Zvi Aug/Sep 1993
In Isaiah 2:3 it is written, “out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lᴏʀᴅ from Jerusalem.” Most people in Israel know this passage of Scripture, and it has been made into a song that people sing with great joy, but the Israelis do not obey the command in this verse to spread the true Word of the Lord.
One recent morning I went to a market in Jerusalem (it is really a series of small stores where people go to look for bargains), and I saw a long line of people in front of one of the stores. Of course, I was curious to know why such a large crowd had gathered, so I asked several people what was being sold there but no one would say. Finally, one of the sellers came along, and I asked, “What are you selling here?” He looked around cautiously for a moment and then motioned me to follow him around the corner. When we were alone, he said quietly, “A great righteous man is coming to that store soon. He can help people solve their problems, and he has performed many miracles.” I asked, “How much do you have to pay for such a miracle?” and he replied, “Not much, only 280 shekels [approximately 77 U.S. dollars].”
I then asked, “Who gave him the power to do the work of the devil?” The man was surprised at my comment, and I could tell that he was afraid I would talk to those standing in line to meet the great righteous man. It was obvious that the situation was making him nervous, and suddenly he dashed off, shouting as he went, “Wait here for a minute. I’ll be back!” I suspected that he was going to get some reinforcements, and I was right. He returned shortly with two more men, and they seemed very confident of themselves. One of them fired off a series of questions: “What do you want here? What is your business in this area? Why do you care what is happening around the corner?”
“If I walk away and do nothing,” I told him, “I will be guilty of taking part in this dirty business. It is written in Ezekiel 33:7–8, ‘O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel … if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine hand.’ This is my obligation before God and man. Furthermore, it is written in Leviticus 26:1, ‘Ye shall make no idols nor carved image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lᴏʀᴅ your God.’ The Lord has promised blessings to those who obey His Word and curses to those who disobey it. Think about it. Which do you want? You can see that everything I have said is taken from the Bible, which was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God. It is eternal, and no one can add or subtract anything from this holy book—not even one letter.”
After a long discussion, one of the men asked, “Just what is it that you want? Do you want us to close this place and send all these people home on your orders?” “No, my friend,” I replied. “I have read to you the orders of God Himself. I am only His insignificant servant, but I do the best I can to warn people to turn from their wicked ways.” I then read to them the continuation of the command in Ezekiel: “Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it, if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezek. 33:9). They appeared to be listening very carefully, but I could tell they were also thinking about how to get me away from that place, and soon they found a way. “Because you are reading from the Bible, we know who you are,” they announced. “You are a Christian, and if you do not leave this place quietly, things will not go well for you!”
I was not afraid of them, and against their warning I went around the corner and started to speak to the poor people who were waiting in line like lambs about to be led to the slaughter. I began very slowly, telling them about false teachers, and I read Jeremiah 23:25: “I have heard what the prophets said, who prophesy lies in my name.” “You must realize who this man is,” I told them. “He is prophesying lies in God’s name. If you accept his false teaching, you will not only pay out your hard-earned money, you will also pay with your lives and your souls. I have come to warn you about the consequences of following such people, and I want to read to you a good example of a situation such as this found in the New Testament.” I then read Matthew 7:15: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” I said, “It is because I love you that I am warning you of this great danger. Think about it.”
By this time, there was nothing the organizers of the meeting could do to stop me, because I was in the midst of a large crowd of people who were very interested in the conversation. Some told me they were there because they had many troubles, and I told them, ‘We are not living in a paradise on this earth, and we never will; however, the Lord is preparing a paradise for us when we leave this earth. But we will never get there by asking wicked people, like the one coming here today, to bless us. To get into God’s paradise, we must come to Him in the way He has prescribed in His holy Word. God alone can give us true blessings and solutions to our most difficult problems. Be careful that you are not bewitched by false prophets who proclaim themselves to be great righteous ones.”
Naturally, some of the people in the group were uncertain about me and suggested that we go around the corner to continue our discussion. No doubt they suspected that I was a Christian. Of course, by now I knew the meaning of going “around the corner.” They wanted to keep me away from the others. One of them asked, “Are you a Jew?” and I replied, “I am, but we have only one God, and He does not care about nationalities. He is concerned with people’s hearts and worship. I am not trying to hide anything or represent myself as something other than what I am. I believe in the Lord Jesus as my Messiah and Savior, and therefore I have to warn you against following false teachers, like the one you are waiting to see at this very moment.”
Many of these people accepted my witness graciously, and some even left the line to speak further with me about the Lord. Of course, I made sure they received the right information about Him, rather than what the rabbis tell them, and at the end of our conversation I gave them New Testaments so that they could read about Him for themselves. Pray with me that these people will recall our conversation, read the New Testament, and come to a knowledge of the truth. Then they will have no need to seek out false teachers to help solve their problems, because they will be able to take everything to the Lord, “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).