Zvi Feb/Mar 1998
Near many synagogues in Israel you can see people standing around like merchants outside a market shouting to sell their merchandise. Newcomers to the country do not know what they want, but I have been here for 50 years and I know exactly what they want. As you know, the Jewish people will not begin to pray without a minyan—ten people. Often they are one or two people short, and that presents a big problem, so they stand on the street trying to recruit people to complete the minyan. Recently I was passing a synagogue and was asked by a group of men to come in and fulfill the minyan so that they could begin their prayer service. “You will make a great mitzvah [good deed] if you do,” I was told.
“I never have to wait for other people to join me in prayer,” I said. “If there is no one else with me, why can I not pray alone? Of course, it is good for people to praise the Lord together, but I often pray to Him by myself. I do not make a public scene, like someone trying to sell his wares in the marketplace, to get someone to join me. In fact, I pray every day, many times a day, thanking the Lord that He has opened my eyes so that I can see the truth and do not walk in darkness.”
One of the men asked, “How can you pray without a minyan?” I cited the example of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, found in 1 Samuel 1. She prayed quietly before the Lord, and He heard her prayer and gave her the desire of her heart. She did not need a minyan to come before the Lord in prayer. “So you see,” I told them, “you do not have to shout to get other people to join you. If you pray quietly, each one from his own heart, the Lord will hear and answer your prayers—even if you are alone in the desert!”
These men looked at me suspiciously and said, “So now, after all these many years, do you want to make a new law? Who do you think you are? Even the great rabbis cannot do that—they cannot change the old traditions.” I said, “I wouldn’t dream of starting a new tradition, but I would like to see all of you return to the truth that is written in the Bible, God’s Word. In the law that we received from God Himself we are told how to worship and pray to Him. I have not seen it written anywhere in the Bible that we must worship the Lord according to the old rabbinical traditions and superstitions.”
By now these people were, like everyone I talk to, curious about me, and one man asked, “Who do you represent? To what organization do you belong?” I answered, “Because I believe in the living God according to the Holy Bible, I come among you representing the Lord alone. Ezekiel 33:7–9 is a warning to people, and it is my obligation before God to bring this warning to you.” The man then asked, “What is written there?” I was happy to read this portion of Scripture, and it provided a wonderful opening for me to begin to present the gospel to them.
After I had been speaking for a short time, they began to ask questions. “Are you a rabbi?” one man asked. “No,” I replied. “I am, as the Lord instructed me to be, His servant. I am proud that He gave me this great privilege because it has led us to have this important conversation about faith in Yeshua Hamashiah.” They were surprised to hear such a thing and said, “Would you please repeat that.” I said it again: “Yeshua Hamashiah.” “So, you believe in the Messiah,” one man commented. “Yes I do,” I replied. “So you belong to the Habad group,” he continued. “No,” I said. “I belong to those who worship the Lord according to the Bible. The rabbi from New York is the last person on my mind, and, as you know, he has been dead for a few years now.” “Then how did you come to believe in the Messiah?” another man asked. For many Jewish people, this is hard to understand. They think that if you say you believe in the Messiah, you mean a man who has proclaimed himself to be the Messiah, such as Menachem Schneerson.
I said, “If you have a little more time, I would be glad to tell you who the true Messiah is and what He has done for us. And I can show you where to find Him in the Scriptures.” I then 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.” “If this is not enough,” I went on, “I can show you many other places in the Bible that clearly speak about the Messiah. In fact, if you would like, I can show you all of them right now.”
One of the men then asked, “Is this connected with Isaiah 53?” “Yes! You have seen the truth,” I exclaimed. “I have also seen the group to which you belong,” he replied. I told him, “I am proud of the one to whom I belong. I am happy to belong to Him. And because I believe in Him, I do not go around all the time with a sour face, like all of you. You are always bitter. And why? Because you continue to walk in deep darkness. You must come out of the darkness into the light of the Lord.”
“Did you come here to make us Christians?” they asked. I answered, “I have heard this question many times before, and my answer is always the same. As it is written in Malachi 3:7, ‘Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lᴏʀᴅ.’ As you see, I have not come to you with thousands of books, each proclaiming the ideas and superstitions of the particular rabbi who wrote it. When you teach people to study these books all day long, you are brainwashing them, just as you were brainwashed by the false teachers who came before you. I come to people with only one book, the Holy Bible, the written Word of God. You speak angrily about Christians, but what about yourselves. You do not even know what is written in God’s Word because of the great confusion caused by the false teaching of your so-called ‘holy ones’ down through the centuries? You are even afraid to pray by yourselves, and that is because you do not really know the God to whom you pray. As He said in His Word, return to Him, and He will return to you. ”
I pray that I will have further opportunities to speak with these men. Please pray with me that the Lord will open their eyes to the truth of His Word and that they will repent and open their hearts to Him—before it is too late.