Israel My Glory In Depth: Interview with Steve Herzig
Which seven chapters of the Bible would you choose to tell your story? Your background and your walk with the Lord play an important part in the chapters of Scripture you consider most influential. Steve Herzig’s list gives insight into his Orthodox Jewish background and traces how he came to faith in Christ. From God’s covenants with Israel to Messianic and end-times prophecy to the nature of God, these chapters are treasures for Steve. He wrote about them in the latest issue of Israel My Glory, and this week he adds insight into his Jewish upbringing and his method of choosing his list.
What about you? Choosing your seven is a fun, personal way to reflect on your relationship with the Lord. Share your seven chapters with us in the comments below!
Check out Steve’s article, “My Seven Chapters.”
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher Chris Katulka.
Chris Katulka: Hey, Steve. We've got a great show lined up for everybody. We're actually doing our Israel My Glory In Depth episode, where we look at our most recent issue of Israel My Glory, our flagship magazine here from The Friends of Israel Today Gospel Ministry. Our latest issue is called Israel Makes A Difference. We actually have Steve Herzig, the North American Ministries Director of the Friends of Israel in the studio and he'll be talking about his article in Israel My Glory, which is called My Seven Chapters.
Steve Conover: But first, in the news. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz recently said that Iran was finishing the enrichment of uranium. This after the production and installation of 1,000 advanced centrifuges at a new underground site in the Natanz nuclear facility. Gantz said during an Institute for National Security Studies Conference, "It stands just a few weeks away from obtaining fissile material needed for a first bomb."
Chris Katulka: Steve, here's my take, with all the chaos happening in Eastern Europe, now is not the time to take our eyes off of Iran. In fact, Iran's oil exports have doubled since August, filling the coffers of the leading state sponsor of terrorism, which is the exact same way Putin is able to fund his war against Ukraine.
Chris Katulka: We're with Steve Herzig. He is the North American Ministries Director here at The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We're doing our Israel My Glory In Depth episode, which is one of my favorites, because we get to highlight one of the articles in Israel My Glory. The one that stood out to me and to Steve and to Tom as we were talking about, "What article do we want to talk about in our upcoming interview," yours popped up because of the seven chapters. First of all, where did this concept for My Seven Chapters... And it's titled My Seven Chapters.
If you had to choose seven chapters from scripture to tell the story of your personal walk with God, could you do it? Where did this all come from, Steve?
Steve Herzig: Well, I would like to tell you that seven came because it was a spiritual thing, six days of creation and the seventh day God rested, or I'd like to tell you it came from the seven feast days, which comes from the Torah, six being man's number and seven being God's number, but I can't tell you that. It's not spiritual at all. I was given an assignment to speak at a conference last summer, and I'm supposed to do seven messages.
Chris Katulka: That's a lot of messages to come up with for one conference.
Steve Herzig: Well, I prayed about what I was going to speak on, and I've been to this conference several times and they're very interested in the Jewish people and Israel. I've spoken in the past on prophecy. I've spoken on the holidays, and I've spoken on a lot of things similar to that, right up Friends of Israel's alley and it's great. But I began to think about it and thought, seven chapters, could I find seven chapters that would tell my story? I bounced it off my wife, my worst critic.
I bounced off lots of things, including writing articles for IMG. I've had to read what I thought was finished articles. I'll give her the article and she'll read it and look up at me and say, "What's your point?"
Chris Katulka: She's one of the proofreaders for the magazine as well.
Steve Herzig: She is a proofreader. Back in the days of typewriters, I would type out the article, hand it to her, paper. She'd read it and say, "What's your point?" I'd grab the paper back with my head down and say, "I got to rewrite this." It took me a long time to find seven chap... From all the Bible seven chapters?
Chris Katulka: Well, and the thing I love that you did too is I remember when you were doing this, you had actually even come to some people. You had come to me and others at Friends of Israel and said, "What are your seven important chapters in the Bible?" I remember you were also getting... You put your feelers out for what other people thought as well.
