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November/December 2021 - Tabernacling with God


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September/October 2021 - 'Hear O Isreal' The Shema in Jewish Faith

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The Word from Jerusalem magazine is overflowing with interesting articles for you to feast on!
Read, ‘Hear O Israel’ The Shema in the Jewish Faith, to gain a deeper understanding of what is known as the Shema and how this prayer is taught to every Jewish child starting to speak.
Dig into our article on Recent Israeli Finds… and discover new archaeological evidence recently unearthed, confirming accounts in both Hebrew and Christian scriptures.
Read our Haifa Home for Holocaust survivors’ story, to see the beautiful multi-cultural tapestry of staff working at the home – including Jews, Christians, Muslims, Israelis and foreigners. Coming from all walks of life yet woven together to serve these precious survivors.
In Outcasts and Orphans, look into the real story of the modern-day Jewish return to Israel. There’s a wide misperception that most Jews are wealthy, but you may be surprised to learn how many of the 3.5 million Jews who journeyed home to Israel over the past 140 years arrived penniless.


July/August 2021 - Why Support Israel? Ten reasons to stand with the restored Jewish Nation.

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In this issue of the Word from Jerusalem, discover the Ten reasons why it is important for you to stand with the restored Jewish Nation and gain a deeper understanding into the complexity of the coalition parties forming the new Israeli Government, while ICEJ welcomes the new Israeli President, Isaac Herzog. See how the ICEJ has bolstered Israeli security and first-responders along the Gaza border with delivering a much-needed bomb-shelter and fire-fighting equipment, while ICEJ offices around the world held rallies in support of Israel. Also featured an update on ICEJ’s Aliyah support in Bringing Jews home from all directions! Read about the exciting events taking place in Jerusalem with ICEJ presenting the Cyrus award to the President of Honduras, the annual Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast once again being held in-person, and ICEJ President Dr. Juergen Buehler being elected to the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce Presidium – its chief decision-making body! Be sure to join us for the 2021 Feast of Tabernacles!

May/June 2021 - Israel Still Young at 73?

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Elijah is the one of the most prominent prophets to minister in Israel, but what was the secret behind his power and ministry? In Elijah, we meet a man who took his stand before God, who carried out his ministry out of the presence of God. Today we live in a time where we too will need to make a stand before God. We have an opportunity to stand up for Israel at a time where the ICC has initiated its unjust war crimes probe against Israel. Join your voice with thousands of Christians by signing our petition at: on.icej.org/iccpetition. The Abraham Accords continues to bear fruit and the people-to-people contacts is a promising facet. ICEJ AID recently drove across Israel delivering Pesach packages to help needy Israelis celebrate Passover, while top Israeli Chefs participated in project: “Pesach with Dignity”, cooking gourmet meals for 1000 Holocaust survivors. To commemorate Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day, a moving ceremony was held at Yad Vashem and at the Haifa home for Holocaust survivors.

March/April 2021 - A New Surge of Aliyah

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We are seeing a new surge in Aliyah triggered by several factors, including the Corona threat and Israel’s effective response to it, and the rise in antisemitism. See how our Haifa home and International branches commemorated 76 years of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau with special ceremonies on Holocaust Remembrance Day.


We can navigate the stormy trials of life by looking at Habakkuk. Seeing how Habakkuk too encountered a crisis and how he changed his perception from asking, to hearing from God. His prayer watchtower becomes a lighthouse of guidance for others. Hear how our Envision conference inspired Pastors and Leaders from around the globe on Leading in times of crisis. Discover the possible impact that the new Biden administration may have on the Middle East and understand the ICEJ’s view of opposing the ICC’s decision of a war-crimes probe against Israel. Finally, join our preparations in helping the Jewish people keep the important festival of Passover amid the Pandemic.


January/February 2021 - Time to Rescue the Ethiopian Remnant

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This magazine looks ahead to the new year and how we can meet the challenges of 2021 by trusting in God to always be there for us no matter what surprises and setbacks life may bring. Read an inspiring Bible teaching on “Expect the Unexpected” from ICEJ President Dr Jürgen Bühler. Plus, there are recent reports on our ministry activities in Israel and abroad, including a special Aliyah report on the urgent airlift of 2000 Ethiopian Jews now underway, with support from the ICEJ. Now is the time to help rescue the last remnant of Ethiopian Jewry.

We also cover the way Israel and the Middle East responded after the media declared Joe Biden the winner of the US presidential elections in November 2020, even though that decree may have been premature. And we have a special feature on all the biblical archaeological finds in Israel over the past year which are awaiting the return of Christian tourists once the airlines are allowed to open up the skies once again post-Corona.


Christian Friends Of Yad Vashem

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This year's Christian Friend of Yad Vashem Leadership Seminar will take place online. We look forward to sharing more details as they become available.

Christian Friends of Yad Vashem (CFYV) was founded in October 2006 in partnership with the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem in order to educate Christians about the universal lessons of the Holocaust. We mobilize Christians from various countries to become active in promoting Holocaust awareness and in fighting modern-day antisemitism. Among our many activities, we organize an annual Christian Leadership Seminar at Yad Vashem for pastors and other Christian leaders to learn about the Holocaust, meet survivors of the Shoah, and become ambassadors of our mission.

The new Director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem is Ms. Sari Granitza. She has been working in the International Relations Division at Yad Vashem since 2003 and took over the reins of the Christian Desk from Dr. Susanna Kokkonen in mid-2018. Having lost family members in the Holocaust, Ms. Granitza takes her job very seriously. As a representative for Yad Vashem to the Christian world, she will continue to promote Holocaust education as an important means for ensuring that the atrocities of the Shoah never happen again.

CFYV promotes the wide-ranging activities of Yad Vashem:

  • Brings the universal lessons of the Holocaust to churches and Christian communities;
  • Builds bridges between Christians and Jews;
  • Teaches the history of Christian Antisemitism;
  • Educates about the legacy of Righteous among the Nations.

Watch this broadcast of ICEJ's historic online event commemorating Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, in partnership with the Christian Desk at Yad Vashem.

Click here to read more about the new director of the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem, Sari Granitza.

