Zvi Dec/Jan 1995/1996
In these days, we are seeing more and more Jews coming home to Israel, and there is much talk of the Jewish people being united in their land again. But, in this country, if you have 10 people, you have 10 different opinions—about everything! There is no unity, and there never will be as long as the people do not know the Lord.
The people spend a lot of time in long discussions about everything from politics, to the peace process, to religion, but always without results. Many times I go among these embittered people and try to encourage them. Because I can speak their language, I often speak with my Russian neighbors, and they gladly receive me into their company.
Recently, I was speaking with a group of Russian immigrants, and one man asked, “What do you think about the things that are happening these days?” I replied, “As it is written, ‘Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting’ (Gal. 6:7–8). In these troubled times, everyone wants to show how smart he is, and so everyone has an opinion to express, but when we take a good look at each other, we can see how foolish we all are. Every good Jew should know what is written in Proverbs: ‘The fear of the Lᴏʀᴅ is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding’ (Prov. 9:10).
“We must return to our roots and quietly pray to the Lord, as King David did: ‘Show me thy ways, O Lᴏʀᴅ; teach me thy paths … Remember, O Lᴏʀᴅ, thy tender mercies and thy loving-kindnesses; for they have been ever of old’ (Ps. 25:4, 6). The Scriptures must be very close to your hearts; they will show you how to be wise and how to find our Savior. Let us start with that beginning, ‘The fear of the Lᴏʀᴅ,’ instead of wasting our time discussing things that have no lasting value.”
I could tell that these people were now very interested in our conversation, and I took the opportunity to read a few passages of Scripture: “Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye peoples: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth from it” (Isa. 34:1); “Hear this, all ye peoples; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world” (Ps. 49:1). Of course, with some people it is not enough to hear with their ears; they must also see with their eyes, and so it was with them. When they read these passages for themselves and were satisfied that they were from the Holy Bible, they realized that I was speaking about a subject that is not very popular in Israel—Jesus Christ. People like them, who are so far away from faith in the true God, find it hard to believe that a Jew can speak about Jesus Christ as his Savior. When they lived in Russia, they were denied knowledge of any religion, but in Israel things are more free. Still, they could not understand how a Jew could possibly believe in Jesus Christ.
This became a turning point in our conversation. Before, they were talking about the Israelis’ lack of unity in secular matters. But they were positive that the people of Israel were united in their faith in one God. “After all,” they said, “we read three times each day the words of Deuteronomy 6:4, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lᴏʀᴅ our God is one Lᴏʀᴅ.’”
“You are right,” I told them. “The Lord our God is one. And it is this same God who was pierced for our transgressions.” One of them responded, “You are putting the name of Jesus in place of God. Our God was not pierced. It was your Jesus who was pierced. You believe something that is a deep mistake.”
“Oh no,” I said. “It is you who believe the deep mistake because your eyes do not, cannot see the truth. Everything that I have told you is from the Bible. It is not my fault if you have heard things that do not please your ears. I did not write the Bible. Take your own Russian Bible and read Zechariah 12:10: ‘ … they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.’
“Again we read of the one who was pierced. Who was He? Are all the people blind that they cannot see what the prophets wrote? And they did not write through their own wisdom but by the Holy Spirit of God. If Jesus is not God, as you say, why did the Holy Spirit of God have the prophets put Him in the Bible?”
Now these people became very serious and asked, “If what you say is true, why is it that hardly any Jews believe in Christ and most want to separate Him from the nation of Israel?” I replied, “The Bible tells of the many times the Jewish people have paid a high price and suffered dearly because they are such a stiff-necked people. How many times did Moses fall on his knees and ask the Lord to forgive the sins of his people? You can read about it in Exodus 32:9–14 and 34:9. Finally, in Isaiah 53 the prophet told the Israelites how to find forgiveness of their sins. It would be through the one who would be ‘wounded for our transgressions … bruised for our iniquities’ (v. 5). But, as the prophet asked, ‘Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lᴏʀᴅ revealed?’ (v. 1). Again, in Zechariah, as you just read for yourselves, the Israelites were told to ‘look upon me whom they have pierced’ (12:10). Did they do it then? No! Are they doing it today? No! The Jewish people still refuse to believe in Him. But, there will come a time when the whole nation of Israel will be saved in one day: ‘Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children’ (Isa. 66:8). Then they will see Jesus for who He is and believe in Him as their Messiah. I pray that you will not wait until that day. I encourage you to take your Russian-language Bibles and read what our own Jewish prophets said about the Messiah. Then you will know Him and believe in Him as He wants you to do.”
Please pray with me for these dear people, that the Lord will open their eyes, which have been so long blinded to “the wisdom of the Lᴏʀᴅ,” and draw them unto Himself.