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My Life Story and My Vision for Israel

Israel has always been on my heart. And it has been unexplainable and supernatural. God took me there, and he kept me. I have always had an inner certainty that I belong in Israel. This is where my calling is.

My story must begin with my Grandfather. He came to faith in Yeshua when he was seven, through the maid at their home in 20-century Germany. His life was saved by Dietrich Bonhoeffer who arranged visas to England for 50 members of the Confession Church, and my grandfather was the youngest of them. He then reached Sweden from England and eventually became an officer in the Salvation Army. Later, through his work with pro-israeli organizations in Sweden, he learned a lot about Israel and how important Israel is in God’s plan. He emigrated to Israel in the early 70’s. My grandmother chose to stay in Sweden, and my grandfather got remarried in Israel.

I was born in 1982. I grew up hearing about this grandfather who lived over there, far away in Israel. I visited Israel for the first time and met my grandfather when I was 6 years old. I still remember how I admired the Israeli flags fluttering in the wind and I bought myself a small Israeli flag that I still have.

At some point, after we had moved to Uppsala when I was 7 years old, the love of Israel and the family’s calling to move home to Israel, became more evident. Perhaps because of our church’s great love for Israel, but it must have been more than that. I felt once that God had put a love for Israel in me that exceeded other believers in the church. Other believers also loved Israel and they believed in God’s prophecies concerning Israel and that Israel was the chosen people, but for some strange reason they still cheered for Sweden when it was a football match between Sweden and Israel! It was astonishing to me!

As our Jewish identity became more and more important for my family, we started to keep Jewish feasts, and Sabbath, and plans to move to Israel and build our future, started to take form. I was ten years old, so I was not very involved, but the enthusiasm and joy of moving back to our real home was genuine. When we got a proposal that we should live in an absorption center near Netanya, my first comment was “No! We must of live in the Holy City!” Living in the Holy Land but not in the Holy City was unthinkable for me. So unnecessary. Why stay outside Jerusalem when it’s possible not to? My parents managed to arrange that we came close to Jerusalem instead (okay, maybe it was not just because of me. My grandpa lived in Jerusalem).

The thought that one day we will be moving to Israel, took root and became the central to me. In singing class at school we once sang a Jewish song that was translated into Swedish in which it was sung to God to “show your strength and bring us home from foreign lands to Jerusalem”. And it struck me then, that Sweden is a foreign country to me in the eyes of God. I was maybe 11 years old then, had lived in Sweden my entire life, had almost no experience of Israel, and didn’t know any Hebrew. But I realized that from God’s point of view, Sweden is and remains a “foreign country” for me. Jerusalem is my home.

The question is if I built up an imaginary picture of Israel in the head. It happens easily, especially for children. To think that Israel is a paradise of God, to build a kind of romantic unrealistic image of how perfect everything is in Israel. But no, God must have protected me from that mistake. It was quite clear for me that Israel is not a paradise … yet!

In 1995, when I was 13, we finally took the big step and emigrated. The aircraft landed. I was at home. I stepped out and felt the cold night air and walked down the airplane stairs. My first words were “A small step for mankind but a giant leap for a man.” I knew that now – now I was finally home. After 2000 years of exile, I was finally home again.

Many people that build up such an intense love for Israel that I did, often build a false picture of what Israel is. It can be a bit like being in love. You become intoxicated by love for your beloved, and you think she is perfect in every way. But once you are married and live together you will see that it is time to learn to live with each other’s faults and shortcomings as well. And many who move to Israel are often disappointed when they discover that Israel is not a land of angels dressed in white, riding camels and waving palm leaves all day. But thank God, I was never disappointed with it. I realized pretty soon that Israel was not all that it will be according to the Bible, and I didn’t think it would be. But I also knew that I was not alone in dreaming about the future of Israel. Isaiah dreamed it. And not just dreaming, he prophesied. If your dreams are consistent with prophecies, you can be sure they will come true!

Isaiah 2:1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. [2] And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. [3] And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. [4] And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. [5] O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

We see here that Israel should be a blessing for all peoples and all nations. But how will it happen? We see that in Isaiah 4:

Isaiah 4:1 In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. [3] And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: [4] When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.

So it is only when they have received the Lord’s branch – the Messiah – and their sins are washed away, that this prophecy can come true. And just because the country has not lived up to those dreams, to be a paradise on earth, it still remains the basic dream. So it’s totally wrong to give up and leave when you are disappointed because of the unfulfilled dreams. Quite the contrary! The more problems and errors I found in the Israeli society, the social gaps, the economic conditions, equality, the more I felt compelled to stay in order to do everything in my power to help Israel achieve that dream. For as we read – Israel can not become what God wants Israel to be without the Messiah!

