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Watch 2022 online sermons » Jonathan Bernis » Jonathan Bernis - Messiah and The Old Testament

Jonathan Bernis - Messiah and The Old Testament

Jonathan Bernis - Messiah and The Old Testament
TOPICS: Messiah

Jonathan Bernis: Shalom and welcome to "Jewish Voice," and thank you for joining me today. I'm Jonathan Bernis, and I'm joined by my co-host once again, Ezra Benjamin. It's been said that the Old Testament is revealed in the new, but the New Testament is concealed in the old. In fact, there's over 300 prophecies, written hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born, that tell us where he would be born, when he would be born, what his purpose would be. It's all in the Old Testament. Not only that, did you know that Jesus actually appears before his birth in the Old Testament? Ezra, this is such an important topic that we're exploring today, I think because so many Christians have really marginalized the importance of the Old Testament.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: And the focus is on the new. I look at Bibles and I see worn New Testaments, and pages of the old still stuck together.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, and it's almost as though the Old Testament is this necessary thing to get through, right? This arduous task - just get through the Old Testament so that you can get to the real gold, which is the new. And yet, we know, and you at home are learning, that you can't fully understand what's happening in the new covenant, the New Testament, unless you understand the context of the old.

Jonathan Bernis: The Old Testament is the foundation for the new.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: And in fact, we divide the Old Testament up a little bit more as Jewish believers. There's the Torah, the first five books of Moses. There's the prophets.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: And then, there's the writings. We call it the Tanakh - the Torah, the writings, the prophets. And that provides the foundation, not only for understanding the New Testament, but for identifying who the Messiah is.

Ezra Benjamin: Absolutely. And Jonathan, you said right at the beginning that the New Testament is concealed in the old, but it's not concealed in such a way that it's supposed to be a mystery to us and this indiscernible, hidden things. It's there so that Jewish people and all of us, Jew and gentile alike, can understand exactly what God's doing.

Jonathan Bernis: Exactly. You know, an interesting point - the Bible talks about Paul, as well as the other disciples, expounding on the scriptures daily to reveal to the predominately Jewish audience at that time, that Jesus was in fact the Messiah.

Ezra Benjamin: That's absolutely right.

Jonathan Bernis: He wasn't, they weren't using the New Testament. There was no New Testament. They were using the Jewish scriptures.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: They were revealing from the Torah, the prophets, the writings of old, written hundreds of years before Jesus ever came, that he was in fact the Messiah, that he met all of the criteria.

Ezra Benjamin: That's absolutely right. And so, that revival among the community in Jerusalem and then the rest of Israel in that first century, Jonathan, wasn't people reading the New Testament. As you said, it didn't exist. It was people encountering the truth of the Old Testament and the blinders coming off by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jonathan Bernis: So the Old Testament provided the foundation for understanding who the Messiah was, and that Jesus, in detail, fulfilled these different prophecies.

Ezra Benjamin: Absolutely. Now, there's hundreds of prophecies we could look at, but as you said, the what, the where, and the when maybe are a great place to start, Jonathan.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, there's over 300 that have been identified, some more. Some are vague, but there's some that are extremely clear. So, let's look at a few of the clear ones today that are absolutely indisputable.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay. Where do you want to start?

Jonathan Bernis: Let's start with the "Where".

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: Okay, the "Where" is found in Micah 5:2 - Micah 5:2. We're gonna put it on the screen for you. This is amazing, because it says more than just the "Where," so we'll start in verse 1, actually.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: Okay? Verse 1, Micah 5:1, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah," which means fruitful.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: "Least among the clans of Judah, from you will come out to me one to be ruler in Israel, one whose goings forth are from old, from days of eternity". So, other translations say, "Though you be little among the clans of Judah," though you be insignificant. We think of Bethlehem, and immediately we think the birthplace of the Messiah, and Bethlehem is a big deal on an Israel tour, but Bethlehem was an out of the way, little village.

Ezra Benjamin: A suburb of Jerusalem that nobody paid much attention to.

Jonathan Bernis: That's right. Other than the fact that David, king David, was born in Bethlehem.

Ezra Benjamin: Interesting.

Jonathan Bernis: And if you ask an educated Jewish person, a rabbi, a scholar, about Micah 5:1-2, they'll say this is talking about king David, but it's written several hundred years after David has come and gone.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, there's no reason to prophesy something which has already come to pass.

Jonathan Bernis: Exactly. So, Bethlehem, by name, just the name itself is significant.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: Bethlehem comes from two Hebrew words, "Bet" which means house, and "Lehem," which is bread. So, "Bethlehem" is the house of bread. That's prophetic in itself. Yeshua, Jesus, is the bread of life.

