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THIS SUNDAY: Special Message and Q&A with Messianic Rabbi Irving Salzman

December 10 2012
December 10 2012

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This Sunday, December 16th, our church welcomes back special guest and friend, Messianic Rabbi Irving Salzman.

Christmas is Jewish!

Over 1600 years, some 40 prophets and authors wrote about the coming of a certain unique individual who would be both Israel’s king and the Savior of the world. So important was it that the world should come to know him that God inspired the prophets of Israel to identify him prophetically. His coming at the first Advent (Christmas) has transformed millions of lives around the world.

Don’t the prophets deserve a hearing? Do you know this man? Does he deserve your worship? Come to Ascension Church to hear Rabbi Irving Salzman who will share a message from the Hebrew Scriptures during a special worship service, to be followed by a Q&A session. Invite your friends, family and neighbors -- Jew and Gentile alike.

We hope to see you at PS101!

 


 

More on Rabbi Irving Salzman's background and testimony:

"I was raised in a traditional Jewish home in Montreal, Canada. My father was from an Orthodox Jewish home in Poland. In his youth, he was enrolled in an Orthodox Heder (school), though the Nazis’ invasion of Poland and the subsequent Holocaust curtailed his schooling as he was forced to go into hiding. He survived the war though no fewer that 200 members of his family were murdered by the Nazis. After the war, he left the displaced persons camps in Germany and set sail for Israel where he fought in that country’s War of Independence in 1948. In the interest of rejoining his mother and surviving sister who by this time had settled in New York, my father embarked for the new world. Failing to get the necessary entrance documents for the United States, he arrived in Montreal Canada in 1953. There he met my mother who had only recently immigrated to Canada from England. Her own upbringing in England had been in a traditional Jewish home.

My parents were very serious about raising my brothers and me in a traditional Jewish home. We kept the Sabbath and holidays as well as observed the Jewish dietary laws. From the earliest age, I went to synagogue every week. After completing my elementary school studies, my father enrolled my brother and me in a Lubavitcher Yeshivah. I took to my Jewish studies with a relish and excelled. When I was 10 years old, my father initiated my preparation for my Bar Mitzvah and, for the next three years, I apprenticed with our local cantor. After my Bar Mitzvah, I discovered that God had gifted me with a near photographic memory. Owing to this, I became a Torah reader and spent the next 15 years plying my craft in several of the Montreal area synagogues.

In 1982, at the age of 22, I spoke with a 16 year old high school student on a telephone party line. He introduced himself as a “born again Christian.” While I had recently been introduced to the term, I didn’t really have a firm grasp on what it was that a born again Christian believed spiritually and theologically. I had a positive view of born again Christians, since they had vocalized their pro-Israel, pro-life, and pro-family stance in the run up to the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan. But I was unaware of what they believed theologically. When this 16 year old described himself as a born again Christian, all I could do was inquire about his belief system. We talked for an hour and, at his request, exchanged phone numbers. After that, he called me every week to witness his faith. But in my own quiet confidence, I already “knew the truth.” I inwardly wondered what this 16 year old Gentile could tell me about God! In my own estimation, if anyone had a relationship with God, it was I! And if anyone had a corner on religious truth, it was I! Our sages and rabbis in whom I trusted couldn’t possibly be wrong. Peter limited himself to sharing from the Old Testament exclusively, since, he reasoned, I wouldn’t possibly admit evidence from a New Testament whose divine inspiration I rejected. For a year, Peter stuck exclusively to the Old Testament messianic prophecies. But, for me, there was a great roadblock. Our sages knew these very same prophecies well but, for their part, didn’t believe Jesus to be the fulfillment of them. Then who was this 16 year old Gentile to tell me who my Messiah was?

Then one evening, Peter called on the telephone and there was clearly some timidity in his voice. He asked me if he could read to me a passage from the New Testament. It was late at night and I was lying down in my bed. Without any objection, I answered “Sure.” At that point, he proceeded to read me the entire Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5, 6, 7. When he finished his reading, it was as if someone had dumped a ton of bricks over my head. I was floored and astounded by what I had heard.

Two things spoke to me more than anything else. First, I was profoundly impressed with the wisdom Yeshua demonstrated in his words. While there was much profound wisdom that I had encountered in the Talmud and rabbinic writings, nothing could compare to the sheer brilliance and majesty of Yeshua‘s wisdom and words. For example, he taught that believers didn’t need to worry about what they would eat or what they would wear since God provided for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. And, if the latter were true, “How much more so will He provide for you?” (That is the classic rabbinic argument of Qal VaChomer, “arguing from the lesser to the greater”) What simple but brilliant logic! I thought.

And then too, I was dumbfounded by the authority that Yeshua asserted. In the rabbinic literature, any time that one rabbi wanted to give his opinion, he would quote another rabbi as his authority. Thus a popularly recurring phrase in the rabbinic literature is “Rabbi ‘so and so’ says in the name of rabbi ‘so and so.’” By contrast, in the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua claimed his own authority. Thus, the popularly repeated refrain in the Sermon on the Mount is “You have heard it said from ancients ‘Thou shalt not …,’ but I say to you ‘….’” Yeshua was claiming his own authority! It was nothing less than stunning. It was with no small amount of interest that I read later that the crowds all marveled at him because he taught with authority, not as their scribes! That was my own exact feeling when I heard the words read to me that evening. Though I didn’t share this publicly with Peter, something momentous had happened within me that evening. That was the first time that I wondered if maybe we had, as a people, been wrong about Yeshua, and that, perhaps, he really was the promised Jewish Messiah.

Over the next three months, I set about to study the messianic prophecies on my own. And I vowed to myself that I would study them apart from the filter and grid of rabbinic interpretation. I would study the texts alone in their contexts and allow the word itself to speak to me. And, over the next few months, I came to the firm conviction that no other man in our history could have been the Messiah other than Yeshua of Nazareth. I asked him to forgive me and save me from my sin and be my Messiah and king. That was in 1983-84.

Since that time, I have been in regular fellowship with other believers. I was privileged to be under the tutelage and mentoring of good and mature men of God. I have also been privileged to have been able to complete a four year bible degree and about two thirds of a Master of Divinity degree. I have been involved in Jewish ministry for the last 24 years, the last ten of which, have been spent pastoring a messianic congregation in Livingston NJ. I am also blessed to be married to a fourth-generation Jewish believer, many of whose forbears and relatives are in ministry or Jewish ministry themselves. I have also known the rejection that comes from having Jewish family members and friends who don’t share my faith in Messiah. And nothing excites me more than studying and teaching the scriptures. All of the above have aided and enabled my spiritual growth in the faith since my conversion."


RESOURCES

pdf Article on Rabbi Irving Salzman

Testimony/article on Messianic Rabbi Irving Salzman.


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