Today, Iran’s aggressive posture and rogue nuclear weapons program are straining the patience and nerve of the international community. With Iranian fighters, funds, and strategic weapons flooding into the Middle East, significant war appears inevitable. Meanwhile, something surprising is taking place inside this controversial country.
Muslim-background Iranians are leading a quiet but mass exodus out of Islam and bowing their knees to the Jewish Messiah—with kindled affection toward the Jewish people. The Iranian awakening is a rapidly-reproducing discipleship movement that owns no property, no buildings, has no budget, no 501c3 status or any identifier that the church in the west says you must have and is predominantly led by women. THIS IS THEIR STORY.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
One of the gems you sometimes find on the internet. Thanks Jessica!
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Note from the editor
“I made this for a friend. She was obsessed with this song for a while, so I made this ‘sing-a-long’ video for her to learn the lyrics. High Ridge Excavating is her and her husband’s company; I stuck it there at the beginning as a joke.
Made in Windows Movie Maker
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EDIT: Wow, I can’t believe all the views, and the great feedback! Thanks so much you guys!
EDIT: Sadly my friend Tricia passed away this summer, It was a real blow. But she has Graduated to Glory, and has no pain now. I know I will see her again one day.”
‘The Last Stop’ is a film about the works of Aviv Ministry in one of the most hopeless area’s in Israel. Where once was a bus station, now there is a place of prostitution, drug abuse, homelessness and refugees. With a soup kitchen close to the old bus station and a rehab centre in Beer-Sheva, Aviv Ministries aims to help those who can’t help themselves.
About Aviv Ministry
Drug addiction has penetrated all groups of Israeli society, but those we meet in Tel-Aviv are mostly immigrants from the former Soviet Union, aged 20 to 40. Besides them, we also minister to native Israelis – Jews and Arabs – and other people. However, not only these people benefit from our work in the long run, but also their relatives – wives, children, parents – as well as the whole community itself.
We see that young people – drug addicts, prostitutes and the homeless – die in Tel-Aviv streets all the time, and those who remain alive live in real slavery to drugs, and this cannot be even called “life”. Drug addicts loose all their possessions, their families and their health. As time goes by, they become so sick and skinny that remind inmates of a concentration camp. Sadly, they represent the most vulnerable group of our society, for nobody really cares for them. This is true for thousands of young men and women in today’s Israel. Addiction is a terrible disease and noone can wholly cure a person from it but God.
Meal in Aviv Center
Our work with drug addicts began in 2005 with table ministry, street evangelism, Bible studies, etc. In 2012 the Lord put it on our hearts to establish an outreach center in Tel-Aviv. That was how Aviv Center came into being. Today it is situated in a building next to a disused bus terminus in downtown Tel-Aviv. The terminus is known as the ‘Last Stop.’ (The levels of addiction and prostitution are so severe there, that for many it is the ‘Last Stop’ indeed. They can’t get any lower.
Our center is open 6 days a week and hundreds of addicts pass through it every month. They come daily in all kinds of conditions for a bowl of soup, clean clothes and to get first aid for their damaged arms and legs. Whilst in the center they are exposed to the unconditional love of Jesus and the teaching of His word.
So why am I interested in Jerusalem? What’s so special about this ancient city? My Pilgrimage to Jerusalem has everything to do with the key role it has played in human history and the role it will play in the future.
Today’s news media devote more attention to the Middle East than to any other area on earth. Here are centered the issues and conflicts that could — overnight — spark World War III. The main factor that has contributed to this dramatic increase in attention to the Middle East is the emergence of Israel as a sovereign Jewish State.
Central to History
Jerusalem has a unique place in the history of Israel, not shared by any other nation in the world. It was there that God commanded David to purchase ground that was destined to be the site of the Temple: Therefore, the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David that David should go and erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite ….
So David gave Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place. And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on the LORD; and He answered him from heaven by fire on the altar of burnt offering. 1 Chronicles 21:18, 25–26 Later, Solomon built his temple on this site and God said to him: “My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually” (1 Kings 9:3).
