Apples of Gold Jan/Feb 2023
The ultra-Orthodox are always looking for 10 men to form a minyan, a quorum necessary for synagogue prayer. So I wait outside the synagogue, watching them call people to pray with them.
If I go to them before they call me over, they become suspicious. But when they come to me, they give me a chance to speak with their rabbis. I am always waiting for this chance to bring them the Good News about the living and everlasting God and Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Recently when I went to them, they happily told me, “There is a messiah in Israel!” They showed me his picture. I had seen it before. It was of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a rabbi who had lived in New York City and died in 1994.
The men prayed and sang loud praises to him. One rabbi, noticing I was not participating, asked me, “Why are you not happy? Most of us are happy to sing that the messiah is in Israel!”
“You have made a big mistake,” I told him. “You are dancing around a golden calf.”
This comment angered him. “Why are you here?” he demanded.
“You called me to be part of your minyan,” I replied.
“But who gave you courage to attack us like this?”
“I do not attack you,” I told him. “I am only doing what the Lord told us to do. As a rabbi, you must know the Lord has chosen us as His people, Israel, to be His servant and to proclaim His name, not to worship idols. Now look at whom you worship.”
I read to them from Isaiah 1, where God tells our people, “The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider. Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity. . . . They have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel” (vv. 3–4).
I was surprised to see them listening quietly. But when I finished, they began to shout, “Who brought you here? Why did you come?”
“This is the Lord’s will,” I answered. “Psalm 96 says, ‘For all the gods of the peoples are idols’ [v. 5], just like this man you worship. But the Lord has chosen Israel not to worship idols but to be His servant. We are meant to warn the people of Israel against serving idols, which people like you try to make us do.”
Because there were so many ultra-Orthodox men there, I was sure they would physically attack me; but they did not. They were interested in what I had to say.
“How is it that someone like you, from the street, with no beard and no Orthodox clothing, wants to teach us how to worship our God?” one asked.
“He is not your God only,” I said. “As it is written in Deuteronomy 6, ‘The LORD our God, the LORD is one’ [v. 4]. I believe in only one God, unlike you, who dance around this idol and try to deceive these people from believing in the Lord Jesus, our Savior.”
“Are you not afraid to come to us and try to destroy our faith?” another asked.
“What does the Lord say?” I asked. “‘Do not be afraid!’ I am here to do His will. That is why you see me full of confidence.”
I read Deuteronomy 6:13–14 for them: “You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him. . . . You shall not go after other gods.” Then I asked, “Take a look at yourselves and whom you worship. As the people of Israel, are we God’s servants or not?”
This time they wanted to hurt me. But I remembered what the Lord said: “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isa. 41:10). They asked me what organization I belonged to and who sent me to them. This was not the first time people like them asked me that question. I knew if I showed fear, they would attack me. But I know in Whom I have believed. As it is written in Isaiah 41:9, “I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”
They continued questioning me, asking how I knew the Bible. I said, “I read it and do not spend my time reading fictitious stories, as you do.” Please pray these men will see the light of the Messiah, Jesus, while they still can.
From The Friends of Israel archives
2 thoughts on “Apples of Gold Jan/Feb 2023”
Wow! I am grateful the Lord led me to this story! Beautiful! If only we ALL would be so bold and courageous in Him! He was about the business of Jesus! Doing what Jesus did in the synagogues and temple. So many blinded. Yes! We must pray for God’s chosen! And pray that He would use as He did Zvi!! Thank you for posting this story! It helps to light a fire to spread His gospel!! 🙌🏼🙌🏼Praise Yahweh!!
I wait for every copy of Israel my Glory magazine so I can read about Zvi’s stories while he was alive and walking the street of Israel. I happened upon this in one of your magazines about three years ago and recognized the voice of Zvi being portrayed by Mike Kellogg who I use to listen to on WMBI radio Moody Bible Institute when I worked mid-nights as a police officer in a community south of Chicago, Il. . What a gift to have the stories from Zvi and the voice of Mike back into my Life they both are God’s special messenger to me and many others. God Bless