The Old Testament book of Daniel is a story of miracles, faith and obedience — and amazingly, that is the testimony of the South African-led team that is taking an epic music production to Jerusalem next month as a love gift to the people of Israel.
“The number of miracles that have happened and are happening really gives us so much faith to know that we are on the right track,” said songwriter and performing artist Joe Niemand who created Daniel the Musical , a full-scale musical production with an international cast of 30 singers, dancers and actors, which will have its world premiere in Jerusalem on October 10.
Gateway News asked Niemand how the project came about. Were we in for a story!!!
In January this year, the Lord told Niemand to produce a follow-up album to Glory to the King which he recorded 10 years ago and distributed for free at Mighty Men events, where he gave away hundreds of thousands of CDs. So he recorded the sequel, The Presence of the King, which he has also been giving away and which can be downloaded for free at www.glorytotheking.co.za. The album features some songs from the musical and some Christian worship songs.
After finishing The Presence of the King “the Lord revealed to me that He had actually given me the music for a musical about the story of Daniel” and that there was “a small window of opportunity” to make the musical, said Niemand.
Out of the blue
Thereafter a woman called him out of the blue and said she had had a vision about his music being performed in Israel. When he told her about the musical she said maybe it was meant to be performed in Israel. Niemand said he didn’t like the idea at first because he knew the market for the production in Israel was possibly even smaller than in SA.
However, because of the woman’s message, he felt compelled to do some research and the Lord showed him the Jerusalem Theatre. He contacted the theatre and was told all they could offer him was one day next year, which was clearly not viable for a theatre run.
While he was preparing to respond to the theatre spokeswoman he sensed the Lord tell him he was wasting his time and that he needed to go to Jerusalem.
“So I just got on a plane with a friend. We went there for two days,” he said.
On the second day they went for a walk in the Old City and “I felt Lord say to me I was going to see somebody I know — in Jerusalem, where I don’t know people.”
Then he “walked into” Julita Kok, the head of SA production company Nuelight, “who the Lord had also sent to Israel and wasn’t exactly sure why she was there”.
‘You cannot take no for an answer’
“She joined the team and we went to see the theatre and that day the Lord said to me: ‘You cannot take no for an answer.’
“So they [the Jerusalem Theatre staff] were quite confused why I had come all the way after they had told me they had no space available. And I just knew that I couldn’t take no for an answer, which was quite awkward.”
When Niemand insisted that he needed weeks, not days, for the Daniel musical, the woman from the theatre explained that would be impossible because they were booked up in advance by shows that recurred annually.
“She said she could maybe help me with a week in April 2021 but that was a big maybe. But the Lord had already shown me it needed to be this October, so I couldn’t take no for an answer because of what the Lord had told me that morning, so I asked her if we could sit somewhere.
Prompting of the Lord
“She started taking us to the office and on the way there she started telling us about renovations in the theatre running from July to the end of October. As she said that I felt the prompting of the Lord saying: ‘This is why I have sent you.’ ”
After an hour of polite wrangling, Niemand asked the theatre woman whether, if he was willing to carry all the risk, they could have the theatre for October, if the renovations finished at the end of September, rather than at the end of October.
The woman assured him this would never happen — a point of view that was corroborated by others he spoke to in Jerusalem, who told him that building projects in Israel always go over schedule.
“But the Lord had spoken to me so clearly, there was no way for me not to respond to it. So we launched this musical by faith and only after the end of the first week of rehearsals — the week before last — we got news from the Jerusalem Theatre that, miraculously, their building project is not just finishing on time but will be finished by the end of September, which gives us time to go over there and do what the Lord told us to do.”
Not evangelical outreach
Niemand said that the show run in Jerusalem from October 10 to 22 was not an evangelical outreach.
“It has literally just been prompted by the Lord to take the story of Daniel to Jerusalem in October. So we are very excited about it.
“We believe that our country is in dire need of God’s blessing and that according to His Word, those that bless Israel will be blessed, but unfortunately our country has not taken that stance. But I believe this does not reflect the position of the majority of believers here.
“So, this is an Old Testament story; it is something that we have in common with our Jewish friends. So, we are going there humbly, with our songs and with our art to celebrate what we have in common and to show our support for them and to do what the Lord has shown us to do at the time that He has showed us to do it.”
The musical is truly a gift to Israel. Even if it runs to a full house for its duration in Jerusalem it is not expected to recoup production costs.
Partner with ‘Daniel the Musical’
Christians who would like to be part of this act of blessing Israel are invited to partner with the production team. You can request to become a prayer partner by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can donate towards the production costs or sponsor a ticket and support a campaign to bless Holocaust survivors, orphans and others who could not afford the show. Or you can join the team in Jerusalem and attend the musical. Click on this page for more information on donating and booking tickets.
In line with their heart to bless Israel, the production management team will match each donation received.