When Amir was growing up, his dream was to become an Ambassador for Israel. But God had bigger plans for him. Instead, Amir became an ambassador for Jesus. This is his heart and purpose. I really look forward to watching Amir's prophecy updates because he's an Israeli insider who's well versed in the holy scriptures. His access to declassified Israeli intelligence that you won't hear from the mainstream media combined with his knowledge of the Bible result in a unique perspective of biblical prophecy that's grounded in up-to-date world events. In his own words, Amir says "my passion for biblical prophecy is so great because God's desire for us to know His plans is so great".
Amir's worldwide evangelistic ministry and passion for teaching God's word truly amazes me. How he came to believe and put his trust in Jesus is equally amazing. This is the story of how God raised up a Jewish boy, born and raised in Israel by a foster family who showed him no love, who had no apparent future or hope, found Jesus and became the man he is today. Just the fact that Amir found Christ while living in Israel, a land that frowns on sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, is a miracle in itself. I hope Amir's story inspires you as much as it has inspired me.
Growing up AmirAmir was born in Jerusalem to a Jewish family who, like most Jews in Israel, were not really practicing Orthodox Judaism. But at least his family observed holidays and such. When Amir was still a toddler, his parent's marriage fell apart. His mother wasn't stable enough to care for 3 children on her own, so his father gained custody of Amir and his brother. By the age of 8, he was placed in foster care. His first foster home was a catastrophe, where he suffered terrible abuse. He was finally removed and placed into another foster home, which lasted for 10 years until he was 18 years old. Amir was grateful for the food and the roof over his head but there was no love in that home. His foster father's son owned a grocery store and immediately put Amir to work in his first job.
Growing up, Amir would go to synagogue every holiday but he didn't know much about God. He had a hard time watching people in synagogue chanting stuff that they really didn't mean. It was a real turn-off for him.
Amir's depression and thoughts of suicideWhen Amir reached the age of seventeen, he began to feel hopeless. He had no real family, no real future, and the girl he fell in love with didn't even know he existed. He sank to a very low point in his life. Depressed and feeling hopeless, Amir planned his suicide. He picked a date and had the bottle of pills ready, but when the chosen night came, God stopped him. He just couldn't go through with it. He thought that maybe he'd give the world one last chance. That very same week Amir learned that his best friend in school believed in both the Old and the New Testament; a Jewish believer in Christ. The idea of a Jewish believer was a foreign idea to Amir, but one that intrigued him. So when his friend invited him to his house for lunch, Amir readily accepted.
Amir's turning pointAmir was shocked to see his friend's family holding hands and praying before the meal without even using a prayer book. He thought, where's the prayer book? Where's the ritual, the tradition, the ceremony? Then the strangest thing he ever saw happened. They all started talking to God as if God was their best friend. They even thanked God that Amir was with them. This was a very weird experience for Amir and made him realize that these people had something he wished he had.
Amir started asking them questions and quickly realized that this family really knows the Bible. The only Bible that Amir had at that time, which he never really read, was the Old Testament. So, Amir started reading his Bible and found that he was really fascinated by prophecy. Amir says "God wants us to know prophecy because God really wants us to understand His plans. And also because we can use Bible prophecy to see that God is really doing what He said He was going to do".
Amir read about the prophecy of Jesus being born in Bethlehem. He read about the prophecy of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. He read in Isaiah that the Messiah will be born of a virgin. It was the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) that taught him that Jesus was going to die for him.
He learned that Jesus came to fulfill all that was written about Jesus by Moses, written about Jesus in the Psalms, and by the prophets. It was then that he understood that there is a Messiah. But it was all still a riddle to him because Jews are taught that the Messiah will be a man anointed by God to bring peace and prosperity. They don't believe that the Messiah will be both fully God and fully Man, which is why the religious leaders of Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah and had Him crucified for claiming to be the Son of God.
How Amir found JesusOne day Amir's friend encouraged him to ask God to show him who the Messiah is. Since he wasn't accustomed to praying to God in his own words, Amir wrote a prayer on a piece of paper, taped it to a wall, knelt down and read the prayer. The prayer was simply this, "God, if you exist, then show me who Jesus is".
