Jonathan Bernis - The Timing of the Messiah
Jonathan Bernis: Shalom and welcome to Jewish Voice. I'm Jonathan Bernis, and I'm joined by my co-host, Ezra Benjamin. It's been said that the New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament, while the Old Testament is revealed in the new. Today, we're going to focus on one of those concealed scriptures written hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born. We're gonna be looking at Daniel 9. Now, Ezra, this is one of my favorites, I say that about a number of them, but there's over 300 Messianic prophecies. We actually have them all listed out on some of our resources.
Ezra Benjamin: When you say Messianic prophecies, Jonathan, unpack that for us. What do you mean by that?
Jonathan Bernis: I'm talking about prophecies that predictively lay out the credentials of the Messiah. In other words, where he would be born, we're told in Micah 5, Bethlehem. When he would be born, which is what we're gonna be focusing on today, in Daniel 9. What he would accomplish, how he would die, the details of his crucifixion, specific things that he said from the cross, on, and on, and on, very specific details about the atoning work of the Messiah that were written in the prophets and some in the Torah actually, which is why Moses said that the mess - the one that would come after him would be greater than him, but would not add anything to what he said. In other words, he would be proclaiming the revealed scripture. In one sense, Jesus didn't teach us anything that was new in the sense that it was foreign to the Revelation of scripture...
Ezra Benjamin: Or a violation...
Jonathan Bernis: Or a violation of scripture. That's actually the warning. That anything that's contrary to what you've been taught, they're not the Messiah, don't trust them. Jesus, of course brings us full meaning and understanding, and re-interprets things for us, in bringing clarity to what had become tradition, and so on. But the foundation of the work of Messiah is revealed in the Torah and the prophets. And one of the clearest out of the 300, so, these are the Messianic prophecies that lay out for us the things to look for in identifying the Messiah correctly. And that was very clear to the disciples once their eyes were open. And Ezra, when the expounded on scripture, we're told that they expounded on the scriptures to prove to their Jewish brethren that this was the promised Messiah, Yeshua, was the promised Messiah. They were using the Torah, they were using the book of Isaiah, of Jeremiah, of Daniel and so on, because those were the scriptures.
Ezra Benjamin: We see that so often, dozens of times, literally dozens of times throughout the New Testament, and the gospels, and then in Paul's writings, and the other letters. In the books we see that phrase, "So that the scriptures might be fulfilled," right? This happened during the life, the ministry, the death, the burial, the resurrection and the ascension of Yeshua, to be with the father at his right hand so that scripture might be fulfilled, and then it quotes something from, what's called the Jewish Bible, or we know it as the Old Testament.
Jonathan Bernis: Exactly. In great detail, in amazing detail. And one of the greatest is Daniel 9. We've looked at Isaiah 53 recently, probably the clearest that speaks of his atoning death, but Daniel 9 is stunning in its detail because it lays out some facts that are indisputable and that prove, literally prove that Yeshua was the Messiah.
Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, and I think, Jonathan, for context, for those watching today, there's really two things going here in terms of the Jewish community's understanding. The first is getting beyond this idea that Jesus is the God of the Christians who shows us in 0 a.D. And invents a new religion. We have to get beyond that narrative and our appeal to the Jewish community is, no, no, look again at the person and the life, and the ministry, and the death and resurrection of Yeshua from Nazareth, Jesus and then ask according to the scriptures, could he be the one we've waited for? And Daniel 9, I believe, we believe and we're gonna show you in a minute, clearly says that he was, because there was a specific time when he would be born, and a specific time when he would die, spoken by Daniel hundreds of years before.
Jonathan Bernis: And why he would die. Very clearly, why he would die. I say this and I challenge anyone that's watching that hasn't embraced Yeshua, Jesus as the Messiah, maybe you come from a Jewish background. Anyone who looks at the scriptures with an open mind, looks at Messianic prophecies, predictive prophecy that indisputably was written hundreds of years before he ever walked the earth, will come away convinced, if you look with an open mind. The problem is, many don't, they come with preconceived ideas, and one of those is Jesus can't be our Messiah. He can't be, because it was determined 2000 years ago that he wasn't. There's another thing that we're gonna look at today that I don't want you to miss, and that is the support of the Messiahship of Yeshua, of Jesus in Daniel 9, according to the Hebrew, going back to the original Hebrew makes it absolutely clear. You know, you can look at some translations and say, "I don't see it". But go back to the original Hebrew on Daniel 9, it's very clear.
