How could the world have become so mixed up? Out of this spiritual wilderness, a voice cries out in clarity and power, with the reassuring truth of the world's only and sure hope!
Chapter 5: WHY THE NATION ISRAEL?
DID IT EVER STRIKE you as most unusual that the great God should have raised up the ancient nation Israel to be His chosen people? Consider these seemingly paradoxical facts: God says He is not a respecter of persons. Is He, then, a respecter of nations? Does He have a favorite? Did you ever realize that God denied His chosen people salvation—save only their prophets? That the chosen nation was given only material and national promises—that God's Holy Spirit was inaccessible to them? Did it ever occur to you that the Holy Bible is the Book of and concerning only that one people Israel? And that other nations are mentioned only if and as they came into contact with Israel? And here's another shocker!—almost totally unrealized today by Christianity—even by Judaism! The northern Kingdom of Israel was not Jewish! The first place in the Bible where the word Jews occurs is in II Kings chapter 16 and verse 6, where the nation Israel was at war, in an alliance with Syria, against the Jews! The truly amazing truth about Israel is totally unrealized by any religion—by Christianity—by even Judaism! It is indeed true that the nation Israel was God's chosen people. But understand: they were not chosen as "teacher's pet" nor for special favors. They were chosen for a special PURPOSE preparatory to the ultimate establishment of the Kingdom of God! It is an intriguing story! The answer to this chapter title, "WHY the Nation Israel?" has great significance in God's PURPOSE for all peoples! One cannot understand the real purpose and incredible potential of man without this vital knowledge.
Supreme Master Plan
The Creator God (as covered in part 5) is reproducing Himself in and through man! God's ultimate transcendent PURPOSE is breathtaking beyond words—to be covered in chapter 10. The establishment of the ancient nation Israel is an integral part of the supreme Master Plan. So now, to bring into mind the background, we revert briefly. We retrace a phase of the unfolding of the great Master Plan from Adam to the founding of the nation Israel. God created the first humans, perfect specimens physically and mentally. Yet they were but unfinished pieces of God's workmanship. Spiritual character was yet to be built into all the world that would spring from Adam and Eve. And in the character-building process humans are required to perform their own vital part. Physically this perfectly created pair had no chronic ailments or tendencies toward diseases or illnesses. That is testified in part by the fact that Adam lived to be 930 years old. And for nearly 2,000 years the human life span from Adam to Noah averaged close to 900 years. Think of it! The first man lived nearly one sixth of all the time from human creation until now! Remember, however—I have stated it before—God creates in DUAL stages. The physical phase of God's reproducing of Himself started with the first Adam. The spiritual phase began with the second Adam—Jesus Christ! So understand, at this point, some basic facts unknown by science, untaught by modern education, unrevealed by any religion. The first man and woman were made wholly of matter. "The Eternal God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man [matter] became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7). Physical matter became a soul! But in man, as covered in the preceding chapter, was something that was 1) not matter, but spirit in essence form, and 2) actually no part of the man, but something in the man. The man was wholly composed of matter. If he swallowed a small stone marble, the marble would be in him, but no part of the man himself. So with the "human" spirit. This spirit, previously explained, empowered the physical brain with intellect, yet the spirit itself could not see, hear, think or reason. It enabled the brain to do these things. This "human" spirit does not make man immortal. Man is wholly mortal, subject to death. He is limited in knowledge to that which may be transmitted into the brain through the physical senses of sight, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling. THUS MAN IS LIMITED BY NATURAL BIRTH TO KNOWLEDGE OF THE PHYSICAL AND MATERIAL. Man's most serious problems are spiritual in nature. But man is naturally confined to thinking solely in terms of the physical and material. He cannot grasp or comprehend spiritual problems or spiritual knowledge. But man, with his one "human" spirit, was made to need another Spirit—the Holy Spirit that emanates directly from the very Person of GOD! Unless or until any person receives God's Spirit, he is not complete! Not all there! As the "human" spirit empowers the physical brain with comprehension of materialistic knowledge, so the divine Spirit makes possible comprehension of the spiritual things of God! The Holy Spirit also is the divine "spiritual sperm" that impregnates with immortal GOD-LIFE! But it is only an impregnation—converting a human into an heir—not yet an inheritor! He may thus be begotten with God-life, not yet a born son of God. Not until the time of the resurrection and Second Coming of Christ. The Holy Spirit was freely offered the first human, Adam— with Eve his wife. It was made available through the symbolic tree of life in the midst of the