Sid Roth - This END TIMES Prophetic Sign of Jesus' Return Is NOW Being Fulfilled with Jonathan Bernis
Sid Roth:A rabbinic sign of the end of the world is large numbers of Jews believing in Jesus. My guest has seen 100,000 Jewish people recently embrace Jesus as Messiah.
Sid Roth:Hello, I'm Sid Roth your investigative reporter. I'm here with Jonathan Bernis. Now Jonathan is a nice Jewish college student and then along comes Susie?
Jonathan Bernis: Susie.
Sid Roth:Why did Susie upset you so much?
Jonathan Bernis: Well I had been witnessed to by many Christians for, you know, over a period of years since I was in high school. But Sid, as you know, Jews don't believe in Jesus. That's what I was taught from the time I was a child. So my response was always, I'm Jewish, and the people that witnessed to me apologized. It was an immediate response to apologize, like they knew.
Sid Roth:That was your way to get rid of that.
Jonathan Bernis: Right. Well I wasn't even thinking about it. I'm Jewish, it's not, and they immediately recognized that it's something that, okay, we don't share with Jewish people. But Susie was different. Susie was a close friend that I spent day after day with in college, did drugs with and spent a lot of time with. But she went far off into drugs and eventually was so, was abusing the drugs so severely that she was, almost–
Sid Roth:Why didn't you go far off with drugs?
Jonathan Bernis: Well I did, but I was able to maintain my grades. I just was able to manage everything. She was close to dropping out of school and she just completely tuned out. So I lost track of her.
Sid Roth:What were you preparing for, what career?
Jonathan Bernis: Well I wanted to be, I was going to be in business. I wanted to be a successful businessman. Like you, I wanted to be a multi-millionaire, so I was in school for business administration. But I didn't see Susie again for a long time because I just didn't want to watch her kill herself. She was very close to killing herself from the drugs. I saw her again months later walking down the street. She looked fantastic. She was smiling. She just looked, she looked healthy, and I made the mistake of asking her what happened to her. And she told me, and she told me, and she told me every day about how Jesus had changed her life.
Sid Roth:Yeah but it must have had an impact from the viewpoint of you remembered she was a drug head and now she's different.
Jonathan Bernis: Well that's exactly why Susie made an impact that no one else was able to make, because I saw the change. It was undeniable. But she decided to make me her project. She did not let me go. Phone calls day after day, after day to tell me about Jesus.
Sid Roth:Why did you take these phone calls?
Jonathan Bernis: I don't know, Sid. I really don't know.
Sid Roth:You don't know.
Jonathan Bernis: Looking back, it was 20 years ago now and I still ask myself, how was it that I would answer these calls and spend hours on the phone with her talking about Jesus. I had no interest in Jesus. I dreaded the phone calls. Every day I'd be waiting for the call in fear and I would be, I'd make up my mind, I'm not going to answer the call, and the call, the phone would ring and I'd answer the call, and I'd just start talking to her about the Lord. The Lord had me in his grip. That was it. He was, when the Lord gets a hold of you there's no way out, and that's really what happened.
Sid Roth:She invited you to a Bible study.
Jonathan Bernis: Yes. She invited me to a Bible study. She was telling me about the Bible study for weeks.
Sid Roth:Why would you, the way you felt, I mean, it was bad enough, Susie, why would you go to a Bible study?
Jonathan Bernis: Well it's the same thing. I didn't want to go to the Bible study. I, she had been telling me about this Bible study where they were studying about the Book of Revelation and I knew she was going to ask me. I was dreading the invitation. So she did ask me and I was going to say no, and out of my mouth came yes. It was bizarre. And all week I was dreading this Bible study and thinking of a way to get out of it. I was going to pick up the phone a number of times and call her, and try to cancel. And the night of the Bible study came it was pouring rain, and I thought, here's my way out because I didn't have a car. I had a motorcycle. So I thought, this is my way out, it's pouring rain, that's my excuse.
Sid Roth:I don't drive motorcycles or ride motorcycles, but in the rain that must not be fun.
Jonathan Bernis: You get wet. You get wet. But I found myself driving through the rain on my motorcycle.
Sid Roth:For a Bible study?