Ezra Benjamin: Wow.

Jonathan Bernis: And so, the house of bread is the place that the prophets tell us he would be born, and Herod knew this, right? Herod learned this because he went to the Jewish sages and said, "Where's this Messiah going to be born"? And they gave him Micah 5 - Bethlehem. So, he knew. That's why he sent his soldiers there.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, and he decrees that all of the baby boys in the area need to be wiped out. So, it's interesting - God's prophesying things so that we can understand who the Messiah is. The enemy and those who do his work also know the scriptures.

Jonathan Bernis: They do. So, the other thing about this, Ezra, that's so, to me, stunning, is not only is Bethlehem identified as the birthplace of the Messiah, we're also told that his, "Goings forth have been from old, from days of eternity". So, he'll be born in Bethlehem, but he pre-exists his birth from eternity.

Ezra Benjamin: So interesting. So, there's one who's coming unseen.

Jonathan Bernis: That eliminates king David because the Messiah, the Messianic prophecy here that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, is also declaring he's born, but he's existed for all eternity.

Ezra Benjamin: Incredible.

Jonathan Bernis: It is incredible - hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born.

Ezra Benjamin: Now, Jonathan, this language here, the idea of one who would come forth from Bethlehem who's existed from of old. In essence, he's existed forever. I'm remembering at the beginning of Genesis, or closer to midway through Genesis, we hear similar language - Melchizedek, right?

Jonathan Bernis: Exactly. That same idea, by the way, although here you have perhaps a visitation of the pre-incarnate Messiah.

Ezra Benjamin: In Genesis?

Jonathan Bernis: In Genesis. In other words, Jesus appearing before he's ever born in human form - a theophany, which means God in human form. But it's the same idea, Ezra, and you're referring to Genesis 14, where Abraham has a visitor, and it's the king of Sodom. He returns from battle and the king of Sodom goes out to meet him. And then it says, verse 18, "Then Melchizedek king of Salem," S-A-L-E-M, Salem, or Shalem - it's peace, it's the word for peace, shalom, "Brought out bread and wine: he was a priest of El 'Elyon," which we translate, "God Most High".

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: "He blessed him and said, blessed be Avram by El 'Elyon, Creator of heaven and earth, and blessed be El 'Elyon, who gave over your enemies into your hands". And then, what happens? Abraham gives him a tenth. He tithes to this figure, this priest of God, Melchizedek.

Ezra Benjamin: So interesting.

Jonathan Bernis: You have a play on words. Just as Bet Lehem, Bethlehem, is the house of bread, you have two Hebrew words here. You have "Melech," which is king, and you have "Tzedeq," which is righteousness. He is the king of righteousness, no beginning, no end. We don't know where he comes from. We don't hear about him again until the book of Hebrews.

Ezra Benjamin: So interesting.

Jonathan Bernis: And we're told that Jesus is a priest after the order of the king of righteousness. I believe this is a divine appearance - no beginning, no end, the same prophecy, the same idea of the prophecy in Micah 5:2. This is really heavy-duty stuff.

Ezra Benjamin: Super-interesting, and the king of Salem - so, this king of righteousness is actually presiding over the area which would later become known as Jerusalem, this one coming forth.

Jonathan Bernis: Exactly. And again, Abraham, who is the father of the Jewish people, the father of our faith, this great figure, is tithing to this priest we know nothing about, other than the name. The name reveals everything. "Bet Lehem," the house of bread - the bread of life comes into the world. Melchizedek, the king of righteousness, Abraham is paying tithes to. I am sure this is the pre-incarnate Yeshua.

Ezra Benjamin: Wow.

Jonathan Bernis: It's an amazing thing. We have to take a short break so that our announcer can share some information about the resources that we're making available to you today. I want to ask you to consider becoming a shalom partner with Jewish Voice. Your monthly support will really make a difference in so many lives. Don't go away, lots more ahead.

Jonathan Bernis: Welcome back. We're talking about prophecies and appearances of Jesus before he was born in the Old Testament. Before we continue, I just want to say thank you to all of you who support this ministry. You're making a huge difference in the lives of Jewish people. You're helping us to provide clean water, dental care, eye care, medical care, medicines, but most importantly, the Gospel. So, thank you on behalf of all of us here at Jewish Voice that are committed to bringing the Gospel to the Jew first. You're part of our family. Ezra, I love this topic. This is so important. So let's continue on.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah. Well, Jonathan, we covered Bethlehem in terms of the "Where" Jesus would be born, but what about the "When"? What scriptures point us to the "When"?

