Why Did God Raise Up the Nation Israel — and Deny Them Spiritual Salvation?
by Herbert W. Armstrong
Published in the Good News Magazine, May 1984
Did anyone ever think to ask WHY God raised up the ancient nation Israel, denying them His Holy Spirit and eternal salvation – except their prophets only?
Why “chosen people”?
WHY were Old Testament Israelites called God’s “chosen people” —and still denied the Holy Spirit to beget them into eternal life?
“Chosen”—for what? To be teacher’s pet? For special favors above other nations? Was God a respecter of nations?
To understand, we need to start with Adam and Eve. It is an intriguing story, and I have never seen it put together in this manner before. The true reason for ancient Israel is an integral part of God’s supreme master plan.
And did you ever realize that the Holy Bible is the book of and concerning that one nation ISRAEL? And that the Bible mentions other nations only if and as they came into contact with Israel?
The truly amazing truth about Israel is totally unrealized by any religion—by any denomination in traditional Christianity—or even by Judaism.
And here’s another shocker for you—also unrealized by any, including Judaism—the kingdom of Israel was not Jewish! The first place in the Bible that the word Jews is used is II Kings 16:6, where Israel is at war against the Jews!
It is indeed true that the nation Israel was God’s chosen people. But understand this: They were not chosen as teacher’s pet or for special favors. They were chosen for a special purpose preparatory to the Kingdom of God—a purpose they on their part refused to comply with.
It is an intriguing story. And it has great significance in God’s overall PURPOSE for all peoples!
First humans perfect physically
God is REPRODUCING HIMSELF in and through MAN! God’s ultimate purpose is breathtaking—the seemingly incredible transcendent potential of man.
The establishment of the ancient nation of Israel is an integral part of God’s supreme master plan.
So now, to understand, and bring into mind the background, we go back a bit briefly.
God created our first parents, Adam and Eve, as perfect specimens physically and mentally. Yet they were but unfinished pieces of God’s workmanship. Spiritual character was yet to be built into them and their offspring. In this humans are required to perform their own vital part.
Physically this perfectly created pair had no chronic ailments or tendencies toward physical illness or disease. That is testified in part by the fact that Adam lived to be 930 years of age. And for nearly 2,000 years the life span averaged close to 900 years!
Think of it! The first created man lived more than one sixth of all the time from his creation until now! Adam and Eve had a number of sons and daughters, but only three sons are named in the record.
Bear this in mind: Adam and Eve had rejected God as revealer of basic knowledge—rejected His government. They had chosen the “GET” way of life—the self-centered way of vanity, covetousness, envy and jealousy, competition leading to strife, violence and destruction and rebellion against authority.
Their first son, Cain, became a murderer and a liar. Although his murdered brother Abel was called “righteous Abel” by Jesus, humanity, descending at a rapid birthrate, became more and more violent.
Actually, from the time of Adam until Noah—some 1,500 or more years—only one man, Enoch, “walked with God.”
By the time of Noah, a population explosion was taking place on earth—even as it is again today. It is recorded: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth”— human thought and interests were “only evil continually. . . . The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. . . . for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Genesis 6:5, 11-12).
This lawless universal corruption and violence was inflicting pain, suffering, anguish, frustration upon an evil humanity. It seems humanity never realizes the GET way—transgression of God’s law—inflicts increasing suffering on its perpetrators —and on others.
This corruption and violence had become so universal that God determined to spare humanity from suffering longer in the mounting misery and anguish.
God took away their miserable lives by the earthwide flood, to be resurrected in the next second of their consciousness in the Great White Throne resurrection of the book of Revelation, chapter 20, verses 11-12. They will be brought back to life in a time when Christ is ruling the earth in righteousness, peace and happiness. Satan will be gone. Their minds then will be opened to God’s TRUTH, and eternal salvation opened to them.
But God intended to preserve human life—and, as it were, to give humanity a new and fresh start.
