Detained for Hours by the Police as Men Spit on the Name of Jesus. My Day in Jerusalem

By Michael Brown Published on May 24, 2018

I’m writing from the quiet of my hotel room in Jerusalem at midnight, but today was anything but quiet. (If you’re impatient and want to jump ahead, watch this short video now. You’ll see things got pretty intense.)

I was with a small team in a mixed area in Jerusalem, getting video footage to use on Christian TV. Some of the people were very religious, others more secular. But my goal was to interview the more religious Jews and, if they were interested in talking more, connect them with some local believers.

Soon enough, some of the religious Jews started yelling “Missionaries!,” at which point we shut down the interviews, not wanting to create a scene.

But as we tried to leave quietly, one agitator started following me and yelling “Missionary!” in the crowded market place. He was then joined by other ultra-Orthodox Jews who started to surround me and challenge me.

At that point, I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to share my faith boldly and clearly. I had someone offering free (albeit loud and very negative) publicity. I told them that, yes, of course, I believe in Yeshua (Jesus), and yes, I’m still a Jew.

As for the ultra-Orthodox Jews, you have to see things from their perspective. They believe Jesus used magic and led people away from the one true God.

I turned to the onlookers, many of whom were not religious, asking them, “Is this illegal? Is it illegal for me to preach openly here? Is it illegal for a Jew to believe in Jesus?”

Of course, they told me it was not illegal. One of them even asked me, “Are you for Trump?”

When I said yes, he sung my praises to the onlooking crowd. Seriously. (I’ll talk about this more in another article, but you’d be amazed to hear how much President Trump is respected by many Israelis.)

Falsely Accused of Violence

As for the ultra-Orthodox Jews who surrounded me and yelled at me, you have to see things from their perspective. What they read about Jesus in their own literature tells them he was a deceiver who did miracles by magical power. They believe he led people away from the one true God. And they associate him directly with the Holocaust and with Jewish suffering throughout history.

That’s why one of them (captured on the video) shouted out in Hebrew, “We don’t believe in Yeshua,” then spit on the ground.

As for me, in their eyes, I was even worse. I was not only a missionary but also a fraud, since I still claimed to be a Jew. How my heart goes out to these men!

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Eventually, after the main agitator kept harassing us, I decided the last thing he would do was drive us away. So as long as he yelled, I stayed and shared my faith.

But he had called the police, claiming (falsely) I was breaking the law. And then, when he pushed his phone right up to my face (literally) and I pushed it away, he started shouting that I attacked him. Seriously!

Taken Into Police Custody

Finally, two policewomen arrived and because of his accusations, we had to go to the local police station. The whole process took about four or five hours, with the great majority of the time spent sitting without a phone, doing nothing. (Of course, I was praying silently and thanking God for this special day. I also prayed for my accuser, who sat across from me the whole time.)

The big problem for me was that I’m fluent in biblical Hebrew but weak in modern Hebrew, so I missed a lot of what my accuser was saying and was concerned I couldn’t explain things clearly to the police officers.

Finally, an interrogator arrived, spending about 20-30 minutes with my accuser, then interviewing me. By this time, we had this same video up on YouTube, so he could get a feel for what was happening. And he fully understood I had done nothing wrong or illegal.

When I walked out of the police station, I was greeted by three more ultra-Orthodox Jews. And one wished me success in an upcoming speech in support of Israel.

Then he asked me, “Are you a missionary?”

In the Jewish world, especially Israel, this has very bad connotations. But since I had made clear to him that I was a public, unashamed believer in Jesus and that I share my faith with my people, I answered in the affirmative.

To my delightful surprise he said, “That’s OK. Missionaries are good!”

A few minutes later, with a smile and without any paperwork to take with me, he told me I could go.

‘For This One Time, I Wish You Success!’

Now it had been hours since my phone was taken from me, so Nancy and my family and ministry team and friends had no idea where I was or the details of what happened. But, when I walked out of the police station, before I could call home and tell the full story, I was greeted by three more ultra-Orthodox Jews. One shouted “missionary” and took my picture with his cell phone. I greeted him with a big smile.

Another said with a smile, “So Michael Brown is now violent?” (It looks like he knew me already!) I laughed with him, realizing that he knew the story was phony.

Then he said to me, “You should bring this message to Bethlehem.”

I said, “I’m going there this weekend to speak at a controversial, anti-Zionist conference as a friend of Israel!”

He responded, “I know!”

And then, asking if he could revert to Hebrew (since we were speaking in English), he said, “For this one time, I wish you success!”

What a day in Jerusalem!

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  • Robin

    God bless you Dr.Brown! May God’s light shine upon you and through you to the people of Israel!

