With so much misinformation circulating in the media about the ongoing Middle East conflict, where Israel is perennially portrayed as the great bully, there is another story!
Amidst the storm of Temple Mount riots, along with mass anti-government protests and brutal terrorist murders, believers in Yeshua from all over the region have been meeting in neighbouring Jordan in an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation.
At a four-day conference called At the Crossroads, “brothers and sisters came not only from Israel and Jordan, but also from Egypt, the Kurdish region of Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey,” reports one of the delegates Howard Bass, pastor of Yeshua’s Inheritance in Beersheva.
The conference has been held in Jerusalem every other year since its 2012 launch at Christ Church in the Old City (and at other Middle East venues in the years in between) and was borne of a vision based on Isaiah’s prophecy of a highway of peace between Egypt and Assyria via Israel (Isaiah 19:23-25). God speaks of a time when they would be a blessing in the midst of the earth, with healing and reconciliation for all of Abraham’s family.
“There were lots of young people and it was an exuberant time with at least three healings. Former Muslims expressed their love for the Jewish people and for Israel! It has not necessarily been easy for them, but the Holy Spirit did what only God can do!” exclaims Bass.
He said there was much greater openness to the gospel among Muslims outside Israel and the Palestinian Authority. They heard reports from Iraq of how hungry they are for the hope that comes only through Yasua (Jesus), while Turkish believers have been demonstrating the love and truth of the gospel with works of compassion amidst the devastating destruction of the recent earthquakes.
And many are responding to Jesus. Howard adds: “God will give many of these Muslims the new heart and spirit enabling them to love Israel and the Jews, provoke them to jealousy and show mercy rather than seek justice and revenge for what the enemy has lied to them about.”
He believes many more from the Arab and Muslim world will accept Messiah before a large number of Jewish people respond.
“Until the fulness of the Gentiles comes in (numerically and in maturity), Israel and the Jewish people remain partially blinded to the truth of Messiah being Yeshua,” he adds. (See Romans 11:25f, Isaiah 6:9, 53:1)
As to the fulfilment of the prophecy on which the conference is based, Howard says: “It should be clear that this can only be fulfilled in its entirety when the Lord returns and establishes his kingdom.”
But, of course, we are now seeing growing signs of this future reality.
Though usually hosted in Jerusalem, the conference was this time held at the Ajloun Baptist Centre in Jordan’s central-northern region, a beautiful setting high up in the hills.
News of the event takes me back to my own involvement with the second At the Crossroads in May 2014, still among the highlights of my life. I was there ostensibly to cover the event for the media, but also as a volunteer for the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people, which is still the case. It was then that I first starting contributing regular articles to Israel Today.
I did manage to send reports around the world, but got nowhere with the UK national newspapers despite attempts to interest them. I felt like saying, ‘Hold the front page; I’ve got something you won’t believe. Arabs and Jews are sharing communion together amidst all the tension of the Middle East conflict. Barriers between them broke down when they discovered what Jesus had done for them both on the cross of Calvary right there in Jerusalem.’
This is what inspired me to volunteer for CMJ in the first place ten years ago after viewing a video of that first conference back in 2012. And I still talk and write about the 2014 event. When I tell fellow Christians how Egyptians, Jews, Iranians, Turks and even a Palestinian prayed for each other and their respective countries, eyes pop and jaws drop! No-one has ever told them about these things.
The Apostle Paul wrote about this in his letter to the believers at Ephesus (in present-day Turkey).
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility… His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace…” (Ephesians 2:14f)
The message of reconciliation is key to the gospel, and our future in Christ.
At the Crossroads is part of a wider ministry – www.derechavraham.org – focused on practical help for one another built on the relationships formed at the conferences.
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; To the Jew First, A Nation Reborn, and King of the Jews, all available from Christian Publications International.
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