INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM // JULY 2021 // USA Edition
from J E R U S A L E M
HAVE A LITTLE RESPECT FOR ISRAEL (Page 8)
THE MYSTERY OF EVANGELICAL SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL National Religious Broadcasters’ Israel Breakfast
Dear Friends, These past few months have been a turbulent time. As I write to you, a new Israeli government has been sworn in, and many here hope it has broken the cycle of repeated, inconclusive elections. It feels like a new season for many people in Israel, where a new generation of national leaders is assuming the helm. Please pray for this new coalition, which represents a fragile array of diverse parties (see page 8). The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was established in 1980 in recognition of the biblical significance of all of Jerusalem and its unique connection to the Jewish people. Today the ICEJ represents millions of Christians, churches, and denominations to the nation and people of Israel. We recognize in the restoration of Israel the faithfulness of God to keep His ancient covenant with the Jewish people. Our main objectives are: • To stand with Israel in support and friendship; • To equip and teach the worldwide church regarding God’s purposes with Israel and the nations of the Middle East; • To be an active voice of reconciliation between Jews, Christians, and Arabs, and to support the churches and congregations in the Holy Land. From its head offices in Jerusalem, the ICEJ reaches out into more than 170 countries worldwide, with branch offices in over 90 nations. Our vision is: • To reach every segment of Israel’s society with a Christian testimony of comfort and love, and • To reach and actively represent to Israel the support of denominations, churches, and believers from every nation on earth. The Christian Embassy is a non-denominational faith-based ministry supported by the voluntary contributions of our partners and friends across the globe. We invite you to join with us as we minister to Israel and the Jewish people worldwide by donating to the ongoing work and witness of the ICEJ.
In addition, we have a new president of Israel. Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog was elected the nation’s eleventh president by a record margin in the Knesset. Herzog is from a venerable family line of sages, rabbis, and Zionist leaders, and he also comes with a long record of close work with the global Evangelical community. We look forward to cooperating with him in the years ahead to further this relationship. In a recent meeting with him, I assured President Herzog of our prayers and support from around the world. I look forward to seeing you for “Days of Elijah,” this year’s Feast of Tabernacles celebration. You can join our virtual platform or in person in Jerusalem as part of the ICEJ USA Feast Tour (see page 20)! You will enjoy live events and worship from locations throughout Israel, ending at Mount Carmel (see page 14) with international speakers, worship leaders, and local artists who will come together on one platform to share what the Lord has placed on their hearts. I also want to express my deepest thanks to all of you who stood with us in prayer and practical support for Israel in recent months. As you will see in this magazine, there are many biblical reasons why we should stand with Israel. You will find seven of them in this month’s Israel Answers article (see page 18). But there are many more reasons to bless Israel today. May you find your own practical ways to show your support for Israel. Thank you again for joining us to bless this people beloved of God. Yours in Christ,
from J E R U S A L E M
CREDITS ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler US Director Susan Michael VP International Affairs Dr. Mojmir Kallus VP Finance David van der Walt VP Operations Barry R. Denison VP International Spokesman David Parsons VP AID & Aliyah Nicole Yoder Managing Editor/Publications Director Laurina Driesse USA Managing Editor Julaine Stark Copy Editor Karen Engle Staff Writers Anastasiya Gooding Graphic Design/Illustrator Ryan Tsuen, Peter Ecenroad, Nancy Schimp Photography Shutterstock, ICEJ Staff and Branches, Associated Press, Wikimedia Commons, iStock, Ynet The New King James Bible is used for all Bible references unless otherwise noted.
Word From Jerusalem is published by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Word From Jerusalem has no subscription price and is supported through contributions worldwide. The ICEJ USA Branch is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with offices in Tennessee, Florida, and Washington, DC. All gifts to this ministry are tax-deductible according to United States law. INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM - USA
Support our ministry online at: www.icejusa.org
Dr. Jürgen Bühler President International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM // JULY 2021 // USA EDITION
COVER PHOTO: Author and founder of All Israel News Joel Rosenberg (www.allisrael.com) speaking at the Israel Breakfast at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Dallas, June 2021.
