The Paradox That is America
The Call to Remembrance
The aimless wandering of the Children of Israel was finally coming to an end. After forty years, Moses and his two faithful companions Joshua and Caleb were all that was left of the original group that had escaped Egyptian bondage. An entire generation—an estimated two to three million souls—was now dead and buried, all eyewitnesses to the ten plagues that assaulted the Egyptians, in God’s efforts to induce Pharaoh to let His people go.
Now only their children and their children’s children continued to march onward, even as the lingering question haunted them in this last leg of their decades-long journey to the Promised Land: How could a God so powerful as to perform such miracles in freeing us from Egyptian slavery lack the ability to bring our parents into this land, too, so they could also enjoy the fruits of that freedom?
Yet even as the question lingered, so did the answer—bittersweet as that answer was then, even as it is now. Even now, the answer of why a generation miraculously delivered by God was both blessed and cursed is obvious, because it’s always easier to understand the past from the vantage point of the present. Looking back, what seemed so mysterious to the children who were still alive seems clear to us. That’s because the most important element in understanding those events is that, in hindsight, we see what happened to them was never meant for their sakes alone. In short, God intended that wilderness experience to reveal a universal truth to all those who are similarly called from time to time, as outsiders, outliers, and aliens, like father Abraham before them, led forth from the confines of this darkened world.
Story Continues Below
To watch author and historian W. Kent Smith discuss the contents of his book On Earth as It is On Heaven, at the Sacred Word Revealed Conference 2023, hosted by Zen Garcia, CLICK BELOW.
Story Continues From Above
So for anyone who has ever heard the tale of those wilderness wanderers, let the lesson of their lives speak to your own situation today, just as it spoke to the disciples of Jesus in their day. No doubt the disciples had been weaned on the story of those feckless wanderers who squandered the grace of God after having witnessed so many of God’s miracles at the hand of Moses. And for any of us who insists we’d do things differently than those wandering Israelites, demanding more than manna and miracles, differently than those disciples of Jesus, seeking more than bread and forgiveness, think again, because you and I are made of the very same stuff as them.
It’s not too hard to imagine how the memory of those wandering Israelites might have run through the minds of the disciples, even as they sought to persuade Jesus to do more than turn water into wine or calm the storm with but a word. Did the hard lesson of that generation invade their thoughts long enough to remind them of what happens when God’s people turn His calling into something other than what He intends it to be? And like them, will we heed the call to remembrance, of the tragic events of that stubborn generation?
But instead of maturing toward greater levels of faith, instead of graduating to new heights of trust, those stubborn Israelites degraded month by month and year by year. Eventually, God grew so weary with them He had no choice but to lead them in circles through the Wilderness until that embittered generation died off, leaving only Moses, Joshua, Caleb, and everyone under twenty years of age...
As we proceed further and further along in our story, one can’t help but be startled at the turn of events as they unfold. When most of us consider the tug of war of power in The Bible, we usually think of those who stand for God and good, like Noah and his faithful followers, warring against those who stand for Satan—whether they realize it or not—and evil, like Nimrod and his rebellious minions. It is generally in this context that we also think of Nebuchadnezzar’s Great Image, which represented the various nations, like Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, that warred against Judah. And it is within the context of the struggle between nations that calls our attention to the arrival of the other great kingdom, that of stone, which biblical historians and theologians have yet to identify with the same certainty as that of the kingdoms of gold, silver, bronze, and iron.
However, even more important to the biblical narrative than the conflict between God and the various personifications of evil is the one between God and the very people He’s chosen and set apart for His purposes in the Earth. The former conflict is straightforward and obvious while the latter constitutes one of the great mysteries of biblical history. Add to that our typical doubt and skepticism, despite God’s word clearly providing us with clue after clue, and the mystery only grows more mysterious.
But to those who are willing to pay attention to these biblical clues, the mystery can’t help but reveal its true meaning. Thus, in trying to arrive at a connection between Israel of old and the birth of America, it should be noted that while Israel failed to live up to its full potential, God made it clear through the mouth of Moses that He had no intention of failing. That’s because while many of God’s promise are conditional by nature and require obedience on the part of the recipients, many more of His promises are unconditional by nature and so come to fruition regardless of the human actors involved.
Case in point: Although Israel of old was given every opportunity to live up to God’s call, it grew overconfident and presumptuous in that calling. Having grown fat, bloated, and gorged, Israel abandoned God and scorned the Rock of salvation. Nevertheless, the Rock will not be denied; God’s purposes in the Earth will not fail, even when His chosen ones fail to do their part. When Israel provoked God to jealousy by that which was not God, He determined to make them jealous by those who are not a people; and when Israel enraged Him with their worthless idols, God determined to make them angry by a nation without understanding. Certainly Jesus had this in mind when He said to Israel of old:
So I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation who will bear fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.1
That said, could this Kingdom of God be the same Stone Kingdom that Daniel predicted would not only destroy the Great Image of Nebuchadnezzar but also fill the whole Earth? If so, then how might we prove that this fruit-bearing kingdom is the same one so indebted to that original kingdom of Israel? And finally, how might we demonstrate a clear and obvious historical continuity between this Stone Kingdom, Israel of old, and America?