Had Ye Believed Moses
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Your House left Desolate
Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,
that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
See! Your house is left to you desolate;
for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” (Matthew 23:34-39)
When God called Israel out of Egypt under Moses, one central purpose was in view. The nation, God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22, 23), had been called out of Egypt to enter another land — a land previously covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — and exercise the rights of the firstborn in that land (Exodus 19:5, 6). And everything that has occurred within Israeli history down through the years, from Moses’ day until the present day, has had its roots within Israel’s calling as God’s firstborn and that which Israel has done relative to this calling.
A theocracy, with God’s firstborn son realizing the rights of primogeniture within that theocracy, was in the offing during Moses’ day. But, because of unbelief, the people refused to enter the land at Kadesh-Barnea and conquer the inhabitants, as God had commanded. And, as a result, the Israelites entering the land and realizing a theocracy within the land was delayed until that entire unbelieving and responsible generation (those twenty years old and above [Numbers 14:29]) had passed off the scene. And also, because Moses subsequently struck the rock in Numbers 20:8-11, in direct disobedience to God’s command, he was numbered with that generation as well and was not allowed to lead the Israelites into the land. The Lord, instead, appointed Joshua for this task (Numbers 20:12; 27:12-14; Deuteronomy 34:1-12).
Thus, once all those having a part in the unbelief exhibited at Kadesh-Barnea had died, along with Moses, Joshua was allowed to lead the nation into the land. And the theocracy that first existed in the land under Joshua’s leadership lasted for about eight hundred years, until the time of the Babylonian captivity, when the Glory departed. This theocracy though never reached the heights that God intended for His son (because of disobedience on the son’s part).
Then, when Christ came about six hundred years following the Babylonian captivity and the end of the theocracy, a remnant had returned to the land (a restoration that had begun under Zerubbabel over five centuries earlier). And though a remnant was in the land at this time, forming an Israeli nation, the “Times of the Gentiles” (when the Gentiles are in control of world affairs, government, etc.) was running its course. Rome was the world power, and Rome not only possessed governmental control over the remnant in the land but also over the Jewish people scattered throughout the Roman world of that day.
Israel had been called into existence to exercise governmental power over the Gentile nations, for purposes involving God’s blessings (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:17, 18; Exodus 19:5, 6). Israel was to dwell in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, within a theocracy, at the head of the nations; and God was not only to bless Israel but God was to bless the nations of the earth through Israel. All spiritual blessings were to flow to and through Israel in this manner.
But events transpired that resulted in a complete reversal of the position Israel had been called to occupy relative to the nations. The Gentiles had been allowed to invade the land of Israel and take the Jewish people captive (the Assyrians in 722 B.C., and the Babylonians in 605 B.C. [beginning the “Times of the Gentiles”]). And centuries later, when Christ was upon earth, the Gentiles still exercised control over world affairs.
Why had this been allowed to occur? Why had matters been allowed to go in this direction, with the Gentiles exercising governmental control after this fashion — control that included both the Jewish people and their land? Why had God dealt with Israel in this manner?
And not only was Israel under Gentile dominion when Christ came the first time, but the nation, in its unbelief and disobedience, wanted nothing to do with the One announced by the wise men to be Israel’s King; nor did they want anything to do with the proffered kingdom.
Why? After all, acceptance would have freed them from Rome’s control and Gentile dominion in general. But there was only rejection on Israel’s part.
God went to great lengths in both an offer of the kingdom preceding Christ’s crucifixion (an offer lasting about three and one-half years) and a re-offer of the kingdom following Christ’s resurrection and ascension (a subsequent offer lasting about thirty-two additional years). But Israel rejected the proffered kingdom both times.
In the first offer of the kingdom, the Jewish people went so far in their rejection as to crucify the One making the offer. The religious leaders, even though they knew Christ’s identity — One Who had come from God, the Heir of the vineyard — were not going to have this Man reign over them (cf. Matthew 21:38; John 3:2).
Then, in the re-offer of the kingdom, Israel’s religious leaders reacted to the message the same way they had reacted in the original offer. They began to threaten, beat, imprison, and even kill the ones proclaiming the message (cf. Acts 5:40-42; 7:54-60; 8:1-3; 9:24, 29). They still were not going to have the Heir of the vineyard reign over them (which would have necessitated His return from heaven [cf. Acts 3:19-21; 7:56, 57]).
