Israel Summer Reading List // FIRM Staff Favorites

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July 23rd, 2020
FIRM Updates / By

Have you ever wanted to learn more about Israel but just haven’t been sure where to start?

Well, you have come to the right place! Our staff has compiled a reading list of some of our favorite reads. Let us know your thoughts as you dive in to these incredible books.

1. Israel and the Great Commission // Samuel Whitefield

Most Christians read the Old Testament as a story about Israel and the New Testament as a radical shift from Israel’s story to the story of the nations. However, Israel and the nations are deeply connected in both the Old and New Testament. The Great Commission is not a dramatic shift in God’s plan, nor is it a new idea. It is the means of fulfilling God’s promises to Israel and the nations. The New Testament is neither the beginning of God’s purposes for the nations nor the end of Israel’s story.

“Israel is God’s parable to the earth, and through the story of Israel, God is instructing the nations. Not only does Israel’s story reveal who God is, it also reveals who we are.”

Samuel Whitefield
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2. The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry // John Mark Comer

In The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, Pastor John Mark Comer tells us how being too busy destroyed his mental health, affected his relationships, and weakened his connection to his faith. By slowing down and limiting his commitments, he gained happiness and wellbeing in every area of his life. Here he shares four simple practices that will allow you to experience the delights of a hurry-free life.

“To restate: love, joy, and peace are at the heart of all Jesus is trying to grow in the soil of your life. And all three are incompatible with hurry.”

John Mark Comer
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3. God, Israel, and You // Michael Onifer & Joshua Charles

God, Israel, and You is about answers; it’s about the knowledge of God, finding hope in this chaotic world, and recognizing the story where we find a faithful God who is intimately involved with the affairs of mankind.

“The only reason that God could make an unconditional promise to Abraham, the reason He could be faithful to that promise and deliver the Hebrews from Egypt, and the reason He could make a promise to David was because He saw the nail pierced hands of Jesus…”

Joshua Charles
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4. Your People Shall Be My People // Don Finto

This landmark text reveals God’s purposes for his covenant people in these times–and how this revelation is impacting the church. Unlike Ruth in the Old Testament, many of us have turned our backs on the Jewish people, the relatives of the Messiah, and we share the collective guilt for centuries of their persecution. These pages remind us that now, more than ever, we must confess, embrace, and intercede for the chosen people of God, aligning our prayers with God’s plan.

“We do not have the right to take words spoken to Israel and appropriate them to the Church until we have recognized their intended meaning to the people originally addressed. Even then, these promises belong to us, the Gentile Church, only because we are grafted into Israel’s roots.”

Don Finto
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5. Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus // Ann Spangler & Lois Tverberg

A rare chance to know Jesus as his first disciples knew him.What would it be like to journey back to the first century and sit at the feet of Rabbi Jesus as one of his Jewish disciples? How would your understanding of the gospel have been shaped by the customs, beliefs, and traditions of the Jewish culture in which you lived? Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus takes you on a fascinating tour of the Jewish world of Jesus, offering inspirational insights that can transform your faith.

“None of us is so mature that we cannot be influenced. The question is: Who or what do we want to shape our lives?”

Ann Spangler
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6. 52 Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know // Dave Adamson

52 Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know is an outstanding reference tool and study guide to some of the riches words in the Christian faith. The words are written in Hebrew and explained in English. Each word is given and in depth definition, explanation, historic use, and complemented by a stunning photograph.

“To some people, the idea of “peace” is a storm free day. To others, “peace” is the serenity of a gorgeous sunrise or sunset. Whatever your definition, peace is something we all want. But do you pursue it? Do you seek peace? Do you chase after it every day?”

Dave Adamson
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7. God’s Appointed Times // Barney Kasdan

How can the biblical holy days such as Passover/Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles be observed? What do they mean for Christians today? Provides an easily understandable and hands-on approach. Discusses historical background, traditional Jewish observance. New Testament relevance, and prophetic significance.

“These feasts were revealed by God for his own particular reasons, and through them all believers can be blessed, Jews and Gentiles.”

Barney Kasdan
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8. Night // Elle Wiesel

Night is a work by Elie Wiesel about his experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944 –1945, at the height of the Holocaust toward the end of the Second World War.

“Sometimes we must accept the pain of faith so as not to lose it. And if that makes the tragedy of the believer more devastating than the nonbeliever, so be it. To proclaim one’s faith within the barbed wire of Auschwitz may well represent a double tragedy.”

Elle Wiesel
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9. The Diary of Anne Frank // The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of a Young Girl, also known as The Diary of Anne Frank, is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The family was apprehended in 1944, and Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. The diary was retrieved by Miep Gies, who gave it to Anne’s father, Otto Frank, the family’s only known survivor, just after the war was over. The diary has since been published in more than 60 languages.

“I’ve found that there is always some beauty left – in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you.”

Anne Frank
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10. Israel, the Church, and the Middle East // Darrell L. Bock & Mitch Glaser

The relationship between the church and Israel has been the source of passionate debate among Christians throughout much of church history. In recent years the traditional pro-Israel stance of evangelicals has come under fire by those who support the Palestinian cause, calling for a new perspective and more nuanced approach by Christians who believe that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people by virtue of God’s covenants and promises.

“God engages in covenant relationship with his people through a combination of permanent promise and ongoing obligation.”

Richard E. Averbeck
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FIRM Staff
FIRM is a global fellowship of Biblically-grounded believers committed to cultivating Messiah-centered relationships that bless the inhabitants of Israel—Jews, Arabs, and others—and the Jewish community around the world.
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