How Spiritually Hungry Are The Jewish People?

I am old enough to remember the Ethiopian Famines of the 1980s. I remember the concert to raise money for the hungry and, yes, I remember “We Are the World.” However, I think we should all remember the pictures as well …

The pictures are horrible. The children starving and the desperation of people running to and fro simply on the basis of mere rumors that there might be a cup of rice is heartbreaking. However, and as I was preparing to write this blog on Amos 8:11-12, I realized that this is an apt visual of what one looks like spiritually if one does not have the true Word of God that reveals the truth of Messiah Jesus.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find [it]. (KJV — PUBLIC DOMAIN)

And yet that is the spiritual hunger the Jewish people are experiencing at this moment. They are experiencing the “done deal” famine of not being able to hear the “words of the Lord.” And this type of famine is much worse than a famine of bread or a thirst for water because while the lack of physical sustenance will kill the body, the lack of TRUE words of the Lord will kill the soul.

However, this spiritual BREAD and WATER is available to them. However, the TRUE WORD of the Lord is available to them.

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the BREAD OF LIFE: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

John 7:37-38 In the last day, that great [day] of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of LIVING WATER.

John 1:1  In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God.

So … how can we as Christians and churches bring the BREAD and the WATER of the WORD of the LORD (Mk0757180essiah Jesus) to the Jewish people. We must recognize that they are spiritual starving, they are in a spiritual famine, they are desperate for spiritual food to feed their souls. We must also recognize that just like in the 1980s when the world sought to alleviate the suffering of the Ethiopians that the only way to end the spiritual famine of the Jewish people is to bring the Gospel to them. We don’t need a song like “We Are the World” for we have the Word of God to remind us of our responsibility that is found in Romans 11:11 — I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but [rather] through their fall salvation [is come] unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

We as Christians and churches must accomplish this task, not simply because Tzedakah Ministries has “To Equip His Church to Reach His People” as its vision statement. We must because spiritually the Jewish people are as desperate spiritually for the WORD of the LORD as the victims of the 1980s Ethiopian famine as the video shows above. Let me describe how …

The word for “wander” is (נוּעַ or nuwa) and it’s tense is that it is a completed action and one gets the sense that the staggering/wavering around with no sense of direction. This wandering is leading them to as we say in Texas to “running around like a chicken with its head cut off” (Hebrew verb tense gives one that it is an intensive ongoing action, יְשֹֽׁוטְטוּ). For they are intensively seeking, wanting to touch/feel (Hebrew verb tense again, לְבַקֵּשׁ).

Where are the Jewish people looking for this WORD from God? Where are they seeking answers? Where are they “running to and fro” because we as Christians and churches have not shared Messiah Jesus with them?

  • Some have simply given up. This blog has written many times before about the Pew Survey that reports that more than 30% of American Jewry have no religious affiliation whatsoever.
  • Some are branching into Eastern religions. For did you know that there are more Jewish Buddhists than Jewish believers in Messiah Jesus?
  • Some are searching in the mystical world of Kabbalah where they will only find more questions than answers.
  • Some are depending on Jewish community for Jewish identity because rabbinic Judaism offers only regulations and rules and no hope
  • Some are so desperate for anything that they will become attached to ultra-Orthodox Judaism because it offers something even though it depends more upon the Talmud, Mishnah and Gemara than it does on the actual Word of God known as the Tanakh (Old Testament) for “truth”.

The last Hebrew word in verse 12 of Amos 11 describes what all these searches will achieve unless we tell them the search is over in the BREAD of LIFE and the LIVING WATER and the WORD of Messiah Jesus — an ongoing search that will never be attained, an ongoing search in which they will still not find what they are looking for…


9 Comments Add yours

  1. says:

    Listen Amy, I am an observant jew. There are many many jews like me who love to be observant jews. I am not spiritually hungry. Please leave the jews alone. Thats all we ask of you, anyways, your ministry isnt working, everything you do is in vain.

    1. Justin – Regardless of your view, God has given me a calling which I must do. And if all I was doing was in vain, it should not bother you but yet it does. Why is that?

  2. says:

    The Torah says that G-d is One, the Torah says that G-d is not a man. If you want to believe that he is the Messiah power to you! But believe that he is G-d? Every single source, whether from the Torah, the nevi’im, kesuvim, Gemara, Rambam, every SINGLE source in Judaism says that worshipping a man as G-d is Idol Worship. No well educated yid is going to buy into what you are trying to sell him, I know you aren’t trying to convert us because you hate us, I do know that you really believe what you believe and you really think that this is an act of love, but sometimes if you love someone you gotta let go. Let go and Let G-d. If he is messiah, the Hashem will show us. Until then, you Amy Downey, and I Simcha, will continue searching for the truth, and hopefully we do it through Torah. After your reply to this comment, I would like to ask you a question, in hopes you will give me an answer, I am not here to stump you, but I have only one more question.