The entire nation, save “a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5), followed the downward course set by its religious leaders; and this resulted in God eventually setting the nation aside for a dispensation (about 62 A.D.). Jerusalem was then destroyed by the Gentile world power of that day (by Rome, in 70 A.D.), and the Jewish people were scattered among and left at the mercy of the Gentiles.
But, even though the nation was set aside, allowing God to deal with a separate people for a dispensation (those forming the one new man “in Christ”); principles established by God relative to Israel and the nation’s calling still remained in effect. And these principles centered on blessings and curses, not only for Israel but for the Gentiles as well. Israel, because of disobedience, would fall into the latter category (curses); and the Gentiles, depending upon their attitude toward and treatment of Israel, could fall into either category (blessings or curses).
(God, through Moses, had outlined this entire matter in graphic and minute detail to Israel after He called the nation out of Egypt. There are two long chapters in the revelation given through Moses — Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28 — where God went to great lengths to relate that which would occur if the Jewish people were obedient to His commandments and that which, on the other hand, would occur if they were disobedient.)
Israel had chosen the latter path. Israel had been disobedient to the Lord’s commandments. And, true to His Word, God had allowed Gentile powers to come into the land and uproot the Jewish people (Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 28:64).
And throughout the ensuing dispensation, during the time when Israel was out of favor with God, one thing could not occur — the Gentile nations could not be blessed in the manner that God had intended through Israel’s calling, for these blessings had to flow through Israel dwelling in the land within a theocracy. Blessings of this nature would have to wait for a time when Israel was once again in favor with God. They would have to wait for Israel’s future restoration, which would, of necessity, have to include the restoration of the theocracy to Israel.
The picture is that of God’s son — whom the Father called into existence to be the channel through which He would bless all the Gentile nations — being out of favor with the Father (through disobedience). As a result, chastisement has befallen the son, with the Father allowing the Gentile nations to subdue and control His son, resulting not only in the son being chastened by the Father but in the numerous blessings that God had reserved for the Gentile nations being withheld from these same nations.
However, some of the Gentiles (nations and individuals) — not really understanding that which has happened — have brought curses upon themselves by seeking to help God chasten His son.
And I will…curse him that curses you… (Genesis 12:3a)
…I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal.
I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry [with my son], and they helped forward the affliction. (Zechariah 1:14b, 15)
…Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these [Christ’s brethren, the Jewish people], you did not do it to Me. (Matthew 25:45b)
Others (nations and individuals), on the other hand — some understanding, some not understanding that which has happened — have brought blessings upon themselves by being a friend to the Father’s son (though not the abundance of blessings reserved for the Gentiles, with Israel in favor with God).
And I will bless them that bless you… (Genesis 12:3a)
…Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. (Matthew 25:40b)
The whole of world conditions down through the centuries has revolved around God’s plans and purposes surrounding Israel in the preceding respect, His dealings with Israel relative to the nation’s calling, and His dealings with the Gentile nations relative to Israel’s calling. Everything in this respect has revolved around and continues to revolve around Israel. Israel alone is the key.
And, apart from the Gentile nations of the world taking into account God’s plans and purposes surrounding Israel, there can not even be a beginning to a solution of any one of the problems that confront these same nations. That’s how important the nation of Israel is in the affairs of world history.
Nor can that which has happened to Israel over the centuries — from the brickyards in Egypt to the ovens in Auschwitz — be explained any way other than that which is set forth in Scripture relative to the nation’s calling. The Father is chastening His son, because of disobedience. And, at times, the Gentile nations have stepped in and “helped forward the affliction,” something that God has allowed.
As long as the son continues unrepentant, the chastisement will continue. And not only will it continue, but in the latter days, through the Gentiles seeking to help “forward the affliction,” conditions will deteriorate to the point that “except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matthew 24:22a).
But in that day God is going to intervene in man’s vain attempts to help chasten His son. God is going to supernaturally shorten those days, and He will do this for the sake of His son. And it will be following this time that all of the past chastisement will bear fruit. The son will ultimately be brought to the place of repentance, allowing God to restore Israel, restore the theocracy to Israel, and bring the “Times of the Gentiles” to an end.
