Newsletter June, 2002

JUNE, 2002

Rabbi's Testimony

I was born in the New York City, and grew up there among the Hispanics and the blacks and many other ethnic groups. Therefore, I never had any prejudice of race, color nor cultural background. It is the heart that counts. The Judaism I grew up with has changed, now with many different types of Jews. Some are more secular, but some still very conservative. The conservatives wear black hats and funny-looking twisted sideburns. God wanted His people to be a peculiar people, set apart from the world. Unfortunately, we cannot find such differences today. We did not overcome the world, but the world seems to have overcome us.

I received strict Jewish education while young for the sake of the law. I knew that I was a sinner, but I did not know Jesus. Since birth my parents had taught us to study only the Law of Moses, so we never read the New Testament. At that time, there were many so-called Christians around us, but they hated us. When we walked to school, they would stone us, calling us the Christ-murderers. When I saw a church building on the street, I would walk around it lest they should drag me in to beat me up. Those Christian neighbors never shared the gospel with us.

At age of thirteen I received my bar mitzvah, formally becoming a son of the Law. From that time on, I would have to be responsible for my actions toward the Law, and could no longer blame on the parents. I was accepted as a man in the community, and was told how to be a man, a husband and a father, as a man of virtue. Sadly to say, such teachings do not exist anymore today. My father was a military man, strong and disciplined. When I was thirteen, may father passed away. I never had a direct relationship with God. I was fearful of Him, because I knew God was holy. But I did not know Him as the heavenly Father. The death of my father made me angry with God, and decided to leave Him. If the God I followed would take away my father, I did not need Him. I began to search for other gods, from Buddhism, Yijin, Hindu religion and Jewish mysticisms, etc. Thank God, for He promised that he who asks shall receive, who finds shall find and knocks it shall be open unto him. As I sought for Him, the true God eventually appeared unto me.

In 1986, I began to read the New Testament. In the beginning I was very much afraid, because if it is true, I would have to give up everything I learned in Judaism. I read the New Testament three to four hours a day, while continuing my Old Testament study. I kept on in this manner for three years. There are three hundred and thirty-six prophecies concerning the Messiah. As an intellectual, I eventually concluded that they all pointed to Jesus as the Messiah. I knew it in my mind, but could not humbly trust it in my heart. I prayed to God, "O God, if you want me to believe that Jesus is Messiah, I must be first assured of that. If I can be sure, I will preach Him anywhere You want me to."

In 1989 my wife and I went to Israel for our honeymoon. I did not want to go there, since I thought that a honeymoon trip should be spent under palm trees on the beach somewhere, not among Israeli soldiers who carried rifles around you. But, many people encouraged me to go to Israel for the answer I had been seeking. I also wanted to see the Biblical places, such as the wailing wall, Gethsemane…. But Jerusalem drove me crazy, a city divided up among the Jews, the Christians and the Moslems. How could it be possible that all roads led to God? Which is the true way? I was puzzled.

I prayed that God would lead me to the Mount of Transfiguration, where Jesus was transfigured before the disciples. His face shone as the sun and His garment was as white as the light. Moses and Elijah also appeared with Him, representing the Law and the prophets, all pointing to the Messiah. But we could not find the Mount of Transfiguration, even when we asked around and no one knew. Just in my sadness a soldier asked for a ride to Mt. Tabor. So my wife and I decided to take him there.

Once there, it seemed that the mountain was calling out my name "Greg", asking me to climb up to the top. The road was narrow and dangerous. My wife was scared from time to time with loud cries. My heart was pounding, as if I had an appointment with somebody. Arriving at the top, I saw a sign saying, "The church commemorating the transfiguration of Jesus." So, that was the Mount of Transfiguration! I began to cry but speechless. Indeed, God had led me to the Mount of Transfiguration. God asked me to quiet down. So often we served with our own strength, but the Bible teaches us to be still before the Lord and offer ourselves to Him. In stillness I saw Jesus draw near to me. His face was shining, and in Spirit He embraced me, saying "all the scriptures you read were about Me. I have been waiting for you. Now your name is written in the book of Life. If not, I would not say this to you. If you believe in Me, go and proclaim My Name. Even if you die, you will be in heaven and be with Me."

I began to cry, shedding the tears of cleansing. I was cleansed from all the religions I studied. I committed myself unto Him. Before that first century chapel both my wife and I were born again, because Jesus also spoke to her.

The past twelve years have been the most beautiful in my life. Although I lost my earthly father whom I miss very much, I now have a heavenly Father, who comforts me. God has led me to testify for His Name in many churches. With thanksgiving my joy is full. (Greg)


I Also Have A Son


We thank God for his mercy and power that raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, the death for our sins on the cross. We are no longer slaves to sin, but children of God, meaning that we can call Him Abba Father, and He will be our salvation, our strength and our all in all.

My son acquired a strange disease once, such that all his blood vessels cracked here and there. Just two days before the disease broke out, he welcomed me home joyfully. God seemed to remind me to welcome Him as my son welcomed me. Then we were in a restaurant and he suddenly felt the pain. I tried to pick him up, but his pain was further intensified. With a great sorrow in my heart I cried to God for help.

The doctor said that there would be no hope. My son was going to die. I prayed, "O God, I am not ready to offer my Isaac on the altar. If you are to take away my son, please do not take away my faith, because you are my best friend. I cannot afford to lose my son and my best friend at the same time." My boy had pain all over, and his knees were bloody. But my wife was confident, saying, "Let him sleep with me tonight. He'll be alright!" That night I stretched out on the floor to pray, "God, I love you. But I feel such a pain inside that you probably do not understand." Then God said, "Greg, I also have a Son."

Suddenly I realized that Jesus, the Son of God, the holy and sinless one, had come to this filthy and sinful earth. God could easily bomb out this world, instead of letting His Son die on the cross for us. But He loved us and sent His Son to die for us, for the salvation of the world.

Thank God that my son was totally healed and began to walk again the next day. I do not understand why God healed. But I do know His power of healing, and the healing showed me that He has chosen me, not because of my greatness but my weakness and feebleness. This is the heart of a Father. The Bible revealed that God is a merciful God, who chose the Israelites, not because of their holiness but out of His love. Israel did not know that God loves through His Son, but we do. We should therefore never forget the Father. May God keep us in remembering the Father through the Son.

Even in Genesis 1:1-3 we see God, the Son and the Spirit. Then the Son said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." The Son suffered the most cruel death for the sin of the world. On Calvary's cross, the Son was separated from the Father, which never happened before. He cried out, "My God, my God, why do you forsake Me?" At that moment, the Father could not help the Son, just like that I could not help my own son in his pain.

Jesus died and was buried. It was finished. Man thought that it was the end, but He rose from the dead. Today He is our lawyer (counselor). Whenever Satan tries to accuse me in the court of heaven. God as the judge asks, "who would defend Greg?" Jesus will stand to proclaim His blood for my defense. God then declared, "Satan, get out of my court!"

You have sinned. Now cry out to Jesus, asking Him to save you. He is the Son of God. He is willing and He can save you! (Hershberg)