Rabbi Schneider - Ministers to Holocaust Survivors
Shalom U'vrachah. Peace and blessings. I was recently in Israel to minister at several messianic congregations as I try to do every year because I have such a heart to be equipping the Messianic body in Israel. But while I was there, God opened up one of the most unique and memorable moments I've had in my 30-plus years of preaching the gospel. I was given the opportunity to speak to one of the few groups of Holocaust survivors that are still alive today. I was able to do it in Jerusalem right there in the heart of Israel.
As you know, I'm a Jew. I was born and raised Jewish. I was Bar Mitzvahed in a conservative synagogue. I identify with my people, the Jewish people. And because of this, the tragedy of the Holocaust speaks deeply to my spirit. Most of us know what the Holocaust is. It took place between 1941 to 1945 in Eastern Europe, where the Nazi Party and its collaborators systematically murdered over 6 million Jewish people. They wiped out two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe. I want you now to hear Sarah's experience. She was just one of the many Holocaust survivors I was able to minister to while I was in Jerusalem. Let's watch.
Words cannot express the grief I feel when I hear about or read about stories like Sarah's. To think that 6 million Jews, God's first covenant people were horrifically murdered during this time is overwhelming to me. So when I heard that I had an opportunity to share the love of God to these survivors, I felt such a heavy responsibility to be able to connect in a way that is authentic and reflected the fact that I can hardly even comprehend what they went through. My time of ministry took place just a few days before Shavuot or Pentecost. So I spoke to them a word of encouragement to remind them of God's faithfulness during this holiday. Shavuot is the appointed celebration when God gave the nation of Israel the Ten Commandments on top of Mount Sinai. Jewish people still celebrate it in some fashion today. I wanted to deliver a message on the special holiday that would point these Holocaust survivors to a deeper truth. I believe this message will bless you as well. Let's watch.
That was beautiful, friends. That was beautiful. Baruch Hashem. It is great to be with you. I want to talk with you about Shavuot coming up beginning the evening a week from this Saturday. How many celebrate Shavuot in some way? All right, all right. Maybe you eat just dairy. But I want to talk with you about what Shavuot means to the Lord in His relationship to us. First of all, I want to say to you that I personally believe that the God of Israel literally appeared to the children of Israel on top of Mount Sinai. How do we explain the fact that we as a people, having gone through so much together, have remained a unique people? I mean, I know that today some of you suffered under the Nazi regimes. You felt the effects of the Holocaust. And yet through all that we've been through, the Holocaust, the crusades, the persecution, the fact that our people were scattered all over the world, and yet here we are, still united together as the Jewish people.
You see, the Babylonian people have come and gone. The Romans have come and gone. The Persians have come and gone. But here we are the nation of Israel, and we're still alive. Am Israel, we're still alive. How is this possible unless the God of Israel really appeared to us? What kept us united? There's only one reason. It's because the God of Israel, He really did part the sea, bring Israel through it, and then He brought them to Mount Sinai, where He gave us the Torah. On this feast of Shavuot, we celebrate this. We celebrate not just that we were redeemed out of slavery, which we celebrated just a few weeks ago at Passover, but at Shavuot, we celebrate that God redeemed us out of slavery from Egypt for a mission.
Now, I want to ask you this question. If you believe that this really happened, I want you to ask yourself, why did the Lord do this? Why would the God of our forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, why would He have delivered us? He did it to bring us to Sinai. See, He didn't just bring us out of Egypt to save us from slavery. He delivered us from slavery to bring us to Sinai. At Sinai, He appeared visibly on top of the mountain in fire, and the mountain shook and quaked. Israel was at the bottom of the mountain trembling, and they said that Moses should go up on top of the mountain so that he could hear God. Then Moses communicated what he heard to the people.
Today in this city, we have Jewish people all over the city studying Torah. What Torah are they studying? They're studying the Torah that Moses received atop Mount Sinai. Jewish people have never stopped. They've been studying this for 3,500 years. And on Shavuot, we celebrate the fact that God gave us His revelations at Mount Sinai, and that in that revelation, He gave you and I a personal mission.
