Chapter Three National Greatness Promised Israel - Yet The Jews Never Received It - Why?
Why Do We Have Israel's Bible?
Nation Began With One Man
Mankind Spurns God's Way
God Started His Nation With One Man
Dual Promises to Abraham
How Much Land - What Size Nations?
A Cynic Argues
Not Fulfilled in Jews
A Nation and a Company of Nations
To Spread Worldwide
Repromised to Jacob
Prior to World War II, the American and British peoples had acquired more than two-thirds of the cultivated resources and wealth of the world. Yet, astonishing wonder though it be, we acquired nearly all of it rather suddenly, since the year 1800. Never in all history did anything like this occur. Never did any people or nation spread out and grow so suddenly and rapidly into such magnitude of national power.
Yet we are beholding before our very eyes the diminishing and evaporating of this national greatness, wealth and power. In the case of Great Britain, it is disintegrating even more rapidly than it developed! Britain has been almost overnight stripped of her colonies and her possessions - source of her wealth - and reduced to a second-rate or third-rate power. Why? There is a reason! It is bound up with history and divine promises pertaining to Israel. Promises never yet inherited by the Jewish people. And now, unless the people and the government of the United States will heed and take immediate and drastic action, the American nation is slated to go down even more suddenly to utter ignominy and loss of all national wealth, greatness and power!
And for the SAME REASON!
It behooves us without delay to quickly review that history and open our eyes to divine promises and warnings almost wholly unrealized by our peoples. It is all connected with the generally ignored plain and simple Bible story that leads to knowledge of our incredible ancestry and modern prophetic identity. And it is the most amazing, the most fascinating story you ever read. Stranger than fiction - yet it is TRUE!
Why Do We Have Israel's Bible?
Millennia ago, this same national greatness, wealth and power was promised by Almighty to Abraham. Yet few have ever noticed this astonishing fact in Scripture. We must realize, if we would understand, a peculiar fact. The Holy Bible is the particular Book of a definite nationality - the children of Israel.
It is undeniable! Its history, from Genesis to Revelation, is primarily the history of one nation or people - the Israelites. Other nations are mentioned only insofar as they come into contact with Israel. All its prophecy, too, pertains primarily to this people of Israel, and to other nations only insofar as they come into contact with Israel. The Bible tells of these Israelites and their God. It was inspired by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, committed to writing through Israelites exclusively, and preserved until after the New Testament was written by these Israelites. In its sacred passages we read that all the promises and the covenants of God, all the sonship and the glory, belong solely to Israel (Rom. 9:4).
Yet we must face the astounding fact that our white, English-speaking peoples - not the Jews - have inherited the national and physical phases of those promises!
How could this have happened?
The Bible is an Israelitish Book, preeminently of and for the Israelitish nationality, inspired by their God through their prophets. Is it not indeed strange that we English-speaking peoples are today the greatest believers in and exponents of this Book of the Hebrew people; that of all nations we are the chief worshipers of Israel's God and Israel's Messiah - in name and in form, if not in truth and in deed?
The more these facts are realized, the more apparent it becomes that a full knowledge of these Israelites is necessary to a right understanding of the Holy Bible, which is chiefly concerned with them as a people. And this knowledge becomes important if we are to understand the present status of the American and British peoples in the world - and their relation to unprecedented world conditions at this fateful hour! Let us remember as we approach this fascinating story that the Bible is concerned with the material, the fleshly, the literal, racial and national, as well as with the spiritual. Let us not spiritualize away national things, nor nationalize spiritual things. Let us understand the sacred Word of God as it is!
Nation Began With One Man
Before the days of Moses there was no nation on earth known as God's particular nation. Prior to Moses there was no written Word of God; no inspired Scriptures; no Holy Bible. Think of it! For more than two thousand five hundred years - two-and-a-half millennia - mankind existed without any written revelation from God! The only historic record of God's dealing with mankind prior to Israel is the revealed history of the Bible. And - even more astonishing - only the first eleven of the fifty chapters of Genesis are devoted to the entire history of the world prior to Abraham, father of the Israelites!
