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Watch 2022 online sermons » Jonathan Bernis » Jonathan Bernis - Victorious In Our Battles

Jonathan Bernis - Victorious In Our Battles


Jonathan Bernis - Victorious In Our Battles
TOPICS: Victory

Jonathan Bernis: Welcome to Jewish Voice, where we help you to discover the Jewish roots of your Christian faith, Bible prophecy, and why you should stand with Israel. I'm rabbi Jonathan Bernis and I'm joined again today by my co-host, Ezra Benjamin, and today we're going to be unlocking some mysteries of the Bible by going back to the original Hebrew. We're gonna be talking about how to apply God's promises to your life. Ezra, this is so important, because it's not just the promises that God offers to us, but how do we appropriate those promises for our life? And I feel like Hebrew, the Hebrew language, is a key that unlocks some of these mysteries, and in particular, the Hebrew names of God - in other words, the revelation of God's character and nature through compound names in Hebrew that we translate into the names of God.

Ezra Benjamin: Either names that the heroes in the Old Testament called God, or names that God said to us, the Jewish people, I want you to call me by this name, in the original Hebrew.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, so we all know the scripture, I think most of us know that, "By the wounds of the Messiah, we are healed," Isaiah 53. But, before that we have a revelation that God is Adonai Rofecha, or Rapha. He's the Lord who heals. That's part of his nature. That's part of his character. That's part of his identity. And when we understand that's who he is, it's more than just him wanting it for our life. That's part of who he is and when we appropriate him, healing comes, provision comes, righteousness comes, and all of those characteristics are revealed in different names found in the scriptures.

Ezra Benjamin: Right. Now, Jonathan, before we even get into the specific names, talk about this idea of confession. What is that? Is it like the Catholic confessional booth confession, or is there some other idea in Jewish thought, in Hebrew?

Jonathan Bernis: Okay, so the basis for this, Ezra, in my understanding, okay, is the principle in scripture that we read in Romans 10, that directly connects to salvation - how is a person saved? And in the context of Romans 10, it's how is Israel saved? It's talking about the nation of Israel, but it's by application talking about every person. We're saved when we believe in our heart that Jesus died for us, that he rose from the dead, and then we confess it with our mouth. And then, it says this. "For with the heart, man believes" or humans believe, "And with the mouth confession is made unto".

Ezra Benjamin: "Unto salvation".

Jonathan Bernis: So, this is a biblical principle that I believe that applies to every promise, every benefit that God offers us.

Ezra Benjamin: There's something to actually speaking it forth with your mouth.

Jonathan Bernis: There's something to believing it with the heart. We don't believe with the mind, we believe with our heart, and then confession is made unto. It's true of divine provision, it's true of healing, it's true of obtaining righteousness or right standing. It's true with every promise of God. We have to believe it in our heart, and then confess it unto, appropriating it to ourselves.

Ezra Benjamin: So, there's something special about the words actually passing out of our mouth.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, listen, Jesus died for everyone. It's God's will that none should perish, right? But that everyone should have everlasting life. But when we believe it ourselves... Jesus said to Peter, "Who do you say that I am"? He confessed, "You are the Messiah, the son of the living God". Jesus said, "Flesh and blood hasn't revealed this to you, my father in heaven has". He believed it in his heart, he spoke it with his mouth. That biblical principle is how we obtain everything we need from God.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, I love in the Psalms it says, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Let them confess it".

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, and I love Joshua 1, where the Lord is preparing Joshua to enter the Promised Land. Now, this is a huge undertaking. There may have been as many as 3 million Israelites. Joshua now has taken over the mantle, and God says, listen, if you want to succeed, and you want to follow in the footsteps of Moses, and you want to prosper, here's what you do. "Meditate on my word day and night. Keep it in your mouth".

Ezra Benjamin: So, the word "Meditate" isn't like this silent devotional time, like we think of it in American thought. It's actually a speaking forth?

Jonathan Bernis: That's right. There's two Hebrew words for this. One, I think, better portrays the Christian idea - "Siychah," which means we're thinking about it, we're reflecting on it internally. Now, that's good. That's important. But, the other one is "Hagah," and this literally means to tell. When we celebrate Passover, when we retell the story of Passover, how do we do it? We read from the haggadah. We retell the story.

Ezra Benjamin: It's the telling. Haggadah is literally the speaking forth.

Jonathan Bernis: Yes, and that is the Hebraic approach to meditation, confession of the Word of God. We speak it forth. It's active, and it's meditation with the tongue. That's why the Bible says that there's life and death in the tongue, that the power of the tongue is life and death.

