Zvi Jun/Jul 1997
It is obvious from observing the international scene that most of the world is against the Chosen People of God, Israel. This nation occupies a very small piece of real estate—so small that it is hard to find on a map—yet it is the subject of more newspaper headlines and media reports worldwide than any other nation. The reason for this animosity is jealousy. As it is written in Song of Solomon 8:6, “love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as sheol.” In Deuteronomy 7:6 Moses said to the Israelites, “the Lᴏʀᴅ thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people who are upon the face of the earth.” The problem is that the other nations want to be the special people. They do not want to admit that the Jewish nation was chosen by God above them. In many places in the Bible the Jewish people are told not to fear. As the Lord God protected us from Pharaoh in Egypt long ago, so He will protect us from our present-day enemies.
Now we are in a situation such as the children of Israel faced when Pharaoh chased them to the Red Sea. We are surrounded by Arab nations whose favorite slogan is, “Butcher the Jews! Cast them into the Sea!” But our motto cannot be the same. We must never repay them with the coin of hatred. We must show them that there are many ways in which we can be friendly with each other. Of course, the chief way—the only real way—is through the love of Christ. Everyone who believes in Him will see the kingdom of God. This cannot be accomplished with the sword on the field of slaughter, but with love.
Many times I have the opportunity to speak with my Arab neighbors. It is the same with them as it is with the ultra-Orthodox Jews. We sometimes speak for many hours before we get around to the most important subject of all, faith in Christ. When I speak with Arabs, the first thing I must do is draw them away from their blind hatred, their long-standing, deadly hatred of the Jewish people. Then we can begin to speak about faith in Christ. Most of the Arabs I speak with are young people, and it is very hard to explain to them the meaning of the word love because they grew up on the words of Genesis 27:40, “by the sword shalt thou live.” I must go very slowly with these people, but eventually, even without the sword, we can come to an understanding.
Because we live near one another, I see them often, and they are usually interested in continuing our dialogue about faith in Christ. Recently when we met, my neighbors had with them a sheikh, one who knows the Koran. I spoke with him, but, as we all know, not every prophet is of the same mind. He began by asking, “Where is it written in the Torah that this land belongs to the Jews?” He was so sure of himself, certain that the Torah did not state such a thing. Quickly I showed him Genesis 13:14–17, where the Lord promised the land of Israel to Abraham and his descendants forever. At that time, Abraham resided in Hebron, which was part of the land grant given to him and his descendants by the Lord. I then showed them other places in the Torah where the borders of Israel are given, such as Genesis 15:18 and Exodus 23:31.
As I spoke with them that day, I remembered 2 Timothy 2:24, which states, “the servant of the Lord must…be…patient,” because I realize that they do not accept such statements easily. And I was right! The sheikh immediately said, “That cannot be. The Koran says it is not so.” I then said, “Go to your teachers and ask them when the Bible [the Torah] was written and when the Koran was written. They will have to tell you, in all honesty, that the Bible was written first, and it is the authentic Word of God.”
There was another thing this sheikh could not accept. “How can you,” he asked, “a Jew, speak about Christ?” I replied, “I believe in Him, not because someone told me to and I follow in blind faith. Rather, I believe as I do because it is written about Christ in the Bible, in the Jewish Scriptures. It is my obligation, as a good Jew, to believe what is written there.”
Then they began to ask me many more questions, just as the ultra-Orthodox Jews do. “Are you a Christian? Are you one of those who carries a big cross down the Via Dolorosa on Good Friday?” I answered, “I belong to the living God, and not to idols. I believe in the one who was wounded for our transgressions, as it is written in Isaiah 53:5. I am sure you will not find this written in the Koran, which was written by a man. The Bible was written by the Holy Spirit of God, who spoke through the prophets.”
By this time more of my Arab neighbors had joined the group, and they seemed interested in what I was saying. I told them, “It is only through the power of the Lord that we can come together and speak with each other in a friendly manner. Perhaps one day all Arabs and Israelis will be able to come together and speak as we are doing now. Perhaps one day we will come to a mutual understand without drawing the sword. As it is written in Isaiah 11:6, one day ‘The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.’ We are seeing something like that here today. But this prophecy can only be fulfilled when we all have a common faith in Christ, the only one who can give people the ability to put aside their differences and hatred and love and serve one another through Him.”
Just as we are to take His Word to the Jewish people, so we are to take it to all the people of the world. Jesus commanded His disciples—and us—“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15), and this includes the Arabs. Please pray with me that we will soon see a great harvest among them, as well as among the Jewish people here in His Holy Land.