Since the beginning of Israel’s history, this nation has been central to the struggle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. God called Israel forth from the heathen world to be His people, set apart for Him, a nation who would live to honour His Name. They were to take a stand against this world and against the forces of evil. Therefore, He named them Israel which means Warriors for God.
It is understandable that Satan, God’s enemy, would do everything possible to harm or destroy Israel physically and spiritually. To that end he incites their heathen enemies to attack and confront them. He also makes use of more subtle attacks in the form of temptations, such as he used to tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden. The spiritual polarisation in Israel is proof of the degree of success he has had. Many Jews have forgotten the Lord, many have turned to a form of godliness without real spirituality, and others have even turned to idols.
Nevertheless, there has always been a faithful remnant in Israel – a group of Jews who are truly worthy to receive the blessings that God had promised His people. In one of the darkest hours of their history, when Elijah thought that he was the only faithful one left in Israel, God gave him the assurance that there were 7 000 others who had not bowed the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18). Of course, the faithful remnant was always a minority group, but that is not the determining factor. No, they are the true Israel and it is from them that the Lord Jesus came in the flesh (Rom. 9:4-5).
Do you reject and condemn Israel for the sins of the majority? Or do you pray for the restoration and protection of the Jews because you know that there is still a faithful remnant in their midst? The apostle Paul said: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved” (Rom. 9:27; NIV). The same situation prevails world-wide, as the majority of the members of all nations have left the ways of the Lord, and are now on the road to perdition. We must be certain to recognise this distinction between the adherents of light and darkness, otherwise we may wrongly generalise and judge a whole nation.
The courage of the faithful remnant in Israel runs like a golden thread through their long history of four thousand years. When God called Abraham, he obeyed without question and received the promise that the Saviour of the world would be born from his descendants (Gal. 3:8-9, 13-14). The two generations which followed Abraham, that of Isaac and Jacob, continued to lay the foundation of this outstanding nation.
The people of God often became faithless and disobedient, and He called leaders like Joseph, Moses, Caleb, Joshua, David and the prophets to lead them back to Him. These men mostly worked and witnessed in a society that not only rejected them, but openly threatened their lives. However, they knew what the consequences of disobedience were; therefore they continued to witness and preach regardless of the price they had to pay.
Joseph was condemned, thrown into a well and sold to the Midianites. Moses had to flee to the wilderness because his people had rejected him after he killed an Egyptian to protect one of his own. Caleb and Joshua were the only two spies who believed that the Lord would enable His people to conquer the Promised Land, but the majority report of the other ten spies was accepted. The Jews were so enraged by Caleb and Joshua’s persistence and bold stand for God that they wanted to stone them. Even David knew firsthand what it was like to be rejected by his own people. He spent many days and nights fleeing and hiding in caves. Many of the prophets were hunted down, imprisoned and killed. We know that the Lord Jesus Himself met with severe hostility. He was persecuted, falsely accused, sold for the price of a slave and finally crucified with a common criminal on each side of Him.
God used the powerful witness of saints like these to lead thousands of His people back to Him. After all his hardships, Joseph became a powerful man in Egypt who saved his whole family from starvation. Moses became the great leader who freed Israel from the land of slavery and taught them the ways of the Lord. Joshua, who had not been afraid at the sight of the pagan Canaanites, led the twelve tribes into the Promised Land, and achieved one victory after another. David became one of the most famous fighting kings ever to reign in Israel, and an ancestor of the Messiah. The prophets prepared the people for the arrival of the Messiah and King. Even in times of decadence and apostasy, they helped to preserve, protect and encourage the faithful remnant of God.
All the Messianic prophecies and atonement rites of the Old Testament were fulfilled in the suffering and death of Jesus, the Messiah. He was the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of mankind, and it is therefore not necessary for priests and prophets to intercede any longer. The veil which secluded the Sanctuary was torn when He was crucified. The door was opened, and now anyone can approach the throne of mercy and ask for forgiveness in the name of Jesus. The church of the Lord Jesus was founded with the conversion of 3 000 Jewish people at Pentecost. After the mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the faithful were sent out to the uttermost parts of the earth as witnesses for the Messiah. On this mission to a hostile world, the struggle and persecution would continue unabated.
In the New Testament, the war between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan intensified. Apart from the church, Israel remained an important target to the forces of evil, since they are still the covenant people of God (Lev. 26:44-45; Ezek. 36:24‑29; Acts 15:16; Rom. 11:1-33; Heb 8:7-13).
The Messianic Jews were persecuted right from the beginning (see Acts 8:1-4). This hostility would continue to a lesser or greater degree throughout the centuries. The nineteenth century saw a large increase in the numbers of Jews accepting Jesus as Messiah, but the opposition of orthodox Jews remained strong.
Because of social rejection it is extremely difficult for an orthodox Jew to become a Messianic Jew; consequently, there are virtually no Messianic Jews who are unsaved nominal believers. If they take a decision to become followers of the Messiah, they count the cost and go all the way. Therefore, the statistics of conversions in Jewish communities are much more reliable than statistics pertaining to Western countries, where there is a large nominal Christianity – people who only belong to churches, but having no testimony of being born again.
A clear distinction should be made between saved and unsaved Israelis. The vast majority of Jews are only circumcised in their flesh and not in their hearts, and therefore are not among the true, spiritual Israelites (Contenders for God). It is with a view to this distinction that Paul says: “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel” (Rom. 9:6). Only those whose hearts have been renewed are truly Israelites, or Jews: “...but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter” (Rom. 2:29).
That is the reason why Messianic Jews often call themselves “completed Jews”. They have been spiritually quickened and therefore belong to “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16). These people are the believing remnant in Israel. We should not practice replacement theology by applying the terms “Israel” or “spiritual Israel” to the church among the Gentiles, as these terms only refer to saved Israelites.
A completed Jew is a Jew who has met the Messiah, the hope of Israel, and dedicated his life to Him – he is a Messianic Jew. In his testimony, A completed Jew, Jeff Miller says: “I accepted Jesus into my life and He completed me” (www.precious-testimonies.com/BornAgain).
In an article on Messianic Judaism, Wikipedia [2011(d)] says: “Messianic Judaism states that Jesus is not merely a man, but the Jewish Messiah and ‘God the Son’ (one person of the Trinity), and that salvation is only achieved through acceptance of Jesus as one’s Saviour. Any Jewish laws or customs that are followed are cultural and do not contribute to attaining salvation.”
However, orthodox Jews regard a “completed Jew” in the Messianic movement as a “lost Jew” because he confesses a Messiah who is not recognised by them, and also because he no longer finds his salvation in law observance. Consequently, the modern Jewish disciples of the Messiah experience just as much opposition from orthodox Jews as was the case with the first century disciples.