Steve Herzig: I wanted to run it by people to see what they thought. Could they take the challenge? Think about it, Chris, especially here at Friends of Israel, I was asking these people are in the Bible all the time. I asked those that I considered scholars, other people who I knew loved the Lord and were in the Word. Seven chapters, it's not easy. I wrote down a whole bunch of chapters from the scriptures and said, "I really like these." You have to neglect whole books. Forget just the chapters.
You have to say, "Nope, can't use that one. Nope, not going to use that one." Those are important. They're all important. But man oh man. I mean, you have to forsake... In my seven chapters, I didn't pick one chapter from the Letter to Rome. Not one. Not one from Rome.
Chris Katulka: You're probably upsetting people right now as we speak.
Steve Herzig: I didn't pick one from the Psalms. Not one. It wasn't for lack of interest in them. But when I had to boil it down, I only had seven messages. I had to pick seven chapters and I tried to choose those chapters in reference to my story. That's another part of this whole thing. Not just choosing my favorite chapters, but chapters that were significant to me as I try to tell a story.
Chris Katulka: Your story really quick is that you grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home and you came to faith in your twenties. Actually you came to faith through a Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry Bible study. I believe we've had conversations about this in the past on the radio program, but that's why these seven chapters are important. Let's dive into them. You have seven chapters. We're going to go through those seven chapters in our remaining time together. The first one begins in Genesis chapter 3, Steve.
Steve Herzig: Genesis chapter 3, Chris. Genesis 3 answers the questions that are asked all the time by people. Why? Why did my wife die so young? Why wasn't my child born well? Why did that person get murdered? Why is there evil in the world? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? For us, from a Jewish background, we have Yom Kippur, which talks about sin. We know about sin. I believed in sin. I believed the Torah, which was emphasized every Shabbat when we went to synagogue. Genesis chapter 3 talks about sin.
It talks about Adam's sin. The question is, does Adam's sin go down to us? That's a Jewish question. There are many Jewish scholars who don't believe sin is passed down from mother and father to child. They believe that it's some outside force that it happens to you. Thus, every child born is not just innocent of activity of sin, but innocent of sin itself. And that somehow along the way, this comes. I never believed that. I just didn't. I knew that I was sinful.
Steve Herzig: I knew that Genesis 3 was the key place that talks about sin, and that there were penalties in sin. All these things. Genesis 3 gave me the knowledge of an awareness of sin, which obviously ultimately plays a role in any person's salvation. If you don't believe you're a sinner, then you don't have to be saved at all.
Chris Katulka: Genesis 3 also gives us a picture of that God had a plan to redeem the sin as well, to take care of the judgment and the curse that came on Adam and Eve with Genesis 3:15-16. That becomes an important part as well, I'm sure.
Steve Herzig: A huge thing in the midst of bad news. I mean, women, you're going to be in pain for childbirth, men by the sweat of your brow, the earth, there's thorns and thistles. It's bad. And then there's this hope. Genesis 3:15, the seed of the woman. That wasn't emphasized a whole lot, at least at my stage. Remember, I'm in elementary school at the time that we're really doing. But I was aware of it.
Steve Herzig: But yes, that plays a key role in my testimony, the seed of the woman, and tracing that seed later throughout the scripture. Genesis 3 was a very important chapter for me.
Chris Katulka: All right. The next one, you actually have two in Genesis here, because then Genesis 12, the promise that God made to Abraham.
Steve Herzig: Genesis 12 is very important because now the seed gets defined. After 11 chapters, God's talking about big things, people and nations and all that history. And then he's going to center in on a man, this man Abram, who leaves the Ur of the Chaldees, a Gentile idol worshiper, now chosen, and God gives him promises.
