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Watch 2022 online sermons » Jonathan Bernis » Jonathan Bernis - Why Study The Bible From A Jewish Perspective?

Jonathan Bernis - Why Study The Bible From A Jewish Perspective?


Jonathan Bernis - Why Study The Bible From A Jewish Perspective?
TOPICS: Bible Study

Jonathan Bernis: Well, shalom and welcome to, "Jewish Voice," and thank you for joining me today. I'm Jonathan Bernis and I'm joined again by my co-host, Ezra Benjamin. The Bible is an ancient book written thousands of years ago by various authors. It's been translated by scholars and is probably the best-selling book of all time, but what is it about the Bible that makes it important for us to read every day, and how should we read it? We're continuing to talk about the Bible week after week now, Ezra, because we're living in probably the darkest times - at least in my lifetime, the most confusing times.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: Do you find that, too? There's so much information and misinformation, Facebook, social media - we don't know what to believe.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right, and everybody wants to tell you that their truth is the truth, right? With a capital T, but you know and we know here that there's only one Truth with a capital T, and it's the Truth found in the Word of God.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, and I'll just say... we've talked about this and I just want to say it to you. I've found myself running on empty more than I have in a long time, and it's not an age thing, it's a confusion thing. It's an information thing, and when all you're getting is news, mostly bad news, chaos, misinformation, information overload, a negative report, it leads to confusion, it leads to discouragement, and it can lead to despair, and that's why this Book is so important.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: We need to get into the light.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right. We don't want to be, I don't want my life to be governed by fearmongering or by political agendas on either side of the political line, Jonathan.

Jonathan Bernis: That's right.

Ezra Benjamin: I want my life to be governed and I want my thinking actually to be transformed by the living and active Word of God.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, and we've talked about that before, that when you read the Word of God, your mind is being renewed and there's a transformation that takes place with that renewal. It's not something you can understand with the natural because it is supernatural. But our mind, unless it's tended to, is going to move away from conformity with God.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: And it's like a magnet. If you turn it one way, it repels. If you turn it the other way, it attracts.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: And we need to be turning our mind on a regular basis to attract, be attractional to the things of God.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: That's a discipline.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah. Jonathan, two of the most basic questions, I think - I know I ask, maybe you at home ask yourself so often, or ask the Lord, is where am I? Really, where am I right now, and secondarily, where am I going? And Psalm 119:105 answers those questions.

Jonathan Bernis: It does.

Ezra Benjamin: And how do we know? It says, and you know this verse, "Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path". It shows me where I really am, not where my own self-deception might tell me I want to be. Where am I really in the eyes of God, in the eyes of eternal truth, and where am I headed?

Jonathan Bernis: So, there's a number of things that the Bible does for us and in us.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: One of them is renewal, renewing your mind. One of them is discernment. The Word of God gives us discernment. This is talking about direction. The Word of God actually will direct us. And at a time when there's so much being thrown at us and there's such chaos, I think many of us are asking the question, "God, what's next for me"? Our calendars have been erased. We don't know what next month will look like, but we can receive direction for our lives from the Word of God where there is no change. God is still on the throne, God is still in control, God still has a set plan for our life. He knows, in His destiny for us and His planned destiny for us, where we need to be going and He wants to reveal that to us. This is divine direction.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen. You know, Jonathan, the more firm our schedules are and the more comfortable the culture around us is, the less I find myself depending upon the enduring truth of the Word of God. And so, here we are in unprecedented times, right? Wars, rumors of wars, pandemics, whatever it is - economic instability, racial inequality and strife, and I find myself less able to depend upon the consistency of the culture around me or my circumstances, and it's actually maybe the grace of God that's driving us to the Word.

Jonathan Bernis: And let me just say it as plain as I can to you, okay? The news isn't going to direct your paths. It's not.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: It doesn't matter if you're watching CNN, CSNBC, FOX.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: More conservative news. It's not a way to direct your paths. Self-help books will not direct your paths. Newspapers, and magazines, and the internet will not direct your path. This is the lamp that lights your way. We've got to get that clear. This is so simple, but it's so lost!

Ezra Benjamin: That's right. And Jonathan, you know, the news helps us. I mean, we're not anti-news here and we're not anti-media. It helps us understand what's happening around us. But it can't answer the why or it can't apply the filter of eternity, and righteousness, and justice to what's happening around us - only the Word can.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, and what's the answer to the growing darkness around us? Have a lamp.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Have a bright light that cuts through the darkness. And maybe you're only going to see the next steps, but that's enough because your steps are ordered by the Lord.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen.

