Israel not Finally Cast Off: an Election Saved—Paul Being Proof. Verses 1-6.
Others Hardened,—as Scripture Foretold. Verses 7-10. “Fulness of Gentiles” Comes in Meanwhile. Verses 11,25,28.
Gentile Salvation to Provoke Israel to “Jealousy”—Since They are the “Natural Branches” of the Tree of Promise. Verses 11-18.
Gentiles Must Continue in Divine “Goodness”; Other’ wise Gentiles to be “Cut Off” from Place of Present Blessing. Verses 19-25.
All Real Israel to be Saved at the Return to Them of Christ Their “Deliverer.” Verses 26-32.
Rapturous Praise of the Ways of God’s Wisdom and Knowledge; God the One Source, Channel and End of All Things! Verses 33-36.
ALL THE SAD RECORD
of Chapters Nine and Ten concerning Israel having been shown, the
apostle now turns to that question which naturally arises in our
Gentile hearts (for in 11:13 he says, “I am speaking to you that are
1 I say then. Did God cast off His people? Far be
the thought! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the
tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not cast off His people which he foreknew.
Or understand ye not what the Scripture saith in [the portion
concerning] Elijah? How he pleadeth with God against Israel: 3 Lord,
they have killed thy prophets, they have digged down thine altars; and
I am left alone and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of
God unto him? I have left for Myself seven thousand men, who have not
bowed the knee to Baal. 5 Even so then at this present time there is a
Remnant according to the election of grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it
is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.
1: Here Paul rejects with horror—Far be the thought! that God had
finally abandoned, “cast off” His people Israel.218 Let every Christian
reject the suggestion with equal horror,
First, Paul says, I
myself am proof: an Israelite; not a Jewish proselyte either, but of
the seed of Abraham, and a Benjamite,—not one of the ten tribes which
separated from Judah!
Verse 2: Then Paul defines the Israel
that is not rejected: God’s people whom He foreknew. In “You only have
I known,” He is not speaking of knowing about them or their affairs,
but of the fact that to them only had He made Himself known; because
they were foreknown of Him; that is, acquainted with beforehand,—before
their earthly history began!
(See note on Romans 8:29.) In Amos 3:1, 2 we read:
“Hear this word that Jehovah hath spoken against you, O children of
Israel, against—the whole family which I brought up out of the land of
Egypt, saying, You only have I known, of all the families of the earth:
. . . ”
Now in the preceding chapter of Amos, there is a remarkable
series of messages of judgment concerning the various nations
surrounding Israel. In each case the exact reasons for the judgment are
detailed by God, beginning with Damascus (1:3), then Gaza (1:6), Tyre
(1:9), Edom (1:11), Ammon (1:13), Moab (2:1), then Judah (2:4); and
finally, the northern kingdom, (to which Amos spoke), Israel (2:6):
showing that God knew the exact conduct of each nation. Therefore, when
God says concerning Israel, “You only have I known,” He is not speaking
of knowing about them or their affairs, but of the fact that to them
only had He made Himself known;219 (as Paul says to the Galatians: “Now
ye have come to know God,—or rather, to be known by God”). But here we
have a fore-acquaintanceship with Israel. This foreknowledge is
described in Romans 8:29 (which see), where the term is used in a wider
sense, and therefore must include the foreknowledge of the Remnant
“according to the election of grace”—of the nation of Israel, spoken of
Verses 3, 4: Again Paul lets the Scripture “speak,” and
here we find Israel’s greatest prophet pleading against Israel! Because
they had killed Jehovah’s prophets and destroyed Jehovah’s altars,
Elijah believed himself left alone, and believed they were seeking his
life.220 But how utterly outside and beyond Elijah’s conception of
things was God’s reply that He had left for Himself a “Remnant” (even
7000!) who had utterly refused Baal-worship. Here is Divine sovereignty
marvelously illustrated! The nation is apostate, under Ahab and
Jezebel; Baal’s prophets number hundreds; and Elijah had fled the
land,—back to Horeb, where the Law was given! Now comes the revelation
that Divine sovereign intervention has been timely, ample, definite and
perfect. God has preserved seven thousand. This reminds us immediately
of the sealing of 144,000 of Israel in Revelation Seven. Unbelief or
shallow interpretation would say this merely indicates some indefinite
number. Well, then, go on to say, the 7000 of Elijah’s day were an
“indefinite number,”—and see where your false wisdom (which is really
unbelief) will bring you!
Verse 5: Even so, says Paul, at this
present time also there is a Remnant (of Israelites) being preserved by
God, although the nation has crucified their Messiah, and rejected the
testimony concerning Him by the Spirit through the apostles—an
infinitely worse condition of things than Ahab’s Baal worship! Only
sovereign grace will do here; so it is a Remnant according to the
election of grace. This “Remnant” are put now into the Body of Christ:
they become “partakers of a heavenly calling” (Heb. 3:1). Every saved
Israelite has abandoned his Israelitish hopes, and believed on Christ
as a common sinner! Of course only a few Israelites—a “remnant,” do
Verse 6: Paul insists, (as he does continuously
throughout his Epistles): If it is by grace, it is no more of works:
otherwise grace is no more grace—Here is perhaps the most direct and
absolute contrast in Scripture of two principles: for grace is God
acting sovereignly according to Himself; works is man seeking to
present to God a human ground for blessing. The two principles are
utterly opposed. As Paul, in his conflict with Peter in Galatians 2:15,
16 and 21, says: “Even we, Jews by nature, and not ‘sinners of the
Gentiles’ believed on Christ Jesus. I do not make void the grace of
God, for if righteousness is through law, Christ died for nothing!” And
as Peter said at the first Church council, “We [Jews] believe that we
shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in like manner as
they” (Gentiles) (Acts 15:11).
7 What then? That which Israel
is in search of [righteousness], that he [the nation] obtained not; but
the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened: 8 according as it
is written, God gave them a spirit of drowsiness, eyes that they should
not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this very day. 9 And
Let their table be made a snare, and a trap,
And a stumblingbiock, and a recompense unto them,
Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see,
And bow Thou down their back always.
7: Here, then, in this chapter, is the very height of Divine
sovereignty: not only electing people, but even deciding the very time
when they should come on the scene of this world’s history. “Israel
after the flesh” nationally was in search of righteousness,—that was
their very business, in the preservation and application of the Law.
But that was not the way of righteousness. We have seen that their own
Scriptures set forth that “calling on the name of the Lord,” and
believing on the “Stone” (Christ) at whom others in legality
“stumbled,” was the true way. So the nation obtained not righteousness.
But the election obtained it. And, as to the rest? God’s answer is,
they were hardened.
But remember Chapter Nine and do not
“reply against” God,—and hear a “Thou—who art thou?” from Him; but note
carefully, how and why they were thus “hardened.”
Paul now says (quoting Isa. 29:10): According as it is written, God
gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears
that they should not hear, unto this very day.
The process of
that awful thing, spiritual hardening, is thus depicted. in Israel as
nowhere else, for hearts harden most quickly when men are trusting in
their place of special privilege, without fellowship with the God who
gives it. (Thus, we fear, it is with thousands in Christendom, and even
among those who have the Lord’s table most frequently before them. What
but a deadly snare to the soul is the table of the Lord, without real
communion with the Lord of the table!)
Verse 9: So it is
written of Israel’s “table”: Let their table be made a snare. This is
quoted from David, in Ps. 69:22, and evidently refers to the “table” at
which the Israelites were privileged to eat with Jehovah. This was
indeed a high and special privilege which Israel had: they ate with
God. In Exodus 24:11, we read: “They saw God and did eat and drink”;
and from the Passover of Exodus 12 onward, they ate in their sacred
feasts. We know the priests “ate before God”: Leviticus 6:16; 7:18, 20.
But not only was this true of the priests, but of the people in their
peace offerings (Lev 7:18,19;23:6); and in their feasts, as in
Leviticus 23:6 and Numbers 15:17-21; 18:26,30,31; Deuteronomy 12:7, 18;
For the “table” of the Israelite was connected by
Jehovah with Himself. Certain things the Israelite might eat, others
not; because he was one of a holy nation unto Jehovah. But the
Israelite quickly began to trust not in Jehovah, but in his manner of
eating, as did Peter: “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything
that is common and unclean.” Without true faith, therefore, their very
table of privilege became a snare.221
It is to be noted
carefully that each time the solemn Sixth of Isaiah is quoted, the
sovereignty of God in hardening whom He will is increasingly
emphasized. We see in Matthew 13:15, that it is the people’s heart that
had “waxed gross”: their ears were “dull of hearing” because of lack of
interest; their eyes they had closed,—not desiring to turn and
understand, lest they should .perceive, and hear, understand, turn, and
be healed of God! Then, in the fourth Gospel, at the end of our Lord’s
public testimony, (John 12:39): “They could not believe, for that
“He hath blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart;
Lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart;
And should turn,
And I should heal them.”
This is judicial action, following the people’s attitude.
the third occurrence of the words of Isaiah Six (in Acts 28), Paul
officially shuts the door to national Israel: “Well spake the Holy
Spirit through Isaiah the prophet unto your fathers,” —quoting this
Isaiah Six, and declaring: “Be it known therefore unto you, that this
salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles: they also will hear.”222
10: As to Israel, nationally, it is written. Let their eyes be
darkened, that they may not see. And bow Thou down their back always.
