The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was saddened to learn of the passing today of Johann Lückhoff, and wishes to honour his legacy as the founding director of its global ministry from 1980 to 2000 and as a modern-day pioneer of Christian relations with Israel.

At the very inception of the Christian Embassy in September 1980, Johann Lückhoff was asked to head up its initial leadership team and served as Executive Director for two decades, working alongside Rev. Jan Willem van der Hoeven and Timothy King, among many others. In that time, he opened new doors for Christians to engage with Israeli leaders, gave vision to the Feast of Tabernacles as a dynamic worship event, and set the course of the ministry to assist in practical and significant ways with Aliyah and social needs in Israel.

Born in South Africa, Johann Walter Lückhoff sensed a strong calling to God’s purposes for Israel from an early age. He studied economics and foreign relations before entering seminary and receiving ordination as a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church. His training and time of service in his country’s diplomatic corps and his theological studies made Johann uniquely qualified to lead the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem in its formative years as a global Christian ministry seeking to impact both churches and nations in their relations with Israel and the Jewish people.

The enduring fruit of his work can be seen in the ICEJ today, as it has now has branch offices and representatives in more than 90 nations and a reach into over 170 countries worldwide.

Rev. Malcolm Hedding, who succeeded Johann as ICEJ Executive Director in 2001, said:
“Johann Lückhoff was the man chosen of God to give leadership to one of the most important initiatives relating to Jewish-Christian relations in our times. As the first Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, he was therefore tasked with building the organisation in Israel, and internationally, by laying for it a firm foundation. In this regard, he did so with wisdom and excellence, a fact that was showcased every year at the ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem.”

Rev. Ingolf Ellßel, Chairman of the ICEJ’s international Board of Trustees, commented:
“The foundation laid by Johann Lückhoff has stood the test of time and today millions of lives in Israel and abroad have been impacted and blessed in ways that only heaven will one day reveal. Indeed, Johann’s legacy is that he helped raise up a generation of Christians who have stood up to shoulder their biblical responsibilities towards Israel.”

Dr. Jürgen Bühler, the ICEJ’s current President who joined the staff while still under Johann’s leadership, added:
“I consider it a great privilege to have experienced first-hand the statesmanship of Johann Lückhoff. He was a true diplomat of the Kingdom of God and gave excellent leadership to the ICEJ. His legacy is felt not only within our ministry but in many other pro-Israel organisations around the world that were inspired by the work he guided. Today, we are fully aware that we are called by God to build on this remarkable legacy and thereby ensure that Christian generations to come will bless the nation that gave us the gift of God’s Son.”

Vivienne Myburgh with Johann Lückhoff recently at his home in Betty’s Bay.

It was a special privilege for the ICEJ to host Johann Lückhoff at its recent Feast of Tabernacles in October 2022. Though in frail health and bound to a wheelchair, Johann insisted on attending the first in-person Feast after Covid. With great effort, he made sure to be present in every meeting, and Feast pilgrims could witness him worshipping the Lord, alert as ever in mind and spirit despite his great physical challenges. The ICEJ honoured him during this year’s Feast with a special award for his legacy of leadership. We will miss this wonderful pioneer and dear man of God who served his Master until his last breath.

Our condolences go out to his entire extended family.