Jonathan Bernis: Don't try to figure out what's on the horizon. All we need to do is get through the next steps, and to do that, we need a light.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: In front of us. What's the light? It's the Word of God. It's a lamp unto our feet. So, get off the rocky places and get on the solid Word of God through the Word of God.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen.

Jonathan Bernis: It's that simple.

Ezra Benjamin: It is simple, Jonathan.

Jonathan Bernis: It's so true.

Ezra Benjamin: And it's so simple we can miss it, but that's part of our agenda today, if you will, is to come back to that simple, foundational, enduring truth. You know, Yeshua prayed for His disciples and He said, "Sanctify them, Father, by Your truth". In essence, the way that we would be set apart, Jew and Gentile alike, as a holy people, is by the truth. And then He says, "Your Word is truth". The Word of God is truth. It's the way that we get set apart from the culture around us and the darkness the world's participating in, set apart for light and wholeness.

Jonathan Bernis: I don't know what the truth is in a number of different areas - politically, I don't know the economic future. I'm not a prophet, but I know that the Word is truth.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen. Jonathan, the circumstances around us feel like they're changing all the time. They're so tumultuous right now, and some of them seem designed by the enemy to attack our faith, to attack what we know to be true according to the Word. And one verse I wonder if you can unpack for us in Romans 10:17 says, "Faith comes by hearing," hearing the message, "and hearing by the Word of God". And some of us, myself included sometimes, need a faith lift. I don't have a lisp and I'm not talking about plastic surgery, but we need to get... we need a faith lift. How do we do that?

Jonathan Bernis: Well, first of all, I love this Scripture. I think if we want to talk about the importance of the Word of God, this is the first Scripture I would go to, Romans 10, okay? The second thing is I completely agree with you. We are in a war against our faith right now. It's a war. It's an all-out war, and I believe the underlying issues of the whole thing, and you can clump all of the racial, political divide - everything is a war against God ultimately. This is spiritual. It really is. Without going into the details of each thing, it does all tie together, and it is spiritual, and it's an attack against God and against the people of God. So, the only solution we have is to build our faith, and stay strong in our faith, and proclaim our faith. So, Romans 10:17 in context is about responding to the gospel. If you hear the gospel enough, if you hear the good news enough, by the proclamation of the good news you eventually hear it here. So, it's two hearings. "Faith cometh by hearing," one, "and hearing by the Word of God". And then, by hearing the Word, we're building our faith. So, it's hearing here and then hearing here. That's the first thing. It's two kinds of hearing - hearing with your natural ears and hearing with this ear. How do we do that? We proclaim the Word of God, the gospel, to people in word and deed, but through the proclamation, people hear and respond. That's the process. One is sent to proclaim so that we can hear, believe, and confess unto salvation. But the next thing, Ezra, is that this is a principle that works with everything. So, if we need healing, if we need direction, if we need divine provision, we have to build faith for that, and how do we do that? By hearing the revealed Word of God that we have divine provision, that no weapon formed against us will prosper, right? That God will never leave us or forsake us, that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world, and that's for someone right now. And it's great that it's on the page. What makes it transformational is when it jumps off of the page into us, but it begins with the Word of God being read. We're reading it, we're speaking it, and slowly, slowly, without even realizing it happens, it becomes faith. It turns into active faith. It jumps off the page and then it changes our life. It actually brings transformation in the area where we need that transformation.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen. Faith is a gift of God, we know. Ephesians talks about this. "It's not by works, so no man can boast," but the means by getting that faith is through hearing the Word of God.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, and we won't have that faith without the Word of God. You can't separate believing from the Word of God, the active Word of God. It takes the fuel of the Word of God fed into our spirit to release faith.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen.

Jonathan Bernis: Hey, before we take a break, I want to let you know that your gift to Jewish Voice today will enable us to get the written Word of God into the hands of new Jewish believers. Bibles have been translated into the language of these tribes. They've been simplified for children and even been made into an audio resource, and will be a lifelong blessing to them just as this Bible that we're offering today will be to you. It will bless you and you'll be a blessing to them. Also, when we come back, we're going to talk about the Bible as it relates to the Jewish roots of your faith, so stand by for our announcer and we'll be right back.

Jonathan Bernis: I want to take a moment just to say thank you to all of you who support Jewish Voice. We honestly could not do this work without you. So, thank you again for your generous giving, and especially for joining Jewish Voice today as a monthly Shalom Partner. Your ongoing support of this ministry is so important. Ezra, that's our family. That's our partnership family.