It will be so until that future day, described in Zechariah 12:10, when
God “pours upon them the Spirit of grace and of supplication, and they
look unto Him whom they have pierced.”
We dare not believe in
any of the modern reports of national Jewish “turning to the Lord.”
They will go into yet greater darkness (after the Rapture of the
Church). There will be the former evil spirit of idolatry “taking with
itself seven other spirits more wicked than itself,” entering in and
dwelling in this present evil generation of Israel! (Matt. 12:45). Do
not be deceived. At our Lord’s coming, and not until that beleagured
nation sees “the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven” (Matt. 24:30),—which
will be that “looking upon Him whom they pierced” of Zechariah 12, will
they have faith. Thomas, in John 20, who “would not believe except he
see in Christ’s hands the print of the nails,” is an exact type of the
coming conversion of Israel. Until then, let us “provoke to jealousy”
all of them we can, by boasting in Christ and His Salvation; and so we
may save a few of them,—as sinners, the “Remnant according to the
election of Grace.”
11 I say then. Did they stumble that they
might fall? God forbid: but by their fall salvation is come unto the
Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if their fall is the
riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles; how
much more their fulness? 13 But I speak to you that are Gentiles.
Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I glorify my ministry: 14
if by any means I may provoke to jealousy them that are my flesh, and
may save some of them.
15 For if the casting away of them is
the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but
life from the dead? 16 And if the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump:
and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 But if some
of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive, wast
grafted in among them, and didst become partaker with them of the root
of the fatness of the olive tree: 18 glory not over the branches: but
if thou gloriest, it is not thou that bearest the root, but the root
19 Thou wilt say then, Branches were broken off, that I
might be grafted in. 20 Well: by their unbelief they were broken off,
and thou standest by thy faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: 21 for if
God spared not the natural branches, neither will He spare thee. 22
Behold then the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell,
severity; but toward thee, God’s goodness, if thou continue in His
goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if
they continue not in their unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is
able to graft them in again. 24 For if thou wast cut out of that which
is by nature a wild olive tree, and wast grafted contrary to nature
into a good olive tree; how much more shall these, which are the
natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
11: Did they stumble that they might fall? Some individuals, alas,
do,—both of Jews and Gentiles. Some are offended and turn away forever.
But not finally the Israelitish nation! Banish the thought! We shall
soon in this chapter see God’s future salvation for that nation. But
here the apostle notes that their fall was made the occasion of
salvation to the Gentiles; and this again is to provoke them to
jealousy—that they may be saved. God’s manifest blessing to Gentiles
causes the careless, self-satisfied Jew to awake,—first to ridicule
Gentile testimony; then,—seeing the reality of Divine visitation to the
despised Gentile, to arouse to a deep jealousy:223 “They have what we
ought to have; but we have lost God’s favor!”
Verse 12: Their
fall is the riches of the world; their loss the riches of the Gentiles.
Before they fell, if a Gentile wanted to know the true God, he must
become a “proselyte.” He must journey up to Jerusalem three times a
year; and even then he could not worship directly. He must have
Levitical priests and forms. Contrast with this the day of Pentecost.
Every man heard in his own tongue in which he was born, the wonderful
works of God! And by and by Paul goes freely forth, apart from the Law,
and “religion,” to all the Gentiles:
“Christ the Son of God hath sent me
Through the midnight lands:
Mine the mighty ordination
Of the piercèd hands!”
Ephesus, and Corinth, and then Rome, and the whole world, “rich,” by
Israel’s fall! Wherever you are, you can call on the Lord, and walk by
the blessed Holy Spirit, and witness of a free salvation to all and any
who will listen! No “going up to Jerusalem” to keep feasts, and worship
Jehovah afar off, but drawing nigh to God in Heaven through the blood
of Christ, at any time, any place, under all circumstances! In
everything, invited to “let your requests be made known unto God!” That
is riches, indeed! If you do not now hold it so, you shortly will: for
you will need the Lord, ere long! And He is so nigh!
much Israel lost in refusing Christ’s “day of visitation” to them. How
He wept over that! (Luke 19:41-44). We cannot blame God for Israel’s
rejection of their Messiah, and their “fall.” He foretold it, indeed:
but Christ said, “Ye will not come to Me, that ye may have life!”
rather, let us see in the blessing that has resulted to us, “the heart
of mercy” of God! (Luke 1:78, margin.) He will show “kindness”
somewhere. And, if the invited guests have had themselves “excused,”
let us who belong in “the highways and hedges” run quickly to the feast
when we are bidden!
If their fall is the riches of the world,
and their loss has been “riches to the world” and to the Gentiles, how
much more their fulness?
In the days of David and Solomon,
there were prodigal riches,—both of God’s glorious presence (II Chron.
5:11-14) and of worldly wealth and honor (I Kings 10, entire). But this
presence, and this blessing, was for Israel. Now, as our Lord told the
Samaritan woman, the hour has come, when “neither in this mountain nor
at Jerusalem” do men go to worship the Father: but salvation has come
out as “riches” to the whole world and to Gentiles, who had the place
of “dogs” before (as compared with Israel).
Now if this
blessing be so great for the world, with Israel “fallen,” how much
more, when the time of restoration, and of fulness for Israel, be come!
13, 14: I speak to you that are Gentiles224—There were many Jewish
saints at Rome. But these three chapters of Romans (9, 10 and 11), are
peculiarly fitted to our Gentile instruction. And particularly so is
this word: In as much as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I glorify my
ministry: if by any means I may provoke to jealousy them that are my
flesh, and may save some of them. I boast, before the Jews, of how God
works among the Gentiles, of His saving them, filling them with His
Spirit, and with peace; using them in saving others, establishing them
in heavenly joy. And why do I thus magnify my Gentile ministry? To
provoke my fellow-Jews to jealousy—of an inward peace they have not,
that they may desire it: and, perhaps, choose it!
The casting away of them . . . the reconciling of the world—As long as
God held fellowship with Israel on the ground of the old legal
covenant, Gentiles were out of His direct favor, unless they became
Jewish proselytes. Upon Israel’s rejection of their Messiah and not
until then (for Christ came first to Israel,—as see Matt. 10:5) could
God “reconcile” the world to Himself. See II Corinthians 5:19: “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.”
casting away of them—reconciling the world; receiving of them—life from
the dead!—Paul speaks God’s words; and God never exaggerates!
Therefore, in understanding (so far as we may) these great words, we
have only to compare our wretched Gentile state before the blessed
reconciliation news, with our present Gentile blessing under the
gospel,—as the fruit of the “casting away” of the Israelites; and then
judge what blessing will come when God “receives” them! It will indeed
be “life from the dead”! For this world has never seen what shall then
be seen: “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the
waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9). Not even in Eden, before man’s sin,
was that seen! And all this waits the “receiving” of God’s earthly
people, elect Israel! God must have them back in their land, to become
“a joy to the whole earth.” When Jehovah finally speaks ever lasting
comfort to His people Israel and to Jerusalem, it is written, “And the
glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it
together”225 (Isa. 40:1-5).
Verse 16: And if the firstfruit is
holy, so is the lump: and if the root is holy, so are the branches—The
firstfruit here seems to me to be the believing Israel of the old days,
as in Jer. 2:2, 3: “Thou wentest after Me in the wilderness, . . .
Israel was holiness unto Jehovah, the firstfruits of his increase”; and
the lump to be the whole “Israel of God,” of Galatians Six; that is,
Israel, in God’s sight as an always beloved nation; though now the
saved “Remnant according to the election of grace” comes out of that
nation into a risen, heavenly Christ, into a higher calling, where
there is neither Jew nor Gentile. And, as has been said, the Gentile
“is placed upon the root,” not upon the trunk nor upon the branches. He
became neither a Jew, nor of Israel. Blessing, however, had been
promised through Abraham to “all the families of the earth.”
it is important to see that the root is Abraham, the depositary of the
promises. The tree of Divine blessing grows up by these promises to
Abraham, and His Seed, which is Christ. The natural branches, that is,
those who first partook of the tree’s root and fatness, were Jews. You
cannot say that the tree is the Jewish nation, but rather that it is
those partaking of the Divine blessing from Abraham through Christ. The
most of the Jews were thus, because of unbelief, broken off. Those Jews
who believed, as we know (the election of grace), came to partake of
the heavenly calling in the Church “the assembly of God.” Again, when
that assembly is taken away to heaven, and God grafts back the remnant
of the Jewish people, into their former (“their own”) olive tree,
Divine blessing on earth will have the earthly character it had before
Church days: Israel will be the land, Jerusalem the city, and the
temple- worship the form (see Ezek. 40-48).
Verse 17: Some of
the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive, wast
grafted in. This simply means that we, as Gentiles, have been set in
the place of blessing from Abraham. It does not mean that all Gentiles
are in the Body of Christ,—for it is not of that Body as such that Paul
is here speaking: but of Gentiles as having been put into that place of
Divine blessing where Israel once stood. Nor do the words some of the
branches mean that any whole tribe of Israel will be wholly lost; for
all twelve tribes appear in Ezekiel, in the millennial kingdom. The
word thou is generic, of Gentiles: but of course is addressed to
individuals—those of the Gentiles who would hear. The warnings here are
addressed not to brethren in Christ, but as being of the Gentiles.”
