David Reagan - Interview with Rabbi Baruch Korman
What is it like to be a Jewish believer in Israel? Is there constant harassment? Is there freedom to evangelize? And how open are the Jews of Israel to the Gospel? For a fascinating interview with a Messianic Jewish leader from Israel, stay tuned.
David Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy! My colleague, Nathan Jones, and I have a very special guest with us from Israel. His name is Dr. Baruch Korman. He is a very anointed Bible teacher, and he is the host of a TV program called Love Israel. Dr. Korman, welcome to Christ in Prophecy.
Dr. Korman: Thank you Dr. Reagan, it’s a pleasure.
Nathan Jones: So good to have you on sir.
Dr. Korman: Nathan, thank you.
Nathan Jones: Well, let’s begin, let’s get a little background if we could. Your TV show? Your family? And your study institute in Israel?
Dr. Korman: Well, I’ve been married 30 years. I have three adult children. They all served in the Israeli armed forces. My oldest daughter in the Air Force, and my two other children in the
Nathan Jones: Wow, fantastic.
Dr. Korman: And we moved to Israel a little over 15 years ago.
Nathan Jones: So, you were an American who then made Aliyah?
Dr. Korman: That’s right. That’s right.
Nathan Jones: Chicago boy right?
Dr. Korman: Grew up in Chicago. And after getting married we moved to Miami Beach, much better than Chicago.
Nathan Jones: I would imagine.
Dr. Korman: And in 2002 January we made Aliyah to Israel.
Nathan Jones: Praise the Lord.
David Reagan: Let me ask you about that: Did you have any difficulty making Aliyah since you were Believers?
Dr. Korman: Well we were very active in the Jewish community. And we did everything that they asked us. Answered all of their questions honestly. Never hit our faith. Never was asked about our faith. And it is very different today in regard to that. But, no we have had no problems. The Israeli government, the Israeli people have welcomed us.
David Reagan: And when you make Aliyah you’re living really as a ward of the government for almost a year, aren’t you?
Dr. Korman: Well, we did not receive, we rejected any type of financial assistance from the government.
David Reagan: OK.
Dr. Korman: We didn’t need it, thank God. I would say that its different, American’s by in large if you go back many years ago they received different financial benefits than people from other countries did.
David Reagan: OK.
Dr. Korman: So, at that time there was some benefits like language school was free. Sometimes mortgages you could get at a lower interest rate, or less of a down payment and the government would qualify you.
David Reagan: Now people come from all over the world speaking many different languages. So one of the requirements is they have to get into Ulpan School as soon as possible. And that’s what 10-12 hours a day total immersion for a year?
Nathan Jones: Wow.
Dr. Korman: That is what my wife did. My Hebrew was a little bit better than that so I began studying in a Yeshiva learning rabbinical as I did when I was in the States rabbinical literature. And so I picked up Hebrew as far as understanding it and being very able to communicate pretty quickly.
David Reagan: I know sometimes Americans who have studied Hebrew have studied it with vowel pointing and all, they go to Israel and there is no vowel points they can find, they don’t know what to do.
Dr. Korman: That’s right. But once you know the vocabulary the vowel points become very–
David Reagan: Now tell us about your institute. What is it all about?
Nathan Jones: Yeah.
Dr. Korman: Well it’s an institute for Scripture. Our purpose over there is to introduce people to the Word of God. We believe the greatest change that can come upon a person is when they encounter the truth of God.
Nathan Jones: Amen.
Dr. Korman: And there is only one place to receive that truth and that in the Scriptures. We teach both the Tanakh the Old Testament, and the Habrit Hakhadasha the New Testament. Right now we are going through the book of Luke.
David Reagan: OK.
Dr. Korman: And everything we do primarily is going through chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse.
David Reagan: And what is the name of the institute?
Dr. Korman: Zera Avraham which is seed of Abraham.
Nathan Jones: Seed of Abraham.
