So why does the church have a heart for Israel? Because the Jews are still God's chosen people and Israel is central to His end-time purposes. According to Zechariah 14 and Acts 1, Jesus is going to return to the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem to establish his reign on earth in fulfilment of the covenant God made with King David.

Paul tells us that the gospel was first preached to Abraham: "The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: 'All nations will be blessed through you.'" (Galatians 3:8). This quotation, from Genesis 12, is where God promises Abraham not only that a great nation will come through him, but also their entitlement to the land which we now know as Israel.

In Romans 11 Paul uses the imagery of grafting new branches onto an olive tree to show how Gentiles are grafted in to Israel: "If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you." (vv17-18)

Paul also reminds us in Ephesians 2 that we were once "excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise" (v12). Later in the chapter he says, "You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with [not instead of] God's people and members of God's household" (v19).

As part of our commitment to Israel, we support the work of Shevet Achim, as described on another page. This accords with Paul's words in Romans 15: "For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings." (v27)

Each year the church is pleased to host a civic commemoration of the Holocaust. At the 2015 event our speaker was Chaim Ferster, a 92-year-old survivor of several Nazi concentration camps including Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. He shared his story with over 200 people in the audience. The following day he spoke to over 500 students in local high schools.

In recent years we have hosted a number of speakers from Israel, including Messianic Jews, Arab Christians and a Bedouin diplomat. Several church members also visited Israel in 2013. Here they are seen at Shiloh, location of the Tabernacle for over 300 years.

If you would like to find out more, download a free booklet, “Chosen Race, Chosen Place” here.

Tour Group to Israel 2014. Tour Guide, Eric, addressing the group at Shiloh

Chaim Ferster addressing the Holocaust Memorial Event 2015 at Emmanuel Church