Five Reasons Israel Is Important

Thursday, June 15, 2023

As a new covenant Gentile believer in Jesus Christ, why should you pray for Israel? Why is praying for Israel so important that over five million intercessors recently spent twenty-one days praying for Israel?

In this article, I explain five reasons why new covenant Gentile believers in Jesus Christ should pray for Israel.

1. God has chosen Israel as His servant to bless the world.

Isaiah prophesied, “But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham My friend, you whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.’” (Isa. 41:8-9).

God is using Israel as His servant to initiate the greatest harvest in history, to bring in the fullness of the Gentiles, to shake the nations of the earth, and to topple powerful empires. God is using Israel to sift the souls of presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens, believers and unbelievers.

In Genesis 12:2-3, the Lord told Abraham: “And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Throughout history, God has used Israel to bless the world in profound ways. God told Abraham, “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Gen. 12:3).

Paul used this verse to show how it was fulfilled through the gospel of Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:8). Where would the world be if Israel had not given us the Bible, the Messiah, and the church?

In addition to this, Israel has given many nations their inheritance. For instance, Moses said, “When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel” (Deut. 32:8).

This means God gave different nationalities and people groups their own land in proportion to the Jewish nation. Consider how this happened in modern history.

In 1946, two years before Israel became a nation, there were seventy-four independent countries.  Two years after Israel declared her independence there were eighty-nine. By 1995 there were 192. That means 103 nations declared their independence in a mere forty-five-year period. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Because Israel was put into her rightful place in 1948, God granted over one hundred nations their independence. Do you see how God has blessed the world by restoring the nation of Israel?

Even in Israel’s partial hardness and partial blindness, the Lord is using Israel as His chosen servant to bring in the fullness of the Gentiles.

Speaking about Israel, Paul said, “I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!” (Rom. 11:11-12).

A few verses later, Paul said, “Their rejection is the reconciliation of the world” (Rom. 11:15). And finally, Paul said, “I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom. 11:25).

Notice carefully that Israel’s transgression has brought:

  • “Salvation to the Gentiles;”
  • “Riches for the world;”
  • “Riches for the Gentiles;”
  • “The reconciliation of the world;”
  • And “the fullness of the Gentiles.”

If you are a born-again Gentile, part of the reason, according to Paul, is that God hardened and blinded part of Israel, His chosen servant, to bring Gentiles into the new covenant He made with the house of Israel.

2. God has chosen Israel as His servant to shake nations and empires.

As a part of the Abrahamic Covenant, God said, “The one who curses you I will curse” (Gen. 12:3).

In making this statement, God used two Hebrew words for curse. The first Hebrew word used for “curses” is qalal. One of its definitions is to make small.  Other meanings are to be trifling, to be of little account, or to be insignificant.

The second Hebrew word used for “curse” is ‘arar, which simply means to curse.

Substituting these definitions into this verse, here is how it reads:

The one who makes you small, treats you in a trivial way, or views you as insignificant, I will curse. So, in a covenant vow, God promised to curse whoever tries to make Israel smaller or whoever mistreats the Jews.

How true this promise has been throughout history!

When the ancient Egyptians mistreated Israel, God devastated Pharaohs’ mighty empire with plagues, destruction, and death.

When Amalek went to war against Israel, God promised to “war against Amalek from generation to generation” (Ex. 17:16).

Both Assyria and Babylon, great empires who ruled the world in their day, were severely judged because they harmed the Jewish people.

When Haman sought to eradicate the Persian Jews of his day, he was hung on his own gallows (Est. 7:10). The list does not stop there.

A quick glance through world history validates that God watches over His word to perform it. In fact, we would do well to learn from the past because as the old saying goes, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”

Whether we realize it or not, the Lord has used Israel and the Jewish people to shape much of world history. The Spanish Empire and the British Empire—both superpowers of their day—lost preeminence because they mistreated God’s chosen people. From Haman to Hitler, Nebuchadnezzar to Hussein, and Pharaoh to Stalin, God has cursed every ruler that has harmed the Jewish people.

The Lord really has chosen Israel to help set the destiny of nations—both for good and for bad.

3. Scripture commands us to pray for Israel.

The Lord always looks for intercessors to stand in the gap, for prayer-warriors to win the battle through prevailing prayer, and for the church to partner with Him in fulfilling ancient prophecy. In this hour, the Holy Spirit is calling the church into a strategic partnership with Him that will prepare the way for the return of the Lord.

One way this will be accomplished is by praying for Israel. Scripture calls us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6) and to “remind the Lord . . . and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isa. 62:6-7).

These verses are much more than a good suggestion; these scriptures are a God-given mandate to pray for Israel’s modern-day restoration until the Lord’s work is completed.

We have a mandate to prepare the way for the Lord’s return by standing in the gap and asking God to fulfill Israel’s glorious promises.

The Lord is calling us to pray for Jerusalem’s security and wellbeing. Our prayers for the peace of Jerusalem can restrain harm and destruction from coming upon Israel and the Jewish people. Our intercession can prevent and foil every existential threat that Israel faces.