One man only, Noah, was perfect in his “generations.” That is, his heredity, ancestry.
It is amply evident that by the time of Noah there were at least the three major racial strains on earth—the white, yellow and black. All others in our 20th century have come from interracial breeding.
God does not reveal in the Bible the precise origin of the different races. It is evident that Adam and Eve were created white. God’s chosen nation Israel was white. Jesus was white. But it is a fair conjecture that in mother Eve were created ovaries containing the yellow and black genes, as well as white, so that some of the children of Adam and Eve were black and some yellow, as well as some white.
At least, by the time of Noah, men “took them wives of all which they chose” (Genesis 6:2). The very fact of the insertion of the words which they chose implies they chose wives God did not intend for them to marry. There was every kind of evil and violence at the time. Jesus, some 2,000 years later, said, looking into this END time of the late 20th century, just before His coming to establish the KINGDOM OF GOD and restore the GOVERNMENT of God, that conditions would be as in the days of Noah—”they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matthew 24:38).
In what way did eating and drinking and marrying have to do with the extreme evils that caused God to blot out the lives of all earth’s people, except the eight of Noah’s family? To eat wholesome food and drink pure water is necessary to sustain life and is GOOD. God Himself established the institution of marriage and made it holy matrimony.
But there was something contrary to GOD’S WAY in the manner in which they were eating, drinking and marrying, in Noah’s time. Like today, “eating and drinking” evidently had become a custom of the type of revelings listed as “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19-21 and I Peter 4:3. In the latter passage, Peter speaks of “when we walked in licentiousness [lawlessness and crime], lusts [violations of the Tenth Commandment], drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.” Verse 4 terms these as a “flood of dissipation.”
Now Jesus drank wine—but in proper moderation. I frequently have attended banquets at which were present royalty and men high in government—at which only proper food and a minimum of wine have been served—and all were completely sober, discussing vital questions for the general good. Like marriage, none of these is WRONG—in moderation. God teaches moderation and temperance—not drunkenness, rioting, senseless drunken reveling like some do on New Year’s Eve today.
Marriage is not wrong in itself. Yet, according to Jesus, one of the things evil and wrong in Noah’s day was “marrying and giving in marriage.” Genesis 6:2 reveals HOW and WHY! They were marrying wives “of all whom they chose.” They were choosing the wrong wives. HOW? God had intended NO MONGRELIZATION in human reproduction.
The one man God chose to PRESERVE the human race alive was perfect in his generations—all his ancestry back to Adam was of the one strain, and undoubtedly that happened to be white—not that white is in any sense superior.
If you are a livestock breeder, planning to enter your prize animals in a livestock show—perhaps at a state fair— you will be sure to enter only thoroughbred or pedigreed stock! Mixing the breed tends toward degeneration.
God originally set the bounds of national borders, intending nations to be SEPARATED and prevent interracial marriage. Notice: “When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations [speaking of land or geographical boundaries], when he separated [notice—He separated] the sons of Adam, he set the boundaries of the peoples” (Deuteronomy 32:8).
But people wanted to intermarry—until there would be only ONE RACE!
That desire seems inherent in human nature today!
God scatters humanity
Noah was of a perfect lineage—in his generations. His wife and three sons were of that same pure white strain. But Japheth evidently had married a yellow woman and Ham a black.
Soon after the Flood, the world’s small population was all of one language and gathered together building the Tower of Babel. Their purpose? “Lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4).
But God said: “The people are one, and they have all one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be restrained from them” (verse 6). This expresses how great God made the mind of man.
But, just as God created varieties in many species of flowers and of animals—for example, many varieties and colors of roses—for greater beauty, so God created the three races and colors of human skin. God intended to prevent racial intermarriages. But man has always wanted to violate God’s laws, intentions and ways.
So God compelled a scattering by mixing their language. “So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city” (verse 8).