Please support our vital work at Christian Friends of Yad Vashem.

Israel and Christians

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The following is taken from an interview of David Parsons, ICEJ Media Director, by Manfred Gerstenfeld for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs examing the complex cultural, theological and political relationship between the State of Israel and the worldwide Christian community. Scroll down to read more...

Islam Dominates the Middle East

Palestinian Christians

Under siege and without protection, the Christian population under Palestinian rule has dwindled with each passing year suffering from a consistent pattern of Islamic intimidation and aggression ...
Read more
»

Sudanese father and child in Jerusalem's Old City (ICEJ)

Islamic Persecution of Christians

Islam dominates the Middle East, subjecting minorities, women and children to widespread oppression. Christians and Jews are especially targeted, reduced to a state of subservience or dhimmitude... Learn more »

 


Summary of the Interview

 

  • The Holocaust initiated a major change in thinking about the Jewish people in numerous Christian circles. To many it was clear that centuries of Christian anti-Semitic teachings had paved the way for the mass murders by the Nazis and their supporters. These crimes alone, however, could not have shifted the theological thinking of many Christians to such a large extent. Many would still have seen the Shoah as yet another example that Jews are forever cursed.

  • It was the theological shock of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 that challenged the fundamental church teachings and doctrine concerning the Jewish people. For centuries, the Christian mainstream thought that the Jews, who were blamed for killing Christ, were cursed to endless wanderings. This is the key distinguishing factor between Christian friends and foes of Israel: whether or not one believes the Jews still have an abiding covenantal relationship with God.

  • Within the pro-Israeli Protestant camp there are two major theological schools. The first is covenantal Christian theology, which is based on the belief that God eternally keeps his covenantal promises. The second is dispensationalism, which says that Israel was temporarily replaced by the church but-at the end of days-Israel will once again be God's main redemptive agent in the world.

  • Replacement theology, also called supersessionism, is the main theology of Israel's Christian foes. It is based on the idea that God's unique relationship with the church is the replacement or the completion of the promises made to the Jewish people, and thus Israel's "election" no longer stands. Palestinian liberation theology uses Jesus as a historic role model, identifying with him as the "first Palestinian revolutionary." Thus, it justifies Palestinian violence against Israelis as acceptable acts of the oppressed against the oppressor.


Full Transcript of the Interview

"The Holocaust brought about a major change in thinking about the Jewish people in many Christian circles. It was a major moral shock for them that, in the heart of Christian Europe, a genocide had taken place that aimed to annihilate the Jews. To many, it was clear that centuries of Christian anti-Semitic teachings had paved the way for the mass murders by the Nazis and their supporters.

"These crimes alone, however, could not have shifted the theological thinking of many Christians to such a large extent. Many would still have said: ‘The Shoah is yet one more example that the Jews are forever cursed.'"

David R. Parsons is media director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, senior producer of the weekly radio program Front Page Jerusalem, and contributing editor of the Jerusalem Post Christian Edition. From 1991 to 1995 he served as general counsel for CIPAC, a Christian pro-Israeli lobby registered with Congress to advocate for strong U.S.-Israel relations.

A Theological Shock

Parsons observes: "It was the theological shock of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 that challenged fundamental church teachings and doctrine concerning the Jewish people. For centuries the Christian mainstream thought that the Jews, who were blamed for killing Christ, were cursed to endless wanderings. The concept was that they had been dispersed around the world, never to return to the Land of Israel or play an important role in God's redemptive plan for humanity. In short, with the birth of the church, the Jews had served their purpose once and for all.

"Then after World War II, rather suddenly Jewish sovereignty was restored in the Land of Israel. This development did not square with mainstream Christian doctrines. Thereupon several Christian churches, of which the large Catholic Church is a good example, gradually steered their institutions toward new attitudes concerning the Jewish people.

"However, there also remain Christians who have refused to change their doctrines to fit this new reality of a restored Israel. They would rather try to retool the facts to fit their classic theology of a rejected Israel. This is perhaps a little-known, but large motivating factor, for many pro-Palestinian Christians in the Western world. By attempting to reverse history they want to do away with Jewish sovereignty in the Land.

"In addition they would like to whittle Israel back to a bi-national state, Jews and Arabs, and three religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. This is an important source of the Christian involvement in the divestment campaigns, apartheid branding of Israel, and other anti-Israeli efforts. Although this activism has an underlying theological basis, it is also part of the wider ‘culture wars' between the Left and Right."

Christian Zionists

When asked to first analyze the various currents among Christian friends of Israel, Parsons replies that some of these supported the Zionist movement since its inception. "Theodore Herzl coined the term ‘Christian Zionists' at the first Zionist Congress in Basel in 1898, in reference to such Christian figures as the Rev. William Hechler, the chaplain at the British embassy in Vienna, and the Swiss Protestant Jean Henri Dunant, who shared the first Nobel Peace Prize.

"Christian Zionism even predates the advent of political Zionism by decades if not centuries, as leading Christian ministers and politicians advocated the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland from the time of the Protestant Reformation. Its triumph was the Balfour Declaration, as six of the nine members of the British cabinet of David Lloyd George were professing Christian Zionists. The theological basis was their belief that the time had come for the Jews to return to their homeland. They also believed that Great Britain, with its worldwide empire, was uniquely positioned to help with the worldwide ingathering of the Jewish Diaspora. It was not only a matter of belief; great-power calculations also played a part in their attitudes.

"The roots of Christian Zionism start, however, with the Reformation. The Bible was put in the vernacular so that people could read it for themselves. They saw that God still loved the Jews. What they were reading did not accord with the teachings of the established churches, particularly Catholic doctrines.

"Today there are more Christian Zionists than ever. Many millions, all over the world, have a compelling love for Israel and the Jewish people. Eight thousand Christians came from nearly a hundred countries to participate in the recent celebration of the biblical Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. Among them were 1,500 Brazilians, but also people from Papua New Guinea and Fiji. None canceled despite the economic crisis, even if they were not well to do. Several hotels in Jerusalem have told us that they regularly refuse requests from other people to take over room reservations made by our Feast pilgrims for the Sukkot holiday, saying that ‘whatever happens here, we know the Christians will come.'"

