Mystery of Israel
(Sermon Notes)
By Warren Zehrung – July 20, 2013

There are very few people in the world who know or care who Israel is.  It is a shame because the true identity of Israel is the key to unlocking so much of God’s Word.  God has entered an eternal covenant with Israel.

The nation of Israel and its Israelitish people are a remarkable mystery to almost everyone.  The Israelitish people descended from the patriarch Abraham.

Romans 4:

11  And [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

12  And father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who [Gentiles] also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

What is the “Sign of Circumcision?”  We need to understand about God’s covenant with Israel.

Genesis 17:

9  And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

10  This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

11  And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.

The sign of circumcision is the Sign of the Covenant.

The Kingdom of God will be comprised of Abraham’s children –> Israel.  The Bible reveals that Israel is God’s chosen people.

Deuteronomy 7:

7  The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:

8  But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

A great majority of people incorrectly think that all Israelites are Jews.  Joseph had two boys born to him down in Egypt upon whom Jacob bestowed the birthright blessing:   Abraham –> Isaac –> Jacob –> Ephraim and Manasseh.

Genesis 41:

51  And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house.

52  And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.

Genesis 48:

13  And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him.

Read closely here: Jacob crisscrossed his hands is giving the birthright blessing – he did not reach straight out as Joseph expected him to do.

Genesis 48:

14  And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.

15  And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,

Right here we find the Biblical origin of the United States and Great Britain.

Genesis 48:

16  The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

Those men of the world make the common mistake of thinking that all Biblical references to “Israel” apply to the Jews.  Please do not confuse the modern State of Israel in Palestine with the prophetic Israel of the Bible.  Almost every TV evangelist thinks that the Biblical prophecies refer to the modern Jewish country in the Mid-East.  That single mistake closes the Bible off from their understanding.

Down deep inside of them, everyone seems to know that God has some connection to Israel, but between anti-Semitism and secular Godlessness they do not even want to stop and consider what or who Israel really is.

It is especially confusing for so called ‘Christians’ because the Bible is centered on the people of Israel, and the Bible is only concerned with other nations as they come into dealings with Israel.  The world is hopelessly confused about the history and prophecy of Israel.

It is a big mystery to them.  And that is unfortunate because without a right understanding with regard to Israel, it is not possible to know of God’s Plan for mankind, nor of man’s incredible human potential.

I grew up believing in God – but believing that when I died – I would go to heaven.  Then I heard Herbert W. Armstrong speaking of the United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy – and for the first time, I realized that God had a great Plan for our nation and its peoples – it was a vast revelation to me, and a major change in the paradigm of my faith system.

I realized for the first time that God was a hands-on God – guiding, directing and bringing His Plan to fruition.  That one “World Tomorrow” radio broadcast changed my life!

I received an email this morning from one of the Church brethren who experienced the exact same thing that I did!  I’ll share some of it with you:

“My initial 'introduction' into Worldwide Church of God was by reading "The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy".  The very facts hit me like a ton of bricks.  I fell on my knees.  I realized that God was revealing something momentous to me through no effort of my own, but because God chose to show me His great truth.  To this day I marvel that God chose the weakest of the world  (precisely ME).

“I watch science shows and see how scientists struggle with such subjects as time, the so-called big bang theory, and our place in the universe.

For all of their knowledge and genius, they have only used that knowledge to enhance their own pride...”

Yes, Israel was chosen by God for a distinct purpose.  Israel is a major part of the Plan of God.  What lies ahead for Israel – for the people of Israel?

The immediate outlook is bleak, indeed.  Israel, including the USA, England and the English speaking peoples around the world, are about to go into ruin – being vanquished, subjugated, defeated, with national captivity and deportation again for sin and non belief in our Creator God.

And, yet again Israel will be restored to glory.  That is the Mystery of Israel.

Jeremiah 31:

1  At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.

The Muslims do not know our God.  The Buddhists or Hindus do not know our God.  The Americans and Englishmen have rejected our God.

Jeremiah 31:

2  Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.

Jeremiah 31:3  The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Jeremiah 31:

4  Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.

5  Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.

6  For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God.

These are prophecies of the New Covenant Church.

Jeremiah 31:

7  For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.

8  Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travails with child together: a great company shall return thither.

9  They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

* 10  Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.

11  For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.

Brethren, recognize it:  The moral decadence of the USA and Britain have robed us of our national strength – the enemy is stronger than we are.  It is only a matter of a very short time – and bang – sudden destruction will be upon us.