HAVE A LITTLE RESPECT FOR ISRAEL (PAGE 8)
For Magazine Archives visit www.icejusa.org/wfj
THE MYSTERY OF EVANGELICAL SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL NATIONAL RELIGIOUS BROADCASTERS’ ISRAEL BREAKFAST
J U ly 2 0 2 1 U S A E d ition
4 THE MYSTERY OF EVANGELICAL SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL
HAVE A LITTLE RESPECT FOR ISRAEL
ICEJ BOLSTERS ISRAELI SECURITY AND FIRST RESpONDERS
ICEJ SAVES LIVES AND HELPS TRAUMATIZED CHILDREN
ELIJAH’S CALL TO PURE WORSHIP
THE MYSTERY OF EVANGELICAL SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL B y D r . J Ü r g e n B Ü h l e r , I C E J P r e s id e n t 4 | JULY 2021
he historically fraught relationship between Christians and Jews has undergone dramatic change in the past century. The low point for our two religions was undoubtedly reached in 1945 when the chimneys of Auschwitz were exposed, and the world learned of the horrendous crimes carried out by Germany in the heartland of Christian Europe. The six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust were the nadir of almost 2,000 years of animosity between Christians and Jews. The anti-Semitic atrocities committed by many Church fathers, the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the countless pogroms across Europe all paved the way for the greatest crime in human history: the Nazi genocide against the Jews, which my home country perpetrated. Fast-forwarding 70 years, I well remember the late president of Israel, Shimon Peres, addressing a New Year’s reception for local Christian leaders in Jerusalem by stating: “Jewish-Christian relations have reached a historic high. They have never been better than today.” Similarly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated: “Evangelical Christians are Israel’s best friends today.” And former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer recently upset many in the Jewish world by suggesting that Evangelical support for Israel today is more critical than that of the Jewish community abroad. Whether this is true or not, we must consider the mystery of why so many Christians suddenly care so deeply about Israel and the Jewish people after so many centuries of anti-Semitism. First, it is important to understand that Evangelical zeal for Israel did not start with
the Trump administration in Washington, as some media would have you believe. The founding of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem occurred in 1980 as an expression of the global groundswell of Christian Zionism rising already in those days. Even before that, Israel’s founding leader David Ben-Gurion engaged with friendly Evangelical leaders like Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, and W. A. Criswell. Yet it dates back even further than Israel’s national rebirth in 1948 and can be traced to an unlikely figure—Martin Luther, known for his notorious book On the Jews and Their Lies, later cited by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis to defend their crimes against the Jews. Despite the anti-Semitism of his later years, this same Martin Luther single-handedly set in motion the forces that birthed the modern-day Evangelical, pro-Israel movement. First, he “democratized” Christianity like no one before him by emphasizing the priesthood of believers—that every person is responsible for their own faith walk. Second, his greatest accomplishment was his translation of the entire Bible into a common German language. Others had translated the Bible before, but his efforts were the first to succeed as they paralleled the advent of the information superhighway of the sixteenth century, the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg. His newly translated Bible became the first best seller in Europe, finding its way into every German home that could afford it and defying all efforts to ban the book by the Catholic Church. You see, for centuries, most Christians in Europe could not read, and those who could were not encouraged to read the Scriptures, which were in Latin. Only the learned could understand it, and they said only priests and
5 |WORD FROM JERUSALEM
theologians should expound on it. Martin Luther’s German Bible would change that forever. Soon, new Bible translations emerged across Europe, giving everyone broader access to God’s Word in English, French, or German. It not only reformed the Christian faith— many doctrines held by the traditional churches were quickly exposed as unbiblical—but also revolutionized how those new “Bible-reading Christians” saw Israel and the Jews. In the late sixteenth century, Puritan theologians in Great Britain found that the Bible was not against the Jews—as the church had always taught. They also discovered that almost all the Hebrew prophets foresaw a future restoration for the Jews in their ancestral homeland—a theme Jesus echoed (Matthew 19:28; Luke 21:24), as well as Paul, the most influential of the early apostles (Romans 11). John Wesley, possibly the greatest Christian revivalist of recent centuries, stated in his commentaries: “If there is one thing promised in the Bible, it is the restoration of the Jews!” And Charles Spurgeon, repeatedly predicted in his Sunday sermons that one day “the Jews would return back to their land, and they will have a king and rebuild the ancient cities.” Similar teachings existed among the German pietists, whose traces can still be seen in Jerusalem’s German Colony. The famous Balfour Declaration of 1917 was made because Lord Balfour believed in the biblical promise of a restored people of Israel, as did Orde Wingate, who trained the early Jewish underground forces that later became the IDF. It is upon these believers and church movements that modern Christian Zionism was built. While these streams of Christianity always existed, they historically represented
only a minority of Christians. But this has changed dramatically over recent decades. Prof. Philip Jenkins was one of the first to document the historic growth of Evangelical Christianity in our times. From several tens of millions of adherents in the 1970s, their numbers have grown in recent decades to around 700 million worldwide. And the face of Evangelicalism is ever-changing. While the average Evangelical Christian lived in London, Dallas, or Geneva, they can be found today in large numbers in Beijing, Manila, Lagos, or Sao Paulo. Yet they all have one thing in common: The Bible is their source of inspiration and guidance, and with it usually comes a love and concern for the “people of the book”—the Jews. I will never forget meeting several church leaders from the growing Evangelical community in Wenchou, China, a few years ago. I was enthusiastically welcomed as the first person from Jerusalem to teach them about the ABCs of Christian support for Israel. Yet I marveled as I realized that what I shared was nothing new to them. “Who taught you?” I asked them. I will never forget the puzzled face of the main Chinese leader: “Why do you ask? It’s all in the Bible,” he replied. Therefore, the good news for Israel is that there is indeed a rapidly growing Evangelical movement around the world, which stands firmly at Israel’s side. Every year, we see them at our Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem, as thousands of Christian pilgrims join us from China, the Philippines, Brazil, Bolivia, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast—among so many other nations. Now what is most noteworthy: their support is not tied to any political party or agenda in Israel but in their belief in God’s faithfulness to His people, no matter who is prime minister in Israel. When this was recently called into question, I reached out to several prominent Evangelical leaders, who all confirmed their unconditional support for Israel. This included spiritual giants like Nigerian pastor Enoch Adeboye, who oversees the fastest growing church movement in Africa with tens of millions of active members. “Our support for Israel is based on the bedrock of God’s Word and
not on daily changes in politics,” he told me. This also includes Apostle Rene Terra Nova from Brazil, who oversees a church network of more than three million faithful Evangelicals across Latin America. He has committed his movement to always pray for Israel’s elected government, and they also cannot wait to visit Israel after the coronavirus recedes, no matter who is sitting in the prime minister’s seat.