Ezra Benjamin: It is, Jonathan. We're out there twelve months of the year, every year, reaching Jewish communities and their neighbors for Jesus and we're so appreciative, especially of those who are standing with us every month of the year. Thank you so much.

Jonathan Bernis: And it's growing. It's growing because of you.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: How many congregations? Closing in on 200?

Ezra Benjamin: It is Jonathan. Between Ethiopia and Zimbabwe alone, by the end of... very soon it'll be over 200, actually. So, we're so excited.

Jonathan Bernis: It's remarkable.

Ezra Benjamin: Explosive growth. We're trying to keep up with the Holy Spirit.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, it's hard.

Ezra Benjamin: It is. So, we're talking about the importance of really ingesting, di,gesting the Word of God. But Jonathan, it's more than just for ourselves, isn't it? There's a scriptural principle about exposing our family, exposing the generations, either those who are older than us who have gone before us, and especially those who come after us, to the Word itself.

Jonathan Bernis: I think this is where we really learn something from the Jewish people about the Jewish roots of our faith, and it's the idea that the Word of God is preserved and deliberately handed down to the children as a command.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: Okay? We call this the V'ahavta, which means, "And you shall love". How do you love God? What's the most important commandment? "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength". How do you do that actively? By following His commandments and by imparting those commandments to our children. This is so important. Listen to me. Your family is under attack. Listen to me, parents. Listen to me, grandparents. Your family is under attack. I have two daughters. They are under attack. They're under attack from what they're learning at school. They're under attack what they're watching on the news. They're under attack from what they're learning from their friends. They're under attack from what they're seeing on social media. They are under attack, and we have to combat that.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: How do we do that? The Word of God. Here's the command. It comes from Deuteronomy 6:6-7. You need to see it. We're putting it on the screen. "And these words, which I command you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up". Deuteronomy 6:6-7, again, we call it the V'ahavta. This is how to love God. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength". How do you do it? By speaking about it, by teaching your children - all the time.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: This is the whole day.

Ezra Benjamin: Lying down, rising up, going out, coming in - to generations before, especially to generations after. The Lord, through Moses, to the people of Israel, is very clear. If we could summarize this in one statement, it's surround yourself with the Word. Literally, nail it to the doorposts of your house. Wrap it around your arms, put it between your eyes. Many have seen pictures of Orthodox Jewish people, religiously observant Jews, praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Jonathan, and maybe you've wondered, "What are these straps on everybody's arms and this box between their eyes"? It's the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 6. The Jewish people are literally - many today, millions today, are still literally binding the Word of God around their hands and putting it between their eyes to not let it get far away.

Jonathan Bernis: This is what we've missed, and it's so simple. This has to be, the Word of God has to become central in our lives and it's to be central to what we teach our children, and I've blown this. Listen, I can't protect my kids from the garbage, some of the garbage, they hear in school. I can't protect my kids from some of the garbage they hear from their friends or they see on social media, not 100%, but I can feed them the Word of God and it's a 24/7 thing. As long as you're awake, that's what we're doing.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: That's the solution. God lays out the solution right before us. Choose life or death. If you choose life, it's in this Book.

Ezra Benjamin: Right. Jonathan, Romans 12 is very clear. I think it's an issue of consumption. What are we consuming more of? What are you consuming more of? Because there's two choices, Paul says in Romans - either be conformed to the pattern of this world. If all I'm consuming is what this world has to share with me, I'm going to be conformed. I'm going to be pressed into that image. Or option two, the better one, I believe, be transformed by the renewing of your mind as we get into the Word. It's an issue of consumption. What are you consuming?

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, and what about your kids? What are they consuming? What are your grandkids consuming?

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: You can't stop that flow of information, but you can orchestrate the flow of good information, of life-giving information.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: That's the summary - really, the summary of the Jewish people. That's what Passover is about. That's what the holidays are about, right?

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: We're teaching our children. We're passing this on. We're diligently living it by example.

Ezra Benjamin: Absolutely. And Jesus makes it very clear, right? The people trying to test Him said, "Tell us, Rabbi, what's the first and greatest commandment"? And He refers, without hesitation, to Deuteronomy 6. It's this. "Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is One, and you shall love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength". Then He says, of course, the second is like it, "Love your neighbor as yourself". So, Jesus is binding together the Old Testament commandments with His New Testament teaching. It's one. It's not two stories, it's not two religions, it's one God and one enduring truth.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, and if we're not imparting this to our children and to our grandchildren, we're not fulfilling His destiny for our lives. We're not. The good news is we can, and you can start again if you have dropped the ball and been consuming just television, and internet, and all of the information and misinformation - and oh, there's so much out there.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: You need this.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen.