Misrepresentations

"It is sometimes difficult to be a Christian Zionist, as even some Jewish and Israeli leaders claim we are no different from Christians in the past. There are many misrepresentations about us. One is that the Christian Zionist movement is a recent outgrowth of the Christian Right and has a variety of sinister motives. We even have fellow evangelical Christians who call us idolaters for worshipping secular Israel instead of Christ."

Parsons prefers to use the term "biblical Zionism" rather than "Christian Zionism," since it allows more room for Jewish and Christian agreement. He explains: "I am a Christian adherent to biblical Zionism, which can also have Jewish adherents. As a believer in the Bible and the God of the Bible, I believe that the Jewish people and the Land of Israel were both chosen for the purpose of world redemption. The modern restoration of the Jews to their ancient homeland is evidence of God being faithful to his covenantal promise to the patriarch Abraham to deliver the Land of Canaan as an everlasting possession to his descendants.

"All human beings are equal, but the Jews have a unique role in the world that we must respect. The worship of God, His word, His commandments, His covenants, and for us Christians, God's Messiah, were all delivered to us through the Jewish people. It is a biblical paradox that there is universality with God in that He loves all humanity, and at the same time also a particularity, or divine election. It is even the teaching of the New Testament that through the return of the Jewish exiles, God is still working out his plan of redemption for the whole world.

"As adherents of biblical Zionism, we support political Zionism, as the Jewish people need a homeland and safe haven, but we add the element of divine purpose. This sets us entirely apart from the anti-Israeli camp that believes the election of the Jewish people no longer stands. In their theology the Jews are now fair game for criticism and worse. This is the key distinguishing factor between Christian friends and foes of Israel-whether or not you believe the Jews still have an enduring covenantal relationship with God.

"Elements of covenantal theology can already be found in the writings of the early Church Fathers, including Irinaeus and Augustine. The reformer John Calvin was, however, the first to organize God's salvation concepts under this system of theology."

Perhaps 600 Million Protestant Evangelicals

Asked how many Christian Zionists there are, Parsons replies: "The Christian world comprises, to begin with, perhaps up to one billion Catholics. There are over 200 million Eastern Orthodox Christians and 200 million mainline Protestant parishioners.

"The Protestant evangelicals number perhaps as many as 600 million today-these are people who claim to have had a ‘born again' experience and who view the Bible as the inspired Word of God. The evangelical stream is the fastest-growing religious movement in the world. The Chinese government recently admitted that there as many as 120 million evangelical Christians in their country, more than the number of Communist Party members.

"These evangelicals generally tend to have a favorable view of Israel, and many are interested in exploring the Jewish roots of our faith. Time magazine recently called this effort to study our Hebraic roots one of the top ten trends in the world today. In a recent poll some 80 percent of U.S. Christians felt a moral obligation to stand with Israel. There are some anti-Israeli pockets among evangelicals but these remain small.

"Another great motivating factor is that we want to take responsibility for the bitter legacy of Christian anti-Semitism. Outside the United States much of our support base comes from Europe. We have strong branches in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries.

"These Christians are familiar with the history of the Crusades, the medieval expulsions of the Jews, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust. In the history of the evangelical Christian movement there are no instances of ‘convert or die' scenarios. Among those who now support Israel are people who have come out of churches that played major roles in Christian anti-Semitism. For them, supporting Israel is not a matter of guilt, but rather of taking responsibility for a bitter legacy and trying to remove the stain from the church's name.

"Within the pro-Israeli Protestant camp there are two major theological schools. The first is covenantal Christian theology, which, as noted, is based on the belief that God eternally keeps his covenantal promises made through Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus. We believe the Hebrew prophets were servants of the covenants and tell us something about how God will keep his covenantal promises. The foundation of our pro-Israeli stance, however, is the Abrahamic covenant. The people in the Christian Embassy belong to this theological school."

Dispensationalism

"The other pro-Israeli Christian theology is dispensationalism. It is of more recent origin and focuses on prophetic passages in which Israel plays an important ‘end-time' role. Its origins can be traced to John Nelson Darby who was a preacher in the Plymouth Brethren Movement, which dates from the early 1800s. His ideas were later adopted by Cyrus Scofield in the United States, who published a popular reference Bible around 1900.

"Dispensationalism says that Israel was temporarily replaced by the church but-at the end of days-Israel will once again be the main redemptive agent for God in the world for a short season. This happens when the true church is ‘raptured' or caught up into heaven at the start of the seven-year Tribulation. Then, during this time of great turmoil on earth, two-thirds of the Jews in the Land of Israel will die and the other one-third, through their conversion, will bring back Christ.

"I believe this is based on erroneous interpretations of prophetic portions of the Bible, which contain passages that can be privately interpreted in many different ways. Still, it is a harmless belief system that Jews should not be too worried about. Even with these interpretations, most adherents of dispensationalism have a deep, abiding love for Israel. And it is not they who would be forcing Israel into some last, grand, convert-or-die scenario, since they would already be in heaven."

Israel's Foes

Replacement theology, also called supersessionism, is the main theology of Israel's Christian foes. The terminology dates back to the seventeenth century but reflects an older view that was already espoused by some early church followers. It is based on the idea that God's unique relationship with the church is the replacement or the completion of the promises made to the Jewish people.

"Some of those who believe in replacement theology are uncomfortable with the terminology and instead speak of ‘fulfillment theology.' It means that God has fulfilled everything He had promised to the Jews, and the new covenant substitutes the Mosaic one. Under this covenant the church replaces Israel as God's main redemptive agent in the world.

"Various strands have been identified within replacement theology. One is ‘punitive supersessionism,' which simply says the Jews are cursed to endure endless wanderings because they killed Christ. Another variant is ‘economic supersessionism,' which has nothing to do with money but means that in God's economy the church has essentially replaced Israel in His plan on a practical level.

"Yet another trend is ‘structural supersessionism.' This marginalizes the Old Testament as no longer being normative for Christian thought. It can be considered a modern-day revival of Marcionism. Marcion was a second- century heretic who maintained that Christians should not care about the Hebrew Bible, but focus only on the New Testament.

