More than two thousand people, including hundreds of students, attended the “Israel, the Church and the Middle East Crisis” conference, showing the deep interest that believers in Jesus have in knowing more about the End Times and the role of Israel and her neighbors in the plan of God.
As you know, this conference was co-sponsored by Chosen People Ministries, Biola University, the Talbot School of Theology (part of Biola) and the ministries of Joel C. Rosenberg, the award-winning author and Middle East expert, who was also a main speaker at the event.
The event took place on the campus of Biola University in La Mirada, California on Friday evening March 23rd and continued all day Saturday before concluding with a celebration of Israel, the Jewish people and God’s plan of redemption for the world on Saturday evening.
The other main speakers included Dr. Walter Kaiser, our foremost Evangelical Old Testament scholar and Dr. Mitch Glaser, President of Chosen People Ministries, a 118- year-old mission to the Jewish people. Musicians included Messianic minstrel Marty Goetz, as well as Steve Wiggins, who serves on the staff of Harvest Fellowship in Redlands, California.
The conference highlighted the testimonies of Michael Zinn, a Russian Jewish believer and leader of Chosen People Ministries’ work in Israel, as well as Hormoz Shariat, an Iranian evangelist and former Muslim. A variety of workshops and panel discussions were held on the topic of the Middle East Crisis and the plan and purposes of God for the Jewish people.
Seminars were held on how to witness to both Jewish people and Muslims and difficult issues such as the impact of anti-Semitism on Jewish evangelism, the impact that the Middle East Crisis has had on relationships between Jewish and Arab believers in Israel, as well as how the conflict impacts the work of the Gospel in Israel in Israel today.
On Friday night at the beginning of the conference, I outlined the goals and unique viewpoint of the conference, detailing some of the reasons why I believe that understanding the Middle East crisis is important for everyone, but especially for those who believe the Bible to be the Word of God and that biblical prophecy must be taken seriously.
In my talk, I suggested the following:
- The Middle East and Israel in particular is the focal point of biblical prophecy and will become the “nexus” for End Times events preceding the Second Coming of Jesus.
- Prophecies of End Times events must be viewed through the lens of Scripture, so that believers today do not join those who have been enthusiastic about the Second Coming, but have wrongly made the Church look foolish by setting dates and identifying the last days key players and events. The serious study of End Times prophecy must be done with humility, care in interpretation and, above all, must be true to Scripture and not speculation.
- Understanding the Middle East crisis through the lens of Scripture will enable believers to become a more relevant witness for the Lord as friends and neighbors today are confused and frightened by world events. Those seeking comfort and peace of soul will never find it in USA Today, CNN or Fox News. Followers of Jesus should be ready to let help loved ones know what the Bible says about today and about tomorrow.
- Understanding the Middle East crisis, through the lens of Scripture, will give us hope and help us to point others to the Prince of Peace, who is the one and only true hope for the world.
- By understanding the Middle East crisis, believers will gain new biblical insights into End Times prophecy–and knowing the urgency of the hour, will become more fervent to proclaim the Good News to those who do not yet believe in Jesus the Messiah; both Jews and non-Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Buddhists and the mass of those who are unaffiliated. Knowing more about the End Times will motivate us to fulfill the Great Commission; “to the Jew first and also to the Gentiles” (Romans 1:16).
- Understanding the complexities of the current Middle East crisis and what the Bible says about His promised future for Israel and her neighbors will move us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem; more effectively, more intelligently and with greater passion.
The event was recorded and podcasts of the messages and testimonies will be available within a month!