Category Archives: Religion & spirituality

Prophetic Promises of #Abundance and #Prosperity!

HIS PRESENCE IS MORE SIGNIFICANT

“It is high and magnificent; the whole earth rejoices to see it!  Mount Zion, the holy mountain, is the city of the great King!”  (Psalm 48:2)
King David made Jerusalem the capital of Israel almost 3,000 years ago.  Ever since, the city has played a central role in Jewish life, even after the city was sacked and the Temple was destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans.
Jewish prayers underline this central role and the holiness of Jerusalem.  For instance, the Amidah, which is recited three times every weekday, is prayed facing Jerusalem.
These lines are part of the Amidah:

Continue reading HIS PRESENCE IS MORE SIGNIFICANT

RESURRECTION OF JESUS

Blessings to you on this day as we celebrate Yeshua’s (Jesus)

resurrection and victory over the power of sin and death on Passover!

The resurrection of Jesus is the Christian religious belief that, after being to death, Jesus rose again from the dead. it is the central tenet of Christian theology and past of the Nicene creed

Rev Samuel F Sarpong

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PASSOVER

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And . . . in my flesh shall I see God.”  (Job 19:25–26)
On Monday night, we celebrated the Passover Seder recounting how the Angel of Death passed over the homes of the Israelites and all those in Egypt who applied the blood of the Passover lamb to their lintels and doorposts.
Two thousand years ago, 12 men celebrating the Passover Seder in Jerusalem were told by their rabbi and master, Yeshua (Jesus), that this would be their last Seder together. 

Continue reading THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PASSOVER

The amazing grace

DELIVERANCE

Tonight and tomorrow, we celebrate one of the most joyous and fun-filled holidays on the Jewish calendarPurim (Feast of Lots).
This festive day commemorates God’s victory and deliverance of the Jewish People from their enemies in ancient Persia.

Continue reading DELIVERANCE

Jesus is the restoration of your family :)

JESUS

Does Yeshua (Jesus) pass the first test of Messiahship?

Rabbis have taught us through the millennia that Messiah would come as the Son of David.  God personally made that promise to David in the Scriptures, such as 1 Chronicles 17:11:

“And it shall come to pass, when your days be expired that you must go to be with your fathers, that I will raise up your seed after you, which shall be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom.”

Continue reading JESUS

MINITRY

As a Ministry, Bible For Israel believes that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah.  
We have such assurance because of prophecies like Micah 5:2 (5:1 in the Hebrew Bible), which seems to clearly identify Bethlehem as the birthplace of the Messiah.
For 2,000 years, Christians have pointed to and relied on this prophecy as one piece of evidence to prove Yeshua’s true spiritual identity.

Continue reading MINITRY

Are You Anointed

THE TEMPLE

“Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem (Yerushalayim).  It was winter, and Jesus [Yeshua] was in the Temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.”  (John 10:22–23)
Some years ago, a group of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount reported seeing ancient beams dated to the First and Second Temple period being used as firewood by the Arab community.

Continue reading THE TEMPLE

THE LORD SAID

This is the portion of Torah that will be read in synagogues around the world during the Shabbat (Saturday) service.  Please read it along with us.  We know you will be blessed!
Parasha Bo (Come!)
Exodus 10:1–13:16; Jeremiah 46:13–28; Revelation 9:1–21
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go [Bo / come] to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them.’”  (Exodus 10:1)

Moses and Aaron with Pharaoh, by Marc Chagall
In last week’s Parasha, we read of the first seven calamities (makot) that God inflicted upon Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery.
This week in Parasha Bo, God sends the most devastating and final three plagues:  locust, darkness and death of the firstborn.
After the final plague, Pharaoh finally acquiesces, triggering the Exodus of the Hebrews.
But what were the purposes of the Ten Plagues?  To pressure Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free?  Perhaps, but God is fully capable of setting His people free without a king’s permission.
We see in this Parasha and the last that God does not see the Egyptians simply as an enemy to be overcome; rather, He is committed to communicating something vital to them:
“I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt.  I am the LORD.”  (Exodus 12:12)

A 13-year-old Jewish boy gets a little help carrying the Torah scroll.  The
average weight of a Torah scroll is 20 to 25 pounds, not including the
protective case called a Torah tik.
The plagues demonstrate God’s supremacy over and judgment on all the false gods of Egypt.
When Moses first asked Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, he responded, ”Who is YHVH, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?”  (Exodus 5:2)
The God of Israel wants everyone to know who He is.  And He wanted to make sure that Pharaoh and all of Egypt knew Him, too.
He even told Pharaoh that He was sending the powerful plague of hail, “so that you [Pharaoh] may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.”  (Exodus 9:14)
Pharaoh Notes the Importance of the Jewish People, by James Tissot
In the end, Pharaoh did come to realize the power of the God of Israel.
But God was not only concerned about the beliefs of the Egyptians.  The Torah indicates that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to demonstrate His power to all the nations as well as the powerlessness of their false gods.
God does not want to be known only to this one nation of Israel, either.  He wants His name to be proclaimed in every nation on earth:
“For this purpose I have raised you [Pharaoh] up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”  (Exodus 9:16)
And God certainly did make Himself known to Pharaoh through the final three plagues.

An Orthodox Jewish man prays at the Western (Wailing)
Wall in Jerusalem.
The Eighth Plague: Locusts (Arbeh אַרְבֶּה)
“If you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory.  And they shall cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth; and they shall eat the residue of what is left, which remains to you from the hail, and they shall eat every tree which grows up for you out of the field.”  (Exodus 10:4–5)
Parasha Bo begins with the eighth plague upon Egypt—locusts.  They devoured all the crops and vegetation of Egypt that remained after the hail.
Even though locusts are driven by the wind, a plague of locusts is so devastating that it cuts off the light of the sun and wipes out the food supply of the affected area.
In the Book of Joel, this plague makes another appearance, ravaging the land.  The Prophet Joel links it to sin and the Last Days, exhorting Israel to repent and return to the Lord.
God promises Israel that He will make up for all the years that the swarming locusts have devoured:
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—My great army that I sent among you.  You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will My people be shamed.”  (Joel 2:25–26)

Swarm of locusts in Madagascar
Locusts are also mentioned in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) as one of the end-time plagues upon the earth.
With the sounding of the fifth shofar in the Last Days, locusts emerge from the bottomless pit.
They will not harm the vegetation, but they will have the power to sting like a scorpion and torment men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
“Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth.  And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.  They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”  (Revelation 9:3–4)

In the ninth plague, God revealed to the Egyptians that
their sun god Ra was nothing but stone and that the God
of Israel is the One True God.
The Ninth Plague: Darkness (Hosek חוֹשֶך)
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.’  So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.  No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days.”  (Exodus 10:21–23)
With the ninth plague of darkness, Adonai delivered a crushing blow to the worship of the Egyptian sun god, Ra, demonstrating the folly of believing in idols and mythical deities.
Although the Egyptians were plunged into total darkness, the Israelites enjoyed light in their dwellings in the land of Goshen.
While everyone outside the shelter of God’s covenant live in ever deepening darkness, especially as the end of the age approaches, the light of Believers in Yeshua shines ever more brightly.  (Proverbs 4:18)
Today, there are so many reports of evil, and many are fearful of what may come upon us.  Nevertheless, even when there is total, paralyzing darkness in the world, we can still have light in our dwellings, just as the Israelites had in Goshen.

