Special Reports

Journey to the Promised Land

Throughout the centuries of living in the diaspora, Jewish communities around the world invested their all to create safe homes for their children in the countries in which they lived. When the modern state of Israel was established in the twentieth century, many Jewish families were afraid to risk what they had, and move to the land they knew only from the Bible.

Today, the remaining Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union countries of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are no longer safe and they are slowly realizing there is only one home – the land of Israel. The need for assistance to return them to their Promised Land is so great, and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) recognizes this opportunity for Christians to participate in the fulfillment of prophecy, helping Jews return home!

The sudden decline of world oil prices caused the Russian and Belarusian currencies to lose more than half of their value and, following serious economic difficulties, Ukraine became entangled in a civil war. All three countries are stricken with capital flight, corruption, kleptocracy, mafia-like oligarchy and suppression of personal freedoms; all of which are influencing Jewish families to move to Israel.

Since the early 1990s, the ICEJ has been assisting Jewish people make Aliyah from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Today we help more than 2,000 people each year collect all necessary documents, and we extend hospitality and humanitarian help. The ICEJ even helps the immigrants travel to the airport if necessary, as many direct flights to Israel depart from Finland.

 


Please join us in assisting this sudden and remarkable surge in Aliyah from the former Soviet states! 

ICEJ Encourages Young Israelis to Dream

Along Israel’s southern borders with Gaza and Egypt, daily life is regularly interrupted by sirens and alerts, which give only 15 seconds notice of an incoming missile. The ICEJ staff recently paid a solidarity visit to some fo the communities close to the Gaza border, to show support and see the fruit of ICEJ donations from the past months.

On the beautiful grounds of a kibbutz near Gaza is a home for girls aged 12-18, who have been rescued from environments of abuse. With dedicated counsellors and personalised treatment, they have been given an opportunity to build new friendships. At this caring place many of the girls choose to study for a profession which will enable them to help other young Israelis who may have gone through similar traumas.

Some of us wondered why this facility was built so close to the Gaza border. In addition to this region being their home, the experiences of facing threats together and learning how to handle dangerous situations with confidence, actually strengthens the residents in their efforts to overcome other problems.

Thanks to Christian support, the ICEJ sponsored a large dining and living area on the premises, where ICEJ staff members found the girls practising English, playing games, and socializing. At last these troubled girls live in a place which gives them hope for the future.

CLICK HERE to support projects like this one.

The ICEJ staff also visited a school for performing arts near Kibbutz Magen by the Gaza Strip. As the first of its kind in this southern region of Israel, the school provides local students with educational opportunities similar to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. The goal is to make available a world-class, intensive program in performing arts to high school students with artistic potential whose parents cannot afford professional schools in bigger cities.

A sobering security update from the region helped staff members understand the concerns of parents whose children attend the school. Thus we were delighted to witness the delivery of another ICEJ-funded shelters to the school.

The ICEJ has the privilege of being a part of the miracle by lending a helping hand in many different ways, bringing encouragement and security to the courageous residents along the dangerous southern border of Israel.

Please help us continue this life-changing work in Israel!

CLICK HERE to send your gift to ICEJ Aid

The ancient cities of Turkey and the modern world

The Republic of Turkey is a land of rich beauty and history, a land of ancient empires with shores on the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. Today, even with the turmoil of terrorism and regional conflicts many people from all over the world come to enjoy the beauty and history of this land. Few tourists, however, seem to know or remember that this ancient land, which today is 99% Muslim, was once the cradle of Christianity.

It was here that the Apostle Paul spent most of his time during his first, second, and third missionary journeys in the First Century AD. Paul brought the gospel of Jesus Christ and established many churches, which later are mentioned in the Book of Revelation: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It was here in the ancient city of Antioch of Pisidia that the term “Christians” was first used to describe followers of Christ (Acts 11:26).

Over time the teachings of Christ were incorporated into the daily lives, community and culture of these followers throughout the provinces. Christianity spread throughout this area, but there is little physical evidence of the early church, since the Christians tended to meet in private homes. It was not until the 4th Century AD when the Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire that churches came into public view.