It is Jerusalem that God has declared to be the city He has chosen for Himself. Solomon quotes the words that had been spoken by the Lord to his father, David: “Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there” (2 Chronicles 6:6). The Lord reiterates the permanence of Jerusalem again in 1 Chronicles 23:25: “For David said, ‘The LORD God of Israel has given rest to His people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem forever.’”(1)
In 1 Kings 11:36, God speaks to Jeroboam and says, regarding Rehoboam (Solomon’s son and heir to the throne): And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.
The Jewish people are mandated by Scripture to make pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year: Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles. Deuteronomy 16:16
In no other religion is pilgrimage to Jerusalem mandated. The name Jerusalem occurs 778 times in the sacred Scriptures of the Jewish people. By contrast, in Islam’s sacred book, the Koran, Jerusalem is not mentioned once. Historically, Jerusalem has been the only capital of the Jewish people, both political and spiritual.
Jerusalem has never been the capital of any other people throughout history. As a city, it only became politically important to the Arab peoples after the Six-Day War in June 1967. Previously, under the Jordanian occupation, Jerusalem never had the status of a capital.
After the return of Israel from the Babylonian captivity, when people from other nations sought to share in the restoration of Jerusalem, Nehemiah, the Jewish governor, said to them: “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem” (Nehemiah 2:20).
Over the years, the Jewish people have adopted from Scripture a special name for their inheritance in Jerusalem. It is Zion. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. Psalm 48:1, 2 This is where the term Zionism originates.
Restoration of Zion
The prophet Isaiah depicts the rebirth of the State of Israel as a unique phenomenon: Before she was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a male child. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children. Isaiah 66:7–8
The rebirth of the State of Israel is correctly presented in Scripture as a unique event and without historical parallel. On one day — May 15, 1948 — Israel emerged as a complete nation with all its functions: army, navy, air force (one airplane), parliament, police force, medical and education systems, etc.
I know of no other nation in history that has had a similar rebirth. It is staggering to try to imagine the consequences of opposing such a sovereign act of God.
The Return of the Lord
The restoration of Zion is seen as a prelude to the return of the Lord in glory: “For [when] the LORD shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory” (Psalm 102:16). All the predictions of Scripture and all the developments of current history combine to focus our attention on one impending event of unique importance: The return of the Lord Jesus in power and glory.
This gives special significance to the drama predicted to take place on the Mount of Olives: And in that day His [Jesus’] feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. Zechariah 14:4
There will follow a period when God will judge all the nations on the basis of the way they have treated the land and the people of Israel: For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up [partitioned] My land. Joel 3:1–2
God’s purpose is to make Jerusalem a source of blessing to all nations, and He promises severe judgment on all nations that oppose His purpose for Jerusalem. Scripture makes it clear that when the Lord returns, it will be to a sovereign Jewish Jerusalem.
Jesus said: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” Matthew 23:37–39
In Matthew 24, Jesus refers to the “abomination of desolation” (v. 15) spoken of by Daniel the prophet. He then says, “Let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…. And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath” (vv. 16, 20).
The warning against fleeing on the Sabbath assumes that Jerusalem will be under Jewish regulations, which would forbid the operation of either public transportation or places of commerce such as gas stations and banks. Only under Jewish government would this be a problem.
Let me briefly sum up my conclusion. In the eternal counsel of God, He has determined to make Jerusalem the decisive issue by which He will deal with the nations. Those nations who align themselves with God’s purposes for Jerusalem will receive His blessing. But those who follow a policy in opposition to God’s purposes will be severely dealt with.
Commit yourself to pray that divine wisdom, discernment and understanding would be the portion of all who hold positions of influence over matters in the Middle East.
(1) This verse has a dual application referring to both the natural and spiritual Jerusalem.
On this episode of my pilgrimage I was blessed to have my wife at my side. We left home on sundaynight the 16th and arrived in Bar-sur-Aube the next morning. After parking the car at the trainstation and some coffee in the centre of the town we started walking to our first stop in Baroville.
From the eight days we were on the trail we rested two. When we arrived in our destination, the fortified city of Langres, we took two days of rest to walk the city walls and explore the city.
Last thursday we travelled back to Bar-sur-Aube by train. We picked up the car and then drove back to The Netherlands. Despite some traffic jams in Belgium we came home the same evening.
Enjoy the route and the pictures we made of this trip.
Click here if you want to have a look at the first 8 episodes and my preparations for this pilgrimage.