“Teaching Moments” is a modern term used to describe a situation in which the activities of one group or individual serve as a learning experience for another group or individual. Our spiritual and biological ancestors’ sins and the Lord’s reaction to those sins present prime teaching moments for both modern day Catholicism/Protestantism and His church, Biblically called the “Church of God” and the “Israel of God.” This series will examine ancient Israel’s response to God’s commands relative to entering the Promised Land and apply their response to the Institutional Church’s reaction to His commands relative to entering the Kingdom of God at the end of this age. As the reader will notice, the similarities are undeniable. This series will present several teaching moments for those who will approach God’s Word with an open mind. It is my desire that all who read what He says about these learning opportunities will have eyes to see His Truth and a heart to believe and obey it. As Jesus said in John 17:17, His Truth and His Word are one and the same.
In the first chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy we find Moses speaking to several million Israelites who had gathered on the eastern side of the Jordan River in preparation for entering the land God had promised the descendants of Abraham. Ironically, this was not the first time Israelites had gathered at the same place in preparation for entering the same area. Nor was it the first time Moses had spoken to Israelites about crossing the river and receiving what God had promised them. Forty years earlier he had gathered the forefathers of these Israelites at river’s edge and had reminded them of God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Having recently freed them from Egyptian slavery, they were about to enter the Promised Land–Canaan, the land populated by the descendants of Noah’s son Ham.
After wandering in the Desert of Sin for 40 years the descendants of those recently freed Israelites were now preparing to do what their ancestors had failed to do. As a warning, Moses reminded them of what the Lord had done to their parents and grandparents when they dared to rebel against Him. Moses also confessed his part in the rebellion. Beginning in verse six we find him reminding them of the words he had spoken to their ancestors 40 years earlier after the Lord had led them from Mt. Sinai, also called Mt. Horeb and Mt. Paron to a place across the river from Jericho. Moses reminded them of God’s promise to give them the land on which Abraham had walked. The promise covered the area from the Euphrates River in the east, westward to the Nile River, and from the Dead Sea in the south, northward to the southern border of nation today called Lebanon.
Looking at a map of the area one can see that the land the Lord promised Abraham’s descendants is many times larger that the tiny area called “Israel” today which is only 90 miles wide at its broadest point. The sins of the Jews has caused God to take the other 80% (my calculation) of the Promised Land from them. One of Israel’s sister states–the United States of America (the other being Britain)–shares much of the blame for the Jews’ loss of land, much of which is rich in oil. But that is another subject which deserves its own spotlight.
With this fact in mind, many people have wondered why the Lord has performed so many miracles to keep the land called Israel in the hands of the Christ-rejecting Jews over the years, the Six Day War being a prime example. God performed many verified miracles on their behalf during that war. As students of the Bible know, all Israelites who become part of the Body of Christ will one day return to that exact place where they will live and from which will rule and reign over the universe forever. But before that happens the nation of Israel, along with her biological brethren and namesakes–the United States and Britain–will be militarily defeated and decimated. The survivors–one third of those populations–will be taken into slavery by the victors. But God has promised His people Israel that the day is coming when Jesus Christ will return to earth to bring man’s (Satan’s) rulership of earth to an end. He will gather His Very Elect from the four winds and place them in the Kingdom of God, headquartered in Jerusalem. After 1000 years the Father Himself will descend to a new earth, bringing with Him New Jerusalem. There He, His Son and their Very Elect will live, rule and reign forever. Just thinking about it thrills me. L.J.