January 14, 2011

TESTIMONY OF ROBERT NATHAN

A RETIRED DEAF JEWISH PASTOR

While a student in high school, I heard about the persecution of the Jews in Europe. This made me feel that God had forsaken Israel and that being a Jew was not a happy lot. I observed many happy church-going people and desired to be one of them. At the time I did not know that Jews could become Christians. I observed Jewish holidays and attended a synagogue with my family occasionally.

At times, during my childhood I heard some things about Jesus Christ; that He is the Son of God; that He lived in Palestine; that He was said to be the King of the Jews; that He had power to heal people of bodily sickness; that He was crucified; that He rose from the dead; and that He ascended to heaven. I was puzzled when I heard that Jewish people would not believe in Him as their King.

After l finished high school I entered Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C., to study in the field of science and mathematic. During my years in college I read astonishing news reports that the State of Israel was established in Palestine and that Arab nations were at war against Israel. I thought the Jews would be defeated and was amazed to later hear that Israel had triumphed over the Arabs. Being absorbed in my college studies I did not give much thought to the establishment of Israel.

A few months after my college graduation in 1949 my attention was called to a salvation and healing campaign at the Chicago Coliseum. I attended the meetings and was astounded to observe miracles of healing. I could not hear the evangelist preaching but I could feel the power of God in the meetings and see the delighted and worshipful expressions of those who received healing. On the way home from one meeting I saw an advertisement on a streetcar that pictured a cross shining over the world with the Bible verse:  "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) Another poster read: "Jesus said... I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6). My heart was stirred as I read these verses again and again.

At the meeting the next evening I purchased a copy of a booklet written by the evangelist. I could not listen to his messages but I could read them in print.  In the booklet he said, "My friends, the glorious miracles of healing you have witnessed have been wrought, healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God."

As I continued reading that booklet I learned for the first time that Jesus suffered a painful and agonizing death for our sins. The sinless Son of God took all the blame for our sins and was shamefully nailed to the cross in our place.  Being unable to restrain myself I broke into tears and accepted Jesus as my personal Savior. That night I read the Gospel of John with absorbing interest. Early the next morning I awoke to look up at Jesus' lovely face with the eye of faith in my heart. Suddenly, my whole being trembled as the Holy Spirit swept through me. I felt greatly joyful, with peace and a strong love for God and for everyone.

Soon after this glorious experience I met some Hebrew Christians and realized that many Jews had already become Christians. My study of the Scriptures revealed that the first Christians were Jews, that the Gospel of the Kingdom was preached to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles, that God is calling from all the nations of the earth a people for His name, and that judgment came upon the Jewish nation because of their rejection of Christ as Messiah.

The Jew is not cursed forever. Jesus said: "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, you shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." (Matthew 23:38-, 39).  Isaiah prophesied concerning Jerusalem: "Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in you..." (Isaiah 62:4).

Being grateful to the Lord for my salvation and for revealing all His glorious promises to me, I say with Paul: "Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham...And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, there shall came out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." (Romans 11: I, 26)
My faith in Jesus as my personal Savior would be inadequate if it were based merely on the miracles which I witnessed at the Chicago Coliseum, or on the fact that Christians were more blessed, or on my spiritual experience which I received from the Lord. My faith is made more certain by the Scriptures which reveal through types, parables, prophecy, and history that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel.

Robert Nathan was a pastor of the Assembly of God, leading a Deaf flock for many years and has since then been enjoying his retirement.  He lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana and his wife Fern, who is the author of the book, Memoirs of a Deaf Lady Evangelist, passed away several years ago.  © Copyright 2007. Robert Nathan. All Rights Reserved.

Robert Nathan passed away on November 27, 2015.  Click here to read the obituary: http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Robert-Nathan&lc=1595&pid=176713459&mid=6695421#.Vl3N8NOledo.facebook

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