Surprising? Only the first eleven chapters of the very first book of the Bible are used to record for us the history of the first approximately 2,000 years - more than one-third of its entire span.
God began this world with just one man - Adam. Whatever God does through human agencies must start the smallest, and, like the grain of mustard seed, grow big. To this first man God communicated directly and personally. God revealed all essential knowledge otherwise inaccessible to the human mind. The basic essentials of all knowledge - what is man? - WHY is he here? - what's the PURPOSE of life? - what is the WAY of life that will produce peace, health, prosperity, happiness and joy? - what is man's END - his destiny? - God revealed this basis of all knowledge to the first man.
To Adam, God revealed Himself - the Eternal Creator-Ruler of earth and all the universe. God revealed to Adam that he was, unlike animals, made in the form and shape of God with powers of mind possessed by no other physical creature; with the potential, through free choice, of developing the very character of God and of inheriting eternal life in the Kingdom of God. To Adam God revealed the way of life that would result in everything man desires: peace, enjoyable life, happiness, abundant well-being.
To produce these blessings - to be the cause of such desired effect - God had set in motion His inexorable spiritual law. But Adam listened to Satan and leaned to his own human understanding. He disobeyed God, rejected the way to every desired result, and set out on the human course of greed and vanity.
Mankind Spurns God's Way
As men began to multiply on earth, Adam's sons followed in his Satan-inspired course of human nature. Prior to Abraham, only three are mentioned as accepting God's way of life - only three during more than a third of the whole span of the history of mankind. Abel was called righteous; Enoch walked with God; and Noah was a preacher of righteousness, which is simply obedience to God's government (Ps. 119:172). Aside from these three and possibly Shem, there is no record that any man prior to Abraham yielded to the rule of the Eternal.
By the time of Abraham men had lost all knowledge of the true Creator-Ruler, His revelation of His purpose, and the way of God to peace and happiness and to life eternal. Man pursued his own ways and devices, walking contrary to the spiritual laws of God. Sin and violence filled the earth.
God Started His Nation With One Man
It was in such a world, which had strayed far from God and knowledge of the glorious benefits of God's rule and the worship of the true God, that one man was honest and upright, submissive and teachable, strong and purposeful. So God gave him a test command of obedience. 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!
And God established this man, 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 book.
What is essential to the theme of this book 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 twofold nature of His promises: "Now the Eternal 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 twofold 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 head 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.
Notice carefully! Understand these promises!
"And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Eternal 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 shalt 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, not just 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.
A carnal cynic, whose mind is hostile to God and His promises, purposes, and ways, tosses these tremendous promises aside, saying flippantly, "Oh yeah? - but what kind of 'many nations'? Twentieth-century style? Nations of 100 million or more people? Don't be ridiculous! Those men who wrote the Bible knew nothing of nations that would be 'great' by our twentieth-century standards! They referred only to little nations like there were then - nations containing no more people than a small township or county today!
"And then how much land did this promise include? Was God supposed to have promised an inheritance out of the land of Canaan, as mentioned in verse 8 of Genesis 17? And then in repromising this land to Jacob, all the land that was included was 'the land whereon thou liest' in Genesis 28:13. How much land was that? Not more than a tiny plot two feet wide, and about six feet long!"
A cynical objector actually argued thus!
So let's answer the sneering closed-minded cynic! Let's check carefully, and see precisely what was promised under this phase of the promises pertaining to race - the physical, material, national promises. I leave the checking of the spiritual phase of the promises to be explained in other booklets or articles.
How much land was promised?
A Cynic Argues
But first hear out the refutation of the criticizing cynic. "That promise," continues the objector, "of 'many nations' was written in Hebrew, and the Hebrew word for 'nation' is goi, and for more than one, plural, it is goiim. It merely means some people - it could mean just a little handful of Abraham's children and grandchildren."
