Article based on a sermon given 17 June 2006

The Prophetic Identity of Israel

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

Most nights before I go to bed, I go through a routine around the house. I check the windows and the doors and make sure they are locked. The front door probably gets checked at least two or three times, anyway, just to make sure and then I can sleep - but only if I can do that.

But if someone were to come along after I had gone through my routine, maybe 2 o' clock in the morning and I was sleeping soundly, but they had a key, then they could walk straight in without any problem whatsoever. And all my hard work would have been to no avail.

A key is quite a strange little implement when you think about it. It is just a little piece of metal that opens up possibilities. You stick it in and you open up the house or the safe or whatever you particularly wnat to open. We all use them, we open up a car, get in and drive away in it. And it is such a strange thing in this society that we use keys a great deal. In fact, my keys become more and more weighty as years go by; the number of different keys that we have got to have.

But there are also mental keys - mental keys that are used in a similar way that we are all familiar with. I know that when I started to learn windsurfing, that there is a technique, a certain key to wind surfing which once you get that key, then you can start to windsurf. But you know, it is a case that you don't try to balance on the board, as it's almost impossible. What you do is you pull yourself up by twisting the sail, the wind lifts you up and you twist the sail away and the wind lets you go down again. And it is this twisting action of the sail that allows you to stay on the board.

I think everyone basically rides a bike. And a two wheeled bicycle looks a ridiculous contraption and it's amazing that somebody can actually stay balanced on it. But you have got to have a key....but not to open the bicycle, but a key of how that bicycle works. The key is that you have got make sure that on a bicycle you are always falling off, which you are basically. But you drive the bicycle underneath where you are falling off. That is the key to riding a bicycle. You steer underneath, as you start to lean one way, you steer that way, and as you start to lean the other way you steer that way and that way you are able to keep this equilibrium, albeit very, very precariously and you do it almost automatically. But I can still remember the day back when I was about five or six, learning to ride a bicycle and taking the skin off the back of my hand as I scraped along into the wall - in fact all the scrapes until that key actually came into my mind.

And you can go even further back, you can go back into very early childhood. I know we watched Isabel learning to walk. There is a key to learning to walk, and even to this day we use that key - that we lean forward, and then our legs run to catch up with us falling over. And in that way we are able to walk. If you try walking and standing upright your legs go away and you fall backwards. That is the way it works. But until you learn that key you keep falling. You see these children just falling over all the time. They have go to get that key in place.

There are many keys in scripture as well. And one of the greatest keys - in fact it IS the greatest - to understanding what's in this book is the Holy Spirit. Without that to unlock the understanding of God you can't understand this book, it is totally and utterly impossible. It is the greatest key of all.

But there is another key and we have just listened to that to a large degree in the World Tomorrow broadcast that we have just played on the Roots of the United States and Britain. And that key is the key to prophecy: to understanding prophecy. And that key of prophecy is the identity of Israel.

You can't understand prophecy until that key is put into place. Because you don't know who you are talking about! And the prophecies revolve around Israel. Now, I checked ans looking back at my notes, pulled out a sermon I had given a little while ago on the identity of Israel because we do need to review that from time to time. It is interesting, that when you do check sermons like that you get an idea how time passes, because it has been over ten years since I have actually given any sermon that is fundamental on the identity of Israel as key, well, as THE key to Bible prophecies.

So what I want to do today is to build on the foundation of the World Tomorrow broadcast that you have just heard....largely on the roots of the United States and Britain and go and show a good deal more in the way of scriptural proof.

Because a lot of people within the wider church - let's just call it that - have lost that key to understanding prophecy. And they are at sea when they are looking at prophecy. Some are retaining that key, but they are retaining it in a carnal way. And you will find within the various church groups, that they use it almost like they are hammering people over the head with it.

So what I want to do today is to examine, and to help us all to understand not only HOW we understand the identity of Israel from scripture, but also how we also need to make sure that we are using that same approach as we are apply that understanding.

It is the approach that Mr Armstrong used, that God recognised and allowed him to therefore come to a level of understanding that he did. But we have got to make sure that we use that approach in life. Because as we will go on and understand, it is a vital part of the key itself. A vital part of the key because people who are trying to use it almost like a hammer to bludgeon other people over the head are going to probably find that they will end up on the wrong camp.

There are five areas that I want to go into:

THE End Time Importance (PLAY FROM 7:46)

Now as far as the end time importance, goes: there are scriptures that you can look up in your own time, and do personal Bible study on. If I can give you three scriptures here: Matthew 19:28, where it talks about how the twelve apostles are eventually going to be over the twelve tribes of Israel. That is their destiny, that is their role in life. And in fact, more than that, if you go to Matthew 10:6, they were sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. That was their job at that time. This is why the apostles suddenly disappear from view; most of them. The apostle Paul becomes dominant because they were fulfilling their commission and their commission was to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And they were not in the area of Palestine at that time.