David Reagan: And is this in Jerusalem?
Dr. Korman: No, it’s south of Tel Aviv.
David Reagan: OK.
Dr. Korman: And it’s in a larger city. And very few Americans are there, what I like.
David Reagan: And you talk about going verse-by-verse this is one of the things that I love about your teaching, you’re strictly an expository teacher. You just read the verse, comment, and move on. Now this is what you do on your television program. Tell us about your TV program, the name of it, how it got started and so forth.
Dr. Korman: Well, it began with a Hebrew version of the program which began four years ago, it is called “Pdut L’Amo” which is taken from the Psalms and it means redemption for His people.
Nathan Jones: Great name.
Dr. Korman: And after doing about a year and a half of that some people asked could we do an English version of it.
David Reagan: Oh, ok.
Dr. Korman: And so we began that three years ago. And it’s the same format. In the Hebrew version we use as a basis the weekly Torah portion Parashat Hashavua. In the English version we go through different books of the Bible.
David Reagan: What network can they find this on?
Dr. Korman: In Israel it’s on Middle East Television, which we are the only show from a believing perspective in the Hebrew language.
David Reagan: Well how did you get on television in Israel in the first place in that first year?
Nathan Jones: Yeah.
Dr. Korman: An individual that’s related to Middle East Television approached us. We heard that there was an interest in biblical teaching. And so we approached them and they wanted an English show. And we said, “Well what if we did it in Hebrew?” And they graciously agreed. We had to get permission from the Misrad HaShidur the Broadcast Authority in Israel, and they agreed. And we’ve been on four years.
David Reagan: So what was it broadcast on?
Dr. Korman: It’s broadcast on cable, which Israel only has one Cable and you’re on there as well.
David Reagan: Yes.
Dr. Korman: On HOT and they have an Israeli satellite which is called Yes. So, those two networks basically cover all of Israel, about 95%.
David Reagan: I’ve been frankly surprised that the Orthodox would allow this kind of program on television in Israel.
Dr. Korman: We have not had any problems.
David Reagan: Is that right?
Dr. Korman: In fact it’s very, very, encouraging that occasionally I’m recognized. Someone has found the show from a religious background and they find it interesting.
David Reagan: Well I want to ask you what is it like to be a Jewish believer in Israel: Are you constantly harassed?
Dr. Korman: Not at all. I do know that some ministries over there had problems.
David Reagan: A lot of them.
Dr. Korman: We have our study center it is in a large high-rise on the third floor. When someone comes in there is a security guard so they have to say why they’re going. We don’t have any signage up. We don’t broadcast it. Most of people that come they come by invitation, someone that we know. So, we have not had any harassment or problems.
David Reagan: We’ve got a picture here of Avi Mizrachi. Avi Mizrachi is in Tel Aviv. He is a very aggressive evangelist there. And they come down from Jerusalem, the Orthodox do and put up wanted signs all over the area for him. He also has experiences that I think are very humorous where he goes down to the port of Tel Aviv where they have the big fountain and he starts handing out brochures. Now, he actually has this on video where he tries to hand it and people won’t accept them, until an Orthodox Jew comes and starts harassing them. And then everybody wants the brochure because they don’t like the Orthodox Jews because the Orthodox Jews are trying to enforce their lifestyle on the average Israeli.
Dr. Korman: There is great tension between the Haredi community. In fact as I was driving to your studios in Israel right now they are working to have the giyus, giyus is the Hebrew word for when you go into the army. What is that called, giyus?
Nathan Jones: Like being drafted, or enlisted?
Dr. Korman: Being drafted into army, enlisted in army. And the religious community has had an exemption. And right now all over Israel there are haf’ganat, demonstrations. Highway 1 is closed down. Highway 4 is closed down. Many other intersections. So because of that, I mean I think it is very important for people to serve in the military.
Nathan Jones: Oh, yeah.
