On Sunday, 16 December 2001, I had just finished eating a thin, grilled chicken breast, smothered in onions, with some French fries and salad. Yes, it was good. I got up from my table and went to the counter to pay Didiya, the owner. (Didiya is French for Judah, and Judah means, 'one who praises Yahveh.') He asked me if I liked it. I told him it was, 'hah-ah-he tov!' (the best!). He smiled, took my money and asked me what I did. I told him that I teach Torah and show people who Messiah is. This 'lead in' allows me to gauge where a person is on those issues.
I didn't get much of a response so I asked, 'What do you know about Messiah?' He told me, 'Only that he will come.' I asked, 'Do you know anything else about Messiah?' He said that he hadn't been raised religious but was beginning to come into it in the last few years but that he hadn't heard anything taught on Messiah.' I said that it was a problem among us Jews and that it was hard for me to teach someone who knew nothing. When I said it, I didn't mean to say it quite that way, but Didiya understood.
I was silent for a while, thinking and praying, asking Yeshua what I could say. Didiya asked me what I was doing and I told him that I didn't know where to begin, so I was waiting till the Lord gave me something.
Then Didiya spoke about the certificate on the wall. In Israel, restaurants that are kosher are required from the Rabbis to get a certificate declaring that 'the Rabbis declare' that they are kosher. He told me his certificate costs him 7,000 shekels a year (that's $1,670). He told me the man comes in once a year, looks around and gives him another certificate. I told him that he was being robbed. He said that he was going to go to the Rabbis and tell them that he would only give 3,000 shekels ($714). I said that if you go by yourself, the rabbi won't care what you say. He won't budge from the 7,000 shekels because he takes his orders from the Rabbis above him. But if you take three or five or ten or more friends of yours, that own restaurants, and all of you say, 'We will only pay you 500 shekels ($119) for the certificate', you might get somewhere.
He liked the idea of strength in numbers but didn't think the Rabbis would go for that. I told him that they won't go for the 3,000 either, because it's not just in this city but all over Israel that they rob the people. If they are seen as doing it for you and your friends, they know that they'll have to do it for everyone. But 500 shekels for a man to come once a year and look around for a few minutes, is more than he should get anyway. He looked at his wife, Galit, and nodded approval and understanding. I knew then what the Lord wanted me to say to him.
I said, 'If a man comes in here and says, 'I am the Messiah!' What would you say to him to see if He was really Messiah or not? How would you test him? Neither Didiya or Galit knew. I said that you might want to ask him where he was born. If he said, 'Jerusalem!' I would tell him, 'You're not the Messiah!' Why? Because the Prophet Micah (5:2) tells us that Messiah will be born in Bethlehem, the city of David.' They liked that. I could see that they had never heard that before. I went on,
'It is very important to know what God says in His Word, because He always brings His Word to pass. He is faithful and true. When Father Abraham made the Covenant with God, the Lord said to him that Abraham's descendents would be slaves for many years in another land, but that He would come and deliver them and bring them to this Land! God never lies. He always brings His Word to pass. That's why it's so important to know His Word. If we don't, then someone can come in and tell us anything they want to about God or about the Messiah, and we might believe it in our ignorance.'
Didiya is about 41 years old, dark hair, husky and about five foot six inches. He came to Israel from Paris, France, with his parents, when he was five years old. His wife Galit, is about the same height and heavy set with black hair. They have two young girls. Didiya and Galit both listened and took in what I was saying. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would plant the Word that I had spoken, deep into their hearts, and nurture and water it to fruition.
Then Orange Man came into the restaurant. I had never seen him before but seeing him once, I don't think you would forget him. He's about 65 years old, five foot nine inches with some whiskers that hadn't been shaved in three or four days, with thinning white hair around his head. He had on a bright orange sweat-shirt, bright orange shorts, bright orange sneakers and a bright orange derby for a hat. But that was not the half of it.
On all his fingers and his thumbs he had rings, and I mean rings. They were huge, some of them about the size of a half dollar, and one with a face on it, in what looked like a baby. It looked like something I would guess was ceramic. But my eyes didn't stay there long as both his wrists, about four to five inches deep, were covered with bracelets. Big bracelets, silver bracelets, turquoise bracelets, etc. And that too wasn't the end of it. His chest displayed what most likely amounted to about ten to fifteen pounds of necklaces hanging down to his midsection. Silver necklaces, turquoise necklaces, etc. etc. etc. And hanging from one of them was a silver or chrome 'sun' with rays coming from it. Just when you thought you'd seen it all...
As you might imagine, I didn't quite know what to make of this character. Although even that is an understatement. As he came in, I looked him straight in the eyes, as I was sitting directly in his field of vision, to see if there was 'anything there.' I didn't sense anything demonic which was a relief to me. He ordered some food from the counter where I was, standing about two feet away from where I was sitting. I asked him, 'What are you? Why do you dress like this?'