Now I know that many of you being raised in Russia and in the former Soviet Union, we're not taught much about the Torah. I know that many of you grew up in an atmosphere that was atheist. But now you're not in the Soviet Union anymore. You're here in Israel, and God wants us to throw off unbelief, He wants to throw off the darkness, and He wants to give you the same light and the same revelation He gave the children of Israel 3,500 years ago at Mount Sinai. Hashem has something for you today. He loves you individually, personally, and specifically. Here's the mission that we received at Mount Sinai. We received the revelation and the mission that we're created in God's image, and that we're here on Earth to get to know Him and to overcome. We're here today to align ourselves with the truths of God that we received at Mount Sinai. And through aligning ourselves with His ways, with the ways of the Torah, we come out of darkness, we enter into light. And through entering into this light, we begin to know Hashem.
I want to stress that the message I delivered to these Holocaust survivors isn't just for Jewish people. It's for you and I today. You see God has gone from writing His law just on the tablets of stone to placing it in our hearts so that we could be delivered from our own Egypt, from our own experience of oppression. And He did it for a reason for us to be able to rise up above what has held us down and to live in the freedom that's been purchased for us in Messiah, to know our Creator as our God. This is the good news, and at the core of it is Yeshua's redeeming sacrifice. This is why after I shared on Shavuot I was so excited to share with these precious Holocaust survivors my own testimony of how Jesus saved me.
Now, let me tell you what happened to me personally. My grandparents are from Russia. They moved from Russia, they came to New York City. My grandparents spoke no English. They spoke Yiddish. I was bar mitzvahed in the United States. But what happened to me is I ran into a big problem in my life when I was 20 years old. I didn't know what to do with my life. I was lost. Some of you when you came out of the USSR, you came to a new world you didn't know how to fit in. I didn't go through anything like what you've gone through. But what I did experience when I was 20 years old, was I didn't know who I was, I felt lost, and I felt afraid, and I didn't know what to do about it.
Then one day during this time, I went to sleep. Suddenly, I was awoken from my sleep. My eyes were closed but suddenly I became aware that something supernatural was happening. I had this heightened sense of awareness. And even though I had never even thought of having a vision, I knew that I was having a vision. What I saw was a Jewish man. He was on a cross. Then there was people in the distance looking at Him. It happened right here in Jerusalem. And then a ray of red light as I was looking at this Jewish man on the cross right outside the city gates, a ray of red light from straight through the sky came down on His head. As an American, I knew the person on the cross was Yeshua.
Now keep in mind I'm a Jew. My mom's Jewish, my dad's Jewish. I'm Jewish. I'm still Jewish. I didn't know anything about this Jesus this Yeshua. I had never read the New Testament. No one had ever talked to me about Him. But when I had that vision and that ray of red light came down on his head, I knew the light was coming from God, and He was showing me that Yeshua was His Son and the way to Him. And it completely changed my life. When I had that vision, I realized two things. Number one, that God loved me because He appeared to me. Secondly, I realized that Yeshua, Yeshua was His son and the way to Him. Today what I wanted to do was simply to tell you that I feel such an honor to come and speak to you. I want to tell you that I love you. I hope that you can tell I've been honest with you. I want to encourage you to have faith in God. God really did part the sea. He really did bring us to Mount Sinai. He's real. He's real today, and He's here for you and He loves you. Can we give Hashem a hand today?
As I said earlier in the broadcast, this was one of the most wonderful experiences I've had in my more than 30 years of ministry, to be able to minister to my own people and to share just a little bit in the lives of those that have gone through so much because they are Jewish, and then to be appreciated by the president of the Jerusalem Holocaust Association, it was so much more than I expected. I had no idea really what was going to happen when I was asked to come and minister to these Holocaust survivors. But the way that it all worked out was just a huge blessing that was so memorable for me.
Again, one of the highlights in my over 30 years of ministry. Ministering to Jewish people is so important because God's covenant is still intricately bound to His first covenant people. In fact, the Scriptures tell us that it's not until a mass of Jewish people are crying out to God, Baruch haba basham Adonai, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord, in the name of Yeshua, that Jesus will return. So there needs to be a mass of Jewish people that have come to faith in Messiah Jesus and are calling upon Him to return before the skies will be parted, and Jesus will put His foot back on planet Earth. That's why Jesus said at the end of His ministry to the Jewish people, "You will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"