Sid: My guest by way of telephone at his home in Lexington, South Carolina is William Morford he’s the translator what is rapidly becoming my favorite reading New Testament, it’s called “The Power New Testament” subtitle “Revealing Jewish Roots.” Because there are Hebrew Idioms to what Jesus was saying. And then the way Bill you brought out the tenses as I read and it’s in modern English, the whole thing becomes maybe you should call it “The Alive New Testament.”
Sid: Rather than “The Power New Testament.” Why is it that the other Bibles don’t capture this?
Bill: I certainly don’t understand it because when you take Greek this is the way you’re told that it should be translated. But when the others translate it they leave out the extra punch that’s there in the Greek.
Sid: How did you first get attracted? I know how you got attracted to the Greek, but how did you even. I mean the average Christian doesn’t know these idioms, these Hebrewisms. How did you understand this, how did you learn this?
Bill: I went to a Rabbi… we moved to Lakeland, Florida just before I started before the Lord told me to get serious in translating. And we moved there just to… because we felt that that’s where the Lord wanted us. We didn’t know anyone in Lakeland, but we felt that He put me in touch with a Messianic Rabbi so I could get Hebrew references that I needed. After we got to Lakeland we found out that there was no Messianic Rabbi there, but there was Rabbi Eliezer Ben-Yehuda a Jewish Rabbi who was a great help. Personally going through scripture with me and giving me reference books.
Sid: And for those that are tuning in for the first time this particular Rabbi’s grandfather was the single person that pioneered Hebrew to be a modern speaking language in Israel. And actually came up with many of the words so you could not have found a better teacher Bill.
Bill: Right, certainly not and what made him even better than his scholarship was his attitude and his helpfulness. And he feels that part of his call is to be a bridge between Christians and Jews. So he was very helpful. We’ve became very good friends. And we’ve been to their home for Pesach, or Passover, and for other feasts days it’s really wonderful.
Sid: Bill, I want you to teach some of the things that I’ve been gleaning from reading your “Power New Testament.”
Bill: Okay, let’s start at Acts 18 with the first verse that says “Paul going to Corinth after these things he left from Athens and went to Corinth and when he found a certain Jewish man name Aquila a native of Pontus who came recently from who came recently from Italy with Priscilla his wife, because of the order of Claudius to separate all the Jewish people from Rome, Paul came to them and because they were in the same trade he was staying with them and he was working. For they all were prayer shawl makers by trade. And he was discussing in the synagogue…
Sid: Wait a second, my Bible says “Tentmakers.”
Bill: Well, they say that but that’s not right. The word that’s translated tentmaker is “skenopoios” and it does not appear in any other Greek writing anywhere. So whether it was commonly used by the Jewish people in those days or not whether Luke just made it up we don’t know. But we do know that a man named Bauer who did the Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich Greek-English Lexicon this is over a hundred years ago. He wrote a whole column on that one word and concluded that he didn’t know what it was, but that it was something that required technical training. The technical training that we know all three had was rabbinic training. And that was required to make prayer shawl.
Sid: So you believe that Paul’s tent making, so to speak, was making tallits, prayer shawls.
Sid: By the way you have some fascinating information about the prayer shawl. For instance when the woman with the issue of blood reached out to touch the garment of Jesus, you don’t call it a garment do you. What do you call it?
Bill: That’s the prayer shawl.
Sid: And why was that so important and you explain this in your footnotes. “When she reached out to touch the fringes of the prayer shawl.
Bill: Well the fringe, the tseetseet is the Hebrew word. The reason it was made is given in the 15 chapter of Numbers and it was made that all could look upon it and remember all the commandments and promises of God. So that when she touched that she knew that on a holy man of God that that fringe represented all the commandments and all the promises for her, and those promises included her healing. For the Lord said “I am the Lord your healer.” Way back in the wilderness he said that.
Sid: Now I just have a vision of someone putting the prayer shawl on that’s in dire need of being healed. And when they grab hold of the fringes and I know that this is just a point of contact but there’s something so supernatural about the prayer shawl that when you grab hold of the fringes of the prayer shawl you’re grabbing hold of every promise in God’s word having to do with healing. That’s exactly what that woman with that issue of blood did.
Bill: Absolutely, no question about it.
Sid: Okay, if you would teach further.
Bill: Well there’s a another meaning to it; of course well, before I get to the next meaning, I want to say on the fringe the Greek work is consistent in using… in referring to the fringe. It’s Kraspedon and it just means fringe, it never meant hem or anything like it.
Sid: Well, where did we get hem from; rather than fringe?
Bill: Who knows you’ll have to wait until you get to heaven and ask those that…
Sid: They did not… you know what it was the translators were great Greek scholars but they didn’t know their Jewish roots. And let’s face it the New Testament was written for Jews in a Jewish nation by Jews. I mean what do you expect give me a break you know.
