Pastor Joseph Haddad is an Arab Israeli who leads a Messianic congregation in Nahariya, in northern Israel.
In recent years the congregation has included Lebanese Christians who had fought alongside of IDF troops in Lebanon for 25 years.
Five years ago, when the Israeli army withdrew from southern Lebanon, these Lebanese Christians who had stood with Israeli forces as the Southern Lebanese Army had to leave their property and possessions and seek refuge in Israel.
Haddad says that these Lebanese Christians had suffered many casualties in their willingness to lay down their own lives to defend the northern Israeli border against terror attacks.
We recall Yeshua/Jesus’ saying that no person has a greater love than the person who lays down his life for his friends.
Haddad speaks of the first Jewish person who came to know Yeshua in his congregation. His name is Yacov. He had been an underground fighter alongside of (former Prime Minister) Menachem Begin as they fought against the British in the ’40s to establish the State of Israel.
It was a Lebanese Christian refugee who last year invited Yacov to attend Haddad’s congregation. Yacov was 72 years old. He met and accepted Yeshua while attending.
Haddad reports that only two weeks after Yacov’s salvation, he had a severe heart attack. He managed to make it to a neighbor’s front door. His body was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.
After repeated electrical shocks, he was revived, but he remained unconscious for three days. He opened his eyes on the fourth day. Doctors described his recovery as miraculous.
But Yacov had not been without awareness while he appeared to be unconscious. Like many who have survived near-death experiences, Yacov was given a tour by the best of personal tour guides.
He reports that he encountered Yeshua, dressed in white and radiating a dazzling light. Yacov says that Yeshua took him by the hand and they toured heaven together. Yacov reports that Yeshua spoke of the heavenly Jerusalem, our eternal home.
Yacov was new enough in his faith walk that he hadn’t read Revelation 21, but his description of what he saw confirms it. Yacov, like many who have had similar experiences, was disappointed to find himself back on Earth.
His one regret? “That I didn’t have a camera to videotape all the amazing beauty of the heavenly Jerusalem.”
Haddad described Yacov as the “first-fruit Jewish believer” in his Lebanese congregation.
He said a particular blessing to him in recent months has been seeing a young, former fanatical Muslim holding Yacov’s hand while they praise Yeshua together.
Increasingly in Nahariya and across the world, similar glimpses of the “one new man in Messiah” can be caught by those who have eyes to see.
Christine Colbert is a writer and editorial consultant who hails from Kansas City.
The aftermath of a massive attack on Christians from radical Muslims in Nigeria is shown in the video and account below, from Voice of the Martyrs:
“Dr. Kim,” the director of VOMedical, has been a medical professional for more than three decades. He’s worked emergency rooms and performed autopsies. But none of the horrors he has encountered measures up to the devastation he found after radical Muslims attacked Dogo Nahawa and two other northern Nigerian villages last March.
Today we were able to see numerous patients at several hospitals. There were fewer gunshots and far more machete and knife wounds than I have seen in the past in northern Nigeria. It looks to me like the Muslims had sharpened their weapons before the attack, because the wounds on these folks were significantly deeper and more destructive than any of those I saw in January when Muslims attacked Christians in Jos. The epitome was a 4-year-old little girl whose left arm was slashed and amputated above the elbow.