The Christian, Israel, and Zionism

What follows is that of what used to be included on my Welcome page, initially penned on 12-12 -12—the inception of my website. It dawned upon me not long ago, that perhaps those who are seeking to discern the gist of my web site are not always ready to delve into the deeper discussion of the Christian and modern day, geographical Israel, and what the Bible has to say about such. I’ve therefore repositioned such to this page, that the reader may better focus upon this pointed topic when ready, while retaining my Welcome page as just that—a Welcome.

What follows then, is a candid, informal, conversational-style discussion of the Christian and Israel. I most typically avoid the more clinical, sterile, lifeless, exegetical and apologetic theological arguments which saturate Christian web sites around the world, chiefly here in the U.S., and which readily spawn debate, followed by argument, followed by hostile name-calling (within the Body of Christ, mind you). My informal discussion therefore, which again, I deem “conversational” in style, is what I strive for when I write. In so doing I attempt to write in such a way as to mirror a casual conversation taking place in one’s living room. This said, I may be duly charged with failing to allude to many additional excerpts of Scripture (I believe I have furnished ample, below), which perhaps I should. But, and again, such practice then begins to mirror the Theological Position Papers adorning the web, the world over, and which bore me to tears. Quite honestly, at this juncture in my walk, I’m not interested in someone’s formal theological “position,” as much as I am rather interested in knowing their “position” on Jesus’ lap—as they sit upon such in the posture depicted in Mathew 18:3, “…like a little child…”. For if one’s Christian “position” does not begin there, it is perhaps time to start over (i.e., a “re-do”).

As I continue, please bear in mind the central mission of this website, as stated on the Welcome page: repentancepersonal repentance and national repentance—most specifically aimed at what remains of the founding fabric of the United States.

My mission and message herein could not be authenticated without the underlying reality of my personal repentance—ongoing. And it is my personal repentance which took on a new form, measure, intensity and velocity on November 4th of 2008 (presidential Election Day). For it was on November 4th of 2008 that I retreated into a period of deep introspection, with the intent that I would submit myself once again to God’s thorough housecleaning of my heart—every figurative room, corridor, chamber and closet. I thereafter discovered that God’s personal dealings with me in this regard would be pointedly prophetic of His call to the nation, the U.S., and namely the Church in the U.S., to do the same.

It was on November 4th of 2008 that the United States entered into an 8-year period of God’s severe judgment, in and through the lifting of His hands of grace. God figuratively lifted His hands from the nation, stepped-back, and said, “OK, here you go. You’ve wallowed in your own devices as a Church, for far too long. Now you can wallow in them for the next 8 years. When you’ve decided you’ve had quite enough of the utter destruction of your nation, and the purging of the Church, and you thereafter cry-out to me in repentance and contrition, I will again place my hands upon the nation, for a Season of Mercy.”

I often share my thoughts with 4 primary levels of honesty: 1) politically correct and socially acceptable honesty; 2) mildly disconcerting honesty; 3) rather uncomfortable honesty; and 4) brutal honesty—which can be shocking. With these levels of honesty in view, I will share that I have been forced to be brutally honest with myself, with others, and with the Western Church at large, in the wake of the unmistakable sign of God’s hand of markedly intensified judgment upon the U.S. as of January of 2008, which later shifted into figurative overdrive in January of 2012—and which has been presently halted temporarily via a season of mercy, as of January of 2016.

With the goal of ongoing personal repentance, as well as that of influencing and spawning national repentance, and that over many years at this stage; I have discovered that chief among issues of national repentance is that of the failure of our country, from January 2009 to January 2016, to bless the nation of Israel, and to rather curse the nation of Israel. As we, as a nation, would resume such ignorance in the future, we will ensure the complete destruction of the foundation of this once-great-nation. Please understand that as I iterate the call to “bless” Israel, I am not by any means challenging the reader to condone Israel’s present sins, which are many. Much to the contrary, I refer to that of blessing God’s sovereign End-Times workings therein–as He beckons to the Jewish Nation to accept the free gift of salvation in and through His Son–Yeshua–Jesus.

Once again, and barring my inclination to expand at length upon the exegetical facets of Genesis 12:3 and Genesis 12 as a whole; I will simply quote the verse, and with equal simplicity seek to impart spiritual sobriety in conversational terms, regarding the essence of this one verse, which reads:

“I will bless those who bless you [Israel], and I will curse those who curse you [Israel].”

In but cursory terms, the promise herein is first to the Jew, initially in the form of the blessing of the inheritance of Eretz Yisrael—the ancient prophetic promise—the “Land of Israel” — an inheritance in the form of witnessing the End-Times re-gathering or gathering-in of the Jewish Nation at large — a gathering as prelude to a collective bowing of the knee to the Lordship of Yeshua—Jesus. And secondly, a blessing to the Gentile, a spiritual blessing, in the form of the spiritual understanding and revelation of God’s habitation in their midst—the blessing of the fullness His presence and anointing upon the work of their hands as they so seek to serve Him while also honoring the “Apple of His Eye”—the Jewish people. This is the very real blessing of having been “grafted into the commonwealth of Israel” and the “covenants of promise” (see Ephesians 2:12).

