Keeping It Israel

How Christians Connect with God's Plan for Israel - Don Finto

April 25, 2020 Jeff Futers Season 1 Episode 3
Keeping It Israel
How Christians Connect with God's Plan for Israel - Don Finto
Chapters
Keeping It Israel
How Christians Connect with God's Plan for Israel - Don Finto
Apr 25, 2020 Season 1 Episode 3
Jeff Futers

Jeff talks to Don Finto, author, speaker, pastor, teacher. Don is the former pastor to recording artists like Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant at Belmont Christian Church in Nashville, TN and Founder of Caleb Company. Don has also written books, including 'Your People Shall Be My People' and 'God's Promises and the Future of Israel.'

Support the show (http://www.firstcenturyfoundations.com/donate/)

Show Notes Transcript

Jeff talks to Don Finto, author, speaker, pastor, teacher. Don is the former pastor to recording artists like Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant at Belmont Christian Church in Nashville, TN and Founder of Caleb Company. Don has also written books, including 'Your People Shall Be My People' and 'God's Promises and the Future of Israel.'

Support the show (http://www.firstcenturyfoundations.com/donate/)

Chris Atkins, One Media :

Welcome to the keeping it Israel podcast with Jeff Futers, where Jeff and his guests talk. Everything Israel as it relates to Christian faith and the church. If you are a Christian and you stand with Israel, you will be encouraged and challenged by this podcast. And if you're not so sure about the whole Israel thing, you need to learn how your faith connects with Israel, and why standing with Israel matters. Now here's Jeff with today's guest

Jeff Futers :

Hey, thank you for joining me on the keeping it Israel podcast today, where we talk everything Israel as it relates to Christian faith and the church. My name is Jeff and I'm the executive director of First Century Foundations, we're a ministry that prays for and helps to financially support many ministries on the ground in the land of Israel. And my guest today is Don Finto. Don is a former pastor, now Executive Director of the Caleb Company. This is a ministry that trains and educates people with regard to our connection as Christians to Israel and to the Jewish people. And Don and I had a great conversation in Jerusalem, Israel on back. And so I thought I would share that with you today. And so let's go and enjoy my conversation with Don Finto, complete with the background sounds of independence park in Jerusalem. Well we have a very special privilege on the show today. I, you know, I had a chance happening about a week and a half ago, although I don't really believe it was chance. Well, my wife and I were sitting in the cafe at Christ Church. And that morning, I had just purchased a book online for my Kindle, because someone had recommended it to me. They said, you have to read the book by Don Finto 'Your People Shall Be My People.' And as we're sitting in the cafe, I noticed very handsome gentlemen walk in. And I thought, this, guy looks familiar. I think that might be Don Finto. And so I went over and I said hello, and the rest is history. Thank you for being with us today,

Don Finto :

No...good. Yeah, it was not a chance happening. Very good...

Jeff Futers :

Not at all We believe.

Don Finto :

And then we found out that our whole ministry and heart is so similar. So yes,

Jeff Futers :

Yes.

Don Finto :

Excellent.

Jeff Futers :

And now, I'm very new to this. I've been doing this for about a year not even. And you've been doing it a little longer. How long have you been involved with ministry to Israel?

Don Finto :

I started getting involved back through the Jesus movement. Right. I was pastoring, a church in Nashville, Tennessee, and hippies. Many of the hippies were Jewish people that had dropped out. Yeah. And then some of them became Jesus freaks and many of the leaders in today's Messianic movement, the older leaders in the Messianic movement, many of them came to the Lord during that whole era. And some of them were members of my flock, okay. And some of them started challenging me. I remember one lady, for example, said hold on a minute. Are we grafted into youor are you grafted into us? Why do we have to act like you? Why can't we just be Jews who believe in Jesus? Why do we? Why do we have to embrace Christianity? You guys? Yes, but so anyway, I try and I started getting acquainted with some of the leaders and some of the people that are in the land today, were the first Messianic congregation that I started connecting with in Maryland. Okay. And then I used them as a barometer when somebody would want to come to Belmont. Who are they? Is this somebody I need to have? Things like that. Right. And, and then back and fast forward a little bit in 97. I became a part of two different boards that had Jews and and Christians, Jews and believers from the nations. Yes, on the boards. Yeah. And we would come. So I came a couple of times a year. Okay to Jerusalem since 97, and one of my roles is really to get so acquainted in the land that I want to know everything that's really fruit producing in the land, so that I can both encourage it, and connect them to people outside the land, who will who will participate with him.

