’s the next podcast.
Todd: I knew he would get it in.
Olivier: I like you guys. I just want-
Jeff: Schedule him now.
Olivier: But so number one, not necessarily in that order, but one is, we worship three gods. And that can be easily, at least discussed, with the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4, [Hebrew] “Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one,” and that’s usually … and that’s the Jewish creed, that Jewish people who are religious will recite that prayer every day. And at home, in synagogue, and even like on their way to their death. Throughout history, this was the creed that Jewish people would say, the last words out of their mouth is the Shema. The word echad in Hebrew means one, but it means compound unity. One made of many, like one cluster of grapes. Echad. And so I’m making this very short, otherwise we’d have a lot of … would be too long. But going back to Genesis-
Jeff: We’ll just do another podcast.
Olivier: There you go. Now we have two podcasts. So going back to Genesis 2, when God says that a man is to leave his family and cleave to his wife and they become one, they become echad, same word. So then you have an argument to say, listen, they are both becoming one in marriage, but they don’t become one person. They’re two, becoming one under marriage. The God of echad in Deuteronomy is one within the … we don’t say the Trinity at this point, we say the plurality. I would tell my Jewish friend, can we agree that there is a chance that maybe we’re speaking of plurality here? They cannot really deny that because there’s another word in Hebrew for one. It’s yachid, which means single unity. So you have single unity and compound unity. So if you agree, if you agree there is a chance for a plurality, then from plurality to Trinity is a short walk.
Jeff: Right. That is fascinating.
Todd: That’s a great point. So the Trinity is sort of a … almost like a polytheistic thing to a Jewish mind, as they look at Christians.
Olivier: Right. And the other one is, Jewish people have told me over and over and over, a man cannot become God. Speaking of Jesus. And that’s really easy. I had a lady who I led to the Lord several years ago, a Jewish woman, from Israel, a Yemenite Jew, and she kept coming to our Bible study in California. And she kept saying, “I love your group. You seem sincere. I love what you’re teaching, but when you talk about that man who became God …” And over a period of five years, she asked me the same question, and I told her all the time, I said, “Listen, it’s the opposite. I’m with you. I would never agree to believe in a man who became God. That’s blasphemous. But that God in His infinite love and compassion for us, His creation, would lower Himself to become a man, one member of the Trinity, to become a man, so as a man, He can die and pay the price for our sins, but God can never die.”
So I told her that over a period of five years. One day she came to our house, and she said, “I need to talk about God.” And again she said, “I can’t believe that man would become a God.” And I said, “I told you many times,” and I told her the same. But it’s funny, I told the exact same thing, God became a man to lower Himself to die for us in His humanity, but God cannot die. I told her exactly the same thing I told her for five years, and she looks at me that day and she goes, “Now this I can accept.” All of sudden, when it’s God’s time-
Jeff: The Holy Spirit.
Olivier: … in our evangelism, in our sharing, we have to be patient. People are not just notch on a belt, okay, one more I shared with. We have to be patient, we have to understand that we’re believers, they’re not. Jews and gentiles, when we share with the lost, sometimes we don’t have the patience. Go like, “I’ve told you everything you need to know to believe. What’s up with you? How come you’re not believing?” It’s not their time. We have to have patience.
Todd: Yes. I can relate to that. I mean my salvation was very similar, in that I knew it all, but I didn’t believe it. I rejected it. I had all the intellectual answers, and it was really God was working on me for a long period of time, but there was really nothing special that happened other than the fact I kept praying this one prayer, “God, if you’re the God of the Bible, just make me believe.” And I would say that in unbelief for several months, then literally one day I was praying that prayer, and it was the Holy Spirit. It was just like a light switch went on. Like all the sudden, it was like I was aware, “Wait, I do believe. Jesus, you’re my Messiah. Come and be my savior.” So you’re absolutely right, is it’s-
Olivier: We have to make the connection between the head and the heart. A lot of people have the knowledge, the head knowledge. But until the connection is made with the heart it’s just knowledge.
Todd: And what’s also important, I think, for us as believers is the context of relationship. Yeah, I mean there’s time for group evangelism, and being the Billy Graham of the day, but for most of us, evangelism opportunities come in the context of relationship, or people see that we care about them, and want to meet their needs. And we walk with them for a while. So I think that’s a safe way to go. So you mentioned the Trinity-
Olivier: You mentioned Billy Graham. I tell you what. Nothing against the ministry, I think it’s a wonderful ministry, but you probably will never get a Jew to go to a Billy Graham crusade.
Jeff: Yeah. [crosstalk]
Olivier: Because the word is like, “Whoa. Don’t take me to a crusade.”
