Reflections on a trip to Israel

The impact of visiting the land of Israel for a week cannot be conveyed in a few words.  It brings the Bible to life by providing a multi-faceted backdrop for biblical events.  The heat, the vastly varied geography, the hills, the sensations and the archeological excavations – all these work together to create an experience like no other.  I can thoroughly recommend a visit!

Attempting to sum up the impact is impossible, and no doubt it will continue to impact for a long time to come.  The most moving experience I had, however, had nothing to do with the spectacular scenery, the hustle and bustle of the Old City of Jerusalem, the Israeli/Palestinian tensions, the buoyancy of the Dead Sea or the verdant beauty of Mount Hermon.  It was a visit to the Jaffa Gate area of the Jewish Quarter, where there is an attractive Anglican Church complex named Christ Church. 

Compared to the Garden Tomb, the Wailing Wall and the City of David, Christ Church has little to recommend it.  It is, after all, only a couple of hundred years old.  Yet its significance for the restoration of the Jewish people to Palestine (as it was known back in the 1800s) and its importance as a centre for moving God’s purposes forward cannot be quantified.  It was the sense of prophetic destiny encapsulated in this simple building which impacted me more than any other wonderful site.

The story behind Christ Church and the wind of the Holy Spirit which was blowing through the evangelical church in the nineteenth century, affecting movers and shakers such as William Wilberforce, Lord Shaftesbury and others is documented briefly on our pages on the history of the modern state of Israel, and in detail on some excellent DVDs produced by the Hatikvah Film Trust.

It’s the way that God orchestrated many seemingly isolated events during the nineteenth century, which dove-tailed and created the situation where the British government were keen to provide a homeland for the Jewish people after 2000 years of homelessness.  These events culminated in the Balfour Declaration at the end of the First World War.  It was the importance of these things which affected me most.

For example, in 1831, a change in the political situation (Egypt ousting the Turks) in Palestine opened the way for Britons to reside in Jerusalem for the first time.  The first permanent resident was John Nicholaison, who had a desire to establish an Anglican church in Jerusalem.  With the help of a London-based missionary organisation and the influence Lord Shaftesbury had with Lord Palmerston, a British Consulate was established in Jerusalem at that time, but another political change prevented anything further from happening at that stage. 

But in 1842 Kaiser Wilhelm IV wanted influence in Jerusalem and despite opposition Christ Church was built and dedicated in 1949.  Thus the first Protestant community in Jerusalem was established.

Following in the footsteps of John Wesley and George Whitefield, preachers such as Murray McCheyne and Charles Spurgeon were catching and spreading the vision for the Jews to return to Palestine as a prerequisite for Jesus’ return.  It was then that James Finn, a leading Evangelical, was appointed British Consul in Jerusalem.  He and his wife Elizabeth lived at Christ Church and worked tirelessly for Jewish restoration in the Holy Land, including buying land around Jerusalem for impoverished Jews to cultivate, and teaching them the skills required.  As a result, the barren desert has become a fertile field, and in part Isaiah’s prophecy has been fulfilled:

The fortress will be abandoned, the noisy city deserted; citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever, the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks, till the Spirit is poured on us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest.  (Isaiah 32:14-15)

It’s this sense of history and destiny, and standing in the place where many strategic decisions were made in order to bless the Jewish people and pave the way for the re-establishment of the State of Israel despite many setbacks, which made my trip to Israel more than just a site-seeing tour or even a personal pilgrimage.  God is working his purposes out, and we’re much closer to Jesus’ return now that there is a Jewish homeland once more and Messianic communities of faith in Israel are getting ready to welcome the King of Kings when he comes.  Then Isaiah’s prophecy will be fulfilled completely:

The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field.  The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.  My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. (Isaiah 32:15-16) 


There are currently no comments on this post

Post a Comment

Your comment will have to be approved by a site administrator before it is shown on the site so please be patient.

Latest News

View all

Illiberal liberals

23rd June 2017 6:28 PM

Perhaps the announcement by Tim Farron this week, that he realises his Christian faith is incompatible with the postmodern ideaology of the West is an indication of the illiberal attitude of modern society to anyone claiming to live a genuine and committed Christian life . . .

Revelation on Revelation

20th February 2017 3:52 PM

The book of Revelation has specific revelation for the end-time church, and a blessing is in store for all those who read it . . .

If Trump blesses Israel, he will be blessed

24th January 2017 3:25 PM

Only a few days after he was inaugurated, President Donald Trump’s pledge to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem was on the media agenda following a 30 minute call between President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. 

Israel in the news

3rd January 2017 11:55 AM

The United Nations Security Council’s recent adoption of Resolution 2334, which condemns Israeli settlements in the West Bank, has brought to our collective attention yet again the unique role assigned to Israel in world affairs . . . 

Post-referendum chaos

12th December 2016 11:06 AM

Perhaps most significantly, the reaction to the Brexit vote has exposed how undemocratic Britain is – a nation which prides itself on its democracy . . .

Getting rid of God

9th December 2016 11:01 AM

. . . until Jesus is crowned King of Kings and all knees bow to him, Satan will continue to pursue his interests in this world . . .

website designed and maintained by adept