BREAKFAST HONORING ISRAEL The ICEJ was proud to sponsor its first major pro-Israel event after a year of coronavirus lockdowns. The Breakfast Honoring Israel proved to be an extremely popular, sold-out event at the NRB Convention with great feedback from attendees who rejoiced at the opportunity to gather again in support of the Jewish state.
The same is true for the huge Word of Life movement, which has thousands of churches across the former Soviet republics. Troy A. Miller, currently CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters Association (NRB) in America, has confirmed the same thing on behalf of his group’s millions of listeners, viewers, and readers. This week he wrote us: “Throughout NRB’s 77-year history, its membership and Board of Directors have always supported Israel. NRB recognizes that Israel’s history, including the creation and continued existence of the modern state of Israel, reveals the providential hand of God and His commitment to fulfilling His promises in His Holy Word, the Bible.” However, the steadfast Christian support for Israel in Western countries is being challenged among the younger generation as many can now be found in social justice movements and other liberal causes. But the fact that Israeli lawmakers are inviting for the first time an Arab party to join a governing coalition can potentially win over even some of these younger critics. In conclusion, I can attest that Evangelical support for Israel is not going to disappear. On the contrary, from our unique vantage point here in Jerusalem, we see the movement growing faster than ever all around the world. This unique bridge of engagement between Jews and Biblebelieving Christians has a great future. And one final point: these Evangelicals have no intention of meddling in Israeli politics. This is the Christian Embassy’s proven track record for the past four decades, and it will not change.
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Susan Michael, ICEJ USA Director
Bram Maas (left), ICEJ USA Director of Marketing & Development, Joel Rosenberg (center), author and founder of All Israel News, and Daryl Hedding (right), ICEJ USA Deputy Director
Joshua Aaron leads worship. www.joshuaaaron.tv
ICEJ CALL TO ACTION
STAND UP FOR ISRAEL AT THE ICC: SIGN the ICEJ Petition!
he International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has an important role to play in world affairs: to fairly and independently guard against impunity for war crimes, genocide, and other atrocities that “shock the conscience of humanity.” However, the ICC has recently diverted from this mission by opening an official probe against Israel for alleged war crimes committed during and since the 2014 rocket war with Hamas in Gaza and Israel’s actions to build and maintain Jewish communities in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. In response, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has launched a global petition that allows you to express your opposition to this ICC war crimes probe against Israel. The results of this petition will be presented to the member states of the ICC and the judges and prosecutor of the Court.
BACKGROUND The ICC made a highly politicized decision to investigate Israel for war crimes, basing the move on spurious claims. And in the process, it has unlawfully expanded the Court’s jurisdiction. The probe was prompted by an overzealous chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, who harbors bias against the Jewish state, as seen in her extensive private consultations with Palestinian Authority officials on this matter over recent years. The Palestinians, in turn, are seeking to exploit the Court to deprive Israel of its right of self-defense, while also criminalizing the legitimate rights of Jews to live in peace and security in their ancient homeland. Therefore, this probe against Israel must be opposed by all those concerned with fairness and justice in world affairs. Christians especially have a historic, moral duty to stand up against such discriminatory actions against Israel.
MAKING THE CASE The ICC is considered a “court of last resort,” which can only exercise jurisdiction over criminal cases expressly assigned to it by the Rome Statute, its signatory member states, or the United Nations Security Council. Thus, its current actions against Israel are improper and flawed for several reasons:
1 Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute governing the ICC, has not consented to the Court’s jurisdiction in this matter, and has its own long-established and respected judicial system for investigating and trying such crimes.
2 The Palestinians do not qualify as a sovereign state under the Rome Statute, and under the Oslo Accords, they have no authority to assert or confer criminal jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza.
3 Therefore, the Court has no legal standing or authority to investigate and indict Israelis for war crimes in the “occupied territories”—a view held by numerous Western democratic states and international legal scholars.
4 The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, has exhibited bias against Israel through her extensive and secretive consultations with Palestinian Authority officials on this matter since 2015. This bias is further evidenced by her dating the period for the formal probe
back to June 13, 2014—the day after three Israeli teenage boys were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas—thus deliberately focusing on Israel’s response to a heinous crime and not the original crime itself committed by Palestinians.
5 In the Oslo Accords signed with Israel, the Palestinians expressly agreed that they have no criminal jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank, Gaza, and eastern Jerusalem, which also means they have no authority to delegate that criminal jurisdiction to another body. Thus, the ICC itself is flouting the Oslo agreements and undercutting this critical source of stability for the region.
6 The ICC is sullying its impartiality and prestige while also weakening the prospects for peace in the region by unlawfully intervening in a bilateral political dispute on the side of the Palestinians, right when Israel has made historic advances in peace and normalization with several Arab nations.
Help reverse this illicit and unjust war crimes probe against Israel by signing our petition to the International Criminal Court. Sign the petition today at: icejusa.org/iccpetition 7 |WORD FROM JERUSALEM
Have a Little
Respect for Israel B y D a v id R . P a r s o n s , I C E J Vic e P r e s id e n t a n d S e n i o r Sp o k e s m a n
ver the past 30 months, the Israeli public has staggered through four very frustrating national elections. I live right across the street from a polling station in Jerusalem and have watched my neighbors dutifully line up to vote each time, only to end up befuddled once again by the inconclusive results. By the fourth round of balloting in late March, most Israelis came away numbed by the whole experience, as this most recent election turned out closer than ever. The political deadlock has been mystifying. And even though I had my own preferences, I wound up just praying for mercy that someone, anyone, would finally secure a clear victory and mandate to govern.
in the Knesset chamber so she could be there to cast her critical vote.
