Apples of Gold Mar/Apr 2018
In Psalm 56:4, it is written, “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” It is Passover season, and the ultra-Orthodox travel from house to house trying to convince the new Russian immigrants here to believe as they do. They believe they are performing a great mitzvah (good deed) and fighting to sanctify God’s holy name.
Recently, my wife and I had the privilege of welcoming them into our home. As we often say here, “If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.” They came not knowing who I was, but I knew who they were.
When they arrived, I warmly welcomed them, as I receive everyone. Our door is always open. Once inside, they opened a big package they were carrying and took out many booklets. Most of the books spoke against people who believe in Christ the Lord.
“What books have you brought?” I asked them.
“These books are very important. You must read them so you will know how holy they are. You will learn much, including how to live,” one replied.
“You see,” I said, “I do not believe in all of those fictitious stories or in the old rabbinical traditions. I believe only in the mighty God. As it is written in Deuteronomy 6:13, ‘You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him.’ And what are you doing? You say you are fighting for the sanctification of the holy Name, but have a good look around you and see whom you worship,” I said.
They were not ready to hear what I was saying. They thought they had come to the home of a new immigrant. I came to Israel before the 1948 War of Independence. Soon they began looking at one another and trying to leave. So I said, “I am very happy to speak with you; you can stay here. Say whatever is on your mind.”
“Let us get to the root,” one said. “Who are you? You are not like most people we visit.”
I had been waiting for that question. When speaking with such people, you cannot say right away, “I believe in Christ!” No, with such people you must be patient. As it is written in 2 Timothy 2:24, “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient.”
The ultra-Orthodox have been coming to our house a great deal lately because we live in a neighborhood filled with new immigrants. These newcomers do not know the Scriptures or the true faith. So the ultra-Orthodox find it easy to convince them to think as they do. I was not easy to persuade, which surprised the men.
They tried to convince me from their many commentaries that they were right. But as we continued to speak, they became more nervous. They wanted to know how I gained so much knowledge. That question gave me the great opportunity to share with them something they had never heard. I read them the “forbidden chapter” of Isaiah 53, where it is written,
He was despised, and we [the Jewish people] did not esteem Him….We esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities….And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (vv. 3–6).
“Do you know about whom this is written?” one asked me.
“This is written by the Holy Spirit of the Lord about ‘This One’ [Jesus]. You are so fearful to even say His name because your rabbis have put a great fear in you to keep you from knowing the truth.”
They talked among one another. Then I read Isaiah 44:6: “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.’”
Surprisingly, they did not try to argue with me about what I shared. As our long conversation came to a close, one said, “We have listened, and you have given us much to think about. We have a lot of homework to do.”
—The Friends of Israel Archives,