Farewell, Dear Friend

Posted on October 28, 2021

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By David Ettinger

The Sad News
It is a sad day for our ministry, Zion’s Hope, as we mourn the passing of our Foreign Field Director based in Jerusalem, John Theodor. John, who had faithfully ministered with Zion’s Hope since, 1997, lost his battle with Covid-19.

He was 54 and leaves behind his wife and three teenage children. Though John is now in glory with the Lord, we ask you to pray for his family. Also, pray specifically for unsaved family members on both his and his wife’s side of the family that John’s “graduation to Heaven” will lead them to place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

John Theodor, left, and I enjoy a great moment in Mount Dora, Florida, in September 2019.

Remembering John
In some ways, John – as you might be able to tell from the picture – was a larger-than-life figure as his gregarious personality brightened any room he stepped in. Though he lived in Israel for almost 30 years, John never lost an iota of his pronounced Australian accent (he was born and raised in Sydney) which he good-heartedly played up to the delight of his hearers. Think of the movie “Crocodile Dundee.”

But what was truly admirable and wonderful about John was his heart for the Jewish people – that they would come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Though John himself was not Jewish, God placed deep within him an irresistible love for the Jewish people.

So irresistible was this love that John could no longer remain in the land of his birth, but relocated to Israel where he could bring the Gospel directly to the world’s most populous Jewish nation.

And indeed, John was a force in the Holy Land. Besides engaging numerous Israelis on the streets of Israel, he also was a producer of evangelical videos which ran on YouTube. They were “Why Do We Need a Messiah?”; “How to Identify the Messiah”; “Who is the Messiah?”; “The Birth of the Messiah”; and “The Death of the Messiah.”

By God’s grace these videos have drawn more than 5 million views in Israel over the past three years, and not until we get to Heaven will we know the full impact they have had. But one thing we’re sure of: John is being greeted at this very moment by some of those he helped lead to Christ either through these videos or by his one-on-one witnessing.

The Great News
Despite our sadness, we acknowledge the great news that as a child of the Lord Jesus Christ, John is in Heaven with our Savior at this moment, and for this we rejoice.

And though we mourn, we do so while recognizing John’s current reality. Therefore, “… we … will not grieve as indeed the rest of mankind do, who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

We also recall the soaring words of the Lord Jesus, who assured us that: “I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25-26).

And finally, we view John’s leaving this earth from a spiritual perspective and not a physical one. We know God has a purpose for John’s passing, and it is at this time the Lord has decided to call him home:

The righteous person perishes, and no one takes it to heart; And devout people are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous person is taken away from evil, He enters into peace; They rest in their beds, Each one who walked in his upright way (Isaiah 57:1-2).

We who loved John can now take comfort in the fact John has indeed entered his peace and is at complete and perfect rest. Indeed, John has walked in God’s upright way, and is now enjoying his reward!