HOW A RABBI FOUND CHRIST*
DR. MAX WERTHEIMER.
[* This narrative was peculiarly valuable as revealing how difficulties which are
natural and inevitable in the mind of a Jew can be met and overcome. It was also obtainable in tract
form from The Jewish Era,
From the ages of five to fifteen my training was in a Jewish school, in orthodox Judaism. My associates led me into the sinful pleasures of the world, and although I attended synagogue and read my Hebrew prayers on the Sabbath, I drifted from the faith of my fathers.
parental decision to send me to
finishing the rabbinical course we were publicly ordained and inducted into the
rabbinical office. My first call was to
1895 a series of meetings was held in the Christian Church of
What unforeseen forces were brought into action as a result of that unknown womans heart-cry! How perfectly satisfied with life I was that day: I had a young, attractive, accomplished wife, was rabbi of the Bnai Yeshorum Synagogue, had a beautiful home, a comfortable income, a place of prominence in the community, had become an honorary member of the Ministerial Association, was a member of the Present-Day Club, served as chaplain in the Masonic lodge, and was a popular speaker before womens clubs, schools civic organizations, etc. Had you visited my library at that time you would have found a wide range of reading. I had every book Bob Ingersoll wrote, read them, and corresponded with the author. I was an oft-invited guest speaker in every denominational church in the city. I was satisfied with life! My wife and I enjoyed the musical treats, we had a large home, two servants, and a beautiful baby boy and daughter, Rose.
Suddenly there came a change. My wife was taken seriously ill, and in spite of many physicians and specialists, she died, leaving me a distraught widower with two little children. After the funeral, I found myself the most miserable of men. I could not sleep. I walked the streets, striving to forget the void, the vacancy in my heart and life. My dreams of a successful career and serene domestic life were all shattered. Where was comfort to be found? The heavens were brass when I called on the God of my fathers! How could I speak as a rabbi words of comfort to others, when my own sorrow had brought me to despair? I investigated Spiritism, but found it utter fallacy. I attended meetings and read the literature of Theosophy and Christian Science, only to find it futile and hopeless. My experience was comparable to Jobs when he cried: My days are swifter than a weavers shuttle, and are spent without hope (Job 7: 6). The tenth year of my rabbinical office drew to its close. I decided not to accept re-election, and resigned. I wanted to think over things. I would study. I turned to my Bible.
studuied about Judaism, but it answered no questions, satisfied no craving of
my heart. Then I began reading the New
Testament and comparing it with the Old Testament. Many passages were read, pondered, meditated
upon. One made a definite impression:
the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, eleventh verse, last clause:- By His knowledge
shall My righteous servant justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Here was the only mention of that phrase, My righteous servant, I could find. It is found nowhere else in the Word of God
in either Testament. We have David, my servant, Isaiah,
my servant, Daniel, my servant, but
here it is My righteous servant. I said to
myself: Who is that righteous servant? To whom does the prophet refer? I argued: Whoever
that righteous servant of Jehovah is, of one thing I am sure: he is not
In confusion I decided to begin at the first chapter of Isaiah and read the book through. I was stopped at the ninth: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders; His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Here was a most incomprehensible thing!
was faced with the doctrine of the Trinity.
We Jews have a popular monotheistic slogan: Shma
Adonai, Eloheynu, Adonai, Echod. The word echod means one. Upon
that word the doctrine of unity of Jehovah is rooted and grounded, the entire
philosophy of Judaisin is based. Taught
by the rabbis for ages, that word echod means
absolute unity. Now I could not believe
it; my teaching was wrong! I began to
study the word, and I discovered it meant, not absolute unity but composite unity.
Let me illustrate: Adam and Eve became one flesh; the Hebrew for one
flesh is bosor Echod, a composite unity. Moses sent twelve spies into
Another problem succeeded it: Why is the name
Jesus never mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures? I studied this question. Imagine my surprise when I found that 275
years before Christ, King Ptolemy Philadelphus summoned men from
I could hold out in unbelief no longer; I was
convinced of the truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. I cried: Lord I
believe that Thou as Jehovah Yesous hast made the atonement for me. I believe
that Jehovah Yesous died for me! I
believe Thou hast made provision for me!
I believe Thou hast the ability and power! From henceforth I will publicly confess
Yeshua as my Saviour and Lord.
Thus after months of searching I was convinced that Jesus was the
righteous servant of Jehovah (Jehovah‑tsidkenu), The Lord our
righteousness. On March 30, 1904, I publicly confessed Christ in the
Mr. Samuel F Hurnard writes:-
It is evident from Scripture
that the Jews are determined, like their forefather Jacob, to seize their
birthright by hook or by crook. They,
too, will live bitterly to repent their folly.
Our Lord told the Jews of His day: I am come in my Fathers Name and ye
receive Me not; if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. Their leaders will sell their souls for the
bauble of power. Daniel tells of a
coming prince, probably the Antichrist, with whom they make a treaty for seven
years. But their agreement with hell
shall not stand. The treaty is soon
broken, and the great tribulation follows to subdue the pride and smass the
hardness of the heart of stubborn Jewry.
It is only when the remnant repent and acknowledge their once-crucified
Messiah that He can and will restore the Kingdom, and Israel will dwell in
safety and peace every nan under his own vine and fig-tree. No Peace Conference of the Allied Nations, or
other man-made agreement, can ever fulfil Gods purposes and promises for
General Smuts expresses (The Times, Sep. 30, 1946) the uneasiness felt by the statesmen of the world at the fruitless effort to create a human millennium:-
The greatest drama of history unfolding before our eyes is still little understood. After the great war, people generally expected the dawn of a new world. After the armistice President Wilson was expected to inaugrate a new era. That it was to come suddenly, like the coming of the Kingdom in which the early Christians implicitly believed. I do not see the new spirit or temper in the world on which we can safely build any assurance of world peace in a more distant future. The new kingdom has not yet come. A peaceful world order could only be safely based on a new spirit and outlook widely spread and actively practised anong the nations. Of such an enduring temper for peace there is no real evidence today.
Only by a national repentance can the
THE REGATHERING OF THE JEWS TO
"In that day the Root of
Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him,
and His place of rest will be glorious. In that day the Lord will
reach out His hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of
His people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from
"I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me" (Jeremiah 32: 37-40).
"...I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace
and security. I will bring
"I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out
from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been
scattered, and I will show Myself holy
among you in the sight of the nations. Then you will know that I
am the Lord, when I bring you into the
For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. ... I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken (Ezekiel 34: 11-13, 23, 24).
"When I have brought them back from the nations and have
gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy
through them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I
am the Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I
will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no
longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of
"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants
"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years" (Malachi 3: 3, 4).
What will it be to have the unveiled presence of Messiah? In seasons of great revival the mere Name of God will send souls into a swoon: what shall it be like when His people see His face?
God the Lamb shall be there;
Their Light and
And radient hosts will for ever share
The unveiled mystery.