The Centerpiece of The Holy Scriptures
Why is the Bible predominantly about one nation? Why did God found a physical nation? The answers teach invaluable lessons that explain why our world is in turmoil today!
Notes taken and expanded from the writing of Gerald Flurry in March 2020 Trumpet Print Edition
The Bible is the most popular book in the world. More copies of The Holy Bible are in print than any other book.
It’s central nation and central theme is about one nation; Israel. That statement may surprise you, but when you look at the facts, it is undeniably true. Yet Israel is a total mystery to world religions.
We’re going to refer to Roman Chapter 11 and I think the only right way to do this is place the chapter before your eyes in modern English so you have an easy reference. Please read the chapter and then we’ll pick it apart after some background introduction material.
Romans 11 New International Version (NIV)
The Remnant of Israel
11 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”[a]? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”[b] 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written:
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that could not see
and ears that could not hear,
to this very day.”[c]
9 And David says:
“May their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
and their backs be bent forever.”[d]
11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!
13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
All Israel Will Be Saved
25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way[e] all Israel will be saved. As it is written:
28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now[h] receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”[j]
35 “Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”[k]
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
At the beginning of that chapter, Mr. Armstrong said we must understand that 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.” If you are to reach your incredible human potential, (living with, raised by, becoming LIKE GOD) you must understand the truth about Israel!
There are many seemingly paradoxical facts surrounding Israel. Have you ever wondered why God raised up that nation? The Bible plainly states that God is not a respecter of persons (Romans 2:11)—but is He a respecter of nations? Did He show favoritism to Israel? Here is another mystery: Are you aware that God didn’t even offer salvation to the physical nation of ancient Israel? It was given material blessings. But the gift of His Holy Spirit was not made available to them, except for the prophets.
Here is yet another: The northern kingdom called “Israel” for the tribe of Israeli People was not Jewish. Are you surprised?. The Bible’s first mention of the word Jews is in 2 Kings 16:6—and it appears in the context of them being at war with Israel! The Jews were waging war with Israel! It’s somewhat mysterious therefore to find Israel as the centerpiece nation of today’s Jewish People!
Many of your questions are answered in Chapter 5 of Mystery of the Ages, a book with which you should become well acquainted.
Father of the Faithful
Seven generations after the Flood, God began using a man named Abram. Following his conversion, his name was changed to Abraham. He eventually became known as the father of the faithful—the patriarch of anyone who has faith in God, whether Israelite or Gentile (Romans 4:11, 16). But to get Abraham to that point, God had to test him.
In Genesis 12, God commanded him, Genesis 12 New International Version (NIV)
The Call of Abram
12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.[a]
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”[b]
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him;
What a wonderful promise! God started Israel with one man, just as He started all of humanity with one man.
This was a material promise of national prosperity. God had a plan for Israel. Isaiah 43:21 says, “This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” God intended Israel to show the world how to obey Him, and what a multitude of blessings He provides to those who do that!
Let’s get a little more background here. God speaks and I don’t like taking a few words out of context. God is reprimanding these people!
The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21 the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.
22 “Yet you have not called on me, Jacob,
you have not wearied yourselves for[c] me, Israel.
23 You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings,
nor honored me with your sacrifices.
Throughout the Bible, God works on the principle of duality. There was a first man, Adam—a material, carnal man—and a “second Adam,” Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:45-47; Romans 5:14). There is also duality surrounding the nation of Israel. The physical congregation of Israel in the Old Testament was a type of, a similarity to, almost a copy of, the New Testament Church of God.
Likewise, the promises God made to Abraham are dual: One is purely material and national; the other is spiritual and individual. Here is the second of those promises: “[A]nd in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). This is God’s promise of grace: salvation to all humanity!
In Genesis 17:4, God told Abraham that he was to be a father of many nations—physically. But God also told Abraham, “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 22:18). That one “seed” is not talking about one great nation. It is talking about Jesus Christ and salvation coming through Him (Galatians 3:8, 16). Christ, the second Adam, died for our sins and prepares us to receive the Holy Spirit, by which He lives in us! We are saved by His life (Romans 5:9-10).
The Apostle Paul was apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13). Romans 11:13 New International Version (NIV)
13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry
He said Gentiles who are spiritually converted become a part of spiritual Israel, the Church: Here is a verse from that chapter I gave you at the start:
17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,
Here is an inspiring truth most people do not understand: Spiritually, all mankind is to become Israel! Paul wrote elsewhere, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly … But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly …” (Romans 2:28-29). We all become spiritual Jews when we are converted to God’s way of life.
If you turn your back on God, however, as 95 percent of God’s people have done in this end time, then God says you are part of “the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews … but do lie” (Revelation 3:9).
To the children of ancient Israel, God spoke an important message. Look more fully at Exodus.
Exodus 19 New International Version (NIV)
At Mount Sinai
19 On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai. 2 After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.
3 Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
7 So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak.
They were to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. They were to teach the world about God. But they didn’t have God’s Holy Spirit, so this was all on a carnal level; they could only obey the letter of God’s law. Still, that is a wonderful way to live if you don’t have God’s Holy Spirit! That law was designed to bring prosperity and peace.