Alas, the impasse lingers. True, a new government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was sworn in this week, and it deserves a chance to prove it is up to the task. But it was approved by the slimmest of margins, 60 to 59, and is in constant peril of collapse.
Netanyahu managed such a historic run as Israel’s prime minister because of his diplomatic and economic acumen, his mastery of Israeli politics, and above all, his reputation as “Mr. Security.” Most Israelis had come to trust him to keep them safe, and for the most part, he did. After facing a couple of rocket wars with Hamas in the early 2010s, Netanyahu has overseen a relatively peaceful period for Israel, with the fewest deaths from the conflict and terror attacks in recent years. He kept the brutal Syrian civil war from spilling over into Israel, even while successfully striking at Iranian and Hizbullah targets deep inside the country. He oversaw a series of clandestine operations that effectively set back Iran’s nuclear program by years. And he steered the country past the coronavirus threat faster and more effectively than any other national leader in the world.
Having toppled Benjamin Netanyahu from power after 12 long years in the premiership, the new ruling coalition is a loose collection of eight very diverse parties primarily held together by their common desire to now keep him from returning as prime minister. It took four elections to pry him out, and even then, it was by a single vote in the Knesset. The outcome last Sunday was so in doubt that when one lawmaker from the Right was in a serious car crash in the Galilee that morning, he was still rushed to Jerusalem to vote. At the same time, a parliamentarian on the Left was stretched out on a gurney receiving medical treatments
But a new generation of leaders has arisen in Israel who insist it is their time to take the reins of power. They are younger, forwardlooking, and care deeply about the future and well-being of the nation. And even though it carries great risks to turn out such a competent and experienced leader as Netanyahu, I am not so worried for Israel—for the Ancient of Days is also the “Rock of Israel” (Genesis 49:24; 2 Samuel 23:3; Isaiah 30:29). He was watching over Israel and her destiny long before Netanyahu was born, and He will be there guarding Israel until His eternal purpose with this restored nation is completed. 8 | JULY 2021
Not every Christian shares this confidence in God. In fact, one well-known Evangelical figure was so anxious about the prospects of a postNetanyahu Israel that he publicly tried to goad wavering Knesset members on the Right to abandon Bennett’s incoming coalition. This brought to the fore the question of just how much pro-Israel Christians should be involved in Israeli politics. I was encouraged that most Evangelical leaders worldwide felt this was a step too far. Here is why they are right. First, Israel has been plagued for decades by outsiders wanting to meddle in their internal political life. It starts with Jews in the Diaspora who feel deeply attached to the nation and want a say in what happens here. Most Israelis understand that sentiment from their relatives abroad but respond that Jews should go ahead and move here if they truly want to get involved in deciding the existential questions facing this nation. Then there is the international community, which has been massively prying into Israel’s domestic affairs for 70-plus years now. The United Nations tries to bully the Jewish state. European governments are directly funding all manner of leftist causes inside Israel. And the US State Department has its own long history of ordering Jerusalem around. Most Israelis resent such outside meddling, and Christians should steer clear of it as well. As Evangelicals, we indeed have a unique bond to the nation of Israel because of all the spiritual blessings we have received from the Jewish people. We owe them our prayers. We owe them
political support within our respective countries. But we should leave the tough decisions they face to those who live in Israel, pay taxes here, and serve in the IDF. Instead, Evangelicals should be standing on the firm principle that the entire world ought to respect Israel as a democracy and let Israelis decide their own fate and future borders with their Arab neighbors, free from foreign pressure and intrusion. This still leaves plenty of room for us to express our love and concern for this embattled nation, voice our opinions as friends, and encourage biblical faith among Israelis. Yet some Christians have the mistaken notion that our being “grafted” into Israel, as the Apostle
Paul describes it in Romans 9–11, means we ought to become citizens of the modern-day nation of Israel. However, the Bible draws a distinction between “natural” and “spiritual” Israel, and we should understand and maintain that distinction. God called “natural” or “national” Israel into being to birth “spiritual” Israel—the one family of the redeemed worldwide. As gentiles, we are added to or enlarge spiritual Israel when we come to faith in Christ (Romans 9–11; Ephesians 2:11–22, 3:4–6). Yet we are still told to respect and honor natural Israel (Romans 3:2, 9:4–5, 15:26–27; John 4:22). God also promises that one day, natural Israel
will converge with spiritual Israel (Romans 11:25). Until then, Christians are to love the Jewish people and nation, befriend them, and defend them—but all from one respectful step away, trusting that God is fully able to deal with them and bring them to their redemptive destiny in Him. The past two-and-a-half years of political deadlock in Israel have been painful to watch, especially up close, and I am afraid it is not quite over yet. It has been a most unusual and inexplicable season. But I do sense that God is dealing with His people through it all, and we should give Him room to do so. Our role is to be careful and prayerful observers, as friends should be!
Following the Knesset’s approval of a new government on June 13, 2021, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem delivered a letter of congratulations to incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, as well as Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid. The ICEJ also delivered a letter of tribute to outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. To read the letters please go to: www.icejusa.org/letter-congratulations.
