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The Roots of Jerusalem Cornerstone

(1936-1961): Birth of a Nation and a Vision

By GARY ALLEY

Jerusalem Cornerstone began in 1936 as Zion Apostolic Mission under the leadership of William L. Hull. From 1960-1 Hull transferred Zion Apostolic Mission to Le Roy M. Kopp and E. Paul Kopp. This ministry was then renamed Zion Christian Mission and finally in 2002 became Jerusalem Cornerstone Foundation.

MAY 14th, 1948

With the withdrawal of British control, on May 14th, 1948, David Ben-Gurion along with 36 members of the Provisional Council of State signed the “The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.” On that day, William L. Hull, a Canadian pastor who had been living under the British Mandate of Palestine since 1936 wrote, “People wept unashamedly. It was a historic moment, unique in world history since the day Abraham was called by God from Ur of the Chaldees to leave his home and come to a land he knew not, there to build a nation through which all the world was to be blessed. This day one could almost hear the trumpets sounding, heralding the approach of the Messiah.”

While the ink was yet drying on this historic Israeli declaration, a cry of a newborn baby was heard in the rural Colombian town of Barranquilla half a world away. Charles Martin Kopp came forth from his mother’s womb on the same day and within the same hour that the State of Israel began to breathe over 7000 miles away. These two infants would one day meet. Just as the babe Samuel was promised for future service within the tabernacle, and just as Samson, while still a fetus, was pre-ordained to the Nazarite sect, so too, are men being directed by the continuous intervention of Providence, shaping the lives and destinies of those willing to obey.

ZION APOSTOLIC MISSION (1936-1961)

Obedience to God brought William L. Hull to the Holy Land in 1936 where he founded the Zion Apostolic Mission, with the express purpose of “preaching the Gospel throughout the land.” Hull was well known by Jew and Arab alike, running a Bible shop, first in the Arab section of Jerusalem, and later - after rioting, which subsequently required relocation - in a Jewish part of the city, on the “Street of the Prophets.” Hull was deeply interested in God’s plan for Israel, which he described in his books, The Fall and Rise of Israel and Israel—Key to Prophecy.

With the conclusion of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, Hull’s bookshop on 33 Street of the Prophets was now located just inside Israel’s West Jerusalem near the minefield border across from Transjordan’s East Jerusalem. Hull continued publishing the periodical, The Voice of Zion, while actively participating as a Christian representative in the life of the new Jewish state. For a number of years at Christmas and Easter, Hull would be invited by the Israeli national radio station to give a Christian message.

More conspicuously, Hull will be remembered in history as the chaplain of Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi bureaucrat responsible for the deaths of many thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. Hull took it upon himself in 1962 to reach Eichmann with the gospel, receiving permission from the Israeli government to visit him. However, after thirteen visits with Eichmann over two months, Hull declared, “The fact that Adolf Eichmann died denying any faith in Jesus Christ, any need of a mediator, was a tragedy, for no man on earth had a greater need of a savior. But one faint ray of satisfaction emerges from the sordid picture—Adolf Eichmann’s almost public rejection of Jesus Christ completely disassociated him and his evil deeds from Christianity.” Hull’s memoirs of this event were published in 1963 as The Struggle for a Soul.

CALIFORNIA’S CITY OF ANGELS, JERUSALEM’S STREET OF PROPHETS

In 1952 Le Roy Kopp, a Pentecostal preacher from Los Angeles, visited Israel for the first time, four years after the nation’s birth. Le Roy, born and raised in Kansas, was pastoring the burgeoning Calvary Temple in downtown LA. During his many trips to Israel over the following years, he believed God put a call on his heart to build a “temple” in Jerusalem like the Calvary Temple in Los Angeles. “…it could be a regular gathering place for Christian Jews and Gentiles who are residents of the country. In conjunction with the spiritual work, there should be food and clothing provided for the needy—particularly for the flow of immigrants to Israel.”

Le Roy’s son, Evangel Paul Kopp was also actively involved with his father’s desire for God’s work in Israel. E. Paul’s first visit to Israel was part of a worldwide ministry trip (1954-5) E. Paul’s stay in Jerusalem was particularly moving: “I was praying for the sick in a noonday outdoor meeting Dec. 26, 1954 in Jerusalem, Jordan. As I laid hands on Adela’s head I visualized Jesus Christ interceding at the right hand of God and His Spirit being sent to do the work. On ending the prayer I turned her head to the sun and asked her if she could see light. She looked back then quickly towards my face with tears gushing from her eyes—crying I can see! I can see! I can see!” Adela Sueiss, wife of a prominent cloth seller in Amman, Jordan, was subsequently visited by others, who attested to God’s restoration of her sight.

The Jerusalem Post reported on Feb. 28, 1955 of the healing of G. Mary Webber, a schoolmistress from Kingston, England who E. Paul prayed for at a meeting in West Jerusalem. Webber who had a disjointed hip and an injured spine had lived in constant pain since an automobile accident in Australia had debilitated her in 1951. Many accepted Christ following Webber’s testimony and evident physical change.

In 1960 E. Paul and William Hull “bumped” into each other outside the Jerusalem Post Office as Hull was contemplating retirement and pondering to whom to bequeath his ministry. After much discussion, Hull formally transferred his Israeli ministry, including the Bible shop on 33 Street of the Prophets, to Le Roy and E. Paul Kopp. During 1961-2, Hull’s Zion Apostolic Mission was renamed Zion Christian Mission with Le Roy as the director and E. Paul as its field representative.

This coincidence is the dawning of Jerusalem Cornerstone and the ministiry of William Hull is the beginning of its heritage.