Friday, December 6, 2013

The Key to the Middle East by Derek Prince

This is a reprint of The Last Word on the Middle East (1982) and Promised Land (2005). Prince died in 2003. Material has been added by the Editorial Team of Derek Prince Ministries to somewhat update the book.

The first part of the book gives an historical perspective. Prince had spent several years in the Holy Land after WW II so he was able to give some insights into the land and its inhabitants. “Israel was God's prophetic clock,” he wrote. “By restoring the people to the land, God had set the clock once again in motion.” (21) He showed how events fulfilled the prophecy of Israel's restoration, with the ultimate restoration being spiritual. He noted the importance of the Six-Day War, writing that it was “a decisive turning point in human history.” (102) Jewish control of Jerusalem meant the “times of the Gentiles” is drawing to a close. Jewish control of Israel is also essential to the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth.

Prince believed that Christians (and the church) owe a great spiritual debt to Israel. Christians should be seeking to repay that debt and to make amends for all the evil done to the Jews in the name of Christianity. (120) Christians have an “obligation,” he wrote, “to do everything Scripture requires of us to help the Jewish people regain the fullness of their God-appointed inheritance, both natural and spiritual.” (121) He called on nations to align themselves with Israel, thus cooperating with God's purposes. He also created various scenarios as to how the future might play out.

This book is a bit dated, I think. I could tell that the majority of the text was written some forty years ago. So much has happened since then. This book is definitely not a latest, up to date look at Israel and its circumstances (although the Editorial Team has updated the time line at the end of the book).

Prince did give a good history of Israel and that is valuable. There is also an excellent section on prophecy and fulfillment. These two areas would be good for relatively new Christians or at least ones new to the ideas of prophecy and Israel's place in it. Seasoned Christians will probably not find any new insights in this book.

As with many who write about Israel and the fulfillment of prophecy, Prince ignored New Testament references that have relevance to the role of Israel today. For example, Galatians 3:16-17 suggests that the promises to Abraham have, in some sense, fulfillment in Jesus. Then there is Galatians 3:29 that says Christians are Abraham's seed. Any book that concentrates on God fulfilling His promises through the Jews should at least mention these verses and somehow address them.

Christians who believe that God's current plan for mankind revolves around the nation of Israel will like this book. Christians who are looking for a deeper understanding of what God is doing in the world, including the ramifications of New Testament truths on the fulfillment of prophecy, will be disappointed.

Derek Prince (1915-2003) was born in India of English parents and studied at Eton college and Cambridge University. While serving in the British army during WW II, he studied the Bible and became a Christian. He is the author of more than 50 books and his daily radio messages are still broadcast around the world through Derek Prince Ministries. For information about the Ministry, see www.derekprince.com.

Chosen Books, 208 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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