    1. Justin — I googled your email address if that is your question because I like to know who I am talking to and not just an anonymous stranger. And the only true source in Judaism is the Tanakh (Genesis through 2 Chronicles). The other sources are commentary and often only utilized/written, especially Maimonides as a response against Jesus.

      Matthew 28; Acts 1 and Romans 1:16 are my directions … not you. Sorry if you do not like it; however, that is the truth.

  3. says:

    my question is a serious question and I would like you to answer it, I will give you whatever time you require to figure it out, however, should you not answer it I will remind you in the next couple of days. Before I ask the question please allow myself to share with you about myself, I believe this is important so you know where I am coming from. I Was raised a southern baptist in southwest oklahoma, not too far from you eh? when I was 17 I started learning Torah, and I started to ask the pastor questions, and he kept pushing me away, telling me to stop asking trivial things and to only learn Paul’s letters. The more questions I asked him the more he pushed me away, the more I started to leave christianity, it wasnt just him, it was EVERY SINGLE Christian I asked, they just pushed me away or tried to tell me I have no faith, or they told me I was backwards. This is why I am bitter against christianity, however I still have remained friends with a few who have respected my choice to leave. However, I was disowned by certain members of my family, but I dont care, Judaism is wayyy worth the sacrifice. I left oklahoma and studied countless hours in a yeshiva,so there is no way to argue with me about hebrew, aramaic or anything like that. Here is my question Mrs. Downey (is it Mrs. or Miss?) To preface, we know, and you can ask any jew, that the jewish heritage is through the mother, and the tribe is found through the father. For example, Shimon has a jewish mother, who is from the tribe of Ephraim, and his father is from Judah, so that would make shimon a jew, from the tribe of judah. Make sense? So it is taught in christianity that jesus was born of a virgin. Do I have problems with a miraculous birth? NO! However G-d does things is His choice, and these types of births have historically happened, however, it had always happened to be a girl that was miraculously conceived and not a male. Mary, the mother of jesus is from levi, if you dont believe me, read Messiah Vol. 2 by Avi Ben mordechai, he is a messianic, and even though I left the messianic part of my faith, I still believe he did a good job in his research. Okay, so the new testament lists the genealogy of jesus from Avraham to David, and so on to Joseph and then to Jesus. Whats the problem then? Do I doubt someone’s lineage? My Rebbe is also a direct descendant of kind David, the problem is, that the book of Luke teaches about the virgin birth! So joseph is his “step father” right? The Talmud teaches that one who teaches a child Torah, its as if he fathered him, but that doesnt make jesus a descendant of kind david if joseph isnt a blood relative. So if you say that Jesus is messiah, which even though I believe differently, doesn’t mean you arent allowed to, then by this logic you have to deny the virgin birth, and if you say that he was born of a virgin, then you have to deny his messiah ship. My main issue is the belief that jesus is a god, but if you believe he is messiah power to ya., I believe in a different messiah, and it doesnt make me any less of a child of Hashem. So how does this work Amy? How is he Messian and born of a virgin? Please let me by the first to apologize if I have ever shown you any sort of hate in the past, we are all truth seekers and shouldnt put eachother down as such. My only issue with you, as that you are trying to spread this to the Jews. So the question, how is he a descendant of king david, born of a virgin, at the same time?

    1. Justin,

      Before I answer your question, I need to make a few important observations that are necessary:

      1. I believe you have made a tacit admission that you have been the one responsible for the more than 18 prank/threatening/annoying voice mails and 26 phone calls to my home with your statement — “Please let me by the first to apologize if I have ever shown you any sort of hate in the past…” I accept your apology for these phone calls but these are harassment and illegal.
      2. Your tacit inference that you know where I live is not impressing me. And you know my marital status, so why are you asking?. I don’t intimidate easily. Give it up.
      3. Your English teacher owes you an apology if she didn’t teach you to write any better that what you have produced in your comment to me. Your childhood pastor also owes you an apology because his response was abysmal and exceptionally non-pastoral. However, for you to say that you are not angry and bitter is not true because your anger and bitterness is obvious with every line you write. This fact causes me to hurt for you.
      4. Given that all the geneaological records dating back to King David were destroyed in 70 CE with the destruction of the Temple, there is no way your rebbe could trace his lineage. There is a DNA test for the Levitical tribe but not the tribe of Judah. Someone is not being truthful with you.
      5. When you and Bentzion (I believe you guys know each other … just my gut instinct at work) try to find a wife and the matchmaker struggles because the two nice Yeshiva Bochers are converts or “not good enough” for someone’s daughter … how will that make you feel? Perhaps that is not a very nice question for me to ask but I sense your need to find a place to belong is going to be surprised one day and that causes me to pre-emptively hurt for you already. Your childhood church failed you, Justin. I know the Chabadniks will fail you one day. However, Messiah Jesus will never fail you. He is waiting for you to return.

