A new nation
In Kingdom of Heaven, Sibylla remarks to Balian, “Jesus says, ‘Decide!'” A lot is wrong in that film, but this point stands out as correct. God’s kingdom would be built on voluntary acceptance of His call.
And so Abram answered God’s call in faith and left behind Ur of the Chaldees, a land of unprofitable idols, to follow the Creator, the one true God. Abram would be renamed “Abraham”, “Father of many nations”.
God swored to give the land of Canaan to Abraham’s descendants through Isaac to be an everlasting possession. He promised that from Abraham would come the Redeemer promised at the fall of mankind. The Redeemer would bless the nations. God had announced his plan to reclaim the nations, and affirmed His commitment to build His kingdom on earth through Abraham’s line.
To that end, God brought forth Isaac, a son to Abraham and his wife Sarah in their old age. Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob. God chose Jacob to be the foundation of His nation, the people who would be His kingdom on earth, who would produce the promised Redeemer.
Jacob was truly human. He struggled with God, literally and metaphorically. He would become symbolic of the human condition and the history of the nation that he produced.
And so God renamed him Israel, a name with dual meaning: “Struggles with God” and “Prince of God”. Israel represented what God would do: transform the Old Man – the sinner, the struggler – into the New Man – the saint, the member of God’s kingdom household.
A new nation was born: Israel. The old nations followed the Sons of the God, created spirits. They would one day be reclaimed by the Redeemer for God’s kingdom. Israel was the foundation of God’s kingdom, the house of redemption and transformation. God’s plan was moving forward.