HOW A JEW DISCOVERED THAT JESUS WAS THE MESSIAH
ANGLO-SAXONS ARE THE LOST TRIBES OF ISRAEL
THIS is the story of a valiant Jewish
soldier of the Cross. Marcus S. Bergmann was born in Wieruszow, a town bordering Silesia,
(a small European Country, bounded by Czechoslovakia, Germany and Poland), in 1846. His
Jewish father, who was a strong Talmudist and a member of the Chassidim (also called
Assideans or Hasidim. A sect which was the most strict adherent
of Judaism), did not long survive his infant sons birth, and so the boy was reared by his uncle, Woolf Bergmann, who also belonged to the Chassidim. This mansaw to it that young Marcus studied the choicest Rabbinical and Talmudic writing, for he too was to become a rabbi to his people.
Marcus was barely twenty years old when a sudden disturbing restlessness came upon him, and he felt a spiritual burden quite strange to him. Disquieted in his thoughts, he was unable to concentrate on his studies, and he longed to leave his comfortable home and his country to wander he knew not where.
The puzzled young Jew could not understand this urge to pull up stakes and get going, but it was not long before God spoke to his troubled spirit, and Marcus actually heard these words: Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, unto a land that I will show thee! Day after day the words rang in his ears. No matter how he tried he could not still their clamour and he had no rest from their constantly compelling allurement. The words called to him even while he slept!
Finally he obeyed the Insistent voice, and he made preparations to leave behind him all the people he loved. Marcus Bergmann arrived in England in 1866, where he set up a small synagogue in London. He ministered there for a while without pay, living on monies from the inheritance bequeathed him by his father.
Although Marcus Bergmann had obeyed God by leaving Silesia and going to the land pointed out by His finger, he was not doing the will of God. Because he had not enquired of the Almighty concerning that which he should do, Gods hand struck heavily upon him, and he was laid low in grave illness. He was taken to a hospital, where he hovered between life and death for a period of six weeks.
While doctors and nurses tried to heal Marcus body, God undertook the healing of his soul. This required skilled surgery of the most desperate kind, for a great cancerous hatred of Jesus had to be cut out of it. Such an operation takes a long time to perform but the hands of God are creative and all-healing, and whosoever submits to the genius of His soul-saving operation lives forever!
Let Marcus Bergmanns own words tell the story of Gods way with him. In later life he wrote an account of his conversion for The Hebrew Christian (New York) which was published in the September 1894 issue of that magazine.
After mentioning his weeks of illness, Mr. Bergmann wrote: When feeling a little better I began to look into the Hebrew Bible, which was on the shelf in the ward. As a reader in the synagogue, I knew the letter of the whole of the Pentateuch, and other portions of the Old Testament by heart.
The portion of Scripture that made a great impression on me at the time of my illness was Daniel 9. Several verses of this chapter (the confession of Daniel) are repeated each Monday and Thursday by every Jew; but the latter part of this chapter, which so plainly prophesies of the sufferings of the Messiah is never read. In fact, the Rabbis pronounce a dreadful curse upon everyone who investigates the prophecy of those seventy weeks.
say: Their bones shall rot who compute the end of the time!
On remembering the
anathema, it was with fear and trembling that I read the passage about the seventy weeks
and coming to verse 26; Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself though we
Jews are most careful not to let a Hebrew book drop on the ground I threw that
Hebrew Bible out of my hand, thinking in my ignorance, that this was one of the
But, although I threw the Bible away, yet I could not throw away the words I had just read: Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. These words sank deeper and deeper into my soul, and wherever I looked I seemed to see the words in flaming Hebrew characters, and I had no rest for some time!
God had plunged His scalpel into the soul of Marcus Bergmann, and had begun to excise the life-sapping cancer of his unbelief!
The second stroke of the knife was made on the morning Marcus again took up the Bible, and without looking for any particular passage, his eyes were held by the eighth verse in Isaiah 53:
He was taken from
prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of
the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken!
According to Marcus Bergmann, no Jew ever reads Isaiah 53. Regarding verse 8, he wrote: This seemed to be the answer to the question that I was constantly asking myself during this time of soul-conflict: Messiah shall be cut off. but not for Himself. For whom was it? Here it was plainly revealed to me. For the transgression of My people, and surely I belonged to His (God's) people, and therefore, Messiah was cut off from me
Gods scalpel was cutting deeply now, and the cancer was being lifted up and away. This was revealed by Marcus Bergmann when he wrote: Shortly after this I left the hospital and was again among my Jewish friends, but I could not banish from my mind those two passages!