The Messianic movement is statistically small compared to the great majority of orthodox and agnostic (non-practising) Jews, but they are making good progress and are rapidly expanding. There are various large, international missionary organisations, as well as co-ordinating bodies for Messianic congregations, of which the most important ones are mentioned below. They introduce themselves as follows, and on some of their websites more information may be found on the testimonies of Messianic Jews:
Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies (www.caspari.com). “Caspari Center is a network of people: Jews and Gentiles throughout the world working together to raise awareness of Jewish believers in Jesus and support the growth of Israel’s congregations. Our passion is to support emerging leaders who will transform Israel by developing and leading mature, confident and visionary Messianic communities. ... For a number of years we have been praying for new premises for our center in Jerusalem. We have now moved in to our new premises at 55 HaNevi’im (Prophets) St. in Jerusalem. ... The book Jewish Believers in Jesus: The Early Centuries, is the first in a series edited by Caspari Center associate scholars Oskar Skarsaune and Reidar Hvalvik, and examines the formative first five centuries of Christian history as experienced by individuals who were ethnically Jewish, but who professed faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Available now at our online store.”
Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (www.umjc.net). “(1) We believe the Bible is the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of G-d. (2) We believe that there is one G-d, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (3) We believe in the deity of the L-RD Yeshua, the Messiah, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory. (4) We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential. (5) We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the believer is enabled to live a godly life. (6) We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life, and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation. (7) We believe in the spiritual unity of all believers in the L-RD Yeshua, the Messiah. (8) We believe in the process of discipline and conflict resolution taught in Matthew 18:15ff, as applicable to all congregants and leaders. (9) As Jewish followers of Yeshua, we are called to maintain our Jewish biblical heritage and remain a part of our people Israel and the universal body of believers. This is part of our identity and a witness to the faithfulness of G-d.”
British Messianic Jewish Alliance (www.bmja.net). “It is with great concern that we witness the rapid growth of worldwide anti-Semitism, all too often these days in the guise of anti-Zionism. We wish to express our concern that anti-Jewish sentiment is so frequently manifested in British society. We call upon the church to oppose it. As Jews who are part of the church we are distressed to hear anti-Jewish attitudes expressed in the church and in the name of Christianity. We call upon our fellow believers from many nations to acknowledge that Jesus was a Jew, and to disavow all racism aimed at Jewish people both inside and outside the State of Israel. We call upon the church to publicly affirm God’s ongoing relationship with the Jewish people, and his determination to continue to work with them since he has not cast them away. Even more unthinkable [and insulting] would be the idea that a Covenant God should ditch his first choice in favour of another. When we hear people in the churches suggesting that God’s promises to us are null and void we are concerned, not just for what that says about us, but also for what it says about God, as if He were fickle. Our very existence into the 21st century speaks for itself. We are part of a large, diverse and vibrant Messianic Jewish movement that professes Yeshua [the name ‘Jesus’ in its Hebrew form] is Messiah, Saviour and Lord.”
The Messianic Times (www.messianictimes.com). “The Messianic Times has become the leading international Messianic Jewish newspaper since its inception in 1990. Started as a quarterly publication, it is now published six times per year by Times of The Messiah Ministries. It includes news from the worldwide Messianic community, Israeli current events and analysis, opinion pieces, book, music and film reviews, informative articles, and a directory of Messianic Jewish congregations. The Messianic Times seeks to provide accurate, authoritative and current information to unite the international Messianic Jewish community, teach Christians the Jewish roots of their faith, and proclaim that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah.”
The Messianic Prophecy Bible Project (www.messianicbible.com). “Zev Isaacs, the son of a Holocaust survivor, raised in Montreal’s Jewish community, began his search for God while completing his degree in International Relations at York University in 1987. During his search, he was challenged by his mother’s new faith in Jesus (Yeshua), and by his Jewish friend’s conversion to Orthodox Judaism. Confused, Isaacs began to meet and discuss the objections to the Messianic prophecies with Jews for Judaism and Aish HaTorah. On Saturday mornings he would meet with a Messianic Rabbi to learn about Yeshua and the validity of the Messianic interpretation. After more than one year of studying the Messianic prophecies and struggling through the objections, he finally realized that Yeshua was the promised Jewish Messiah. Isaacs was determined to one day publish a Bible that would expose the truth of the Messianic prophecies. Isaacs founded The Messianic Times newspaper in 1989 and resigned in 2002 to devote himself fully to the work of the Bible Project.”
Jews for Jesus (www.jewsforjesus.org). “Jewish people tend to dismiss evangelistic methods and materials that are couched in Christian presuppositions and lingo, because they reinforce the assumption that Jesus is for ‘them’ not ‘us’. In order to get beyond that assumption, we have to be innovative. We place full-page gospel proclamations as paid ads in leading newspapers and magazines such as Newsweek, Parade, and The New York Times. We also broadcast evangelistic messages on billboards, in commuter trains, in bus transit shelters and on secular radio stations. Others have begun using some of these avenues to an extent, but Jews for Jesus have been on the cutting edge of making the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to Jewish people via the secular media. We also conduct special witnessing campaigns during the summer months in New York City, Toronto, Paris, London, Moscow and various other cities throughout the former Soviet Union.
“It is difficult, even as a Jewish mission, to keep the focus on sharing Christ with the unsaved. Jewish evangelism is difficult. Jewish people have a long-standing tradition of unbelief, and often view with contempt those who seek to share the gospel. The discomfort of being vulnerable and the pain of rejection that necessarily accompany effective missionary work can take their toll if not handled properly. If we don’t keep that vulnerability, that pain, in perspective, the natural desire to avoid them can slowly erode any commitment to direct evangelism.
“A second difficulty in maintaining the focus on evangelism is the fact that there are so many distractions. Whether it be leading tours to the Holy Land, conducting prophecy conferences or attempting to win support for the state of Israel, there are many worthy endeavours that simply do not add up to Jewish evangelism. No Jewish mission can afford to take on these endeavours at the price of neglecting to speak directly to the unsaved. That is why you will find us Jews for Jesus out on the streets and on college campuses handing out our gospel tracts. That is why you will find us calling on the telephone and meeting in person with unsaved Jewish people. It is all part of our Jews for Jesus commitment to remain visible, vulnerable and available as we maintain direct Jewish evangelism as our priority.”
Trumpet of Salvation. (www.trumpetofsalvation.com). “With the new birth of Jacob Damkani also came a calling to proclaim Yeshua to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, no matter what the cost. Distributing tracts he printed himself, he evangelized in the streets of Israel despite the resistance of his family and the hostilities of many orthodox Jews. In 1984, Trumpet of Salvation to Israel was founded. Since then Jacob has dedicated his life full time to this calling. The autobiography of Jacob Damkani, Lama Davka Ani? (Why Me?), has helped many Israelis come to faith in Yeshua and also many Christians to understand the origin of their faith. Available in Hebrew, Russian, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.”
Below are the testimonies of a few Messianic Jews who were mightily used by the Lord as shepherds among the large majority of the lost sheep of the house of Israel, to ensure that among this nation a remnant will be gathered to the glory of the Lord’s name. For more information on the testimonies of Messianic Jews, see Malan (1993), Gartenhaus (1998), as well as the websites mentioned above:
Rabbi Leopold Cohn was born in Berezna in the eastern part of Hungary in the nineteenth century. At the age of thirteen, after his Bar Mitzvah, he decided to become a rabbi as he had become aware of the need for spiritual leadership. While studying, he was intensely aware of his people’s dispersion, and that they had been waiting for the Messiah for such a long time. It became one of the focal points of his research and prayers. Article 12 of the Jewish creed, which confirms the belief that the Messiah will come even though He may tarry, became an integral part of his morning prayers.
