Jonathan Bernis

Sid: I want to see you mobilized, I mean it’s great that I’m proclaiming the good news but what is greater is that there are people that are crossing your path that there is no one on the face of this earth that is better equipped to reach with the gospel. Now when it comes to Jewish people most Christians are intimidated.  Have misunderstandings, and that’s why I’ve asked my friend Jonathan Bernis from Jewish Voice who if anyone knows the how to reach Jewish people with the gospel it’s my friend Jonathan. Because for the last was it a decade or so Jonathan, how many years.

Jonathan:  Well, actually 14 years now.

Sid:  Boy, it’s hard to believe, for the last 14 years he has been proclaiming the gospel in festivals. A quarter of a million Jewish people have attended these festivals, half of them have made professions of faith. And Jonathan the thing that is so in this day and age, this day of computers and  information flowing like it is there are such misconceptions that real Born Again Christians have about Jewish people.  We were talking about that yesterday.

Jonathan: Yes, we were and incredible misconceptions to us as Jewish people who know  how wrong these attitudes are. But one misconception I’ve talked about yesterday where we left off  is that Christian’s have that Jewish people know the scriptures better than they do; or in particular the Old Testament.  And I laugh every time I think about this because we don’t know the scriptures.  Ninety percent of American Jews are Bible illiterate, they’re maybe like I prepared for their Bar Mitzvah at age 13 and learned to read Hebrew and maybe one portion of scripture but that’s it.  I learned Hebrew Sid and never learned what I was reading. So…

Sid: And in that same with me.

Jonathan:  Exactly when you were saying yesterday they don’t know about Isaiah 53; they don’t even know who Isaiah is or Jeremiah.  I mean they know what the Torah is but they don’t know what the Torah says.  And so this misconception that the Jewish people are the people of the Book which is one of the terms for the Jewish people is just a very serious misconception. And it creates this fear factor Christians.  I’m not going to share with them because they’ll embarrass me because they’ll know the scriptures so well. Well, unless they have a black, a long black coat, pe’ot these side locks and a black hat they don’t know the scriptures at all. So go to it.

Sid: And I’ll just add a PS to that, if your just a Christian that attending Sunday school as a child you have a better education of the scriptures than 98% of the Jewish people that God will have cross your path.  Go ahead.

Jonathan:  Exactly, most do not have any concept of the Messiah, or sin or what the Jewish scriptures clearly teach.  So one very important principal is to share with a Jewish person as you would share with anyone else that needs the Lord. They have the same crisis’s in their life; they have to face the same fate that we all face. Which is death and what happens after you die. And taxes of course; we have to pay taxes.  But Jewish people are approachable. Another misconception is that all Jewish people have rejected Christ as Messiah, that’s another misconception as a nation.  The Rabbis’ have steered us in a different direction but many Jewish people Sid are open to the gospel.  And I love being with you and watching you share with every person that comes across your path. One of the best places to reach Jewish people is the deli; the local deli.

Sid:  Naugh naugh your wrong the best place is a Chinese restaurant Jonathan.

Jonathan:  Chinese restaurant.

Sid: (Laughing) He’s also right on that but go ahead.

Jonathan:  Oh, it’s absolutely true but you know why are we intimidated as believers from sharing the gospel with Jewish people that need to hear.  We shouldn’t be, so those are misconceptions. So another very serious misconception Sid is Christians Born Again Spirit-filled Christians that have been taught that it’s good will not to share with Jewish people. There’s something called dual covenant theology that simply states that it’s a theological idea that emerged after the Holocaust that says that Jewish people have their own path to God through Judaism. And it’s made it’s way, it’s seeped into evangelical Christianity like a plague and it’s totally false. Paul makes it very clear, the Apostle Paul said “The gospel is the power of God to all who believe first to the Jew and then to the Gentle.”  The gospel is to the Jew first, and so to believe the Jewish people have a separate plan…way to God to salvation is really a demonic theology.  It’s a doctrine of devils and so we have to be…

Sid: And I might add unfortunately Mishpochah there are many even prominent telly evangelists that have this theology worked into their books to let you off the hook so you don’t have to share with the Jewish person.  But scriptures say “There is no other Name given unto men in which we must be saved but the Name of Jesus.