4. God has a prophetic destiny for Israel that will be fulfilled.

For almost two-thousand years of church history, the Gentile church has been arrogant toward the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. We forgot Paul’s apostolic warning to Gentiles not to esteem ourselves more highly than Israel (Rom. 11:18).

Replacement Theology is the result of this arrogance. Replacement Theology is the belief the church has replaced Israel in God’s prophetic agenda. The thinking goes something like this:

Since Israel has rejected her promised Messiah and committed the unpardonable crime of killing God, the Jews have been cast aside forever. The Jewish people are under an eternal curse and their glorious promises have been given exclusively to the church. Thus, the church has replaced Israel.

Let me say this directly: Replacement Theology is a doctrine inspired by demons. It is a belief system born of man’s ignorance and Satan’s extreme hatred for the Jews.

Replacement Theology is an instrument of the enemy designed to abort God’s prophetic agenda. If we are going to guard our hearts from antisemitism and properly understand the end times, this diabolical doctrine must be completely rooted out of our hearts and minds.

This doctrine—shaped by centuries of antisemitism, allegorical methods of interpreting the prophetic Scriptures, and an almost two-thousand-year period in which the nation of Israel did not exist—has heavily influenced the twenty-first century church. Until we see the errors of this belief system, we won’t be able to see God’s plans for the end of the age clearly.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish . . . the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17).

Unfortunately, many modern-day teachers interpret New Testament passages about the end times—specifically Matthew 24, the book of Revelation, and the epistles—without a foundational understanding of what the Old Testament prophets have already spoken.

This is such a major problem today. We can’t come to New Testament prophecies without a rock-solid foundation of what the Old Testament prophets have already said.

If we don’t properly interpret what Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Joel, and Malachi have already spoken—considering the historical context, who God was speaking to, and what the original audience would have understood—we can’t properly understand New Testament eschatology.

Jesus did not abolish the hundreds of Old Testament prophecies God spoke to Israel when He came, for He is the One to whom they spoke of, and He will fulfill these prophecies to Israel in a literal way as we head toward His glorious return.

End-time prophecy is Jerusalem-centric. Daniel’s seventieth week, the last seven years of a prophecy given to him by Gabriel, is centered on Jerusalem and the Jewish people (Dan. 9:24-27).

5. Jesus is returning to Israel and will reign from Jerusalem for one-thousand years.

Since God’s covenant oath is with Jerusalem, it is the only city in the world whose destiny is secure. When Jesus returns, He will make Jerusalem—not Washington, D.C., London, or Rome—the capital city of the world.

Every major city, no matter how prominent and self-sufficient today, will depend upon Jerusalem for everything—including finances, governmental decisions, justice, and peace. From Jerusalem, God’s kingdom will go forth in fullness into every Gentile nation in the earth.

Jesus called Jerusalem “the city of the Great King” (Matt. 5:35).

Jeremiah declared, “At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the Lord,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord” (Jer. 3:17).

Zechariah prophesied, “I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain” (Zech. 8:3).

Isaiah described Jerusalem as the place where justice, peace, divine decrees, instruction, and the Word of God will go forth into the nations (Isa. 2:2-4).

From Jerusalem, Jesus will reign as King over the earth, serve as judge of the nations, and administer the Law of God (Isa. 33:20-22; Zech. 14:9).

As the capital city of God’s kingdom, kings, queens, presidents, and statesmen will come to Jerusalem for wisdom, guidance, blessing, and favor. Any nation or kingdom that will not serve Israel will perish under the judicial hand of God (Isa. 60:12).

What will Israel’s prophetic destiny look like when Jesus returns, and He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth? There are at least five realities the Old Testament prophets describe. These are:

  1. Israel will be the worship center of the world (Mal. 3:2-4; Ex. 19:6; Zech. 14:16; Zech. 8:20-23; Isa. 60:12-14; Zech. 14:17-19).
  2. Israel will be the place from which God’s glory shines into the nations (Isa. 24:23; Isa. 30:26; Isa. 44:23; Isa. 49:3; Hab. 2:14; Isa. 4:2).
  3. Israel will be the place from which divine blessings, favor, prosperity, and peace are released into the nations (Zech. 8:23; Isa. 60:3-5, 10-11; Isa. 60:14-15; Isa. 27:6; Isa. 62:3).
  4. Israel will be a place of unspeakable joy and gladness (Isa. 60:15; Isa. 65:18-19).
  5. Israel’s borders will extend from Egypt to Iraq (Gen. 17:8; Gen. 15:18; 1 Chron. 18:3; Isa. 26:15; Isa. 11:14; Isa. 19:23; Isa. 19:24-25).

Considering these five reasons why Israel is important, take a few minutes and ask the Lord to reveal His end-time plans for Israel to you. As you gain greater insight and understanding of God’s end-time prophetic plans, you will be equipped to fulfill the mandate of Isaiah 62:6-7 and pray for Jerusalem to become a praise in the earth.

Bryan Kessler