“The Jews have no bible they can read—Impossible!”

Americans have dozens of English Bibles available with one click. It is hard to conceive of a people group who still lack a Bible in their own language, especially because their ancestors wrote it.

This sounds shocking, even hard to believe, but it describes the situation in Israel to this day.

The Hebrew Bible is written in an ancient form that only scholars can understand. In Israel, that means rabbis who want nothing to do with Jesus, need to explain it. To appreciate their resistance one needs to understand the intersection of Church and Jewish history.

Victor K. explaining the origin of a Torah scroll to our group

The Jewish people are curious about Jesus, but also skeptical. That is mostly due to the mistreatment displayed by proclaiming Christians.  Jews were accused of being “Christ killers” since the second century. I experienced it periodically growing up. I couldn’t avoid it because it was scratched into bathroom stalls in the diners and the schools.

Needless to say, Jesus was not too attractive to me, nor was the book about Him the Gentiles called the New Testament.

After I became a follower of Jesus though, I was all in. I witnessed to every relative I could, but no one seemed to want to listen nor were they interested in reading any Bible verses. Years later I understood why. The Bible, the rabbis taught, was Christianized, even the ones translated into Hebrew.

“But how could that be?”

It sounded like fake news or a conspiracy theory. Then again, why didn’t anyone tell me that Jesus was a Jew? My world could have been spared all the hardships I brought into it.

I began to realize that in Hebrew school, we learned to read and write, but understanding the Bible was not on the agenda. Each Sabbath we read from our Siddur, or prayer book, which had Bible selections and a portion from the Torah that the Rabbi would explain. But reading the Bible on your own was unheard of. I never thought to ask why.

To my shame, it was not until years later in Jerusalem at the Bible Society, that I learned my lesson.

My close friend Victor, who is the Director, asked if I could help them remove and reorganize hundreds of books stored in their basement to install new shelves. It was a hot job, but I brought a few friends to help. To cool off, I went outside to drink some water. As I stood on the edge of Jaffa Street, I watched the people–mostly Orthodox—as they hurried past the store towards their neighborhood nearby.

Except for one.

He stopped to examine what was inside.

And then he realized it. This was a Bible bookstore! In fact, it was the Bible Society headquarters.

“Moshichim!” he cried suddenly as he pointed, “Moshichim!”

Some stopped and looked, but most kept walking. He then turned to me as he began poking at the window, and his blood began to boil, he cried another “Moshichim!”

I looked at him puzzled so he made himself clear.

“Nazis! They are Nazis!”

Whoa—that was it.

I arose from the curb and approached this bearded man lost inside his long black coat and hat, standing on his own turf proclaiming lies.

“Have you ever met these people whom you accuse?” I asked, restraining my anger.

“Well, I have. They are kind and loving and they are a blessing to this city and this nation.”

He listened for a moment and then turned his rage to me.

“Moshichim,” he yelled, pointing the passing crowd to me. “He is one of them!”

I was able to calm him down as I began to explain who we were. Moshichim is another name for Messianics, but it has become slanderous. To those who share his anger, it means a traitor, and worse yet, someone who will steal the souls of their children.

So we talked. What better place to discuss the truth, than on the edge of the Old City of Jerusalem in front of the Bible Society?

I went straight to Deuteronomy 18, where Moses speaks to the people of Israel about the Prophet to come. “Who is He?” I asked.

He began to explain with authority that it was not Yeshua, along with an explanation that had no biblical sense. I asked him where he got that. He told me, the rabbis. To him, that would have been the final authority, but I pressed him.

“Don’t you read the Bible on your own? How do you know the rabbis aren’t wrong?

What if this is referring to Yeshua?”  

He turned and walked away. If my goal was to win an argument, I won. But it wasn’t my goal, instead, I felt sad. This is what I learned from Victor and my own research to follow.

The Jewish people don’t read and understand their Bible, because they can’t. It’s as if you only had access to a bible written in medieval English, like Chaucer.

See if you can understand this excerpt from one of his books.

“Allas!” quod she for sorwe,

“And deyede within the thridde morwe.”

Inspiring, isn’t it?

It’s the same problem trying to understand the Masoretic text, which is the only acceptable version of the rabbis. It is beautifully written, with rhythm and unique syntax, but the average ‘Joel’ is lost unless he is a scholar in ancient Hebrew, or—he asks the rabbi.

I regret the way I argued with that Orthodox man. Instead of showing compassion, I embarrassed him. It breaks my heart to think about it because there are so many Jews who remain strangers to their own book, the only book that can break the bondage of unbelief. But they don’t know what it says!

However, that is on the brink of change.

Rather than simply offer a new Hebrew translation, as if it is the new improved version, the Bible Society is working vigorously to publish an “assisted” one. It will have the original text on one page, with its modern equivalent opposite it. This will offer the reader their first opportunity to read and understand their own Bible without the interruption of a rabbinical explanation.

Precious moment in Jerusalem

Modern Israelis are searching for answers.  Many feel isolated and despised. They don’t want to submit to rabbinical authority, yet they do so out of tradition.

Many Jews like me came to faith while reading the Bible. As an American, it was not an issue. I could read a Hebrew one, but not understand it. The more I read the more convinced I was that I needed Jesus as my Messiah. From that day until now, light bulbs continue to flash as I see Yeshua in the Old Testament calling His lost sheep to come home.

Due to the intense scrutiny, this Bible will get in Israel, it is a very slow and costly process to produce. If you are interested in changing the spiritual landscape in Israel and playing a role in the fulfillment of prophecy, please contact me at comfortmypeople.com or simply donate below.

Shalom and blessings,


And it shall come to pass in the last days… many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

 Isaiah 2:2,3

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