God’s express will for Israel

Arno Froese

“And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people” (Leviticus 26:12).

This is God’s express will for Israel. Dozens of times, we read that God desires to be among His people. In the Old Testament, we find the very words, “I will be your God” 134 times. However, here in Leviticus it’s prefaced with, “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them” (Leviticus 26:3). Then in verse 14, we read: “But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments…,” thereafter describing the horrible judgment that will come upon the people. Thus, we see this is a conditional covenant between the God of Israel and His people.

Nevertheless, there is a distinct difference between Israel and all nations on the face of the earth. What does that mean? In simple terms, my nation—by whatever name—has no promise of continuity. Nations come and nations go. Presently, according to the United Nations, there are 195 nations. The youngest nation is listed as South Sudan, which declared its independence on 9 July 2011. But, that is only a political definition. Sudan was an entity long before our time. For example, to the Greeks, all the people living south of Egypt were called “Ethiopians.” In the Hebrew Bible, the territory is called “Cush,” which was the eldest son of Ham, the son of Noah. This writer was born in Windenburg, East Prussia, a place no longer found on any map. Today, it’s called Vente·  , Lithuania. How come? The answer is simple: Germany attacked Russia, which defeated Germany and simply divided territory in Europe. It matters not what your country is named: it’s only temporary, but not so where Israel is concerned.

When reading Old Testament prophecy, it becomes quite evident that Israel does have a permanent address, where one day God will dwell. The last words of the book of Ezekiel read: “It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there” (Ezekiel 48:35). Adam Clarke’s Commentary has this to say about the words, “The LORD is there”: “It would have been better to have retained the original words, Yehovah Shammah. This is an allusion to the Shechinah, or symbol of the Divine Presence, which was in the first, but most certainly was not in the second temple.” 

About the new Jerusalem, which comes down from the new heaven to the new earth, Revelation 21:3 reports: “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”

In the meantime, Israel has to concern itself with the surrounding nations. 

We admire Israel’s diplomatic achievement, reaching an agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. There may be more countries, but we must point out that these things are only of a temporary nature. God’s goal is still the same: He yearns for fellowship with His creation. In the first place, with His chosen nation, the seed of Abraham, to whom God promised: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Later, this promise was repeated to Isaac: “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 26:4b). Finally, it was passed on to Jacob: “in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 28:14b).

We do well to keep the beginning and the end in mind when reading Holy Scripture. God’s intentions and His plans are rock solid. He will precisely fulfill the words He spoke many millennia ago to the Patriarchs.

Something important to emphasize is each person’s individuality. Moses was met by God in the burning bush. He was commanded to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, but said: “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” (Exodus 3:13). God then answers Moses and says, “I AM THAT I AM,” explaining in verse 15: “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” We immediately note that God does not identify Himself as a collective God. For example, it does not say, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” He clearly indicates that He is the God of each individual.

That is a mighty message for us today. Your family, your city, state, or country does not contribute any weight to your personal salvation. Thus, the question: is the Lord God your personal God? Do you know Him, and does He know you? If He is not my God and I do not belong to Him, then all of human history is insignificant. 

The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob has clearly expressed His intention to dwell in your heart through Jesus Christ—God manifested in the flesh. Only then am I part of the ultimate fulfillment: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”

Midnight Call - 11/2020

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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