John R Ecob DD 

THE NATION of Israel began its long  history in the land of Egypt where they  were made slaves of Pharaoh. After  215 years in Egypt God sent Moses  to deliver them and when Pharaoh  refused to let them go God judged  the land of Egypt. No other nation  had seen such judgments devastate  a nation as had happened to Egypt  compelling them to let Israel go.  When Israel finally left Egypt, the Red  Sea parted to allow them to cross and  Pharaoh with 600 of his chariots were  drowned. 

Israel commenced a long journey  through the wilderness to the land of  Canaan; a journey that took 40 years  during which an entire generation  of men over 20 years perish except  for Joshua and Caleb. That journey  involved many miracles such as no  other nation has seen. 

At the end of 40 years Moses  addressed the nation just before  they entered the promised land of  Canaan and he reminded them of  all the amazing things that they had  witnessed; miracles that proved the  power and love of Jehovah, the God  of Israel. He said: 

“What nation is there so great, who  hath God so nigh unto them, as  the LORD our God is in all things  that we call upon him for? And  what nation is there so great, that  hath statutes and judgments so  righteous as all this law, which I set  before you this day? (Deut.4:7-8). 

Moses challenged Israel to identify  any other nation on the face of the  earth from the beginning of time that  could claim to have heard God speak  

or who had been rescued from slavery  as Israel was. No other nation could  claim to have heard the voice of the  Creator of the universe as Israel did  when God came down on Mount Sinai  and spoke the ten commandments  out of the fire. 

“Out of heaven he made thee  to hear his voice, that he might  instruct thee: and upon earth he  shewed thee his great fire; and  thou heardest his words out of the  midst of the fire” (Deut.4:36).  

All the nations had gods of wood and  stone that could neither speak nor  hear yet Israel’s God had spoken; the  people had heard His voice and seen  Mount Sinai on fire. 

When they built the Tabernacle the  pillar of cloud and fire rested on the  Tabernacle to reassure them of the  Divine presence and when they were  to move camp the cloud went before  them to show them where God would  have them camp. 

Daily God sent manna from heaven  that could be cooked and eaten while  vast flocks of quail were sent into the  camp. Their clothes did not wear out  in 40 years and when they needed  water God made a stream of water to  flow out of the rock. When many of  the people were bitten by serpents a  brazen serpent on a pole was erected  and all who looked to it, lived. 

The statutes given to Moses were beneficial to the nation. If the people  kept the Divine statutes they were  assured of good health and that none of  the diseases of Egypt could touch them. 

When Balak the king of Moab hired  the false prophet, Balaam to curse  Israel, God caused him to bless Israel! 

When the Canaanites attacked Israel  God gave Israel the victory and  those Canaanites were destroyed at  Hormah. The Amalekites attacked,  and Joshua prevailed against them  while Moses interceded.  

Just before Israel entered the  promised land two powerful kings of  the Amorites, Og King of Bashan and  Sihon King of Heshbon attacked but  Israel was victorious and occupied  their cities. 

At Mount Sinai, Israel had made a  golden calf and danced naked before  it and 3,000 were slain. When the  Moabites seduced Israel, Israel  committed whoredom and 24,000  of Israel perished in the plague that  God sent. When Nadab and Abihu  challenged Moses’ leadership the  earth opened up and swallowed them  and their families. 

No nation has ever witnessed the  power of God as Israel has done and  it is all proof that they are a special  people among the nations. 

Why is Israel Special to God? 

“Not for thy righteousness, or for the  uprightness of thine heart, dost thou  go to possess their land: but for the  wickedness of these nations the  LORD thy God doth drive them out  from before thee, and that he may  perform the word which the LORD  swear unto thy fathers, Abraham,  Isaac, and Jacob” (Deut.9:5). 

Two reasons are given for the special  favour God has shown to the nation  of Israel.  

  1. They had not earned God’s favour  by being a righteous nation. Favour  was bestowed because of a covenant  relationship God had with Abraham,  Isaac and Jacob and,  
  2. God would judge the wicked  nations that possessed the land  of Canaan and Israel was God’s  instrument of judgment. Four hundred  years beforehand God told Abraham, 

“thy seed shall be a stranger in a  land that is not their’s, and shall  serve them; and they shall afflict  them four hundred years; And  also that nation (Egypt), whom  they shall serve, will I judge: and  afterward shall they come out  with great substance. … But in  the fourth generation they shall  come hither again: for the iniquity  of the Amorites is not yet full” (Gen.15:13-16). 

When the Amorites had exhausted  the longsuffering of God, Israel was  used to judge them. 

Israel has a covenant relationship with  the Creator, a relationship that began  when God called Abram to leave the  idolatry in Ur of the Chaldees to go  to a land that God would show him.  Abram  

“obeyed; and he went out,  not knowing whither he went”  (Heb.11:8). 

At that time God promised: 

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


Abram was promised national  blessings but a nation consists of  individuals and each individual Jew  had a personal responsibility to seek  the Lord exactly as Abram had done.  The temptation that each Jew faced  was to think that because God had  chosen Israel therefore they were  superior to other nations. Jews could  point to prophecies that stated they  

“the LORD shall make thee the  head, and not the tail; and thou  shalt be above only, and thou shalt  not be beneath” (Deut.28:13). 

But for individual Jews to enjoy the  favour of God required obedience  to God’s law. When they turned  away from serving the Lord severe  chastisement followed. There  was a clear distinction between  national promises of blessing and  an individuals salvation and the  Palestinian covenant made that  distinction abundantly clear. 

While the children of Israel followed  the Lord with all their heart they were  promised that  

“all people of the earth shall see  that thou art called by the name of  the LORD; and they shall be afraid  of thee. And the LORD shall make  thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit  of thy body, and in the fruit of thy  cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground,  in the land which the LORD swear  unto thy fathers to give thee”  (Deut.28:10-11). 

God does not have special favourites  upon whom He bestows blessings.  Nor does He arbitarily choose some  in favour of others as the Calvinists  teach. Abram was blessed because  he believed God and obeyed God.  First there must be FAITH and secondly there must be obedience to  be blessed. 

False religion reverses the order  and teaches that we must obey God  to be saved but scripture teaches  that salvation is entirely by “grace…  through faith, … not of works, lest any  man should boast” (Eph.2:8-9). 

Faith is NOT a work. Faith  acknowledges that we cannot save  ourselves and causes us to “flee  for refuge” to Christ (Heb.6:18) who  ALONE can save us. 

Faith ALONE in Christ brings us into  a family relationship with God and  then as obedient children we enjoy  the blessing of God. It is FAITH plus  nothing that brings both Jew and  Gentile into the family of God. 

The Palestinian Covenant 

The Abrahamic Covenant bestowed  National blessings on Abraham’s  seed but the Palestinian Covenant  spelt out clearly the conditions  under which those blessings could  be enjoyed in the land by individual  Jews. Not only so but it foretold the  history of the nation and indicated  that there would be two major  captivities when Israel would be  carried out of the land. 

God would never fail to keep His  promises to Abraham but He could  only bless an obedient nation. Thus  the Babylonian Captivity is clearly  foretold when the nation had a king: 

“The LORD shall bring thee, and  thy king which thou shalt set over  thee, unto a nation which neither  thou nor thy fathers have known;  and there shalt thou serve other  gods, wood and stone. And thou  shalt become an astonishment,  a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall  lead thee” (Deut.28:36-37). 

Zedekiah was blinded and taken to  Babylon in chains. Then the Roman  captivity was foretold:  

The LORD shall bring a nation  against thee from far, from the end  of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou  shalt not understand; A nation of  fierce countenance… And he shall  besiege thee in all thy gates, until  thy high and fenced walls come  down, … thou shalt eat the fruit of  thine own body, the flesh of thy  sons and of thy daughters … the  LORD shall bring thee into Egypt  again with ships” (Deut.28:49-68). 

Titus the Roman General sent Jewish  captives to the Egyptian slave  market in ships after Jerusalem was  destroyed in AD70. 

Moses prophesied Israel’s  conversion in the last days  Tribulation. He wrote: 

“But if from thence thou shalt  seek the LORD thy God, thou  shalt find him, if thou seek him  with all thy heart and with all thy  soul. When thou art in tribulation,  and all these things are come  upon thee, even in the latter  days, if thou turn to the LORD thy  God, and shalt be obedient unto  his voice” (Deut.4:29-30). 

We wonder why Israel is the target of  hatred and many Christians allow their  sympathy for Israel to influence their  views. Israel as a nation is chosen by  God but individual Jews must seek the  Lord to be blessed. A nation consists  of individuals. 

Jesus warned the Jews that the  Romans would carry them away; that they would be scattered throughout  the entire world and it happened  (Luke 21:24).  

We feel deeply for Israel when we  think about the Holocaust but we  forget that Jews are rejecting their  King and Messiah. They are looking  for Messiah now but as yet are blind  to who Messiah is. God is bringing  the hatred of the nations upon them  to humble them for He has said: 

“And I will bring you out from the  people, and will gather you out  of the countries wherein ye are  scattered, with a mighty hand, and  with a stretched out arm, and with  fury poured out(Ezek.20:34). 

The Russian invasion when two thirds  of Jews in the land perish (Zech.13:8-9),  will finally bring the Jews to call upon  the Lord Jesus Christ (Ezek.39:22).  Joel described that day:  

“Blow the trumpet in Zion … Let the  priests, the ministers of the LORD,  weep between the porch and the  altar, and let them say, Spare thy  people, O LORD” (Joel 2:15-17). 

Our prayer for Israel should be  that they will be humbled and call  on the Lord. The amazing national  blessings that Israel will experience  in the Kingdom of Christ will never  occur until the nation crowns Jesus 

Christ as King on the throne of David and they “look upon Me (Christ)  whom they have pierced and they  shall mourn for him” (Zech.12:10). 

Israel’s darkest hour is just ahead  and Paul’s prayer that “they might be  saved” (Rom.10:1) will be answered  for after the fulness of the Gentiles  comes in at the Rapture “ALL Israel  shall be saved” (Rom.11:26).