He said, 'Why?! That's a good question.' I waited for him to continue. He said, 'I do it because I like to be different and it doesn't hurt anyone. I do it because something inside me just has to come out.' Hmm...maybe I was wrong about the demonic : )
He asked, 'And what do you do?' I told him that I teach Torah and who the Messiah is. He turned away in disbelief. He said, 'What about the Holocaust?! Why did God allow that?!' I said, 'Death is not the end. Haven't you heard? There is a Day of Judgment for all, both the murdered and the murderers. God is just and His Judgment is righteous. Do you remember when Moses was a baby, how many Hebrew infants were being thrown into the Nile River?' Do you think God did that or Satan?
'Satan?! There is no one like that!', he said. I told him that he didn't know the difference between God and Satan, giving to God, things that Satan did. He said, 'Isn't God over Satan?' I said, 'When Adam and Hava (Eve), disobeyed God, they let Satan into their lives and the lives of their children. That's why we need Messiah.'
About ten feet away, a man sitting at a table with his friend said something that I didn't make out and Orange Man replied, 'That's right Shmulik!' I asked him what Shmulik1 said and Orange Man told me saying, 'God's not real. It's a figment of men's imagination.' Directing my attention to Shmulik, I said to all there,
'You deny your very existence when you say that! Without God, no Jew would be in the Land of Israel today. Shmulik! 1800 years! No nation, no people has ever done anything like this! We have come back to the Land that God promised to our Fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And God said that He would bring us back! This proves that God is real. We would not be here today if God were a figment of our imagination.'
'The Prophet Ezekiel in 36:22-28 spoke of God bringing us Jews back from the four corners of the Earth where He scattered us for our sin of unbelief! The same unbelief that you display today! Once here, He would sprinkle clean water upon us and take away our filth and sins and give us His Holy Spirit and a new Heart so that we could be like Him. After all, we are His children and children should behave like their father. It won't be very long before this happens!'
Orange man became silent and continued eating while Shmulik and his friend looked off elsewhere. I waited to see if there was anything else I could do, looking for what Yeshua would have me to do. The Commandment (Lev. 19:18) came to me about loving one's neighbor as one's self and I wondered how I could put that into word and deed. Their silence spoke to me that they didn't want to deal with the issues that I had raised.
Didiya approached and I felt it was time to go. I told him that I would teach him 'lesson number two' when Ruti and I came back. (What I told him about the birthplace of Messiah and what I had shared with the men was 'lesson number 1.) He asked if there were any books I could give him. I asked if he had a Tanach. He said at home he did. I told him that I'd bring one the next time with me and that I'd leave it in the restaurant with him so that we could study from it when I came and that 'we could see if the things that Avram was saying about Messiah, were really in the Scriptures.' He liked that. Depending on how the next lesson goes, I may give him the first part of the Hebrew handout, A Picture of the Messiah, which explains from Scripture some of the prophecies about the Suffering Messiah. We could go over it, point for point. (The second sheet lines up New Testament Scripture with those prophecies but I don't think Didiya would be ready for that yet.)
I shook his hand to leave and turned to Orange Man and said, 'Beh-tay ah-vone, hah-vere' which is Hebrew for 'Bon Appetite, friend'. (This is something that is said very often here in Israel when someone sees another eating. But it's not said with 'haver' - friend.) I wanted to extend the Love of Messiah to him who needs it too. I also sensed that my closure was noted by Shmulik and his friend. You see, in Israel there is a real war going on here; not just with Arafat and his terrorist gangs, but between the secular and the religious Jew. And since I look religious Jew, many of the secular see me as 'different' from them and someone to vent their dislike toward. And of course, many of the religious vent their dislike toward the secular. All the men that I spoke to were secular. I wanted them to know, and I sensed that they did, that I loved them and was extending 'my hand' to them. I think they caught it.
On Friday, 21 Dec. 2001, Ruti and I ate some grilled chicken and onions, fries and salad at Didiya's. It was busy. We didn't want to be inconsiderate of Didiya's responsibilities to the people as sometimes he cooked and sometimes he waited on tables. So instead of speaking with him about the verses I had in mind, I gave him the Tanach (Old Testament) and handed him the verses so he could read them later. He asked me how much the Bible was and I told him it was a gift. He really appreciated that and shook my hand.
The Scriptures I gave him centered on Messiah being the Seed of Adam and Eve and that Messiah would crush Satan (Gen. 3:15). I also gave him Scripture that Messiah would descend from Fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah (Gen. 12:3; 17:19; 28:14; 49:10), and from King David (2nd Sam. 7:12-13). And of course, I just had to give him where Messiah would be born, in the city of David (Micah 5:1; English 5:2), as I had spoken of that to him the Sunday before as a way to filter out any would-be pretenders like the dead Lubavitch rabbi (Schneerson). Many of his followers insist he is Messiah, even in death. They say that he is praying for all the Jews now, in Heaven. There's no end to the absurdity that pervades them.
