“One day a Christian lady asked her pastor: “Do you not think the time is now ripe to start the special task of spreading the gospel among the Jews?”
The pastor replied: “No. According to the Bible it is now the time of the heathen. Israel has been rejected.”
The answer brought the lady to the verge of tears, but she held her peace, and bided her time. A few months later she approached the pastor once again,” explains Richard Wurmbrand, but this time, like the prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 12, she brought a story…
The Courage To Tell A Story
It was the first half of the nineteenth century, and the Norwegian Lutheran Church was making great strides ahead with their witness to the nations… but still, like many others, they had this blind spot regarding God’s chosen people. However, God had put Israel on this little lady’s heart. She had been inspired by the Restoration movement in the UK, championed by people like Spurgeon and Wilberforce. She knew that God had not finished with Israel just yet.
In his book “Christ on the Jewish Road”, Richard Wurmbrand tells how God gave her a new way to approach her church leadership…
“I would like to have your advice”, she said to her pastor. “A relation of mine had an only son. But he behaved so badly that finally the parents had no option but to send him away from home. To console them in their unhappy old age, they adopted a boy, giving him everything their own child had enjoyed, and making him heir to their possessions, even though blood is undoubtedly thicker than water. They treasured a picture of the child who had been born to them, constantly remembering him and shedding tears at night in their longing for him. The adopted child grew bold, and as time went on he started to abuse his foster parents: “I don’t want to see the picture of the other boy on the wall! How dare you mention his name? I don’t want to hear you pining for him.”
At this juncture the indignant clergyman interrupted the good lady’s story: “He is an impudent boy, and does not deserve to stay in the house. They should send him away!”
Then the woman said: “Is not Israel the genuine son of the Heavenly Father? He was driven fron home because he had been disobedient, and we, the other peoples, were adopted in his place. But God’s heart is still fixed on Israel. Heaven, too, sighs for him. Is it right that we, the branches, should consider ourselves greater than the trunk, and refuse the Jews salvation?”
The clergyman now admitted his sin, and became the founder of the Norwegian Israel Mission [NCMI].”
A Long Lasting Legacy
And Richard Wurmbrand himself, the well known Messianic leader who suffered so extraordinarily for his faith, benefitted directly from these events. NCMI started to send people to countries with high Jewish populations at the time, such as Hungary and Romania, to reach them with the gospel. Wurmbrand was a new believer in Romania, unable to find direction in his new-found faith, but eventually found great help and support from a man from NCMI who came alongside him to mentor and disciple him.
It is clear from his writings just how much Feinstein had been a great blessing to Wurmbrand and many others. Isac Feinstein was a Jewish man who had come to faith (much to the horror of his family) and then joined and trained with NCMI. His heart was to reach the Jewish community in Romania. He worked tirelessly, published prolifically, and evangelised without ceasing till his untimely death as a martyr at 37. He left behind him a large, growing, and influential community of Jewish believers in Romania, and as Wurmbrand says, “He became an outstanding personality among the disciples of Jesus in Romania, a pillar of God’s temple.”
More than that, the effect of NCMIs work can be seen all over Israel today – congregations that were founded, and the Caspari Center which provides invaluable resourcing for the Messianic community today was established in 1982. The Caspari vision is to “support emerging leaders who will transform Israel by developing and leading mature, confident and visionary Messianic communities.”
Countless Jewish people have found their Messiah and been well-grounded and established in the Scriptures due to God’s work through NCMI, and partly, according to Wurmbrand, as a result of this praying woman’s courage. And her little story.
From the book “Christ On The Jewish Road” by Richard Wurmbrand, Hodder & Stoughton 1970, which has this dedication: “To the memory of Isac Feinstein and others who gave their lives under the Nazis and Communists for being Jews and Christians”