9 |WORD FROM JERUSALEM 9 |WORD FROM JERUSALEM
Esther Marcus, Director of the Resilience Center located in Southern Israel, thanks the ICEJ and its supporters for the safe room that saved her life during the recent conflict. Video available at: https://icejusa.org/2021/06/08/bomb-shelters-save-lives/.
ICEJ SAVES LIVES AND HELPS TRAUMATIZED CHILDREN NEAR GAZA By Laurina Driesse
icole Yoder, ICEJ VP for AID and Aliyah, visited Israeli communities near the Gaza border to offer support and see how they are doing since the recent Gaza conflict ended. Arriving at the Sadot Negev Resilience Center, Nicole was greeted by the center’s manager, Esther Marcus, who expressed an emotional thanks from a heart overflowing with gratitude to the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem for our ongoing support.
workshops for children and their parents to help them process the ordeal they had just experienced. “Each child participates in a workshop together with their parents, where they learn different ways and techniques for coping with their anxiety around what’s going on,” Esther explained. She added that these workshops are also available for educators to help them work with the children when they return to school.
Esther cannot recall how many times during this latest Gaza conflict that the red alert siren sounded at all hours—day and night—signaling a constant barrage of missiles headed their way.
The generous response of our Christian supporters worldwide enabled the ICEJ to provide funds to the Resilience Center to assist traumatized children participating in the workshops.
“You are saving lives—and thank you for saving my life!” said Esther, as she recalled having to run to the center’s safe room built last year by the ICEJ. “People ask me all the time: ‘Do you get used to it?’ I say, “You never get used to someone trying to kill you, but you do learn to cope, and you build your resilience.”
“You give us the financial backing and the ability to buy tools, toys, and gifts for children, and they know that it comes from people like yourselves who are giving them a virtual hug and helping them cope. At the same time, they are also learning the importance of giving and accepting,” said Esther.
The Sadot Negev Resilience Center is located within three kilometers of the Gaza border. The center was built as a place of refuge and healing for traumatized families in the community and surrounding region and offers short-term counseling and coping strategies provided by qualified therapists. A hotline kept therapists busy around the clock while under attack; however, once the ceasefire began, the Resilience Center went into high gear, offering
“Here in the Resilience Center, you have enabled us to now help hundreds of families,” Esther told Nicole. “We are running two workshops every day, and thanks to you, we have put together a special care package for our families.” The care package contains a book that Esther wrote called The Color Red, which is aimed at helping children understand what is going 10 | JULY 2021
on and what action to take when the red alert siren rings out. Also included is a coloring book with colored pencils (which is therapeutic for children to absorb themselves in), a stress-ball to squeeze or throw against the wall should they need to vent their frustration, other stressrelieving items, and a fun tube of bubbles to blow (helps with deep breathing and relieves stress). “I just thank you from the bottom of my heart. We look forward to you coming and visiting and seeing that where we live is actually really beautiful,” said Esther. “And please God, one day [I pray] that there will be peace,” she added. Please know that your generous donations have made it possible for us to assist vulnerable and traumatized communities near Gaza by providing essential safe rooms and other practical tools to cope with the trauma that comes with recurring attacks in the region. This support sends an important message to Israelis that they are not alone. This assistance especially helps strengthen those living on the front lines of battle, increasing their resilience during distressing times. Please continue supporting ICEJ AID as they impact Israeli communities in need of our help.
Donate today at: www.icejusa.org/aid
AID ICEJ ICEJ ALIYAH
ICEJ enables Druze teachers to continue nurturing dreams By Laurina Driesse
oom meetings and online teaching are par-for-the-course these days, but how can a teacher educate online without the proper tools? Recently, the ICEJ responded to a request to supply teaching equipment to a school in the Israeli Druze town of Usifiya, near Haifa. The traditional religious school opened seven years ago with 105 students. Today, it has maxed out at 400 students, with boys and girls learning in separate classes. The students are extremely dedicated and have scored some of the highest marks in their final exams in the country, making their teachers very proud! School principal Nuwal focuses on building good relationships with the students and instilling good values. She teaches them to respect others and give back to their community and country. She especially wants to see the girls continue their studies and earn degrees in professions like medicine, business, and high tech. Despite the school’s academic successes, it was evident to the ICEJ AID team on a recent
visit that the school needed some upgrades, especially due to the changes in learning brought on by coronavirus. Thanks to generous British Christian donors, the ICEJ UK Branch enabled us to supply seven sets of projectors, screens, and speakers, as well as five laptop computers for the teachers to use in the classrooms. More recently, the AID team went back to see the improvements at work. While there, they met two of the students, who thanked the ICEJ for helping them continue their studies during coronavirus. Nuwal and her fellow teachers also warmly welcomed our team with incomparable Druze hospitality. We were able to inform them, as well, that the ICEJ will be providing academic sponsorships to Druze students so that the hopes and dreams teachers are instilling in their students can be fulfilled. Thank you for impacting these Israeli Druze students. Through your faithful giving, the ICEJ can continue to support and lift all sectors of Israeli society.
