Gentile kings and Jewish prophets
As a high school student in the early 1960’s I dreamed for world peace. The concept of one benign government that could unify the globe in justice and compassion appealed to me. After graduation, I advanced to the draft-dodging, demonstrating in the streets phase. By late 1968 I had failed to unify the world. It was time to drop out of society totally and aid world peace by living on a country commune. It wasn’t until I met Yeshua, the Prince of Peace, that my dreams found fulfillment. In the Bible I read that “In your (Abraham’s) seed, all the families of the earth will blessed” (Genesis 22:18) and “Unto us a son is given and the (world’s) government will be upon His shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6). Here was God’s plan for a truly blessed world united under one government.
The universal need for true salvation — core transformation in each person — begs for a solution that leaves no one out. In fact, before Yeshua revealed Himself to me, that was my one personal requirement for a “truth system.” It had to include everybody. The uniqueness and variety of mankind’s tribes always inspired me. Whatever ultimate truth turned out to be, I was sure that it must be relevant for every tribe, language and category of human being. After being born of the Spirit, as a young messenger of Messiah in the 70’s, I rejoiced in bringing the Gospel to hippies, Hispanic people, Native-Americans, penitentiary dwellers, Jewish people — ALL KINDS!
If Israel is Chosen, What About the Gentiles?
It is God’s prerogative to choose one nation through which to bring redemption to the world. This is just what He did. Jesus, a descendant of Abraham, said “salvation is of the Jews.” However, this “chosen” status can create misunderstanding and even resentment. On the one hand, deadly anti-Semitism arises from the Enemy’s hatred of what God loves. On the other hand, some Christian believers, feeling jealous of Jewish “chosenness,” feel a need to overly identify and even convert to Judaism.
The Spirit is awakening Yeshua’s disciples world-wide to the unique place of Israel in God’s plan. This mushrooming interest brings a desire to participate in Israel’s resurrection. Many are asking “What about the Gentiles? Is there not a significant role for us too?” Yes, there must be. It begins with this promise: “It is too small a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob … I will also give you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). Watching the development of Tents of Mercy, we have seen the profound reality of Isaiah’s words that the “Sons of foreigners shall build up your walls” (Isaiah 60:10; 61:5). This is no passive role.
What DO the Scriptures say about Jews and Gentiles at the end of the age? Is there a precedent for the Lord using us in partnership to bring revival to the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?
CONSTRUCTION: Solomon and Hiram
I began to see this pattern in the relationship of two kings, Hiram and Solomon. Hiram was a bosom friend of King David. When the king died, his son, Solomon, was aware of this covenant friendship. The time came to construct a temple for the Lord in Jerusalem and Solomon turned to Hiram for help. “God spoke to my dad about building a house for His name. Now that there’s peace, it’s time to build. But I need help. You’ve got the best timber in the world — the cedars of Lebanon; and your craftsmen know how to cut them like none other.” The result was a building for God’s “world headquarters” in Jerusalem.
What’s interesting about this account is the essential role given by God to Hiram. Think about it. Without the cedars — no walls, no doors, no Temple. Solomon sent 10,000 Israeli laborers every month to “carry burdens and … quarry stone.” The project was immense, continuing for seven years. It was a full partnership. At the end, a structure stood upon which God poured out His glorious Presence.
SALVATION: Joseph and Pharaoh
This is not a unique partnership in Scripture. Take Joseph and Pharaoh. God appointed Joseph to save his family, the sons of Jacob. To do so, he placed Joseph in strategic relationship with Pharaoh. Pharaoh recognized Joseph’s gifts and calling, appointing him to utilize the full resources of Egypt. The result? Egypt was blessed with “salvation” from the famine and Joseph’s family, Jacob & Sons, was saved in the recognition of their “dead” brother.
This sequence should remind us of what’s going on right now. The famine for hearing the word of God (in Israel) is drawing Jewish people to start recognizing Joseph (Jesus/Yeshua) as our Messiah. Joseph was rejected and left for dead by his brothers. After many years, not realizing that he was still alive, they encountered him in an unexpected place — Egypt. This parallels Yeshua’s “disappearance” for 19 centuries in the Church. The salvation of Jacob (Israel) is again dependent on seeing Joseph (Jesus) for who he is … the expelled son.
Only with the equipping of Pharaoh could Joseph have pulled this off. The fulfillment of his destiny depended upon partnership with the Gentile king. Their relationship brought salvation to Egypt and Israel, the Gentiles and the Jews.
INTERCESSION: Esther and Ahasuerus
Risking death, the Jewish queen dared appear uninvited before her husband, Ahasuerus. She interceded for her people, bringing rescue, honor and strength to the Jews in spite of vicious persecution and intended destruction. While the king was not at first a willing or cognizant partner, he was nonetheless a key to Esther’s historic victory. With prophetic courage the Jewish queen “teamed up” with the authority and resources of the Gentile king to cause a vital link in the unfolding chain of world redemption.
RESTORATION: Nehemiah and Artaxerxes
The gates of Jerusalem were torn down and burnt. Seeing this, Nehemiah wept. He prayed, and then went to the Persian king, Artaxerxes, who agreed to finance a trip to Israel for Nehemiah to rebuild the city. The king authorized safe passage through foreign territory, timber for the project, army personnel to protect Nehemiah and provisions for the journey.
The hand of God was upon Nehemiah. Audaciously, he rebuilt the wall around the city, unifying the Jews who were there. In fifty-two days, without a single gasoline engine or hint of electricity, they completed the wall, while being vilely opposed by resentful “neighbors.” Sound familiar? What launched Nehemiah in this bold and historic restoration? His position of trust and favor with Artaxerxes, the Gentile king.
What do these “Gentile kings and Jewish prophets” have to do with us today? Just this: history is repeating itself. From where are many of the material resources coming to build the emerging Messianic community is Israel? As in the time of Solomon and Nehemiah, they are coming from the Gentiles. It is written, “The wealth of the Gentiles will come to you” (Isaiah 60:5). Where are we finding the massive intercessory support so vital to breaking through almost 20 centuries of resistance to Yeshua’s Messiahship? We find it primarily among the fiery Gentile prayer warriors who are standing with Israel’s Messianic Jews, to gain Israel’s salvation.
I am convinced that this partnership is an essential facet of God’s blueprint for world redemption. We are walking it out by divine design, causing divine delight. If the Gentile kings and Jewish prophets of old, joined hearts and callings to bring the glory of God and the salvation of Israel, how much more will we see His glory and salvation in the days leading up to Messiah’s awesome return.
This article originally appeared on Tikkun International, May 1, 2019, and reposted with permission.
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Eitan is the Founder and Executive Director of Tents of Mercy Network of Messianic Congregations is Northern Israel. He's a published author, having written "What About Us?", which answers the question about Gentile participation in the restoration of Israel.