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The Twelve Tribes of Israel

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16 Nov 2018 (All day)
The Twelve Tribes of Israel

The first Feast night in Jerusalem literally started with a blast as the shofar sounded from the main stage in Pais Arena, calling God’s assembly to attention. The audience was ready to celebrate, and each nation was excited to see its particular national flag ascend to the main stage. The loudest collective cheer sounded when Israel’s flag joined the host of nations, demonstrating the powerful Christian love and support that the ICEJ can draw upon in its work for the Jewish people.

Powerful Changes
Following the parade of nations and celebratory worship, ICEJ’s president, Dr Jürgen Bühler, took to the stage to address the Feast Pilgrims. In an expert manner, he drove home two powerful points: namely, the amazing reality that God has brought about in Israel over the past 70 years and how diverse and multifaceted Israeli society is today.

Based on Exodus 28, Dr Jürgen Bühler gave a profound yet accessible introduction to the mosaic of modern-day Israel. Using the priestly breastplate as a model for Israel’s twelve tribes, the audience was introduced to twelve contemporary population groups, each unique in its own way and spanning an astonishingly broad spectrum in terms of religion, ethnicity and social class. Dr Bühler suggested that Christians adopt one of these modern-day “tribes” and intercede for them in prayer. The following excerpts demonstrate how he caught the audience’s imagination and used the Bible along with ancient and contemporary history to give a highly effective lesson on where and what Israel is today.

"Now we don’t have the twelve tribes anymore today (…) but let me suggest to you tonight twelve contemporary tribes of Israel – twelve tribes that need your prayer; twelve tribes the Lord asks you to put on your heart, to put them on your shoulders and bring them before God.

Value-driven Ultra-Orthodox
The first tribe that you find in Israel is the Ultra-Orthodox communities. You recognise them in the way they dress; they make up approximately 12% of the population. They have many different traditions, but they have a united voice against immorality (…) We always need to remember that one of the greatest apostles in the Bible came out of exactly this community. There was a young man here in Jerusalem. His name was Saul (…) after he had an encounter with Jesus, he became the main force in the New Testament Church to take the gospel to the nations, so let’s pray for those people.

Secular Faith
The second tribe that I want to introduce lies on the exact opposite side of the spectrum. They are the secular people here in this land, many of them are atheists, but let me tell you this tonight: The atheists here in this land are different from those in your country. Just a few days ago we honoured the day of Yom Kippur. I was surprised to find out that more than 40% of the secular community were fasting, too. (…) And let me also tell you something else about the atheists in this land. One of their voices, Amos Oz, has said, 'We are atheists of the book, we read the Bible because it is our history book; it gives us identity,' and it is interesting enough, it was among those people that Jesus found the most followers when he walked here in Israel. Let us pray for those people – the atheists, the secular people of Israel.

(…)

Voices for the future
The sixth group I want to introduce to you are Holocaust survivors. They are a group that is becoming smaller each day. Today there are over 180,000 Holocaust survivors left. Every year, an estimated 25,000 Holocaust survivors pass away. Their dreams are sometimes nightmares. They still wake up in the middle of the night, and they hear the barking of the German guard dogs, corralling them into the gas chambers. But the dreams that they have for the future can be summed up by the following: They tell me, 'Jürgen, I hope that when we die, that our memories will stay alive, that people will always remember what we have been through.'

And ladies and gentlemen that is why we have a home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa. We can take care of those people and also ensure that their memory will pass on to the next generation. Time is running out to help these people. Every day, Holocaust survivors pass away, and I believe we are called to bless them.

The seventh tribe I want to introduce to you is the Russian Jews. When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1989, more than 1 million Jews came rushing to the land of Israel (…) They are an integral part of Israeli society. They serve in the army; you can find them in every part of society; they even have their own political party in the Knesset, and they can be found among the staff at the Christian Embassy. Over the last 20 years, the ICEJ has helped more than 120,000 Russian Jews make their way back to the land of Israel. These are the people about whom the Bible says “Behold, I will speak to the north country and I will tell it, let my people go” (Cf. Isaiah 43:6), and God answered those prayers; they have returned back to the land of Israel.

(…)

The heart of the Start-up Nation
The ninth tribe is the academic science/ high-tech tribe, a very important tribe because it accounts for more than 70% of Israel’s economic volume. I’m not sure if you’re aware that Israel was the only nation that already had a university before the nation was established. Some of the greatest scientists today come from this land. The dreams that they have are very literal dreams: to make the lame walk. And this week you will meet a young start-up company called ReWalk, whose product does exactly this – they make people walk again. Others are working through science to get their eyesight back; yet others are working to heal cancer and other diseases. And if you ask them, “Why are you doing this?” they say, “because we want to be a blessing to the nations.”

(…)

Maybe the Lord has brought one tribe in particular to mind, or maybe your heart has been touched by all the tribes, but let us pray that God puts a burden on our hearts tonight, that when we return back to our nations we will be carrying those tribes of Israel on our shoulders, that we return as priests and ambassadors praying until we see revival in Israel."
 

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