The cover of the May issue of Charisma asks an ominous question: "Can Israel Survive?" The answer is a resounding yes. Besides the fact that the Israelis are perhaps the most determined people on the face of the earth, God's Word says that the Jews are His chosen people, the apple of His eye, and they will survive. But Israel needs us to stand with her more than ever.
Interestingly April 21 is the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day. It's the day we remember the 6 million Jewish lives that were lost during the Holocaust. One of the reasons we Christians must "stand with Israel" is so nothing like that will never happen again.
We have been reporting on Israel for the last three decades since I first visited Israel in May 1979. Now to keep you informed we are sending out this weekly Standing With Israel e-newsletter. In much of the style of my Strang Report, we will pass along to you interesting information and items of concern relating to Israel and how you can respond.
We are seeing tremendous growth in the body of Messian in Israel.
Israel is bursting with history. Ancient stones and landscapes cry out with stories from times old and new. As a tourist, it is easy to be overwhelmed as you tour the sites. But what is God doing in Israel today? How is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob meeting with His people, Israel, in our generation?
As a sabra, or native-born Israeli, I have no doubt that God is moving in Israel today. Although there are 7 million people here who do not know the Lord, Israelis are responding to the gospel as never before.
I encourage the members of my church in Tel Aviv to take advantage of this new openness. One way we do this is through a distribution center that shares food and clothing with needy families. We also run Dugit Messianic Outreach Center, a base for street outreaches and a safe place where Israelis can hear the gospel over a cup of coffee.
As a result of these and many other efforts, the last two decades have seen tremendous growth in the body of Messiah in Israel. Today there are more than 130 local indigenous congregations: Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and Amharic (Ethiopian), as well as French and Spanish. This figure does not include the additional English-speaking and denominational churches in the land.
Hand in hand with this growth goes the need to make disciples. Our primary need is for spiritual fathers and mothers who can help local believers grow stronger in the Lord and His Word. The obstacles believers face are many and the spiritual warfare intense, but we are preparing for revival.
God is also doing something remarkable among Jewish and Arab believers. The world might not believe there can be peace between the Jewish and Arab communities in Israel, but here in the local congregations we are experiencing it. We often have joint worship and prayer meetings. This unity in the Messiah is evident all over the country.
One of the deacons at Adonai Roi Congregation is a perfect example of this type of reconciliation. After growing up in an environment that taught him to hate the Jews, this former Muslim was transformed when he met the Jewish Messiah.
Now he loves the Jewish people and is an active member of Adonai Roi. Through him and so many like him, the Lord is preparing both Jews and non-Jews (the "one new man" spoken of in Ephesians 2:15) to be His bride when He returns to the land of Israel.
It's sad to think that almost a million Christians come to Israel each year for a typical Holy Land tour, but few ever meet local believers and pastors. Their secular tour companies seldom provide opportunities for such interaction on their schedules. Busy with the ancient stones of archaeological sites, many tourists forget to look for the living stones—the local people the Lord is building into His spiritual temple.
Despite the fact that many Christians abroad are unaware of what God is doing in Israel today, there are those who do come and build a relationship with the local body of Messiah. They come to worship with us on Shabbat (the Sabbath), and they make time to meet with us for fellowship and prayer.
Some send volunteers from their churches and organizations to help us with our ministry. A few even send teams to do outreach. We appreciate all these faithful believers who come alongside us in so many ways.
My challenge to you, brothers and sisters, is this: If you want to make a difference for the kingdom, come visit us; find out what God is doing among the local believers; fellowship, pray and worship with us; and get to know us on a personal level. Together we can expand the kingdom of God in the land of Israel.
Avi Mizrachi is the senior pastor of Adonai Roi Congregation in Tel Aviv, Israel. He and his wife, Chaya, are graduates of Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas. For more information, contact them at [email protected] or dugit.org. In the United States, call 1-866-308-9756.
In June 1939, the United States turned away a ship carrying 937 Jewish refugees from Europe. Most of the passengers later perished in the Holocaust. Yet today, Christians are calling the church to repent for its silence 62 years ago.
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Thousands of Jews are moving to Israel. Some are fleeing Holocaust-style threats in the former Soviet Union while others are yearning for their biblical homeland. Amid this 21st century exodus, Christians are providing Jews with humanitarian aid, prayer and hope.