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God's Breach of Promise

By C. Eldon McNabb

hortly after the children of Israel left Egypt and met with God at Mount Sinai, God told Moses to send a scouting party to spy out the land which He had promised them. Those twelve leaders of the people went and looked over the land for forty days. All but two of them brought back a very discouraging report, but Joshua and Caleb were sure that they could take the land, with God as their captain.

The whole congregation mourned and wept all night and murmured against Moses and against Aaron, longing to return to "the easy life" in Egypt. They would not be persuaded to go and fight with those giants.

God became very angry with them and, at first, threatened to slay them all right there, and give Moses some other People, but Moses pleaded for God not to do so. God said, "How long will it be ere they believe Me?" (Num. 14:11)

"And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: (Num. 14:20-23)

"After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die." (Num. 14:34,35)

God indeed broke His promise to them. The record shows that the generation of which He spoke did not receive the promise to Abraham, but a remnant of them did receive it.

This historical event is prophecy in the form of an allegory. It is history written in such a way as to prophesy of things to come. Which things God truly brought to pass by Jesus Christ of Nazareth. God sent John the Baptist and then Jesus unto the world to make provision for, and lead Israel into, the spiritual fulfilment of the natural promises to Abraham and the other patriarchs of old.

With a study of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, and the information in Luke 2:41-52 and Luke 3:1, we see that John began his ministry in about the spring of A.D. 26. Under the law of King David He could have begun his ministry any time after his 20th birthday. We know he had to have preached quite a while before Jesus began his ministry, when we consider the enormity of his achievement during his ministry. It is quite obvious that a mere six months would not have sufficed. Jesus and John were born approximately the year that Julius Caesar brought Tiberius to Rome. When Jesus was twelve years of age something happened which made Him think it was time for Him to begin his ministry, as He said to his parents that day, "wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" It was A.D. 12. Tiberius became Caesar, and the fifth millennium from Adam was begun.

About three and a half years after John had begun his ministry, when Jesus began to be about thirty years of age, Jesus went down to be baptized of John, and began His ministry. That was apparently the year A.D. 30. (That was about three and one half years after John had begun his ministry, making the total of their ministries about seven years.) One notable statement Jesus made during his ministry was very similar to the one God made just before He declared His breach of promise which I mentioned above. "Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?"

About six weeks after His baptism, Jesus announced His ministry by reading the prophecy about Himself in Isa. 61:1, and applying it to Himself. That day they began to try to kill Him. Just about forty years later, Israel suffered an attack upon their nation which caused the death of at least two-thirds of their number. The rest were scattered abroad, and for nearly two-thousand years the land lay desolate. (Ezek. 5:1-4, Ezek. 6:1-10)

What happened to the promise to Abraham? The same thing happened which happened in the days of Moses and Joshua. In the words of the Apostle Paul, "What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded."

When the fulness of time had come for "the promise of the Father" to be made good, the nation of Israel did not believe, and after forty years, God cast them out the land. However, God made good on His promise. He made a new covenant with a remnant of Israel. When Paul spoke of this New Covenant, in Heb. 8:6-13, he concluded by saying, "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." That covenant is broken, and by the New Covenant God cries out, "Whosoever will, let him come and drink of the water of life freely."

Jesus brought them the New Covenant, and by the shedding of His blood He caused it to go into effect. From His ministry, until the destruction of the Temple, Israel was in transition into the New Covenant. Those who believed received the promise of the Holy Ghost, and entered into a whole new life. Those who did not believe reaped the curses of the Old Covenant instead. They experienced His breach of promise. The words of Jesus, in Matt. 21:43, came to pass, as it is written, "Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."

There have been many Israelis, through the centuries unto this day, who accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah. It was not redemption which was taken from them, but rather the literal Kingdom. When The Kingdom of God is given to a group of Gentile believers, and the glory of the Latter House comes, in fulfillment of the Haggai 2:6-9, all of the honest-hearted Israelites in the world (they are the true Israel) shall turn to God by Jesus Christ. Then shall be fulfilled that saying, "And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the (spiritual) riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves." (Isa. 61:5,6) &