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Should the Church Have A Heart For Israel? | Part 1

by Rev. Jerry Marcellino & Yochanan Ben Yehuda Should the Church Have A Heart For Israel?
Should the Church Have A Heart For Israel? | Part 1

Should the Church Have A Heart For Israel? | Part 1

The Church and its Heart for Israel Revealed by Rev. Jerry Marcellino with Yochanan Ben Yehuda

Hebrews 11:4, “Though he is dead, he still speaks.”

The following list of quotations and comments are by no means exhaustive. Our prayer is that the Lord will use His choice gifts to His church, from throughout its history, to both edify as well as energize you to pray earnestly for the coming salvation of Israel!

Note from the Authors: Please understand, that although we at Heart for Israel and Galilee of the Nations agree with the essence of the following great historical quotations, we do not necessarily agree with all of their finer points.

Church of Scotland Pastor and Author (1676 - 1732) 

“There is coming a day when there shall be a national salvation of the Jews. The now blinded and rejected Jews shall be saved by faith in Christ... Have you any love to, or concern for the church, for the work of reformation, the reformation of our country, the reformation of our world? Any longing desire for the revival of that work now at a stand? Any longing desire for a flourishing state of the Church, that is now under a decay? Then pray for the salvation of the Jews.”

French/Swiss Scholar and Pastor (1519 - 1605)

Early in the seventeenth century, Beza proclaimed that the world would, “ restored from death to life again, at the time when the Jews should also come, and be called to the profession of the Gospel.”

Scottish Presbyterian Theologian and Author (1784 - 1858)

“The apostle [Paul] represents the restoration of the Jews as not only possible and probable, but as certain.”

English Biblical Scholar and Author (1910 - 1990)

“Israel’s blindness is only partial, and only temporary...The new covenant will not be complete until it embraces the people of the old covenant.”

Scottish Covenanter Preacher (1648 - 1680)

Richard “The Lion of the Covenant” Cameron preached on May 30, 1680, from the text, “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” In the midst of this sermon which has been described as one of the most remarkably blessed of the Lord preached in Scotland, Cameron fell into a “rap of calm weeping,” and his hearers wept with him. Compelled for the moment to stop, he “prayed for the restoration of the Jews.” One historian reported that 200 years later, the memory of those services had not died out among the people of the districts where Cameron spoke.

American Presbyterian Theologian (1820 - 1898)

“The promise of Israel’s future in-gathering is clearly stated in Scripture.”

Evangelical Anglican Pastor, Theologian, and Author (1702 - 1751)

“O that the blessed time were come when all Israel shall be saved...Our faith waits the glorious event, but it shall be seen, for the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance.”

Scottish Hebraist and Missionary to Hungary (1796 - 1870)

In commenting upon his labors among the Hungarian Jews, Duncan said,“Our hands now became so full of work that frequently we had not time so much as to eat bread; from early morning until late at night we were occupied guiding, counseling and instructing those who were inquiring earnestly what they must do to be saved...for a time the whole Jewish community was deeply moved wondering where unto these things would grow.” Adolph Saphir and Alfred Edersheim were just two of the many Jews who were saved under his ministry at Budapest, Hungary.

Scottish Covenanter Pastor and Author (1622 - 1658)

“Whatever may be doubted about their returning to their land, nevertheless, they shall be brought to a visible nation again. Not only in particular persons here and there in congregations; but that multitudes, yea, the whole body of them shall be brought, in a common way with the Gentiles, to profess Christ, which cannot be denied, as Romans 11 is clear and that will be enough to satisfy us.”

