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The Plain Truth – March 1986
The Plain Truth – March 1986
Chapter Five
Mystery Of The Ages

Mystery of Israel

by Herbert W. Armstrong

We continue, with this seventh installment, the serial publication of Herbert W. Armstrong’s latest book Mystery of the Ages.

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 and not recorded or understood by historians! 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 a mystery totally unknown 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, “Mystery of 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 is reproducing himself in and through man! God’s ultimate transcendent PURPOSE is breathtaking beyond words. The establishment of the ancient nation Israel is an integral part of the supreme master plan.

Seven generations after the Flood, the Eternal found a man who would obey him. His name was Abram. He lived in Haran, in Mesopotamia. This man was to become a type of God the Father. It was from him that the nation Israel descended. Through this nation God raised up his prophets, and in due time God’s own Son, Jesus Christ.

Man of Destiny

Abram, as he was originally named, was not seeking God. But God chose to call and test Abram. This ancient patriarch, later in Scripture, is called the father of the faithful. God was calling him for a very special purpose. That purpose was not to “give him salvation” or “get him into heaven.” God was calling him because he had seen in this man the potentialities of obedience to God and of leadership. God was calling him to be prepared for special service and ultimately high position in the kingdom of God – the coming world tomorrow. I quote now from a book I wrote more than 50 years ago, The United States and Britain in Prophecy, 1980 edition, commencing with page 16:

To this man, Abram, God commanded: “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation” (Gen. 12:1-2).

Here was a command, which was a condition and a PROMISE, provided the condition of obedience was met.

And so now, as God had started the whole world with one man, he started his own peculiar nation in the world from one single man – Abraham. As the world, which has strayed far from God and the blessings of God’s worship and rule, was started with one man who rebelled against God and rejected his rule, so God’s own flesh-born nation, from which is to be reborn the kingdom of God, was started with one man who obeyed God without question, and accepted his divine rule.

Did Abram stop to argue and reason? Did he say: “Let’s reason this out a bit first; here I am in Babylon, in the very center of all this world’s commerce, society and gaiety. Why can’t you just as well give me this promise right here, where everything is pleasant and alluring? Why must I leave all this and go over to that uncivilized land?”

Did Abram quibble, resist, argue, rebel?

He certainly did not!

The inspired Scripture account states simply: “So Abram departed.” There was no arguing with God. There was no human reasoning that God was all wrong. There were no foolish questions: “Why must I leave here?” “Can’t I do as I please?” There was no stopping to say, “Well, here’s the way I look at it.”

“Abram departed.” Just plain, unquestioned obedience!

Here again we see the principle of duality. Abram was in the very center of this world’s developing civilization. Remember, it was a world held captive – a world developing on Satan’s pattern. God had chosen Abram to become the patriarch of his nation Israel, the congregation or Church of the Old Testament. The principle of duality is interwoven all through the workings of God in fulfilling this great purpose through humanity on earth. There was the physical congregation of Israel under the Old Testament and the spiritual Church of God under the New Testament. The word church as originally written in the Greek of the New Testament was ekklesia, which means (an assembly of) called-out-ones.

As Israel of the Old Testament was the physical forerunner and type of the Church of the New Testament so God now called out the progenitor of the nation Israel from Satan’s world. Abraham later regarded himself as a stranger, a sojourner and a pilgrim in the earth. This was not his world: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country [a different civilization]. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Heb. 11:13-16). Seeking a better country, a heavenly country, which will be the kingdom of God filling the earth.

And God established this man [Abram], whose name he later changed to Abraham, as the father of his nation, Israel! To Abraham and his descendants were all the promises of God made. And we must become like Abraham, and through Christ, one of his children, if we are to inherit the promise of eternal life in God’s kingdom.

Of his peculiar flesh-born nation, Israel, the Eternal said: “This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise” (Isa. 43:21). That prophecy shall yet – and soon – be fulfilled!

Dual Promises to Abraham

Few have realized it, but a duality runs all the way through the plan of God in working out his purpose here below.

There was the first Adam, material and carnal; and there is Christ, the second Adam, spiritual and divine. There was the Old Covenant, purely material and temporal; and there is the New Covenant, spiritual and eternal. God made man mortal, physical, of the dust of the ground and of the human kingdom; but through Christ he may be begotten of God to become immortal, spiritual, and of the kingdom of God.

And in like manner there were two phases to the promises God made to Abraham – the one purely material and national; the other spiritual and individual. The spiritual promise of the Messiah, and of salvation through him, is well known by the most superficial Bible students. They know that God gave the spiritual promise to Abraham of Christ to be born as Abraham’s descendant – and that salvation comes to us through Christ. But – and this will sound unbelievable, yet it is true – almost no one knows what that salvation is; what are the promises of salvation we may receive through Christ; how we may receive them, or when – incredible though that sounds! But that truth belongs in another chapter.

What is essential to the theme of this chapter is the fact that God also made another entirely different, most amazing national and material promise to Abraham which has been almost entirely overlooked.

