From the Church in Israel

By Francis Frangipane

Israel is the epicenter of many of the world's events. Indeed, what happens in the Holy Land can cause powerful shock waves around the world. Daily, we are deluged by reports from newsrooms about Israel.  As we in the church have learned to care more for the Jewish people, we have become more sensitive to how the nation of Israel views us. We are even concerned about the viewpoints of the Orthodox Jews as well as the positions and threats of Israel's Islamic enemies.  Added to this sea of voices and opinions, we also listen to the teachings of evangelical preachers, calling us to pray for the peace and protection of the Jewish people.  All of this is good and acceptable.  However, most of us have yet to hear from the actual leaders of the evangelical church in Israel.

Thus, on a recent trip to the Holy Land, I made it a point to visit with a number of Israeli pastors.  I was so impressed with their love, faith and humility that I asked them if they would issue a statement that might, in some way, express their hearts to the wider body of Christ, especially to the church in America, but also throughout the world.  The pastors with whom I spoke were, in fact, representatives of a larger group of around 70 leaders.  As I listened to their hearts, it was easy to see that these were believers in pursuit of Christ's character.  Although they came from a variety of church backgrounds, their hearts were steadfastly united in Christ, and they are individuals given to prayer and evangelism. 

I believe Christianity needs to hear the voice of the church in Israel.  Thus, in the months ahead, my hope is to feature the perspectives and insights from leaders serving Christ in the Holy Land.  Indeed, I was blessed to learn that, when major hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast of the USA, these leaders did not automatically judge and condemn the United States.  Instead, they focused their congregations on redemptive prayer for America.  As I listened to them, I was deeply impressed that the church in Israel was truly growing into the spiritual temple of God (Eph 2:21-22; 1 Cor 3:16).  In a very moving way, I felt the significance of a genuine holy reality - as big a miracle of grace as the restoration of Israel itself.  The church in Israel was praying for believers in America and around the world.  They were truly becoming "a house of prayer for all nations."   

With the memory of Hurricane Katrina in mind, they sent this greeting:

To the Church in America,

Shalom. We are a body of leaders in Israel who would like to express our hearts concerning the tragic events which took place in America due to recent hurricanes. Please help us connect with as many of our brothers and sisters as possible by forwarding this letter to the Body of Messiah throughout the different churches in the USA.

First of all, please accept our apologies for not responding earlier. Sometimes the sheer enormity of these events leaves one at a loss for meaningful words. We are struck by the weight of the catastrophes which hit the Gulf States of the southern U.S. and by the resulting distress and suffering of so many people. We feel earnest sorrow for the great loss of life and livelihood; and we would like to assure our brothers and sisters in America of our love and prayers, as we earnestly beseech our God to intervene in this situation. We consider it important to let you know that we are standing with you in this critical hour, wanting to express our sympathy and brotherly friendship and taking the opportunity to utter our thanks for the American believers' faithfulness concerning their relationship to Israel. How often in years past have we received your intensive support in prayer and in generous giving!

Our main reason for wanting to extend comfort to you is the simple fact that you are our brothers and sisters in the Lord. In addition, God has used America again and again to provide assistance to Israel as a nation. We are bound together on many levels. "And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it" (1Corinthians 12:26).

At the same time it is our prayer that God will use this season of shaking as a new awakening of the American church, as well as the nation. May He impart His heart and thoughts to His people in more meaningful ways than in any previous generation. May His kingdom break through in new and bigger dimensions - within the United States and, through selfless American Christians, across the entire world! For it is written, "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

Israel - as God's chosen people and the firstborn among the nations - has experienced a history of much shaking, even to the degree of judgment (a history that has not yet come to an end). But we know that the reason for this is God's holy love and divine calling. He disciplines the ones he loves (Hebrews 12:6). The United States has been considered by all a favored nation, used mightily by God and blessed for her missionary work and for standing by Israel through the years. She has been given abundant material and spiritual blessings. She sees herself as the leader of the world. It is only to be expected that such a nation will be held accountable to a higher standard of righteousness. We want to encourage you to shine brightly amidst a darkening world. In this sense of blessing, calling and responsibility there are strong parallels between our nations, highlighting God's principle that "from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked" (Luke 12:48).

We pray that your ear would be next to God's heart in the midst of the calamities which have stricken your great nation. May you tangibly experience His presence in every trying hour. Through the tears, may you and your nation experience the richness of God's mercy. May He be glorified in your courageous and compassionate response.

We love and appreciate you. We are with you.

Your brothers in Yeshua our Messiah,
Arthur Goldberg
Calev Myers
Marcel Rebiai
Eitan Shishkoff
Evan Thomas
Daniel YahavAvi Mizrachi
Howard Bass
Wayne Hilsden
Dan Juster
Asher Intrater
(And many others who were not available to sign this letter).

For more information on how you can support the emerging church in Israel, please contact
www.revive-israel.org.