Apples of Gold Jul/Aug 2020
When people are in trouble, they start to think about the big questions of life, like where they came from. Even those who seem so far away from faith begin to open their eyes to heaven when trouble comes their way. They ask for help from above.
But how do they go about seeking God? Many people here in Israel seek help from rabbis, and the rabbis are waiting for them. I recently had a conversation with new immigrants who moved into my neighborhood. They told me how the rabbis were trying to take advantage of them. They seemed suspicious of me too. So I told them I am not like the rabbis. The rabbis read for them many nice stories, but I teach them from the Holy Bible.
They listened to me with much attention and began to ask me questions. “How did you come to the faith?” one asked.
“How have you come to believe in Christ?” another asked.
With such people, you cannot begin by telling them, “This is the faith! You must believe!” You have to be patient. Second Timothy 2:24 says, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient.” Thirty-five years in the Israeli army clearing mines in the many minefields taught me much patience.
“I believe in Christ not because of what I have heard but because it is clearly written in the Bible about Him,” I said. “And as people of the Bible, it is our duty to bring His salvation to others. But many people have boycotted this chapter of the Bible.”
“We have never heard this before. About which chapter do you speak?” one asked.
So I read for them Isaiah 53: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (vv. 4–5).
“Who is this one who was pierced for our transgressions?” I asked them.
Then I read Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” I asked them whom they thought Isaiah wrote about.
They looked at each other with surprise that these verses were in the Holy Bible. Because they came from Europe, they had heard about the little town of Bethlehem in the Christmas story. “Of course, you will try to show us that the Bible also mentions the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem,” one said sarcastically.
“Yes. I am about to show you, but not from Christian books—from the Bible,” I said. Then I showed them Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
They were so surprised. Some were not sure I actually read from the Bible. So I gave the Bible to one of them and said, “Please read this for yourself. I am not trying to persuade you, like the ultra-Orthodox men do and then ask you to pay for their persuasion as an offering for the synagogue.”
“Who was your teacher who taught you to believe these things?” one asked.
“I read this Book, not the many fictitious stories of rabbinical tradition. This Book tells me the truth about the Lord. After all, we are the Chosen People of God, and our duty is to proclaim His salvation to people. Should I go to people with rabbinical traditions or with the full truth that was written by the Holy Spirit of God?” I asked.
“We have learned a lot today. Is it possible for us to find such a Bible?” one asked. Of course, I was very happy to give them my Hebrew Bible. They promised they would read it and continue to learn. I pray that in time their eyes will be more open to see the truth.
The Friends of Israel Archives