Joel of Jerusalem Dec/Jan 1980/1981
Here in Israel, people are thinking about the political situation more than ever, and many people are leaving the country because of fear. They are wondering what will happen next. We know that to every beginning there must be an end, and even though we do not know what that end will be, we, as believers, know and are sure that our future is secure. We know where we will be, and therefore we have no fear and can always sing one of the popular songs of Israel, “Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust and not be afraid.” I thank the Lord that I can go about day by day free from fear, and this is true even of my daughter and son who, along with me, are in the army, and it will also be true of my two younger sons who will one day be serving in the army. Because I trust in the Lord, I do not fear the ones who call themselves “good Jews”. In fact, they should take their example from those of us who believe on the Lord, the Messiah, as our personal Savior.
News travels fast these days, and a rumor has been circulated that those who believe on the Lord are spreading the propaganda that people should leave Israel, it seems that this rumor sprouted wings and flew straight to my home. You see, many people know that I am a believer and so they think there may be a chance that I can give them a visa to the U.S.A. or some other country. It is just as if I were a United States ambassador — but, I am much more happy to be serving the Lord than to be serving any nation on earth in such a position.
Many people who have heard this rumor make themselves appear very poor, trying to cause the believers to think they are angels, and they tell us very long and sad stories. Really, they are only trying to get information from us, and they especially want to test us to see if it is true that the believers can help those who want to leave Israel. They do not realize that the only “propaganda” we, as believers, are spreading is that people should stay here in our promised land and from this land we should preach the Gospel of the Lord to all nations of the world.
Those people who have come to me for this purpose have received very false information, but they could also be coming to me as it is written in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” I thought about this, but I still received these people into my home. Everyone is welcome here and everyone is received honorably. I quickly came to understand, however, that all those who had come were feeble, dishonest and naive. Also, this was the second time in a week that I had received such visitors to test me, and yet they, of course, thought they were the first and only. I passed the first test, but this second group had a new test, a new libel with which to try and trick me. They were trying to involve me in a very complicated situation, but the Lord has taught us to pray, “And lead us not into temptation,..”(Mt. 6:13).
My visitors asked, “If there is a new war, will you stay here in Israel?” “Yes, I will,” I replied, “and not only will I stay, but I will also take part in the war, just like every good citizen of Israel. My two oldest children will take part in the war as well, since they are in the army now.” “What!” they exclaimed. “Your children are in the army?” They were very surprised to hear this, and from their reaction I knew that they were “ravening wolves”, even though they had come to me camouflaged as poor sheep. In spite of this, I invited them to have something to eat and treated them as respected visitors in my home. After this, they did not know what to say and began to stammer. They looked so sick that I asked, “Do you need to rest? If so, you may rest right here until you are strong enough to think of new stories to spread about us, the believers.”
They then said, “We are interested to know what your duty is.” I replied, “My duty is a very special one — guard duty. Sometimes people just like yourselves— stray from the true way. They are standing at a crossroad and don’t know which way to go or what to do. My duty is to stay always on guard and to show these people the right way to go. This is my duty, and I must do it without camouflage, and not as you have come to me.”
“Do you know who we are?” they asked. “I don’t want to know who you are,” I answered. “I know all I need to know about you. I know that you are the same kind of creature as I am, and we are all children of God. But, you have come to the crossroad and don’t know which way to go, and so you are here. I am sure that you did not come here through your own will, but sometimes people like you think that you can do everything that comes into your minds. Now you can see how weak you really are, as the Bible says, ‘.. . how are the mighty fallen!’ [2 Sam. 1:19]. Now you shall also know that it is written,;.. . Let not… the mighty man glory in his might . . .’ [Jer. 9:23], because ‘Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory . . .’ [ 1 Chr. 29:11]. This is my duty — to be a servant of the Lord — and you should also receive that which the Lord has said to me and to all peoples of the world.” “And what is that?” they asked. I replied, “God has said, ‘Cast away from you all your transgressions, by which ye have transgressed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit . ..’ [Ezek. 18:31. If you will do this, I am sure the time will come when you will receive a real ‘visa’, one to everlasting life in Heaven. You will not receive this from me, but from the Lord, because it is written, ‘I, the Lord, have said, I will surely do it.. .’ [Num. 14:35].
Then they asked, “Who are you that you can speak in the name of God?” I answered, “The Lord has said, ‘. . . Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ [Mk. 16:15], and this I am happy to do. It is a great privilege for me, and I am sure that it would be the same for you also.” “How can this be?” they asked. “We do not understand how you can be a Christian and still use our Bible.” “The Bible belongs to all nations of the world,’ I told them, “because God is the Father of all the earth. Faith is not something that belongs only to me. You can see this in Psalms 96 and 98. These passages are not speaking about one nation, but about the whole earth.”
When they heard this they asked, “Who are you representing?” “My Savior,” I replied, “I speak about the Lord because I believe on Him and what He has done for us already and will do for us in the future. This is all because He was willing to go to the cross and die for us, and He did not do this by a great show of power. No! All during His life, He was the most humble of men. Would you like to see this for yourselves?” “Yes,” they answered, and so I read for them that most popular chapter of Scripture (though not among the Jews), Isaiah 53. When I finished reading they said, “We have heard about this, but we never read it for ourselves.”
I then told them, “It is good that you now know these things, and you should also know that you were sold for nothing and you shall be redeemed without money, as it is written in Isaiah 52:3. Now is the best time of the year to remember Him, during the holy days of Yom Kippur. He is the true sacrifice. By His blood we have received salvation, and not by the blood of chickens. Until now you have continued in this sin, but now you know the truth. I then read to them Leviticus 17:11 and said, “This is not written about chickens but about souls. This tradition of sacrificing chickens for so many years has made you spiritually bankrupt.”
“You are right,”’ they admitted, “but how can we believe what you have said when we have followed our way for such a long time?” I told them, “You must believe the truth and not be ashamed. We can see in His Word that. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass, his master’s crib, but Israel doth not know . . ‘ [Isa. 1:3]. We, His chosen people, do not know which way to follow — or, could it be that we do not want to know about the One through whom we have received forgiveness of our sins? But, God’s Word says, ‘. . . how long shall the wicked triumph?’ [Ps. 94:3].” Then these people said, “We are no longer wicked. We are now following the right way.”’ I thank the Lord for this.