Zvi Nov/Dec 2012
A few months ago, a young ultra-Orthodox man whom I did not recognize came to our home with some of his friends. He was not nice or friendly. In fact, he was extremely unfriendly. I suspected something was wrong when he began to make himself at home.
“What is it you want?” I asked.
He replied, “This is important for you. I come to you with a great warning.”
“What have I done?”
“If you do not want dangerous trouble, you must give me $10,000,” he said.
When I asked him why, he replied, “Let us be more open. We know that you believe in That Man. If you do not want people around here to know in whom you believe, you must give me $10,000. And if you do not give me the money, I will see to it that even the newspapers know about you and the fact that you are active in your Christian faith. I will tell them how you go to people and talk to them about it, doing what is not legal here in Israel.”
I listened patiently to his long speech. Then I realized I knew him.
“Do you remember what you read to me?” he asked.
I had read him Proverbs 19:21: “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lᴏʀᴅ’s counsel—that will stand.” I was surprised I could recall the details so many years later.
“What have you got to say for yourself?” he asked.
So I explained, “This verse was written in the Bible by the Holy Spirit of God.” When he asked how I knew the verse and who my rabbi was, I told him, “I read the Holy Bible for myself and believe what is written. I do not read rabbinical stories, as you do.”
Then he became much more agitated and told me, “Many times I have taken the Holy Bible and read it. And it does not give me rest. I knew I had to come and speak to you because I have no peace. I want to know why you left the true faith and started to follow gods according to a religion that is far from what is written in the Bible. That is why I came to you today. How do you feel about your new faith and the Bible that you cast away from you? I want to know.”
I asked him who told him that those of us who believe in Yeshua (Jesus) have cast away the Bible?
“Our great rabbis told us,” he said. “They said you no longer read the Bible.” So I showed him and his friends a few Bibles. I opened one to a passage they know well, Deuteronomy 6, and had them read: “You shall fear the Lᴏʀᴅ your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you” (vv. 13–14). I told them they are the ones who do not follow the true faith because they follow their rabbis, not what is written in the Bible.
They did not like what I said and started jumping around in great anger, shouting at me. “How can you say such a big lie! Show me where it is written in the Holy Bible about This One in whom you have believed! Do you think you know more than our rabbis, who have studied for years? How dare you say they do not follow the truth! Show me in the Bible where it is written about This One in whom you have believed! That is what we want to see right now!”
“Now you have come to the most important point,” I replied. “And in a few minutes you will see for yourselves where it is written about This One whose name you are even afraid to say. His name is Yeshua. Have you ever read Isaiah 53, this well-known chapter in the Bible?”
Of course, they told me no.
“Why do you not read it?” I asked. “We do not read it because the rabbis told us not to read it. They said we must study much before we may read it, and then we may only read it in their presence. We are very interested in what is written here.”
So, standing in my home, they read Isaiah 53 for the first time. They asked many questions, and I explained about whom it is written. Though Isaiah wrote 700 years before the birth of Yeshua, the Holy Spirit of God gave the prophet a clear picture of Jesus. It is unmistakable.
I told them, “No one has the right to tell you to boycott any of the words written in the Holy Bible.”
By now they had become much nicer. “You know,” one told me, “we are starting to become good friends. And we will come to visit you more.” Before they left, they again read Proverbs 19:21.
I told them, “Here is the Bible. Follow what is written here before you start to fight against those of us who follow God Almighty.”
And they replied, “Amen.”