The Israelites told God that they would obey all that He said (verse 8). History shows, however, that they failed to follow through. God later said in Jeremiah 3:20,
Jeremiah 3:20 New International Version (NIV)
20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband,
so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,”
declares the Lord.
God hates “open marriages” and “divorce.” You should never break a promise you have made to God!
Still, Israel was God’s chosen nation. He gave them His law, His government and His religion—though all on a physical level; they were not a spiritual nation. He was with them, and they could appeal to Him.
What was the purpose of that? It is one of the most amazing truths in the Bible, but very few people understand it!
What Mankind Lacks
The history of Israel proves a crucial spiritual point. It illustrates the limits of human beings when we lack God’s spiritual power working in us!
Mr. Armstrong wrote, “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! As explained in Mystery of the Ages they even had God to whom they could appeal.
Ancient Israel had tremendous advantages as a nation. They experienced tremendous miracles from God. For example, the Red Sea parted, they walked across on dry land, and the walls of the sea collapsed on the Egyptian army chasing them. What an amazing miracle to experience! This should have bolstered their faith, convincing them that God could pull them through anything! Instead, they shortly began grumbling and claiming that God had brought them into the wilderness to kill them! (It’s unimaginable.)
Then God delivered the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. This was a perfect spiritual and moral law! When God gave it, the mountain was afire, lightning flashed, and thunder shook the earth, illustrating God’s great power and authority. God then followed that by giving them a perfect set of statutes and judgments. But rather than being awed and inspired at their great Lawgiver, and grateful for these incomparable gifts, the Israelites saw only the physical and were frightened!
Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. It was not all bad, but it was far from the intention of giving them The Law and their later prophets.
God worked countless miracles for this nation: He collapsed the walls of a great enemy city; He did amazing miracles during the time of Joshua; He defeated enemy armies with swarms of hornets. The Israelites had God directing them. Beginning on 15 May 1948 against impossible odds with no weapons to speak of and a rag-tag lot of World War II pilot volunteers flying various aircraft to Israel, right in the midst of that war, a military force formed, US and European officers helped direct operations, and they prevailed and preserved the new nation. That is positively miraculous!
I shall remind you; God will bless those who bless Israel. The pilots who use their own money, even borrowed money, and their own aircraft or (in one case aircraft from a small airline) I’m sure experienced blessings then and will again in The Heavenly Kingdom.
I say this because I want to drive into your present attention, this is not just “theoretical religion.” This is reality and God’s “parallel universe” is far more real than the filthy, confused world we live upon.
If you’re in a position to help others, be charitable, and “bless Israel” do so. If you can buy products from Israel and sell them to the rest of the world, do that. Do something to help Israel prosper and God will send blessings of prosperity your way. I’ll give you a short example.
This fellow I like, Pastor John Hagee (on YouTube, in San Antonio, Texas) told a story about being invited to speak at a big conference and the costs turned out to be much higher than anticipated. When the conference was done they had taken a financial loss and it was serious! A day later a man called and started by saying, “I don’t like church and don’t like TV Preachers” and Pastor Hagee was thinking, “I’ll just be quiet and a gentleman through this.” The man continued, “But I watched and heard you on television. I think what you said is what America needs to hear. I have decided to send you 1-Million Dollars!” The Pastor thanked him profusely and got off the phone and then praised God for putting into that man’s mind what was needed then most.
So don’t be afraid that blessing Israel is money wasted. We don’t know how many times God has blessed us by perhaps protecting us from a serious physical malady, or a car wreck or something. Who knows? Just have faith, bless (thank) Almighty God for everything and continue to keep his commandments. In the end you’ll be glad you too this advice.
Several times God guided a small army against a much larger force and the Israelites prevailed. This has happened even up to the 1967 war! Today some Palestinians admit, ‘Our rockets are misdirected by their God!’ It’s very exciting when you consider it. The Israeli Defense Forces on the ground and in the air are far superior in skills and new weaponry than anything the enemy has. The Israeli government Does Not want to wage a major war going nuclear but eventually it’s going to happen because Satan and his minions refuse to leave this issue alone. This situation will launch World War III and just when things look like, “It’s the end of the world” all the jokers who claim God is a myth and Jesus never lived will see Jesus the Christ return and set foot onto The Mount of Olives and from that minute HE will change the world. There will be no doubt after that, Who is KING and who are subjects of the king.
Israel and the Israeli People were then and are now, God’s nation. He made a marriage covenant with them, known as the Old Covenant (e.g. Jeremiah 3:14). They had an intimate relationship with God! Nevertheless, Israel still proved faithless, stubborn and rebellious! Some fools never learn from history.
Why such a ghastly failure? In Mystery of the Ages, Mr. Armstrong explained, “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 [human] 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 example to the populations of the entire world, by which he would demonstrate that we need God to have spiritual discernment and solve human problems.
There are several “New Age Religions” popping up here and there. None of them tell you that by them you’ll be saved for eternity and develop spiritual discernment! I hope you’ll remember that.