It was in the land of today’s Turkey where ecumenical councils developed the foundations of the Christian faith that exist to this day. A long list of great figures laid the moral and cultural values that are the foundation of the Judeo-Christian faith. This cradle of Christian civilization however was rocked with the coming of Islam, which had its beginning in the 7th Century AD.  For 700 years the Byzantine Empire, at that point vastly Christian, resisted the onslaught of Islam but on May 29, 1453 Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks.

Under the rule of the Ottomans, Islam became the official religion of the area. Churches and Synagogues were destroyed or converted to Mosques. The magnificent St. Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople was taken by the Islamists and turned into the Hagia Sophia Mosque. Soon policies were designed to encourage or force conversions of Christians to Islam. As a result, in today’s Turkey, with population of more than 70 million, less than 1% profess themselves as Christians.

Under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first President and founder of modern Turkey, a secular form of government was established. Today this system is under attack, and in the 2007 elections the pro-Islamic AKR (Party of Justice and Development) took over the power, with hopes to amend the constitution making it more “Islamic”.

Besides Christians, there is another community in Turkey that is rapidly disappearing - the Jews. Today it is estimated there are only 20,000 Jews in Turkey, mainly in Istanbul, the capital city. They keep a low profile for fear of the hostility from their Muslim neighbors. In November 2007 one Imam in Istanbul attached to the door of his mosque a verse from the Koran that read “friendship with Jews and Christians is forbidden.”

Today terrorism and radical Islam have taken over most of the Middle East and spread further into Europe. What happened?  How is it that the world has become distracted from the teachings of Christ?  Why is it that the religion of peace and love has been effectively swept away? The Bible teaches us that the way to distraction starts with a cooling down of the hearts and spiritual lives of Christians, in churches, and in the culture.

The fall of Christianity in Turkey began far earlier than the invasion of the Ottoman Turks. Jesus commended the great church in Ephesus for testing those who claimed to be Apostles but were not. He applauded them for enduring persecution, nevertheless He held it against them that they had forsaken their first love. They got caught up in church administration and neglected the purpose of the church – to glorify God through the work of Christ.

To the church of Pergamum Jesus said that they had allowed the teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitans within the church - they allowed false teachings. Jesus accused the church at Thyatira of tolerating the teachings of Jezebel who was misleading people into sexual immorality and consuming food sacrificed to idols. He accused the church in Sardis of being a dead church and warned them to “wake up”. Finally, the church in Laodicia was considered lukewarm, because they became too comfortable in their wealth.

Do these messages to churches nearly 2,000 years ago have any relevance to today?  Absolutely! Persecution is not the worst thing that could happen to believers. The true danger lies in compromising Church doctrine by including secular and pagan ideas in our teachings. The churches in Philadelphia and Smyrna resisted pressures from the world and they endured the persecution that came their way. The other five churches turned from a pure love of Christ and allowed sensuality, false teaching and worldly ideas to distract them from the pure gospel.

The fact that there is a remnant of Christians still existing in Turkey today can be attributed to the values lived and steadfastly adhered to long ago by those in the churches of Philadelphia and Smyrna. Jesus’ words were not just for the seven churches from 2,000 years ago. He speaks to every church, in every culture, in every period of time in the past, present and future. His message is of the victory we achieve by endurance, commitment to truth, boldness, and unyielding adherence to the unmodified teachings of Christ.

The lessons from the seven churches in the Book of Revelation are relevant today. Many have forgotten their first love and focused on church teachings polluted by secular inclusiveness, ignoring God’s call to holiness. Is this what we expect to happen to the Christian churches, to fade into dust leaving only a remnant, like in Turkey? It is time for all of us to listen to what Jesus said to the church at Sardis: Wake Up!