And even Christ, as is mentioned in Matthew 15:24: He was also sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and it is mentioned there.

When we come to the end time turn over to Revelation. It is very clear that when we look at Revelation 7 that the groups of the twelve tribes are identified. This is right at the very end; the end time. You see the various horsemen of the Apocalypse in chapter six and you go into the Tribulation and the fact of the heavenly signs, and it is just about to go into the seventh seal, and that leads into the seven trumpets, and just before you go into that time, there are certain people that have got to be sealed, got to be protected. These are physical people now. And in that group, we see Israel mentioned. Revelation 7:3:

"Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel." (Revelation 7:3-4)

And each tribe has got twelve thousand. So we see that at the end time, the point of the Tribulation, after the tribulation and going into the very Day of the Lord, this group of people, physical people, are identified.

Now if you go over a page or two and you find in chaper 11 that the seventh angel has sounded, (v15) - so Christ has actually returned - and then there's an inset - the Church chapter - in chapter twelve and note the wording that is used:

"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:" (Revelation 12:1)

You go back to Genesis 37:9-11 and you can see that kind of terminology being used. Notice, it was Joseph's dream, and you are looking therefore that from Israel the Christ actually came and it carries on into spiritual Israel as well.

Now turn back to Jeremiah 30, because when we look at scriptures, such as Matthew 24, where it talks about the Great Tribulation, there is a scripture here in Jeremiah 30 that shows that at that time - and we are looking at that preceding this time of the sealing of the 144,000. So during the time that leads into the sealing, here in Jeremiah 30:

"The word that came to Jeremiah from the [Eternal], saying, Thus speaketh the [Eternal] God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. For, lo, the days come, saith the [Eternal], that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel [notice it is talking about Israel and there is a distinction, and there is no doubt that these people understood the distinction between Israel and Judah, because it says here] the captivity of my people Israel and Judah [separating these two] saith the [Eternal]: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it." (Jeremiah 30:1-3)

"And these are the words that the [Eternal] spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah." (Jeremiah 30:4) Two different groups. Israel in the north, Judah in the south, and it says:

"For thus saith the [Eternal]; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. 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?" (Jeremiah 30:5-6)

And it then goes into verse 7: "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it"

Now that ties straight into Matthew 24:21: the Great Tribulation. A Tribulation so great there has never been anything like it before and never will again. And it says here: "it is even the time of Jacob's trouble;" (Jeremiah 30:7)

Now Jacob is the name for Israel. It is the carnal name for Israel, and there is a distinction as you see between Israel and Judah and there is going to be a time of Jacob's trouble, but he will be saved out of it.

And if you notice, just turn over the page – verse 24, it says "The fierce anger of the [Eternal] shall not return, until he have done it and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it." (Jeremiah 30:24)

This scripture in Jeremiah 30, is to do with the latter days. It is this time of trouble. It is also a time of Jacob's trouble. So Jacob is going to have to be clearly identified. And you are going to have to be able to see who it is. The people of God have got to be able to know who Israel is at the end time.

Turn over to Ezekiel chapter 4, another scripture about the end time. "For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, (Ezekiel 4:5) Here he was, this siege was against Jerusalem yes, but it was being a type, because notice verse 4:

"Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it [notice it is not just Judah it is Israel as well being used]: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity."

"For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel." (Ezekiel 4:5)

Very clearly delineated. Yes, it is talking about laying siege on Jerusalem but the house of Israel was one side, it then goes on:

"And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah" (Ezekiel 4:6)

So these two, they were portrayed against Jerusalem as the capital of Israel overall, but it was divided into two parts. Two distinct areas. And here we see Judah; "I have appointed thee each day for a year." (Ezekiel 4:6) Notice, each day for a year was being appointed in this particular case.

In chapter 5 notice now;" "Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel." (Ezekiel 5:4)

Again, it is talking here about the house of Israel even though it is using Jerusalem as the focal point, as the headquarters, if you like, of Israel as a whole. But it goes into verse 9:

"And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations." (Ezekiel 5:9)

Now what it is talking about here is a time, that has never happened before and will never happen again. There is only one time. You are looking at the time of the Tribulation. And we know who Judah is because the Jews are in the country known as Israel today. But who is Israel, who is this house of Israel that is mentioned here? The identity of this house of Israel is of crucial importance when we look at end time prophecies. Without understanding that we cannot understand end time prophecies. And that is why it is a key, it was recognised as a key by Mr Armstrong and it unlocks the entirety of the prophecies within scripture, because they revolve around the end time specifically, and Israel is the crucial ingredient in that time.

Now turn over to Daniel chapter 12. We find here this time being mentioned that we have just been reading about, tied in with Israel;

"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people:" (Daniel 12:1)

Now the previous chapter has been going on about the king of the north and the king of the south and it is leading straight into a certain event. And this event is being discussed in Daniel 12:1, and it says:

"...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." (Daniel 12:1)

So here again we are looking at a time of trial, a time of trouble, a time of tribulation as mentioned in Matthew 24. As mentioned over in Jeremiah 30 and also over in Ezekiel chapter 5, and elsewhere as well. But it is a particular time that is being mentioned here and it is to do with Israel.

