The work Jehovah did toward the Israelites established among mankind the birthplace of God’s being on earth, which was also the holy place where he was present. He took the Israelites as the scope of his work. In the beginning, he did not work outside Israel. In order to narrow the scope of his work, he chose suitable people. The land of Israel is the place where God created Adam and Eve. Jehovah formed man from the dust of that land. That place was the base for Jehovah’s work on earth. The Israelites, the descendants of Noah and also of Adam, were the ones on whom Jehovah’s work on earth was founded.
The significance, purpose, and step of Jehovah’s work in Israel at that time were to carry out his work on the whole earth, spreading it to the Gentile nations with Israel as the center. This is the principle by which he works in the entire universe—starting his work in one place and then spreading it so that the entire universe can receive his gospel. The early Israelites were the descendants of Noah. They only had Jehovah’s breath and knew how to eat, dress, reside, and travel, but they did not know what kind of God Jehovah was, nor did they know his intention for man, much less know how man should fear the Creator. Whether there were regulations or decrees for them and whether there were works created beings should do for the Creator, the descendants of Adam did not know these. They only knew that husbands should labor and sweat to support their families and wives should submit to their husbands and bear children to carry on the mankind created by Jehovah. In other words, such men, who only had Jehovah’s breath and his life, did not know how to follow God’s statutes and how to satisfy the Creator. They understood too little. So, although in their hearts they had no crookedness and craftiness and seldom had jealousy and strife, they did not know or understand Jehovah—the Creator. Such ancestors of man only knew to eat and enjoy things from Jehovah but did not know to fear Jehovah or know that Jehovah was the One they should bow down to. So how could they be called created beings? Then wouldn’t the words “Jehovah is the Creator” and “He created mankind to manifest him, glorify him, and represent him” fail? How could men who had no fear of Jehovah become a testimony of Jehovah’s glory? How could they become a manifestation of Jehovah’s glory? Then wouldn’t Jehovah’s word “I created mankind in my image” become a handle got by satan—the evil one? Wouldn’t that word become a sign of shame to Jehovah’s creating mankind? In order to accomplish that work, Jehovah, after creating mankind, did not instruct or lead them from Adam to Noah, but after destroying the world by the flood, he formally led the Israelites—the descendants of Noah, also the descendants of Adam. He worked and spoke in Israel, leading all the people of Israel to live in the whole land of Israel. Thus, men saw that Jehovah could not only breathe his breath into men to let them have his life and be enlivened from the dust and become created mankind, but he could also burn mankind and curse mankind, govern mankind with his rod, and lead men to live on earth and speak and work among them according to the day or night time. The works he did were only for all created beings to know that man came from the dust Jehovah picked up from the ground and was created by Jehovah. Not only so, but he first worked in Israel even more for the purpose that every nation and race outside Israel (actually they were not outside Israel but were the Gentile nations and races who came out from the Israelites and whose ancestors were also Adam and Eve) could receive Jehovah’s gospel from Israel, so that all created beings in the entire universe would fear Jehovah and magnify Jehovah. If in the beginning Jehovah had not worked in Israel but only let mankind live in a carefree way on earth after creating them, then by the nature of man’s flesh (nature means that man never knows the things he cannot see, that is, man does not know that it was Jehovah who created mankind, much less know why Jehovah created mankind), they would have never known that Jehovah created mankind or that Jehovah was the Lord of all things. If after Jehovah created mankind and placed them on earth as his enjoyment, he had left them instead of leading them among them for some time, then the whole mankind would have become nothing, and even the heavens and the earth and all things and the whole mankind he created would have become nothing and become a place trampled by satan. In that case, Jehovah’s wish that “on earth, that is, among the things he created, he could have his footing, his holy place” would have failed. So, after he created mankind, he led them to live and spoke to them among them all for the purpose of fulfilling his wish and accomplishing his plan. He worked in Israel only for the accomplishment of the plan he made before creating all things. Therefore, his working first among the people of Israel did not contradict his creating all things; they were both for the sake of his management, his work, and his glory, and for the purpose that his creating mankind could have a deeper meaning. After Noah, he led the mankind on earth to live for two thousand years, so that all men understood how they should fear Jehovah, the Lord of all things, understood how they should lead their life and how they should live, and even more understood how they should testify for Jehovah, obey him, and fear him, and thus they made music to praise Jehovah as David and his priests did.