I mention this because a self-professed "scholar" did one time make this very ridiculous statement and professed to reject this entire important truth on these arguments primarily. If the reader cares to check up on this Hebrew goi he will find it means "nation" - or, in the plural, "nations" or "peoples," without regard to size of population. This is the word most often used - actually hundreds of times in the Old Testament - for the various nations of the world, including the largest nations. In the prophecy of Joel 3, verse 2, God says He will gather "all nations." That is speaking of a time yet future, in this twentieth century - and the Hebrew goiim is used. There the word goiim includes such nations as Russia, Germany, Italy, China, India - pretty big nations.
But God promised that Abraham's literal, human, flesh-and-blood descendants should become "a great nation" (Gen. 12:2); that He would "multiply thee exceedingly" (Gen. 17:2); that "thou shalt be a father of many nations" (verse 4); and that "I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee" (verse 6). As we proceed along with other promises and prophecies, we shall see that biblical language describes these as great and large nations.
And how much land? In Genesis 17:8, God promised "all the land of Canaan," but in other scriptures He promised much more. In Genesis 15:18: "In the same day the Eternal made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt [the Nile] unto the great river, the river Euphrates." The Euphrates is a considerable distance to the east in the ancient land of Babylon, which is today Iraq - considerably east of Palestine.
But all of this objector's arguments are refuted and made ridiculous by the very next verse from the one he quoted when he said that all that was promised was a plot about 2 x 6 feet. He could have read this next verse: "And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south" (Gen. 28:14).
Here the size of the "many nations" is compared to the number of grains of dust of the earth. Elsewhere God compared the populations of these promised nations to the grains of sand on a seashore and to the stars - uncountable for multitude.
As we proceed, the magnitude and the reality of these promises will become quite evident.
Not Fulfilled in Jews
Again, notice carefully - the Jews have never been more than one nation. They are not, and never have been, many nations. So here is an amazing prophecy, a solemn promise from Almighty God, that could not be fulfilled in Christ, in Christians, nor in the Jews. We must look for a number of nations apart from either the Church or the Jews. Amazing as it is, we must do it or deny God's promise!
God put Abraham to the test, and Abraham, through faith, obeyed - even to being willing to sacrifice his only son, if need be. And after that the covenant no longer was conditional. Now it became UNCONDITIONAL.
"By myself have I sworn, saith the Eternal, for BECAUSE thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies [or, as correctly translated in the Revised Standard Version, "And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies." The Fenton translation renders it: "And your race shall possess the gates of its enemies" - so far the material, national promises of race]; and in thy seed [Christ] shall all the nations of the earth be blessed [this promise is spiritual, of grace]; because thou hast obeyed my voice" (Gen. 22:16-18).
The promise now is UNconditional. God has sworn to make it good. God does not promise these things IF Abraham or his children do certain things. He promises them to Abraham BECAUSE he already has performed his part of the agreement. If these promises could be broken or annulled, then no promise in the Bible is sure!
These promises cannot be broken or annulled. Not if it be true that "heaven and earth shall pass, but my word shall NOT pass away." Now God must perform His part without fail.
Notice an additional detail of the promise - the nations who are Abraham's racial descendants are to possess the gates of their enemies. A gate is a narrow passage of entrance or exit. When speaking nationally, a "gate" would be such a pass as the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, the Strait of Gibraltar. This promise is repeated in Genesis 24:60 to Abraham's daughter-in-law: "Be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them."
Notice, Abraham's descendants would possess vital geographic passageways of their enemies - "those which hate them." This has never been fulfilled in the Jews, nor could it be fulfilled after Jesus Christ returns to rule the nations and establish world peace. This promise could only be fulfilled in the present world or else we must deny the Bible as God's revealed Word. We must look for a people forming more than one nation - yet all one people, children of Abraham - either now or in history who possess the sea gateways of the world, or we must deny the Word of God. It is a test of the inspiration of the Bible and of God's power to rule this world!