Today the English language is fast becoming the chief international language. Men are entering mixed marriages and starting to get back to one worldwide language.
Shem, the son of Noah who had married a white woman, may have continued for some time in the knowledge and perhaps worship of God. But there is no record of any walking with God until Abraham, whom God specially called to have a function preparatory to the Kingdom of God. But the pure white strain probably was retained until Abraham.
Abram, as he was originally named, was not seeking God. But God called Abram to leave the land of his father and kindred and go to a land God would show him—the “promised land” of Palestine. Without protest or question, Abram obeyed and went. And through his obedience and faith in God, Abraham became the “father of the faithful.” To him God made the promises of both the national Israel birthright and the “scepter” promise of eternal salvation to come through Jesus Christ.
Israel raised up
Four hundred thirty years after Abraham, 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 specially for this commission by having him reared as a prince in the palace of the Egyptian pharaoh.
So now again we come to the question, WHY did God raise up this special Hebrew nation as “the chosen people”? WHY, when God never made accessible to them His Holy Spirit?
One point to notice here. The probability is that these people were all—or nearly all—of the white color strain, unchanged since creation.
After Jacob and his sons and families had come into Egypt at Joseph’s behest, they were kept in the locale of Goshen— geographically separated from the Egyptians, marrying among themselves.
In this connection, go back momentarily to Abraham. He prevented his son Isaac from intermarrying among the black Canaanites then in Palestine. He sent his chief servant to his own family and racial people to find a wife for Isaac. Abraham said, “You will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell” (Genesis 24:3).
The next generation, Jacob married Leah and Rachel, daughters of Laban, nephew of Abraham, who lived in the land of Haran, brother of Abraham. The whole community of Haran, where Laban lived, was of the same family ancestry as Abraham.
Jacob had six sons by Leah, two from Rachel—all of the same original racial stock, and two each from the maids of Rachel and Leah—12 in all. Even the maids of Leah and Rachel probably were of pure Hebrew stock.
But God specially prepared from birth and called Moses, with Aaron his brother to assist as his spokesman. Moses stuttered.
In the plagues God caused against Egypt, God was turning the Egyptian gods and objects of worship against them to show them that these were not gods. Even the plagues were sent in LOVE for the Egyptians.
The final plague occurred on the eve of the 14th day of the sacred month—starting in the spring. The Israelites went out of Egypt during the night part of the 15th. They reached the Red Sea. But the pharaoh had meanwhile changed his mind, and with his army pursued after them.
The children of Israel had reached the Red Sea, and there 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 form a watered WALL on either side, with a wide path on the dry sea bottom between.
The Israelites walked on through. On the opposite side they looked and saw the pharaoh and his army entering the sea-floor path. When they were all within the sea-wall passage, God allowed the waters to flow back, drowning the Egyptian army with its pharaoh.
In due time the Israelites pitched tents at the foot of Mt. Sinai.
God’s covenant with Israel
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 nation on earth. Yet all God’s PROMISES were of a national and material nature—not spiritual salvation. They agreed. Thus they became God’s chosen nation.
This we know: God’s purpose for them had a definite relation to preparing for the ultimate KINGDOM OF GOD—when the GOVERNMENT OF GOD would be reestablished over all the earth, and spiritual salvation would be offered to ALL!
Undoubtedly one reason was to preserve the original racial strain. But there was much more.
Nations had developed knowledge. Mankind was limited, after Adam’s rebellion, to the acquisition of physical and material knowledge.
But, like educated men and scientists today, they were saying, “Give us sufficient knowledge, and we will solve all problems and eradicate all sickness, diseases and evils—we will create Utopia!”
Up to that time, mankind had been denied spiritual knowledge. 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 things of God.
He was going to demonstrate to them that the mind of MAN, with its one spirit and without the addition of God’s Holy Spirit, could not have spiritual discernment, could not solve human problems, could not cure the evils that were besetting humanity. The nation Israel would be His “guinea pig” to demonstrate that fact. God had chosen a nation of almost perfect original strain in its generations—its ancestry. Also they had the quality heredity of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel).