Steve Herzig: Oh, and the promises are very important, a land, a seed, a blessing for this one man and his descendants, which, ultimately, of course, we all know, even though I don't mean to spoil the ending here, Chris, but obviously Abraham seed ends up not only being the Lord Jesus, but the Lord Jesus ends up being because of the nation of Israel. He's Jewish.
Chris Katulka: He is Jewish, and that becomes a big part of not only why we... It's one of the reasons that we exist here at the Friends of Israel. We are here because God said, "I will bless those who bless you to the Jewish people, and I will curse those who curse you." Even here at Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, we said we must defend the Jewish people. We must stand up for them, even in their darkest times as an organization, going back to 1938 during the Holocaust.
Chris Katulka: And that's why Christians got together, banded together to help Jewish people based on that promise right here in Genesis 12 as well.
Steve Herzig: Chris, it's not a good day for a Friends of Israel person unless Genesis 12 is spoken somewhere around the world by an FOI person.
Chris Katulka: Well, listen, we're with Steve Herzig. He is the North American Ministries Director here at the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We're talking about his seven chapters. Maybe you have seven chapters. We're going to talk about that in a moment. These aren't the only seven chapters. I want to share later on what one lady came up and said to Steve, but you got to stick around to hear that funny story.
Chris Katulka: Listen, this is your opportunity actually to get your hands on Israel My Glory magazine where you can read Steve's Seven Chapters. I really want to encourage you to go to foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org. Now, if you have never subscribed to Israel My Glory, you can get a one year free subscription to our award-winning Christian magazine that talks all about Israel and the Jewish people from a biblical perspective. You'll get a one year free subscription. The magazine will come right to your door.
But we also have another offer for you. You could even sign up for our digital Israel My Glory. Now, what's nice about this is it will come to you in your computer, your tablet, your cell phone, but you'll also get 40 years of Friends of Israel's magazines right there on our website for you to be able to access. Tom and I were just talking beforehand and he said, "That's like if you were wandering around like Moses for 40 years, you would have 40 years of Friends of Israel content at your fingertips."
I want to encourage you to go to foiradio.org right now. Get your hands on a copy of our latest issue of Israel My Glory, Israel Makes a Difference and why we go there and why we stand by her. It's such a great issue. I want to encourage you to get your copy by going to foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Well, we're with Steve Herzig. He's the North American Ministries Director here at Friends of Israel. We're going through what he calls My Seven Chapters, which you can read about in our most recent issue of Israel My Glory. We've already done two of them, Genesis 3, Genesis 12. Steve, we have about 10 minutes left or so, and we've got five more to go. Steve, what's your third one?
Steve Herzig: My third one is from 2 Samuel chapter 7, Chris and that, of course, has to do with the Davidic Covenant we talk about. I know on the radio you've talked about the Davidic Covenant. For me, the king, king Jesus, king Messiah, king Christ, if you will, the Anointed One, an everlasting kingdom, an everlasting throne, sitting on a throne that's going to be in an everlasting land. I mean, the land of Israel. 2 Samuel is very important to me, King David. Jesus is greater one. That was very important to me.
Chris Katulka: I'm seeing a theme here too, Steve, especially as you talked about your Orthodox Jewish upbringing. We start off with the issue of sin. Sin is a real issue that we have to learn and understand as a part of who we are as individuals. It plays a major role in our life, that God provides a way of redemption. He chooses a family, Genesis 12, the family of Abraham.
And through that family, he chooses one particular person that comes from the line of David, 2 Samuel 7. I'm seeing a theme here, Steve, because now we're getting to your fourth one and that's Isaiah 53.
Steve Herzig: Chris, I don't know any Jewish believer who would not tell you that Isaiah 53 was not a significant chapter in their life, in their testimony. Certainly for me, Isaiah 53 was the first part of the Old Testament that I read that really identified Christ almost immediately as I read it, the humble servant, the person that has confounded the rabbis even to believing two messiahs. One's humble and the other victorious.
