In the beginning of May, I had the honor of attending a conference titled “At the Crossroads” in Old City Jerusalem. The purpose was to bring together peoples from the lands referenced in Isaiah 19:23-25 to prophetically worship together before God, to encourage one another with testimonies of how God is moving through out the Middle East and to ask God for direction in this tumultuous time. (Read more on the Isaiah 19 prophecy.)
Last week I shared the testimony of a Turkish pastor who, as a Muslim on pilgrimage in Mecca, met Jesus the Christ in a dream.
Now I introduce you to Tass Saada, a Gaza-born Palestinian. The only thing more amazing than his testimony is his message on the Israeli-Palestinians conflict.
Sniper, driver, restauranteur
Tass joined the Palestinian Liberation Organization at 17, he says in a CBN interview, because Yasser Arafat was his hero. Tass was trained as a sniper. His job was to take out Israeli unit commanders.
At another time he was assigned to be Arafat’s personal driver, “because everybody knows that I’m a fierce driver.”
Tass Saada speaks at Christ Church in Old City Jerusalem.
Eventually, Tass made his way to the United States to get away from his family, which was living in Qatar at the time.
In Kansas City, Missouri, while working as a busboy, he met Charlie. As Tass was clearing dirty dishes from the table, Charlie said “Thank you.” Tass said at the conference that while it seems a small thing, it was a kindness to which he was not accustomed. It moved him, and so began a life-long friendship.
For 19 years Charlie mentored and supported Tass in the restaurant business. In that time Charlie never said he was a Christian, never preached to Tass.
The topic finally came up as a result of Tass looking for a new property for a restaurant he was managing. Tass relates that Charlie said he’d seen the perfect property at a certain address, a former funeral home. Tass replied, I was there a few days ago and it gave me the creeps.
Charlie laughed and said, It’s because you don’t have the fear of God in you.
Tass, a Muslim, thought that notion was absurd, but he did marvel at Charlie’s peace. Tass said “I’ve always looked over my shoulder. I’ve always felt somebody’s coming after me.” He wanted peace like Charlie’s. Tass asked where this peace came from, and Charlie replied, “I have a connection” and pointed upward.
Tass became obsessed about this “connection,” but Charlie wouldn’t elaborate right away. After weeks, they met at Charlie’s home. There, Charlie dropped the bomb, the truth the would wreck Tass’ heart and mind.
“To have the peace that I have,” Tass recalls Charlie saying, “you must love a Jew.”
Tass pushed back and reminded Charlie who he was talking to, a Palestinian Muslim trained to kill Jews.
“The True Story of How a PLO Sniper Found a New Life “
Charlie persuaded Tass to listen a little longer. “What do you know about Jesus Christ?”
“He’s a prophet,” Tass replied.
“He’s more than a prophet. He’s the Son of God; He’s God,” Tass recalls in a Crossover TV interview.
Tass said his ire was rising and he was on the verge of walking out. Getting told he didn’t fear God, needed to love a Jew and Jesus is the Son of God was too much. But he let Charlie talk a little more.
Charlie now had his Bible and put it between them on the couch. Tass flinched away from it. Charlie asked why?
“It has the name of God in it, the Word of God.” Tass says he doesn’t know why he said that because Islam teaches that the Hebrew and Christian Bible is corrupted.
After Tass’ confessed that the Bible was the Word of God, he agreed to hear what it had to say about Jesus. Charlie began to read John 1.
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning. (CJB)
Tass says that’s all he heard. He started violently shaking and then blacked out. When he came to, Tass said he was on his knees and Charlie was wide-eyed and shaken so that Tass was now concerned about his friend.
Charlie described, Tass said at the conference, that not only did Tass shake, he levitated off the couch and looked as if he was fighting something in the air. Tass then came to rest on his knees, spoke in an unknown tongue, then in English asked Jesus to be his savior. Tass said he immediately felt freedom, peace and joy like he’d never known.
Tass shares a more complete testimony in his book, “Once an Arafat Man”. Following is a video playlist of Tass telling his testimony on Crossover TV.
Spiritual conflict over the Land
His story of being patiently loved and wooed by his Creator is inspiring. Still, I found Tass’ words on the Israel-Palestine issue shocking. Remember who Tass was: a Gaza-born Palestinian trained to assassinate Israeli officers.
In a CBN interview, Tass says:
“I don’t believe in the two state solution because I believe that Land belongs to the Jews. It doesn’t belong to us [Palestinians]. But, on the other hand, I believe we have a right to live in that land.”
In a teaching clip from Maranatha Chapel, Tass says:
“Unfortunately my people [the Palestinians] are lead to believe that that land — called the Land of Israel — is theirs. I would encourage you to continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, for peace in the Middle East, for the Arab and the Jews to see their savior, know their savior, Jesus Christ [Yeshua Messiah].”
Why can he say this? How? Because Jesus has transformed his heart, soul and mind. Because he takes Jesus and the Bible at its word. God says throughout scripture that the Land belongs to the descendants of Isaac. Tass trusts and believes his God, the God of Israel.
In the video above, after his testimony, Tass teaches on the promises of Isaac and Ismael. It’s worth your time.
In the video below, Tass teaches out of Psalm 83 to emphasize that the conflict over the Land today looks very much like the conflict over the Land thousands of years ago.
Tass and his family are putting their faith to action through their non-profit Seeds of Hope. Visit their site to learn more of how they serve the Palestinian people, how you can pray and how you can sow into their work.