Jonathan Bernis: Going to this Bible study that I didn't want to go to in the first place. It's supernatural. That's the name of the program and that's what happened to me. It was supernatural. I walked into the Bible study. I was totally soaking wet. They gave me some clothes to change into, put my clothes in their drier and it was the longest drier cycle in history because it lasted until the time I accepted the Lord. There was no escape, Sid. I walked into that house. I felt totally out of place. It's the last place I wanted to be. Immediately I was approached by all these strange people that started to ask me if I knew who Jesus was, and I felt trapped. My clothes were in the dryer. I couldn't leave.
Sid Roth:Did you want to leave?
Jonathan Bernis: I wanted to leave because I knew I was out of place.
Sid Roth:But it would be nice to have clothes.
Jonathan Bernis: It would have been nice to. In fact, I would have, it wasn't, they wanted my clothes, so I couldn't leave. And I sat through this teaching. I just remember the Bible study was taught by a German man with a strong German accent and that made it worse because of my fear of the Holocaust and the German people. But I sat through the study. I don't remember what the Bible study teacher taught. I don't even remember the message. But he invited me upstairs afterwards and I went with him because it was closer to the front door. So he sat down with me and another man and put a Bible in my lap. It seemed like a huge Bible, a huge King James Bible. It was a normal size, but it felt like I was pinned to the sofa with this Bible.
Sid Roth:Had you ever read the Bible?
Jonathan Bernis: I never had read the Bible before.
Sid Roth:Were you Bar Mitzvahed?
Jonathan Bernis: I was Bar Mitzvahed. I had learned Hebrew and I could read Hebrew fairly well. I just didn't know what I was reading. And when I was Bar Mitzvahed I received the Tanakh, the Jewish Scriptures, which I threw in some, in some box in the closet. So I had never read my own scriptures. And Sid, the problem is that most Jewish people have never read the Bible they claim to believe in. What do we do when we have a question? We go to the rabbi. So they put this Bible in my lap and I began to, they began to lead me through scriptures that I had never seen before and it had an incredible impact on me. Now let me just tell you, because it was a really supernatural experience and I remember vividly 20 years later. They put this Bible in my lap and they began to take me through these Bible verses that talked about the wage of sin being death and the gift being eternal life through Christ Jesus. And I felt suddenly this tremendous sense of guilt, not so much guilt, but conviction, what would happen if I was to die, where would I go. I didn't have any vision. I didn't hear any voice. But the room got very bright. The room got very hot. I felt pinned to the sofa with this big Bible.
Sid Roth:Pinned. Wait a second, what do you mean pinned to the sofa?
Jonathan Bernis: In other words, I felt paralyzed. I could not, literally could not move under the weight of this conflict going on in my mind, in my heart between what I was hearing and on the other side having a very clear goals and direction. And what they were telling me or trying to lead me into was really the last thing my mind wanted. I had my own life.
Sid Roth:Why didn't you just get up and walk out?
Jonathan Bernis: I don't know. I don't know.
Sid Roth:I know why he did that, and you're going to find you think that's supernatural, wait until you find out what happens to this Jewish man that can't stand Susie. We'll be right back.
Sid Roth:Hello, I'm Sid Roth your investigative reporter. We're here with Jonathan Bernis. Jonathan is a nice Jewish college student. He bumps into Susie. Susie is an old girlfriend that he did drugs with, and all of a sudden, she's a mensch. She's a real human. And there's such a transformation. And but she does nothing but talk about Jesus and it's the last thing he wants to hear. He can't explain it, pouring down rain, he goes to a Bible study. He doesn't want to go to a Bible study. And he has a big excuse, pouring down rain, in his motorcycle, he goes to the Bible study. He's drenched. He gets in there. They take his clothes and they put it in the dryer because they're drenched. He wants to leave. He can't leave. He doesn't have his clothes. So they sit him in a big chair and they read to him a Bible verse. He knew nothing about the Bible. All of a sudden, it was almost as if there was a conviction of, I have committed sin. It was almost as if, what's going to happen when I die. I mean, all these things, I'm Jewish, I can't believe in Jesus. And then what happened? Did you say you were like trapped in the chair? What do you mean?