There is that which Scripture has to say about the matter, and there is that which man may think about the matter. The two are worlds apart. The Creator has stated the matter in no uncertain terms, and He has stated the matter to both inform and warn His son. Obedience results in blessings and disobedience results in curses. God’s disobedient son must be brought to the place of repentance. Only then can God bless Israel and the Gentile nations through Israel.
Israel and the Nations — Present
When Christ came the first time, He appeared to Israel and offered the kingdom of the heavens to the Jewish people, based upon national repentance. The message was very simple: “Repent: for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand” (Matthew 3:1, 2; 4:17; 10:1-7).
The theocracy could have been restored (cf. Acts 1:3-7); and though only the heavenly aspect of the kingdom was being offered to the nation at this time, any realization of the heavenly would have necessitated a realization of the earthly as well. One cannot exist in this respect apart from the other.
Israel, at Christ’s first coming, was viewed as sick, “from the sole of the foot even to the head” (Isaiah 1:4-6). Supernatural signs were being manifested — supernatural healings of individuals, supernatural provision (Matthew 4:23-25; John 2:7-10) — pointing to that which the entire nation could experience and have if the nation would repent.
This was God through one Son calling His other son to acknowledge that which had been done, and repent. But the other son refused, and the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis chapter four began to be fulfilled in the antitype.
One son rose up against the other Son, and slew Him. As Cain rose up against Abel and slew him, Israel rose up against Christ and slew Him. And as the blood of Abel cried out “from the ground,” the blood of Christ “speaks better things than that of Abel” (cf. Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 12:24).
Then the story continues from Genesis chapter four. Cain’s punishment for this act was something that he looked upon as greater than he could bear. He was to be driven from the Lord’s face out upon the earth, he was to be “a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth [a fugitive moving from place to place across the face of the earth, with no permanent home]”; and, in this condition, he would find himself at the mercy of those upon the earth.
Others would seek to slay him, but would be unable to do so. God, in spite of that which Cain had done, would not only supernaturally protect Cain, but He would judge those who did seek to slay him (Genesis 4:13-15).
And this is exactly what has happened to the Jewish people over the centuries since they slew their Brother. Israel has been driven from the Lord’s face out upon the earth (among those “without God,” in the tents of Ham and Japheth [cf. Genesis 9:26, 27; Ephesians 2:12]). Israel has been scattered among the nations — a fugitive, one guilty of blood, with no permanent home (cf. Deuteronomy 28:64-67) — and Israel, in this condition, has been placed at the mercy of these same nations.
As previously shown, some of these Gentile nations where the Jewish people have been scattered have sought to help God chasten His son through forwarding the affliction. They, as Cain feared would happen to him when he was driven out in this manner, have sought to take Israel’s life. But Israel possesses the same promise Cain possessed. God would supernaturally intervene, protect His son’s life (though allowing the nations to enact their anti-Semitism), and then judge the nations that did interfere with His treatment of His son.
The classic example of this in modern times would be that which occurred in Europe during the reign of the Third Reich (1933-1945). Germany, not realizing what they were doing (another Gentile nation fulfilling that stated in Genesis 4:14, 15; Zechariah 1:15), sought to help God chasten His son (again, not realizing what they were doing, or the grave consequences of their actions).
They built the concentration camps, the crematoriums, and sought to produce a Jew-free Europe through the destruction of an entire race of people. And six million Jews in Europe (Jews dispersed in Gentile lands, at the mercy of the Gentiles) died during this time.
An understanding of the severity of that which happened to Israel during these years is something that seems to move beyond all human comprehension. And man finds himself asking questions that should never be asked, for they reflect negatively upon that which God has revealed about Himself and His dealings with Israel.
Man wants to know how a loving God could allow something like this to occur. Man wants to know where God was when His people were undergoing untold sufferings and agonies in the death camps.
The problem with all this type of reasoning — bringing the love of God into question, or asking where God was — is that this reasoning exists completely apart from the revelation of God concerning Himself and His dealing with Israel.
God’s love is thought of in humanistic terms, thinking what man might do relative to love. But the manner in which an infinite, omniscient God views love and the manner in which finite, fallen man might view love are two different things entirely.
Note, for example, the extent to which a loving God allowed His “beloved Son” to suffer at Calvary. God loved the world to the extent that He allowed His Son, Jesus, to die at Calvary, providing salvation for all who will believe on His Son.