What is, precisely, “the commonwealth of Israel”? It can first be defined as literal geographic Israel. It can secondly be defined as the extended Body of Christ—Christians who have been joined-at-the-hip with their figurative “older brother”—the Jewish people at large, who, according to Romans 11:25-28, though presently “partially hardened (blinded),” will eventually meet the Deliverer, Who has covenanted to take away their sins, and Who calls them His “beloved, for the sake of their fathers” (v.28).

Once again, let the reader please understand that “blessing Israel” does not by any means call for ignorance of the sin of the Jewish people at large or the geographic nation of Israel presently. For those with finely honed discernment can readily see the grave sin lurking within the shadows of the nation, on many fronts. Much rather, the blessing of Israel, the Jewish people, and the geographical nation, as a Christian, means firstly praying for the peace of Jerusalem: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May they prosper who love you” (Psalm 122:6).

“Blessing Israel” secondly, means sharing the love of God—the love of Yeshua—Jesus, by demonstrating the love of God to the nation. In saying this, I again allude to Romans 11:25-28, which reads in part: “…a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written…this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”

Western theology has long espoused this notion that at one stage in the End-Times God will figuratively wave a wand and the eyes of “the blinded Jews” will instantly be opened to recognize the Lordship of Jesus the Messiah. Consider this; what if the “fullness of the Gentiles” not only refers to the completion of world evangelism, but connotes this “fullness” to denote a level of Christian maturity so potent that all who come in contact with such (including Jews) are convicted by the power of God as they see the “fullness” of Jesus the Messiah at work in their hearts? May I say that it is my deep conviction that the eyes of the Jewish people will be opened as the result of their collective encounters with the profound love of God working through Christians who have allowed God’s love to so move through them—into the hearts of the “Apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8) that their hearts melt like wax in His presence.

My conviction herein is rooted in many personal experiences on Israeli soil, and over a period of several years. For it is when the love of God and the presence of Yeshua—Jesus resides in one’s heart so deeply that this love oozes and overflows at every turn, that those who witness such are spiritually arrested and seek to draw near to what it is they are witnessing. For within Israeli culture, what a person does, as demonstrated by a Christian, speaks far more profoundly than what a person speaks, as a Christian. This could certainly be applied universally, but especially so in Israel.

When one demonstrates the reality of Jesus, spiritual blindness begins to dissipate, and those being healed of such blindness begin to draw near and thereafter ask for an explanation as to what they are witnessing. At this stage the Believer, the Messenger, has earned the right to add words to their deeds—which then equates to raw power—power which heals spiritual blindness: “…my [Apostle Paul] message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).

The call to salvation is most certainly going out to the ends of the earth via the Great Commission, and to every tribe and tongue, for God is willing that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9). My focus upon the Jew is that in countering the shocking level of hatred toward the same, even among Christians, a hatred which is beginning to look like the re-emergence of Nazi Germany at this juncture. At its core is Satan himself, and His hatred of God’s ancient (i.e., long-standing) love affair with the Jewish Nation. Herein lay the most direct answer to the 70 year old question as to how and why the Nazi Holocaust came to be. It was Satan, unleashing the fullness of his hatred toward the Jew, through one man initially, who was wholly yielded to the same.

For the sake of brevity (and the waning attention span of the average American); “blessing Israel” means understanding and acting upon the reality, the spiritual reality, that God’s heart for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel is one which acts with vengeance upon those who seek to destroy the same. This said, it is startling to discover and understand the ongoing and irrefutable correlation between major “natural” catastrophes which have afflicted the United States, and the secret deeds of our government done in the shadows to forsake Israel. The evidence is irrefutable, in the form of an astonishing timeline of curses upon Israel and the subsequent curses upon us, as a nation.

Between January of 2009 and January of 2016, the United States defiantly turned her collective back upon Israel—evoking the “curse” promised in Genesis 12:3. It is hereafter that the remaining fragments of the soul of this once-great nation are at high-risk of being excised and cast to the wayside, making way for the further establishment of a tyrannical government at war with God Himself. This grave condition is in large part the result of the collective resolve of our nation to curse Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, the Jewish Nation, and the Apple of God’s Eye (Zechariah 2:8). We are presently being granted mercy—a season of mercy—as our current president honors the Apple of God’s Eye.

A vital element has been missing from much of the Western contemporary Christian experience, and which has been purposefully obscured by much of the Western, Americanized Church. And no, it is not “Zionism” as it is commonly understood. And no, it is not the corresponding and erroneous beliefs in Dispensationalism and a “Pre-Tribulation Rapture.” Nor is it the undue focus upon a rebuilding of a Third Temple in Israel. By the way, I happen to believe that the answer to the question of the Rapture is “hidden-in-plain-sight,” in the form of John 16:33, and the words of Jesus: “…in the world you will have tribulation…” There are many excerpts of Scripture which readily affirm my conviction (the entirety of Matthew Chapter 24 and 25, for example). Sparing the reader the exegetical departure however, I will simply assert that very often the answer to the most complex question is that which can be found in very simple terms; terms simple enough for a child to understand them (see Matthew 18:3).

