Jonathan Bernis - Why Bible Prophecy Is Relevant To You?
— Shalom and welcome to Jewish Voice. Thank you for joining me today. I'm Jonathan Bernis. My co-host Ezra Benjamin is joining me again today as we welcome a very special guest to the program, who actually needs no introduction. He's a Bible teacher, he's an author, he's an international evangelist and directs voice of evangelism in Cleveland, Tennessee. Please welcome to the program, Perry Stone.
— I'm welcoming myself. See me clapping my hands?
— There's a lot of applause going on right now.
— We have been trying to get together for I don't know how long and finally we're together. And I'm so excited, I really am, because if there's ever been a time when the word of the Lord is not just being preached, it's being received. And by that I mean that anytime that we, I say we in the U.S. Or in the world, enter into a prophetic cycle or a prophetic season, there is this renewed interest. And I've got to tell you something funny. I just noticed an article that was out that said "Radical Christians believe recent events lead to the return of the Lord". No, not radical Christians. Sensible people who believe the Bible. Anyone who is sensible enough to look at the scripture and put it together understands that we're living in great times. And so, your voice and of course, our ministry is teLevised around the world and I'm so grateful to be here. I could, you know, if you know anything about me, which I know you do, I could take off preaching at, you know, you don't even have to say tag, hit me, preach. I'll just take off without you saying that. So you have to interrupt me with any question you have at any given time. I just want you to know that or I'll, it's like a takeover spirit comes on me. I just wanna preach nonstop.
— Well I have lots of questions. By the way, I think we were talking probably five years ago at NRB about you coming on the program. And it's really, I'm glad you're finally able to come on. Bible prophecy, in some circles of the church, seems to be waning. In other circles, it's more active than ever. Talk about why Bible prophecy, end time prophecy or last days prophecy is so important for Christians to pay attention to.
— Okay, you have two schools emerging, especially in western Christianity. You have a younger generation of ministers who are more geared to what we say preaching to the needs of the people. You have a older generation, and when I say, I didn't say old, I said older, that are basically over 50 who were raised under great prophecy preachers. In the Baptist church, in the full gospel churches, the classical churches, we would call them the evangelical churches, there were some absolutely scholars. Geniuses that just knew the Word of God that kept that generation that's now 50 and older informed about the nation of Israel, about the re-establishment of how Jerusalem is the capital, the Jewish people returning, the blessing that would come on the land before the Messiah would return. And they were very much informed because Israel was re-established in 1948 during what was called the healing revival and all of those men had a prophetic message. There was 106 of them preaching mostly in tents from 1948 to 1955 and their message centered not only on the needs of people, but it centered on the fact Israel has been re-established as a nation. Folks, we're now entering into the days that the prophets have spoke about. Now those seasons have cycles. For example, 1948 Israel was a nation, 1967 Jerusalem is recaptured as the capital of Israel and reunited, 1988 to 1990 the Jews begin to return out of Russia, in the 1990's the latter reigns begin to return to Israel. Also in the 90's they begin to develop the land into farming which is a great fulfilling of Isaiah 35:1-7. And you see Israel becoming a great army the way that Ezekiel predicted in the valley of dry bones, dwelling safely in un-walled villages the way that Ezekiel also predicted in chapter 38 and 39. Now my point is that the younger generation of men, and I've dealt with them, I've preached at some of the greatest churches in America, have said to me that we don't preach prophecy because we think it is a negative message. Or we think that it creates fear in people. Or we think that it depresses people. Well that's just like saying I never preach on hell because it might depress somebody. Well if I'm going there, I want somebody to help me not go there. And so, it's not a good theology to base everything on fear. It's not a good theology to say, okay, we're not going to preach this because it might frighten somebody. Because Jonathan, you and Ezra both know this, if we go to the Book of Revelation and if we go to portions of Daniel, portions of Isaiah, even Ezekiel 38 and 39 about the battle of Gog and Magog, if we look at all of what's coming then we have to understand, Noah, look at Noah. It says Noah who was moved by fear, not it was a godly fear, not a fear of man, it was a godly fear, but moved by fear prepared an ark for the saving of his house. So there is a godly fear that we must have as we share the prophetic word and say guys, ladies and gentlemen, be prepared or don't be prepared. If you're not prepared, here's what's coming. If you're prepared, here was what God can do to help you to escape these things or to stand before the Son of Man at the judgement. So, what I'm saying is that it is important that the body of Christ teach and preach the prophetic word to the younger generation so that they are not caught off guard. Let me say one more thing. I had a pastor of a church with 15.000 members call me from Florida. He's a younger man. His whole church is under 40 years of age, and this is what he said to me. He said, "Perry, I remember hearing you preach in Baton Rouge, Louisiana when I was a student at LSU on prophecy, that's what stirred me up". He said, "But I have a generation sitting in front of me that frightens me". And I said, "Now, explain that". He said, "They themself don't frighten me. But the fact that they are so into technology. They are so into chips, they are so into the scannings, the cards, the pin numbers and everything, I actually think that many of these young people would accept a Mark on the forehead and the hand for buying or selling for convenience without even understanding the danger of it based on revelation 13". That's one of the reasons why we have to inform people what the Bible teaches about prophecy. Now that was a long answer. So, but, you know, that's really very very significant in what we're talking about.
— Perry, I hear what you're saying. I think I can represent the younger generation here. Probably relatively the same age as a number of the major pastors you're speaking with. And it is a concern how dependent we are on electronic systems and what's that gonna become in the coming years and how aware will we be when there's that line that we shouldn't cross and how willing will we be to take a stand for the Lord and not cross it? I think, you know, as I talk to my peers, some of the hesitancy toward engaging in what we can call the healthy prophetic relates to people here, you know, people having been burnt. You know, somebody came and said this and they said they were a prophet and it didn't come to pass. How do you compare, you know, people's disappointment with past prophetic experiences with the trustworthiness of the prophecy we see in scripture?
— Yeah. See, I've always said this, there's a difference between prophetic speculation and prophetic revelation. And many times, for example, the Y2K situation, which was, books were put out, CD's and DVD's, and it was a non-event, a non-occurring event basically. What happened was, all of that was speculation. The same thing happens, for example, when there's a major war. I remember the war in the gulf was suddenly the Battle of Armageddon. And it wasn't. I would tell people, folks, listen to me, it's not the Battle of Armageddon, it's in the wrong location. HArmageddon, or Armageddon is in Israel in the valley of Jezreel, and until you see the whole world gathered there, don't worry about Armageddon because that's where it's gonna take place. So in my teaching I try to do two things. Number one, I try to say this is speculation. There is no Bible for this but this is what some are saying, it may or may not happen. And make it clear speculation versus revelation. There are things in scripture that you can absolutely bank your life on. You can bank your life that Ezekiel 38 and 39 and those alignments of nations which include Togarmah, Persia, which is Iran, Ethiopia, Libya, they will happen. So when you preach it and you dig into those verses, nations aligning, wars aligning that lead to that, but you don't say this is God in Magog until they go to the mountains of Israel. And I think what it involves is what we call rightly dividing the word of truth. Line on line, precept on precept, the way Isaiah predicted it. And of course, I'm four generations of ministers so it was imbed in me sound doctrine. The second thing is, avoid dating. I can't tell you how many times that men in sincerity have looked at a date and said now within twelve months or on April at Passover, at tabernacles this fall, this will happen. And they totally completely miss the date. It is important that people understand that Jesus said as it relates to his return, no man knows the day or the hour. That is still true. No man to this day knows the day or the hour.
— Perry, we have to take a quick break. We don't know the hour but we know when we have to take a break. We do need to take a short break as our announcer comes to tell you about an incredible opportunity to support Jewish Voice medical outreaches. Your giving today will allow our ministry to continue serving Jewish people and their neighbors. Many are suffering through devastating conditions. Please consider participating with us today so we can help these important humanitarian outreaches continue. And Ezra and I and Perry will be right back.
Welcome back to the program. Hey, before we get back into talking with Perry Stone, I'd like to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you to all of you who support this ministry. We honestly, we could not do this work without you. Thank you for your giving. Thank you for your monthly partnership. Your ongoing support of this ministry is so important to change the lives of Jewish people and their neighbors hurting around the world. Really, we're really so grateful.
— Thank you so much for standing with us.
— And Perry, we're grateful for you because you have continually just, I've known you, watched you for many years, love Israel, love the Jewish people, taught about Israel and the Jewish roots of the faith. What's motivated you to focus so much on Israel and the Jewish people all these years?
