How does one delineate between fact and fiction? Lorna Simcox had an accomplished background in writing in the newspaper business. She was keenly aware of how accounts can be concocted and embellished convincing many. One day she watched a television interview that seized her attention since a Jewish man claimed that the Messiah they were waiting for, had already come. He stated that Jesus was in fact the Messiah and she stopped listening.
Lorna married out and out of politeness attended a church service though she was wondering how long it would be until she could go home. Nonetheless three little words caught her by surprise, namely ‘Year of Jubilee.’ Lorna had been taught about how Israel was to celebrate the Year of Jubilee and proclaim liberty throughout the land by her Hebrew teacher. She knew that those words came from the Torah and then heard other Hebrew Scriptures referred to and pondered why Gentiles would concern themselves with such matters.
She asked her husband (James), why Jewish people do not believe in Jesus. Her husband paused and admitted he did not know and suggested asking a rabbi. He added that he believed that Jesus was more than just a man and was God come to earth. Lorna asked what many people question, how can a man be God? Nonetheless in this case the opposite is true in that God took on flesh and tabernacled among us (John 1:14).
In Hebrew school Lorna and her peers assumed that good people went to heaven and although defining good was obviously tricky the main point was treating others as you would have them treat you and try to be a good person. Lorna noted that being good appeared to be relative since the Law was so extensive and there were many ongoing disputes which rabbis differed on. In the overall scheme of matters she thought that she was progressing relatively well since she had a wholesome lifestyle though she had no personal assurance as to whether she would go to heaven.
Lorna contemplated her dilemma. She reasoned that had she lived in a different era, then she would have had needed clarity. Had she lived when the temple was in use before AD70 then she could have followed the Torah, made a sacrifice and the animal slaughtered would be presented in her place. An important verse was Leviticus 17:11, ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.’ How then could she be certain of forgiveness? At this point she was not aware that heaven is not for ‘good’ people but for ‘forgiven’ people.
Lorna astutely noted that there are other religions that revolve around human merit. A colleague of hers who was especially capable at exposing the futility of the concept of venial and mortal sins, asked a Catholic priest a series of questions about the seriousness of taking money from a poor man and a wealthy man. He concluded that the difference between the venial and mortal sin amounted to $37.50!
However Lorna was left with a thought that would not go away and that she needed to investigate. What if Yeshua (Jesus) was the Messiah? She would use her scrupulous skills she had acquired as a reporter to ascertain this. The classic objections arose such as how could there be ‘three gods,’ Father, Son and Holy Spirit? And what about all the suffering her people had endured over the years at the hands of the Gentiles? She felt like a traitor for even contemplating the matter and was consumed by guilt. What would her parents have thought?
Later on she caught up with her best friend Nancy who was also Jewish and who she had not seen since her wedding. They picked up where they had left from, and Lorna explained that she was contemplating the possibility that Jesus might be the Messiah. Just before they departed Nancy disclosed that she was trusting Jesus as her personal Saviour.
Lorna wanted to know what had convinced her. Nancy explained that the words Elohim and Adonai, Hebrew names for God that she had used all her life are plural. This helped her to understand the compound unity within the Godhead and contained even within the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4. Lorna started reading the New Testament and discovered in Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus was a descendant and the Son of David and Abraham.
Nancy suggested that Lorna read John’s Gospel which she did. Lorna thought about God’s Son dying for her to make atonement but needed confirmation that that was true. She continued reading and when she read the book of Hebrews (which comments profoundly on Leviticus), she was able to put the pieces together and discovered the enormity of what Yeshua had done. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9:12).” There is only one way of salvation for everyone and that is through the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.
Someone does not become a believer and then everything works out perfectly and they live happy ever after; even though they can have an assurance of where they are going after they die. Lorna encountered great tragedies and sorrowful times in her life, having lost her first husband before he had even retired which was a painful time in her life, though God provided for her needs, brought people into her life to help her and strengthened her faith in Him.
Lorna wisely continued in meeting with others for frequent fellowship and particularly Bible studies and was amazed to learn how Jesus fulfilled so many prophecies. When she looked at the Tanakh (Old Testament) and Brit Hadasha (New Testament), she recognised how they did indeed fit like a hand in a glove. Lorna met and married another Gentile called Tom who has such a love for the Jewish people that that was one of his non- negotiable marriage requirements! They are both actively involved in ‘The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry’ and Lorna is the Editor-in-Chief.