The World Standing Up as One for Israel

Since the beginnings of our work in early 1980s, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has been actively involved in the nations, raising prayer in all corners of the world and inspiring churches to discover God’s heart for His people. We bring awareness of what God is doing in Israel and encourage engagement on political, social and educational level globally.

We reach out to churches and various Christian communities, as well as private and public schools, governmental institutions, businesses and more.  Above all, we inspire the nations to pray fervently for Israel and the Jewish people, as we see Biblical prophesies being fulfilled before our eyes.

With branches on every continent, the ICEJ is bringing change for the sake of Jerusalem and God’s purposes for His people.

EUROPE

With an office in almost every European nation, the ICEJ connects with churches to unite Christians in prayer for the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel and the Bride – the Church. The ICEJ holds a strong and evident pro-Israel position in the political sphere of the continent, while also promoting Jewish-Christian reconciliation and raising support for Israel.

ASIA

With some of the most astounding revivals happening in Asia, the Gospel is touching souls across the continent while also drawing people’s attention to the nation chosen by God. The ICEJ is hard at work in bringing awareness and support for Israel through the local ICEJ offices and representatives.

AUSTRALIA AND OCEANIA

“From Jerusalem to the ends of the Earth” is a commission we take very literally, teaching the Bible and encouraging Christians even from the farthest lands in the Pacific to stand with Israel. Despite the geographical distance, Christians from Australia, New Zealand and the surrounding islands have been regularly attending the Feast of Tabernacles in great numbers.

AFRICA

A few years ago the ICEJ received a prophetic word that new national branches would open in ten Muslim countries. It wasn’t long after that when pastor Abdou Maiga from Mali/Senegal joined the ICEJ family and through his sphere of influence several new African countries opened their doors to the work of ICEJ. The most recent branch was inaugurated just this summer – in the country of MALAWI.

NORTH AMERICA

The deep concern for Israel and her safety is shared by many American and Canadian supporters of the ICEJ, who have been very active on the political scene in their countries and internationally. The “Not One Bomb for Iran” petition was signed by more than 60,000 people, and even more tens of thousands have joined the Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative to regularly pray for Israel.

CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA

The dynamic Christian communities of Latin America are becoming increasingly stronger in their interest in and support for Israel. The ICEJ has been very successful in building a strong network of support for the people of Israel, both in prayer as well as diplomatically.

Ethiopian Jews on the Road to Freedom

In early October, just in time for the Feast of Sukkot, 63 Ethiopian Jews arrived in Israel as precursors of the latest wave of Aliyah from Ethiopia. Thanks to the support of the ICEJ, they were finally reunited with relatives who came to Israel in the years past.

The ICEJ, depending on Christian donors from every continent, vowed to bring many more Ethiopian Jews home, to reunite the families and provide a better future for the new generation of immigrants from the South.

On the day the first Aliyah flight from Ethiopia arrived this year, a state of emergency was put in place in this struggling African country. The Jewish families from Gondar need to be transported with great caution to Addis Ababa, the capital city 660 km away, where they can then board a flight to their Promised Land.  
 
So far, with your faithful support, the ICEJ is able to sponsor the journey for the first 523 people. However, more Ethiopian Jews still need our help!
 

 

Settling in the Promised Land

In addition to helping with flights, the ICEJ will also help with absorption of Ethiopian Jews. In a way, their journey from poor villages in Ethiopia to the very developed country of Israel is like being transported 400 years into the future. 

The new immigrants need a lot of help in understanding this new culture, so they are welcomed to absorption centers in various parts of the country where they learn the Hebrew language and Jewish history, such as the Holocaust and Israeli fight for independence. They also learn more about the Biblical holidays – Chanukah, Passover, and more – which many of them have celebrated in Ethiopia, thanks to oral traditions, but without understanding their history and significance.
 

Helping Fire Victims in Israel

With the aid of countries near and far, Israeli authorities have managed to bring the recent rash of wildfires under control, but hundreds of families are only now starting to struggle with the loss of their homes and all their possessions.
 
