An Interview with Rev David Zadok (Israel)

Following our article on The Church in Israel last year (Here), we were grateful for the opportunity to interview Rev David Zadok, minister of Grace and Truth, a congregation located in Kannot, Israel.

Can you provide a brief background about yourself and how you came to Christ?

I was born in Israel to both Iraqi (Babylonian) Jews parents. From the age of three I grow up in Iran with my uncle and aunt. At age of 17, due to the Islamic revolution in Iran, my family sent me to San Diego, California. It was there that through the ministry of Navigators and New Life OPC (Orthodox Presbyterian Church), that the Lord converted me and was baptised there.

Are there any distinguishing marks of a call to the Gospel ministry? How did you come to conclude that the Lord had called you into the ministry? 

Soon after the Lord granted me a new heart and a new life, I had a desire to share the Gospel to my family, friends and Jewish people. What the Lord ignited in my heart, was that at first when I heard the Gospel, I said to myself, “if this is true, than how is that for 17 years not in Israel, not in Iran and not anyone in my family and circle of friends have ever told me or heard of this. That was the beginning of the call, and later at age of 29 I was elected as an elder in our church. And have been serving the same church as elder, and as pastor since then. And also as the director of HaGefen Publishing. 

The call to full time ministry was given to me on my second year of my theological studies at the Westminster Seminary in California.  

Your serve the Lord as the Minister of a Reformed congregation in Israel. Where is the congregation based and when was it planted? 

It is based in Kannot, not far from Ashdod, and it was established in 1976 by its founding pastor Baruch Maoz. 

What are the greatest blessings and challenges you have experienced in Gospel ministry in Israel? 

The greatest blessing has been to see the faithfulness of the Lord to the generations. Having been in the church as an elder for 34 years, I have seen people coming to faith, and I had the privilege of baptising them, then marrying them and now seeing their children serving in the Lord.  

The greatest challenge is the dark history of Christianity and the “Christian church” against the Jews (the crusaders, inquisition, programs, Holocaust, and other horrible events), that was done to the Jews. It makes the work of outreach very challenging. In addition for too many centuries, Jewish Mission was under the radar of the Church. And the Jews were either were accused of being Jesus killers or ignored totally for evangelism. Thankfully that was changed in the 19th century in Scotland and England and later on in other places. 

Does your congregation engage in Foreign Mission? 

Mainly through supporting missionaries outside of Israel and particularly to non-Jews. In the past we had a short term missionary from our church in Turkey reaching to Iranians and Jewish people there.  

How ought we to understand the current conflict in Israel from a spiritual perspective? 

Ever since Genesis 3 a horrible war was declared which divided the world between two seeds – that of the Woman and that of the serpent. The Scriptures of both Old and New Testament clearly shows us how the two seeds were in constant battle, Ishmael and Isaac, Jacob and Esau and on and on. Too often Satan tried to destroy the seed of the woman, that was to come from the Jewish people (Pharoah, Philistines, Haman, and many others). Even at the birth of Christ, and in the beginning of his public ministry, Satan tried to destroy and frustrate his mission, but failed – the Seed of the Woman indeed bruised the seed of the serpent.  

So the current conflict, and in fact all the conflicts since the establishment of Israel is about what began in Genesis 3. God is not done yet with Israel, Jewish people and Jerusalem and it is at the epicenter of God’s redemptive plan. Satan knows this and tries to do all it can to frustrate it.  You can see the hatred of Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen, and all the antisemitic demonstrations all over and in these days in acute ways in USA top universities.  

Why don’t the Jewish people accept Christ as the Messiah? 

Coming to faith is the work of the Holy Spirit, and its timing, how and who has been determined by the Father before the creation of the world. So, that is the main reason, but secondarily, the history that I mentioned earlier has made it challenging. And thirdly the Rabbis in the generation past and now have successfully been able to make a clear distinction between Judaism and Christianity, and have removed any connections to it. We often say that the best kept secret in Israel, is that Jesus was a Jew!   

Does the Lord have a particular purpose for the Jewish people? 

Emphatically Yes! As Paul so clearly states it in Romans 9 -11, who follows the directive of Christ Himself, who came first and foremost to the “Lost House of Israel.” We, as Jewish people were and are still called to be a light to the nations. We have done it much in many areas, like agriculture, medicine, security, solar systems, high tech and many other areas; however, we have not been a light to the world when it comes to spiritual aspect of life. And the fulfilment of Ezekiel 8:23 and Romans 11:25-26 are yet to come. So, yes God still have a particular purpose for his covenant people of old, the Jewish people. And this of course is not because we are any better than other people, but only because of faithfulness of God to His promises and covenants. 

How many Christians are living in Israel today? 

Some estimates us as 30,000, others around 20,000. The population of Israel is roughly, about 10 million, of whom some 20% are Arabs. But here is what is more interesting in those numbers: 

In 1948 when Israel become a state the population of Israel was roughly 800,000, and the number of Jewish Christians were about maybe 24. So, while the population of the country grow by 12 fold, the population of Jewish Christians grow by 1000 fold! 

