Editor's Note: As the end of 2018 approaches, Charisma is looking back at the major events of the year, from Billy Graham's death to sexual assault stories to wildfires to the historic North Korea summit and everything in between. The following is one of our top stories of the year. The information presented in the story was accurate at the time of reporting. Continue to follow Charisma News for all the latest updates for these stories and more.
This article was published February 23rd.
A 1,034 lb. male lion will be given to Israel this spring if plans go as expected, according to Jeff Anderson, president of Leadership Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3 )organization based in Kerrville, Texas. This lion will be a gift from American Christians to the Jewish state in honor of its 70th anniversary as a modern nation. The exact location where the lion will permanently reside is not known at this time. However, it has been suggested that the National Zoo might be a good place.
The massive, tan lion (11 feet long, nose to tail) poses no threat since it is the creation of internationally collected, 66-year-old professional artist, Max Greiner Jr. of Kerrville. The majestic, life-size bronze sculpture was sculpted first out of clay. The large than life, 105 percent size is based on the dimensions of the largest male lion ever known. An additional 5 percent was added for God, according to the Christian sculptor and evangelist.
For thousands of years, the lion has been a symbol of the Jewish nation, King David and the Messiah. It is even referenced in the first and last books of the Bible, in Genesis 49:10 and Revelation 5:5. The friendship between the USA and the Jewish state began when Israel was formed as a free, independent nation on May 14, 1948, following the end of World War II. The modern nation was reestablished in its ancestral home, according to archaeologists, historians and biblical scholars. Literally thousands of Hebrew artifacts have been unearthed in the Holy Land, proving their prior existence in the land for thousands of years. According to scholars, Hebrew slaves built Egypt's pyramids until Moses led them into the wildness and to their "Promised Land."
Born-again Christians are staunch supporters of Israel, since they understand the biblical history.
Greiner actually began work on the giant lion sculpture in 2007 but was delayed due to personal circumstances. The artist was finally able to finish the monumental lion sculpture 10 years after he started it. The artist copy of the signed and numbered bronze edition was completed by his art foundry on Oct. 12, 2017. Eagle Bronze of Lander, Wyoming bolted the massive bronze lion to a special, open, art-display trailer designed by Greiner, who has an architectural design degree from Texas A&M University.
Greiner immediately drove the Lion of Judah to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association event, where he was invited to exhibit the bronze at Baylor Stadium, in Waco, Texas. This was the first public presentation of the massive bronze sculpture. Greiner was able to pray with Franklin Graham at the evangelistic event, which attracted thousands of people.
Max Greiner, Jr., believes God told him to create a Ten Commandments monument with a giant bronze lion on Jan. 10, 2006. It was to be placed at The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden on Interstate Highway 10 in Kerrville, Texas. The artist, along with his wife, Sherry, and five other trustees founded The Coming King Foundation (TCKF) on May 6, 2004. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit art museum organization was established to display Christ-honoring art and would eventually provide a home for the monumental bronze lion.
The 24.5-acre art park is located at the same latitude as Israel and the main entrance of the Hill Country city of Kerrville, Texas, which has a population of about 24,000 people. The nondenominational, spiritual art garden is Kerrville's top tourist attraction, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Hill Country from all 50 states and at least 68 countries. In 2017, an estimated 136,714 people visited the tranquil garden, which features almost a dozen monumental Christian sculptures and 77 Bible verses in three languages.
It has been the prayer of the artist that his monumental lion sculpture also be given to Israel. Therefore, a Lion of Judah Israel Initiative was established to place the first, bronze lion in Israel, before Kerrville, as a gift of love from American Christians.
Upon learning of the Greiners' desire, other individuals and nonprofit charitable organizations have offered to help make this project happen. Dodi Yavoh, TCKF and Leadership Inc. were the first organizations to come alongside the Greiners to make this dream come true.
This Lion of Judah Israel Initiative will be announced by Dr. Jerry Johnson at the International Convention of the National Religious Broadcasters Association (NRB), on Feb. 28, 2018. This influential event is being held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. Thousands of Christian TV. radio and internet broadcasters will gather from around the world and celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel. Vice President Mike Pence is also scheduled to speak to the group of evangelical Christian leaders. The massive Lion of Judah bronze sculpture will be displayed at the front of the exhibit hall during the convention.
the final destination of the majestic bronze lion sculpture will be decided after the NRB Convention. According to Jeff Anderson, it is the desire of all involved that the Lion of Judah statue be placed where it can bless the most people in Israel. Wherever the bronze lion is placed, it will become an instant tourist attraction, like the "bull of Wall Street" in New York City. Suggestions for possible display locations are requested and appreciated. The Israeli government and ministry of tourism have already been notified of the artist's plan to give his No. 1 bronze casting to their nation during the 70th anniversary celebrations this spring.
The estimated total project cost, including air delivery is about $100,000. Leadership Inc. will receive donations from individuals and organizations to make this gift possible. Donations will be tax deductible in the U.S. Gifts of $1,000 or more will be acknowledged on numerous websites, publications and on a special plaque that will be presented to Israel.
Max and Sherry Greiner, owners of Max Greiner Jr. Designs, have already made a gift of $12,000 toward this goal. Col. Bob and Linda Morris of Dodi Yavoh Ministry donated the first founding gift of $5,000 to start the casting process. Donations exceeding the cost of the Israel project will be donated by Leadership Inc. to TCKF so the second lion sculpture can be placed at the evangelical garden in Kerrville.
To make a donation or suggest a potential sculpture location in Israel, please contact Leadership Inc. at P.O. Box 291923, Kerrville, TX 78029. Call (830) 928-3575 or email: [email protected] website: leadershipinc.us.
Max and Sherry Greiner are founders of The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden in Kerrville, Texas.
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