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Thursday, August 23 2012
Israel In History and Prophecy: Alpha and Omega
Why Did The LORD Create Israel?
"1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" of Genesis 1:1 (KJV) is one of the most familiar verses of the Holy Bible, as is "1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" of Genesis 1:26 (KJV). But wait. It says "God created," while also saying "Let us." How can that be?
The answer from the Scriptures:
"3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 3:9 KJV)
God created "by Jesus Christ." That is further explained:
"1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [see What Does Word of God Mean To You?]. 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God. 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made ... 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:1-3,14 KJV)
So it was that Jesus Christ ("the Word of God," "the LORD God") completed the work that God sent Him to do. On the Seventh Day, Jesus Christ then created His Sabbath (see When Is The LORD's Day? and Why Observe The True Sabbath?).
"2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." (Genesis 2:1-3 KJV)
Jesus Christ created humans sinless. They later made themselves sinners, thereby becoming subject to death. But God declared a means by which sinful humanity could be saved:
"5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." (Romans 5:19 KJV)
The LORD God (see Who Is The LORD?), the Creator of humans, would be born as a mortal human, live a sinless life, as the first humans failed to do, and pay the death penalty for all of humanity by His Sacrifice.
"15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:22 KJV)
The Seed Of Abraham
In order to be born as a man, a family must exist. That "chosen people" line began with Abraham, a man born in what is today Iraq (see A Biography Of Abraham: The Genealogy Of Abram and the Fact Finder question below). Why did the LORD choose Abraham to be His key human ancestor?
"26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." (Genesis 26:5 KJV)
Abraham was not an Israelite or a Jew - they didn't exist in the time of Abraham (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Roots and Branches). Many nations originated from Abraham, but for the purpose of the birth of the Messiah, a specific line, from righteous Abraham, was created. That Messianic line was through Abraham's son Isaac, who, like his father Abraham, was not an Israelite or a Jew (see A Biography Of Abraham: Isaac).
"17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him." (Genesis 17:19 KJV)
The Messianic line then continued through Isaac's son Jacob, who the LORD renamed as "Israel" (see Where Jacob Became Israel).
"32:27 And he said unto him, What is thy name?
From Jacob, who the LORD renamed as Israel, came the children of Israel, the Israelites (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Jacob's Family). Among the twelve sons of Israel was Judah (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Jews). The Messianic line from Abraham (who, as we've explained, was not an Israelite or a Jew) continued on through Judah. Israel himself, while the Israelites were in Egypt, was given to prophesy about the Messiah through the Israelite line of Judah.
"49:8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. 49:9 Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." (Genesis 49:8-10 KJV)
"That Rock was Christ"
It was Jesus Christ, the LORD God, who delivered the Israelites out of Egypt on the Christian Holy Day that prophesies and portrays the Sacrifice of the Messiah - Passover (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Passover).
"10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:1-4 KJV)
While on their journey to "the promised land," the Messiah gave the people, from whom the Messiah would later be born, Christ's Law (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Law Of The LORD) and Christ's Holy Days (see our Calendar of Christ's Holy Days for a full explanation for each of the true Christian Holy Days) - created by Christ, for Christ.
"31:12 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you." (Exodus 31:12-13 KJV)
The LORD, Jesus Christ, was the Creator of Israel, and the King of Israel. After the Israelites entered the promised land however, they decided that they wanted a human king. They rejected the LORD in favor of one of their own. The calamitous result of that has been covered in numerous studies in this series.
"8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Samuel], Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8:8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee." (1 Samuel 8:7-8 KJV)
Israel was created as the means by which the Savior, of all of humanity, would be born. That was the sole purpose of Israel as "the chosen people." Otherwise, they are people, no different than any other.
The Messiah paid the death penalty for repentant sinners. "Church" means called out ones, people who have repented of the ways of the world and do the best that they humanly can to obey the LORD. The true Church of God is composed of people, regardless of who or where they are. Israelites have been members of the true Church of God over the ages, along with everyone else. Notice carefully who "Abraham's seed," as a matter of salvation, not physical ancestry alone, have always been.
"3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:26 KJV)
Like the rest of humanity, Israel will have its day of Truth (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The New Covenant).
"11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." (Romans 11:25-27 KJV)
Fact Finder: To understand the purposeful connection between Israel, as covered in this series, and the Church of God, which is based upon the faithfulness and obedience of Abraham, see the series of studies below.
This Day In History, August 23
1305: William Wallace, a Scottish patriot, was hung, drawn and quartered for treason by Edward I.
1367: Gil Alvarez Carrillo de Albornoz died at age 57. A Spanish soldier and cardinal, he paved the way for the return of the papacy to Italy from Avignon, France, where the popes lived from 1309 to 1377 (see The Struggle For The Papacy; listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
1541: French explorer Jacques Cartier landed near Quebec on his third voyage to North America.
1572: In France, Catholics massacred thousands of Huguenots (French Protestants), under orders of Catherine de Medici, advisor to her son, Charles IX, King of France.
1711: A British attempt to invade Canada by sea failed. The territory at the time was held and defended by France.
1775: King George III declared the New England colonies in open rebellion.
1784: The people of an area of western North Carolina (now in eastern Tennessee) declared themselves to be an independent state, under the name of the State of Franklin. It lasted only 4 years after it wasn’t accepted into the Union.
1821: Mexico was declared independent of Spain by the Treaty of Aquala.
1833: Britain abolished slavery in its colonies, freeing 700,000 slaves. Slavery continued in the former colonies that by that time had become the independent United States.
1866: The Treaty of Prague was signed, formally ending the Seven Weeks' War between Austria and Prussian-led German states.
1914: At the start of the First World War, Japan declared war on Germany (30 years later, Japan and Germany were allies in the Second World War; listen also to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1914: In the town of Dinant, Belgium, during the First World War, German soldiers murdered 612 civilian men, women and children, the youngest a 3 week old baby held in its mother's arms. The Germans gave as their reason that Belgian civilians had fired on them while they were repairing a bridge.
1917: During the First World War, the Ontario cabinet passed an order-in-council that provided for the city of Berlin, Ontario to change its name to Kitchener, effective September 1.
1921: Feisal I was installed as King of Iraq.
1926: U.S. film "idol" Rudolph Valentino died, causing world-wide hysteria and a number of suicides.
1931: Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) of Germany and Joseph Stalin of Russia signed a non-aggression pact (that Hitler violated with his invasion of Russia a few years later), leaving the way open for Germany to attack Poland.
1942: The Battle of Stalingrad began. Although the city was reduced to rubble by the Germans, the Russians fought on, and after 6 months the Germans surrendered.
1952: Frederick George Kenyon died at age 89. The British archaeologist and language scholar devoted his life to discovering Biblical parallels in ancient Greek papyri, convincing critics that science does not disprove the Bible.
1980: The Polish communist government agreed to negotiate directly with striking Gdansk shipworkers.
1990: East and West Germany announced that they would unite on October 3, ending four decades of post-World War II division.
1991: Radical Moscow city leaders took control of the Soviet Communist Party's headquarters, seizing documents and sealing offices, as anti-communism swept the nation in the wake of a failed hardline coup.