On Monday, 11 May 2009, Ruti and I went to a mall in Tel Aviv to return a damaged product. It was about 5:00 P.M. and as we left their counter, we walked slowly to the center of the mall and wondered what to do next. We could have gone back home, but we had just come to the mall and we didn’t feel like immediately returning so we just stood by the railing in the center of the three story mall, talked, and watched the people going up and down the escalators and walking past us.
Then we drifted over to a bench, sat for a while and talked some more. I got thirsty and asked Ruti if she wanted a fruit shake. She loves them, said yes, and we walked to the food court where she got a banana, pineapple and strawberry fruit shake mixed with orange juice (no sugar). I just wanted a bottle of mineral water. A pizza place was nearby and we walked down their buffet line and got a slice of pizza with corn niblets, green peppers, onions and black olives, along with a breaded something that had dead spinach and mozzarella cheese inside it. I picked up a small bottle of mineral water and we headed for a table.
We sat down in the food court, thanked the Lord for the little treat or ‘nosh’ as we Jews say, and began to eat. We were about halfway done eating when two Israelis, about 25 years old, sat down at the table next to us. The taller one, Edan (ee’dahn), whose name means ‘age’ or ‘era,’ asked me about my clothes : )
For the next three hours I spoke about Messiah Yeshua and both Edan and Yair (English; Jarius: ‘he shall enlighten) listened and interacted with me. I shared with them things from the Prophecy Card, like where the Messiah would be born, and that got us into the Messiah being more than a man; God the Son (Micah 5:2; Ps. 110:1). Of course, Isaiah 53 came up and I told them that Messiah came to take our sins upon Himself so that we might be cleansed of them, given a new nature (Ezk. 36:24-27) and filled to the full with the Spirit of the Living God (Yoel 2:28-29), which meant that we could really know our God. This in turn opened up the passage in Jer. 31:31-34 where God says that He would make a New Covenant with the House of Judah and the House of Israel, to take their sins away, which confirmed what Isaiah 53 had spoken of, as well as Zech. 12:10; 13:1, where it speaks of Israel looking upon the One whom they pierced, mourning for Him (the Messiah), as one mourns over the death of an only son, but then being cleansed from sin by a Fountain of Living Waters being opened up for her.
From there we went to Isaac as the prototype for the Messiah, laying down his life willingly at his father’s leading. I asked them how old Isaac was at that time and Yair correctly said, ‘Thirty-three.’ Then I asked him how old would Abraham his father have been? That stumped him (them). I said if Isaac was born when Abraham was one hundred years old (Gen. 17:1, 15-17, 19, 24; 21:1-5) then Abraham would have to be 133 years old when he bound Isaac for sacrifice. I said that that was a picture of what God our Father would do in sending His Son the Messiah to be a sacrifice for us so that our sins could be forgiven and that we could be cleansed and given that new nature, filled with His Spirit and come to know Him. It was here, also, that I spoke of the love of God in both sending His Son to die for us and the love that we feel when the Holy Spirit comes into us.
We can all begin to feel how Father Abraham felt, when, for three days, he believed that he would have to sacrifice his beloved and uniquely begotten son (Gen. 22:4), and it wasn’t until the knife was poised in his hand to kill Isaac that the Messenger of Yahveh stopped the sacrifice. For those three days Abraham didn’t know if he was alive; he was in a daze; his understanding of God was shattered, his heart felt like it had been ripped out and that he had been left for dead. Why did Abraham walk this living death out? Abraham loved God more than his most precious possession and this test would prove it to Abraham; God knew what he was going to do. Abraham obeyed God when he had no idea what was going on. This is a faith that trusts when it doesn’t understand; the highest form of faith. As such he became the Father of all those who believe in God like he did…with all their heart, soul and strength unto a death that was worse that actually dying.
Isaac, at 33 years old could easily have stopped his father from binding him and making him the sacrifice, but he didn’t. He willingly offered up his life because he loved his father more than he loved his own life. As such, the two of them pictured God the Father sending His beloved and uniquely begotten Son to die for us. Edan had a mist in his eyes.