Shabbat candles
It is time for us to stop cursing the darkness and, instead, start living in the light.
Instead of complaining, murmuring and fault finding over the darkness of “Egypt” (the world), we can be all that God has made us to be, shining as lights in the midst of a dark and perverse generation.  (Philippians 2:14–15)
And if we think that we do not know the Word enough to be a bright light, we must remember that even the smallest of lights shine brilliantly in the darkest of places.
The Bible says that the wicked stumble in the darkness and do not even know what makes them trip.  (Proverbs 4:19)
When people are in complete darkness, they cannot perceive anything outside of themselves.  In this state of darkness, it is easy to live in a completely self-centered, miserable world.  Often a symptom of this darkness is using people for self-benefit.
But God’s presence in our lives promotes a kind of love that is giving, not self-seeking.  (1 Corinthians 13:5)

Torah scroll and yad (Torah pointer)
We need Yeshua, the Light of the World to set us free from our own preoccupation with ourselves so that we may truly love our neighbor.
Sadly, far too many of us who have been set free from darkness to live in the light still willfully stumble in the darkness of unforgiveness, bitterness, and resentment.  We must determine to let these go and walk in God’s holy Light.
Just as paralyzing darkness fell on Egypt, many in the world will one day experience a great, devastating darkness, which is one of the end-time plagues mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
When the angel pours out the fifth bowl of God’s wrath, the kingdom of the beast will be plunged into total darkness.  This foreshadows the state of people who descend into Sheol (hell), where there is a complete absence of all light.  Revelation tells us that even this will not convince the servants of Satan to repent and turn to the Maker of All.
“Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain.  They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.”  (Revelation 16:10–11)

Ultra-Orthodox teens walk together at the Kotel (Western Wall) Plaza
in Jerusalem.
The Tenth Plague: The Striking of the Firstborn (Macat B’Chorot מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת)
“This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.  Every firstborn in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.  There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.”  (Exodus 11:4–6)
When Pharaoh still refused to repent and relent after the Plague of Darkness, God sent the tenth and most devastating plague—the Striking of the Firstborn of Egypt.
Egypt’s king refused to let God’s firstborn (Israel) go, so God took Pharaoh’s firstborn and those of his loyal subjects.  The word is clear—God will treat the nations (and individuals) as they have treated Israel!
God acts on behalf of His people and judgment will fall on the enemies of Israel.
While Pharaoh was perhaps unmoved, remaining stubborn and proud as the rest of the land suffered under God’s hand, when God struck down his firstborn son, the hardness of his heart was broken through.
How tragic that it took the death of Pharaoh’s own child to bring him to the place of humility and submission where he was willing to let God’s people go.

Women pray at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem.
May our hearts be soft toward the leading of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) so that God will never need to use ever increasingly painful disciplinary measures to break through our stubborn and willful pride and bring us into a holy place before Him.
Moses prepared the people of Israel for this final judgment on Egypt by instructing them to sacrifice a lamb and to put its blood on the tops and sides of their doors.
“And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.”  (Exodus 12:7)
The blood of the Passover lamb served as the sign that caused the judgment to “pass over” the Israelites, sparing them from suffering the wrath of God that fell upon the Egyptians.
“Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are.  And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”  (Exodus 12:13)

Lamb
At the conclusion of this Parasha, Moses leads the children of Israel out of Egypt, and the Lord gives them the ordinances of the Passover.
Thus the Lord did all He had promised; not one Word that the Lord had spoken was left unfulfilled.  Reminding ourselves of this helps us to also trust in God’s faithfulness, power and mercy now and in the days to come.
Today, the Jewish People still celebrate this miraculous Passover each year.
“So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations.  You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.”  (Exodus 12:14)
Individual Believers and entire churches are increasingly commemorating Passover as well, since it foreshadows Yeshua the Messiah, the Lamb of God who was sacrificed in order to spare us from the judgment of God.
A man reads from the Passover Haggadah (Telling / Order) as everyone
raises a glass of wine, a custom during the Passover Seder (traditional dinner). 
Redeeming the Firstborn
Because God spared the firstborn Jewish sons from the 10th plague, we find in this Torah portion the command to consecrate or set apart for Him every firstborn male.  (Exodus 13:1–2)
As well, because they were spared, the firstborn traditionally fasts on the day before Passover to commemorate this miracle.
However, the firstborn sons ended up worshiping the Golden Calf along with most of Israel, so they forfeited their right to serve God in the Temple.
God, instead, gave that right to the tribe who did not worship the Calf—the Levites.
Jewish parents, therefore, redeem their firstborn sons in a special ceremony called the Pidyon HaBen (Redemption of the Firstborn Son).  (Numbers 3:45–47)
In this ceremony the firstborn is fully absolved from the duty to perform Temple Service.

The Pidyon HaBen (redemption of the firstborn son) is a
traditional Jewish ritual that has been practiced since
ancient times.
This symbolic ritual of redeeming the firstborn son out of Temple Service continues today with the payment of five silver shekels (or about 4.4 ounces of pure silver) to a man of Cohen descent, according to the command given by Moses:
“Take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites in place of their livestock.  The Levites are to be mine.  I am the Lord.  To redeem the 273 firstborn Israelites who exceed the number of the Levites, collect five shekels for each one, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs.  Give the money for the redemption of the additional Israelites to Aaron and his sons.”  (Numbers 3:45–48)
The Israeli Mint has created special edition silver commemorative coins
for Pidyon HaBen (Redemption of the Firstborn) services.  The weight of
the five coins corresponds to the weight of the five silver sheqalim given
to the Cohen in Temple times for the Redemption of the Firstborn.
Another custom in Judaism arises from the Exodus story—the custom of wearing tefillin.
Tefillin (phylacteries) are a set of little black boxes containing Scriptures connected by straps.  The boxes are worn on the forehead and arm, and straps are wound around the arm and fingers.  This custom serves as a reminder to submit one’s head (thoughts), heart (feelings) and hands (actions) to the Lord.
This practice arises from the following command:
“This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the Lord is to be on your lips.  For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.”  (Exodus 13:9, see also verse 16)
A Jewish man at the Western (Wailing) Wall helps a young man, perhaps
his son, to wrap tefillin (phylacteries).
According to Scripture, in the last days, the anti-Messiah will attempt to force all people to put his mark, rather than the Word of God, on their hand or foreheads, thereby usurping the mark of the rightful place of God in our lives.  (Revelation 13:16–17)
Nevertheless, those who love God will resist evil and glorify His name till the end.
It is because of God’s enduring mercy that He brought each one of us out of the darkness that held us captive.  Baruch HaShem (Praise the Lord)!
Samuel, you can help Bibles For Israel shine the Light of Yeshua into the darkness and proclaim freedom to the captives!
“To Him who struck down the firstborn in Egypt
    His love endures forever
and brought Israel out from among them
    His love endures forever;
With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm
    His love endures forever.”  (Psalm 136:10–12)Rev Samuel F Sarpong

JESUS

Then Yeshua came from Galilee to the Yarden (Jordan) to be baptized by Yohannan.”  (Matthew 3:13)

