Sid: My guest Sandy Teplinski is a Jewish Believer in Messiah, an Israeli, and she has got a fresh approach in her book “Why Still Care About Israel?” You may think “Yeah, why should I still care about Israel, what about the Palestinians, what about everything’s new creation? What about I’m not even interested in Old Covenant any more especially the Biblical feasts?” This is a fresh approach for a very important season. Why do I say it’s an important season? I agree with the Orthodox Rabbis who say “We are in the period of time in which we are beginning to hear the footsteps of Messiah.” He’s about ready to return; and just as Israel and the Jewish people were front and center at His first coming, Israel and the Jewish people will be front and center at His return. Sandy, I want everyone to get to know you a little bit. There’s some things that I found out about you that I’ve never discussed with you that are really interesting. But first things first, how did you as a Jew become a believer in the Messiah? Give me the Rabbinic answer where you have to stand on one foot and therefore it can’t be long.
Susan: Through the grace of God. (Laughing)
Sid: Well that’s too short but okay. (Laughing)
Susan: Long story short I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish environment in the United States.
Sid: Were both of your parents Jewish?
Susan: Both of my… all four of my grandparents are Jewish.
Sid: You must give Rabbis’ a conniption over that. I had one Rabbi say to me recently “Well, you can’t be Jewish none of those people that call themselves Jews that believe in Jesus are Jewish.” And I said “Yes, some of my best friends are Jewish, my mother, my father, my grandparents on both sides. As a matter of fact my DNA they just traced it back and all the way to the tribe of Judah.” But anyway; so Sandy what really started you in your search in Yeshua?
Susan: It was the fact Sid that I was raised in the Synagogue and did have a heart cry for God and yet I did not see the ability within the synagogue including the most esteemed rabbi and elders. I did not see the ability to carry out that which we were commanded to do. Specifically as we would pray the Shema and that which follows it 3 times a day I was deeply convicted by the reality that I could not love the Lord my God with all of my heart; all of my soul, strength and might. No matter how hard I tried and I could not have the kind of intimate relationship with the creator of the universe demonstrated by my forefathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the prophets. The answer that I was given was “Well, times have changed we don’t have a Holy Temple in Jerusalem anymore and so God doesn’t require the same type of behavior from us.” Didn’t satisfy me deep down; nowhere in the scriptures that I had studied did I see an exemption to be made for the distant future when the Jewish people would not have a Holy Temple anymore that would exempt us from fulfilling His holy commands. So as a result of my spiritual discontent I began searching for God in my college years through all kinds of religion; Eastern, New Age you name it. And was eventually presented with a New Testament to which I reacted very negatively because…
Sid: For those that don’t understand why would you react negatively towards a New Testament?
Susan: Because I was brought up despite my participation in a religious synagogue community the neighborhood that I was brought up in was almost entirely Gentile, actually in fact very overly anti-Semitic. So I grew up being called “A Christ killer.” I was physically assaulted on a regular basis. Thankfully I was always big for my age so I fought back and the boys would leave me alone. But I grew up in a very anti-Semitic environment. And so the last thing I expected was that whoever this Jesus was would offer a way of peace or love or genuine relationship with God as I knew God. But when I did read the scriptures for the first time not under the influence of any organization or any Jewish missionaries or any type of church; when I studied it myself apart from the Rabbi’s compared it with the Hebrew Scriptures. I had some familiarity with from my earlier upbringing and encountered the reality. When I say reality Sid I mean I sensed a presence of love and life almost jumping off the words of those pages of the New Testament into my spirit that was completely incomparable to anything that I had read from all of these other eastern religions I was exploring. The reality that the New Testament was a Jewish Book I couldn’t deny it. So I kind of gobbled through it. Compared the New Testament scriptures with prophetic passages in the Hebrew Scriptures. And by God’s grace came to the understanding that Yeshua, Jesus, is the promised Messiah.
Sid: Now the thing that really intrigues me well, first of all when you became a believer there was a move of God’s Spirit among a number of Jewish people at that time, but it still was a small percentage of Jewish people that believed in Jesus at that time. How did you overcome your conscience over betraying your heritage?
Susan: The only answer that I could tell you that would be honest is that when I came to believe that Yeshua was the Messiah and I prayed to my God to restore me in relationship to Him through what His Messiah had done for me. He then filled me with such a fire and a passion for Him that concern with what my family would think although that was a concern and did trouble me but it was so far outweighed by having peace with God and by having purpose to my life. And by seeing that so many of my people were still struggling to understand who they were; what God’s purpose for the Jewish people is; what God’s purpose for Israel is how it is that we’re called to walk with Him that well God changed my heart. Gave me a fire for reaching them in love by His grace humility. God loves those who do not know Yeshua as Messiah, just as much as He loves those who do know Yeshua as Messiah. And so that overshadows by God’s grace our concern with our own rejection or the treatment we might get from other.
Sid: Okay you become a believer; you become Spirit filled, and then you’re at the infancy or the beginning stages of the Vineyard Movement with John Wimber. That had to be so exciting; from what I understand they were almost shocked there were so many miracles happening. What were those early days like?
Susan: (Giggling) Oh Sid we lived in an environment of daily miracles. We were taught by our Pastor John to carry God’s heart. To keep one ear tuned to the Holy Spirit at all times. He used to say “Everybody gets to play the signs and wonders and miracles. The supernatural is what we’re all called to. It’s not reserved for apostles or those who would call themselves apostles and prophets and high level church leaders. It’s for everybody.”
Sid: Sandy I want to go back to that because it just intrigues me that was a major outbreak of the Holy Spirit that literally the Vineyard Churches that’s where they started and then they spread all over the world. But you have a fresh approach in the most important book you’ve written entitled “Why Still Care About Israel?” Why should a Christian be interested in this especially if they’re not Jewish?
Susan: I think Sid that the key here is Christian. Anybody who follows Jesus Christ I would hope would want to love what He loves; would want to be where we He is. And if we read the Bible with an open mind and heart and with integrity for God being supreme and for God’s Word being His Word. Not what we want to make it into, but His Word and then I don’t understand how a Christian can’t capture God’s heart of love and passion based on who God is. Not on who the Jews are God’s covenant that He affirms in the New Testament through Yeshua and having an intimate relationship with the Christ who Christians follow; it surprises me when occasionally I do hear some say “Well, I’ve never experienced or…”
Sid: I’ll tell you what concerns me we are at a major dividing line between phony Christians and real Christians. I believe the real issue the major, actually even the single dividing line as I’ve studied scripture and Sandy has will be your position on the Jew in Israel. It will not be popular to stand up for the Jew in Israel. The whole world is starting to go… in fact the Bible says all the nations of the world are going to turn against Israel. And what are you going to do? I want you to be on the right side of the fence; there’s coming a major outpouring of God’s Spirit; a major outpouring of miracles; a major outpouring of blessings for those that are speaking God’s Word and God’s side.