I was speaking of an oncoming World War III. The self-pride (Ego) of humankind will finally decide to launch its RAGE once and forever. What do you suppose the Jewish saying, “Never Again!” really means??? They will rage with the hottest war anyone ever dared imagine. The sad part is, most “Palestinians” and “Persians”, and Syrians and Libyans want a peaceful life but their dictatorships won’t permit it, because their dictators actually are Demon Influenced men. The more you read about the deeds of these dictators to their mass populations, and in their private lives the more you see how mentally ill they really are.
Our lack of Spiritual Discernment explains why man is continually plagued by insoluble problems! Israel’s failure proves that, no matter how many other advantages people may have, without God’s Spirit mankind is helpless to devise solutions to troubles that are fundamentally spiritual! Human beings insist that they can reason their way to the right answers. But our problems are of a spiritual nature and must be solved spiritually! That is an astounding truth we ought to understand when we look at the 6,000 years of human history.
Recent history shows the United Nations has made many resolutions which are always kept — until it’s convenient to violate them! Generally speaking, the U.N. is impotent and worthless; A huge waste of money and time. Most of the world’s wise men (haha) come together and behave like lost children. I suspect the most effective person at the U.N. is their chef. (The current chef de cabinet to the United Nations Secretary‑General is Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti.)
RESTAURANT. The three-course prix-fixe lunch at the United Nations‘ Delegates Dining Room is one of Manhattan’s best kept secrets. … The lunch is offered to UN delegates, employees and affiliates at $33.99 per person and non-UN employees at $44.99 per person, exclusive of beverages, gratuity and tax.
I guarantee you, it’s a bargain at 4 times the price. That’s why we should have gone to work at the U.N. All they’re good for is wasting money and living lavishly while they curse Israel and ever so slowly, step by step, destroy the world. They fly in from Darkest Africa some place and live a beautiful, comfortable life in New York and accomplish absolutely NOTHING.
Herbert W. Armstrong personally met with hundreds of heads of state and prominent world leaders. He wrote, “[M]any kings, emperors, presidents and prime ministers I have conferred privately with now realize the problems are beyond human ability to solve” (ibid).
What a crucial truth! Humankind has bungled through 6,000 years of operating apart from God, and we have reached the point where we face the very real prospect of human annihilation! That is a problem beyond our ability to solve!
God, however, reveals the solution.
Among the commands God gave ancient Israel was this: “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. He is thy praise, and he is thy God …” (Deuteronomy 10:20-21). Remember Isaiah 43:21: “This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” The Israelites should have been praising God to the whole world! But they never did. That job still needs to be done.
The Apostle Peter wrote about the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant in 1 Peter 2:9: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” This echoes the account in Exodus 19. Peter is talking about a kingdom of priests who praise God and teach the Word of God to the world, helping people to live the way of blessings. This is what God’s true Church, spiritual Israel, must do today.
Take note well: This spiritual nation is not just “a kingdom of priests”—it is “a royal priesthood”! Those of the New Covenant have God’s Holy Spirit in them! Jesus Christ is living in them. That is what makes it a holy nation.
God had a goal with ancient Israel on a physical, letter-of-the-law level, and those people failed to reach that goal.
Touching On The “hidden” True Gospel
Spiritual Israel, God’s People today—if we are doing our job prior to Christ’s return—is showing forth the praises of God! Our lives should be filled with praise for God because of the wonderful blessings He continually gives us! And what He gives us today is only a tiny foretaste of the riches to come: God’s saints today will receive salvation in the Family of God as the Bride of Jesus Christ! (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-32; Revelation 19:7-9). But to receive that transcendent reward, we must heed God’s message and obey Him now.
Hebrews 8:6 describes the New Covenant as “a better covenant, which was established upon better promises” than the Old Covenant. With the New Covenant, you can receive forgiveness of your sins. You can call on God the Father, your Father, and pray to Him, and He will take you into His Family forever! He will raise you as one of His children and you shall mature To Be Like Him!!!
You can receive eternal life! You will become a God being! That’s what your Bible teaches throughout. These truly are wondrous promises!
This passage continues by explaining where Israel failed: “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (verses 7-8). What was the problem with the Old Covenant? Was it the law? No—that was perfect (Psalm 19:7). It wasn’t with anything on God’s part. The problem with the Old Covenant was the people! They didn’t have the Holy Spirit. And as a result, they couldn’t obey God, and couldn’t solve their problems, which were spiritual in nature.
God was showing all the world that the fault is with us! We must learn that we need another spirit! Then what will God do? “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them [not on physical tables of stone, but] in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Hebrews 8:10). Indeed He intends to make we faithful his family members.
This is the solution to this world’s problems! Perhaps it is the solution to greater problems across the entire physical universe.
The nations of Israel today, America, Britain and the Jewish nation in the Middle East, have received abundant blessings from God (read The United States and Britain in Prophecy for a biblical explanation). Yet they have not learned how desperately they need God and His Spirit. God is going to punish them if they don’t repent of their sins. But He also has an incredible future prepared for them.
Mr. Armstrong’s book Mystery of the Ages makes God’s plan for the nations of Israel—and all mankind—plain. There is abundant hope in that plan. I urge you to study this book to understand the Bible’s most amazing truths—truths that will change your life!
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