New England Puritan Congregationalist Pastor and Theologian (1703 - 1758)

“Jewish infidelity shall be overthrown... the Jews in all their dispersions shall cast away their old infidelity, and shall have their hearts wonderfully changed, and abhor themselves for their past unbelief and obstinacy. They shall flow together to the blessed Jesus, penitently, humbly, and joyfully owning him as their glorious King and only Savior, and shall with all their hearts, as one heart and voice, declare his praise unto other nations. Nothing is more certainly foretold than this national salvation of the Jews in Romans 11...Besides the prophecies of the calling of the Jews, we have a remarkable providential seal of the fulfillment of this great event, by a kind of continual miracle. Their being preserved a distinct nation...the world affords nothing else like it. There is undoubtedly a remarkable hand of providence in it. When they shall be called, that ancient people, who alone were so long God’s people for so long a time, shall be his people again, never to be rejected again. They shall be gathered together into one fold, together with the Gentiles...”

Scottish Presbyterian Theologian (1566 - 1617)

Writing sometime in the late sixteenth century, Ferme argued that Paul indicated, “When the fullness of the Gentiles shall have been brought in, the great majority of the Israelitish people are to be called, through the gospel, to the God of their salvation, and shall profess and own Jesus Christ, whom, formerly, that is, during the time of hardening, they denied.”

1560 Translation of the Bible into English 

The marginal notes on Romans 11:26 state, “He sheweth that the time shall come that the whole nation of the Jews, though not every one particularly, shall be joined to the church of Christ.”

Scottish Baptist Pastor (1764 - 1842) 

In commenting on Romans 11:25, he said, “Here is the clearest attestation that the blindness of the Jews will yet cease, not only as to individuals, but as to the body.”

English Puritan Bible Commentator (1662 - 1714)

“Now there are two things that Paul exhorts the Gentiles to do, with reference to the rejected Jews: to have a respect for the Jews, not withstanding, and to desire their salvation. This is intimated in the prospect he gives them of the advantage that would accrue to the church by their salvation (Romans 11:12, 15). It would be as life from the dead; and, therefore, they must not insult or triumph over those poor Jews, but rather pity them, and desire their welfare, and long for the receiving of them in again. Another thing that qualifies this doctrine of the Jews’ rejection is that though for the present they are cast off, yet the rejection is not final; but, when the fullness of time is come, they will be taken in again. They are not cast off for ever, but mercy is remembered in the midst of wrath. The Jews are, in a sense, a holy nation (Exodus 14:6) being descended from holy parents. Now it cannot be imagined that such a holy nation should be totally and finally cast off. This proves that the seed of believers, as such, are within the pale of the visible church, and within the verge of the covenant, till they do, by their unbelief, throw themselves out; for, if the root be holy, so are the branches...though grace does not run in the blood, yet external privileges do (till they are forfeited), even to a thousand generations...The Jewish branches are reckoned holy, because the root was so. This is expressed more plainly (Romans 11:28). Though particular persons and generations wear off in belief, yet there having been a national church membership, though for the present suspended, we may expect that it will be revived...It is called a mystery (Romans 11:25), that which was not obvious, and which one would not expect upon the views of the present state of that people, who appeared generally so obstinate against Christ and Christianity that it was a riddle, to talk of their unanimous salvation. Alas! Who shall live when God doeth this?”

On Jeremiah 31:35-40 he says, “As surely as the heavenly bodies will continue their settled course, according to the will of their Creator, to the end of time, and as the raging sea obeys him, so surely will the Jews be continued a separate people. Words can scarcely set forth more strongly the restoration of Israel. The rebuilding of Jerusalem, and its enlargement and establishment, shall be an earnest of the great things God will do for the gospel church. The personal happiness of every true believer, as well as the future restoration of Israel, is secured by promise, covenant, and oath. This Divine love passes knowledge; and to those who take hold upon it, every present mercy is an earnest of salvation.”