Bill: (Laughing) Exactly. You’re right you know. And the other thing that I was going to get to in a different meaning that has been confirmed by using the Septuagint. And that’s in 1st Corinthians 11 getting down I want to read that whole paragraph. But I’ll start with verse 14 “Does not nature teach you this that the man on the one hand has long hair it’s a disgrace to him.” And of course that was the custom in the Roman Empire in the lst Century that men wore very short hair. But on the other hand for a woman it is her glory. Because the hair was given to her as an ornament in place of a prayer shawl. And the word translated prayer shawl there is the same word that’s used in the Septuagint for prayer shawl in Deuteronomy 22:12.
Sid: So you mean these woman that cut their hair to the point where you can barely see they have any hair today they’re not reflecting the prayer shawl.
Sid: (Laughing) Is that what the word is saying?
Sid: I’m going to get into trouble. I better watch out.
Bill: Exactly right well, woman wear prayer shawls today. And it’s a question of hair custom in the first century on that. And I know that in conservative synagogues woman use prayer shawls.
Sid: And by the way I get questions all the time from woman that says “Is it acceptable for me to put on a prayer shawl and pray?” And the answer is “You are free.”
Sid: You are a free person and if that’s going to enhance your worship of God and your prayer and your communion with God go for it.
Bill: See the command is to put it on the corners of a square or a rectangular garment. And the prayer shawl in the wilderness was their outer garment. And the 1st Century Israel it was their outer garment that they still had and is more like a poncho with a whole cut in the middle. In fact, the description of Jesus garment in John 19 that the soldiers cast lots for that fits the garment that was worn in the wilderness. The poncho like garment and the fringes were placed on the corners. And in fact a recent issue of Biblical Archeology Review had pictures taken in Jerusalem in the mid nineteenth century and there was several people in those pictures who were wearing garments that were not quite like the poncho but were very similar. And there’s no question that that’s what it was. And Rabbi Ben-Yehuda told me that a number of those garments dating back to roughly the 1st century have been uncovered by modern archeology. But again we are free. There is nothing in the commandment to put the fringes on the garment that says “Only men could wear those garments.” It was just put the fringes on the garment and that garment described what the men were wearing at that time.
Sid: Bill just out of curiosity because you bring out these idioms that there is no way of understanding the Jewish roots of the faith. By you call it “The Power New Testament” because you bring out the tenses. It becomes so alive. I mean I am so excited about this translation. What feedback are you getting not from someone like me that comes from a Jewish background but someone that’s never been taught these things when they read your “Power New Testament” for the first time, what do they say to you?
Bill: We have a stack of letters people just saying how much it’s opened things up for them. I got a letter from a pastor in Michigan just recently just said “Wow!”
Sid: We’re out of time right now Bill.
Sid: We want everyone everywhere to so yield to God that He would really be Lord in your body in your life, in your family; in your home, in your congregation, and in our nation. I have Dr. Michael Brown because the devils making an end run and he’s trying to put in what called “The Hyper-grace” message. It’s pervasive in the church today and Mike you know there are many people that are saying “God is always in a good mood.” What Bible are they reading?
Michael: Yeah, and I have a whole chapter in my “Hyper-Grace” book that asks that question and “Is God always in a good mood?” And so there are friends of mine, ministry colleagues, folks I love that I honor and respect that use this phrase “God is always in a good mood.” What they mean by it is He’s not moody, it’s not like “Ah, I crossed Him today He’s not… stay away from dad he’s hung over; he’s got drunk last night. Ah, Mom’s not in a good mood she’s touchy.” No God’s not like that, God’s disposition towards us always is He wants to bless, He’s always long suffering, He’s kindhearted He’s not fickle in His love. In that sense they want people “Oh no there’s a thunderstorm God’s mad at me. Oh, no he’s an ogre today; He’s nice tomorrow.” Some people project bad images of their bad drunken earthly father back on God. They want to deliver them from that and let them know you want to know God’s disposition there is wonderful truth to it. But there’s so much of the Hyper-grace message it’s part of the truth and it leaves out other extremely important truths. So, was God in a good mood when Genesis 6 when His heart was so grieved at human sin that he had to wipe out the earth? Was He laughing and high fiving it with the angels when He wiped out every human being on the planet? Was Jesus who was the image of the Father in a good mood when He wept over Jerusalem because of the coming destruction? Will He be in a good mood when He comes back in flaming fire taking vengeance on those that don’t know God? Ephesians 4 tells us “Not to grieve the Spirit.” Isaiah 63 talks about grieving the Spirit. Is God in a good mood when we grieve Him? Hey here’s a question, “If we don’t understand God’s grace and are constantly under bondage and thinking we have to work harder to half to please God. Is God in a good mood about that? Basilea Schlink who was a godly Christian leader in Nazi Germany stood up against the Nazi’s and is one of the greatest lovers of Israel in modern times in the church. She said, “Anyone who loves as much as God does must suffer, must feel pain. How can you be a loving Father and see the pain the pain and the suffering of the human race and not be hurt, not be grieved over it.” And so on the one hand in the presence is fullness of joy in His presence is joy and that joy is our strength. There’s rejoicing every time a sinner repents. So on the one hand in God’s presence it must be the most exquisite joy imaginable at the same time God is multidimensional. Throughout the scriptures He speaks of grieving of His heart being in pain. Jesus is a man acquainted with grief and pain and carried the burden of human sickness and sin. So it’s a distorted message as if no matter what happens. Here a beloved pastor gets seduced by sin and commits adultery and brings terrible reproach to the Name of the Lord and believers backslide over this because they’re so shattered by what the man of God did that they look too they lose faith in Jesus. “Is God in a good mood or what? Ha, ha check that out he just defiled the Name of Jesus and destroyed the church and hurt my reputation before the whole world.” There’s something very superficial the way it’s presented. That concerns you “Is He loving and kind; and merciful and is He good all the time, all the time good? Yes. Is He always in a good mood? That’s a distorted statement. The truth of His disposition towards us, yes, the distorted error – sin you’ve got to expose it…
Sid: Okay, that begs a question. I’ve had people on my show and I might add I agree with them that have shown that when the United States goes against Israel does something pro-homosexual; does something murdering the babies in the womb that there are warning judgments that occur. Do you think that there just coincidences or do you believe that God could do such a thing?
Michael: Of course He can. Of course I can’t speak for every individual instance. God is not in a good mood over 55 million babies that have been killed in the womb in America. And judgment is the love of God, judgment is a wake-up call. How many times in our own lives has divine chastisement been a God send because; we were making a mistake; we were getting proud or we were deviating from our calling. And God in His love brought that in; 1st Peter 4 “Judgment begins with the House of God.” Hebrews 12 “God disciplines every son He receives.” Of course there is and then in the New Testament we have Acts of divine judgment; Jesus warning about judgment on Jerusalem. Acts 12 Herod smitten down by the Angel of the Lord for sin. Revelation 2 Jesus saying to Thyatira “If you don’t repent I’m going to bring these judgments on you and your children.” It’s the love of God calling us to repent and hyper-grace teachers have to throw those verses out too.
Sid: Okay, I want you to explain true Biblical grace.
Michael: What a subject Sid. Here’s where it starts “While we were yet sinners Messiah died for us.” We sinned He died. We were guilty He was punished. We rejected God He reached out to us. We deserve eternal punishment, He accepts us as sons and daughters. Sid I start my book with a chapter called “Why I love the message of grace.” I end my book on the chapter of the finished work of the cross. Think of it all the sins that we have ever committed if we wrote them on a piece of paper, if we could remember everyone, every thought, every deed. Each of us would fill a stadium with the pieces of paper. Right? Jesus in His perfect righteousness pays for every sin that everyone has ever committed. And the day that we put our trust in Him and say “God forgive me. God wash me.” At that moment God forgets what we’ve done; at that moment He says you are My son and My daughter. Not you are in the apprentice school to become a son or a daughter. Not after 5 years of hard work you enter; no at that moment God says to Sid Roth you are My son, I love you I’m pleased to do it. At that moment He declares your righteous; at that moment He declares you clean; at that moment He declares you Saint, Saint Sid. At that moment, and now His grace come into our heart; it’s not just something that happened. It’s on going; grace is not only unmerited favor; grace is not only God’s riches at Christ’s expense. God’s grace is His ongoing favor and help on our behalf. So here’s what happens God now by His spirit comes to live inside of you and He puts desires to please Him inside of you. And He puts His sensitivity to sin inside of you. So now it becomes your nature to do the will of God. It becomes your nature to please God and here’s the thing John 13 Jesus is with His disciples He’s going to wash their feet. Servants work He’s the Master at work He’s going to wash their feet. Peter says “You’re never going to wash my feet!” Jesus says “If I don’t wash your feet you have no part in Me.” And so Peter being zealous says “Then I want a bath. You can do everything head, toe.”
