by Avram Yehoshua
On Tuesday, September 7th, about 6:00 PM, I was walking in downtown
Tiberias on my way to get some fresh squeezed orange juice. I had just
gotten a check cashed. A religiously observant Jew, a Hasidic man
dressed in a black coat, black pants, black hat and white shirt, 23
years old, stopped me and asked me where a kosher restaurant was. I
began to tell him and one thing led to another and for the next two
hours, we stood there on the sidewalk and talked about Yeshua and
Judaism. He did not receive Yeshua but there were a number of times that
I could sense that the Holy Spirit was 'getting in onto him.' His name
is Levi and he's from Austria. He's been in Israel for the past five
years off and on and he teaches younger people in his branch of
He's Lubavitch, or Habad as they are known. Habad is an acronym and in
the Hebrew the H-B-D stands for Loving-Kindness, Understanding and
Knowledge (of God). We didn't start off immediately talking about the
Lord but as soon as I saw an opening I brought up a question to him. I
asked him if he had ever done any studies on the Messiah. He began to
share with me about the Rabbis, and something about criteria, and if
someone does many miracles but doesn't do all the rabbinical criteria,
then he wasn't the Messiah.
I could hear arguments against Jesus, as the Lord did many miracles and
they don't believe in Him so they have to counter His claims by
denigrating miracles and making up 'criteria' of their own. I could see
that he really didn't know much about the real Scriptural criteria for
the Messiah so I began to share with him about the two streams of
Messiah in the Scriptures. He was aware of Messiah ben (Son of) David
and Messiah ben (Son of) Yosafe (Joseph).
And then I told him that I had found Messiah ben Yosafe, the Suffering
Messiah that is spoken of in Isaiah 53. That He was Yeshua from
Nazareth. That didn't seem to bother him and we kept on talking. He told
me that we must believe all that the Rabbis say. And they say that
Yeshua was a deceiver, a fake, and is boiling in feces now. 'Oh
really?,' I said, 'Why? What did He do to deserve that?'
He told me that it wasn't so much what He did, but what happened after
His Life, meaning that Christianity is another religion and they hate
the Jewish People, so Jesus is responsible for that. I asked him if he
ever read about Jesus, because he shared some things with me that were
supposed to be about Yeshua, but I told him that they were 'old wives'
tales. He also told me that he couldn't read the New Covenant because
that was banned by the Rabbis.
At first he told me that I needed to go to yeshiva (a school of higher
learning for Judaism), and study with the Rabbis there. They would set
me straight and keep my soul from going to Hell. But by the end of our
conversation, he said that I would be dangerous in yeshiva. I asked him
why and he said because I would lead others away. (Praise God!)
He said that there were some that thought that Menahem Schneerson, the
late Lubavitch Rabbi, was the Messiah. I told him that that was
impossible as the Scriptures state in Malachi 5:1 that the Messiah would
be born in Bethlehem and Rabbi Schneerson never even came to Israel, let
alone was he born in Bethlehem.
He said that the Rabbis had changed that criteria. And I told him that
the Lord states that we must not add to, or take away from His Words
(Deut. 4:2: 'You must not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor
take away from it, that you may keep the Commandments of Yahveh your God
which I command you.') And yet, here he was speaking of the rule or the
criteria of the Rabbis (the Oral Law), that must be obeyed to the
letter, and would be more authoritative than the Scriptures.
I said that the Oral Law couldn't have gone back to the days of Moses as
they contend (to give authority to it). Not one rabbi mentioned in it
goes back past the days of the Babylonian captivity. And that when the
High Priest, Hilkiah, under the direction of King Josiah, found the Book
of the Law, there wasn't any mention of an Oral Law still being handed
down. So how could the Oral Law have been around then? (2nd Kings 22-23)
And there is no mention of an oral law that is authoritative when Joshua
comes into the Land of Canaan and reads the Law to the people and
concludes (Joshua 8:35), saying that, 'all the words of the Law, the
blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of
the Law' was read.' No mention of any oral law or tradition there.
And again Yehoshua (Joshua), states, 'Be very firm then, to keep and to
do all that is written in the Book of the Torah (Law), of Moses...'
(Joshua 23:6), with no mention of an oral tradition needing to be
followed, let alone more authoritative than the Word of God. He just
kind of brushed these off though.