Many Believers seeking to deepen their understanding of the Bible and follow in the footsteps of Yeshua (Jesus) visit Israel’s Jordan River, a river of rich historical and spiritual significance for both Jews and Christians.
Nehar haYarden (הירדן נהר, Jordan River) played a central role in the ministry of Yeshua (Jesus).
Luke 3:23 reveals that at about the age of 30, Yeshua began His public ministry here by being mikvahed (immersed) by Yohannan (John).
Upon Yeshua’s immersion, Yohannan witnessed a physical manifestation of the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) descend on Him:
“As soon as Yeshua was immersed, He went up out of the water.  At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him.  And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’”  (Matthew 3:16–17)

The Mikvah of Yeshua (Bapteme de Jesus),
by James Tissot
While the word “baptism” is the term commonly used today, mikvah is the Jewish term for what Yohannan was performing on the banks of the Jordan, or Yarden in Hebrew.  In fact, the practice of the mikvah was instituted by God through Moses in the Torah, so this was a necessary and regular part of the Biblical Jewish lifestyle.
“The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him [Yohannan].  Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.”  (Mark 1:5)
Yeshua, as God’s Son, had nothing to confess of His own.  Yet, He bore our sins in Himself and carried them all the way to His execution.  (Isaiah 53:4; 1 Peter 2:24)
For Believers in Yeshua who are miikvahed, the event represents much more than a symbolic cleansing of sins.
Being totally immersed under the water is a symbol of death to one’s old life, and rising up from the water symbolizes the birth of a brand new life in Yeshua:
“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”  (Romans 6:4)

A Christian pilgrim wearing a robe dips into the
banks of the Jordan River at Qasr el Yahud.

Samuel, Bless the Jewish People with New Life, click here

Ritual Purity in the Tanakh
Many Believers are surprised to learn that God instituted the practice of the mikvah in the Torah.  It is the specified means for restoring ritual purity, and it was regularly performed in natural bodies of water, such as springs or rivers.
The Torah mandated ritual cleansing through the mikvah for the following:
  • After tzaraat (certain skin conditions), commonly translated today as leprosy (Leviticus 14:69)
  • After the discharge of abnormal body fluids (Leviticus 15:13)
  • After seminal emissions following sex or related to nocturnal emissions (Leviticus 15:16)
  • Following the monthly menstrual cycle by a woman to regain her purity
  • After contact with a dead body (Numbers 19:19)


Second Temple era mikvah

  • After the ritual of the Red Heifer by the kohen (priest) who performs the ritual (Numbers 19:7–8)
  • By the kohanim (priests) during consecration (Exodus 29:4, 40:12)
  • After the scapegoat (Azazel) has been sent away on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) by the High Priest and by the one who leads the goat away (Leviticus 16:24, 16:26, 16:28)
Today the waters of the mikvah pools throughout the world still cleanse women after menstruation or childbirth and men after emission of bodily fluids.
It is also traditional for a bride and groom to use it before their wedding and for men to visit it on Erev or Eve of Yom Kippur and Erev Rosh HaShanah (New Year’s Eve).
The mikvah is also part of the conversion to Judaism process.

Taking the Bride to the Mikvah, by Shalom Koboshvili
Qasr el Yahud
The traditional location of the spot where Yeshua was mikvahed is Qasr el Yahud or Kasser Al Yahud, Arabic for the Castle of the Jews.
The local ruins of a 4th–5th century Byzantine monastery and church are evidence that this location has been a place of Christian pilgrimages for centuries.
The stability and safety of the British Mandate period from 1920–1948 allowed for the construction of many churches, chapels, and monasteries, which stretch about three kilometers (two miles) south of the site.
However, an earthquake in 1956 seriously damaged the buildings.  More importantly, Jordan, whose border runs along the east bank of the river, attacked Israel after it became a nation in 1948 and occupied the west bank of the Jordan—Israel’s ancient heartland of Judea and Samaria—where Qasr el Yahud is located.

Christian pilgrims visit Qasr el Yahud.
After Arab forces gathered against Israel again in 1967, Israel captured the territory back from Jordan.  Although Jordan has since renounced its claim to the land, the Palestinians now demand this land for an independent Palestinian state.
Security with our neighbor to the east, Jordan, continued to be problematic until Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994.  Over those tenuous years before the treaty, the monks gradually abandoned the churches and monasteries and, today, these ruins are inaccessible due to risk of landmines that Israel laid during that period.
Qasr el Yehud, however, has been recently rehabilitated and the immediate area has been cleared of mines.
After 44 years of essentially being closed, this historic site reopened to the public in 2011 and is now administered by the Israeli Civil Administration and the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
Located in the wilderness of the Jordan River Valley, east of Jericho and north of the Dead Sea, it isn’t easy to get here; but once you arrive, it offers parking, wheelchair access, showers, and prayer facilities, as well as decking and marble stairs leading into the Jordan.

The Ark Passes Over the Jordan, by James Tissot
The Rich History of the Jordan
The excitement and significance of this special place is amplified by other historical events that tradition says took place here at Qasr el Yahud.
After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, Joshua led the Israelites over the Jordan into the Promised Land, presumably in this spot.  This would be the place then that the waters parted as the priests carrying the Ark stepped into the Jordan, and the Israelites crossed on dry ground.  (Joshua 3)
This spot may also be where Elijah rolled up his cloak and struck the waters so that they parted.  He crossed with Elisha before ascending to heaven on a fiery chariot (2 Kings 2).  After this, Elisha took Elijah’s cloak and crossed the Jordan, once again striking it so that the waters parted.
Because this traditional site was closed for so long, a second site called Yardenit (Little Jordan) was opened in 1981 further north on the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee.  This location may have been used by Yeshua to mikvah His talmidim (disciples).
Many Believers come to Israel especially to be baptized in the Jordan, and Yardenit’s location gives visitors safe and easy access.
Each year, it is visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, and many of them either get baptized for the first time or they rededicate their lives to Adonai here.

Christian pilgrims are baptized at Yardenit (Little Jordan).
The Jordan: A Source of Life
“It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.  For there the LORD bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.”  (Psalm 133:3)
The Jordan (Yarden), which means descender, is Israel’s prime source of water for drinking and agriculture.
Most of its water originates approximately 200 meters (650 feet) above sea level in the rain and snow that fall on Mount Hermon in the far north.
From Mount Hermon, the river flows south into the Sea of Galilee (also called Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, and Lake Tiberias), but it doesn’t stop there.  At the southern tip of the Galilee, the Jordan exits and descends south to 420 meters (1,378 feet) below sea level where it empties into the Dead Sea.
Upstream of the Sea of Galilee, three main tributaries form the head of the Jordan River:
  • The Hermon or Banias, which begins as a spring at the foot of Mount Hermon;
  • The Dan, whose source is also at the base of Mount Hermon; and
  • The Snir or Hasbani, which also flows from Mount Lebanon.
Below the Sea of Galilee are other tributaries:
  • The Jalud in the Beth Shean valley;
  • The Yarmouk River;
  • The Zarqa River, the Biblical Jabbok; and
  • Jabesh (Wadi Yabis) named after Jabesh-Gilead, a town mentioned in the Torah.
As the river flows through the Jordan valley below the Galilee, it becomes progressively more saline, picking up about 850,000 tons of salt, as well as debris, so that by the time it empties into the Dead Sea, there is no life left in the water, at least not for drinking or agriculture.
Some environmentalists say that the river itself is in danger of dying in the Jordan Valley.