1 Thessalonians 5:

3  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

Jeremiah 31:

12  Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.

13  Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.

14  And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 31:

31  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

The days come:  Brethren, that day is here for the Church of God.  We have entered the New Covenant in Christ – we live according to the rules of the Kingdom – even now!

Jeremiah 31:

32  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:

33  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

34  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

35  Thus saith the LORD, which gives the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divides the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:

36  If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever.

37  Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.

If we were to read on in Jeremiah we would see that it is an "Eternal Covenant” with Israel.  God has great long-range plans for Israel.

When Jesus Christ, in His earthly ministry, began confirming this New Covenant, the Israelites in general did not want to have anything to do with Him.

John 1:

11  He came unto His own [the Israelites], and His own received Him not.

However, Paul shows that God has not disowned Israel completely for their unbelief.  In Romans 11 Paul speaks of those who are led by God’s Holy Spirit as though they were of an olive tree.

Israel was broken off the olive tree because of unbelief, and others were grafted in because of their true belief.  For the first time, when God’s Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church brethren at that first New Testament Pentecost, man was able to confront the problems and evils of the world with their newly acquired spiritual nature.

First, Jesus overcame the world, and then by sending His Spirit into His Church it became possible for man to also overcome the world for the first time.

Within God’s Church – our calling should never be a source of personal pride.  Sometimes it is!  We can easily get to thinking that we are “better” than those people in the world – even better than those Jews who have so much understanding – and yet come short of the Truth.

God makes it clear that Israel is not lost forever.

They are not lost because of their sins that caused them to go into captivity; they are not eternally lost because they would not recognize Jesus Christ in His day; and they are not lost because they are rejecting God in this end-time.  Paul explains it this way:

Romans 11:

11  I say then, ave they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall [forever]?  Absolutely Not!  But rather through their fall [Israel’s fall] salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them [Israel] to jealousy.

12  Now if the fall of them [the Israelites] be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more [glorious] their fullness?

What lies ahead for Israel – for the people of Israel?  The answer is that Israel will be restored to the glorious fullness that God promised to Abraham.

Romans 11:

25  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits [that is pride]; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

That means that a greater Day is yet coming for Israel!

Romans 11:

26  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written [Quoting Isaiah], There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: [Jacob is Israel]

27  For this is my covenant unto them [Israel], when I shall take away their sins.

In error, the Israelites, (in this case, the Jews,) thought they were God’s people and the Gentiles were not.  The Jews opposed the Gentiles.

Romans 11:

28  As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but… as touching the election, they are beloved for the Fathers' sakes.

God still has tremendous plans for the Israelites in the future.

Romans 11:

29  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. [the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.]

God did not make a mistake in choosing the Israelites.  It is we men who make mistakes.  Paul confirms this.

Romans 11:

30  For as you in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

31  Even so have these [Israelites] also now not believed, that through your mercy [that you have received] they also may obtain mercy.

32  For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.

33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!

Paul could sure put it all together.  God told Abraham:

Genesis 15:

5  Look now toward heaven [Abraham], and count the stars, if thou be able to number them: and He said unto him, So shall thy children be.  [We have not gotten to that number yet.]

God made an unconditional everlasting covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  The nation of Israel descended from our patriarch Abraham.

*But God knows the end from the beginning.  He speaks of a time in the yet future – beyond the blessings we have thus far enjoyed – and beyond the curses that are now beginning to come upon us.

Deuteronomy 30:

1  And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shall call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,

2  And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;

3  That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity [save out of captivity], and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.

Isaiah 11:

11  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left… [after the tribulation and final captivity], from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

12  And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

God says that Israel will never be out of the picture – out of His Plan.

Isaiah 14:

* 1  For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.

2  And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.

3  And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou was made to serve,

4  That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!

5  The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.

6  He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hinders.

7  The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing.

8  Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.

9  Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirs up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

10  All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?

11  Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

God has not covenanted with other nations as He has with Abraham and his descendants.

All of God’s promises have been made to Abraham and the children of Abraham.

Isaiah 43:

21  This people [Israel] have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.

Isaiah 44:

7  I appointed the ancient people [Israel].

God’s promises to Abraham were both physical and spiritual in nature.

The spiritual promise of a Savior and Messiah was only the beginning of the spiritual promise.

God told Abram seven generations after the flood of Noah:

Genesis 12:

1  Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee:

2  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

3  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

God would use Israel to accomplish His Will.  The promises to Abram were at first to be National, Physical and Temporal in scope, but would culminate in the promise that was Personal, Spiritual and Eternal in nature.