On Romans 11:22-32 he says, “Of all judgments, spiritual judgments are the sorest; of these the apostle is here speaking. The restoration of the Jews is, in the course of things, far less improbable than the call of the Gentiles to be the children of Abraham; and though others now possess these privileges, it will not hinder their being admitted again. By rejecting the gospel, and by their indignation at its being preached to the Gentiles, the Jews were become enemies to God; yet they are still to be favored for the sake of their pious fathers. Though at present they are enemies to the gospel, for their hatred to the Gentiles; yet, when God’s time is come, that will no longer exist, and God’s love to their fathers will be remembered. True grace seeks not to confine God’s favor. Those who find mercy themselves should endeavor that through their mercy others also may obtain mercy. Not that the Jews will be restored to have their priesthood and temple and ceremonies again; an end is put to all these; but they are to be brought to believe in Christ, the true become one sheep fold with the Gentiles, under Christ the Great Shepherd. The captivities of Israel, their dispersion, and their being shut out from the church, are emblems of the believer’s corrections for doing wrong; and the continued care of the Lord towards that people, and the final mercy and blessed restoration intended for them, show the patience and love of God.”

American Presbyterian Theologian (1823 - 1886) 

“Paul, in Romans 11:15-29, both asserts and proves...the future general salvation of the Jews.”

American Presbyterian Theologian (1797 - 1878)

“The second great event, which, according to the common faith of the Church, to precede the second advent of Christ, is the national salvation of the Jews...that there is to be such a national salvation may be argued...from the original call and destination of that people. Israel, here, from the context, must mean the Jewish people, and all Israel, the whole nation. The Jews, as a people, are now rejected; as a people, they are to be restored. God called Abraham and promised that through him, and in his seed, all the nations of the earth should be blessed... A presumptive argument is drawn from the strange preservation of the Jews through so many centuries as a distinct people. As the rejection of the Jews was not total, so neither is it final. First, God did not design to cast away his people entirely, but by their rejection, in the first place to facilitate the progress of the gospel among the Gentiles, and ultimately to make the salvation of the Gentiles the means of saving the Jews… Because if the rejection of the Jews has been a source of blessing, much more will their restoration be the means of good...The restoration of the Jews to the privileges of God’s people is included in the ancient predictions and promises made respecting them...The plan of God, therefore, contemplated the calling of the Gentiles, the temporary rejection and final restoration of the Jews...He shows that the rejection of the Jews was not intended to result in their being finally cast away, but to secure the more rapid progress of the gospel among the heathen, in order that their salvation might react upon the Jews, and be the means of bringing all, at last, within the fold of the Redeemer...The future restoration of the Jews is, in itself, a more probable event than the introduction of the Gentiles into the church of God. This, of course, supposes that God regarded the Jews, on account of their relation to him, with peculiar favor, and that there is still something in their relation to the ancient servants of God and his covenant with them, which causes them to be regarded with special interest. As men look upon the children of their early friends with kinder feeling than on the children of strangers, God refers to this fact to make us sensible that He still retains purposes of peculiar mercy towards his ancient people. As the restoration of the Jews is not only a most desirable event, but one which God has determined to accomplish, Christians should keep it constantly in view even in their labors for the salvation of the Gentiles.”

English Baptist Pastor and Author (1931- )

“If there is joy among the angels in heaven over one sinner that repents, then we can well imagine the feast of gladness that will take place when Israel is brought at last into God’s marvelous light. Paul describes the receiving of Israel as ‘life from the dead’ to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:15).

(First Edition, 1864 - 1870)

“God’s covenant with Abraham and his natural seed is a perpetual covenant, in equal force under the Gospel as before it. Therefore it is, that the Jews as a nation still survive, in spite of all the laws, which, in similar circumstances, have either extinguished or destroyed the identity of other nations. And therefore it is that the Jews as a nation will yet be restored to the family of God, through the subjection of their proud hearts to Him whom they have pierced. And as believing Gentiles will be honored to be the instruments of this stupendous change, so shall the vast Gentile world reap such benefit from it, that it shall be like the communication of life to them from the dead.”

In Jeremiah 31:31, it says, “The new covenant is made with literal Israel and Judah, not with the spiritual Israel, that is, believers, except secondarily, and as grafted on the stock of Israel (Romans 11:16-27). For the whole subject of the thirtieth and thirty-first chapters is the restoration of the Hebrews (Jeremiah 30:4, 7, 10, 18, 31:7, 10, 11, 23, 24, 27, 36). With the ‘remnant according to the election of grace’ in Israel, the new covenant has already taken effect. But with regard to the whole nation, its realization is reserved for the last days, to which Paul refers this prophecy in an abridged form (Romans11:27).”

