Lent status: Available
1.1 The author becomes aware of his identity
In the early 1980's I was already becoming increasingly aware that the Church did not preach the truth about the predestination and sepa-rateness of Israel as God's chosen people and I began to speak to friends and acquaintances about this matter. I was consistently met with antagonism and a rejection of my point of view that the Jews are not Israel and that the Church cannot be the bride of Christ. Their attitudes astonished and alarmed me.
My first contact with the concept which can broadly be termed the "Israel Vision" occurred by chance. I had always had a fascination for steam engines. During the 1970's and 1980's I worked in Erkom, where there was a steam engine which completed a 100 years of continuous service in 1979.1 thought it would be fitting to record the life history of this unique machine. This was my first attempt at writing. Progress was slow, but with the help of friends I completed my book about the Kitson locomotive. The title of the book was "Kitty".
These things sometimes bear unexpected fruit, for in 1983 the steam engine was declared a national monument. It was at this point that I finally declared my knowledge of the "Israel Vision". A ceremony was held in Erkom to officially declare "Kitty" a national monument, and the person who performed this ceremony was a young man by the name of Marius Rautenbach. He was a member of the United Apostolic Faith Church in Pretoria. As I was assisting Marius at the unveiling ceremony we chatted, amongst other things, about the church. As a result of our chat, Marius brought me a set of tapes one day. The tapes were by a Pastor Brooke and were about the Bible message concerning Israel.
1.2 The author hears of a radical pastor in Vereeniging
The message set forth in Pastor Brooke's tapes gave me a whole new perspective. One day I spoke of this message to a friend and colleague in Erkom. My friend, a member of the Apostolic Faith
Mission, was not altogether impressed by my enthusiasm for the Israel Message. He also said in passing that I was talking the same nonsense as a certain Pastor Neser from Vereeniging who professed to be a pastor but preached unbiblical notions.
My interest did not end with Pastor Brooke's Israel message, because in the same year (1984) I began to clash with the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) on two points. Firstly, over their teaching that the Jews are the chosen people and, secondly, over their teaching on the relationships of the different races to the church. Consequently I left the DRC. In June 1987 I became a founding member of the new Afrikaans Protestant Church (APK). In July 1987 I helped found the parish of Verwoerdburg. I was firmly convinced that this new church would preach God's Word in a full and unadulterated way, as indeed was promised at the first meeting.
The next time I heard of Pastor Neser was that same year (1984). As in the incident related earlier, the conversation about him came about purely by chance and in a way which I did not at all expect. This time I got to know a lot about the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB). One of my colleagues referred me to a Dr. Deon van der Merwe who, at that time, was the local representative of the AWB. I went to see Dr. van der Merwe but we barely mentioned the AWB. He told me about Pastor Neser and expounded the Israel Message.
1.3 Changes in South Africa.
Changes in South Africa lead to a deepening search for the truth
From 1984 onwards there were a whole number of events which caused me some concern. These were the General Election in 1984, the founding of the APK in 1986, the local elections and the 150th anniversary of the Great Trek in 1988. However, in 1989 things began to happen which changed my whole outlook on my life and religion. In April 1989 I hastily resigned from my post in Erkom - mainly as a result of disagreements over the firm's new integration policy and the "law suits" connected with it.
Now Deon van der Merwe and I could begin to study the Bible in earnest. I obtained a copy of Calvin's "The Institutes of Religion" studying it and the three written confessions of the Afrikaans
Churches (i.e. The Dutch Faith Confession, The Most Barren Doctrinal Principle, and the Heidelberg Catechism). I contacted the United Apostolic Faith Church and obtained a series of tapes on the Bible's teaching concerning Israel. In 1990 I met Pastor Brooke of the UAFC and attended a series of Bible study meetings. We often sat up late at night (sometimes till 3 in the morning) struggling with our Bible studies at Deon van der Merwe's house.
In 1989 Deon van der Merwe gave me four books by Pastor Neser. These were "The Book of Daniel", "The Book of Revelation", "Israel in the New Testament" and "The Lost Ten Tribes of Israel". These were among Pastor Neser's most extensive works and it took us many days and nights to get through them. As far as the church was concerned, 1989 was a watershed year for me. At the APKs third synod it was decided to strongly oppose the Israel theory (as they called it). Also, one of their preachers was denounced as a heretic on account of his attitude towards the "chiliasm" (also known as the thousand years reign or Millennium) and was forced to leave the church. These two things shocked me and I decided to leave the APK and never to return there.
1.4 Meeting Pastor Frikkie Neser
In 1990 I started to feel a need to meet Pastor Neser in person. Consequently, in August 1990 I contacted him and went to visit him at his home where I was warmly received by him and his wife Louie. For me this was a special occasion and I will always remember it with gratitude. Who then was this man whom I was told by some of my friends was an errant preacher?