What is the state of the Church in Israel? What kind of presence and ministry does the Reformed Church have? 

The church in Israel is on the rise, not just in numbers but also influence and presence. Certainly the October 7th war with Hamas made it very clear, as a large number of believers were serving in the various combat units, both as reservists and active duty. Four believing soldiers were killed and at least two were injured severely. Many Messianic Jews are in various positions in high tech, business including owing and running them, as well in other areas like medical, education and other areas. The influence of the body of Messiah has increased significantly over the years.  

For many years, our church Grace and Truth, was the only reformed church with a confession that was based on some of the principles of Westminster. Today there are nine churches that are part of the Reformed Churches Fellowship and I have the honour of chairing it.  

What is HaGefen Publishing company? 

HaGefen Publishing was established in 1974, and its roots, and history goes back to the famous Robert Murray M’Cheyne. The goal of HaGefen is to support the churches in Israel in their God given task of evangelism and discipleship. We publish reformed books written by puritans and others. HaGefen has been the first to publish commentaries by Matthew Henry, Spurgeon’s Checkbook of Faith, as well M’Cheyne’s Song Book, John Bunyans’ Pilgrims Progress and the Holy War. But also some contemporary pastors and authors Arthur Pink, J. I. Packer, Mark Jones, Sinclair Ferguson, Paul Washer, R. C. Sproul and many others.  

What resulted from the Mission of Enquiry to the Jews from the Church of Scotland in 1839? 

The fact that the Church among the Jews and in the land of Israel exists today is the result of the Mission of Enquiry that started in 1838. The passion of godly people like M’Cheyne and Bonar and others, together with their understanding and commitment to scriptures and Jewish Mission rekindled the fire that for too many centuries was almost distinguished.  

I believe that the Reformation of the 15th and 16th century and the Puritan’s passion for Israel, the “Puritan Hope” brought an unprecedented transformation in world evangelism and in a true way began the missionary movement. The result of that transformation in the church was also the desire to preach and present the Gospel also to the Jewish people, and in fact to them first.    

Are there any books you would recommend, concerning the Church in Israel and the Jewish people? 

There are certainly a few good books that I can recommend. Here is the list that includes on variety of toics related to Israel, the Jews and the Church: 

1 – The Puritan Hope by Ian Murray (He was for a few years assistance to Dr. Llyod Jones at Westminster Chapel in England) 

2 – Romans 11: To God’s Glory by Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn 

3 – How The Church Lost The Way … and how it can find it again by Steve Maltz.  

4 – Immanuel in Our Place: Seeing Christ in Israel’s Worship by Longman, Tremper III 

5 – God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology by Hamilton, James.  

6 – Preaching Christ from Genesis: Foundations for Expository Sermons by Greidanus, Sidney. 

7 – Come, Let Us Reason Together: The Unity of Jews and Gentiles in the Church by Maoz, Baruch. 

8 – To the Jew First: The Case for Jewish Evangelism in Scripture and History by Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser. 

9 – Jews Don’t Need Jesus. . .and other Misconceptions: Reflections of a Jewish Believer by Avi Snyder. 

10 – Messianic Judaism is Not Christianity: A Loving Call to Unity by Stan Telchin 

11 – Time for Favour: Scottish Evangelism among the Jewish People: 1838-1852 by John S. Ross  (I wrote an endorsement to it and this second edition is to be out in July). 

12 – The Alfred Edersheim The Temple – Its Ministry and Service by Alfred Edersheim. 

13 – Mission of Discovery: The Beginning of Modern Jewish Evangelism: Journal of M’Cheyne and Bonar’s Mission of Inquiry by Andrew Bonar by Andrew Bonar;R. M. McCheyne. 

14 – John Stuart Conning: The Autobiography of John Stuart Conning with his 1927 book, Our Jewish Neighbors by John Conning

How can the Scottish Church take an active interest in the Lord’s cause in Israel and His purposes for the Jewish people? 

The Scottish Church in my opinion needs another reformation! It needs to ignite again the passion of its forefathers for the Jewish people. Part of taking active interest is becoming informed of the “Living Stones” in the land, and by praying for the growth of the church in Israel and among the Jewish people in the world. Their return would be even a greater blessing to the church and certainly for the Scottish Church.   

3 thoughts on “An Interview with Rev David Zadok (Israel)

  1. Just read through this a second time. Both interesting and engaging. We indeed echo what he said about Scotland..
    “The Scottish Church in my opinion needs another reformation! It needs to ignite again the passion of its forefathers for the Jewish people.” This is the vision our nation desperately needs, for Gentile and Jew….”without a vision the people perish “. We pray for Israel, and trust the Lord will richly bless Mr Zadok’s labours and ministry amongst the Jews.

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