Eppstein, Rev. John Moses (Levi, such was his name at first), was born at Memel, in Prussia, Feb. 24, 1827, being the son of Elijah Levi and Rose, his wife (née Eppstein). Soon after his birth his father died, and he was brought up by his grandfather, Rabbi Benjamin Eppstein, who retired to Jerusalem when his grandson was nine years old, adopting him as his son, and making him take the name of Eppstein [Bernstein: Some Jewish Witnesses]
Until he was sixteen years old Moses was taught little else than Hebrew and the Talmud. About this time several friends of his became Christians. At first the only effect on him of their conversion was to make him more bigoted; indeed, he went about with a dagger for some time in the hope of killing his cousin Lauria, a rabbi who had become a Christian. At last, through the latter, he was led to study the Prophets, and eventually the New Testament. After this his eyes began to be opened to the truth as he saw fact and figure, and type fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, who must have been the promised Messiah. The Talmud was put aside for the whole written Word of God; this he studied at the risk of being killed, the reading of even the Old Testament causing suspicion. He had therefore to resort to all sorts of contrivances to enable him to search the Scriptures.
His own words tell out his feelings at this time:—”My convictions deepened daily, and I longed to openly confess the Lord Jesus; but I had not the courage to give up all for Him. All sorts of thoughts swayed my mind, and often, when my conscience troubled me, something would whisper to  my troubled heart, ‘When you grow up and get your property you will be free to embrace Christianity, now your wisdom is to hide your convictions.’ But I was not happy, and continued praying, and the Lord heard my prayer, for I was soon compelled to take refuge with the Society’s missionaries. In the house where I lived there was a small synagogue. I was the only Levite in the congregation, so that on days when the Law was read I had to read after the priest; as I was going up to the desk my sash caught, and the tracts I had in it fell out. The bystanders stepped forward to see what they were; on finding their contents, ‘Apostate,’ they yelled, ‘with these about you, you desecrate our place of worship, and dare even to go up to read the Law!’ The whole congregation began beating me, and would probably have murdered me, had it not been for one of them. As soon as I was free from my persecutors, my only safety was in flight. I went to my room, and committed myself in prayer to the Lord, and then went straight to the house of Mr. Nicolayson.” After a course of instruction he was baptized, July 13, 1844, by Bishop Alexander.
After his baptism he found a situation in Cairo, in which he stayed for several years, until he felt the missionary call. His employer did his best to prevent him leaving, even to offering him a share in his business. But his mind was made up, and he entered the Protestant College at Malta, as a theological student, spending five years there. He then offered himself to the Society, and in 1854 entered the Hebrew College in Palestine Place.
In 1857 he was appointed a missionary  of the Society at Bagdad. The results of his work are summed up in his own words, “The mission was a great success, not from the number of baptisms, but from the large numbers to whom we preached Christ.” In 1867 he commenced his great work at Smyrna, where, through his labours during eighteen years, many Jews were born again, and were baptized. In 1885 he left Smyrna. One who knew him and his work there wrote after his death, “Mr. Eppstein will ever be remembered by thousands of Jews living at Smyrna, and in the interior of Asia Minor. When his death became known many Jews said, ‘He was a good man, and loved our people.’ He had friends amongst the rich as well as the poor, whilst learned and unlearned looked up to him for his great learning and Talmudical knowledge.”
In 1885, on the death of Dr. Stern, he was appointed head of the Society’s mission in London, a post for which he was singularly fitted. He knew English, German, French, Hebrew, Yiddish, Spanish, Greek (both modern and classic), Latin, Syriac, Chaldee, Felachi (the Nestorian dialect of Chaldee), Persian, Italian, and Turkish. In 1893 he removed to Bristol, in charge of the “Wanderers’ Home.” Here his work was greatly blessed, as many as eighty-two Jews being baptized by him up to 1902. During his missionary career he baptized 262 Jews and Jewesses.
At last, in May, 1903, his call came to higher service. Shortly before his death, though suffering greatly, he said he was “the happiest man in the world,” and again, “I thank God that He enabled me to lay hold  of the Pearl, and to lay hold of it with both my hands.” The Society suffered a great loss when Mr. Eppstein passed away to his eternal rest. As a missionary he was to the end most able and faithful, and his life and life work will ever be remembered with heartfelt gratitude to the Almighty God for all that he was able to do through a life so fully dedicated to His service, as was that of the late John Moses Eppstein.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the life of John Moses Eppstein, a faithful scholar, servant and witness to Yeshua. May we follow his example of active service, joy and wisdom. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.