Edenic garden. But Adam was required to make the choice between Satan's "GET" way of life and God's "GIVE" way of outflowing LOVE. This latter is the way of God's spiritual LAW—the very foundational Constitution of the GOVERNMENT OF GOD! It was shown in chapter 5 that Adam rejected God's government—rejected God as Revealer of basic spiritual knowledge—as his God and Giver of immortal salvation—except to the infinitesimal few God would choose and individually call into His service. Bear in mind at this point, that otherwise mankind as a whole was cut off from voluntary contact with God. Man was left to devise his own fund of knowledge—to form his own concepts of God—to develop his own religions, his own forms of governments, his own society and civilization! And all cut off from God, and also all the world swayed, misled and deceived by a wily Satan the devil, the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). That was the state of the world as it developed from Adam and Eve. This originally created pair had a number of sons and daughters. But only three sons are listed in the record. The first son, Cain, became a murderer and a liar. His brother was called "righteous Abel" by Jesus Christ. Yet humanity, with a rapidly rising birth-rate and descending moral values, became more and more evil and violent. From Adam until the time of Noah, some 1,500 years, only one man, Enoch, is recorded as having "walked with God." He had been specially called by God. By the time of Noah a population explosion was engulfing the earth, even as today. Human thought and interests were "only evil continually... . The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence ... for all flesh had corrupted his way on the earth" (Genesis 6:5, 11-12). This universal corruption and violence was inflicting suffering, anguish, frustration upon an evil humanity. It seems humanity never realizes the "GET" way—transgression of God's Law— inflicts increasing suffering on its perpetrators—and on others. This violence had become so universal that God determined to spare humanity from suffering longer in mounting misery and anguish. God took away their miserable lives, by the earthwide Flood, to be resurrected in the next second of their consciousness in the "Great White Throne" resurrection (Revelation 20:11-12). They will be brought back to life in a time when Christ is ruling the earth in righteousness, peace and happiness. Satan will be gone. Their minds then will be opened to God's TRUTH, and eternal salvation will be opened to them. But God intended to preserve human life—to give humanity a new and fresh start.
One man only, Noah, was "perfect" in his generations. That is, his heredity, ancestry (Genesis 6:9). Proof of this lies in the meaning of the Hebrew word translated "perfect." It may refer either to spiritual character (Genesis 17:1) or to physical characteristics (Leviticus 22:21). Therefore Genesis 6:9 allows the translation that Noah was either "blameless" or "unblemished." The context (Genesis 6:2) clearly indicates the latter is the intended meaning of "perfect." So a good rendering of Genesis 6:9 is that Noah was the only "just" man (in spiritual character), and also "unblemished" (in his genetic heritage) among his contemporaries. The subject matter of the chapter is the generations ancestry of Noah. Exceeding wickedness had developed through those generations, by Noah's generation reaching a climactic crisis that ended that world. What was this universal evil and corruption? Jesus described that universal, corrupt evil as "'eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage" (Matthew 24:38). Eating food and drinking water is not evil. Marrying is not evil in itself. There had to be wrong use and excess in eating, drinking and marrying—the evil was in the manner, and in the extent of eating, drinking and marrying. It could only be eating improper food, drinking excessively of alcoholic drinks, revellings (Galatians 5:21), rioting, violence. Marrying to be evil had to be, as in Genesis 6:2, when men "took them daughters of all which they chose." There was rampant and universal interracial marriage—so exceedingly universal that Noah, only, was unblemished or perfect in his generations—his ancestry. He was of the original pure white strain. It is amply evident that by the time of Noah there were at least the three primary or major racial strains on earth, the white, yellow and black, although interracial marriage produced many racial mixtures. God does not reveal in the Bible the precise origin of the different races. It is evident that Adam and Eve were created white. God's chosen nation Israel was white. Jesus was white. But it is a fair conjecture that in mother Eve were created ovaries containing the yellow and black genes, as well as white, so that some of the children of Adam and Eve gave rise to black, yellow, as well as white. The one man God chose to PRESERVE the human race alive after the Flood was perfect in his generations—all his ancestry back to Adam was of the one strain, and undoubtedly that happened to be white—not that white is in any sense superior. If you are a livestock breeder, planning to enter your prize animals in a livestock show—perhaps at a state or county fair—you will be sure to enter only thoroughbred or pedigreed stock! Mixing the breed tends toward degeneration. God originally set the bounds of national borders, intending nations to be SEPARATED and