Jeff Futers :

That's great...That's great. Now, I mentioned your book earlier, and I'll just hold it up here. 'Your People Shall Be My People,' by Don Finto. And you can get that I think you can get it on Amazon. I know. That's where I got it. Yeah. And it is. I just finished reading this book this morning. And, you know, I mentioned to you a little bit earlier when we were just visiting here that I really feel like this, this takes and puts a lot of the flesh on a skeleton of how I've been feeling. Yeah, you know, in my last 10 or 11 years of coming back and forth to the land. And then of course, I just recently resigned my church. Yeah, and I'm involved full time now in you know, traveling around Canada. Talking to churches about the work that we're involved with here. Right, the ministries that we pray for. And that's our number one focus is prayer. We Yeah, we want to come alongside the believers in the land and pray that, you know, God will use them to bring in a great harvest of souls, but also, you know, that, that they will, they will sort of take their place in this this great thing that God is doing in these last days. And so, we're involved, we're involved with a number of ministries, we of course, when people pray they want to give and so I, you know, we've got we've got lots of ways to help ministries here. I was noticing, as I read your book, we know some of the same people. I'm just getting to kno...you. know, some of the people that you've known for many years. Talk a little bit about, you know, ministries here in the land, and what you know of what they're doing and how we can better be involved.

Don Finto :

Yeah, well, well, let me tell you, let me tell you first, why I even wrote this. Please because we had I mean, during the Jesus people, we had a real influx in our congregation and, and we had publishers and they were encouraging me to write and I thought, why should I write anything? Anything I would write somebody else has already written it at least as good or better than I would. But then I got this I got two messages that really made me write this book. Okay. One was and it's interesting, I got it out of Isaiah six, there are other places, Ezekiel 36 or Isaiah three, there are other places you can get it. But I got it out of Isaiah six that I genuinely believe that Isaiah six declares that our day is the day for Jewish people to come to faith in their own Messiah.

Jeff Futers :

This day right here...

Don Finto :

This day right now. Yeah, Isaiah says, And and I saw it and I thought, and in fact, the first person who probably hinted that, to me was a Jewish believer, okay, and I started reading Isaiah and Okay, so Isaiah, if you remember, Isaiah hears a voice saying, Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? And Isaiah says, send me. And God says, go tell...I'm paraphrasing, but God says, Go tell the nation of Israel, that our eyes are going to be closed and her heart hardened. And Isaiah screams. How long? Yeah. And God says, until the land is totally devastated. The houses are ruined and the, and the houses are deserted and the fields ruined. Right? Well, that happened for 18 centuries, Jesus and Paul, both quote, Isaiah six as a reason why the nation as a whole in Jesus' time did not receive Him. So for 18 centuries, the land was devastated. Wow. But it's not anymore. No. So the 'untils' are over. Yeah, that's why it's time. That's why we have I mean, I read someone the other day I was shocked, but that believes there are a million Jewish believers today. That's high for me but...

Jeff Futers :

In the land?

Don Finto :

No, no, no, no, no. in the world in the world, no in the land 15 or 20,000. Right? But, um, but I believe they're probably half million, because 200,000 or so came to faith in the US. And then when the communism fell, so anyway, I passionately believe that today is the day when the eyes of Jewish people are opening to the Messiah. We we have a recent girl that we met that was reared in the ultra orthodox section of Jerusalem right here, who through a whole series of things I want you to tell the whole story is too long. But But nonetheless, she...they couldn't get her in control. And they kept trying to control her and so forth. Anyway, the long and short of it is she was ready to die and she was in America in New York. They'd sent her over there to get her shaped up for her husband and she saw a church building and remembered her dad had told her she ever entered the church, she would die. And she was wanting to die. So she went into the church building and had a revelation of Yeshua. And she's, so her eyes are open she, right now she's in Iraq, wanting to speak to ISIS people. Anyway, Jeff, the whole thing is, today is the day. We need to be praying. intercessors need to be praying that Jewish people come to faith. We love them whether they ever will come to faith or not.

Jeff Futers :

Yeah, that's right.

Don Finto :

But they will. The second thing was, I believe that the revival is going on in the world connects to the Jewish people coming back to the land. And and you've read the book. Yeah. And you read. I mean, one of my favorite places in the book is the response that David McQueen, the pastor out in Abilene, Texas had when he was reading the manuscript, you remember that?

