QUESTION: I received my Purple Pomegranate Productions Messianic Resource Catalog from Jews for Jesus in the mail. I find the items very interesting, but I was wondering about two things. First of all, if you are, as you claim to be, an evangelistic ministry, why are you selling things? Also, why did you choose that name Purple Pomegranate? It seems…well…unnecessarily exotic.

ANSWER: We certainly are first, foremost and only an evangelistic ministry. Our purpose in offering items of Judaica and witnessing tools for sale in the Purple Pomegranate catalog is twofold: to help our Christian friends understand Jewish culture and love the Jewish people, and to make available to them aids for witnessing to Jews.

We never use funds designated for evangelism to pay for this merchandising phase of our ministry. The proceeds of the mail order sales merely pay for the personnel and other expenses involved in our making these items available to the public. If and when this service were to cost mission money, we would discontinue it. Conversely, if there are any profits involved, we will spend those funds on missionary work.

As for your question about the catalog title, it may sound somewhat exotic to you, but it was not frivolously chosen. It holds an inside meaning for us Jews for Jesus.

Because we are an organization concerned with raising the image of the gospel, imagery is very important to us. The imagery behind the title we chose is found in Exodus 39:24-26. There you will find a description of the High Priest’s robe. The garment, to be worn for ministering, had alternating golden bells and pomegranates made out of blue, purple and scarlet yarn. When the High Priest wore that robe, the Israelites were very much aware of his presence. He was both highly visible and audible, because the garment was distinctive in color and design, and whenever he moved, the sound of the bells announced his approach.

We chose the purple pomegranate as a symbol for Purple Pomegranate Productions because we offer certain items, such as T-shirts, rubber stamps and bumper stickers that are worn or are otherwise highly visible for evangelistic ministry. In a sense, these are our bells and pomegranates” to make sure that people are aware of our message and ministry of proclaiming the gospel.