I was just sixteen years old. My life had been amazingly, totally, radically changed, but my dad said to me, “We’re Jews, we don’t believe this!” Yeah, I was sixteen years old and I discovered that Jesus, Yeshua, was the Messiah. And my dad said, “Look, I’m happy that your life has changed. I’m happy that you’re happy, but we’re Jews. We don’t believe in this Jesus. You need to talk to the rabbi.”
So, I went and talked to the local rabbi. He was a brilliant man and we began to have lengthy conversations and I would quote from the bible to him and he would quote from the bible to me. But he said, “There’s one problem. You don’t understand Hebrew. How can you tell us what to believe? We’ve been studying this all our lives. And we learned it from our fathers, who learned it from their fathers, who learned it from their fathers all they way back to Moses, our teacher, on Mount Sinai.” I said, “But I can use other books that tell me what the Hebrew means, I’ll use those in the meantime.” He said, “Meantime schmeantime, if you don’t know the Hebrew, it doesn’t mean a thing.”
And then I met with these other rabbis, they were ultra-orthodox rabbis. And they had long beards and they studied all day and they knew the Hebrew by memory and I’d quote to them in English and they’d say, “Ah, those English translations you can’t rely on them.” And they’d open their Hebrew bible and they’d show me letter for letter and I thought, I need to learn Hebrew. I need to learn on my own because these men are very sincere and these men are bringing serious arguments. And even though my own life has changed and I’m so full of joy and there’s no guilt and I can relate to God and have a personal friendship with Him. It’s amazing! They’re raising serious objections.
So, I went to college and I started learning Hebrew. And I thought, you know, I should learn the other languages that relate to Hebrew as well. So, I started learning other languages and when I finished college I majored in Hebrew. In fact, I got an award from my school for excellence of study. I thought, but there’s more. So, I went on to graduate school and I got a master’sdegree and then I got a PhD in the Semitic languages so I could not just know Hebrew, I could know Hebrew in all of its phases and I could know all the related languages because I was determined. I wanted to be able to read the bible on my own. I wanted to be able to read it, so I didn’t have to rely on a rabbi or a priest or anybody else. I could read it on my own in the original. I could look at the challenges. I could look at the objections. And you know the amazing thing? The more I studied, the more clear my faith became. The more I studied Tanakh for myself, not what someone else told me it said, not what someone else told me was in the bible. But the more I studied it for myself, the clearer it was. Jesus, Yeshua. You know Him as Yayshu (sp?), but He’s really Yeshua. He is our promised Messiah. First, He came to die for our sins and rise from the dead and be accepted in the nations. At the end He’s gonna return right to Jerusalem. Are you going to be ready when He comes back?
-Dr. Michael Brown