Life After Death
A few years ago, I read an account in the newspaper of a lady who was celebrating her one hundredth birthday. From her picture and the interview, she seemed to be a nice person. When asked if she was afraid to die and if she believed in life after death, she replied, “I am very jealous of those Christians, who believe in life after death, and they are so sure of themselves. I am not that sure.”
Shortly after I read that story, I learned that a well-known rabbi was going to speak in one of Jerusalem’s big synagogues. His topic? Life after death. Naturally I was curious about his thoughts on the subject, and I decided to attend the meeting.
During the question and answer session following his message, the rabbi and I engaged in a rather heated discussion because I told him, in front of several hundred people, that a person can have eternal life only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Finally he said to me, “I never want to see you at one of my meetings again!” But I never give up quickly, and I replied, “When you come to speak here again, you will see my shadow.”
Recently I saw posters on the streets announcing that this rabbi was going to speak in the area, and I kept my word. What’s more, I sat on the front bench. When he took the platform, he began to speak about many great rabbis who had gone before him. He said that they are all in heaven now, enjoying the benefits of eternal life. He spoke for more than an hour before he realized that I was there, but as soon as he spotted me he became tongue-tied and confused. The people in the audience were surprised at his change in demeanor. He then ended his speech abruptly without bringing his remarks to a proper conclusion.
Many people requested a question and answer session, and the rabbi said, “I am in a hurry, but I will answer one or two brief questions.” I was the first one to stand up, and I asked him, “How can you be so sure you will have life after death when you have ignored the commands of God? You, as a rabbi, should know better.” The people were surprised to hear such a question asked of a rabbi, and they were very interested to hear how he would reply. The rabbi looked intently at me and asked, “Do you remember what I told you a few years ago? I told you that you and I were in the past, and we are now living in the present.”
Some of the people in the audience asked, “What is going on here?” Of course, the rabbi wanted the audience to support him, so he began to accuse me of idolatry. When he was finished, I held up my Bible for everyone to see and said, “Here is the Holy Bible, and I worship the Lord according to it. Is this, as the rabbi says, idolatry?” I then asked the rabbi to show the audience the book he was using. Naturally, it was one of the multitude of commentary books, and not the Bible. I then asked the people, “Which book is more kosher? And who is practicing idolatry?”
I thank the Lord that I was not afraid, even though I was standing in the lions’ den. I always remember the words of Luke 12:11–12, “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, be not anxious how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say; For the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” Because these words are always with me, I can face whatever comes my way.
The rabbi had some of his people with him, and they started to contend with me. But I have eaten that kind of food before, and I know how it tastes. I began to explain my position very slowly, and I could sense that the people were interested to know why I had come to the meeting. I told them, “I believe, according to the Law, that we are the Chosen People of God. It is our duty to go to people and preach the gospel about the Lord. We are not to teach a false gospel, but the truth from the Bible. You can see that I have no other books with me—no commentary books written by great sages, who were, after all, just men. I am not afraid to open any portion of the Bible. I never cover certain pages so people cannot see what is written there. With what has this great rabbi come to you tonight? He has come with fictitious stories, and most of you accepted what he said, although you do not really understand what he means. But one day you will know, and then it may be too late. I encourage you all to go home and read the Bible. Do not skip over the parts that don’t interest you or chapters that the rabbis have told you not to go near. Read it all; read all the commands of God. Then you will know how to worship Him, and you will know how to obtain true eternal life.”
Then some of the people asked, “Who is your God?” I replied, “He is not my God. He is our God. He is one God for all the world, and He is the Savior, Yeshua Hamashiah.” I said His name is Hebrew, because if I had said it in English—Jesus Christ—that would not have been kosher enough for them. “You can read about Him in the Bible,” I told them. “It is because of what I read about Him in the Hebrew Scriptures that I have believed in Him as my Savior, and you can do the same thing.”
A few people asked to examine my Bible to see if it was the complete Hebrew Scriptures. I let them look at it as long as they wished, and then I asked, “What do you think? Have I come to you with fictitious stories, like this rabbi, or with the living facts about the Lord our God?”
By then the rabbi had had enough of this discussion, and he left. I, however, stayed and had some very good conversations about the Lord. I pray that what they heard that night—not from the rabbi but from the Word of God—will penetrate their minds and hearts and lead them to a true knowledge of the living Savior. It is all there for them to read, in black and white, if they will just do their part. Please pray with me that they will.
. . . ZVI