Repeating these words so often, had turned the belief in his heart into a burning desire for the fulfilment of God’s promises. He desperately wished to see his people restored soon. He finally discovered that repeating the prayer for Israel was no longer sufficient. He would sit on the bare floor at night and mourn the destruction of the temple, while begging the Lord to send the Messiah soon.
The young rabbi often wondered why the Messiah was not forthcoming, and when He would actually come. He then discovered these words in the Talmud: “The world will exist for six thousand years. There will be chaos for two thousand years, two thousand years will be spent under the Law, and the time of the Messiah will be two thousand years.”
With great enthusiasm he began to study the work of Rashi, a well‑known Jewish expositor, but this provided no answers. “After the two thousand years the Messiah will come and destroy the wicked kingdoms.” These words confused him even more, for that indicated that the Messiah had already come! Instead of seeing the Messiah, the people of Israel had been scattered, and this was one of the most devastating facts in the history of his nation to account for.
“Could it be possible that the time of the Messiah had come without the fulfilment of the promise?” Leopold Cohn asked himself. He was deeply disturbed and confused and decided to seek an answer in the original Scriptures of the Old Testament. Daniel 9 provided some answers, and he discovered a wealth of profound and hidden truths. For example, from Daniel 9:24 he deduced that the prophecy of the 70 weeks referred to a period of 490 years.
Rabbi Cohn was accustomed to the complex and often abstract arguments of the Talmud (the Jewish scriptures containing their religious traditions, ethical standards and laws) and became fascinated by the clear and simple statements in the Word of God. He started to question the credibility of the Talmud, because it differed from the Holy Scriptures in so many instances. “Please open my eyes so that I can see the wonders in Your Word,” he prayed.
At that stage he was still unfamiliar with the New Testament; therefore he did not seek any answers there. He approached the rabbi of a nearby town and told him about his doubts and confusion regarding the Talmud. Instead of acquiring advice, he received a vicious scolding and was insulted and humiliated. The rabbi ended his long speech with the following reproach: “Have you now undertaken to explain that which cannot be fathomed? You, who are little more than a child, now have the audacity to question the teachings of the Talmud! Aren’t the teachings of our fathers good enough for you any more? You speak exactly like the American apostates who believe that our Messiah has already come. I want to warn you that if you continue with these blasphemous thoughts, you will be shamed and you will be dismissed from your position. Maybe you would then like to join the faithless in America?”
The young rabbi was deeply shocked by his colleague’s reaction, but he could not forget his reference to America as a place of freedom! Yes, it was there that he would be able to continue with his research about the Messiah of Israel.
Rabbi Cohn arrived in the USA in March 1892 and immediately made contact with the Messianic Jews. He bought a Hebrew translation of the New Testament, and as he read the very first words, he knew that he had found the answers he had been seeking for so long: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
For the first time he understood the vivid description of the suffering Messiah in Isaiah 53. This led to much soul‑searching, but he finally realised that Yeshua, the Messiah, the One in whom Israel would be exalted, was the same Jesus whom the Christians worship. He gave his life to the Lord Jesus and promised to serve Him, whatever the cost would be.
The price he had to pay for his faith was very high indeed. The Jews rejected him as a traitor and even planned to kill him. His friends helped him to escape, and he continued with his studies in Scotland. He returned to New York in 1893 and started to work among his own people. Those were extremely hard times for him and his wife. There were times when they didn’t even have enough to eat. He sold his wife’s jewellery and used the money to pay for the hall in which their meetings were held.
Even worse than their material problems, were the troubles they ran into when people who had pretended to be friends, attacked Reverend Cohn. One afternoon as he was delivering a New Testament to an unknown person who had requested a copy, a strong man attacked him. He was repeatedly hit and kicked. The man then threw him down, grabbed him by the ears and banged his head against the floor again and again, shouting in Hebrew: “These ears have heard that we may not have any foreign gods. They should be torn off because they now listen to the Christian idols!”
He went home, bloody and beaten, but he knew that he had suffered for the truth. He also knew well that Jesus had said that the student cannot be higher than his master. Jesus had been persecuted and attacked – His followers could expect no less.
Reverend Cohn worked hard and his congregation of converted Jews grew constantly. The work he did to preserve and restore the remnant of Israel was recognised and widely acclaimed. In 1930 he received an honorary doctorate in theology from the Wheaton College in Illinois.
Leopold Cohn was indeed a bold and fearless soldier of the cross. He was truly a blessing to the church of Christ.
Albert Nathan’s parents were orthodox Jews and he grew up in a community that totally rejected Jews who had accepted Jesus as their Messiah. To them the Christian faith was something to joke about, and not something to be taken seriously. At the age of nineteen, Nathan went to the USA on a business trip, intending to enjoy as much of life as he possibly could during the six months that he was to be gone. One day he heard lovely music coming from a hall in New York. He thought it was part of a choir concert, and promptly went inside.
Imagine his shock when he discovered that the music was part of a dedication service, and that the people were singing praises to the Lord Jesus! He immediately got up to leave, but it was not to be. A few of the people standing at the door, wanted to know whether their singing was so terrible that he couldn’t bear to listen to it! They assured him that he was more than welcome to stay. He wanted to sit close to the door, but was led to the front of the hall. Someone gave him a Bible and hymn book to use. He sat down, feeling like a prisoner.
The childlike and intimate way in which these faithful people spoke to their heavenly Father in prayer, impressed Nathan. Like a bolt of lightning the thought suddenly and clearly occurred to him: “God is my merciful Father. He wants to find me, for He wants to save me from my sins and conceit.” The young soloist invited him home after the meeting and asked him whether he, too, walked in the light of the Saviour. “How could I?” Nathan answered, “I am not a Christian, I am a Jew.” “I’m delighted to hear that,” the man said, “because Jesus first came to the Jews.” They prayed together, and Nathan accepted the Lord Jesus as his Saviour.
It wasn’t an easy decision, and the consequences were very serious. He realised that he would not only have to leave the world behind, but that he would also be rejected by his family and friends. He wrote to his parents to inform them of his decision. His mother, who loved him dearly, answered: “Your letter is much harder to accept than your death would have been!” That was the beginning of a long struggle, one in which Nathan, through Bible study and prayer, clung to the love and mercy of the One who had carried the world’s hatred and rejection, the One who had accepted the cross.
Albert Nathan was baptised and then studied for four years before becoming an evangelist. He worked in America, Morocco and Spain over a period of nineteen years, and led many Jews, Arabs and Spaniards to Jesus. He became widely known as a man who truly loved his fellow‑men, and when he died at the age of 43, many of the Moroccan Jews who had come to Jesus through his ministry, mourned his early death.
