Israel Iluz

Israel Iluz   Shalom, my name is Israel Iluz. My testimony is of one who grew up in a very religious family and tried to sustain  righteousness and to be a good man through keeping the Law. Much of my life was a failure to keep the Law, to keep what God has required of us as the Jewish people. And all my life I think that frustration has brought many questions into my heart. I remember amongst our friends we used to talk about the meaning of life. What is our purpose for all our existence? We're trying to keep Law, but the Law brought a lot of confusion into our lives. And that's why most of my life I grew up knowing that we cannot keep what our teachers, what our parents told us to do and brought even more frustration to us. Later on I made up my mind, I'm going to go overseas and I'm going to travel the world and whatever will be, will be. 

   I remember while making my plane to go to India to the Far East, a friend of mine mentioned South Africa. That's how the plan was born for going to South Africa. In the first week in South Africa, I didn't know anybody in the whole continent of Africa. I didn't know anyone. And in South Africa, the first place I went is to find a car, a second hand car. Going to the first garage that I see and I go in, the owner comes out and says “Can I help you?" With my broken English I'm telling him, “Listen, I’m looking for a second hand car to buy for a thousand dollars.” He answered me in Hebrew but I could speak in Hebrew, so we talked Hebrew between us. He asked me where I am from; I said I'm from Ma'alot. He says "Wow, I've got a family in Ma'alot, do you know the Iluz family? I said "Which Iluz family?" He said "Hasiva Eliyahu Iluz.” “ Hasiva? They're my parents, who are you? You're the son of Sora." Yes. “He came and gave me a hug and he says “your grandfather and my grandfather are brothers." And there I am, meeting the family in the middle of nowhere in South Africa. He introduced me to other Israelis. He introduced me to another guy who sold perfume, with whom I could work. So, while working the first client that I went to see is my wife to be Marty. She didn't want to buy perfume from me, but she agreed to come for a coffee. And we're having coffee for the past twenty five years with three kids. 

   In 1994, I came to the Drakensberg. In Drakensberg, after all my meetings, I come to a place called Drag and Fix, it's a resort in South Africa just to find out that there's no accommodation and there is no place to eat so I'm parking my car next to a supermarket. It's raining, it's dark and I'm in my car. I see a man crossing over in front of my car and running towards the supermarket. He opened the supermarket, so quickly I ran after him to buy something to eat and when I got a few stuff and I come to pay, the guy asked me "Are you by any chance Israeli?" Obviously he got my accent. I said "Yes, I'm Israeli." "Are you Jewish?" Of course. “What are you doing here?" he says. I explained to him my situation and he said to me "Israel, it will be an honor and a privilege to have you as my guest." As I am going to his house, meeting his wife and his child, I looked around me and I see Israel is all around me: I see the flag of Israel, Magen David in front of the wall, I see Yirushalayim, I see the menorah, I see the Hanukkia, I see wall plate of shalom and I looked at him and asked him “What is this?" And he shared with me about his love for the Jewish people, his love for Israel, his love for the God of Israel, and then, yes, his love for the Messiah Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel. Of course, I joked “Messiah of Israel? Who? What are you talking about? And he shares with me about Yeshua Hamashiach. The way I grew up, we grew up to hate this name, Yeshua. We grew up to despise Christianity because of all the past. He shared with me from the Old Testament and I'll be honest with you, in my heart, I was cringing and Jesus was very uncomfortable, I was very uncomfortable with this thing. But I was looking outside, it's raining, it's dark. I said to myself in my heart "Israel, you'd better take this Yeshua, Jesus, the Messiah or otherwise you go outside." And then we talked, we talked more over about his love for Israel, the Jewish people, the Bible. He showed me the Scriptures. We spoke about 'til 2 o'clock at night, till I said I am tired. The next morning, I had breakfast and before I went he asked me if he could pray for me. You know for us as Jewish people, if you asked somebody how to pray, you take a book and you say " What do you want, about family, health, business and so on and so on. No, he didn't take any book, he said, "Can I hold your hand?" He just held my hand; I get close with him, his wife, his child. I just closed my eyes. I don't know how to call this experience because I have never heard somebody pray like this. He prayed for my good, he prayed for my health, he prayed that the Lord will bless me, for his love for me. He didn't even know me. I remember later coming to my wife Marty, I said to my wife “Marty, don't speak with your hands up, that belongs to God."

   Six months later, when I had completely forgotten all about it, but God didn't forget about me. I met another guy through a business meeting. His name is Peter Felix. It turns out again, realizing that I'm Israeli, I'm Jewish. He turns to talk about God, the God of Israel and, as you guessed, the Messiah of Israel. We talked and again he also prayed but this time he gave me this Bible. He gave me this Bible that I'm still holding it in my hand, the New Testament. He says “Can I give you a gift?" He gave me the New Testament in Hebrew. It sat next to my bed, in one of the shelves there, I didn't open it. I think it was about a few weeks later when I took the Bible and said, "Let's see what those Christians say about the Jewish people." I was expecting to hear, to read there "Kill the Jews, destroy the Jews." After all the Holocaust, the pogrom, the inquisition, all these come from the Christians that I knew and all Hebrew names, I say, “What's this?” and I'm looking at this Bible and realized this is a Jewish book. But of course I'm not buying this because I'm looking for ways that hate here for the Jewish people. So, looking and I'm going and I'm going, I don't find anything. I found the opposite, oh that was the interesting part. Something of the word of Jesus irritated me. I remembered in the beginning I said “Who speaks like this?"  It's like a hutzpah, like a chick, who speaks like this?" “I am the way, I am the truth, and I am the life." What is it? 

   Later on, Yeshua was drawing me back to prove it, maybe this is rubbish, this is wrong. But the more and more I read into it, I don't ask "Who speaks like that?" But I said "Wow, who speaks like that?" I think the word of Yeshua opened like a flood into many areas in my life that I couldn't explain and Yeshua nailed the hypocrisy and their prayer but with no meaning in their heart, with no intention in their heart to change, that was me. God was there. And I read all of this, asked God to go to this problem. I read this book many times, from cover to cover, again and again. Something about this, the New Testament referring to the Old Testament. In the beginning, I put all this, that’s reading from the Old Testament and I went to search word to word from the Old Testament, saying to myself “I wonder what the Rabbi think about it." 

   And then actually I believed the journey, my journey started for about almost two years for the search. The desire to believe in something was so strong and I thought like now I needed to know beyond the shadow of a doubt, even if it makes sense to me, in the intellect it makes sense, my heart makes sense but I needed to know more than this. And I pray, all mine is crying to the God of Israel to reveal to me the truth. And the answer came a week later, one morning; I got up in the morning, 5 o'clock in the morning, went to the garden in the back of our house, opened the door and saw the creations that suddenly take a whole new shape, a new form and a new meaning. I'm looking to the heaven and I cried. I'm looking at trees, I listen to the birds. The sun just rose and only now makes sense to me. Joy has filled my heart out of nowhere. Joy, peace that I never knew. I knew in my heart everything's going to be all right. Everything would be alright. I was smiling, I was crying. I didn't know where to put myself but I knew it's because of Yeshua Hamashiah. Much later on I realized, that morning I was Born-Again. I was washed. I was cleansed. And I was filled by God's Spirit. Until now I couldn't define those words then but I knew that something happened to me. I have changed. I found peace, joy, rest, hope but I know for my people in Israel there's still hope to know their Messiah. There is no other way of peace; there is no other way to have true Shalom. It is only in Yeshua Hamashiah. Amen.

 

Israeli Luz Hearing His Voice Testimony

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