Although Derek Prince has passed on to be
with the Lord, he continues to
bless the lives of many with his teachings especially those concerning
the land of Israel. Having lived in the land during the
of Israel in 1948, Derek lends an authoritative point of view to
the historical facts as well as our spiritual obligations.
It is my great pleasure to allow the eloquence of his spirit to be heard.
Without the Jews we would have no patriarchs,
no prophets, no apostles, no
Bible—and no Savior!
Our Debt to Israel by Derek
conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, Jesus told her: “You
worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of
the Jews” (John 4:22). By “you” Jesus was referring to the Samaritans; by
“we” He was referring to the Jews. Thus He identified Himself with the Jews;
He spoke as one of them. In the last book of the Bible—Revelation 5:5—Jesus
is called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” “Judah” is the name from which
the word “Jew” is taken. It is important for us all to understand that there
is a way in which Jesus is specially identified with the Jews; and that this
identification did not cease with His earthly life, but is still continued
by Scripture after His death, burial and resurrection—on into eternity.
equally important for us all to acknowledge the truth of what Jesus said to
the Samaritan woman—“salvation is of the Jews.” This is an indisputable,
historical fact. Without the Jews we would have no patriarchs, no prophets,
no apostles, no Bible—and no Savior! Deprived of all these, how much
salvation would we have left to us? None!
nations of the earth owe all that is most precious in their spiritual
inheritance to the Jews. This is true of all of us—whether we be Arabs,
Africans, Asians or Europeans—Russians, Americans or Chinese. We all owe a
spiritual debt to the Jews that cannot be calculated.
makes it clear that God requires the Christians of all other nations to
acknowledge their debt to the Jews and to do what they can to repay it. In
Romans chapter 11 Paul is writing primarily to Christians of Gentile origin.
In verse 13 he says, “For I speak to you Gentiles. . . .” He reminds the
Gentiles of their debt to the Jews and warns them against adopting an
arrogant or unthankful attitude toward Israel.
of this chapter will show that Paul uses the name “Israel” to refer to those
who are Jews by natural descent and to distinguish them from Christians of
Gentile descent. In other words, he does not use “Israel” as a synonym of
11:30–31 Paul sums up what he has been saying about the debt and the
responsibility of the Gentile Christians toward Israel. (For the sake of
clarity I have inserted the appropriate words—either “Israel” or “the
Gentiles”—in brackets beside the pronouns):
For as you [Gentiles] were once
disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [Israel’s]
disobedience, even so these [Israel] also have now been disobedient, that
through the mercy shown you [Gentiles’] they [Israel] also may obtain mercy.
words, because of the mercy of God that has come to us as Gentile Christians
through Israel, God requires us in our turn to show mercy to Israel. How
shall we fulfill this obligation? The following are four practical ways that
we may do so.
we can cultivate and express an attitude of sincere love for Jewish people.
Most standard forms of “witnessing” or “preaching” practiced by Christians
do not reach the heart of the Jewish people at all. In fact, they frequently
anger them and alienate them. But it is amazing how the apparently hard
exterior of a Jew will melt when confronted by warm unfeigned love. In
nineteen centuries of dispersion among the other nations there is one thing
that the Jews have seldom encountered—and that is love! For the Lord’s own
sake, let us stop trying to make “converts” out of the Jewish people and let
us begin to repay the debt of love we have owed them for so many centuries.
in Romans 11:11 Paul says that “through their [Israel’s] fall, to provoke
them [Israel] to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.” This is
another significant way in which we can repay our debt to the Jews—by
enjoying and demonstrating the abundance of God’s blessings in Christ in
such a way that the Jews may be made jealous and desire what they see us
enjoying. These blessings should be seen in every area of our
lives—spiritual, physical, financial, and material. But above all they
should be expressed in our corporate life as believers together—a life of
righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
the centuries the Jews have seen little among the Christians that would
provoke their jealousy. Mainly they have seen innumerable sects, all laying
claim to the title “Christian,” criticizing one another, even killing one
another—all in the name of Christianity. Nowhere has Christian disunity been
more blatantly demonstrated than in the city held sacred by Christians and
Jews alike—Jerusalem. Frequently, at the so-called “sacred sites” of
Christendom, representatives of different Christian sects have come to blows
and shed one another’s blood—in proof of their orthodoxy and in defense of
their shrines and their privileges. On more than one occasion since the
state of Israel came into being, missionaries from one Christian group have
complained to the (Jewish) minister of religion concerning the
representatives of another Christian group and requested that they be
deported. All this is scarcely calculated to make the Jews exclaim, “Behold,
how these Christians love one another!”
the Bible exhorts us to seek the good of Israel by our prayers: “Pray for
the peace of Jerusalem: may they prosper who love you” (Psalm 122:6). To
pray effectively in this way we need to search out from the Scriptures the
purposes of God for Israel and for Jerusalem, and then set ourselves to pray
intelligently and consistently for the outworking and fulfillment of those
purposes. As we make this scriptural study, we will discover that,
ultimately, righteousness and peace are ordained to flow forth from
Jerusalem to all the nations of the earth; and so the well- being of all
nations is included in this prayer for Jerusalem and is dependant upon its
challenging, scriptural pattern of this kind of praying is provided by
Daniel, who set himself to pray three times daily with his window open
toward Jerusalem. Daniel’s prayers so disturbed Satan and threatened his
kingdom that he used the jealousy of evil men to bring about a change in the
laws of the entire Persian Empire that would make Daniel’s prayers illegal.