Dr. Korman: I know of no biblical, and when we talk about Jewish law, halakhah, there is no Jewish law reason that a person cannot serve. And the Israeli Army does everything, everything so that people whether they’re Drews, whether they’re Arabs, whether they’re secular, or whether they are the most Messianic, whatever can serve in the army. So, I take a very strong stance. Now, we love the Haredim the ultra-Orthodox. We want to share the truth with them. I believe they are in darkness so I don’t expect much from them. But I am very grieved over the fact. And I don’t expect much from the secular population not to like the Haredim. But I am grieved over the fact that many in the Messianic community, who we’re in light, we should understand their point of view, not necessarily agree with it, but love them and be an instrument of influence to bring them to the truth. And this animosity that I see between the Messianic community and the Haredim it grieves me.
Nathan Jones: Well speaking of that, Haredim you always see them praying at the Western Wall. And I think many Christians they look at they and they say, well Israel is a Christian nation or at least a believing nation in God. Do you believe that Israel is a religious nation, or do you believe it is more of a secular nation?
Dr. Korman: Well, 60% of the Israeli population, Jewish population would fall under the category of Orthodox.
Nathan Jones: 60%, ok, wow.
Dr. Korman: Whether that is Dati Leumi which is the National Religious Modern Orthodoxy. Or Haredim which is 20%. So you have the national religion followers 40%, Haredim 20%. You have 40% secular. So it is a very divided, very divided group. So is it secular? Is it religious? Yes.
Nathan Jones: And you have Islam, and Bahai.
David Reagan: The problem with the Orthodox is they are very much like American cultural Christians. They may claim to be Orthodox Jews, doesn’t mean they are practicing Orthodox Jews.
Dr. Korman: You are right. Among the Dati Leumi many of them may not be in the synagogue every day, three times a day. But there is within the Orthodox world in Israel there is a strong commitment, a strong commitment that you don’t see. I mean Judaism three times a day, every day, there are prayer times. And a high percentage of that 60% are there at that time.
David Reagan: Israel to me though comes across as a very, very secular nation, and Tel Aviv in particular. I mean that is one of the world center of homosexuality.
Dr. Korman: It is. And Tel Aviv is highly secular. But when you go a little bit north, northeast you come to Bnei Baruch which is one of the largest concentration of Haredim in the world. So, lots of times when people are in Israel because they don’t go into the religious communities they don’t see the dense population and the numbers that are quite, quite large.
David Reagan: Do you have the freedom to proclaim, share the Gospel in Israel?
Dr. Korman: We have that television show. We use the internet. We have no problem with our study center. Now there is a law, it is a very good law. Adults anyone who is over 18 cannot evangelize someone under 18. I think that is good.
Nathan Jones: Yeah.
Dr. Korman: I wouldn’t want, you know when my children were under 18, they’re not now, I wouldn’t want someone talking to them without my permission. So, I think that is a very good law. But if someone is over 18 and the person they are talking to is over 18 you have total freedom to share. Now that doesn’t mean–
David Reagan: One thing, there is another law, another law that states that you cannot offer an incentive.
Dr. Korman: That’s true, because they are concerned with ministries giving rental help, or doing something. You’re absolutely right.
David Reagan: Almost like buying their faith.
Dr. Korman: Right. So, but it is very easy. There’s forms a lot of ministries have. I have a good friend Moran Rosenblit that runs an excellent humanitarian organization. And they abide by that. If they give help they have a form to make sure the person knows that this gift, this help comes from love with absolutely no strings attached.
David Reagan: Good idea. Well, let’s take a break here and when we come back I want you to share with us something that I find absolutely fascinating and that is what Orthodox Jews believe about the end times.
Nathan Jones: Welcome back to Christ in Prophecy and our interview with Dr. Baruch Korman a messianic teacher, and television host from Israel.
David Reagan: Dr. Korman I want to pick up with a very fascinating question to me anyway and that is: What are the difference between what Orthodox Jews believe about the end times, and what many Christians teach about the end times?