18: It is not thou that bearest the root, but the root thee—How few of
us Gentile believers understand and bear in mind that we are
beneficiaries of those promises which God lodged in Abraham as a root
of promise,—all the promises we inherit in Christ! This is illustrated
by Gal. 3:7: “They that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham”;
and even the gift of the Holy Spirit is “the blessing of Abraham in
Christ Jesus” coming upon the Gentiles (Gal. 3:14).
There is a
very great danger, as Paul shows in Romans 11:18, that we Gentiles
glory over the Jewish branches, and forget it is not thou that bearest
the root, but the root thee. Abraham was the root, the vessel of
promise, and we (if we are in Christ) are his children.
19, alas to say, voices the general consciousness and the consequent
conduct of Christendom through the so-called “Christian centuries”:
Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in! The despising of
the Jews, and the horrid persecuting of them by Christendom, is one of
the three great scandals of history.226
Verses 20, 21: The
only wise attitude for Gentiles is now prescribed by our apostle—Well,
by their unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by thy faith.
Be not high-minded, but fear;227—In other words, it was not the
Gentiles’ importance over that of the Jews, but the Jews’ unbelief,
that caused some—for the present all but a “remnant”—to be broken off:
and the Gentile “stands” by his faith,—not by his superiority to the
Jews! “High-mindedness” is the contrary of the “fear” here enjoined
(the root of which is humility,—consciousness of unworthiness). And why
fear? Verse 21 tells plainly: God spared not the natural branches [the
Jews], neither will He spare thee [Gentiledom]; if Gentiledom walks in
forgetfulness of its sinnerhood, and of God’s “goodness,”—in
self-importance, pride, and high-mindedness.
Verse 22: Behold
then the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell, severity;
but toward thee, God’s goodness, if thou continue in His goodness:
otherwise thou also shalt be cut off—This is a most solemn word,
indeed! It calls the Gentile world to behold the goodness and [its
opposite] severity of God! Toward them that fell, severity: in spite of
what had been the privileges of having Jehovah’s temple among them; and
the former faithfulness of the nation, and afterwards of individuals,
Israel fell into self-righteousness, pride, and rejection of their
Messiah. Toward such, “severity.” Christ beheld Jerusalem and wept over
it, for judgment is God’s “strange work.” But, we beg you, get
Josephus, or any history, and read what befell the Jews when Titus took
Jerusalem; and see Matthew Twenty-three, and our Lord’s anguished
words: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth
them that are sent unto her! Behold, your house is left unto you
Now it is the common talk through Christendom that
the Jews were God’s “ancient” people; and that now the Gentiles are
God’s favored ones. People love to hear sermons on the “goodness” of
God, but resent talk of Divine severity toward the Gentiles! But have
the Gentiles proven themselves different from the Jews in their conduct
toward God? Christendom is today sinning against greater light than
ever Israel had!
God says to the Gentile: Toward thee, God’s
goodness, if thou continue in His goodness—Now what is “the goodness”
referred to here?
We remember our Lord’s saying to the twelve
apostles, when He first sent them out to the “lost sheep of the house
of Israel,” “Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into
any city of the Samaritans” (Matt. 10:5). He had come as “a minister of
the circumcision” to His own. But when they had rejected and crucified
Him, the Risen Lord said: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the
gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15) ; “Ye shall be My witnesses,
both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Saniaria, and unto the
uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
So, the Holy Spirit
having been given at Pentecost, Peter is shortly sent to the house of
the Gentile, Cornelius: who believes the simple gospel of Christ, and,
on “all them that heard the Word the Holy Spirit fell.” Then Barnabas
and Saul, Silas and Timothy, and the rest, go on to the Gentiles,
turning the world “upside down” with the gospel of grace. No need for a
“religion” now; they had Christ. No need for a temple,—they, the
assembly, were “the temple of God”; for, as Stephen witnessed—and was
stoned for it—“The Most High is not [now] dwelling in temples made by
hands.” No need for a ritual: they had the Holy Spirit, and worshipped
by Him instead of forms! No need of a special priesthood,—all believers
were alike priests, and drew near unto God by the shed blood, Christ
Himself, over the house of God, leading their worship, as the Great
High Priest in heaven. No need of seeking “merit,”—they were in Christ,
already accepted in Him,—yea, made the very righteousness of God in Him!
Now this was God’s goodness toward Gentile believers.
as for the Gentiles all: they were no longer called “dogs,” as
contrasted with the favored race of Israel (Matt. 15:26). There was a
complete change in the relationship of Gentiles as such toward God.
They were put into the place of privilege and opportunity of Divine
blessing: an “acceptable time,” a “day of salvation,” in God’s
“goodness” was extended to them. If one had sought to instruct a
Gentile in the Old Testament days, he must have said, “God is the God
of Israel: become a proselyte; go up to Jerusalem; keep the feasts
according to the Law.” If one should go to a Gentile in the coming
Millennium, the like instruction would be necessary, for all the
nations must then go up to Jerusalem by their representatives “to
worship the King, Jehovah of Hosts” (Zech. 14:16-18).
No! An ambassador for God says anywhere, to the worst heathen, “Believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
This is the Divine goodness.
Now, have the Gentiles continued in that goodness?
For if the Gentiles have not so continued, God’s severity must be shown to them, as before to Israel: thou SHALT BE CUT OFF.
What then is the record? It is ghastly!
First, as to sending out the gospel: After nearly 2000 years, much of the human race knows nothing of Christ.
as to salvation by grace preached to lost men, apart from law and from
ordinances, we see, instead, “good character” preached up as the way of
acceptance; the simple supper of the Lord called “these holy
mysteries,” and baptism, instead of a glad confession of a known
Savior, relied on as a “means of regeneration.”
simple gatherings (as at the first), of believers unto the Name of
Christ their Lord, relying on the presence of the Holy Spirit solely,
(as at the first), we see great Judao-pagan temples, and an elaborate
“service.” And would this were in Rome only!
Instead of the
free, general common priesthood of believers, in the fellowship of
prayer and faith (as in apostolic days) we see thousands upon thousands
of professing Christians that have never prayed nor praised openly in
the assembly of His saints; myriads who do not have even the assurance
of salvation (though Christ, who bore sin for them, has been received
up on high). Contrast with this Acts 2:42: “They continued steadfastly
in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and
We see open, general, horrible idolatry, in both
the Greek and Roman cathedrals; and a growing tendency to put up
“crosses” instead of preaching “the word of the cross,” in so-called
We see great State Churches, a thing
unknown and impossible in Scripture; and we see professing Christians
divided into “denominations,” each with its own “program,”—ignoring
wholly Paul’s words in I Cor. 1:12, 13; 3:2-4; and not at all walking
in the consciousness of the One Body. Indeed, instead of the unity of
the Spirit, they are ready to establish horrible outward earthly union,
of all “professing Christians,” “modernists,” and Jews—in short, all
So that the Gentiles will be “cut off” from
that place of Divine privilege which they now have (and which Israel
nationally has lost), and Israel will be restored to the privileged
place, as before. Of course this “cutting off” does not mean that
individual Gentiles cannot be saved! But, as in the Old Testament, and
in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Israel will be honored as the center and
spring of Divine blessing on earth; the Gentiles becoming again
subordinate to Israel,—as to spiritual things; and having again to “go
up to Jerusalem” to worship Jehovah. The Church, the Body of Christ,
will of course have been translated to heaven before this order of
things comes in. The Church is “the fulness of the Gentiles,” of Romans
Thus, instead of continuing in God’s goodness. Gentile
“Christendom” has set up the “Christian religion”; and has settled down
upon earth as if the Church belonged here; and as if Christ might not
come at any moment! If you dream Christendom has continued in the
humble gospel of grace, and the goodness of God in giving His Son to
shed His blood for lost sinners, just examine the “religious”
pronouncements in the press!
Verse 23: They also, if they
continue not in their unbelief, shall be grafted in again—We know from
a multitude of prophecies that Israel will not continue in unbelief!
Thank God for this! They must, of course, see to believe. But Zechariah
12:10 declares that in a future day they shall “look on Him whom they
pierced”; while the eighth and ninth verses of Zechariah’s very next
chapter say, that, while “two parts of the nation shall be cut off and
die,” the third part shall be left,—“refined as silver” and “tried as
gold is tried. They shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will
say. It is My people; and they shall say, Jehovah is my God.”
earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord!”—and not the false
dreams of men that tell you “God is through with Israel forever.” They
make God a liar when they say that! For read Jeremiah 31:23-40: What
does God mean otherwise than what He plainly says in that passage?229
Thank God, that while the Gentiles are going into darker unbelief every
day, there will be a spared Remnant of Israel!
Verse 24: Thou,
a wild olive, grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree—In the
process of grafting we select a shoot of a fruit-bearing limb of a
desirable tree, and opening the bark of an inferior tree of the same
species, we insert the shoot, tying it in well. Then, behold, this
inferior tree supplies sap to this good shoot, but the engrafted shoot
goes on to bear its own good variety and class of fruit, and not that
of the inferior tree. This is nature.
