GOD TV, an evangelical organization out of England, has just received approval to preach the Gospel of Jesus in Hebrew on a cable channel in Israel.
GOD TV recently signed a seven-year deal with HOT to distribute a new Christian channel entitled “SHELANU TV” (translated “Ours TV” in English). HOT controls about 50% of the Israeli cable market.
Before this could happen, HOT had to receive permission from Israel’s Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council that regulates cable TV in Israel.
According to Ward Simpson, GOD TV’s CEO, their organization believes this will be the first time, that this type of broadcasting has been allowed. While other Christian channels are broadcasting on cable channels in English, this will be the first one that broadcasts in Hebrew. The English broadcasts are largely watched by the thousands of English-speaking Christians in Israel.
The significance of a Christian organization broadcasting its message in Hebrew has certainly caught the attention of the media, as it showed up on several major Israeli news site. Haaratz reported the new with this headline: The Gospel of Jesus Christ in Hebrew: Israel Green Lights New Evangelical GOD TV channel and the Jewish Press titled their article: GOD TV Pushing Christian Gospel in Hebrew to Jews on Israeli Cable
Because it is in Hebrew, GOD TV will face challenges, because there are limits on missionary activities in Israel. It is illegal to evangelize anyone under the age of 18. They are also not allowed to provide materials to aid such proselytizing. This may prove challenging for GOD TV, that broadcasts into 200 countries, because it traditionally gears its programming to younger viewers.
And because it is in Hebrew, apparently Israel’s cable regulatory agency has already received questions/concerns about the new channel that hasn’t even broadcast its first program.
At its core, the Christian faith believes that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. The church is not a new religion it is basically a continuation of Israel. This includes the Old Testament Jews looking ahead to the Jewish Messiah and those Jews on the Day of Pentecost, the Messianic Jews today, along with millions of gentiles who believe Jesus is the Messiah.
The Old Testament is full of prophecies that one day the gentiles would embrace Jehovah as their God (Daniel 7:13-14; Genesis 12:3; Psalm 22:27; Isaiah 49:6; Zechariah 2:11; Malachi 1:11; Jeremiah 16:19-21; Isaiah 60:1-3; Isaiah 56:3-7; Amos 9:11-12/Acts 15:15-17).
These Old Testament prophecies have literally been fulfilled through the church (Acts 15:15-17).
In his Gospel, John quotes from Isaiah to explain why the majority of the Jews did not receive Jesus as their Messiah:
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn—and I would heal them.” (John 12: 39-40 NIV)
John says that most of the Jews were blinded, so they literally couldn’t see, and hearts hardened, so they didn’t want to see, that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah.
But the Apostle Paul adds that this hardening is only temporary:
“Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:25-26 ESV)
Notice how Paul only called it a “partial hardening” because thousands of Jews on the Day of Pentecost and even today believe Jesus is the Messiah. But one day Paul says this hardening will be lifted and the Jews, in mass, will accept Jesus as their Messiah.
The last two thousand years has been the age of the Gentiles. I believe with the formation of the Nation of Israel in 1948, that is part of the prophetic time table, may suggest this hardening of Jewish hearts will soon be lifted.
Perhaps GOD TV’s new Hebrew Gospel channel will be part of this. Certainly, some in the Jewish media are concerned.