Dr. Korman: I think the thing that would probably surprise most Christians is that Orthodox Judaism does not believe that all prophecies are going to be fulfilled.
Nathan Jones: All?
David Reagan: Is that right?
Dr. Korman: They have a scenario. If this is the scenario that happens, then it’s these prophecies. If it is this scenario over here then these prophecies are relevant.
David Reagan: Oh, that’s interesting.
Dr. Korman: And many of the scenarios depend upon the spiritual condition of Israel. For example we know that Messiah when He came the first time He came riding on a chamor, a donkey. When He comes again He is coming in the clouds of heaven. Correct we know that. Now they will say and this is found also in the Gemara, part of the Talmud, that if Israel needs to repent then Mashiach He’ll come riding on a donkey. If Israel is zkhy if we merit it, then He won’t come riding on a donkey He’ll come in the clouds of heaven. And today the greatest authorities in Judaism believe that Israel is meriting Messiah’s return. That all of the prophecy having to do with judgment upon this world, and hard times, “eis tzarah hi leYaakov” time of Jacob’s Trouble, all of that has been cancelled out.
Nathan Jones: Cancelled?
Dr. Korman: Cancelled out. And they believe that any moment Mashiach will come and the whole creation will be transformed.
Nathan Jones: Is that why you hear sometimes that the Jewish people believe in two messiahs?
Dr. Korman: Well there is a concept of two messiahs. Today the vast majority of authoritative Rabbis believe the first one the Mashiach Ben Yosef that He’s the one that would come riding on the donkey. That that need has been done away with.
Nathan Jones: They are good enough?
Dr. Korman: So there not expecting–
Nathan Jones: They’ve merited?
Dr. Korman: That’s right they’re not expecting Mashiach Ben Yosef, some deny that all together. And but all of them are believing that Mashiach ben David will come and set up a kingdom an utopia and there’s not going to be that time of hardships in the end.
David Reagan: I know over the years there’s been many different Orthodox interpretations of Isaiah 53. What would you say is the Orthodox interpretation of that?
Dr. Korman: One of the problems is honesty. Now, as a believer you’re bound to this book, correct?
David Reagan: Yes, right.
Dr. Korman: Ok. People don’t want to know our opinions they want to know the truth of the Scripture, right? And in that same way an Orthodox Rabbi is bound to the Talmud, as well as the Hebrew Bible, but the Talmud is seen as scripture. Not a commentary on the scripture but it has the same authority of a scripture. So in the section of the Talmud called Sanhedrin on page 98, Isaiah 53 is mentioned. And there it says without any doubt that that passage deals with the Messiah. So that means every Orthodox Rabbi they don’t have the freedom to say what they think, what they want, they have to repeat what the text says. So Orthodox Judaism must affirm that Isaiah 53 is about the Messiah. Now that doesn’t mean who the Messiah is. It doesn’t say it’s Jesus of Nazareth. It just says it’s about Messiah. Rashi in his commentary on that section says clearly Isaiah 53 is about Messiah. However in Rashi’s commentary on Isaiah which many people believe have been edited there he states, oh no it has nothing to do with Messiah. It’s all about Israel the Jewish people suffering in the past.
David Reagan: Ok.
Dr. Korman: So today in order to take away any possibility that a Jewish person might think Isaiah 53 is about Messiah there is agreement it’s about Israel, but that is disingenuous.
Nathan Jones: So Israel is the suffering one?
Dr. Korman: Israel is the suffering one. But I was going to say but if you go into a Yeshiva, a Kollel for married men when they study, when you come to this passage everyone knows it’s about Mashiach no one says it’s about Israel.
David Reagan: Now you mentioned something that is very interesting. There is a parallel between Orthodox Judaism and Catholicism. In Catholicism they take the position that the interpretations of the Pope and the interpretations of church council have the authority of Scripture. They’re equal with Scripture. You’re saying in Orthodox Judaism that the commentaries of the sages are equal to Scripture.