I also listed for him the place where Messiah is likened to Moses (Deut. 18:15, 18), as it speaks of our need to listen to the words that Messiah will speak in God's Name. God says that anyone who doesn't listen to the words that He, God, puts in Messiah's mouth to speak, God will require it of him (on Judgment Day). When we read the account of the Apostle John (5-6-7, etc.), not only does Yeshua tell us many times that He has been sent from the Father, but also that Yeshua's words are not His own, but the Father who sent Him. There is nothing more directly aligned with the passage in Deuteronomy than that.
Finally, I gave him one of the golden chapters of Scripture to read, Gen. 22, the Binding of Isaac (as it is known in Judaism). I thought that it would be a good place to springboard off of, after we discussed the above Scriptures. This way he could see why Abraham is called the Father of our people and how God Himself, 2,000 years later, could sacrifice His Son for us.
I gave him all these Scriptures on a piece of paper and asked him to read them so we could talk about them when I came back. He told me before that he hadn't had any religious training, but when he said that he had never opened a Bible before, I was shocked. I hope I didn't show it. I probably did. I asked him for the Bible I had just given him and opened it up and showed him how it was divided into three main sections; Torah, Prophets and Writings. Then I took him to the first book, Genesis, and showed him how to use it, taking the first Scripture that I had given him, of Gen. 3:15, and finding it with him. Then I said that most of the Scripture that I gave him (on the paper), were in the book of Genesis. I leafed through it till we found Micah and showed him other sections as well, till I thought he had the hang of it.
He told me that I needed to go slow with him because if he got too much too fast, it would be no good. (Yes, I could see that : ) I assured him that we would go slow. Now I was beginning to see just how slow we were needing to go. But slow is good too.
The next time we returned, I thought, if he hadn't been able to read any, if the Lord will give us some time (from Didiya having to serve people), we could sit for a few minutes and I'd go over those Scriptures with him. If not, then perhaps I'd give the theme of what those Scripture verses meant, that Messiah would come from the Jewish People, and then perhaps, go on to share about Sucote 52 (a book of the Talmud), where the ancient Rabbis saw that there would be two Messiahs. And then I'd go on to explain why.
Please pray that Yeshua will lead Didiya to have a hunger to open the Bible and read it and that the Holy Spirit would draw him into the Kingdom.
On Tuesday, 25 Dec. 2001, Ruti and I ate lunch at Didiya's place again. After we were done eating I went to pay the bill. It had been busy and so even though it had died down some, I thought that it might not be appropriate to begin any discussion on the Bible and Messiah. After getting my change back, I asked Didiya if he had been able to read the Scriptures that I left with him. He told me he hadn't but would I be willing to take five minutes and talk with him about the first one. Would I? : )
He brought the Tanach over to our table where Ruti was and I explained to him the first five books of the Tanach were Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy and that Moses had written them. They were called Torah in Hebrew which means 'instruction' or 'teaching'. He didn't know the names of the books. I've never met any Jew like this.
Before we went to Gen. 3:15, I related the story of Adam and Eve and how they came to be thrown out of the Garden of Eden. Didiya told us that God had said that no one was to touch the apple tree. I told him that it never says what fruit it was, just that it was a fruit tree, and that it was called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It didn't say anything about apples. I told him that I'd explain a little later where he got the thought that no one was to touch it.
I related how Satan, the Snake, had deceived Eve and asked her if God had said that they were not to eat from the Tree. Eve told Satan that she wasn't to eat of the Tree, and then she added that she wasn't to touch it, something God never said. Satan lied, saying that she wouldn't die, but she'd become like God if she ate the fruit. The temptation was more than Eve could bear and she took from the Tree and ate. Adam seems to have heard the whole conversation and unfortunately, didn't intervene. It states that after she ate, she handed it to Adam and he ate too (Gen. 3:6).
Didiya was telling us now that he wasn't too good at remembering things that he read but if someone spoke it to him, he never forgot it. He said it was hard for him to read as he had dyslexia. I told him I understood and continued with the lesson by saying that, 'Adam and Eve realized that something was wrong because they both now knew that they were naked. God called them and they had outfitted themselves with fig leaves as they were ashamed of their naked bodies.'
'God asked them if they had eaten from the Tree and Adam, not wanting to take responsibility, even though he was the authority, accused Eve, and she turned around and fingered the Snake. God pronounced judgment on the Snake by saying that all the days of his life he would eat the dust of the Earth and slither along. And then he turned to Eve and told her that her pregnancies or births would be hard. And then God said to Adam that by the sweat of his brow he would live.'
Didiya asked us if Satan could be within. I told him he could in the sense that our natures are aligned with his; rebellion against God. Didiya said that many times he wanted to do something good and he had to argue with himself. He finally just said, 'Get out of here!', and did what he thought best. I said that was
'why Messiah needed to come. Most of us struggle to do the good and sometimes we don't do what we know we should. But with Messiah, He gives us His Spirit that we might be like Him and always do that what is pleasing to our Father in Heaven.'
