On Thursday night, 6 Jan 2011, at 6:45 PM, there was a knock on our door. For the next hour and 45 minutes, until 8:30 PM, I witnessed to an Orthodox man while we stood in the doorway. He wouldn't come in because he didn't know if we were 'kosher,' not an unusual trait for some Orthodox Jews concerning the homes of others. His name was Lahav, which means, a flame. He was asking for money so that he could help some Jewish people in his community to buy food and keep the Sabbath with dignity. Lahav wore a black kipa, was dressed in black pants and a black coat with a white shirt, had a full, untrimmed beard (Lev. 19:27) and wore tzit-tziot (the tassels of Num. 15:37-41). He was about 5' 7" (170 cm) tall, with a medium build and black hair, and some white hair in his beard. He was about 40-45 years old. His told me that his grandfather had been a rabbi and had come from Afghanistan to the land of Israel about a hundred years ago.
Lahav's voice and demeanor reminded me of the rabbi in The Quarrel, starring Saul Rubinek and R. H. Thompson. Lahav was much more reserved then the rabbi in the movie, but his accent and voice was almost identical to the rabbi's. For those of you who haven't seen that movie yet, it's about two Jewish men who were best friends as youths in pre-Holocaust Europe, but who had separated before it due to their diametrically opposed beliefs about God. One became a rabbi and the other became a secular writer who didn't believe in God, and each thought that the other had died in the Holocaust. They meet in a park in Montreal in 1948 and thrash out their beliefs, love and anger for each another. They represent the two strands of Jewish understanding about God, life and the Holocaust, and their afternoon in the park is marked with deep sadness as well as humor. The dialogue is exceptionally poignant. We cry for their pain, and we hope for their need for personal reconciliation. If you've not seen the movie, I highly recommend that you do. It has incredible insight into the Holocaust and "how" God could allow six million Jews to die, and how ideology keeps friends separated, but love brings them together. The acting is superb. Have a box of Kleenex on hand. This is one movie where you won't want to eat pizza and popcorn. It's only 85 minutes long, but it's one of the most powerful movies I've ever seen.
Lahav and I spoke of my mezuza and my tzit-tziot, as well as how I dress and how I keep Shabat (Sabbath). My mezuza paper isn't a traditional one. It's one I made from my computer. The traditional Jewish ones are hand-written on the tanned skin of a clean animal (cow). Also, my paper can be taken out of the mezuza case and read, something that one can't do with a traditional mezuza because the parchment is inserted into the back of the mezuza and then the mezuza is affixed to the doorpost.
Much to Lahav's credit, even though he wouldn't put a mezuza up like mine, nor wear tzit-tziot like mine, he said that it wasn't a sin to do either. During the conversation he even said that he actually liked the way I dress (biblically), and said that it most be comfortable. I told him it was and that Moses and King David would have dressed in a similar way. He agreed with me.
Lahav questioned my pedigree and found out that I am Jewish, and not a Samaritan (like he had initially thought), nor a Gentile. During this time of him questioning me, I was interspersing questions to him about the Messiah of Israel from the Tanach (Old Testament). The first question I asked him was when he thought Messiah was going to come? He said that He wanted the Messiah to come today, and that when he did there would be no more sin and no more wars and that Messiah would rule the world. I saw this as a poke at Yeshua being the Messiah, something I'm sure he gathered from my appearance and my mezuza paper with the name of Yahveh written out on it in Hebrew and English. Traditional Jews don't write out the Name nor say it. He said that he was always praying that. I could hear his heart in it, nor just him parroting it.
I told him that who he was speaking of was Messiah ben David (Messiah the Son of David) and I asked him if he had ever heard of Messiah ben Yosafe (Messiah the Son of Joseph). He said that the Messiah's father would be named Yosafe, and as 'right' as that is (with Joseph and Mary being Yeshua's earthly parents), I knew that that wasn't what he was referring to, so, I told him that the ancient Rabbis had named the Messiah the Messiah Son of Joseph because, like Joseph the son of Father Jacob, he would be rejected and despised by his brothers, us Jews. I said that that's what Isaiah 53 is all about and why it's written in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 98 a/b) that Isaiah 53 is speaking about the Suffering Messiah whom they named the Son of Joseph because Isaiah speaks of us rejecting the Messiah.