Steve Herzig: Isaiah 53 wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. He's the one. He ultimately is the seed of that woman in Genesis 3.
Chris Katulka: And that played a role in how you came to faith in the Lord Jesus as well.
Steve Herzig: Huge. Huge.
Chris Katulka: You see in the Old Testament that there is a suffering servant, one who would die. I remember you talking about how you just read Isaiah 53 to Jewish people. You wouldn't tell them where it came from, and they would say, "Get that New Testament away from me." And you go, "It's not the New Testament. It comes from Isaiah 53, our prophet."
Steve Herzig: Chris, Gentiles told me that they thought that was from the New Testament and certainly Jewish people as well. Isaiah 53, very important in my life.
Chris Katulka: All right, John 1, now we're moving into the New Testament, Steve.
Steve Herzig: We're going into the New Testament, and Chris, John 1, the Logos, “in the beginning was the Word.” The Jewish people have an Aramaic word called memra. When you trace that word memra in the Aramaic as it relates to the Jewish people in past history, they use the word memra like in our translations, Chris, whenever you see an italicized word, you know it's added. By the way, Gentiles didn't invent that, we did, Jewish people.
Steve Herzig: Long before Christians were ever here, memra was inserted as the agent for creating, for saving. Any kind of activity that God would do on the earth, they inserted the word memra. It's pretty close to the word logos. When John, who's Jewish, is writing, "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God," Logos was a philosophic word at the time, a Greek word, that also was an agent.
You have two corresponding agents, Jewish and Gentile, the audience reading John would know about. And in power, verse 14, and the word, the Logos, the Memra, became flesh and dwelt among us. That is powerful. Very powerful. Those are powerful words certainly impacted me, the idea of the God man, Jesus.
Chris Katulka: I've read scholars, they talk about Logos and they automatically go to Greek philosophy and how that word Logos was used in Greek philosophy, but I love what you're saying. No, that word Memra, which is what logos comes from in the Aramaic, was already there. It would've already been in John's mind. It's not a Greek philosophy, it's a Jewish philosophy that goes back to the Jewish scriptures.
Steve Herzig: Rooted in the Word.
Chris Katulka: That's right.
Steve Herzig: It's amazing. It's amazing. That was very powerful to me.
Chris Katulka: All right. Now we're jumping from John 1 and we're using John again though, but in a different book, Revelation chapter 19, Steve.
Steve Herzig: Revelation 19 is the Messiah coming in power that I long for long before I ever believed in Jesus. He's coming in power and authority. I viewed Him as a military figure on the earth. Well, he is a military figure, except he's coming from heaven to the earth. Revelation 19 to realize that Jesus is coming with fire in his eyes, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world is coming in power and glory, riding on a white horse.
Steve Herzig: And finally, Chris, those people who get away with everything, everything are not going to get away. “‘Vengeance is his,’ sayeth Lord.”
Chris Katulka: That's right. Revelation 19, that's a good one. Our last one, Steve, Revelation 21.
Steve Herzig: Revelation 21 is where God makes all things new, where the restoration, the fixing of planet earth, the fixing of man, putting it all together, that seat of the woman ultimately brings about what all of us, Jew and Gentile alike, look forward to, a blessed time that has a beginning, obviously in the millennial kingdom is the beginning, but eternity. Revelation 21. It's the ultimate reconstitution of what God intended it to be in the Garden. Currently Friends of Israel is doing From Eden to Eden in our Prophecy Up Close.
Chris Katulka: That's right.
Steve Herzig: You got to include Revelation... At least I thought. You got to include Revelation 21, but not everybody agrees.
Chris Katulka: I want to get there too, because you did Genesis 3, Genesis 12, 2 Samuel 7, Isaiah 53, John 1, Revelation 19, and Revelation 21. They're your seven chapters. I'm imagining you told me this story. You get done. You wrap up your seven messages from your seven chapters and a lady comes up to you and says, "I don't like those chapters."