On Jeremiah 31:32, it says, “But the promise here to Israel in the last days is national and universal, and effected by an extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit (Jeremiah 31:33, 34; Ezekiel 11:17-20), independent of any merit on their part (Ezekiel 36:25-32; 37:1-28; 39:29; Joel 2:23-28; Zechariah 12:10; 2 Corinthians 3:16). Thus has Christ’s Church the highest motive to the establishment and vigorous effort in its mission to the Jews; God having not only promised that there shall be a remnant of them gathered in every age, but pledged Himself to the final ingathering of the whole nation, assigned the honor of that in-gathering to the Church, and assured them that the event, when it does arrive, shall have a life-giving effect upon the whole world (Romans 11:12-16, 26-31). Those who think that in all the evangelical prophecies of the Old Testament the terms ‘Jacob,’ ‘Israel,’ etc., are to be understood solely of the Christian Church, would appear to read the Old Testament differently from the apostle, who, from the use of those very terms in Old Testament prophecy, draws arguments to prove that God has mercy in store for the natural Israel (Romans 11:26, 27).”

Concerning Romans 11:15, it says, “The apostle had denied that they were cast away (Romans 11:1); here he affirms it. But both are true; they were cast away, though neither totally nor finally, and it is of this partial and temporary rejection that the apostle here speaks, the reconciling of the Gentile world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? The reception of the whole family of Israel, scattered as they are among all nations under heaven, and the most inveterate enemies of the Lord Jesus, will be such a stupendous manifestation of the power of God upon the spirits of men, and of His glorious presence with the heralds of the Cross, as will not only kindle devout astonishment far and wide, but so change the dominant mode of thinking and feeling on all spiritual things as to seem like a resurrection from the dead.”

Concerning Romans 11:26 and 27, it says, “‘And so all Israel shall be saved’ – To understand this great statement, as some still do, merely of such a gradual in-bringing of individual Jews, that there shall at length remain none in unbelief, is to do manifest violence both to it and to the whole context. It can only mean the ultimate in-gathering of Israel as a nation, in contrast with the present ‘remnant.’”

Scottish Theologian (1611 - 1684)

Leighton believed that the Jews would, ultimately, turn to Christ. Because of this belief, he felt that “...they forget a main point of the Church’s glory, who pray not daily for the salvation of the Jews.” He says that the Jews’ mission is, “...undoubtedly, that...[they] shall once more be commanded to arise and shine, and their return shall be the riches of the Gentiles (Romans 11:12), and that shall be a more glorious time than ever the Church of God did yet behold.”

Welsh/English Preacher and Author (1899 - 1981)

In commenting upon Romans 11:15, he said, “...this is going to be the greatest phenomenon of all the centuries of the Christian church...this nation which throughout the centuries has rejected the Messiah and has been still waiting for the coming of the Messiah, these people...will be brought back, this will be the great phenomenon. We shall find them repenting, turning back to little children to believe in Him.”

Scottish Minister (1754 - 1819)

“The [Jewish people were] 4000 years praying for the appearance of the Messiah. We have not been praying the half of that time for the salvation of the Jews and the fullness of the Gentiles.”

American Puritan Minister (1663 - 1728)

“This day, from the Dust, where I lay prostrate before the Lord, I lifted up my Cries...for the salvation of the Jewish nation, and for my own having the happiness, at some time or other, to baptize a Jew that should by my ministry be brought home unto the Lord.”