And God has a corresponding love for His son, Israel, which is also connected with the world and with untold sufferings. God loves the world to the extent that He has allowed His other son to suffer over the years, to bring about correction, in order that the nations might be blessed through His son.
And, to turn that around, God loves His Son, Jesus, so much that He had decreed that the eternal destiny of man be contingent on man’s acceptance or rejection of His Son; and God loves His son, Israel, so much that he has decreed that all blessings that He has reserved for mankind be contingent upon man’s treatment of His son.
But, where was God when the Jewish people were suffering and dying by the tens and hundreds of thousands in the Nazi death camps? Moses provides the answer to that question as well, along with the answers to any other questions that can be raised relative to the Jewish people.
The answer is seen by asking: “Where was God when the Israelites were suffering under the Assyrian Pharaoh in Egypt during Moses’ day?” He was in the same place during Jewish suffering in modern times as He was during the sufferings of these same people in Moses’ day, or during any other sufferings that the Jewish people have undergone over the course of the intervening centuries and millennia.
Note where God was during the sufferings of the Jewish people in Moses’ day:
And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him [Moses] in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.
Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt…” (Exodus 3:2-4, 7a)
The picture is that of Israel burning in the fires of Gentile persecution, with God in the midst of the nation. God was allowing the Gentiles to help “forward the affliction”; and, at the same time, He was in the midst of His people, who were being afflicted. God Himself was being afflicted along with His son.
(Exactly the same thing can be seen through the sufferings of God’s Son at Calvary. One Son died, and this Son was God Himself. It was God Who suffered. It was the very blood of God that was shed at Calvary [Acts 20:28].)
This is why treatment accorded either Son — whether good or bad — is treatment accorded God Himself (Matthew 25:31-46). God is seen in the midst of Israel. He is seen standing with His son, receiving exactly the same thing that the son receives.
The burning bush during Moses’ day, representing Israel continually suffering in the fires of Gentile persecution, couldn’t be destroyed. To destroy the bush, one would have had to destroy God within the bush. The bush burned in a continuous manner, though nothing was being consumed in the process, for God could not/cannot be consumed.
It was as Cain in Genesis chapter four, for one type must agree with another type bearing on the same subject in exact detail. And both Cain’s experiences and the burning bush during Moses’ day point to Israel, who can no more be destroyed than God in the midst of His people can be destroyed.
But principles that God set forth pertaining to those who have sought/who seek to help “forward the affliction” of His people must be worked out. These were set forth in Genesis 4:13-15 relative to Cain. Sevenfold vengeance (“seven,” showing the completeness of that which was in view, pointing to complete judgment) would be taken upon the one seeking to slay Cain.
And God has stated relative to Abraham and his seed, “…I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you…” (Genesis 12:3a). Insofar as Germany was concerned — and more particularly the Third Reich — these principles had to be worked out. God Himself had established the principles; and God, remaining true to His Word, would have to bring to pass that which He had decreed.
The Third Reich, which was supposed to last for one thousand years, lasted all of twelve years (1933-1945). And at the end of this time, this Empire lay in total ruin, with judgment continuing for decades upon those having laid their hands upon God’s son (the Eichmann trial, other war criminals still being hunted, etc.).
The short tenure of the Third Reich and the devastation that befell Germany can be traced to one thing alone. The leadership of the Third Reich helped forward the affliction of God’s son. And through so doing, they took an entire nation (the German people) down with them.
God allowed this Gentile nation to afflict His son in this manner. And then, true to His Word, He brought an end to the matter, not only preserving a people who couldn’t be destroyed but judging those who had sought to do so, through a punishment commensurate with the crime.
Thus, where was God when the Jewish people were being gassed and placed in the ovens at Auschwitz, among other death camps? The answer is simple: God was there! God was in the midst of His people, just as He was in the burning bush during Moses’ day. And, as the bush couldn’t be consumed during Moses’ day almost 2,500 years ago, neither could the nation be consumed in the gas chambers and ovens during modern times. It is the same nation, with the same calling, with the same unchangeable God dwelling in the nation’s midst.
Israel could no more be consumed in the gas chambers and ovens during the reign of the Third Reich than could the three Israelites be consumed in the fiery furnace during Nebuchadnezzar’s day — a furnace heated seven times hotter than it was normally heated, so hot that it slew those who cast the three Israelites into the furnace. The fire though had no power over these Israelites, none whatsoever. Not a single hair on their heads was singed by the fire.