The Approach We Need (PLAY FROM 18:30)

The interesting point, and the thing I want to point out to you is the approach that we need in understanding these things. You find if we start reading in verse 9 it says:

"And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words closed up and sealed till the time of the end." (Daniel 12:9)

Now we understand these words because they have been unsealed and unsealed specifically by an individual who allows us to understand. That, and the key to understanding this particular passage is verse 13, where Daniel stands in the lot until the end of the days. Now that is true, but notice what it actually gives, as the information and the approach that is needed. And the kind of people that are going to understand.

In Verse 10 it says: "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried." (Daniel 12:10). Now we are in a time of testing within the church right now. There are all kinds of different ideas going around. There is every single shade imaginable out there. Hundreds and hundreds of them.

"Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand [now we need to make sure we understand - none of the wicked! And who is going to understand?]; : but the wise shall understand." (Daniel 12:10)

Matthew 25 deals with five wise and five foolish virgins - in the church - at this crucial time. It flows straight on from Matthew 24. And the wisdom that is necessary to understand prophecy, to understand the key, has got to come from a certain place.

If you turn to Daniel 2, we see where the wisdom comes. Because Daniel had a real problem. All the wise men in Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon were going to have their heads lopped off and Daniel therefore prayed to God. Verse 19 it says:

"Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:" (Daniel 2:19)

So the wise understand - where does that wisdom come from? You are looking at exactly the same thing that you are finding over in Matthew 25, that the wise have oil. The wise are in contact with God, have a relationship with God and they have the Spirit of God and they are being led by that Spirit. They are under the government of God, the rulership of God, which is the way of God. It says:

"...for wisdom and might are his [verse 21]: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him." (Daniel 2:20-22)

He is able to see, cut right through all the paraphernalia that we find in the world and He is able to allow His people to understand, He is able to reveal things to His people. And therefore if we are going to have the wisdom that is being talked about at the end of Daniel, where the wise will understand and the wicked with do wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand, then we have got to go and understand it in the light that God gives us.

Some scriptures to note: out to "...the fear the [Eternal]that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." (Job 28:28)

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments..."(Psalm 111:10)

" The fear the [Eternal] is wisdom and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."(Proverbs 9:10)

So in every case it is the fearing of the Eternal that is wisdom. And the understanding is departing from evil, it's keeping the commandments, it's having a knowledge of the holy, it's walking in His way.

"Fear God and keep His commandments". Where does that come from? The end of Ecclesiastes. For this is the whole man!

Ecclesiastes and Proverbs which gives wisdom. Fear God and keep His commandments. That is what we are looking at, and that is why when you read Matthew 25 and you see five that are wise and five that are foolish, the wise have got oil. That is the difference between the two groups.

So the approach that we need: first of all turn over to Psalm 10. Here we have a psalm which talks about the wicked. And remember the wicked will do wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand. And when we are looking at the key to prophecy, this approach will guarantee that we will not understand it.

"Why standest thou afar off, O [Eternal]? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the [Eternal] abhorreth." (Psalm 10:1-3)

Where is the focus of these individuals? Right in the centre of the individual, that is where their centre is.

" The wicked, through the pride of his countenance [he is looking inwardly all the time], will not seek after God. God is not in all his thoughts." (Psalm 10:4)

So who are the righteous? It's where God is in all their thoughts. 'To fear the Eternal is wisdom', there's the wisdom and to depart from evil, to walk in God's way, to run in God's way, to go in that direction. Being God centred. And here when we are looking at the wicked doing wickedly, their centre is off.

They might even know about the key of the understanding of who Israel is, but their centre, being off, they won't be able to apply it properly. We have got to get that centre right. And the centre is on God Himself. And we have got to make sure that our relationship therefore with God is correct. That is the only thing that will save us. You can get all the prophecies that you like, get all your timings sorted out and we will fall flat on our faces. It is only through a contact with God that this understanding will mean anything. Will actually become anything.

Turn over to Isaiah 66, another well-known scripture in this area. So how do you define the righteous? what approach do we need to understand prophecy, to understand this subject of where is Israel today? Again it is a certain frame of mind.

I've pointed out before that you start in the preceding chapter in about verse 17, with a new heaven and a new earth and you start going backwards in time from there. You start pointing to the hundred year period, in chapter 65:20. You start going into the Millennium from verse 21, all the way through to verse 25, with the wolf dwelling with the lamb. And then you go back another stage to now, To right now. To the time before the Millennium comes.

And it says: Isaiah 66:1:

"Thus saith the [Eternal], The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? " (Isaiah 66:1)

Where is this wisdom going to be? Where are you going to find it?

"For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the [Eternal]: but to this [house, this one] will I look, even to to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." (Isaiah 66:2)

Now one thing Mr Armstrong did, and it wasn't just believeing in God - and he brings it out continually - he believed what God said.

Now if we are going to go back and understand the identity of Israel today, we have to go and read the scriptures and we have to approach them in a certain way... of believing what God says. That God really exists, that He did actually write or inspire these scriptures and we can then, taking this information, look at the world at large and we can see how it all fits together.

If we try to approach it another way, where we are backed into a corner before we listen to anything, which is the natural way of a man, we will never understand anything at all of this subject. There is only one approach, one way of actually doing it. It says:

" "He that killeth an ox is as ifhe slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense as if he blessed an idol. [you can do all these physical things, that is not going to do you any good] Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations." (Isaiah 66:3)

In what they want to do. That is the problem, the centre is off.

"I also will choose their delusions, [because they will think they know, they think it is a certain way] and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not." (Isaiah 66:4)

We have got to go back, and we have to find out what does God delight in? And it's a certain approach, a humble approach before God. The fear of the [Eternal] is the beginning of wisdom. There is where wisdom comes from.

"Hear the word of the [Eternal], ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the [Eternal] be glorified: [they reckoned they were going in the right direction] but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed." (Isaiah 66:5)

Remember the positioning of this passage here and the way in which it flows from the preceding verses. We are talking about people today, right now, within the church, just prior to the Millennial rule

What we have got to do is, to humbly listen to what God God has got to say. We have got to believe God, we have to tremble at His word. We don't insist on being back into a corner, to be able to say, 'this is right or this is the way it is'. But we run after the words and the ways of the [Eternal]. It is that approach that will give the wisdom. If we have another approach, as it says here, they want to go their own way. They want to go one way, and yet they want the advantages of going the other way, and that doesn't work!

So when we are We are looking at the subject of the identity of Israel, we are looking at a birthright people.

A Birthright People (PLAY FROM 30:37)

. Here in Deuteronomy chapter 7, let's just understand this birthright people. The One who made this people a birthright people, or birthright individuals, was God Himself. And here is describes the relationship between this people and God.

"For thou art an holy people unto the [Eternal] thy God: the [Eternal]thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The [Eternal] 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:" (Deuteronomy 7:6-7)

As we will go on and see that is going to have to change; they are to be numerous, that is part of the prophecy. But at that particular time, when they were taken out as slaves from Egypt, it says they were the fewest of all people.

"But because the [Eternal] loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, [that's the reason] ...hath the [Eternal] brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the [Eternal] thy God, he is God, the faithful God [notice - the faithful God], which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;" (Deuteronomy 7:8-9)

If He has made a promise, He is going to perform it. Nothing is going to stop Him, stand in His way. But He will do it His way, and He will do it according to His time-frame. But we are dealing with this true God, we are not dealing with a man. And He is keeping His covenant because of the fathers. And it says:

"...to a thousand generations; And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them [so it is not a case of repaying people way, way off, it is a case He will repay that to their face, to destroy them:" (Deuteronomy 7:10)

So the promises that He makes will be kept for a thousand generations, an awful long time - thousands of years. But He will requite the evil of people immediately. This is what He is saying here:

"...he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them." (Deuteronomy 7:10-11)

But here we see this Individual, how in the comparatively short term He will repay to somebody's face. Now it might be decades down the line until they finally get paid. But He will in fact repay them. And yet when you are looking at the covenant, the promise that He has made to the fathers, He says that will go on and it will be accomplished definitely even if it takes a thousand generations for that to be the case.

Now this is the Being that we are dealing with, so when we are looking at this birthright people; who is this people? What are we actually looking at. Turn over to Genesis 35.

As I say, you have got to look at this and put these scriptures together with the right approach. The approach being, look, this is God speaking, this is the Being who will do what He says He is going to do, even if it takes a thousand generations to do it, and we believe what He says. We don't have to be backed into a corner before we believe. If we have to be backed into a corner, you can guarantee we will not understand.

"So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him." (Genesis 35;6)

So here is Jacob now, he is in Luz. This is the area of Jacob's staircase, the vision that he had. (What we call today Jacob's ladder) In verse 9, it says:

"And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel." (Genesis 35:9-10)

Now Israel means, 'the power of God', the power or 'the prevailing of God', or even with God. But it is interesting that spiritual Israel also must have the power of God. These blessings that we are going to look at, and who these people are, they are both coming from the power of God. That is where they are actually coming from. And it goes on:

"And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;" (Genesis 35:11)

So here is a first mention of a nation and a company of nations. It goes on:

"And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land." (Genesis 35:12)

So you are looking at the land there, but it talks about a nation and a company of nations as well.

Turn over to Genesis 48, as we are looking at 'the who', of these promises.

