The name Israel does not have an earthly origin, it is divine. This means that it came from God! The name was first spoken by God Himself when He renamed Jacob saying, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28). This happened just prior to Jacob coming back together with his brother Esau, whom he had stolen his birthright from. At this point, God not only gives Jacob a new name but a set of commands, all at once. Of course, Jacob did not know this at that time. The name Israel has again emerged in 1948 – 72 years ago. This is unique in our time and space – the name from God has come alive as a nation once again.
When the family of Jacob grew from about 72 people to more than a million in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh was upset! He feared the people who were once the sons of Jacob. But God was working and this family became a national identity for the first time. In the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the LORD outlines the direction that the culture should take. As we study the children of Israel’s new rules and regulations, remember that Jesus Christ has fulfilled all these requirements as He came to earth, lived a perfect life and gave Himself to be crucified on the cross to paying the cost of sin once and for all. And, after three day He rose again to conquer death and give us the gift of eternal life. This made Christianity come to life! Still today, the Christian Church continues to grow around the world!
The direction and commands of Israel, as a nation, is interesting because it sheds much light on what and why Jesus Christ did the things He did on earth, which seem strange to us today, by fulfilling the regulations of the Jews. The LORD Jesus has changed the way we see God and helps us to understand how to come to Him with our needs and hurts. My recommendation to each of us is that we consider how Jesus Christ has saved us and made Himself available to us through His work. This is a great day to read, learn, and understand the Bible!
Pastor Rod Hembree, ThD, DE is the founding pastor of Good Friends Fellowship in Ontario, Canada. He brings his extensive production background and Biblical training together to serve the Body of Christ as the daily host and Executive Director of Bible Discovery. He also hosts a YouTube channel for live prayer and difficult questions.