God's Tsunami: Understanding
Israel and End-time Prophecy
By Peter Tsukahira
When the Gulf War began in January 1991, my family and I had been living
in Israel for three years. In the months leading up to the war, Saddam Hussein
had promised to "burn half of Israel" with missiles possibly loaded
with weapons of mass destruction. After the first day of allied bombing in
Baghdad, Iraqi missiles began landing in Israeli cities. In the following
weeks, missile strikes within Israel became an almost regular occurrence.
I remember one evening's attack with clarity. The urgent moan of the air raid
sirens seemed to echo all over our port city of Haifa. It was early evening,
but already the streets were strangely empty and silent. Almost everyone was
indoors in expectation of an attack. It felt like a scene from a movie that
could have been titled "The End of the World." We made our way into
the "sealed room" - one of our bedrooms where the window was sealed
with plastic sheets, and cracks around the door were covered with packing
tape. I helped my wife, Rita, put our one-year-old son into his tent-like
breathing apparatus, and then I checked on our five and one-half-year-old
daughter to see that her gas mask was on securely. She smiled at me through
the eyepieces of the almost comically grotesque, black rubber mask. We put
on our own masks and checked to see that the boxes still contained the spring-loaded,
nerve gas antidote syringes.
From the time of the siren, we knew that we had two minutes to get into our
sealed room and put on our gas masks before the Iraqi SCUD missiles could
be expected to hit. If the missiles were targeted for our city, we would hear
soon after the roar of the Patriot anti-missile missiles taking off to try
to intercept the incoming SCUDs. This particular evening, we heard the Patriot
missiles, and then, BOOM, the house shook. The entire building seemed to shift
around us, and the windows rattled. It felt and sounded like a missile had
exploded right in our neighborhood.
"Get down on the floor!" I yelled, and we crouched on the floor
tiles. Rita was frantically trying to move our son's "tent" onto
the floor. In an instant, everything was silent. We asked ourselves, "Was
it a nerve gas warhead?" We wouldn't know if we were safe until an "all
clear" was broadcast by radio or television. We had to stay in the room
with our gas masks on and wait.
During the 1991 Gulf War, we lived in an apartment on Mount Carmel in Haifa.
Nine of the thirty-nine missiles launched at Israel came into our city. The
one that shook our home detonated in the air less than one kilometer from
our neighborhood. Dozens of houses lost their windows. The twisted, smoking
wreckage of the missile landed in a nearby valley where it burned away the
underbrush and lay smoldering for hours. Miraculously, no one in Haifa was
hurt, and none of the missiles carried nerve gas warheads. The war ended on
the Jewish holiday of Purim when the Book of Esther is read in the synagogues.
The nation had literally been shaken, but we joyfully gave thanks to God for
extending His hand of protection once more over the house of Israel.
I am an Asian-American Israeli, and I have lived my life between three unique
nations. The first nation is the United States, the world's dominant economy
and culture. The second is Japan, a nation that is rich in its blending of
ancient and modern Asian traditions. The third nation is Israel, a newborn,
modern society with a unique heritage of centuries-old biblical culture. The
principles that I have learned and now teach have come from serving God while
living between these three divergent and dynamic worlds.
My grandparents immigrated to the United States from Japan almost one hundred
years ago. My mother and father were born in America. They were part of the
generation of Japanese Americans that were sent from their homes on the west
coast of the United States and "relocated" in camps by the U. S.
government for the duration of World War II. After the war, my father completed
his doctoral studies at Harvard University in Asian History. I was born in
Boston during those post-war "baby boom" years.
When I was eleven, my father was working for the U.S. Department of State,
and he received an assignment as a diplomat to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.
I spent my teenage years attending an international school in Japan, and then
I returned to the Boston area for university. America was still struggling
with the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and a youth-oriented cultural
revolution that was sweeping the nation. I became caught up in this turbulent
vortex, and I didn't emerge until my best friend committed suicide. His death
triggered in me a search for truth. That search led me and my Jewish girlfriend,
Rita, into the mountains of the American West. Several months after my friend's
death, Rita visited a coffeehouse ministry called "Shalom" in Santa
Fe, New Mexico. There she heard another young Jewish "hippie" tell
about his encounter with Jesus as his Messiah and the change that had come
to his life. That same night a deep change took place in Rita's heart, and
she also believed in Jesus as the Messiah. I could not deny the obvious, immediate,
and radical transformation that had happened in her life. My own questioning
ended soon after that when I prayed to become God's servant, and discovered
that Jesus is God's Son and the Savior of the world.
