Some of the more unambiguous prophecies God gives involve His dealings with the nation with whom He entered into a marriage covenant. “Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel …” (Jeremiah 3:20). God chose Israel to be a nation representing Him (Deuteronomy 7:6-8).
The long-term implication of this relationship carries forward into the New Testament Church. The Apostle Peter repeats this statement about the Church (1 Peter 2:9). This represents stages in the development of the relationship.
The stage that is important to us is this present age – described as the “time of the end”. We are able to identify this time by what God is doing with His wife. Israel departed from her husband, but God remained faithful to His marriage covenant with her (see Jeremiah 3:6-14). He faithfully fulfilled His promises to Israel – in particular, the blessings promised to Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. They became the recipients of the blessings promised to Abraham.
We need to keep in mind that the greatness of the modern nations of Ephraim and Manasseh was not because of their righteousness or obedience to God. The blessings are the direct result of promises God made to Abraham. “…Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Galatians 3:6).
The Apostle Paul understood the development of the national aspect of Israel for his day. He was called to take the gospel to the Gentiles, and he knew that through Christ, all nations would be blessed (Galatians 3:8). This clearly enlarges the purpose of God’s calling of the nation beyond just the physical occupation of the land of promise.
While the blessings were not deserved, the requirement of obedience to His law remained permanent. “And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them” (Deuteronomy 28:13).
Israel fell into the “blessings trap”. They allowed their hearts to be lifted up and began to promote themselves as the source of their own power and wealth. They forgot God (Deuteronomy 8:11-18). God had warned them of what the consequences would be if this happened, “As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 8:20). They went into captivity.
However, God’s relationship with Israel has continued to this time. It is both physical and spiritual. One is the development of the other. The role model of a people representing God has been transferred to the Church (1 Peter 2:9). Remember that it is through Christ that all nations would be blessed.
The physical nations of Israel are in decline, just as God said they would be ‒ as a result of disobedience. The prophet Amos spoke of “…in that day … the days are coming…” – expressions which embrace the time of “Jacob’s trouble” which precedes Christ’s return. By even cursory observation of the world around us, we can know that we are entering those days.
What is happening on the world scene has a common denominator. “Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom. And I will destroy it from the face of the earth; Yet I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob says the Lord. For surely I will command and will sift the house of Israel among all nations … (Amos 9:8-9).
We should not get distracted by all the various “issues” that are confronting our societies. There is a common denominator and that is that they are all a part of God’s great plan of salvation. I can’t say to what degree He is causing or allowing these events, but the result is the same. Our nations are being prepared for the fulfillment of end time prophecies.
As physical Israel goes down, spiritual Israel should be getting stronger in its representative role of “proclaiming the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Christ spoke plainly of the role of the Church. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). God is preparing His Church to be set on a hill so that ultimately the Father will be glorified.
Are you ready to be a light to the world?