2.1 Frikkie Neser's Parents
Frikkie Neser's father, Johann Adriaan Neser, was born in 1887 in the district of Colesberg in the Cape Colony. The Nesers then moved to the south of the Free State where in time Frikkie's father began to farm in Rietputsdam in the Fauresmith district.
The Rietputsdam farm was situated at Bellum-stasie at the railway line between the towns of Fauresmith and Koffiefontein. 'Bellum' is Latin for war and 'stasie' refers to the battle which took place there during the Anglo-Boer war. The battles which were fought in this area are of interest and merit a brief mention. From July 1901 the British Forces deployed about twenty divisions of their army in the south-west of the Free State in an attempt to outwit General J B M Hertzog.
At this stage General Hertzog was President Steyn's chief adviser. The English were aware that General Hertzog, together with General De Wet, was the force behind President Steyn's (and thus the Free State's) resistance to surrender. They therefore concentrated all their effort on bringing down these two Generals. General Hertzog's field of operation was the Western Free State, and General De Wet's the Eastern Free State. Although General Hertzog's victories are not nearly as well known as those of General De Wet, those which took place between July to October 1901 were just as famous. A whole number of important battles were fought under the orders of General Hertzog, among them Heuningneskop (21 August 1901), Brandkraal (2 October 1901), Rietputsdam (4 October 1901), from which Bellumstasie takes its name, Rust-en-Vrede (5 October 1901), and Sendelingfontein (19 October 1901). As in the case of General De Wet, the British Forces did not succeed in overcoming General Hertzog.
Frikkie's mother was born Louisa du Toit. A native of the Orange Free State, she, with her mother, had to endure the horrors of the concentration camps. After the Anglo-Boer war the du Toit family moved to Kalabasdrift farm in the Fauresmith area. Kalabasdrift is situated close to the Kalkfontein dam.
The early 1900's were bitter and difficult years, especially for Boer farmers. The second war of independence had only just been put down when there was the 1914 rebellion, followed by the country's role in the First World War. In 1922 the price of gold plummeted and this was followed by the devaluation of the Rand. In 1929 there was the Great Depression, followed in 1933 by the great drought.
This, in short, was the world in which the young Frikkie Neser grew up.
2.2 Frikkie Neser's Childhood Years 1918-1936
Frederick Wilhelm Cornelius (Frikkie) Neser was born on the 23rd April 1918 in Fauresmith. He completed his primary education at a farm school in Bellumspoorwegstasie, consisting of one classroom. He was fortunate in that he was able to walk to the school. Most of the other children lived further away and came to school on donkey carts. It is interesting to note that in those days it was customary for the School Board to make this mode of transport available.
Frikkie's first teacher was Miss van Niekerk, followed by Mr. Foster who was then followed by Miss Carolina du Toit, his mother's sister, who oversaw the school. Frikkie's high school education (in those days from Class 7 upwards) took place at Fauresmith High School, where he boarded. During Frikkie's primary school years it had not been possible for him to attend Sunday School. It was during his high school years that he first had the opportunity to do so.
In the peaceful atmosphere of the farm Frikkie had ample opportuni-ty to enjoy the miracle of creation, such as one sees beneath the great and beautiful skies over the plains of the blessed Free State. The young Frikkie soon became very aware that mankind is the crown of God's miraculous creation.
On the farm there was much work to be done. To work was pleasur-able, because there were none of the usual distractions to occupy the empty hours. Reading material was scarce, so the young Frikkie used his free time to study the Bible. He had to use the old Dutch Bible until he obtained his first Afrikaans Bible in 1935.
During this time Frikkie's father became very ill. This happened dur-ing the years of the drought and the depression, and as a result the Nesers suffered many hardships. Frikkie felt much sympathy for his
parents. It was these hardships which contributed to the sharpening of his youthful powers of observation.
From an early age Frikkie had been aware that God had made many promises of a permanent nature to a particular people, namely Israel. Furthermore, he had come to realise that the people of Israel (i.e. the descendants of the House of Jacob) were not, and never had been, the Jews. He saw clearly that these promises were of an everlasting nature, and that they also related to real events similar to those experienced by his family during these difficult years. Frikkie felt that the Bible very clearly revealed that God had told His people that they would suffer widespread death among their flocks, and grave diseases, if they did not keep His commandments and walk in His ways. Frikkie had often spoken with his father of these things and had once said to him "Look at the perfect harmony of the heavenly bodies. We would also have such harmony if we were faithful to God's decrees."