"And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed." (Genesis 48:1-2)

"And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me," (Genesis 48:3)

This blessing about a nation and a company of nations, where did it come from? Did it come from Jacob saying it out of his own mind? It came from what God had actually specifically told him, when his name was changed to Israel. So his name was changed to Israel and at the same time, He said, "Look, you are going to be a nation and a company of nations. And this is what will be down through the ages."

"And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession. And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine." (Genesis 48:5)

"They are going to be my specific children"; so they became part of the twelve tribes. There are actually thirteen tribes altogether if you count Levi as well. Two tribes, one of them being Ephraim, one of them being Manasseh.

Now remember the time at Luz, the time at Bethal, where this promise was given by God, about a nation and a company of nations. It says in verse 16:

"The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them," (Genesis 48:16)

So the name of Israel went to Ephraim and Manasseh. Also the name of Jacob in prophecy is Ephraim and Manasseh predominately. But it is Israel primarily. So when we are identifying Israel we are looking for the descendants of these two individuals - Ephraim and Manasseh. It says:

"...and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head. And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations." (Genesis 48:16-19)

And the word 'greater' could also refer to the time-frame. Certainly where is says in verse 20, "and he set Ephraim before Manasseh", the time-frame also could well be implied. But here it says:

"And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh." (Genesis 48:20)

And this again could indicate a time-frame, a nation and a company of nations that were actually to come.

Turn over to I Chronicles chapter 5. We find here when we are looking at who are these birthright people, it says:

"Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's:)" (I Chronicles 5:1)

So when we are looking at the birthright, and who owns that birthright, we are looking at Joseph. And Joseph was divided into Ephraim and Manasseh, and Ephraim and Manasseh were to be counted as two separate tribes. Two separate individuals, as if they were part of the very sons of Israel.

So they are the birthright people and the specific name of Israel - when we are looking at who is Israel at the end time, who is Israel as far as Bible prophecy, where is this key - we are looking at Ephraim and Manasseh. There is no question that is where the predominate direction of the word Israel is being used within prophecy.

The Prophesied Signs (PLAY FROM 41:47)

What about the actual prophesied sign? We find in Genesis 22 where Abraham had been tested. And he passed that test and remember these blessings that came from Abraham were passing down as a birthright and they passed down thorough Isaac, through Jacob into Joseph and into his two children. And that is where the focus of these blessings actually reside.

But here in Genesis 22:16 it says:

"And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the [Eternal], for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore;" (Genesis 22:16-17)

Now notice; what are we looking at here? When we are looking at the prophesied signs, this is an unconditional promise. There are no conditions applied. Now we have just read about a thousand generations, so the promises to the fathers will be fulfilled even if it takes a thousand generations before they are. He will do that, because this is God we are talking about. And here He has given an unconditional promise to Abraham.

And this unconditional promise will be fulfilled and it is being fulfilled through Isaac, through Jacob, through Joseph, through Ephraim and Manasseh predominately. And here we are looking at a multiplication of the people, until they are like the sand of the sea shore, like the stars of heaven - what you can actually see of them – an innumerable multitude. So it's going to be down the generations. It is not going to be just the next generation or two, it's going to be down through the generations until there are enough people for this to be fulfilled.

And it says here: "...and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;" (Genesis 22:17) That is another point that we can put into the prophesied signs. Not only is there going to be national wealth, but you also are going to possess the gates of your enemies.

"And in thy seed shall the nations of the earth be blessed;because thou hast obeyed my voice." (Genesis 22:18) That 'in your seed is singular', and that singular one is Christ. You are looking at a different aspect there. You are looking at the genealogy leading to Christ.

If you think OK, what are we looking at, looking for? Turn to Genesis 27:

"And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him [this is Isaac now blessing Jacob] and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the [Eternal] hath blessed: Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:" (Genesis 27:27:28)

So we are looking at agricultural produce and we are looking at an abundance of agricultural wealth.

"Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee." (Genesis 27:29)

So we are now looking at a chief among the nations. We are not looking at a minor nation. We are looking at all the other people of the earth not only being blessed but also serving Israel as well.

Now the question comes, when? When we are looking at these prophesied signs, when is this actually going to have to be. Because, first of all, we know it is going to have to be a numerous people, we have seen that. It is going to be as the sand of the sea shore, it is going to be as the stars of heaven. You are going to have to allow enough time to go past so that we have the numbers that are actually being prophesied there. So it can't be right at the very start.

We also know that Israel, in the north, never fulfilled this aspect of the prophecy. You can't see a nation and a company of nations coming from Ephraim and Manasseh.

Remember who we are dealing with. We are dealing with the Eternal God, who will repay to your face, but will bless to a thousand generations if necessary. And here in Leviticus chapter 26, there are some hints.

"And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins." (Leviticus 26:18)

Now this seven is 'sheba' or 'shebah', I think it is actually pronounced, where you get 'shabat' - which is the Hebrew for Sabbath. More is 'yasaph' apparently which means to add, it is an additional thing, compounding the punishment in this particular verse.

