My life’s work with and for the nation of Israel began more than thirty years ago when God told me, “Go to Jerusalem and pray.” In obedience to the Holy Spirit I went, even though I didn’t know what God had in mind. Through a series of miraculous events, I ended up meeting with Prime Minister Menachem Begin. No one had ever heard of me, and there is no explanation for why the leader of the Jewish nation would take the time to meet with a minister of the Gospel… apart from God.
Much of what we envisioned and discussed in those early days has already come to pass,
but there was one particular part of the vision that has waited… until now.
As we talked, the Prime Minister asked me why I had come. I honestly replied, “I don’t know. God told me to come to Jerusalem, but He didn’t tell me why.” Mr. Begin greatly enjoyed that remark. Turning to Rueben Hecht one of his senior aides who was instrumental in arranging our meeting he said, “Rueben, here is an honest man! He admits that he doesn’t know why he is here.” Then he asked me to come back and see him when God told me the purpose of my visit, and I told him that I would.
Two days later I was back in his office—the destiny and direction of my life’s work for Israel and the Jewish people had been set. It was during those two days that I met Benjamin Netanyahu, then a young man grieving the death of his brother Jonathan in the raid that freed the Israelis being held by PLO terrorists at Entebbe, Uganda. He wasn’t involved in politics at all then. Yet as I prayed for his comfort and strength, the Spirit of God gave me a prophetic Word for his life. I anointed him with oil and told him that he would twice serve as prime minister of Israel, and that the second time would be during Israel’s greatest crisis.
When I returned to meet with Prime Minister Begin, I told him I had met the future prime minister, and asked Mr. Begin to find a place in his government for Benjamin Netanyahu. Two days later, Netanyahu received his first appointment in politics. But there was more. I told the Prime Minister that I now knew why God had me there. “I am to build a bridge.” I said. With a twinkle in his eye Mr. Begin asked, “Like the Brooklyn Bridge?” “No, a bridge between Christians and Jews,” I replied. “Then let’s build it together,” he said.
That day what would become the Jerusalem Prayer Team was born. For the rest of his life I was Prime Minister Begin’s closest Christian friend. Many times he and I prayed and read the Word of God together. I had the privilege of serving as his unofficial advisor on matters relating to relations between evangelical Believers and the Jewish people. Much of what we envisioned and discussed in those early days has already come to pass, but there was one particular part of the vision that has waited…until now.
That dream today is becoming a reality as we have just recently signed the contract for the purchase of the building for the Jerusalem World Center. Having a permanent home in the Holy City, within walking distance of the Temple Mount, will allow us to greatly expand our humanitarian outreaches, be a permanent presence of salt and light to God’s Chosen People, and give us a worldwide headquarters in Jerusalem. This building will be a physical expression of the bridge of love between Christians and Jews that I began building with Prime Minister Begin so many years ago. This project is so important to me personally because of my own family’s story.
Many years ago I had privilege of meeting Corrie ten Boom. That dear woman and her family saved the lives of more than 800 Jews from the Holocaust at great cost to themselves. They made that sacrifice because they loved God’s Chosen People. Corrie’s grandfather, Willem, started a prayer meeting for the Jewish people in the family clock shop in 1844.
As we shared a simple lunch, just a bowl of soup, I told her the story of my family. My father hated Jews, but he still married my mother, even though she was Jewish. Her family suffered greatly for their religious heritage. Her grandfather, my greatgrandfather, was burned to death inside his own synagogue in Russia by people screaming “Christ-killer” and celebrating his death. Many other relatives perished in the Holocaust.
The first time I remember hearing about Jesus was when I was watching television in my home as a little boy. Billy Graham was preaching when my mother walked into the room. She turned off the television and said to me, “Jesus is dead. Don’t dig Him up. Christians hate Jews. Christians kill Jews.” Sadly, that was all she had ever known.
We must not fail to take advantage of the doors of opportunity God has provided for us in this vital work.
As I sat and talked to Corrie ten Boom that day, I couldn’t help but wish that my mother had been able to meet a Christian who was so very different from the ones she had known. Today we have the opportunity to take that message and show God’s love to His Chosen People in a powerful way. And there could not be a more important moment for this wonderful outreach of the Jerusalem Prayer Team.
