Joel of Jerusalem Oct/Nov 1986
There is a saying here in Israel, “What the eye does not see the heart does not grieve for.” But I do see, and therefore I grieve and cannot be silent. There are some people, even some believers, who say, “This does not concern me,” but how long can they continue with such an attitude? One day all those who are lost will say, “Were we so far away from the truth, and no one even told us?” We must be watchful, especially in these times when so many people are living in a fantasy world.
Many years ago, when I would meet Orthodox Jews and engage them in conversation about putting their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, I was often told, “lt is our responsibility to come to people like you, who have turned away from the faith of our fathers, and buy back your souls.” Things are no different today. I recently met a group of Orthodox people and began speaking with them about the Lord, and it wasn’t long before I heard the same question I had been asked so many years ago, “Are you ready to sell your soul back?” I asked, ‘If I sell my soul, what will it profit you?” One of the men replied, “We will have done a good deed, and the heavens will be opened for us.” “How holy you are,” I said, “that you are ready to buy souls, even for money, to be able to say that you have done good deeds and have gained entrance into Heaven. How clever you are, you wise men! If it were within my power, I would give you all a visa to Chelm! [In Jewish tradition, all the citizens of the town of Cheim in Poland are fools.] If it were possible for you to buy souls, it would also be possible to grind water!”
“Ha, ha,”’ they laughed. “Are you saying that we are not right?” “Yes,” I answered, “and you should know that also. It is as clear as the sun.” “If it is so clear to you, what do you have to say about it?” they asked. “It is not what I say but what the Bible says. We read in Isaiah 52:3, ‘For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nothing, and ye shall be redeemed without money.’ You cannot redeem yourselves by buying souls because that is impossible, and whoever told you that is lost. There is a song that I like very much and which I often sing, and the chorus is especially relevant to our conversation.” “Let us hear it,”’ they said. “All right,” I replied, “’and even though i do not have a good voice, it is the words that count.” I then began to sing, “I am redeemed, but not with silver; I am bought, but not with gold; Bought with a price — the blood of Jesus, Precious price of love untold.”
“That would be a nice song if it did not mention that name,” they said. They were afraid to even say the name Jesus, so I told them, “If we are not permitted to say the name of Jesus, then it must also be forbidden to read the Bible because it contains many references to the name of Jesus which, in the Hebrew language, is Yeshua. “‘No! No! That cannot be true. Show us where that name is written in our Old Testament Scriptures. I then read to them isaiah 12:2, “Behold, God is my salvation [Yeshua] …” and Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation [Yeshua] . …” I then said, “My dear friends, you may not want to admit it, but in your hearts you cannot deny it. You can put me on your blacklist if you wish; you can even impose a boycott on me, but you can never boycott the Lord or His holy name, Yeshua—Jesus. I am sure that until now you did not know you were remembering the name of Jesus, but I have now shown it to you in black and white. If you have ever read these verses or hundreds of others in the Scriptures, you have remembered the name of Jesus. There is no other way to say it, The Lord is my light and my salvation, my Yeshua, my Jesus.”
“This is very hard for us to accept,” ‘they said. “If all of this were true, we are sure our fathers would have told us; they would have written about it.” I told them, “It is written in Jeremiah 31:29,’.. .The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ There are many things that the fathers did not tell us, things which they did not like and so they did not pass them down to us. But one day you will know the whole truth, and then you will see the folly of the stories and fairy tales which have been passed down through the centuries.
“Now, I ask you, can I really sell my soul? Can you really buy my soul? Of course not! Think about the things I have told you and then read Ezekiel chapter 18. You will learn in a few minutes more than you have learned all your lives by studying what the fathers wrote. You must start at the beginning, just like small children, but it is never too late. If you will follow God according to the way He has prescribed in His Word, instead of following the fictitious stories you have been taught, then you will learn the real way to receive forgiveness from God and the heavens will truly be opened to you.”
As in many other conversations with Orthodox people, they asked. “’Do you want us to discard our sacred Torah?” “No! Never!” I answered. “I want to bring you closer to the Torah, and then you will come to know and receive the Lord, Yeshua Hamaschiah, as taught in the Torah. What you must do now is turn over a new page in your lives. It is written in Jeremiah 31:31, ‘Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.’
“I have read to you only from the Torah and our prophets, so that you cannot tell others that I taught you from a so-called Christian book and tried to make you become Christians. You can be good Jews and still believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact if you believe in Him you will be complete Jews. In Psalm 103:10 we are told, ‘He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.’ We can be good Jews and still be good children of our Heavenly Father.”
Please pray with me that these people will read again the Scriptures which I shared with them and that their eyes will be open to the truth of God’s Word.