Dr. Korman: The statements of the sages.
David Reagan: Yes.
Dr. Korman: That is often times commentary to the Scripture. Yes.
David Reagan: So there is continuing revelation by God.
Dr. Korman: No longer but up until this time of the Gemara. Which many people don’t know that the Talmud, the Mishna was edited in the Third Century AD after the New Covenant. And the Gemara is 100 to 200 years later than that. So, the New Covenant is an earlier Jewish book than the Talmud.
David Reagan: Well now let me ask you if you’re talking to an Orthodox Jew and you’re trying to bring him to Yeshua. How does he handle Daniel 9 where it is very clearly prophesied that the Messiah is going to come before the destruction of Jerusalem?
Dr. Korman: Well it says at the end of the book of Daniel, “Daniel seal up this book for a later time.” So by in large what happens is that the book of Daniel is not going to be discussed.
David Reagan: Oh
Dr. Korman: At all.
Nathan Jones: Ok, that’s convenient.
David Reagan: Well that’s a convenient out.
Nathan Jones: So, Israel has replaced the Messiah. And then you have Christians who believe that the Church has replaced Israel. Do you buy into the idea that the Church has taken all the blessings and promises from the Israeli people?
Dr. Korman: I’ll give you two pieces of Scripture in regard to that answer. Paul says in Romans 9:6, “Not all of Israel is of Israel.” And what he means there, I mean obviously he is using that term Israel in two different ways. The first I think most commentaries agree when he says not all of Israel he is talking about the Jewish people. Not every Jewish person is going to be part of Israel. And the second he is speaking about Israel as the kingdom people. So what does that mean? It means that Israel, that kingdom people there is going to be Jewish, there is going to be a Jewish component but there’s also, and the reason why Israel was created was to be a blessing to the Gentiles. So in that kingdom people there are going to be Jews and Gentiles. So that is a very important understanding of Israel. The Jewish people and the Gentiles can find those blessings. But in Daniel chapter 9 I won’t mention the theologian–
David Reagan: I was going to say if you believe the church has replaced Israel you’ve got to take Romans 9-11 and throw them out the window.
Dr. Korman: That’s right. That’s right. There is a very well-known biblical teacher in the mid-west and he uses Daniel chapter 9, you know a great passages. We think about the last few verses, but in the beginning there is that great prayer that Daniel makes.
Nathan Jones: Very powerful.
Dr. Korman: And he begins and in Daniel 9:4 he speaks about the fact that we disobeyed you God and because of that we were scattered, we went out from the land. And this person says there you have it. Ok. Israel disobeyed God they were a covenant breaking people and they lose the right to the land.
Nathan Jones: Or they’ll use that verse where God breaks the rod and he considers divorce, therefore Israel is.
Dr. Korman: Exactly.
Nathan Jones: They’ll use that all the time.
Dr. Korman: But what they do is they rip that out of context because Daniel’s whole prayer is “But now the time of exile has ended. The 70 years have come to an end and He’s bringing the people back.”
David Reagan: Well if you use that argument none of us have any hope because all of us have been disobedient, does that mean the promises of God are revoked?
Dr. Korman: Absolutely not.
David Reagan: God says He’s faithful even when we’re unfaithful.
Dr. Korman: So, prophetically we see that in the last days there is going to be a remnant. Israel is going to go through a time of trouble. That trouble has one purpose to cause Israel to look up to seek that Messiah. And to their surprise that Messiah is going to be Jesus of Nazareth. They are going to look upon those marks where He was crucified and they’re going to mourn Him and receive Him. So those promises of the land are still in effect.
David Reagan: Oh, yes.
Dr. Korman: I mean I’m a fulfillment of that. God took me from Chicago. I’m living now in Israel. And you know if you go back to 1948 there was about 600,000 maybe 700,000 Jewish people.
