US Tour Report


By Stan Goodenough

On June 7 this year, International Christian Zionist Center Director Jan Willem van der Hoeven and I returned to Jerusalem from three weeks in the United States, where we traveled together, sharing with Americans many of the things that God has burned on our hearts concerning Israel and the US.

Although we had prayerfully planned our way, it was not until we were on the road that we began to see the strategic significance of the route we would take.

Our journey took us from the northeastern to the southwestern corners of America.

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By Stan Goodenough

On June 7 this year, International Christian Zionist Center Director Jan Willem van der Hoeven and I returned to Jerusalem from three weeks in the United States, where we traveled together, sharing with Americans many of the things that God has burned on our hearts concerning Israel and the US.

Although we had prayerfully planned our way, it was not until we were on the road that we began to see the strategic significance of the route we would take.

Our journey took us from the northeastern to the southwestern corners of America. From the State House in Boston, MA, through the capital of New York to Washington DC, then on to Nashville, TN, St Louis, MO and San Diego, CA as we went almost diagonally “from sea to shining sea.”

We were accompanied for nearly half our time there by Don Cobble, a pastor from Boston who has become as close as a brother to us, and who is to a very great extent to thank for the fact that the tour took place at all.

Wherever we had the opportunity to speak – in churches, synagogues and lawmakers offices, to Jews and Christians, ordinary citizens and political leaders – we invoked God’s promise and warning: that He will bless the nation that will serve Israel, and that He will utterly do away with the nation that refuses to do so. (Isaiah 60:12).

Boston

The capital of Massachusetts, Boston was established by the Puritans, who arrived in the early 1800s to lay the Gospel-based foundations upon which America would be built.

Today this city has become a primary gateway for the corrosive secular-humanism that is eating away at those very foundations, infecting the US with the same disease that has rendered once-Christian Europe a spent force in the path of onrushing, ascendant Islam.

Boston’s State House speaks to these extremes in America’s history: It houses a model of the Pilgrim ship – The Mayflower – along with other memorabilia from that early era. And, in our generation, its great halls frequently bear witness to the promulgation of legislation that to those first pre-Independence Americans would have been unimaginable – abominations to the Lord.

It was in this State House, on Sunday evening, May 13, 2007, that what Bostonians called an “historic occasion” took place, when hundreds of Christians and an estimated 100 Jews came together for “A Time to Bless Israel.”

Jan Willem was the keynote speaker at the event, which was launched with the sounding of shofars on the Grand Staircase and the parading of 12 glorious banners for the tribes of Israel as the Lord was worshipped in music and the dance.

According to Dr. Shelli Baker, the event arranger and director of the sponsoring Boston Bless Israel organization:

“Never in all the history of our State House does anyone recall such favor, to use the entire structure for a time to worship God with Christians and Jews together!”

Walls that in recent years have witnessed the passing of immoral laws, and inside which those prosecuting America’s war against jihadist forces in Iraq have frequently been condemned, now heard the warning from a Bible-believing Dutch preacher, that the United States is almost irreversibly en route to humiliation and defeat in the Middle East.

His voice thundering from the platform, Jan Willem riveted the audience in their seats as he decried the utter foolishness of a Democrat-led Congress and Senate which would – should they achieve their goal of pulling US forces out of Iraq too soon – “with one stroke” give Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the prize he is after: Number one regional superpower status as he moves swiftly to fill the vacuum America will leave behind.

With 40 percent of the world’s oil in his hands, Ahmadinejad would be able to pursue his nuclear program unhindered, while putting an end to the so-called moderate trends the State Department has for decades worked to nurture in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.

Having consolidated his position and taken the measure of today’s spineless, liberal world, the new Hitler would turn to Europe and threaten to cut off  the Continent’s oil supply unless the Europeans agreed to look the other way – as they did 60 years ago – and “give Iran the Jews,” thereby facilitating the final solution of the Israel question.