Herein find the prophetic cup of coffee that a large cross-section of the Church in America has woefully ignored. For the fruited plain of this nation is adorned with thousands of “mega-churches,” multi-million dollar ministries which manufacture hype and hoopla on a weekly basis, spoon-feeding the masses “Christianity Lite,” and which when empty, lay barren and devoid of the fullness of God’s habitation—in part because of their unveiled disdain (curses) toward the Nation of Israel, among other corporate sins. Their failure to acknowledge and further discover the ancient jewels represented within the treasure chest of the foundation of their very faith—their Israeli-Hebraic roots—prevents them from stepping into the fullness which God has in store for them as a ministry or congregational body. No, I am not alluding to, espousing and selling the “Hebrew Roots Movement” nor the “Messianic Movement.” I rather underscore the reality, as stated earlier, that the Christian is figuratively joined-at-the-hip with the Jewish people, and the geographical nation of Israel, having been grafted-into the commonwealth of such: “…He [Jesus] made both groups into one…that He might make the two into one new man…” (Ephesians 2:14-16). Equally, “…you, being a wild olive, were grafted in…and became partaker of them with the rich root of the olive tree…” (Romans 11:17). And, not unlike Siamese Twins, wherein one meets the Lord and the other wars against Him; I see pressing need for the redeemed twin to offer the free gift to the other–with such love and conviction and fiery authority that it is simply irresistible.

There is therefore the ethnic Jew, the practicing Jew (whether ethnic or not), and the spiritual Jew–the Christian–who is often wholly unaware that they are joined-to-the-hip with the ethnic Jew (i.e., “one new man”). Laterally, consider this from the Apostle Paul: “…he is not a Jew who is one outwardly…but he is a Jew who is one inwardly…” (Romans 2:28-29).

The welfare and destiny of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel is intrinsic to the life of the Christian. To ignore such, or worse, to become angry and hate-filled whenever the words “Jew” or “Israel” are mentioned, is not unlike pursing a healthy body through a diet rich in fruit and vegetables—while laterally chain smoking and drinking a bottle of whiskey a day–and while expecting to remain in perfect health. Hello?

It should be noted at this point, that I am not advocating that Christians deny their faith and rather embrace Judaism. Hardly, what I am advocating is that of the discovery of the riches within the history and culture of our “older brother” — the Jewish Nation, Israel.  The Apostle Paul himself stated, “…no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come, but the substance is to Christ” (Col. 2:16-17). Yet hidden within this “shadow” is historical substance and tradition, much of which represents tremendous prophetic significance, and which enriches our understanding of the panoramic view throughout the ages of God’s dealings with the “apple of His eye,” as well as the implications of such for us.

The Western Church readily acknowledges and affirms the Believer who “feels called” as a missionary to Africa, or Chile, or China, or Russia. However when a Believer voices “feeling called” to Israel, to the Jewish people at large, suddenly Christian onlookers are filled with rage, and even hatred. Ask yourself why this is (?).  It is one thing to debunk and expose the erroneous theological tenets commercial Zionism; it is one thing altogether different to then go on to scorn, ridicule and condemn the Nation of Israel and every Christian who holds a deep love for the Israel and the Jewish people at large.

An often overlooked verse within the “Tanach” (Heb., Tanakh), the Old Testament, and which is known within practicing Jewish circles in a division of the Tanach known as “The Prophets;” we find nestled deep within the Book of Jeremiah, a verse from chapter 50, and verse 5, which reads:

“They will ask for the way to Zion, turning their faces in its direction; they will come that they may join themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.”

Interesting to note, is that the name “Jeremiah” in Hebrew literally means, “YVWH throws.” And as I deem Jeremiah 50:5 to represent a “prophetic pearl” for this hour, realize that a pearl has been “thrown” your way—a pearl which I encourage you to closely examine for its authenticity as you continue reading.

I deem Jeremiah 50:5 a “prophetic pearl” for this reason: The historical context of this verse places it within the framework of the ancient destruction of Babylon. Following such, and emerging from the dust, rubble and debris, is a picture of a sea of shell-shocked survivors crying:

“Please show us the way to Zion!”

Recall that Zion means quite literally, “the pure of heart.”

In addition to the two instances in history in which literal Babylon (Iraq) has fallen in great measure (past tense), messianic scholars yet look to another instance of literal Babylon falling in the future. Personally, I hold a very different view of the “Mystery Babylon” alluded to in Revelation 17 and 18. I contend that there is both a literal Babylon, and a figurative (“Mystery”) Babylon.  Please bear with me as we alight upon this theme for just a moment, that I might in turn “point the way to Zion” – a place of purity of heart.

With historical context in view, I take license at this stage to offer you in addition, an expository application, a prophetic application, which I believe speaks rather profoundly of much of our planet at this stage in history, and certainly very pointedly of the country in which I currently reside—the United States (potentially rather known as the United Socialist States). For through our repeated defiance of God; the protracted and marinated state of our lukewarm-ness as a Church nationally; and the collective decision as a majority to repeatedly turn our backs upon Israel; we are quickly marching into the very destruction depicted in chapter 50 of Jeremiah, and doing so as figurative “Babylon.”

I have for maybe 20 years or more felt that the United States is the very “Mystery Babylon” and “harlot” spoken of throughout the Book of Revelation; wherein but “one hour” she is reduced to fiery ashes.

