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An Orthodox Jew’s journey to faith in Jesus


On his interesting website, God Reports, Mark Ellis writes about the conversion of another Jew to Jesus in Israel. When 17-year-old, Neriyah Arabov immigrated with his family from the Soviet Union to Israel, one of the first things he noticed was no one was calling him a “dirty Jew” anymore.

He was the only Jew who attended his school in Uzebeki, Russia and his unusual name and olive skin made him standout.

Though he didn’t understand why his parents had moved, after he joined the army for his obligatory Israeli military service his appreciation for his new country began to grow. He realized his journey to Israel was prophesied as the Old Testament prophets spoke of the rebirth of the nation of Israel and about Jews from around the world returning to the Promised Land.

21 Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms. (Ezekiel 37:21-22 NASV)

They even have an official name for this process. It is referred to as the aliyah, or the ascending.

But things began to change when Neriyah took a job working for the city of Tel Aviv after he completed his service. It was there he befriended another Russian Jew. But he was different, this Jewish man believed Jesus was the Messiah.

Though Neriyah considered himself an orthodox Jew, attended synagogue and wore a Kippah, this Russian Jews knew his Bible better than Neriyah.

So he took up reading Scripture to try to get on the same Biblical footing as his friend.

While reading the Old Testament, he looked at Isaiah 53 and realized this was not only describing the Jewish Messiah, but also Jesus.

But something held him back. His biggest fear about following Jesus was that he would face the rejection similar to what he encountered in Russia, this time from his Orthodox friends.

But what broke Neriyah’s fear was two prayers. They involved personal matters that nobody knew anything about and when God answered the first one, Neriyah was surprised. But he discounted the answer as simply a coincidence. But when he prayed again and the same thing happened, he knew something bigger was going on.

It was then he decided to believe on Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.

After he shared what happened with an Orthodox rabbi, the man didn’t argue with Neriyah but after finding out where he lived, contacted Neriyah’s family warning them about his decision to follow Jesus.

His family turned against him and they began to treat Neriyah like the Russians treated him at the school in Uzebeki. They called him the “idiot who believes in Yeshua.”

He was finally able to escape the growing hostility, when he was invited to attend Bible school in the US.

But a problem that had killed his brother years earlier while his family lived in Russia, started showing up in Neriyah. He was told that within five years, that he would need to be on dialysis because of kidney failure.

Neriyah was forced to return to Israel for treatment. As predicted, by 2004 he was on dialysis. But in the meantime, he had married a Messianic Jew and was an elder in a growing Messianic congregation.

As his kidneys failed, Neriyah prayed for help.

The answer came in a very unexpected way. Jesus appeared to a 53-year-old woman in the US asking her to donate a kidney to Neriyah. Jesus told the woman He was not commanding her to do it but asking if she would consider it. The woman made the journey to Israel and found she was a perfect match for Neriyah — almost like an identical twin.

After the transplant, the kidney worked perfectly for nearly six years, but in 2011 it began to fail, forcing Neriyah back to dialysis three times a week. He is not saddened by what happened, but thanks God for the good years he had.

A year after the kidney started failing, Neriyah and his wife started a new Messianic congregation and despite his weakness, God continues to use him.

In 2015, a Korean pastor contacted Neriyah wanting to donate a kidney. It is not certain at this point, if he will be a match.

Is Neriyah’s salvation part of God’s promise that all of Israel will eventually accept Jesus as their Messiah (Romans 11:26)?

Maybe.

But it is curious there are other reports about how God is moving among the Russian Jews in Israel.

Source:

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