From the beginning, the intention Almighty God has been to prepare, for himself, a 'nation' of priests who would play a leadership role in the activities of mankind throughout eternity. This 'nation' would know God and his ways to a deeper more intimate extent than the rest of God fearing humanity. They would distinguish themselves from the bulk of humanity by thought and deed more noble and deserving of the responsibility and trust God would give to them. The Holy Scriptures are, in large part, a compilation of God's activities in history in his efforts to 'birth' these special people 'out' of mankind. It has been a slow and deliberate process - the background motivation, the single agenda in all of God's dealings with man. Real men and women, real historic events, from Adam in the garden, to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, to David, etc., are all progressive scenes in one predominate story. The land of Israel is the stage and the people of Israel are the special actors chosen to reveal and instantiate the royal line of faithful. Through Abraham a multi-faceted covenant was made and sealed. The spotlight continues to direct our attention to Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) and his 12 sons. Joseph and Egypt set the stage for the next act in this drama - spiritual incubation. 400 plus years later a special leader of Israel is raised up to give birth to a new spiritual nation. That event is called the Exodus. In birth-pangs this new nation is expelled from Egypt into the wilderness of childhood. A journey of preparation and testing. Here we see for the fist time the extent and character of God's universal kingdom. At Mt. Sinai the lifestyle and the governmental structure of the kingdom of God is received and embraced by Israel. The establishment of the priesthood and the tabernacle give clear exercise in the distinction between the sacred and the common - a precursor to the 'division of mankind' God is undertaking. God's work in his people is not done in a vacuum. The harsh wilderness environment is designed to foster dependence on God.
God provides for
and in a precursor of the offensive nature of God's plan of dominion, an army is formed and trained for battle. The slow process of testing and discipline continues - God's nation is growing up - the faithful sons are maturing these many years in the wilderness.
But the God who created this beautiful universe would never leave his children in the wilderness. He has promised a land flowing with milk and honey. The richness of his goodness is hard to exaggerate. The day comes when it is time to enter the promised land.
But what is this picture in fact? Do these 3-4 million Israelites constitute the