"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
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Testimony of Susan Perlman
"I was brought up in a traditional Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York. We observed the dietary laws, rested on the Sabbath and celebrated all Jewish holidays. I knew it was good to be Jewish. I didn’t really know the God of the Jews, but that did not seem to be of much significance, until my life took a sad turn.
When I was twelve, my father died of a heart attack. It was very sudden and unexpected and our family was in shock. After the funeral, as is customary in the Orthodox Jewish tradition of mourning, our family spent a week sitting shiva. During this period we were not allowed to leave the apartment and I remember we sat on wooden crates in the living room. Many relatives and friends came to visit us, bringing food and recalling their fondest memories of my dad.
To the rabbi who visited us, I had a pressing question to ask, “Rabbi, is my daddy in heaven?” He paused, not expecting the question, but his smile seemed reassuring. “Susan, your father’s memory will live on in the life you lead. You can be his legacy.” It was a nice thought, but it didn’t satisfy me. “Rabbi,” I went on, “you didn’t answer my question. Is my daddy in heaven now?” He was a little more serious at this point and looked straight into my eyes and said, “I wish I could give you a definite answer, Susan, but I can’t. We don’t know for sure what is beyond the grave. We can only hope and remember, your father was a good man.” This troubled me even more. “How come we ‘can’t know for sure’?” I thought.
One thing I did know at the time was that I was bewildered. I was angry with God, yet paradoxically, I questioned whether or not He was even real. Maybe he only existed in my imagination and in the traditions of our religion. Even the rabbi seemed a little uncertain about it.
Doing things ‘right’
Regardless of whether or not God existed, my positive feelings about my Jewishness remained strong and I would certainly not be anything other than Jewish. I felt Judaism taught people to take responsibility for their own actions. I really worked hard at doing things ‘right’ at least, according to my own perception of ‘rightness.’
After high school I started studying and I saw myself as a cause-motivated, action-oriented independent woman. I participated in marches for peace and I never gave up my efforts to ‘make a difference.’ I tried to be a modern day heroine defending what I felt was basic to human survival. In all this, I was not looking for God—but apparently God was looking for me.
Jews don’t believe in Jesus
One day I met Larry at the corner of a street in Manhattan. He told me that Jesus was the Messiah, that He came to die for the sins of humanity, that He conquered death—and that by accepting His sacrifice I could have my sins forgiven and live for eternity with my Creator. Well, I let Larry know I was Jewish and that Jews don’t believe in Jesus. I figured there might be an awkward moment, maybe even a mumbled apology and then we would talk about something else. Yet Larry continued to talk as if Jesus was still relevant to the discussion.
Then he invited me to a church in New Jersey. I went and was impressed by some of what I saw and heard. The people were young and seemed to have an idealism that was, in some ways, like my own. Of course, they weren’t Jewish, so I was certain that what they believed was not for me—still, I respected them. Larry and I became friends. I found him kind, creative and contemporary in his outlook, even though he had certain standards of morality that one didn’t often come across in the big city. My friendship with Larry, my curiosity and my avid interest in reading were enough to convince me to look into the Bible. That was a life-changing experience.
I took my Jewish Bible and began reading in Genesis. It didn’t take long to discover the fact that God is holy. I could also see that the Bible was not an ordinary book and the God of Abraham and Sarah was no ordinary god. There was something so wonderful and right about God that I could not help being attracted to Him. However, the discovery of God’s holiness had led me to another revelation—I was unholy. My own spiritual need became evident for the first time.
Larry’s words began to make sense. All the good and right things I could do seemed inadequate to bridge the divide between this awesome God and myself. I continued to read the Bible and to discuss these things with the new acquaintances I’d met through Larry.
My awareness of this spiritual need and my findings from the Bible caused me to view the things they said in a different light; I was no longer merely hearing about someone else’s religion. They were talking about things that were of deep interest to me, things that I was seeing in my own Jewish Bible.
A life forever changed
Within days, I went back to the church. I had just been promoted at work, I had the love of my family and friends, a nice place to live and a promising future. I should have been very happy that night, but as I sat in the church service all I could think of was the fact that I was in the midst of holy things and I felt unholy. I knew I didn’t belong—not because I was Jewish but because these people had a relationship with God and I didn’t. I knew that Jesus just might be the promised Messiah and I was frightened.
