Apples of Gold Jul/Aug 2019
My wife and I often take the bus to the market. The bus is a wonderful place to meet new people and reconnect with people you have not seen in a long time. Recently, while we were riding the bus, a man who looked like a rabbi approached me. He had a long beard and wore a big black hat. “Do you remember me?” he asked.
“No. I believe this is the first time we are meeting,” I told him. He was unhappy that I did not remember him.
“I know that you also speak Russian,” he said. “Yes, I speak even more languages than Russian and Hebrew,” I told him.
“How do you not remember me?” he asked. “I visited your church many times and listened to the pastor, your son, preach. At the time I did not believe in God. Then I spoke with some rabbis and listened to what they had to say. Unlike your church, they do not believe in This Man [Jesus].”
“You are a special one,” I said. “You can use many diversionary tactics and wear camouflage, as you do now. But your beard and big cap will not open the door of heaven for you.”
Then he revealed he was one of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish men trying to silence us Jewish Christians. They call their effort “sanctification of the holy Name.”
As we continued talking, I began to remember him. He started to shout loudly at me and tell everyone on the bus I was a Christian. His high-pitched yelling made him sound like a crazy person.
“How do you know him?” someone asked me. “Is it true you know him from church?”
“Yes,” I said. “I go to the congregation to learn the Bible and to follow the Lord, unlike the rabbis who try to make people read their many commentaries. Do you think you will be a good person by dancing the Devil’s dance? Have a good look at this man with his long beard. What does he know about true faith? Please ask him.”
The man continued to shout like a crazy person, and many people were staring at him. When we got off the bus, some of the people on the bus came over to me to ask about what had happened. Their questions gave me great opportunity to share my testimony of how I came to know the Lord.
I told them that people like that man are far from the Lord. They go to people with their long beards, hats, and fictitious stories. But they never go with the Holy Bible, the Word of God. “Do you know the Bible?” someone asked me.
“Yes. I do my best to study the Word of God, and I worship Him according to what is written in His Word, unlike those who call themselves great teachers,” I said. “Will you find a Holy Bible among their many commentaries? No.”
After we talked for a long time, someone asked me, “How did you come to believe in Christ?”
“I have believed in the Lord not according to the many stories you have heard, but according to the Holy Bible. Leviticus 26:3–4 says, ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.’ It does not say ‘If you obey the many thousands of rabbinical traditions.’”
They listened intently and seemed hungry for knowledge and truth. “We have never heard this before. This has been a very interesting and important conversation,” one said. I pray the Lord will open their eyes to the truth of who He is.
The Friends of Israel Archives,