In one of his very last sermons he used Galatians 2:20 as the main Scripture: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Hermann Liebstein was born in Russia. After completing his studies, he remained in Bucharest and Istanbul for a while, before going to England. His parents were orthodox Jews, but he was not really interested in or concerned with religion.
In England he met with the Jewish Mission, and that motivated him to read the New Testament. He then compared it with the prophecies in the Old Testament, and came to the conclusion that Jesus was undoubtedly the Messiah. Isaiah 53 was the Scripture that finally convinced him. He realised that the Messiah had also suffered and died for his sins, and he wanted to give his whole life to Him for opening the gates of heaven to him.
Hermann was concerned about what his parents’ reaction would be, because he knew that they would be devastated by grief and sorrow. But he also knew that Jesus had said that no one who values his father or mother above Him, can be worthy of Him. Satan and the Holy Spirit were locked in a deadly battle for his soul, but the victory went to God. Hermann Liebstein gave his whole life to the Lord Jesus and was baptised. On that memorable day he said:
“My Christian friends, I realise that this is a very important moment in my life. In the presence of the Almighty and everybody here today, I profess my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that my confession will infuriate all my friends who do not believe, and I know that I have caused my dear mother more sorrow than she can bear. But I also know that the path to glory is paved with sorrow and struggle. Therefore I accept the cross of our Lord with joy, and I regard it as an honour to suffer for His Name.”
Liebstein was a very enthusiastic Christian and helped wherever he could. He was a lawyer and gave free legal advice to other Christians who could not afford to pay his fees. He remained an active member of the British missionary movement that worked among the Jews, and often carried out important and difficult assignments without expecting compensation. He was a popular man and his life made a lasting impression on those who knew him.
His work was always done in a thorough and disciplined way. His notes on the book of Revelation were published and proved that he was an able and practical expositor of the Bible, one who was truly led by the Holy Spirit. He was also an excellent public speaker and he used this ability to serve the Lord.
The church felt the loss of Hermann Liebstein deeply when he left for the Father’s house, but God is true and faithful and He always calls new disciples to do His work and proclaim His message of salvation.
“I lived in two different worlds – first as an orthodox Jew, and later as a Christian. I first lived under the curse of the law, which is a limited world of fear and superstition. But then God in His mercy helped me to reach the light, to leave death behind and reach true life. After that I had the privilege to be a messenger of the gospel. I brought the good news of God’s mercy and salvation through the work of Jesus to Jews and non‑Jews alike, for I know that I have a duty to everyone.”
These are the words of Chaim Gurland, the son of an enthusiastic rabbi in Lithuania. His intensive study of God’s Word started at the tender age of five. The life of Elijah made such an impression on the young boy that he ran away from home one day because he also wanted to be taken to heaven as Elijah had been. It took his parents days to find their hungry child again.
His parents wanted him to become a rabbi, and he complied with their wishes. However, the three years he spent at the rabbinical seminary led him to doubt that the Talmud was truly inspired by God. He was not at liberty to talk about his doubts, and wrote afterwards that the day of his induction had been the unhappiest day of his life.
He openly questioned the Talmud in the synagogue, and challenged the others to debate the matter with him. No one accepted his challenge, and the leading rabbi insisted that he withdraw his statements. He refused, and finally had to resign two years later. After that he became a private teacher, which was not a well paid position. One day he received a New Testament in Hebrew from a peddler. For the very first time he read what Jesus had said to the people who had followed Him to the mountainside. He read the words that Paul had written to the believers, as well as all the other truths in the New Testament. This led him into more doubt, and he became very sad and depressed.
Shortly afterwards he was contacted by Pastor Faltin who knew Jews in Kishinev. The pastor promised to teach him German if he would read through the Hebrew Bible with him, because he wanted to improve his knowledge of Hebrew. Chaim agreed.
They progressed as far as Isaiah 53, which the Jews never read, because they know that the Christians regard this Scripture as a description of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah. Chaim asked the pastor to skip that part, but he answered: “I pray that God will give you the courage to discover His truth and merciful salvation with me.”
After considering it for a while, Chaim agreed. The pastor first turned to the New Testament and read the verses describing Jesus’ suffering and death. Then they read the prophetic chapter which was written 700 years before the birth of Christ. Chaim admitted that it was a perfect description of the suffering Jesus, and of the work that had been done on Calvary for lost sinners. That led to many discussions between the pastor, the teacher and his wife. Chaim and his wife finally accepted the overwhelming evidence that Jesus is the Messiah, and committed their lives to Him as the Saviour.
The Jewish community was shocked and furious when they heard that Rabbi Gurland was to be baptised in Pastor Faltin’s church. Some of them said that his baptism would lead to tragedy for the community. It was also rumoured that a number of Jews had threatened to murder him, were he to abide by his decision.
When Pastor Faltin asked him whether he would prefer to be baptised quietly in the rectory, he answered: “No, Jesus Christ is a living and powerful Saviour. He can protect me; and if He should choose not to, I am willing to suffer and die for Him.”
The whole Jewish community was in an uproar on the day he was to be baptised. The church was packed, for many Jews had come to witness the occasion. Gurland then told the congregation how he had discovered the heavenly light through the words of Isaiah 53, and confirmed his faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Saviour. There were no incidents during the service, and Jesus who had once calmed the sea, calmed the stormy emotions on that day.
After the service an elderly lady walked up to Gurland and said: “I have been praying for eighteen years that God would save your soul.”
That was the beginning of a new period of training and studying. After his baptism he became known as Rudolf. He studied theology in Berlin and became a Protestant minister. His induction sermon was based on the words of Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
Although he worked in Kishinev with Pastor Faltin, he did not forget his fellow Jews. He often talked to them about Jesus and led many of them to the Lord. Chaim Gurland became well-known for his work in Germany and Russia.
A few years later he joined the missionary movement working among the Jews. He led Bible study classes for the Jews and ministered to many others through correspondence. The Holy Spirit used him to lead many fellow Jews to Jesus. Apart from that, he spoke in many churches and to many groups. He told them about his ministry and tried to make them aware of the importance of the work that still had to be done among the Jews. At one stage he wrote: “The work among the Jews cannot be left to a few people; it is a part of the church’s work in which we must all be involved.”
Chaim Gurland suffered many disappointments in his work. Often he was severely tested and he was involved in an intense struggle, but he succeeded in making Christians deeply aware of their Jewish neighbours. He lived in two different worlds. At times he would convey his own enthusiasm to Christians and at other times invited his Jewish brothers to the Messiah through whom Jews and non‑Jews would be saved.
He was nearly 74 when he died. Before his death he requested that Psalm 122:1‑4 be read at his funeral: “I was glad when they said to me: Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is built as a city that is compact together, where the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to the Testimony of Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.”
