“Israel mandate”: a term made up of two words that both raise questions for themselves - and evoke emotions.
Israel - this small country has been in the world news since the establishment of the independent state in 1948, it polarises, it calls on the powerful of this world to take a stand and is the cause of countless discussions and disputes. The Middle East conflict raises many questions and, despite many political attempts, all human solutions have so far been doomed to failure.
With the partition of Palestine by the UN in 1947, the founding of the state in 1948 and the admission of Israel to the United Nations, a biblical promise was fulfilled: After the atrocities of the Holocaust, the Jews who had been persecuted for millennia were officially allowed to call the promised refuge, which God had repeatedly assured as their property and home, their own and migrate there. They still haven't found peace, since they are such a thorn in the side of some neighbours that they would like to drive them away. This is evident from the terror and wars with which Israel is repeatedly confronted (detailed information on the Middle East conflict can be found on Wikipedia).
“Mandate” - what does this mean for the House of Prayer in Freiburg? Do we assume that we have an official mandate to know political solutions or to be able to judge who is carrying out how many unjust acts in the Middle East conflict? No. The mandate that we feel as a House of Prayer community can be described very simply in two words: Pray and love - both are mandates that all Christians have received from God.
1. Practical implementation through prayer
On the basis of the biblical statements about the Jews as God's chosen people, on the basis of his promises for his people and country and in view of the conflict over the land of Israel that has been going on since 1948, we pray for Israel several hours a week:
Monday 07:00 a.m. - 08:00 a.m.
Monday 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (every 2 weeks)
Thursday 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Twice a year, a team of prayers also travels from the House of Prayer to Jerusalem, where they spend four hours a day in prayer and worship before God.
It is important to us that our prayers are not fed by an emotional and unreflected enthusiasm, but based on the biblical statements. So it is also important to us not to reject the other peoples of the Middle East but to include them in our prayers. God has the answer for Israel AND the surrounding peoples. Peace comes from him. This is excellently expressed in the words of the prophet Isaiah (chapters 19, 21-25):
And the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day. Then they will serve with sacrifices and meat offerings, and will make vows to the Lord and keep them. And the Lord will smite, smite, and heal the Egyptians. And they will turn to the Lord, and he will be asked of them, and he will heal them. On that day there will be a road from Egypt to Assyria. Assyria will come into Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with Assyria [the LORD]. On that day Israel will be third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth. For the LORD of hosts blesses them, saying, Blessed be Egypt, my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and Israel, my inheritance.
These scriptures clearly show that God loves the peoples of the Middle East. (Note: Ancient Assyria encompasses a large part of the present-day Middle Eastern states in the region.) Therefore, one of the guidelines for prayer for us is: "Lord, let the peoples of the Middle East know Jesus Christ".
We pray that Israel will be a blessing for all nations, that it will remain protected as a people and country, and that all residents will recognize Jesus Christ as the long-awaited, peace-bringing Messiah.
We do not believe in a replacement theology that says that the Christians have replaced Israel as the people of God, but together with the Apostle Paul we see ourselves as "wild olive branches" that were grafted into the olive tree of Israel. We see a brotherly bond and, like Paul, we long for Israel to know Jesus (see Romans 11: 1; Romans 9: 1-5).
We believe that God chose Israel and granted his people real land:
And the Lord said to Abram, Go out of your land, and from your relatives, and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you. And I want to make you a great nation, and I want to bless you, and I want to make your name great, and you should be a blessing! And I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed! Genesis 12: 3
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, I have given this land to your descendants, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates: the Kenites and the Kenazites and the Kadmonites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Refaïter and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Girgashites and the Jebusites. Genesis 15: 18-21
See further to the promises regarding “God's people” and the geographically real country, eg Judges 2,1; Genesis 26: 4; Genesis 28:13; 2.Sam 7.23-24.
2. Practical implementation through real relationships
In the middle of the old town there is an inn where we live together on our group trips and pray together every day.
As a group, it is important to us to come into contact with people in order to bring them into contact with the love of God. Nationality or religious affiliation are irrelevant for us. We have had amazing encounters with Muslims in particular and even heard a Muslim Arab literally say to us “Peace will only come when Joshua comes back”.
Relationships have developed that make amazing things possible, e.g. we have sat on the roof of a house in an Arab quarter to worship Jesus after a wonderful dinner at the invitation of the Muslim host ...
We were also allowed - according to his statement - to be the first to hear the story of a survivor of the Holocaust ...
God loves the people of Israel - and we want to do the same in a practical way and through prayer. We always tell new friends that we are in the country to pray and we have so far never experienced rejection.
If you have further questions about our Israel Mandate, we recommend our teaching series, which you can listen to or download here for free.
"Israel and the Faithfulness of God"
My experiences as a messianic Jew - Hadas Soziev, staff House of Prayer Freiburg
"Why We Pray for Israel"