      Now for your question, and BTW, I chose to go ahead and answer it today not because you gave me a deadline but because of #1-5 above.

      You might know Hebrew better than I do; however, I know Greek better than you. First, the word and the issue that you are wanting to argue is based on Luke 1:36 in the KJV — “And, behold, thy COUSIN Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.” Since Elisabeth is from the tribe of Levi in verse 5 that must mean Mary is from the tribe of Levi and since lineage is from the mother than Jesus could not be from the tribe of Judah, right? Is that your argument in a nutshell? Well … let’s break down the argument because I have examined the argument for myself about 3-4 years ago. Does that surprise you?

      The word translated by the KVJ from the Greek is συγγενής which can be translated as kinswoman or relative such as cousin. John Calvin (remember him???) develops one response to this issue with this position — “A question arises, how Elisabeth, who was of the daughters of Aaron, (Luke 1:5,) and Mary, who was descended from the stock of David, could be cousins This appears to be at variance with the law, which prohibited women from marrying into a different tribe from their own, (Numbers 36:6.) With respect to the law, if we look at its object, it forbade those intermarriages only which might “remove inheritances from tribe to tribe,” (Numbers 36:7.) No such danger existed, if any woman of the tribe of Judah married a priest, to whom an inheritance could not be conveyed. The same argument would hold if a woman of the tribe of Levi passed into another tribe. It is possible that the mother of the holy virgin might be descended from the family of Aaron, and so her daughter might be cousin to Elisabeth.” The Cambridge Commentary also responds with this argument — “36. ἡ συγγενής σου. “thy kinswoman.” What the actual relationship was we do not know. It is a mistake to infer positively from this, as Ewald does, that Mary too was of the tribe of Levi, for except in the case of heiresses there was free intermarriage between the tribes (Exodus 6:23; Judges 17:7; Philo De Monarch. II. 11; Jos. Vit. 1). At the same time the tradition of the Aaronic descent of Mary is as old as the “Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs” in the second century. The reading συγγενὶς is a later form of the word. Γήρει is the Ionic form of the dative of γῆρας. Hellenistic Greek contained forms drawn from various dialects. See Winer, p. 73.” THEREFORE, there could be a connection to Mary and the tribe of Levi but it could be distant and from the mother’s side which was allowed based on Scripture. Additionally, another commentary notes that there were some from within even Talmudic source who understood that the Messiah would have Levitical contexts, perhaps due to the Maccabees, but it also fits with the idea that Jesus is not only our prophet and king but also our High Priest. However, the idea of relative or kinswoman could also mean someone that was Jewish as well. Your argument of Levi is not a breaking point but could ultimately be something of a strong point if I had more time and inclination to elucidate the argument.

      Now as to the tribal question — I am one who would argue that the Matthew 1 is a geneaological record of Joseph not as his STEP father but as Jesus’ ADOPTED father and that is a strong difference that you are choosing to avoid. Tsk, tsk. For we both know the difference and importance of someone being adopted into a Jewish family (or even the Levirate marriage concept … more on that one later), don’t we? However, and because of the difficulty, involving Jeconiah (Coniah) in Matthew 1, we also have the Luke 3 family tree which gives us the family tree of Jesus from David through his son Nathan (Solomon’s full blood-brother) which keeps in line the kingly prophecy of David. I would argue that this through the line of Mary but some would argue that this is also a Joseph line. If it is, that doesn’t bother me because we often have individuals from the Tanakh who “went by” different names (Jeconiah/Coniah, Jethro, etc.). Regardless of whether, Luke 3 is illustrating the Mary or Joseph lineage, I found an interesting hypothesis from the Cambridge Commentary that falls in line with Jewish thought dating back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob themselves. Could it be, and this is only a hypothesis I grant you but it is worth consideration, that Matthan from Matthew 1:15 and Matthat from Luke 3:24 are the same individual and Levi/Jacob were brothers? Just a thought. And if Jacob died with no sons and adopted Joseph (levirate marriage concept in a manner of speaking) than your issue is solved.

      I believe I have answered all your questions but your grammar made it difficult to be certain. If not, I tried and I am not going to worry about it.

      1. Justin says:

        I like how you accuse everyone of prank calling you. Sorry it wasn’t me. I was apologizing for mean comments I posted to your profile in the past

      2. Justin – What is the judgment for lying on Shabbat? The phone # you kept trying to get me to call 580-713-xxxx is a Lawton, OK, number which I believe is a short drive from your hometown according to my Google search of the email address you provided in the beginning. Additionally, and unless you posted a false name (which is also lying by default), this is the first time you have posted. Hmmm… Shabbat Shalom.

  4. keijo leppioja says:

    SO fantastic pleasure are that be hungry after the word of Gofd in my life too so many time and so are for us all in following jesus today and Isreal too will not live without the word of God and not be saved without Christ to confess that Jesus are our the lord and the King of the King in peaceful life with us in power of God,thanks and bless,keijo sweden

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