Afew years ago, I learned that a well-known rabbi was going to speak in one of Jerusalem’s big synagogues on the topic of life after death. Naturally, I was curious about his thoughts on the subject, so I decided to attend the meeting.
During the question-and-answer session, the rabbi and I got into a heated discussion because I told him, in front of several hundred people, that a person can have eternal life only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, he said to me, “I never want to see you at one of my meetings again!”
But I do not give up easily, and I replied, “When you come to speak here again, you will see my shadow.”
Recently, this rabbi returned to speak in the area, and I kept my word. What’s more, I sat on the front bench. He spoke for more than an hour before he realized I was there; but when he spotted me, he became tongue-tied and confused.
The people in the audience were surprised at the change in his demeanor. He then ended his speech abruptly, without bringing his remarks to a proper conclusion.
Many people requested a question-and-answer session. But the rabbi said, “I am in a hurry. I will answer only one or two brief questions.”
I was the first person to stand up. I asked him, “How can you be so sure you will have life after death when you have ignored God’s commands?” The people were surprised to hear such a question asked of a rabbi, and they were interested to hear how he would reply.
The rabbi looked intently at me and asked, “Do you remember what I told you a few years ago?”
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Some of the people in the audience asked, “What is going on here?” Then the rabbi began to accuse me of idolatry.
I held up my Bible for everyone to see and said, “Here is the Holy Bible, and I worship the Lord according to it. Is this, as the rabbi says, idolatry?” I then asked the rabbi to show the audience the book he was using.Naturally, it was a commentary, not the Bible. I then asked the people, “Which book is more kosher? And who is practicing idolatry?”
I thank the Lord I was not afraid, even though I was standing in the lions’ den. As it is written, “When they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Lk.12:11–12). These words help me to face whatever comes my way.
“How can you be so sure you will have life after death when you have ignored God’s commands?”Slowly, I began to explain my position, and I could sense that the people were interested to hear more. I told them, “I believe, according to the Law, that we are the Chosen People of God. It is our duty to go to people and preach the gospel about the Lord. We are not to teach from commentaries but, rather, what is written in God’s Holy Word.
You can see I have no other books with me. This great rabbi has come with fictitious stories. I encourage you all to go home and read the Bible. Read all the commands of God. Then you will know how to worship Him and how to obtain true eternal life.”
Then someone asked, “Who is your God?”
I replied, “He is not my God. He is our God. He is one God for all the world, and He is the Savior, Yeshua Hamashiach [Hebrew for “Jesus the Messiah”]. You can read about Him in the Bible.”
A few people asked to examine my Bible to see if it was the complete Hebrew Scriptures. I let them look at it as long as they wished. Then I asked, “What do you think? Have I come to you with fictitious stories or with facts about the Lord our God?”
By then the rabbi had had enough, and he left. I, however, stayed and had some good conversations about the Lord. I pray what they heard that night—not from the rabbi but from the Holy Word of God—will penetrate their minds and hearts and lead them to a true knowledge of the living Savior.
—The Friends of Israel Archives, 1996
Zvi Kalisher (1928–2014) was known for his unswerving faithfulness to the Lord and his bold witness in Jerusalem. He was with The Friends of Israel for more than 55 years.