prevent interracial marriage. Notice, "When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance [speaking of land or geographical boundaries], when He separated[notice—He separated] the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people ..." (Deuteronomy 32:8). But people wanted to intermarry—until there would be only ONE RACE! That desire seems still inherent in human nature today! Noah was of perfect lineage in his generations. His wife and three sons were of that same pure white strain. But Japheth evidently had married a yellow woman, and Ham a black. Soon after the Flood, the world's small population was all of one language and gathered together building the tower of Babel. Their purpose? "Lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth" (Genesis 11:4). But God said, "The people is one, and they have all one language, and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do" (verse 6). This expresses how great God made the mind of man. But, just as God created varieties in many species of flowers and of animals—for example, many varieties and colors of roses—for greater beauty, so God created the three races and colors of human skin. God intended to prevent racial intermarriages. But man has always wanted to violate God's laws, intentions and ways. So God compelled a scattering by mixing their language. "So the Eternal scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city" (verse 8)." Today the English language is fast becoming the chief international language. Men are entering mixed marriages, and starting to get back to one worldwide language. Shem, the son of Noah, who had married a white woman, may have continued for some time in the knowledge and perhaps worship of God. But there is no record of any walking with God until Abraham, whom God specially called to have a function preparatory to the Kingdom of God. But the pure white strain probably was retained until Abraham.
Man of Destiny
Abram, as he was originally named, was not seeking God. But God called Abram to leave the land of his father and kindred and go to a land God would show him—the "promised land" of Canaan. Without protest or question, Abram obeyed, and went. And through his obedience and faith in God, Abraham became the "father of the faithful." To him God made the promises of both the national birthright and the scepter promise of eternal salvation to come through Jesus Christ. After 430 years, God raised up His nation Israel—descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whose name God changed to Israel. To lead these people out of Egyptian slavery and to the Promised Land, God called Moses. Moses was not seeking God. But God had caused Moses to be trained specifically for this commission by having him reared as a prince in the palace of the Egyptian pharaoh. So now again we come to the question, WHY did God raise up this special Hebrew nation as "the chosen people"? WHY, when God never made accessible to them His Holy Spirit? One point to notice here. The probability is that these people were all—or nearly all—of the white racial strain, unchanged since creation. After Jacob and his sons and families had come into Egypt at Joseph's behest, they were kept in the locale of Goshen—geographically separated from the Egyptians, marrying among themselves. In this connection, go back momentarily to Abraham. He prevented his son Isaac from intermarrying among the dark Canaanites then in the land. He sent his chief servant to his own family and racial people to find a wife for Isaac. Abraham said, "... thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell" (Genesis 24:3). The next generation, Jacob married Leah and Rachel, daughters of Laban, nephew of Abraham, who lived in the land of Haran, brother of Abraham. The whole community of Haran, where Laban lived, was of the same family ancestry as Abraham. Jacob had six sons by Leah, two from Rachel—all of the same original racial stock, and two each from the maids of Rachel and Leah—12 in all. Even the maids of Leah and Rachel probably were of pure Hebrew stock. But God specially prepared from birth and called Moses, with Aaron his brother to assist as his spokesman. (Moses stuttered.) In the plagues God caused against Egypt, God was turning the Egyptian gods and objects of worship against them to show them that these were not gods. Even the plagues were sent in LOVE for the Egyptians. The final plague occurred on the eve of the 14th day of the first sacred month—starting in the spring. The Israelites went out of Egypt during the night part of the 15th. They reached the Red Sea. But pharaoh had meanwhile changed his mind and, with his army, pursued them. The children of Israel had reached the Red Sea, and they were stopped as if dead. There was no bridge. It was too far to swim, with their women and children. Behind them the pharaoh's army was in hot pursuit. There was nothing they could do. They were stopped—HELPLESS! At that point they had to rely on GOD! In Egypt God had caused their release from slavery by a series of supernatural plagues. Now God caused the waters of the Red Sea to roll back to form a watery WALL on either side, with a wide path on the dry sea floor between. The Israelites walked on through. On the opposite side they looked and saw the Egyptians entering the sea-floor path. When the Egyptians were all within the seawall passage, God allowed the waters to flow back, drowning the Egyptian army.