Michael: And Jesus says “No, no no, the one who has been bathed does not need to go and get bathed again just have his feet washed.” Why? Because in the ancient world you didn’t have showers and bathtubs in your house; you didn’t have running water in your house. So if you were going to bathe you either went to the river or to the public bathhouse. You’d bathe there and then you’d walk home. Well, not all the roads were paved many places had no pavement at all and by the time that you get home your feet are dirty. “Oh, no my feet are dirty, I got to go back to the bathhouse. Oh man, I’ve got to go back to the altar at that church where I got saved. Oh man I’ve got to get saved again.” Oh no, no you are saved; you’re set apart as holy you’re God’s child. Unless you willfully reject Him and push Him away you’re His child. You’re His child on a bad day, you’re His child on a good day. You’re His child when you’re overcoming. It’s only if I blatantly turn my back on God walk away from Him and deny Him, or refuse to repent of sin. So what happens as a believer 1st John 1:7 what does it say? “If we walk with him, if we walk in the light we have fellows with one another and the blood of Jesus ‘God’s Son cleanses us from all sin.’” Hang on it says “If I walk in the light.” Where’s their sin? Well, we’re still not perfect, we hate sin, we work against sin with the Spirit; we renounce it; we never justify it; we never take it lightly. We’re not perfect. As we walk in the light that means when I recognize when I ask forgiveness that means when I recognize and I turn from it that means when I recognize it I don’t justify it. As I walk in the light my feet are getting clean all the time. I don’t need to go back and get saved again. I don’t need to go back to the bathhouse and that happens on a daily basis.
Sid: Mike very quickly I believe there are many listening that need to repent, turn form their sins and turn to this marvelous gift from God called grace for the power to overcome. Would you pray for them right now?
Michael: Father, I pray right now in Jesus Name; in the Name of Yeshua for a supernatural revelation of grace that people would be delivered from legalistic striving. That people would be delivered from fighting sin and the power of the flesh. That people would be delivered from a wrong view of You Father as if You are hateful and vengeful and out to get them. May there be such a revelation of forgiven, clean, righteous through the blood that they throw off the shackles of sin. That they through off the shackles of deception. Lord for those who have been deceived by a hyper-grace message and are playing with sin I pray that holy conviction that loving conviction would flood their hearts that they renounce that sin and turn to You to be cleansed afresh to turn to you and be refreshed and serve You in wholeness. Father, may grace flood the life of every listener right now in the Yeshua’s Name.
Sid: I just got a hold of a brand new book it’s called “How to Deal With the Cares of Life” by Pastor Charles Cowan. He is Pastor of Faith Is The Victory Church in Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve got a copy of this book in my hand and let me read you a couple of excerpts from the introduction:
“We’re living in the greatest moment of the Body of Messiah we will know in the earth; for this is the day of the end-time harvest when millions of souls will be swept into the Kingdom of God. Signs, wonders and miracles of God’s power and might will be confirming the Holy Scriptures of God. And if you are in your place (Oh is that is an important statement let me read it again.) If you are in your place He is going to use you in a way that you never dreamed possible. We are the generation that will see the coming of the Lord. Today Satan is trying to overcharge you with the cares of this life so that God’s power can’t flow through you. He wants to keep you stressed out. My purpose in writing this book is to set forth spiritual principals that will help you resist the cares of life. By following these Biblical truths you will be strengthened and empowered to triumph, you can live above the pressures of life. And the truth of the matter is, whether you’re not a believer, whether you’re a believer, whether you’ve been a believer for a long time you know that you’re doing the opposite of what Jesus says ‘Worry for nothing.’”
I believe that there are keys like light bulbs going off that you’re going to hear this week. My guest as I said is Pastor Charles Cowan. I’m speaking to him at his office in Nashville, Tennessee. Charles, I have to tell you that when I started reading this book I said… well now I’ve been a believer now for a little over 30 years but there are keys that all of us have to start operating in because if there’s ever been a time of turning up the pressure so that we, the Body, will not be in our right place I think that’s what the devil’s doing right now.
Charles: Well, it sure is. And Sid let me say it’s really nice to be with you and on your program today and thank you for that. But you know today there has never been a day as I have seen as today where Satan is trying to displace the child of God. Get them out of their place and out of their position and to keep them from being you know where God wants them and needs them to be as He begins to bring in this great harvest of this end-time. And you know when you look across the world today and you see just in the world today a magnitude of stress. People are perplexed; they are operating in fear of what will happen; they are fearful of the political scene; they are fearful of the religious scene; they’re laden with care. And many of these people sit in churches Sunday after Sunday after Sunday so distracted with these cares, these worries, these fears that they can’t even give their attention to what is being administered from the pulpit; what is being taught or what’s being preached. And often times they will leave the services not even remembering, or knowing, or realizing what has been said that can help their lives because they are so focused in their thought life on what they are dealing with.
Sid: You know most doctors today when they don’t know the cause of a particular physical problem they say “It’s stress related.” Why don’t we define some terms; what do you mean by stress?