Steve Herzig: That's exactly what... She comes up to me and says," I don't like your seven chapters." Okay, that's fine. They are mine. I chose them. But you can choose your own seven. At this conference throughout the week, as I did one a day, several people took up the challenge and came up to me and said, "This isn't easy." They're actually going through their scripture. This is on their vacation, taking time each day to search the scriptures.
Steve Herzig: They told me, "This has been a fulfilling activity for me." They would hand me little pieces of paper and share with me their seven.
Chris Katulka: It's a great way to connect your testimony as well. Like you said, it's part of your story and who you are as a Jewish believer in the Lord Jesus. Maybe you have a story. As you're driving around listening, as you're listening on the podcast, maybe you have a story and maybe this is a great opportunity, a challenge for you to go through the scriptures and to pick out seven chapters that matter to you.
Chris Katulka: Because I do think it helps with how you share the gospel with others as well and how the scriptures affected your life and have changed you over time. Steve, I'm always glad when you're in the studio, and I can't thank you enough for sharing your seven chapters.
Steve Herzig: My pleasure.
Steve Conover: Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor, Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: A few days ago, I went to Bethlehem to visit an injured Arab friend. All of his family and friends were there. At first, the conversation was about general matters, but then someone remarked, "When God created Eve, he deceived and desecrated Adam by putting him to sleep and robbing him of his rib to make a woman. Apparently already back then, God was on the side of the Jews." I did not understand the logic of this statement.
Soon the people became more excited and I could not get in a word. Sensing the fanaticism and bitterness, I decided to leave, but the head of the house became hostile and prevented me from going. I said, "I came here to visit a fellow worker who was injured and to treat me like this, shame on you. This is not at all in the Arab tradition of hospitality to a guest." My words apparently had a sobering effect on them, especially when I said in Arabic, "God is one and he is for all people without exception."
“When God created mankind, there were no Jews, no Arabs, no other nationalities. But when man sinned, he soon learned to hate others and to kill. People began to spread lies about each other and despise each other. For instance, you have been told the Jewish people have horns and tails, but you live among us and you can see that we are the same kind of people as you are. In fact, we are your relatives through Abraham. Over time, the children of Abraham began to hate and persecute one another.
They lacked mercy and compassion, until the time came when the Father in heaven sent his salvation into the world. And where did that happen? Right here in this little town of Bethlehem. Here was born the one whom you call Isa, and the Jews call Yeshua, and all the world knows as Jesus. This Jesus brought to all people forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation and he taught us to love one another." The eldest man present remarked, "How amazing. I thought the Jews hated Jesus, but you defend him. Are you really a Jew?"
I replied, "Yes. We who believe in Jesus are completed Jews. I came to see you because Jesus put love into my heart and told me to come see you. Jesus told us how to love our enemies." One of the men said, "We all respect you for what you believe, but we cannot agree with one thing. This Isa was a prophet, but Muhammad was the greatest of all prophets." I showed them from the scripture that the Lord Jesus Christ was the one promised in the Old Testament.
I explained that the New Testament tells us how he brought love into the world in contrast with the Quran, which says in Surah 190, "Hate your enemy. Kill him wherever you find him." They looked at each other perplexed and could not answer me. I then read John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The oldest man began to cry.
He walked over to me, embraced me, kissed me, and said, "Thank you very much. You taught us a great lesson today. We have so much to learn, especially about love. This is so strange to us."
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong, and I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
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Apples of Gold: With an Arab Family in Bethlehem
Zvi was visiting an Arab friend in Bethlehem who had fallen at their jobsite. Many friends and family of the man were present. The group became very out-of-hand, speaking mean and hateful things about the Jewish people and their God. Zvi decided to leave, but they would not allow him. Zvi admonished the crowd in Arabic, and suddenly the crowd listened to what he had to say. Listen to what happened next!
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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