Donate today at: www.icejusa.org/aid 1 1 |WORD FROM JERUSALEM
ICEJ BOLSTERS ISRAELI SECURITY AND FIRST RESPONDERS DURING GAZA BORDER TOUR By Laurina Driesse
he International Christian Embassy Jerusalem joined Operation Lifeshield last month to visit Israeli communities along the Gaza border to assess recovery and security efforts in the wake of the recent rocket war with Hamas and deliver vital security equipment to regional authorities. The ICEJ delegation’s visit included delivering a portable bomb shelter to the site near the Erez Crossing, where IDF soldier Omer Talib was killed and two others were seriously injured in the recent conflict. The visit also included the handover of 120 fire-fighting suits, complete with boots and an ICEJ key ring carrying a special message to remind the local first responders and volunteer firefighters to be strong and courageous. The field trip also included briefings from local security officials, a tour of the Gaza border fence and strategic overlooks into Gaza, and a visit to the Ashkelon factory that manufactures the mobile bomb shelters. Standing so close to the Gaza border on a beautiful summer’s day, it is hard to imagine that this area was a war zone only a month ago. Yet a tangible tension still lingers in the air as the sound of IDF drones buzz overhead while a security officer warns, “Anywhere you can see Gaza, Gaza can see you!” At any time, an eruption could destroy the delicate calm.
HaNegev, told the Christian visitors. “Throughout the recent conflict, we realized where we were missing bomb shelters and sirens and other security measures. But we also realized what we do have—good people who help!” Chajbi explained why the top-grade firemen’s suits were so needed to fight the daily threat of incendiary balloons from Gaza, adding: “This is a time to say thanks to those who think of us. We pray that we won’t have to use this equipment, that it will be stuck in storage. But the reality is this will give us protection so our communities can continue with their lives.” “You should know that Christian friends all over the world care about you and are praying for you,” responded Nicole Yoder, ICEJ VP for AID & Aliyah. “We are worried for your safety when we hear about the many deliberate fires and other dangers you face here. This is our opportunity to show our support through our actions and to encourage you to be strong and courageous.”
Over the past 12 years, the ICEJ has donated over 130 portable bomb shelters to Israeli communities near the Gaza border, as well as two dozen fire-fighting vehicles, to deal with the daily threats of terror and arson attacks emanating from Gaza. In addition, the ICEJ has another 15–20 bomb shelters on order with Operation Lifeshield.
Later, the delegation watched a mobile bomb shelter being lowered into place at the entrance to a community area in Nativ HaAsara, just a few feet from the Gaza fence, which the IDF and Magen David Adom (MDA) use to evacuate the wounded in times of crisis along the Gaza border. This shelter is doorless because there isn’t enough time to open the door to the shelter in this area. With only seconds to spare after the red-alert siren, once you enter the shelter’s passageway, you are safe. The words on the shelter’s dedication plaque “to provide protection and comfort for our dear friends” will stand firm as testimony that this shelter was made possible by a generous gift through ICEJ Switzerland.
The solidarity visit began at the Ibim security center for the Sha’ar HaNegev regional council, where the fire-fighting equipment was transferred to local authorities.
The IDF soldier killed in the recent rocket war fell near this spot due to a Hamas anti-tank rocket, but the bomb shelter will now allow the IDF and MDA to coordinate evacuations from the area more safely in the future.
“There are very complicated security challenges here, which have not stopped since 2001,” Ayal Chajbi, regional security chief for Shaar
Thank you for supporting the ICEJ in ensuring that the vulnerable Israeli communities living on the edge of Gaza are protected.
Donate today at: www.icejusa.org/bombshelters 12 | JULY 2021
Let Us HelpYou
The US Branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) is here to help you experience Israel through an array of tour offerings for churches, young adults, pastors/leaders, and the annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration. As a Christian ministry headquartered in Jerusalem for over 40 years, we have expertise in Israel—both biblical and modern— that will greatly enhance your experience. We also help pastors and Christian leaders take their members on tour to Israel: • From our USA office we will organize and lead a tour for you that includes biblical site teachings augmented with information on what God is doing in Israel today. • You will be given the opportunity to engage with and bless the people of Israel in real and practical ways. • Training is available so pastors can learn to lead their own tours with little or no assistance. We want your members’ Bible’s to come to life— for their faith to be renewed and their lives to be changed forever.
Call (866) 393-5890 today.
“Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.’”(Isaiah 2:3) For more information on our tours, please go to www.icejusa.org/tours, call (866) 393-5890, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LESSONS FROM THE LAND – MOUNT Carmel
ELIJAH’S CALL TO PURE WORSHIP Keeping our lives free from the influences of our godless world
b y D r . S u s a n Mic h a e l , I C E J USA D i r e c t o r
ount Carmel is at the tip of a beautiful 24-mile-long wooded mountain range nestled between the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the Jezreel Valley to the east. “Carmel” means “vineyard of God,” or “garden of God,” and the Bible describes it as a beautiful and fruitful region.
Elijah chose this place of Ba’al worship for the site of a showdown with the pagan prophets and the king who supported them. First Kings 16:29–33 tells us that King Ahab did more to provoke the Lord to anger than all the kings before him because of his worship of Ba’al and his marriage to the evil Queen Jezebel who had ordered the murder of the prophets of the God of Israel.
However, most Bible students associate the area with the famous confrontation between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of the Canaanite fertility god, Ba’al, found in 1 Kings 18. While there are no archeological remains to verify the exact place of this event, the Stella Maris Monastery is said to mark where Elijah’s altar was, known as the “place of burning” for centuries.