Jeff: Well, no seriously, because I think that’s one of the reasons why Campus Crusade changed their name to Cru. I was very involved with Campus Crusade. One of the things they said about witnessing in that ministry was, is that successful witnessing is sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and then leaving the results to God. And I think one of the greatest fears … I think fear itself is one of the greatest hindrances to evangelism, but when it comes to a people group of which you know very little, then the fear element rises. And just knowing that it’s, in the end, we need to know what we’re doing, but in the end it’s not up to us to bring that person to Christ. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job, and as you mentioned Nicodemus, I mean Jesus says, “You have to be born again from above to be saved.” And it’s the Spirit who wills, the Spirit who works, and so really there’s a great freedom in that. Don’t you agree?
Olivier: Oh absolutely. Absolutely. And the average Christian needs to know, listening to the podcast, is that the vast majority of average churchgoing Christian, who read their Bible on a weekly if not daily basis, know a lot more about the Jewish people, and a lot more about the Bible than the average Jewish person. So they should not be terrified of talking to a Jewish person. They just need to kind of make sure that they contextualize their conversation a little more, and use … it’s probably not a good idea to use the word church too much, or the word cross, or the word Christianity, because to those words there’s a stigma attached to those words. And you look at 2,000 years of history, and it’s … you can’t deny it.
I found a really good way to get in too, is study … If a Jewish person talks to their Christian friend and they’re interested, the Jewish people believe the Old Testament is the word of God. That’s the Jewish Bible. It’s in a different order of the books, but it’s our Old Testament is the Tanach, the Jewish Bible. And we of course as believers also believe the New Testament to be inspired. Jewish people don’t believe the New Testament is inspired. Now Jewish people who study the Scriptures will almost never study the Scriptures without commentaries known as the Talmud, the Mishnah, the Gemara. The Talmud, the commentaries by sages over the centuries, and so and very often they’ll study the Talmud even more than the Scripture themselves.
So my approach is this. I tell a Jewish person, “You’re interested in looking for God and looking for answers.” You don’t … and I start offering a compromise. I said, “Listen, I believe the New Testament is inspired, but you don’t. So I’m going to put the New Testament aside for now. I’m not going to quote, I’m not going to open it, I’m not going to use it. I’m not rejecting it, I’m just putting it aside for now. I would appreciate if maybe you can put the Talmud aside, because I see great wisdom in it, but it’s not inspired. In my book it’s not inspired. So I will volunteer to put the New Testament aside, and if you can volunteer for the conversation to put the Talmud aside, then what are we left with? The Old Testament. The one that you and I can agree on that we can study together, saying this is the word of God.”
And then now, let’s start with Genesis and see if we can track a redeeming person, a Messianic figure, through all the Scriptures, the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. And of course you can. And but here’s a problem, this is an easy invitation to give to a Jewish person. But then the burden is on you, can you take a Jewish person … not you two, but you in general, the Christian in general, can a Christian, can an average Christian take a Jewish person through the Old Testament, Messianic prophecy after Messianic prophecy to show them the Messiah? Most can’t, because they’re not prepared to do that. So it requires a little preparation and study.
Todd: Yeah. What’s interesting to me is how, I’m thinking spiritual warfare, how the enemy works. He uses extra-Biblical things to confuse the matter, whether it’s the Talmud with the Jewish people, or whether it’s apocryphal books, or commentaries, or other traditions that come … or saying that, for example, that the Pope’s words carry as much weight as the Bible, so then you have that tension there, so that’s a common thing that I believe the enemy uses to confuse the matter.
Olivier: Absolutely. And another thing that the Jewish people also have as a misunderstanding, is that the word Christian. When you tell a Jewish person you’re a Christian, they’re not necessarily thinking that you’re a disciple of Jesus. To them, Christian means not Jewish.
Olivier: So in the Jewish mindset, Hitler, the Pope, and Billy Graham are all Christians.
Jeff: Wow. Wow.
Olivier: That’s huge. Because [crosstalk] wait a minute, they are not all … so Christian is a description of somebody who’s not Jewish. So I always, when I talk to Jewish people, I spend a little bit of time defining the words I’m going to be using, and say, “When I say this, this is what I mean. When I say that, this is what I mean.” And we should do this every time we have a serious conversation, especially a theological conversation. Because nowadays, people will say something and all three will discuss it, not thinking of the same thing.
