A Small “Israel” in the Netherlands: First Ever Football Tournament of MessiaNieuws

The Dutch Messianic news portal MessiaNieuws provides information on Israel and connects Jews and Christians in the Netherlands. Apart from this they also organize events, like a football tournament.

On June 19, a Sunday afternoon, the very first tournament took place. Even though rain had poured down in the days before, the weather was surprisingly good, an answer to prayers!

The football tournament was organized in order to connect Christians with Israel and to raise awareness of the growing anti-semitism and anti-zionism, like the anti-Israel movement called BDS. MessiaNieuws writes:

It is important, especially as Christians, to stand up against this and also to be aware of the historical guilt the church has against the Jewish people. After two thousand turbulent years the relationship between Jews and Christians seems to improve slowly. In an often threatening world, it might be that Christians are the main ally of the state of Israel and the Jewish people.

Somewhere in the middle of the Netherlands, in the city of Ede, where the tournament was held, youth from all over the country came together. Each team had 7 players, and a newly established group called ‘Kadima‘ (which means forward in Hebrew) had two teams which participated.

The players of ‘Kadima’ come from all over the Netherlands, bound by a love for the God of Israel, His word and His people. Sponsored by MessiaNieuws, the football team takes part in different christian football tournaments in Holland and hopes to build bridges between Christians, Israel and the Jewish people.

Besides the teams of ‘Kadima’ there were other teams that took part: an Antillean team from a Shabbat-keeping congregation in Amsterdam, two ‘Kadima-teams‘ with members from all over the country, two teams from Ede and a team called ‘Heroes of Faith’.

While the teams were playing football, the sports centre was turned into a small “Israel”. Hebrew music was played through large speakers, the music of Micha’el Ben David was heard, and hanging behind the goals were flags of Jerusalem and Israel. Inside, the organization Nachamu selled Israel-bracelets, cards and books in a small Israel-market.

During the break, Marnix ten Kortenaar, former professional ice-skater and now a sports scientist, gave an inspiring talk on the (forgotten) bride of Yeshua  (Jesus): Israel. “The church has kicked out lady Israel, lady Jerusalem. Instead of her we have put Mary, and gentile influences”, says Ten Kortenaar. He shares about his experience when he visited Israel and tells how God ‘grabbed’ him. “It still gives me goose bumps” he admits, showing his arm to the audience.

According to Ten Kortenaar the Jewish people made a supernatural comeback after two thousand years of persecution, with the murder of six million Jewish people as climax. “And still the whole world is busy with that small country in the Middle-East. Week after week it fills the newspapers.”

At the end of his talk Ten Kortenaar calls the youth to action. “To believe is a verb. Take upon you the citizenship of Israel, as it is described in Ephesians 2, and go to that land, to that city. God lives in Zion, in Jerusalem. Go and play football there next year.”

The youth happily followed this call and after singing the song ‘Hine Ma Tov U Manayim’, “how good is it to be together as brothers” – from Psalm 34, the football games continued. At the end of the day the team ‘The Wall Of Security’ wins the finals with 1-0. Next year in Jerusalem?

This article is based upon an article by MessiaNieuws from June 20, 2016.