Jeff Futers :

I think so...remind me

Don Finto :

Well, he...I gave him the manuscript when it was just being brought out. Because he wanted to travel with me. He was a young pastor and he wanted to travel with me, right? Just to connect. I had known him since he was in college. So I give him the manuscript and he starts reading it, thinking, I want him to critique it, but it's already the publisher. Right? Right. But he gets to one passage and he gets up, gets around the plane gets his Bible. And I said, What are you doing? He said, I think you've misquoted your scripture. I said, Well, you better find out. He turned ashen when he read Romans 11:12. So anyway, Romans 11:12 has opened so many people's eyes to the relationship of Jewish people coming back to the land and the Lord and world revival. Yeah. Romans 11:12 says, if they're transgression, means riches for the world. And their loss means riches for the Gentiles. Listen to this, how much greater riches will their fullness, bring riches for the whole world. And then you go down three verses later in verse 15. If their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be, but life from the dead? So I totally believe, prophetically why we're having revival in China and Indonesia, and places in Africa and even in Iran and all these places, is because it's time for that prophetic revival to come. So those are the reasons why I wrote the book.

Jeff Futers :

Now there's, there's some connections between what's been happening in the land of Israel in the last hundred years or so. And, and different revivals over time. Talk a little bit about that because I read about a connection with Azusa Street, of course, the obvious connection with with the Jesus movement as well.

Don Finto :

It's it's really it It's really interesting. It's, it's what happens to the Jewish people in Israel connects to what's happening in the world, right somehow there are lots of ways but the quickest way to say is the first Zionist conference was in 1897... right after that was the Welsh Revival and the Azuza Street revival? Yeah. 1948 Israel became a nation. Yes. Which was also the birthing of the healing revival, and the beginning of the whole Billy Graham, revival. 1967 Israel, re-took Jerusalem, there was the reunification of Jerusalem. I have a Time magazine of June 1971. Where they the whole magazine, or much of the magazine is devoted to the Jesus revolution right and three times in that article, the beginning of the charismatic movement, and the beginning of the Jesus movement is dated to 1967. So it's almost, I personally believe that there is a switch that flipped in heaven in 1967, where God said, Okay, it's time to open their eyes and bring him back. Yeah. So why? Why wouldn't we be excited about this?

Jeff Futers :

I'm excited.

Don Finto :

I pray more and more people will get excited. Yeah, do the very thing that you're doing. And so do I believe this whole church needs to get this. We God still has a plan. We require all of our students to memorize Romans 11. Yeah. Because twice, has God rejected His people? By no means did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all. But rather salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous. We've killed them. We've hated them. We've fastened them in synagogues and burned them. Yeah, we haven't made them jealous. No, anyway,

Jeff Futers :

It's a poor, poor history. Well, what do you think? Is this a coincidence that God began to move? when, you know, he beat he established the nation of Israel and began to bring us people back? I don't think so. But you can decide for yourself and that message that that Don is sharing right now, you know, that is what needs to be heard by the church, in Canada and all around the world. We need to come alongside of our Jewish brothers, we need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. And we need to understand that when God moves here, there's going to be a great release of His Holy Spirit all around the world like we've never seen before. I just have appreciated so much. Just a kind of a kinsmen spirit here, Amen. I really appreciate the work that you're doing here. And I told you a little bit about you know, when I first was asked to step in, and give leadership with First Century Foundations. You know, my wife and I prayed really hard because this was a huge shift. After 30 years of pastoring. We had a we had a pull, a call to be involved with ministry to do with Israel. We just didn't know what that would look like at the time. And I remember praying and saying, God, You know what, I don't want to do this, just because it's an opportunity that's in front of me. Yeah, I want you to give me something specific. And I felt very strongly in that moment that God spoke to me about, about reaching a younger generation, to help them understand why it's so important that we include Israel, in in our faith journey, that, that in Christianity, it's important that we understand the significance of the land of Israel, the people of Israel, and what that means for, you know, this generation that we're living in, and I find, and it's anecdotal, but I find that that I've talked to young people who, even Christian young people who um If they're not if they're not anti Israel, at the very least they're ambivalent. Yeah, you know, they just have no. And that was my story. Actually, the first time I came to Israel, I didn't really understand why I needed to come. And that was after 20 years of ministry. So you know, God's been doing this in my heart. And I really believe that, that he wants to, to reach this younger generation and, and when I prayed, and I really felt like God said, You know what, start with start with ministry candidates start with people who are studying to be pastors, in our fellowships. And so that's what we're endeavoring to do. And I know that you work with a lot of young people who do want you just to share a little bit about about that. Yeah, and about why this is so important.

