Manifestation of The Heavenly Kingdom (2) The Choosing Of Israel
From the Old Testament we see that the origins of earthly kingdoms all carry the element of arrogance of Man elevating himself and rejecting God. Of course, the establishment of kingdoms also progressed through political, economic, social, military and cultural components. During the patriarchs¡¦ period (Genesis Ch. 12-50), there already existed the various rulers of Egypt and Canaan, such as in the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah. The earliest international conflict recorded in the Bible was the battle between the four kings and the five kings in Genesis Ch. 14. At the same time, God started searching mankind for someone in His favour with whom to set up a covenant, so that through him and his descendants God¡¦s plan for salvation and His eternal Kingdom might be displayed. In the end, through Abram¡¦s faith and submission, the Lord¡¦s will was able to be carried out in the land. When God called on Abram, he had not yet had a son through Sarai. But God promised him, ¡§I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.¡¨ (Genesis 12:2) God wanted to make a covenant with him, so that he would be the father of many nations, his descendants would be multitudinous, nations would be formed through him, and kings would come from him. (17:4,6) God also said, ¡§Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.¡¨ (18:18)
When it came time for Abraham¡¦s grandson Jacob, God again promised him, ¡§I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body.¡¨ (35:11) It can be seen that the Lord¡¦s will for His Kingdom continued to be brought progressively to light through the persons of Abraham¡¦s descendents. From the following passages, we can discern God¡¦s later plan for His Kingdom through His choosing of Israel:
1. The revelation shown through God¡¦s naming of Jacob as Israel ¡V ¡§Israel¡¨ means ¡§The Prince of God¡¨ or ¡§He rules like God¡¨. Jacob saw God face to face but kept his life, and even received a new name from the Lord. From the meaning of the name it is obvious that God wanted to relay intimations on governing a nation through him. (32:28-30) ¡§God said to him, "Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel." So He named him Israel.¡¨ (35:10) This clearly indicates that God wants to use His chosen people on earth to be the testimony for His glory, able to govern His Kingdom.
2. Israel is also called the divisions of Jehovah ¡V ¡§At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord's divisions left Egypt.¡¨ (Exodus 12:41) Jehovah is indeed the king of this army. God wants to lead His people.
3. From Moses¡¦ song of praises to God, we see that God is a warrior and a king ¡V ¡§The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is His name. ¡§ (Exodus 15:3) ¡§The Lord will reign for ever and ever.¡¨ (Exodus 15:18) We observe the longing of Man for God to be King.
4. When God redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt, and decreed the Law to them at Mount Sinai through Moses, He told them, ¡§You will for me be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.¡¨ (Exodus 19:6) God wants the Israelites to be a holy nation belonging to Him on earth, and to be His witnesses.
When God picked Israel and his descendants to be His chosen people, the progression of His plan for salvation and eternal kingdom moved forward a step. His wish is to bring Man into the Kingdom of His beloved Son from the power of darkness, and to call Man back to Him as a holy nation, so that they can serve and revere this eternal ruler.
By: Daniel To