— The first time I went to Israel was about 1985 and I actually saw where prophecy was being fulfilled. The desert blossoming like a rose. My guide's brother-in-law discovered the earthquake fault line on the Mount of Olives, his geological department did. Well that's what the Bible says the Mount of Olives will split when the Messiah returns. So it was that. It was going to Israel the first time and actually seeing where the prophecies were being fulfilled. And from that moment on I was hooked. That's all I can say. I was hooked on Bible prophecy and have been ever since actually.
— Well you've written some wonderful books and a lot of lives have been changed. And the Jewish roots of your faith, did that also come about as you were so impacted by Israel?
— I'll tell you what happened. We live in Cleveland, Tennessee but there was a church in the north city about 50 minutes away that was really heavy into the Jewish roots. The banners, the singing, the Hebraic songs. And my wife and I ended up joining that church. Now honestly it was quite controversial back at the time, to be honest with you, in the 80's for me to do that. So when I started teaching Jewish roots, Jonathan, this was the thing that just kind of shocked me, because of my background, more traditional, full gospel background, they didn't understand it. They didn't understand the connection. They didn't understand even what Hebraic roots were. So I'll be very honest with you, I had to take a hit from my own brethren for probably 10 years and then finally, I guess so many people started hearing about it through, you know, you're there. Back in the day zola Levitt was there. There were other teachers that were there that finally it became accepted. Now the same churches that didn't like banners had banners hanging up and they celebrate Israel day or they celebrate a festival. So I want to just say thank the Lord that some of the gentiles saw the light. Hallelujah. I think that's the best way for me to put it. The gentiles came to the light of their Hebraic roots in Christianity. So that's kind of where it went.
— Yeah, the Lord's bringing all of the streams together, Perry. What an awesome time we can all be alive. Now, I know part of the passion of your own heart and the expression of your own ministry is revealing for believers, what's, we can say, concealed in the scriptures and in the prophecies of the Old Testament, even the New Testament and revelation. I think sometimes for Christians there's a tendency either to make all the promises where it says Israel and the Jewish people, okay, that's for the church now. Or just to ignore them because we don't know what to do with them. And yet, neither of those answers are correct, right? There's something the church needs to do in engaging with prophecies about Israel and the Jewish people. Talk to us about that.
— The fundamental understanding for anyone who wants to understand the Jewish roots of Christianity is to understand to whom the prophecies were addressed. To whom were the scriptures addressed? And you cannot go to Romans 11 and make that the church. That is Israel Paul is talking about. So there are certain verses, even in the New Testament, that are directed to national Israel, the natural seed of Abraham, and there were others that are directed to the church, the body of Christ. So I think one of the most important things I could give to people today when wanting to understand the difference between the scriptures to Israel, the scriptures directed to the church, the scriptures to the gentile nations, and prophecies to individuals, some New Testament prophecies are directed to individuals and Old Testament prophecies, is to do what we call rightly dividing the Word of God. Don't make a verse for Israel the church. It may have an application, but it's still Israel. And I think that's one of the, if people will basically learn to understand the difference between, that Paul is talking here about natural Israel, Paul is talking here about the comparison of Israel and the church, then you'll be safe in understanding how you interpret the doctrine of the New Testament. 'cause if you don't do it, it'll be a hodge podge and it'll be so messed up and there'll be so much confusion, theological confusion with people if they don't rightly divide those verses.
— Now, speak to the listener who's saying, "Okay, I get it, it's about Israel, it's not about the church, it's not about me. So why does it matter to me"? Especially as we draw closer to the last days. Why do the prophecies about Israel matter to a Christian?
— Here's the reason why, the Bible says in revelation, "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy". You prove that Christ is the Messiah one way, by taking the prophesies of the Old Testament and showing where he fulfilled them in the new. Now, the reason that we have to understand prophecy as it relates to Israel is all of the end time prophecies, even in the tribulation period will center on the Middle East, the Mediterranean sea, the nations rising up, the battle of Gog and Magog, which is in Israel, and the 144.000 Jews that are sealed with the seal of God in the Book of Revelation. Where does it center at? It centers in Jerusalem and in Israel, so when you understand that, you understand that the end time prophecies are so geared toward the nation of Israel, the Jewish people, their return from the different nations that the prophets talked about. That's how you know the signs of the Messiah's coming are close. When you see the events aligning with Jerusalem, Israel, the land, the people, the return, all of that combined is a combination. You know, here's what David said, "When the Lord shall build up Zion, then he will appear in his glory". It's connected. You can't get away from the connection of the Jewish people, Israel, the return of the Jewish people from the nations of the world. You can't get away from it if you understand the prophecies of the prophets and even the words that Paul wrote about in Romans 11. It's all there, and that's why you have to study it as a whole to get the full picture of what God is doing through Bible prophecy and the Jewish people.