Jonathan Bernis: I felt like the sofa that I was sitting in actually had arms that reached out and grabbed me, and held me into place.
Jonathan Bernis: Sid, I went back to that house. I ended up in that Bible study for four years and I went back and checked lights and the sofa to make sure it wasn't a trick. Because it wasn't that I didn't, that I had, that I felt like I had sinned. I knew that I had sinned. I didn't have a problem with that.
Sid Roth:What did you do? What did you examine?
Jonathan Bernis: I felt my sins separating me from God. That's what I felt. If anybody asked me, are you a sinner, I would have had no trouble saying, sure, I was a drug user, I was a drug, I dealt drugs and many other wrong things. But at this moment, I felt the weight of my sins, separation from God. And I really was asked the question, what would happen today if you died, and I really did not know. There was a battle that was going on. Because on the one hand I had my own life, my own future, my own career, my own ambitions, and the other, here was this message that something in my heart says, this is true. And so they were taking me through these scriptures about sin and the wage of sin being death, but the gift of God being eternal life through Christ Jesus. And I continued on with this battle, and they kept urging me, pray this prayer with us pray this prayer with us. And to tell you the truth, Sid, I finally prayed the prayer so I could simply see this thing would end. It was an ordeal. I was hot, I was sweating, I was feeling this battle going on. It was a really supernatural experience. I just wanted to get out of there. So I prayed this prayer with them and it was amazing. As soon as I prayed the prayer, the lights, lighting went back to normal, the temperature went back to normal and these arms that had were holding me in place suddenly released me, and I was free to go. And my clothes came out of the drier after two and a half hours.
Sid Roth:Okay. So you leave and you not even think about this experience.
Jonathan Bernis: No, I thought about it. I went home and I decided I needed to forget this experience. This is, I've had weird experiences in college with the drugs and everything, and cults and the occult. I tried everything, Sid, but this too weird, too strange, and I also was dealing with the fact I'm Jewish, we don't believe in this. And so for a few days I tried to ignore the whole experience, but I could not. I think the thing that changed that I remember changing immediately was that I suddenly had this urge to read the Bible, not only the Bible, but the New Testament. And so I finally, it was such a strong pull I started to search for a Bible. I didn't know where to know find a Bible. I didn't know you could go to any bookstore. I knew you couldn't go to the temple because they don't get the New Testament there.
Jonathan Bernis: But years before when I was in high school, a Christian who was an assistant wrestling coach had handed me a Bible and said, "Someday you may need this". I threw it in the box in the closet and forgot about it. And Sid, just I want to point out that the Bible says that the Word of God never returns void. And you can plant a seed and see nothing happen and five years later it takes root. So I just want to mention this as encouragement to those of you that have been praying and praying, and praying for friends. But I drove all the back to Rochester from Buffalo, 80 miles, just to get that Bible. Got back on my motorcycle, went back to Buffalo, never said hello or goodbye to my parents. I just dug through my boxes, found the Bible, ran back, ran into my dorm room, closed the door and began to read the Bible, and that's when my life really began to dramatically change.
Sid Roth:You really had a compulsion to read that Bible.
Jonathan Bernis: It was overwhelming. It was overwhelming.
Sid Roth:What did you find in it?
Jonathan Bernis: Well I'm glad you asked. Because what I found was a complete shock to me. I opened the New Testament, beginning with the Book of Matthew, and the first words I read is the testament of the Gospel of the Lord, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I was expecting that. This was the Christian book and that's how I had been raised. We're Jewish, we believe in one God and on the other side of the fence are the Christians. We have our Bible, they have theirs. We have our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You know all this and some of the people that are watching that are Jewish, but I don't think most Christians understand this. And but the Christians have their God, Jesus Christ, who I understood was this man who had become God. I thought Jesus was his first name and Christ was his last name, son of Mr. and Mrs. Christ, and I had this, these are some of my childhood understandings of Jesus.
Sid Roth:That may sound very, very funny to you, but I have Jewish background, and oh do I relate with what Jonathan is saying.