In due time the Israelites pitched tents at the foot of Mt. Sinai. God did not make them His nation, under His theocratic rule, without their consent. Through Moses, God put to them His proposition. If they would obey His laws of His GOVERNMENT, He would prosper them, and make them the wealthiest and most powerful of nations. Yet all of God's PROMISES were of a national and material nature—no spiritual salvation. The people agreed. Thus they became God's chosen nation. BUT WHY? This we know: God's purpose for them had a definite relation to preparing for the ultimate KINGDOM OF GOD—when the GOVERNMENT OF GOD would be reestablished over all the earth, and spiritual salvation would be offered to ALL! Undoubtedly, one reason was to preserve the original racial strain. But there was much more. Nations had developed knowledge. Mankind was limited, after Adam's rebellion, to the acquisition of physical and material knowledge. But, like educated men and scientists today, they were saying, "Give us sufficient knowledge, and we will solve all problems and eradicate all evils—we will create Utopia!" Up to that time, mankind had been denied knowledge from God. God now decided to give them knowledge of His Law—His kind of government—His way of life! He was going to prove to the world that without His Holy Spirit their minds were incapable of receiving and utilizing such knowledge of the TRUE WAYS OF LIFE. He was going to demonstrate to them that the mind of MAN, with its one spirit, and without the addition of God's Holy Spirit, could not have spiritual discernment—could not solve human problems, could not cure the evils that were besetting humanity. The nation Israel would be His guinea pig to demonstrate that fact. God had chosen a nation of almost perfect original strain in its generations—its ancestry. Also they had the quality heredity of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). So God entered into a covenant with them, making them HIS NATION. It also represented a MARRIAGE covenant, with Israel the wife, promising obedience to her husband—GOD. It was the physical type of the yet-to-come NEW COVENANT. And what did it prove? Here was a people of almost clear racial strain, and the superior heredity of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Two requisites make a human whatever he becomes in life: heredity and environment. Heredity involves what has been inherited by birth in such areas as health, intelligence and character tendencies. Environment includes all external influences and self-determined motivations—whether good or evil. Heredity—if of good and high quality—may start one off at an advantage. And inspiring environment, uplifting influences and right self-motivation may further improvement. Such environment may turn one of inferior heredity into a real success in life. But a discouraging environment, evil influences and misguided self-motivation may turn one of excellent heredity into failure and an evil nature. God started His chosen nation off—even though brought out of slavery—with all the natural advantages of a superior heredity. God pulled them out of slavery and gave them a new and fresh start. One might say they had everything God-given going for them. But now WHY? Why did God so prepare and raise up this nation Israel? Consider WHY God created mankind in the first place! GOD IS REPRODUCING HIMSELF THROUGH MAN! He is creating in MAN God's own perfect holy and righteous spiritual CHARACTER! And that, in turn, is purposed to restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD over all the earth. And, further, to create BILLIONS OF GOD BEINGS TO FINISH THE CREATION OF THE VAST UNFINISHED UNIVERSE! And, beyond that? Ah! God has not as yet revealed what He purposes beyond that! Everything God has done, since the creation of the first humans, has been another progressive step in God's overall supreme PURPOSE! The immediate purpose, so far in the history of mankind, is to prepare for THE KINGDOM OF GOD, which will RESTORE the GOVERNMENT OF GOD EARTH WIDE! The Kingdom of God is the actual begotten and born FAMILY OF GOD, which will first actually appear by a resurrection and instantaneous translation at Christ's Second Coming! And by begotten and BORN sons of God, emphatically I do NOT mean those deceived into the current "BORN-AGAIN" teaching—that anyone who "receives Christ" is already, in this present human life, "born again." THAT IS A PARAMOUNT DECEPTION by which Satan the devil has DECEIVED those (the many in a so-called "Christianity") who have "accepted" a false conversion. They may be well meaning—but nevertheless