Ezra Benjamin: Really makes us think about the significance of the words we're speaking forth.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, and Ezra, I'm not talking about blabbing it and grabbing it. I'm not saying that if we claim a car, we'll get the biggest and best car. I'm saying that we have to believe and confess unto to appropriate the promises of God into our life, and that's why speaking forth the Word of God is so absolutely critical to every one of you watching. It needs to be part of our devotional life. We need to speak out, "Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world". We need to hear it! "Faith cometh by hearing, hearing by the Word of God". We need to get it into our heart and then we need to speak it forth unto. Ezra, there is creative power in the tongue! There's creative power for death and life. We need to be speaking life.

Ezra Benjamin: I just can't get beyond this. It's not a passive thing. It's an active thing. Our faith is active. Confession, meditation is active, and that's not a new Christian idea. It's the original Hebrew, Hebraic understanding.

Jonathan Bernis: Ezra, 39 years ago, I was born again. I became a new creation. How did it happen? I had heard the gospel many times, going back to high school when I was 16. But now, at age 20, I went to a Bible study. I was presented with some scriptures about the wage of sin being death and the gift of God being eternal life. I experienced the presence of God. I didn't know the presence of God at that time. And the leader of that Bible study group got me to speak out, "I believe that Jesus died for me. I want to live for you, Lord, and I ask you to forgive me of my sins".

Ezra Benjamin: You confessed it.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, and it was already in my heart. My mind was kind of saying, no, no, no, don't do this, but it was in my heart. When I spoke it out, something changed. Now, I can't tell you that I went home ready to obey, but something changed, because I went through this process as Romans 10 - hearing, believing in my heart, and speaking it forth unto. And Ezra, I want to tell you that confession works. Again, this is not about naming it and claiming it. That has robbed the church, to a large degree, of a biblical truth that we must apply in order to appropriate the promises of God. You need to be confessing the Word of God. You need to be speaking it out so that you can hear it, so that others can hear it, and that's what we do in Jewish tradition. We retell. We recite. We speak out Hebrew prayers and we declare, "Magnified and glorified are you, Lord".

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Jesus said I want you to pray every day, "Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name". We're not thinking it, we're speaking it out. "Your kingdom come, your will be done". There's something powerful. How did God create the world? He spoke it. "Let there be light".

Ezra Benjamin: And there was.

Jonathan Bernis: And what do we confess? We confess this book. We confess that I'm more than a conqueror through him who loved me and gave himself for me. I confess that all things are possible through him...

Ezra Benjamin: That no weapon formed against me will prosper, and all of these fantastic confessions. And we tend to forget, Jonathan. I think that's part of the nature of the Jewish holiday cycle, and like you said, the haggadah, the telling of the Passover story, because we forget, and we need to remember and we need to speak it forth.

Jonathan Bernis: Yes, and we need to get it into our hearts. Okay? The faith needs to get not in our mind, but into our hearts. How do we do that? Through confession. Hey, we have to take a quick break. We'll be right back with more revelations from scripture about the names of God. What a revelation this is, so don't go anywhere, it can transform your life. We'll be right back.

Jonathan Bernis: I am so grateful to all of you that have stood with us financially, that have partnered with us. You are making all the difference in the lives of Jewish people and their neighbors in need. There really is need. Speaking of need, Ezra, we're talking about the need to get God's word into our hearts.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, and out of our mouths.

Jonathan Bernis: I want to tell you a story about confessing the scriptures, and it goes back to the old Rochester days when I was pastoring. You were in the congregation as a kid. But, just one of the members of our congregation that had been fighting with depression, and gone, like the woman with the issue of blood, gone to so many doctors, so many psychiatrists, and she was still depressed. You could feel a spirit of depression around her, and I counseled her for a number of weeks and was ready to give up, and the Holy Spirit spoke to me, really clearly, and said, "Have her confess my word. You can't do anything for her, but my word can". And I gave her just four or five scriptures, like, "He who the son sets free is free indeed". And it's true - where the Spirit of God is, there is liberty. I gave her one on adoption, where it says we're adopted and we can cry, abba, father, daddy. And I asked her to confess those scriptures 10, 20 times a day, whatever. And she came back the next week. Ezra, the spirit of depression was gone. She was set free.

Ezra Benjamin: A new person.

Jonathan Bernis: Through confessing the promises of God.

Ezra Benjamin: So important, so transformative, Jonathan.

Jonathan Bernis: It works. It really does.

Ezra Benjamin: Wow. Now, without further ado, there's a name that we're told to confess, one of the names that God says to call him by that maybe is a little misleading. It had me confused for a while. It's this name, "Adonai Nissi," and we translate that, "The Lord my banner". But, what's really going on...

Jonathan Bernis: Well, let me just give the background for this. About five years ago, I began to do a deep dive into the names of God, studying the different names of God and finding scriptures that connected to that name. So, the first one I did is, "The Lord our healer". We all need healing. We live in a broken world. And I began to find scriptures, not just, "By his stripes we are healed," but scriptures that revealed God as healer...

