Tuesday, May 31, 2005

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Bring the Apocalypse, Send a Jew to Israel?

I picked this up from News of the Weird, which picked this up from the S. Petersburg Times newspaper of Florida (original article here)...

At the end of his half-hour television segment, Joe Van Koevering urges viewers to mail in their $250 checks. He sweetens his pitch with the promise of a free "beautifully crafted" gold-plated gift.

Van Koevering isn't the host of some late-night infomercial, hawking weight loss products or get-rich-quick schemes. He is the pastor of an evangelical church in St. Petersburg.

For their $250, he tells viewers of God's News Behind the News they can help speed the apocalypse and the end of the world.

And the gift? A shofar - a traditional Jewish ram's horn blown during ceremonies, for donors to sound "the soon coming of the Lord."

Van Koevering pastors Gateway Xian Center on Central Avenue, and believes by helping Jews immigrate to Israel he's speeding Bible prophecy. So, with donations from his congregants and TV viewers nationwide, he wants to send Jews "home."

"They must be there, when Jesasas returns to that land," said Van Koevering, who also directs God's News. "And the Bible seems to indicate that we can hasten the coming of the Lord."

So far, he's raised over $40,000 for the cause.

Van Koevering cites the Bible's Book of Revelations, telling viewers Jesus will come again after the Jews return to the Holy Land. He doesn't know how many must be there, but whatever the number, he wants to get the ball rolling.

Van Koevering uses the Old Testament to bolster his Non Testament beliefs as Jeremiah 32:37 scrolls down the screen in yellow letters, "I will surely gather them from all the lands . . . I will bring them back to this place."
The funds raised through God's News go to a Xian organization based in England, the Ebenezer Emergency Fund, which helps Jews from the former Soviet Union immigrate to Israel, a practice known as making aliyah.

The Ebenezer Fund was founded in 1991 by Gustav Scheller, a Swiss businessman who said G-d told him to help gather the Jews in Israel. The organization said it has helped more than 100,000 make aliyah from the former Soviet Union.

Israel pays the cost of flights for immigrants, but Ebenezer assists them with travel expenses to consulates and with documents and food.

Van Koevering said about 80 percent of the funds raised through God's News go to Ebenezer, with the rest for overhead and the shofar gifts.

Tears fall from Van Koevering's eyes as he speaks of the "precious Jewish people" during church services and on God's News.

Full article here.

Further on, the article notes the motives are self serving, that is to bring the xian end-of-days scenerio sooner (which requires, per the article, a proper number of Jew's to be in Israel), and which by the way results in most Jew's dying.

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