So God entered into a covenant with them, making them HIS NATION. It also represented a MARRIAGE covenant, with Israel the wife promising obedience to her husband—GOD. It was the physical type of the yet-to-come NEW COVENANT.
And what did it prove?
Here was a people of almost clear racial strain, and the superior heredity of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Two requisites make a human whatever he becomes in life—heredity and environment. Heredity has been inherited by birth in the areas of intelligence and character from parents. Environment includes all external influences and self-determined characteristics— whether good or evil.
Heredity—if of good and high quality—may start one off at a great advantage—but an evil environment and self-motivation may turn one into a failure in life, or an evil nature.
But God started off His chosen nation Israel with all the natural advantages of a superior heredity.
Kingdom being prepared
Now WHY? Why did God prepare and raise up this nation ISRAEL?
Why did God create mankind in the first place? God is reproducing Himself, to create in mankind God’s own perfect, righteous and holy character—and that in turn to 1) restore His government over the whole earth—in order, ultimately, to produce, create, billions of God beings to finish the creation of the unfinished vast universe—and 2) to create even more, which God has not chosen as yet to reveal to us!
Everything God has done, since the creation of the first humans, after God’s own image and likeness, has been another progressive step in that overall supreme purpose!
The immediate purpose, so far in the history of mankind, is to prepare for THE KINGDOM OF GOD, which will restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD earthwide!
The Kingdom of God is the actual begotten and born FAMILY OF GOD. which will first actually appear by a resurrection and instantaneous translation at Christ’s Second Coming! And by begotten and BORN sons of God, emphatically I do NOT mean those deceived into the current “born-again” teaching—that anyone who “receives Christ” is already, in this present human life, “born again.” THAT IS A PARAMOUNT DECEPTION by which Satan the devil has DECEIVED those (the many in a so-called “Christianity”) who have “accepted” a false conversion. They may be well meaning—but nevertheless DECEIVED! And of course a deceived person does not know he is deceived—he may be wholly sincere!
But now THINK! How does the Old Testament nation Israel play a part in progressively preparing for the Kingdom of God?
Israel the example
First, Abraham was a man of very outstanding qualifying abilities. Undoubtedly he, with his sons Isaac and Israel, shall, in the resurrection and the Kingdom of God, occupy a position next under Christ Himself. The Kingdom of God will be a spiritual Kingdom including both Church and State—earthwide. 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 has spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8). But they broke their word and rebelled.
They were in a “husband-and-wife” relationship with God. But God said of them, ” ‘Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel,’ ” (Jeremiah 3:20).
But—nevertheless, the old covenant with Israel at Sinai was a type and forerunner of the NEW COVENANT to be made with the New Testament CHURCH, which is the spiritual Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 31:31, Hebrews 8:6, 10).
However, a 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” (Ephesians 2:20). Among them, Elijah probably will be head, under Christ and Abraham-Isaac-Israel, over the Church, worldwide, in the Kingdom of God, with John the Baptist under Elijah. There are indications that the prophet Daniel will be head over all gentile nations, and under Moses and Christ.
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 several 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!
Man needs Holy Spirit
I have spoken, during the past 15 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.
The problems and evils are of a spiritual nature. And a carnal mind, without God’s Holy Spirit, cannot come to grips with spiritual evils.
The many decades and centuries of ancient Israel PROVED THAT! The scholarly think they do not NEED God’s Holy Spirit. But, until Israel, God withheld knowledge of the right ways of government from mankind. But to Israel God gave His statutes and judgments, as well as His spiritual law. But these perfect laws did not, sans God’s Holy Spirit, solve the 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. Only their prophets had the Holy Spirit!
That lesson PROVED, God has given those in His Church His Holy Spirit!