Nathan Jones: Wow is that all?
Dr. Korman: In Israel. And now it is ten times that. Ten times that.
David Reagan: Plus if you go back to 1967 there were no Messianic congregations in America. But about 1970 suddenly there was just a tremendous move of the Spirit, and young people coming to Jesus, it was just unbelievable what happened among the Jewish people.
Dr. Korman: God is faithful.
David Reagan: The first fruits of the remnant.
Dr. Korman: God’s faithful and He’s going to restore through that same truth that the Church had to believe.
David Reagan: We have about 2 ½ minutes left in this segment and I just have to get in this question because we ask every guest this question. Do you believe we’re living in the season of the Lord’s return and if so why?
Dr. Korman: Israel’s enemies are on her border. Israel as I said earlier are returning back to the land. The Har HaBáyit the Temple Mount is in the hands of the Jewish people. I do believe that we are very near to our blessed hope. I like how you use that term so frequently. I believe in the blessed hope. And I believe that we are very near that time.
David Reagan: Well you know Orthodox Jews tend to believe that we are living in the end times also. I mean when I go to Israel I see signs you know “Look up the Messiah’s coming,” and things like this.
Dr. Korman: A term, Nathan and I were talking about this off camera but the term g’ulah meaning redemption. And that term just wasn’t very popular. It was not used in Judaism. Today g’ulah there are studies about g’ulah and the Messiah in Orthodox Judaism. So, there is a greater awareness of these promises. People are interested. And the greatest change that I’ve seen is in talking with Israeli’s and openness to discuss these things. I’ve not been harassed in fact in the last 15 years I see a greater increase of people wanting to know.
Nathan Jones: Praise the Lord!
David Reagan: I’ve seen films of the recapture of Jerusalem in 1967 which we are coming up on the 50th anniversary of in June of this year. And Rabbi Shlomo Goren comes up to the Western Wall and he’s got a Torah scroll, he’s got a shofar, he blows the shofar, and one of many things he said was, “I proclaim to you the beginning of the Messianic age.” He was aware that we are moving into the end times.
Dr. Korman: There are many signs that confirm that. And Anti-Semitism rising. I mean you can’t have a time of Jacob’s trouble without Anti-Semitism.
David Reagan: And the whole world coming against Israel. The whole. You know people for years said, “Well, I know it says that but it will never be America.” Well?
Nathan Jones: Well? Yeah.
David Reagan: We have joined the world. We have come together against Israel. We lifted our vote in the United Nations, our veto to let Israel to be condemned.
Dr. Korman: In the very place Isaiah 54 that says, “Jewish people must go and rebuild these cities.” It is those places that the UN says it’s forbidden, it’s illegal for Jewish people to live there.
David Reagan: Here is the whole world falling apart, ISIS cutting off heads, Syrian Civil War and the United Nations Security Council is voting on whether or not Israel should be building apartments. It’s crazy.
Nathan Jones: Even Ben Ki Moon came out and said that the UN spends an exuberant amount of time focused on Israel. Which is just a great fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
Nathan Jones: Welcome back to Christ in Prophecy and our interview with Dr. Baruch Korman from Israel. Dr. Korman great to have you on.
Dr. Korman: Thank you so much.
Nathan Jones: Can you tell folks how they can get in touch with you?
Dr. Korman: The best way is to visit our website loveisrael just like the nation of Israel loveisrael.org.
David Reagan: And can they get your TV program there?
Dr. Korman: We have over 450 videos from our television program there.
David Reagan: Great. I want to thank you again for being with us. It’s been a real joy. You have a safe trip back to Israel.
Dr. Korman: Thank you for your hospitality. Thank you sir.
David Reagan: Folks that is our program for this week. I hope it’s been a blessing to you and I hope the Lord willing that you’ll be back with us next week. Until then this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb & Lion Ministries saying, “Look up, be watchful for your redemption is drawing near.”