I then told him of Daniel 9:24-26, where it speaks of the Messiah of Israel coming before the destruction of Ezra and Nehemiah's Temple (515 BC to 70 AD). He was a bit perplexed, but I'm sure that it confirmed to him that I was speaking about Yeshua, even though I hadn't mentioned His name yet. He said something about there not being a Temple now, and I said that Gabriel the angel, who spoke the prophecy to Daniel, only said that the Temple would be rebuilt and that Messiah would come and put an end to sin, making atonement for us, and then another prince would come and destroy both the Temple and Jerusalem; the prophecy didn't speak of another Temple being built. He may have been thinking about Ezekiel's Temple (Ezk. 40-48).
I told him that God wanted to circumcise our hearts, as He spoke of in Dt. 30:6, and that in the name of the Messiah the Holy Spirit is given to us to do just that and to make us to know God in an intimate way, by His Spirit. I came back into my apartment and took a Tanach to him and asked him to read Ezekiel 36:24-27, where it speaks of God giving us His Spirit so that we can keep His Torah. Then I asked him to read Jer. 31:31-34, which is the only place in the Tanach where the Lord literally speaks of the New Covenant, forgiveness of sins, and that we would all intimately know Him (from the Hebrew word יָדַע yadah) and walk in His Torah, from the least of us to the greatest of us.
Lahav raised a superficial point about the New Covenant of Jeremiah and said that there's no definite article (i.e. 'the') in the Hebrew for the New Covenant, but rather it should read 'a New Covenant.' Of course, this was a very poor point because in Hebrew one can use 'the' even when it's not there, but I asked him, 'Why the need for a New Covenant if the Mosaic was all that we needed? What would a New Covenant do for us that the Mosaic couldn't? He didn't quite know what to make of that, so I went on to share more about the Holy Spirit, forgiveness of sins, the new nature like the Messiah's and eternal life in the New Jerusalem.
I took him to Zechariah 12:10, where it speaks of us (Jews) piercing the Messsiah, and just a few verses later, of God opening a Fountain of cleansing from sin and uncleanness for us. Then onto Isaiah 53 again, where it speaks of the Messiah dying for us as an atonement, and of us despising Him, which confirmed Zech. 12:10 and 13:1 (Messiah being crucified and dying for us so that we could be forgiven).
Lahav couldn't understand how we could despise our own Messiah, but I spoke of how we had wanted to murder Moses many times in the Wilderness, and that because of our unbelief in God, we wandered for 40 years until all of us men over the age of 20 died, except for Joshua and Caleb. Then I sealed our rejection of Messiah with Psalm 118:22, which states that "the Stone the Builders rejected became the CornerStone" (of the new Temple). The Stone is the Messiah, who was rejected by the 'Builders of Israel' (the Sages of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish authorities of the day).
Then I went to Zechariah 6:12-13, which speaks of the Branch, a Messianic title for the Messiah, building God's Temple and being both King and High Priest of Israel, something that isn't possible under Torah (the first five books of Moses). Then unto Psalm 110:4, which states that the Messiah would be a High Priest like Melchizedek. Then I asked, "But doesn't this conflict with Torah, which states that the High Priest must come from the lineage of Aaron, while the Tanach says that the king must come from the line of David?" Again, this points to the New Covenant that God would make with Israel (Jer. 31:31), but would include the Gentiles (Is. 49:6).
All during this time Lahav is listening and interacting with me, sharing his own understanding of the verses that I bring out, but they're not anywhere at all as convincing as the true understanding. After a little while Lahav says that he would love to continue, but he really needed to be knocking on doors to try and reach his financial goal for the people. I asked him what it was and he told me that he had already collected 200 shekels ($56), but was looking for another 300 shekels ($84). I told him that I would give him some funds and we began speaking about the Messiah of Israel again. He asked me why it was so important to me that he know this, and I told him that I loved him and that I wanted him to know the Messiah because in the name of Yeshua there is life from Above. He accepted that and didn't balk at the Name.
I shared some of my story with him, about searching for God in my early twenties, and finding Jesus when I was 24, and how the Holy Spirit came upon me when I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to come into my life. I told him that I didn't know what the Holy Spirit was, but that I had literally felt the Shalom (Peace) from Heaven and that I knew that God was real and that Yeshua was our Messiah. I told him that I was a living Jewish witness to him that Yeshua of Nazareth was our Messiah.
