Why is Israel Targeted by Missionaries?

Evangelical Christians -- those who fund and support the work of "Messianic Jews" -- see the world as being divided between those who are lost and those who are saved, and believe that Jesus is the only ticket out of hell and into heaven.

While this view applies to all people, the New Testament places a priority on the conversion of Jews, stating that its message represents "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the gentile" (Romans 1:16).

These same Christians also believe, based on another New Testament statement by Jesus himself, that the "second coming" of Jesus will not occur until large numbers of Jews are converted to Christianity.

This belief is based on Jesus’ statement to the Jews, at the end of the New Testament book of Matthew (23:29), that "I will not return until you say [concerning me] ‘blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord.’" From this point of view, the Jewish rejection of Jesus is holding back his long awaited return. As Keith Intrater of Revive Israel Ministries puts it, in setting forth the "vision" underlying his group’s conversionary activity in Israel, "there will be a great sweep of evangelism and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Israel leading up to the Second Coming of Yeshua (Jesus)."

There’s another theological belief that must be mentioned, one that the missionaries don’t want you to know about. Based upon their reading of the Bible (specifically, Zechariah 13:8,9), the missionaries believe that the desired mass conversion of the Jews will not take place until a "great  tribulation" takes place in Israel, one in which 2/3 of the Jews will perish and the remaining 1/3 will convert to Christianity:

"The purge of Israel in their time of trouble is described by Zechariah in these words: "And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith Jehovah, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried" (Zechariah 13:8, 9). According to Zechariah’s prophecy, two thirds of the children ofIsrael in the land will perish, but the one third that are left will be refined and be awaiting the deliverance of God at the second coming of Christ which is described in the next chapter of Zechariah.

-- John Walvoord, former President, Dallas Theological Seminary, in Israel in Prophecy (1988)

"Two-thirds of the Jewish people [living in Israel] will be exterminated." -- Sid Roth, President, "Messianic Vision," on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club (September 8, 1991)

"Modern Israel is without faith in Yeshua (Jesus) and has no relationship to God. Israel is back in the land for judgment, in preparation for the Great Tribulation ... Giving money to houses of prostitution does not bless the prostitute, and giving money to build Israel’s anti-Christ Judaism or secular society is not blessing Israel, especially if God has purposed to withhold His dew and blessings from an Israel that continues to ignore His Son, the only way, truth and life! One may be working against God by attempting to make Israel comfortable, secure and happy in their unbelief! To bless Israel is to impart upon them the Gospel." --Reginald Lisemby, Executive Director, Messianic Ministry to Israel