Royalty and Ruin


Where Is God’s True Israel?

In proclaiming the everlasting gospel to every nation, God’s church is fulfilling the prophecy, “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” Isaiah 27:6. As the result of the efforts of Jesus’ followers, an abundant harvest is developing, bringing the benefits God hinted at in His promise to Abraham, “I will bless you ... and you shall be a blessing.” Genesis 12:2. RR 247.1

This promise of blessing should have met major fulfillment during the centuries following the Israelites’ return from captivity. God intended that the whole earth would be prepared for the first advent of Christ, even as today He is preparing the way for Jesus’ second coming. See Zechariah 8:3, 7, 8. RR 247.2

God did not want Israel to repeat the sins that had characterized her prior to the captivity. “Execute true justice,” the Lord told those engaged in rebuilding. “Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace.” Zechariah 7:9; 8:16. RR 247.3

God promised rich rewards to those who would practice these principles: “Just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing.” Zechariah 8:13. RR 247.4

The Babylonian captivity cured the Israelites of image worship. After their return, under Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah they repeatedly pledged to keep all the commandments of the Lord. The times of prosperity that followed gave evidence of God’s willingness to forgive. Yet with fatal shortsightedness they selfishly kept for themselves the blessings that would have brought healing and life to multitudes. RR 247.5

This failure was plainly visible in Malachi’s day. In his rebuke against transgressors, the prophet spared neither priests nor people. Only by sincere repentance could they experience God’s blessing. “But now,” the prophet pleaded, “entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us.” Malachi 1:9. RR 247.6

However, God would not allow His plan to redeem the human race to be frustrated by any temporary failure of Israel. “From the rising of the sun to its setting,” the Lord declared through His messenger, “My name is great among the nations.” Verse 11, NRSV. RR 247.7