Booklets and Articles Index
OF GOD'S TRUE CHURCH
Where is the one and only true Church today-the Church founded by Jesus Christ in A.D. 31?
Seven major eye-opening proofs identify it unmistakably.
By Herbert W. Armstrong
THE TRUTH ABOUT ISRAEL
The Holy Bible is essentially the book of and concerning the nation Israel. It is concerned with other nations only as they come into contact with Israel.
But the answer to WHY God called that nation and the fact of their division into the TWO nations-the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah-and the present-day identity of the house of Israel forms another vital PROOF that identifies the one and only original, true Church of God.
God's true Church knows that ONLY those specially called by God for a special purpose have had access to Him from Adam until now.
Certainly it is almost without exception that those called did not first seek God-He sought out and called them.
Noah was not seeking God, but God called Noah to build a great ship on dry land away from any ocean. Noah carried out the assignment amid persecution and jeers.
Abraham was not seeking God, but God called him-and without protest or question he obeyed and went on to become the "father of the faithful," to whom the promises of both the national birthright of Israel and eternal salvation through Christ were given.
Moses was not seeking God, but God called Moses at the burning bush. He made excuse, protesting the assignment-saying he could not do it because he had an impediment of speech. But God called his brother Aaron to speak for him.
The children of Israel, 430 years after Abraham, were groaning and crying out because of their slavery in Egypt-but there is no statement recorded that they were seeking a relationship with God. However, God heard their groanings and delivered them by supernatural miracles out of Egypt under Moses.
There must have been two to four million of them-for there were 600,000 men, not counting women and children.
At Mt. Sinai God proposed to them His covenant that they become His nation and His congregation (". . . the church in the wilderness ..." [Acts 7:38]). God offered them, for obedience to His government, material and national rewards-but no spiritual salvation. The Holy Spirit was given only to the prophets whom God called and chose.
Now WHY did God call a carnal, unspiritual people into a husband-and-wife relationship, designating them as His nation and giving them His government?
Natural carnal MAN, with only the "human spirit" to impart materialistic intellect, has been-even without contact with and help from GOD-able to accomplish wonders in the physical realm. This is not testimony to the goodness of MAN, but to the wonderful creative ability of man's Maker!
At the tower of Babel God said: "... this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do" (Genesis 11:6). Invention and production of the modern computer and sending men to the moon and safely back are two modern examples.
Cut off from GOD-having only the one "human spirit" that empowers intellect-MAN has developed a scholarship that says, "Given sufficient KNOWLEDGE, we can solve every problem." The modern university is a KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION factory.
Yet, I have said the most highly educated are the most ignorant-because their development of knowledge has been LIMITED-confined to the physical and material. Without the Holy Spirit of God, they are, in the vernacular, "not all there"!
God says of this "intellectual" human mind, that it is "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9); and, ". . . the carnal mind is enmity [hostile] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7).
God had shut man off from God's revealed knowledge.
One reason God raised up ancient Israel was to eventually prove to all humanity, the vast majority of whom do not yet realize it, that the carnal mind with all its intellectual accomplishments simply will not accept and live by the revealed knowledge of GOD-even though God should reveal it to them (Romans 1:20-21).
Other nations were cut off completely from God's revealed knowledge. But, as stated previously, God retained the prerogative of calling out of man's world a certain few in preparation for His Kingdom. So God deliberately called a NATION, and through Moses revealed to them the knowledge of His LAW, His WILL, His WAY OF LIFE, which is outflowing LOVE!
God DID NOT give them His Holy Spirit. He gave that only to Moses and the prophets-all specially called.
But God did give them His spiritual LAW. As a substitute for the shed blood of Christ, He gave them animal sacrifices, which could not remit sins-they were only a reminder of sin. He gave them also, as a temporary substitute for the Holy Spirit, a law of physical rituals, meat and drink offerings and carnal ordinances. These instilled the habit of obedience. Then, of course, He gave them, as a civil nation, His GOVERNMENT, with its basic spiritual law and its statutes and judgments. He gave them His SYSTEM of government- authority from the TOP DOWN. God Himself was their congress, parliament, knesset and diet. He, through Moses, was their Lawgiver.
Under God was "the Word"- Yahweh-who was to become Christ. Under Him was Moses. Under Moses were captains over thousands, captains over hundreds, over fifties.
When Moses' brother Aaron and their sister Miriam wanted equal authority in the government with Moses, God punished! When Korah and his group wanted equal say-so and authority, God destroyed them. It was GOD-not the people-who chose and put Moses in authority. There was no democracy.
But how did carnal-minded Israel respond to God's great generosity, love and blessings?
Let God answer!
He says: "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Eternal hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Eternal, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward" (Isaiah 1:2-4).
After Moses, the Israelites were led into the promised land by Joshua. Israel served God-to a degree-until Joshua died at age 110.
Then, true to human experience, when that generation died, "... there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Eternal. . . . And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Eternal, and served Baalim [a pagan god of the Canaanites]" (Judges 2:10-11).
Repeatedly they would forsake God, turn to idolatry of neighbor nations, go into captivity, and cry out to God for deliverance. Then God would raise up judges (heroes, leaders) by whom He freed them, but then, after a degree of peace, idol worship was resumed, and when the judge died, God allowed them to be taken into captivity again.
This continued for some few generations.
