Zvi Mar/Apr 2013
I want to wish you all the best as we approach the great days of Passover. This is a holiday to remember how God delivered the Jewish people from their bitter bondage in Egypt. Today we are free, but many people would like to see us return to bondage and remove us from the land God gave to us as the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Some of the people who hate us are Muslim. I have lived here in Israel more than 65 years and have many Arab neighbors. A while ago several Muslims came to me. They were not ordinary people, but Muslim leaders. I know them well because we have been neighbors for 38 years. They used to be extremely hostile, but in time they learned I speak to them from the Holy Bible. So they sometimes come and ask me questions.
This time one said, “We know you are not a rabbi. Can you tell how you came to preach the Bible and why you go to the Jewish people, who are so far away from God?”
I replied that it is my obligation as a Jew—a member of His Chosen People—to speak to others about His true salvation.
They were surprised. One responded, “You mean to tell us God has chosen the Jewish people? Such a thing is not written in the Bible! Do not tell us fictional stories! It is not written that your people, who call themselves Israel, have been chosen by God to be His servants to go to others and bring them, as you say, ‘His salvation.’ If such a thing is written in the Bible, we want you to show it to us, not in English but in Arabic! And if it is not as you say, we will never speak with you again.”
So in the Arabic-language Bible I had with me, I had them read Isaiah 43, where it is written,
But now, thus says the Lᴏʀᴅ, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. You are My witnesses,” says the Lᴏʀᴅ, “and My servant whom I have chosen” (vv. 1, 10).
I also showed them Isaiah 49:3, where it is written, “You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
After they read, one said, “We are ready to speak with you for many hours.”
So I asked them, “Do you believe in what Christ said to the Chosen People of Israel?”
This time one replied, “Christ hates the people of Israel. And not only He, but all the world!”
I listened patiently, then replied, “Now is a good time to say to you what the Lord said to His Chosen People.”
“If you will show us that He liked the people of Israel, we will believe. But do not show us from the Hebrew Scriptures, but from the New Testament,” one said. So I opened first to Matthew 10:5–6, where it is written, “These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: ‘Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’”
Then I asked them to read Luke 13:34, where Jesus wept over the Jewish people and said to them,
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!
They were very surprised. They insisted Jesus hated the Jewish people. So I told them, “The Lord Jesus Christ came from among the Jewish people. He was Jewish. Everything I tell you about Christ is written in your Arabic Bible. Jesus is not only for Jewish people. He is for everyone. And I showed them Isaiah 53:
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (vv. 5–6).
Now they were listening carefully.
“How did this come to be written in the Bible?” one asked.
“Because,” I replied, “the Bible was not written by people who simply like to write. The Holy Bible was written by the Holy Spirit of God. What is written here is eternal, and no one has the right to erase it. It is our duty as His Chosen People, Israel, to go to the ends of the earth to teach about His salvation.”
Before our conversation, they were much against me. But now they were friendly. “We will come again. We want to know more,” one said. This was a long conversation with people who have been our greatest enemies. I pray they will see the truth and that we will become brothers through faith in Christ.