I left the church building and sat out on the front lawn. It was a summer night and the air was warm. I knew I had a choice to make as I sat cross-legged and looked up at the stars. I told God that I too, wanted to have a relationship with Him. I found myself tearfully confessing to Him right then and there that I believed Jesus was the Messiah. I accepted the fact that He had taken the punishment for my sin.
I told God that I wanted the forgiveness He offered through Jesus and that I wanted to live for Him. He heard my plea and that night He changed my life forever. He gave me the assurance that His promises in the Bible are true and lasting. Now I had a strong basis for my hope, rooted in my Messiah.
| 2019/9/5 20:57||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
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As a child, Paul Liberman was deeply touched by the words from Psalm 118:22 ‘The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.’ “What or Who can be this Stone?” Paul wondered, “Is it that Jesus of Nazareth against whom the rabbi warns us so much?”
No satisfying answer
"I was only eight years old when I started to fire questions about God at my parents, but their replies were hardly satisfying. I longed, therefore, to go to an orthodox Jewish school. My father was not happy about it because it was so expensive, but my mother knew how to persuade him. Yet this school didn’t bring a spiritual breakthrough in my life.
Money… my new religion
When I started to earn some money after finishing my education, my interest in religion was pushed aside by the desire for money. For fifteen years that was my religion. Owing to my follow-up study at a liberal university, I even started to doubt if there was a higher Being. As my job didn’t promise much financial success, I decided to give up my economic ambitions and go into politics. This all went well, and anything I did, I was successful. Then I got an interesting job in a business office in Washington, but the joy was short-lived. The man who hired me was dismissed and soon after I met with the same fate.
Worries about the future
In this uncertainty I worried about the future. Looking for work I used public transport a lot. On the bus I regularly saw a lawyer who was always reading his Bible and one day we got to talk with each other. I told him that I thought that the course of events in life sometimes is so unusual that it looks like everything has been programmed. “There must be a programmer,” I said. He knew that I was Jewish because of my Jewish name so he showed me the prophecies in the Old Testament that point towards the new state Israel. I was very interested in this, so on further journeys I always sat down next to him.
300 Messianic prophecies
Once he asked me with a penetrating look, “What do you do to get into heaven?” “I try to be a good human and further hope for the best,” I replied. He then said, “According to the Old Testament, that reveals to us the future so accurately, a bloody sacrifice is needed to reconcile sins.” When he started to talk about blood I didn’t want to continue speaking with him any further. Just before I stepped out of the bus angrily, he gave me a booklet that contained more than 300 Messianic prophecies from the Old Testament. These appealed to me so much that I went to a library to read “The story about Jesus”.
God on my side!
After reading the New Testament, I couldn’t understand why we Jews had so little respect for Jesus. He didn’t do anything other than helping people. Could He really be the Messiah, as He said Himself? I prayed, “If you are really God, show me if the “carpenter of Nazareth” is the Messiah.” I reached a crucial point. My prayer had been sincere and if God couldn’t hear that, I knew for sure that He was fiction. However, if there really was a God that sent the Messiah, I knew that He would answer my supplication and that Jesus was my Messiah.
At that time I also read about many other religions, but nothing touched me so much as the Bible. The Bible consists of many books, written by different people over a long period of time. However, it seemed as if all these Books were written by one Author. Slowly the truth of the Gospel started to penetrate my heart, “Whatever people say…,” I considered, “if God is on my side, what does it matter!”
In the months following I got to know a number of other Jewish believers and I needed those contacts, because for two years my wife thought that I had gone mad. Someone told me, “You are the only Bible, that she may ever read.” I understood the message and decided to actively show her that I had been changed. God worked it out this way, that she also started to read the New Testament and became a believer.
A double identity?
Now we had a new problem. How were we to raise our children? We didn’t want them to have a double identity: Jewish and Christian and my wife only felt happy when she prayed with other Jewish believers to God. Everything else she experienced was in conflict with her Jewish heritage. Concerned about the unity in our family, I started to speak with other believers about the founding of a New Testament church in our own Jewish style. They were motivated and so we held our first gathering on May 18th 1973. We had invited a Jewish evangelist and later we got a Jewish pastor for our own small group.
In time I was able to devote myself full time to spiritual work. We moved to Israel and I got involved in the leadership of several Messianic organisations and church in both the United States and Israel.
In a miraculous way the desire of my childhood to get to know God and to be available for Him was fulfilled. What a richness to let the Lord lead your life!"
| 2019/9/9 12:38||Profile|
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Love these testimonies from Jewish Believers. They are special people. Thanks for sharing.
| 2019/9/9 15:33||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
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The testimony of Rose Klein...