There were hundreds of forest fires all across Israel over the past week, largely due to the dry, windy conditions. But it also is now clear that many were deliberately set, including the massive blazes which swept through built-up neighborhoods of Haifa last Thursday. More than 485 families have been left homeless in Haifa and nationwide, with another 230 severely damaged homes still to be inspected. These people are in desperate need of assistance.
 
Since the fires in Haifa and certain other areas were ignited for “nationalistic motives”, the Israeli government will provide funds to help those affected families recover. But it will take some time for this assistance to reach them, and there are desperate needs right now which we must reach out to meet.
 
Currently, there are more than a dozen elderly residents displaced from their homes who are still staying as guests at our Home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa. The Home also is feeding about 280 people every day, about double its normal capacity. Many of these elderly fire victims are requesting help to purchase new furniture, appliances, clothes, bedding, and other household items. This week we will be handing over at least 38 more beds and 25 new refrigerators to some very thankful families. Meanwhile, we also are purchasing 25 oxygen generators and other medical supplies which are urgently needed by some of these elderly victims of the blazes.
 
In addition, an ICEJ aid team will be in Haifa on Tuesday to visit some of the displaced families, deliver over 100 new quilts and blankets, and work on several damaged homes.
 
Meantime, the Jewish Agency has asked for our help to provide immediate grants of $1000 to every Israeli family who has lost their home due to the fires. This will help them make urgent purchases while they wait for other government aid. We are considering to assist at least 20 homeless families in this way, knowing that we too would greatly appreciate such timely aid under these tragic circumstances.
 
The ICEJ would like to thank everyone who has responded so far to our appeals for donations to assist these fire victims in Israel. And please continue to send your gifts to meet these urgent needs.
 
 
Thanks so much for opening your hearts to Israel once again!
 
And please continue to open your hearts to their needs. Give generously to our Israel Disaster Relief Fund.
 

Update on Fire Victims in Haifa

While dangerous wildfires are still being battled all across Israel this Friday, the raging fires which swept through the city of Haifa yesterday are largely under control now. Most of the 70,000 Haifa residents forced to evacuate their neighborhoods on Thursday are being allowed to return, but many will come home to disaster as more than 700 houses were damaged or destroyed by flames.
 
The ICEJ’s Home for Holocaust Survivors in Haifa opened its doors overnight to accommodate an extra 27 elderly people who had to flee their homes. Dozens of others came just for the day, seeking a safe shelter and hot meal before moving on to stay with relatives or friends. Most of these evacuees were themselves Holocaust survivors. Many did not know about our home beforehand but felt very welcomed and relieved when they arrived. An ICEJ AID team was there to give assistance and calm nerves. A doctor and nurse also were on hand to treat those suffering from exhaustion and high blood pressure. Many were allowed to return to their homes today, but 17 guests will stay over the Shabbat weekend before going home. Sadly, several will need longer term solutions as their homes and apartments were badly damaged or destroyed.
 
Thanks to your generosity, the Christian Embassy was able to spring into action yesterday with emergency care for many others as well. We purchased 180 foldable beds which were used at the Haifa Home and several other shelters across the city to accommodate evacuees. Many are still in these shelters and face uncertainty since they now have no place to call home. They had to flee quickly, with so little in their hands, and now that is all they have left. So continue to lift them up in prayer.
 
And please continue to open your hearts to their needs. Give generously to our Israel Disaster Relief Fund.
 
 
Thank you again for responding so quickly to these urgent needs!
 

Sharing the Power of Resurrected Jesus

“The resurrected King is resurrecting me!” - the worship burst forth through the peaceful garden, as hundreds of Christians from every continent were taking their seats facing the tomb likely to have been the place of Jesus’ resurrection. When the music faded, the Garden Tomb director, Stephen Bridge, welcomed everyone saying, “We have made the garden free for you, but what happened here in this place cost Jesus everything.”

