By Hannah Hughes —
Erez Soref discovered spiritual reality on a trip to India as he conversed with Buddhists and Hindus.
Then he stumbled on a Christian group in Amsterdam that challenged him to read Messianic prophecies and compare them to their fulfillment in the New Testament.
“The best kept secret among the Jewish people,” says the president of One For Israel videos.
Erez Soref’s dad was a Sephardic Jew and his mom was of Babylonian Jewish descent. Going to synagogue seemed boring to him as a kid. The history of the Jewish people from thousands of years ago seemed to have little current relevance.
“God was very, very far away,” he says.
All through K-12, he studied the Old Testament for its historical and literary value only.
“It was something one needs to know being Jewish but not the Word of God,” he says.
Like many young Israelis, he traveled the world and landed on the “Mysticism Trail” — which is simultaneously the “Drug Trail” — in India, where he was exposed to Hindu and Buddhist scriptures.
“I got to understand there is a spiritual reality,” he says. “That spiritual reality was very scary, very negative, very dark, but it was very real.”
In Amsterdam, Erez fell in with some young vibrant Christians.
“I’m Jewish,” he told them right from the start. “We don’t believe in Jesus.”
“Why?” they responded. “Jesus is Jewish.”
“I’m not sure why, but I’m SURE we don’t believe in Jesus,” he answered.
Nevertheless a seed of inquiry began to germinate in his heart.
He was struck by their enthusiastic faith. The way they called it a “personal relationship with God” seemed totally foreign to him.
“What was even more shocking than that was that some of them were familiar with passages in the Hebrew Scriptures that I wasn’t ever well familiar with,” he says.
His new friends called them “prophetic” or “Messianic” passages.
“I was amazed. How do you guys know these passages? This is ours!” he says.
He referenced his own Bible in Hebrew and verified that the Messianic passages were legit.
Then he cajoled himself into peeking into the New Testament. He had already read Buddhist and Hindu literature, so what could be wrong with reading the Christian writings?
“I was very surprised. First of all it took place in Israel and places I’ve been to many many times,” he says. “Growing up in Israel, I never ever heard anything about Jesus of Nazareth.”
“Jesus is the best-kept secret among the Jews,” he says. It seemed incomprehensible that he hadn’t learned a thing about Jesus when his family lived near the Sea of Galilee.
“I was very drawn to Yeshua,” he recounts. “He did not do things to try to win men’s favor.”
Erez embarked on a study comparing Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament to their fulfillment in the New Testament.
“To my amazement, each matched,” he says. “I became convinced, first in my head, then in my heart, that Yeshua is indeed the promised Messiah of our people.
The power of the Word and the Spirit caused him to surrender to Jesus as his Savior and Lord. He was born again.
Erez devoured the scriptures. Because he had never met another Jew converted to Christianity, he believed he was the first since the Apostle Paul. He felt called to return to Israel to testify to his family, friends and nation. His joy was matched only by a sense of urgency to communicate the truth to the Jewish people.
His family did not receive the news of his conversion with joy. In fact, his dad sent him to an appointment with Jerusalem’s chief psychiatrist. dad thought Erez had lost his marbles.
The psychiatrist, however, certified him as completely sane.
For her part, mom set up an appointment with a rabbi who assured her he would prove that Jesus is not the Messiah.
That meeting never took place because the rabbi cancelled.
Eventually, Erez stumbled upon a congregation of Jewish believers and he started attending.
He hungered to study the Word of God, but Israel had nothing. So he moved to the United States and completed a doctorate in psychology. He had a family by now.
Hannah Hughes studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.