Notice now again how God first called Abram, and the two-fold nature of his promises: “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee A GREAT NATION… and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:1-3).

Notice the two-fold promise: 1) “I will make of thee A GREAT NATION” – the national, material promise that his flesh-born children should become a great nation – a promise of RACE; 2) “… and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” – the spiritual promise of GRACE. This same promise is repeated in Genesis 22:18: “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” This particular “one seed” refers to Christ, as plainly affirmed in Galatians 3:8, 16.

Right here is where those who profess to be “Christians” – and their teachers – have fallen into error and scriptural blindness. They have failed to notice the two-fold promise God made to Abraham. They recognize the messianic promise of spiritual salvation through the “one seed” – Christ. They sing the hymn “Standing on the Promises” – falsely supposing the, promises to be going to heaven at death.

This is a pivotal point. This is the point where professing “Christians” and their teachers jump the track of truth. This is the point where they switch off the track that would lead them to the missing master key to the prophecies. They miss the fact that God gave Abraham promises of physical RACE as well as spiritual GRACE.

But the plain fact that the “great nation” promise refers alone to race – not the “one seed” of Galatians 3:16, who was Jesus Christ the son of Abraham and the Son of God, but to the plural, multiple seed of natural fleshly birth – is made certain by God’s repetition of his promise in greater detail later.

Israel to Become Many Nations

Notice carefully! Understand these promises!

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly… thou shall be a father of MANY NATIONS. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of MANY NATIONS have I made thee” (Gen. 17:1-5).

Notice, the promise is now conditional upon Abraham’s obedience and perfect living. Notice, the “great nation” now becomes many nations – more than one nation. This cannot refer to the “one seed,” Christ. The following verses prove that.

“And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings [more than one] shall come out of thee” (verse 6). Notice, these nations and kings shall come out of Abraham – physical generation – multiple seed, in addition to the one descendant through whom scattered individuals may become Abraham’s children by spiritual begettal through Christ (Gal. 3:29). The scattered, individual Christians do not form NATIONS. The Church, it is true, is spoken of as “a royal priesthood, an holy nation” (I Peter 2:9), but Christ’s Church is not divided into “many nations.” This is speaking of race, not grace.

“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations …” (Gen. 17:7). The “seed” is plural – “in their generations.” “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan [Palestine], for an everlasting possession; and I will be THEIR God” (verse 8).

Notice, the land – material possession – is promised to the plural seed, of whom he is “their,” not “his,” God. The plural pronoun “their” is used again in verse 9: “and thy seed after thee in their generations.”

But now examine this PROMISE carefully!

The future of great nations rests on the promises the eternal Creator made to Abraham. The only hope of life after death for anyone – regardless of race, color or creed – is dependent on the spiritual phase of these promises to Abraham – the promise of grace through the “one seed” – Christ the Messiah!

How Much Land – What Size Nations?

These are not casual, incidental, unimportant promises. These are basic – the foundation for the establishment of the greatest world powers; the basis for any personal salvation spiritually; for any hope of eternal life for humans. These are stupendous promises. The future of mankind is based, by the Creator God, on them.

Jesus Christ came “to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Rom. 15:8) – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These same promises were repromised to Isaac, Abraham’s son, and to Jacob, the son of Isaac.

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, after Moses had been specially trained for leadership, God called him out of the world to lead the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob out of Egyptian slavery.

Why a Chosen Nation?

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 major population centers of Egypt.

In this connection, go back momentarily to Abraham. He prevented his son Isaac, born of Sarah, from intermarrying among the Canaanites then in the land. He sent his chief servant to his own family in Mesopotamia 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” (Gen. 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 undoubtedly were of pure Hebrew stock. These 12 became the progenitors of the 12 tribes of the nation Israel.

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 followed the sacrifice of the Passover on the 14th day of the first month of God’s sacred calendar – 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 seafloor between.

The Israelites walked on through. On the opposite side they looked back and saw the Egyptians entering the seafloor path. When the Egyptians were all within the seawall passage, God allowed the waters to flow back, drowning the Egyptian army.

Broken Promises

In due time the Israelites pitched tents at the foot of Mount 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 God’s birthright 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 physical strain of Shem’s line. 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 spiritual knowledge and fulfillment 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 spiritual NEW COVENANT.

And what did it prove?

Israel’s Heredity and Environment

Here was a people of almost clear racial strain, and the God-believing 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. An 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!

Type of the Kingdom of God

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 “professes to receive 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?

Government in 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 lawgiver (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 Lord hath spoken we will do” (Ex. 19:8). But they utterly broke their word and rebelled.

They were in a “husband-and-wife” relation with the Lord God. But the Lord said later of them: “Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel …” (Jer. 3:20).

The nation Israel under Moses was one people divided into 12 tribes.

The Promised Land was then called Canaan. Canaanites had settled in the land. But God had given this land to the descendants of Abraham BY PROMISE! It did not belong to the Canaanites or other national groups 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” (Num. 33:51-53, 55).