Don Finto :

Well, interesting. The way you're talking about it, because there's an interesting little passage over numbers eight, for God tells the Levites... God tells Moses to tell Aaron's put the Levites into the Tent of meeting from their 25th to their 50th year and when they're 50 they're not to do the work but to assist the people do good. W ell, I was... I was pastor for about 25 years at Belmont, and in the last years, I realized that it's no longer what I do that was the most important thing, but it was raising up the next generation. Right? Right. And so I gave up the pastorate for that very reason. And we started Caleb Company. And we started Caleb Company because I wanted to challenge old people still take their mountains from their 85 and beyond. Yes, Caleb's descendants inherited the land. I wanted to raise up young people to inherit the land. And he was wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord all of his life, which means he didn't flip out and do something stupid when he was 80 or 70, or whatever. So we... so ever since then, we've, we got this prophetic word that we were supposed to produce weapons of mass instruction. And, okay, now all the people, so that's what we've done. So we, yeah, we have training schools. We bring people to the land, actually four times a year to different students two times a year other people And in order to get it because people don't realize in our day because they go to that Galatians passage that says there's neither male nor there's neither Jew nor Greek. And they say there's, there's no difference in us. But that same passage says there's not male or female.

Jeff Futers :

Right? And how do we reconcile that?

Don Finto :

Here's the thing through the centuries, when Jewish people have come to faith, there's not been very many of them. But when they've come to faith, both the church and the synagogue said, You're not Jewish anymore. Yeah. And there was a Rabbi in this city just the other day that told one of my friends, if all the Jews, if you convert all the Jews to Christianity, Hitler will have gotten his way. They won't be the Jews anymore. Oh, my goodness. And you know what he said that. And you know what? He's right. Wow. If you mesh Jews into Christianity, and they're no more Jews. You don't have that. Jesus own blood family. Right. That's a witness to the world. Hmm. So one of the things that we now are understanding I am understanding, your understanding is Yeah, we encourage Jewish people to remain Jewish. Yes. I was about to baptize a young Jewish man, several years ago now. And we were headed to the baptistry and he said, Well, I'm giving up my Jewishness today. I said, Hold it. No, you're not. Right. You're accepting your own Messiah. Amen. walked into a little cafe one time in Nashville, Jewish lady was sitting over there. She came over she, she said, Give me now whatever. She put her hands on her hips and said, Are you trying to convert all the Jews? I said, Oh, no. We're the ones who converted. If you hadn't kept faith in the one true God alive, we'd still I'll be worshiping. sticks and stones we were the pagans. Yeah, we worship your God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we worship your Messiah. Yes. It's a whole different thing. But Jewish people need to be a witness to the family of Jesus that the destiny of the Jewish people was to be a light to the world. Yeah. Amen. And when, when they come to faith, and they become that light to the world, and the Gentiles, those from the nations understand the heritage that we have that comes through the Jewish people, and we start making them jealous. That's what Paul says in Romans 11. Yeah. And then in the in Romans 11:30-32. He says, just as you Gentiles, who were at one time disobedient have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience. So they have now have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you. In other words, you're supposed to be showing them mercy, right, but For 18 centuries, we didn't know. But now in our generation, there is more of, there's a rising group of believers among the nations who are showing mercy and who are loving the Jewish people and letting them know that we worship their God and that the whole Bible really is a Jewish book. Yeah, their family journal has become our sacred scriptures. And, and they're becoming jealous. They really are, yeah. And coming to faith. And then they come to faith. And they bless us because they're light for the nations. So it's this cycle of revival is happening in our day.

