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'Lion of Judah' statue celebrating Jewish-Christian ties dedicated in Jerusalem

Jerusalem
Israel flag with a view of old city Jerusalem and the Western Wall. |

The “Lion of Judah” bronze statue, which celebrates Israel and the country’s friendship with American Christians, was dedicated at a ceremony in Jerusalem with prominent Christian and Jewish guests in attendance.

The dedication was held in partnership with the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) and the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast. The former is an educational institution that teaches Christians about the Hebraic roots of their faith, and the latter is a prayer movement that gathers government and Christian leaders to pray for Jerusalem. 

The 1,134-pound, 11-foot-long statue was designed by American artist and National Religious Broadcasters member Max Greiner Jr. and is worth more than $100,000. According to The Jerusalem Post, the statue was installed in the Bloomfield Garden, one of the largest parks in Jerusalem, in May 2020. 

The dedication ceremony for the statue took place on June 1. 

Rabbi Pesach Wolicki, executive director of CJCUC, was one of the speakers who delivered remarks at the event. The rabbi asserted that God had fulfilled His promise to deliver the state of Israel to the Jews. 

He also cited the fulfillment of God’s promise in Psalm 126, which states that when the Lord brings His people back, they will say, “He has done great things for them.”

“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,” Wolicki 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," he continued. "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 spoke at the dedication, and she praised the bond 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,” the deputy mayor said.

“We are so blessed to have gotten to this place, to have the Old City of Jerusalem, where we just celebrated Jerusalem Day, 55 years of the reunification of the city King David built for the Jewish Kingdom of Israel, the city that united all the tribes of the Jewish Kingdom of Israel, the city that in Hebrew symbolizes peace,” she continued. 

Nick Vujicic, CEO of Life Without Limbs, a nonprofit committed to sharing the Gospel, offered up a prayer during his remarks at the dedication. The Christian speaker thanked God for the sculpture and expressed gratitude to the Lord for being “the lion.” 

“We thank you, Lord, that no weapon formed against us shall prosper. We thank you, Lord, that we are ambassadors of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and not even the gates of hell shall prevail,” Vujicic said. 

As NRB reported in March 2020, the statue is a slightly larger-than-life representation of the largest male lion that ever lived. Greiner is mostly known for his Christian religious sculptures. He began working on the lion statue in 2006, carving it out of foam and adding clay. 

The artist completed the clay carving in 2017, which was then transported to Lander, Wyoming, and casted for four months at the Eagle Bronze art foundry. It was then shipped to a humanitarian charity warehouse in Bet Shemesh, Israel, where it waited for two years to be called into Jerusalem. 

The Jerusalem Art Committee and city officials approved the statue for public display in the Bloomfield Garden after Hassan-Nahoum saw the statue in June 2019 in the warehouse with former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann. 

“We are so grateful for your generous and meaningful gift to the city of Jerusalem that locals and tourists alike will enjoy,” Hassan-Nahoum wrote in an email to Greiner.

The deputy mayor referred to the statue as “a symbol of the deep friendship between the Christian community and the State of Israel.” 

Greiner explained that he and his wife “love Israel and the God of Israel.” He believes the reason he was inspired to create the statue is that “the God of Israel wants to bless His children at this exact time in world history.” 

“Let the ‘Lion Of Judah’ arise in Israel! We are honored and humbled that God would use my art and our friends to make this gift possible!”

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