Ezra Benjamin: Right, and the context here, Jonathan, before we even get into the kind of focal passage for today's teaching is, Daniel begins to pray because he understood from the scriptures that there were these 70 years when the Jewish people would be exiled to Babylon because of our sin, and we deserved it, make no mistake. But at that time, God would stretch out his hand to bring us back to land of Israel, really to bring us back to himself, as a people. And I love this passage. Daniel looks and says, "The set time has come to favor the Jewish people". Seventy years are up, and he sets his heart to praying and fasting. And he gets more than a return to Israel, he gets more than an answer from heaven, he gets down low from God, about the details of the Messiahship of Jesus.
Jonathan Bernis: Now, what we're not gonna do today, just to prepare you, we're not gonna go into the 70 weeks and go through the dating of all that. We don't have time to do that. What were going to do is to look at some of the text in detail.
Ezra Benjamin: And Jonathan, opening up to Daniel 9, I love this passage. This is Daniel confessing, not only his sin, but actually confessing on behalf of the Jewish people his sin early on in chapter... The sins of the Jewish people and saying, "Yet God, you promised to restore to yourself and to the land. I'm crying out to you to do so". And then verse 20, it says, "While I was still speaking and praying,", this is Daniel 9:20, "Confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill", listen, "While I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice". And he said, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding". And then listen to this, this is maybe one of my favorite verses. So, applicable to all of us. It says in verse 23, "As soon as you began to pray, Daniel, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, now because you are highly favored. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision". Jonathan, as soon as Daniel begins to ask the Lord, "Lord, we've sinned before you, but would you favor us"? As soon as he begins to ask, the word goes out. There's an answer in heaven as soon as he begins to pray. Though it takes a little while for him to get the answer.
Jonathan Bernis: I think that's true of so many of our prayers, I really do. God hears it instantly, but there is warfare. We are dealing with principalities, with spiritual wickedness in high places, that has an assignment to stop your prayers from being answered. They are heard and there is a dispatched answer to your prayer, but you've got to fight through the warfare, you do. I'll just pause here because this is so important. Some of you that are watching are going through this warfare right now. And you're asking the "Why God? Why God, are you allowing this? Why God haven't you heard my prayer"? And I wanna encourage you today, you're not watching by accident, God has heard your prayer. I can't say it any clearer, and he has sent the answer. You need to persevere now. You need to fight through, you need to fight the good fight of faith because the victory has been won. The prayer has been answered. You just need that prayer to drop into the natural. So, trust the Lord and keep pressing on.
Ezra Benjamin: That's right. And that phrase right there, "Because you're highly esteemed". The answer came immediately because you're highly favored, Daniel. Did you know you're highly favored? Did you know you're his favorite? Jonathan's his favorite too, I'm his favorite, too, we're all his favorite, but we can pray with that confidence, "Lord, I'm asking you for an answer from heaven, trusting that as soon as I ask you, you're able to intervene, even if it takes a little while to see in my circumstances, 'cause you hear me and 'cause I'm favored".
Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, beautiful. God is faithful. And we'll see that more when come back in just a moment. He's faithful to you, he's been faithful to the people of Israel, and we can trust God because of his faithfulness to the Jewish people over millennia. He will see his promises through. We are a ministry dedicated to seeing the Jewish people and their neighbors come to know the Lord, to embrace Yeshua, Jesus as Messiah and Savior. Will you help us? Will you partner with us to reach the Jewish people all over the world? I want you to watch this announcement to partner with us and get involved now. Here's how.
Jonathan Bernis: We could not do the work that God has given us to do without you. You are absolutely vital in helping us reach Jewish communities all over the world. So, thank you, thank you, thank you. We truly appreciate you, and your support and prayer of Jewish Voice. Okay, Ezra, you ready to dive into the text?
Ezra Benjamin: Let's do it.
Jonathan Bernis: We're doing it now.
Ezra Benjamin: Yeah.
Jonathan Bernis: We are doing it. Daniel 9.
Ezra Benjamin: Right.
Jonathan Bernis: Some of the clearest prophetic, predictive Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament. This is the New Testament concealed in the old, it really is. So, verse 24, "Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression," listen to this, "To put an end to sin," amazing, "To atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place". Talk about that.
