Joel of Jerusalem Jun/Jul 1980
I don’t know how it is that so many people know about me here in Israel, but one evening as my family and I were returning home, two people stopped me and acted as if they were from an agent who had sent them to me. They immediately asked, “Who are you? We want to know all about you.” I replied, “If you want to know about me, go to the government information office and ask. They will tell you if I am dangerous or not.” “Please do not be offended,’ they said, “we only want to speak with you.” “I would like to speak with you also,” I told them, “but you can see that I have my family with me now. Come to my home tomorrow evening, and I will be glad to speak with you, but first I want to know who you are.” “Oh, that is not important,” they said. “Yes it is,” I replied. “I want to know who it is I am dealing with,” “Well, if you must know, we are from an organization fighting against missionaries in Israel,” they replied. “If that is so,” I said, “then I am sure you know all about me.” “We still want to speak with you,”’ they insisted. “Very well then, I have a home, and you are welcome there,’ I told them.
And so it was that the next evening they came to my home. We received them as our guests, and when they had finished drinking their coffee I asked, “Now what is it that you want from me?” “We don’t want to say too much,” they replied, “but we do want to tell you that you are a public enemy.” “How can you say that?” I demanded. “We are sure of it,” they answered, “because we have learned that you have left the religion of our fathers and have gone to another religion which is far away from ours. Therefore, we hate you. And now, what do you have to say for yourself?”
I replied, “I can tell you only that I will pray for you, that the Lord will have mercy upon you.” “What?” they exclaimed. “How can you say this when you want to kill us?” “No, never!” I told them. “’l want you to live, but not as you think. I want you to have everlasting life. If you fight against those who are trying to lead people in the right way, you may receive an award, a decoration or a medal of valor from the government, but you are like blind people yourselves. You need a guide to show you the right way.”
They then said, “We want to know what it is you believe.” I told them, “I believe as you do. I believe in one God, one Father and one Holy Spirit.” They answered, “We believe in one God and one Father in Heaven, but not one Holy Spirit. This belongs to the Christians.” “It is good that you came here tonight,” I told them. “I am sure that God has sent you to me because you are blind, but by the time you leave my home your eyes will be open. I cannot perform any miracles for you, but I want to show you some things in the Holy Bible, and you can even read it for yourselves.” I then opened the Old Testament to places where the Holy Spirit is spoken of, such as Psalm 51:11; 104:30; 139:7 and Zechariah 12;10. They read these passages and could not believe their eyes. “How can this be? We never heard of this before,” they said. I spoke with them very kindly, even though they were full of hatred for me. I know it was difficult for them to accept these things which for them seemed impossible, and I tried to show them how far they were from the truth of God. They then began to ask themselves why they were persecuting me and they apologized, all the time trying to give a strong outward appearance even though inside they were very weak.
They could see that my family and I were very happy, and they asked, “Why it is that you are not afraid? You have children, don’t you fear for them?” I then opened the New Testament and read for them, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish” [Lk. 21:17-18]. “Believe me,” I said, “I know in whom I have believed, and because I believe on the Lord I am not afraid of anything you can do to me. My children are the same. They believe in God and have great faith. They are not like the wind, today coming from the west and tomorrow from the east. They follow the way of the Holy Spirit which is straight. This is our way, and you cannot change it. What you can do is ask yourselves if you are going in the straight way. Those whom you are persecuting are following God, Are you following Him also? “
My family then joined us for a time of discussion, and we then invited our guests to have supper with us. When I thanked the Lord for the meal before we ate, they also said “Amen” in His name. After the meal I said, “Is there anything else you want to know about me? I will answer any questions you have.” But now they were ashamed and unhappy. They had been accepted in our home and had been shown love, even though they came in hatred and intended to cause me trouble. They seemed changed, not because I had spoken to them nicely but because they could see that everyone in my family was happy. My children played some music for them, and they joined in singing some songs with us and clapped their hands. Now I was surprised, but after all, this was not a new situation for us. We know what happened in the time of Herod when the child Jesus was born. Herod sent the wise men to find the baby and bring him word of His whereabouts, but the wise men did not do this [Mt. 2;7-12].
After all of this, I asked, “Now what will you say about me in your report to your boss?” At that time it seemed like they suddenly awoke from a dream. “Where are we?” they asked. “You are here in my home,”I replied. “Well, it is 11:30 in the evening and we must go,” they said, “but what can we report to our boss?” I answered, “Tell him what you heard and saw this evening. Tell him what is written in the Bible.” I then read 2 Corinthians 13:5a, “Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith.” They then said, “Before we go, please tell us who you are. Are you a Jew? Or, are you a Christian? This we must know. I replied, “Before I was blind, as you are now. You don’t know anything about God. But thank the Lord, when I received Him in my heart, I became happy. Now I have a rich future and an established faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You can see that we believe on the same God as you, the One spoken of in the Holy Bible. If you want to know more about Him, read Hebrews 2,” and this they quickly did so that they would know what to say to their boss.
I have committed these people and their report on me to the Lord, and I know that He will accomplish His will in this situation.