The Yarmouk River, which originates on the south-eastern slopes of
Mount Hermon and the Hauran Plateau, flows into the Jordan River.
It forms the southern limit of the Golan Heights in Israel’s north and
also defines a short portion of the border between Jordan and Israel.
The Jordan Valley
“In the future He will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan.  The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.”  (Isaiah 9:1–2)
The Tanakh (Old Testament) mentions this important river about 175 times.  The Brit Chadashah (New Testament) mentions it 15 times.
It first appears in Genesis 13:10 when Abraham told Lot to choose which land he would inhabit.
“Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.”
The entire valley between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea along the Jordan River seemed to Lot like the Garden of Eden, or at least a lush oasis.
So, Lot chose the fertile cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the southern Jordan Valley as his new homeland.

The Jordan Valley overlooking the Sea of Galilee
Today, the Jordan Valley still attracts people.  The northern part of the valley, which includes the Jordan River, is several degrees warmer than adjacent areas.  It has a year-round agricultural climate, fertile soils and water supply that make it a key agricultural area.
Yet we know from Scripture that a section of the lush, southern region that Lot chose was devastated when, due to sin, God “overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land.”  (Genesis 19:25)
A land that once thrived from the river’s pure, life-giving water, now cried out for it, and still does.  This perhaps is a visible reminder of what unrepentant sin does to our own life, spiritually and physically.
But God is a God of restoration, and He does not only renew spiritually, He also renews physically.
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, by John Martin
Healing Waters from the Temple
Although the Jordan is polluted, and its resources severely stretched and fought over by the nations in its vicinity, the prophet Ezekiel describes a new river of life that will begin at the Temple threshold, flowing into and restoring the Dead Sea, which is fed by the Jordan.
“When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh.  Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. … Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. …  Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. …  Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them.  Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”  (Ezekiel 47:8–12)
The Book of Revelation describes it as a new river of life “clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.”  (Revelation 22:1–2)

Accumulations of salt in the Dead Sea.

The Talmud (Jewish Oral tradition) teaches that these waters will heal not only the Dead Sea, but presumably the waters that flow into it from the Sea of Galilee, which would also include the connecting Jordan River.

“To where do they flow?  To the Sea of Tiberias [Sea of Galilee, Kinnereth] and then to the Sea of Sodom [Dead Sea], and then to the Great Sea [Mediterranean] to heal the salty waters and to sweeten them.”  (Jerusalem Talmud 3:9)

This restoration of the River Jordan and the bodies of water it feeds is exactly what Yeshua does with our own spirits.
Yeshua says to all of us, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink.  Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  (John 7:37)

Jacob Wrestles with the Angel, by Gustav Dore
The River of Miracles
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”  (Joshua 3:5)
In Genesis 32:11, Jacob crossed the Jordan and its eastern tributary, the Jabbok River (Zarqa River) situated east of Shechem, which is in present-day Samaria.
Here, Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord to receive a blessing, which he received along with a new name—Israel (Genesis 32:23–24).
Perhaps the most dramatic moment on the Jordan occurred when Joshua redeemed Israel from their desert existence by leading them across the Jordan to the Promised Land.  Miraculously, the river dammed up even though it was flood season, and the people crossed a dry riverbed (Joshua 3).
Although all of Israel entered the Promised Land, not everyone lived on the west side of the Jordan.  The river became the demarcation line between two groups of the tribes of Israel, with “nine tribes and the half tribe of Manasseh” settling on the west side.  The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh settled on the east side (Numbers 34:13–15; Joshua 13:7–8).

Naaman cleanses in the Jordan River to be healed of tzaraat, a Biblical
skin disease that is traditionally thought to be caused by gossip, murder,
perjury, forbidden sexual relationships, arrogance, theft, and envy.
In 2 Kings 5:14, Elisha sent Naaman the Aramean to bathe in the Jordan’s waters, and he was miraculously healed of leprosy.
In yet another miracle in 2 Kings 6:6, Elisha reclaimed a borrowed axe head that had sunk in the waters by causing it to float to the surface.
At the Jordan, Yohannan the Immerser announced the identity of Yeshua as “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
The Jordan is also mentioned in connection with the coming of the Messiah “by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.”  (Isaiah 9:1–2)

The Sea of Galilee, which is located in the Jordan Valley, is 19 kilometers
(12 miles) long and from 5–10 kilometers (3–6 miles) wide.
Yeshua is soon coming again and, in the meantime, He has given His followers a spiritual source of water that wells up within them.
“Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
This spring of spiritual renewal brings everlasting life and is available now by believing in the One the Hebrew prophets spoke of—Yeshua haMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).
If you wish to drink of His waters of life, or wish to rededicate your life to Him, why not follow in His footsteps and be mikvahed in Israel’s Jordan River.
Samuel, the fact that Israel has once again become an independent nation and the Jewish People are being drawn back to their ancient land is evidence that God’s Spirit is moving in the midst of His people.
You can be a part of this end-time move of God by helping us bring Yeshua to Israel and the World.
Time is short.  He is soon returning.
“For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future, but right now!  I am ready to save Jerusalem and show My glory to Israel.”  (Isaiah 46:13)
Rev Samuel F Sarpong
Jesus is the restoration of your family :)

JESUS

“Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.  He got up and was baptized.”  (Acts 9:18)

In the Jewish community around the world, a widespread misconception persists which says none of the Jewish sages and rabbis have believed that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Jewish Messiah.

This false notion is one of the reasons why many Jewish people today don’t believe in Him.  The objection that Yeshua cannot be the Jewish Messiah is reasoned this way:
“If such pious, respected, learned men do not believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, then who am I—a person less knowledgeable about the Torah and God than they—to believe in Him?”

Descendants of the Hasidic rabbinic dynasty within Orthodox Judaism
(Grand Rabbi Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer (right) with Grand Rabbi
Shmuel Shmelke Leifer of Chust (USA).
The truth, however, is that throughout history, hundreds of Orthodox Jewish rabbis, even leaders of entire communities, have realized that Yeshua is most definitely the Promised Messiah of Israel and the world.
For their faith in Yeshua, they were ostracized from their spiritual community and persecuted.  And although the rabbis in this article are deceased, a persecution of sorts persists in the form of anti-missionary websites whose sole goals is to discredit their testimonies and label them as apostate.
These were educated men, even authorities in Jewish Halacha (rabbinic laws and regulations), life and thought.
As we read their testimonies, we shall see that a Jewish believer in Yeshua as the Messiah is not ignorant of Judaism, meshugah (crazy), or dangerously deluded, as so many believe.

Jewish men praying at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem
Jerusalem: Rabbi Chil Slostowski
“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”  (Psalm 118:22–23; fulfilled in Matthew 21:33–44)
Rabbi Chil Slostowski—an authority in Kashrut (rabbinic dietary laws)—was an Orthodox rabbi who came to believe in Yeshua as the Messiah.
Ordained at the age of 17, he became a gadol (great man) in Poland, leading congregations and serving in the rabbinic seminary in Lodz.
Funeral procession of Rabbi Eliyahu Chaim Meisel, Chief Rabbi of Lodz,
July 5, 1912  (Photo: Wikicommons)
He despised Christianity and Jesus (Yeshua) because of all the terrible stories he had read about Him in the Talmud (oral law).  As a seminary professor, he passed on his hostility toward Christianity and Yeshua to his students.
God, however, brought a missionary into his life who was well acquainted with the Talmud, and Rabbi Slostowski enjoyed conversing with him.
As he recalls in his testimony published in the book Rabbis Meet Jesus the Messiah and on the Messianic Good News website,
“Here I must confess that the missionary’s words had penetrated only my mind and not my heart.  Sometimes the truth takes many years to proceed from the head into the heart, and so it was in my case.”
To avert this heart penetration, his parents brought the matter to the attention of pre-state Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Rav Avraham Isaac Kook, who invited Slostowski to Israel and appointed him Secretary to the Chief Rabbinate of Jerusalem.