Now, the exact contrary
has been wrought by God in taking us Gentiles (who, God says, are “by
nature a wild olive tree”), and grafting us into the good olive tree to
“partake of the root and of the fatness” of the tree of Divine
blessing,—of the promises given to Abraham and to his Seed. Thus,
behold instead of the natural process of the shoot’s producing its own
quality of fruit, we produce that “fruit unto God,” which belongs to
the good olive tree, and not to the wild olive Gentile tree!
if this contrary to nature process has been wrought by God, how much
rather, how much more, shall the natural branches be grafted back into
their own olive tree? Of course, as Paul emphasizes in verse 13: “I am
speaking to you that are Gentiles,”—that is, to you as Gentiles. Now in
Christ, as Paul has plainly taught us elsewhere (Col. 3:11), “there
cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian,
Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all and in all.” Unless we
clearly see that Paul in this chapter is not discussing Church truth,
we shall become hopelessly mired. The apostle is not declaring here
either the character, calling, destiny, or present privileges and walk
of the Church, the assembly of God, the Body of Christ, the present
house of God, the Bride for which the heavenly Bridegroom is
coming,—none of these things.
The whole question in Romans
Nine, Ten and Eleven is one of reconciling God’s special calling and
promises of Israel, the earthly people, with a gospel which sets aside
that distinction, sets aside Israel’s distinctive place for the present
dispensation; and places the Gentiles in the place of direct Divine
blessing, once enjoyed by Israel.
It is for this reason that
Paul addresses us here as “Gentiles.”230 Paul is claiming nothing for
the Jewish believer as over against the Gentile believer,—in Romans
Eleven. He even says to the Galatians: “I beseech you, brethren, become
as I am, for I also am as ye are.” But inasmuch as God had lodged His
promises in Abraham and in his Seed (“which is Christ”), Paul in all
faithfulness must not only tear up by the roots the Jewish hopes based
on natural descent, and refer all to God’s sovereign grace; but he must
also tell us Gentiles the facts. Those eight wonderful points of
advantage spoken of by Paul at the beginning of Chapter Nine as
pertaining to Israel (and which still do pertain to them), he cannot
allow us Gentiles to ignore, lest we come into a sense of personal
importance (such as puffed up Israel), and say, Branches were broken
off that we might be grafted in.
Now God did not, does not,
make Israelites out of us Gentiles! He had a secret purpose kept from
all the ages—of giving to His Son a Bride composed of Jewish and
Gentile believers who should be received as mere guilty sinners, on
purely grace grounds; and should have the highest calling of any
creatures—to be members of Christ Himself,—a thing never promised to
While not speaking here of our heavenly calling in
Christ, Paul yet must tell us plainly that Israel were the natural,
earthly branches of the tree of promise, some of which, through their
unbelief, were broken off. It is the matter of sharing Divine mercy,
and not of the Christian calling, which is being discussed.
Let us ask ourselves, and frankly answer, these questions:
Did God once have a house on earth?
The answer must be. Yes.
At Jerusalem, certainly. Our Lord at the beginning of His ministry
called that temple “My Father’s house”; and at the end of His ministry
“My house”; and finally said to the blind leaders of Israel: “Your
house is left unto you desolate.”
Will God restore to Israel His earthly House?
will, as we know, at Christ’s coming back to earth. And we are told it
will be upon Mount Zion in Jerusalem. See James’ prophecy in Acts 15,
quoted from Amos 9:11, 12.
But meanwhile, between our Lord’s absence in Heaven and His second coming, does God have a house?
We know that He does.
is that house? Paul says that the Church (ekklesia) is now God’s House.
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how men ought to behave
themselves in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God,
the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Tim. 3:15). The house of God is
the Church of the Living God. Here God the Holy Spirit dwells both in
individual believers, Jew and Gentile; and also, in a corporate way, in
the Assembly of God’s saints.
This House was formed first on
the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came down to dwell in those
believers. And from thence: “From Jerusalem and in all Judea and
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”—“where two or three
are gathered” in the name of Christ.
Will this Church or Assembly ever be connected with Israel?
no wise! Christ has built His Assembly, the Church, and is building it.
But He first broke down the middle wall of partition, “the Law of
commandments, in ordinances”—the thing which differentiated Israel from
Gentiles: and in which Israel gloried. From both Jewish and Gentile
believers Christ is now creating ONE NEW MAN!
But whence do these blessings come?
From the promises made to Abraham! Abraham was the root, and from the promises to him comes the fatness.
But after the Church has been taken to Heaven, God will again bless Israel.
For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye
be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part hath befallen
Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be Come in; 26 and so all
Israel shall be saved: even as it is written,
There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer;
He shall turn away ungodlinesses from Jacob:
27 And this is the covenant from Me unto them,
When I shall take away their sins.
As touching the gospel, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching
the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake. 29 For the gifts
and the calling of God are not repented of. 30 For as ye in time past
were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by their
disobedience, 31 even so have these also now been disobedient, that by
the mercy shown to you they also may now obtain mercy. 32 For God hath
shut up all unto disobedience, that He might have mercy upon all.
25: For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery—Note
that in saying “brethren,” Paul is speaking now to the saints as such:
for even real saints, while not to be “cut off,” may become “puffed
up.” Now we have elsewhere remarked that God had certain secrets, which
He tells His saints,—and of which they do not well to be ignorant,—as,
alas, so many of them are! Here then, is stated to us one of these
Divine mysteries, or secrets: and it will protect us from Gentile
pride, in these days of the dazzling greatness of the Gentile times
depicted in Daniel (e.g., Dan. 2 and 3)—lest ye be wise in your own
conceits (as behold the vauntings of a blind Hitler231 and his Gentile
“Aryans,” and the boastings of a Mussolini of Roman-Gentile-greatness!)
that a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fulness of the
Gentiles be come in.
1. There is a
definite fulness of Gentiles—the very number of which God knoweth—to
“come in,” that is, to be saved: for this word “fulness” is not spoken
as to privilege, but as to election.
2. In order for these Gentiles to come in, a “hardening,” judicial and sovereign, hath befallen national Israel.
All talk, therefore, of Israel’s national turning to the Lord, until
this Gentile fulness be come in, is vain. The fearful days of
Armageddon will have to come, ere Israel, nationally turns to God. Read
4. Israel’s hardening is in part,—for some,
“the Remnant according to the election of grace,” are now being saved.
National hardening is in view here.
And so—after this Divinely revealed order, we read,
26: And so all Israel shall be saved—This is the real, elect, spared
nation of the future,—“those written unto life” (Dan. 12:1; Isa. 4:3,
margin). The mystery comprehends this fact (as we have said above, and
as the apostle amplifies in verse 31) for the salvation of national
Israel was impossible, except on purely grace lines. God had given them
the Law: that was necessary to reveal sin. But they utterly failed. Now
comes in the fulness of the Gentiles—by grace: and so, after that, and
on the same grace line as were the Gentiles, all Israel shall be saved!
Most of that earthly nation will perish under Divine judgments, and the
Antichrist: but the Remnant will be “accounted as a generation.” Our
Lord told His disciples that this present unbelieving generation of
Israel would not pass away till all the terrible judgments He foretold
would be fulfilled. But that that generation—“Israel after the flesh”
will pass away we know; and a believing generation take their place.
See Psalm 22:30; 102:18. Jehovah at last “arises, and has pity on
her,—for the set time has come!” So we read the Psalmist’s words:
“This shall be written for the generation to come;
And a people which shall be created shall praise Jehovah.”
This is the real Israel of God, of whom it is written, “All Israel shall be saved.”
Verses 26, 27: And now, as is usual with Paul, the Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah throng into his mind, by the Spirit:
There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer;
He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
And this is the covenant from Me,
When I shall take away their sins.
are three aspects of Christ’s second coming: (1) For the Rapture of the
Church; (2) For the Judgment of the Nations; (3) For the Deliverance of
The second of these aspects, Christ’s coming to judge
the nations, has been recognized through the centuries, almost to the
exclusion of the first and third aspects of our Lord’s coming. Christ
has been regarded as the Judge; and this of course He will be, as
Revelation Nineteen shows Him,—“King of kings, and Lord of lords—in
righteousness judging and making war,” “treading the winepress of the
fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty.” But the creeds of
Christendom have taught one “general judgment,” and thus they have
overlooked two most essential things: first, The special relationship
of Christ’s coming to His real Church; and second, The relationship of
His coming to the nation of Israel, and to the elect spared Remnant of
that nation—to the real Israel.
Concerning the first, the Rapture of the Church, we have only to read I Thessalonians 4:13-17:
“—The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the
voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in
Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall
together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the
air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” And also: “—We all shall
not sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinking of
an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead
shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (I Cor. 15:50
To whom does this phase of His coming refer? We read in Eph. 5
that Christ will “present the Church unto Himself, a glorious Church,
not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing”; and that “we wait for a
Savior from heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall fashion anew the
body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His
glory” (Phil. 3:20, 21); and that Paul called those whom he had won to
Christ as his “hope and crown of glorying before our Lord Jesus, at His
coming” (I Thess. 2:19). Now the calling of the Church and that of
Israel are never confused in Scripture. Israel as a nation does not
belong to heaven, but to the land which God has given them forever, by
a solemn covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And this “Rapture,”
or catching of the Church up to Christ, is a hope belonging to the
Church: not to Israel.
The third stage of our Lord’s return is
for the restoration of Israel to that Divine favor connected with the
“New Covenant” and the national “taking away their sins.” This
presupposes the absence from earth of the Church: for God cannot have
the two testimonies on earth at the same time! In the Church there is
no distinction of Jew or Greek, neither has the Church outward
religious ceremonial service (latreia), which belongs to Israel (Rom.
