November 15, 2023 : By Christian Shields - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
Hundreds of Liberty University students, staff, and faculty gathered on the Montview Student Union steps Wednesday evening to stand in solidarity with the nation of Israel as it continues to face oppression from the terrorist organization Hamas.
Liberty President Dondi Costin first thanked all of the students who came out in support. Costin said that even though the university was unable to sponsor a student trip to Tuesday’s March for Israel in Washington, D.C. (the trip, planned for nearly 1,100 students, was canceled due to travel restrictions), the vigil still gave students an opportunity to advocate for the Jewish people.
“Today is a time when we get to tell the world who we are and that we stand for justice, that we stand against evil, and that we stand in solidarity with those who are unable to stand for themselves,” he said. “We do so because that is what the Lord Jesus Christ has called us to do, and as your president, I could not be more encouraged to see all of you here this evening. It is a wonderful sight to behold.”
Throughout the vigil, students were asked to pray for peace, justice, and salvation for the Jewish people.
Provost Scott Hicks led the students in praying for justice for Israel. He noted that students should also keep in mind those on campus whose family members have been affected by the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East.
“The modern-day nation of Israel is the reminder of God’s promise to Abraham to make Israel a great nation that would bless the entire world,” he said. “The blessing that is being referenced is the promise of Jesus Christ who came to save the world from sin and death.”
Vice President of Communications and Public Engagement Ryan Helfenbein concluded the time of prayer by asking God to save Israel through Christ. He said it is only through God’s love for the Jewish people that anyone is accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven.
“In the promise of the Gospel, (God) sent his Son to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles,” he said. “It is only because salvation is from the Jews that this is even possible. We wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for the Jewish people, the nation of Israel, and the promise given to Abraham.”
Sophomore Daniel Ryan said he chose to attend the prayer vigil to support Israel as it continues to battle oppression.
“Everyone tries to pick out sides in being ‘pro-Israel’ or ‘pro-Hamas.’ But if a country is under threat by a terrorist organization, we should support them,” he said. “Seeing this many people come out tonight is definitely good for the heart, and it will inspire more people to think on the conflict more thoroughly.”