  • Patmos

    God bless Dr. Brown. I pray God gives you utterance, to make known the mystery of the gospel, by his glory and for his glory!

  • Ed

    Wow. Flashbacks to the book of Acts.

  • Boris

    Ah Jerusalem. It’s a Disneyland for adult Christians who think Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are real.

    • Andy6M

      Quack quack!

    • Earl Baker

      I know youre trying to insult, but you worded that wrong, or maybe you dont know that Christians don’t believe cartoon characters are real.

      Also, Donald Duck is a real cartoon. So in one sense, even though he’s fictional, he is real.

      • Boris

        Jesus Christ is without a doubt a cartoon character. So you are wrong. Again. Do you ever get tired of that? Being wrong I mean.

        • Earl Baker

          You mean fictional, and Jesus wasnt fictional. Even athiest scholars agree Jesus existed, they just dont believe he was the son of God.

          If you’re going to troll you have to at least say something plausible otherwise you dont illicit any emotion.

          • Boris

            I don’t give a rip who agrees with something. On what basis do they agree? POOF. What contemporary evidence do you have that Jesus Christ actually existed? Well we both know there isn’t any. So go ahead and completely humiliate yourself by telling me I should believe spurious hearsay accounts written 60 to 150 years after Jesus supposedly lived by people who were not alive when Jesus supposedly lived. The real problem for you is that none of the supposed apostles existed either as we have no mentions of them by anyone contemporary or otherwise. No mention of Paul preaching from Mars Hill or anywhere else. No mention of Peter bringing new doctrine to Rome. No mentions of any disciples ever being martyred. No witnesses to any trial,crucifixion, resurrection, the world going dark, dead people climbing out of their graves in Jerusalem. Had that happened it would have caught someone’s attention don’t you think? No, you don’t think. You just believe what other people frightened you into believing without actually checking to see of they were right. And now you are stuck trying to believe what I just proved ain’t true. Good luck. Nah, I don’t mean that. Stay miserable and confused.

          • Kathy

            Boris, it you only knew what you are missing. Perhaps if you humbled yourself just a little and quit fighting so much, you may discover who God really is and that He is eager and willing to forgive anything you have or haven’t done. Yes, ANYTHING! The only requirement is that you put your trust in His Son and repent (turn from your old ways). “There is no one righteous, no not one”. We are all “in the same boat”. It’s never easy to relinquish control, but so worth it.

            God is patiently waiting His child to come home…that’s you, Boris.

          • Boris

            Oh please. There is no God and Jesus Christ never existed. The truth is waiting for you to discover. Put down the comic book, pick up a science book and learn something about the real world.

          • Earl Baker

            I’d say youre the one who just humiliated yourself. You want “contemporary evidence” of a person who was born 2000 years ago, and eye witness accounts don’t count. Historians like Josephus dont count, the fact that there was a sect called Christianity you suppose is made up from thin air.

            Heres the funniest thing you said, you even think the apostles arent real even though we have letters written by them.

            I suppose you dont believe in Julius Cesar either. Julius Caesar, the key sources are his own accounts of the Gallic Wars. Theres VERY LITTLE manuscript evidence of those and they are very late copies.

            Try harder please

          • Boris

            Christianity evolved from other older religions it didn’t just pop into existence. Islam evolved from Arabian moon worshiping cults. Look at the top of any mosque. Muhammad and his winged horse never existed either. We don’t need founders to explain the existence of religions. What eyewitness accounts are you talking about? We have no accounts from outside of the Bible that could even hint that something inside the Bible about Jesus even might be true. The funniest thing you said is that we have letters from apostles. Go ahead and believe that. We have letters from churchmen pretending to be apostles to give their words authority. How gullible do you want to be? Other than the fact that they were churchmen we have no idea who wrote any of the New Testament. We have no reason to doubt the existence of people like Julius Caesar because we have multiple lines of evidence that point to the fact that they did exist. And we don’t have delusional people running around trying to convince us that if we do not believe in Julius Caesar we will burn in hell forever. So we need some pretty good evidence if you are going to claim God took human form so he could come to Earth and start your particular religion. We haven’t got a shred of evidence that Jesus or any apostles existed. If there were we would never hear the end of it from Bible thumpers. Instead all we get is are arguments and excuses and when that fails we will get the threat of eternal damnation for not being able to believe the Bible thumper’s nonsense and lies.

          • Kathy

            Think about why you are interested in accessing a conservative Christian website. Could you be seeking answers or is your mission to do us a favor by helping us to live a better life. I assure you we have already found that better life, Boris, and would not turn back. Perhaps you will join us someday when you let down your defenses and God welcomes you with open arms.