Renowned Torah scholar, Abraham Isaac Kook
(1865–1935) was the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of
the British Mandate for Palestine (Israel) and the
founder of the Religious Zionist Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav.
After the death of Rabbi Kook, Slostowski accepted a call as a teacher of the Talmud at a rabbinic seminary in Tel Aviv.
One day, while on a trip to Jerusalem, a young man discreetly handed him a Brit Chadashah (New Testament) on the train.  As he began to read it, the Holy Spirit shined through the veil that hid the truth hidden from his heart, and he became convinced that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah.
After two months of silence, he openly confessed his faith.  For this public confession, he was pelted with rocks and needed to be hospitalized.  He continued, however, to proclaim that Yeshua is the Messiah despite the resulting persecution.
When they saw that he was not moved by physical attacks, they attempted to win him back through different means.

Tel Aviv (1934–1939). “The Colony” Square. (Photo: Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-matpc-18650)
A prominent Jewish man offered to adopt him as his son and make him heir to his fortune if only he would renounce his faith in Yeshua.
Rabbi Slostowski replied, “If you can give me peace for my soul, procure me the presence of God and pardon for my sins, I will return to rabbinic Judaism.”
The rich man answered: “That I cannot do for I do not possess myself what you are asking.”
The danger to his life became so great that eventually this Jewish follower of Yeshua had to flee Israel for Beirut, Syria.
There, Rabbi Slostowski continued to share the truth that Yeshua is the Messiah by showing the Jewish People prophecies such as Isaiah 53, which Yeshua has fulfilled.

Isaiah 53 in the Great Isaiah Scroll, the best preserved of the
Biblical scrolls found at Qumran. This manuscript was probably
written by a scribe of the Jewish sect of the Essenes around the
second century BC, which makes it over a 1000 years older than
the oldest Masoretic manuscripts.
United States: Rabbi Sam Stern
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  (Zechariah 9:9; fulfilled in Matthew 21:1–11)
Rabbi Sam Stern was born in Poland into a strict Orthodox Jewish rabbinic home just after the devastation of World War I.
He writes in his testimony published on the Menorah Ministries website (and elsewhere) that from an early age, he learned Hebrew and studied the ancient Jewish writings.
Although the Jewish people in Poland lived among Gentiles, they did not mix with them because the Jewish manner of dress, language, place of worship, and occupations differed so greatly from the Polish people.
The first encounter he had with non-Jews as a little boy of six years old turned out to be quite traumatic.
While walking outside the Jewish Ghetto, a Gentile boy threw stones at him, shouting, “Jew! Jew!”

Jewish children in the Lodz Ghetto in German-Occupied Poland are
rounded up for extermination in the Chelmno death camp.
When a frightened little Sam ran home and asked his mother why a boy he had never met before would hate him so much, she answered, “He is a Christian and Christians are Jew haters. Even if he does not know you, he
is your enemy.”
Sam’s parents instilled in him a longing for the day when the Messiah would come and the suffering of the Jewish people at the hands of the Christians would finally come to an end.
This hope for Messiah’s coming helped him endure the humiliation and persecution he suffered from Gentile neighbors.
Just after Stern received his ordination as an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, World War II broke out on September 1, 1939.  Suddenly the Jews of Poland were in grave danger.
Six years later, at the end of the war in 1945, six million Jews, including one million children, had been murdered by the Nazis.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: One of the most famous pictures of WW II, this
photo is from Jürgen Stroop Report to Heinrich Himmler from May 1943.
The original German caption reads: “Forcibly pulled out of dug-outs.”
Though Stern had survived the concentration camps, his family was annihilated. He found himself completely alone in the world, without a single relative or friend.
Eventually immigrating to the United States, he worked as a rabbi while questioning why God had allowed millions of Jews to perish in the Holocaust.
God always answers sincere questions of the heart about Him, and Stern soon received his answer.  Walking down the street, he was handed a tract in English.  He recalls,  “As I could not read English I decided to go into the store to find out what kind of sale they were having.”
He actually walked into a mission to the Jews.

Women surrounded by posters in English and Yiddish supporting Franklin
D. Roosevelt, teaching them how to vote, 1935.  (Photo: Wikicommons) 
Through an interpreter, Stern heard about how God, in His great love, had already sent the Messiah and was not responsible for the Holocaust.
But Rabbi Stern had a lifetime of memories from his parents telling him that Christians were the enemies of the Jews, and he cited for the missionary Christianity’s horrid anti-Semitic history.
The interpreter answered this valid challenge by saying, “The Lord teaches us to love our enemies, to show love to those who hate us.  All those who do not obey the teachings of the Lord Yeshua are not His followers.”
Those who planned and executed mass genocide on the Jewish People were not true followers of the Lord Yeshua, no matter how much they may claim to be.
Once, that false burden was shattered, Rabbi Stern could focus on the truth of Messiah’s identity.
In the Yiddish Brit Chadashah (New Testament) that was given to him, Stern especially investigated the prophecy of Isaiah 53 and wondered why he had never known that Isaiah had written these words. 
He showed Isaiah 53 to a rabbi friend in New York.  He recalls:

“He did not know either that Isaiah had written the chapter.  The only conclusion I could reach was that the main reason so many rabbis and other Jews don’t know the Messiah the Savior of the Old and New Testament, is that they don’t know the Bible.  I decided to do everything in my power to bring the Jewish Bible to them.”

Rabbi Daniel Zion: original image from a museum in
Sofia, Bulgaria
Israel: Rabbi Daniel Zion 
“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”  (Isaiah 53:5; fulfilled in 1 Peter 2:22–25; Romans 5:6–8; Philippians 2:6–11)
The son of a rabbi, Rabbi Daniel Zion directed a Yeshiva (rabbinic school) in Thessalonica, Greece.
When the growing Jewish community in Sofia, Bulgaria needed rabbis, he
moved there and was eventually elected the chief rabbi of Bulgaria.
When Bulgaria decided to expel the Jews to Poland during the Nazi occupation, Rabbi Zion told the Jewish community it was better to die in their home country.  He organized a protest march, and invited the entire community to the Central Synagogue of Sofia to pray for a reversal of this wicked decision.

Interior of Sofia Synagogue: officially opened in September 1909 in the
presence of
Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, this synagogue is the largest
synagogue in Southeastern Europe.
Multitudes of Jews attended the prayer meeting, but when they exited the synagogue, many were beaten and about 250 were arrested.
Despite that, they continued their march to the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian
Orthodox Church to seek intercession by the Bishop, Metropolite Stephen, a man respected in the Jewish community.
Bishop Stephen did indeed intercede with the king, who interceded with Hitler to keep the Jewish population from being sent to Auschwitz, though thousands were imprisoned in labor camps within Bulgaria, and they did not escape persecution there.
The Nazis targeted Rabbi Zion as one of the Chief Rabbis of Bulgaria and publicly flogged him in front of the Great Synagogue of Sofia.