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: ...The Messiah as healer. And I've gone through the different names of God over the years, and I've looked at, "The Lord who provides," I've looked at, "The Lord our righteousness," "The Lord our shepherd". And the last one that I've been focused on now is "The Lord our banner," and it's translated Adonai or Jehovah Nissi. We like to say Adonai, because we don't pronounce Yahweh or Jehovah. So, we say Adonai, which means "Sir". It's a more formal way to address God, but it's the Lord. So, "The Lord our banner," and it comes from Exodus 17. It's only mentioned once in the scripture, and I want to put it up so you can see it. The context of this is the war against the Amalekites, and we all know the story. Moses lifts his rod up on the hill. When his hand drops, the Amalekites are winning. When his hand goes back up, the rod goes back up, the children of Israel are winning. And it says that Aaron and hur went up to the hill and held up his arms. I love that scripture. So, they defeat the Amalekites, and look with me now at verse 15. It says, "After the victory, Moses built an altar and called the name of it "Adonai-nissi," the Lord our banner. And he said, "By the hand upon the throne of Adonai, Adonai will have war with Amalek from generation to generation". Ezra, we translate this, "The Lord our banner," but in reality it's "The Lord who brings us the victory".

Ezra Benjamin: My goodness. That's so much deeper.

Jonathan Bernis: It's "The Lord who triumphs".

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: And of course, there's so many scriptures that come to mind when we understand this. One of the ones I absolutely love, and it's one that I recite over and over again, is from Exodus 15. "Then Moses and the children of Israel sang the song to the Lord, and spoke, saying," this is Exodus 15:1, "I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously! The horse and the rider are thrown into the sea".

Ezra Benjamin: So, it's almost a military term. It's not this sort of lovey-dovey, there's a banner over me, but it's victorious. It's military victory.

Jonathan Bernis: In many places, yes. But, here's another one. Let's look at one from the New Testament, from 1 Corinthians 15:57. What's the context of 1 Corinthians 15? The resurrection! "I am the resurrection and the life," Jesus says. But here in 1 Corinthians 15:57, it says, "But thanks be to God who keeps giving us the victory through our Lord Yeshua," through Jesus the Messiah. It's not just the battle is won in military battle, it's the Lord has triumphed over our enemies, he's gone before us, he's defeated the enemy, he's defeated death.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, the last stand.

Jonathan Bernis: So, he's defeated Satan. And so, now we have the victory already won. How? Through the Messiah, Jesus. We now have to realize that victory in our lives. How do we do that? We confess the reality through God's word that the battle's been won, that the battle belongs to the Lord, that the enemy is under his feet, that we have power to tread on serpents, on scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing - say that with me at home. Nothing shall by any means harm me. We need to get those promises into our heart, into our life. We need to speak them over our children. We need to speak them over our children's children. And, guess what happens? Everything changes. Ezra, when the reality of the word gets into our hearts that he is our victory...

Ezra Benjamin: And when we speak it forth with our mouths, confess it.

Jonathan Bernis: When we speak it forth with our mouth, it becomes a reality. Why? Because it bears the same creative force as God saying, "Let there be light".

Ezra Benjamin: That's it. Jonathan, we're not just hoping that there might someday perhaps be some victory, we're confessing with our mouths the victory the Lord has already won for us. So important. It's such a difference.

Jonathan Bernis: You know, Ezra, all the promises of God have been won for us. They're all part of the atonement. When Jesus died at Calvary, he paid the price for our sins once and for all. When he died 2.000 years ago, he bore in his body our wounds. So, "By his wounds we were healed". Now, we also confess, "We are healed," but the scripture also says, "We were healed," 2.000 years ago. 2.000 years ago, he redeemed us from the pit. He healed us, but every provision has also been met. It's a done deal, it's a fact, but we have to appropriate it in the present tense.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, and that's the key. And some of you at home may be saying, you know, I have this family situation, relatives walked away from the Lord and it's been years. I have an unresolved health issue. I don't know how I'm gonna pay the bills. And we're saying maybe the Lord'll do something, but maybe we need to start, Jonathan, speaking forth what he's already done.

Jonathan Bernis: That's exactly right, and how do you do that? You confess the Word of God. You confess that he provides for every need that we have. Now, that doesn't mean he's gonna provide for greed, but he's gonna provide for the need. And we've got to get that into our hearts, and we've got to speak it forth. Why do we have articulate speech, something different than any other mammals have? Because it's one of the attributes of God himself. When the scripture says we're created in the image of God, articulate speech is an important part of that.

