by Dr. Mike Evans
When I was four years old, I was watching cartoons on television. When the program ended, a special from Dr. Billy Graham came on. My mother came into the room, and immediately turned off the TV. “Christians hate Jews,” she told me. “Christians kill Jews.” Her grandfather, my great-grandfather, had been burned to death by the Nazis inside his synagogue in what is now Belarus. They herded the Jewish people inside, nailed the doors shut, and celebrated and screamed “Christ killers!” as those inside perished.
Many Jewish people believe that Christians hate them because of the suffering they have endured at the hands of those who claimed to be Believers. You and I know that to follow the Bible and Jesus requires that we love His Jewish brothers and sisters, but that is a message that too often has been communicated to God’s Chosen People.
On April 15, the Friends of Zion Heritage Center, the first Christian museum in Jerusalem that tells the story of Christian love for the Jewish people, will be hosting a global “I Will Not Forget” Holocaust Remembrance Day event to show Jewish people in Israel and around the world that their Christian friends have not forgotten them. The rising tide of anti-Semitism in the world and the growing threats against Jewish people, both in Israel and in other nations, highlight the vital importance for us to stand with them in this hour of prophetic crisis.
In 1953 the Israeli government passed a law setting aside 27 Nisan on the Jewish calendar as a day of remembrance for the six million who perished in the Holocaust. The entire nation of Israel comes together to remember. Flags will be lowered to half staff. At 10:00 in the morning, a siren will wail across Israel, and everyone will stop where they are.
It is one of the most amazing things you will ever see if you have the opportunity to be in Israel on this day. Cars stop in the middle of the road and people get out and stand completely silent. No one moves. No one works. No one speaks…they stop and remember. In Jewish synagogues, special services are held where prayers will be offered, and psalms will be read and sung.
As the day begins at sundown, a solemn ceremony is held at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. Each year, Holocaust survivors light six torches, symbolizing the six million who perished. During the day various events are held, including an annual “March of the Living” at Auschwitz with Holocaust survivors and their descendants. Yom HaShoah is a day to remember the horrors of the death camps where six million Jewish people—one million of them children—perished at the hands of those who claimed they were doing God’s work. This great evil has left scars that remain to this day, and has driven a wedge between Christians and Jews that must be undone.
God has called the Friends of Zion Heritage Center to build a bridge of love and understanding that will help cross this divide. More than 30 years ago, I stood in the office of Prime Minister Menachem Begin in Jerusalem and told him that God wanted me to build a bridge of between Christians and Jews. I’ll never forget his response: “Let’s build it together!” For the rest of his life, he was personally involved in our efforts and gave his support to our events designed to bring Christians and Jews together.
The challenge of our day and the need to publicly declare our support of Israel and the Jewish people make this outreach essential. The sad reality is that for far too long the Church in general has been silent about the great evil of Jew-hatred… both in the past and in the present. Together, we are going to change that! Together, we will stand and raise our voices in unison and declare that we will both remember the darkness of the past and commit ourselves to being lights for the future. The response to the announcement of this event has been huge.
More than ten thousand churches in America and around the world have signed up to participate. Thousands of individuals have declared that they will take a stand. Three global satellite networks (Inspiration Network International, God TV and The Church Channel) will broadcast the event at different times throughout the day, and the presentation can also be viewed on our website at www.iwillnotforget.net. This is going to be an event that has a lasting impact on the Church and on the world. This special program we have prepared will feature some of the content that was developed for the Friends of Zion Heritage Center, telling the story of the horrors of the Holocaust and some of the heroes who stood as lights in the darkness.
In addition, we are delighted to announce that former Israeli president and prime minister, Shimon Peres, has taped a message of support and encouragement for this event. We also will have a message from Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor, Dr. Elie Wiesel, and a greeting from Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This is going to be such a powerful event, and we encourage you to make your plans right now to be part of it.
When I was in Israel recently, over and over people came up and told me how much it meant to them to know that Christian friends were standing with them. It is impossible to fully put into words the sense of isolation that the Jewish people feel. They know that their enemies are all around them and that many of their friends can no longer be counted on. They face constant attacks and threats. At any moment, anyone living in Israel could be killed by a terrorist who hates them not because of anything they have done but because of who they are and where they live.
This is a great tragedy, and it makes the need for our support more urgent than ever. The news of this event will electrify the Jewish world. The sad truth is that the Church has been largely silent about the great evils of the past…and about the great evils of the present. We can change that, but we can’t do it without the help of friends of Israel around the world. We encourage you to join us for this special Holocaust Remembrance Day event and add your voice to Believers around the world who will be standing to declare: “I Will Not Forget!”
For more information about the event, including ways in your church or small group can join together on this special day, you can visit us online at www.iwillnotforget.net. There is no cost or obligation to take part, and there is no offering or fund raising associated with this event.
Dr. Mike Evans is a widely sought-after speaker, having spoken over 4,000 times from the Kremlin Palace in Moscow to the World Summit on Terror in Jerusalem. He has spoken at countless Middle East Summits, prophecy summits and church conferences, where his broad perspectives on the Scriptures, prophecy, the Middle East and Christian faith are widely valued and deeply cherished. He has spoken at more than 3,000 churches worldwide.
As one who frequents the Middle East, Mike Evans has met with hundreds of Israeli government officials over the years and he works to connect with local leaders, prime ministers and ambassadors alike. He has re-ceived Israel’s highest gift, the Ambassador Award.