- Written by Stephen Katz
When Moishe Rosen heard that Charles Feinberg was in a Bay Area nursing home, he asked me to schedule regular visits with him. I am grateful that he did, for in Dr. Charles Feinberg I found a lasting role model of faith.
As we visited, I grew to love Dr. Feinberg. We would talk together (occasionally in Hebrew) and I would read the Scriptures to him. Our conversations would often wander along with his thoughts, but he was very warmhearted and always ready to pray. First, I would pray for him and then, from a lifetime of prayer (he was in his eighties), he would pray for me in a most lucid manner, touching my heart and drawing me even closer to the Savior's feet. Often he would kiss me on the forehead before I left, and when I brought my children to visit, he would do likewise with them.
What most impressed me about Dr. Feinberg was his heart, not his credentials." Yet in order for you to appreciate this man, I'd like for you to know some of his accomplishments.
Before committing his life to Jesus, Dr. Feinberg had trained to be a rabbi, but his education was far from over once he dedicated his life to telling others of the Messiah. He earned six academic degrees; his B.A. was from the University of Pittsburgh, his Th.B. and Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary (magna cum laude), his Th.D. was also from Dallas Theological Seminary (summa cum laude) and he had an M.A. from Southern Methodist University as well as a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins. He was an instructor, then full professor at Dallas; he was a professor at Los Angeles Bible Theological Seminary and professor, then dean of Talbot Theological Seminary. Dr. Feinberg was also the pastor of Stanton Community Church. He has been called "one of the nation's leading authorities on Jewish history, Old Testament languages and customs, and biblical prophecy." He was also at one time president of the Iran Interior Mission.
Dr. Feinberg wrote numerous books, including Major Messages of Minor Prophets (5 volumes), Israel in the Spotlight and The Prophecy of Ezekiel. He also contributed to The Expositor's Bible Commentary.
By the time I met Dr. Feinberg, his great learning was no longer at the forefront of his life; he was in the later stages of Alzheimer's disease. Yet his long-term relationship with the Lord had produced lasting fruit: a peaceful disposition, a cheerful attitude and a love of prayer and the Word.
One day while visiting, I noticed the two Bibles on his nightstand. The first one I picked up was unlike any I had seen. It had a red cover and contained the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament. The only English inside was the publisher's information. We sometimes read together from the Hebrew portion. Yet it was the other Bible that made an indelible impression on me. In the back of that Bible Dr. Feinberg kept his own private reading record. The top of the record was titled: "Read the Bible through." Underneath this and for the next two pages followed the final third of an amazing log:
105th time: Mar. 31, 1978 (Mt. Zion, Jerusalem, Israel)
106th time: June 29, 1978 (Anchorage, Alaska)
107th time: Sept. 30, 1978 (Whittier, California)
The record continued until the last entry:
154th time: Aug. 15, 1990 (Walnut Creek, California)
Here was a simple record of a man who spent a lifetime in devotion to God and His Word. It didn't take a math expert to figure out that Dr. Feinberg's lifetime practice was to read through the entire Bible four times a year. Apparently he had been doing so since 1952! I was awestruck, humbled, challenged and inspired—all at the same time. I began to bring younger missionaries with me just to meet Dr. Feinberg and to show them the back of that Bible. The reaction was always the same: amazement, admiration, inspiration and a sense of holy challenge.
I continued to schedule visits with Dr. Feinberg until he went to be with the Lord on August 22, 1995. In the Book of Proverbs it says that "the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life" (11:30). God planted His seed deep down into the soil of Charles Feinberg's soul, and that Word grew to produce much fruit in his life, fruit that nourished others even in his twilight years. Such fruit is indeed a tree of life to me and to those I brought to meet this dear brother, and I am thankful for his example. May God make my life and that of my fellow Jews for Jesus as fruitful as Dr. Charles Feinberg's so that we, too, will advance—not only in years—but also in our ability to be as trees of life to the next generation.
Many people ask us if we know of any Jewish clergymen who have accepted Jesus as Messiah and Lord. Eric Lipson, an "elder statesman" of the movement of Jewish people who believe in Jesus, was such a man. He died on Friday, August 18, 1995. The following is an excerpt from a memorial service that was written and conducted by one of our staff.