but don’t worry, I’m only going to pick on one of them today – the one that’s on my mind because of what someone said to me yesterday: a fellow Christian who made the opposite mistake from one I’m a lot more used to hearing – I’ve often heard people talk as though when I, a Jew, became a follower of Jesus, that meant I was “converting from Judaism” (no, I was converting from agnosticism and from rebelling against God) but the person I was talking to yesterday, someone who had actually converted to Christianity from a totally different religion, said: it’s different for you because for you it’s a continuity, building on what you’d learned before.
I can see where she got that idea from, but no, that’s not how it works. It’s how it should work… It’s how it would have worked if Judaism hadn’t changed so much over time, if it had stayed true to its roots, if it hadn’t rejected Messiah when he came and then built a whole chunk of doctrine and practice based on rejecting Jesus.
What I’d learned before – what I’d been taught that Jewish people believe – was, I’m sorry to say, heresy.
What the Judaism of today teaches is a far cry from what Moses believed. Moses knew God personally – spoke to him face to face, as a man speaks to his friend! That’s from Exodus 33, which has become one of my favourite Bible chapters ever since I realised what’s going on there – how in the same scene we have Moses having a face to face chat with YHWH, and then YHWH telling him: you can’t see my face and live. Which brings home a truth about God that today’s Judaism is very keen to ignore: that there’s more than one person who goes under the name YHWH, and one of these persons is someone a human being can talk to face to face!
That’s the same person who visited Abraham and had a meal with him before having a chat with him about Sodom. (Genesis 18)
And then, at the right time according to the prophecy in Daniel 9, he did the thing that he’d been planning to do since the very beginning: he took flesh, became one of us, lived a perfect, sinless life, and then died as the ultimate atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind – so that anyone who believes in him, whether Jew or Gentile, should not perish but have eternal life. This is the Saviour I’ve put my faith in – the promised Jewish Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the One who came to save us all and who has, ever since he came to fulfil the promises that Jewish people had been looking forward to, been accepted by some but rejected by many. Rejected so strongly that I grew up knowing not very much Jewish doctrine but one thing was totally clear to me: Jesus isn’t for us. That’s why when I met him – aged 27, in a church in London – I thought at first that I was joining a new, different religion that had nothing to do with Judaism. I didn’t know he was the Jewish Messiah. I didn’t know he was there in the Tanach right from the first chapter of Genesis. I didn’t know that he had met with Moses face to face!
A lot of people don’t realise, and that’s why they think that I “converted from Judaism”…
I didn’t. I converted from rejecting God to putting my faith in him. But if you’re a Jewish person who follows the Jewish religion and doesn’t believe in Jesus, then I’m sorry but you do need to convert from that – you don’t need to become a non-Jew (as if that were possible), you don’t have to start eating pork (though feel free if you want to), but the one thing you have to let go of in order to be saved is your rejection of Jesus. There is no other name under heaven by which people can be saved, there is no alternative way to God other than through his anointed Messiah, the One promised by the prophets and yearned for throughout the centuries, but no, he does not tarry – he came at the time that we were told he’d come (Daniel 9) and our religious authorities at the time rejected him and handed him over to the Romans to be killed.
But there is hope – for anyone who puts their faith in him, we get total forgiveness of all our sins, including the sin of rejecting Messiah.
Turn to him today, in repentance and faith, and you too will live!
Find out more at http://www.jewsforjesus.org/answers