The wonderful operation upon the soul of Marcus Bergmann was still progressing the morning he put on his phylacteries and the talith (a Phylactery is a small square box containing a thin strip of parchment inscribed with a certain text from the law worn by pious Jews upon the forehead and left wrist. The talith is a scarf worn while at prayer) before he said his prayers. To his horror he found he could not utter a single word out of the orthodox Jewish prayer-book!
He could think of nothing except a passage from Psalm 119:
Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold the wondrous things out of Thy law. I am a stranger in the earth: hide not Thy commandments from me. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto Thy judgments at all times.
This agonized prayer filled his
mind, and he kept saying it over and over, as he strove to lessen the pain of his yearning
after peace and tranquility.
After laying aside the phylacteries and talith I left the house without tasting my food, he wrote, and as I walked along the streets I prayed again in the words of the Psalmists: Lead me in Thy truth and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation, on thee I do wait all the day!
My heart was burdened with a very great load, and yet I dared not open my mind to anyone. In this state I believe, the Spirit of God led me to Palestine-place. (Situated near the junction of Christchurch and Church Roads in Merton an outer suburb of London.) My heart failed me when I reached the door of the late Revd Dr Ewald.
After several vain attempts I ventured to knock, and was admitted to see that venerable servant of the Lord. To him I unburdened my soul and told him all that was in my heart. He asked me whether or not I was willing to come into his home for enquirers, in order to be instructed in the truth as it is exemplified in the Lord Jesus.
I told him that this was just what I needed, and I at once accepted his kindness. This was just one week before the Passover!
While the members of Marcus Bergmanns congregation at the synagogue kept the Feast of the Paschal lamb, he learned of the Lamb of God, who was sacrificed for the salvation of mankind, and the redemption of Israel, and he was comforted.
Not long afterward Marcus accepted our lord Jesus the Christ as his Saviour, and Gods operation upon his soul was finished. The cancerous core of hatred had been cut out, forever, and the Saviours healing love occupied the place where it had grown.
And then came the after-pain which follows all surgery performed upon the flesh.
When members of the synagogue discovered that Marcus had turned to Christ they raged and tore their beards. They pleaded with him to remain true to his Talmudic teachings, but Marcus was happy and secure in his Saviour and he could not be persuaded.
His refusal to return to Judaism whipped their fury to white heat, and they counselled together to plot his ruin. Craftily they framed a charge against him, and accused him of theft. They lodged a formal complaint with the police, had him arrested, and gloated over him when he was put in prison to await his trial.
Marcus Bergmann was arraigned before the lord Mayor of London at the Mansion House, and many were his accusers.
Police court procedure in Britain is totally dissimilar to police court procedure in the United States. In Britain witnesses for the prosecution and witnesses for the defence are kept apart, under guard, and no witness is allowed to hear testimony given by another. This prevents witnesses from making any secret agreements for fraudulent or evil purposes. It also helps the judge to decide which witnesses are making lying statements.
In the case of Marcus Bergmarn the criminal charges brought against him were proved to be false. Cross examination of his accusers and their supporting witnesses revealed that all of them had given false testimony. Time after time they contradicted each others evidence, and the prisoner was judged to be innocent.
The plotters were found guilty of perjury and after being obliged to listen to an ear-blistering discourse from the Bench. they were sentenced to serve terms in prison. So it turned out that these enemies of the Lord Jesus fell into the pit they had dug for Marcus Bergmann. It is hoped that they meditated on Ecclesiastes 10:8 while they were in prison.
After this shattering experience the Lords new servant became a devoted missionary to the Jews in London. He worked quietly among his people, spending long hours in revealing the truths in the New Testament, yet he found time to translate the Old Testament into Yiddish.
To his great joy the British and Foreign Bible society published his translation of the Pentateuch, and he began to circulate copies of it among the Jewish people he had brought to the feet of Christ. They loved it, because they could read the first five books of the Bible in their own language.
Marcus sent a copy of the translated Pentateuch to his Uncle Woolf, who wrote him a letter of appreciation and praise. Receipt of his uncles letter must have come as a surprise to Marcus because, although he had kept writing to this relative over a period of twenty-five years, Woolf Bergmann had never penned a single word in reply.
In writing to his nephew, Woolf Bergmann admitted he was very proud of Marcus translation, and that parts of it had been sent to the Rabbi Kalman and to Marcus cousin Nathan, who was Rabbi in Pitschen, Silesia. However, he warned Marcus not to expect to hear from them, for he had sinned against the God of their fathers by forsaking Him to follow after the Crucified One, as was the custom of the Gentiles. Therefore, his kinfolk thought of Marcus as someone who had died in disgrace and shame.