Ezra Benjamin: The creative power of the tongue.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, so as God said, "Let there be light," let there be, we declare in confession of his word, because anything we ask according to his will, he hears us. Ezra, what is the will of God? The will of God is the Word of God. So if you want to be on target with confessing God's will, you read his word, you confess his word. And Jesus himself did this, scripture, "It is declared". This is how he fought the enemy. Confessing the Word of God is biblical. Confession of the Word of God builds faith. Confession of the Word of God releases the creative power of God. This is critical.

Ezra Benjamin: So, he gives us his name, he gives us a banner, but it's more than a banner - it's an active victory, then, now, forever.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, and with the name Adonai Nissi, we're not just declaring that the Lord triumphs, we're declaring we're in him. His name is written on us, on our forehead. This is so important.

Ezra Benjamin: It's awesome.

Jonathan Bernis: Hey, we have to take a short break, but we'll be right back with our "Ask the rabbi" segment. Stay with us. I'll be answering some fantastic questions that we've received from you, our viewers, and maybe one of them will be yours. So, don't go anywhere.

Jonathan Bernis: One of my favorite subjects, we've been talking about this week, confessing the Hebrew scriptures. Ezra, I believe in the power of confession. I really do.

Ezra Benjamin: It's transformational.

Jonathan Bernis: It's worked for me, it will work for you. We have some letters, some questions that people have written in, and we picked some that focus on this topic. So, let's try to answer these.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure. Jonathan, Glenda from Durham, North Carolina, asks this. "Why does God have so many names"? That's a great question.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, Glenda, that's a really good question. And I'm glad he has so many names, because they're all expressions of his attributes, of his character, of his very nature. So, all of those names - in fact, every one of those names, means something in connection to what God has done for us and provides for us. So, the more the merrier, I would say, and I'm so grateful for that revelation. And I've got a lot of work ahead of me to get through the different names of God, one by one.

Ezra Benjamin: So much to discover. Jonathan, Luke from baker city, Oregon, asks, "I have a friend who prays scripture out loud and believes that it somehow causes supernatural things to happen. Do you think that's true"?

Jonathan Bernis: I do. I do, Luke, and I want to encourage you, that's what God said to Joshua - "Keep my words on your lips. Mediate," in other words, "Hagah," "Speak them, mutter them, declare them day and night," and you'll be prosperous, you'll be successful. There's something about both hearing the Word of God, audibly hearing it, hearing the audible Word of God, getting it into your heart, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God," and creative power released through speaking. Now, that doesn't mean that everything that you speak will be released and come to pass, but when you align your confession, and there's life and death in the power of tongue. When you align it with the Word of God, it's creative and powerful, and when it's aligned with the heart and spoken through faith, it's creative and it releases what's there in heaven on earth.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen.

Jonathan Bernis: I believe that.

Ezra Benjamin: I believe it, too, Jonathan. Scott from Jamesborough, Arkansas, asks, "I've been contemplating learning Hebrew because I'd like to be able to understand scripture better. What are your thoughts on this"?

Jonathan Bernis: Well, Scott, I think it's a great idea. It's not easy. I studied Hebrew from the time that I was about nine years old, and I still don't have it down. I wasn't the best student. But, learning Hebrew, learning Greek, going back to the source texts, because Hebrew is a multi-faceted language, and so we may have one word in English, but there may be six meanings, six English words or eight words that translate the word. It may take even more than that. So, learning the Hebrew is extremely valuable and I encourage you to do that. If you can handle it, go for it.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah. Jonathan, Micah from Salmon, Idaho, asks, "Jehovah Nissi is supposed to mean, "The Lord is my banner". What is a banner?

Jonathan Bernis: Micah from... I didn't know there was a Salmon, Idaho. Hi, Micah! Well, I think that's a little bit of a wrong translation. They looked at the Hebrew and I think that the translation is a little bit shy of the impact of what it means. They defeat the Amalekites and Moses erects a memorial - the Lord is the one that brought us this victory. When he raised his staff, the children of Israel prevailed. When it was lowered, they were losing the battle. And, Moses clearly understood, this is the Lord's doing and we want to recognize that. And so, the Lord is my victor, the Lord is, well, the one who has triumphed over my enemies. That's the idea of this word. And so, when I connect "Nissi," I'm connecting it to victory, to triumph, to the Lord winning the battle for us, and that's a good thing, that's a wonderful thing.

Speaking of victory, you have victory over the sickness that you're fighting, whatever the prayer need is, you have the victory. And we're here for you. If you have prayer needs, if you'd like more information about our ministry, you can log on to our website, Jewishvoice.TV. God loves you, and so do we. We're here for you. As we close our program, I also want to remind you, pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Psalm 122:6 says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem". It's an exhortation, and then we're told, "May shall prosper who love thee". So if you want to prosper, pray for Israel this week. Well, we're out of time. Until next week, this is Jonathan Bernis with Ezra Benjamin, saying shalom and God bless you.
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