We then read from Gen. 3:15, where it speaks of there being a hatred between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the Serpent and that the Seed of the woman, Messiah, would crush the head of the Serpent but the Serpent would strike the heel of Messiah. I said that the ancient Rabbis saw this passage as relating to Messiah.2
Some rabbi had told Didiya that Didiya was pure; that he had a pure heart. I told him that God said that there were none righteous, not one. I asked him if he knew about the Ark of the Covenant. He didn't. Quite another surprise for me. So, I told him about it and that only on one day, the Day of Atonement, only one person, Aaron, the High Priest, could come into the Presence of God, and that, with blood from a sacrifice. He couldn't come without it. This is what God had wanted and what was written in Lev. 16. I told him about Aaron being the representative of our people, all of Israel being symbolized on his breastplate and his shoulders (the names of the Tribes being literally written on the shoulder stones). And,
'Aaron had to sacrifice an animal for sin for himself, before he could come into the Presence of God and then another animal sacrifice for all Israel's sin. This was the way that God taught us to deal with sin. No one except Aaron could literally approach God's Presence or they would die. It's not that an average Israeli couldn't 'talk' to God but only Aaron as High Priest could approach the very Presence of Yahveh on our behalf. This is what God set established.'
'The Work that Messiah would do would be to give us a nature that would be the same as God's, so we could live with Him. Ironically, what Satan tempted Eve with, God would give us. Why did we need this? Because we would live with God forever in the New Jerusalem and God is Heavenly Fire.'
I asked him what would happen if he went into a natural fire. He said that he'd burn. And I told him that was what would happen to us on Judgment Day if we didn't accept and walk in what Messiah has done for us. We must be pure the way God is pure and the only way to get that would be by what Messiah has done in sacrificing Himself for us.
I told Didiya that the reason that Messiah had to come was because of our sin. Messiah would deal with our sin and give us God's Righteousness as Jeremiah the Prophet spoke of (33:16). I felt we had covered enough for one session, even though we hadn't gotten to the second Scripture (Gen. 12:3). But what I saw was that one or two Scriptures were more than enough in that we discussed other things that led us to other Scriptures.
Please pray for Didiya to see His Messiah and give his life to Yeshua. Didiya is well known and liked in the community and I can imagine how many other Jews would come to know Messiah from his testimony. Thanks.
On Monday, 31 Dec. 2001, Ruti and I went to Didiya's place to eat lunch and continue with Didiya in his lessons about Messiah in the Hebrew Bible. After we got done eating there was a (God given) lull in the business (which we had prayed for), and Didiya came over to us and sat down. He told us that as long as it wasn't busy he would be able to be at the table and learn about Messiah. (Thank You, Lord!)
Didiya showed me three books that a Bratslav man had sold him. Bratslav are a sect of Hasidic Jews that follow the teachings of Rabbi Nachman who died in the late 1700's. I looked the books over and told Didiya that they weren't for him. The one Didiya thought was the best, I said was the worst. It dealt with astrology. I had seen it before from another man who also bought the book, most likely from the same Bratslaver. Somehow, the Rabbis have decreed that horoscopes, astrological signs and such are 'kosher'. Oh, the darkness they walk in, thinking themselves wise.
I told Didiya that the Tanach was the only book that he needed. I compared it to the foundation that a house must have in order for it to be strong. Didiya said that it was hard to understand the Tanach. I said it was like riding a bicycle. At first, you might fall down but you get up and try it again and soon you're riding with no problem. He liked that. I said,
'The thing that makes the Tanach understandable is the Holy Spirit. When you have that, then your eyes will be opened to what God means in His Word. Ask God to give you understanding. He will. He's a good Abba (Papa).'
Didiya appreciated that. We proceeded on with the lesson by going over what we learned the last time.
'Adam and Hava sinned by disobeying God and because of that, no one was clean before God because we all descend from them. The High Priest of Israel had to bring a blood sacrifice to God in order to be cleansed from sin and in order to cleanse Israel. Messiah would come from the seed of Adam and Hava as it was written in Gen. 3:15, where it said that her Seed would crush the head of the Serpent, and the Serpent would crush or strike the heel of Messiah. The same Hebrew word is used in both places (crush).'
Then I told him the we were going to fast forward 20 generations to Father Abraham. In Gen. 12:1-3, God calls Abram (his name not being changed to Abraham till 24 years later in Gen. 17), out of his country and to a land he didn't know: Israel. At that time it was called the land of Canaan.
I directed Didiya's attention to v. 3 because I wanted to show him that God was going to bless the Gentiles with the Seed (Messiah) that would come from the loins of Father Abraham. Then we went to Isaiah 49:5-6 where it specifically speaks of Messiah bringing back both Judah and Israel and that also, He would be a Light to the Gentiles. To confirm that, we turned to Isaiah 42:6 where it says basically the same thing about the Gentiles coming to the Light of the Messiah of Israel.