2.3 Studying at University: 1937 - 1939
In 1936 Frikkie Neser passed his Mathematics and Chemistry exams with distinction. He was eager to undertake further studies but was unsure which discipline to choose. At that time the building of the Kalkfontein dam was in progress. As the dam was not far from Rietputsdam, Frikkie decided to pay a visit to the resident engineer, a
Mr. Levinkind, to seek advice regarding his direction of study. On this man's advice Frikkie went to study civil engineering at the University of Cape Town in 1937. During his first year he realised that he was not suited to this particular career as he was not practically minded enough. In addition to this, he was experiencing difficulties in following the lectures of the professors who, for the most part, were Scots. The following year Frikkie enrolled at the University of Stellenbosch, where he obtained a BSc, in Maths and Physics in 1939.
2.4 Working at the Met Office: 1944-1946.
World War Two broke out during Frikkie's last term at university. As Frikkie was meeting most of his study costs himself, he was very worried about the amount of tuition fees which he would presently
need to pay. The outbreak of the war only added to his worries. He was greatly relieved when, with the help of his physics lecturer, Dr. S Meiring Naude, he obtained a position at the Met Office. Dr. T.E.V. Schumann was head of the Met Office at this time, and he and Dr. Naude were good friends - hence his willingness to help Frikkie obtain the position. Both of these men achieved eminence in various fields in later years.
Just after Frikkie joined the Met Office in 1940, it was placed under the command of the airforce. The result was that he was put into uniformed service against his wishes, and given the rank of officer. After he had undergone three months basic training, he was immediately posted to the Royal Air Force base at Nakura, in what was at the time the British Colony of Kenya, as a lecturer in meteorology. He was the only Afrikaner there.
At that time the area of Nakuru was like a miniature England, because many of the high ranking British officers and state officials had retired to this beautiful plateau. The young Free State farmer's boy felt somewhat alien among the British elite. However, a mutual interest and friendship grew up between Frikkie and one of the retired Generals who lived there. This General, who had come to Nakuru to look after the welfare of the air force personnel, was delighted to meet someone from the Fauresmith region. At first Frikkie was somewhat surprised by the General's friendly interest, but a friendship quickly developed between himself and General Lewin who knew the Fauresmith area well as he had been on active service there during the Anglo-Boer war. In 1940 Frikkie was invited to spend Christmas at the General's country estate, where he was able to relax. During a horseride on Christmas Day Frikkie's horse stumbled and fell, leaving Frikkie with a broken arm. He was taken to the top military hospital at Voortrekkerhookte to be treated.
General Arthur Corrie Lewin's military career is rather impressive and is worth mentioning briefly. He was born on 26th July 1874 at Castlegrove in Ireland, and studied at Cheltenham College and Trinity Hall. In 1895 he joined the King's Regiment and in 1900 progressed to the rank of Captain, at which point he was posted to the South African front. With the 1st. Mounted Rifles he took part in the war operations at Paardeberg, Poplar Grove, Driefontein, Vetrivier and Sandrivier, and was involved in the taking of
Bloemfontein and Pretoria in June 1900. Furthermore, during the latter part of 1900 he was involved in the campaign to attempt to bring down General Christiaan de Wet. He was awarded the Queen's Medal and the King's Medal, and then on 31st October 1902 he received the coveted Distinguished Service Order. After the Anglo-Boer war he served with various regiments and was promoted to Major in 1913. In World War One he took part in the Dardanelles campaign during which he was made Brigadier General. In 1918 he took part in the final defeat of the Turkish forces. He received a number of other decorations, and in 1918 was elevated to the Order of St. Michael and St. George and to the Companion of the Bath. Also in 1918 he became aide-de-camp to King George V and retired from the army in the same year. Later he became Magistrate of County Galway. When he moved to Nakuru he became an honorary Colonel of the 1st Battalion of the Kenya Regiment. In 1900 Lewin married Nora Constance Hoggin with whom he had two sons. After her death, he married Phyllis Mary Noel in 1931. Brigadier General Lewin died in 1952.
Early in 1941, after he had recovered from his broken arm and just two weeks before the battle of El-Alamein, Frikkie Neser was posted to North Africa. Here he served with the number three wing of the South African Air Force which was under the jurisdiction of the 8th British Army. With this regiment he journeyed through Tripoli and Tunisia where they joined forces with the 5th American Army. Thereafter they pursued Rommel's retreating army as far as Foggia, at the foot of Mount Etna.
During this time Frikkie was promoted to the rank of Captain. In 1944 he was transferred back to the Met Office in Pretoria where Colonel Noel Sellick was now in charge. At this time the office was accommodated in a two-storeyed building on the corner of Lynnwood Road and Roper Street.