Following our complete change of heart, Rita and I were married. My desire
to be involved in ministry led me to enroll in a Bible school and then in
seminary. I also began to work in the computer industry. These dual streams
took us to Japan in the 1980's where I served as associate pastor of a growing
international fellowship in Tokyo for over five years. I also worked in the
Japanese computer industry, and Rita taught in a university. We knew even
then that one day we would live and work in the land of Israel. In 1987, doors
opened for us, and we moved to Israel with our two-year-old daughter. Because
Rita is from a Jewish family, we were invited to come as new immigrants and
to become citizens of this newly re-created nation. We joined the more than
three million immigrants who have come from over 120 other countries to populate
this land since the founding of the modern state in 1948. We settled in the
city of Haifa which is built on Mount Carmel, the location of the prophet
Elijah's confrontation with the false prophets of Baal. Our son was born in
Haifa in 1990.
We came to Haifa with a vision to see a congregation established that would
be a benefit to both Jews and Gentiles. We began to gather for fellowship
and prayer with a handful of other believers living near our home. In 1990,
we met David and Karen Davis, also new immigrants. They were moving from Jerusalem
to Haifa to start a rehabilitation center for drug addicts called Beit Nitzachon
(House of Victory). After the Gulf War in 1991, the Davises invited us to
join them in pastoring a fledgling congregation that had begun at the rehabilitation
center where they lived. The congregation became known as Kehilat HaCarmel
(Carmel Assembly). One of the foundational visions of this congregation is
the "one new man" of Jews, Arabs, and other Gentiles worshipping
together in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
Over the years we have been privileged to participate in the return of the
Jewish people to the land of their inheritance and the re-emergence of an
indigenous Israeli Messianic body. In the last few years we have seen dozens
of Israeli Jews come to faith in their Messiah. For the first time in nearly
2000 years, voices proclaiming, "Yeshua hu Adon," (Jesus is Lord)
can be heard in congregations throughout the country. Since we have been living
in Israel, over one million new immigrants have arrived from the former Soviet
Union. In a country of just six million Jewish and Arab citizens, absorption
of over a million newcomers in such a short time has been quite a challenge.
Today, more than twenty percent of the Jewish population is new immigrants
from the former Soviet Union, and every major city has Russian-language newspapers,
television channels, and radio broadcasts. In addition, there is a remarkable
openness to the gospel among these Russian-speaking immigrants.
Soon after our congregation was begun, our friends Eitan and Connie came to
live in Haifa. Eitan was the young man that Rita heard in Santa Fe as he testified
of his faith in Jesus. Eitan and his family joined our congregation and he
served on the leadership team. Later, with our blessing, he and several other
immigrant families began their own congregation named "Tents of Mercy"
in a suburb of Haifa. Almost from the beginning, their congregation faced
a series of intense challenges including various forms of harassment and the
fire bombing of their sanctuary. They continued conducting their services
in both Hebrew and Russian, and now they have built a strong and vibrant community.
Recently, "Tents of Mercy" launched their own daughter congregation
in another part of the city. God is doing a new thing in our region, and the
largest numbers of new believers are among Jews who are immigrants and have
come from the former Soviet Union.
Looking back over the years, I can see that we as a family have been riding
a powerful wave of God's purposes from our starting point in North America,
moving westward to Japan, and then even further west to the land of Israel,
the furthest edge of Asia. We have made a life-long commitment to this nation
and its people, both Jews and Arabs. We have learned that Jesus, the Prince
of Peace, is the only Ruler who can bring lasting peace to the Middle East.
Jesus said that His kingdom is "not of this world," but this kingdom
has the power to change lives. In our journey, we have discovered a spiritual
home in the culture of God's kingdom. This home is a "city which has
foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11:10)
Part Two: The
Principle of Prophetic Alignment
Order your copy of God's
More at Peter Tsukahira's
Tsukahira was born in the United States and is now a citizen of Israel. He
lives with his family on Mt. Carmel in the city of Haifa. Peter is Director
of the Or HaCarmel Ministry Center and one of the pastors of Kehilat
HaCarmel, and Israeli Messianic congregation. He is ordained by World
Challenge International Minister's Fellowship, founded by Rev. David Wilkerson.
He also serves on the Board of Directors for Church Growth International,
founded by Dr. David Yonggi Cho.
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