— Perry, when you spiritualize the Jewish people, when you spiritualize Israel, when you spiritualize Jerusalem so it's a heavenly Jerusalem, you really destroy scripture. Jesus is not coming back to New York. He's not coming back to Paris or Rome, he's coming back physically to Jerusalem. And it seems like you eradicate fundamental Christian doctrine when you spiritualize all those things.
— You do. I have a book written in 1888 by a professor. I actually got it in Africa from an LSU student that was pastoring there, he had it. He said I'm gonna give this to you. He said three things in 1888: Jesus will not come back til Israel is re-established as a nation, and he proved it through scripture. Jesus cannot return til Jerusalem is in the hands of the Jewish people and Jesus Christ, the Messiah, will not return til the Jewish people are back in the land. Now, people were mocking him, he had the letters of scholars and professors, "This is not true". "This will only happen when Christ comes back to the earth". "Israel will never be restored". And he proved it by scripture. Guess who was right? The man that wrote in 1888, I was stunned when I read this book. He predicted everything that we have seen from 1948 to right now, up to the land blossoming and producing fruit and being shipped around the world that Isaiah talked about in Isaiah 27. What he did was he didn't go by speculation, he didn't go by man-made theology, he didn't go by replacement theology, he didn't go by dominion theology, he went by what the scripture said. And I like what one man said years ago. He said when the plain sense of the scripture makes sense, seek no other sense. If it says Jews, it's Jews. If it says Israel, it's Israel. If it says heaven, it's heaven. If it's hell, it's hell. God meant what he said and said what he meant.
— Perry, quick question. Why is there so much opposition to that? It seems so simple. It seems so straight forward. It seems so obvious but there's so much opposition.
— I think Satan hates Israel and the Jewish people because it's so connected to the Messiah. He came through a Jewish woman. He came to the nation of Israel. He will rule from Jerusalem. He will rule from Israel. And I really think Satan wants to blind people to the impact of that nation and the fact that that will be where the 1.000 year reign of the Messiah will take place that he really wants to keep people spiritually blind.
— I think that's exactly right. I say it this way, in the same way that the enemy has blinded the eyes of our people, the Jewish people, from recognizing who Jesus is, he's blinded many in the church from seeing the role of Israel and the Jewish people. And we've gotta be aware of that. We've gotta pray against that. We've gotta speak out against that and speak the truth. We need to take a short break so we can share some information about the resources that we're making available to you this week. We will come back in a minute and we'll be praying. Ezra and I are gonna be praying with you for your needs. Perry, we'll ask you to join in with us because God cares about you and your family. Watch this.
We take time in every program to pray for you. To pray for your family, to pray for your needs. We get a big pile of prayer requests every week. We pray for every one of you by name. We're committed to doing that. We're here for you, and Perry, I'm going to ask you to join us. We have lots of needs mounting up, people that are really struggling financially and facing foreclosure of their homes. We have people fighting cancer, loved ones that they want to reunite with that have walked away from the Lord. Will you just lead us out in prayer for these precious people? God sees their need.
— Gracious father, we come to you in the name of Yeshua the Messiah. We ask you to touch every request that's coming in. You see the names when they're written down. You hear their voices, you hear the cries of the people. So we ask you that whatever that need would be that would move toward the individuals, that they would have faith to hold on, and have faith to believe that your spirit and your power is going to minister to them, and the answers will come, even though they look delayed, even though they seem delayed. Lord, God, as the parable of Luke says that we will hold on, not give up, and not quit. That we will have faith to continue to believe that you are going to move on behalf of the men and the women, and the many requests. Have compassion, pity and mercy upon your people Lord, that need you at this time. In the name of Christ, hallelujah. Thank you Lord.
— We agree, we agree. Amen, amen. Hey, if you'd like more information about our ministry you can log on to our website jewishvoice.tv and you can find many helpful resources there. You can send your prayer requests as I said, right on the website and we will be praying for you by name, because God cares about you, and we care about you. We want to thank you also for your support of Jewish Voice. We could not do what we do without you. As we close the program we want to remind you that God asks each of us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Psalm 112:6 says "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper who love thee". Thanks to Ezra for joining me again today and to our dear friend, Perry Stone. And until next time this is Jonathan Bernis saying shalom and God bless you.