I can not change all of Israel by myself, but I can make myself and my family to be a partly fulfillment of the scripture, I can be a light and an example, I can teach others and explain to them the Messiah. I can do everything in my power to fulfill God’s plan of salvation and prophecies to Israel. Nothing can be fulfilled until my brothers “look up to him that they have pierced” (Zech 14)

So I lived in Israel, went to junior high and high school. Then came year 2000, undoubtedly the greatest change in my life. I was 18. Two things that changed my life completely happened that year. The first was that I met my wife. At the time she was just a nice Swedish girl I met through a mutual friend when she was in Israel for a visit. Israel was so dear to her heart. She had a genuine true love for Israel, which she had inherited from her grandfather who was a friend of Israel, already in the 40s. When she had thought of the future, she had always though “How am I supposed to find a husband who has realized and understood how important Israel is?” Well, God does hear our prayers! We were just friends then, but began to talk and keep in touch and since then we just continued to talk…

The other thing that occurred was the intifada that started in the fall. My parents both worked in tourism and had been unable to learn Hebrew properly. They were both laid off and decided to move back to Sweden. I said no. I will stay in Israel. I really had no choice. God kept me here, I knew it. I had never before and have never later heard God speak to me as clearly as he did then. Stay in Israel. I prayed and wept half of the night. It was decided. I will stay in Israel. When I think back now I realize that it must have been one of the most important decisions I have made in my life. But it was not a difficult decision to make, because I never made the decision myself. God made it for me. Of course, I had no idea then how difficult it would be…

The family moved, I went into the army. At the age of 20, in the middle of my time of service in the army I flew to Sweden, got married and brought her back with me to Israel. (And of course I got the question “Why did you marry so early?” That was a pretty stupid question. Because I met my wife, of course! It would have been foolish not to marry her!) My oldest son was born two months before I finished the army. I came out of the army into civilian life and realized that I have a family to support, no profession, no skills and no savings. I started thinking about what I wanted to become … My future plans changed about every two months. I started working in a shop, and then as a hotel receptionist. We continued to get children, because we wanted to put our trust in God and put the family over career and finances. It was a good decision, and I am very happy and thankful that we were stupid enough to do it. Had we known how difficult it would be we might not have dared to. I love the Bible, so I started studying Bible on a scholarly level, but quit after a short time. I realized that I needed to study something that would give me a profession so that I could support my growing family. But what? That is the question that many 23 year olds ask. But most 23 year olds don’t have a wife and two children…

About the same time, in 2005, I with my family co-founded the first true Messianic congregation in the town of Maale Adumim in the Judean desert, where we lived then. It’s a small congregation with about 50 members, and we met in the pastor’s living room. Everyone helped out with everything, so I have also gained experience in preaching, leading meetings, teaching children, etc. The spiritual maturity I achieved through this and through my work has been indescribable.

Now, when we live in Jerusalem, we are part of another congregation. Something that I’ve noted about the Messianic congregations here in Israel – You could never have anything like it in Sweden, nor anywhere outside of Israel. A congregation that meets on the Sabbath and celebrate Jewish holidays, but don’t make a “big deal” out of it, but takes it as a natural thing that is for granted, and instead focuses on Yeshua, the salvation. In Sweden, a congregation like that would have been so different from everyone else that they would’ve been forced to focus on the Jewishness and the holidays, and not on Yeshua. And that is precisely what often leads to problems among Messianic Jews. Putting too much emphasis on the Jewish identity. I firmly believe that it is important to let our Jewish identity be an important part of our faith, but that shouldn’t be the focus. When people mention this problem, I usually say yes, that’s right. But it is not a specific Messianic Jewish problem, it’s everywhere. As soon as you stop focusing on Yeshua, but instead focus on something else – no matter how good it is – you go astray. It can be Jewish identity, but also eschatology, a specific theology, spiritual gifts, precise ideas concerning the right translation, or geographical points. What they miss is that we are all called to walk on water with Peter – and draw our gaze on Yeshua. As soon as we focus on something else, as soon as Peter started to look at the water, he began to sink.

I still didn’t know what I wanted to study, what I wanted to be. I was promoted to reservations manager at the hotel but soon realized that it was a dead-end job, and my parents’ example, had discouraged me from seeking a career in tourism.