9:4). Furthermore, the Church has a commission to all nations,
including Israel, to evangelize them. None of these things can belong
to the Church when Israel shall have been restored. The Church will
have been caught up to meet the Lord in the air (I Thess. 4:17), and
will have glorified bodies like Christ’s; while Israel will be His
nation upon the earth, in Palestine.
Then what about Israel’s
hope? All through the prophets, we find their hope is to be gathered
back to their own land, and established there with their Messiah in
their midst—Jehovah “dwelling with them in majesty”; their eyes “seeing
the King in His beauty”; and complete and eternal deliverance there
from all their enemies and from all their own iniquities. So verse 26
reads: There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer. Hear what James
tells us in Acts 15 in giving the dispensational program of God (which
no denominational “standards” nor “a millennial” sophistry can
change!): “Brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath rehearsed how first
God visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name.”
(The present dispensation). “And to this agree the words of the
prophets; as it is written:
“After these things I will return,
And I will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen;
And I will build again the ruins thereof,
And I will set it up:
That the residue of men may seek after the Lord,
And all the Gentiles upon whom My name is called,
Saith the Lord, Who maketh these things known from of old.”
(From the First Church Council Records: Acts 15:13-18.)
even instructed Christians, who know about the Rapture of the Church,
and the Judgment of the Lord upon the nations shortly after that
Rapture, when He comes on down to earth, are apt to neglect or
under-emphasize the fact that He comes to earth for the Deliverance of
His people Israel. But the prophets are full of this subject. Perhaps
no passage is more overwhelming than the last chapter of Habakkuk—the
prophet’s marvelous vision of our Lord’s glorious return!232
is a picture of the Remnant of Israel, who put their trust in Jehovah
amid the overwhelming awfulness of the “Great Tribulation”; the
stupendous signs in sun, moon, and stars at the end of that Great
Tribulation; and the unutterable glory and majesty of the Day of Wrath.
Read 46th Psalm(R. V. is better). It is again the godly Remnant of
Israel, in those days.
We have just listened to the coronation
ceremonies of the King of England (1937), and have been deeply moved,
and filled with thanksgiving that God has preserved to this day an
Empire that publicly acknowledges the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost. We pray for the continuance of that Empire as long as it be
God’s will, for the British flag wherever flown has protected the
gospel of Christ.
Nevertheless, dark days are coming, when all
nations, under the direct influence of. demonic powers, will be
“gathered together unto the war of the great day of God the Almighty,”
“into the place which is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon”— gathered “to
cut off Israel from being a nation” (Rev. 16:12-16; Ps. 83:4; Zech. 14;
Joel 3:9-15). But while we read:
“Multitudes, multitudes in
the valley of decision! for the day of Jehovah is near in the valley of
decision! The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw
their shining. And Jehovah will roar from Zion, and utter His voice
from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake” (Joel
We also read these words of comfort from God to Israel:
Jehovah will be a refuge unto His people, and a stronghold to the
children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am Jehovah your God,
dwelling in Zion my holy mountain.”233
We make no excuse for
spending time here, for the Holy Spirit devotes very many pages to this
exact subject of Jehovah’s, Deliverance of His people Israel by the
coming back to earth to them of their Messiah in great power and glory.
us then study these three phases or aspects of our Lord’s return with
balanced time and care: the Rapture of the Church; the Judgment of the
Nations; and the Deliverance of Israel.
Verse 27: weThis is
the covenant from Me when I shall take away their sins— give the
literal rendering. It will be no longer a conditional covenant, as at
Sinai; but one of grace—“from ME!” See Jeremiah 31;234 Ezekiel 36 and
37; and Daniel 9:24,—in which we see six distinct blessings come to
Israel at the end of the Divine “indignation” against His nation;
Isaiah 32:1, 8, 16, 20; all of Isaiah 35. This is the “New Covenant” of
Jeremiah 31, quoted in Heb. 8:8 to 12. It will not be “according to the
covenant that God made with their fathers.” Blessing will not depend
then on man’s obedience; but it will; be sovereign mercy, at last
extended to a whole spared nation (Jer 31:33, 34; Rom. 11:28, 29).
28: We should remember two things,, always, when we see an Israelite:
first, As touching the gospel, they are enemies for your sake; and
second: As touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’
sake (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Gentile believers are so prone to
forget both these things, especially if they behold a poor wretched son
of Israel, or a proud and self-vaunting one, or even a wealthy one!
Anti-Semitism, or Jew-hatred, arises, first, from Gentile rebellion
against the Divine national election of Israel; and second, from envy
toward them because of their wealth and power. Let no Christian give
way to anti-Semitism. Of course, we must “judge righteous judgment,”
form unbiased opinions, of their beliefs; for many of them, like
Spinoza in rationalism, and Marx and Engels in Communism, have been
peculiarly used of the devil. Nevertheless, we dare not yield to
Gentile hatred of Israelites. For our Lord is, after the flesh, of
Israel; and God has vast gracious blessing for them shortly!
29: For the gifts and the calling of God are not repented of (by Him).
These words are a source of endless joy. We may trust a God who refuses
to allow the utter failure of Israel—nay, the idolatrous wickedness and
apostasy of Israel—to alter His determination of blessing. The “gifts”
are such as were recited in Chapter 9:4, 5; and the “calling” is, that
Israel is a holy nation unto God Himself. And He will see that it is
so, not only in the coming kingdom, the Millennium; but in the new
creation: “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will
make,.shall remain before Me, saith Jehovah, so shall your seed and
your name Israel remain” (Isa 66:22).
Verses 30-32: For as ye
in time past were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by
their [Israel’s] disobedience, even so have these also now been
disobedient, that by the mercy shown to you [Gentiles] they also may
now obtain mercy. For God hath shut up all unto disobedience that He
might have mercy upon all—God brings in the principle upon which He
will bless Israel when He makes His New Covenant with them at Christ’s
second coming. It seems that we Gentiles are to be to Israel an example
of Divine mercy, by which at last they will understandingly see the
“heart of mercy” of their God! (Luke 1:78, margin).
Gentile history is summed up in the words “disobedient to God”; our
present position in the words: “have obtained mercy by their [Israel’s]
disobedience”; and now Israel nationally have been more disobedient
even than the Gentiles: disobedient to God’s Law, to His warning
prophets, to His own dear Son, their Messiah, whom they crucified; to
the witness of the Spirit through Stephen and the apostles of the
resurrection of the Messiah. But at last they will “obtain mercy,”235 a
new principle for them!
Having proved utterly disobedient,
having lost all claim on God, they will at last be met by God on the
same great principle of mercy, and mercy alone. So that in the future
age, the Millennium, and on forever,236 this nation will carry in its
heart the two great principles that give God all the glory: first, that
they were beloved of Jehovah, who had set His love upon them, the only
reason being in Himself. “Because Jehovah loveth you, and because He
would keep the oath which He sware unto your fathers” (Deut. 7:7, 8).
Second, the consciousness of their own complete failure: of a history
of ingratitude, rebellion, wickedness, idolatry, refusal of instruction
and correction, and finally, of despising and rejecting their own
Messiah (II Chron. 36:14-16; Ps. 106). They will be brokenly conscious
forever of being the objects of the absolute uncaused mercy of Jehovah
their God! Thus they will be able to trust and rejoice in Jehovah, as
the true Church-saint now trusts and rejoices and glories in God as the
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who associated us with His own Son in
the same sovereign mercy!
It must be carefully marked and
deeply pondered, this great account of sovereign mercy,—mercy first to
us, and by and by to Israel,—“the MERCIES of
God,” by means of which God will win our hearts, “beseeching us” by His
apostle, to present our bodies a living sacrifice to Him (12:1). It is
not only that God has dealt with us in grace,—unearned favor; but that
He has shown mercy when all was hopeless! We may venture to say that it
is only in those who learn to regard themselves as the objects of the
Divine mercy, of uncaused Divine compassion, that the deepest
foundations for godliness of life will be, or can be, laid.
the apostle bursts forth into most rapturous utterance concerning the
ways of God—in view of His mercies;—as shown to us as traced in
Chapters One to Eight; and yet to be shown to Israel, as told in
Chapters Nine to Eleven:
33 O the depth of the riches both of
the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His
judgments, and His ways past tracing out! 34 For who hath known the
mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor? 35 or who hath first
given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto Him again? 36 For of
Him, and through Him, and unto Him, are all things I To Him be the
glory unto the ages! Amen.
When one turns from the
contemplation of what we have been reading in Romans to man’s poor
books,—there is immediate revulsion and constant weariness! The
poverty! the shallowness! of this world!—whether its philosophy, its
science, its poetry, yea, or its religion, all is vanity! As Paul says,
“The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God”; “The Lord knoweth
the reasonings of the wise that they are vain” (I Cor. 3:19, 20).
33: Paul is overwhelmed at the depth of the riches both of the wisdom
and the knowledge of God;—and here is where we all join Paul: in
adoring contemplation of God’s counsels,—the wisdom with which He
brings them forth, and the knowledge of man and of his heart and his
history, past, present, and future, that He displays in it all.