Much to my surprise, Didiya got a little impatient. Not because of business but because of being shown a number of times that Messiah would be a Light to the Gentiles. Not that he was against this. It was all new to him. It's just that after he had heard it twice, he was ready for something else! Well, this threw me off a little. So much for, 'Go slow with me.' I wondered where to go from there and it came to me to go back to Abraham's line. I picked it up with a son being promised to Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 17:19), and then I wanted to go to God confirming to him that the peoples would be blessed through Isaac and his Seed (Gen. 21:12). We wouldn't get to the second part of that.
We went to the promise and read of it and of also that God Himself named Abraham's son, Isaac. I asked if Didiya knew what Isaac meant. He told me, 'Isaac.' I said, 'No, Isaac has a meaning.' And from the next table, a women in her late 30's said, 'Laughter.' I said, 'Exactly!' She had come in with her husband a few minutes before.
I went on to say to Didiya, realizing that they were within earshot, that the reason why God gave them a son called 'laughter' was because it was impossible for Sarah to have a child. She would be 90 years old when her son was born. But God would perform a miracle and both Abraham and Sarah would laugh in their old age. A wonderful laugh.
Just then, John, a believer, came in and stopped by the counter to get a to-go order. Ruti and I were glad to see him. I excused myself from Didiya and went over to John, shook his hand and we spoke for a moment. Then I sat down and continued with Didiya.
I said that Isaac would be called the son of promise because of his miraculous birth. And Messiah would also be called the Son of Promise because He would be THE Israeli par excellence. He was promised by God through Adam and Abraham, etc., and He would completely obey God in all that He did. He would never sin.
Just then, the husband of the woman shouted to Didiya that I was a missionary. Didiya didn't want to believe him and said, 'No way!' I didn't say anything.3 The man said that I was a friend of John (not that he knew John), but he knew that John was obviously a Christian. John has an evangelist's heart. He came in wearing a shirt that had, 'Yeshua, He is Messiah', written on the back in big letters. The husband put one and one together and got 'Christian'. Just at that time, Didiya excused himself as the restaurant was beginning to fill up.
The husband then asked, 'You believe in Yeshu?' I said that I didn't believe in Yeshu but in Yeshua being the Messiah.' Yeshu is the contemptible term the Rabbis came up with to denigrate Messiah Yeshua.4
He began to berate me for deceiving people by the way I look (full beard; so I look like a rabbi. I guess only traditional rabbis can have a full beard : ) I told him that this was how God had made me. Then he told me that what I was doing was against the law. I asked him specifically which law he was referring to. He couldn't answer me. There is no law in Israel that says one cannot speak of Yeshua.5
He ignored that and went on to say that Israel was a law abiding country and that I should respect the laws of the land. Obviously, he wasn't going to believe that what I was doing was legal. In reference to Israel being a law abiding country, I had to laugh. I said that he must
'not be familiar with the Knesset (the Congress here). They are the biggest law breakers in the land and every Israeli knows it! There are worse thieves and scoundrels there than in the prisons!'
He knew that what I was saying was true and so he took a different tack. By this time, he and his wife had gotten up from their table and were standing in front of ours. We welcomed it. We remained seated.
He asked if I was a Jew. (Where have I heard this before? : ) I told him that I was. Then I asked him if he had done any studies on Messiah from the Tanach. He said that he didn't believe in the Tanach. Anybody can 'believe what they want.' Now it was my turn to reprove him. I said,
'That's not what God says in the Tanach. We must believe what God says or we walk in a crooked manner.' His wife said, 'We don't believe in that! We believe in God.' I said, 'You can't separate God from His Words in the Tanach. That's the only way to know Him and His Will, by His Words.'
He then asked me if I thought that we should stone the people that the Tanach says that we should stone. I told him yes. Now he was surprised. He said that even the Rabbis didn't do that anymore. I said that they were wrong. I told him that, 'Mishna and Talmud6 (where the rulings not to stone are found), were not from the Heavens. 'Only the Tanach is the Word of God.'
Then the stoning centered on prostitution. He asked me if I thought they should stone the prostitutes. I said that we must follow God's ways, just like King David. I said that if Israel stoned them, Eilat, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem wouldn't be over-run with them. I said that Israel needed to be walking in Covenant with God and no one would want to prostitute themself if they knew God. Then the wife said something about the Torah and ancient women being treated like ----. Ruti turned to her and said, 'That isn't how God wants us to be treated. Following Torah is better for us.' I said to her that she really didn't,
'know God to be saying something like that. Only through Messiah Yeshua can you come to know, to really know God. God relates through the Prophet Ezekiel, in the 36th chapter, how He will give us His Spirit so that we can come to know Him and to walk in His Ways.'
I said that I didn't just think I know God but that I really know Him, pointing from my head to my heart. I told them that God wants to come to them and love them by His Spirit, and this happens in the Name of Messiah Yeshua in the most wonderful way.
