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Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

THE NATION of Israel occupies an important place in God’s Plan – spanning the Jewish, Gospel and Millennial Ages. This will become apparent as we examine God’s ten purposes as they relate to fleshly Israel:

(1.) To give the Old Testament revelations in writing. From the time that God first indicated His purpose to destroy evil through The Christ (Genesis 3: 15) until He gave us the last revelations of the Gospel Age, covers a period of about 4225 years. The Jewish Age covers a period of 1845 years, and during about 1200 of these years God caused by far the largest, though not the clearest, parts of His revelation to be placed in writing – the 39 books of the Old Testament. 

This writing began with Moses at Mt. Sinai in 1615 B.C., and was completed by Malachi about 400 B.C. Everything in the Old Testament is revelatory – even its histories, which typed coming features and phases of God’s Plan. For example, the deliverance of Israel from Pharaoh’s power types the deliverance of all who will ever become God’s people from Satan’s power. The various features of the Law Covenant type the various features of the New Covenant. The journey from the Red Sea to Sinai types certain general features of the Gospel Age.              

(2.) To select Israel to be the custodian of His oracles. Romans 3: 1, 2 reads: “What advantage then hath the Jew? . . . Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” This passage indicates that the Old Testament was committed to Israel, as its caretaker and preserver. While faithful, they cared for and preserved these writings; but during periods of their apostasy, they almost lost them. From shortly after the death of Joshua until after the exile, except during times of reformation, Israel was careless of its duties as custodian of God’s oracles. But after the exile, they guarded the Old Testament with most jealous care, so when the Gospel Church became the custodian of God’s oracles, Israel transmitted to the Church the Old Testament complete.    

(3.) To demonstrate man’s sinfulness, inability to save himself by the works of the Law and his need of a Savior. Romans 3: 9-28; 7: 5 – 8: 4; and Galatians 2: 16 – 3: 25 proves the above statement. God knew that only a perfect man could keep the Law perfectly, but fallen human beings generally do not know or believe this to be true. Therefore, God designed to prove it by an actual experiment; so He selected Israel, the least fallen of all the nations, put them under the most favorable conditions and then offered them eternal life if they would keep the Law. This He continued to do for 1647 years – from 1615 B.C. until 33 A.D. The result was complete failure, something foreknown by God. Many made a noble effort, but none could gain life by the deeds of the Law.                                                                            

(4.) To demonstrate the righteousness of Him that kept the Law. None of Adam’s fallen race could fulfill the Law, so in due time God caused the Logos, the Word, to become flesh – human (John 1: 14). Ages before, the Logos had been created by, and was with, the Father, and had been His Special Representative in the works of creation, providence and revelation. But He divested Himself of His pre-human nature, office and honor to become a human being, born of the Virgin Mary, but not begotten by a human father. With God as His Father, He was born perfect and grew up to perfect manhood – sinless. 

This enabled Him to fulfill the Law, but instead of using His “right to human life” for Himself, He sacrificed this right that the condemned world might obtain it as a gift from God and Himself. By sin Adam forfeited his right to life for himself and his race; but by righteousness Jesus, maintaining His right to life, sacrificed it through death that He might give that right as a purchase price to Divine Justice as an equivalent for Adam’s forfeited life.                                       

(5.) To complete the selection of the Ancient Worthies. Some Ancient Worthies were won prior to the Jewish Age, but not enough to supply the required number for their Millennial and post-Millennial work. Therefore the majority of them were selected during the Jewish Age (Hebrews 11: 22-40). These are the ones who sought faithfully to keep the Law, in faith embraced the Abrahamic promises and faithfully sought to serve God. They finished their course in death to await the completion and glorification of the Church, after which they will receive the blessings God has in store for them (Hebrews 11: 39, 40).                                                      

(6.) To gather the Israelites indeed as symbolic wheat into the garner of the Christian Church. This work is designated as a harvest work (Matthew 9: 36-38; John 4: 34-38). The Jewish nation represented a wheat field, and the sown seed was the Word of Truth, which produced ripened wheat in the obedient – Israelites indeed (John 1: 47). Throughout the Jewish Age the sowing and growing went on. When Christ and the Apostles came on the scene, they preached the Kingdom of God, and the Israelites indeed responded. 

The sickle was the Word of Truth; Jesus, the Apostles and their co-laborers were the reapers; and the work of winning Israelites for the Lord by the Truth was the reaping. This work began at our Lord’s baptism, when He was won as the first ripe grain of wheat in Israel. At Pentecost the work expanded and by 69 A.D. all of the ripe wheat in Palestine and in all other countries had been reaped. But reaping is only the first of seven harvest processes. This is followed by the symbolic sheaving, drying, threshing, winnowing, sifting and finally garnering, which corresponds to their transfer into the Church at Pentecost and afterwards.                                                                                                         

(7.) To destroy as symbolic chaff the unfaithful Israelites nationally and as God’s people. John the Baptist mentions this phase of the harvest work as accompanying the phase just considered (Matthew 3: 12). He compares our Lord to a winnower who with his fan and shovel thoroughly purges the threshing floor and burns up the chaff. The fan and shovel of God’s Word and providences – strife and other troubles – separated the chaff, the unfaithful Israelites, from the wheat, the faithful Israelites. The latter were gathered into the garner of the Christian Church by the baptism of the Spirit, and the former were hurled into the destructive war with the Romans, 66-73 A.D., the baptism of fire, whereby they were burned up as chaff – destroyed as a nation and as God’s people.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

(8.)  To reject Israel as a nation and people from the Gospel Age spiritual purposes, and keep the bulk of the Jews in partial blindness during the Gospel Age. Toward the close of our Lord’s earthly ministry He presented Himself to the fleshly house of Israel as their typical King, but they rejected Him (John 1: 11). He in turn rejected them as a nation (Matthew 23: 37-39). They had been offered the privilege of being the kingdom of Priests that would in due time make reconciliation between God and the world, but God took this privilege away from them as a nation and gave it to Spiritual Israel – The Christ, Head and Body (Matthew 21: 43). Since then they remained in partial blindness until the fullness of the Gentiles came in (Romans 11: 25).                                                                                                                                    

(9.) To restore the Jews to their land and to God’s favor. From the death of Jacob until the death of Jesus – a period of 1845 years – God favored the fleshly seed of Abraham, the nation of Israel. But that favor was lost, beginning in 33 A.D. Since 1878, a parallel time of 1845 years had been reached, when the time for God’s favor to begin to return to Israel was due. We see this fulfilling today as is evidenced by their blindness gradually being turned away and their gradual return to their land. When Israel is completely recovered from their blindness they will accept their Messiah (Zechariah 12: 10), and will have their sins forgiven under the New Covenant (Romans 11: 26, 27).  

(10.) To become missionaries under the Ancient and Youthful Worthies. Following the resurrection of the Ancient and Youthful Worthies – the earthly phase of God’s Kingdom – the New Covenant will be established with the nation of Israel first (Jeremiah 31: 31-34). As the leading nation and the first to receive restitution blessings, they will act as missionaries under the Worthies to convert the other nations to Christ; and as they individually renounce sin and accept the Covenant and its Mediator, they will receive its blessings.

We note that God has successfully fulfilled His first eight purposes. May we rest assured that He will fulfill His final two purposes in due time!