Here, in digest form, are some of the themes developed in lectures and seminars held at the Third Christian Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, February 25-29,1996. Direct quotations are presented with quotation marks; the remaining texts are summaries. Taken from "Christians And Israel" (a quarterly publication from Jerusalem),Spring 1996 edition.
A city with a long and glorious past. A city of many peoples that have come and gone - but with an almost uninterrupted Jewish presence down the ages. The Prophet Zechariah prophesied that Jerusalem would one day be "a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it" (Zech. 2:4). That prophecy has been realized in our century - as has been the one (in Zech. 8:4-5) that "Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem" and that "The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there." But it is a city of the future as well, the city where we shall witness the coming - or second coming - of the Messiah.
(Dr. George Giacumakis, International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem & Professor of History, University of California)
Choices and Consequences
The born-again Christian is the Christian who, in rediscovering and reaffirming belief in Christ, has made a conscious and deliberate choice. As a consequence of this choice, he takes the Scriptures seriously - which, in turn, leads to his serious attention to the Scriptural emphasis on Zion. The Christian Zionist, then, has chosen "to recognize the Hebrew Bible for what it is - an integral part of the Christian Bible." After all, when Jesus spoke of "the Scriptures," it was the Hebrew Bible to which He was referring! Surely the Bible is not complete without God the Creator, who commands and forgives. Indeed, the involvement of God - not only in the creation but in the history of the universe as it has unfolded ever since - is perhaps the central message of that vital and vibrant part of our Bible that some have relegated to the domain of "mythology." For those who have made this Scriptural choice, there are consequences: pilgrimage to the Holy Land, steadfast support of Israel, study and interfaith dialogue. We must resist the inclination that sometimes rises among us to "absolutize" Israel. Nothing and nobody is perfect or absolute - nothing and nobody except God, His truth and His use of Israel for His historic purposes.
(Dr. Halvor Ronning, Director, Home for Bible Translators, Jerusalem, & Jerusalem School for Synoptic Gospel Studies)
The Faith of Joshua and Caleb
Caleb said, "Let us go up and inherit the Land, because we are surely able to do so!" (Num. 13:30)..."But the men who had gone up with him said, `We cannot defeat that people, for it is stronger than we!" (Num. 13:31)..."And Joshua and Caleb rent their clothes and exhorted the whole Israelite community..."(Num. 14:6-7). The generation of the faithless was to perish in the wilderness. Only Joshua and Caleb, who had faith, were to enter the Land - at the head of the next generation of the Jewish people. By virtue of the hundreds of thousands of "Joshuas" and "Calebs" who today inhabit the heartland of the Land of Israel - Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Golan - and who nurture the vision of the Holy Scriptures and are ready to defend their land and their people, that vision will prevail.
(Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, spiritual head of The Institute of Judaic Studies at Kiryat Arba, near Hebron)
NOTE: Following Rabbi Waldman's lecture, Rev. Ken Garrison, Pastor of the Fellowship Church in Orlando, Florida, presented an award to Rabbi Waldman "for his redeeming educational work in Kiryat Arba." Rabbi Waldman, in turn, presented Rev. Garrison with a Golden Shofar (the ceremonial Ram's Horn mentioned in the Biblical account of the Offering of Isaac), inaugurating Project Shofar - an inter religious educational project.
A comprehensive Middle East peace process should include arrangements with minorities like Lebanese Christians, Kurds and Sudanese Christians. The media often portray Middle East Christians as "Palestinian Christians." But it is non-Arab Christians (12 million Copts in Egypt, 7 million Africans in Sudan, Armenians, Lebanese Maronites and others) who form the overwhelming majority of the group in the region.
(Dr. Walid Phares, President, World Lebanese Organization, & Professor of Political Science, Florida International University, USA
"As you weep for your dear ones who perished [in the recent terrorist strikes - Ed.], we weep with you. We feel your pain. But don't lose your courage, your faith. The dark forces of hate can hurt you - but they can never defeat you if you believe in God. We want to encourage you and strengthen you in that faith. Because your God is our God, your joys are our joys, your sorrows our sorrows, your destiny - our destiny!"
(Dr. Ulla Yarvileho, Director, ICEJ - Finland, former member of Finnish Parliament)
City and Land
We want to see a united Jerusalem in a united land. That is why we have our Embassy here in Jerusalem, that is why this conference is being held here, and that is why we have arranged to take people from this conference to seven settlements scattered throughout this land. Home at last from countries the world over, the Jewish people has opened this city of Jerusalem to all believers. We want it to remain this way. We want this people to continue to be in charge - in its city and its land.
(Rev. Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Spokesman of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem)
Thank You for Your Friendship!
With all the sadness and pain of these terrible days, our deepest conviction is that no one in the world can break us. We will be strong, and we will be here, in our country and our city. This is where our nation was born. This is where God wants us to be: to live here, together with others. Your presence here gives us strength, helps us to recover from the blow that has been dealt us and to face the future and its challenges. Thank you for your friendship, your involvement and your participation!
(MK Ehud Olmert, Mayor of Jerusalem)