Genesis 22:

18  And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice [Christ’s voice].

No man can bless all the nations of the earth; this is talking about the spiritual fulfillment of the promise.

All nations, including the Gentiles, will be blessed eventually.  These promises apply to the house of God right now.  Paul explained this to the Galatians:

Galatians 3:

8  And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Galatians 3:

29  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:

16  Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

Jesus Christ is the one seed – son of Abraham and Son of God.  The year before Abraham’s one-hundredth birthday, the Lord appeared to him and said:

Genesis 17:

1  …I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

2  And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.

4  As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

Here, God has now expanded His promise of making Abraham into a great nation of Genesis 12:2  to include “many nations.”

Genesis 17:

6  And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.

7  And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed (Pl) after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed (Pl) after thee.

What lies ahead for Israel – for the people of Israel?  Israel, without God’s Holy Spirit was unable to solve the problems and evils of the world.  There are surprisingly few references to the New Covenant within the New Testament books.

When Jesus completes the confirmation of the covenant, it will set the stage for the salvation of all mankind, but in particular the salvation of Israel.

Daniel 9:

27  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Hebrews 8:

8  …Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

9  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

10     For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

11  And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

God revealed His Holy Law to the nation of Israel.  Had they kept it – as they promised to do – incredible wealth and blessings would have been forthcoming.  Another reason that God gave Israel His Law was to demonstrate to them that without His Holy Spirit leading them – they would go astray.

They would not choose to be a righteous nation.  The Law of God is a test of obedience – to see if man would choose God’s Way or his own way.  Ancient Israel was established in their land with Jesus as their King - and they went into various captivities.

Look at how many times Jesus came to their rescue in the 325 years of the book of Judges.  Over and over Israel went through the cycle of sin, servitude, supplication and salvation.

The Scriptures are replete with examples of how God has often raised up His people, restored their strength and knowledge – only to step back a short distance in order to see who would remain faithful to Him, and who would drift back into the world.

Some 721 years before the time of Jesus Christ, the iniquity of Israel came to the full.  God allowed Israel to be conquered and vanquished – to the extent that they even lost their national identity.

They were carried northward and westward into Europe and Britain as God had prophesied.  They forgot that they were Israel.  God had prophesied that He would punish them seven times for their sins in Leviticus.

Leviticus 26:

17  And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursues you.

18  And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. [7 X 360 = 2520 years]

Beginning 2520 years later in the very early 1800s, both Britain and America began their ascent to greatness and world power.

In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland united to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of America with the Louisiana Purchase.

Britain's naval might was not openly challenged on the high seas after Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson's famous victory at Trafalgar in 1805.

During the Victorian age, Britain was the world's most powerful nation and Britain enjoyed a century of almost unchallenged dominance, expanding its imperial holdings around the globe.  The sun never set on the British Empire.

The United States grew to be the greatest power the world has ever seen.  Together, these two lads, Ephraim and Manasseh, became the most formidable conglomeration of wealth and power the world has ever seen.

As the birthright nations it was rightfully theirs to feed, defend and protect all the twelve tribes of Israel.  These blessings of wealth and might were the direct and timely result of the promises God had made to Abraham!

Running concurrently with the 2520 prophetic years and the time period running up to the time of Jesus Christ return is the Times of the Gentiles. It is a time when Gentile rulers rule much of the world and they rule over Jerusalem as well.

Luke 21:

24  And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

Just before Jesus returns, Israel will experience the worst punishment since the great flood of Noah:

Daniel 12:

1  And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who stands for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.  [In the book - This is the final judgment.]

2  And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Jacob’s name was changed by God to be “Israel,” which means “Prevailing Prince.

Genesis 32:

28  … Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

Jacob’s trouble then is Israel’s trouble.

Jeremiah 30:

4  And these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah.   [Notice that the Jews are not spared.]

5  For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.

6  Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?

7  Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

Ezekiel also speaks of the time of Jacob’s trouble:

Ezekiel 22:

20  As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I [God says] gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you.

Jesus spoke of this very time:

Matthew 24:

21  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved alive: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

Within God’s Church it is not a matter of Jew or Gentile.  That is because in Christ, Jesus we have all become Abraham’s Children.

Galatians 3:

28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

They have all entered into this covenant of eternal life, guaranteed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—the Son of God.

Galatians 6:

15  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. [we are a new creation in Christ]

16  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

End:  Mystery of Israel


Sermon:  "Mystery of Israel"