Jonathan Bernis: You need the Bible.

Ezra Benjamin: Jonathan, the Scriptures say, "Train up a child in the way he should go," or she should go, to be inclusive, "and when he is old, he will not depart from it". I'm a product of being trained up in the way I should go. I'm sitting here because of that, because those who went before me trained me up in the Word, and maybe the Lord's speaking to you today. You have a responsibility. Train up your children, train up your grandchildren in the Word. When they're older, they won't depart from it.

Jonathan Bernis: So, all of these benefits - renewal of the mind, discernment, direction, building up your faith, preserving of your family, training your children, sound doctrine, correction, growth - it's all tied up in this Book, the Word of the living God.

Ezra Benjamin: Jonathan, I'm, as we're talking, getting even more excited about taking a deeper dive into the Word. I hope you at home are. Being in Jewish ministry here at Jewish Voice, we're reaching Jewish people and their neighbors, meeting practical needs to earn a right to share Jesus, around the world wherever Jewish people are. What are some things, Jonathan, uniquely that we're looking for in a copy of the Scriptures that we would disseminate?

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, so our mission, our unique mission at Jewish Voice, is to proclaim the gospel to the Jew first.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: But also, to engage the church concerning Israel and the Jewish people. And two things that I think every one of you watching should be paying attention to, learning about, and actually engaging in, is what we call the "moedim," the appointed days, the Jewish festivals. And I hesitate to say Jewish, because they have a much greater meaning for God's people. Look at the Passover, for example.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: The Passover points to the Passover Lamb, who takes away the sins of the world.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: If you don't understand Passover, you don't understand the redemptive work of the Messiah as the Lamb of God. You can't.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: And if you can actually observe it, if you can actually experience it, it completely changes your whole perspective.

Ezra Benjamin: Right. The gospel writers in the New Testament were very careful, it seems to me, to tell the reader what time of year it was on the Jewish calendar - and it was the Feast of Dedication, and it was the Feast of Tabernacles, and it was Passover season. Yeshua died and was resurrected during the week when Israel was celebrating the Passover.

Jonathan Bernis: That's our heritage. That's our heritage, and that's the world view of the writers of the New Testament. Not just the Torah and the prophets, it's the writers of the New Testament.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: So, it's important to God for you to understand this and to engage in this. That needs to be part of your study and if it hasn't, then you need to because the light's going to come on. It's going to be transformational. And then, the second thing is Old Testament, Messianic prophecy, all of the prophecies in detail that lay out the identity of the Messiah - where He would be born and when He would be born, what He would accomplish. There's literally over 300 of them, but there's key ones that every believer should know and be able to share with the Jewish person in their life, because they don't have to use the New Testament. The apostles, the disciples, used the Torah and the prophets to expound on who the Messiah was, and that He was in fact Yeshua.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right. Amen.

Jonathan Bernis: Ezra, this has been an amazing program and there's still more to come. After the break, we're going to come into agreement in prayer with you for your needs and the needs of your family at a time where we need to be agreeing in prayer together.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: So, don't go away, we'll be right back.

Jonathan Bernis: I want to say something I said before. Listen to me. We are under attack. Your family is under attack. Your children and your grandchildren are under attack. Here's the good news. "Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world". Listen to me. "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world". You need to get that into your heart and you need to be proclaiming the Word of God to your children, to your grandchildren, to your neighbors, because this is what builds faith.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: This is what provides direction. This is truth. We want to agree with you in prayer right now. Whatever you're going through, God is greater. Thank you, Lord, that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world, and we speak that spirit of a conqueror over every person, over every situation. No weapon formed against you will prosper. In the name of Yeshua, in Jesus' name, it is done. Amen.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen.

Jonathan Bernis: And Amen. I feel good about that. God's Spirit is here. Receive His Spirit. If you'd like more information about our ministry, by the way, you can go onto our website - it's JewishVoice.tv. And while you're there, you can submit your prayer requests right on the website. We're committed to reading your prayer requests and praying for you and for your family by name, because we believe in the power of prayer and we care about you. More importantly, God cares about you. Well, as we close the program today, I want to remind you what God asks each of us to do on a daily basis in Psalm 122:6. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, may they prosper who love thee". So, please pray for Israel and the Jewish people, and that Jewish person that God has put into your life, today. Until next time, this is Jonathan Bernis, along with Ezra Benjamin, saying shalom and God bless you.
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