Two more Israelis, about 35 years old, had sat down and began eating in back of Edan and Yair. They heard a lot about Messiah Yeshua as I spoke, with me making eye contact a number of times with the one who faced me.
I shared some of my testimony of how when I first came to Messiah, the Holy Spirit came upon me and the peace of God flowed all over me and I knew that God was real and that Yeshua was our Messiah. I told them that I had been looking for God in all the wrong places until I met Him in Jesus. All my life until then I had been looking, without even realizing it, that He was what I had been looking for. When I found Yeshua I found the most precious thing that anyone could find and I gave myself over to Him fully.
That impressed Yair in a good way. He told me that his father had been born in France, in a town near Pau (where my father’s father was born), and that his grandfather came from Morocco. We talked some about that and I asked him if he had heard of Alexander Dumas, the author of The Three Musketeers and he said yes. After that he told me that he ‘laid tefillin’ every morning.
I told Yair that through Yeshua we have a living relationship with God our Father. A relationship that grows as we walk with our Messiah. I told them that the Tanach was filled with prototypes of the Messiah and then went on to explain that the Passover lamb, whose blood protected our firstborn from the wrath of God upon Egypt, was a picture of the blood of Messiah Yeshua protecting us from the wrath of God on Judgement Day and that those who were covered by that precious blood would enter into the New Jerusalem and live eternally in the presence of God.
Edan asked me, ‘How can you know all the Tanach like that?’ I had been quoting chapter and verse for all the things that I had been sharing with them, and Edan, as with a number of Israelis before him, was appreciative of that. I told Edan,
“When I came to believe in Yeshua I fell in love with God. I read the Scriptures and pray everyday and God has been faithful to teach me much about His Word and about Himself. It was King David who said, ‘Come! Taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who trusts in Him’ (Ps. 34:8) and the way we can to do that is by being filled with the Spirit of God in the Name of Yeshua.’
Edan had a mist in his eyes again. The love of the Holy Spirit was touching him again. Then I asked them about the three matzot at the Passover table. ‘Why? Why three and why is the middle one broken?’ They didn’t know so I said that the rabbis say it could represent Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or, the Aaronic Priesthood, the Levitical Priesthood and (the rest of) Israel. They liked that, but when I asked them why the middle one, either Isaac or Levi, was broken, half the matza placed in a (linen) napkin, hidden and then found, with the child finding it being rewarded with a piece of silver, they didn’t know, but they understood when I told them that the three pictured the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the middle one broken was Messiah crucified, buried in linen and ‘found.’ What they had been doing all their lives at Passover was actually a tradition from Jews who believed in Yeshua.
About this time an Orthodox man and his wife stopped and listened a few feet from where we were. I spoke louder as I shared Messiah. After a while I looked at him and said, ‘Come! Join us!’ He smiled and began to go a few tables down so they could order some food at the eating place there, but he had heard a lot about Messiah Yeshua.
We went down some rabbit trails every once in a while with Edan, but I’ve done this so many times before that it didn’t derail me. I let him speak for a moment or two, even addressing his concerns, and then we went right back to Messiah Yeshua.
Yair said that he really wanted to stay longer, but that his brother, who had just called, was on his way to the mall to pick them up. We talked for another ten minutes and then they left. I gave them the one sheet Hebrew handout Acts 2–4 and told them that if they had any questions or wanted to talk more about Messiah, to give me a call and we would get together.
I was wiped out. It was wonderful. We had talked for more three hours (from about 5:00–8:15 P.M.) about the most meaningful thing in life: God’s reality and Messiah Yeshua. When we began the sun was shining, but when they left, it was dark, the sun having set more than an hour earlier. This meant it was a new Jewish day.
At sundown my Jewish birthday came in. I was 58 years old for the first time in my life. I was born on what is known as Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day of the Pharisaic–Orthodox counting of when the omer (aka first sheaf), an amount of dry weight for barley, about three quarts, was given to the High Priest and some of it thrown upon the fire of the Altar (Lev. 23:5-14). He would offer a handful on the Altar as a form of dedication and thanksgiving to God for the first grain to come in spring, symbolic of all fruits, grains and vegetables that would follow. He would keep and eat the rest for himself and the other priests.
