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'God Didn't Design Us to Hate': Former Hezbollah Fighter Now Ministry Leader Recalls Encounter with Jesus

10-16-2023

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In early October, Afshin Javid was visiting Israel with his ministry Cyrus Call, which promotes friendship between Persians and Jews. But like millions of others, he found himself in the middle of a war when Hamas launched a bloody attack on Oct. 7. 

As a former Hezbollah fighter, Afshin himself is no stranger to violence. He sat down with CBN News to tell his story.

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"I was on my way to the United States to convert Christians to Islam, and I had 30 illegal passports at that time. I was arrested and put in jail in Malaysia. I was a dedicated Muslim who not only prayed the prayers, but I read the Koran once every ten days cover to cover. So I was very dedicated in my time in jail," Javid said. 

"One day, as I'm praying, a man appears in front of me – normal size, but his being shines like light. This light is not a normal light. This light carried identity in it. And you knew that he is holy and instantaneously, I knew I am not. Even though I had prayed so many prayers, even though I had fasted so much and I had read the Koran and I had volunteered to work on landmines or I had participated in hanging people trying to please Allah, I knew, even though I have kept all the rules and regulation of Islam, I knew I am not just and I'm not holy and I knew the only just thing for him to do is to kill me," he recalled. 

"But I didn't want to die. So I ran to the corner of the room, literally held my head in my arms, and just cried out, shouting, 'Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me,'"Javid said. 

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"And I didn't think he will forgive me because he is just. Still, I felt a touch on my left arm, and he said, 'I forgive you.' And I felt the weight just lifted off me. And I knew I'm forgiven, but I don't know how. And I was confused. Still, I say, okay, I don't understand. Only God can forgive, but you just forgave me. You are God, but you are a different God than the one I have studied about. This is not Allah. So who are you that forgives me? And he said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life,' he continued. 

"And I thought, That's very powerful. It means a lot because as a Muslim, you pray 'Show me there's a straight path.' And so the way is a direction. Truth is something you measure. Life is a source, but he claims to be all those three. I never thought the way is a person. The truth is a person, and life is a person, and all of them is the same person," Javid explained. 

"So I said, 'I don't understand what is your name?' And he said, 'Jesus Christ.' And it was as if someone grabbed all my bones out of my body. I just fell like a piece of meat to the ground. And I just began to weep," he told CBN News. 

"It's like, you know, being colorblind, and then suddenly you see colors, and you realize the world is so much more beautiful than you ever thought. And if you ask me what made the world so colorless, it's the hatred, the anger that is in the heart of every Muslim. People say, 'Why did you hate the Jews?'" Javid said. 

"I had never met a Jew. I thought Hitler was a good man for doing what he did. He just didn't finish the job. I don't know why I hated them. No Jew had ever done anything bad to me. God didn't design us to hate; he didn't design us to want to see someone dead.  He did not design us for these things. These are designs of Satan.  How do you think killing the people to whom God gave this land is going to please Allah? Jesus is not a God that celebrates when Jews are killed," he explained. 

'No One Should Celebrate When One of the Sons of Father Abraham is Killing Another'

When Javid visited the CBN News bureau in Jerusalem, he met an Israeli woman named Sasha Ariev, whose teenage sister had been kidnapped by Hamas in the attacks of Oct. 7. He and his wife wept as they watched her story. He introduced himself to her, off-camera, prayed with her, and apologized to her.

"There is absolutely no justification or explanation that can make any of this okay," he told her with tears in his eyes. "No one should celebrate when one of the sons of Father Abraham is killing another. And I just want to say I'm sorry that your family is going through this."

Sasha was grateful for his words. 

"Thank you very much," she answered. "I'm sure that a lot of Muslims around the world – they do not want this to happen."

Off-camera, Javid and his wife invited Sasha to visit them for dinner.

Her reply? "I'll be happy to come and bring my sister with me."

Javid made a point of stating his support for Israel.

"We are standing with all the Jewish people, with the people of Israel. And we are mourning their sorrow of their family members that have been lost, but also for the right of Israel to exist," he said. 

At the end of his interview with CBN News, Javid offered a prayer for those on both sides of the war in Israel.

"The creator of heaven and Earth, God Almighty. You love the world, the whole world, all the people of the world. So much that you sacrificed Jesus Christ so that we will not perish but have eternal life. I pray today that the revelation of Jesus Christ would go forth amongst the Muslims and the sons of Ishmael," he prayed. 

"Father, I pray that you would remember that covenant with Ishmael, that you would go forth because Ishmael is thirsty for the revelation of love, for the revelation of Jesus Christ, for the revelation of salvation. Father, I pray that there would be a hand of protection that would protect Isaac on every front, not only in Israel but all around the world. Give us visions, dreams, and wisdom to speak peace in this war, in Jesus's mighty name I pray. Amen."

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CBN News is a national/international, nonprofit news organization that provides programming 24 hours a day by cable, satellite and the Internet. Staffed by a group of acclaimed news professionals, CBN News delivers stories to over a million viewers each day without a specific agenda. With its headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va., CBN News has bureaus in Washington D.C., Jerusalem, and elsewhere around the world. What began as a segment on CBN's flagship program, The 700 Club, in the early 1980s, CBN News has since expanded into a multimedia news organization that offers today's news headlines