Jeff: Yeah. There’s so much baggage attached to words, coming from different perspectives. So be able to break it down, and to explain what you really … It’s kind of like every short-term mission trip I’ve ever been on. We’ve always had kind of a pre-trip briefing, or several months of it, kind of, hey, let’s understand this people we’re going to. What are cultural things that are offensive to them that we do here in America and don’t even think about? So it’s the same kind of thing. If God’s put a Jewish person in some of our listeners’ lives, they need to take that to heart and really learn where they’re coming from and how to-
Olivier: Absolutely. And the vast majority of Jewish people also believe that Christians are antisemitic. Because they just look at the stigma of Christianity over the last 2,000 years, and people can have a tendency to paint with broad strokes. So if Christianity has done this to us, then Christians are antisemitic, so it really … gentile Christians have to work extra hard to connect with their Jewish family members, Jewish friends, Jewish coworkers, to let them know, “Listen, I know a lot has been done in the name of Christianity, by some Christians in some cases. It doesn’t mean that all Christianity is to be dismissed. Okay, give me a chance to tell you what it means to be a Bible-believing follower of the Jewish Messiah.” And then you have a chance to explain.
Todd: So I have two questions that just immediately popped into my mind from that. So let’s just say I’m a listener right now, and I’m saying, “You know what? I love what Olivier says. He’s really good at this. I’m just going to let all the Jewish believers reach the Jews, and I’ll just reach my people.” So what would you say to someone like that, who just says, “Well, they have a little closer connection, because of who they are and stuff,” what about me? What about just the average Christian, what would you say to them?
Olivier: Well, I would say that you have a, again going back to what I shared in the beginning of the podcast, you have a Biblical mandate to make disciples of all nations, and making a disciple really implies that you’re doing evangelism. Because disciple is the under iceberg. The tip of the iceberg is evangelism, what’s under the water is discipling. And so make disciples of all nations, so you have a Biblical mandate to share with the Jewish people. But now if you take it back to Genesis 12:3, you have a promised blessing, for blessing the Jews. And I don’t see any better blessing than giving the gift of eternal life. It’s the gift that never stops giving. So blessing the Jewish people promises you blessings. And I’m not saying financial blessing, I’m saying blessing, broad general definition of being blessed by God, which we all want. But there’s nowhere in the Bible where it says that you should only witness to gentiles and not Jews.
Now you might be called, listen, some people are called to witness, share the gospel with the elderly, some people are doing better job sharing with the youth, and some people will be better at sharing with Jewish people than others. We all have that mandate to be active in evangelism any chance we have, but God will gift us in different ways.
Todd: But doesn’t exempt us from reaching a certain person. Especially, as you said, God puts that person in your life in some way. Right?
Olivier: That’s right. I mean yes, we have … I mean me, I live in an area that’s not very Jewish, and then when we moved to our new house, the house to the right has a Jewish woman who’s married to a gentile. And they’re not practicing, but they’ve already come to our house for Passover and for Hanukkah, and they know what we believe, and they ask questions, so the opportunities, if you really ask God to give you the opportunities, He will give you the opportunities. And we should always be open for that.
Todd: Second part of my question then, Olivier, is, so a person obviously having tools, having resources is key in something like this, when you’re starting from scratch. Is there a resource that you would recommend that would just say, “Okay, here are the top 20 Old Testament prophetic verses that speak to the coming Messiah,” as a way you can introduce or build a bridge? Ah, tell us about what you’re showing us there.
Olivier: This is a book but that was written by Arnold Fruchtenbaum. I’ve been using it. I teach this, I do a Zoom Bible study at least once a year. It’s called Ha-Mashiach: The Messiah of the Hebrew Scriptures. It’s basically his treatment of Messianic christology. It is a very, very good volume on all the Messianic prophecies of the Tanach, of the Old Testament. One by one, and like Genesis 3:15, Genesis 22:18, Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 7:14, the virgin birth, 9:6-7, the humanity and the divinity. So if you go through this book, you equip yourself with, I think, a good answer, a good explanation for the Messianic prophecies. And you can meet with your Jewish friend, and you can even use that as a guide, and let’s see if we can go through all those passages and discuss them. So that is my go-to. It’s published by Ariel Ministries. It’s very good. I love this. And then there’s a five volume set by Dr. Michael Brown. Answering Jewish Objections to … and theological objections, cultural objections, different historical objections, that’s a little more academic, I should say. It’s very good. Very good, but more academic. This is … I would use this as a tool to equip oneself in knowing the prophecies about the Messiah.
Todd: Well I would just add to that real quickly that there’s also room for another one, a concise guide to reaching your Jewish friends. Perhaps written by someone that we all three of us know.
Olivier: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jeff: Sitting in front of us.
Olivier: Yes. Yeah, I see what you’re saying. There are other books. I mean we have one at Chosen People Ministries called How to Share Messiah with Your Jewish Friends. It’s a small volume, but it’s got good pointers on what to say, what not to say, how to do it, how to say it. For instance, I always tell people, it’s always great to send a card to your Jewish friends, a greeting card for the holidays. But I always add, make sure you never send them one for Yom Kippur. Happy Yom Kippur. It’s the Day of Atonement. It’s a day of … it’s a somber day. But people don’t know that. I had a pastor call me years ago, say “Olivier …” I knew he loves Israel. He loves the Jewish people. He had me at his church many times. He called me, on Yom Kippur, he says, “Olivier, just want to wish you a happy Yom Kippur.” I had to do the mildest rebuke I could to a brother who was trying to do good.
