Interview with Jacques Elbaz

Jacques is a pastor in Israel and director of the'' Institute & Faculty of Theology of Jerusalem. Raised in Judaism, he met the Messiah Jesus through the one who became his wife, Marie-Loïd, and who accompanied him during all these years of ministry. Jacques and Marie-Lo first exercised the ministry in the south of France, before flying to Jerusalem, accompanied by their 3 and then 4 boys. Jacques agreed to answer questions from the editorial staff and share with us his extraordinary journey as well as some of the powerful testimonies he has experienced throughout his ministry. We thank him for his confidence and his responses which suggest the price paid by standing for Jesus. Thank you for lifting the veil on this exciting course. 

1. Can you tell us about your meeting with Jesus?

From birth I was brought up in Judaism, attending the synagogue where I was taught the Talmud and Torah.

When I was 16 my father was transferred to DigneWhen I was 16 my father was transferred to Digne. My family is no longer in direct contact with its community. Teenager, I feel a great inner void. I then meet a young girl who tells me about the Messiah, although she herself is not engaged with God. We fall in love. I think she will study the law and become a Jew. She answers me that she knows and that she has experienced the messiah!

The breakup seems inevitable, but I notice that she goes more and more often to the meetings of her assembly and that she comes back beaming. One evening I accept his invitation to a youth meeting. For this first, a surprise awaits me. I meet a young man with whom I had gone to school to study the Talmud. I learn that he has become a believer!

A thirst is born in my heartA thirst is born in my heart. I decide to attend a service, I want to know more. That day, I feel the presence of God. I return to the afternoon meeting in which one person brings a word from God that overwhelms me:

"My son, it is for you alone that I am speaking, only you can understand. "

Seized, I stand up, I am touched by God. After the meeting, the same person comes up to me and says:

“The hook that God has put in your mouth, you cannot take it off. "

With great awkwardness, I testify of my meeting with my Savior to the members of my family. I remain steadfast in my faith. I receive God's salvation as a wonderful gift.

2. What was the trigger that marked the beginning of your ministry?

The call for serviceEvery day I get closer to God. Very quickly, I felt a burning call for ministering. I am working full-time with a pastor as an intern. I continued my training in Antibes, with Patrick Salafranque for five years.

During a trip to Israel where we went to visit the family, we went in search of a friend of the Salafranques, Claudine. She attends a Messianic assembly, but we do not know in which city. During a walk in Haifa, we hear a stranger speaking French: it's Claudine! She leads us into a meeting where the pastor prophesies our coming to Israel to work there on the work of God. Although unconvinced, we are beginning to feel a real burden on the people of Israel.

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3. Life is sometimes subjected to trials. Would you agree to share one with us, and especially to make us discover how you overcame it with the grace of God?

I stood firm in my faith which got me kicked out of my homeThe trials began when I testified of my meeting with my Savior to members of my family. I was pressured and sometimes even violence. They wanted me to give up my new beliefs. I remained firm in my faith which resulted in me being kicked out of my home. But despite the adversity, the suffering, God always took care of me.
This prepared us for future difficulties.

In Israel, serious trouble began in 2006 with a complaint from Israeli parents, following an experience of their minor children who after attending a meeting have a vision of Jesus in their room.

This generated:

A five-hour police custody with 5 questions. The headmistress of the Messianic school was present. A few days later, burglary in the premises of the Messianic school with theft of computers containing the list of all the Messianic families. Ashdod hall premises attacked. Informational flyer with photo in Jerusalem. Anti-Christian articles in the Ashdod newspapers. Punctures of tires on our cars, attacked house, insults… Opening of the Institute with aggression, threats from Muslims….

Until then we had 100% exemption on churches, since in Israel:

Places of worship do not pay municipal taxes. The Tel Aviv city hall began to demand taxes from us, mortgaged our personal account, our car… Community accounts… Obligation to hire a lawyer, declaration of the association in Israel with a chartered accountant…. Despite this we had to pay the sum of 70 euros. God did not abandon us and by his grace we received the money.

4. What is the project or achievement that you are most proud of?

The Institute & Faculty of TheologyWe have always been sensitive to God's voice and ready to do his will. In May 2006, Pastor Éric Célérier gave us a word of knowledge:

“Not far from the“ Jardin de la Tombe ”is the central bus station and to the right, a building that God gives you to make a school. "

This part of the city being one of the most sensitive in the country, this word seemed madness. However in the same day I had an appointment to visit an apartment, which did not suit us. It was then that the real estate agent asked me about my profession.

“Pastor? I have something for you, rue des Prophètes. "

And he drove me 150 meters from the "Jardin de la Tombe", to the right of the central bus station. This announced place is today the address of the Institute and Faculty of Theology of Jerusalem.

5. What is the biggest lesson you have learned through your ministry?

Take time for GodTake time for God. Tell the Lord that we love him and that we choose to emphasize this priority of our relationship with him. One of our greatest needs is times of solitude with the Lord to withdraw, to let ourselves be imbued with the Word and the presence of God.

6. News is often troubled and sad. Persecuted Christians, adrift society, natural disasters, major ethical changes… What is your position in the face of these events? Are you more committed, attentive watchman, whistleblower, intercessor? ...

From the morning, spread your seed and, until the evening, do not give rest to your hand, for you do not know what will succeed.
Ecclesiastes 11.6

We must stand the test of timeWe have been working and harvesting for several years. But we know we have to be patient. In Hebrew patience is said SAVLANOUT which comes from the verb LISBOL, to suffer. Also in everyday language, the verb patienter (from the Latin pati = to suffer). But it is not only knowing how to suffer: it is also knowing how to wait. We have to stand the test of time. We cannot sow now and reap right away, but the word of God is no less true.

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We therefore continue to sow and distribute the word of God, which is good news and the word of life. We know that in due time it will germinate in hearts.

Thank you Jacques for your answers and the story of your journey in the service of the Lord. May God richly bless you and Marie-Lo, and may he continue to accompany and protect you on this difficult path.

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