The Powerlessness of Ba’al Ba’al was known as the fertility god of both the people and the land and was often depicted as a bull with a lightning strike in his hand. This “god of weather” was believed to provide the rain needed for crops. Therefore, when a drought set in after Elijah had declared to King Ahab there would be no rain for three years, Ba’al was proved powerless.
From the top of the monastery is a magnificent view overlooking the Jezreel Valley, where many major wars have taken place throughout history and where at least one more is predicted: the war of Armageddon. It was on high places, such as Mount Carmel, that pagan altars were built—what a more fitting site for Ba’al worship than the lush “garden of God.”
Recognizing the Canaanite god’s lack of power was not enough for Elijah, however. He wanted the people of Israel to return to pure worship of the God of Israel. Thus, the confrontation on Mount Carmel was ultimately directed at the people of Israel to bring them back to their God. After three years of drought, the agrarian economy was devastated, and the people were desperate. So Elijah had King Ahab gather everyone on Mount Carmel—the prophets of Ba’al, as well as all the people of Israel.
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Elijah then implored his fellow Israelites to decide to either follow the God of Israel or follow Ba’al. After the prophets of Ba’al were unable to call fire down from heaven, Elijah taunted them with his sarcastic remark about their god: “Either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened” (1 Kings 18:27). Elijah then built an altar in the name of the God of Israel, based on 12 stones to signify the 12 tribes of Israel. Next, he drenched the altar with water and waited for the time of the evening sacrifice, at which time fire came from heaven and not only consumed the burnt sacrifice but the wood, stones, and all the water. The people saw this and fell on their faces before the Lord and proclaimed, “The Lord, He is God!” Ironically, this phrase “The Lord, He is God” is the meaning of Elijah’s name in Hebrew. Confronting Our Ba’als Elijah’s generation was not the first, nor the last, to mix their worship of God with the worship of false gods. An example of this is found in the New Testament. The Samaritans were the descendants of Israelites who had intermarried with Assyrians; they incorporated the worship of pagan gods along with the worship of the God of Israel. Therefore, mainstream Judaism considered the Samaritans to be unclean and forbade contact with them. The lesson we take away from our visit to Mount Carmel is the importance of keeping our lives free from the influences of the godless world around us. Elijah entreated the people to choose between the true God and the false one because the righteous and holy God of Israel required pure worship and lives dedicated solely to Him.
Register for the Feast of Tabernacles Live Streamed from Israel! Join with thousands of Christians from all over the world to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles through our live online virtual Feast program! Come hear international speakers, worship leaders, and local artists as they join on one platform to share what the Lord has placed on their hearts. Enjoy live events and worship from locations all across Israel, listen to over 80 seminars and teachings, and engage in 24-hour global prayer sessions. Starting at only $50 for the feast package, you will come away blessed and encouraged in your faith as you enjoy seven days of exciting Sukkot events during the Feast of Tabernacles 2021. Sessions can be viewed after the live program for either 90 days or up to 9 months! For more information on the virtual Feast of Tabernacles event 2021 and how to register for it, email email@example.com or visit www.icejusa.org/feast-online.
Ascend to Jerusalem for our most exciting Online feast ever
John echoed Elijah’s call to purity in his warning to the Laodicean church in Revelation 3. He accused the Laodiceans of being neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm (Revelation 3:16)—an impure condition that would result in their loss of relationship with God.
Register for Virtual Feast Online
We must discern and turn from worldly influences infiltrating our lives that make our worship impure and our faith lukewarm so that our conduct demonstrates that “The Lord, He is God”—and we walk in the power of God as did Elijah.
Enjoy the Feast online from your home, with the option of watching content for either 90 days or 9 months! Three packages to choose from, starting at $50
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LEARN MORE at: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.icejusa.org/feast-online
ICEJ PODCAST: WALK THRU THE BIBLE
If the Lord Is God, Follow Him b y D r . S u s a n Mic h a e l Dr. Susan Michael is ICEJ USA Director and host of the Out of Zion podcast.
he story of Elijah and his confrontation with the prophets of Ba’al takes place during a period of history that is hard to follow. For one thing, there are two different kingdoms and a long list of kings for each. It is also difficult to understand how God’s people continually broke their covenant with Him and worshiped false gods—so much so that the reader is left wondering: What in the world is going on?
knew Ba’al was not a real god, but he had to demonstrate this to the people. They, in turn, fell on their faces and cried out, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!”
Ba’al worship was so prevalent inside the kingdom of Israel that most Israelites participated in it. The showdown that Elijah orchestrated was meant to demonstrate to the people of Israel who the only true God was so they would turn from idolatry and rededicate themselves to Him. Elijah
To learn more about the critical time in history to which Elijah was called, join me on the Out of Zion podcast, “What in the World Is Going On?” I make it easier to understand this part of the Bible and the extraordinary story of the prophet Elijah.
Elijah had been born for that very moment in history—confirmed by the fact his Hebrew name “Elijah” is translated: “The Lord, He is God!” You and I have been born into a particular moment as well. It’s a moment in which our world is turning its back on God and the truth of His Word and worshiping the gods of secularism, globalism, and moral relativism. God is calling us to be strong and to take courageous steps of faith to demonstrate His power to the people in our lives. I pray we answer the call as did Elijah.
Watch and listen to this episode and more at: www.icejusa.org/outofzion
Susan Michael for Walk Thru the Bible: “Of Kings and Kingdoms” on the Out of Zion podcast. This second quarter of the Walk Thru the Bible series begins with David’s rise to the throne and covers his reign through to the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The past few months have set the stage; events which will soon unfold are the climax of the story.
