Iranian witnesses for Jesus in streets of Tel Aviv

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By Charles Gardner —

Tel Aviv viewed from Jaffa (photo: Gardner)



Where terrified Israelis had only weeks earlier come under a hail of rockets from Iran, a young Iranian man brought a message of love, hope and reconciliation to the streets of Tel Aviv.

Unashamed and unabashed, Rami declared how his life had changed through the Jewish Messiah and prayed that Israel and Iran would once again be friends.

Speaking amidst two-and-a-half hours of worship in a city square organized by the Dutch-led Presence revival movement (now accessible on YouTube), he said: “I was taught to hate the Jews and to hate Israel. Every morning in school they told us to say ‘death to Israel; death to America’.”

Rami explained: “I was 19 when a Jewish rabbi changed my life. God turned an enemy into a friend. Now, in Iran, millions are coming to know Yeshua. He’s the perfect Passover Lamb, the Yom Kippur sacrifice. Isaiah 53 tells us that he took our sins and bore our sicknesses. He took our place.

“I was a lost Muslim man full of hate and bitterness. I was a Gentile, and Yeshua changed my life. Millions of people in Iran now love Israel because of Yeshua.”

Referring to the regime which has repeatedly vowed to destroy Israel and which has so recently demonstrated that intent by launching hundreds of missiles at the Jewish state, Ramin assured the gathering crowd: “The Islamic regime does not represent the people of Iran. They have taken a nation hostage. I pray that Iran and Israel become friends again.”

He said Israel had given hope to the world through the Bible, and through Yeshua, who laid down his life as a sacrifice. He publicly prayed that Iran’s ‘evil regime’ would be brought down, that there would be flights from Tel Aviv to Tehran, and that Iran and Israel would be free as “two brothers, pillars of hope in the Middle East”.

He prayed for spiritual revival and for release of the hostages, pleading with God to “restore the captivity of Zion, that the sons of Cyrus will become friends with the sons of Abraham. I pray that the people of Israel would seek their God again, and recognise that Yeshua is the Messiah, and they would see him whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10).

Singing about “the lion of the tribe of Judah” and many other aspects of the faith that is wholly built on its Hebraic roots, this was not a performance despite the obvious skills of the musicians and singers leading the praise. This was the true worship referred to by Yeshua when he met the Samaritan woman at the well in Sychar (John 4). Some were kneeling and many had their arms raised in adoration of their Lord amid an atmosphere of exuberant joy and awesome holiness.

As with earlier events at Amsterdam and in six different UK cities including London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, the power of praise brought peace to an age of turbulence and protest.

Here is the answer to an age-old conflict. Please tell the politicians that, right in the midst of a war, Israelis are hearing about the amazing peace that their ‘enemy’ has found in the Jewish Messiah!

This is the reconciliation between Jew and Gentile referred to by the Apostle Paul when he said: “For he himself (Christ) is our peace, who has made the two groups 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, this making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14-16)

Here was the olive branch of peace being offered through Jesus, and yet one bystander threatened to call the police to arrest the worshippers.

But Presence leader Wim Hoddenbagh responded that he would welcome sharing his faith with prisoners, as the disciples of old had done.

Speaking of the event following his return to the Netherlands, Wim said: “It was truly an historic moment. Local believers said that they have never experienced 2.5 hours of singing and preaching about the name of Yeshua so openly on this central square in Tel Aviv. That was truly a miracle.”

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