I had a family to support, had poor wages, rising expenses and no studies. Thoughts on moving back to Sweden where you can study for free began to take shape. The country flowing with grants and free studies. Where there is bread. In the Promised Land, in the land of milk and honey, it’s missing, but not in Sweden. I now realize that it was really like Elimelech’s situation now that I look back. And what should you do? We see in Ruth’s book that Elimelech’s decision to emigrate was wrong and that God finally “took on his people” and that Elimelech’s decision to emigrate only led to more problems. You have to put your trust in God! Trust that God will take on his people! It’s easy to say so in theory, but putting it into practice, when one’s own survival and future of one’s children is at stake is far more difficult. It is very easy to allow the human mind to take over. When we were thinking about this we happened to read psalm 37. It was like God spoke directly to me.

[1] Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. [2] For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. [3] Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. [4] Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (My problem exactly – I didn’t even know what the desires of my heart were!) [5] Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. [6] And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. [7] Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: (I had bad economy and was bitter on my bosses with their high salaries, but God said) fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. [8] Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. [9] For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

Inherit the earth!

Suddenly everything came back to me! My childish love for Israel, which had always been there. God’s call to remain in the country when the family moved. Israel was my home. My only home. Sweden remains “a foreign country” in that respect. I could never live anywhere else. Sure, there were many faults and shortcomings. The problems one faces as an uneducated worker with a family to support I had experienced myself. But earthly difficulties are not a reason to move. Israel is called by God to become a praise on the earth, and as we saw with Elimelech, we’ll only make it worse if we leave Israel. If there’s there a problem, if something is wrong, then I feel it to be my duty to stay in order to do everything I can to improve the country. And the land can never fulfill God’s plan until everyone turn to the Messiah of Israel.

For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. … I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. (Isaiah 62:1,6-7)

Some people ask me what I would do if a war broke out. If I would go to Sweden then. The answer is not only no. It is a resounding no! Yes, even more than that, if I should be abroad when a war breaks out, I would go to Israel, the first thing I do. I could never be away from my homeland and my people when I know they are going through difficulties. I would feel like a traitor.

So there we were. No difference in the earthly circumstances, but what an inner change, or perhaps a re-awakening! But should I now say “the Lord will arrange it, I put my trust in him”? No! You should do something! When God told Moses to send spies – God said I have given you the country – spy it. Why spy it if God has already given us that? Because he expects concrete action! I knew it was time to do something concrete. I began studying economy at the Open University. Difficult with time for family, work and studies, yes, and it still is, but with God’s help and stubbornness, it’s possible.

God had promised that if I commit my way to him would give me my heart’s desires. That came true in 2008 when I was hired at a nonprofit organization as accountant. I had not studied accounting before and was sent to a course and knew immediately that “this I can do!”. Bookkeeping and accounting. I had never even thought about the idea myself. At last I found a profession I can do well; I would never have been able to find it on my own! Translating a colorful world of humans to a black-and-white world of numbers. And also being a part of all the amazing things the organization does. God led me to exactly the profession which my heart desires and by which I can do the most of my skills to give God glory on earth and do my part to make Israel a praise in the earth.

The way God has led me in this way, and brought me into this wonderful work has been absolutely fantastic!

I still study economy. I’m studying at a slow pace and will get my BA in 2016.

There is something so wonderful and supernatural to belong to Him and His kingdom. Knowing that this eternal world is real. That we will one day see again all those who died in the faith. A resurrected savior. God’s Messiah who gave His life for us. Without him, we can not do anything. I would never have had the strength to go through everything I went through without his advice and guidance. And it was of course also very helpful that God has given me a wonderful godly wife by my side.

My belief and vision is an Israel which is a praise on the earth – who look up to Him who they have pierced (Zech 14). That they ask for his will. That they realize that Christ is risen, that He gave His life for us that we would get peace. This is the gospel that I desire to see change Israel. A gospel that changes the heart and makes us children of God with the hope of eternity. This is my hope for the future of Israel, for this hope I live and my highest wish is to become part of how God will change Israel to become everything it should be. And we know what Paul says about it – if their fault was to the benefit of the gentiles, how much more will their fullness be, if not life from death? The vision I have for Israel is exactly that – it will lead to life from the dead to the entire world, for all nations, and for all humanity!

God brought me to Israel and God has kept me here ever since. Israel is my eternal homeland, my ancestors’ homeland. This is where I intend to stay whatever happens, and this is where my children will grow up.

3 comments

  1. Such an awesome testimony. I have never been to Israel but I have a grat love for that Holy Land. I keep Israel in prayer every night for her protection and for hearts to be ready to receive Christ as the Messiah even now. I pray for you and your family also. Take care, my brother, and stay in peace.


  2. what is the name of your congregation?


    • I’m keeping that confidential, in order to protect my online privacy.



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