"I was born in Hungary and my parents were very devout orthodox Jews. They taught me how to pray and explained to me the meaning of the Jewish traditions. We lived among the Gentiles, but my mother never allowed me to play with their children because they served Yeshua and we had nothing to do with him. She even forbade me to ever speak out His name.
I was taken to synagogue every shabbat, but I didn’t like going there because I didn’t understand what was going on. I had to sit next to my mother on the balcony for women and girls. Furthermore, I didn’t receive any education, because the Jewish school was only for boys. That is why most Jewish women hardly know anything of the Old Testament and just follow the traditions of their mothers.
During World War I came into contact with communists in Budapest. They believed that there is no God and that all people are equal. Since Judaism could not satisfy me, I guessed that they were right and I became a communist.
When my father died, I was six years old. A few years later my mother left for America leaving me behind. When I was twenty-one, I joined her as she insisted to. Out of love and respect for my mother, I kept it a secret that I had become a communist. I joined her when she went to the synagogue, but everything there seemed so empty for me. The ceremonies and prayers, the sermon of the rabbi, nothing could impress me.
I married a Jewish man and I expected that we would be very happy. However, we often felt very unsatisfied and had no peace. We went to the synagogue but could not find, spiritually, what we searched for. Communism didn’t satisfy us at all. My husband became so restless that he never could stay long at home. We felt very low even though we had a beautiful house and my husband earned a good living. We often had arguments over trivial issues as a result of our spiritual need.
One day a believing friend visited me and I told her about our difficulties. To this she replied, “My dear friend, you need Yeshua. Do you have a Bible in your home?” I didn’t understand what she meant. We Jews only know a prayer book so she showed me her Bible and explained that it consisted of an Old and New Testament. It was the first time of my life that I saw a Bible and I desired so much to read this Book that she left it behind for me.
With avid desire I started reading the Bible, but I could not understand why she had told me that I needed Yeshua, for He belonged to the Gentiles. A few days later she returned with a few Jewish people who told me that they had received Yeshua as their Saviour and how happy they were now. At that moment, however, I could not see what they meant. A Jewish brother then took me to some meetings where they explained, from the Tenach, that Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel. He also brought me to the Hebrew-Messianic synagogue. It surprised me that there were so many Jews who testified that they belonged to Yeshua.
Dr. Michelson was the speaker that day and he explained so clearly that Yeshua is our promised Messiah that I was deeply moved and came to the conclusion, “Yeshua is the One to whom we Jews long for so much.” Without Dr. Michelson knowing me, he addressed me at the end of the sermon and said, “Dear sister, would you like to accept Yeshua as your Saviour?” With tears in my eyes I said, “Yes!” Then he prayed for me with a few others and as we kneeled down, I gave myself over to Yeshua. I confessed to Him my sins and I experienced that in His grace He forgave me. He cleansed me with His precious blood.
Also my husband
It was rather late when I arrived home and my husband was already asleep. I was so happy that I couldn’t keep the good news till the following day. So I woke him up and told him, “Do you know what happened? I came to know that Yeshua is really the Jewish Messiah!” He looked at me as if he had lost my mind and shouted angrily, “You know that we are Jews and I do not want to hear anything about Yeshua!” The next morning my husband reproached me that I disturbed his sleep and he didn’t want to have anything to do with it. I sought my refuge in prayer and asked the Lord to save my husband, who needed Yeshua so much in his restlessness and dissatisfaction. I was so happy when a few days later he too went to see Dr. Michelson to ask all his questions. Finally he surrendered to the G-d’s voice and accepted Yeshua as his Saviour.
My husband and I were baptised on Easter Day. It was the happiest day of our lives. It was so wonderful to testify of the change in our lives to the many Jews and non-Jews who were present. My husband and I felt the closeness of the Lord more than ever. We had searched everywhere and every time it had ended in disappointment! How different it had become when Yeshua came into my heart. No words can describe the unspeakable joy with which He filled my soul. Now I can rest in the eternal arms of my Redeemer. In the past I hated Yeshua, now I love Him and want to go with Him as His faithful disciple."
| 2019/9/11 13:38||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
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The conversion of David Baron, ‘Longing for reconciliation’ (1855 – 1926)...
