Do Jewish People Have Another Path to Salvation?
I am often asked the question “Do Jewish People have another way of salvation apart from Jesus?” My simple yet clear answer is “no.” If I believed any different, there would be no Jewish Voice Ministries. Telling Jewish People about Jesus is our divine mandate - the very reason for our existence. If I believed there was any other path of salvation for Jewish People, I would not have devoted my life to the often unpopular and painful task of trying to convince my fellow Jews that our Messiah has already come and His Name is Yeshua.
The question is a good one and is often prompted by good intentions. After all, Jewish People have suffered for almost two thousand years because of their initial rejection of Jesus and efforts to convert them by force to Christianity. As a result, modern Judaism is in part a response to these efforts. In other words, we define Judaism often by what we do not believe as opposed to what we do believe. Jews do not believe in Jesus.
The Influence of Dual Covenant Theology
Simply stated, Dual Covenant Theology promulgates the idea that the Jewish People have a separate path to salvation through the Abrahamic or Mosaic Covenant. In other words, this view holds that Jews do not need Jesus for personal salvation.
This idea sprung up immediately following World War II and evolved into something called the Dialogue Movement. This well established movement teaches that Judaism and Christianity are both valid yet distinct religions, each equally worthy of the other’s full acceptance and respect. In other words, Christians ought not to challenge traditional Judaism’s rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. Sparked by guilt over the extermination of six million Jews under the guise of Christ and Christianity during the Holocaust, a growing sensitivity emerged among primarily liberal scholars. They began to write and teach that the Jews have suffered enough through the centuries, and since much of this suffering was due to efforts to try to force Jews to convert to Christianity, we now need to leave them alone. As a result, many Christians, including Evangelicals, consider it good will not to share the Gospel with Jewish People.
While there may be an element of truth in this idea and it certainly seems noble, the Bible declares that the Gospel is not only for the Jewish People but is to the Jew first. (Romans 1:16) There is only one plan of salvation for all people; “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (see Acts 4:12) Jesus Himself said in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” As Bible believers, we have no choice but to accept this at face value. Either you believe God’s Word or you don’t.
Faith Comes By Hearing
But you don’t have to fully espouse Dual Covenant Theology to miss the mark. Some Bible teachers, while not fully embracing a Dual Covenant view, do teach that sharing the Gospel with Jewish People is unnecessary. I recently heard one prominent leader (whom I otherwise greatly respect) make the statement, “Jews do not come to Christ through proclamation, but through revelation.” Although this statement does not negate the need to believe in Jesus for personal salvation, it does seem to dismiss the mandate to Christians to share their faith with Jewish People. Apparently, this leader feels this is God’s job and He will take care of it on His own. And while this is not exactly a Dual Covenant position, the end result is the same – there is no need to share our faith with Jewish People. The Apostle Paul tells us in very clear language that proclamation is an essential prerequisite to revelation, or faith: “How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:14-15) A few verses later, he again reemphasizes this truth with the familiar declaration “so then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:19)
If you read this passage in context, you’ll see it is talking about the restoration of the Jewish People. There is a clear progression the Apostle Paul lays out here: Proclamation precedes faith. In our outreaches in the former Soviet Union over the last 13 years, I have seen thousands of Jewish People come forward in altar calls to receive Yeshua as their Messiah. It has been in response to the proclamation of the Gospel, just as Paul taught.
Paul shared his heart in Romans 9:1-4 concerning his Jewish brethren. He makes the astounding statement that he would be willing to give up his very eternity for their salvation: “I speak the truth in Messiah - I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit- I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the People of Israel.”
I believe Paul is revealing the very heart of God concerning the salvation of the Jewish People. It is God’s desire for all Believers to be co-workers with Him in the restoration of Israel and the Jewish People. This means all of us are called to pray for the salvation of the Jewish People and share our faith whenever possible. After all, there is no greater blessing you can give a Jewish Person than the gift of eternal life through a relationship with their Messiah. And His Name is Yeshua.
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