"Marcion thought that if one accepted both testaments, one was serving a schizophrenic God. He saw the God of the Old Testament as one of vengeance and war, while the God of the New Testament revealed himself through Jesus as one of mercy and love."

Parsons adds that many in the Christian world fail to understand the biblical paradoxes concerning, on the one hand, God's universal love for all mankind and, on the other, His sovereign election, both of Jews and Christians. Many Christians have had difficulty with the similar biblical paradox of "free will" versus "predestination." But he notes that in Romans 11, the Apostle Paul says, "Behold the goodness and severity of God." Parsons observes that this passage embodies these two paradoxical traits within God's character and that the "trick" for those of faith is learning to live between them, even if many Christians do not succeed at this.

"The basic problem with replacement theology is that it denies God's immutable nature. Replacement theology charges that God is untrustworthy and can change His mind. If God indeed had changed His mind, the Jewish people would have been wiped out long ago, according to Malachi, Chapter 3. If the covenant with the Jewish people has been nullified, Christians must ask themselves what value the new covenant has for us. Our view is that one can add a covenant, but that does not necessarily nullify an existing one.

"Christian Zionists get demonized together with the Jews by some of the mainstream churches, which believe in replacement theology. We consider it an honor to stand with the Jews."

Liberation Theology

Parsons remarks: "Liberation theology is one more Christian theology that is hostile to Israel. It overstresses and overidentifies with the historic figure of Jesus-as opposed to the glorified Jesus post-resurrection-in order to address modern social grievances. It sees the historic Jesus as the earliest role model of a revolutionary fighting against oppression. In his case it was Roman oppression; now it is used to justify struggles against today's purported oppressors-the Israelis, for example.

"Liberation theology started in Latin America where certain Catholic priests were trying to address legitimate local social problems. Its discourse has Marxist overtones. This caused the Vatican to come out against certain aspects of liberation theology.

"This theology also has several prominent versions. ‘Black liberation theology' got much public attention during Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency. Jeremiah Wright, the pastor of his church-Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago-is an adherent of it. The father of black liberation theology is the Rev. James Hal Cone, whom Wright considers his spiritual leader. Wright also hosted at his church a key proponent of Palestinian liberation theology, Rev. Naim Ateek of the Sabeel Center in Jerusalem.

"Liberation theology will use the teachings of Jesus to justify violence whenever someone undertakes it against a real or purported oppressor. In the case of blacks, that means the fight against slavery and segregation. When a liberation theologian speaks of ‘justice,' it is a very loaded term. It basically means ‘I want all my grievances resolved, and even then I am not satisfied because I am always the oppressed while the other is always the oppressor.' Ironically, this is much in line with what many Muslims think."

Palestinian Liberation Theology

"‘Palestinian liberation theology' bases itself on the suffering of the Palestinians under Israel. Adherents use Jesus as a historic role model, considering him the ‘first Palestinian revolutionary.' Thus they try to justify Palestinians blowing themselves up to kill the ‘oppressors.'

"No Christian theology can, however, preach violence, because Jesus in essence taught pacifism. He maintained that if one lives by the sword, one should be prepared to die by it. Jesus basically said ‘I didn't come to overthrow the Romans; my kingdom is not of this world.' Liberation theology sees a black-and-white world where the oppressed can get away with anything."

Parsons remarks, "I have seen so-called study missions from the World Council of Churches coming to Israel and using liberation-theology arguments to support the Palestinians. The international headquarters of the YMCA in Geneva sent a study mission at the height of the Second Intifada, which did the same. When reporters objected that they were somewhat biased, their spokeswoman's answer was: ‘Jesus taught us to root for the underdog.' This is a huge distortion of the message of the New Testament.

"Palestinian Christians are a small and dwindling, but highly symbolic community in the Palestinian territories. Some Christian clerics exploit that symbolic value to support Palestinian nationalism by distorting and denying the Jewishness of Jesus. By creating a Palestinian Jesus, they undermine the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith in order to serve the Palestinian narrative."

Edward Said and the Palestinian Jesus

"Prof. Edward Said, who taught Middle Eastern studies at Columbia University, often described Palestinian suffering under the Jews as ‘this endless Calvary, this constant crucifixion.' He thus deliberately drew upon classic Christian anti-Semitic motifs. Said's analogy was that Jesus suffered under the Romans and now the Palestinians were suffering under the Jews.

"Justus Weiner of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has exposed Said's biographical fallacy.[1] The Arab scholar falsely claimed that he had to leave Jerusalem because his family was expelled by Israel. In reality, he grew up in Cairo and was only an occasional visitor in Jerusalem.

"The Christian Embassy was located for some time in the house on Chile Square from which Said also falsely claimed to have been expelled. Once he hosted a BBC documentary and declared, ‘This is my beautiful old house from which I was kicked out. Now there is a rabid Christian Zionist organization there, headed by a South African.'

"Many enemies of Israel equate it with the Nazis. Said added that Israelis also are the successors of the Romans by oppressing Palestinians. The body of the Palestinians is now portrayed as the body of Christ, which is again being crucified in the same land. Thus traditional Christian anti-Semitic themes are used in the service of Palestinian nationalism. In this way Jesus has retroactively been made a Palestinian. Some scholars have noted that this cutting off of Christianity from its Jewish roots creates dangerous possibilities for infiltration by Islam, which has a tendency to backfill history.

"The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, based in Jerusalem and run by Palestinian Christians, held a conference in April 2005 specifically to attack Christian Zionism. After Said had passed away, their new main patron was South African Anglican bishop Desmond Tutu. He could not make the conference and so they approached the new Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, but he declined. One of his spokesmen said he did not want to be identified with the ‘wrong voices.' Instead he sent them a pastoral letter setting forth his view of Israel still having some sort of enduring covenantal relationship with God as a ‘light to the nations'; a paradigm nation for knowing the blessing and the correction of God. It was an interesting attempt at defining Israel's enduring election by a liberal Protestant theologian, who has been critical of Israel as well."

The Catholic Church

"The Catholic Church at Vatican II repudiated replacement theology, which had been its official teaching for many centuries. Later, Pope John Paul II tried to further reconcile the breach between Jews and Catholics, visiting synagogues and making a pilgrimage to Israel, including a visit to the Western Wall and Yad VaShem.

"Under Pope John Paul II, Catholicism also defined anti-Semitism as a sin. He even went one step further and equated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, thereby also rendering the former a sin by extension. If a Catholic says ‘I'm not an anti-Semite, just an anti-Zionist,' one can reply to him that ‘You are a sinner according to the definitions of your own church.'

"Pope John Paul II also called the Jews ‘our elder brothers.' However, I haven't seen the Catholic Church clearly spell out their view on the nature of the enduring covenantal relationship between God and Israel. Although the church, to some extent, now recognizes some sort of covenantal relationship, its theology on this point remains vague. I think this reticence has to do with the church's ‘high view' of itself as the sole agent for salvation in the world."

Parsons cautions that the theological battles over Israel among the churches will have to be fought out within the Christian world. When the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) recently rescinded its divestment resolution, it was former CIA director James Woolsey, a practicing Presbyterian himself, who was brought in by Jewish groups and effectively opposed it. "Jews can challenge Christian adversaries on the facts, on history, and so on. But Israel and world Jewry would be well advised to stay out of the theological debates among Christians, since some will not take Jews seriously because they do not accept the New Testament as scripture."

Notes

[1] Justus Reid Weiner, "‘My Beautiful Old House' and Other Fabrications by Edward Said," Commentary, September 1999.

David R. Parsons currently serves as media director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, senior producer of the weekly radio program Front Page Jerusalem, and contributing editor to the Jerusalem Post Christian Edition. In these roles he writes and speaks on an array of historical, strategic, political, and biblical subjects relating to Israel and the Middle East. Parsons holds BA (history, 1981) and JD (1986) degrees from Wake Forest University. From 1991 to 1995 he served as general counsel for CIPAC, a Christian pro-Israeli lobby registered with Congress to advocate on behalf of strong U.S.-Israeli relations.

 

©2010 International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

Word from Jerusalem 2010

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"It is no small thing for a 13 year old girl to travel by foot across mountains and deserts to realize a 2000-year old vision of coming home to Israel..."
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WFJ July 2010

July 2010 - Brigands Bound for Gaza (USA Edition)

"Was Israel dealing with peace activists on a mission to deliver aid to suffering Palestinians or global jihadists seeking death in combat..."
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WFJ August 2010

August 2010 - Standing for Something (USA Edition)

"It's all very well to point out the challenges Israel faces, but apart from what we are against, what do we stand for?"
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WFJ September 2010

September 2010 -Thirty Years Young (USA Edition)

A tribute to the millions who have shared the 'Divine Project' of the ICEJ; who believed Christians needed to stand up and affirm the truth of the Bible...
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WFJ Oct 2010, 90x100

October 2010- Tabernacles 2010 (USA Edition)

"You remind us we are not alone," Prime Minister Netanyahu tells ChristianPilgrims at the 2010 Feast of Tabernacles Celebration in Jerusalem.
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WFJ NOV 2010, 90x100

November 2010- Minarets & Lances (USA Edition)

No longer content as a bridge-builder between Christian West and Islamic East, Turkey is beginning to turns from Europe and towards its Ottoman past..
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WFJ Dec 2010, 90x100

December 2010- Isolating Israel (International Edition)

"There is an attack on Israel," writes Malcolm Hedding, "that is so widespread, sustained and sadly effective that everywhere people are buying into it or giving in to it..."
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Word from Jerusalem 2009

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WFJ Jan 2009

 January 2009 - The Durban Dilemma (USA Edition)

"A United Nations conference against racism should represent a unique and timely opportunity for a man like President Obama...If only it hadn't already been hijacked by Iran"
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All Eyes on Obama

February 2009 - All Eyes on Obama (USA Edition)

"If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing..."
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Returning Home

March 2009 - Returning Home (USA Edition)

"The economic crisis has prompted thousands of Israelis living in the US to look again to Zion, their American dream shattered and their hope set once again on Israel..."
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WFJ April 2009

April 2009 - The God Who Speaks (USA Edition)

"We serve the living God, Who has manifested Himself to us in three persons and Who constantly engages His world and speaks to it..."
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WFJ May 2009

May 2009 - Days of Infamy (USA Edition)

"Few would consider Hitler’s birthday an appropriate date for a high-profile global conference against racism. But to hand over the platform to a Holocaust denier is simply unconscionable..."
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WFJ June 2009

June 2009 - The Battle for Israel (USA Edition)

"There is no doubt that the Church needs to rediscover the role and power of prayer. Jesus said that His house should be “a house of prayer for all nations..."
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WFJ - July 2009

July 2009 - Shoulder to Shoulder (USA Edition)

"As their dream of life in Israel began to crumble, the Kaplan family, like so many other new Jewish immigrants, were ready to give up and return home to Peru... "
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WFJ Aug09

August 2009 - The End of Defeatism (USA Edition)

"Even by Palestinian standards, the swift and complete rejection of an Israeli peace overture following Netanyahu's June 14 policy speach was baffling..."
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WFJ Sept 09

September 2009 - Turning Point (USA Edition)

"Four years after the Gaza  pullout, the pioneers of Gush Katif are building again. This time they are transforming other lives in the process..."
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WFJ Oct 2009

October 2009 - Jerusalem United (USA Edition)

"The Jews have more claim to Jerusalem that the French to Paris, the Germans to Berlin or the British to London... "
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WFJ Nov 09

November 2009 - 30 Years of the Feast (USA Edition)

"They travelled long distances in spite of the economic downturn, overcame difficult trials in their home nations. All were united by their determination to worship God in Jerusalem... "
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WFJ Dec 2009

December 2009 - Saved by Christmas (USA Edition)

"He was stripped naked pushed up against a wall and facing a machine gun. It was Christmas Eve in Budapest in the year 1944..."
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Word from Jerusalem 2008