The economy has never actually recovered from the crash of early 2009. Mainstream news media (the Establishment Media, to be more direct) for example suggests the unemployment rate is “5.6%”, when in fact it is all of 23%–and climbing.  As the economic underpinnings continue to topple, so the superficial underpinnings of much of formalized religion will topple, as most of such represents nothing more than a business, perpetuated by cunning marketing practices, and that wholly bereft of God’s favor and endorsement (i.e., His presence). Many of these religious structures and organizations are personal ministry empires—woefully removed from God’s purposes. As these structures topple under the pressure of financial strain, so millions of disillusioned Christians will emerge from beneath the dust, rubble and debris, also crying:

“Please show us the way to Zion!”—the place of purity of heart—the place nestled within the epicenter of God’s ways and means—His perfect will—discerned only through a posture of contrition, brokenness and humility before Him.

What the masses will be crying-out for, is that to know and experience the full, authentic habitation of God in their midst, and to dwell within the Church “not made with hands.” It is at this stage, as this nation and people are brought to our knees in desperation to know God’s full habitation, that Zion, “the pure of heart,” will emerge in the form of thirsty spiritual pilgrims—repenting en masse, that God have mercy upon the calculated Marxist destruction of the nation, and corresponding mercy upon the end-product of hirelings and harlotry within the Western Church. It is at this point in history; a point in history that I see unfolding upon the horizon; that I will continue my resolve to point the way to Zion (a place of purity of heart before the Lord), and to challenge each and every soul that is capable, to make a personal pilgrimage to their figurative Western Wall–a meeting place between them and God alone–to carry out a profound measure of teshuvah—a turning away from impurity, and a turning-to a place of purity of heart.

Many lovers of Scripture who reside in the U.S. have remained puzzled as to why the United States appears to have no significant place of mention within the framework of eschatology (the End Times or Last Days, as found in Scripture). Though I realize this comes as a sting to one’s national pride, I must be honest in saying that the reason the U.S. appears to have no significant place of mention or role in the latter stages of the End Times, is because it is presently, as I type in fact, subtly sliding-into a state of global irrelevancy, as the result of God’s judgment herein, which in turn is the result of a nation which, as a majority, has repeatedly turned its back upon the Jewish Nation–instead of speaking redemption to the same–in and through declaring the Lordship of Jesus therein. The ancient-to-modern history of the Jewish people is a life-lesson to the Christian. For God’s profound dealings with the Jewish people, your figurative “older brother” who has gone before you, is critical as you continue to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).

Your servant,

David

NoTurningBack(at)planetmail.com

Mission Israel

* This article is comprised of (3) sections: 2010, 2012 and 2013.  Please scroll-down to view the article in its entirety.  

**For ease of viewing, you may click the photos to enlarge them.

 

To Zion with Love – 2010

“Awake, my glory! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn!”

(King David, Psalm 57:8)

In November of 2010 a large team of Anabaptists (Amish and Mennonite leaders) embarked upon a Repentance Mission to Israel.

It was in the Winter of 2009/2010, and while visiting with Amish bishop Ben at his home in Bonners Ferry Idaho, while also having the honor of speaking at a service at the Amish church of Bonners Ferry; and while discussing this mission in its infancy; that I was asked to compose a draft of a Declaration of Repentance, to the Nation of Israel, on behalf of the Anabaptist Nation (Amish and Mennonites).  It was as we discussed the initial vision for such a mission, to include drafting the Declaration, that we in turn focused upon the essence and implications of Genesis 12:3, wherein God, speaking to Abraham, and to figurative Israel as a Nation, declared:

“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you.” 

Having determined that to have ignored the plight of persecuted Jews throughout Europe for over two centuries; the Anabaptist family as a whole had in essence “cursed” the Nation of Israel by opting to remain indifferent and collectively silent during this period, and most pointedly so in contemporary context, during the Nazi Holocaust.  It was further determined that to see the Anabaptist Nation freed from such the curse, that it may then take its rightful place on the front lines of End-Times advances; it must not only collectively resolve to bless the Nation of Israel, but to do so on Israeli soil.

It was earlier, in 2007, that the Amish of Libby Montana and Bonners Ferry Idaho (communities separated by perhaps an hours’ drive across state lines) hosted a mini-conference entitled, “The Gift of Prophecy.”  The keynote speaker was that of friend Tom, from Alabama. Tom would then invite me to speak/minister at this conference, as well as two other ministers from Alabama; Dale and Don. It was during this precious time in ministry over a 3-day period that I was introduced at one point to Amish bishop Ben and his wife Barbara.  I knew the moment I met Ben and Barbara that I would later co-labor with them in some fashion.  I was equally honored to have met Pastor Lloyd and his wife Mary Etta of the Libby Amish church, and their dear family, as well as Lloyd’s brother Elvie and his wife Rebecca, and their dear family. The Miller’s also own/manage a log home business which hand-craft’s and erects them around the nation (please see web-link to Meadowlark Log Homes at the close of this article).

Pictured below: Tom (far right), Rebecca (far left), and extended family of Libby, MT.

Pictured below: Tom, Elvie, Lloyd, David, Dale and Don.