The battle for Israel’s survival is not just a physical battle, but a spiritual one as well. The enemies of Israel are driven by demonic hatred and Satan’s desire to rule the world from Jerusalem as described in Isaiah 14. That means that we must fight with spiritual weapons to win this urgent conflict, and that is why God called the Jerusalem Prayer Team into existence.
I will be 65 years old on June 30th, and I have just taken the biggest step of faith in my life. I have no doubt that I have heard from God regarding the building for the Jerusalem World Center. The owners of the building agreed to drop the price $2,000,000 and carry the note if we will pay it off in a year! This is a miracle in itself, but we need another miracle to raise the funds for such a major purchase.
I am sure there are some people laughing their heads off and wondering what kind of fool would make such an agreement, but I am following the voice of God and obeying His commands, just as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Nehemiah, Esther and our Lord did. I believe we serve the God who can do anything!
With all of my heart I believe that this is our Esther moment—our “for such a time as this” to stand and be counted in the defense of Israel and the Jewish people. We must not fail to take advantage of the doors of opportunity God has provided for us in this vital work. It is our prayer that you will continue to stand with us in this great campaign to support God’s Chosen People and ensure the blessings of God both on our nation, and on your life and family as well.
More than thirty years ago on my trip to Israel, God worked an incredible series of miracles, one after another that shaped the course of my life and ministry.
On the second of those seven days of destiny, God miraculously opened the door for me to meet with Prime Minister Begin. There was no reason for him to take the time to meet with an unknown minister of the Gospel, but God put me in a prayer meeting in his office through a simple “mistake.”
I had a meeting scheduled with Begin’s aide, Rueben Hecht. Tired from my trip, I mistakenly called him “Jacob.” He said, “What did you call me?” I apologized for the mistake, but he interrupted. “My father called me Jacob,” Mr. Hecht said. “Just before he died he called me to his bedside and said, ‘Jacob, you will feed the people of Israel.’” That “mistake” opened door for my close personal friendship with one of Israel’s great leaders.
On the third of those seven days of destiny, I followed God’s direction to the household of Benzion Netanyahu, a man I did not know and had never met. He graciously invited me into his home, where they were mourning the anniversary of the death of his son Jonathan in the raid to free the Israeli hostages being held by PLO terrorists at Entebbe.
Benjamin Netanyahu walked into the room as we spoke, and I could see the agony on his face because of the death of his beloved brother. I wept and asked if I could pray for him. I’ll never forget the words God gave me that day. I said, “You loved Jonathan. Out of the ashes of your despair will come strength from God. You will be the Prime Minister of Israel [he wasn’t involved in politics at all at the time] twice, and the second time will be in the most dangerous days of Israel’s history.” I took a small bottle of oil I had purchased at the Garden Tomb and anointed his head with that oil.
On the fourth day of those seven days of destiny I again met with Prime Minister Begin. I told him about the prophecy and that I had met the man who would one day lead Israel. Mr. Begin laughed and asked who he was and I told him what had transpired. In that conversation I asked him to give Benjamin Netanyahu a job in the government. On the fifth day, Rueben Hecht arranged for Benjamin to receive his first political appointment.
I didn’t tell Prime Minister Netanyahu this story for more than twenty years until he pressured me one day over lunch to tell him the full story. When I admitted that I had been the one who opened the door for his political career, he laughed and said, “I don’t know whether to thank you or punch you in the nose!”
On the sixth of those seven days of destiny, God placed a vision in my heart for a building in the Holy City, near the Temple Mount. For more than 30 years I kept that vision in my heart, waiting on the Lord for His timing. I told Prime Minister Begin what I foresaw, and he called it a “bridge of love between Christians and Jews.”
On the seventh and final day of that amazing trip, I received a glorious miracle of healing in my body. I had been having heart trouble…in fact I had been in a cardiology specialty hospital the year before. But in an instant my heart was made whole and well! I give God praise and glory!
When God’s destiny for you is unleashed, it can and will transform your life!