As a world in turmoil slips ever closer to the precipice of complete chaos and anarchy, it is comforting to hear of around a million people gathering for prayer in South Africa.
And it is also comforting to hear the meeting’s leader, farmer/evangelist Angus Buchan, specifically praying for Israel, which took a further battering as southern towns endured a nightmare of running for cover from a volley of rockets fired from Gaza.
Tragically, Jews in Pittsburgh, USA, suffered even worse as a gunman burst into the Tree of Life synagogue and shot eleven of their people dead, leaving six more wounded, some critical.
A congregation of some 80 people were attending a ‘baby-naming’/circumcision ceremony at the premises bearing a name that represents an appalling irony in view of the carnage witnessed there.
It is said to be the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history and is part of an exponential rise in such incidents worldwide, although predictable calls for a tightening of gun laws are expected to cloud the issue.
I believe it is significant, too, that the massacre took place at what for Jews is a hugely important ceremony reflecting their special covenant relationship with God established some 4,000 years ago.
In this respect, it was as much an attack on Israel, God’s chosen people – just as was the Holocaust, which was featured in a moving Channel 5 TV documentary presented by Chris Tarrant, who focused on how Hitler used the railways to take unsuspecting Jews to their grisly deaths in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and other horror camps.
It’s time we woke up to the fact that it could all happen again if we continue to do virtually nothing about the rising clamour of lies and propaganda maligning the Jews in our midst.
Perversely, British peer Baroness Jenny Tonge has suggested that Israel bears some responsibility for the Pittsburgh attack, citing its “actions against Palestinians” on Facebook. The post has since been removed and she has apologised.
And it turns out that a Jewish doctor heads the hospital that treated the perpetrator!
But at the South African prayer meeting, held on an airfield near the country’s capital, Pretoria, Angus Buchan defied political correctness by leading a prayer for Israel – praying for Jews, Arabs and Gentiles there; and also praying that South Africa would remain friends with the Jewish state in the face of calls for downgrading diplomatic relations in view of alleged apartheid policies against the Palestinians.
Following similar meetings in Bloemfontein and Cape Town, the It’s Time event saw Christians travel from every corner of this big country to pray against corruption, violence, poverty and injustice.
Buchan has emerged as an extraordinary leader of men because he is a man of extraordinary courage and faith. This was powerfully demonstrated when he directly addressed the country’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa (who had been expected to attend, but in the end did not show up), respectfully taking off his hat and addressing him (via cameras) as ‘Your Excellency’ before challenging him to make a choice between “all those voices out there” and listening to the Word of God. “You cannot serve two masters,” he said, also quoting Jesus’ words: “Whoever is not for me is against me…” (Matthew 12.30).
There is certainly some excellent communication taking place among Christians in South Africa for such a large amount of people to respond to a call for prayer without much help, I’ve no doubt, from the mainstream media.
By shocking contrast, Christians in the UK seem to know nothing about it. Not only do we fail to communicate with one another, to the extent that a national call to prayer here would be unlikely to enlist more than a few thousand warriors, but encouraging news like this appears to be way off our radar even though easily accessible on the internet.
Part of the problem is that no spiritual ‘General’ has emerged capable of calling Christians to arms in the first place.
It seems that we have allowed Satan to silence us. We have let our thinking be informed by the BBC and other purveyors of secular-humanism, and we don’t bother to find out what the body of Christ is doing elsewhere for our mutual encouragement and inspiration.
The gospel is the greatest news ever told, and yet we Christians in the UK can’t even communicate with one another. How then are we going to have the boldness, co-ordination and co-operation to enable us to share this good news with a world that is rapidly tottering towards the brink of collapse?
We must surely pray, but also “encourage one another and build each other up”. (1 Thessalonians 5.11)
Time is short. Jesus is coming!
PHOTO: An estimated one million South Africans gather to pray for Israel and the Jewish people. (Charles Gardner)
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; and A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International