The year in the Jewish calendar that I was born was 5711 and now it was 5769. This date in the Hebrew calendar is 18 Iyar (Iyar being the second month in the biblical calendar) and it stays the same every year, but it changes every year in the Gregorian calendar (e.g. in 2009 18 Iyar is 11 May, but in 2010 18 Iyar is 2 May).
To speak of Messiah and to have someone really listening, actually two ‘someones’ is one of the best birthday presents that I’ve ever received. I was so grateful to Yeshua for the special birthday gifts, but it wasn’t over. We sat there for about ten minutes so I could relax and ‘catch my breath’ and then we walked out of the food court into the mall to go home.
In the mall, as in all malls, there are stands in the center aisles for people who are selling jewelry, candy, coffee, etc. As we approached a very small stand, which had some newspapers and magazines on it, a woman was holding out a newspaper to us and calling for us to come over to her. Of course, sensing that it was another opportunity to speak about the Pearl of great price, I led Ruti over to the stand. Morahn, an Israeli woman about 25 years old, was wanting us to accept a free month’s subscription to a leading Israeli newspaper called HaAretz (The Land). Israeli newspapers are extremely pornographic. They’re a Middle Eastern version of The Daily News (New York City), Playboy magazine and the Philadelphia National Inquirer.
We listened for a moment and then told her that we didn’t read the Israeli newspaper because our Hebrew wasn’t that good, but even if we could read Hebrew like a native Israeli we still wouldn’t get the paper because it only had bad news and pornography in it. Morahn said that you have to keep up with what was going on in the world, but I told her that continually reading papers and watching television was very bad for our souls.
Then Ruti took Jewish Newsletter #24 (Driven to Run) out of her purse and said to Morahn, ‘How would you like to read some Good News?!’ Morahn took it and asked what it was about. Ruti began sharing about the love of her life and I stepped aside to listen and pray. Ruti had been praying all the time that I had been speaking with Edan and Yair. Ruti would later tell me that two Orthodox Jews had come from behind me and had been looking at the extra Prophecy Cards that I had put in the table while I spoke with the Edan and Yair, when I had given each of them one. I hadn’t noticed the Orthodox men in back on me.
Well, in stepping aside, I came right into Yafit’s view. She worked with Morahn, had been listening to us, and now she began to ask me questions about Messiah. Ruti would tell me later that Morahn had asked her, ‘How can you really know that there is a God?’ Ruti told her about Yeshua coming to reveal the Father to us and then she asked Morahn if she could pray for her so that the Holy Spirit could touch her. Morahn liked that, even though she didn’t seem serious about looking for Messiah. Ruti began praying for her and as she did, I stopped speaking with Yafit, and in the middle of the mall, with many Israelis walking by and looking, Ruti and I prayed for her. When we were done we could see that Morahn hadn’t experienced anything so Ruti said that God always hears our prayers, but sometimes He doesn’t immediately respond.
Yafit wanted to be prayed for now and Ruti asked her, ‘Do you really want to know Messiah and God?’ Yafit was emphatic, ‘Yes!’ Ruti took her hand and began praying and we prayed for a few minutes. When it was over Ruti went to hug Yafit and Yafit just hugged Ruti like she was a long lost friend. It was wonderful. Ruti went over to hug Morahn and as she did the Spirit leapt from her and touched Morahn. Morahn was very surprised! We spoke some more, gave them both Driven to Run and Acts 2–4, and as we began walking away, we thanked Yeshua for yet more birthday gifts. So very special!
As we walked away I looked to my right and there was Satan scowling at me through the eyes of a Jewish woman who was about 60 years old. I could tell that she wasn’t a native born Israeli, but someone, most likely, from the New York City area. I was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in New Jersey so I know the type. I was smiling at the time, just having left the newspaper stand. I looked at her momentarily, long enough for her to see me smiling at her and then I looked ahead, walking away with Ruti, hand in hand. It was a great way to start my 58th year.