DECEIVED! And of course a deceived person does not know he is deceived—he may be wholly sincere! But now THINK! HOW does the Old Testament nation Israel play a part in progressively preparing for the KINGDOM OF GOD? First, Abraham was a man of very outstanding qualifying abilities. Undoubtedly he, with his sons Isaac and Israel, shall, in the resurrection and Kingdom of God, occupy a position next under Christ Himself. The Kingdom of God will be a spiritual Kingdom including both Church and State—earth wide. These, as a team, probably will be next in line of authority under CHRIST—and over both Church and State. Of the nation ISRAEL, Moses, whom God raised up as their leader and law giver (though God the Father is the original real Lawgiver) in all probability will be under the Abraham-Isaac-Jacob team, but head over the national governments of the world during the coming Millennium. And probably Joshua, who succeeded Moses, will be Moses' assistant in that office of worldwide national governments. What of the nation Israel as a whole? They, despite their favorable heredity, failed utterly to qualify. When God put the proposal of their formation as His nation before them, they replied, "All that the Eternal hath spoken we will do" (Exodus 19:8). But they utterly broke their word and rebelled. They were in a "husband-and-wife" relation with God. But God said later of them, "Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so ye have dealt treacherously with me, O House of Israel, saith the Eternal" (Jeremiah 3:20). The nation Israel under Moses was ONE RACE—very little interracial marriage had marred their racial nationality. The Promised Land was then called Canaan. Canaanites, racially dark, had settled in the land. But God had given this land to the racial descendants of Abraham BY PROMISE! It did not belong to the Canaanites or other races settled there. When God moved His two million-plus Israelites in there, He commanded them through Moses: "When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan, then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images ... and ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein; for I have given you the land to possess it... . But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell" (Numbers 33:51-53, 55). It's time we UNDERSTAND THIS! This nation Israel was GOD'S NATION. But they were a physical, not a spiritual nation. Yet God gave them HIS church, as well as national government and religion. GOD INTENDED TO KEEP THEM PHYSICALLY SEPARATE from other nations—both nationally (racially) and religiously. For them to intermarry with other races would result in two things: it would interbreed them into other races, and mix them into other idolatrous religions! The Israelites DID NOT OBEY GOD! Much later, after the captivities of both Israel and Judah, God sent a colony of Jews from the Judahite slave population in Babylon back to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel as Governor of the colony, to build the second Temple. Among this colony were the prophets Ezra and Nehemiah. Against God's command, the people of the colony began to intermarry with Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites and other races, "so that the holy seed [racially pure, for they had not the Holy Spirit] have mingled themselves with the people of those lands ..." (Ezra 9:2). The prophet Ezra was ANGRY! He stood up before the congregation and said: "Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. Now therefore ... separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives" (Ezra 10:10-11). Jesus Christ was born of the tribe of Judah, and it was necessary that HE be of the original pure racial strain, even as Noah was. BUT—nevertheless, the Old Covenant with Israel at Sinai was a type and forerunner of the NEW COVENANT. It will be made with the New Testament CHURCH, which is the spiritual Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 31:31, Hebrews 8:6,10). Meanwhile, an individual few in Old Testament Israel did obey God and by becoming God's prophets, they became part of the very foundation of the New Testament CHURCH OF GOD. The Church is built on the solid FOUNDATION of the prophets (Old Testament) and apostles (New Testament), Jesus Christ Himself being "the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:20). Among them, Elijah probably will be head, under Christ and Abraham-Isaac-Israel, over the Church, worldwide. John the Baptist may be under Elijah. There are indications that the prophet Daniel will be head over all gentile nations, and under Moses and Christ.