34: For who hath known the mind of the Lord? None, till He choose to
unfold it! We are, as we see in verse 25, ignorant of God’s secrets;
and we have no means, except He please to tell us, of discovering His
mind. Bless God that He has “made known unto us the secret [“the
mystery”] of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed
in Christ” (Eph. 1:9). Men today come from Italy and boast loudly if
they have had a talk with the “dictator” there; or from Germany, and
say, The great “leader” of Germany let me in to his plans; or from
Washington, and boast that they have had “inside information”
concerning those that are prominent there. But what are these rulers
all? Bits of dust! God declares that in His sight the nations are
“accounted as the small dust of the balance,” and that “the rulers of
this age are coming to nothing” (Isa. 40:15; I Cor. 2:6).
may God give us grace to realize at least a little of our mighty
privilege in having revealed to us the mind of the Lord, the God of
“Thus saith Jehovah,
Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Neither let the mighty man glory in his might,
Let not the rich man glory in his riches;
But let him that glorieth glory in this,
That he hath understanding, and knoweth Me,
That I am Jehovah who exerciseth loving kindness,
Justice, and righteousness, in the earth:
For in these things I delight,
Saith Jehovah” (Jer. 9:23, 24).
who hath been His counsellor? As God said to Job: “Where wast thou when
I laid the foundations of the earth?” We know, if we are Christ’s, that
we are in Him, of whom Isaiah wrote, “His name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace”
(Isa. 9:6). Of Christ God speaks: He is “The Man that is my Fellow,
saith Jehovah of hosts” (Zech. 13:7). Christ has been made the Wisdom
of God unto us: there is no other real wisdom! When the present
creation has passed away,—with the very “laws” that are said to
“govern” it; and God creates a new heaven and a new earth, all but
God’s saints will be eternally ignorant! For all the natural man knows
is the present creation: whereas of the new creation God says, “Behold,
I make all things new!” This will include the very mode and manner of
existence: and what does “science” know about that? Of our Lord’s
resurrection body, for example! And with none of God’s saints, or of
His angels, or of the seraphim or the cherubim, took He counsel, when
He created all things! Nor does He take counsel of any, in the New
Verse 35: Or who hath first given to Him and it
shall be recompensed unto Him again? How beautifully this puts us in
our place! “What hast thou that thou didst not receive? And if thou
hast received it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received
it?” (I Cor. 4:7). Men love to think of themselves as “creators” of
this and of that. But man has created nothing. He is the user, for a
few days, of this present creation of God. He may even “discover” some
substance or force that God long since created. Man must needs boast of
his “inventions,” his “creations,” his greatness, and especially his
“progress.” But alack, the undertaker comes along and hauls him away!
says Paul, if somebody has actually supplied something to God, God will
quickly recompense him! He will be in no creature’s debt!
36: For of Him (God)—as the one great Cause and Source; and through Him
as the mighty Worker who without creature-assistance brings into
effect, into realization, one by one. His counsels; and unto Him as the
right and proper, and necessary object and end—(for how could a
creature be a final object?—it would ruin the creature—make a Satan of
him; and it would be unrighteous for the creature to be made the end or
object of the glory of the Creator!)—are all things—note, all things!
In this the saints exult! Against this, the serpent and his seed
constantly fight and war. If Satan cannot get himself worshipped, he
will beget in man’s wicked mind a philosophy of “evolution”—a theory
that all things came about by blind uncaused “development.” But men,
professing themselves to be wise, always become “fools.”237
things—The sun, the moon, the stars of light, the earth, the
atmosphere, the trees, the animals, our bodies,—for those who study the
human frame agree with David, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”
Our minds,—with powers, as Locke says “capable of almost anything.”
“Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts?
Or who hath given understanding to the mind?”
spirits also,—which can be spoken to directly by the Spirit of God
Himself, putting us thus into intelligent conversation with the
infinite Creator of all things: Yea, “of Him, through Him, unto Him are
And now the ascription of His proper honor
forevermore: To Him be the glory unto the ages! What a prospect for a
redeemed sinner! In the ages to come—ages of worship without end, in
which glory will be ascribed to God,—and that with ever-increasing
delight! And the word of eager, glad heart-consent ends it all: Amen.
We find, then, in Romans Eleven:
1. That God has not cast off Israel, a Remnant being always preserved—this Remnant now, “the election of grace.”
That all but the election were hardened,—to let the fulness of the
Gentiles come in: for the purpose of provoking Israel to
“jealousy,”—that they might discover Jehovah’s mercy.
3. That although broken off from the stalk of blessing, they will be grafted back into “their own olive tree.”
That this will be at the coming to Zion in Jerusalem of the Lord Jesus
Christ; and that then a New Covenant will be made with Israel.
That the Gentile will be cut off from the present privilege-place, for
not continuing in God’s “goodness” (His grace to sinners); and the
place of direct Divine blessing again be taken by Israel, who will
return from their unbelief.
6. That this most solemn fact
should warn Gentiles against individual self-confidence, and especially
against the fearful delusion that Israel has been “cast away” forever,
and that the Gentiles have taken their place! God has made no covenants
with any nation but Israel; and that nation He will restore, the
Gentiles becoming then dependent on blessing, through Israel,
throughout the future.
7. That instead of being unfaithful to
His promises to Israel, God has simply exercised His sovereignty (1) in
cutting off Israel for the present; (2) in calling in the ful
ness of the Gentiles on the principle of mercy only; (3) in taking
away from Israel, whom He exalted and to whom He gave His law, all
claims upon Him either by national descent, personal righteousness, or
any covenant commitments (for they rejected their promises and
crucified their Messiah) : thus shutting them up to the one great
principle of mercy.
It cannot be too much emphasized that
Chapters Nine, Ten, and Eleven do not teach that the Church as such has
succeeded the Jews in the place of blessing; but do show that
Gentiledom has received the place of privilege and opportunity, and
consequently of responsibility, that Israel once had. Through not
continuing in the Divine “goodness,” Gentiledom will be cut off as
directly blessed of God, and will be blessed through restored Israel
only, in the future, after Christ’s return, the Rapture of the Church,
and the setting up of the Millennial Kingdom.
This blessing of
Gentiles will be much wider and greater when Israel is restored. But
the blessing will be of another order,—and not so high an order as that
enjoyed by believers today, who are members of Christ’s Body! Now,
“there is no difference between Jew and Greek.” But, when the Lord
returns to Zion: “In those days ten men shall take hold, out of all the
languages of the nations, they shall take hold of the skirt of him that
is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is
with you!” (Zech. 8:23).
To gather, as we now may do, in the
name of the Lord Jesus and with the conscious presence of the Holy
Spirit, and with direct communion with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ, as the Assembly of God, the Church, is indescribably a greater
privilege than going as part of a national delegation up to Jerusalem
to “worship the King, Jehovah of Hosts”; although at that time the
glory will be openly manifest at Jerusalem. Then it will be walking by
sight, which is ever a lower path than walking by faith. No Gentile—nor
Israelite either, for that matter,—will say in the Millennium, “For me
to live is Christ!” God has today “made us alive together with Christ,
and raised us up with Him, and made us sit in the heavenlies in Christ
Jesus.” We are in Christ, and Christ is in us, “the hope of glory!”
Alas, alas, how little do we appreciate our place as Church saints!
Eleventh of Romans should at once and forever turn us away from the
presumptuous assertions of those who teach that God is “through with
national Israel,”—that it has “no future as an elect nation” in
Mr. Philip Mauro makes the astounding statements:
“The last word of prophecy concerning this people Israel as a nation
was fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies,” and
“the ‘all Israel’ of Rom. 11:26 is the whole body of God’s redeemed
people.” . . . “Zion is where the Lord Jesus is.” While in utter
blindness to the prophetic message he claims, “Paul quotes the words,
‘Behold, I lay in Zion’ as being fulfilled in this present era (Rom.
9:33)”! “Those who insist upon what they call ‘literal fulfilment’ of
the promised blessings that were to come to Israel through Christ, have
completely missed the mark!”
Yet even Augustine, back in the fourth century, said, “Distinguish the dispensations, and all is easy.”
there is a future for the nation of Israel in their land upon this
earth, all faithful believers know very well. Let the saints steadily
go forward into the increasing light, of these last days, no matter who
turns about and takes the back track into the darkness of ignorance of
medievalism or even the relatively faint dispensational light of the
I would earnestly commend those who desire a full
discussion of Mauro’s attack on “Dispensationalism” (for it is a
typical one!) to read Dr. I. M. Haldeman’s review of Mauro’s book, “The
Kingdom of God.” It is able and unanswerable.
God calls the Church His “saints,” not a “people”; see Rom. 1:6, 7; I
Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:1. He never refers to the Church, as a “people,” or
nation. I Peter 2:9 is not an exception, but rather a proof of this
fact, for Peter is writing to the elect of the Diaspora, (the
individual Jewish believers of the Jewish Dispersion), in Asia Minor,
just as James also wrote, “To the twelve tribes which are of the
Diaspora.” In both James and Peter, there is still the sufference by
God of Jewish things; as in Acts they are allowed to keep the feasts,
and are in the temple: although these were all past, in God’s sight,
and the temple left “desolate.” God was acting in great patience, with
Jewish believers. But Paul brought a new message, that the Church was
not earthly, nor national, nor Jewish, in any sense; but a “new body,”
and altogether heavenly. So the Jewish saints now are called “partakers
of a heavenly calling” (Heb. 3:1).