If Woolf Bergmann believed these harsh sentiments would coerce Marcus into blowing cold in his love for the Son of God, he was mistaken. Marcus was committed and dedicated, loving and beloved, and he could not turn back.
Naturally, Marcus was saddened by the coldness of his uncles letter, but the lord God of Israel comforted him by revealing to him the glorious knowledge of His Kingdom to come. And that knowledge came to him through a young nobleman.
For hundreds of years it has been the custom for the heads of aristocratic British families to dedicate their sons for the service of their country, and to educate them for public office. One particular familys records may show a long list of distinguished justices, barristers, and others connected with the courts of law, another family will point with pride to portraits of their menfolk who have been high ranking naval officers since the day of Drake and Raleigh. and other illustrious houses will be identified with unbroken lines of men who have served the nation as churchmen, statesmen, ambassadors, military leaders, and so on.
The sons of these great houses, such as the Cecils, the Churchills, and the Edens, to name just a few, are trained from babyhood to become a credit to the nation. Some are enrolled at Oxford and Cambridge on the days of their births, for their destinies are shaped by tradition.
Especially gifted sons are tutored in the privacy of their homes, where there are few distractions to interfere with concentration on teaching and study.
And God led Marcus Bergmann to such a house.
A wealthy and titled English gentleman had a beloved and talented son who showed promise of developing into a brilliant and scholarly man of letters. Determined to give his heir every educational advantage available,the indulgent father decided to have him tutored in Hebrew as well as in other languages.
At that time in England there were many Jews who were qualified to teach, and several of them applied for the position. So did Marcus Bergmann. The fairness for which he was noted compelled the nobleman to grant interviews to every man who was interested in teaching his son, but Marcus impressed him most of all, because he was a Christian..
Marcus and his pupil liked each other from the start, and their liking developed into a strong friendship. The chosen course of study involved the reading of the Old Testament, and one day the young nobleman called his tutors attention to Isaiah 42:6, where it is written:
I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
Then, turning to Isaiah 49:8 the youth read the prophets inspired words:
Thus saith the Lord, In
an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I
will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to
cause to inherit the desolate places.
As the dear young voice uttered these glorious words, Marcus Bergmanns heart leaped within him, and his blood churned so loudly in his ears he could hardly hear the lad say, Then Christ Is Given To Britain.
Bergmann stared in surprise at his pupil, who confessed, "I am a British Israelite, sire."
Marcus was stunned. What had the boy said? Was it possible that the Almighty had forsaken Judah? Had the Messiah given Himself to Gentile Britain?
He fell upon his knees, beseeching Jehovah to take the veil from his eyes and show him the truth of the matter. And God sent His servant to consult His Book.
Eagerly, feverishly, Marcus searched the Scriptures for more evidence of this wonderful revelation. He found it in Matthew 21:42-45, and his heart ached with anguish for his Christ-hating people. He needed no more evidence, for the Judge of judges had said:
Kingdom of God shall be taken from you (Judah) and given to a nation bringing forth the
And Britain had brought forth the fruit, which was the spreading of the Gospel of Salvation! Was not the British and Foreign Bible Society busy bringing out translations of the Bible in many languages - his own Yiddish translation among them? What of the hundreds of British missionaries who had gone to far lands, to carry the Word and to suffer for the Lord?
Christ was the first fruit of the Kingdom and the British were proclaiming Him everywhere as the King of Kings They were Gods Israel!
Bergmann prayed God for honour of teaching this glorious, shining Truth.; God heard, and
granted to him the coveted privilege.
It was not long before Marcus was standing befor large groups of people, telling them the reason they had been so richly blessed was because they had accepted the Messiah. The Jews, he said, were a persecuted, miserable people, whose sufferings would continue until they, too, accepted Him.
He contended that Britains mighty power was derived from her belief in the saving grace of Jesus, and that she would inherit the Kingdom because of it.
Marcus Bergmann made no secret of his Jewish background, and he exulted in his confession of Christ as Saviour. As a member of the British Israel Association* he witnessed steadfastly and strongly for the rest of his days, happy and proud to be serving the Lord.
He died in 1923, at the age of 76, glorying in the Crucified One to the last, praying that the time soon would come when Judah would love Him, and breathe His Holy Name In reverence.
[Mr Bergmann was a member of the Imperial Council of the British Israel Association, London, during the early years of this century along with such notables as Dr Aldersmith, Rev Chancellor Hanan and General G.R. Roberts.]
The Story written
by Mary Hughes of Kingdom Digest is reprinted from THY KINGDOM COME
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