Paul tells us in Romans 11:13-15, “Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection [of Jesus] is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”
In other words, when the Jewish People rejected God’s salvation, the doors to His kingdom opened wide to every nation on earth. If this happened when they rejected Messiah, imagine how much more wonderful it will be when they accept Him! Clearly their acceptance is an important key in bringing about His return.
I have spent a number of years lecturing in Japan. Why Japan? Because I was intrigued that even though only one percent of the Japanese profess faith in Jesus, most of them are members of the intelligentsia. They are doctors, professors and lawyers, and they are fascinated with Israel. They understand that the destiny of Japan is inseparably connected to the destiny of Israel. These people pray daily for the salvation of Israel, and they know that when it comes, it will directly affect their nation. It will bring life from the dead and times of refreshing. The fact is the destiny of all nations-including our own-is connected to the salvation of Israel.
When I’m in Japan, I tell people to pray for the salvation of Israel if they want to see Japan saved. When I’m in India, I say pray for the salvation of Israel if they want to see India saved. Here in the United States, I tell people that if we want to see America turn to God in a very big way, we need to pray for the salvation of Israel.
I believe the salvation of the Jews will release the power of God and a mighty worldwide revival will result-a revival far greater than any other the world has ever seen. The prophet Joel wrote: “I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29 NIV).
The very thought of this sends a frightened chill down Satan’s back, and he’s working diligently to prevent it from happening. He knows that an essential part of life from the dead will be the crushing of his head, prophesied in Genesis 3:15.
Some scholars believe that the life from the dead Paul refers to in Romans 11 is a physical resurrection of the dead that will be connected to the return of the Messiah. Others say it is addressing spiritual renewal. But it’s clear to me that this is something far greater than individual salvation.
I am convinced that life from the dead is related to the fall of Adam and the restoration of all things. It has to do with finishing the work of atonement that restores the earth to the pre-Adamic state. Life from the dead is the termination of the curse of man’s fall from grace once and for all! It is the eradication of our final enemies, sin and death.
I certainly believe in the power of faith. I have witnessed miracles of healing and provision. I’ve seen people win a temporary reprieve from death. But I know of only two people in all of history (besides those who are living right now) who didn’t eventually die: Enoch and Elijah. (Jesus did die, of course, but He came back to life!)
We can appropriate Scriptures that promise health, healing and provision, but we live in a world still tainted by the curse on Adam and Eve. Evidence of that curse is everywhere. An untended garden will become shaggy and overgrown with weeds. You can pray for the weeds to disappear, but until the curse ends, it’s probably easier to pull them.
I have great news, however! Those weeds will disappear when death is swallowed up in victory. When life comes from death, won’t it be wonderful to live in a world that operates as it was originally intended to?
We can accelerate that great day by helping Jewish People around the world come to the saving knowledge of their Messiah, and life will come from the dead. Our prayers for the salvation of God’s People are prayers for our families and ourselves. Their healing is our healing. Their salvation is our salvation. Their return to God is life from the dead for us all!
Jonathan Bernis is a Jewish believer in Yeshua (Jesus). He is the founder of Hear O’ Israel Ministries, an international festival outreach organization, and executive director of Phoenix-based Jewish Voice Ministries International (jewishvoice.org). His most recent book, A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days, was released in January 2009.