Zvi Jul/Aug 2001
The first time I received a Bible, I knew nothing about faith, especially about faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It was 1948, during the War of Independence here in Israel. And what did I read? Even when I was far from faith and I saw a Bible for the first time in my life, I read Psalm 27:1–10, where it is written, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”
Those words encouraged me through all the wars I fought for Israel over 52 years. Today many people here live in fear and have no one to encourage them. Where I live, many new immigrants have arrived, most of them from Russia. I know their language and speak to them often. In Israel we are living on a “time bomb.” We are in constant danger, and it seems as though we may have another war.
Not long ago, I spoke with some of these immigrants. They asked me, “What will be? We are afraid. How can you sleep at night?” They know I fought in all Israel’s wars and now my children are in the military.
So I told them, “I put my trust in the Lord. As it is written in Isaiah 12:2, ‘God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid.’ Because I believe this, I am not going around in fear as you are, but in confidence. You have put your trust in man, not in God.”
Then they asked me how I can speak of faith when I do not cover my head. I have heard that question many times. “It is good you asked me,” I said. “Faith does not require a covered head. Abraham, the father of faith, did not cover his head; but the Lord loved him. And Elijah, one of our most important prophets, did not cover his head. God does not demand we come before Him with a covered head but with a pure heart. We must do as King David did in Psalm 25 and pray, “Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me” (vv. 4–5).
I must go slowly with them, as with little children because, even though they are old, they know nothing about faith. Some of them asked me, “Do you not want to teach us about Christianity? You know that we are Jewish.”
I replied, “My duty is to bring you near the root of faith—the Bible. What is written here is holy, and no one has the right to boycott what is written by the Holy Spirit of God. Many people have come to you and have tried to confuse you. So please, take a good look at this Bible.”
So I gave them a Bible in their own language. “Read,” I told them. I opened the Bible to Isaiah 53. Before they began, I asked them, “Is this from the Bible or from a book of stories?”
“Yes,” they said. “You are showing us the Bible.”
And, just as I did 52 years ago, they began to read the words of God. When they finished, I asked, “What have you read? Can you give me a clear explanation of it?”
This time they were quiet. Then they asked me, “What is written here? About whom is this written?”
“What have the others been teaching you?” I asked.
They all answered, “That the Messiah has to come. We hear this every day.”
“What is written here?” I asked. “This says that the Messiah was already here, and ‘the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all’ (v. 6). About whom is this written?”
So I asked them to read Isaiah 7:14, where it says, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son.” They know how to read, but they are far from knowing about whom these things are written. They were afraid to say the truth, even though they were thinking it. But because we are neighbors, we were able to speak more openly, as friends.
So I showed them verse after verse from the Bible alone until one of them clearly understood and said, “This is written about the Messiah.”
I said, “Yes. About Yeshua Hamashiach.”
They started to think about it and asked, “How can this be?”
I replied, “You must think for yourselves. I did not write this, did I? You see that I showed you everything from the Bible.”
They told me they will ask their ultra-Orthodox teacher about these passages. I will speak to them again. Please pray for them. They must stop being afraid to think for themselves, or they will never stop being afraid.