The man then took another track and said that if he didn't believe like me, I would turn and become his enemy. I told him, 'No. You are my friend and I love you very much.' After I said that I could see that a mist was forming in his eyes. I later realized that it was the Holy Spirit impacting him with what I said. I saw his face soften toward me. Oh Lord Yeshua, bring Him into Your Kingdom!
The wife was still very hard but I could see him changing toward me so I physically drew closer to him, standing up and saying,
'Only in Messiah Yeshua can you find true peace. It is His Blood that has been shed as our Atonement for sin. God says in Lev. 17:11 that He has given us the blood that we might make atonement for ourselves. And the Prophet Isaiah, in the 53rd chapter tells us that Messiah would take upon Himself all our sickness and disease and our sin. The ancient Rabbis called Him the Leprous Messiah because of that. Another name for him was Messiah the Son of Joseph because like Joseph, He would be rejected by us Jews. It says that in Isaiah 53 too. And like Joseph, God would raise Him up to Second in Command, next to God Himself. And it says that in Isaiah 53 also.'
My tone now, still intense, was pleading with him, loving him. The wife, not liking this new direction things were beginning to go said that he was 'a musical genius' and that they knew the Spirit of God because many times they would experience God when they played music. I said that it wasn't God's Spirit they were experiencing because only in the Name of Yeshua can that Spirit come.7 We said one or two more things and then they left.
All this was going on in the midst of a small cafe that was by now, congested with about 20 Jews eating their lunch and listening to us going at it. Our 'conversations' were not done in a whisper.
When we left, Didiya apologized for the commotion. I told him that I was delighted that it occurred. I didn't think that in all that transpired, Didiya realized that I believed in Messiah Yeshua. He was busy serving customers. It must have been the Finger of God that closed his ears to it. He told me he was looking forward to the next lesson.
After we left, I asked Ruti what she sensed. She said that there were a number that were paying attention. The man to my right, she said, 'at one point, didn't agree with me, but on another point he did.' We smiled. We got back home and prayed that Yeshua would reveal Himself to the couple, that night! And that He would show them their need for Him. We asked that Didiya and his wife, Galit and their young children, would be protected by the Hand of God so that we could return and lead them into His Kingdom also.
Please remember the couple in your prayers. The Lord has given me such a love for the man (and the woman). They are in such desperate need of Yeshua. And also Didiya and his family and those in the cafe that day, that God's Seed would be deeply implanted in their souls. And that someone who was at a table that day, would see us at a later date and ask us about Messiah Yeshua and that we would lead him to Him. Thank you.
On Wednesday, January 2nd, 2002, Ruti and I went back to Didiya's to eat and to see what fall-out there might have been from the previous time. Much to our surprise, Didiya had not heard anything about our conversation with the couple. After we were done eating, Didiya sat down with us and wanted to continue his lessons on learning about Messiah from the Tanach. As I was about to begin, he asked me, 'What did those people want?' I told him that he'd have to ask them. He then asked, 'Why did they get so upset?' He went on to explain that it made him feel really bad on the inside, how they were talking to Ruti and me. I understood because they were in 'attack mode.' I told him that I was glad they did what they did and said to him that they were upset with me because they thought I was a missionary.
I then went over what we had done the previous times and finished, teaching on Gen. 17. I told him that God had promised the Land of Canaan to the Jewish people (v. 8), and that circumcision was more than just a good medical practice. It
'was the sign of the Covenant that God had with Father Abraham (v. 10-11). It was a mark in our flesh that God was not only our God and King, but also the owner of the greatest thing that we could do; father children. So important was this 'sign' that God commanded that any descendant of Abraham and Isaac, not circumcised, would be cut off from his people (v. 14). Being cut off from one's people may not seem like much today but to an ancient people, not being allowed to be part of your people was tantamount to losing one's identity and being totally annihilated.'
In v. 15 we read that Sarai (which means, 'contentious') had her name changed also, to Sarah (princess or, 'one who strives with God and is blessed'). And in vv. 16-17, God said that she was to have a son even though she was already 89 years old. This son would be called the miraculous son of promise because obviously, Sarah was too old to have any children. She had been barren all her life. I told Didiya that the picture here is related to Messiah, as Messiah is the miraculous born, Son of the Promise, just as Isaac was, and also of the promise that was to Adam and Eve (that the Seed of Adam and Hava would crush the head of the Serpent).
In v. 19 God names Abraham's son. He is to be called Itzhak (Isaac), which means laughter because Sarah and Abraham would laugh in their old age. (And we will laugh in our old age; eternity, because of God's promised and miraculous Son.) God tells Abraham that through Isaac the Covenant will be perpetuated. He reaffirms this two verses later in v. 21. In vv. 23-24 it tells us that Abraham was faithful to be circumcised even though he was 99 years old at the time. Ishmael was 13 (v. 25), and that's why Arabs today are circumcised when they are 13 years old. It was about this time that it began to get busy and I could sense Didiya's need to attend to business. I told him that we'd continue at another time and I could see the relief on his face. He was grateful that I understood.