Oded Shoshani, a Messianic Jewish pastor, and Vincent Shamaz, an Arab Christian pastor, lead communion together. Shoshani emphasized the importance of us partaking in communion together as the Body of Christ. “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share one loaf.” (1 Cor 10:16-17)

After remembering our Savior’s death and resurrection through communion, Pastor Wayne Hilsden shared a powerful message on Romans 6:5: “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

Feast attendee Berly Kristiansen from Norway shared how deeply impacted she was by the service. “As we were worshipping, I felt God’s presence come over us as if He was kissing His children, because He was so pleased with all us – from all around the world, gathered together to worship Him!” 

Many were blessed by God’s peace and powerful resurrected presence, as we entered into the feast of Succot in the heart of His holy city, Jerusalem.

ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles Opens at Ein Gedi

The ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles 2016 opened Sunday evening at the Ein Gedi Spa with nearly 4,000 pilgrims from more than 80 countries from around the world enjoying the traditional picnic, Davidic dance and worship and an invigorating message from Pastor Dionny Baez from Philadelphia, USA. The colorful and diverse crowd on the shore of the Dead Sea was very much alive with loud voices of prayer and praise all throughout the evening.

ICEJ National Directors from four continents opened the evening in prayer for the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Valley of the Dry Bones from Ezekiel chapter 37. Apostle Rene Terra Nova from Brazil told of an amazing answer to prayer in his country, where the government retracted a recent vote of approval at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on a resolution saying that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem had no connection to Judaism.

Several pilgrims commented with joy and excitement what it means for them to attend the Feast.

“We have brothers and sisters here from all over the Chinese-speaking world,” said Pastor Phillip Ho Wai Man from Hong Kong. “We are in the joy of Jesus and we pray for Israel every day at our fellowship!”

Sarah Renske from South Africa was attending the Feast for the first time.

“This event projects such hope for Israel and all of God’s people,” she declared. “When we come together with God as our King we’ll be victorious no matter what the enemy tries to do.”

Michael Fuchs from the UK agreed, saying “This is God’s Land, no one can take away what belongs to Him. He will carry out His plans in this time and we need to do our part. I’m German by nationality, South African by birth and I live in the UK, but Israel is the most important country in my life.”

Susan Michael, the Director of the ICEJ-USA Branch who has attended every Feast since the first one in 1980, commented on the vast numbers of Christians from China, Brazil and other non-Western countries who are attending this year.

“The demographics of the global Church are changing rapidly and the annual Feast of Tabernacles reflects that change,” she said. “Evangelical Christianity has plateaued if not weakened in Europe and America while it is growing exponentially in Latin America, Africa and Asia.  For example, the nation with the largest number of Christians will soon be China. Therefore, as the Feast audience changes we are making a great effort to accommodate them with an array of musical and speaking styles.”

All The Families of the Earth

The crowds cheered on as delegates from each country represented at the Feast of Tabernacles walked down the stage holding their national flag. With more than 80 countries present at the arena, Brazilians always seem easy to spot. With almost 400 pilgrims from this Latin American country dressed in green, blue, and yellow, a whole sector of the auditorium resounded with shouts of joy! As each nation was introduced, groups from other countries followed the lead and welcomed their representatives with cheering and waving of their own flags.

The culmination of the parade of nations was the appearance of the final flag on stage: the white and blue flag of Israel caused the Arena to explode with a joyous noise, expressing the people’s support and love for Israel! 

That evening the pilgrims were welcomed in Jerusalem by Dr. Jürgen Bühler, ICEJ Executive Director. His message focused on the importance of families in God’s Kingdom, and how they shape the church, and impact Israel. 

“The family relationship within the Body of Christ is important because it is an eternal relationship,” he emphasized. 

Dr. Bühler closed his message with a testimony of how Jesus miraculously healed him from cancer this year. “In heaven, there are no incurable diseases!” he proclaimed from the podium. Towards the end of the evening people from all around the stadium were invited to the front, if they desired to receive prayer for healing. 

This Monday evening God poured out His healing power over His people, which was a great way to begin the Feast celebrations in Jerusalem!

 

Share this: