Over the years, I have had many people ask me what was it that brought me from Judaism to Messianic Judaism. In other words, was there a significant event or moment that caused me to go from not believing in Yeshua to believing that He is the Messiah?
Over the years, I have answered that question in different ways as my faith has grown and my understanding of both the Scriptures and myself has increased. The truth is that there was not one thing or event that caused my faith to shift so radically. There in fact were two things.
The first thing was my realization of the miracle of Israel. The very existence of the modern restoration of the ancient nation was my first step toward a faith transition. I say a faith transition because the revelation of the significance of Israel's very existence was the key to my transition from knowing I was a Jew, a simple acknowledgment of my heritage connection to a people group and culture. This heritage included a faith system and a G-D whom I desperately wanted to believe in yet was so far from the description of the people I read about in our ancient texts. If it wasn't for the miraculous rebirth of the nation Israel, I think I would still only be a cultural Jew attending synagogue services, fulfilling life-cycle events, doing so only from a relationship with my people and not from a relationship with G-D.
The miracle of Israel and the subsequent miracles that have not only kept her safe but brought her to being one of the most significant nations in the world were what brought me from wanting to believe in the G-D of the Bible to being completely convinced that He not only exists but is actively fulfilling His covenant promises to Israel.
Once my eyes were opened to the tangible reality of the G-D of the Bible and His covenant loyalty, my search to go beyond knowing He is to knowing Him brought me through the pages of the Tanakh, or Old Testament. This journey was facilitated through a friendship with a Christian friend and took more than nine months of almost daily studying. He understood that I only believed in the Tanakh, or Hebrew Scriptures, and was willing to help me on my search using only those texts. After many months of searching and reading, all done before computers and software were available, I came to the conclusion that Yeshua (Jesus) was not only the Messiah, but that He was G-D. I said as Thomas did before me, "My L-RD and my G-D" (John 20:28). There were many verses that helped me come to this conclusion and various prophetic passages with their fulfillment, but it was the words of a first-century rabbi and Sanhedrin member that helped me to complete my transition. His words spoke to my heart with the same level of power and completeness that the reality of the miracle of Israel did for my faith in G-D. His words are found in the book of Acts 5:38-39 (TLV):
"So now I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or undertaking is of men, it will come to an end; but if it is of God, you will not be able to stop them. You might even be found fighting against God." They took his advice,
The Pharisaic rabbi named Gamaliel spoke these words almost 2,000 years ago and there I was in the year 1981. There were not only still Jewish believers in Yeshua, but there was a growing number of Jews coming to that belief all over the world. Not only were there Jews who believed in Yeshua in 1981, but there has been an unending chain of Jewish believers since Gamaliel spoke those words. Yes, there are also millions of non-Jewish believers in Yeshua, but for me as a Jew, I read these words with the same understanding that connected the words of Scriptures with the reality of history. Gamaliel said if belief in Yeshua was an undertaking of men, it would come to an end. But if it was of G-D, they would not be able to stop it. That day, almost 37 years ago, I looked with my eyes and saw that Jewish believers in Yeshua were still here. I knew it had to be of G-D. Now 37 years later, I shout with a loud voice in agreement with that rabbi so long ago to all of my Jewish mishpocha (family); "We are still here!"
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer and Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians.
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