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, and this is a pretty tricky scripture, but I'm not going to go into great detail.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: I'm just gonna make one point, and that's Daniel 9. Daniel 9:24-27 talk about the atoning work of the Messiah. So, Daniel 9:24 begins with, "Seventy weeks decreed concerning your people in your holy city," that's the Jewish people and Jerusalem, "To put an end to transgression, to bring an end to sin, to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the holy of holies". Now, I'm not gonna get into the dating of that. I'm gonna just set the context. Verse 25, "So know and understand: from the issuing of the decree to restore and build Jerusalem until the time Mashiach, the prince, there shall be seven weeks and 62 weeks". So, 69 weeks. Without getting into the details of the timing, it's clearly talking about two things.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: The temple and the reign of Mashiach, the advent of Messiah.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: Okay? Let's go on. "It will be rebuilt, with plaza and moat, but it will be in times of distress". Verse 26, "Then after 62 weeks, Mashiach," Messiah, the anointed one, "Will be cut off and have nothing. Then the people of a prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary". Now, just these points, okay? Without getting into the dating again, it says Messiah, the Messiah, the anointed one, "Will be cut off and have nothing". The better translation is, "He'll be cut off, but not for himself".

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: What's it saying? It's saying that he will die. The Messiah will die, but not for himself, not for his own sin. He will die for the sins of the people. That's the first point. The second point is that immediately following that, the temple's going to be destroyed.

Ezra Benjamin: And that's so important because the majority of the Jewish community worldwide, Jonathan, says the Messiah hasn't yet come. They're waiting for the first coming of a Messiah.

Jonathan Bernis: Right. But in Daniel, not only does he come, he dies, he's killed.

Ezra Benjamin: And it says that the destruction of the temple, which we know happened in 70 a.D., will happen after the Messiah dies.

Jonathan Bernis: Immediately following.

Ezra Benjamin: So, there's the proof that Jesus has come and he's the Messiah.

Jonathan Bernis: There's the "When". So, we could get into the 62 plus 7, the 69 weeks, and are we between the 69 and 70th? I just want to simply point out that the Messiah is cut off, he dies not for his own sin, as an atonement, and then the temple is destroyed.

Ezra Benjamin: Wow. So important for us to understand these scriptures, Jonathan. I wanted to go in a little bit different direction, though. We're talking a lot about the prophecies pointing to Jesus, but can you speak to us about an actual time where Jesus is appearing, where the pre-incarnate Messiah is appearing to the forefathers in the scriptures?

Jonathan Bernis: Well, there's so many of them. One, Melchizedek, which we've talked about before, the king of righteousness. Then you have the visitation of three angels, messengers, to Abraham.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: One is not an ordinary angel. He's actually worshipped, so - and I believe that's a pre-incarnate appearance, a theophany, God appearing as man. But, one that I absolutely love is Jacob. Jacob has two encounters with God that changes everything, and the first one is where he sees the ladder or the stairway to heaven, with angels ascending and descending, and God is standing at the top of the ladder.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: The other one, which I want to focus on for a moment, is, and just talk a little bit more about, is the wrestling match. Jacob is wrestling with an angel in a moment of crisis in his life. Maybe you're in a moment of crisis in your life. This is the time to hang onto God. And the story is in Genesis 32. In verse 25, Jacob is wrestling. It says, "He wrestled with a man until the break of Dawn". And then when the angel, "Saw that he had not overcome him, he struck the socket of his hip, so he dislocated the socket of Jacob's hip". And then, Jacob says, "I won't let you go unless you bless me".

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: Then Jacob responds that his name is Jacob. Verse 29, "Then he said, your name will no longer be Jacob, but rather Israel, for you have struggled with God and with men, and you have overcome". He's not struggling with an angel, he's struggling with God. "Then Jacob said, please tell me your name". And verse 31, "Jacob named the place Peniel, for I have seen God face to face, and my life was spared". It's a Hebrew word, the face of God, "Peniel," of the face of Elohim. He's seen God face to face.

Ezra Benjamin: So, this isn't just an angel, and maybe some of you at home are wondering, "It says he wrestled with a man, but the m is capitalized. What's going on here"? It's actually God.

Jonathan Bernis: He is wrestling with, I believe, Jesus, the pre-incarnate Messiah. Before Jesus is ever born, Jacob is holding onto him, and the Messiah, Jesus, blesses him and changes his name from Jacob, "Heel," to Israel, "One who strives with God as a prince". It's all in there. It's in the Old Testament.

