The words Israel and Israelite occur more than 2,500 times in the Bible. In this insightful message, Derek Prince reveals God's heart for Israel, and explains why the people of Israel are so special to Him.
Peter Derek Vaughan Prince (Bangalore, 14 August 1915–Jerusalem, 24 September 2003) was an international Bible teacher whose daily radio programme Derek Prince Legacy Radio (presently hosted by author Stephen Mansfield) broadcasts to half the population of the world in various languages. These languages include English, Arabic, Spanish, Croatian, Russian, Malagasy, Tongan, Samoan and four dialects of Chinese. He was probably most noted for his teachings about deliverance from demonic oppression and about Israel. He was best known in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles although his teaching is distinctly non-denominational, a fact that has long been emphasised by his worldwide ministry. Derek Prince Ministries operated under the slogan Reaching the unreached and teaching the untaught. Today the mission statement is, Derek Prince Ministries exists to develop disciples of Jesus Christ, through the Bible teaching of Derek Prince. The vision is to reach the peoples of the world, in a language they understand, with the Bible teaching of Derek Prince, using every type of media and all forms of distribution, regardless of the economic means of the recipients.
Under the influence of vice-chancellor Charles Raven, Prince refused to bear arms in World War II, and instead joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was posted toScarborough for training, and while in the Army Barracks he started reading the Bible (as a philosophical self-assignment). As a consequence in July 1941 Derek had what he described as a supernatural experience', a meeting with Jesus. "Out of this encounter" he later wrote, " I formed two conclusions: first, that Jesus Christ is alive; second, that the Bible is a true, relevant, up-to-date book. These conclusions altered the whole course of my life". During the next three years, he was posted to North Africa, where he served inEgypt, the Sudan, and Palestine, and continued his bible studies.
The early years
Derek Prince was born in Bangalore, India, in 1915, into a world and a way of life that no longer exists. Kings, queens and emperors ruled over vast domains, and the British Empire exceeded them all. The British army and civil service governed the colonies, and India was the brightest jewel in the imperial crown. Derek says, "I was born into a family of 'empire builders'. My father, Paul Ernest Prince, was an officer in the Queen's own Madras Sappers and Miners, his commission signed by Victoria's own hand. My mother, Gwendolen, also born in India, was the daughter of Major General Robert Edward Vaughan. Her brother, a Punjab Lancer, later became a brigadier."
As was customary in that society, Derek was promptly handed over to the care of an Indian ayah or nanny. Derek and his ayah accompanied his parents on journeys around India while he was still small enough to be carried in a tiffin or picnic basket. They travelled by railway, by horse and carriage, and sometimes in rickshaws. Even though motor cars and aeroplanes were becoming more common in the West, this was the normal traffic in India. Soldiers rode horses, and most people walked.
The pace of life was slow. People wrote letters and sent them off to England, sometimes waiting weeks for a reply. In a real emergency, the telegraph could be used, but to Derek "home" in England seemed a very remote place.
Yet, when Derek was five, he said goodbye to his father, his ayah, and his Indian playmates and boarded the ship for 'home'. Along with the other passengers, he dangled his topee (sun helmet) overboard until it sank, as a symbol of his farewell to India. His mother took him to her parents' home in Sussex, and then she also departed, leaving him until their next furlough.
Those early years shaped Derek's character and the course of his life. Even though he was the only son and the only grandson, he was expected to behave like a good soldier. His grandparents were kind to him, at the same time training him to excel in whatever he did and to be prepared to carry on the family military tradition.
As a young child he learned to entertain himself. He says, 'I always had friends, but I enjoyed my own company most.' When he discovered the world of books, he began his search to find out what life was about.
At the age of nine Derek was sent off to boarding school, leaving his grandparents whom he loved dearly. From that time on all his teachers and associates were masculine. In the school system of that time both class work and sports were highly competitive. He participated enthusiastically and successfully in sports, and academically, he was usually at the top of his class. His early training in diligence and thoroughness enabled him to maintain that position.
When he was thirteen, his headmaster entered his name in the competitive exam for a place at Eton College, and he was one of the fourteen boys of his age to be enrolled as king's scholars in the election of 1929. Like other boys his age, he had begun to study Latin at the age of nine and Greek at ten and was writing and translating verse in both languages by the time he was twelve. As he studied the classics, he became more enthralled with the realm of ideas and was drawn toward philosophy. At the back of his mind was always the tantalizing question: What is the real meaning and purpose of life?
His father, who retired as a colonel and settled in a country home in Somerset, encouraged him in his quest. In 1934, his father gave him an allowance of twenty pounds per month, and Derek set off with a friend to 'see the Continent.' Derek's aptitude for languages enabled him to find the cheapest rooms and food in a time when few people his age were traveling. He often found the local people and customs more interesting than museums and ruins, even in Rome and Athens where the classics had been written.
Upon his return to England, Derek entered King's College, Cambridge, as the senior scholar of his year. (King's is a sister college of Eton.) There also he distinguished himself academically, and from 1938 to 1940 he was the senior research student of Cambridge University. He specialised in the philosophy of Plato and entitled his dissertation 'The Evolution of Plato's Method of Definition.' In 1940, at the age of twenty-four, he was elected a fellow of King's College, Cambridge.
Derek's academic career, however, was interrupted abruptly by World War II. On the basis of his philosophical convictions, he chose to enter the forces as a non-combatant and began as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps.
At this point he decided to look into another kind of philosophy about which he knew very little. He bought a new black leather-bound Bible for his reading material in the army. He had been christened and confirmed as an Anglican and had attended required chapel services during his five years at Eton. At age eighteen, however, he had concluded that 'religion does not do much for me' and only attended chapel at King's College when it was his turn to read the lesson. For the first nine months in the army he ploughed his way through the Bible, finding it baffling and bewildering, unlike any other book he had ever read. He said, 'I couldn't categorise it. Was it history, philosophy, literature, theology, poetry - or even divinely inspired?'
Then in a billet in Yorkshire in July 1941, he met the Author. Recalling that supernatural experience, he says:
Out of that encounter, I formed two conclusions which I have never had reason to change: first, that Jesus Christ is alive; second, that the Bible is a true, relevant, up-to-date book. These two conclusions radically and permanently altered the whole course of my life. Immediately the Bible became clear and intelligible to me; prayer and communion with God became as natural as breathing; my main desires, motives and purposes in life were transformed overnight.
I had found what I was searching for! The meaning and purpose of life is a Person!