Derek Prince - God Intervenes In Israel
This is an excerpt from: Why Israel?
Now, I want to turn to one of the most exciting chapters for me in the Bible and that's Ezekiel chapter 36. Here is a brief stage by stage description of the return of the Jewish people to their own land. Beginning in Ezekiel 36 verse 16. Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying: "Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds; to Me their way was like the uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity". Notice it was their own land but they defiled it by their sin. So God goes on to say, "Therefore I poured out My fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land, and for their idols with which they had defiled it". So God brought judgment on the people while still in the land for their sin and their idolatry. And the next stage of God's dealings is in the next verse. "So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; judged them according to their ways and their deeds".
So the next judgment after judgment in the land was to be dispersed from the land. And then God says, "They embarrassed me when they came to the other nations". "When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name, when they said of them, 'These are the people of the LORD, and yet they have gone out of His land.'" So the Lord said, "I was embarrassed by the behaviour of the people who were scattered out of the land because they didn't behave like my people at all". Now the next verse is very significant, because you will never understand God's dealings with Israel until you understand His primary motive. Verse 21, "But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went".
God is not doing it for the sake of the Jewish people. He's doing it for the sake of His name. If you don't understand that you will not be able to follow what follows in the events of history. God has intervened for the glory of His name. Now God says this is the way I'm going to deal with them. And now, it's very interesting, it's very simple. It's a stage by stage depiction of the restoration of Jewish people to their land and to their God. You might say, "Well, God, why did you do it that way. I think they ought to have repented first and then come back to the land". Well you'll have to argue that out with God, because God says it's not going to happen that way. They're going to come back to the land and then they're going to repent. I've heard many Christians say, "Well, I could believe in the restoration of the Jewish people if they'd repented and acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah".
Well, you'll have to argue that out with God, because God had arranged it a different way. He says verse 22, Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the LORD GOD: "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went". Then the next verse, "And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD," says the LORD GOD, "When I am hallowed in you before their eyes". "I am going to reclaim the glory of My name by what I do for you and in you". And then He goes on a few simple steps being exactly fulfilled in our day.
The next step, verse 24. "For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land". Whose land? Your own land. Whether they were in it or not, it was always their land because God gave it to them by an everlasting covenant. But they'd been out of it. But he says, "Now," God says, "I will take you from among the nations, gather you our of all countries, and bring you into your own land". I've been a student in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I sat in a class of about thirty people and they came from at least ten different nations. And it's estimated that all together the Jews have been regathered from more than one hundred nations of the earth in this century. That is an amazing miracle. In my opinion it is possibly greater than the miracle of the deliverance from Egypt.
My first wife as some of you know was Danish. And she used to say, "If you took the Danes and dispersed them among all nations after two hundred years hen you came back you wouldn't find a single Dane anywhere. They would have merged with the nations". But the Jewish people have been scattered basically, how many years? I can't believe it. Two thousand years. I mean surely I must be exaggerating, but I'm not. And they're still an identifiable separate group. That's a miracle. Furthermore to regather that number of people from that number of nations is in itself a miraculous intervention of God. I was in Israel at the end of World War II and I heard some of the testimonies of Jewish people as they said where they'd been gathered from and what had happened.
I'd have to say in many ways in my eyes the total scenario represents a greater miracle than the exodus from Egypt. And it's a miracle. It could not have happened unless God made it happen. And God said, "I will do it". I want to read that again. "I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land". Now the next verse: "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols". Notice they are to be regathered still unclean. That upset some people's theology. I can't help it. It's just the way it is. You'll have to clear that with God. God says, "When I've got them back in the land, then I will deal with them. I will sprinkle clean water upon you and you will be clean from all your uncleanness".
In the prophet Hosea it says to them, In the place where it was said to you 'You are not My people,' there it shall be said to you, 'You are My people and I am your God.' So God had to bring them back to the place were originally scattered from to deal with them to restore them. Very logical, in my opinion. So the first thing that the Lord is going to do is sprinkle clean water. Now this is... I really think the clean water is the word of God. I think that the Jewish people are being just sprinkled, not deluged, but sprinkled with the word of God. You have to know that in many ways the history of the Jewish people is like the history of the Catholic Church. Of course there are many differences. But basically in the Catholic Church the priest was the one who knew the Bible, he was supposed to know the Bible.