After Jan Willem spoke, the suddenly-sobered audience listened to a former general in Saddam Hussein’s army spell out the chilling realities of Middle Eastern politics that will guarantee the realization of the bleak scenario the ICZC director had just painted, (but which the general had not been present to hear).

Washington DC – Blistered feet on Capitol Hill

Leaving Boston after a further week of meetings, we stopped to exhort a committed pro-Israel congregation in Albany, the capital of New York, before taking the same message to Washington, DC. There, in three days of meetings on and around Capitol Hill, Jan Willem, Don and I spoke to senators and congressmen, Republicans and Democrats, a presidential candidate, a former presidential candidate, and a former senator.

Among those we visited with were Senator Jeff Sessions (R) Alabama, who serves on the Armed Services Committee; Congressman Robert B. Aderholt (R) Alabama, who serves on the Appropriations Committee; Congressman Kendrick B, Meek (D) Florida, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, and the staff of Congressman Edward J. Markey (D) Massachusetts, who serves on the Committee of Homeland Security.

We also met with former Republican senator Rick Santorum who heads up the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Republican presidential candidate Duncan Hunter (California) and former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer, the director of ‘American Values.’

Driving home the warning, Jan Willem described how Ahmadinejad would crow, declaring Allah triumphant over the infidel Americans as United States soldiers and marines left Iraq “with their tails between their legs.” America’s withdrawal, for which the Iranian would take full credit, would pave the way for him to finish off the Little Satan (Israel), before turning his attention to the Great Satan (the US).

Was this the “wisdom” of the Democrats, Jan Willem wondered aloud: to cut funding for the war and force the compliance of their Commander in Chief, to their own nation’s terrible detriment and defeat?

We also spoke strongly against President George W. Bush’s “two state vision” that has so terribly eroded-Israel’s security in the face of the ever-burgeoning threats from around and within the Jewish homeland. Specifically, Jan Willem pinpointed Washington’s ongoing pressure on Israel to “disengage” from Judea and Samaria as it did from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

The implementation of this policy would mandate the forceful removal of hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes, resulting in the final relinquishing of Israel’s biblical heartland and the cradle of its birth.

As they did with such alacrity and success in southern Lebanon and Gaza, the Arabs would immediately turn that territory into yet another terrorist base from which to intensify their efforts to destroy what would be left of Israel.

What is certain is this: that the judenrein “West Bank” will instantly become an Islamic terrorist state, with rocket-armed Arabs positioned on the hills less than 20km from Ben Gurion Airport. From there they will be able to bring down intercontinental airliners, or even just threaten to bring them down – effectively and disastrously choking international access, destroying Israel’s vital tourism industry and bringing her to her knees.

How on earth, Jan Willem demanded, if more than 100,000 US marines are unable to secure and defend the fledgling democracy America has paid so high a price to plant in Iraq, would Washington ever be able to ensure that the newly created “Palestine” would become anything remotely resembling the “democratic, secular Arab state … side-by-side in peace with Israel” the Bush administration insists it wants to see established?

These words seemed to impact some of those we spoke to. One congressman went so far as to request that we “help” him become a voice of reason against such madness.

Distressingly, ignorance of what Islam really is – together with the mass-emasculation that has resulted from the “need” to remain politically correct in dealing with this dangerous religion – appears widespread in Washington, and in the US on the whole.

A former senator told us he believes militant Islam can be dealt with from within by introducing a pluralism which over time (what time?) will moderate the religion, and defang it.

Don was shocked and disappointed by this blindness, as were we all. And it is combined with the sense of helplessness on the street that has neutralized many Christians – preventing them from warning against the mortal danger of Islam, and from demanding that their politicians restrict its encroachment on their country.

The impression that grew increasingly as we traveled is that the United States is almost voluntarily exposing its throat to Islam. Unless something dramatic occurs, Allah will face scant resistance to his campaign to subjugate “the land of the free.”

Nashville – In search of heavenly music

Leaving Washington’s more temporal environs, we flew to Nashville, the capital of Tennessee. That picturesque (and extremely affluent) metropolis may be the home of country music, but we were after something higher: heavenly music to offer up at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem this year.

A family, extraordinarily gifted in worshiping through art, music and dance – but whose ministry has weathered tremendous spiritual attack – was waiting near Nashville to welcome, host and visit with us.

By the time we left, a number of them had committed to coming to the Feast (September 25 through October 5) and we are anticipating glorious and powerful worship as we gather to carry out “the exploits of God.”

St Louis – Global Day of Prayer in the Gateway to the West

From Nashville, where we took leave of Donny, we made the short jump to St Louis, Missouri, the city from where Thomas Jefferson dispatched explorers Lewis and Clark to the unknown western reaches of the continent. In 1806 it became known as “The Gateway to the West” – a designation marked today by the stunning stainless steel Gateway Arch that soars 630 feet into the air above the Mississippi’s banks.

St Louis’ new Busch Stadium lies just beneath the Arch, and was the venue for Pentecost Sunday’s Global Day of Prayer, where Jan Willem was invited to bring a petition on Israel’s behalf.

A spontaneous response erupted from many in the 3000-strong crowd as his powerful prayer for God’s ancient people and land ascended into the overcast night sky.

Christians in the city who heard Jan Willem speak over the subsequent two days responded from their hearts, and enthusiastically agreed to come up to Jerusalem for the Feast. Many wanted to pay their deposits on the spot. A radio talk show host offered to invite his listeners to sign up too.

San Diego – ‘Jacob’s trouble is over’

Palm trees brush the sky above this pretty Pacific Ocean city – the second-largest in California and seventh-largest in the USA. We had two appointments there, one with a film-producer, the other a Wednesday-night service in the Maranatha Chapel of open-hearted Pastor Ray Bentley.

We spent a couple of intensive hours with Bill MacKay, producer of the astounding television series “Against all Odds – In search of a Miracle” which so vividly shows how God has moved in supernatural ways to bring about Israel’s rebirth in her ancient homeland. The series has been shown on TBN, is about to be screened on PBS, and a feature-length film has also been produced. Bill shared with us some spirit-soaring developments that will have a far-reaching impact on Israel and the Church in the coming months.

Our message to the believers at the Maranatha Chapel – which has already taken a strong pro-Israel stand – began by centering on the loneliness and growing hopelessness today felt by so many of the Jewish people in their land.

Jan Willem went on to confront the troubling, widely-held belief in Evangelical American Christianity that Israel has indeed to yet endure a further holocaust or “time of Jacob’s trouble.”

He recounted the centuries of suffering experienced by the people of Israel that began when two-thirds were slaughtered by the Romans in AD 30 and 125, and ended when Hitler and his Nazis wiped out two-thirds of them in Europe.

“How many two-thirds do the Christians want?” he cried, “a third two-thirds, when they go on and on about how the Jews have come home, not to see the grace and favor and the spirit of God, but for another Jacob’s trouble?!

“It is a lie from the devil! For the Bible does not say that the Jewish people will brought back to be slaughtered again! Two thirds of them have twice been slain already!”

Only the Spirit of God will be able to break through into the hearts of Christians with this vital message that is needed to set straight the American church. So many of those who already love Israel have embraced as biblical truth the man-made teaching of a coming Jacob’s trouble for Israel while the Church is raptured “out of here.”

Our future lies with the Jewish people, Jan Willem continued, not separated from them. We are being called to stand alongside and around them, in some ways even between them and a God-hating world, through whatever lies ahead.

He shared the calling from God and his vision to establish a “mother center” in Israel where the “10 men out of every nation” will be trained to “take hold of a Jew and say to him, ‘Let us go with you for we have heard that God is with you.’” (Zechariah 8:23).

Should the United States in the end go the way of the rest of the nations, and turn against Israel, Gentiles from every nation under heaven who love and fear the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will come and stand with the Jews.

Not for the first time was this staggering but barely understood truth communicated to those we spoke to:

If a mere 10,000 Christians had come to Israel in July 2005, and had placed themselves as a wall between Israel’s security forces and the 9,000 Jews they were set to forcefully uproot from Gaza (under the world’s approving gaze) – the “Disengagement Plan” could well have been foiled. Never mind the “50 million Christian Zionists” some insist exist in America. Only a few thousand committed men and women are needed to make a real difference.

