During the three to five hour flights I often take as part of my work, I get to literally bump elbows with complete strangers. Knowing this, I pray for an opportunity to witness and plant seeds for Christ’s Kingdom. Typically I settle in, open my Bible and begin reading. If the passenger next to me doesn’t want to interface, I use the time to catch up on my Bible reading. However, more often than not we strike up a conversation which usually moves towards my reading of the Bible and faith.
I don’t push hard-sell salvation, but instead focus on planting a seed for future growth concerning God’s grace and love. My prayers have been blessed with the opportunity to plant seeds with agonistics and non-believers, and other times I have enjoyed dogma and doctrine discussions with people from other denominations. Each experience allows me to grow by spurring me to learn more, but more important, I get their names and pray that seeds are planted for God’s Kingdom.
On a recent flight, God threw me a curve ball when a Hasidic Jew sat next to me. Now that may be a common occurrence for some, but in my over fifty years of life, and well over a million miles of travel to nearly fifty countries I had never had the pleasure to set next to a Hasidic Jew. Being in “witness mode” I already had my Bible out, and as he prepared to sit down, he glanced at my Bible and said, “God meant for us to set next to each other.” I could not have agreed more.
Over the next four hours Moseh and I discussed a broad range of biblical topics, some of which you shall see are prophetically eye-opening, at least they were for me. Despite both of us being convicted in our faiths, we cordially exchanged biblical world views, though at times our debate was very pointed. One of the most interesting points in our time together occurred when he needed to break our conversation because he had to perform his daily Psalms reading prior to sunset.
I flipped my Bible to the Psalms and asked if I could join him, and where he was reading from today. “Psalms 113 through 118,” he said. I looked down and my Bible was already turned to that exact verse. What a coincidence, right?
I was told by Moseh (as many will already know), that Hasidic Jews practice a very structured faith composed of 613 laws: 248 on what not to do, and 365 on what you can’t do. In addition to the Torah and prophets being divinely inspired by God, he also believed the Talmud is equally divinely inspired. The Talmud is a collection of nearly 1,900 years of interpretation on Torah compiled by Jewish holy men of God.
Yes, I did use this opportunity to sow the seeds of grace versus works, but he was well aware of this concept and was dismissive. He also held blunt views that: Jesus was just a man who died; man was inherently good/no original sin; Satan was a “good guy” who simply carried out his part of God’s plan; and that God was in everything as he pointed to the plastic and cloth airline seat to our front. I presented opposing views by pointing out contradicting OT scriptures, which he rebuffed as misapplication of the Scriptures taken out of context, or countered with the Talmudic interpretation – quotes which held no merit with me.
We are both wide men using every inch of the undersized airline seats, and the conversation occurred in what would normally be our private personal space. Our faces were less than two feet apart; this was a personal conversation. After two hours my neck was stiff as I leaned my body to the left and craning my neck back to the right in order to look him in the face. We kept on.
It became apparent Moseh’s personal mission became to enlighten me on the Hassidic interpretation of God, and His Plan. I only made him waver in silence once when I outlined the break in the Messianic line of the throne of Judah through the curse of Jehoiachin in Jeremiah 22:30; the only means of resolution which could come through the virgin birth of Isaiah 7:14 by a woman of the line of Judah.
This also fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born [via child birth by Mary], for unto us a son is given [adopted son by Joseph]. After a long perplexed look, he stated complex Scriptures as these could only be interpreted by a Rebbe. Thanks to David Hocking’s teachings, a seed may have been planted.
Moseh was most adamant in driving home his point that all men must live by the Seven Noahide Laws (developed by Tosefta in ~300 AD I later found), so men can obtain their part in the world to come. The Hasidic Jews believe by practicing these seven laws men will be able to be partake in the final reward of righteousness, God’s Kingdom on Earth.
This Kingdom will be ushered in by the coming Messiah. He fervently felt the Messiah’s return was imminent as we were closing in on the 6,000 years allotted to man by God. He even named a year, 5,900-something, but not being a date setter, my mind skipped noting the exact date, and instead picked up that his entire Hasidic community saw through the signs of the time the Messiah was very, very near.
According to Moseh, in every generation of Hasidic Jews a potential Messiah is born. If the situation in the world was deemed acceptable by God the generational Messiah would then become THE MESSIAH who would bring the Messianic Age to Israel, and the entire world. Over the ages that time had not yet come.
However, the last potential Messiah, Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, stated that the Messiah which succeeded him would be the final Messiah which the Jewish people have long awaited. I asked what the attributes of this Messiah would be, and his face lit up as he enthusiastically provided a list. The Hasidic Messiah would:
· be a 100% sinless man, but he emphatically stated not the Son of God,
· be from the line of Judah,
· be a master of the Torah (a term for him which also includes all the Talmud),
· never be defeated in war so bringing about peace to the entire earth,
· call all Jews dispersed in the world to come home to Israel,
· use the international bodies, like the UN to solve globally impossible issues like hunger,
· like Obama he would mesmerize masses of people, but unlike Obama the Messiah would deliver on the all promises he made,
· by Torah’s law be obeyed by the Hasidic Jews, and
· bring the whole world to accept and adopt the 7 Noahdic Laws.
As he provided the list, my blood ran cold as I knew that Moseh was describing a messiah whose attributes mirrored the false messiah – the Antichrist. He further added that only when The Messiah came would it make any sense to build a Temple. If Moseh professed beliefs echo those of the Hasidic Jews, his people seemed primed for the false messiah.
In the end, I opted not to press him on certain non-salvation issues or discuss the Tribulation in this venue, but instead we exchanged email addresses to further this dialogue later. I am still in the process of planting seeds with Moseh, though as you can see he is very rigid in his beliefs, but then again so are we Bible-believing Christians.
After a “Shalom” and a hand shake, I exiting the plane but could not help but think of Romans 11:25: “…that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” Perhaps Moshe would unknowingly welcome in the Antichrist’s reign.
Perhaps though, a seed was planted. Perhaps he would return to Israel and later flee into the Judean desert, or perhaps one day he would be one of the 144,000 of Revelation Chapter Seven. Only time will tell. Scatter the seed while you still can! Come Lord Jesus!
P.S. You can make of this what you will, but I believe others beyond me needed to hear this information or this exchange would not have been presented itself in this fashion.