Libby Team

Following this initial meeting of 2007, it was very clear that Tom had dully embodied the name of his ministry—by “clearing a path” for me to write history with the Anabaptist Nation shortly thereafter. One of the more distinct trademarks of Tom’s ministry is that of “clearing paths” for prophetic and apostolic ministries to run their course through maturity, throughout the globe, as well as assisting in the birthing of congregations and training centers.

With the cogwheels in-motion toward a Repentance Mission to Israel; and having been asked to compose the initial draft of the Declaration of Repentance to the Nation of Israel, I set to the task of prayerfully meditating upon a message which would speak to the very heart of Zion.

A copy of my initial draft is accessible below, by clicking the hyper-link:

Declaration Draft

Having then submitted the draft to the Amish leadership team in Bonners Ferry, to include Micah (founder and president of Global Gateway Network) who is also based near Bonners Ferry, it was decided that the draft would need to be greatly reduced, that it could be contained within a one-page parchment scroll; and that in large typeface.  Micah had been to Israel on dozens of occasions, over a period of decades, and therefore exercised keen insight into what the finished Declaration should look like (i.e., cultural relevancy). Micah was also chiefly instrumental in laying the groundwork for this mission as well as leading such.  He would remain the critical guiding-light in subsequent missions as well.

You may view the edited copy in its finished-form, as it appeared in the form of the scrolls presented to leaders in Israel, via the hyper-link below:

Finished Declaration

I remain honored to have composed the initial draft, to have co-labored with Micah, and to have played a part in the end-product which was later submitted to many key leaders in Israel.

While consecrating ourselves as our November 2010 launch-date approached; Micah and Henry (one of several key-leaders within the Bonners Ferry Amish church), in tandem with Amir, Israeli resident and representative of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism; labored to orchestrate a series of special meetings with Israeli leaders, to occur over a seven-day period.  With each pending meeting, we would collectively humble ourselves and verbally repent for having rejected the Nation of Israel, while also issuing a copy of the Declaration of Repentance scroll. As our departure of November neared, the meetings to occur would include those with:

  • Western Wall Chief Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch (met in the Hasmonean Chamber—beneath the Western Wall).
  • Yad Vashem’s Shaya Ben-Yedua with Holocaust Survivor Eliezer Ayalon (met in the Yad Vashem Synagogue).
  • Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Naomi Tzur
  • Rabbi Yitzchak David Grossman of Migdal Ohr
  • Managing Owners/Hosts of Mahalal, Moshav Ovdim; a massive farming community in Northern Israel.  Delegation enjoyed a wonderful dinner prepared by Moshav Ovdim interns/students.

For the sake of brevity, I will conclude this brief narrative by stating that the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit of God, graced each of these meetings with His sweet, tangible and often powerful presence.  In doing so it was unmistakably clear that He was honoring our hearts as we “bowed down” before the Apple of His Eye—while also touching the very core of the “Apple.”

I will continue to add additional narrative to this article as time permits; likely in small segments, as I have time, as there is a beautiful story to tell herein.  In the interim I will alight upon one particular and very personal encounter which unfolded while praying at the Kotel–the Western Wall.

In essence, and in short; as I stretched my hands toward the Wall I began to pray in accordance with Ezekiel 36:26, which reads:

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh.”

As I prayed this prayer, and while aware that “God knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts” (Heb. 4:12); I asked that the “stoney” places, the figurative scar tissue in my heart, as the result of deep wounds; many of which were self-inflicted; would be replaced with new “flesh,” and the ability to feel again where there had previously only remained numbness.  While praying this prayer at the Wall, I felt God’s supernatural healing surge through my hands and into my heart, as I lingered at the Wall. Each time I have since prayed at the Wall, and during subsequent visits, I have prayed the same, and I have continued to receive deep healing of the heart, with each encounter–healing which may be likened to the peeling of an onion–one thin layer at a time.

As I draw this introductory narrative to a close, I take joy in mentioning that Among the Mennonite leaders present, was that of Al and Ada of Pennsylvania.  Al is a seasoned professional photographer (Ada is a nurse), and true to his craft was always at the right place at the right time exercising finely honed situational-sensitivity which enabled him to capture many priceless moments in time.  All subsequent photos herein (to include the 2012 and 2013 missions further on in this article) are to his credit, and used with his permission.

(above) Al and Ada.

(above) Amish bishop Ben making verbal declaration to Host and Guide Amir, prior to presenting Amir with Declaration of Repentance.  Barbara is immediately right of Amir. Ben and Barbara’s son Cornelius can be seen behind Barbara’s right shoulder.

(above) Overlooking Jerusalem; Mennonite bishop Lloyd embraces Amir following presentation.  Micah is right of Amir.  Barbara can be seen in backdrop; Amish leader Steve is in black vest next to David in suspenders.

(above) Ceremony within the Hasmonean Chamber beneath Western Wall, HaKotel, with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch; David behind Amish bishop Ben as he prepares to kneel and verbally declare repentance on behalf of the Anabaptist Nation. English interpreter next to Rabbi Rabinovitch.

(above) Mennonite Bishop Lloyd—presentation to Rabbi Rabinovitch within Hasmonean Chamber.  Bodyguard left off Rabbi.

(above) Amish Bishop Ben addressing team within Garden of Gethsemane.

