Sid: My guest is red hot for the Messiah; he’s Rabbit Jonathan Bernis, a Messianic Jewish Rabbi, Executive Director of Jewish Voice Ministries International. We’re releasing his brand new book; the title is “A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days.” Jonathan you have a chapter in your book that is so important and that is because we’re coming at a very precise time, the fullness of the Gentile Age, which means the Spiritual scales are being removed from the eyes of Jewish people which means Jewish people are beginning to ask good questions and they desire good answers. Give us some tips on do and don’ts and maybe even some prophecy to share about the Messiah to the Jewish person that God himself is going to have cross our path.
Jonathan: Well Sid thank you for asking me this question because this is what both you and I live for, to share the gospel with our Jewish people, and to see Israel saved. That was Paul’s heart cry when he said that he would give up his very salvation for his own people, the people of Israel, and then he numerates eight things that they have blessed the Church with, the world with in fact. And I’ve asked the question often “Why does Paul tell me Roman’s the Gentile audience that He would give up his very salvation for Israel and that he carries this burden for them when he’s speaking to Gentiles?” And the answer is I believe is that He wants to communicate this burden with the Gentile Church so that they will fulfill their mandate, their role in provoking the Jewish people to jealousy. Unfortunately we have a 2,000 year history of only provoking the Jewish people in the Name of Christ and Christianity rather than provoking them to jealousy. Now Sid, first of all how do you provoke someone to jealousy? Not by tormenting them or ignoring them or persecuting them. You provoke someone to jealousy by the possessing something that they don’t have and want. If my neighbor, for example, if I wanted a Lamborghini, or a Ferrari, and my neighbor bought one and was pulling it into his driveway everyday that might bring me to jealousy because I don’t have one, I have an old beat-up Volkswagen how does that work spiritually? Provoke Jewish people to jealousy or anyone for that matter by demonstrating a life that is a better quality than they have by demonstrating peace, in times of economic hardship, we demonstrate that we have peace because we have our citizenship and our hope is not in this world but in the Kingdom of heaven. We demonstrate patience, we demonstrate love, we demonstrate a sense of destiny and purpose in our lives, that goes a long way with anyone particularly Jewish people. The Jewish people are seeking after God without knowledge; they’re seeking after a sign. When you pray over a Jewish person and Jewish people may not want to be preached at, but they’re often willing to have you pray for them and their healed, that’s going to provoke them to jealousy. But we have to understand Sid that we do have a responsibility to the Jew first and that the Jewish people that God has put into our life are not there by accident, they’re God incidents not coincidences, and we have a responsibility to demonstrate the love of God, the peace of God, the power of God through our lives, that’s first and foremost. Secondly, the Jewish person doesn’t come to faith, doesn’t come to know the Lord any differently than the Gentile in the sense that it comes, salvation comes about as we realize our sin and separation from God and our need to turn to Him and embrace Him by faith. It we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, that God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved because it says in Roman’s 10 “That all that call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” The challenge Sid, the problem is that the Bible says that it’s very simple that they only need to confess and they’ll be saved but they can’t confess without believing and they can’t believe unless one proclaim. So Christians, believers that are listening must boldly proclaim their faith with Jewish people. Now there are some tips in sharing with Jewish people, one is semantics, we need to be careful to understand that Jesus and Christ and Christianity, and baptize, and convert are words that mean something very different to a Jewish person than to a Christian or to a true believer. When a Jewish person hears that you must convert, they think leave their Judaism and be a trader; it’s not that at all. Believing in Jesus, in Yeshua is the most Jewish thing that you can believe because this is not Jesus Christ son of Mr. & Mrs. Christ the God of Christianity. The God of the New Testament, this is Yeshua Hamashiach, Jesus the Messiah, the promised Messiah foretold not only in the Torah, the first five books of Moses but throughout the writings and the Prophets in what we call the Tenach, or the Old Testament. And if you can communicate not Jesus Christ but the Jewish Messiah foretold in the Jewish prophets it’s a much more effective way of sharing our faith. There’s prophecy after prophecy Sid that clearly speak of the Messiah and you can identify Yeshua in these prophecies.
Sid: Now, when you’re in the former Soviet Union and you’re having a Jewish festival you share as you did earlier this week your testimony, but then what prophecies do you usually share with these unsaved Jewish people?
Jonathan: Well, let’s backup and say testimony is so important because Jewish people who may not want to be preached at are interested in the supernatural. And so your testimony is supernatural, and don’t underestimate the value of telling someone how God changed your life, what you were like, how He changed your life and what He’s done since. I always do that and my primary focus Sid when I stand up in front of Jewish people is to say, “Here’s who I was, here’s what God did in my life to change it and I want you to know that He can change you today, just as He did in my life 28 years ago.” That is so powerful, but then there’s prophesies in the scriptures, in the Jewish scriptures such as Isaiah 53, I often tell me story Sid where you got the Bible from, the Jewish scriptures from your Rabbi and had him sign it and then read it to your father, who told you not to bring a New Testament into His home and He couldn’t believe that it was in the Old Testament. When you told him it was, he said, “I never trusted that Rabbi,” that’s a great story, I love that story because why did he do that? Because it so clearly speaks of the Messiah and the person of Jesus fulfilling all of these prophecies in Isaiah 53 that He would be rejected, but that He would bear the sins of His people, the people is Israel; that by His stripes we are healed. It talks in Isaiah 53 about being crucified between two thieves and buried in the tomb of a rich man, all fulfilled in detail by Jesus. And then you have Jeremiah 31 verses 31-33 which promise a New Covenant with the Children of Israel and the House of Judah that will be different from the Mosaic Covenant where He would forgive their sins and remember them no more, and write the law on their own Jewish scriptures and clearly it’s fulfilled in the New Testament.
Sid: But of course the thing that many Jewish people will say is “Jesus could not be the Messiah because we’re supposed to have peace on earth when the Messiah comes.” Look at it, there is anything but peace.
Jonathan: Well, there’s some truth to that because there’s prophecies in the Jewish scriptures that talk about the Messiah ushering in peace, but there’s other prophecies that talk about the suffering Messiah. How did the Rabbis that lived in the time of Yeshua interpret this? Well they came up with a two Messiah theory Sid, that there must be two Messiah, Messiah Ben Joseph, who like Joseph would be imprisoned and rejected by his family. And then there would be a Messiah Ben David which would fulfill the prophecies of victory and peace and the idea was the theory was that these two Messiahs would both come. Messiah Ben David would resurrect Messiah Ben Joseph who would be killed and they would both rule. Now that may sound farfetched, but in reality it’s not that far off from the truth, it’s simply rather than two Messiahs coming once, it’s one Messiah coming twice it’s true that Messiah will ultimately have to usher in world peace but He does that upon His return. His first coming Messiah Ben Joseph, a person dies and pays the price for our sins and returns as the Messiah Ben David in power and judgment and ushering in a condition of peace according to Isaiah 11.
Sid: Jonathan your brand new book “A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days,” in your heart of hearts why did you write this?
Jonathan: I wrote it Sid because every Christian, every believer is called to be a coworker in the last days with the Holy Spirit in bringing about world redemption. How is world redemption ushered in? By life from the dead that happens as the Jewish people are gathered back, are restored as the natural olive branches are grafted back into their natural olive tree. I want to see every believer fulfill their destiny and their destiny is tied to Israel and the Jewish people. And that’s not being proclaimed enough Sid. That’s why I wrote the book.