A new documentary film about Israel's 70th anniversary, produced by an Arab-American Christian and an American messianic Jewish rabbi, makes the case this event is so significant that it touches everything we see, everyone we know, everything we can't see and everyone we don't know.
In other words, it impacts EVERYTHING.
"Israel is not just another nation in the world," he says. "It's not just the only Jewish state. It's not just a unique people group with a long history going back thousands of years of triumph and tragedy, peace and persecution, status and statelessness. This movie makes the point that the history of Israel and its rebirth as a nation 70 years ago is evidence it is part of a mysterious divine script written at the dawn of Creation that affects the destiny of every person who has ever lived on Planet Earth – not to mention the fate of the Earth itself."
Farah's film co-producer and presenter is Jonathan Bernis of the television show "Jewish Voice."
On one hand, says Farah, the documentary tells the miraculous story of Israel's 70th anniversary, restored back to its original land after a dispersion of nearly two millennia. But it's more than just the narrative of the Jewish people, he says. "It's the history of the greatest story ever told – one that actually explains why we're all here, the fate of the world, even the secret of eternal life," Farah says.
Forty-nine years before Israel was, as prophesied in the Bible, resurrected from the dead, the great American writer Mark Twain explained the paradox of its people in an article in 1899 called "Concerning the Jews."
"The Jews constitute but one percent of the human race," he wrote. "Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. … The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out … The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies … All things are mortal, but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?"
Twain, not noted for his faith in God, wasn't just addressing the amazing survival of the Jewish people half a century before they miraculously re-formed their state in one day, again, as prophesied in the Bible. But even from his secular point of view, Twain observed that the Jewish people, the nation of Israel, were characterized by immortality, transcendence, timelessness, permanence.
And that's the sweeping panoramic perspective this fast-paced documentary takes from beginning to end.
It presents the case that the secret of the Jew's immortality is that Almighty God chose, blessed and set him apart for a special purpose – to be a light to the rest of the world, as the Bible says. It was through the Jewish people that the Jewish Messiah came into the world. And it is to Israel that He, Jesus, or Yeshua as He was known to His own people, will return to restore this world to the glory and perfection of the Garden of Eden:
No other nation was conceived like Israel – in a unique covenant between one man and the God of all Creation.
No other nation was born like Israel – in the spiritual labor pains of hundreds of years of captivity and slavery in a foreign land.
No other nation witnessed a miracle-filled 40-year odyssey through the desert, led by God, fed by God, hearing His thunderous voice, getting His instructions and receiving His commandments etched in stone tablets.
No other nation was directed by God to return to its land with borders surveyed and defined by the Creator.
No other nation was judged unworthy and punished with captivity in another foreign land for 70 years before being returned for a second chance.
No other nation received the Redeemer of the world but didn’t recognize Him – only to be scattered throughout the world, yet, at the same time spreading God’s revelations and making His revelation to the four corners of the earth.
And, certainly, no other nation remained scattered for more than 1,800 years, only to return to the land again, as prophesied, and be reborn in a day to await another chance to welcome its Messiah.
Today, just as the prophets wrote, Israel's deserts are blooming, but few recognize that God's hand is still at work while the regathered Jewish state remains the world's center of controversy.
As Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary back in the land
As My Brother Always Says
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
5 The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
6 The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
8 For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
10 I trusted in the Lord when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
11 in my alarm I said,
“Everyone is a liar.”
12 What shall I return to the Lord
for all his goodness to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.
16 Truly I am your servant, Lord;
I serve you just as my mother did;
you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord—
in your midst, Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord.[a]
Why Pray for Israel today?
Among Israel’s most prominent supporters are Evangelical Believers. Still, much of the Church remains indifferent or even opposed to Israel today, unaware of important biblical truths about God’s chosen people and their own relationship to them.
A vital part of the mission of Jewish Voice Ministries International is to educate the Church about God’s ongoing covenant with and plan for Israel. New Covenant faith in Yeshua (Jesus) is rooted in the Jewish faith of the Old Covenant Scriptures. Upon this foundation, God sent Yeshua to usher in the promise of Jeremiah 31:31-33. He declared that one day He would write His law upon the hearts of His people and put His Spirit within them. This prophecy was fulfilled through Yeshua the Messiah and the gift of the Holy Spirit given to all who place their faith in Him.