(above) Entire team with hands outstretched toward Jerusalem, praying for rain in the midst of drought.  Israeli News Channel 2 crew filming event.

(above) Amish and Mennonite brothers during worship service near Sea of Galilee. Bottom-center of photo is Amishman Aaron, patriarch of Lapp Family of Pennsylvania.

(above) Members of team near Y’shua’s tomb.

(above) Members of team pictured with IDF battalion above Jerusalem.

(above) Entire team, pictured above Jerusalem.

(above) Amish leader Henry, and David, praying at Western Wall.

(above) Amish and Mennonite team members within Christ Church Hotel courtyard.

(above) At the Kotel, discussing the Tefillim with two Orthodox Jewish brothers.

(above) David with donkey named “Herbie,” in Nazareth (Herbie liked Skittles, hidden in David’s right hand).

(above) Israeli host, Amir, and Amish leader Steve.

(above) David, kissing streets of Old Jerusalem upon arrival.

(above) Meeting with Jerusalem Deputy Major Naomi Tzur.

(above) Worship at Sea of Galilee. From left to right: Steve Lapp, Ben and Barbara.

(above) Amir, Israeli Host and Guide.

(above) First-ever incident of “DWA” in Israel (Driving While Amish).

(above) David, kissing “Streets of Zion,” inside the Zion Gate, Jewish Square.

(above) Taking-in the view in Tel Aviv.

 (above) In courtyard of Christ Church Hotel, Old Jerusalem. 

 (above) Worship, Sea of Galilee. 

(above) Worship service at Christ Church Chapel, Old Jerusalem.

(above) Micah and David, Jordan River.

(above) Meeting with our good friend, “Moshe,” Judaica shop owner, Jewish Square.

(above) David, with “Kitty of the Tribe of Judah,” in Christ Church Hotel courtyard, Old Jerusalem.

(above) Dinner at  Mahalal, Moshav Ovdim.

(above) Lloyd Hoover with Rabbi, at Kotel.

(above) David, with “Cousin of Kitty of the Tribe of Judah,” Ancient City of David.

(above) Ben and Barbara, Old Jerusalem.

(above) Old Jerusalem.

(above) Strategic meeting to determine “which way is East.”

(above) Al and Ada, with “Lion of Judah” outside Jerusalem Mayoral Office.

(above) David and Ben, at Kotel, Western Wall.

(above) Ceremony at Yad Vashem Synagogue.

(above) Above Ancient City of David, Old Jerusalem.

(above) Praying for the Peace of Jerusalem, Yad Vashem.

 

To Zion with Love – 2012

“Let me hear Your loving-kindness in the morning; for I trust in You; teach me the way in which I should walk; for to You I lift up my soul” (King David, Psalm 143:8).

In the Spring of 2012 it was determined that we would return to Israel, to follow our Repentance Mission—with a Blessing Mission—to simply bless the Nation of Israel in accordance with Genesis 12:3.  It was as the glowing embers from our 2010 experience were still smoldering, that we would go on to experience God’s precious presence in ways which surpassed our previous.  We would also see the miraculous fruits of our repentance and blessings, in the lives of Israelis very dear to us at this stage.

I will add that the intensity of our mission this time around was heightened, due to ongoing and incoming rocket-fire from Israel’s hostile neighbors.  There’s nothing quite like the exhilaration of going from sipping a “White Chocolate Mocha Latte” at Aroma Café in one moment, to scrambling to a bomb shelter in the next (smiling). I was duly impressed with the grace and poise with which Israelis responded to the incoming attacks and warnings.  I was also keenly aware of the Shield of Grace which covered the entire nation as we traveled about–and scrambled about.

I will divulge that it was through the gift of a dear friend in Hong Kong that me and my wife Gigi were able to go on this 2nd mission.  It is to him, and his Spirit-sensitivity, as well as the Spirit behind his sensitivity, that I offer my eternal gratitude.

It was during our return-mission in November 2012 that we would collectively experience the precious flow of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, through each of us as we worked in concert to again bless the Apple of God’s Eye.  Tears were shed around the clock as His love visited us, worked through us, and touched the soul of Zion once again.  We would later walk away from this equally precious 7-day encounter, with a deeper revelation of the “one new man” which Rabbi Saul so passionately discusses in Romans 9 through 11.

Our itinerary would be similar to that of our 2010 Mission, which included the addition of a privileged meeting and ceremony with Israel Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, and yet another special ceremony within Yad Vashem’s synagogue, to include blessing and embracing another Holocaust survivor.

On the occasion of our 2012 Mission, Verna Yoder would personally design and hand-embroider a beautiful wall-hanging for each the Israeli’s we were to meet with.  The wall-hangings declared Ruth 1:16, which reads:

“Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.”

(above) Amish leader Henry and our Israeli bus driver display one of many Ruth 1:16 wall-hangings presented to Israeli’s during our mission.  Amir and Hanna, our hosts, can be seen in backdrop.

My narrative of this mission is limited to a cursory glimpse at present.  I will purpose to add more narrative as time unfolds, and will allow the photos to rather tell the story for the present.