You can watch the Maranatha Chapel service here if you have Windows Media Player or Real Video Player: http://www.maranathachapel.org/webcast/index.php?section=archive&id=1013&event=3

JH Ranch – A kiss from heaven

Our tour was nearly over. We had one final stop to make together – this time at the breathtaking JH Ranch in the Salmon Mountains of northern California, where we had been invited by our Christian Zionist friends, Bruce and Heather Johnston.

After a day stranded at San Francisco Airport due to bad weather, we reached the ranch in the early morning of June 1 and, a few hours later, met with the dozens of young people who have volunteered to staff the ranch’s special summer relationship-building programs.

The spontaneous and sincere responses and the outpouring of prayer from these boys and girls after they heard Jan Willem speak led me to bless them in my own words of greeting, describing our fellowship with them as a “kiss from heaven” to mark the end of our visit to America.

JH Ranch has found a special place in the hearts of the people of Israel, and is working to strengthen official ties across the ocean in ways we believe will bring support and special blessings to both lands. For more about JH Ranch go here: http://www.jhranch.com

North Carolina and New Jersey

Two more meetings were scheduled for Jan Willem before he left the United States to return to Israel.

The first was in the North Carolina church of his most beloved pastor and friend, Jesse Stines, who is currently being treated for cancer in an excellent hospital in Houston, TX.

Jan Willem brought a strong and prophetic word for this hard-pressed congregation. In spite of all they have been through in various trials, a large group from this area will be coming to the Feast of Tabernacles this year.

The final meeting was in New Jersey, where the Lord greatly blessed the ministry of His Word to a largely Spanish-speaking congregation led by Christina Tiletti and her mother.

Suffering Saints

As we traveled across America our hearts were burdened for two saints – a pastor in North Carolina and a sister in St Louis – who have and are suffering greatly in their bodies, and both of whom have for decades stood devotedly and often sacrificially with the Jewish people and God’s purposes for Israel. Although we can testify to the abundance of God’s blessings as He has bound our lives up in Israel’s, it also seems to often be true that some are called to pay a personal price for doing so. These dear friends remain in our hearts and our daily prayers.

Gathering the Gideonites – Establishing a national network for the ICZC

I want to add a few words about something unplanned and exciting that developed as we went from place to place: In Boston and Albany, in Nashville, from Augusta, GA, and in St Louis, we met exceptional individuals whose hearts are consumed with love for God and a zeal for Zion and who, as they heard more about the vision of the ICZC, identified with and embraced it. Many will be coming to the Feast, where they will be prayerfully commissioned to network involvement with the ICZC on the ground in the USA. It is a tremendous and refreshing joy to have brothers and sisters of this caliber join with us after these years of drought.

Conclusion – Wither America?

Any Christian who has eyes to see – and who chooses to see – will know that the Land and the People of Israel are in the throes of a transition that will see them either finally brought into the glorious future and blessing God has ordained for them, or left desolate and forsaken once again.

The hour is very late. The odds – in the physical – are stacked high against Israel’s long term survival. Driven into a corner, its back against the wall, this little nation is being left with very little choice but to fight if it wants to live.

Jan Willem and I traveled to the United States to do whatever we could to get the immense pressure that is being directed against Israel lifted or, if possible, even turned and brought to bear her foes. As we went, we challenged American politicians by holding before them the consequences – to Israel and to the US – of continuing to pursue their current policies in the Middle East.

We also challenged American Christians to be willing to physically stand with Israel against the world – if necessary against their own nation and government. Unless we are prepared to pay a personal price, our words of support for the Jews are nothing more than words.

It is time for all who REALLY care about Israel to get serious with God and make ourselves available – however He calls us – to fight this battle for His people and land.

May the United States yet be a blessing to Israel, so that God can indeed bless America!

© Israel My Beloved

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