Sid: My guest Rabbi Jonathan Bernis. We found out that he came from a nice Jewish background, mother Jewish, father Jewish and he had a Young Life coach that invited him to meetings, but because he’s Jewish he says it’s not for me, that’s the only door I will not knock on.  I’ll knock on drugs, I’ll knock on sex, I’ll knock on money, I’ll knock on New Age, I’ll knock on every door but I will not knock on the door that says Jesus because we Jews are instructed to not to do this.  So he had a druggy friend, Suzie that had had an experience with Jesus and there was such a transformation in Suzie that Jonathan was taken back.  But then Suzie got pushy and kept inviting him and inviting him to Bible studies and to finally to get her off his back or for whatever reason, he went to a Bible study and to get out of the place he says a prayer, he doesn’t even mean it.  But he did have something supernatural that happened to him, his clothes were wet because he was I guess on a motorcycle…

Jonathan: Yeah, you remember real well.

Sid: They had to dry your clothes and so while they were drying it you sit in a chair and what happened?

Jonathan: Well, I was a captive audience my clothes are still in the dryer and now…

Sid: You want to get out of there bad!

Jonathan: I want to get out of there, I felt totally out of place Sid, I didn’t belong there; it’s a horrible experience and now I’m being invited to come upstairs with the leader of the Bible study.  Who was not only a Christian but a German Christian with a strong German accent and I was you know the holocaust, stay away from the Germans and Christian’s blame us for killing Jesus, but I went upstairs and I sat on the sofa and he put a Bible in my hands.  And this brings up a misconception that many listening have, many Christians that we Jews know the scriptures better than they do.  Well, that’s not true Sid, we were the people of the book, but we’ve never read the book and I didn’t know what my own scripture said.  So he put a Bible in my lap and I felt like it was a trick house, the room began to get hot, the couch felt like it had arms that were reaching out and grabbing me.  And it really was a supernatural experience looking back, I felt very uncomfortable and I felt very separated from God.  That’s all I can say, I didn’t hear any voice, I didn’t see any vision but I felt the presence of something in the room that really got my attention.  And he kept pushing me, pray with me to receive Jesus, pray with me to receive Jesus.  And Sid, I’m sweating, I’m uncomfortable, I want to get out and finally I just said, “Okay, and I prayed this prayer with him inviting Jesus into my life.”  I didn’t mean it, after I prayed the room seemed to come back to normal temperature, the couch released me, this Bible that felt so heavy suddenly shrinked to a normal size and my clothes are finally dry and I raced out of there.

Sid: Talk about a captive audience, you had to have your clothes because they had to be dried, you were soaking wet!

Jonathan: Yeah, it was crazy, crazy experience ha-ha.

Sid: And so then the next morning you have a compulsion to read the Bible in particular the New Testament.  And this Young Life Coach from many years ago gave you one; it’s sitting in the trunk.  You go from the University to your home a hundred miles, you get the Bible, you don’t even talk to your folks, you don’t even know if they’re there.  You go home and you just consume yourself reading the Bible and he comes to such a shock. It’s the most Jewish book he’s ever read.  Now but you said the prayer, you’re reading the Bible, it’s all against everything that you’ve been taught as a Jew.

Jonathan: Exactly.

Sid: But you like it, what happens next?

Jonathan: Well, Sid I want to recap how bazaar this new desire to read the Bible came from, where did it come from?  I’m at this time studying business administration, I’m doing drugs still, I’m very content with my life, I’m enjoying myself party, party, party.  And suddenly after praying this prayer and deciding I want nothing to do with this this is bazaar, it’s not for me I’m Jewish I have this overwhelming desire to read, not just the Bible but the New Testament.  So driving a hundred miles each way just to find this Bible was in itself, looking back a miraculous thing.  And then as I began to read the Bible I began with the book of Matthew, Sid. The discovery of how Jewish this book was!  Jesus was a Jew, all the disciples were Jewish, he was sent but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, the 3,000 saved at Pentecost all Jews.  Sid, it was absolutely, I can’t explain it other than to say that it was life transforming.  It was as if the words were jumping off the page at me and it was sinking right into my heart.  The reality of these people, these Jews that were experiencing the transformation of life and they hadn’t converted to another religion they understood that this was the promised Messiah and He completely changed their lives.  And then Sid what was even more amazing was going back to my own scriptures, the Jewish scriptures, the Torah, the prophets, the Old Testament and reading it for myself, really for the first time.

Sid: And very few Christians have ever done this.  What feedback do you get from Christians that are reading your book “A Rabbi looks at Jesus of Nazareth?”