In verse 21 it says: "And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins." (Leviticus 26:21) It again is compounding the amount of punishment that would be there.

When we come to verse 23, however, it says:

"And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins." (Leviticus 26:23-24)

There it is just 'shabah'. 'Yasaph' is not actually being used. It is not seven time more, it is seven times. It was saying before 'seven times more'. But here it is seven times. It is just that number seven that is being used;

"Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins." (Leviticus 26:24)

Now this is not seven times more, it means seven periods of duration. In verse 28 He reiterates the same thing.

"Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins." (Leviticus 26:28)

There will be seven compounds of punishment. In verse 25, this particular part in given in the context of bringing a sword;

"And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy." (Leviticus 26:25)

It is the time that they will go into captivity, will be delivered to the hand of the enemy, and as it says in verse 33:

"And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths," (Leviticus 26:33-34)

Now notice that: 'shabah' – shabbath. It is shabah that is being used seven times. Seven compounds of punishment. It is not just the multiplication of the degree of punishment it is the timing involved that is being used here, in the context of warfare. And continue in verse 34

"Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths." (Leviticus 26:34)

In other words, you will be away for your seven times of punishment and the land will enjoy the sabbaths. It is a playing of one against the other, the two thoughts there.

In Daniel 4:32, seven times were to pass over Nebuchadnezzar until he understood that God was the supreme God. Psalm 119:164, seven times a day will I prayer. It is a complete number. Proverbs 24:16, The just will fall seven times, but he is going to rise again. 'Shabah' is being used in all of these cases.

So, if we are looking at the question of when, you have to approach it in a certain way. We understand that God requites to the face of somebody who goes against them, but then the blessing will be protracted to a thousand generations if necessary.

Now there is no question that God is going to bless Israel. He is going to have the nation and the company of nations that He has promised. But here we find that if Israel walks in a certain way, first of all there will be compounded punishments that will be inflicted on them and then they will be taken into captivity. And it gives the indication that it will be seven times and the inference is that it is a time duration that is being talked about.

Now when we apply that to this scripture which we read over in Deuteronomy, we need to remember we aree dealing with the true God, to whom a day is a thousand years, and a thousand years is a day. So we can understande that He can delay this blessing, if need be, for thousands of years. And then reveal it. And it also makes sense.

Notice in Numbers 14:34 where it talks about forty years, each day for a year, this is a principle that God uses. And the one that we have just read over in Ezekiel 4:6 where it talks about lying on your side – each day for a year. God uses that within the prophecies that He gives.

They are going to be a numerous people, so this nation of Israel that is taken away out of their land, is going to have to have time to recover, their numbers are going to have to grow. They are going to have to exist at the end time as there are prophecies about them being in existence at that time.

The probability is that they are going to be at their height, shortly before that end time because we understand from prophecy that there is going to be a fall at that end time. It is clearly said that it is a time of Jacob's trouble. So we are going to look at them at their hight. Now you are looking at 'seven times', and applying it to years - a 360 day standard Hebrew year.(You can tie in Revelation 11:2-3 to back that up.)

Seven times 360 years is 2520 days for that seven times, and counting each day for a year, then 2520 years. Now you add 2520 to 721 BC, which is when Israel went into captivity and you come up with a date of 1799, because you lose a year going from BC to AD.

So if there is any indication as to when - and remember we are looking at a cast iron promise from God - putting theses scriptures together, the hint is we are looking around about 1800 AD that suddenly these nations will inherit a blessing and they have done themselves to gain this blessing.

The question now is also 'where'. Turn to Isaiah 48. "Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The [Eternal] hath redeemed his servant Jacob." (Isaiah 48:20) It is talking about Jacob, not the Jews but Jacob; Israel.

"And they thirsted not when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out. There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked." (Isaiah 48:21-22)

"Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The [Eternal] hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified." (Isaiah 49:1-3)

So He is talking about Israel, He is talking about Jacob, and what does He say? Where is He directing this? He is directing it to islands. He is saying: "Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far;"

Where is it being directed from? It is being directed from the area around Jerusalem, and it is talking to Israel and it says in verse 5:

"And now, saith the [Eternal] that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the [Eternal], and my God shall be my strength." (Isaiah 49:5)

So again He is talking about Israel, He is talking about Jacob. And the area of these isles, the area it is being pointed to, verse 12:

"Behold, these shall come from far: [and He has just said, Listen to me O isles – from afar] and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim." (Isaiah 49:12)

So you are looking for islands north-west of Jerusalem - from afar - and you come to the British Isles. That is one area.