Sofia Synagogue
Rabbi Zion is also remembered as being a Torah-observant Jewish Believer in Yeshua. He followed Yeshua as a true Jewish Believer by seeking to keep all of the rabbinic laws, which Yeshua Himself would have kept.
He became a judge in the Rabbinic Court of Jerusalem, but was stripped of his title when the Jewish leaders learned of his faith in Yeshua.  The four books he had written in Bulgarian about Yeshua were used as evidence.
He had this to say in defense of his faith:
“I am poor and feeble, persecuted and vulnerable, Yeshua conquered me, and with the New Man He honored me.  He delivered me from the poverty-stricken self with His great love; He cherishes me.
“Every day the canny satan aspires to grab my faith, I hold on to my
Encourager, and chase the satan away.  I stand here alone in my faith; the whole world is against me.  I give up all the earthly honor for the sake of the Messiah my mate.”
Despite being disbarred for his faith, the Bulgarian Jews continued to honor Rabbi Zion as their rabbi.
After his death in 1979 at the ripe old age of 96, the Bulgarian Jewish community in Israel gave him a burial with full military and state honors.
His casket stood in the center of Jaffa with full military guard.  At noon, men carried it on foot to the cemetery in Holon.

Holocaust Memorials at Holon Cemetery
Rome: Rabbi Israel Zolli
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. …”  (Isaiah 61:1–3; fulfilled in Luke 4:1620; John chapters 9, 11; Matthew 9:18 and many other physical and spiritual healings)
Foreseeing that the Nazis would eventually enter Rome, Rabbi Israel Zolli, chief rabbi of Rome, warned the Italian Jews to destroy their records and go underground.
His warnings went unheeded; the Jews in Italy felt safe from the dangers of Fascism and Nazism since Mussolini had rejected biological racism.
However, when Mussolini’s regime collapsed in 1943, the Nazis entered Rome.
Colonel Kappler, a Nazi senior German officer, decided to line his pockets with the wealth of the Jewish People and presented a list of 300 names that included Rabbi Israel Zolli.

Israel Zolli
Kappler gave the community the option of either delivering the 300 Jews to him or 50 kilograms of gold, about $56,000 at the time.
Since the community could only muster 35 kg of gold, Rabbi Zolli was appointed to approach the Vatican for the rest.  (Haaretz)
Because the Vatican was being closely watched by the Gestapo, Zolli disguised himself and entered through a remote door.
Zolli asked Pope Pius XII to help meet the shortfall through an intermediary, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Maglione.
Zolli is reported to have appealed to Maglione by saying, “The New
Testament cannot abandon the Old.”
Pope Pius XII did meet the shortfall that day, and later he also protected many Jews by making churches, monasteries, convents, and the Vatican places of sanctuary and refuge for the Jewish people.
A model of St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatican City.  (Photo: Wikicommons)
Following the war in 1945, Rabbi Zolli publicly confessed his faith in Yeshua.
When an interviewer asked him if he believed that the Messiah had come he answered:
“Yes, positively. I have believed it for many years.  And now I am so firmly convinced of the truth of it that I can face the whole world and defend my faith with the certainty and solidity of the mountains.”
His faith in Yeshua came after at least 13 years of studiously seeking the answer to that question.
Although called a heretic and excommunicated by the Jewish community and its leaders—who went as far as proclaiming a fast for several days to grieve his “treason” and mourn him as one who is dead—he remained committed to Yeshua.  (TheWorldLovesItsOwn)

Rabbi Ignatz Lichtenstein
Hungary:  Rabbi Ignatz Lichtenstein
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for Me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”  (Micah 5:2; fulfilled in Luke 2:1–7;Matthew 2:1–6)
Rabbi Ignatz (Isaac) Lichtenstein was a believing Chassid (righteous man) who served as the chief Rabbi of the Northern District of Hungary from 1857 until 1892.
Later in life, when he came to the knowledge of the truth that Yeshua is the
Messiah, he wrote in Two Letters: What I Really Wish:
“I had thought the New Testament to be impure, a source of pride, of
overweening selfishness, of hatred, of the worst kind of violence, but as I opened it, I felt myself peculiarly and wonderfully taken possession of. A sudden glory, a light, flashed through my soul.
“I looked for thorns and gathered roses; I discovered pearls instead of pebbles; instead of hatred, love; instead of vengeance, forgiveness; instead of bondage, freedom; instead of pride, humility; instead of enmity, conciliation; instead of death, life, salvation, resurrection, heavenly treasure.”
While officiating as the rabbi, he wrote several booklets that prove faith in Yeshua is compatible with Judaism.  As a result, he and even the relatives of his wife suffered in the marketplace of trade, restricting their income.
In 1892, after preaching the Brit Chadashah within his own synagogue for some time, and enduring severe reprisals for it, he resigned his position.
He remained a Torah-observant Jewish follower of Yeshua his entire life, but the “shadow police” followed him whereever he went.  Even his landlord reported to them.
He never underwent a Christian baptism or joined a Church, since he believed that he had found true Judaism in the Good News of the entire Bible saying,
“I remain among my own brethren, as a watchman from within and to plead with them to behold in [Yeshua] Jesus the true glory of Israel.”  (MessianicAssociation)


Plaque of Maimonides at Rambam Medical Center, Haifa: one of
Maimonides’ 13 principles of the Jewish faith is a firm belief in the coming
of Messiah.

Rabbis Who Believed in Yeshua
Yeshua asked, “Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah.'”  (Mark 8:29)
The accounts you have just read about Orthodox Jewish Rabbis who have come to faith in Yeshua HaMashiach (the Messiah) are but a few of many.
Of course, hope in the coming of the Messiah is nothing new in Judaism. The Messiah has been spoken about by all our Hebrew prophets and anticipated daily by religious Jews.
In fact, one of the 13 principles of Jewish faith formulated by the great Jewish sage Maimonides, which is considered a summary of the required beliefs of Judaism, is the firm belief in the coming of the Messiah.
Although most Jewish people still do not believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is this Messiah (Mashiach in Hebrew), many learned and respected Rabbis and sages have come to realize this truth.
Those who accept Yeshua often do so after investigating the Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Today, you can play a part in sharing these prophecies with the Jewish People.
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”  (Luke 24:27)

“Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.  He got up and was baptized.”  (Acts 9:18)

In the Jewish community around the world, a widespread misconception persists which says none of the Jewish sages and rabbis have believed that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Jewish Messiah.

This false notion is one of the reasons why many Jewish people today don’t believe in Him.  The objection that Yeshua cannot be the Jewish Messiah is reasoned this way:
“If such pious, respected, learned men do not believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, then who am I—a person less knowledgeable about the Torah and God than they—to believe in Him?”

Descendants of the Hasidic rabbinic dynasty within Orthodox Judaism
(Grand Rabbi Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer (right) with Grand Rabbi
Shmuel Shmelke Leifer of Chust (USA).
The truth, however, is that throughout history, hundreds of Orthodox Jewish rabbis, even leaders of entire communities, have realized that Yeshua is most definitely the Promised Messiah of Israel and the world.
For their faith in Yeshua, they were ostracized from their spiritual community and persecuted.  And although the rabbis in this article are deceased, a persecution of sorts persists in the form of anti-missionary websites whose sole goals is to discredit their testimonies and label them as apostate.
These were educated men, even authorities in Jewish Halacha (rabbinic laws and regulations), life and thought.
As we read their testimonies, we shall see that a Jewish believer in Yeshua as the Messiah is not ignorant of Judaism, meshugah (crazy), or dangerously deluded, as so many believe.