Download the Walk Thru the Bible reading guide and get started today! www.icejusa.org/walkthrubible
WRITTEN IN STONE: HOUSE OF DAVID DVD
CBN’s Gordon Robertson leads you on a historic journey in search of archaeological evidence revealing what life was like during the reigns of King David and King Solomon.
Gii Ideas You Are Holy Music CD: $15.00
Every Tribe Music CD: $15.00
or call (615) 895-9830
Hu Yavo Music CD: $15.00
Live at the Tower of David Music DVD: $25.00 Music CD: $15.00
Garden Flag Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem Option 1: Flag only, $10.00 Option 2: Flag with Flagpole, $20.00
New Covenant Prayer Shawl Prayer Shawl $25.00
Your Israel Answer Why Christians Support Israel By Dr. Susan Michael, ICEJ USA Director
he International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has been leading a global Christian movement in support of Israel for over 40 years. During that time Israel has had ten different prime ministers—some from the left and some from the right. Yet, a certain Evangelical leader recently caused quite a stir by attempting to tie Christian support for Israel to a particular prime minister and governing coalition. While many Christian leaders around the world spoke up to clarify that they stand with Israel for enduring biblical reasons and not based on who is serving as prime minister, it is a good opportunity to review some of the many reasons Christians support Israel. Personal For millions of Christians, the Bible came alive on a life-changing visit to Israel that instilled an enduring love for the country. This was certainly my story. I knew little to nothing about Israel, but after a summer study program in Jerusalem, my life was changed, and I returned to the United States an avid supporter. Practical Israel demonstrates the Jewish commitment to tikkun olam or “repairing the world.” We
applaud their efforts to make the world a better place through innovations in medicine, science, technology, and agriculture. Communal While Christians face intense persecution across the Middle East, Israel protects our brothers and sisters and they live in peace and security as full citizens in the Jewish state. The Christian community in Israel is the only one in the entire region that is growing. Moral Many Christians have learned the tragic history of Jewish-Christian relations—a history that has been plagued by anti-Semitism perpetuated by confessing Christians—and seek to establish a new relationship with the Jewish people based on mutual respect. Working together in support of Israel is one way to do so. Political We believe it is vital for our countries to maintain a strong friendship with the only democracy in the Middle East that shares our values of freedom of speech, freedom of worship, and human rights. Biblical In obedience to Psalm 122:6, we commit to
pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and, like the watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem in Isaiah 62:6–7, we will continue to pray with great fervor and persistence until all of God’s promises to the Jewish people are fulfilled. We believe the return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland is in fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham for world redemption, and as such, demands our support. For some five centuries, the Bible-based Evangelical Christian movement has preached from the Scriptures that the return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland would bring a great blessing upon the world. Modern Christian supporters of Israel follow in the steps of great Christian leaders such as John and Charles Wesley, Robert Murray MacCheynne, Charles Spurgeon, and many other Puritan preachers. Global The future era of global peace as described in Isaiah 2 is centered in Jerusalem, from where the Lord will judge the nations and will teach them His ways. Only once God has established Jerusalem “as a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 62:7) will the nations lay down their weapons and “learn war no more” (Isaiah 2: 4). That is a day for which we all long.
Visit us at: www.IsraelAnswers.com and get your question about Israel answered!
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Two Statements, One Unified Voice for Israel In response to recent events, the USA Branch of the ICEJ— under the banner of its American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) network—organized two timely statements in support of Israel. The first statement issued on May 20 condemned the unwarranted attack by Hamas responsible for placing countless innocent lives in danger in both Israel and Gaza. The statement affirmed the right and the obligation of Israel’s government to defend its population from Hamas and neutralize that threat. The statement signed by over 100 Christian leaders noted that Hamas was committing a double war crime by intentionally targeting Israeli civilians while at the same time using its own population as human shields. The second statement issued on June 10 was directed at the people of Israel, assuring them that Christian leaders in the United States stood with them irrespective of which political parties in Israel formed the governing coalition. This statement was in response to others made by one American Christian
leader that seemed to imply Israel would lose the support of Evangelical Christians if the new coalition were voted in by the Knesset. There was a broad consensus among Christian leaders in the United States of the need for a clear statement to the contrary and reiterating that our support for Israel is based on enduring biblical principles and is not affected by changing governments. The statement was quickly signed by over 25 leaders of major Christian ministries. The USA Branch of the ICEJ has provided a strategic and collaborative framework for leaders of various ministries and churches to join in unity under the banner of American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI). “When we join our voices,” said Dr. Susan Michael, ICEJ USA Director, “we have a greater impact in support of Israel.” Both statements, along with all the ACLI’s joint campaigns and events, may be found on its website at: www.aclforisrael.com
Bring your family to Israel to tour the land of the Bible and celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with Christians from around the world. Come walk where Jesus walked, be baptized in the Jordan River, and take a swim in the Dead Sea. This will be a life-changing trip for everyone! There is no better time to visit Israel than during the Feast of Tabernacles, so book your place now!
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Tour Israel and Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles
September 17–28, 2021 12 Days for $4,350
For a brochure and more information, please contact us at: ICEJ USA • PO Box 332974 • Murfreesboro, TN 37133-2974 www.icejusa.org/feast-tour • (866) 393-5890 or email us at email@example.com