Fulfilling Their Role Despite Themselves
But in what manner did the ancient nation Israel play a part in preparation for the KINGDOM OF GOD? I have already mentioned how the intellectuals and scholarly of this world feel that, given sufficient KNOWLEDGE, human carnal MAN could solve all problems. God let many generations of ancient Israel and Judah PROVE by hundreds of years of human experience, that the best of humanity, without God's Holy Spirit CANNOT SOLVE HUMAN PROBLEMS AND EVILS! I have spoken, during the past 10 years, to many heads of governments over Europe, Asia, Africa, South America. In China, I believe the Communist heads of government believe that communism, once it gains control of the earth, will solve all problems and evils. But many kings, emperors, presidents and prime ministers I have conferred privately with now realize the problems are beyond human ability to solve. And this I said plainly to many leaders of the People's Republic of China. The problems and evils are of a spiritual nature. And a carnal mind without God's Spirit cannot come to grips with spiritual problems. The many decades and centuries of ancient Israel PROVED THAT! Until Israel, God withheld knowledge of the right ways of human living from mankind. To Israel God gave His statutes and judgments, as well as His spiritual law. But these perfect laws did not, without God's Holy Spirit, solve the nation's problems! God could say: "I am GOD. Take my word for it." But God gave PROOF, through Israel, that WITHOUT the Holy Spirit, MAN IS HELPLESS! They even had GOD to appeal to. But they did not have His Spirit within them. Only their prophets had the Holy Spirit! That lesson once PROVED, God has given those in His Church His Holy Spirit. There is, of course, a great deal more that could be said about ancient Israel. After King Solomon's death they split up into two nations. The nation, Israel, rejected Solomon's son as natural heir. They chose Solomon's general manager (as we would call him today), Jeroboam, and later set the throne of Israel in a new city, Samaria, to the north of Jerusalem. Thereupon, Judah seceded from Israel in order to retain their King Rehoboam and capital city Jerusalem. The tribe of Benjamin seceded with Judah. They took the new name, Kingdom of JUDAH. They came to be called "Jews"—a nickname for their national name, JUDAH. One of the first things King Jeroboam did was to put the best educated of the nation, the priestly tribe of Levi, out of the priesthood. He put illiterate people in their place as priests. Then the tribe of Levi moved down (or actually up) nearer Jerusalem and became part of the Kingdom of Judah. One of the strangest mysteries of our time is the actual relationship our American and British Commonwealth peoples have come to have with the people who retained the name "ISRAEL." They lost their identity through the years. My book The United States and Britain in Prophecy reveals that story—one of the most amazing of our time. In final conclusion of this chapter, remember, God creates and does what He does by a principle of DUALITY. God is creating MAN in dual stages. First, was the carnal first man, Adam. But the spiritual creation started with the second Adam, Jesus Christ. Even so, God is forming the KINGDOM OF GOD in dual stages. First was old covenant Israel. They were carnal minded. Even with the revelation of God's laws and God's truth, they could not comprehend nor follow God's true ways. Old Testament Israel was the CONGREGATION (Church) of ISRAEL. In the NEW TESTAMENT we are the CHURCH OF GOD. But the Church of God of the New Testament is offered the SECOND Spirit—the Holy Spirit of God. The Church as God's body of people is being PREPARED for His Kingdom—and the restoration of His GOVERNMENT. This DUALITY in God's program is brought out in a clear UNDERSTANDING of the TWO COVENANTS, known as the old, and the new covenant. This will be covered in chapter 8—the Church. For a more complete understanding of ancient Israel's history even into the 20th century, be sure to read our special book, The United States and Britain in Prophecy.