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WFJ Jan 2008 Lost in Transit

January 2008 - Lost in Transit (USA Edition)

"Of nearly 3 million Soviet Jews only a third have made it to Israel. Some stayed behind, but the rest were lost in transit on the way, wandering in the wilderness outside the Promised Land"  Read more (pdf) »

 WFJ Feb 2008 

Feburary 2008 - In the Spirit of Elijah (USA Edition)

"Many Christians have now refuted the erroneous teachings of deicide and Replacement Theology. Whole denominations are praying for and supporting Israel..."
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WFJ March 2008

March 2008 - Jail Break (USA Edition)

"After watching his village burned to the ground in South Sudan, 'Emmanuel' saw his younger sister raped by an Arab Muslim militia then killed alongside his mother. He was only 13..." Read more (pdf) »

WFJ April 2008

April 2008 - Something to Celebrate (USA Edition)

"The unlikely 'feel-good' story of Israel's 60th anniversary year is found in the millions of Christians standing in solidarity with the Jewish people worldwide..."
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May 2008 - Struggle & the Dream (USA Edition)

"Just like the Patriarch Jacob, Israel today has had to endure the struggle" of intense conflict and terror within the dream of returning and rebuilding the promised land..." 
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WFJ June 08

June 2008: Discerning the Times (USA Edition)

"There is an ominous shift happening in the world today. Not only is Israel on the front lines of this battle, but so are Christians throughout the Muslim world..."  
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WFJ July 08

July 2008 - Elections in the Air (USA Edition)

"Israel is facing a crisis of leadership, faltering peace talks, a looming Iranian nuclear threat and daily rocket barrages from Gaza..."   Read more (pdf) »

WFJ Aug 08 small

August 2008 - The Pattern of Return (USA Edition)

"One aspect of the biblical "pattern of return" in Nehemiah is often overlooked: The nation's collective repentance for the sins that led to exile..."
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WFJ Sept 2008 90x100

September 2008 - If My People... (USA Edition)

"Gripped by economic uncertainty at home and war abroad, the US is at a crossroads as it heads toward the presidential election this fall. Israel too finds itself facing a crisis of leadership even as Iran edges closer to the nuclear brink."
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WFJ Oct 2008

October 2008 - What Would Jesus Say...? (USA Edition)

"God has not lost control of His world. No, He is firmly in control and what appears chaotic and even dangerous to us is not to Him...."  
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WFJ Nov 2008

November 2008 - Feast Draws Record Crowd (USA Edition)

"The presence of almost 8000 pilgrims here from 100 nations sends a strong statement of solidarity with Israel, despite the recent economic turmoil..."
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WFJ December 2008

December 2008 - 'O Jerusalem...' (USA Edition)

"While teaching in the Temple courts in the days leading up to His death and resurrection, Jesus prophesied the destruction of the city he loved at the hands of Romans. 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem …' He cried..."  
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以色列的呼召

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罗马书9-11章中,使徒保罗大大地提到外邦基督徒对以色列的反应。这些经文内容虽然经过数个世纪最具权威的神学家激辩,保罗仍然劝诫我们,必须接受清楚明确的事实。教会历史显出,因为不明白神对以色列的心意,而不幸容让反犹/反闪情势兴起,充斥在许多教会和传统思想中。我们应该按照以下的真理,再次检视我们对以色列的认识:

1. 圣经中的神从来没有「弃绝祂的百姓」(罗11:1),也就是说,祂为以色列这个国家预备了救赎计画。祂没有忘记他们,并要赐下惊喜,復兴世上所有的人,如同以利亚认为所有的以色列人都迷失、毫无盼望的时候,然而今日,主仍然在以色列施行祂奇妙伟大的神蹟。祂主动积极地以色列现今所处的情况掌权!

2. 神使用以色列的不信,使救恩临到外邦人(罗11:11),这是一件奥秘的事。经文中清楚地透露,因为以色列拒絶耶稣,在外邦世界上才有教会的产生。保罗鼓励我们以感恩来正视这个事实,而不是轻视犹太人。他说,他们的过失,「为天下的富足」。教会应该向以色列展现慈爱与感恩,也就是说,我们应该成为他们羡慕得着福音的器皿。

3. 神要求我们,不要向犹太人骄傲自义,因为我们是接在他们的属灵树根上(罗11:17-19)。也就是说,我们的属灵产业是犹太根源。耶稣说,救恩是从犹太人出来的(约4:22)。我们得救的本质,是建立在犹太历代信心伟人的根基上:摩西、约书亚、以斯帖、大卫、以赛亚、但以理、使徒们和我们奇妙的弥赛亚基督耶稣。

4. 神要我们敬畏祂;要惧怕祂(罗11:19-20)。犹太人能够很容易地接回他们的本树上,因为他们是「本树枝」。而我们是「野枝子」,就是说,我们本来不合适接在本树上,对神来说,把祂的犹太百姓接回原本就属于他们的树上,要比把我们接回去,容易多了。因此,我们应该敬畏神,并向犹太人表达爱来感谢祂。我们向犹太人自高,会引起神的不悦,而且祂警告我们,这会引导我们走向属灵的死亡(罗11:21-22)

5. 神要我们知道这个奥秘(罗11:25-26),以色列拥有一个荣耀的未来,意即她的过失是短站的,终有一天,以色列全家必然得救。她得救的旅程,完全掌握在神主权的计画中。祂引领以色列的道路在过去即有迹可循,直到释放锡安的救主来到时,必赐给以色列极大的祝福。这个攸关以色列未来的异象,必然成就。这是以色列从亚伯拉罕以来、一个永不改变的国家命定,这个命定必伴随圣灵浇灌之福(罗11:29)。

这在在都显示,神从来没有忘记过以色列,我们应该充满着爱与感恩来对待犹太人。虽然几世纪以来,基督徒的许多反犹/反闪行为,曾使我们羞愧,但是最近几十年来,犹太人与基督徒的关係,已在改变。而耶路撒冷基督徒使馆,即扮演与犹太人恢復关係的先锋角色。


Rev. Malcolm Hedding

耶路撒冷基督徒使馆前任主席

©2010 耶路撒冷国际基督徒使馆(International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, ICEJ)

(ICEJ华人事务部翻译)

亞伯拉罕之約

「耶和華對亞伯蘭說:你要離開本地、本族、父家,往我所要指示你的地去。我必叫你成為大國。我必賜福給你,叫你的名為大;你也要叫別人得福。為你祝福的,我必賜福與他;那咒詛你的,我必咒詛他。地上的萬族都要因你得福。」(創12:1-3)

亞伯拉罕之約是神所賜的應許,影響了人類歷史的進程。使徒保羅在加拉太書所寫的內容,很清楚地告訴我們,這個約不能廢掉(加3:17)。許多講員在一些講道形式中或為了符合潮流情境之下,試圖廢掉神預先所立的約,否認猶太人的國家命定是在他們列祖的迦南地實現,因為神為了恢復以色列的國家主權,而把在這塊土地上的其他民族挪走,冒犯了他們,認為神這麼做並不公義。但神看世人並不像我們所見的,事實上,祂對這塊土地上其他民族施行審判,與把祂的百姓帶回應許之地之間,成就了平衡的作為。

以色列人下到埃及四百年之後,神把祂的百姓帶回迦南地,當時居住在這塊土地的國民,罪惡已經滿盈到神施行審判的地步(申9:4-5)。神審判在地百姓和民族的這個觀念,今天仍然被許多神學家所拒絶。一位英國國教的教士麥可普萊爾(Michael Pryor)因為完全拒絶這個概念,而把約書亞稱為「種族淨化的推動聖徒」。這種說法忽略了一個事實,就是慈愛的父神並沒有改變,祂使以色列得著這塊土地,來審判原先居在那裡的百姓。

亞伯拉罕之約在聖經多處重申是一個永遠的約(創17:7-8;詩105:9-12)。多數的神學家同意,這個約是無條件的,如果代有條件,就是亞伯拉罕願意獻上他的兒子以撒為祭,他完全願意順服,因此神確認從今以後,祂會履行這個約;這也是大衛在詩篇中所認知的事實。請參考創世記22:15-18的經文:

「接著,耶和華的使者第二次從天上呼叫亞伯拉罕說:『耶和華說:你既行了這事,不留下你的兒子,就是你獨生的兒子,我便指著自己起誓說:論福,我必賜大福給你;論子孫,我必叫你的子孫多起來,如同天上的星,海邊的沙。你子孫必得著仇敵的城門,並且地上萬國都必因你的後裔得福,因為你聽從了我的話。』

所以這是爭論定歸的總結!亞伯拉罕之約是永恆不變的,即使新約的經文也確認了這一點(來6:13-20)。基督徒領袖為什麼這麼難了解這一點呢?尤其,尋求另外的說法來重建這個約,會結出腐敗的果子。這種態度導致對猶太人的驕傲與偏見,使教會沈淪走向反猶/反閃的道路,生出對猶太人集體屠殺、驅逐、迫害、種族隔離和希特勒大屠殺的行徑。這是不可否認的歷史悲劇!最糟糕的是,那些否認亞伯拉罕之約具有永恆本質的人,等於指控神是說謊者!

因為他們不能接受神在我們現今的世代,已經把以色列帶回到迦南地,他們精心自創理論,毀壞亞伯拉罕之約。因此,天主教和基督新教的資深主教或牧者一致宣告亞伯拉罕之約已經廢除,甚至福音派的新教徒(Evangelicals),也建構了一套精緻的神學理論,推翻這個永恆應許之約的效力。有些巴勒斯坦的基督徒聲稱,聖經已經「去錫安化」了(譯註:即沒有以色列復國這件事。)堅信亞伯拉罕之約效力的人,被批評在做破壞中東和平的工作,且被視為仇恨好戰份子,才會推動猶太人的錫安主義陰謀。

什麼是亞伯拉罕之約?

1. 是救贖歷史的分水嶺。亞伯拉罕之約制定了神決定拯救世人脫離罪惡的內容(加3:8)。

2. 有許多面向,如同鑽石一般:

a) 救恩守護者的應許

也就是說,神通過一個叫以色列的族群,使這個約祝福全世界人類。只要日月星晨仍然定時運轉,這個國家就永遠存在(創12:1-3;約4:22;羅3:1;9:1-5;耶31:35-37)。

b) 土地的應許

凡蹂躪毀壞這塊土地,並企圖把猶太人從應許之地趕散的人,將會遭到神的審判(創17:7;珥3:1-3)。這個應許,無論以色列的悖逆,已經實現,而且在未來人類歷史上也必定成就。

c) 孕育彌賽亞的應許

創世記22章說到「被綑綁的以撒」,基督徒視為耶穌受死的的預兆(來11:17-19)。亞伯拉罕之約一直應許以色列子孫繁茂,同時應許「那一個子孫」—耶穌的到來(創22:17-18)。相信兩種子孫中的任何一個,並不表示否認另一個。在加拉太書第3章中,保羅指出「那一個子孫」—耶穌時,並不否認那應許的「許多子孫」—以色列百姓。然而,操縱神話語者、反猶/反閃人士,以及取代神學的擁護者,只強調應許耶穌為後裔,而廢除以色列「許多子孫」的應許,這麼做實在沒有聖經的依據。

d) 祝福的應許(創12:1-3)

也就是說,神已應許祝福那些捍衛以色列生存權的人,因為他們了解以色列為了全人類救恩的緣故,所扮演的獨特角色。但這並不表示「盲目地支持以色列」,而是反對那些期盼以色列被殺害消滅,並且否定她擁有應許之地權利的人。在第一世紀耶穌降世以後,以色列代表世全人類的事奉的使命尚未完成。她會完成全世界有史以來最偉大的救恩之約,就是大衛之約(結37:24-28;啟22:12-17)。

e) 咒詛的應許(創12:1-3)

