Zvi Sep/Oct 2007
I have lived in Israel almost 60 years, and I have never heard a good word spoken about those of us who believe in Christ. Usually, people here oppose us all the time. And to my great surprise, what did I see recently but a program on television about Jewish people who believe in Jesus the Messiah! This was the first time I ever heard good things said about us. So you see, it is true what we say here in Israel: When God wills it, even a broom can shoot.
As it is written in Psalm 126:5, “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” We have sown seeds of faith amid much hardship and tears, and the fruit of our labor is what we see now on television. Many Israelis are no longer against us, as they were years ago.
However, the ultra-Orthodox are still much against us and continue to fight those of us who believe in Christ. Several ultra-Orthodox families live in my neighborhood in Jerusalem, and I have had many long discussions with them about faith—and not because I start the conversations. But every time the men see me, they bring up the subject and begin to test me with their many questions.
This happened again recently. I told them the Word of the Lord is eternal and that we who believe in Jesus rely only on the Word and not on a big stack of books written by men, as they do. “You worship your many rabbinical traditions. We worship God only,” I said.
“Well, if that is the case, we want to know where in the Hebrew Bible it is written about This Man!” one demanded. The ultra-Orthodox will never mention Jesus by name. They will only call him This Man. This is not the first time I have spoken with these people about faith. But usually when I begin to speak, they refuse to listen. So it was good that, this time, they asked these questions themselves.
Quickly I opened my Bible to Isaiah 53. “You must read here,” I said, “and think about whom it is written.” So they read. But when I asked, “What do you think about it?” one replied, “We cannot give you an answer right now. We will meet with our great rabbi and he will talk to us about it. Then we can give you the right answer.”
As if that reply were not bad enough, one man continued: “Of course, now you will try to show us more writing like this one and tell us that it, too, is written in the Bible. You will try to show us that the Lord was born in Bethlehem, as those many Christians believe.”
But I remembered that it is written, “Do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (Mt. 10:19–20).
So I told them, “Before you read, take a good look at the Book. Are you reading from the Holy Bible or from those many books with which you occupy your lives?”
So they began to examine the Book in their hands. And they admitted, “Yes, this is the Holy Bible. Where is it written—what you spoke about—that the Lord would be born in Bethlehem?”
I turned to Micah 5:2, which prophesies that the Lord Himself would be born in Bethlehem:
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the one to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.
After they read, they began to ask many questions, such as, “How did you know about this verse? How did you come to believe in Jesus?” I told them no one tried to convince me that Jesus is God. I learned by reading the Holy Bible. I did not blindly follow rabbinical traditions, as they do, putting their faith in what their rabbis say, rather than what is said in the Word of God.
“You do not even know in whom you have believed,” I said. “So now you walk in this great darkness, after the traditions of men. This is why you are so confused when you read the Scriptures.”
“Are you saying that our great teachers do not walk according to the right way?” one asked.
Again I showed them my Bible. “If you will worship the Lord according to what is written here, you will be free from all this confusion. You will see the full truth and understand about Almighty God.”
They were extremely interested, and we had a long conversation. Then one said, “You know, only a rabbi has the right to speak about faith as you do.”
I replied, “You do not believe the right way if you believe such a thing. Do not fear anyone, for it is written, “The Lᴏʀᴅ your God is with you’” (Dt. 20:1).
From then on, they wanted to know all about the New Testament. It was a wonderful opportunity to show them the New Testament and talk about how to worship the Lord only and to “fear the Lᴏʀᴅ our God, for our good always” (6:24).
“You have given us much to think about,” one said. I also gave them my Bible, and they received it with great joy.