Jeff Futers :

And so it's critical that, that we in the church understand that. Absolutely. And, and, you know, I think that that anyone going into pastoral ministry, needs to be, you know, exposed to this teaching this idea that we're talking about together here today. And so we're really praying, we're really praying that we can get schools to work together and to, to, you know, have a course and maybe the third year of their curriculum that students can opt into, that will not only teach them about what we're talking about today, but will also culminate in an experience here in the land. Yeah, we'll bring them we'll show them some of the stones, but we'll also take them to visit some of the ministries and I think that's going to be a tremendous thing. And we're praying that that will become reality. Yeah, you know, the big miracle will be to get a number of schools to work together to see that happen. But I know that that we can do it. Now, just quickly, you know, you you alluded a little bit to this, but one of the things I get asked all the time, you know, I've just taken over this, this ministry in the last say year or so. But people are like, so what are you are you Jewish now? Do we have to become Jewish in order to support the Jews?

Don Finto :

And you know, you know, honestly, if I could be almost crass, a non Jews beginning to act like a Jew and wanting to be a Jew doesn't help Jewish people to understand at all. No, that's right. If if you're a Gentile, that's who you are, you're supposed to be a non Jew, right? You're not supposed to act like a Jew. You're not supposed to. You don't have to become a Jew. If you're not going to have Jews and Gentiles together if Gentiles don't stay Gentiles and Jews, Jews. I mean, the whole, the whole new covenant is about that. And so it's it's exactly like husband and wife loving each other. Husbands don't become wives wives don't become husbands. When you get married, you're one, but you're still two in one. Yeah. And that's the way it is with Jew and Gentile. That's a great illustration, And Jeff, honestly, I believe that the last great deceit in the church is going to be how we stand with Israel and the Jewish people. Because if as many believers today many Christians today do not believe that present day Israel has anything to do with prophecy. And yet Isaiah 43 verses five and six specifically says, a time is coming when I bring them back from the north, south, east and west. Never before in history have they been brought back from all four directions until today till now.

Jeff Futers :

That's right. Amazing. Yeah, amazing. Now there's still value in understanding the Jewish ways. Absolutely. Perhaps even being involved in some of the Jewish feasts

Don Finto :

Ah well. They're Biblical feasts.

Jeff Futers :

Exactly.

Don Finto :

They're not even Jewish feasts...

Jeff Futers :

You got me!

Don Finto :

Yeah, they're not even Jewish feasts. They're the Feasts of the Lord. That's right, God. I mean, it's...we could talk for a long time on that one. He died at Passover. Yes, he was raised on the Feast of Firstfruits three days later, he poured out His Spirit on the same day very likely that the 10 Commandments were given. There's a long interval in between, right, and then there's the feast of trumpets, hello, and then announcing and then 10 days later. Yom Kippur day of judgment in five days later is living together. We missed so much by not embracing the biblical feasts.

Jeff Futers :

That's good. That's good. All right. Well, thank you so much again. It's really been amazing. And I feel like, I feel like I have a new friend. I really feel that way, Amen. And it's good to be brothers. But I hope that you've enjoyed our talk with Don Finto today. Don't forget, he's written not just the book we talked about last week, 'Your People Shall Be My People,' but also another book, don't tell us about the other book as well.

Don Finto :

Five years later, I wrote one that really I think is better teaching. This one this year people has my heart. So in it, I think it really grabs people, but the other one is called God's Promise and the Future of Israel.' Okay... It's how the church and the Jewish people come together in the last days, something like that, Yeah.

Jeff Futers :

So 'God's Promise and the Future of Israel' and we'll find a graphic to put up on the screen. But make sure that you know you check out Don's books. And thank you so much for your for for following us here on first century foundations but also for your partnership with us. We want to ask you to continue to pray for the ministries in the land Amen I have just been here for about a month or so at the time of our shooting, and we've visited so many different ministries that are doing incredible work here. They're reaching out and touching the lives of, of people that are both Jews and and non Jews they are touching the lives of people that are believers and unbelievers supporting Holocaust survivors and the poor. It's amazing work that's happening here. And you'll hear some about that on our show later on. But thank you so much for being with us. And Don, thank you. Yeah, God bless you. And we'll talk again real soon...Amen. Thank you for listening to the podcast today. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Dawn Finto... Don has an amazing ministry. If you'd like to know more about what it is that they do, you can check out his ministry at http://calebcompany.org. And there's lots of information there. Great to have you with us. Remember, we are a ministry that helps to support many ministries in the land of Israel, if you'd like to help with that, all of the proceeds that are donated to First Century Foundations go towards our ministry and helping ministries in the land of Israel. You can do that at http:firstcenturyfoundations.com/donate again http:firstcenturyfoundations.com/donate. Thanks for being with us. And remember, as Christians, we stand with Israel!