Charles: Stress is where some external thing, something from the outside; when I say from the outside not from within the spirit of man but from some circumstance outside comes to bare upon them and so squeezes them until that they, especially the Christian, until they cannot think straight as they ought to think. Pressure, it brings to them a feeling of helplessness, a feeling sometimes of hopelessness. Satan continues to screw that pressure down on them until they lose their senses of what God has to say in His word. In other words they lose their spiritual senses they’re looking at the circumstances. The external situations that have brought this pressure to them; which are saying to them there is no way for you to get out of this; there is no hope for you; there is nothing anyone can do for you and he just keeps tightening that pressure down. And they’re frightened out of their spiritual senses, or the senses of the word of God that they may have had through mediation in reading the word themselves. So that pressure is there to force them to think in line with that external circumstance.
Sid: You know I happen to believe that a great deal of sickness doctors say it’s stress related. And you know what, it is because you’re body gets so removed from the invisible laws of the universe; the word of God. That you’re blood pressure goes up; and a lot of New Age people advocate meditation in New Age principals it actually lowers blood pressure. But the Bible says that’s against God’s policy, however, I happen to believe it’s a counterfeit of something authentic.
Charles: Well it is Sid because you know that if you get a person of thinking just in the natural. If you get them to thinking about something else beside their worries, or the fear or the pressures that have come that in itself has a stimulus on the body and can affect you know like you say “A reduction or an increase of one’s blood pressure.” But just to think about it and reduce that does not eliminate the problem. It addresses the symptom momentarily and it’s only the word of God that has the life of God in it. Jesus said “The words that I speak unto you they are Spirit and they are life.” And so God when He gave His word; all scriptures are given by inspiration of God. That means God breathed His life; His Spirit into His word. And when a person lifts that word off the pages of the Bible through meditation of the Holy Scriptures and reading of the Holy Scriptures they’re taking words into themselves that has the very life and the very power and the very ability of God in it. When they apply that type of thinking and those kinds of words against the external circumstances and forces that come against them, then the very life of God is at work in them now not only to address the symptom of the problem but to address the problem at its root cause. That is, that Satin has come to steal, to kill, and to destroy. And one of his major, major weapons or tools that he uses is fear of people or placing the thoughts in the minds of the people that this thing is going to take you down. You’re not going to be able to get over this; you’re not going to be able to win. And so the word of God will address not only the symptoms of the problem but it will go to the root cause of the problem and cause that person to be delivered from that particular situation. Whereas, in the medical world, and we thank God for all that the medical world does in helping people we certainly do not demean that in any sense of the word. But what they do so many times what they do is they medicate the problem, they give prescriptions. And what it does many times that medication instead of helping the person it puts them into a downward spiral or a stupor as it were. Many times brings them to the place that they’re not even able to function as they should, could, or would in life. You see, God He takes His word, you know the word of God is medicine and is health to all of our flesh. And the word of God then like a medicine goes beyond the systems and gets down into the very root of the problem and begins to eliminate it and not just medicate it; not just put a Band-Aid on it. But it actually helps to deliver us and set us free. And that’s what Jesus came to do.
Sid: Well you know one of the things that I’ve been pondering a lot lately is that there is some techniques in psychology that allow you to control your problem so it doesn’t get out of control. But there’s something better than control, it’s freedom.
Charles: Well see what people often do in my experience is that those types of things helps them to cope with the problem. Jesus didn’t come, nor did God give His word for us to cope with our problem. He came to give us deliverance from our problem and deliver us out of all of our troubles, or our problems. So we learn… people learn to cope or in other words to manage their problem; but they never get rid of what’s causing the problem. Many times they don’t even know what’s causing the problem. They just know that they have these emotions; they have these feeling and Satan just batters them then with things then in the natural world around them that just further causes those feelings and those emotions that they have just to run their thinking way out on the far edges of “There’s nothing I can do; there’s no hope for me; how am I going to get out of this.”
Sid: Charles, we’re out of time right now we’ll pick up here on tomorrows broadcast.
Sid: Well my guest is red hot for the Messiah. Well, let me ask you this “If God spoke to you and you’re a nice comfortable American happy where you’re at and tells you to go to Israel what would you do?” Well, Ron Cantor how in the world did God get you to go to Israel?
Ron: Well, it’s funny that you ask that. You probably don’t remember this Sid but we were part of the same congregation for many years Beth Messiah and we lived in the same area for many years. I remember one day when I was engaged to my wife Elana, Elana was born in Jerusalem, she’s a sabra a native born Israeli. When you heard that we were getting married you came up to me and you said “Ron, now you have to move to Israel you’re marrying an Israeli.” And I responded to you “No, I don’t think so I’m not moving to Israel; maybe I’ll visit but I had no intentions to moving to Israel.”