American Puritan Minister and President of Harvard University (1639 - 1723)

In his book The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation Explained and Applied, he made the following comment: “That there shall be a general salvation of the tribes of Israel, is a truth which in some measure hath been known and believed in all ages of the church of God, since the Apostles’ days...only in these late days these things have obtained credit much more universally than heretofore. There is a veil of miserable blindness upon their hearts that they cannot, they will not, see the truth; but, sayeth the Apostle, ‘this shall be taken away.’ And (sayeth he) ‘it shall turn.’ What is this? I answer; ‘it,’ there may note the body of the Jewish nation, or the words may be read, ‘they shall turn’ (i.e. the blinded minds of the Jews shall turn) ‘unto the Lord.’”

Concerning Romans 11, he stated, “I know not any Scripture containing a more pregnant and illustrious testimony and demonstration of the Israelites’ future vocation, it being a main scope of the Apostle in this chapter to make known this Mystery unto the Gentiles.”

Church of Scotland Pastor and Missionary (1813 - 1843)

To the Jew first. “Saved Israel,” he declared, “will give life to the dead world...just as we have found, among the parched hills of Judah, that the evening dew, coming silently down, gave life to every plant, making the grass to spring and the flowers to put forth their sweetest fragrance, so shall saved Israel be when they come as dew upon a dead, dry world. The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men” (Micah 5:7).

[These comments from M’Cheyne] stirred up great interest. The following year the Irish General Assembly resolved to establish work among the Jews. They established missions in Syria and Germany, believing “missionary enterprise is one of the means to bring about the restoration of Israel in accordance with the Scriptures.”

English Evangelical Anglican Bishop and Scholar (1841 - 1920)

“‘All Israel,’ Israel as a mass, no longer as by scattered units, shall be saved, coming to the feet of Him in whom alone is man’s salvation...The great event of Israel’s return to God in Christ, and His to Israel, will be the signal and the means of a vast rise of spiritual life in the universal church, and of an unexampled in-gathering of regenerate souls from the world.”

Scottish/English Pastor, Theologian, and Author

In his book The Puritan Hope, Murray states, “The future of the Jews had decisive significance for them because they believed that, though little is clearly revealed of the future purposes of God in history, enough has been given us in Scripture to warrant the expectation that with the calling of the Jews there will come far-reaching blessing for the world. Puritan England and Covenanting Scotland knew much of spiritual blessing and it was the prayerful longing for wider blessing, not a mere interest in unfulfilled prophecy, which led them to give such peace to Israel.”

Scottish/American Presbyterian Theologian (1898 - 1975)

“There awaits the Gentiles, in their distinctive identity as such, Gospel blessing far surpassing anything experienced during the period of Israel’s apostasy, and this unprecedented enrichment will be occasioned by the salvation of Israel on a scale commensurate with that of their earlier disobedience. ‘To the Jew first, and also to the Greek’ does not appear sufficient to regard this priority as that merely of time. In this text there is no suggestion to the effect that the priority is merely that of time. The implication appears to be rather that the power of God unto salvation through faith has primary relevance to the Jew, and the analogy of Scripture would indicate that this peculiar relevance to the Jew arises from the fact that the Jew had been chosen by God to be the recipient of the promise of the gospel and that to him were committed the oracles of God...While it is true that in respect of the privileges accruing from Christ’s accomplishments there is now no longer Jew or Gentile and the Gentiles “are fellow-heirs, and fellow-members of the body, and fellow – partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus throughout the gospel” (Eph. 3:6), yet it does not follow that Israel no longer fulfills any particular design in the realization of God’s worldwide saving purpose...Israel is both ‘enemies’ and ‘beloved’ at the same time, enemies as regards the gospel, beloved as regards the election...‘Beloved’ thus means that God has not suspended or rescinded his relation to Israel as his chosen people in terms of the covenants made with their fathers. Unfaithful as Israel has been and broken off for that reason, yet God still sustains his peculiar relation of love to them, a relation that will be demonstrated and vindicated in the restoration.”