Scripture reveals ample reasons for Believers to pray for and support Israel today:
God will bless those who bless Abraham’s descendants and curse those who curse them (Genesis 12:2)
God instructs us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6)
God’s covenant with Israel is everlasting (Genesis 17:7, 19)
The Land of Israel belongs to God (Leviticus 25:23, Joel 2:18)
God gave His people the Land of Israel as an eternal possession (Genesis 15, 17:7‒8, Genesis 48:4, Psalm 105:7‒11)
God’s judgments on Israel at various times of her history do not void His covenant (Ezekiel 37).
God has not rejected Israel (Romans 9‒11)
There is only one way for anyone, including Jewish people, to be reconciled to God (John 14:6)
The Gospel is for the Jewish people first (Romans 1:16)
In 1948, the United Nations may have granted Israel the right to “be,” but it is God who validates her existence. He chose the Jewish people for His own, for His purposes and for eternity.
The country Israel today represents only a portion of the Land God gave the Jewish people as an eternal inheritance. About the size of New Jersey, it’s sometimes difficult to even locate Israel on maps. She is a tiny nation in a hostile neighborhood of Arab countries who consider her mere existence an offense. The region swarms with people, terrorist groups and nations single-mindedly committed to eliminating Israel today.
Israel needs our prayers.
About the Day to Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
The Day to Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem (DPPJ) has become the largest Israel-focused prayer event in history. At least 175 nations and 500 million Believers participate. The event began in 2002 and now has the active support of more than 1,400 evangelical leaders. It takes place annually on the first Sunday in October.
According to the DPPJ website, it is a day set aside each year “to raise global awareness and intercession for God’s purpose in Israel.”
“Though we pray every day for Israel,” the organization explains, “we seek on this day to unite Believers around the world in raising a cry to Heaven on behalf of this troubled but strategic Land and its people.”
The 2018 Day to Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem is Sunday, October 7. Join people all over the world in praying for peace in Jerusalem, for Israel today as a nation and Jewish people everywhere.
For more information about the Day to Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and how you can encourage your congregation to participate, visit www.daytopray.com.
10 Ways to Pray for Israel
Below are 10 specific ways you can pray for Israel today. For a complete list of suggested prayer topics, explore the resources available on the DPPJ website.
1. Restoration and Reconciliation – Pray for:
Jewish people in Israel and throughout the world to be restored and reconciled to God through faith in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah
God to continue restoring the Land of Israel and that the nation will recognize that this is from His hand, not their own efforts
Reconciliation between Jewish and Christian people, Jewish and Arab people – in the Land of Israel and all over the world
2. Watchmen - – Pray for:
God to raise up “watchmen” in each nation of the world who are dedicated to praying for Israel and the Jewish people
Houses of prayer worldwide to develop a heart to pray for Israel and the Jewish people
Growth in strategic prayer for Israel today around the world
3. Peace and Protection – Pray for:
Guidance and wisdom for Israeli and world leaders pursuing peace for Israel
Protection from the plans of Israel’s natural and spiritual enemies
All involved would recognize that true peace will only come from God
4. Fighting Terror, Radical Islam and Jihad – Pray for:
All terror plots to be exposed and stopped
The terror groups themselves to disintegrate from within and people trapped in them to encounter the true and living God who loves them
Guidance for Israeli police, military and security forces in their efforts to stop the violence
Emotional, psychological and physical healing for victims of terrorism
5. Fair and Honest Media Coverage – Pray for:
Clarity for the media to report fully and accurately about Israel today and the Middle East conflict
Exposure of imbalanced reporting, and coverage of the true Palestinian refugee story and misconceptions about “Palestine”
6. Fighting Anti-Semitism – Pray for:
Exposure of anti-Semitism whenever and wherever it occurs and that it would no longer be tolerated or minimized
Believers throughout the world to speak up against anti-Semitism and to defend the Jewish people
Increased growth and engagement in pro-Israel prayer initiatives on college campuses
7. Israel’s Leaders – Pray for:
Wisdom and integrity for all of Israel’s leaders including Prime Minister Netanyahu, members of the Knesset (ruling body) and Israeli Defense Forces
God’s guidance on how to specifically address relations and situations arising with the Palestinians, neighboring Arab nations, Iran and other countries with radical Islamic ideology
8. Israel’s Children and Youth – Pray for:
Strengthening of families in Israel today to guard children against the world’s temptations
Young people in Israel – both male and female – to turn to God as they prepare for their mandatory military service, cope with terror incidents, and heal from loss
9. The Needy, Forgotten and Vulnerable in Israel – Pray for:
Care and healing for the broken, vulnerable or needy in Israel – including elderly Holocaust survivors, struggling immigrants and the homeless
Aid, sustenance and wholeness for the forgotten, overlooked, discarded or misjudged
10. Strong Alliance between America and Israel – Pray for:
Continuing support of U.S. leaders to courageously stand as allies with Israel and speak out to protect Israel’s rights
Increased support for Israel among members of Congress and the general public
As Christians We Are Called To Be Friends To The Jewish Nation
As Franz Rosenzweig put it, "Between [Judaism and Christianity God] set an enmity for all time." Despite interpersonal, economic, social and political relationships that successfully obviated this enmity from time to time, the mutual disdain that haunts Judaism and Christianity still hovers overhead. Christian contempt for Judaism is far more studied than is the reverse, yet there is contempt on both sides of this fateful and fatal divide.
Each heritage has its own flavour of theological contempt for the other. Theological disinterest in and consequent inattention to non-Jews reflects the Jewish doctrine of election. Further, Jews have been tempted to view Christianity's doctrine of the "three person'd God" (John Donne) as nearing paganism and its worship of a God-man idolatrous, although a very few Jewish thinkers sought to mitigate the impact of this accusation in order to facilitate commercial dealings with Christians and support civil society. More consistently, however, Jews remain theologically disinterested in gentiles either because they had minimal contact with them ― as is the case with Chinese and Indian traditions ― or because they "came after" Judaism. This is a prevalent but ill-informed historical judgment about Christianity, but it is the case with respect to Islam.
Christian contempt for Judaism (that is, anti-Judaism) is visible because contempt for non-Jesus-following Yehudim ("Jews") in the Younger Testament morphed into sustained supersessionism throughout the subsequent tradition. Supersessionism takes several forms but embraces the idea that "the body of Christ" (a Pauline phrase) has replaced, displaced or supplanted the Jewish people as the people of God, asserting that the elect of the church are now the people of God instead. The claim is not offhand but carefully developed and sustained through an extensive Adversus Iudaeos-style literature that produced standard contemptuous tropes prevalent throughout theology, Christian scripture interpretation, sermons, art and passion plays.
The scope, strength and severity of this disdain have damaged both traditions. The history of degrading and humiliating Judaism and Jews stains Christian history and theology. Being victimised by Christians has pushed Judaism toward theological tribalism and Jews toward xenophobia. Less well known is a considerable body of Jewish anti-Christian polemic, both direct and indirect, revealing that Jews did not internalise Christian contempt. Rather, they defended their doctrine of God and the Jewish way of life in light of Christian contempt, speaking to Jews as well as to Christians who belittled them. Defending Judaism was at great risk to themselves and the communities they led, especially in the Middle Ages.
The Nazi genocide, preceded by longstanding legal, civic and social enmity toward Jews ― antisemitism that was, in turn, theologically undergirded ― starkly capitalised on this history and pressed beyond expulsions, deportations, spontaneous massacres and legal discrimination against Jews across Europe and England. Awareness that such contempt is not simply a rhetorically or historically unfortunate occurrence, but expresses a serious theological problem within Christianity itself, remains at the margin of Christian self-awareness, despite a growing body of muckraking scholarship over the past century. It is not a casual or topical concern of the moment dismissible as a passing fad following the Nazizeit. It goes to the core of Christian theology and identity as both anti-Judaism and later antisemitism endlessly tried to quell Christian insecurity about evil loose in the world.