Sid: It’s a nice place to visit but I don’t want to live there. (Laughing)
Ron: Right and what happened to me I was actually reading a secular book a few years later by Thomas Freeman called “From Beirut to Jerusalem.” And as I read about his 6 years living in Jerusalem I fell in love with this people. Even though I’m Jewish I’m not Israeli by birth. I just fell in love with the character of this nation; it’s so unique and special. All of the stories he told I said “I have to be with these people.” It’s probably why I fell in love with my wife I love Israelis’. And so over the next several years we began to make plans to move here; it took us 12 years from that time in 2003 when we finally did make aliyah. For my wife she wasn’t making aliyah because she was born here.
Sid: And what is aliyah?
Ron: Aliyah, is a Hebrew word and it means to go up. So when Jewish person makes aliyah it means they return from one country to the land of Israel.
Sid: Okay, I also remember bumping into you in Israel and remembering because my sister and brother-in-law live there and you and Elana are close with them. And I remember you were wrestling with maybe you did but maybe you didn’t think about before you left and that’s the language of Hebrew. Tell me about your studies in Hebrew.
Ron: Learning Hebrew has been the greatest challenge of my life. I moved here at age 38, I’m now 48. My kids picked up Hebrew within a year and people under the age of 20 typically do pick it up very quickly but the older you get it is very hard to learn to learn Hebrew. I thought that I would take 2 years from ministry from 2003 to 2005 and by 2006 I’ll be preaching in Hebrew with no problems. But no it took me about 7 years before I gave my first message in Hebrew and I was terrified. Sid I preached in front of 100,000 people in English in Nigeria and I didn’t even think to be nervous but when I get my first message in Hebrew in front of 50 people who were Hebrew speakers I was terrified; I almost chickened out at the last minute and was going to grab an interpreter. But since then I’ve been preaching in Hebrew for the past 3 years. But I love Hebrew, I love learning it; it’s a great language but it hasn’t been easy.
Sid: I am sure. But tell me, between you and me. You go from the United States, a very comfortable land to Israel that in some senses is like the United States but in other senses it’s almost 3rd world. How was that transition?
Ron: It wasn’t hard at all, like I said “God had put such a love in my heart for this country.” I love the third worldness, if you will, of this nation. See on the one hand Israel is very much a first world nation I mean we have everything; every modern convenience that you have in America we have here. We pay at the pump, we have internet; we have everything. Much of the technology that it is in your iPhone, or is in your computer comes out of Israel and yet we’re in the Middle East. So even though we live on a first world level we have the mentality of a third world nation. And so when you combine those two it can be explosive. And I have had many interesting encounters in Israel; just going to the grocery store in Israel can be… I joke with people when they say “What’s different about America and Israel?” I say when I go to buy groceries in America I come home with groceries; when I go to buy groceries in Israel I come home with groceries and about 10 stories about what happened in the grocery store.
Sid: I know because I went to Israel for a month and we went to the grocery store and I felt as nervous as you as you when you preached the first sermon just trying to find the basics to live.
Ron: Right, right. And so we’ve gone through that. And if you get into the fast line where you can only have 10 items and you have more than 10 items you will be called to account. And I’ve had some of my most enjoyable moments watching Israeli’s argue with each other in the checkout lines in supermarkets. But it’s part of what I love about this nation. People are very honest in the sense of they say what they’re thinking; they don’t hold back. It’s a very aggressive, fast paced culture but it’s a lot of fun.
Sid: I have to tell you; you’re provoking me to jealousy and you’re Jewish, the Gentile supposed to provoke the Jew to jealousy not the Jew. But Ron you made a statement that Jesus never intended to start a new religion; what do you mean by that?
Ron: Well, when He came do we have any record of Him saying “I’m Jewish but I’m getting rid of this whole Jewish thing we’re going to start a new club called Christianity.” We don’t see that in the New Testament. In fact the word “New Testament” it came all the way back in Jeremiah to the House of Israel and Jacob “I’m going to make a New Covenant with you.” And so when Yeshua came he came to Israel to tell them about this New Covenant, not a new religion; a very much connected to the Torah and the prophets. And so when the Jewish people begin to hear this message all throughout Israel and became believers we don’t see them converting to another religion. When we read the Book of Acts we don’t ever see Paul or Peter speak to Jewish people about leaving Judaism they say “This is what has been promised; this is what we’ve been waiting for for 1000′s of years; on the day of Pentecost,” we call it Shavuot here. In Israel we see Peter preaching before several thousand Jewish people but never once does he invite them to join a new religion. He invites them to have their sins forgiven through the blood of the Jewish Messiah.
Sid: So what would you call Christianity if you had a chance to give it its name?