People didn't read for themselves. They believed what the priest told them. And to a certain extent that was true of the Jewish people. The Rabbi was the one who knew the answers. They didn't have to think for themselves. They just had to do what the Rabbi told them. But now they are being sprinkled with clean water, the word of God is coming to them. This is in an ever increasing way. I mean, the increase in the number of congregations of Jewish people believing in Jesus as the Messiah is growing with amazing rapidity.
I can remember when I was in Jerusalem in 1948. If you met one Jewish believer in a year that was exciting. Now every time you turn around there's a new Jewish believer. I forget how many Hebrew speaking congregations there are in Jerusalem. I think it's about... can you tell me? About eighteen. Eighteen Hebrew speaking Jewish congregations in Jerusalem. That's happened in the last few years. God is sprinkling clean water upon them, the clean water of the word of God. Then He says in the next verse: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh". So during the centuries of the dispersion the Jewish people had a heart of stone, the judgment of God. A heart of stone cannot respond to the Holy Spirit. They were incapable of responding. There were always the exceptions.
Now God is taking away the heart of stone and giving them a heart of flesh. And one of the exciting changes is in their attitude toward Yeshua, toward Jesus. I remember in 1947 or '48, I was speaking to a Jewish man and I said to him, "I believe Jesus is the Messiah". And he turned around and spat on the ground. That was his reaction to the name of Jesus. A professor of religion in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem made this comment a few years ago. He said, "Sometime back my students all wanted to know about theological arguments. Now they all want to know about Jesus". See, there's a change, a very significant change coming. God said it would come. "I will give you a new heart, put a new spirit within you, I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh". Next verse: "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them".
Then, God says, "Not only will I put a new Spirit within you," that's the rebirth, "but I will put My Spirit within you". For me that's the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And then God says, "Now you'll be able to keep My commandments". How many of you know that without the Holy Spirit you cannot keep God's commandments. I remember as a boy at Eton, 1932, I was "confirmed". You know what confirmed is? As a matter of fact I really didn't want to be confirmed. So they appealed to my father as to whether I should be confirmed and my father was serving in India at the time. He wrote back and said, "All the boys of your age are being confirmed. You will be confirmed".
So confirmed I was. Well before I was confirmed I was a sinner, and after I was confirmed I was a confirmed sinner. I don't say that to belittle anything, it just the way it was. Almost exactly ten years later God filled me with the Holy Spirit and for the first time I could obey God joyfully. It wasn't a struggle. That's how it's going to be with the Jewish people. God says, "I will put My Spirit within you, then you will walk in my statutes and keep my laws". We come to the last verse of this particular section. Verse 28: "Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God". You have to look to the end, you see. All these are stages, but the climax is "You shall be My people and I will be your God". And God has described very simply the various main stages through which He will lead them to bring them to that place.
So if you're rather critical of the Jewish people, and that's not difficult. In fact the ones who are most critical of the Jewish people are the Jewish people themselves. But just bear in mind, be patient. God is at work. He's doing something. He's outlined in advance many centuries ago the way He was going to deal with them. He's doing it step by step. It's being fulfilled before our eyes. It's exciting, at least to me. And if I can be excited, almost anybody can be excited. Now that's not only the truth. It used to be true, but I've changed a lot. Now I just want to point out if you read this passage in Hebrew, between verse 23 of Ezekiel 36 and verse 30, God says, "I will" eighteen times. You understand?
We're dealing with a Sovereign God. We're not dealing with a God that needs our approval, or doesn't know what He's going to do. He's got it all worked out, and He says eighteen times, "I will, I will, I will, I will..." Do you believe in the sovereignty of God? I certainly do. It doesn't make me a Calvinist, but my definition of God's sovereignty is this: God does what He wants, the way He wants, when He wants, and He asks no ones permission. Not even mine. Some people think God has to have their permission before He'll do it, but that's not so.