"David was born into a religious family in Russia. He was aware of God from an early age, aware of his need for reconciliation with his maker. When he examined his heart he found, in his own words, nothing but “blackness of darkness”. His soul was on a search and despite keeping all the laws and ceremonies of the Rabbis and the Talmud, he was restless. He had an early sense of the futility of his good works and religious observances, because they were done out of religious duty rather than love of his Creator. The more religious he became, the more miserable he became. He prayed for something more, the “right spirit” and the “new heart” that King David himself yearned for. So he consulted others, who told him not to worry, he was a good Jew, what more could he do?
His knowledge of the Bible became a condemnation for him. He knew that “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20) and that “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Where could he find that forgiveness for his sins that he ached for? He yearned for the burden to lift, but without reconciliation with God he could find no relief in the religious system he was born into.
When he was young, he had a serious accident and nearly died. This terrified him and he begged his mother for reassurance. His mother responded, “You have been such a good boy, and should you die you will go to heaven.” This did not impress him and he rebuked her saying, “I have not been good, and if my getting to heaven depends on my own goodness I shall never get there.” His was a tortured childhood.
Yearning for peace
But God had a plan for him and brought him in contact with two Christians, a Jew and a Gentile. They spoke to him of a Saviour but, at the mention of his name, David was filled with hatred and prejudice. No wonder really, as his only knowledge of Jesus was one who urged his followers to serve idols and persecute the Jews. From the age of four his mother taught him to say, whenever he passed a Church, “thou shalt utterly detest it, thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing” (Deuteronomy 7:26). He was taught that Christianity is for Gentiles and so to meet a Jew who professed to believe in Jesus was startling and disconcerting. The man must have been bribed, was his conclusion.
Yet this apostate, this meshumed seemed happy and contented and had a peace and an assurance that David had yearned for his whole life. In one conversation, the Jewish believer confessed, “As for me, I tell you honestly, as in the sight of God, that I have never known what true happiness is until I found it in Christ.” David tried his best, using his knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures and Talmud to argue against the Messiahship of Jesus, but the one stumbling block was the evident happiness such a belief had brought to this man.
Worship the One God
Soon afterwards, David read the New Testament for the first time. The words exploded at him. Having been brought up to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a false prophet, here was this man teaching men to do nothing other than worship the One God, the only living and true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel. Of particular impact were the words of Jesus, “…thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew 4:10). The following section, the Sermon on the Mount, simply blew him away. As he continued to read he came to the realisation that “this man spoke as never man spake!” Yet this was the man that the Talmud spoke of as “the greatest sinner in Israel”.
David was nothing if not thorough. Without any help or counselling, he read and examined the New Testament over a period of twelve months, analysing it and comparing it with the Old Testament. Yet the effect of this was to burden his heart even more as he came to the realisation that salvation can only be obtained as a gift from God through faith in Jesus Christ and that his own righteousness, apart from this salvation, avails nothing in the sight of God.
His training and upbringing gradually unraveled as he considered his prayer life, his strict observance of the ceremonies prescribed by the Rabbis and the study of the Talmud. It all seemed so easy, to be saved just by faith in Christ? What about his years of training and learning? Did it count for nothing? Yet he still clung on. “Oh, my God!” he cried, “cast me not away from Thy presence in this manner. I am a Jew, a child of Abraham, Thy friend; from my youth I have tried to keep Thy holy law. Why dost Thou thus punish me, withholding from me that peace and rest of heart without which life is a burden to me? Hide not Thy face from me, lest I be as those who go down to the pit!” And still no peace came.
Hatred broken down
Gradually his ingrained hatred for the Name of Jesus broke down, as the Scriptures sunk in. Did Jesus not show anything but love to the Jews? Did He not weep over Jerusalem? Was He not moved with compassion for them? Did He not even pray for his murderers on the very cross on which they crucified Him?
One day, he just gave in. In his own words he explains, “By the help of God’s Spirit, I cast myself on my knees one evening and exclaimed, ‘Oh, my God, if Thou canst not save me on any other condition but faith in Jesus, be pleased to give me that faith and help me to love that most precious Name which I have so long hated and despised. Thou hast promised to save unto the uttermost all those who come unto Thee in His Name. Oh, save me!’
I remained on my knees some time and when I rose, I could indeed sing, ‘O, LORD, I will praise Thee: though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou comfortest me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my Strength and my Song; He also is become my Salvation’ (Isaiah 12:1-2).”
