by Derek Prince
God’s Heart for a People, His Plan for a Nation
If the Lord had not been on our side—let Israel say—if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away. Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 124 NIV
As we begin our teaching on this very important subject of Why Israel, let’s start by
asking a question of ourselves: On what basis are we praying for Israel? The simplest answer is that “Salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22). As Christians, we need to acknowledge our unfathomable debt to Israel and to always pray on the basis of that total indebtedness.
In my booklet, Our Debt to Israel, I make the following statements:
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!
The 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, Europeans, Russians, Americans or Chinese. We all owe a spiritual debt to the Jews that cannot be calculated.
One of the best ways we can begin to repay that debt of love is by prayer and intercession. As our awareness of Israel’s place in God’s plans grows, let’s open the Scriptures to gain a clearer understanding of the significance of the land and the people of Israel. To pray effectively for Israel and the Jews, we need to be informed about them. The information we need does not come from the world’s perspective or from the media. It comes from God’s viewpoint, which we find in the Bible.
The Uniqueness of Israel
There is no other nation like the nation of Israel. The Holy Scriptures make this abundantly clear.
The name Israel describes the nation descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Remember that Jacob was renamed Israel, and from his twelve sons are derived the twelve tribes of Israel. Later on, the people of Israel were called Jews. So really, Jews and Israel today are synonymous.
In the New Testament, the name Israel occurs seventy-seven times, and these references are never, never applied to the Church. Please hear that again very clearly—the name Israel occurs seventy-seven times in the New Testament and never once is it a description of the Church. The word “Jew” occurs seventy-five times in the Old Testament and one hundred eighty-eight times in the New Testament. On the other hand, the term “Christian” occurs only three times in the New Testament. These numbers indicate the significance the Lord has placed on the people and nation of Israel.
A Unique People
I want to emphasize in this first chapter that Israel is a unique people. There is no one else like Israel. As we consider the uniqueness of Israel, let’s begin by examining what is stated by David in 1 Chronicles 17:21. Praying to the Lord, David says:
Who is like Your people Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people—to make for Yourself a name by great and awesome deeds, by driving out nations from before Your people whom You redeemed from Egypt?
In this prayer, David is saying there is no other nation whom God set out to redeem. He portrays Israel as a nation set apart from other nations. One unchallengeable fact emerges from this text: Israel is unique. The remarkable fact is that Israel did not choose this uniqueness; God chose it. This means if we pray for them just like we pray for any other nation, we are not praying with insight or understanding. In other words, we would not be praying in line with Scripture.
Let us look at the previous verse, verse 20, which states the uniqueness of Israel. I realized for the first time in a recent study how directly verse 21 relates to the previous verse. It is important to recognize that the uniqueness of Israel springs out of the uniqueness of God.
Verse 20 says,
“O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. And who is like Your people Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people.”
We cannot pray effectively for Israel if we classify them with other nations. They are a unique people with a unique destiny expressing the uniqueness of their God. We cannot pray effectively if we pray a general prayer for all nations, including Israel. The facts of Scripture bear out their uniqueness.