Jewish men praying at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem
Jerusalem: Rabbi Chil Slostowski
“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”  (Psalm 118:22–23; fulfilled in Matthew 21:33–44)
Rabbi Chil Slostowski—an authority in Kashrut (rabbinic dietary laws)—was an Orthodox rabbi who came to believe in Yeshua as the Messiah.
Ordained at the age of 17, he became a gadol (great man) in Poland, leading congregations and serving in the rabbinic seminary in Lodz.
Funeral procession of Rabbi Eliyahu Chaim Meisel, Chief Rabbi of Lodz,
July 5, 1912  (Photo: Wikicommons)
He despised Christianity and Jesus (Yeshua) because of all the terrible stories he had read about Him in the Talmud (oral law).  As a seminary professor, he passed on his hostility toward Christianity and Yeshua to his students.
God, however, brought a missionary into his life who was well acquainted with the Talmud, and Rabbi Slostowski enjoyed conversing with him.
As he recalls in his testimony published in the book Rabbis Meet Jesus the Messiah and on the Messianic Good News website,
“Here I must confess that the missionary’s words had penetrated only my mind and not my heart.  Sometimes the truth takes many years to proceed from the head into the heart, and so it was in my case.”
To avert this heart penetration, his parents brought the matter to the attention of pre-state Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Rav Avraham Isaac Kook, who invited Slostowski to Israel and appointed him Secretary to the Chief Rabbinate of Jerusalem.

Renowned Torah scholar, Abraham Isaac Kook
(1865–1935) was the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of
the British Mandate for Palestine (Israel) and the
founder of the Religious Zionist Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav.
After the death of Rabbi Kook, Slostowski accepted a call as a teacher of the Talmud at a rabbinic seminary in Tel Aviv.
One day, while on a trip to Jerusalem, a young man discreetly handed him a Brit Chadashah (New Testament) on the train.  As he began to read it, the Holy Spirit shined through the veil that hid the truth hidden from his heart, and he became convinced that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah.
After two months of silence, he openly confessed his faith.  For this public confession, he was pelted with rocks and needed to be hospitalized.  He continued, however, to proclaim that Yeshua is the Messiah despite the resulting persecution.
When they saw that he was not moved by physical attacks, they attempted to win him back through different means.

Tel Aviv (1934–1939). “The Colony” Square. (Photo: Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-matpc-18650)
A prominent Jewish man offered to adopt him as his son and make him heir to his fortune if only he would renounce his faith in Yeshua.
Rabbi Slostowski replied, “If you can give me peace for my soul, procure me the presence of God and pardon for my sins, I will return to rabbinic Judaism.”
The rich man answered: “That I cannot do for I do not possess myself what you are asking.”
The danger to his life became so great that eventually this Jewish follower of Yeshua had to flee Israel for Beirut, Syria.
There, Rabbi Slostowski continued to share the truth that Yeshua is the Messiah by showing the Jewish People prophecies such as Isaiah 53, which Yeshua has fulfilled.

Isaiah 53 in the Great Isaiah Scroll, the best preserved of the
Biblical scrolls found at Qumran. This manuscript was probably
written by a scribe of the Jewish sect of the Essenes around the
second century BC, which makes it over a 1000 years older than
the oldest Masoretic manuscripts.
United States: Rabbi Sam Stern
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  (Zechariah 9:9; fulfilled in Matthew 21:1–11)
Rabbi Sam Stern was born in Poland into a strict Orthodox Jewish rabbinic home just after the devastation of World War I.
He writes in his testimony published on the Menorah Ministries website (and elsewhere) that from an early age, he learned Hebrew and studied the ancient Jewish writings.
Although the Jewish people in Poland lived among Gentiles, they did not mix with them because the Jewish manner of dress, language, place of worship, and occupations differed so greatly from the Polish people.
The first encounter he had with non-Jews as a little boy of six years old turned out to be quite traumatic.
While walking outside the Jewish Ghetto, a Gentile boy threw stones at him, shouting, “Jew! Jew!”

Jewish children in the Lodz Ghetto in German-Occupied Poland are
rounded up for extermination in the Chelmno death camp.
When a frightened little Sam ran home and asked his mother why a boy he had never met before would hate him so much, she answered, “He is a Christian and Christians are Jew haters. Even if he does not know you, he
is your enemy.”
Sam’s parents instilled in him a longing for the day when the Messiah would come and the suffering of the Jewish people at the hands of the Christians would finally come to an end.
This hope for Messiah’s coming helped him endure the humiliation and persecution he suffered from Gentile neighbors.
Just after Stern received his ordination as an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, World War II broke out on September 1, 1939.  Suddenly the Jews of Poland were in grave danger.
Six years later, at the end of the war in 1945, six million Jews, including one million children, had been murdered by the Nazis.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: One of the most famous pictures of WW II, this
photo is from Jürgen Stroop Report to Heinrich Himmler from May 1943.
The original German caption reads: “Forcibly pulled out of dug-outs.”
Though Stern had survived the concentration camps, his family was annihilated. He found himself completely alone in the world, without a single relative or friend.
Eventually immigrating to the United States, he worked as a rabbi while questioning why God had allowed millions of Jews to perish in the Holocaust.
God always answers sincere questions of the heart about Him, and Stern soon received his answer.  Walking down the street, he was handed a tract in English.  He recalls,  “As I could not read English I decided to go into the store to find out what kind of sale they were having.”
He actually walked into a mission to the Jews.

Women surrounded by posters in English and Yiddish supporting Franklin
D. Roosevelt, teaching them how to vote, 1935.  (Photo: Wikicommons) 
Through an interpreter, Stern heard about how God, in His great love, had already sent the Messiah and was not responsible for the Holocaust.
But Rabbi Stern had a lifetime of memories from his parents telling him that Christians were the enemies of the Jews, and he cited for the missionary Christianity’s horrid anti-Semitic history.
The interpreter answered this valid challenge by saying, “The Lord teaches us to love our enemies, to show love to those who hate us.  All those who do not obey the teachings of the Lord Yeshua are not His followers.”
Those who planned and executed mass genocide on the Jewish People were not true followers of the Lord Yeshua, no matter how much they may claim to be.
Once, that false burden was shattered, Rabbi Stern could focus on the truth of Messiah’s identity.
In the Yiddish Brit Chadashah (New Testament) that was given to him, Stern especially investigated the prophecy of Isaiah 53 and wondered why he had never known that Isaiah had written these words. 
He showed Isaiah 53 to a rabbi friend in New York.  He recalls:

“He did not know either that Isaiah had written the chapter.  The only conclusion I could reach was that the main reason so many rabbis and other Jews don’t know the Messiah the Savior of the Old and New Testament, is that they don’t know the Bible.  I decided to do everything in my power to bring the Jewish Bible to them.”

Rabbi Daniel Zion: original image from a museum in
Sofia, Bulgaria
Israel: Rabbi Daniel Zion 
“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”  (Isaiah 53:5; fulfilled in 1 Peter 2:22–25; Romans 5:6–8; Philippians 2:6–11)
The son of a rabbi, Rabbi Daniel Zion directed a Yeshiva (rabbinic school) in Thessalonica, Greece.
When the growing Jewish community in Sofia, Bulgaria needed rabbis, he
moved there and was eventually elected the chief rabbi of Bulgaria.
When Bulgaria decided to expel the Jews to Poland during the Nazi occupation, Rabbi Zion told the Jewish community it was better to die in their home country.  He organized a protest march, and invited the entire community to the Central Synagogue of Sofia to pray for a reversal of this wicked decision.

