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Thousands of Christian pilgrims invade Jerusalem

Heaven came down for two nights -- Sunday, September 5 and Monday September 6, 2009 -- in Jerusalem, the “City of Gold”, as thousands of Christian pilgrims gathered for a unique “Multi-Cultural Festival” to celebrate their faith and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, reports Dan Wooding in Jerusalem, ASSIST Ministries.

They were aware that this was the city where Jesus Christ lived so much of his ministry life and died and was resurrected, so this gave a special flavor to the activities.

Up until their arrival, all the headlines in Israel had been captured by Kabbalah follower, Madonna who was in the country, but now they had suddenly realized that so many Christians from 36 countries, were in town for two nights of the festival which was led by Pastor Dr. Jaerock Lee of South Korea, who has 100,000 members in his Seoul church and 9,000 branch churches around the world (with 2 million members).

For the thousands packed into the International Convention Center (ICC) in Jerusalem, heaven came down in the form of the Manmin worship teams who provided singing and dance aimed at the many cultures represented in Israel.

The event, whose theme is “God is Great,” was being broadcast live to an estimated 50 million viewers in 200 countries with a series of satellite TV stations that covered the world beaming out the events.

After his sermons, Dr. Lee began praying for the sick (and for the peace) in the 3,000-strong center and each night, scores came forward to the platform where many testified to their healing.

On stage was Dr. Vitaly Fishberg, a medical doctor from New York who headed up the team of doctors and nurses who checked everyone of the people before the beginning of the service and diagnosed their condition and put that in writing. Then, as they came on stage, he would step forward and check the person’s symptoms (or lack of them) and then would classify if they had received a miracle or not.

Director General Noaz Bar Nir from the Ministry of Tourism and Yehiel (Hilik) Bar Hilik, the portfolios holder of Tourism & Foreign Relations of the Municipality of Jerusalem welcomed the congregation on behalf of the Government of Israel and of the Municipality.

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After all of the music, Dr. Lee, whose church has 100,000 members and 9,000 branch churches around the world, preached a sermon on “God the Creator,” and followed up on Monday with the topic of “Why is Jesus Christ our only Savior?"

The sermons were interpreted from Korean to English and Russian and then there were five more interpretations in that people in the audience could receive through earphone including Hebrew, French, Spanish, Ethiopian and Chinese.

I asked Johnny Kim, the executive director of Manmin TV, how it had come about that Dr. Lee had decided to have this rally in Jerusalem.

“Three years ago, Dr. Lee listened to the voice of God through his prayer to go to the Holy Land for the next three years and awaken ‘my’ people,” he said. “So that's how Dr. Lee has prepared for coming to the Holy Land and he actually has been here for the last eleven times for three years since 2007.

“During those three years, he would keep coming back and visiting evangelical churches from village to village here in Israel and he shared the Gospel of the Word of God and prayed for the sick.”

In an interview, Dr. Lee said, “As you may know, it's not so easy in this country to have this kind of festival but only by the grace of God and His support and His blessing we are here today."

“According to the statistics, there are about two-billion people that believe in Jesus Christ all over the world and who also believe that He was born in this land of Israel. So that is why I preach about Jesus Christ as the messiah and savior and also confirm my message with signs and wonders.”

Dr. Lee added, “I'd like to pray and I sincerely hope that through this festival that the message that Israel is a safe and the Holy Land is a wonderful place to come and visit.” to the whole world through this live broadcasting and through this festival.

One Messianic Christian leader said, “I know Dr. Lee has his critics, but I observed him at close quarters and found him to be a very humble man. Each time he came back to Israel, he would go to some of the smallest churches here to minister. This was most impressive to me.”

One of the speakers on the opening night was Dr. Frank Wright, president of National Religious Broadcasters in the United States. When asked why he was in Jerusalem for his first visit to the Holy City, he said, “Manmin TV is a member of the National Religious Broadcasters and I'm actually here at their invitation. I'll be bringing a brief greeting. Manmin TV exhibit at our convention every year so I'm here to support a member of the National Religious Broadcasters.”

The biggest overseas contingent came from the former Soviet Union – 800 in all -- and were led by Bishop Igor Nikitin who told me in an interview, “We have so many people here from very different backgrounds, including business and religious leaders from Ukraine, Russia, Caucasia, Kazakhstan, and many other countries including the United States. They have all here come to attends the multi-cultural festival in Jerusalem and we are very appreciative of these people take their time spending the finances coming from all over the world.”

He added that one in every four people in Israel now speak Russian.I asked Nikitin what he felt to be part of the festival and he replied, “It’s definitely a miracle of God. This is one of my dreams and now being here in Jerusalem is fulfilling the Book of Revelation for me. This gathering is is definitely a sign of last days.”

On Saturday night, Yehiel (Hilik) Bar, a Jerusalem City Council Member and the holder of Tourism and Foreign Relations Portfolios, welcomed the pilgrims at a special event for them at the David Tower Lights show in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Afterwards he Mr. Bar told me why he was so enthusiastic to welcome Christian pilgrims to the City of David. “That's because everyone is welcome to witness the wonders of Jerusalem especially the Christians and especially the evangelical Christians who are great allies and friends of Israel and Jerusalem,” he said. “Every time they're making events here it's our pleasure to host them.”

Before the festival began, I also joined hundreds of pilgrims and we all planted a tree at Yad Kennedy Forest in Jerusalem.

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