          • Boris

            The reason I am posting on this thread is that I know Michael Brown. I was a guest for an hour on his Line of Fire radio show about ten years ago when I was trying to get a book published. We talked about a variety of subjects that we had previously planned to address before the show and then took calls from the audience. I thought it was a pretty informative show. I have been a guest on other Christian shows as well. I have them archived if the show’s website doesn’t still have them should anyone want to hear them.

          • Kathy

            What types of books do you write and what kind of discussions do you have on these shows?

          • Boris

            I wrote some essays about the Bible in college when I was studying it. Years later various people read some of it and encouraged me to put them all together. On Dr. Brown’s show we talked about the relevance of the church in America, abortion, atheism and a few other things. On another show I had a debate with a Bible scholar. Nothing really exciting but I don’t think they were boring either.

          • Kathy

            Interesting background, Boris. I get the impression from your last two replies that you can be very level-headed and reasonable. Other posts on this site include a lot of name-calling and attacks on our faith.

          • Boris

            Yeah Michael Brown was kind of disappointed that I wasn’t more argumentative on the show. But he wanted to debate me and I said fine “get an impartial moderator” because I’m not going to debate a guy who is also moderating the debate. I told him send me a list of what you want to talk about and we’ll have a discussion. He still cut me off several times whenever I was making good points and proving his arguments to be fallacious. I did mock one of callers because he was just nuts.

      • John

        Well Earl, your are being challenged by one who thinks Jesus Christ is a Cartoon Character. You must have done something right! Pray for Boris. He will stand before that very same Jesus and be judged sure as physical death is coming for all of us. I don’t think Boris will be going “Quack quack” at his judgement.

  • Joanna Hingston

    Praying for peace, clarity and open ears to hear what you say at the Catc conference this weekend

  • Serdar

    Great day and experience in Jerusalem, dear Dr. Brown. May God bless you as you are in Bethlehem.

  • TruthShallPrevail

    Grace & peace be upon you Dr. Brown!

  • Lori Hickman Thomas

    Amazing! What a wonderful story! Praying for many more Spirit filled encounters!

  • Grasshopper

    Israel is one of our allies, Israel is a democracy, but Israel still needs Jesus. Thank you brother for your faithfulness.

  • Kikikins

    What a day for you Dr Brown. God bless you..

  • Sharon

    You’re in good company, Dr. Brown! – Paul, Silas, etc!

  • Sicut Judaeis Non

    Censorship.

  • Supertx

    Wow, that would be frightening in any foreign country, but inspiring that you stood up for your beliefs in a peaceful and loving way.

  • James Blazsik

    What about the Christian population? What are they going through in Israel? We hear a lot about Israel from evangelicals, almost with a reverence. Why don’t we hear about them?

    • Kathy

      What about them? Anyone who is exposed to an honest account of the historical mistreatment of Jewish people by “Christians” would understand the Jew’s wariness of people that supposedly follow Jesus. If Christians are viewed unfavorably, much is the result of some very un-Christlike behavior. They view our Lord in the same light, as we are His followers. After watching the disturbing video, I pictured Jesus saying “They know not what they do”. We also must refer to Romans 11.

      • Stu Nahan

        smh.. Historical mistreatment of Jewish people by Christians?

        The Jewish leadership in the Bolshevik revolution (and the government that followed), the Cheka, and the gulag system killed, according to some estimates, 60+ million Christians! They destroyed churches, slaughtered priests, and they attempted to export that to other countries.

        A Jewish writer, Sever Plocker once wrote, “Turns out that Jews too, when they become captivated by messianic
        ideology, can become great murderers, among the greatest known by modern
        history.”

      • James Blazsik

        You have to understand it’s not just a one sided issue. You are to care about our brothers and sisters. That’s where your heart is supposed to be. I support Israel. But I support our brothers and sisters in communities that were there before the Jewish nation.
        You also must understand that the Jews were not always innocent. They were the first enemies of the Church. They first persecuted the Church. They also trashed on Christ.
        But that is the past. We are to love the Jews and the Palestinians. They both need Christ. But we are to prefer our brothers and sisters. They are to be foremost in our hearts.

        • Kathy

          Agreed, it’s not one-sided. However, Dr. Brown is witnessing to Jewish people. He is focused on them because that is his background and where God has placed his ministry priority since becoming a believer. After the Apostle Paul’s spiritual transformation, God appointed him to focus his ministry on the Gentiles.

          I was pointing out one of the possible reasons for the Jewish defiance, other than what we read in Romans 11. I learned a lot at the synagogue I was not aware of before.

          Yes, I know of the persecution of Christians as well, but in Israel? Always heard about other regions of the Middle East, but never heard Israel being mentioned as a problem for them. What am I missing?
          Who were the inhabitants of Israel according to the Torah? Certainly not our fellow Christians.