There is always the tendency, in a faithful man of God in dark days, (a
tendency diligently cultivated by the devil!) to imagine himself alone.
So he hunts the solitude befitting his imagined solitariness. But the
voice of God came to Elijah, “What doest thou here?” Embarrassing
question, that! It should bring out every Christian monk from his
An ominous comment on this—this “table made a snare,”—is the story of
the Last Supper: Judas was, it appears, sitting so near to Jesus, that
“the sop,” which should mark the betrayer, was handed to him without
attracting the attention of the rest. (It has been my own belief that,
while John was sitting on one side of our Lord, Judas was on the other
side! It was the hideous presumption of callous sin.) “And after the
sop, then entered Satan into him.” And, “having received the sop, he
went out . . . and it was night” (John 13:21-30). Judas typifies
Israel. Indeed, he so became the spiritual representative of apostate
Israel that rejected Christ, that we need only turn to that 69th Psalm,
(Christ’s great “reproach” Psalm) from which Paul is quoting here in
Romans 11:9, 10, to see this. The 21st verse of this Psalm says, “In My
thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink.” Evidently it is Christ speaking.
Then verse 22, and following: “Let their table become a snare,”—and
through verse 28, that wicked generation, symbolized in Judas, is
shown. And just as Satan entered into Judas at the table,—when he
presumed most on his place as a chosen apostle, so it was Israel’s very
relationship to, knowledge of, and communion with, Jehovah, at their
feasts and temples, that they presumed upon! Read Jeremiah 7:1-11.
Since this awful use of Isaiah 6, the gospel has no Jewish bounds or
bonds whatever! And it is presumption and danger, now, to give the Jews
any other place than that of common sinners! “No distinction between
Jew and Greek,” says God. Those that preach thus, have God’s blessing.
Those that would give any special place whatever to Jews, since that
day, do so contrary to the gospel; and, we fear, for private advantage.
Tell Jews the truth! Their Messiah was offered to their nation, and
rejected. And God is not offering a Messiah to Israel now, but has
Himself rejected them: all except a “remnant,” who leave Jewish earthly
hopes, break down into sinners only, and receive a sinner’s Savior,—not
a “Jewish” one! Then they become “partakers of a heavenly calling.”
amazingly different Paul’s method of “provoking the Jews to jealousy,”
from that pursued by many Jewish mission workers today! The Jew must
have a “special” place as a Jew! In some quarters they are even
organizing “Jewish assemblies” and in other quarters advocating “the
literary method of approaching Israel”! All this, we cannot but feel,
is abominable kow-towing to Jewish flesh, and hinders their salvation.
Jews now are common sinners, who have for the present been set aside
nationally, and must come to rely, as individual sinners, hopelessly
guilty and helpless, upon the shed blood of Christ, and’ upon Him risen
from the dead.
It is an awful thing to make present day
“Jewish” claims, when God says Jews are for the present, no different
from Gentiles, before God: but are just—sinners!
moment Paul says this, we know he is not addressing either Jewish
believers or Gentile Christians as such—those “in Christ,” for in
Christ is neither Jew nor Greek. So he must be speaking to us Gentiles
as having at present (not as the Church, but the Gentiles as over
against the Jews) come into God’s general favor—which the Jews had, but
of which they are at present deprived. Gentiles, not Jews, at present
are the field of God’s operations on earth. They are favored, as Israel
once was. And they have, therefore, like responsibilities. If Israel
was “cut off” through unbelief, Gentiledom must beware lest not abiding
in that “goodness” in which God has set the Gentiles (that is, in that
direct Divine favor,—without law, or religion, in which Cod has put
Gentiledom), it also shall be cut off! For God did not give Gentiledom
a Law, with its “10,000 things,” as He gave Israel. He gave Gentiledom
the gospel only. He gave them Paul; and the message of GRACE.
if they go back to “religion,” or if they forget or neglect God’s great
salvation, it is to desert God’s “goodness”; and thus to be shortly
And they have done just that,—as we know too well!
If Gentiledom has “continued” in God’s uncaused grace and goodness,
what meaneth then this bleating in our ears—of liturgies, masses, holy
days, even prayers for the dead? What meaneth all this buzz of
“administering sacraments,” of “vestments,” of “holy orders,” of
priestcraft? Why these vast cathedrals? This lavish outpouring for
great “religious” establishments? The apostles had none of this! God
commanded none of it. Nay, He forbade it! “The Most High dwelleth not
in temples made with hands”! The Jews stoned Stephen, who dared to say
so! And see the Popes burning like witnesses! And “Modern”
Denominations turning faithful preachers out of churches!
Gentiledom has deserted the “goodness” of God, for a Judao-pagan system
With “Christian” names. And Gentiledom will be cut off.
It must ever be remembered that the calling of the Church, the Body of
Christ, is a heavenly one; as Israel’s is not. Though by God’s grace
partaken of an ineffably higher place—members of Christ Himself, yet
we, more than any, should regard Israel’s coming blessing; for we have,
as they will have, mercy: the sweetest conferment of God on sinners!
first scandal was the persecution of their own prophets by the Jews,
God’s own nation; the second was the hatred unto death against the
witnesses and truth of the gospel by papal Rome (the professed church
of God!) with its Inquisition tortures and stake; the third I have
named above, the hatred of the Jews by professing Christians,—by those
who professed faith in a Savior who is Himself “an Israelite after the
I do not here mention pagan persecutions, either of
Jews or of Christians, for such were to be expected. Dean Milman, in
his History of the Jews, (and such a book could be read with great
profit in these days of rising anti-Semitism), calls the persecution of
the Jews during the middle ages “A most hideous chronicle of human
cruelty (as far as my researches have gone,—fearfully true). Perhaps it
is the most hideous,” he goes on, “because the most continuous to be
found among nations above the state of savages. Alas! that it should be
among nations called Christian, though occasionally the Mohammedan
persecutor vied with the Christian in barbarity . . . Kingdom after
kingdom, and people after people, followed the dreadful example, [of
hatred and persecution of the Israelites], and strove to peal the knell
of the descendants of Israel; till at length, what we blush to call
Christianity, with the Inquisition in its train, cleared the fair and
smiling provinces of Spain of this industrious part of its population,
and self-inflicted a curse of barrenness upon the benighted land.”
may remark that the present fratricidal slaughter in Spain is simply a
fulfillment of God’s words to Abraham and his seed: “Him that curseth
thee will I curse.” In its persecutions both of Jews and of Christians,
Spain sowed the wind: it is now reaping the whirlwind!
who deny the eternal safety of the saints, apply the warning of verses
20, 21, as if it were a personal, instead of a generic one,—a warning
to individual believers, instead of to Gentiledom as such. But this is
not only bad theology, but a missing of Paul’s whole point here. It is
bad theology, for our Lord says of His sheep, that they “shall never
perish” and when Paul warns believers of being “high-minded” (compare I
Tim. 6:17 with Rom. 11:20) it is not to threaten doom to them, but to
counsel them how to walk. Then, it is bad interpretation: for the whole
passage in Rom. 11:19-24, deals not with the Church, (where there is
no) distinction between Jew and Greek!) but with Jew-position and
Gentile-position in God’s affairs on earth. Israel, unbelieving, was
cut off for awhile from his place of Divine favor and blessing.
Gentiledom comes into favor instead of Israel, for a while; and “the
Church came into the administration of the promises in the character of
Gentiles, in contrast with Jews.” It is to a characteristic Gentile,
that Paul speaks in Rom. 11.19: “Thou wilt say, Branches were broken
off, that I might be grafted in.” He speaks generically, to this
characteristic Gentile, when he warns, in verse 22: “Toward thee, God’s
goodness, if thou continue in His goodness; otherwise thou also shalt
be [as was Israel before Gentiledom] cut off.” Now we know, from God’s
prophetic Word, that Gentiledom will, indeed, be cut off, as was
Israel, and Israel be restored to his former place, as the sphere and
channel of God’s blessing to earth.
So that, when Paul says,
“I speak to you that are Gentiles,” he is talking, not to God’s saints
as such, much less to the Church which is the Body of Christ; but to
Gentiledom, which has been given to be, in God’s “goodness,” the place
of His blessing, while Israel is for the time set aside.
proof of this is in the very admonition itself: “Be not highminded, but
fear.” If this (as some claim) is merely a warning to individual saints
to avoid pride, why should it be addressed to Gentile saints only? Had
Jewish believers no danger of pride?
No; it is not of the Church at all, nor of His real saints, that God speaks here: but of Gentiledom.
“That God is withdrawing from “denominational” Christianity is very
evident “Modernists” control some denominations completely and the
hideous unbelief at “modernism” is infiltrating slowly every
denomination. Honest souls familiar with the facts all know this and
are perplexed what to do. But God will take care of His
testimony,—indeed is doing so, by means of Bible conferences, Bible
classes, and gatherings for prayer in private homes—more and more after
the early Church pattern. As for Laodicean “property,” the great
churches, schools, libraries, and what not, the devil is falling heir
to them fast,—which need not alarm the saints, for the early Church had
none of these things, but Christ and the Holy Ghost and God’s Word only!