After saying, 'Shalom' to everyone there, Ruti and I left and began walking to the downtown area. On the way I was struggling with whether I did the right thing or not. I just didn't feel comfortable in not telling Didiya that the couple was upset because of Messiah Yeshua. I didn't think the foundation had been properly laid for Didiya to hear the Name yet. But I didn't want the couple to come back and tell Didiya that I believed in Yeshua. I'd rather him hear it first from me. So I shared this with Ruti and she agreed. I purposed that after we were done downtown, we'd go back and tell Didiya the Name. As it turned out, we were able to share in the downtown area, for about an hour and a half, with a woman that we had previously witnessed to about Messiah. It was very good. And when she had to leave, another worker came on and we continued to share about Messiah. But that's another story.
It was about 5:30 P.M. and dark when we walked into the little restaurant and much to our delight, there was only one person eating there. This would give Didiya some time to be with us. We sat at the counter and told him that we had something important to speak with him about. He came to us and I told him that the couple had been upset because we believe that Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel. That didn't seem to phase Didiya. He asked, 'You mean Jesus?' I told him yes and that I wanted to show him from the Tanach that Yeshua was indeed our Messiah. He asked me, 'Wasn't he from Nazareth?' And I could hear that he was wondering, 'But the Messiah should be born in Bethlehem' as I had taught him the first day. So I told him that Yeshua was born in Bethlehem but He was raised in Nazareth.
Didiya listened to me while I began to open up the Scriptures concerning the Suffering Servant of Yahveh from Isaiah 53 and other passages. We read about His Death being for our sins, that we could be forgiven and that THIS was God's Way to be pure in His sight. I related also that this was what Yom Kipor (the Day of Atonement), pictured when Aaron the High Priest offered up the goat once a year for the forgiveness of sin for all Israel. Messiah Yeshua was offered up once so that both Jew and Gentile could live with God. I shared with him about Lev. 17:11 and that the life of the flesh was in the blood and that God had given it to us to make atonement for ourselves. The Blood of Messiah Yeshua contains His Life which is divine and therefore able to cover and forgive our sins and to transform us into His Image that we might stand Righteous before God on Yom HaDin (the Day of Judgment).
I spoke of a number of other passages concerning the new heart Messiah gives us (Ezk. 36:22-26), and that the Spirit of God comes to dwell within us when we come to really believe in Messiah Yeshua. About this time I could see that I had reached Didiya's saturation point so I backed off. Ruti spoke of this to me too, when Didiya went to clean off the table, so it was confirmed to me that we should go.
We told him that we needed to leave and that we'd be back to show him more about Messiah Yeshua. I could see that although he wasn't against it, he wasn't chomping at the bit either. When we got outside we prayed that Yeshua would reveal Himself to Didiya and that anything that would seek to keep him from coming into the Kingdom, would be taken out of the way by Yeshua.
We later returned on two different occasions but neither time offered us any time for Didiya to sit down with us as he was fairly busy. But now I sensed that he was emotionally distancing himself from us. I hope I am wrong. We had prayed and prayed and prayed that Yeshua would draw Didiya to Himself and so it was kind of disappointing to sense that he wasn't wanting to go on.
As of Jan. 23rd, we had not gone back to see Didiya. Not because we hadn't wanted to go back but because the Lord had us ministering in another direction and we just didn't have the time or the finances to eat there. Hopefully, we will return soon and be able to sit with Didiya and lead him to Messiah Yeshua.
On Wednesday, Feb. 27th, 2002, the Lord led me back to see Didiya. I say the Lord because I wasn't thinking of seeing him when I went to sleep the night before. But in prayer the next morning the Lord placed him on my heart and during the early morning hours I just felt that I needed to see him. I wasn't 'looking forward' to it as the last times we went I thought I sensed that he was not looking any more. I was right and I was wrong.
Didiya hadn't read the one page of the Hebrew handout on the chapter of John that I gave him. He told me that he didn't have time. I could barely believe him as it was more than a month that I gave it to him but he insisted that he worked many hours a day and when he got home, he was with his kids and wife and tired. With that out of the way we began to talk again about Messiah. He told me about a friend by the name of Eddie who goes up to a mountain every night to pray. Eddie is a traditional Jew and has wanted Didiya to go with him but Didiya said that it wasn't for him. He had tried 'laying tefillin' but he 'got nothing out of it.'
Didiya asked what I thought of the current (Palestinian) war that Israel was in. I said that I didn't like Arafat but that the Lord was using him to squeeze Israel. I shared that in all the years of Israel, from the time of Moses, when we would follow the Lord, He would take care of all our enemies. But when we forsook the Lord, He would use our enemies to prod us toward Him. I said that the war will not get better because God is going to use it to bring all the nations against Israel and then, as we cry out for Him, the Messiah will be revealed to us. And then we will cry as one cries for his first-born son who has just died, because we will realize then that Yeshua was our Messiah all along and that He died for our sins (Zech. 12:10; Is. 53:4-5).
