Zvi Jul/Aug 2009
Believe it or not, many schoolchildren in Israel have never heard of the Holocaust. So when Holocaust Memorial Day draws near in the spring, schools look for survivors to come and tell what they experienced during World War II, more than 60 years ago. Not many of us are left. You can almost count the number on your fingers.
So schools invite me to speak. Of course, I want to speak about faith in the Lord. Ordinarily, I cannot go to a school and speak of faith in Christ. But when they call me, I am free to speak about Him in whom I have believed. This is a wonderful opportunity to tell the children something they have never heard: the truth about our Savior Jesus Christ.
But I cannot do so quickly. I must go slowly and surely. So I have a long presentation—about two hours. For some of the students, what I say is a big surprise. They ask how I came to believe as I do. “After all,” one said recently, “we are Jewish.”
“Yes,” I said. “We are the Chosen People of God. The Lord told us, ‘You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified’ [Isa. 49:3]. The Lord also told us, ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 13:47; cf. Isa. 49:6). I explained that it is our obligation before God to tell people the truth.
“But you are not as the Lord would want you to be because you speak to us about another faith,” a student told me.
So I asked, “To whom was the Holy Bible given?”
“To the people of Israel!” they all declared.
“Yes,” I said. “And as His Chosen People, do we have the right to choose which parts of the Bible are good to read and which are not?Where is it written that we have the right to decide such a thing? Who has permission from God to say what is forbidden for the people of Israel to read?”
The classroom grew extremely quiet. The students did not understand and wanted to know what I was talking about. “Do the rabbis have a right to say which chapters of the Bible are kosher [fit and acceptable] and which are not?” I asked.
“This is all very strange,” someone said. “We have never heard anyone speak as you do.” Then they all wanted to know which chapter of the Bible the rabbis claim should not be read.
I replied, “Have you read chapter 53 of the book of Isaiah? Have your teachers ever spoken to you about this chapter?”
The students looked at me with surprise, and all agreed they had not read Isaiah 53. This time I told them, “Now we have come to the main point. I will read for you. And if you like, you may read and I will listen. After, we will have time for questions to see if we can determine why the rabbis are not interested in teaching you the truth about what is written here. They are afraid of the truth; therefore, they do not teach you this chapter.”
So the students took turns reading. Afterward, one asked, “Why is this such a secret?”
“The Bible,” I said, “was written by the Holy Spirit of God. No one has the right to erase anything from this Holy Book, not even a single letter. Do you see what they have done?They do not want the Chosen People of God to know the truth and to know what great things God has done for us. But as you know, it is hard to fight against the truth, especially against what was written by the Holy Spirit of God.”
The students then started asking me, “Are you one of us, or are you not an Israeli?”
“I am surely an Israeli,” I replied. “And I believe all that is written in the Bible. And if that is not enough for you, I have fought in every war beginning with the War of Independence in 1948 through the Yom Kippur War in 1973. I am not like those who never served in the army and never fought for this country, yet who try to tell you how holy they are and what portions of the Bible you can and cannot read.” (The ultra-Orthodox do not serve in the Israeli military.)
The students continued to ask good questions, and slowly we came to the subject of how to place your faith in the Lord. At the end of the class, they said this was the most interesting lesson they ever had and one they will never forget.