Happy 70th Birthday, Israel!

IMG_20180513_200048610

Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments to the ACLI/ICEJ Conference in Washington DC

It’s finally here…HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ISRAEL!

Image result for seventy and strong galaI’m in Washington DC to celebrate two very important things: Israel’s 70th birthday, and the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.  American Christian Leaders for Israel and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem have teamed together for a huge gala celebration, hosted by the Museum of the Bible.  (All three are partners in standing for Israel.)

Last night’s gala was a sold out event where 400 Christian Leaders gathered to celebrate.  One highlight was a message from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sincerely thanking American Christians for standing with Israel and helping to drive forward the move of the Embassy to Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, in Israel, Netanyahu welcomed the US delegation to Jerusalem and lauded President Trump and his administration for their leadership.  The true test of a leader is whether or not anyone follows, and the Prime Minister glowingly mentioned the move of other embassies to Jerusalem in the coming days and weeks.  Indeed, America has led the charge.  Here is Netanyahu’s welcoming remarks to the US team in Jerusalem:

 

At the gala we also heard from several Christian leaders and people of influence.  Gary Bauer (Family Research Council and former official in President Reagan’s administration) was especially poignant, pointing out the foreign policy successes of the American administration during the Trump era.

We were also reminded of “Cyrus moments” in our nation’s history.  It’s fascinating, and I’ll share more about that as I have time to write.  (Check back this afternoon or tomorrow.)

Meanwhile, let’s all join together in wishing Israel a blessed 70th birthday…and a prayer that, as the Lord continues to watch over her, that the eyes of His people will be open to see Him as their Messiah!

Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
~Psalm 121:4

 

Jesus in Nazareth: A Prophet Not Welcomed in His Own Hometown

Image result for prophet hometown

Luke 4 gives the account of Jesus returning to Nazareth, the village where He grew up, following His baptism.  When He arrived, He stood in the synagogue to read the prescribed passage from Isaiah 61 (as quoted by Jesus in Luke 4):

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

What happened next?  Pick up the account in this 4-minute video from Museum of the Bible:

Indeed, “home” would never really be “home” again for Jesus.

What about you…are you “home” in this world?  The Bible says we are aliens here, and citizens of God’s household (Ephesians 2:19-22).  Just as Jesus was not welcome in His hometown, we are not “welcome” in this world.  Soon and very soon, we will be with Jesus, in our eternal home with Him!

Oh what a day!  Maranatha!

Your Chance to Touch the Western Wall

Many will never have the opportunity to go to Israel and actually visit the Western Wall, the holiest place on earth for the Jewish people.  It is a very moving place, and one I find to be extremely bitter-sweet.  (Here is a live cam…check it out!)

“Sweet” because no people group on earth is any more passionate for their God than the Jewish people.  There are those who visit the wall every day, praying fervently to the God of Israel, and desiring to connect with Him.

“Bitter” because most are “so close, yet so far” from recognizing the Jewish rabbi named Jesus who came as their Messiah.  Luke 19:44 tells us they “did not recognize the time of their visitation.”  But one day they will recognize Him and the wall will be but a shadow of the real thing!

Image result for western wall museum of the bibleToday, however, to go there is a very great privilege.  But, for those who may never be able to go to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Israeli Antiquities Authority has brought a large piece of the wall (and about 800 other artifacts) to the US!  Now housed in the newly-opened Museum of the Bible in Washington DC, a one-ton stone from the Western wall is on display, and visitors are encouraged to actually touch the stone to “connect” to what it might be like to be at the wall.

Related imageAnother “connection” to Israel is the mock village of Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus.  With its realistic look and feel, including staff members dressed as citizens of Nazareth in Jesus’ day, the Bible comes to life as one examines what life in that small village was like.

I am most grateful to the Museum of the Bible, as they are active co-sponsors of Christian Leaders Seminars hosted by Christian Friends of Yad Vashem.  (Yad Vashem is the Holocaust Museum and Research Center in Jerusalem.)  By the grace of God, I was invited to attend one of those seminars a couple years ago and it greatly bolstered my knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust and modern-day treatment of the Jewish people.  During our annual refreshers in Washington DC, I had the honor of touring the Museum of the Bible twice (before it opened to the public) and can attest first-hand to the quality of the museum.

If you have the opportunity to travel to Israel, by all means do so!  However, if that is not possible, I urge you to visit the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC.  The 480,000 square foot Bible museum obviously houses much more than Israel-related exhibits.  However, the “touch of Israel” is significant and the museum is absolutely incredible.  Don’t miss an opportunity to see it!

(Many thanks to my friends at Yad Vashem and Museum of the Bible!)

Judaism Takes a Prominent Place in the Newly-Opened Museum of the Bible

I’m pausing this afternoon from our ongoing mini-study regarding Jesus’ return.  So, if you’re looking for that study (which began on Thursday), the next post will be tomorrow (Sunday) morning.

However, the long-awaited Museum of the Bible just opened in Washington DC, and there is ample recognition of the Bible’s foundation in Judaism.  The Jerusalem Post released an article focusing on that.

I had the privilege of taking two behind-the-scenes tours during construction of the Museum of the Bible, and can tell you it is a marvelous place!  (I shared a bit of detail here.)  The 8-story, 430,000sf  museum is considerably larger than the neighboring National Air and Space Museum (which houses aircraft, among other things).  From the upper floors, one gets an incredible view of the US Capital Building.

The museum is incredibly high-tech and the Bible is unashamedly the central focus throughout.  But, rather than trying to describe its many features, I’ll direct you to this virtual fly through:

 

You will find more info, such as floor-by-floor overviews, construction time lapse video, and other interesting media here.

Though admittedly not an “evangelistic” museum, its quality and focus on God’s Word makes it a museum of which Christians can be proud, and I highly recommend it.  Let’s pray that, as millions visit the museum, they will be encouraged to open THE BOOK!

PS: Museum of the Bible is a critical partner with Christian Friends of Yad Vashem, helping to educate Christians about the history of the Jews and why we should stand with them.