Jesus lifted high on the streets of Amsterdam as Christians pray for Israel.
by Charles Gardner.
AMSTERDAM, January 23, 2024 – It was in the ‘open square of the city’ that Mordecai sat in sackcloth and ashes wailing over the plot to destroy the Jews of ancient Persia (Esther 4:6).
And Queen Esther’s guardian was soon able to persuade her that, if she failed to intervene, help for the Jews would come from another place.
He also managed to persuade her that she had perhaps come to the kingdom for such a time as this.
Our church is currently preaching a series of sermons on Esther, so this scenario is particularly fresh in my thinking. But I am also indebted to an extraordinary YouTube video I watched over the weekend – recorded live in Amsterdam – where passionate praise and worship to Jesus filled the air of the busy city where crowds of people stopped to listen.
Fortified by warm coats, scarves and hats in below freezing temperatures, these beautiful Dutch Christians were lifting up the name of Yeshua while also – bravely – praying for Israel and the world under the banner of a movement called Presence Praise.
While his worship group sang in English, their leader spoke in Dutch, translated by a colleague. And in the middle of the session, a Dutch MP came forward to pray and urged bystanders to put their trust in the Lord.
And here’s the thing. This glorious gathering was taking place in the ‘open square of the city’ (as with Mordecai’s lament) which makes it especially relevant as Hamas and its Iranian backers call for the destruction of Israel.
A similar worship and prayer event has been held at The Hague, the Dutch capital, where Israel has absurdly been accused of genocide for responding to an unprovoked attack by targeting an enemy literally hiding behind ‘human shields’.
At the time of Esther, around 400 BC, it was the Jews in the Persian empire who were threatened with extinction by a man named Haman (note the similarity of the name). And it is Iran – modern Persia – and her fanatical Ayatollahs who are determined to destroy today’s Jews.
At The Hague, the priestly praying of the gathered Christians was compared to Aaron and Hur holding up the arms of Moses as the ancient Israelites fought the Amalekites (Exodus 17). And after apologising for his Dutch not being up to scratch, an Iranian man prayed for Israel in Farsi.
In addition, a representative of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem recalled how they took a large group to share the Feast of Tabernacles with one of the communities massacred by Hamas only two days later.
In both Amsterdam and The Hague we are witnessing a counter movement to antisemitism, led by Christians who understand their calling to stand up and be counted, for they have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.
We (in Britain especially) must now also heed that call to stand in the gap for the precious people who gave us both the Scriptures and our Saviour.
With the annual Holocaust Memorial Day taking place on Saturday, I am preparing a talk on the subject in which I had already planned to mention how that courageous Dutch Christian heroine Corrie ten Boom risked her life by hiding Jews in her home at nearby Haarlem.
How Corrie would have been thrilled to see this marvellous spectacle of people praising Jesus with great abandon while at the same time standing up to be counted as supporters of Israel!
Bearing in mind the raging storms breaking out across the world (both in the form of weather and war), their young leader said there would be no revival (of faith) without shaking.
I’m told the Amsterdam venue was just around the corner from the Red-Light district. This too is significant. For Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of his day by saying, prophetically: “Truly, I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.” (Matthew 21:31)
And yet for all those who mark the door of their hearts with the blood of the Lamb, the prophet Isaiah assures us that “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” (Isaiah 1:18)
The faces of the singers and musicians who led the praise and prayer session in both cities were shining with joy, passion, peace, and love for Jesus. There was a great sense of purity in the atmosphere.
For the Spirit of the living God had washed them clean through the blood of the eternal covenant shed on the cross by Jesus, the Messiah. Hallelujah! Christ is risen and is walking the streets of Amsterdam and The Hague. With Dutch ancestry myself, I am so proud of their stand for truth. Let’s now add our own cities to theirs.