Jonathan Bernis: So here's the son of Mr. and Mrs. Christ who grew up in the Vatican. I had this picture as a child of the mailbox, 1 Vatican Lane because I thought Jesus was a Catholic, and he was the God of the Christians. We had our, we had the rabbis and they had priests and pastors, and we had the synagogue, and they had the church and the cathedrals, and so on. That was my mentality. So I'm expecting to read about Jesus Christ, son of Mr. and Mrs. Christ. I open the Bible and it says the genealogy of Jesus Christ. I was expecting that. And then it said, the son of Abraham, the son of David, and that's where I stopped and my mind tried to figure out what was going on here.
Sid Roth:There was a Jewish connection.
Jonathan Bernis: I couldn't even understand. I couldn't understand what David and Abraham were doing in the Christian Bible. And I had all these theories that I started going through my mind. Maybe there's a Christian Abraham and a Jewish Abraham, and maybe there's a Christian King David and a Jewish King David in that. Then I thought maybe Abraham and David converted to Christianity and nobody ever told me. Then I realized that of course they came before Jesus. But as I read on, I saw Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all of the patriarchs of Judaism all mentioned in the lineage of Jesus. Then I found out his parents were Jews, orthodox Jews who lived in Israel. He was born in Israel, not in Rome, not in the Vatican. All his disciples were Jews. They didn't convert to Christianity. They lived as Jews who had found their Messiah. All of the 120 in the upper room were all Jews. Jesus told his own disciples, in my Bible it read, "Go only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel". And Sid, this was such a shock because I had been brought up so different. But over time, as I read on and through, and made my way through the New Testament, I discovered that this is a Jewish gospel. This is a Jewish message and someone way back in history had made a decision that Jesus wasn't the Jewish Messiah and that it made its way down to my rabbi, to my parents who had brought me up believing a lie.
Sid Roth:Hello, Sid Roth your investigative reporter. I'm here with Jonathan Bernis. Jonathan is a Jewish man that for the first time in his life he realizes that the New Testament is a Jewish book written by all except one, Jews, four Jewish people. He's shocked. When you came to that conclusion after your own investigation, what then caused you to cross over that line and say, I believe Jesus is my Messiah.
Jonathan Bernis: Well Sid, to tell you the truth, looking back now 20 years later, I was saved the moment I asked Yeshua, Jesus into my heart in that Bible study. Even though my mind said, you don't want this, and I went home to try to forget everything, the minute I confessed in that prayer, I was born from above. The Bible says if we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth on the Lord Yeshua, we shall be saved. And even though my mind was not in agreement, my heart was saying, yes, this is true. And so when I prayed I released that faith, I was born from above. And it was only from my mind that I went back and read the Bible, and that's when everything took hold, and I understood what had happened to me, and that it was right, it was Jewish and that's when my life began to be transformed.
Sid Roth:Help me to understand why there is literally an explosion of Jewish people turning to Jesus, especially in the former Soviet Union. Why is this going now?
Jonathan Bernis: I'm glad you asked. There's a number of factors. First of all, the Bible says in Romans, Chapter 11, that there's a blindness over the eyes of our people, the Jewish people, that will be upon them until a set period of time, known as the fullness of the gentiles. Now in 1948, Israel became a nation again, and then '67, Jerusalem came back under the control of the Jewish people. That marked a prophetic milestone in history. And beginning in 1967 with the reestablishment of Jerusalem, we began to see Jewish people come to know their Messiah, the blindness coming off of their eyes, and it's been accelerating ever since then. More Jewish people, Sid, in the last 20 years have come to faith in the Messiah than in the last 2000 years of history combined. Why? Because it's God's appointed time to favor Zion.
Sid Roth:But it appears as though it's the largest number. I mean, I know it's happening worldwide. But the largest number is in the former Soviet Union.
Jonathan Bernis: Is in the former Soviet Union, right.