Before Jehovah did the two thousand years of work, men knew nothing and almost all of them fell away. Consequently, before the world was destroyed by the flood, they were licentious and corrupt, and in their hearts they did not at all have Jehovah, much less have Jehovah’s ways. They never knew what work Jehovah wanted to do. They did not have sense, much less insight, but were merely like a breathing machine, knowing nothing about man, God, all things, life, and so on. On earth, they did many works of the viper’s temptation and said many words of offending Jehovah, but because of their ignorance, Jehovah did not chastise them or discipline them. After the world was destroyed by the flood, that is, after Noah was six hundred and one years old, he formally appeared to Noah and led him and his family, that is, led the animals and birds and Noah and his descendants that were left after the flood, until the Age of the Law ended, altogether for two thousand and five hundred years. He worked, that is, formally worked, in Israel for two thousand years and worked simultaneously in and outside Israel for five hundred years, altogether for two thousand and five hundred years. During that period, he told the Israelites that to serve Jehovah, they should build the temple, wear priestly robes, and enter the temple barefoot before dawn lest their shoes defile Jehovah’s temple and thus fire fall on them from the top of the temple and burn them to death. They all performed their duty and obeyed Jehovah’s arrangements. After they prayed to Jehovah in the temple and received Jehovah’s revelation, that is, after Jehovah gave his words, they would lead all the people and make them know that they should fear Jehovah —their God. Jehovah also told them that they should build the temple and the altar, and that at Jehovah’s time, that is, at Jehovah’s Passover, they should prepare firstborn calves and lambs and offer them on the altar to serve Jehovah. In this way Jehovah restricted them and made them have fear of him, and according to whether they kept the laws, he judged whether they were faithful to him. Jehovah also made the Sabbath day for them, that is, made the seventh day of his creation the Sabbath day. And he made the day after the Sabbath the first day, the day for them to praise Jehovah, to offer sacrifices to Jehovah, and to make music to Jehovah with tambourine and harp. On that day, Jehovah would gather the priests and have the sacrifices on the altar distributed to all the people to eat and let them enjoy the sacrifices on Jehovah’s altar. And Jehovah said that they were the blessed, the ones who had a part with him, and his chosen people (which was the covenant Jehovah made with the Israelites). So, even today the people of Israel still say that Jehovah is only their God, not the God of the Gentiles.
In the Age of the Law, Jehovah set down many commandments and had Moses issue them to the people of Israel who followed him out of the land of Egypt. Those commandments were bestowed to the people of Israel by Jehovah at that time, and they had nothing to do with the Egyptians and were for restricting the Israelites. He made requirements of them through the commandments. Whether they kept the Sabbath, whether they honored their parents, whether they worshiped idols, and so on, these were taken as the principles to condemn or justify them. Whether there would be the fire of Jehovah coming upon them, whether they would be stoned to death, or whether they would be blessed by Jehovah was decided according to whether they kept those commandments. If anyone did not keep the Sabbath, he would be stoned to death by others. If any priest did not keep the Sabbath, there would be the fire of Jehovah coming upon him. If anyone did not honor his parents, he would also be stoned to death by others. All these were approved by Jehovah. Jehovah set down the commandments and the laws for the purpose that men would listen to him, obey his word, and not disobey him while he led them to live, and that he could control these newborn men by the laws so as to lay a foundation for the future work. So, according to the works Jehovah did, the first age was called the Age of the Law. Although Jehovah spoke many words and did many works, he only led men from the positive side, leading those ignorant men to learn how to conduct themselves, to learn how to live, and to understand Jehovah’s ways. Most of the works he did were for the purpose that men could keep his ways and follow his laws. He worked on men who were slightly corrupted, which had nothing to do with the transformation of their disposition or the growth of their life but was just to restrict and control them through their keeping the laws. To the Israelites of that time, Jehovah was only a God in the temple and a God in heaven and was a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. What Jehovah required them to do was only what people of today consider laws and commandments, even regulations. That was because what Jehovah did was not to transform them but to bestow to them and personally tell them more things men should be equipped with, for after men were created they did not have anything they should have. So, Jehovah bestowed to them what they should have for living on earth. Thus the mankind who had been led by Jehovah surpassed their ancestors—Eve and Adam, because what Jehovah bestowed to them surpassed what he bestowed to Eve and Adam in the beginning. Anyway, the work Jehovah did in Israel could only be the leading of men, causing them to acknowledge the Creator, but it was not conquering or transforming; it was only leading. This is the entire work in the Age of the Law, and is the background, the inside truth, and the substance of the work Jehovah did in the whole land of Israel. And it is also the initial work in the six thousand years—bringing all men under Jehovah’s control. Thus, more works in the six- thousand-year management plan were brought about.