The next morning, Amir woke up with a big smile on his face, goes to work, which he'd been doing since he was 12 years old. Part of his job early in the mornings was to assemble the various sections of the newspaper in order to prepare them for selling. As he was putting the parts together, he spotted something in big, bold letters on a page of that day's newspaper that shocked him. It was the word Yeshua, which is the Hebrew name for Jesus. Shocked, he quickly closed the page. After taking another look, he learned that it was an advertisement for "The Jesus Film" by Campus Crusade. It was being shown for only 2 nights that week in Jerusalem, in a regular movie theater, and in the Hebrew language. Amir took this as a sign that God had answered his prayer. He thought to himself, "God made this film just for me"!
So, he went to see the movie. As the movie was sharing to Gospel of Jesus, it displayed the Old Testament prophecies on the screen that related to the things that Jesus had fulfilled. Amir knew all of those prophecies because he had been studying his Hebrew Bible (aka the Old Testament). The film was shot in Israel, so he was seeing places he knew, hearing the Old Testament references that he recognized, and listening to Jesus speak a language that he spoke. This Jesus who seemed so far from Amir before now felt unbelievably close.
By the end of the movie, Amir realized that he could either accept the gospel or reject it but he could no longer say that he didn't know it. He was so overwhelmed that by the end of the film, he gave his life to Christ.
Amir pays a price for his faithWith all the boldness of a new believer, he went back home and told everyone "you're all sinners"! His foster parents kicked him out of the house that very night for declaring his faith in Jesus.
For the first time in ten years of living with his foster family, Amir was without a home, without a family, and without a job. But the one thing he did have for the very first time in his life was hope. Unphased, Amir was baptized as an outward declaration of his new-found faith.
Different friends gave Amir food and shelter for a short time until the time came for him to fulfill his mandatory military service. Something that every young man and woman in Israel has to do.
Amir's unusual career path and unquenchable desire to share the gospelAmir then joined the Israeli military, where he was eventually put in charge of the telecommunications for a tank platoon. He was later selected to go to officer training, which shocked him because it was such a rare and prestigious opportunity. He was sure that someone would realize the mistake and send him back to the tank platoon. Even though he went into the military wanting to just get it over with, Amir became determined to enjoy his time there while keeping up his Christian witness and learning all he could.
Amir continued to share the Gospel every chance he got, which is something that's frowned upon in Israel. It could have cost him the opportunity to complete his officer training but he just couldn't keep his passion for sharing the gospel to himself. One day he was called into the commander's office. He thought for sure that he was in trouble but instead the commander told him "Tsarfati, we see great potential in you. We think you could go a long way. Just stop your proselytizing". Amir graduated, received his commander pin, and was sent to the Israeli School for Government, where he was taught Arabic, the culture of the West Bank, Palestinian history and mentality, and how to govern the Palestinian population effectively. After completing this training, Amir finally became an officer and was offered a position assisting the governor of Jericho to transition the West Bank to the Palestinians.
After leaving military service, Amir has continued as a major in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Reserve. He entered the tour-guide program at Hebrew University. After graduating from the program in 1996, he went to Germany to learn the German language and then to America to study theology. Amir says, "it's impossible to understand Israel without understanding the Bible. The two are inseparable".
After establishing his career in guiding tours of Israel, Amir began to make connections with people from the U.S. and other places which led to opportunities for him to speak to churches in a number of different countries as well as a guest speaker at prophecy conferences. All his personal history, experiences, and passion for communicating God's truth coalesced into a desire to wake up the Church and to warn nonbelievers. This is the reason that Amir, in 2001, became the founder and president of Behold Israel – a non-profit organization which provides worldwide real-time access to reliable sources of news and information about Israel from within the powerful context of Bible history and prophecy.
I hope that Amir's story is an encouragement to you. His story is a reminder that there's always hope when we give our lives to Jesus. No matter what you're going through. No matter what problems you face. No matter how dark the world around us gets, we can always put our trust in Jesus and know that no matter what happens to us down here, we'll one day be with Jesus up there.
As I mentioned earlier, I love Amir's prophecy updates that he posts for free on YouTube. Even if biblical prophecy hasn't been your thing up to this point, I suggest that you give it a try.
Our God, who knows the beginning from the end, has told us in His word what he will do so that when we see those things coming to pass, we'll believe and get ready for the return of Jesus for His church. I pray that you will be watchful for His return and ready when He comes.
ReferencesYouTube: Q&A with Amir
Book: The Last Hour: An Israeli Insider Looks at the End Times, by Amir Tsarfati