My parents fled from Russia to America in the early 1900s to get away from the pogroms. In 1924 I was born and I began to learn about Jewish ghetto life from early childhood. One day I was called a ‘Christ killer’. I didn’t know what that meant, but it was the hatred in the accusation, which frightened me. I ran home, crying “Mummy, Mummy.” She calmed me and said, “Don ’t cry. Let me tell you something very important that you have to learn. There is ‘us’, the Jewish people, and there is ‘them’, the goyim, the Christians. They hate us and we have to stay away from them. Everything is all right now. We are in America and you are safe.”
In 1948 I married Ethel David, a friend from junior high school. Two daughters, Judy and Ann, were born and I became highly successful in the insurance business. Twenty-six years into our marriage, we had a very large home complete with swimming pool, four BMWs and a full-time housekeeper. Then my world felt like it had suddenly come apart when Judy, by then a student at Boston University, phoned me and told me with great caution that she had come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. I was speechless, outraged and I felt betrayed. How could a child of mine join the enemy?
A few weeks later Judy came home for her vacation. We talked and talked and finally she challenged me, “Daddy, you are an educated man. Read the Bible for yourself and make up your own mind. It is either true or it is false and if you read it carefully and ask God to reveal the truth to you, He will.” Immediately I decided to read the Bible to prove that Jesus is not the Messiah and win her back! The very next night, I picked up the New Testament for the very ﬁrst time. I was prepared for a book of hate aimed at the Jewish people, but I found it to be a book written by a Jew, for other Jews, about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Messiah He sent to His people.
For Jew and Gentile
I read the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and then the Acts of the Apostles. Here I read about Peter, reluctant at first, going to the house of a Gentile called Cornelius, a Roman Centurion. Peter was told that Cornelius had had a vision in which he was told that Peter would tell him about God. Upon this, Peter began to speak in his home about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and about Jesus, the Messiah. While he was speaking something totally unexpected happened: the Holy Spirit fell upon Cornelius and on all the Gentiles that heard the words. Peter and the Jewish believers who were with him were astonished. Afterwards Peter went to Jerusalem and explained at a meeting of apostles and other Jewish believers what happened. At his report, they also realised that Jesus the Messiah must be for Gentiles as well as for Jews!
I had many questions, “Do I really believe in God? Do I believe that the Tanakh is God’s word to us? Does the Tanakh contain prophecies about a Messiah Who is to come? Has anyone ever lived who fulﬁlled these prophecies? Did Jesus fulfil them?” The next months were ﬁlled with study. I read the entire New Covenant (New Testament) and a good portion of the Tanakh. I obtained books about Jewish religion and Jewish history. I talked to rabbis. I studied the Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh. I didn’t know how many there were, but came up with a list of over forty of them and it staggered me to realise that Jesus fulﬁlled each and every one of them!
Of particular signiﬁcance to me was Jeremiah 31:31-34, where God promised to make a New Covenant with the Jewish people! How could I not know of this promise? Then there was Proverbs 30:4 which spoke of God’s Son; and the 22nd Psalm which revealed Jesus hanging on a tree; and Isaiah chapter 53 which explained that our sins were placed upon Him and that He was punished instead of us; and Daniel 9 which prophesied that Jerusalem would be destroyed along with the Temple by the prince who would come after the Messiah had been killed! By now I knew when that had taken place. It was in the year 70! I was stunned.
Whom do you worship?
Once I decided to attend a meeting of Messianic Jews. Here I met a woman, who asked me to read Exodus 20:2-3 aloud. I read, “I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.” She said, “Tell me, who is your God? Is He the God of our Fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or are you worshipping false gods like your business, your home, your wife, your children?” I was struck by her question and realised that I spent a good part of my time thinking and even worshipping these things. Yet I almost never thought about God or considered worshipping Him.
The pressure within me kept building. I knew that in my heart I believed that Jesus is the Messiah, but I was afraid of the consequences such a decision would have on my life. I argued with myself and raised the objections of the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Pogroms and the Holocaust. Nevertheless, on the inside I would hear, “Yes, but it’s true! Jesus is the Messiah!” July 3, 1975 at 7:15 in the morning, the pressure within ﬁnally found its release. It burst forth from my lips. Jesus is our Messiah! He is my Messiah! I do receive Him as the Lord of my life! When I told my wife, I found out that she had already repented and accepted the Lord Jesus as her Messiah and Saviour and had just been waiting for me to come to the same realisation! Now our whole family was united again.
Search the Scriptures
I invite my readers to do exactly what I did. With an open mind search the Scriptures – speciﬁcally the Messianic prophecies – and be honest with your ﬁndings. You have nothing to fear from the truth. Indeed, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
Read the whole story of his search for the truth in:
Betrayed. Stan Telchin. 2007