          • James Blazsik

            Dr. Brown’s first responsibility is his Christian brothers and sisters period.
            Israel’s defiance is against Christ. We are to love and support them, but your reliance on Romans 11 is too much. It is not the answer to all things and all issues Israel. We have to care for the Palestinians too.
            The Torah is fulfilled in Christ. The Middle East belongs to Christ. Christian communities have been in the Holy Land since the beginning of the Church. They belong there too.

          • Kathy

            Aren’t we to share the good news of the Gospel with everyone as Jesus commissioned us to do? That is what Dr. Brown is doing with the Jewish people. God did not forsake Israel (He keeps His covenants and His word always), just as He will not forsake us.

            Yes, the Jews need their Messiah Yeshua and will not enter His Kingdom unless they acknowledge that He has already come. So, I see Dr. Brown’s concern for his fellow Jews and their salvation.

            I wrote “other than Romans 11”, their defiance could be based on other issues I mentioned. What problem do you have with that particular chapter?

            That’s right, the entire universe belongs to Christ, but who said that Christians did not belong in the Middle East? Does Israel say that? You didn’t explain the persecution you said they face there that I am not aware of.

          • James Blazsik

            Nobody is debating whether Michael Brown has a ministry to the Jews in Israel. But concern for our brothers and sisters also come with being a Christian. You have made it clear you don’t care about them. I don’t think that Evangelicals care about them or the Palestinians either.
            That is the point. We need to care for our brothers and sisters. The Palestinians need to be evangelized too.

          • Kathy

            Why do you want to lay the burden on Dr. Brown? That is my point. His calling and primary focus is for the Jewish people. Who is anyone to argue with that? If your heart is for the Palestinians and they are your main concern, why not take up the task of evangelizing to them yourself? I am sure there are many actually doing that right now…how else would a number of them have become Christians?

          • James Blazsik

            Our brothers and sisters should never be a burden. That’s the point.

          • Kathy

            We are all different, James, and God puts particularly strong burdens on all of our hearts to join Him in accomplishing His will. Yours is not necessarily the same as another person’s, so not a good idea to tell others what they must or must not do if their “burden” is in accordance with Scripture. I have been burdened by God for a particular issue for many years, and I know for certain you would not like it.

          • James Blazsik

            All I did was ask about the welfare of our brothers and sisters. You should care about them too. That is God’s will. We are to love one another. Read 1 John. We are to prefer our brothers and sisters. Romans 12:10. That is one of the ways to know you are a Christian.
            I honestly don’t know what the issue is here. To care for our brothers and sisters is not a “burden”. It’s not a calling. It is what we do.

          • Kathy

            You never explained “what our brothers and sisters are going through in Israel”. I am honestly not aware of what may be happening there. Yes, other areas in the MI, but please enlighten me on Israel.

          • James Blazsik

            That is my question. I know that in a town of Israel that a group of Christians left a New Testament at each home, and the mayor of the city took them and burned them, That was about 10 years ago.
            The Ultra orthodox Jews are known for spitting on the clergy and for graffiti on churches and religious sites. They also attacked a woman in her 70’s because they thought she was a missionary. She had a broken ankle, shattered hand, and internal bleeding. This happened in Feb. of this year.
            They do not discriminate. They will attack Orthodox.Catholic, Baptist, and Messianic congregations.
            That’s my point. Why aren’t there more articles on the state of our brothers and sisters in Israel? The reason? People like you. You don’t care about them.

          • Kathy

            You have come to the conclusion that I don’t care because: 1) I questioned what was happening in Israel 2) I was not aware of what was happening and 3) I said that Dr. Brown’s heart is for the Jewish people. He has not renounced or relinquished his Jewish roots just because he now believes that Yeshua is his Messiah. I don’t remember him saying he never cared about anyone else, do you?

            There is no excuse for that awful behavior (it made me ill to watch that man in the video spitting at the name of Jesus), but we are not innocent. I learned how badly the Jews have been treated over the centuries by supposed Christ followers (besides the Holocaust). I also learned that the RCC comes upon a cite they speculate is of religious significance for them, claim it as their own and erect a statue or monument on the cite. All I knew about was the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and that it’s divided among 6 different sects now, each staking their claim. We all know about the Muslim Dome of the Rock , but since I have never been there, did not know about those statues, etc. They said it, not me.

          • Kathy

            Not looking for a reply, but if you haven’t read Dr. Brown’s latest article “What I Learned at Christ at the Checkpoint”, I encourage you to do so. Very informative.

    • Boris

      Because there are only 9 of them and they are probably locked away in mental institution.

  • Boris

    About 10 years ago I was a guest on Michael Brown’s Line of Fire for an hour. I can tell you that Mike Brown is not the person you think he is. He’s a phony. He’s a liar of the worst kind. A true low life.

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