After Jonathan Cahn, who is Jewish, had a life-changing revelation about Jesus, he made a deal with God…and almost died! Hear the story of how Johnathan Cahn transformed from an Atheist-Jew to a Messianic Jewish Rabbi.
I was dark, it was just after a snowstorm, and I was heading towards a train track. I saw a light to my left. It was coming head-on. The train came.
It plowed, smashed into the Ford Pinto and I didn’t get a scratch.
I was raised in a reformed Jewish home My father grew up in Germany under Hitler. Then came Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass. He can remember his father taking him through the rubble and seeing all this, and his father said, “We have to get you out”.
Something came to pass called the Kindertransport. They put them on trains, ultimately going to England, and his father, when he was saying goodbye to his mother who was crying, said, “You may never see her again. And you may never see us again.” And he never did.
His father stayed behind getting other Jews out, and then he escaped, miraculously.
A Jewish family sponsored him to get him out, and even to go to college. He studied chemistry and went on to get his Ph.D. He came to America where my mother was also studying for her Ph.D. in chemistry. They fell in love and they decided to get married.
The house wasn’t religious, it was a secular, kind of normal, American Jewish home.
I remember being in Hebrew school and watching the film strips of David and Isaiah and Elijah. The reality of God… God was so real in what they told us of the Bible. He spoke to people, He moved on their lives. Whether it was Moses and the burning bush, or Abraham being called by God, there was a big gap between what I saw of the living, breathing God of Israel, the God of the Bible, and what I saw in the synagogue.
In the synagogue, I never saw anybody saying, “Wow, God changed my life.” It never happened. The rabbi never said, “Hey, the Lord just led me today… ” Never happened. It was more liturgy and more rituals. It was kind of like the echoes of what once was. It was that there once was a glory but the glory wasn’t there, the presence wasn’t there. It was more a cultural thing, people went to synagogue ’cause they were Jewish. This is what we do because of tradition.
We went to Yom Kippur and at the end of it, people didn’t come out saying, “Wow, my sins are cleansed”. There was none of that. There was no sense of the reality of God or the assurance of God, or the presence of God, or the life-changing power that’s in the Bible. Therefore, I questioned the whole thing.
How do I know there’s a God? I don’t see the evidence, How do I know he exists? How do I know we were the first ones to find there was one God, which is what we were taught? Tradition isn’t God. It may be nice, but that’s not God and what people have told me is not God, either, and even if they’re religious, that’s not it either.
I have to find God for myself. I have to find the truth for itself.
I started seeking to get books on anything I could, on every subject, on science, on religion, on UFOs, on the occult, on every religion, every ideology, everything I could.
And one day, I picked up a book. It was ‘The Late, Great Planet Earth’ by Hal Lindsey, who explained that from ancient times the prophecies of Israel told us that Jewish people are going to be scattered to the ends of the earth, and they were… and then in the end times they’d be gathered back to the land of Israel, and they were… and that the world would focus on the controversy of Israel and the Middle East and Jerusalem. I had never heard anything like that, it just blew me away. I had no idea the Bible said that, that it was there, and as someone who was of a scientific outlook, I could not argue against it. There’s no way I could disprove it because I knew that even with all our computers and supercomputers, we could not foretell history.
Then as I’m doing that, I started reading the prophecy of the Jewish Messiah. In Micah, it says, he’ll be born in Bethlehem. And I’m thinking, “Bethlehem, that’s Catholic, how did that get into our Bible?”
And then, I’m reading about the Messiah in Zachariah, that he’s gonna come to Jerusalem riding a donkey. I said, “Well, I’ve heard about that. Something like Palm Sunday, but what’s that doing here?”
It said that he would be ‘a light to the gentiles’ and he’d even be rejected by my own people for a time.
And then I read in Isaiah 53 that it said that the Messiah, our Messiah is going to die for our sins. I always thought, “That’s Catholic, that’s not Jewish”, but it was there, clearly.
And I’m trying not to connect it, but it’s connecting. I didn’t wanna accept it, but I couldn’t argue against it. If I’m seeing this one, this Yeshua in the Hebrew scriptures, then I will have to see something Jewish in the New Testament or New Covenant scriptures.
So finally I get to the point where I was gonna open up what I knew as the New Testament and knew was a forbidden book (to Jews).
I was expecting something Catholic. I was expecting something so foreign. Nevertheless, I opened it up and I read the genealogy of Yeshua, Jesus, the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. And then it goes down a list of all these Hebrew names and all the Jewish names. And then, as I’m reading it, he’s quoting from the Hebrew scriptures again. That’s just what I would expect the Messiah to do.
And it clearly upholds Israel. It says in the New Testament, you have to bless the Jewish people, love the Jewish people. That’s what I found.
I knew ultimately, listen, it’s not enough to be telling people about the prophecies. Ultimately it’s me and God. But I wasn’t following God, and I didn’t want to follow God because I thought if I followed God, I’d have to join a monastery and become a monk. I thought you have to give up everything good or everything you enjoy to follow God. So I fought God on this and I knew I had to do something. So finally I made a deal with God.
And the deal I made with him was, “Listen,” I said, “I know I should follow you, but I don’t want to. So here’s the deal, I will accept you when I’m on my deathbed.”
Later, I was driving in this Ford Pinto, at night, heading towards a train track. It’s dark. It was just after a snowstorm. It came at an angle, the road was bumpy. You didn’t even know where you were. Then I saw a light on my left, but the other cars were crossing, and I was on the track. It was coming head-on. The train came, it plowed, smashed into my Ford Pinto. The car crumpled up like aluminum foil, and the only thing I could do at that point was call out to God. The car was destroyed, and it made headlines. I didn’t get a scratch.
I said, Lord, I said, “That was so close.” I realized that my life was so close, within inches of eternity. I said to myself, “I gotta get right with God” but I didn’t know how to do it.
I remembered from Hebrew school that Moses met God on a mountain and Elijah met God on a mountain. I said, “So let me find a mountain.” So here, it was night, and I drove my car up this mountain. I had never been there before. And there I found a rock. I kneeled down on the rock and I said, Lord, I’m yours in the name of Messiah. I know you are the Messiah. Come into my life. Cleanse me, forgive me, make me new, and lead me on. From this moment, I’m gonna follow you as your disciple.
I remember that first week I felt something different. It was very gentle, but it was real. I was working. I was going to college and I was working as a security guard and this cleaning man at this factory, he looks at me and he asks, “What happened to you?”
He said, “You got that glow. You’re glowing.” And I was glowing. I was born again.
When you follow him, Messiah, your life becomes what it was meant to be from the beginning.
My parents were raised traditionally in many ways. Whatever you do, you can’t believe in Jesus and be Jewish. One day, I spoke to them and I said, “Here, I’m gonna read to you these scriptures.” So I read. I read about the Messiah, being born in Bethlehem.
They said, “Oh, that’s obviously Jesus. It’s the New Testament, I’m sure of it. Dying for our sins. That’s the New Testament. Light to the gentiles, New Testament. Riding on a donkey, New Testament. I said, “Everything I read to you is from the Hebrew scriptures. It’s simply speaking of the Messiah to come.”
And there was dead silence. Then my father kinda said, “Well, that doesn’t mean anything.”
What you’re reading about in the New Testament is a rabbi. A rabbi can say, “This is kosher and this is not kosher”, but the mega rabbi, the grand rabbi, is the one who can make those who are not kosher become kosher. He can take those who are born of the nations and make them spiritually children of Israel. He can even take us in our uncleanness and in our sins and make us clean.
What is the ultimate hope of Israel? The ultimate hope of the Tanakh, the Hebrew scriptures is that God and man will become joined together forever.
It’s about the covenant, that’s what Israel’s about. The covenant between God and man.
Well, what is that ultimately about? Ultimately, it is that the Lord God comes and becomes one with us. He can know our sorrows, know our pain, know our sins and still be one with us.
That is what the Messiah is. He’s the joining of God and man. It’s about Jesus and believing in him as Messiah. Yeshua, who is Jewish. It’s the most Jewish thing that you could ever do, whether you’re Jewish or not. It’s the most Jewish thing, and it’s the best thing.
Listen, I’m the least likely person in the world to be telling you what I’m telling you. Seek for yourself. I was raised with a scientific outlook to research, to see whether something is true or not.
It’s not about religion, it’s not about tradition, it’s not about what people told you. In the end, it’s only gonna be about you and God.
Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened. Ask and it will be given.
God is there to show Himself to you.
Seek Him and you will find him.