Apples of Gold Jan/Feb 2015

Editor’s Note: Shortly before we went to press, we received word that Zvi Kalisher, our beloved friend and colleague, passed into the Lord’s presence. We know he is rejoicing, but our hearts are heavy. Words cannot express how deeply we will miss him. His contribution to this ministry for more than half a century has been profound. Please join us in prayer for his widow, Naomi, and his family. Our next issue will feature a special tribute to this special man, whose life exemplified what it means to be a servant of the Most High God.

I have been visiting many people lately, sowing the seeds of the gospel. It is interesting to see how different people react. Some receive the gospel with joy. Others are like stony ground where the seeds cannot take root.

Recently a brother in the Lord accompanied me into what you might call a fiery furnace—Mea Shearim in Jerusalem. How deep in darkness these ultra-Orthodox people are, despite all their piety and religion.

As we spoke, I read to them several passages from the Old and New Testaments, stressing particularly Leviticus 17:11, “It is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Also, 1 John 1:7: “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” When they heard this verse they grew very angry, but we were not afraid for we knew the Lord was with us.

In the Israeli army I had quite a lot to do with the younger generation of these Orthodox people. They used to call me a goy (Gentile) because I was not able to speak Yiddish.

Now, however, I distribute Hebrew tracts and tell them about the Lord, who shed His blood that we might have eternal life. I am also able to speak to them in Yiddish, which I have learned here in Jerusalem.

They refuse to speak Hebrew because they consider it the “holy language,” to be used only for prayer in the synagogue.

As I witnessed to them, I told them the only way out of their present darkness is through the blood of the Lamb. When they heard this, their faces became livid with anger. So I said to my friend, “Now is the time to get out of here fast.”

The interesting thing is that none of them threw away the pamphlets we gave them or returned them to us. Praise the Lord for that!

I also visited a settlement in the Negev desert to distribute Bibles. These people, on the other hand, were grateful to receive the Word of God.

While waiting for our group to gather, I had a wonderful opportunity to get to know some of these people better. Most of them never had a Bible of their own before. How happy each person was to be able to read his own Bible.

Among those who came to the meeting was a new visitor who objected to my reading from the New Testament. So I read portions from the Old Testament as well. This took about two hours.

In the end, he was satisfied; and we were able to carry on our Bible study in a brotherly fashion. He was no longer hostile but listened carefully.

Then we prayed together and again read Ezekiel 33, Jeremiah 29, and other passages from the Old and New Testaments. It was the first time in my life I conducted such a long meeting. Lunchtime passed, and then suppertime; but I did not even realize it.

These people are refugees from behind the Iron Curtain. [Editor’s Note: The term iron curtain, coined in 1946 by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, referred to countries dominated by Communist Russia and then by the Soviet Union.]

The only thing these people knew about the Bible was what the Communists told them. So it was wonderful to give them the Word of God. Our new friend also promised to come to our next meeting.

By the time I left the settlement, it was late Friday evening; and the Sabbath had already set in. That meant the buses were no longer running. So I started my long walk back to my home in Jerusalem.

After walking about four miles, a military truck came along; and the driver gave me a lift to Ein Kerem, the birthplace of John the Baptist, which is about four miles from Jerusalem. By now it was 10:30 P.M.

I then walked the rest of the way to Jerusalem, arriving home before midnight. Strangely, I did not feel tired but was inwardly excited and extremely happy.

When at last I arrived home, my wife asked, “Where have you been all day?”

I told her I was sowing seeds. She did not understand what I meant, so I explained it to her. Now I am praying the seeds will grow into strong plants that will bear much fruit for our Lord.

by Zvi Kalisher in Jerusalem,
from The Friends of Israel Archives, 1960

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