Hezkiel (Hezekiel) Hyim
Rabbi Hyim was the son of one of the richest and most infuential Jews in Hamadan, Persia at the time. He was recognised as a young man of remarkable ability, deeply read in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Gemara, teh Targum, etc, and a good Persian scholar. He was led by the word of God alone to the conclusion that the Messiah should have come, and been put to death while the second Temple was still standing.
Interestingly, Hezkiel obtained books from a certain Chacham Eliyahu (not the rabbi of the same name from Tiberias) who had spoken at length with missionaries years earlier, and had several of their books in his library. Out of this Chacham’s library Hezkiel obtained the Bible, McCaul’s “Old Paths”, Dr. Biesenthal’s commentary on the epistle ot the Romans, Mccaul’s tract on Isaiah 53, Proofs that the Messiah the Son of David is also the Son of God, 1858, History of Abraham, 1851, Personality of the Holy Spirit – all in the Hebrew language. Hyim himself told Rev Jacob Lotka in 1881 that some six years earlier, a party of influential Jews and Moslems used to gather at his house for the purpose of discussing divers topics of learning. They soon touched on religion, and teh Moslems referred to the degraded condition of the Jews and to their own superiority in proof that their own religion must be superior to that of the Jews. This they argued from the righteousness of God. Hezkiel Hyim was struck by this argument; but then, the thought occurred to him, Christianity must be the same reasoning be much superior to Mohammedanism, inasmuch as Christian nations are much superior to Mohammedan nations. Thus he took to reading the Bible and the publications he found in the Chacham’s library.
By the grace of God, he did find the truth. He was deeply convinced that Jesus was the true Messiah, in whom alone he could find salvation for his soul, and openly confessed his faith.He soon found a brother in the faith in the Cohen, Dr. Aga Jan, also from a wealthy and influential family in the Jewish community.
Hyim and Aga Jan reasoned in the synagogues and from house to house, from the Old Testament, that Jesus is the Christ. In the same quarter resided an old chief of the Jews, Dr. Eliyahu (Elijah), two of whose sons are also doctors of great repute among the Mohammedans. Though the eldest of his four sons was for some time a bitter enemy of the brethren, yet before long Dr. Eliyahu, Dr. Moosa (Moses) and Dr. Rahamim (and now the two other sons also) were convinced by arguments of Hyim. A shopkeeper named Reuben, and Solomon, Hyim’s younger brother, also joined them. Hyim’s father… offered him a present… if he would keep his new faith secret, at the same time threatening to disinherit him if he continued to preach and speak of Jesus. He firmly declined the offer, and he and his brother Solomon were disinherited.
For some time the Jews listened attentively to the arguments of Hyim and his friends, but after a little while the Mollah issued a proclamation that anyone who associated or conversed with them should be put out of the synagogue. The rank of Dr. Eliyahu and Aga Jan’s families, who, with Hyim’s father, are three heads of the Jews, did not save them from persecution. It would be impossible for me to relate here one-tenth of what they suffered. Dr. Rahamim was once beaten so severly in the street that his arm and ribs were broken, and his gold watch taken from him and never recovered. In October 1878 the Rev. J. Bassett, American missionary, spent a week in Hamadan, and baptised Hyim and Dr. Rahamim and Moosa. Dr. Aga Jan was absent at the time, and was baptised a week later in 1878.
Yair, a poor neighbour of Dr. Aga Jan, who also used to treat him with abuse, was overcome by the doctor’s mildness and kindness, and became one of the most earnest believers in Jesus. The Jews caught him in the synagogue and told him to abuse Jesus: and on his refusing beat him severely, and turned him out… They took him again to the Governor, who without asking a question ordered him to be bastinadoed till his foot dropped off. Fortunately, the chief executioner was a friend of the Christians. After being beaten, Yair was imprisoned for two days and fined. When they were going to beat him he said, If you think to make me deny Jesus by beating me you are mistaken, for if you cut off my head I will confess Him with my last breath. …
Hyim became a leader of the small Jewish Christian community in Hamadan.
based on Dr. Bruce’s testimony (a CMS missionary in Persia) quoted in Gidney’s History of the London Society 1908.