Three pastors from the Calvary Chapel movement recently visited Israel to show their support for the Jewish nation amid the rising tide of antisemitism following attacks launched by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7.
Pastor Greg Denham of RISE Church, Pastor Kenny Montalvo of Iglesia Maranatha Chapel, and Pastor Steve Wilburn of Core Church LA, all came to see the destruction on Israel’s southern border firsthand and to bring a message of hope to Israel, “You are not alone.”
During their visit, the three pastors sat down with ALL ISRAEL NEWS to explain their motivation for coming, and share some of the experiences they had while in the land, meeting and encouraging Israelis from all walks of life.
The three pastors started their visit to Israel by visiting the sites of Kibbutz Kfar Aza and the Nova Music Festival at Kibbutz Reim.
Montalvo shared his reaction after seeing the destruction at Kfar Aza.
“I got two things from seeing physically the destruction of the kibbutz. It's pure evil. It's just evil, it's just demonic. There's no doubt in my mind, all this that we're seeing in the physical world, it's translated to a tremendous spiritual battle behind, in the spiritual world.”
Denham agreed with that assessment. Speaking about the overwhelming experience of seeing the destruction in person, he said: “We kind of got this deposit, of just being overwhelmed with the flat out pure evil. There's the darkness we see, but there's a darkness behind the darkness.”
Wilburn said that while the evil is shocking, it is important to recognize why Israel was targeted.
“No people has the hardship and difficulties that Israel has faced since the beginning of time,” he stated. “You see it all throughout the history of humanity, and so you see it still once again, and you realize, wow, this is never going to end, because this is God's chosen people.”
Denham said the chosenness of Israel in the present context presents a type of test for true believers.
“The reality of Israel presents a moral test,” Denham said. “because Israel is on the front lines of evil ideologies, that seek to destroy Western civilization and replace it with an Islamic world order.”
“It's critical that Christians lead the way – Evangelical Christians – and support Israel on the front lines, fighting what is bonafide evil,” Denham said.
The pastors shared how several times in their meetings with Israelis – from Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana to a mother of three soldiers, whom they met at Re’im, to a waitress at a restaurant – the words of the Bible were able to bring comfort and hope.
Wilburn said they were able to share Psalm 2 with Ohana, during a meeting with him.
“Do you know why you're going to win this war?” they asked, which led to a discussion about the Anointed King from Psalm 2.
“That’s why we are here,” the pastors told Ohana. “Because we believe in the Son, we are here to support you. But it’s God who is going to bring you the victory.”
For Denham, part of standing against antisemitism –and standing with Israel – is standing with the believing community in Israel.
“Evangelicals really need to pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters in the land,” he stated.
J. Micah Hancock is a current Master’s student at the Hebrew University, pursuing a degree in Jewish History. Previously, he studied Biblical studies and journalism in his B.A. in the United States. He joined All Israel News as a reporter in 2022, and currently lives near Jerusalem with his wife and children.