Ron: (Laughing) Well, I call myself a believer in the New Covenant they called it the way, haderekh we say in Hebrew. But wasn’t a new religion; the revelation Sid in this New Covenant and this was hidden for centuries was that Gentiles did not have to become Jewish in order to enjoy all of the promises, forgiveness of sins that the Jewish people were enjoying through Yeshua. As you know that was the main controversy in the Book of Acts; “Do Gentiles have to become Jewish in order to believe in Yeshua?” The Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 was to answer that question. But to contrast that to you and me; when you came to faith and I came to faith one of the first things that I said to myself was “I’m no longer Jewish.” After 2000 years of Christian anti-Semitism of Jews being forced to be baptized. We understood that as a Jew we can’t be part of this; but once I became to believe I thought I had lost my Jewishness. And that was until I met a woman named Viva, and she was the only other Jewish believer that I knew of. And I met her for the first time and I said “Viva guess what I also used to be Jewish.” And she put her bony little finger in my face; and she said “Don’t you ever say you used to be Jewish, you’re still Jewish.” Then I began to read the New Covenant and I saw these were all Jewish people. If you had told me growing up Sid that John the Baptist was Jewish; I would have thought “That’s crazy.” How can a Baptist be a Jew? I didn’t know who these people were. Or that Peter and Paul were Jews; Paul was a Jewish Rabbi; I had no idea.
Sid: Well, as a matter of fact the Bible says “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” And what you have done; I’m not even going to give you the credit it for it Ron; because I believe it came straight from God. You have written a novel, the last thing in the world you would have done and this is a novel about a Jewish man that comes to faith; and is wrestling with “How could this thing become so Jewish? How could this thing be so Jewish and no one sees it?” Tell me about what you really want to accomplish?
Ron: Well, what we did we took this whole idea of the Jewish roots of the faith. I wanted people to understand that the Jews did not reject Yeshua completely. There was a revival in Israel; in Jerusalem; in the greater Tel Aviv area; which was called Yako. In the Galilee tens of 1000′s of Jews did believe, now the majority of Jews did reject Him but the majority of world has rejected Him. There was a great move of God here and these people did not leave Judaism. It says in Acts 21 when Paul comes to meet James in the other Apostles James says “Look at how man 10′s of 1000s of Jews have believed and they’re zealous for the Torah.” We wanted to get that across to people and we did it by creating a story about a man named David who meets and angel. And then he has a scrooge like experience and he goes back into the New Testament times and then the angel teaches him the Jewish roots of the faith.
Sid: And the facts, the story of course is imaginary, but the facts in the book; very few Christians; very few pastors; very few ministers have ever seen this before.
Sid: I am finding that the guests that I have on Messianic Vision and It’s Supernatural Television are handpicked by God to give you a certain portion that is not being taught properly in the churches that God wants His believers; His people to understand. I was just visited a church when I was on vacation a few months ago and I went into the upstairs of the church and there was an artist gallery there. And I saw a painting that so captured my heart. It’s a picture of an orthodox Jewish man at the Western Wall; Christian’s call it the Wailing Wall. It is the Western Wall, it’s the only thing left from the temple that we have. It’s considered the most Holy Place in Israel today and he has His hand touching the Wall. That’s his way of touching God but on the other side of the Wall you see Jesus and you see Jesus touching his hand, the Orthodox Jewish man and praying that the spiritual scales would come off. And I’m going to tell you we have put it in a beautiful frame and we’re making it available with the most unique book you will ever be able to read about Israel. It’s a fresh approach for the end-times that we’re living in. It’s called “Why Still Care About Israel?” I promise you you will have questions this book is going to answer. And you will have friends that are going to have questions this book is going to answer. The research was done by a Messianic Jew from Israel who happens to be an attorney; she has dual citizenship. She’s American as well as Israeli, Sandra Teplinski. Sandra let’s get right into some very very basic things the Abrahamic Covenant. Many are saying that it is conditional. What is the Abrahamic Covenant; why is it important and why is it unconditional?
Susan: The Abrahamic Covenant Sid as you know begins in Genesis 12 verses 1-3. Most people are familiar with that passage. God tells Abraham to leave his country; go to a land that God will show him and then promises that He will bless Abraham and make his name great. And that God will bless those that bless Abraham but whoever curses him God will curse; yet all peoples on earth will be blessed through Abraham. Now time goes on and Abraham approaches God at one point in Genesis 15 and he has no children and he hasn’t settled in the land. And he asks God “How can I know that I will gain possession of this land?” God answers him an extremely unique way. What He does is He instructs Abraham to slaughter and to sacrifice different pieces of animals and to lay the cut up bodies on the ground. Then God puts Abraham into a spirit induced sleep and God Himself, according to the scriptures, passes as fire between the pieces. This ritual would sound strange to us in the 21st century was actually the identical procedure used in Abraham’s day to formalize a legal covenant. Animals were cut up covenanting parties would walk between the pieces in order to promise that the oath to one and other would be performed. But what is especially important about this transaction with Abraham is that Abraham did not walk between the pieces only God Himself as Holy Fire walked between the pieces. What that meant according to the laws of the day is that the covenant that was being made between God and Abraham was unconditional. Meaning that Abraham would not have to do anything in order for the covenant to be fulfilled God was the one who would do it all. The unconditional nature of the Abrahamic Covenant should demonstrate to us one of God’s most supreme acts of mercy and grace because through Abraham all families are blessed. God’s blessing of the nation of the Gentiles into the Jewish rooted household of faith into Covenant with God is by mercy and grace. So that’s why we can see that Abraham and his descendant’s sin. They don’t always follow; we don’t always follow the Mosaic Law let alone God’s New Covenant words. But by mercy and grace God has promised on His word alone that He will fulfill and bring to completion His promises to Abraham and Abraham’s descendants Isaac and Jacob. Later on in the Book of Genesis chapter 17 God promises that Isaac will inherit the Covenant and specifically not Ishmael, although Ishmael will get blessed, and that Jacob in Genesis 28 will inherit the Covenant and not Esau.
Sid: And of course these are the father of the Arabs will not inherit it and that the Jewish people will. How does Galatians 3 tie in with that?
Susan: Well Galatians 3 confirms what God did in the Book of Genesis. Galatians 3 says that “The promise that God made to Abraham came before the giving of the law and therefore cannot be altered by what transpires in connection with the law.” More simply put it means that if the Jewish people sin God’s Covenant with them through Abraham; Isaac and Jacob still stands.
Sid: Speaking of still standing just the Genesis 12:3 where God says “I’ll bless those who bless the Jewish people. I will curse who curse them.” Tell us a little bit of history of nations that have gone against the Jew in Israel and what’s happened to them.
Susan: Well we see that the blessing and curse verse actually goes into effect almost immediately when Abraham deals with King Abimelech in Egypt. Abimelech if first cursed and then blessed on account of his treatment toward Abraham and Sarah. And we can follow that trend through the scriptures, but in post Bible history we can trace how nations sadly have more often cursed then blessed the Jewish people. And how that has been seemingly connected with their down fall soon thereafter beginning with the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire after it overtook Israel began to enact virulently and violently anti-Jewish and anti-Messianic Jewish laws not long thereafter the Roman Empire fell. We can go on in history to the crusades sponsored mostly by England and France. Dispatched by Popes they dispatched their soldiers down to liberate Jerusalem but liberate almost unfortunately almost meant liquidate multitudes of unarmed Jews and Muslims along the way. Well, shortly after that England and France turned their weapons against each other in the 100 years’ war. Then we can go on to the Golden Age of Spain where many many Jewish people found refuge for 100′s of years. Then as you know with the Spanish inquisitions in the 1300 or 1400′s Jewish people in Spain were forced to either convert or leave the country. Shortly after that the Spanish Empire fell never again to be resurrected in history. Then we had the British Empire; many many Jewish people found refuge in the British Isles 100′s of years ago. And as long as England treated the Jewish population well things went well for her. The empire expanded it was said that the sun never sets on the British Empire. But then England sadly made decisions that turned against the Jews; that turned against Israel in particular. Because England played a key role in the restoration of Israel as a nation state. But was not sadly always faithful to the responsibility given her and shortly thereafter the British Empire fell apart. Then we go on to the former Soviet Union which treated the Jewish population there very cruelly. Shortly after there was a prolonged campaign by the west for the USSR to allow the Jewish population to immigrate and to loosen its grip on the Jewish People. The Soviet Union became the former Soviet Union when it imploded from within.
Sid: And how about Germany, when they turned against the Jew with Holocaust?
Susan: Well Germany certainly suffered greatly but thankfully a critically mass remnant of sincerely repented afterwards and had blessed Israel. And as you know Germany is relatively prosperous among western nations today and doing fairly well.
Sid: So that Genesis 12:3 “I will curse those that curse the Jewish people;” we saw Germany cursed. And then they turned around to bless the Jewish people and then we saw Germany blessed. Now what about all the turmoil going on in Arab countries now? What’s causing all that?
Susan: Well, I think that we have to say that one reason is that from the beginning Arab Muslim nations of the Middle East and North Africa have all cursed the day of Israel’s rebirth. They continue to this day to issue curse upon curse over Israel and Jewish people worldwide. And that’s a good part of the reason why they’re in the condition that they’re in.
Sid: I have documented through friends of mine and actually you cover this in your brand new book because it’s just so well documented. That every time the United States as a nation goes against Israel there’s either an economic judgment or a catastrophe of an Earthquake or a tornado or flooding. I mean it’s the most phenomenal thing and no doubt the reason the US is the most blessed country in the world is we have been a friend from the very conception of our country Israel. But this works for families too.