He also says from the land of Sinim. Now in the Vulgate they identify this area here as somewhere far south, and the Vulgate actually translates it as Australia. And it certainly fits. Again you are looking at things that fit the scriptures. And verse 26;

"And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the [Eternal] am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob." (Isaiah 49:26)

So this passage here is talking about Jacob, it's talking about Israel. But let's just have a look at one other thing in here. Notice where it says in verse 18:

"Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the [Eternal], thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth. For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away." (Isaiah 49:18-19)

It is talking about the Millennium, it is talking abut the return of Israel into the land. But I want you to notice what it says:

"The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: [to narrow, too difficult, tight for me] give place to me that I may dwell." (Isaiah 49:20)

Israel never said that in the past. Nowhere can you find that the population growth or explosion of Israel was such that caused them to say that 'this place is too small'. It just isn't there. But here it says, that in the Millennium they are going say, that this area that we are in is too narrow for me, too difficult. It is too tight. There are too many people for it. And it says it is going to be done again. So that indicates that this nation rose through a through a population explosion.

The Fulfillment (PLAY FROM 59:28)

Now when we look at the fulfillment, we are looking therefore for a nation and a group of nations. Remember we are using an approach which is godly, which is wise, which believes what God says and we are looking for a nation and a group of nations. The chances are that the group of nations probably come first to power. It comes before the other one. Certainly the inference is that that could be the case.

What is it that we are looking for? We are looking for national wealth above all others. We are looking particularly at national agricultural wealth. These scriptures that we have gone through, this is what they have been bringing out.

We are looking for the gates of the enemies, that is also going to be a factor, when we try to find these individuals and say OK, who is Israel?

We are looking for somebody who is chief amongst the nations. Who is a leader in among the nations.

When is that going to be? We are looking for something round about 1800's. The end of the 1700's, beginning of the 1800's if we look at what it says over in Leviticus. And we apply this deferment which seems to be indicated within Leviticus 26.

Where is this going to be? Again there are other scriptures that talk about it being north, but this reference in Isaiah 49 says you are looking at it north-west of Jerusalem. You are looking at it in the isles of the sea. You are also looking at something in the far south, and you are looking at how it will actually occur. There is going to be some kind of a population explosion that bring this about.

And this is why, when you look at the world and look at the world situation, and you put these various scriptures together and you say you are looking at the world situation in a certain way - in a way of believing God - note what a certain historian called Cohen Cross (who wrote the Fall of the British Empire) had to say;

"One of the unexplained mysteries of social history is the explosion in the size of the population of Great Britain between 1750 and 1850." There was a population explosion that caused what we saw, what happened to Britain! "For generations the British population had been static or rising only slightly. Then in the space of a century it almost trebled from 7.7 million in 1750 to 20.7 million in 1850." A trebling in a hundred years! "Why it happened is unknown. It must just be recorded that human reproduction and vitality follows unpredictable patterns. Britain was a dynamic country and one of the marks of its dynamism was a population explosion."

And it happened when? Smack on the time, when you are looking at this deferment of blessings. Remember we are looking at a God who says He is going to bring certain things about, He will do it in a certain way.

Britain ruled at her peak during Victoria's reign. Britain ruled a quarter of the earth. She ruled all the seas, the whole lot. There was very, very little that she didn't rule, as far as the seas were concerned. And a third of the entire population of the earth was directly ruled by her. It is a staggering event that occurred round about 1800, when Britain came to the fore, and about the same time you are looking at the United States breaking away and becoming a nation in its own right.

Canada alone is bigger alone than the entirety of the United States. Canada just by itself is bigger than all the states and Alaska, and Hawaii obviously, put together. Just Canada.

And when you are looking at Australia, that is as big as continental United States. When you are looking at India today, the population of India today is one billion people, although it wasn't that same population back in the time Britain ruled India. The British Empire also had a great deal of power as far as the Far East is concerned even into China, although it didn't rule China itself.

When we are looking at Britain at its height, it is five times the Roman Empire in size and was four times the population of Rome. And this came out of nowhere! And it came out of nowhere at the precise time, and you look these various points that actually occurred and a certain hand was there causing these all of these things to take place, and they took place on time.

In the Declaration of Arbroath - this was Robert the Bruce in Scotland - it talks about "the journeying from the greater Scythia by the way of the Pillars of Hercules, [that's Gibraltar] and how they dwelt for long courses of time in Spain. And thence they came 1200 years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west, where they still live today."

So the Scots at that time traced their roots from the 'greater Scythia' which is southern Russia, Armenia, that kind of area, and they trace their roots all the way through to Scotland.

It also says [this was written to the Pope apparently] "Nor would He [that's Christ] have them confirmed in the faith by merely anyone but by the most gentle St Andrew, the blessed Peter's brother."

So again they recognise that Andrew was one of the apostles that came up at that time. And where was Andrew sent to? Where were the apostles sent to? Not out to the Gentiles but to the lost sheep of the children of Israel.

We have read in I Chronicles 5 where it talks about "And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser, king of Assyria...... and brought them unto Halah, and Habor and Hara and to the river Gozan, unto this day." (I Chronicles 5:26) That area is by the Caspian Sea, the area where we find Armenia today.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 891 AD, talks about the first inhabitants of England being the Britons who came from Armenia and they peopled Britain southwards. They also found gravestones in the region of the Crimea which have got Hebrew inscriptions on them. This is hard tangible evidence.