David Baron became a mighty man of God. Having worked with missions to Jews, he co-founded the Hebrew Christian Testimony to Israel in 1893, in Whitechapel, London. Amongst the books he wrote are “The Ancient Scriptures for the Modern Jew”, “The Visions and Prophecies of Zechariah”, and “Types Psalms and Prophecies."
Source: Jewishtestimonies.com : "Written by Steve Malz and reproduced by permission from Premier Christian Media."
| 2019/9/12 15:16||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
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"The Russian born Joseph Zalman fled to the west and waited in Amsterdam for a ship to America. He ended up in a meeting where the Name of Jesus was mentioned. He was outraged, but also fascinated. In time he discovered, in a miraculous way, that He also is his personal Saviour.
Joseph Zalman was born in 1860 in Turkey into a strict Chassidic family. Shortly after his birth his mother died, so he was raised by his grandmother. When he was twelve, his father remarried and they moved to Odessa in Russia. While they were there, ‘Christian’ Cossacks killed his younger brother in a pogrom and from then on he hated the Christians intensely. After some time they overcame this strike and they even prospered a little. His Father made name as a builder and architect and Joseph followed in his footsteps and co-operated with him as a building architect.
Joseph married in 1883, but the young couple had a hard time. There were building orders, but the anti-Semitism was rising more and more. In addition, the government charged extra high taxes on Jews so many Jewish traders were forced to leave. Joseph planned to immigrate with his wife to America, so with little money in their pocket they took leave of their parents and family.
The New Testament
They took the train for the long journey west. In their carriage sat a young man who was completely fascinated with reading a book. He acted very mysteriously until Joseph could no longer suppress his curiosity and said “Show it to me.” To his surprise it was a New Testament, forbidden reading for Jews. The man was travelling to London to be baptised and to become a preacher. When the man had to change trains, he gave the New Testament to Joseph, who started to read in it immediately. Some time later his wife noticed what kind of book it was, “What? Do you want to become an apostate now too?” she said angrily. She snatched it out of his hand and threw it out of the window.
They travelled further to the Netherlands and ended up in Amsterdam. One Sunday morning Joseph walked into town and heard music. He thought it came from a teashop, as there are many in Russia. He opened the door and noticed immediately his mistake. He saw someone in the pulpit that looked a bit like a Jew. However, it was not a synagogue because the women and men sat mixed up. There was no orchestra but an organ. It was also no church, because he didn’t see icons or images of saints.
When he wanted to leave, a man showed him a seat. Bewildered he looked around and listened to the foreign sounds of the preacher. Suddenly he heard the Name of Him. Outraged and filled with hate he spat on the ground as he now knew that he found himself in a Christian meeting. Nevertheless it fascinated him enormously and after the service he was brought to Reverend Adler, a missionary preacher from London. The evangelist spoke with him as a friend and won his sympathy. His compassion made Joseph tell him all his concerns.
Study of the Word
The boat to America left without them because Joseph became interested in the Word of God. Reverend Adler provided for their cost of living and later he found regular work for Joseph. This enabled them to continue the study of the Scriptures that finally led to a total surrender to their Messiah and a baptism of the couple on Ascension Day. The Jewish community flew into a rage. Zalman survived a barrage of questions from the Jewish council and didn’t give in to the temptation of a large sum of money. Subsequently he was attacked physically and battered. Finally, they convinced his wife that his religious conviction was wrong and, under pressure, she left him.
His own Saviour
Joseph then left on a ship to Java in the hope to find work there. The daily struggle to earn a living burdened him heavily, but when a cholera-epidemic broke out on board, fear grasped him. Was he prepared to face God? Never before was he so deeply aware of his sins and then came the most decisive moment in his life. The Spirit of God revealed to him that the Messiah is not only the Promised to the fathers, but also his own Saviour. In the lower part of the boat, between the coals, he was filled with joy and cried out, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”
Preacher of the Jewish Messiah
He returned to Holland and reverend Adler asked him to become his assistant in the growing mission work and on the 1st of December Joseph Zalman started work at the London Society. Day in day out he cycled through the cities and villages in the Netherlands and Belgium. In 1901, he opened the house Elim in Rotterdam where many immigrating Jews found shelter. They received food, clothes and medical care and Joseph opened factories to provide in work. Above all that, he gave them spiritual food and a place to study of the Scriptures. Joseph worked in the full conviction that God did not cast off his people, which he foreknew (Romans 11:2)."
| 2019/9/16 15:36||Profile|