Interior of Sofia Synagogue: officially opened in September 1909 in the
presence of
Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, this synagogue is the largest
synagogue in Southeastern Europe.
Multitudes of Jews attended the prayer meeting, but when they exited the synagogue, many were beaten and about 250 were arrested.
Despite that, they continued their march to the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian
Orthodox Church to seek intercession by the Bishop, Metropolite Stephen, a man respected in the Jewish community.
Bishop Stephen did indeed intercede with the king, who interceded with Hitler to keep the Jewish population from being sent to Auschwitz, though thousands were imprisoned in labor camps within Bulgaria, and they did not escape persecution there.
The Nazis targeted Rabbi Zion as one of the Chief Rabbis of Bulgaria and publicly flogged him in front of the Great Synagogue of Sofia.

Sofia Synagogue
Rabbi Zion is also remembered as being a Torah-observant Jewish Believer in Yeshua. He followed Yeshua as a true Jewish Believer by seeking to keep all of the rabbinic laws, which Yeshua Himself would have kept.
He became a judge in the Rabbinic Court of Jerusalem, but was stripped of his title when the Jewish leaders learned of his faith in Yeshua.  The four books he had written in Bulgarian about Yeshua were used as evidence.
He had this to say in defense of his faith:
“I am poor and feeble, persecuted and vulnerable, Yeshua conquered me, and with the New Man He honored me.  He delivered me from the poverty-stricken self with His great love; He cherishes me.
“Every day the canny satan aspires to grab my faith, I hold on to my
Encourager, and chase the satan away.  I stand here alone in my faith; the whole world is against me.  I give up all the earthly honor for the sake of the Messiah my mate.”
Despite being disbarred for his faith, the Bulgarian Jews continued to honor Rabbi Zion as their rabbi.
After his death in 1979 at the ripe old age of 96, the Bulgarian Jewish community in Israel gave him a burial with full military and state honors.
His casket stood in the center of Jaffa with full military guard.  At noon, men carried it on foot to the cemetery in Holon.

Holocaust Memorials at Holon Cemetery
Rome: Rabbi Israel Zolli
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. …”  (Isaiah 61:1–3; fulfilled in Luke 4:1620; John chapters 9, 11; Matthew 9:18 and many other physical and spiritual healings)
Foreseeing that the Nazis would eventually enter Rome, Rabbi Israel Zolli, chief rabbi of Rome, warned the Italian Jews to destroy their records and go underground.
His warnings went unheeded; the Jews in Italy felt safe from the dangers of Fascism and Nazism since Mussolini had rejected biological racism.
However, when Mussolini’s regime collapsed in 1943, the Nazis entered Rome.
Colonel Kappler, a Nazi senior German officer, decided to line his pockets with the wealth of the Jewish People and presented a list of 300 names that included Rabbi Israel Zolli.

Israel Zolli
Kappler gave the community the option of either delivering the 300 Jews to him or 50 kilograms of gold, about $56,000 at the time.
Since the community could only muster 35 kg of gold, Rabbi Zolli was appointed to approach the Vatican for the rest.  (Haaretz)
Because the Vatican was being closely watched by the Gestapo, Zolli disguised himself and entered through a remote door.
Zolli asked Pope Pius XII to help meet the shortfall through an intermediary, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Maglione.
Zolli is reported to have appealed to Maglione by saying, “The New
Testament cannot abandon the Old.”
Pope Pius XII did meet the shortfall that day, and later he also protected many Jews by making churches, monasteries, convents, and the Vatican places of sanctuary and refuge for the Jewish people.
A model of St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatican City.  (Photo: Wikicommons)
Following the war in 1945, Rabbi Zolli publicly confessed his faith in Yeshua.
When an interviewer asked him if he believed that the Messiah had come he answered:
“Yes, positively. I have believed it for many years.  And now I am so firmly convinced of the truth of it that I can face the whole world and defend my faith with the certainty and solidity of the mountains.”
His faith in Yeshua came after at least 13 years of studiously seeking the answer to that question.
Although called a heretic and excommunicated by the Jewish community and its leaders—who went as far as proclaiming a fast for several days to grieve his “treason” and mourn him as one who is dead—he remained committed to Yeshua.  (TheWorldLovesItsOwn)

Rabbi Ignatz Lichtenstein
Hungary:  Rabbi Ignatz Lichtenstein
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for Me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”  (Micah 5:2; fulfilled in Luke 2:1–7;Matthew 2:1–6)
Rabbi Ignatz (Isaac) Lichtenstein was a believing Chassid (righteous man) who served as the chief Rabbi of the Northern District of Hungary from 1857 until 1892.
Later in life, when he came to the knowledge of the truth that Yeshua is the
Messiah, he wrote in Two Letters: What I Really Wish:
“I had thought the New Testament to be impure, a source of pride, of
overweening selfishness, of hatred, of the worst kind of violence, but as I opened it, I felt myself peculiarly and wonderfully taken possession of. A sudden glory, a light, flashed through my soul.
“I looked for thorns and gathered roses; I discovered pearls instead of pebbles; instead of hatred, love; instead of vengeance, forgiveness; instead of bondage, freedom; instead of pride, humility; instead of enmity, conciliation; instead of death, life, salvation, resurrection, heavenly treasure.”
While officiating as the rabbi, he wrote several booklets that prove faith in Yeshua is compatible with Judaism.  As a result, he and even the relatives of his wife suffered in the marketplace of trade, restricting their income.
In 1892, after preaching the Brit Chadashah within his own synagogue for some time, and enduring severe reprisals for it, he resigned his position.
He remained a Torah-observant Jewish follower of Yeshua his entire life, but the “shadow police” followed him whereever he went.  Even his landlord reported to them.
He never underwent a Christian baptism or joined a Church, since he believed that he had found true Judaism in the Good News of the entire Bible saying,
“I remain among my own brethren, as a watchman from within and to plead with them to behold in [Yeshua] Jesus the true glory of Israel.”  (MessianicAssociation)


Plaque of Maimonides at Rambam Medical Center, Haifa: one of
Maimonides’ 13 principles of the Jewish faith is a firm belief in the coming
of Messiah.

Rabbis Who Believed in Yeshua
Yeshua asked, “Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah.'”  (Mark 8:29)
The accounts you have just read about Orthodox Jewish Rabbis who have come to faith in Yeshua HaMashiach (the Messiah) are but a few of many.
Of course, hope in the coming of the Messiah is nothing new in Judaism. The Messiah has been spoken about by all our Hebrew prophets and anticipated daily by religious Jews.
In fact, one of the 13 principles of Jewish faith formulated by the great Jewish sage Maimonides, which is considered a summary of the required beliefs of Judaism, is the firm belief in the coming of the Messiah.
Although most Jewish people still do not believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is this Messiah (Mashiach in Hebrew), many learned and respected Rabbis and sages have come to realize this truth.
Those who accept Yeshua often do so after investigating the Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Today, you can play a part in sharing these prophecies with the Jewish People.
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”  (Luke 24:27)
Rev Samuel F Sarpong