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Thursday, December 5, 2013

"The Key to the Middle East" (Derek Prince)

TITLE: Key to the Middle East, The: Discovering the Future of Israel in Biblical Prophecy
AUTHOR: Derek Prince
PUBLISHER: Minneapolis, MN: Chosen Books, 2013, (208 pages).

Why is peace so hard to attain in the Middle East? Is there ever going to be a solution to the Middle East quarrels? What significance does Biblical prophecy has to the future of the disputed lands? What if someone tells you that there is a "key" to understanding the Middle East? Published previously as "The Last Word on the Middle East," author Derek Prince insists that the two biggest reasons behind the problems and promises of the Middle East are oil and Israel. As one who had personally lived and witnessed the events in Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Palestine, Israel, and other Arab lands, Prince first chronicles the historical developments surrounding the Middle East before giving his prophetic take.

On the historical overview, Prince begins by noticing the Jewishness of the Old Testament, of Jesus, of the Bible's context, and of the future according to Revelation. The return of the Jews coincides with the prediction of a coming home from the Northern land. Prince is convinced that the Holocaust followed by the founding of Israel on May 14th, 1948 is a direct fulfillment of Jeremiah 3:14,18. He even accuses a "succession of Christian theologians" who have helped to promote anti-Semitism. As a Briton, he tells of the good and bad deeds of the British government that have largely shaped the formation of the Palestine of today. The Balfour Declaration in 1917 sets in motion a good plan for statehood for the homeless Jews. The inconsistent implementations and "hypocrisy of the highest order" have played a big part in the instability of the holy land. Six key prophetic fulfillment are described. First, the formation of Israel is a direct fulfillment of God's predetermined plan. Just imagine how miraculous a tiny nation can survive amid a formidable and hostile neighourbood. Second, regathering the people from exile is a common promise in the Old Testament. In the formation of the state of Israel, God has given His people "their own land," that they will "never again be uprooted," and that the land is a "gift" from God. Third, even the New Testament, especially the gospels have reiterated the same message of the founding of the nation of Israel. Four, on the identity and the disputes of the lands, God has frequently spoken about the importance of this land, that the land belongs forever to the ones who will obey God's will. Only when everyone, both Jews, Arabs, and all inhabitants of the land bow down to the will of God can there be peace and harmony. Five, how we respond to the biblical prophecy is part of the fulfillment of the prophecy. Under the judgment and mercy of God, the unjust will be punished. The persecuted will be shown mercy. Six, Jerusalem will remain the center of contention, even though Israel has promised freedom of worship and passage to the holy city for all religious faiths, especially the three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam.

So What?

Derek Prince is clear and convicted that the key to the Middle East is Israel, and the relationships with the Jewish state. Just to see how resilient one nation can stand up against the huge political, economic, military, and social pressures is a case in point. Other than divine help, it is impossible to see how human efforts can bring about the present Israel. The book is a huge call for all, especially the Christian community to take Israel seriously because how they are treated is how the future of the world will be shaped. As long as there is no peace in the Middle East, the rest of the world will have no peace.

Readers will find this book a fascinating read, but it remains one interpretation of the whole Middle East event. In fact, there is no silver bullet solutions as far as the Middle East peace initiatives are concerned. Think about how America, especially at the efforts put in by five American Presidents to achieve peace between Israel and the Middle East. To this day, nations like Iran and several other Arab nations continue to insist on the "destruction of Israel." Israel too continue to defy world council leaders in their struggle to fight back and take their own actions in the name of self-defense. For me, the Middle East is one big complicated puzzle that cannot depend on any one single solution. There are many ideas, many strategies, and many initiatives. Without a common person driving it, without a common understanding of the complexities involved, there will never be peace and prosperity. I agree with Prince that the key to peace is on the question of Israel. I do not quite agree that the entire future stems from one nation. My reading from Scripture is that there is a "new Israel" which comprises of Gentiles grafted into the called people of God. Just like there are good Jews, there are also good Arabs. There are good Gentiles. There are good being done by people of various religious beliefs. God can use any of them, including the people of Israel. God can use evangelicals too, not just for the benefit of any one people group, but for upholding peace, justice, mercy for all people.

Read this book to gain greater insights into the history, the contexts, the cultures, and one interpretation of the biblical prophecies. Even if you are convinced by Prince, which I am in some way, be ready to consult alternative sources so as to gain a bigger picture of what is going on. Prophecies are not the property of any one person. In fact, it is entirely possible, that what Prince has written forms a part of the bigger picture. My recommendation: Be informed with the importance of Israel. Be equally informed that it is the Player up there that will determine the playing field, the players, and the how the future is going to be played out.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Chosen Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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