Joel of Jerusalem Feb/Mar 1974
Dear Friends in the Lord:
First I want to tell you that I’m at home after 36 days of battle, thank the Lord. In two weeks I must return for another 52 days.
It was very hard but I’m glad that I can give witness for my Lord even during a war to those who do not know Him.
Occasionally the troops have time for conversation and the topics usually revolve around politics, home and children. But no one speaks about God, so I do.
“We are small,” I ventured, “compared to most countries—we must have somebody who fights for us.” They asked what am I talking about. So I told them that the Lord is watching over us day and night. And because you do not know Him, He has placed me here to give witness about Him.
They say, “Yes, we know the Bible well.”
I answered, “Yes, you know the Bible but you do not really believe what it says. It is not enough to know what is written in it.”
They laughed at me and said, “Who are you that you should teach us?”
So I replied, “I am a Jew, like you, but I believe in Jesus Christ because the Jewish prophets wrote concerning Him.”
They shouted, “What? About Jesus! Never! ‘! Never! ! It is impossible!”
“Shall I show you?” I asked.
They said, <<If you can show us, we shall believe in Him. But you must do it from the Old Testament.”
Before I started to speak, I silently prayed that God would give me wisdom. I opened the Old Testament to Isaiah 9:5, 6 and read the text concluding with “. .. He is the Prince of Peace,” This did not convince them so I read from Isaiah 53 and suggested that Christ was the Lamb spoken of. But after one such text they declared that they could not be sure and they asked for more facts about “your God.”
I said, “My God is also your God, But; you must receive Him like I have done and many other Jews before me.” They said they wanted to hear more so I read to them from Micah 5:1-2.
They were not able to answer me but instead called a Jewish man who is very religious to speak to me and he said, “You should be ashamed.”
I told him, “I am not ashamed. I know in whom I believe but you should be ashamed. You read the Bible but, I’m sorry, you do not know what you are reading.”
“You wait, we will make trouble for you,” he replied.
I continued, “God said to Abraham, ‘Be not afraid, the Lord thy God is with thee.’ Therefore, I am not afraid of what you can do to me.”
“What do you want from us?” he asked.
“It is not what I want from you but what God wants. He wants our nation to live, not die (Ezek. 37). And to live we must believe in Him as Lord and Saviour. It was written in Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a good Jew. What he wrote was inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
We do not believe in the Holy Spirit,” he replied, “so how can a good Jew say such a thing?”
In front of all the people who were there and listening to what we were saying, I told him, “King David prayed, ‘Cast me not away from thy Presence, and take not the Holy Spirit from me.’ (Ps. 51:11). Was King David a good Jew?” I inquired.
This was too much for him and those standing around started to laugh saying, “Joel knows what he is saying. It is not propaganda, it is really correct, all true.”
I asked them if they wanted to hear more about Christ and the Holy Spirit and they agreed. It was a good opportunity. I was glad that God was with me at the time when I needed Him.
Dear Brother Rosenthal, I know it is very hard for you to read my letters in English, but I do my best I will be very glad to have you again in our home in Jerusalem. With God’s help I shall send you a picture from the Sinai with my former antagonist, the religious Jew, who is now a good friend. May he come to truly know the Messiah of Israel.
Yours in our Lord,
We received word of Joel’s safety for which we praise God. Our other workers in Israel are also well. They need, deserve and are encouraged by your continued prayer support