Christians and Jews joined together recently to dedicate the Lion of Judah, a bronze lion statue in Jerusalem.
The sculpture was created by American Christian artist Max Greiner and given to Israel as a gesture of friendship and U.S. Christian support of the Jewish people of Israel several years ago. The 1,134-pound, 11-foot-long bronze lion was installed in Bloomfield Park, one of Jerusalem’s largest, in sight of Mount Zion and the Jaffa Gate to the Old City.
“My goal with this realistic, yet stylized lion composition was to visually communicate majesty, dignity, strength, and courage, while also expressing shalom,” said the statue’s creator Max Greiner. “I prayed to the God of Israel that He would help me sculpt the lion’s face so it conveyed wisdom and authority, but also love and peace.”
Rabbi Pesach Wolicki, who spoke at the dedication, recounted how God has fulfilled his promises to scatter the Jewish people as well as to regather them and give them the state of Israel. Equally as important, he said, is God’s fulfillment of his words in Psalm 126, which states that when he brings his people back, people will say, “He has done great things for them”.
There’s never been a time when people all over the world have praised the God of Israel for His goodness to the Jewish people.
“The prayer, support and friendship of Christians for the Jewish state, the state of Israel, is no less a fulfillment of biblical prophecy than the state of Israel’s existence itself,” he said. “The growing positive relationship between Christians and Jews is one of the most miraculous developments of recent history.
“This Lion of Judah sculpture marks this miracle for posterity. For decades and centuries to come, visitors to Jerusalem will come to this place, read the inscription and be reminded that as the state of Israel flourished in our time, American Christians stood with us, shoulder to shoulder in love and friendship.”
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum also praised the close relations between Christians and Jews. “In Hebrew, when we inaugurate something as special as this that symbolizes the incredible friendship between Jews and Christians and the evangelical community, we have a prayer,” he said.
The Hebrew blessing, often employed to celebrate special occasions and give God thanks for unique experiences or acquiring special possessions, says: “Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who has granted us life and sustained us, and allowed us to arrive at this time.”
“Max Greiner is a very well-known artist in the Christian world,” Rabbi Pesach Wolicki told the Jerusalem Post last year. An extremely active figure in Christian-Jewish relations, he was key to the initiative. “When you travel in different cities in the world, you see public sculptures that sometimes have been standing there for hundreds of years and they are part of the permanent landscape of the city. Knowing that we are involved in a project that will be part of the landscape of the city of Jerusalem representing the friendship between the Christian Zionist community in America and the people of Israel is very meaningful.”
Greiner states, “This #1 Lion of Judah bronze sculpture is a gift of love and support from my wife, me and the millions of Christians around the world who stand with Israel!”
The dedication coincided with the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast mission in Israel and included addresses by Deputy Mayor Hassan Nahoum, Former UN Ambassador Danny Danon, Member of Knesset Robert Ilatov, Australian American Christian evangelist and motivational speaker Nick Vujicic, Debby Meszaros representing of the Lion of Judah donors, former congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Pastor Michael Obi of Mount Zion Prayer Center.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice