Israel's Advantage: Part 4
Jun 26, 2007
To have a proper perspective of the divine plan of the past 2000 years, Israel's advantage must always be viewed side by side with the advantages and disadvantages of Pentecost in which Israel has lived since Acts 2.
In other words, Israel may have an advantage in that the Gospel went to them first, but this did not mean they would all pursue the advantages of the Gospel--at least not during the Pentecostal Age. The Gospel went to Israel simply because they were the ones called to dispense the Gospel to the rest of the world, according to the Abrahamic Covenant. But how were they to do that, if they did not themselves believe the Gospel? And even if they did believe it, there were many more pitfalls to overcome before they could fulfill this calling.
First, they had to secure a footing in the Roman world before sending out missionaries elsewhere. This was not really accomplished until the fourth century, when the Church won its battle with the Roman government. But once they gained favor with the government, they bogged down in never-ending controversies over heresies and doctrinal disputes. This continued for centuries until it climaxed with the Spanish Inquisition in the 13th century.
When the New World was discovered in 1492, the Spanish explorers came with troops and priests to convert the local people by conquest. This was a strange way to fulfill the Abrahamic responsibility. Of course, they thought of themselves as being far-sighted, because they figured that the short-term pain would be offset by the long-term blessing in generations to come. After a few generations, the people would be firmly entrenched in the Roman Church and would then believe that the conquerors did them a favor by showing them the true religion.
Many Protestants at first were not much different in their thinking, but having the Scriptures, there came to be an increasing number of them who truly had a heart for people. Yet the Church was mixed in the 1800's, providing a very strange contradiction in the world. On the one hand there were devout Christians who bought and sold slaves, while on the other hand, there were missionaries to Africa who were willing to give their lives for the African people--who, even then, were being kidnapped and shipped to the New World as slaves. Such lawless tactics could never bring about the Kingdom of God without some serious negative side effects, which we are seeing even today in the form of racial conflicts.
Essentially, the problem was that many Christians understood their "advantage" to be in the context of racial superiority. They saw the "white man's burden" in the context of bringing the Gospel and civilization to those who were somewhat less than human. They believed that non-white people were incapable of sustaining either Christianity or civilization without a continual and never-ending oversight of the white man.
This was not what God had in mind when He told Abraham to be a blessing to all families of the earth. But the earth had only known a history of monarchs who ruled with similar views about the "commoners." Europe had had a long history of believing in the inherent "right" of kings to rule the lower forms of humanity. The Roman Church had fallen into the same kind of thinking in the spiritual realm. So men had been conditioned to think in this way for many centuries by the time the modern missionary movements began.
I will say also that, human nature being what it is, the problem of Judaism, with its traditions of men and its views of superiority over other men, were matched by the Church in the Pentecostal Age.
Thus, these ex-Israelites of the dispersion found it difficult to break away and find a new path that was more akin to that of Jesus Christ. There were those who did, however, and these have made their impact upon the world that continues even today.
Throughout all of this, nonetheless, the divine plan plodded on in the world. The New World was a geographical picture of Joseph, who was "separate from his brethren" (Gen. 49:26). Even as Joseph had two sons who formed two full tribes in Israel, so also did North America split into two brother-nations. Moses blessed these two tribes of Joseph in Deut. 33:17, saying,
"As the firstborn of his ox [Britain], majesty is his; and his horns [Ephraim and Manasseh] are the horns of the wild ox; with them he shall push the peoples, all at once, to the ends of the earth [the New World]. And those are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and those are thethousands of Manasseh."
It is of interest that the United States and Canada have always had approximately a 10:1 population differential. The USA now has about 300 million people, while Canada has about 30 million.
While I do not think that the populations of these nations are genealogically descended from Ephraim and Manasseh, they seem to be fulfilling national promises and prophecies from ancient times. The International Peace Arch at the border in Vancouver, BC reads on one side: "Children of a Common Mother." The other side reads, "Brothers dwelling together in unity." We share the longest undefended border in the world.
Geographically speaking, Joseph's brothers are manifested in the European nations, while Jacob himself (Great Britain) is positioned at the head of Europe. The British flag is called "Union Jack," and Jack is a shortened version of JACOB. Even the name Brit-ish is from the Hebrew that means Covenant-man. (See Strong's #1285 and #376.) To show all the Israelite connections with the other European nations would require more space than we have available here.
The point of this is to show that God has been working with those physical ex-Israelites of the dispersion, imperfect as they are and have been for the past 2,500 years. They have been given OPPORTUNITY to fulfill the covenant that God made with Abraham, but they have only been very partially successful in this. The problem has been first that many of them are not believers at all. Secondly, the believers who are genuinely justified by faith are not all led by the Spirit or have an ability to hear His voice.
This becomes understandable when we study the nature of Pentecost as well as the Old Testament types and shadows of Pentecost--such as King Saul, Ishmael, and Samson. (I covered these in my book, The Wheat and Asses of Pentecost.) Though Pentecost was a genuine festival of Israel that prophesied of a genuine anointing to come, it was also shown to be mixed with leaven and therefore imperfect. Thus, in the march of history, we see clearly the results of that leaven in the Church under the anointing of Pentecost throughout the past 2,000 years.
The feast of Tabernacles is now emerging as the Pentecostal Age comes to a close. A great paradigm shift is occurring in this generation as the overcomers learn to bring the decrees of heaven into the earth by the authority that has now been given to them.
The overcomers, like Caleb and Joshua, are the ones who have the vision and ability to move beyond Passover and Pentecost, having the level of faith necessary to go all the way into the Promised Land.
The ex-Israelites of the dispersion had first opportunity to become re-instated as Israelites by the three steps manifested through the three feasts of Israel. A few have done so. Others from other nations have taken the opportunity as well, particularly in more recent years. Together, God has raised up people of every tongue and nation, reserving for Himself a cross-section of humanity to rule all nations in the age to come.
This is the fourth part of a series titled "Israel's Advantage." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones