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Israel & Christians Today
Biblical understanding about Israel
From 4-9 March 2013, over 80 Christians for Israel leaders from 18 nations gathered in kibbutz hotel Ramat Rachel in Jerusalem for prayer, teaching, training, fellowship and meetings with Jewish leaders. This was the fourth bi-annual C4I leadership Forum.
We experienced incredible unity and great blessing in these five intense and fulfilling days. We thank God for showing us so much about His love and purposes with Israel and the church, and we praise Him for His faithfulness and mercy!
|It was wonderful to have fellowship again with the C4I teams from Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, USA, and Ukraine. There was a large delegation from Asia/Pacific. The new C4I team in New Zealand was led by National leader Hon. Graeme Lee, and we were delighted to welcome the new leadership from C4I Australia – Ian and Mandy Worby. The new C4I leadership from Indonesia was led by the young and dynamic Stenli Suyadinata. Paul Jung represented Korea. The C4I delegates from Philippines, India and Malaysia were unable to attend.||
During the course of the Forum, Rev. Willem Glashouwer shared a number of deep and very significant teachings.
|Filming a new series with Rev. Glashouwer|
• The Blindness of Israel and the church. Rev. Willem carefully traced the line from Isaiah 6 through the Old and New Testaments, showing that God has placed a mysterious hardening of heart on the nation of Israel, which will be removed when the Messiah comes, the Holy Spirit will be poured out and “all Israel will be saved”(Romans 11).
• The Biblical significance of Jerusalem. Rev. Willem demonstrated that God has chosen this city to be the place where His glorious presence will dwell, and He will provide for mankind’s needs.
• Babylon and Jerusalem in historical and prophetic perspective. The great conflict between man and God will have its climax in and around Jerusalem, where the Antichrist will attempt to establish his throne. Jesus the Messiah will stand on the Mount of Olives, overcome the enemies of Israel, and establish His Kingdom with its centre in Jerusalem.
Global C4I movement
|Many meetings were held with the international leadership and the various C4I affiliates to plan strategies and activities for the coming year. In all of these meetings, we felt the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a level of unity we have never experienced before. We believe that C4I is entering a new phase of our development. This commenced in 2012 with regional Training and Leadership conferences in 2012 (Vienna, Uganda, Nigeria and Malaysia), the appointment of Harald Eckert as Chairman (September 2012), and in the development of a unified core international leadership team (Willem Glashouwer, Harald Eckert and Andrew Tucker, with the International Board providing overall supervision and leadership). It has been strengthened with the appointment of new regional leaders. In the next 2 years we expect that the focus will be on consolidating the regional leadership teams, clarifying our vision and mission, and strengthening our educational and communications tools.||
Supporting the Jews to come home and be planted in the land
We were overwhelmed by many personal stories and testimonies of young Jewish people and families who feel the call of the Spirit of God to return to the land of their forefathers, despite the huge practical challenges they face. It was amazing to witness how God is providing for them in the land. Equally, we realized more deeply our responsibility to assist them in this process, and to comfort them in words, deeds and prayer.
|Young immigrants from Ukraine at Kibbutz Mash'abei Sadeh|
Michael Freund (Chairman, Shavei Israel), explained the work of his organization in searching for the ten lost tribes of Israel. He focussed on the return of the Bnei Menashe from India.
Koen Carlier (C4I Ukraine) spoke about the practical support of aliyah from the Ukraine, and introduced two new immigrants to Israel who had made aliyah thanks to the help of Christians for Israel.
We visited an absorption centre at Kibbutz Mash’abei Sadeh, where we met with the leaders and participants in the aliyah program "First Home in the Homeland".
|Visit to the Jaffa Institute|
We went to the impressive Jaffa Institute in Bet Shemesh, which is giving children from broken families an opportunity to know the God of Israel, and make a new life based on Torah values of love, dignity and self-respect.
Finally, we visited the Hineni Foundation in Jerusalem, where Director Benjamin Philip explained the work of the foundation to help the Jewish people return to their true identity and calling. “Your most important job as Christians", he said, "is to remind the Jewish people who they really are and what their calling is in this world".
Israel, Jerusalem and the nations
|Visiting the eastern part of Jerusalem|
Repentance and reconciliation
We organized an evening with many of our Jewish friends, Rabbis and representatives of Jewish organizations to reflect on the question: “How can Christians in the nations support Israel at this time?”
Rav. Ari Abramovitch (Keren Hayesod), Benjamin Philip (Hineni), Michael Freund (Shavei Israel), Alan Freeman (The Jerusalem Foundation), and Alex Berman (President, the Front of Respect) each acknowledged the work of Christians for Israel over many years, and spoke about the importance of Jewish-Christian cooperation in these challenging times.
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger spoke passionately about Christian persecution of the Jews over the centuries and how the fear of forced conversions remains deeply in the Jewish psyche today. Yet he recognized the many heroic acts of individual Christians during the holocaust. He stated: "I want to convey our thanks for all your support as Christians for Israel, and I wish to say that you are truly sons of Abraham and our brothers."
Andrew Tucker (Executive Director, Christians for Israel International) read a declaration of repentance and hope. "We wish to state publicly that we reject the recent proclamations of many Christian church denominations condemning Israel", he said. "We acknowledge with deep shame that the church for centuries has rejected, persecuted and murdered the Jewish people in the name of Christ. We repent of the supersessionist theologies of the church. On this 65th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel,
we wish to encourage the Jewish people to trust in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is your strength and shield. Turn to Him and serve Him with all your heart. Do not be deceived by the attitudes of the nations and the values of this world, nor be discouraged by those who do not understand your calling. Together with you, we look forward with eager longing to the coming of Messiah, the kingdom of God and the restoration of all things".
Click here to read the declation in full.
Read the articles which appeared in The Jerusalem Post about this event:
- Metzger: Peace thwarted by 'culture of violence'
- Fundamentally Freund: When Christians repent
Holocaust, anti-Semitism and Islam
Harald Eckert (Chairman, C4I International) gave an excellent presentation on the topic: "Holocaust survivors, the church and the year 2015 – a loving call to action". There is a huge challenge – and opportunity – for the "remnant" churches of the West to unite with the "revival" churches of Asia and Africa in repentance, remembrance and reconciliation. "Together we have a special responsibility to fight antisemitism and care for the remaining survivors of the holocaust in our midst". Eckert laid out the framework for a program of educaiton and repentance leading up to the year 2015 – 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of World War II.
All were deeply moved by the presentation of Koen Carlier (C4I Ukraine), in which a film was shown about the work being done by C4I in the Ukraine to commemorate the holocaust and show love to the holocaust survivors in the Ukraine.
|Professor Moshe Sharon|
Edda Fogarollo (C4I Italy) gave a lively presentation about the development of Christian anti-Semitism after WWII from Europe into Asia.
Professor Dr. Petra Heldt spoke about Christian anti-Semitism and the mainline churches, and the need for a coordinated approach towards fighting supercessionist (replacement) theologies.
Professor Moshe Sharon gave deep insights into religious, political, historical and theological aspects of the Islam. He emphasised that the mindset of the Islam is fundamentally different from that of the West. Amongst other things, the Islam will never accept Jewish or Christian sovereignty over land that has once belonged to Islam.
On the last day of the Forum (Saturday 9th March), workshops were held on a number of key issues facing the C4I affiliates.
The Forum closed with sessions of prayer for Israel, our nations, and the Christians for Israel affiliates in the regions.
|All the participants of the 2013 Foum at the recently restored Montefiore windmill|