2017 saw a rising influence of Evangelical Christians in America’s corridors of power that has had a positive impact on the State of Israel.
US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem earlier this month and Vice President Mike Pence’s planned trip to Israel next month are signs that evangelicals are using their political clout to ensure America stands strong alongside the Jewish State.
The latest positive development is a Christian group sponsoring a Bible study session in Israel’s parliament next week.
Believing that the Bible has essential truths to teach and should shape our societal values, many Christians are eager for government officials to delve into Scripture for practical lessons in leadership. The Schindler Society is a U.S.-based Christian group that has introduced ongoing Bible study in Congress and now hopes to bring that same inspiration to Israel’s Knesset.
Pastor Jim Garlow, a member of President Trump's faith advisory council, and his wife Rosemary Schindler Garlow, reached out to Member of Knesset Rabbi Yehuda Glick from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party, about hosting a Bible study at the Knesset.
Because of the sensitive nature of Christians and Jews studying Bible together, my organization, Israel365, which serves as a bridge between Christian Zionists and Israel, was called in to collaborate on the program.
Rosemary Schindler Garlow and her husband, Jim Garlow, have demonstrated their unconditional love for Israel and the Jewish people for 20 years. Rosemary dedicated this Bible study in memory of her relative Oskar Schindler, and in the spirit of the righteous amongst the nations, whose support for the Jewish people comes at great personal expense and with no ulterior motivations. As Pastor Garlow explained to me, "the reason we love the Jewish people is not because of some hidden agenda. We stand with Israel because God promises to bless us if we do (Genesis 12:3) and since it is His plan to bring the Jews back to their homeland, we are to support God’s wonderful plan."
Unlike when Christian lawmakers study the English words of the King James Bible in Washington, Jewish lawmakers will be teaching the Hebrew words of King David in his eternal capital city. As far as Christian participation? According to Garlow, "the Christians are there to listen, not lead. We come as learners."
Of course, there is nothing new about the Bible being studied in the Knesset. Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, was an avid reader of the Bible. He wrote essays on biblical topics and hosted a Tanakh study group at his home. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has maintained this esteemed tradition and regularly hosts a Bible study circle in the presence of chief rabbis and leading academics.
The Knesset is already built on a solid biblical foundation, yet the Schindler Society is adding an important element that has not — and could not have — existed until this day. Emerging from the pro-Israel Christian community, this week’s Bible study is the fulfillment of one of the most beautiful descriptions of Jerusalem.
The Hebrew prophet Isaiah wrote that one day the Jewish people will return to their homeland and to their eternal capital. When that day finally arrives, "all the nations shall gaze on it with joy. And the many peoples shall go and say: 'Come, Let us go up to the Mount of Hashem, To the House of the God of Yaakov; that He may instruct us in His ways, and that we may walk in His paths. For instruction shall come forth from Tzion, the word of Hashem from Yerushalayim'" (Isaiah 2:2,3, The Israel Bible).
Isaiah describes the ultimate spiritual achievement as the day when non-Jews will come to Jerusalem to study the Bible. Through the Schindler Society’s sponsorship of Bible study at the Knesset this week, we are indeed witnessing this major historical turning point.
Rabbi Weisz is the director of Israel365, which connects 2 million people to Israel every month. He founded the I365 newsletter, is publisher of Breaking Israel News, and editor of The Israel Bible. He lives with his family in Ramat Beit Shemesh. To read more of his reports, Click Here Now.
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