Paul Ghennassia explains the life-changing meeting with the Messiah that he and his wife had: “We have found the Messiah.” What a joyful cry it was when Andrew imparted this wonderful news to his brother, Simon Peter (John 1:41). It is indeed with no less joy that my wife and I wish to tell you: We have found the Messiah, the One of whom Moses spoke (Deut. 18:15‑20). Both of us Jews from practising religious families, we were numbered among those who detested and despised Jesus Christ, having been taught from childhood to consider Him a renegade and impostor. In our straying lives we were His enemies. Isaiah’s statement represented our real condition, although we professed faith in God with our lips:
“They have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away backward. Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment” (Isa. 1:4-6). Yet His love was seeking us and the blessed moment of His revelation to our souls in distress was fast approaching.
Trouble came suddenly upon our home. My wife was afflicted with a tumour on the left foot and had severe decalcification. She had to be sent to the hospital. Our children had to go into an orphanage because I could not care for them both, due to their age and my work. I found myself alone to face my distress. These lamentable conditions drove me towards very bitter thoughts, to the point of doubting the existence of God. Sometime later my wife returned home, although she was not healed, and just as suddenly a further trial afflicted her – a purulent eczema transformed the whole of her body into one great wound.
It was enough to make one despair of everything, since the cup of our distress was full. This was the very moment chosen by the Lord to reveal Himself to us. One of our neighbours attended services where prayer was offered for the healing of the sick. She proposed that such prayer should be offered for my wife, and we attended. A few days after this, the eczema had gone, while the tumour was also healing.
This remarkable healing created an intense urge in my wife to attend the meetings, no matter what the cost. After much hesitation on my part, I finally agreed to take her. Thus I attended the ‘conference’ which was an entirely new experience to me. I was hiding myself as much as I could so as not to be seen by an existing acquaintance, as I was thoroughly ashamed to be in such a place. I was indeed very much surprised to hear the preacher state with conviction what I had hitherto denied with my whole heart, namely that Jesus Christ was indeed the Messiah predicted by the Scriptures, the Lamb of God by whose blood ‘whosoever’ could be saved!
A few days later the healing was complete and we were rescued from the depths of despair. Peace, joy and hope flourished in our hearts. In the tempest of our trial God was showing us “the Sun of Righteousness ... with healing in His wings” (Mal. 4:2).
We had already started reading the New Testament with much interest. Meanwhile everything was changing in our home, now that we had been freed from sickness and the trail of discouragement. The change in my wife became more and more evident. The periods in which she was filled with tears were over and she was singing hymns. She was happy, with a heart delivered of a load. I felt myself becoming a new man, and now I realise that this was due to reading the New Testament, through which Jesus was becoming a more familiar person to me. Yet, this did not convince me of His deity, indoctrinated as I was by my traditional education. It was evident that my hatred of Him had somehow dissipated and that my heart was grateful for all the good we had received through His precious Name. But I still thirsted for the answer to the one question that kept on haunting me: “Was He or was He not the Messiah of Israel, of whom I had so often heard in my youth? Was it possible that He had come, that the people had not acknowledged Him, and not received Him?”
I bought a copy of the French Rabbinical version of the Old Testament, determined to find the truth about Jesus. I took refuge in my room and with supplication asked God to shed light on the subject. I told Him I was prepared to fully obey and follow the way He would show me. Then I opened my Bible, searching in every one of its books. I did not need to search for very long, for it seemed as if God was leading me to all the right passages in the Scriptures. Every text which speaks of the Messiah became clear to me, showing Him as the Son of God (Ps. 2), with His divine attributes (Isa. 9:5-6), His miraculous birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-3; Isa. 7:14), His work of atonement on the cross to save men (Ps. 22; Isa. 53), and as the One who would return to the midst of Israel who would see Him whom they had pierced (Zech. 12:10).
It was marvellous to see how all these prophecies applied to Jesus, and could only apply to Him. Every verse identified in the rabbinical version as an ‘obscure passage’ became crystal clear to me. It was so prodigious that I was literally shaken with all this light flooding my soul. All this meant that Jesus really was the Messiah, and that His people had not acknowledged Him. But as for me, now that I knew and was convinced of the truth within myself, I had to proclaim it. A deep assurance had flooded my heart. Jesus is without the slightest doubt the Saviour that was to come. I now understood why He had to be crucified on Golgotha. It was to redeem me by His blood.
Without further delay my wife and I confessed our faith in the Messiahship of Jesus and, shortly afterwards, we received a mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit imparting to us an extraordinary strength and vigour.
So in 1953 we came to know our Messiah and since then the grace of God has continued to grow in our lives. During all these years we continuously experienced the joy of being reconciled to God through Jesus our Messiah. For this reason we have an increasing desire to inform our Jewish brethren about the One who is and remains the Hope of Israel.
This remarkable man of God tells his story of salvation and of his walk with the Lord: I was born in Poland where my father was a respected rabbi; my mother was a pious woman who spoke Hebrew and Polish fluently. After some years at a Talmudic school, where I had studied many additional subjects, I returned home. I did not, however, intend staying at home because my opinions and way of thinking had changed. I no longer had an inner peace. Beforehand I had been very interested in the Talmud and other Jewish classical writings, meditating on them, but then became engrossed in the Old Testament prophecies. Once again I studied the Hagada (Jewish traditions) and my doubts began to grow. Perhaps the writers of the Talmud had made a big mistake by condemning the greatest man in the history of their nation to death. Maybe they had some reason for having invented the most fantastical tales about His birth. The more I studied the Hagada, the clearer my insight became, when finally the joyous though terrifying thought occurred to me that Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah. I compared the explanations of the Talmud with the Old Testament prophecies, and saw that everything foretold by the holy prophets, from beginning to end, had been fulfilled in the life of Jesus.
From that time forward I did not have any peace of mind, yet somehow I lacked the courage to reveal the secret of my heart to anybody, knowing that my voice would be like that of a preacher in the wilderness. I was still young and thus kept everything secret for a while. However, one day I heard Jewish people telling nasty stories about the Saviour, and I became so agitated that I could hardly control myself. On returning home, my mother could tell by the look on my face that something unpleasant had happened. I did not want to tell her, but when she insisted, I revealed to her what had been going on in my mind. In anger and consternation she cried out: “Do you really know what you are saying? The devil has taken possession of you to draw you away from the Lord. What shall your fate be on the day of judgement?” But when she noticed that harsh words would get her nowhere, she pleaded with me to rid my mind of those ideas while there was still time. I replied that up to that day I had never grieved her, but had always taken trouble to please her. The way I was now causing her to worry, must be proof of my conviction of the truth. I could therefore not change my way of thinking. Before I had finished speaking, my father entered the room and we became quiet. Later during that night my parents awoke and started talking about me. During the year that followed, I was carefully watched by them, and when they saw me reading a book other than the Talmud, it was burned.
One day my father spoke to me very sternly. I told him that no threats or curses would ever change my mind. This was the first of many long discussions which made life very unpleasant. Considered to be a great sinner, I was regarded as being the cause of every affliction and grief. Eventually I ran away from home to my uncle in Lodz. He was a rich man who had no children, and was pleased to have me stay with him. After he received a letter from my father informing him about me, his attitude towards me changed drastically and I had to leave him. Then friends invited me to stay with them. I earned a living by teaching, while I continued to study. At last I passed my examination and became a rabbi.
A friend invited me to a Baptist Church where a missionary was to speak. We went along and listened to him addressing a large gathering in words filled with the Spirit and Truth. Afterwards when I confirmed the truth of the missionary’s words, it caused uproar. The other Jews who had heard the message, cursed me and wanted to tear me to pieces, and I had to hide myself. The next day I left Lodz and travelled to Vilna where I continued my studies. My parents had given me a wife when I was still very young, and after our wedding I was obliged to accept the office of a rabbi in a small Polish town. It was the beginning of a difficult time.
On the Sabbath before the Passover I had to speak in a synagogue in Chomez. In my pocket was a New Testament and a Hebrew book of the same size. By mistake I took out the New Testament and accidentally dropped it. Somebody near me picked up the book, and when he tried to hand it to me, he noticed that it was a New Testament. He screamed as if a snake had bitten him and told the congregation that I, their rabbi, was in possession a New Testament. He added that they would be punished along with me for my sin. As a result of this, I told them that I would resign from my office as their rabbi, which I did a few days later.
What suffering I had to endure at that time! My mother died of worry and my father decided never to see me again. Afterwards, I was appointed as a religious instructor and teacher of Hebrew by the Jewish congregation in Warsaw, a position which I held for nine years. At the time, HK, a former teacher, was appointed inspector of religious instructors. One day he and my colleagues were gathered in my classroom for a discussion, when the sorry plight of the Russian Jews came under discussion. We were considering ways to improve their position. I tried to convince them that their propositions would lead to nothing, and then I emphasised that the position of us as Jews would not improve before we were prepared to acknowledge the awful mistake our ancestors had made by denying Jesus. We would have to recognise Jesus Christ as our Messiah, He who had shed His blood on Golgotha to liberate us from our sins. This prompted a discussion, but not an angry one, because all my colleagues present were free‑thinkers and the inspector himself an avowed atheist. However, he had hated me for a long time and now seized the opportunity to report me to the Board of the Jewish congregation.
On attending a Sunday evening service of the Warsaw Mission, two Jewish young men entered the hall. After the service they went to the Jewish congregation to tell them that I was a baptised Jew, and that they had seen me kneel with other Christians in the church. The Board met and decided to dismiss me without any remuneration or compensation, and without the opportunity to defend myself.
It was a long time before any compensation was offered to me. When I appeared before the Board to receive the money, I asked them: “Why was I dismissed before any investigation had been made?” One of the Board members answered: “If we had asked you to come, you would not have told the truth. Now we do not believe you any longer in the matter, because two witnesses have, according to Jewish law, sworn before a rabbi to the truth of their statement, and you have forfeited your right to be believed.” To this I replied: “Gentlemen, you are mistaken; I am always ready to speak the truth.” “Did you pray with the Christians and kneel with them? Were you baptised some time ago?” I answered calmly: “I have not yet been baptised, but hope that it will happen soon.” That was enough; I was not allowed to say another word, and was bombarded with abusive language and ridicule. But I remained calm and respectful.
During the ensuing pause one of the men jumped up, turned to me and screamed: “You trouble‑maker, how dare you utter those religious opinions so calmly and defiantly in our presence? We know that as a former rabbi you will attack us verbally and in writing, and slander Jewry, you wicked traitor.” One of the men ran to me, with his hand raised ready to hit me, and shouting: “Yes, it would be best to kill him.” My reply was: “Gentlemen, I am in your power and you are free to do it. I do not hate you; no, on the contrary, I love you. But I sincerely regret that you are so stubborn, and do not want to admit that much evil has happened to us because we had slandered and crucified our Redeemer.”
Now the excitement flared up once more and I was not allowed to say another word. One of them, however, asked me: “If the congregation were to take you back and pay you a good salary on condition that you promise not to contact the missionaries again, would you be willing to do it?” To this proposal I answered: “I will never sell my soul for money.” So the public connection with my countrymen had ended and with it my source of income (end of personal testimony).
P.D. Weiss accepted Jesus, was baptised and became a powerful witness for the Messiah. He also became a student of the New Testament and attended the services of the Warsaw Mission. He was totally rejected and ostracised by the other Jews, and his conversion led to opposition to the Mission. However, Weiss became a valued worker at the Warsaw Mission. He travelled widely and remained a powerful witness for Christ amongst his fellow Jews. He astounded them with his knowledge and the practical way in which he used the Talmud. Many of the orthodox Jews maintained that it was regrettable that a man with such talents had “lost the way”. His funeral was attended by many Jews who wanted to pay their respects to this bold Messianic Jew.
My training and experience as an engineer has taught me to search for facts, analyse them and find answers. Sometimes, even in engineering and science, we make basic assumptions that cannot be proved. Why then are they accepted? The answer is that they work when put to a test, whereas other assumptions fail.
I have personally investigated and tested God’s promises in the Scriptures to see if they work. The Old Testament promises that anyone who searches for God can find Him, if he searches for Him with all his heart. Testing this promise, I have found that God does reveal Himself to me through His Son, the Messiah. God is a living reality in my life, and as He has promised, I found peace and joy through the love of Christ.
How can a Jew believe in Christ? I have accepted Him because what the Scriptures promised fits perfectly together with the facts of history, and my personal experience has verified the promise of God’s Messiah.
Richard Wurmbrand, founder and director of Christian Mission International, is called a modern day John the Baptist. He was truly one of the greatest Messianic Jews of the 20th century. This outspoken witness for Christ spent fourteen years in a Rumanian prison, and having been regarded as an undesirable person thereafter, was sold to the Christians of the West.
From the USA he organised and controlled an underground missionary network covering all the Communist countries and later spreading to the Arab world, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Through his organisation he even reached the most remote islands in the Pacific Ocean. Although he was deeply concerned about the salvation of all mankind, he worked with a special zeal to introduce Jews all over the world to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In his book Christ on the Jewish road (1993) Wurmbrand stresses the importance of the people of Israel – not only in the past, but also in the present and the future. He points to the fact that, due to the exceptional talents of the Jewish people, they have been responsible for producing much of that which has proven to be beneficial and detrimental to the world. For that reason no one can ignore their role in the future of the world.
In the broader sense of our existence we all live in structures created by Jews. The Christians live according to spiritual principles set by Jesus Christ, a Jew. The Jews are the founders of capitalism as well as Marxism. The nuclear age can also be traced to the work of a Jew – Albert Einstein. It is true that there are many differences among the Jews. It is also true that the more conservative element among them is a minority group. But we dare not ignore the fact that this faithful remnant is going to play a very important role in the lives of millions of people in the years to come.
Let us consider what Richard Wurmbrand says in the preface to his book (1993:7-10):
“Thou hast chosen us from amongst the peoples,” the Jews declare daily in their synagogues. “Salvation is of the Jews,” said Jesus (John 4:22). “The dirty Jews are the cause of all our troubles,” say the anti‑Semites. ... Some people find in Christianity their true happiness; others hate Christianity and would like to see it destroyed. It is a Jew, Jesus, who is the cause of their happiness or their fury.
Some people benefit from capitalism; others feel that they are exploited by the capitalist system, and would like to see it overthrown. No one would deny that the Jews were instrumental at an early point in time in founding this system, and that they still play a highly important role in economic and financial life, out of all proportion to their numbers. Whether you feel attracted or repelled by capitalism, your attitude will to a large extent be determined by Jews, whom you will probably never have seen face to face...
Communism may be to you a source of joy or suffering; it derives from the Jew Marx and a host of Jewish champions of this idea, without whom the revolution in the East would have been impossible. The fate of a farmer in Vietnam, who has never seen a Jew in his life, will, ultimately, depend on whether he reads the book about the Jew Jesus or the book about the Jew Marx. Which ever one triumphs, either the Christian civilisation or the Marxist world, both are closely bound to a Jewish name.
Some people place their confidence in modern science, its peak achievement being in atomic physics, a science capable of enabling mankind to live in a Utopia. Others wait, in fear and terror, for the destructive atomic war which they believe will be the final result of this science. In both the West and the East, atomic science is to a large extent in the hands of Jews. Einstein gave the United States a start in atomic weapons. The Jew, Teller, is the father of the nuclear bomb. The Rosenbergs, also Jews, gave atomic secrets to Russia. In scientific books the universe is named after a Jew: we speak of Einstein’s universe, as though we lived in this universe as the guests of a Jew.
And this is really so, for we are in very fact the guests of a Jew; only His name is not Einstein, but Jesus Christ. He is a human being and a Jew, but also God – a marvellous God, of whom we read in His holy book, from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans: “...of whom (the Jews) as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever” (Rom. 9:5). A people from whom God came!
Mine has not been ordinary missionary work; I have worked among these people who in the holy book of the Christians are called “a chosen people”, a people from whom a God has come, but who nevertheless are ignorant of this God, a nation which is either blessed or cursed by millions of people – as the source of their happiness or their misery – a race whose fate has determined and will determine more than any other nation, the fate of the entire world.
The Jewish people have given to the world the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, a book written by Jews, but which is at the same time the Word of God – the only book capable of satisfying the spiritual needs of the world. And it will satisfy these needs when it is once again in the hands of those who have written it, and when they gather around Him who is the chief subject of the book, Jesus, the Messiah of the Jews and the Saviour of the nations.
The overwhelming majority of mankind lives in dire sin, bereft of the true faith. Murder, exploitation, oppression, fornication, deceit, envy, debauchery and slander are widespread. Mankind is bound to suffer speedy destruction unless it is converted and rouses itself from the spiritual death in which it now lies. But the Scriptures tell us that the conversion of Israel will be life from the dead (Rom. 11:15).
Jesus and the Jews are indissolubly linked to one another. “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?” the Magi enquired when He came into this world (Matt. 2:2). “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews,” was the inscription on the Cross (Matt. 27:37).
The Old Testament prophecies have the same message. Moses told the Jews: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren” (Deut. 18:15). Isaiah, who prophesied the birth of Jesus eight hundred years before it took place, declared: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given” (Isa. 9:6) – us meaning the Jews. When he foretold the new covenant which Jesus would establish by shedding His blood on the Cross, Jeremiah declared: “Behold ... I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah” (Jer. 31:31).
Jesus Himself said: “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24). He also declared that He was the Saviour of the world, but in the passage above and in similar statements He established His special relationship with the Jewish people.
The intention of my entire missionary work, of which I give an account in this book, was to make Israel conscious of this relationship, a relationship which can never be broken, however much we may oppose it. (End of quotes from Wurmbrand’s book).
A modern and very courageous Messianic Jew tells his story on his website www.trumpetofsalvation.com and in his autobiography, Why Me? (1997). The following are excerpts:
My name is Jacob Damkani and I was born in 1952 by the Sea of Galilee to a religious Jewish family of the tribe of Judah. By the grace and the mercy of God, I was born again in 1977. Only then did I understand my true God-given identity and experienced what it really means to be a true Jew. Ever since that glorious and awesome day of my new birth, I have counted everything of my past as rubbish. By His grace and with His help, I want to know nothing but Him who was crucified – and whom God has raised from the dead.
Trumpet of Salvation to Israel was founded in 1984 as a mission whose purpose is to proclaim Yeshua to the lost sheep of the house of Israel at any cost. By God’s grace and with His power which is at work within us, we are not ashamed of the Gospel nor do we fear any opposition to the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Rom. 1:16).
Our government does not know how to define who is to be called a Jew. But we who have been born of God’s Spirit know for certain that apart from Yeshua, no-one knows what true biblical Judaism is all about.
My boast and pride is in the God of my forefathers from whom all blessings flow. All glory, honour, praise and adoration belong to Him, by whom the willingness to lay my life down has been worked within me. For Him alone, I would deny myself, pick up the cross, follow Him and break the fear in the heart of the church in Israel. I did not think too much about the dangers of evangelism in Israel. I just knew God had called me to follow Him and present our risen Lord to His covenant people. I just knew I had to do it and I was certain that He would empower me in my service towards Him.
After I returned to Israel (I had been in the USA for 8 years), I lived with my younger sister, Carmella, in my parents’ home in Holon. My other brothers and sisters were married and lived in their own homes. My dear beloved mother was at the age of 69 still working to clean houses, but one night she suddenly died while on duty.
My dear father, who was married to my mother for over 50 years and raised eight children with her under extremely difficult and trying circumstances, had suddenly lost his beloved wife. From then on he was no longer himself. All of a sudden in his brokenness, he was overcome by some demonic power which took hold of him and came against me. My father started to curse me, accusing me for the death of his wife, blaspheming the Lord, threatening to burn my New Testament and all of my other books and literature which I was using to spread the Gospel.
After a few long weeks in which I endured these heavy attacks, I decided to move out. I left my father’s home as I could no longer take his blasphemy and continuous threats to burn my books. I knew very well that it was not my father cursing and blaspheming the Lord and me, but Satan himself who so much wanted to stop my work in Israel. All the attacks, harsh violence, beatings and bloodshed which I experienced in the streets of Israel did not stop me from presenting the Gospel and pressing on for the high calling, but now Satan was desperately trying to stop me by using the death of my mother and my father’s intense grief against me. I was not fighting against flesh and blood and all my prayer and fasting did not help.
I found myself sleeping in different houses. Brothers in the Lord loved to host me; dear Ilan Zamir blessed me so much during this time, as well as my sister Frieda and others. I kept praying for my dear father and visited him often in Holon. I realized that he was getting into all sorts of trouble. My love and concern for him grew and I did not know how to help him.
During this time, in a most miraculous way, the Lord provided me with the money needed to purchase a house. It is located in Jaffa, a mere three minutes walk from where Peter had his vision (Acts 10). This vision led Peter to take the gospel to the Gentiles for the first time – to a man named Cornelius. It was 2000 years ago when the apostles marvelled at the conversion of the Gentiles. Why is it beloved, that today the church marvels when Jews come to Yeshua?