Jonathan: And that’s to the Jew first and this is a terrible misconception and we have to be on guard not to buy into unscriptural doctrine.  So we need to; not target the Jewish people as such but we need to see Jewish people that God has placed in our path as Divine appointments.  Sid let me tell you a very sad story which of course has a great ending but it’s a sad story. I started to hear the gospel at age 16; I was involved with a group called Young Life.

Sid: I’m familiar with it.

Jonathan:  Many of my Gentile friends become born again Christians and I could not deny the change that I was seeing taking place in their life.  I heard the gospel numerous times but every time I was confronted with the gospel who do you say that He is Jonathan by two Christian counselors in Young Life and then Christian friends.  I responded always just off the cuff, I’m Jewish.  The sad story Sid is that they always apologized instead of tell me “Oh, that’s fantastic Jesus was Jewish and His name was Yeshua; all of the disciples were Jewish; the Apostle Paul was Jewish, the writers of the New Testament were Jewish; the covenant; this new covenant was made with your people.”  Instead they automatically understood that being Jewish was that I was excluded from the gospel.

Sid: Listen, there’s something even worse than that it’s called “Fear of man.”  I have talked to prominent Christians that were so interested in understanding their Biblical roots they befriended Rabbis’ and leaders in the Jewish community and they studies with them. And I said “Did you ever share the gospel?”  They said, “No no they know what I believe they could have asked me.”  What a tragedy!

Jonathan:  That’s tragic and it’s really the result of some very very wrong understanding and it needs to be changed.  Sid the good news is that 4 years later in college I was encountered again with the gospel and my life was transformed. But just think Sid, I think back often to those 4 years if someone had just told me the truth, that this was for me as a Jew I might have been spared through from all kinds of garbage that you know about that I got involved in.  But nobody did, so this misconception is killing Jewish people eternity.  I can’t state strongly enough that this misconception is causing Jewish people to go to Hell.  There’s no other way to say it.

Sid: Well, you know there’s a flip side of this and the flip side is from the traditional Jewish community we’re given the rhetoric that you can’t be Jewish and believe in Jesus. The Christians on the other side aren’t witnessing and they have this misguided theology.  And on the Jewish side we’re told that we can’t be Jewish and believe in Jesus.  What would you say to a Jewish person that said that to you?

Jonathan:  I would say, “Tell that to Peter, James, tell that to John.”

Sid: I don’t know who they are Jonathan, my Rabbi says that I can’t be Jewish and believe in Jesus.

Jonathan:  I would say “Why don’t you find out for yourself instead of believing what the Rabbi is teaching you and he’s just been taught because that’s what his Rabbi taught him.  You know this has been handed down Sid for the last 2000 years from generation to generation to generation. And I found out 24 years ago that I was simply taught a lie.  And we need to find out; you need to find out for yourself.  Read the Jewish scriptures for yourself; I’m not even talking about the New Testament.  Go back and read the Jewish scriptures, read the Tenach, read the Prophet Isaiah, read Jeremiah, read the Torah and you’ll find prophecy after prophecy after prophecy that talk about a literal Messiah that will come and deliver our people.  And clearly Yeshua of Nazareth, Jesus the Messiah fulfilled all of these prophecies.

Sid: You know Jonathan I was just getting a sandwich and I started a conversation with a guy behind me he says “He’s Catholic and that he knows the Lord and that his wife is Jewish and now she’s Catholic.” And so I corrected him, I said “No, your wife isn’t going to change being Jewish she’s always been Jewish and she stays Jewish.”  Even Paul said that he was a Jew but got, literally got angry with me when I told him that his wife is still Jewish.

Jonathan:  I’m not surprised, it’s called tradition Sid, it’s called tradition.   

Sid: You mean we Jewish people don’t have a corner on the market “Tradition!” (Laughing)

Jonathan: No, it’s part of human nature to…and you know what it is Sid, it’s really casting God in our image, that’s what it really is when you really…the bottom line is as we say is “You cast God in your own image when you create through tradition your own understanding of what religion should be.”  That’s not what it’s about it’s believing what He says about His plan for eternal life and His plan for how we should live.

Sid: Jonathan we’re out of time we’ll pick up here on tomorrow’s broadcast.

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