Nationally–Religiously Separate


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 and religiously.

For them to intermarry with other neighboring people would result in two things: It would lead them into other idolatrous religions and alter their cultural and national heritage!

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 [of pure strain, 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 was born of the tribe of Judah, and it was necessary that HE be of the original genetic 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 (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 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 corner stone” (Eph. 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 20 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.

Let this point be emphasized. When the first man, Adam, rejected the tree of life, and took to himself the knowledge of good and evil, he limited his power and ability to do good to the level of his human spirit. There is good as well as evil in human nature. Good is a spiritual attribute, not a physical or material action. Had Adam taken of the tree of life, the Holy Spirit of God would have entered him and joined with his spirit, uniting him with God as a son of God. The Holy Spirit meant more than spiritual knowledge of good. Not the hearers of the law (good) but the doers of the law are justified (Rom. 2:13). Love is the fulfilling of the law – but not human love. It requires the “love OF GOD … shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit]” (Rom. 5:5).

God revealed his law to the nation Israel. One of the purposes of this nation was to prove by human experience that man without the Spirit of God within him cannot be righteous.

So, at this point, let us cover a brief synopsis of the actual history of the nation, and of the gentile nations of the world.

A most important declaration and promise was given to the people of Israel, as recorded in Leviticus 26. Again I quote from my book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, starting page 110:

The Pivotal Prophecy

In this central prophecy, God reaffirmed the birthright promise – but with conditions – for those of Moses’ day! The birthright tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh were then with the other tribes – as one nation. Obedience to God’s laws would bring the vast national wealth and blessings of the birthright not only to Ephraim and Manasseh, but the whole NATION would automatically have shared them at that time.

Notice carefully that two of the Ten Commandments are mentioned for emphasis. These were the main test commandments! They were the test of obedience, and of faith in and loyalty to God. God said: “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image … to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God. Ye shall keep MY sabbaths …” (verses 1-2).

There was a condition – a great big “if ” – to their receiving actual fulfillment of this stupendous birthright promise in their time! God said: “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase …” (verses 3-4). All wealth comes out of the ground. They would enjoy bumper crops the year round, one harvest on the heels of another. Verse 6: “And I will give PEACE in the land … and none shall make you afraid … neither shall the sword [of war] go through your land.” What a blessing! What nation enjoys continuous peace, without fear of invasion?

Of course, in this world, every nation has enemies. What if enemy nations attacked? Verses 7-8: “And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight…”

Since many nations in this world always have been aggressors, Israel would have been attacked. A nation with the military superiority to defeat all attackers would soon become the dominant, most powerful nation on earth – especially with resources and great wealth from the ground. Verse 9: “For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.”

The Great Big If

But here comes the alternative – IF the conditions are not met: “… if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments … I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague [fever], that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart [RSV: waste the eyes and cause life to pine away]: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you …” (verses 14-17). They would be invaded, conquered, become once again slaves – as they had been in Egypt before God freed them.

The Seven Prophetic Times

Now continue in Leviticus 26: “And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins” (verse 18).

Now when we come to the expression “then I will punish you seven times more for your sins” in Leviticus 26, it is evident both by its manner of wording in the sentence and by the fact of actual fulfillment that it was speaking of a DURATION of seven prophetic “times,” or YEARS. And on this “year-for-a-day principle,” it becomes seven 360-day years – a total of 2,520 days. And when each day is a year of punishment … the punishment becomes the withdrawing of and withholding the promised blessings for 2,520 years! For that is precisely what did happen!

That national punishment – the withholding of the birthright promises of national prosperity and dominance, applied only to the house of Israel headed by the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.

How these promises were actually fulfilled at the precise time of 1800 to 1804 is one of the most amazing fulfillments of prophecy in the Bible and in the history of mankind. This fulfillment, step by step, is vividly revealed in our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

This nation Israel promised to obey God. But they never did. Even while Moses was with the Eternal atop Mount Sinai receiving further instructions, the people melted and fashioned a golden calf to worship instead of the Eternal God. Because of their grumbling, their lack of faith and their disobedience, God did not allow them to enter the Promised Land for 40 years.

At the end of the 40 years Moses died. The Israelites were led across the Jordan River into the Promised Land under Joshua. During Joshua’s life they obeyed God more or less but not fully.

After Joshua died, every man did what seemed right in his own mind. These people through disobedience to God would fall captive to surrounding kings. Then they would cry out to the Eternal and he would send a leader to free them. Again and again this process was repeated.

Israel Demanded Human King

After some generations God gave them a prophet to lead and rule them, the prophet Samuel. But in due time the people demanded a human king to rule them, as other nations were ruled. God said to Samuel it was not him that they rejected, but God. Samuel had ruled only as God’s servant, and actually it had been God’s divine rule.

God gave them what they wanted, King Saul, a tall and towering leader. But Saul disobeyed God and the Eternal replaced him with King David. (The surprising conclusion of this chapter will appear next issue.)