But this was not at all the fate awaiting those who cast them into the furnace, or the fate awaiting the kingdom of Babylon at a later date. Only destruction awaited those who had raised their hand against God’s people, Israel.
Why did all these things occur in Babylon after this particular fashion — Jewish protection, Gentile destruction? Again, one must go back in history to see the way in which God has decreed that all matters relative to Israel must come to pass, beginning in Genesis chapter four. And to bring these decrees to pass relative to His son, supernatural protection (which had been previously revealed) was provided for the three Israelites in the furnace in Babylon. And this protection was provided through a fourth person seen in the furnace, unidentified in Daniel, but having previously been identified by Moses (Daniel 3:19-27).
That which befell the Egyptian Pharaoh and his armed forces (the power of Egypt) during Moses’ day, or that which befell the kingdom of Babylon during Daniel’s day, or that which befell Nazi Germany during modern times, will befall any and all who dare to raise their hand against God’s son. God, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge, may very well allow certain things to occur relative to His son, even to the degree that it occurred during the reign of the Third Reich. But the end will always be the same, for God must remain true to His Word.
The end will always be the same as that which occurred during Moses’ day, though it may take various forms as God brings matters to pass. During Moses’ day, the end is seen on the one hand by the Israelites standing on the eastern banks of the Red Sea, singing the victor’s song; and the end is seen on the other hand by Pharaoh and his armed forces overthrown and lying dead in the sea.
Though God has allowed, and will yet allow, Israel to experience untold sufferings at the hands of the Gentile nations — of a nature that defies all human comprehension — it is not for man to question God’s methods and ways in His treatment of His disobedient son, ways designed to bring about correction. God’s thoughts and ways are not man’s thoughts and ways at all. God’s thoughts and ways are higher than man’s, “as the heavens are higher than the earth” (Isaiah 55:8, 9). One is infinite, and the other is finite; and the two cannot be brought together in this respect.
The only manner in which man’s thoughts and ways can be brought into conformity with God’s thoughts and ways is for man to find out what God has to say about a matter and believe it. Only then will the two be the same; and only then will God honor man’s thoughts and ways, for they will then be His thoughts and ways (cf. Romans 1:17; 2 Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 11:6).
Israel and the Nations — Future
Israel’s greatest time of affliction at the hands of the Gentiles still lies in the future. That which occurred in Europe under the reign of the Third Reich is little more than a precursor of that which is about to occur worldwide under the reign of a man who will shortly appear on the scene.
During “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), when the Antichrist exercises full power, he will enact a form of anti-Semitism without parallel in history. He will seek to destroy the Jewish people, not just in Europe, but worldwide. And he will be responsible for slaying more than twice as many Jews in less than half the time as were slain in Europe during the war years.
The Jewish people, remembering the Holocaust, have a saying today: “Never Again!” But Israel is saying this in an unrepentant and unbelieving state, guaranteeing that something similar, if not worse, will happen again. And that about to occur will be worse, far worse. It will make the Holocaust pale by comparison.
The Old Testament type for all of this is set forth in the book of Exodus. Moses wrote about the matter in great detail almost 3,500 years ago — detail which will be fulfilled exactly as recorded.
The Assyrian Pharaoh, seeking to destroy the Jewish people in Egypt during Moses’ Day (Isaiah 52:4), typifies the Assyrian (Antichrist) of the end time, who will raise his hand against Israel after the same fashion (Isaiah 10:5; 14:25; 23:13; 30:31; 31:8; Hosea 11:5; Micah 5:5). And, just as God supernaturally protected His people under the past Assyrian, He will supernaturally protect them under the future Assyrian; just as God ultimately led His people out of Egypt under Moses, He will ultimately lead them out from a worldwide dispersion under Jesus; just as the power of Egypt was destroyed in that day, so will Gentile world power be destroyed yet future; and just as the Jewish people subsequently dwelled in the land, within a theocracy, they, in that coming day, will dwell in the land once again within a theocracy.
The Son of righteousness will arise with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2), restore His people to the land, and restore the kingdom to Israel. Then, and only then, will blessings flow out from God through Israel to the Gentile nations of the earth, as God originally intended through Israel’s calling.