Jesus fulfils prophecy

One of the things I enjoy reading about is how individuals personally encounter God and come to faith in Christ. Scripture states that God seeks to have a personal relationship with every one of us, but how that relationship actually begins will differ from person to person since we all come from different “starting places” having different backgrounds and different needs.

Recently I read the fascinating account of how a Conservative Jew came to faith in Jesus. Although  Zechariah Ch 12 vs 8-11 clearly predicts that the wholesale conversion of the Jewish race won’t occur until the  Second Coming of Jesus, this doesn’t preclude various individual Jews finding Jesus for themselves if they are really open to finding  and  seeking Truth.

In an interview with Mandy Pilz, Ziggy Rogoff said ”I am a Jew, but my job is to tell other Jews  that the Jesus they have rejected is actually their long-awaited Messiah.

It is amazing that I have come to this conclusion given my upbringing, where I was steeped in Conservative Judaism and Jewish traditions.  Three times a week, from the age of eight, I attended Judaism   classes and even had a private tutor to prepare me for my Bar Mitzvah at 13, which I had at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

During this rite of passage I sang my piece and carried the scroll of Jewish Scriptures from the little cave to the left of the Western Wall and back again.  I was nervous about getting the ceremony right, but in terms of what I actually believed about God, I didn’t really think about it. It was more a case of following tradition and nothing about the event made me want to find out any more.  The notion of sin and being accountable to a Holy God, or that I could relate to Him wasn’t there in the ceremony. No one ever spoke about such things.

Throughout my childhood I received negative ideas about Christianity and this made me suspicious of Christian things. Many years later however, when I was doing my PhD, I used to talk about God with a very good non-Jewish friend who eventually became a Christian. Through him I got to meet other Christians and I began to question ‘is Jesus really the Messiah?’  This caused me to ask; ‘how is it possible for millions of people to believe Jesus is the Messiah when Jewish rabbis have been rejecting Him for 2000 years?’  I saw Jesus standing in the history of the Gospels and I began to ask ‘is He Who He claims to be?’ The only way I could find out for sure was to examine the prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures.

I’ve studied mathematics so I created a long Excel spreadsheet of all the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled and all the things that were expected of the Messiah. I tabulated around 430 prophecies and spent time poring through the Scriptures looking at these. I went to a Jewish bookshop to buy a Kosher Bible just to see what Christians believed in. Later I was invited on a church weekend. I witnessed Christians from different cultures, races and backgrounds and I said to myself, ‘this is exactly what God’s people should look like’. I thought ‘this really looks like the fulfilment of the promise made to Abraham that a multitude of nations would be blessed through him.’ I began to think, ‘this is really it.’

I remember the following week being aware of two very powerful emotions. One was enormous happiness that I had discovered a great Treasure, Jesus; the other was great fear because I knew I stood guilty before a Holy God.  I was then overcome with a deep-running joy when it was explained to me what Jesus had done,  that He had died for my sins and that I was forgiven and had peace with God. It dawned on me that He was the long-awaited Sacrifice that the Scriptures had always pointed to.  I then knew that I wanted to live, putting Jesus at the centre of my life.

It took me a couple of years to get round to telling my family. Reactions were mixed. My mum was angry, feeling ashamed, sickened and betrayed. However, I have gained many Christian friends. I have also developed a zeal for sharing my faith with other Jews and have trained as a missionary through an organisation called ‘Jews for Jesus’.”

Ziggy Rogoff became a Christian because he genuinely wanted to find out the truth about Jesus. He understood   very clearly that if Jesus is exactly Who He said He was, the Messiah and Son of God, then it meant that the things He taught and prophesised were of paramount importance.  The same is true for us all. If Jesus really is Who He said He was then the human race does indeed stand before a Holy God Who is calling upon us all to repent of our sins and live our lives in obedience to Him. By turning to Him we embrace real and joyful life as Ziggy personally discovered, but by ignoring His warnings we embrace spiritual misery, trouble and finally Judgement. In John Ch3 v 19, when speaking of Himself, Jesus said “Light has come into the world but men love darkness rather than light”. What a fitting description this gives of today’s troubled world.