Apples of Gold Jul/Aug 2014

The situation in Israel is very tense. There is no peace. Most of the time I am on military duty and am called up to patrol the dark streets of Jerusalem on the Arab side. My task is to look for mines and booby traps. I must watch my step all the time. Our Arab neighbors keep threatening to destroy us, but we are not afraid and trust in the Lord.

We must hold on to this land, otherwise they shall completely drive us into the sea. The Lord has promised this land to our people, and there is no power in the world that can oppose His will.

In the meantime, I am giving as many people as possible my testimony concerning our Messiah and Savior. I have visited many friends to tell them how they can obtain eternal life through faith in Jesus because we do not know what the next day may bring.  

Recently I was on patrol in the main street of former Arab Jerusalem. [Editor’s note: The Israel Defense Forces liberated the Old City from Jordanian occupation and reunified Jerusalem under Israeli control in 1967, one year before this column was written.]

It was three o’clock in the morning. I noticed a group of people coming my way. They were fully dressed in black robes. Of course, I thought they were priests. But when they came closer, I realized they were students at an Orthodox Jewish school.

As was my duty, I stopped them and asked what they were doing on the street so early in the morning. They answered in unison, “We are going to the Western Wall [in the Old City] to recite Slichot [penitential prayers usually recited before New Year and the Day of Atonement].”

At first they were frightened. But when they saw I was an Israeli soldier, they took courage. I asked, “When do you think the Temple will be rebuilt? Why do you not begin rebuilding now that you have in your possession the Western Wall?”

One of them replied, “Only when the Messiah comes will the Temple be rebuilt.”

“And where is the Messiah?” I asked. He answered, “He is already here, but he is waiting to make himself known. He will build the Temple, and all the dead shall rise from their graves. We ourselves have no right to build the Temple. We are unclean and must not touch this work on the Holy Temple.”

Their leader, who was a rabbi, asked me, “What do you think of the Messiah, the Son of David, soldier?”

I answered, “The Messiah, the Son of David, has come and is coming again. I know Him, and many people know Him and receive Him as their Messiah and Savior. He laid down His life for our sins and made full atonement for us, according to Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22.” I gave them other Scriptures as well to make my point.

They stood there amazed, hearing something they apparently did not know. The Lord Himself put the words into my mouth. Whatever questions they asked, I answered with Scripture. I was amazed at myself and realized the Holy Spirit was guiding me.

Usually the Orthodox will not talk to anyone who confesses Jesus as the Messiah, but these men were most thrilled and impressed by the fact that I was a soldier who guarded their safety while they were asleep or when they went to the Western Wall to pray.

“I am a true Jew who believes in our own Messiah Jesus,” I told them. After I gave them my testimony, explaining how I came to believe in Jesus, I asked, “Do you think I should have the same rights as any other Jewish person here in Israel? Or do you think I do not deserve such rights?”

The rabbi replied, “You ask a hard question, difficult to answer.”

I insisted he give me an answer because I wanted to know his opinion.

“Well,” he said, “If all the Jewish Christians would be like you, we would have no difficulty at all.”

Instead of going to the Western Wall, they lingered around me and discussed the Messiah and Messianic prophecies until nearly six o’clock in the morning. We hardly realized the night had passed and morning had arrived.

by Zvi Kalisher in Jerusalem,
from The Friends of Israel Archives, 1968

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