English Minister and Theologian (1616 - 1683)

When preaching before the House of Commons in 1649, John Owen spoke of “the bringing home of His ancient people to be one fold with the fullness of the answer to millions of prayers put up at the throne of grace for this very glory, in all generations.” Days of prayer and humiliation were kept in Scotland during Owen’s day, one particular object being, “that the promised salvation of His ancient people of the Jews may be hastened...” Owen believed that the Jews would one day return home. He said, “The Jews shall be gathered from all parts of the earth where they now are scattered, and brought home into their homeland.” In pertaining to the Jews mission, Owen commented, “There is not any promise anywhere of raising up a kingdom unto the Lord Christ in this world but it is either expressed, or clearly intimated, that the beginning of it must be with the Jews.”

English Puritan Presbyterian Pastor and Author (1624 - 1679)

“God has revealed to me that He will one day call the Jews again, and restore them to His favor.”

Church of Scotland Pastor (1688 - 1753)

“I think I hear the nation of the Jews (for such is the cry of their case) crying aloud to you from their dispersion: ‘We were once the Church of God, beloved, while you were not; we have now been rejected of God for more than sixteen hundred years, because of our unbelief, and for this long, very long while, wrath to the uttermost hath been lying upon us! There are many promises and predictions that we shall be grafted in again...Pray therefore, and wrestle with God, that he may, according to his promise, pour forth upon the Spirit of grace and supplication, that we may look upon him whom we have pierced, and mourn... Help us with your prayers.’”

Scottish Pastor, Theologian, and Devotional Writer (1600 - 1661)

In a 1635 letter, Rutherford expresses his wish to live and see the salvation of the Jews. He writes, “O to see the sight, next to Christ’s coming in the clouds, the most joyful! Our elder brethren the Jews fall upon one another’s necks and kiss each other! They have been long asunder; they will be kind to one another when they meet. O day! O longed for and lovely day-dawn! O sweet Jesus let me see that sight which will be as life from the dead, thee and thy ancient people in mutual embraces. O that there were nations, kindreds, tongues, and all the people of Christ’s habitable world, encompassing his throne with cries and tears for the spirit of supplication to be poured down on the inhabitants of Judah for that effect.”

English Evangelical Anglican Pastor (1759 - 1836)

Once at a missionary meeting, Simeon had seemed so carried away with the future of the Jews that a friend passed him a slip of paper with a question, “Six million Jews and six hundred million Gentiles – which is the most important?” Simeon at once scribbled back, “If the salvation of the six is to be life from the dead to six hundred, what then?

English Baptist Preacher and Author (1834 - 1892)

“I think we do not attach sufficient importance to the restoration of the Jews. We do not think enough of it. But certainly, if there is anything promised in the Bible, it is this. The day shall yet come when the Jews, who were the first Apostles to the Gentiles, the first missionaries to us, who were far off, shall be gathered again. Until that shall be, the fullness of the Churches’ glory can never come. Matchless benefits to the world are bound up with the restoration of Israel; their gathering in shall be as life from the dead.”

English Presbyterian Confessional Statement (1643-47)

In the chapter, entitled, The Directory of Public Worship in the section on Public Prayer before the Sermon, the text stipulates that prayer should be made “...for the salvation of the Jews.”

The Larger Catechism, Question 191 (1647)

In answering the question “what do we pray for in the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer?”, it says the following: “We pray that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fullness of the Gentiles brought in...that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second coming.”

Dutch Theologian (1636 - 1709)

Writing on Romans 11:25 and 26, Witsius says, “When the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in, all Israel will be saved: That is, as our Dutch commentators well observe, not a few, but a very great number, and in a manner the whole Jewish nation, in a full body...They depart from the apostle’s meaning, who, by ‘all Israel,’ understand the ‘mystical Israel,’ or the people of God, consisting both of Jews and Gentiles, without admitting the salvation of the whole Jewish nation, in the sense we have mentioned.”


Galilee of the Nations has been on the front lines of providing wonderful Messianic Jewish resources for the entire Body since 1998, enriching the lives of many. I appreciate the work they are doing to exalt Yeshua and to bring His people into His presence.

Dr. Michael Brown

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