On the other hand, praying for Jerusalem meant so much to Daniel that he
preferred to be cast into the lions’ den rather than give up his praying.
Ultimately, Daniel’s faith and courage overcame the satanic opposition and
he emerged triumphant from the lions’ den—to go on praying for Jerusalem.
(See Daniel chapter 6.)
From my own
experience, extending over many years, I would like to add a personal
comment at this point. I have discovered that making a commitment of this
kind to pray for Jerusalem and Israel will definitely stir up a special
measure of opposition from satanically inspired forces. On the other hand, I
have also discovered that God’s promise given to those who pray in this way
will hold true—“may they prosper who love you.” This is a scriptural pathway
to prosperity—not merely in a financial or material sense, but as embracing
an abiding assurance of God’s favor, provision and protection.
we can seek to repay our debt to Israel by practical acts of kindness and
mercy. In Romans 12:6–8 Paul lists seven different gifts (charismata)
which Christians should cultivate and exercise. The last one he mentions is
“he who shows mercy.” I believe it is appropriate that we Christians
exercise this gift not merely toward individual Jews, but toward Israel as a
nation. Thus we would in some measure expiate the countless acts of
injustice, cruelty and barbarity which have over the centuries been
inflicted upon the Jews—often in the name of Christianity.
Christians are aware of the deeply ingrained, but seldom stated, attitude of
the Jews toward them. The Jews have suffered persecution in many different
forms from many different people, but—in their view of history—their
cruelest and most consistent persecutors have been the Christians. Before we
reject this view as untrue or unfair, let us glance briefly at the kind of
historical facts upon which it is based.
Middle Ages the Crusaders, on their way through Europe to “liberate” the
Holy Land, massacred entire Jewish communities—men, women and
children—numbering many hundreds. Later, when they did succeed in capturing
Jerusalem, they shed more blood and displayed more cruelty than any of
Jerusalem’s many conquerors before them—except perhaps the Romans under
Titus. All this they did in the name of Christ and with the cross as their
sacred emblem. (For this reason I personally am never happy to see any
genuine presentation of the gospel described by the word “crusade.”)
in the ghettos of Europe and Russia, it was Christian priests carrying
crucifixes who led the mobs against the Jewish communities—pillaging and
burning their homes and their synagogues, raping their women and murdering
those who sought to defend themselves. Their justification for this was that
it was the Jews who had “murdered Christ.”
within living memory, the Nazis—in their systematic extermination of six
million Jews in Europe—used as their instruments men who were professing
Christians—mainly Lutherans or Catholics. Furthermore, no major Christian
group, in Europe or elsewhere, raised their voices to protest or condemn the
Nazi policy against the Jews. In the eyes of the Jews, multitudes of
Christians stand condemned merely by their silence.
To undo the
effect upon the Jewish people of these experiences—and countless others like
them—will take more than tracts or sermons. It will require acts—both
individual and collective—that are manifestly as kind and merciful as the
previous acts were unjust and cruel.
we need to bear in mind that one major factor in God’s judgment of all other
nations will be their treatment of the Jews. In Matthew 25:31–46 we have a
picture of Christ as King at the end of this age on the throne of His glory,
with all nations arraigned before Him for judgment. They are separated into
two categories—the “sheep,” who are accepted into Christ’s kingdom, and the
“goats,” who are rejected from His kingdom. In each case, the reason given
by Christ is, “Inasmuch as you did it—or did not do it—to one of the least
of these My brethren” (vv. 40, 45). The nations who show mercy to the Jews
will receive mercy from God; the nations who deny mercy to the Jews will be
denied mercy from God.
measure, this has already been proved true many times in history. For
example, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Spain was the dominant
nation of Europe, with a high level of culture, a powerful army and navy,
and an empire that spanned both hemispheres. But within a century of
expelling all Jews from her territories, Spain declined to a struggling,
personal memory and experience, much the same happened to my own motherland,
Britain. Britain emerged victorious from two World Wars, retaining intact an
empire that was perhaps the most extensive in human history. But in 1947–8,
as the mandatory power over Palestine, Britain opposed and attempted to
thwart the rebirth of Israel as a sovereign nation with her own state.
(Since I was living in Jerusalem throughout this period, I make this
statement as an eyewitness of what actually took place.) From that very
moment in history, Britain’s empire underwent a process of decline and
disintegration so rapid and total that it cannot be accounted for merely by
the relevant political, military or economic factors. Today, less than a
generation later, Britain—like Spain—is a struggling, second-rate power.
This represents, in part at least, the outworking of a divine principle
stated in Isaiah 60:12: “For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you
shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined.” God here promises
Israel, and also warns all the Gentiles, that He will bring judgment on any
nation that opposes His purposes of redemption and restoration for Israel.
Therefore, in seeking and praying for the good of Israel, Gentile Christians
need to remind themselves that they are serving not merely the interests of
Israel, but even more those of their own nation.