One particular event that I will insert presently, is that of a truly mind-boggling experience in the Upper Room. In short, as our Amish-Mennonite team entered the Upper Room, we were stricken with the beauty of roughly 25 Brazilians in a far corner, praying in the Spirit with great intensity.  We immediately lifted our hands and began the same–roughly 25 of us at the moment.  In turn, roughly 25 Koreans who had been quietly singing songs in yet another area of the room, lifted their hands, and began praying in the Spirit with much volume and intensity.  In the same moment, all three groups shot into what one might call “full-afterburner” in praying the Spirit–at the top of our lungs.  We did so for an extended period, and as we did so the Holy Spirit filled the room in such measure that most were weeping and many had to fall to their knees with emotion.

(above) Upper Room experience – photo A.

(above) Upper Room experience – photo B.

(above – Upper Room experience – photo C.

Yet another truly life-changing moment was that on our ascent to Mt. Carmel, wherein we stopped to have lunch at a cafe prior to making the final trek up the mountain.  During this stop, we would experience the profound fruits of our labor in the form of an encounter which would echo into eternity.  Because of the nature of the event and the people involved, it is prudent to refrain from additional detail, and to rather simply declare Baruch HaShem!–for His mighty hand at work in our midst.

(above) Planning session in bomb shelter of hotel. Rocket Warning sirens could be heard during this meeting.

(above) Israeli Host Amir, and Amish patriarch Aaron share a word with the team.

(above) Fanning the flame at JFK Airport (NYC) prior to departure for Tel Aviv, by sharing our personal testimonies of God’s goodness and grace.  Jonas shares his story. Brother’s Steve and Jake (left to right) are next to Jonas.

(above) Israeli host Amir, and Micah of Global Gateway Network.

(above) Mt. Carmel. Left to Right: Amish Pastor Lloyd, Amir, Hanna, David & Gigi, Mary Etta.

(above) Amish Bishop Ben, caught in a moment of deep introspection.

(above) Ben and Al–the view of Mt. Carmel. Jonas in backdrop.

(above) Amir and David, Mt. Carmel.

(above) Impromptu prayer and worship together.

(above) Mennonite Bishop Lloyd, worshipping in Nazarene synagogue.

(above) Frank and Sarah, Russian Mennonites, based in Canada.

(above) Mt. Carmel: Amir and Hanna.

(above) Mt. Carmel: Ben, Hanna and Amir.

(above) Olive Press, Nazareth.  Note crushed olives about stone wheel. Anyone been here before–figuratively speaking (smiling) ????

(above) Group prayer and petition.

(above) Team photo: above Kidron Valley.  Kotel and Dome of the Rock can be seen in the distance.

DSC_9537(above) Mt. Carmel: Amir & Hanna; Micah and Nancy.

(above) Golgotha.

(above) View from Mt. Carmel.

(above) Amish pastors Lloyd and Mary Etta.

(above) David and Gigi–Garden of Gethsemane.

(above) Ben and David, praying at Western Wall.

Blessing Israel at Jerusalem Mayors Office(above) Jerusalem: Praying with Jerusalem Deputy Major Naomi Tzur at Mayoral Office.

Chief Rabbi of Israel - B(above) Jerusalem: Presentation to Israel Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger.

(above) Jerusalem: Meeting with Israel Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger.

(above) The Kotel: Hasomean Chamber beneath Western Wall; initiation of meeting with Chief Rabbi of Western Wall Shmuel Rabinovitch.

(above) Jerusalem: Meeting with Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Naomi Tzur, at Mayoral Office.

(above) Jerusalem: Meeting with Israel Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger.

(above) Lloyd addresses delegation at Yad Vashem Synagogue, with Holocaust Survivor present.

(above) Yad Vashem host/guide.

(above) Lloyd addresses delegation at Yad Vashem Synagogue. Holocaust survivor in front row, second from left, with peach-colored scarf.

(above) Holocaust survivor in attendance at Yad Vashem Synagogue ceremony, at-left, wearing peach-colored scarf.

(above) Ceremony at Yad Vashem Synagogue.

(above) Jerusalem: Ceremony with Israel Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger.

(above) Steve and David, Sea of Galilee.

(above) Israeli host and guide Amir, praying blessing over David & Gigi.

(above) Kotel, Western Wall, Jerusalem: David, Jacob Lapp and IDF soldier.

(above) Israeli Rabbi praying blessing over Aaron.

(above) Singing, at Kotel.

Yad Vashem Synagogue(above) Yad Vashem Synagogue. Holocaust historian addresses our delegation.

(above) Kotel: Hasmonean Chamber beneath Western Wall; ceremony with Western Wall Chief Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch.

(above) Western Wall: Ben, Rabbi, David and Jacob.

(above) Moments after meeting with Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Naomi Tzur at Jerusalem Mayoral Office.

(above) Ben address team.

(above) Praying a blessing over Amir.

(above) Amir addresses team at Caesarea Philippi (“Gates of Hell”).  

(above) Jonas shares a word with team, on boat, on Sea of Galilee.

(above) The Very Often Right Reverent Al.

(above) Negev Region, en route to Dead Sea.

(above) Sea of Galilee.

(above) Sea of Galilee.

(above) Sea of Galilee.

(above) The Women, at Jordan River.

(above) Escorting Holocaust survivor at close of ceremony at Yad Vashem Synagogue.

(above) Escorting Holocaust survivor, close of ceremony at Yad Vashem Synagogue.

