“Bless Israel, and you will be blessed.”

That’s what the Bible says, and that’s what the late Walter Mize, founder of the Christian Heritage Foundation, believed.

It is the mission of Johnson County For Israel, a branch of the Christian Heritage Foundation, to follow that teaching by raising awareness of Israel, its biblical role in the Christian faith and its current situation, according to JCFI’s director of assimilation, Kevin Bentley.

“One aspect of our mission is to teach Christian churches about our faith’s Hebraic roots,” Bentley said. “Israel is very important to our faith. God preserved the Bible through Israel and the ancient scrolls. The great prophets came out of Israel, and it was through the lineage of David that Jesus was born.”

He said that the For Israel banquet on Saturday, JCIF’s first large event since it started a year and a half ago, is intended to advance the organization’s mission, Bentley said.

The event includes vendor and informational booths that open at 5 p.m. at the Cleburne Conference Center. The banquet and program begins at 6 p.m.

Bentley said 600 free tickets to the event have been distributed, so he is expecting a full house.

“The tickets are free, but you have to have a ticket to get in,” Bentley said. “And all the tickets have been given out [through area churches]. Right now, there is a waiting list, in case someone who has a ticket calls and says they can’t be there.”

Keynote speaker for the banquet is Jonathan Bernis, president and CEO of Jewish Voice Ministries International. As a Jewish believer in Yeshua (Jesus), Bernis has been involved in international evangelism since 1984. He is founding rabbi of Congregation Shema Yisrael in Rochester, N.Y., where he served as senior messianic rabbi from 1984-93. He also founded and pastored the Messianic Center of St. Petersburg, Russia, where he lived and ministered from 1993-97, and he is author of “A Rabbi Looks at Jesus of Nazareth.”

As president and CEO of Jewish Voice Ministries International, Bernis directs all aspects of the ministry, including the weekly television program, “Jewish Voice with Jonathan Bernis,” which airs throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. He also teaches at seminars and in conferences worldwide.

Bentley said at the banquet that Bernis will be talking about his work with Jewish Voice Ministries, and also give his personal testimony on becoming a Jewish believer.

Bernis is based in Arizona.

The program also includes a question-and-answer session with three other leaders of the Messianic Jewish movement, Bentley said. Ari Sorko-Ram, Avi Mizrachi and Ze’ev Nevo will discuss topics ranging from how to raise awareness of Israel to replacement theology. Nevo’s parents were Holocaust survivors, Bentley said, and he will talk about that, as well.

Sorko-Ram is founder of Maoz Israel and leader of Congregation Tiferet Yeshua, and Mizrachi is founder of Dugit Messianic Outreach Center and leader of Congregation Adonai Roi. Both Sorko-Ram and Mizrachi are flying in from Israel to attend the banquet, Bentley said.

Nevo, founder of Israel Media Ministries, now lives in North Carolina.

The banquet also offers those attending an opportunity to see the Christian Heritage Foundation’s Ancient Hebrew Scroll Collection, and a pair of ancient synagogue doors from a synogogue in Basra, Iraq.

This event, Bentley said, “will offer people a lot of knowledge and information that is important to the times in which we live.”

“Israel is important to us historically and biblically, but it is also important in the world right now, and can be a very controversial subject politically,” he said. “We are not taking a political stance. But the news that we see doesn’t always tell the whole truth, and by having these speakers, we are giving people a chance to hear what is really happening from people who know because they are part of it.”

Musical worship leader for the event is singer/songwriter/musician Ted Pearce.

For information, or to get your name on the waiting list, call 817-641-2591.

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