Didiya told me that he was a good person, clean and straight. He could charge me 30 shekels ($6.70), for the meal I ate, he said, even though it was only 28 shekels ($6.20). But if he did he wouldn't feel right inside. He liked his life, he gave some money sometimes to help people, some food, and that was enough.
Oh, to deal with those who think that they are 'good'. You know, if you take one 'oh' out of good, you have god. I asked him, 'Who determines that you are good or not? God or Didiya?' He told me that he could tell in his heart. I could have told him what Jeremiah says about how wicked and deceptive the heart is and who can know it? (Jer. 17:9), but I didn't think it would be what was needed. I didn't want to fence with him so I dropped it and I spoke of how the Lord wants us to know Him through Messiah. He asked, 'Who is greater, God or Jesus?' I told him that I'd answer his question with a question : ) 'Who is more human? You or Galit? (his wife). He told me they were both the same. I told him he answered his own question. They are both deity. But then he said, 'But no one has seen God. People saw Jesus.' To which I replied, 'Yeshua said that when you see Me, you see the Father.' 'My Father and I are one' (John 14:7, 9).
Didiya said that he was only going to be alive for a certain amount of time and he wanted to have a good life because after that, it was 'only to the ground.' I was a little surprised at his being unaware of life after death. I probably shouldn't have been. I said that belief in God has to rest on what God says. He tells us in the Tanach that after death we will stand before Him on Judgment Day. I explained that in the book of Daniel for instance, the angel Gabriel tells Daniel that he shall sleep with his fathers and then be raised in the resurrection of the dead. The Jewish Rabbis have believed this since before the time of Messiah Yeshua (Dan. 12:2-3, 13).
We spoke some more and then the Lord, after I asked Him, led me to tell Didiya that God wants to love him through Messiah Yeshua in a way that Didiya has never known before. And that when He does, Didiya will know what real Life is. As we parted he said that he is looking forward to the next time that we can talk. He said he likes talking with me.
So, as you see, I was both right and wrong. I am glad that Didiya is still very open to hearing me share about Messiah. Very glad. But I am disappointed that he hadn't read the chapter on John that I had given him. I am looking forward to the next time that the Lord brings us together.
1. Shmulik is an affectionate way of saying Shmuel ,which is Samuel in English. It means, 'God hears'.
2. Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus The Messiah (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2000), p. 981. This passage is seen as relating to Messiah from Targum Jonathan.
3. I don't call or acknowledge myself as a missionary because the term is extremely offensive to my Jewish people. It brings to mind the Inquisition in Spain, when Jewish infants were literally taken from the arms of their screaming mothers, separated from them forever and made to convert to Catholicism, so they wouldn't go to Hell. Also, in the Crusades, the 'Armies of God' in Europe, on their way to liberate holy Jerusalem from the infidels (Arabs), murdered Jews as they traveled all throughout Europe. And when they got to Jerusalem, they murdered the Jews living there too. This is associated with 'missionaries'. In Hebrew, the term I use is shiliach. Even though conceptually it is similar to a missionary, it brings to mind something very different for a Jew. Both mean, a 'sent one.' Israel has many 'sent ones' all over the world who are official representatives of the Israeli government. They act as official 'points of contact', offering information and connections to Israel for all who want it. The Israeli would understand that I am a 'sent one' from Messiah Yeshua. I am a Jew who loves Yeshua and desires to share Him with my Jewish people. Also, a missionary is usually associated with a specific denomination or missions group that supports and sends them to another country. I am not part of any such organization, having been 'sent' by Messiah who sustains and supports me through people whose hearts have been touched by Him to do so.
4. Most Israelis don't realize that His Name is Yeshua. They assume that it is Yeshu (from the Rabbis). So here I was making a distinction, intentionally.
5. I would be breaking the law if I spoke about Yeshua to a minor, without the parents' consent. I would be breaking the law of Israel if I sent unsolicited mail on Yeshua to someone. But there is no law that says I can't have a full beard or talk about Yeshua.
6. Mishna forms the core of what is called Talmud and is authoritative for how Orthodox Jews walk out their faith. It was compiled about 2,000 years ago.
7. I may have been hasty in saying that as I remember reading an account of a Jewish woman, Esther Dorflinger, whom the Spirit of Jesus ministered to in mighty ways before she ever came to realize that it was Jesus. When Yeshua revealed Himself to her, she couldn't believe it, the stigma on Jesus being so great in the Jewish Community. But Yeshua wooed her by relating that all those times in the past when she didn't know His Name, she had felt His Love and had trusted Him. With that, she began to walk with her Messiah and the Lord would move mightily through her. I should have asked her why she thought it was the Spirit of God and not come against her as I did. If I blew it Lord, please forgive me and redeem it.