A Nation and a Company of Nations
These tremendous promises were repromised to Isaac and to Jacob. Ishmael and Abraham's other sons were rejected from this birthright. Esau, Isaac's son and Jacob's twin brother, sold it and was rejected. The promise, as confirmed to Isaac, is recorded in Genesis 26:3-5: "I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; and I will make thy seed to MULTIPLY as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries. . . ." Notice! Twice God promised "all these countries." That is millions of times larger than the 2 x 6-foot plot our "intellectual" cynic contended for. Also, Isaac's descendants were to "MULTIPLY as the stars of heaven." That's thousands of times larger than a tiny "township."
To Jacob it is repeated in Genesis 27:26-29, where MATERIAL blessing of wealth in the things of the ground is added, with the prophecy that heathen nations shall be ruled by the birthright nations of Israel. "Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness [margin: fat places] of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee."
To Spread Worldwide
And we find the promises again in Genesis 28:13-14, where the added detail that these nations of Israel shall eventually spread around the world is recorded. "And, behold, the Eternal . . . said, I am the Eternal God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. . . ."
The original Hebrew for "spread abroad" means "to break forth." This promise places no limit on how far east, west, north and south Jacob's descendants should spread. Thus it indicates they would spread around the earth. This is confirmed in Romans 4:13: "For the promise, that he [Abraham] should be the heir of the world. . . ."
But this is not a promise that Abraham's descendants should inherit, own, and possess the whole of the earth, leaving nothing for Gentiles - that is, prior to the new earth - but rather that, in years and centuries to come, they would spread and occupy certain areas in various parts of the earth. Yet, the new earth - after the millennium - will be inhabited only by those who shall be Abraham's children through Christ (Rom. 4:13).
There is a phase of this prophecy heretofore utterly overlooked - not before understood. Indeed these birthright Israelitish nations have spread to and occupied various lands or areas in many locations around the world. This occurred after they were - 721-718 B.C. - driven in a captivity out of their own promised land of Samaria in Palestine. The next verses in Genesis 28 complete this phase of the prophecy. "And, behold," God continued, "I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest [God is here referring, not to Jacob personally, but his descendants who were to spread abroad in all directions], and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of" (verse 15).
This generally unnoticed, but significant prophecy will be fulfilled at the second coming of Christ. It is explained further in Jeremiah 23:7-8, and 50:4-6, 19-20, and other prophecies.
Repromised to Jacob
Still later, God appeared to Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, even further defining the makeup of these "many nations" thus: "And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; A NATION and a COMPANY OF NATIONS shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins" (Gen. 35:11). The Moffatt translation renders it "a nation, [and] a group of nations." The Fenton rendering is "a nation and an Assembly of Nations." The RSV translates it as in the Authorized Version, above quoted. So the "many nations" are eventually to take shape as a nation - one great, wealthy, powerful nation - and another company of nations - a group, or commonwealth of nations.
Mark carefully this crucial fact! This is basic, if you are to grasp the all-important key to all prophecy - the very key to the real meaning of the unprecedented world events of the present. This promise never has been fulfilled in the Jews. It cannot be "spiritualized" away by interpreting it as being inherited only through Christ. It could not pertain to the Church, for there is but one true Church acknowledged in the Bible, and it is not a nation, or a group of nations, but one Church of called-out individuals scattered through all nations. Yet this amazing promise MUST stand fulfilled, unless we are to deny the Bible and God's sacred Word!
Here is the enigma of the ages! Is this a divine promise unkept? Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll lost faith in God and rejected the Bible because they believed these national promises were never fulfilled.
The very fate of the Bible as the revealed Word of God - the evidence of the existence of God - hangs on the answer to this momentous question. The Jewish people did not fulfill these promises. The promises do not refer to the Church. The world with its great church leaders does not know of any such fulfillment. Did God fail? Or has He made good this colossal promise unknown to the world? The true answer is the most astonishing revelation of Bible truth, of prophecy, and of unrecognized history?