Ezra Benjamin: Amazing, Jonathan. God appears to Jacob, 33 chapters into the Bible, and everything changes for Jacob. Is this...Is this the first appearance of God to man though in the scriptures?

Jonathan Bernis: I'm glad you asked. It's not the first. It's one of the most significant, not only because Jacob sees God face to face, but he's blessed and goes through a name change, I believe, by the Messiah. Through the Messiah, his name's being changed to Israel. So, it's a very significant scripture, but there's earlier ones. So, we have Melchizedek. We talked about malki tzedek, the king of righteousness.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: But there's another one that's really significant that happens before that, and that's with Hagar.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: Remember, Hagar is the handmaiden of Sarah, at the time Sarai, and she is bearing a child that is supposed to be the son of promise.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: But now there's family conflict and she runs into the desert, and she's ready to die. She's no longer welcome in her master's household, and she's now hopeless. And God apprehends her in the wilderness.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: And she has this encounter, this divine encounter. Let's look at it. It's in Genesis 16.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: And we'll pick it up in verse...Let's look back to verse 9. "The angel of the Lord said, 'return to your mistress and humble yourself under her hand'. Then the angel of Adonai" - okay, so it's the angel of God, all right? "The angel of God said to her, 'i will bountifully multiply your seed, and they will be too many to count'. Then the angel of Adonai," still, "Said to her, 'behold, you are pregnant and are about to have a son, and you shall call his name Ishmael - for the Lord has heard your affliction. He will be a wild donkey of a man. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone's hand against him, and away from all his brothers will he dwell'". Now look at verse 13. "So she called Adonai," which is the Lord, "Who was speaking to her, you are the God who sees me".

Ezra Benjamin: Wow.

Jonathan Bernis: "For she said, 'would I have gone here indeed looking for him who looks after me'"? This goes from the... Do you see this shift? It's going from the angel of the Lord, a messenger, to the Lord himself.

Ezra Benjamin: Wow.

Jonathan Bernis: She realizes here, and the whole language of the text changes, that this is not just an angel, this is not just a messenger - this is the Lord himself. And I think this is really meaningful, Ezra, that the pre-incarnate Messiah, because I believe this is Jesus before he was actually born, he's appearing to Hagar, who's the mother, becomes the mother of the Arab people, and declaring over her, "You will be fruitful. Just as Abraham's offspring, Isaac, will be fruitful, your son will be fruitful. Your womb will be fruitful".

Ezra Benjamin: Ishmael, the Arab people, have a destiny that God wants to come to pass.

Jonathan Bernis: Blessed by the Messiah of Israel before he's ever born.

Ezra Benjamin: Amazing, wow.

Jonathan Bernis: It's an amazing thing.

Ezra Benjamin: So deep.

Jonathan Bernis: So many more examples that we can give. This is a rich topic.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: We've got to talk more about this in the future, but we have to take a short break so that our announcer can come and tell you about a special group of resources that we want to sow into your life this week. We also want to come into agreement with you in prayer, because God answers prayer, so don't go away. We'll be right back.

Jonathan Bernis: We just have about a minute left. We want to take that minute to pray for your needs. I know that many of you watching have some real serious needs - health challenges, financial challenges, maybe praying for a loved one, a child or a grandchild, to come back. Ezra, the Bible says, "Where two or three agree on earth as touching anything, it shall be done," one of my favorite scriptures, so let's agree together. Just join your faith with Ezra's faith and my faith, and let's believe God today, because God is watching, he cares, he loves you.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: Lord, we pray right now. We just join our faith together and we pray for those that are watching today that have serious needs, Lord. We speak healing to bodies right now. We declare cancer be gone, in Jesus' name. We declare arthritis be gone, in Jesus' name. Headaches, migraine headaches, be gone, in Jesus' name. We thank you for divine provision. We thank you for family restoration. We thank you it is done by faith, in the name of Yeshua, in Jesus' name, amen, amen. Hey, if you'd like more information about our ministry, we'd love to hear from you, and it's very easy - you can log on to our website, it's In addition, you can also send us your prayer requests. We'd love to hear from you, and I want you to know that we pray for every need. We will pray for your need. By name, we'll pray for you. I also want to thank you again as we close for your support of Jewish Voice, and remind you, as I do in every program, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Psalm 122:6 says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and they shall prosper who love thee". On behalf of Ezra Benjamin and myself, this is Jonathan Bernis, saying shalom and God bless you.
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