We read a prophecy of latter-day Israel in Isaiah 58:12, “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, ‘The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.’” Israel was to be the builder race, constructing, repairing and restoring. By extension, Israel in exile was propagated throughout the world as manufacturers, industrialists, constructors, producers, rulers, merchants, ambassadors, soldiers, sailors, missionaries, and colonists. Why are we sown throughout the earth? In short, to civilize the world both morally and materially; or as the translators of the Bishops Bible of 1568 rendered the last phrase, “the buylder agayne [builder again] of the way to dwell in.” Israel indeed was destined to be the ideal nation, implementing God’s principles—the way to dwell in—throughout the earth.
God in His Word declared, “This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” (Isa. 43:21) “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen 12:3)
A leading American magazine of the past, The Saturday Evening Post, in 1912 featured an article entitled, “The Superiority of the English.” Much of the commentary dealt with pre-world-war politics, but before concluding came this revealing statement, “…their significant growth remains today, as it has always been, spontaneous—from within outward.” Yes, there is a reason for the idea that our success springs from something within the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic genome—our success seemingly comes from within. Look up inventions in an encyclopedia and notice the ethnicity of the vast majority of those who have contributed to the major advances in modern civilization: Americans, English, Scottish, Welsh, Germans, and Scandinavians abound, among others. There is a strong tendency to congratulate ourselves and our genetics for all of this.
Witness the following four thought-provoking statements from influential leaders as given in the “Empire Series” four-page leaflet no. 1, published by the Imperial British Israel Association in 1913.
American Industrialist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) boasted, “British-Imperialism forecasts…a noble destiny—the mother enthroned among her children 250,000,000 strong, dominating the world for the good of the world.”
British Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman (1836-1908) urged us “to be inspired and invigorated by our common pride in the great beneficent mission which the British people in all parts of the world are, as we believe, appointed and destined to fulfill.”
British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury (1830-1903) said, “England’s destiny is endless, because the children of our race are settled in the four corners of the world.”
Admiral Lord John Fisher (1841-1920), the famous Sea Lord, stated, “that the five keys of the world—the straits of Dover, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Suez Canal, the Straits of Malacca, and the Cape of Good Hope—are held by the British…See how Providence has been kind to us! Are we not the lost tribes?”
Nor was all of this due simply to war or force of arms. Sir John Holcomb of the British Admiralty noted during the Victorian Era in 1886 that England possessed eight-and-a-half million square miles of territory, and only one-and-a-half million of that was acquired by diplomacy or war, with the rest due to benevolence or industrial and commercial progress. For example, Ceylon in the late 19th century invited Britain to take possession, “disgusted with the tyranny of their king.”
Nineteenth-century poet Lewis Morris penned these pithy lines: “We hold a vaster Empire than has been! Nigh half the race of man is subject to the Queen; Nigh half the wide, wide earth is ours in fee! And where her rule comes, all are free.”
Is there a biblical basis for God’s Israel to maintain such a world-wide might and power? The Apostle Paul wrote concerning the Abrahamic Covenant, “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Rom. 4:13) Yes, Israel was to be heir of the world, a world-wide power in the latter days. Furthermore, the Promise was realized through Faith—Abraham’s, not ours. We could not earn this on our own account. We are far from perfect as a people, but the promise was given us based upon Abraham’s own prior faith, obedience and devotion, not upon our own righteousness. (Gen. 22:15-18)
There are those who say our national sins preclude us from receiving God’s favor, but the Lord says, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.” (Isa. 44:22)
Yet, our sins will not go altogether unpunished. Israel suffered for their sins on the way to the Promised Land: “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live…Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.” (Deut. 8:3, 5)
We are further warned against ascribing our blessings and greatness to ourselves instead of to God and His Goodness. “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein…and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” (Deut. 8:7-14, 17-18)
The famous French writer and philosopher, Victor Hugo (1802-1885), tersely stated, “The whole world, as by some mighty galvanism, raises a wild cry of adoration, throws itself upon the bounteous bosom of England, and the world will be one England; her virtue and patience have triumphed; the lamp of her faith, kindled at the apostolic altars, burns as a beacon to mankind.” Israel was chosen by God and destined to be the ideal nation, a blessing to mankind. There is little reason to deny the truth of God’s Word on this. Yet, let us not forget that the source of our blessings is really not found within ourselves, but in the Lord who chose us, redeemed us, and ordained us to be His instruments of blessing in all the earth.