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Can Christians Bring Peace in the Holy Land?

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President/CEO, Jewish Voice Ministries

Author of numerous books, his latest: A Lasting Peace, Charisma House 2018

Married to Elisangela

2 daughters

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Over the last 100 years, numerous attempts at peace between the Arabs and the Jews have failed time and time again. As the fighting escalates, the Bible explains how the conflict began in the book of Genesis. The battle began with Abraham’s son’s Ishmael and Isaac. The significance surrounding it, God’s promise of land to Abraham and Isaac, and the consequences of man taking matters into his own hands still rages on thousands of years later.  Rabbi Jonathan Bernis believes that in order to understand this conflict, we need to understand the history surrounding it and how Christians can help bring peace. “We must not forget that with God all things are possible—even peace between Arabs and Jews,” Bernis says. In his book, Bernis helps readers understand the complex issues in the Middle East and how they can respond.

Biblical prophets foresaw many of these battles, which they described in detail in the scriptures. The Book of Revelation describes a cataclysmic battle that takes place at the end of the age. Jesus said that we could expect “wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6) until His return. However, Bernis says that followers of Christ shouldn’t interpret this as encouragement to sit on the sidelines and do nothing. He explains, “We can’t stick our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not happening. When we really know what’s going on around the world, we’ll have the passion and strength to fight back.” Bernis reminds us that Yeshua said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).” He continues, “I believe that God wants and expects His people to work for peace, even when war seems inevitable. And He wouldn’t expect us to work for peace if it were unachievable. In other words, what we do can make a difference in Israel and the rest of the Middle East. Our actions can save lives and spare innocent children and families from unnecessary pain and suffering. We can put peace in the hearts of people whose lives have been filled with anxiety and fear.”

Explaining why there is constant upheaval in the Middle East and what to watch for in the future, Bernis calls for Believers to the do the following:

  1. Stay informed of current events
  2. Pray for peace, especially for persecuted Jews and Believers
  3. Speak out and spread the word about what’s happening in the Middle East

Jonathan was born into a middle-class Jewish family. His family went to temple for the high Holy Days, and they celebrated Passover, Hanukkah, and other significant Jewish feasts. In college, a friend that Jonathan previously hung out with who did drugs got saved. She witnessed to Jonathan and over time convinced him to go to a Bible study with her. At the Bible study, Jonathan felt the presence of God come into the room and made him aware of his physical separation from God. After this supernatural experience, Jonathan shared with his parents how he had surrendered himself to the Messiah. Jonathan not only gave his life to the Lord, but was also delivered from not only  using drugs, but from dealing drugs. He switched his major from business to theology, “I no longer cared about making a fortune, because I learned there is something to life that is far more important than money.”

God’s plan for his life was to go into ministry and to allow God to work through him to reach the Jewish people with the good news of the Messiah. In 1984, he became the founding and Senior Rabbi of Congregation Shema Yisrael in Rochester, New York where he served until 1993. He then became the founding congregational leader of the Messianic Jewish Center of St. Petersburg, Russia until 1997. Jonathan also founded Hear O’ Israel Ministries in 1993, which conducted large outreach festivals of Jewish music and dance worldwide. After Louis Kaplan, the founder of Jewish Voice Broadcast died in 1998, that ministry combined with Hear O’ Israel Ministries in 2000 to create Jewish Voice Ministries International with Jonathan as its President and CEO. “The plans God had for me were far better than any plans I could have devised for myself, and you can be sure that the same is true of you,” shares Jonathan.

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