Then Israel was ruled by the priest Eli. Eli had two sons, also in the priestly service. These sons were taking unlawful gain from the people, misleading the people, having immoral relations with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle. Now Eli was very old-near 90-and said to his sons, ". . . Why do ye such things? . . . Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father ..." (I Samuel 2:22-25). The sons continued the evils, and the priest Eli did not put them out of the priesthood.
God said to Eli, "Wherefore . .. honourest thy sons above me?" (I Samuel 2:29) and decreed they should die. When news came to Eli that his sons had been killed and the ark of God taken in battle, Eli fell backward, broke his neck and died!
Perhaps another evidence of the Worldwide Church of God being the one original Church of God is that its apostle did remove his son, who was secularizing God's Church and college, besides other sins. It is a difficult and heartbreaking thing for a father to have to do. Eli honored his sinning sons, holding priestly office, above God. God's apostle of our day, crushing and heartbreaking though it was, was given the courage by the living Christ to do the very difficult task of removing his son.
Samuel had been trained as a prophet from a child under Eli. He was Israel's next leader. But the people rejected God as King over them and demanded a human king "that also we may be like all the nations" of Satan's world (I Samuel 8:4-7, 20).
God gave them Saul, tallest man in Israel. But in due time Saul disobeyed God and sinned. God sent Samuel to the house of Jesse where God had chosen Jesse's youngest son David to be the next king over Israel.
Samuel's sons had not continued in Samuel's ways. And now King David had sons who conspired to take their father's throne. First, Absalom, having been exiled for committing murder, on being received back by kind-hearted David, conspired to steal his father's throne. Later another son, Adonijah, conspired to seize it and overthrow his father.
But God had chosen David's son Solomon to succeed to the throne over Israel. After Solomon's death his son Rehoboam became king.
Solomon had reigned in splendor. Not only had he built the world's finest edifice, the Temple (as God had willed and approved), but he spent lavishly on great public works, buildings and other projects. He lived in gorgeous splendor, exceeding every king before him. For this he grievously overtaxed the people. He plunged, in old age, into idolatry and turned to women.
After Solomon's death the people sent a delegation to King Rehoboam. "Reduce the excessive taxes," the people's delegation said, "and we will serve you" (I Kings 12:4).
Rehoboam consulted the older, wiser men, who advised him to heed the complaint of the people. Then he sought advice from the younger men, whose advice he followed, saying to the people, ". . . My father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions" (I Kings 12:11, 14).
Again, a younger son departed from the wisdom of older men and willfully sought to lead God's people on his own rebellious way.
But the nation thereupon rejected King Rehoboam and made Jeroboam king. However, the tribe of Judah, with Benjamin, seceded in order to maintain David's dynasty and formed the new kingdom of JUDAH.
Jeroboam established the capital over the kingdom of Israel at Samaria, north of Jerusalem. And so the Israelitish nation was now divided into TWO NATIONS-the kingdom of Israel with its capital at Samaria and the kingdom of Judah with Jerusalem its capital. Often, in biblical history, they were called, respectively, the "house of Israel" and the "house of Judah."
Jeroboam immediately led Israel into idolatry. After a succession of 19 kings and seven dynasties of continuous idolatry and other sins, God drove the house of Israel into captivity. King Shalmaneser of Assyria conquered them in a siege from 721 to 718 B.C., removing them from their land, carrying them as slaves to Assyria on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea.
Shalmaneser thereupon "brought men from Babylon"-and other cities following the Babylonian mystery religion-"and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof (II Kings 17:23-24).
So here is another TRUTH unknown in the teachings of most churches called Christian: Israel was divided into two nations-and the people of the kingdom of Israel were NOT Jews, nor are they ever called Jews in the Bible!
The first place where the word "Jew" or "Jews" occurs in the Bible is in II Kings 16:5-6, where Israel and ally Syria were at war against the Jews!
But those of the house of Israel did not remain more than a generation or so in Assyria. They migrated northwest. They became known as "the LOST Ten Tribes." And indeed they were doubly lost-lost in identity until they themselves, after a generation or more, did not know who they were-and also lost spiritually from God. The knowledge of this, from the Bible, is ANOTHER PROOF of the one original true Church today!
This mystery is cleared up in a substantial booklet, The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy-sent free upon request. It is one of the most amazing, exciting, eye-opening accounts ever written. Shocking-but TRUE! Meanwhile, the house or kingdom of JUDAH (the Jews) continued to an extent in God's ways, but within a hundred years were sinning more flagrantly than Israel had.
By about 604 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar had become king over the world's FIRST EMPIRE-the Chaldean Empire, often called Babylon. From 604 to 585 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar's armies captured the kingdom of Judah and moved the Jews into Babylonian territory as slaves.
Seventy years later, the Persian Empire had succeeded the Chaldean. God caused King Cyrus, by "stirring up the spirit of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:1)- his "human spirit"-to issue a decree sending a contingent of Jews back to Jerusalem to build the second temple. Zerubbabel was the governor of the contingent and builder of the temple to which Christ came at His first appearing on earth as the human Jesus. Also, prophetically, this Zerubbabel was the type of one to come in the LAST DAYS of this world whom Christ would use in building the temple to which the glorified all-powerful Christ shall come at His second appearing. Apparently none but God's Church understands the truth of the building of this temple.
Some of Judah remained in and near Jerusalem-others were scattered into Russia, Poland, Yemen. Most of the Israelis in today's Israel have migrated into the original "promised land" from these countries.