Jonathan: Well, they’re falling in love with Jesus all over again because their seeing things about Jesus that they never saw before.  That he’s Yeshua, the salvation of God and their saying that they are being born again again; that they’re falling in love with Jesus all over again.  But the second thing that I’m finding out from people is that as they read the prophecies the Messianic prophecies written hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born and I go into them in detail and describe what is actually being prophesied, I find that Christians have never seen these things before and its’ restrengthening their faith.   It’s just like a shot in the arm Sid and this is what happened to me.  I’m reading the Old Testament for the first time, I’ve prayed this prayer, I don’t still believe it in my mind, but I begin to read Isaiah 53 that talks about not only, “By His stripes we are healed, but that He would be rejected by our people.  Psalm 22, a picture of the crucifixion.

Sid: And any Christian that understands this revelation, number one will be able to share with a Jewish person that we can have the full dwelling place of God in the Spirit and Jesus can return.  But number two, will finally get the understanding of the New Covenant that you plain cannot get from a Greco Roman.  As a matter of fact how did something that started Jewish that you had to be Jewish to even be part of and we’re talking about the first followers of the Messiah, come to the part to we Jews say we can do anything but believe in that Jew, Jesus?  And they don’t even know that He’s Jewish?

Jonathan: It is a demonic blindness Sid.  It’s a blindness covering up the eyes of the people.

Sid: If it’s demonic, how did it happen though?  How did something so Jewish become the opposite of Judaism.

Jonathan: There’s an adversary of God called the devil that has not only blinded the eyes of the Jewish people from recognizing Jesus, but in a very real way has blinded the eyes of Christianity, traditionally from embracing the Jewish roots of the faith.  And so that had led down this road that has created two distinctly different religions, Judaism and Christianity never the two shall meet.  And in reality, the Bible teaching something completely different, and that’s why this is so eye opening to Jew and Christian that read this book.

Sid: Well, what I understand is that it was for distancing the Gentle Believers from Judaism that they threw out the God Feasts, the Biblical feasts.

Jonathan: That’s right.

Sid: And substituted local feasts with good Christian meanings, why did they want to distant themselves from the Jews, the church leaders?

Jonathan: Sid, there’s a number of different reasons that I go into in the book.  And in the beginning of the second century and by the mid second century this was a pervasive theology but as early as Justin Martyr for example who we think of as a great martyr taught that “He who is a Jew and a Christian is neither a Jew nor a Christian.”  This was part of the demonic plot, I believe at the root of it to divide Judaism from Christianity and disguise a faith that was to be the fulfillment of the writings of the prophets in the Torah into something that was completely different.  I talk about Joseph in relationship to this Joseph the Jewish brother rejected by his own brothers, goes off to Egypt where he is in prison, but then comes into prominence and then when his brothers see him again, they don’t recognize him?  Why Sid, because he’s wearing Egyptian clothes.  Because he’s wearing Egyptian makeup and Jewelry, Egyptian hair fashion and they don’t recognize him at all.  Not only because of the spiritual blindness but because he looks completely different.  And that’s the way Christianity looks to Jewish people today.

Sid: Jonathan I happen to believe that God raised up Messianic Judaism to have a course correction for the Gentle Church.  When would you say Messianic Judaism started, modern day?

Jonathan: Well, yeah modern day, I think it began in the first century with the first followers of Jesus.  But in 1967 Sid Bible history was completely shifted and this is according to a prophecy made by Jesus himself in Luke 21:24.  Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles come in, or be fulfilled.  This is what we saw in 1967 after the six day war, the city of Jerusalem came back under the control of the Jewish people after almost 2,000 years and almost immediately Sid, there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Church called the Jesus Movement or the Charismatic Renewal and it was differently connected to this shift in the age, Biblical age when the times of the Gentiles had come in and with that came Jewish people into the Kingdom of God in greater numbers since the first century.

Sid: Isn’t it interesting that there is a definite tie in to great events in the history of the church and great events in the history of Israel.  Most Christians aren’t even aware of that.

Jonathan: If you look at the history of the Jewish people, even the modern return to Israel, Zionism with Theodore Herzl all the way up to the Jews returning if 1948 or Israel becoming a nation, 1967 you see a parallel event in the church because the destiny of Israel Sid and the destiny of the Church are inseparably connected.  And that’s why it’s so important to read materials like my book…

Sid: And most Christians they don’t even have a clue.

Jonathan: Not a clue.

Sid: …and the depth and the richness that is missing as a result of them being robbed of their heritage.

Jonathan: And robbed is the right word Sid, because when it’s restored it brings absolute transformation in life.  Paul said it this way, when they come back it will bring life from the dead.  That’s what happens when Christians begin to rediscover this; it brings life from the dead.

Sid: Oh, I believe in literal, I believe that when Jew and Gentile come together to become that one new man it will birth the life from the dead, resurrection power and we’ll walk in the same miracles Jesus did and even greater.

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