Jonathan Bernis: Because it's coupled, I believe you couple that with the prophecy in Jeremiah, Chapter 16, that talks about God regathering the Jewish people from the whole world. And it says, "I'll begin in the north country". As a matter of fact it says, "The Lord will no longer be known as the lord who brought us out of Egypt, but up north". And then it says south, and then "all the areas of the world we've been scattered". That restoration to Israel is connected to the salvation of the Jewish people. It says, "When you confess me and you turn from your sins then I'll bring you back". So prophetically, I believe that this great revival or restoration of the Jewish people begins in the north country, which is Russia, not North America, but north of Israel, and we've been seeing that in Russia. We've not only been seeing tens of thousands come to know the Messiah, but going back to Israel as well. The greatest Alia in the history of Israel is from the north country, but now it's also begin to spread to the south. I've been in Ethiopia twice, three times this past year. I just got back yesterday from Argentina. There's a revival happening in South America.
Sid Roth:So it's not just the former Soviet Union. This is happening with Jewish people worldwide.
Jonathan Bernis: Worldwide. It began in the north. It's the most profound in the north right now.
Sid Roth:Okay. But I have to ask Jonathan this question. I was invited by him to go to his first Jewish music festival in St. Petersburg and both of us saw something that we had never seen in our life. Tell me about that festival.
Jonathan Bernis: Well Sid, as you remember, we had no idea what to expect.
Jonathan Bernis: This was the first thing of its kind and actually, maybe it's the first century that we are reaching Jewish people in mass numbers, I think, was I heard since the first century. And so the thing evolved into a very large event in a 4000-seat home. We had no idea what to expect. But when you and I gave our, shared our testimonies, shared about our experience with Jesus and how he can change lives, we then offered the people an opportunity to experience and come forward. And when we did that, people just jumped up out of their chairs and began pouring down the aisles, and that was the most unbelievable night I had ever seen.
Sid Roth:Not just pouring down the aisles, running. I mean, running to come to know the Messiah. And so this happened in St. Petersburg. But since that time, Jonathan, what has been going on with reaching Jewish people?
Jonathan Bernis: Well it's happened all over. We've done the same events all over the former Soviet Union and now Hungary. We've been to Moscow and Kiev and Odessa, and Riga, Latvia, Budapest Hungary. We've been seeing the same phenomena, Jewish people that are having the blindness removed from their eyes and are responding to the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.
Sid Roth:Do you believe this is an indication of the soon return of the Messiah?
Jonathan Bernis: No question. The Bible is very clear that the restoration of the Jewish people is the most significant prophetic event to take place before Yeshua returns to this earth. And this is something that Christians, I think are not as aware of as they should be, that the Bible very clearly says that when all Israel is saved, when this blindness comes off of their eyes and the Gospel again returns to them, it says then, in Romans 11, "Out of Zion will come forth the redeemer," which of course is Jesus the Messiah. So there's an inseparable connection between restoration of the Jewish people and the return of the Messiah, began with the Jewish people in the time of Jesus, it's returning again to the Jewish people and it's a prophetic sign that the Messiah is about to return.
Sid Roth:Well these are pretty exciting times that we're living in. I mean what does that mean to you? What it means to you is well, maybe I'd better get my life together because the Messiah is going to return. But there's something even more dramatic than that. The Bible says you do not know when you're end will come. The Bible says there's a way that seems right on to man, but the end is death. You know, there's two dimensions in life. There's life and there's death and many of us have been on rollercoasters. I know I have. Jonathan has. I mean, good times, bad times, up, down, up, down. There's got to be some better way. There's got to be something more to life. You see, I believe in destiny. I believe that it was a supernatural destiny that had you watch this television show. I believe that literally all of creation was arranged for you to be watching me right now. Now the issue is not is what God going to do, the issue is what are you going to do. You see, it gets very individualistic. It's your life. I mean, what is going to happen when you die? You have no idea when you're going to die. What is going to happen? Where are you going to go? The Jewish scriptures say that you ever go to everlasting life or everlasting condemnation. Now the choice is yours whether you want to be in the book of life or not, but your sins have separated you from your God. So if you believe that Jesus died in your place and by his blood you're sins were washed away, as the Jewish prophet Jeremiah predicted in the 31st Chapter, the 31st Verse, "Behold the days come in which I'll make a new covenant with the House of Israel in which you will know me and I will remember your sins no more". It's time to do business with your God. It's time to have a purpose for your life. It's time to stop the rollercoaster ride now. Right now is the acceptable time. A miracle is going to happen to you. I believe that. I really do believe that a miracle is going to happen to you.