On the walls of Jerusalem

Bart Repko was an accomplished film producer, but he shut down his operations and moved to Israel to declare God's promises on the Old City walls.

Bart Repko_311 (photo credit: Emanuel MFoukou)
Bart Repko_311
(photo credit: Emanuel MFoukou)
It is still early morning in downtown Jerusalem. Cars and buses jam the streets on the commute to work and school. Children with oversize backpacks mingle with women shoppers and elderly rabbis at packed city bus stops.
Amid the bustle, a diverse crowd of Christians are gathering outside the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City. They know the rising sun promises another glaringly hot day in June, but they have other thoughts on their minds. Hailing from a wide assortment of nations, the group has come together like many before them to take part in a special prayer walk along the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.
Every morning except on Shabbat, all year around, these groups show up armed with Bibles and bottles of water.
They are here to proclaim God’s Word as watchmen upon the walls of Jerusalem. A small fee gains them access to the impressive 4.5-kilometer-long walls that in 1538 were rebuilt by the Ottoman Turks. The “sons of strangers” would rebuild these walls, one Bible prophecy foretold long ago.
More prophetic passages are about to unfold for these visitors.
The gentleman who has been leading these daily prayer walks for the past five years has an interesting story to tell about how the initiative first came to him from the Book of Isaiah. “For Zion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness and her salvation as a lamp that burns...
I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, they shall never hold their peace day nor night” (Isaiah 62:1, 6).
For many years, Bart Repko was an accomplished film producer for the EO evangelical television channel in Holland. But he became convinced that he needed to shut down his operations and move to Israel in order to declare God’s promises on the walls of Jerusalem.
Before moving to the Holy Land in 2006, Repko had visited numerous countries around the globe as part of his filmmaking work. He had developed a reputation for making quality documentaries in “danger zones,” ranging from exposes on the guerrilla groups of Peru and Colombia, to the horrific genocide in Rwanda, the discrimination against pygmies in the Congo, and the slow recovery of Cambodia from its ghastly civil war.
In 2003, Repko was sent to Israel to shoot a documentary on the Israel Defense Forces. During this time, he sensed that God was revealing to him a higher calling for his life.
“God really bumped into me, and He called me in a very strong and powerful way, no discussions,” Repko recently told The Christian Edition. “I was doing two programs on the IDF and on the very same day both programs were cancelled, which was very strange.”
“I asked the Lord: ‘What is going on?’ He answered: ‘I am taking the camera off your shoulder. Until now you have been observing but from now on you will participate in My plans.’ I was shocked, and immediately I knew that this was the end of my film career.”
Still doubting if the walls of Jerusalem were his new assignment, Repko asked in prayer for some sort of confirmation.
Then the command to fulfill Isaiah 62 began to come to him very strongly.
After two years of additional testing and prayers, he was sure and – together with his wife Joan – he obeyed, packed his bags and embarked on a completely new journey.
Repko and his wife have now been on the walls for over five years, reminding God of His promises to Israel and to Jerusalem.
“Since 2006, around 15,000 people have been walking with us,” said Repko.
“Many of the participants are from the Netherlands and found out about us through Dutch media outlets. The word has also spread, and lately many Germans and other nationalities are coming. Even Chinese Christians and various African nationalities have walked with us.”
While many of the participants belong to the Dutch Reformed Church, there are now Christians from every denomination joining the daily walks.
“I am personally from the Charismatic camp,” Repko noted, “and to my surprise, many Spirit-filled people seem to have missed this and do not understand what God is doing right now. For me, that is a disappointment.”
Repko added he does not believe that there will only be a remnant of the Church which will understand the significance of Israel’s restoration in our day.
Hansreudi Fehlmann, a mechanic from Switzerland who is on a tour of Israel, has joined today’s prayer walk because he has caught the vision.
Despite the pressing heat, he set apart time from his busy tour schedule to traverse the walls of Jerusalem in prayer.
“I have a heart for the Jewish people, and joined the walk this morning to thank God for His faithfulness of resettling the Jews in their original homeland,” Fehlmann said before becoming a literal “watchman on the wall.”
Being a watchman is different from interceding, Repko explained to the group.
“We keep our eyes open. We never close them. And we proclaim: ‘Father, we remind You of Your promises, based on what is written in the Holy Scriptures.’ There is therefore a different attitude attached to being a watchman compared to regular interceding.”
“I always tell people it’s like doing business,” continued Repko.
“We are taking a position in the heavenly realms.
We are taking a stand, we are not just reading some nice Scriptures. And we are not involved in a religious event, but a spiritual adventure.”
Repko told the group that the role of a watchman is not only to stand in the gap for the Jewish people, but also to awaken churches from their long history of slumber and anti-Semitism.
“For 2,000 years we abandoned the Jewish people,” Repko insisted. “We tried to force them to acknowledge the Messiah and if not we burned them on the stakes and killed them in the name of Christ, the Church and the Cross.”
“Unlike Ruth, we did not say: ‘Your people are my people and your God is my God.’ Instead, we said: ‘Your God is my God, but we don’t like your people.’ The Church cannot continue sleeping.
Many churches have lost their direction and we need to return to our spiritual roots, because our roots are not in Rome but in Jerusalem.”
Many curious Jews have noticed the daily prayer walks, and Repko has witnessed some surprising reactions to his unique ministry, which goes by the name “Never Be Silent.”
“Quite a few Orthodox rabbis have joined me on the walls. They are moved because we do not missionize,” said Repko. “Many Christians have a hard time understanding this, but we are not an evangelizing ministry. What we do is built on repentance. We are removing the stones, basically Christian stones, replacement history, and the damage caused by the Crusaders. But we are also confronting the Christian silence during the Holocaust.”
Ans de Koning from Holland is on a three-week visit to Israel with her husband in order to repent for what the Christian church has done to the Jewish people throughout the centuries.
“We have walked on the walls five times now,” she stated. “We are here to let the Jews know that we love them and stand behind them in their struggles.”
“Israel is a small nation, but it’s God’s nation,” she added.
By the time the two-hour prayer walk nears the finish line, various scriptures from Genesis to Revelations have been proclaimed over Jerusalem through a symphony of different tongues, and God has been reminded of His promises to Israel.
“It’s our last chance to fulfill what we have not yet fulfilled,” concluded Repko. “Playing time is over! We are living in serious times and are in need of a remnant possessing the spirit of Issachar, a spirit of discernment which understands what time it is on God’s watch.”
“God loves to see watchmen on the walls. He seems to enjoy it. And over the past five years, we have experienced His smile, while at other times a silent tear. It’s like God is saying: ‘Finally, watchmen who have heeded My word to give neither themselves nor Me any rest.’” •