I excused myself for a moment and came back inside my apartment and took out a 200 shekel note from my wallet, putting it in my breast pocket to give to him later. Another of his superficial interpretations came when I showed him Psalm 110:1, where the heavens are opened for King David and he sees both the Father and the Son. It states, "Yahveh spoke to My Lord (David's Lord the Messiah), saying, 'Sit at My right hand until I make your enemies Your footstool.'" Lahav told me that because of the vertical line in the Hebrew text (that the Masoretes put into the text in the 8th century AD, which separates Yahveh from My Lord), his take on the interpretation was that God spoke the Psalm, and that somehow, 'My Lord' was David speaking to God, but the term for 'Lord' there (Adoni) is never used of God (it's always written as Adonai). I don't think his interpretation made sense to him, either.
I gave him the Prophecy Card (which can be seen at http://seedofabraham.net/theprophecycard.html) and showed him Micah 5:2, where it speaks of the Ruler of Israel (King Messiah) having existed since before Creation (the days of eternity), and said that David's Son, the Messiah, was alive before David was born. How is that possible for a natural man? He said that he wanted to study it further with some of his friends and then he asked me for my email address so that he could communicate with me about it.
Lahav then asked me, 'What if on Judgement Day you find out you were wrong, and that THAT man isn't the Messiah?' I told him, "I will answer your question with a question and then you'll have your answer. What if someone said to you, 'What if on Judgement Day you find out that the God of Israel didn't create the universe?' Of course, that's an impossibility, and Lahav knew it. I said that our Tanach shows us who the Messiah will be and when He will come and what He will do for us, AND I have been given the promised Holy Spirit in His Name. I know that Yeshua is our Messiah, I don't just think that He might be…I know that He is because the Holy Spirit has continually confirmed that to me for the past 35 years.
I had been thinking that I would get another 100 shekels from my wallet, so again, I excused myself for a moment and came back into the apartment and got the 100 shekels. Ruti, who was sitting on the couch, listening and praying all the time for Lahav and me, asked me in a low voice, "How much?" I raised three fingers and she confirmed that 300 shekels ($84) was exactly how much the Lord had put on her heart. It's so special to have God confirm things like that. I went out and gave it to Lahav and he said it was "too much," but I told him that Messiah Yeshua had put that amount on my heart and that I was very glad to do it.
We spoke some more, me sharing about how Yeshua was God the Son, from places like Gen. 1:3. I asked him what was the light of that day? He said the sun, but immediately realized that the sun wasn't made until the fourth day. I told him that the ancient Rabbis had said that it was the Light of Messiah, which confirmed Micah 5:2 saying that Messiah was alive from the days of eternity. I supported that by asking him to read from Prov. 30:4, which asks the reader what God's name is, and the name of His Son. Then we went to Psalm 2:7, which speaks of God begetting His Son, the Messiah. Lahav just thought that God would beget the Messiah, like He did all of us, but I told him that God had never begotten anyone. He created Adam and Eve and from them we have been begotten. Everyone is begotten in the image and likeness of their parents, whether human beings or horses or cats, etc., but here in Ps. 2:7 it speaks of God begetting the Messiah, who then would obviously be like His Father; deity: so Messiah would be God the Son, just as Micah 5:2 and Prov. 30:4 confirm. We spoke some more and then he needed to leave. Again he thanked me for the 300 shekels and again I told him that it was Messiah Yeshua who wanted him to have it.
Earlier that day, on 6 Jan 2011, we gave 1,800 shekels ($504) to Ofira, an Israeli woman whom we led to Messiah Yeshua in 2006. She's a single Mom with a ten year old boy. She works, but she has been struggling to just meet rent and put food on the table. She was very grateful for the gift–overwhelmed actually. She broke down and wept. It's been hard for her. She was a month behind on her rent. We've helped Ofira many times in the past and we're looking to continue to help her in the future.
“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people,” says your God. “Speak comfort to Jerusalem and cry out to her that her warfare has ended and that her iniquity is pardoned, for she has received from Yahveh's hand double for all her sins.”” (Isaiah 40:1–2)
“Oh Zion! You who bring Good News–get up into the high mountain! Oh Jerusalem! You who bring Good News–lift up your voice with strength, lift it up! Be not afraid! Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”” (Isaiah 40:9)
All our love, in the name of Messiah Yeshua,
from the Land of our Fathers,
Avram & Ruti Yehoshua
Ramat Gan (next to Tel Aviv)