As we leave the Land of the Promise gallery, we enter the Time Elevator, which though a spectacular sound and light show leads us to the top-floor galleries of the museum and back through time to nearly 4,000 years ago.
As we are seated in the Founder’s Theater, we face a 24-meter-wide wraparound screen – the largest indoor projection in a museum in Israel – which sets the scene for the story of the beginning of the covenant between God and the people of Israel. The story is told through imaginative animation, lighting effects, plus narration and original music presented in surround sound audio.
The story begins with the dramatic choice by God of Abram as the bearer of the message of the One God in the world and the founder of a great nation.
Abram is told by God that “I will establish My covenant as an everlasting covenant between Me and your descendants. I will bless those who bless you and I will curse him who curses you. And in you all the nations of the earth will be blessed.”
In total faith, Abram – now renamed Abraham by God – answers “Hineni,” “here am I,” and leads his family and followers from the land of his fathers to the land of Canaan, the Holy Land.
As the story unfolds, Abraham and his wife Sarah, through their son Isaac and grandson Jacob, became the patriarchs of the great nation that would come to be called the People of Israel. The covenant was on its way to becoming fulfilled.
Yet there were troubles and barriers to be overcome, as depicted dramatically in our presentation: exile and slavery in Egypt; the exodus from bondage there and the difficult journey through the desert to the Promised Land under the leadership of the great leader Moses. and finally conquest and settlement of the Holy Land.
It would seem that the promise and the covenant with Abraham were now fulfilled. Yet, the story was not over. Failures of the people to keep God’s word and the invasion of foreign nations brought about death and destruction to the people of Israel. The Romans destroyed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and put an end to self-rule of the people of Israel in the Holy Land for the coming two millennia.
But God’s word is eternal, as the dream of return never faded from the hearts and minds of His People. We see the prophet Ezekiel and his vision of the dry bones. As the dry bones come together and assume human form, God tells Ezekiel: “These are the people of Israel. I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them. I will bring you back to the Land of Israel.”
It would be many generations from that vision of Ezekiel before the vision was fulfilled, but many among the people of Israel, wherever they were scattered, would not lose faith in that vision and continued to pray and hope for confirmation of God’s word in the generations to come.
And they were not alone. There were others, non-Jews, who believed the ancient prophecies They would come to found a movement known as Christian Zionism that would gain millions of followers in the world in the past two centuries. It is a movement that has contributed significantly to the realized the miracle of the restoration of the Jewish people to their sovereign homeland.
It is the story of this movement of Christian Zionists and the people who made it possible that will be presented to you in the following galleries.