Joel of Jerusalem Mar/May 1988
As we know, a small match can cause very great destruction. And so it is with the tongue, which is one of the smallest parts of the human body but also one of the strongest and most dangerous parts. We can see the power of the tongue every Friday in Jerusalem as the ultra-orthodox Jews and the secular Jews confront each other shouting and hurling insults and threats. Each group wants to have its own way regarding the keeping of the Sabbath, and these weekly demonstrations have become almost as important to them as their daily bread.
On one recent Friday evening I went into Jerusalem and saw for myself the havoc being caused by the dangerous tongues of the fanatics on both sides of this issue. I am sure that even if Satan himself entered their bodies, they would be no more dangerous than they are now. The power of their tongues, like that small match, is burning the whole forest.
I spoke to some of these people and asked, “Is there no other way for you to make peace with your brothers?” They loudly replied, “No! They are not our brothers, they are our sworn enemies!” I then suggested, “Why not come together around a table and say all you have to say in a civil manner. It may be that you will be able to come to some mutual agreement on this matter of the Sabbath rules. Then perhaps you would be able to smile at one another from your hearts rather than looking with hatred at each other.” One of the orthodox men said, “You can talk like that because you are one of them.”
I asked, “Do you believe in God with all your heart?” ” Yes, I do,” he replied. “If so,” I continued, “I am sure you say in your morning prayers every day that which is written in the holy Scriptures, ‘thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself’ [Lev. 19:18]. This was said by God himself to Moses, and He also said, ‘Ye shall be holy; for I, the LORD your God, am holy’ [Lev. 19:2]. Are you holy?” I asked. “Yes, we are,” he replied, “because we are fighting this holy war.” I told him, “No one fights a holy war with stones in his hands.” He then asked, “How else can we do the will of God?” I was glad he asked such a question, and I answered, “It is written in Zechariah 4:6, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.’ There are your instructions for war, and I assure you that you can follow these instructions and win the battle if you will truly believe in the living God and not in your leaders.”
They all became very upset when I said this, and they shouted, “Do you want us to leave our rabbis? You have read their books; you know what they have written. How can we forsake their holy teachings?” I replied, “They can write whatever they want, but if the Holy Spirit is not in their writings, it is nothing but vanity. All of you who have read those many books written by the rabbis, tell me, what have they profited you? Look what you are doing now – fighting against your brothers, and only because of that very small part which you have in your bodies, the tongue!
“You all know that Hitler wrote Mein Kampf while in prison, but the Jewish people paid for every word of that book with their blood. We are viewed as a miserable people by the rest of the world because we strayed from God and believed in the vanity of men. And now you are making the same mistake all over again. You are believing in your leaders and in the writings of your holy ones, but you have no use for the true Word of God. In the past the excuse was given that our forefathers were immature or disbelieving, but after all these years and all the suffering of our people, how can you not have faith in God? His Word clearly tells us that He has paid the price for our sins and that He will gladly forgive us if we will open our hearts to Him. If you will just read His holy Word, especially Isaiah chapter 53, you will see this for yourselves. Because you have read the books of the rabbis rather than the true Word of God, you now think that the answer to your dilemma is to attack your brothers with stones. The answer to your troubles is not found in stones but in the Word of God through which you will discover His love and forgiveness of sins.”
One of the men said, “If everyone would speak like you, we could live as it is written in Isaiah 11:5-6, ‘And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his waist. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.’ ” I thanked him for his kind remark and told them, “It is never too late for anyone. God is the same today as He has always been, and you can read for yourselves in the Bible how He himself came to this earth to be crucified for our sins.”
“Now you are speaking evil,” they said. “That is not written in the Bible. From where did you get such evil words?” I told them, “These words did not come from my head. They are written in our own Jewish Scriptures, in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah which I just mentioned to you. No one has ever died by following the words of the Scriptures, which I have related to you, but the books of your great leaders have put multitudes of our people into hospitals, prisons and, of course, cemeteries – and not because they were fighting for the independence of Israel but because they misused the small tongue. Then afterward they washed their hands thinking they could wash away their guilt. But our forefathers could not wash away their guilt, and neither can you. You must realize that those of us who believe in the Lord, our Savior, Yeshuah-Hamashiah, will never worship the tongue. We will, however, do all which the Lord expects of us, including what I am doing at this very moment – preaching the gospel of Christ among people like yourselves. You must know the truth, you must learn who it is that died for your sins. Do not continue to be slaves to other slaves; free yourselves of your false teachers and leaders. This will occur if you will receive the Lord as your Savior. He died for your sins and rose from the grave, overcoming death and the power of Satan. He will free you from your guilt and welcome you into His family if you will simply put your faith and trust in Him.”
Sadly, the response of my listeners was to challenge me to repeat what I had said to their rabbis, which, of course, they assumed I would be afraid to do. I told them I would be pleased to meet with their rabbis, as I have done many times in the past, and I expect to hear from them soon.
Please pray with me that the Lord will soften the hearts of these people and that they will come to know the truth about the Lord and accept Him as their Savior and Messiah.