Evangelical Christian tour groups keep coming to Israel, despite new wave of terrorism. Here’s the latest.

Some of The Joshua Fund tour group on the Golan Heights, visiting the Syrian-Israeli border.

Some of The Joshua Fund tour group on the Golan Heights, visiting the Syrian-Israeli border.

(Jerusalem, Israel) — It’s been a very challenging Fall here. We’re experiencing a wave of terrorism that’s been encouraged and incited by Palestinian leaders. It’s making big headlines and raising concerns that a “Third Intifada” may be erupting.

On September 17th, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said publicly, “Every drop of blood that has been spilled in Jerusalem is holy blood as long as it was for Allah. Every Martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded, Allah willing.”

Since then, at least 153 Israelis have been wounded, and 11 Israelis have been killed.

Yet, remarkably, Evangelical Christians from all over the world are continuing to come to tour the country and bless Israel, and for this I am deeply grateful.

  • Nearly 200 Evangelicals just spent nearly two weeks here in the Land with The Joshua Fund on our “Prayer & Vision Tour,” and we only had a handful of cancellations, despite the violence. [Please scroll through our “Epicenter Team” page on Facebook or through my Twitter account over the past two weeks to see lots of pictures from our tour.]
  • Nearly 150 Evangelicals are here right now with Tony Perkins and Gen. Jerry Boykin on the Family Research Council’s first-ever tour of Israel. Indeed, I’ve had the joy of spending the last several days touring with them, addressing these folks on the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount and on the Mount of Olives, and answering their many questions.
  • Today and tomorrow, Tony and I will join Dr. Jerry Johnson, president of NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) and a group of high-ranking Israeli and European government and business leaders for the Jerusalem Leaders Summit.

It’s been enormously encouraging to the Israeli people, the tourism industry, and government leaders to see Christians continuing to come to show our love and solidarity. As the world increasingly turns against Israel at the U.N. and in other international forums, Israelis often feel very much alone. But the steadfast love of Bible-believing Christians is very moving and unexpected here. Especially now.

Thank you — all of you — for your faithful prayers for restored calm and security. Please keep praying.

  • Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
  • Pray for the Lord to comfort and heal all those who have been wounded.
  • Pray for what the Bible calls “peace that passes all comprehension” for the families and friends of those who have been killed.
  • Pray for the Lord to comfort and heal the deep emotional wounds of Palestinian families whose loved ones have turned into terrorists have been captured or killed as they have attacked Israeli citizens.
  • Pray for security forces to have favor and success in stopping terror attacks and restoring the rule of law. The good news is that Israeli security forces have learned over the years how to stop terrorist suicide bombing attacks. They have also created the Iron Dome system to neutralize the impact of rocket attacks by Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza. The bad news is that the terrorists have resorted to using kitchen knives, meat cleavers, broken bottles and cars to attack Israeli civilians, police officers and border guards.
  • Pray that the Lord restrains those who want to do evil, thwarts their plots, and brings them to justice — and that the Lord would dramatically change the hearts of Palestinian leaders who are inciting young people to attack and kill Jews.
  • Pray for wisdom for Israeli leaders to know exactly how to handle the situation, while also showing compassion towards Israeli Arabs who are citizens of the Jewish State, and compassion on Palestinian Arabs who are not terrorists and are suffering even further because of the actions of evil doers.
  • Pray that the Lord would knit together the hearts of Jewish and Arab followers of Jesus Christ, that we would not let the current violence and tensions divide us, but rather unite us in love, in prayer for the nation and region, and in humble service towards one another.
  • Pray above all that the Holy Spirit would dramatically and supernaturally open the eyes of the lost and the spiritually blind to the truth that Jesus is the Christ foretold in the ancient Biblical prophecies and that only by faith in His death and resurrection can any of us have true divine forgiveness of our sins, peace with God, and hope in this increasingly dark world.

In the days ahead, I hope to share with you more about the Joshua Fund tour. It was a very special time of Bible teaching, prayer, worship, caring for the poor, meeting with Jewish and Arab pastors and ministry leaders, and seeing amazing Biblical sites.

In the days ahead, I also plan to share with you more about the roots of the current violence, about the rumors sweeping through the Palestinian community that Israel is about to destroy the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and build the Third Temple, and the pattern of incitement to violence that we are seeing among far too many Palestinian political and religious leaders.

But for now, I just want to reiterate my heartfelt thanks to all the Christians who are continuing to come to Israel to show the Lord Jesus’ love for Jews and Arabs, thank Christians around the world who are praying for us here, and to ask you all to keep praying. That’s the most important thing you can do, and Lord knows we need your prayers as much as we ever did. It’s not just a physical war underway in this region, it’s a white-hot spiritual war, as well. So thank you, and God bless you.

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