Jeff: That’s brilliant. Man. That is brilliant. Gosh, there’s so much here that we’ve talked about, Todd.
Todd: Yeah, I was going to say, he hinted at a few cliffhangers, but also I have a sneaking suspicion, just the nature of, even from a prophecy angle, things that are kind of shaping up in Israel right now, other things that are happening around the world, getting Olivier’s perspective on some of those things I think is going to be key. So I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll have him back for another episode sometime soon, if that’s okay with you-
Todd: … Olivier.
Olivier: Well, I might make myself available again. It’s a joy being with you guys.
Jeff: Well, it’s … we feel the same way, brother. And speaking of just prophecy, end times, I mean your book on end times antisemitism was so helpful to me in writing my next book that’s coming out in April, I have a whole chapter on just how the Bible says it’s going to ramp up against Jews and against Christians in the end times, and I had to really stop myself from quoting you. I thought, “Gosh, they’re going to think I’m just lifting his whole book and just putting it in my chapter here.” But it was just an invaluable resource. We highly recommend that book by Olivier on end times antisemitism. But again, that creates another opportunity, doesn’t it, as we see things heating up for Jews and Christians. It gives people who know the Lord an opportunity, an open door if you will, to say “Hey, look. Things are kind of getting testy around the world. Have you ever thought about how God might be bringing the world into an end, how the Jewish people, Israel, Christians, we all kind of dovetail into that?” So there’s opportunities. We just have to keep our eyes open.
Olivier: Absolutely. I forgot, last time in the previous podcast, did I touch on the new righteous gentiles among the nations?
Jeff: I don’t think so.
Olivier: Did I touch on that?
Todd: I don’t believe so.
Olivier: Okay, so I think that’s … I got the next podcast for you.
Todd: There you go.
Olivier: This, I have this … I think I sent you this book, you guys, right? Do you have this book, The Time Is Now? This is a little manual on how … what Christians can do today to make a difference in a Jewish community, and to reach out to their Jewish friends. And I think that would be good that we talk about that, if you want me to come back in awhile. But there was a group of people during the war, during the Holocaust, that helped the Jews, hiding them on a farm, or … which was actually the story of my mother, and I can tell you that briefly another time, and they became righteous among the nations according to the Yad Vashem Museum in Israel. And I had this idea that, I don’t want to call it a vision, but this idea that, for such a time as this, right now we’re looking at what’s happening against the Jews, and there’s going to be a need for a new righteous gentiles among the nations, and they will be the Christians of today who love the Jewish people, who’d actually be willing to do something to help the Jewish people in a great time of need.
And I look at the passage in Matthew about the goats and the sheep, and I know that, eschatologically speaking, the three of us would look at this as happening during the tribulation. But there’s a model, if you are a disciple of the Messiah, you love the Jews, and you do anything for them, which means what you do to them you do to the Messiah. Good or bad. So using that model, it will take place in the future, using the model we can apply that to today, and start explaining to today’s Christians what can you do to really make a difference in a Jewish community in a positive way, towards furthering the kingdom. So maybe we can talk about that next time.
Jeff: Absolutely. Well, it makes sense, because we don’t even know what this new presidential administration, what their posture’s going to be with Israel, just how friendly they’re going to be, or if they’re going to try to rescind some of the things that were done in the previous administration, so all the more reason why Christians need to step up and be a friend both to Israel and to individual Jews. So Olivier-
Olivier: And one more thing. When they go after the Jews, the Christians are not far behind.
Jeff: That’s right.
Olivier: So we have to be prepared for that, too.
Jeff: Yep. Very true. Well gosh, Todd, this has been a great discussion as usual. There’s such a kindred spirit among the three of us, and we’re just praying that God would allow us to minister together through this podcast, and perhaps through other ways as well. And Olivier, it’s always a pleasure to hang out with you, brother, and just to get your perspective and your wisdom and your experience. Thank you so much for being with us.
Olivier: Same here, and people can visit my website at newantisemitism.com. And my books are there, and they’re also on Amazon. So you can find them on Amazon under Olivier Melnick.
Todd: Thank you so much for joining us.
Jeff: Did you know you can find the Prophecy Pros on the Edifi Network? That’s right. We’re there now, and we’re getting massive exposure. So cool. It’s E-D-I-F-I. The Edifi Network. Check it out, subscribe, and listen with other podcasts as well on that great network. And as always, we want to thank Harvest House Publishers for making this possible. We could not do this without them.