(above) Gigi, at Kibbutz, with cat “Herbie” — nephew of “Kitty of the Tribe of Judah.”

(above) Al and Ada.

(above) Worship on Mt. Carmel.

“…those who love His name will dwell there…” (King David, Psalm 69:6).

To Zion with Love – 2013

“My soul waits for the Lord, more than the watchmen for the morning…” (King David, Psalm 130:6).

Often the most critical ministries in which we will engage throughout our lifetimes can be likened to the philosophy and goal of the U.S. military’s Delta Force, wherein operations are carried out with very few ever knowing they occurred.  Such was the case with my return to Israel in January 2013.

Returning to Israel solo, I was representing the Anabaptist Connections Team and several other friends, who made my return possible by under-girding this trip financially and spiritually.  It was therefore as representative of the entire team that I returned to minister to two precious Israeli friends who needed a healing miracle.

On the heels of a protracted and grueling fast previous to my departure, I then looked like an emaciated vagabond upon my arrival.  However in the spirit, I felt very bold. For seven days I earnestly contended for a divine healing.  I can say that in 3 decades of intense ministry, I had yet to meet with a battle such as this.  God yet showed Himself sovereign in many ways.

During this mission, my 3rd to Israel as of this date, I had the unusual privilege of spending extended time at the Kotel, the Western Wall. Having prayed at the Wall on previous occasions, I had yet to experience such on Erev Shabbat (Friday evening).  The presence of God was profoundly so on this night.  I am aware that our spiritual senses are unusually keen during and following a long and intense fast.  This evening could have therefore been “like any other” to local Israelis.  For me however, time seemed to stand-still as I leaned against the Wall and earnestly contended in intercession for this dear Israeli couple.  While doing so, and while also feeling as if I were in another realm beyond the physical, I was granted perhaps a nanosecond experience of feeling the Father’s heart for this couple.  His love was profound, and surged my heart with a supernatural heat.  I could only weep during this experience.

My heart has been deeply wed to the fabric of Jerusalem.  And when I am away from Jerusalem I feel as if I have been displaced from my childhood home.

It has been a high honor for me, co-laboring with my dear Anabaptist friends, as well as my larger circle of friends around the globe who have under-girded me with support and prayer during each of these three missions to Israel.  And as truly amazing as each of these missions have been, I believe this is only the beginning…

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*Note: Please take a moment to view the web-links below, in association with several ministries represented in what would become (3) strategic missions to Israel.

Path Clearer Ministries:

http://pathclearer.com/

The above web-link represents a ministry founded by Dr. Tom, who truly embodies the namesake of his ministry, in that he “clears paths” in the work of the ministry around the globe.  I have had the privilege of ministering with Tom in three states to date, each venue of which entailed prophetic mini-conferences which were very fruitful and which spawned many testimonies of lasting fruit—fruit which remains. Tom moves in the prophetic and apostolic realms, and has authored 4 books to date (the latest of which is approaching publishing).  The 3 titles currently available can be purchased from the above site.  I recommend all of them.  I was honored to compose an endorsement for his Hope When Everything Seems Hopeless volume, which can be viewed via the sub-link below:

http://pathclearer.com/hope_book.html

Anabaptist Connections:

http://www.anabaptistconnections.org

The above web-link represents the vision and mission which fuels the Anabaptist team based largely in Bonners Ferry Idaho and Libby Montana respectively.

http://www.bengirod.com/excerpt/

The above web-link represents Bishop Ben latest book: An Amish Journey to Forgiveness.  I was deeply honored to labor to produce the initial draft of this book, whereby Micah of Global Gateway Network equally labored to produce the final edit. This web-link will take you to the book Preface was I was doubly-honored to compose.  I encourage you to not only purchase a copy of this volume, but to also consider purchasing Ben’s first book:

Baptized by Fire: The Gethsemane Way, which can be purchased via the AnabaptistConnections site.

Gobal Gateway Network:

 http://globalgatewaynetwork.org

The above web-link represents the ministry founded by Micah—a ministry which impacts the globe through planting and overseeing new congregations in very remote regions of non-English speaking people groups. Micah is regularly joined in his global missions by GGN team members representing the medical professions, and who donate their time and resources to helping and healing the needy.  Micah is also responsible for acting as a conduit for hundreds of Believers making their first pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and that over a period of decades.

Light of Hope Ministries:

 http://lightofhopeministries.com

The above web-link represents the ministry of the extended Amish Lapp family based in Pennsylvania.  This courageous family has also served as overseers of “The Glory Barn,” a congregation which characteristically moves in the power of the Holy Spirit, and which has seen countless healing miracles in their midst.  I recommend Steve Lapp’s new book: The Glory Path, which can be purchased from this site.  I characterize the Lapp’s as exuding what I call “Freight Train Faith,” wherein they will stop at nothing to see God’s glory manifested in their midst—wherever they happen to be.

Meadowlark Log Homes:

Meadowlark Log Homes

Owned by the Amish Miller Family, settled largely in Libby Montana; the business is under-girded with a great deal of honesty, integrity, character and superb craftsmanship and commitment to excellence.  The Miller Family are wholly submitted to serving God, and to honoring Him through the work of their hands.