歷史上,凡抵擋神透過猶太人施行救恩的列國,都會遭受災難,我們應該記取前車之鑑,決心做對的事,因為抵擋神的救恩計畫,就是抵擋神自己(詩83)。以斯帖記很嚴肅地提醒我們,如果哈曼毀滅了猶太人,耶穌就不會來到世上。在摩西時代和歷史上其他反閃/反猶的世代也是如此,包括希特勒統治的第三帝國的惡徒與其後裔,即今日伊斯蘭教極端聖戰份子,我們所面臨的是一個粗暴而羞恥的世界(詩2)。

f) 救恩的應許(加3:8)

亞伯拉罕之約賜給以色列終極偉大的使命,就是通過她偉大的子孫耶穌基督,傳遞永恆的生命。我們實在欠了以色列感恩的債,神賜給我們的角色,是要對以色列感恩、為她禱告,並激動祂發憤轉向耶穌基督(羅11)。神愛世人,但祂的確使用以色列作為祂在列國工作的僕人。這個角色最終必須由她獨特地完成。

3. 現今通過猶太人回歸到迦南地,以及通過現今每個部落族群和國家,幾乎都已建立了永生的教會,可以證實這個約的效力(啟5:9-10)。猶太人回歸並非偶然,而是神獨特非凡可畏的作為。過去,猶太人回歸這塊列祖之地,引起周邊國家民族的忿怒,甚至有些教會也忿忿不平,然而聖經在在證實猶太人必然回歸(路21:24)。

耶利米書也證實猶太人會從「北方國家」回歸,甚至超過出埃及的光景(耶16:14-15)。我們已見證神這個奇妙偉大的作為,已有超過100萬的猶太人從前蘇聯回歸到錫安。

神會審判以色列並使她歸正,然而到時,列國的時候也將到達盡頭(耶30:11),以色列不再從神所賜給他們的地上拔出來(摩9:13-15),她必蒙救贖,列國萬邦必流歸耶路撒冷,認識她在歷史上的角色,並在以色列的神面前歡慶(賽2:1-4;亞14:16-19;啟21:22-27)。

最後,以色列會彰顯神透過她賜給這沈淪世人的一切真理和應許(賽62:11-12;羅11:25-26),成就這一切是因為四千年前,神應許與亞伯拉罕所立的約。我們所事奉的神,何等奇妙偉大!


Rev. Malcolm Hedding

ICEJ前主席

German Christians recall Wannsee

On Friday, a delegation of prominent German and Austrian Christian leaders gathered under the auspices of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem for remembrance ceremonies at Yad Vashem marking the 70th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, the infamous meeting of Nazi officials which plotted the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.”

The high-ranking Christian delegation included a broad array of 70 pastors and ministry leaders representing all the Protestant and Evangelical movements of Germany and Austria, including Lutherans, Pentecostals, Charismatics, Baptists, Methodists, Mennonites, Pietists, and Adventists.

“We came here to continue the repentance of our nation for the enormous crime of mass murder of Jews committed in the name of a wicked ideology,” said Dr. Jürgen Bühler, the Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. “The Church in Germany still has so much more to do to amend for our deafening silence in those dark days.”


Watch CBN's coverage of the ceremonies

The two-day gathering in Jerusalem culminated on Friday with a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem’s Warsaw Ghetto Square and observances in the Hall of Remembrance to honor the Jewish victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Delegates from 32 major Christian denominations and ministries in Germany and Austria, representing millions of followers, laid wreaths at today’s event.

“The Christian nation of Germany some two generations ago gives us an example of the evil which can flow when a people turn their back on a God of goodness Who loves all humankind,” said Rev. Ingolf Ellßel, Chairman of the Pentecostal European Fellowship. “To remember this causes a deep shaking in our hearts.”

Hall of Remembrance (Sasson Tiram)Dr. Uwe Graebe, the German Lutheran Probst in Jerusalem, noted that “the Nazi officials who met at Wannsee were all well educated. Some were doctors, some were theologians, and one was even the son of a Protestant pastor. They knew the Bible and what it said about the value of every human life. Yet they blocked out the sacred concept that we are all created in God’s image. Instead, they dealt with human lives as mere statistics.”

“Wannsee was one of the darkest days in the history of the German people,” added Gottfried Bühler, National Director of ICEJ-Germany and the initiator of the event. “Seventy years after, we bow down in deep sorrow. And we also promise to keep this remembrance alive. That is why many of us brought our children along, so the next generation can witness these ceremonies. Yet remembrance alone is not enough; it must go hand-in-hand with responsible deeds of goodness.”

The ICEJ then handed over a $60,000 check to Yad Vashem for its Holocaust studies and education center, to sponsor special seminars for Christian leaders to train them in teaching the universal lessons of the Holocaust.

Expressing gratitude for the support which the Jewish people receive today from millions of Christians worldwide, Dan Diker, Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress issued a call for “vigilance in the face of the next genocidal plot against the collective Jew – the state of Israel.”

“Today’s ceremonies at Yad Vashem are the answer to Wannsee,” Diker stated. “The lesson is to be vigilant. This is about preventing the next Wannsee, which is already here in the Iranian threat to eradicate Israel. Yet we hear once again the silence of the international community. Who will demonstrate? Who will speak out? I believe you will!”

Villa Wannsee outside BerlinThe Wannsee Conference was held on January 20, 1942 at a lakeside villa outside Berlin and was attended by 15 high-ranking Nazi bureaucrats who set in motion the implementation of a plan to eradicate the Jews of Europe. The meeting was convened by Reinhard Heydrich, assistant to deputy Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler, who led a discussion on methods to be used for the systematic, industrial murder of all Jews within Germany’s reach. A chart compiled by Adolf Eichmann for the Wannsee Conference listed all of the estimated 11 million Jews of Europe and northwest Africa as potential targets.

During their two days in Jerusalem to mark 70 years since Wannsee, the delegation of German and Austrian Christians also paid a visit to the Knesset, meet with Israel’s Chief Rabbi (Ashkenazi) Yona Metzger, hold special prayer services at the Western Wall and the King of Kings Prayer Tower, and attended a memorial concert at Mishkenot Sha´ananim featuring performances by the noted German Christian Music Academy of Stuttgart. The series of events ended on Friday evening with a reception at the global headquarters of the Christian Embassy in Jerusalem.

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