Why God Worked in Israel in the Age of Law
The work that Jehovah did upon the Israelites established among humanity God’s earthly place of origin, which was also the sacred place where He was present. He confined His work to the people of Israel. At first, He did not work outside of Israel; instead, He chose people He found suitable in order to restrict the scope of His work. Israel is the place where God created Adam and Eve, and out of the dust of that place Jehovah made man; this place became the base of His work on earth. The Israelites, who were the descendants of Noah and also the descendants of Adam, were the human foundation of Jehovah’s work on earth.
At this time, the significance, purpose, and phases of Jehovah’s work in Israel were to initiate His work on the whole earth, which, taking Israel as its center, gradually spread into the Gentile nations. This is the principle according to which He works throughout the universe—to establish a model and then broaden it until all people in the universe shall have received His gospel. … Not only this, but the work He began in Israel was meant so that other peoples and nations (who in fact were not separate from Israel, but rather had branched off from the Israelites, yet were still descended from Adam and Eve) might receive the gospel of Jehovah from Israel, so that all created beings in the universe might be able to revere Jehovah and hold Him to be great.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Work in the Age of Law
He undertook this work after creating mankind and continued it until the era of Jacob, at which time He made the twelve sons of Jacob into the twelve tribes of Israel. From that time onward, all the people of Israel became the human race that was officially led by Him on earth, and Israel became the particular location on earth where He did His work. Jehovah made these people the first group of people on whom He officially did His work on earth, and He made the entire land of Israel the point of origin for His work, using them as the beginning of even greater work, so that all people born from Him on earth would know how to revere Him and how to live on earth. And so, the deeds of the Israelites became an example to be followed by the people of Gentile nations, and that which was said among the people of Israel became words to be listened to by the people of Gentile nations. For they were the first to receive the laws and commandments of Jehovah, and so too were they the first to know how to revere the ways of Jehovah. They were the ancestors of the human race who knew the ways of Jehovah, as well as the representatives of the human race chosen by Jehovah.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (3)
Nothing was more symbolic than the first stage being carried out in Israel: The Israelites were the most holy and least corrupt of all peoples, and so the dawn of the new epoch in this land held the utmost significance. It can be said that mankind’s forefathers came from Israel, and that Israel was the birthplace of God’s work. In the beginning, these people were the most holy, and they all worshiped Jehovah, and God’s work in them was able to yield the greatest results. … because the people of Israel were the chosen ones—which is to say that they were the first to accept the work of Jehovah. They were the least corrupt of all mankind, and in the beginning, they were of a mind to look up to God and revere Him. They obeyed the words of Jehovah, and always served in the temple, and wore priestly robes or crowns. They were the earliest people to worship God, and the earliest object of His work. These people were a specimen and model for the whole of mankind. They were specimens and models of holiness and righteousness. People such as Job, Abraham, Lot, or Peter and Timothy—they were all Israelites, and the most holy of specimens and models. Israel was the earliest country to worship God among mankind, and more righteous people came from here than anywhere else. God worked in them in order that He could better manage mankind throughout the land in the future. Their achievements and the righteousness of their worship of Jehovah were recorded, so that they could serve as specimens and models to the people beyond Israel during the Age of Grace; and their actions have upheld several thousand years of work, right up until today.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (2)