I asked him if he had read the Prophet Daniel. He told me he had and I
spoke of the prophecy in Daniel 9:25 which tells us that the Messiah
would come before the destruction of the second Temple, and die. And
that all the Rabbis of old believed that and were looking for Messiah in
He then said in a tone of incredulity, 'they all missed Messiah?!' I
told him not all, but many, and that was because their hearts were more
like the hearts of our Fathers in the Wilderness, who provoked God and
died in the Wilderness, than like Yehoshua (Joshua), and Kalev (Caleb).
For our Fathers despised Yahveh. They held Him in contempt and chose to
not believe what Yahveh wanted to do for them in bringing them into the
Promised Land, but instead said that Yahveh only brought them out of
Egypt to murder them and give their woman and children to others
(Numbers 13-14; especially Num. 14:11: 'And Yahveh said to Moses, 'How
long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in
Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?')
I told him, 'Today, if you hear His Voice, do not harden your heart as
our Fathers did in the Wilderness, for He was angry with that
generation. (A reference to Psalm 95:7-11: 'Today, if you hear His
Voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah
in the wilderness, when your Fathers tested Me, they tried Me, though
they had seen My work. For forty years I loathed that generation, and
said they are a people who err in their heart, and they do not know My
ways. Therefore I swore in My anger, truly they shall not enter into My
rest.' Ps. 95:7-11)
One of the strange things that the Rabbis teach them is that Yeshua
flew. I told him that I didn't know where they got that from. They had
to be making it up, because it's nowhere to be found in the New
He also told me that Miryam (Mary), wasn't a virgin but that a Roman
soldier had raped her and that's how Jesus came to be. I told him that
that was a lie, made up by the Rabbis to keep Jews like himself from
checking out the claims of Yeshua being the Messiah. And that he needed
to read the New Covenant and find out the real story.
He asked me about Yeshua being born of a virgin, if I believed that. I
said yes, and he told me that the place in Isaiah which speaks of this
really doesn't mean virgin (Is. 7:14: 'Therefore the Lord Himself will
give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will be with child and bear a son,
and she will call His name Immanuel').
I told him that the Hebrew word there, almah, means, 'a young maiden'
and that every place in the Bible where it is used (and it's only used a
few times), it always refers to young maidens who are obviously virgins.
Then I asked him if he knew of the Septuagint, the Hebrew Bible
translated into Greek, by the Rabbis, 250 years before Jesus came. He
wasn't familiar with it, but I told him that in it, the Rabbis used the
specific Greek word for virgin (par-thay-nos), so they must have
believed that a virgin would conceive and bear a son and that it would
be 'God with us.'
I also told him of how I had come to know the Living God, and that He
wanted to cleanse him of his sins and fill him with His Spirit because
of Messiah Yeshua's Sacrifice, and only through Him. He told me that for
one to believe that, one must leave their intellect on the side. In
other words, only ignorant people could believe that Yeshua was the
Messiah. I told him that I wasn't an ignorant Jew, and that for 24 years
I have seen over and over again, that Yeshua is the Messiah and that if
I saw that He wasn't, then I would have stopped believing in Him.
I went on to share many other things and as we were ending, I told him
of the forgiveness that I have known because of the Blood Sacrifice of
the Lamb of God and of the Holy Spirit dwelling within me, for 24 years.
It was powerful, for this was one of the three or four times that I
could sense that he was being drawn by the Holy Spirit. But you know how
stubborn we Jews can be and he would say something like, I need to come
back to Judaism and not deceive myself. But I could tell his heart was
not in it.
When we parted, we did so on good terms, much to his credit. I went home
and was concerned for Ruti because I should have been back hours ago.
She too was concerned for me, although things like this have happened
before. She was very glad to see me alive and well.
I told her all that the Lord had done with Levi and she shared with me
that just a little after I left, she began to feel a heaviness. At first
she didn't realize what it was, but then knew that she needed to pray
and that she was praying for me. She began to intercede for me and
sensed that she was praying for someone that I was witnessing to. I
couldn't believe it for joy as she told me that. I told her that the
Lord has made us quite a team. And then we both sensed we needed to pray
some more for Levi and we did. Please add Levi (in Hebrew pronounced
Lay-vee; one of the sons of Jacob), to your prayer list. The Lord is
moving in his life.
Email Avram — email@example.com