From Jaffa the Gospel went to the Gentile world and now, after 2,000 years, the Lord wants to bring the Gospel back to His Jewish people from Jaffa. This house has become a centre for designing and preparing tracts, books and video cassettes in Hebrew – presenting Yeshua in His Jewish context progressing from the Old Testament into the New. We make all of our printed material available free of charge for the use of the whole body of Christ in Israel.
By God’s grace, Trumpet of Salvation has managed to print and distribute over 200,000 copies of the book, “Lama Davka Ani?” (“Why Me?”). As our budget allows, we place articles in Israel’s national newspapers proclaiming Yeshua in His Jewish context through the Old Testament. The response is overwhelming; people call and write, asking to receive New Testaments and other reading materials.
To say the least, Trumpet of Salvation to Israel in Jaffa is a ‘train station’; the number of people who are coming to visit is great and they come to ask about the Lord and what it means for Jewish people to believe in Yeshua. At Trumpet of Salvation, before people make a commitment we ensure they understand their need to count the cost of what true faith is all about. Many Israelis come to faith and what a privilege it is to disciple them to that point where they can withstand family and societal pressure, after which we place them in the body of our Lord in accordance with their geographic location.
All praise be to God! Honour and glory belong to Him alone! In every congregation in Israel you can find Israelis who came to faith because of the work of God in Trumpet of Salvation to Israel. Do you believe that if you are born again you are also called? It is up to you, beloved, to respond to the love of God which calls you from the cross. If you only start to follow Him, living your life in accordance with all that Yeshua and His Kingdom require, you will find yourself living the most exciting and colourful life in which no tears, sorrow or pain could prevent you from following the King, the true lover of your soul.
Consider now this marvellous truth: The Lord has commissioned His disciples to take the gospel unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Now that the gospel has reached the four corners of the earth, God is gathering His covenant people back to their Promised Land as dry bones. The Jewish people are still dead in their sin and God is pushing them into the corner as He did in the time of the judges, only this time not by the Ammonites, Edomites or Moabites, but by their Moslem neighbours. Now most of the world stands against Israel and she feels so lonely, she is in great despair and losing all hope. As Israel is coming to the end of her rope, could it be that now it is not Gideon, Deborah or Samson who are to be God’s spokesmen, but you, the Gentile believers, who are called to provoke the Jews to jealousy?
Israel as a nation always seems to be standing at the crossroad. As long as they continue to turn their back on Yeshua, they will continue to make the wrong turn. God no longer has Moses, Samuel, Jeremiah, Paul, Peter, or John to work with Him on earth, but He has you, born of His Spirit, whoever and wherever you are.
For over 20 years the Lord has used Trumpet of Salvation to Israel to teach, encourage, challenge and mobilise Jewish and Gentile believers to present the Jewish Gospel to Jewish people in a Jewish way. By God’s grace we disciple many Israelis who come to faith, teach them the basic principles in their new found faith and establish them in the truth of God. We help them understand that their life is now about God and His kingdom. We encourage them and help them to withstand the pressure from family and the religious orthodox. We then help them to find a Messianic congregation which is suitable to them, and thus help to build the Messianic Jewish believing community in Israel.
(For newsletters and more information on Trumpet of Salvation to Israel, contact them at: email@example.com)
From what we know about the lives of the Messianic Jews discussed above, it is obviously not easy to be a shepherd to the people of Israel. Jesus came to glorify His people, but because of the spiritual resistance by many of them He was “destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against” (Luke 2:34). Even today the proclaiming of His Messiahship is a highly emotional issue, as it is no easy task to break through the resistance created by the rabbinical traditions of the past 2 000 years.
We also know, however, that no human arguments are stronger or more convincing than the working of the Holy Spirit. Proof of this truth lies in the fact that so many Jews were led to Jesus during the past 2 000 years. Their existence also proves that God has not given up on His chosen people. It is true that Israel were dispersed because they were a sinful and disobedient nation, but in His infinite love God still wants to draw them to Him. He has given the firm assurance that all the promises He made to their forefathers will be fulfilled (Lev. 26:44).
In the dark days of the great tribulation, God will gather the remnant of His people, those who have not bowed before the Baal of the end- time – the false messiah (Rev. 7:2‑8). Amidst unequalled struggles and persecution such as the world has never known, the Lord will keep them upright and strengthen them to be His witnesses. Yes, Israel is the only nation on earth that enjoys God’s promise of eternal protection: “I am with you; for I will make a complete end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but I will not make a complete end of you. I will rightly correct you, for I will not leave you wholly unpunished” (Jer. 46:28).
Israel is nearing the final stage of their punishment and purification, but God will reveal Himself powerfully through His faithful remnant. Many of His people will call upon His Name during their time of suffering and tribulation. Israel will indeed be purified and saved in the end-time, and then gather at the feet of the Messiah to receive the fulfilment of all the promises regarding His kingdom (Zech. 12:10; 13:9). In that kingdom Jerusalem will be the capital of the world (Isa. 2:2-3; Zech. 14:9).
Will your attitude and endeavours be of any assistance to introduce the people of Israel to their Messiah? God wants you to work towards that end – and you owe it to them!
“At that same time, says the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people. Thus says the Lord: The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; Israel, when I went to give him rest. The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, and shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice. ... For thus says the Lord: Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, O Lord, save Your people, the remnant of Israel! Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the ends of the earth. ... They shall come with weeping, and with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way in which they shall not stumble; for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn. Hear the Word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock. For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he. ... Set up signposts, make landmarks; set your heart toward the highway, the way in which you went. Turn back, O virgin of Israel, Turn back to these your cities. How long will you gad about, O you backsliding daughter? ... And it shall come to pass, that as I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to throw down, to destroy, and to afflict, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord. ... Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; ... I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more. Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (The Lord of hosts is His name): If those ordinances depart before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever. ... Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that the city shall be built for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. ... It shall not be plucked up or thrown down anymore forever” (Jer. 31).
These promises are true – no one can doubt them:
· God will again restore Israel as the leading nation, even more so than they were during the days of David and Solomon.
· As the people of Israel were scattered across the length and breadth of the earth, they will be gathered from the north and all the corners of the earth in the last days to be established in their own land.
· The One who had scattered Israel, will gather her and protect her. The identity of Israel has not changed during their exile. The same nation that was scattered is being restored to the land, and a remnant of them will also be revived spiritually.
· Just as literally as the cities of Israel were destroyed during the dispersion of the nation, they will be rebuilt and filled with people during the nation’s restoration. Jerusalem will be rebuilt for God in the millennium.
· The restoration of Israel does not only imply that the Jews will return physically to their country; they will also be changed from within and will love God.
· God’s love for Israel has not changed at all. He will conclude a new covenant with the restored remnant of His people. This agreement will be everlasting, as the saved members of the remnant of Israel will have new hearts that will only be inclined towards God through the Messiah.
· God’s covenant with Israel is as unchanging as the order of the universe.
· In the millennium, Jerusalem will be rebuilt as The City of the Great king!