If you come across the bridge into Wales, you will see 'Croeso I Cymru' blasted all over the place. Croeso means welcome, Cymru is the name for Wales. C-y-m-r-u, with the 'u' pronounced 'e'. Cymru is believed to be coming from the word Cymyrians. The Cymyrians came from the area of Armenia and they are called the Cymru. And where does that come from? They were the sons of Omri.....the Omrians. The Omri being the king. The dynasty of that particular area.

So you put together some of these pieces. Iberia is coming from Iber or Iver. It is where we get the word 'Hebrews'- the sons of Iber. Saxon is another one, the sons of Isaac. You put together these various bits and pieces, and you see a fulfillment. You have to use the right type of approach, and you say, look, this fits. It just fits the way God has specified. They came at the right time, they came at the right place, they fulfil the prophecies. I would like to do a subsequent sermon on the Importance of being Israel, as spiritual Israel is of vital importance as we go into the future, but this one is just on the identity of Israel.

Here in I Kings 12, notice over in verse 21:

"And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore [180] thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon." (I Kings 12:21)

So Jeroboam had gone off and taken the kingdom with him, Rehoboam the son of Solomon went to try and save the kingdom again.

"But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying, Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying, Thus saith the [Eternal}, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me [notice that – this is from God – He allowed this to take place. He allowed the split, the dividing, the fact that they lost the ten tribes; went to the north, and they were a separate nation] They hearkened therefore to the word of the [Eternal], and returned to depart, according to the word of the [Eternal]."

So God's hand was in there at the very start. He allowed it. Yes, it is like the church being shattered. God's hand is in the shattering. It is a testing of the church. Turn over to Amos chapter 1. We find here identified the timing of this book of Amos. Agreed it has a relevance to us today as well, but it also has a relevance to what was going on at that time.

"The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake." (Amos 1:1}

So Jeroboam the son of Joash, was round about 782 BC and from that time, I think Mr Armstrong mentioned altogether there were seventeen dynasties within Israel. You look at what actually happened from that point forward. Zechariah who came after Jeroboam, lasted six months. He was murdered by Shallum. Shallum lasted one month and he was murdered by Menahem. Now he lasted about 10 years, then Pekahiah came along, lasted two years and was murdered by Pekah, who lasted twenty years and was murdered by Hoshea. So these are the sequential kings and these sons of Omri , this is why the land of Omri became the Cymru. This is where it all comes from.

Turn over to chapter 9 of Amos, so we see the timing of this particular book.

"I saw the Lord standing upon the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered. Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:" (Amos 9:1-2)

Yes, there is an application for the end time as well, there is a type and anti-type here. Notice what it then goes into:

"And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel. And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good." (Amos 9:3-4)

So it is talking about their captivity at that time, it wasn't the case of just the captivity at the end time.

"And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt. It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The [Eternal]is his name. Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the [Eternal]. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the [Eternal]." (Amos 9:5-8)

An great many of them died and they had to go ahead and recover, population wise. It says:

"For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, [ This is not a prophecy for the end time. This is a prophecy for the time they were in at that time, because they were sifted among all the nations] "...like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth." (Amos 9:9)

They will sift them with a sieve, the dross will be thrown up in the air, the chaff will be blown away, but the grains that He is wanting will be preserved all the way through the millennia. This is God we are talking about. This is God and He will preserve them for a particular time, when the nation and the company of nations will rise.

"All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, [there is the chaff that will be blown away] which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us [you see again,'requite them to their face']. In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the [Eternal] that doeth this. Behold, the days come [ it goes then into the end time fulfillment] saith the [Eternal], that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the [Eternal] thy God." (Amos 9:10-15)

This is the end time fulfillment, but there is a type and anti-type within this chapter. And we find the precursor being mentioned in verse 9, where they are sifted among the nations, not a grain will drop to the ground until He is ready to fulfil His promises to Abraham.

And then it goes into captivity again and at that time "... they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the [Eternal] thy God."(Amos 9:15) Then they will indeed be the nation of Israel and will be there throughout the Millennial rule.

So the key to prophecy is indeed the identity of Israel. It is the key and it is something that is understood by the church. It was understood by Mr Herbert Armstrong. But we also need to know and we need to understand, how it was understood by Mr Armstrong.

It was revealed by God, through the very Spirit of God. And when we are looking at the end time, we are looking at a similar time, as far as the five wise and five foolish and the oil, the necessary oil that needs to be there.

It was revealed to somebody who was humble before God, who didn't just advance his own ideas. He listened to what God had to say, and he believed what God had to say. He trembled before His word. That was the reason why God was able to use him in the way that he used him.

And it is also what we must do as well as we approach this subject and we therefore start to use this subject. We have got to make sure that we have - and maintain - that approach as we apply this key in what we believe and also what we stand for.