This week our teams were not able to do outreach. We wanted our readers and prayer partners to read this great testimony of how God brought about this Bible publication with the help of two Jewish men. It is through this publication house that we receive free bibles to distribute to Jewish homes. We are very grateful for the privilege to be a part of this great work.
Only a Sovereign God would have called together a meeting of his children in 1940 from various churches to pray for the publication of a special New Testament in Hebrew and English to be distributed to His Chosen People, the Jews. The wonder is that at the time dark war clouds were gathering over Europe and Britain; it was a time of deprivation and shortage. The year 1940 was scarcely a propitious one in which to launch a new and unique project, but the God of miracles was preparing for the need of Israel in His own way and timing. We did not know of the tremendous tragedy to befall the Jew in Germany and we were not aware of God’s plan to establish the State of Israel in 1948, but we sought His guidance in fulfilling the vision He had given to a Hebrew Christian, Mr. Joseph Yoelson-Taffen and, in faith, trusted Him to supply and direct us.
As the bombs were falling in London, we continued to pray together in a garret close to the British Museum. We were shielded from harm in our journeys and the day came when we all felt it was time to step out in faith. We had no finance, but we believed in God and put this work into His hand. Where could the Hebrew text be obtained or typeset for us? One member of our group recalled that his society had the large plates of Salkinson and Ginberg’s Hebrew New Testament. These, he said, we could have for a bilingual version, using the English of the King James Version on the opposite page at each opening. Prayer had been wonderfully answered —but what about the paper we required? Every scrap had been requisitioned, none was left for wrapping purchases, and letters had to be written on the inside of carefully dissected envelopes! Mr. Yoelson-Taffen explained the need of our fledging society — the Society for Distributing the Holy Scriptures to the Jews — to the Paper Controller of the United Kingdom who allocated the best available Bible paper to meet the first printing. He was a Jew! This was another answer to prayer and a confirmation of God’s purpose and will for the vision to be fulfilled.
While steps were being taken to obtain printing paper, our business manager had approached the Cambridge University Press. They regretted that they could not take an order to print for us as the machines required for this special job were booked for months ahead. How we praise God for a telephone call from the Press — ‘One order has been cancelled and we could take your work at once if you had the paper; however, we know it is unobtainable.’ Imagine their surprise to learn that the paper allocation had been made, so that the Word of God could be printed.
After so many answers to prayer it was a shock to learn that the precious printed sheets had been sent to the premises of a binder in the Elephant and Castle, and that their premises that weekend had been bombed into rubble like most of the surrounding buildings. Early the next week the truck drew up with its load of printed sheets safe and sound: the driver had made a mistake and delivered them to the wrong address! The LORD had protected His Word for Israel as He did when a fire, in the hold of a ship taking a crate of these Hebrew New Testaments to Australia, destroyed much of the cargo but the charred container when opened, after prayer for its contents, revealed the bilingual Scriptures inside without a mark or stain.
During the 45 years of this unique ministry hundreds of thousands of Hebrew/English New Covenants (Testaments) have been distributed freely to Jews living in over 100 countries. Each Scripture we publish has no doctrinal or other additions to the pure Word of God. We are able to supply these lovely Scriptures for the use of missionaries working among the Jews, and to any reader who could give them to Jewish friends, workmates or neighbours. As we lay this vision before the LORD He has always supplied the need. We invite those who share in the concern of the Saviour for the ‘Lost Sheep of the House of Israel’ and ‘whose heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved’ to unite with us in prayer and to seize the opportunity of joining in this God-honouring and Scriptural ministry while we await the return of the LORD.
Many letters reach us telling of God’s blessing of salvation to Jews in prison, in the home, on holiday, in the United States of America, in the United Kingdom, Europe, Israel and the Middle East, South America, Australia, South Africa and so on. “My Word shall not return to Me void — It shall accomplish that which I please and prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” This is the Word of the LORD.
Article by F. Fletcher Hyde, President and Chairman of the Society for Distributing Hebrew Scriptures