Ezra Benjamin: Right. I think we can understand the context. People go, "Seventy weeks? That's not a lot. That's just a little more than a year". We need to understand in the context, without going into all the details, 'cause we don't have time today, that this talking about weeks of years. So what we can understand here is seventy seven of years, okay? So 490 years if I did the math right, are decreed for all these things to happen, to put an end to transgression and sin, to atone for wickedness, and to bring everlasting righteous. And we go, "Wow okay, 490 year timeline". And then it gets even more specific. Remember this is Gabriel bringing the answer to Daniel's prayer from heaven, from the throne room itself. And it says in verse 25, "Know and understand this: from the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem". And we can pause right there, put a pin in that for a minute. We understand that that happened during the reign of Darius, okay? So, if we count that on the year bc when it happened and fast forward about 490 years, it puts us right smacked dab during the time when the historical records confirm that Jesus of Nazareth, who you and I know is Jesus, Yeshua, the Messiah, the Savior of the world, the Savior of the lost, sheep of the house of Israel...
Jonathan Bernis: Just to expound on that, we have the dates. We know when the southern kingdom returned from the Babylonian captivity...
Ezra Benjamin: And the temple was rebuilt.
Jonathan Bernis: To rebuild the temple and to rebuild Jerusalem.
Ezra Benjamin: Exactly.
Jonathan Bernis: Very specific. Not conjecture, historic fact.
Ezra Benjamin: Right. So, we have this bookend, okay, that the temple is to be rebuilt. Fast forward 490 years. Now listen, I'm half way through verse 25. It says, "From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed one, the ruler, comes". Now, we can pause there again because some translations, Jonathan, people go, "Okay, the anointed one. That means maybe they have an anointing. Lots of people have an anointing". Some translations of the Jewish scriptures say, "The anointed place". And we sorta go to this different direction. But we need to look at the Hebrew word, because remember this is an English translation of the Hebrew Bible written by Hebrew speaking authors. And the word there, Jonathan, for anointed one is, "Mashiach". If that doesn't sound familiar to you, let me connect the dots, Messiah. Mashiach is the anointed one. The only meaning of that word in Hebrew is the Messiah, the promised one who would save us...
Jonathan Bernis: And you say, "Well no, Jesus is the Christ". Well, Christ is the Greek, cristos, which comes from Mashiach, Messiah, the anointed one. It's so clear.
Ezra Benjamin: The temple is to be rebuilt, "Until the Messiah, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' sixty, two 'sevens". So again, just shy of 490 years. "It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble". And then listen, "After the sixty, two 'sevens,'" after this period of time., again, "The Messiah will be put to death and will have nothing". And then, "The people of the ruler," and we understand this contextually in history to be the Roman Empire, "Will come to destroy the city and the sanctuary. And the end will come like a flood". We have a bookend of when Darius said the temple is to be rebuilt and we have bookend of 70 a.D. Historical record, look it up anywhere, Wikipedia, Google, when the Roman Empire destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, and within this period of time, the Messiah, the anointed one would come and would die, but not for himself.
Jonathan Bernis: It so clear, it's just mindboggling. It's so clear. So, now we have the specific date for the coming of the Messiah and the death of the Messiah, and the statement, "He won't die for himself".
Ezra Benjamin: Exactly.
Jonathan Bernis: He won't die for his own sins. It's absolutely mind blowingly clear that he's going to die before the destruction of the second temple. Absolutely clear. And notice it says, "The kingdom that comes will destroy the temple and Jerusalem". Exactly what happened, and we have the archaeological remains.
Ezra Benjamin: Sure, and what's so interesting to me Jonathan is that the majority of the Jewish community, family members of ours, the religious Jewish community, and the world is still waiting for the Messiah to come. There is belief that a Messiah, a conquering king will come to save Israel, to redeem the Jewish people one day, to rule over the nations of the earth. But most Jewish people in the world are still waiting for him to come and yet, what do we do with these passage? That between king Darius and 70 a.D., the Messiah would come and would die, but not for himself. It's right here in the Old Testament scriptures.
Jonathan Bernis: Literally not for his own iniquities. He would be cut off, but not for himself.
Ezra Benjamin: Sure.
Jonathan Bernis: And it's dated specifically to a set time in history that we have all of the historical records and the archaeological records happened.
Ezra Benjamin: Exactly.
Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, you want proof.
Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, and you know, going back to verse 24, right? Why did he die, but not for himself? You already read it, "To put an end to transgression and sin, to atone for wickedness, and to bring in everlasting righteousness". "Behold the Lamb of God," John, the Baptist said. Yohanan in Hebrew, "Who takes away the sin of the world". John understood. So many of the writers of the New Testament understood. Paul's eyes were opened on the Damascus road, to understand Jesus is one we've been waiting for. He came to fulfill everything the profit spoke.
Jonathan Bernis: Ezra, the clarity of this raises the same question that we talked about with Isaiah 53. Why don't the Jewish people see this? And the answer is spiritual. It is spiritual.
Ezra Benjamin: I think we have to remember that it's spiritual because otherwise as believers we can take our faith for granted, can't we? And we can take a critical eye back to the Jewish community or to anyone who doesn't believe and say, "How come they can't see? It's so clear. It's right here in the Jewish people's own scriptures. It's in black and white". But it's a spiritual issue. It's a blindness over our eyes, it's a callousness over our heart as Paul says, until it's removed. And yet God promised it can be removed.
Jonathan Bernis: Sadly, compounded by a 2000 year legacy of hatred and ultimately genocide, in the name of Christ. You have the Nazis that actually killed Jewish people believing that they were doing God's bidding, with a cross on their uniform. So, this is a misconception and we have to make this right. We have to demonstrate as true believers and this responsibility rests on you. Demonstrate that God loves the Jewish people. That he has not held them eternally responsible for the death of the Messiah. Yeshua, Jesus came for his own people. He came for the world, yes, but his earthly ministry was to his own people. And this is just so critical to understand, there is blindness covering the eyes of the Jewish people, until you provoke them to jealousy, until you proclaim the word. Because faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. So, you carry a responsibility and I encourage you, pick up that responsibility, proclaim the gospel in love and demonstrate the love of God to that Jewish person in your life. They're not there by accident.
Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, you know, I've heard it said, "We can't do God's part and God won't do ours". God's part is to remove by that gift of faith, the blinders. Our part, your part, is to provoke the Jewish people by jealousy by proclaiming the good news of the Jewish Messiah.
Jonathan Bernis: This is the message that you can bring to your Jewish friends, and this also the same message that Jewish Voice brings to Jewish communities that we minister to around the world. Wanna ask you to prayerfully consider becoming a monthly shalom partner with us. This would allow us to continue to reach scattered Jewish communities around the world with the life transforming message of Yeshua, Jesus, the Messiah. So, I urge you, get involved. Here's how.
Jonathan Bernis: We're so glad you joined us today. We always leave time at the end to pray for the needs of our partners, those that are watching the program. We get so many prayer requests, and we pray over them by name, but we take time in the program to agree together in prayer because we believe in a God who is very, very present in our lives, who hears and answers prayer. And as you shared Ezra, the prayer is already answered, it's just being forwarded. But just press on, and we're gonna agree with you for the breakthrough. And I'm gonna have you pray that for the breakthrough. Will you do that for us?
Ezra Benjamin: Yeah.
Jonathan Bernis: And just join with us in faith because without faith, it's impossible to please God, but through faith all things are possible. So, don't give up.
Ezra Benjamin: We come to you, Lord today, in that full assurance of faith that you are the God who is, and that you reward those who seek you. And so Lord, we seek you today, we stand with our brothers and sisters watching, listening, we stand with them and the burdens, the anxieties, the worries, the things that they're carrying into you throne room, and we say they are highly favored because they're sons and daughters in your kingdom and that have what they're asking for as we agree with them, as they ask it according to your will. Lord, so we thank you that you are able to respond quickly. And Lord, for grace and strength in the waiting. Until we see you change our circumstances, Lord, strengthen us and give us grace to wait. And we praise you and rejoice in advance for the answers that you will send from heaven. We love you, we bless you, in Yeshua's name, in Jesus name.
Jonathan Bernis: Amen, and amen. If you'd like to get more information about our ministry you can log on to our website. It's jewishvoice.tv, one word, jewishvoice.tv. You can also send us your prayer request right on the website. We have a team here at Jewish Voice that's committed to reading your prayer request and praying for you by name. So, please let us know what you need and God is ready to answer your prayers. We're gonna agree with you. As we close our program, I wanna remind you also, God asked each of us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We're told, "May they prosper who love thee". So, God takes this seriously, and I encourage you to do also. Until next time, this is Jonathan Bernis, along with Ezra Benjamin saying, shalom and God bless you.