It is a blessed fact that God’s real saints, the true Church, are
coming more and more, daily into the light, and back to the simple
faith of the beginning. This is most especially evident in the attitude
of true believers in their expectancy of the coming of the Lord—a
spirit that characterized the early Church for 300 years! Nevertheless,
what we say is true, as reads Isaiah: “Darkness shall cover the earth,
and gross darkness the peoples.”
discussing the heavenly calling of the church in Ephesians 2:11-15 Paul
refers to us thus: “Remember that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh,
who are called ‘Uncircumcision’ by that which is called ‘Circumcision,’
in the flesh, made by hands; that ye were at that time separate from
Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from
the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the
world. But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh
in the Mood of Christ. For He is our peace, who made both one, and
brake down the middle wall . . . having abolished in His flesh the
enmity, the Law of commandments . . . that He might create in Himself
of the two ONE NEW MAN, so making peace.”
the first part of Ephesians 2, we are seen “dead through our trespasses
and sins,” and are “made alive together with Christ, and raised up with
Him and made to sit with Him in the heavenlies, in Christ Jesus”; but
in the second part of the same chapter, our Gentile place as “far off,”
“aliens,” is contrasted with the place of Israel, who were “nigh.” But
mark: God does not Himself recognize in Ephesians the distinction
between circumcision and uncircumcision: He merely says that the
Gentiles are called “Uncircumcision” by that which is called
“Circumcision.” For the circumcision had become in God’s sight
uncircumcision. “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly”; so that it
is merely a distinction circumcised sinners made with regard to
uncircumcised sinners. In the real fact, “There is no distinction
(between Jew and Gentile), for all have sinned and come short of the
glory of God.”
”We find in Scripture (Ezekiel 38
and 39) a horrid confederation of evil headed by the “prince of Rosh,
Meshech and Tubal,” which Bible students commonly accept as Russia,
Moscow and Tobolsk; with which is allied Persia, Cush, Put, Corner, and
the house of Togarmah—“even many peoples with thee.” They go to cut off
re-established Israel, just before the Millennial days described in
Ezekiel 40 to 48, Now we know from the Second Psalm and many other
Scriptures, that the nations of earth will all finally rebel, and that
intelligently, against Jehovah, and against His Anointed, saying, “Let
us break Their bonds asunder, and cast away Their cords from us.”
do not wonder, then, that these North-European nations are first to
come out into open God-defying: Russia with its atheism, and then
Hitler, with his arrogant anti-Scripture conceit concerning Aryans,
willing to go back to the pagan deities of Northern Europe. The word of
prophecy connects these northern nations—including Germany—in a great
confederacy: however far apart they may seem to be at present.
God came from Teman,
And the Holy One from Mount Paran.
His glory covered the heavens,
And the earth was full ot His praise.
- * * *
He stood, and measured the earth;
He beheld, and drove asunder the nations;
- * * *
Was Jehovah displeased with the rivers?
Was Thine anger against the rivers,
Or Thy wrath against the sea,
That Thou didst ride upon Thy horses,
Upon Thy chariots of salvation?
Thy bow was made quite bare;
The oaths to the tribes were a sure word.
Thou didst march through the land of Israel in indignation;
Thou didst thresh the nations in anger.
Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people [Israel],
For victory with Thine Anointed [Christ].
then (Verse 13) there is the smiting of “the wicked man” (Antichrist),
and the piercing of “the head of his warriors.” This is exactly what we
find, of course, in Revelation 19:19 to 21! And see the faith even in
those terrible days preceding Christ’s return.
“I heard, and my body trembled, . . .
Because I must wait quietly for the day of trouble [the Great Tribulation].
For the coming up of the people that invadeth us [all nations: see Zechariah 14:1, 2; Joel 3:9-17].
For though the fig-tree shall not flourish,
The vines . . . the olive, . . . the fields . . . the flock [be] cut off,
Yet I will rejoice in Jehovah,
I will joy in the God of my salvation”*
The words “out of Zion shall come forth a Deliverer” have puzzled many,
and indeed there are real difficulties here. The quotation is from
Isaiah 59:20, “a Redeemer will come to Zion.” But let us look at
certain facts: There are two mountains in Jerusalem, one Mount Moriah,
where the former temple was built; and the other, the higher, Mount
Zion. Here, when David became king, the Jehusites had a stronghold.
David’s first desire when made king over all the people was to take
this stronghold of the enemy (II Sam. 5:7; I Chron. 11:5). It was
thereafter called “the city of David, which is Zion” (I Kings 8:1). Now
in the quotation from James in Acts 15, we find that the Lord upon His
return “will build again the tabernacle of David,” meaning on Mount
Zion, not Moriah (for typical things shall have passed away). And
concerning Zion we read in Isaiah 4:3, 4: “And it shall come to pass,
that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall
be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in
Jerusalem; when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the
daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from
the midst thereof, by the Spirit of justice, and by the Spirit of
burning.” The expression of Rom. 11:26, 27: “There shall come out of
Zion the Deliverer; He shall turn away ungodlinesses from Jacob”
becomes clearer, verse 26 showing Christ delivering Israel from their
ungodlinesses, and verse 27 showing Christ establishing His earthly
Temple and Throne on Mount Zion, and “uttering His Voice” from thence.
See Amos 1:2.
There is a beautiful view of God’s mercy to His people in the time of
the Tribulation, in Jeremiah 31:2: “Thus saith Jehovah, The people that
were left of the sword found favor in the wilderness; even Israel, when
he went to find him. rest” (margin). In Revelation 12:14 we see the
woman, Israel, fleeing into the wilderness and nourished for three
years and a half in a marvelous way, as during the 40 years in the
wilderness in Sinai after Egypt. Note that Jeremiah says, “The people
that were left of the sword.” This cannot refer to Israel as coming up
from Egypt, but must look toward that “Remnant” left after the terrible
cutting off of the most of fleshly Israel, as seen in Ezek. 20:32-38,
R.V.; Isa. 10:22, 23. This Remnant flees when Antichrist is revealed,
and escapes death at his hands. Isaiah 16:3 and 4, the Moabites are
commanded by God to protect these fleeing ones of Israel; “Make thy
shade as the night in the midst, of the noonday; hide the outcasts;
betray not the fugitive. Let Mine outcasts dwell with thee; as for
Moab, be thou a convert to him from the face of the destroyer.” The
words immediately following, “For the extortioner is brought to nought,
destruction ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. And a
throne shall be established in lovingkindness; and One shall sit
thereon in truth, in the tent of David, judging, and seeking justice,
and swift to do righteousness”— these words (Isa. 16:4, 5) reveal the
Deliverance that is about to come at that time.
render verse 31 (as the Latin Vulgate, Luther, Darby, and others,
insist on doing), “been disobedient to our [Gentile] mercy,” not only
is a straining of the text, but also wholly defeats understanding of
the passage. The Gentile world in verse 30 is seen as disobedient to
God, that is, living in sin and idolatry. But the disobedience of the
Jews, (verse 31), was the rejection of their Messiah and particularly
of the apostolic testimony of His resurrection. When the Jews believed,
it was called “being obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7); and, “God hath
Riven the Holy Spirit to them that obey Him” in believing (Acts 5:32).
that the question of Gentile salvation had not at that time come up at
all! In the synagogue at Ephesus some of the Jews were “hardened and
disobedient, speaking evil of the Way” (Acts 19:9). It was rejecting
the way of salvation by faith apart from works, and faith in God’s
message concerning the Christ whom their nation had rejected and
crucified—this constituted Jewish disobedience.
must be connected with Galatians 3:22: “The Scripture shut up all
things under sin, that the promise of faith in Christ Jesus might be
given to them that believe,” with “God hath shut up all unto
disobedience, that He might have mercy upon all.” This does not make
God the author of disobedience;—man, whether Gentile or Jew, is
responsible for that. As for the Gentiles, God, since Babel, “suffered
all the nations to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16). Then He met
them in the way of sovereign mercy, which they were not seeking. As for
the Jews, God brought them unto Himself, gave them His Law, sent His
prophets and His Son, and they despised all, even the offer of national
pardon. Thus, the Jews were “disobedient” to God’s way with them. But,
by the example of Gentile mercy, they also will obtain mercy.
there is another deep truth also; Christ was made to become sin, and
died unto sin, and unto all connection with man in sin. When our Lord
was raised as the First-born from among the dead, it was in the “power
of an endless life.” He showed Himself alive, indeed, to His disciples,
saying, “Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as
ye behold me having” (Luke 24:39), and He even ate with them.
Nevertheless, His body was on resurrection ground, as heavenly as His
spirit. And we shall have bodies like unto His glorious body, but it
will be only when we shall be “changed,” at our Lord’s coming; when
“this corruptible puts on incorruption, and this mortal puts on
Even as regards God’s counsels toward the spared
Remnant of Israel during the Millennium, as well as toward all the
earth,—while the eyes of the Remnant shall “see the King in His
beauty,” and His glory shall be seen over the millennial temple by all
nations; yet, as it seems to me, not until after the Millennium, will
even Israel share that new creation place that the Church now, and the
saints of Revelation 20:4, enter on before and during the Millennium.
See Isaiah 65:17, 18; 66:22.
Of course, both the Remnant and
those of the nations who bow in real worship during the Millennium,
will share spiritual life in Christ, for then will be completely
fulfilled Pentecost, which Isaiah describes as the time when “the
Spirit is poured out on us from on high” (Isa. 32:15); but it is not
until “the new heaven and the new earth” wherein the seed and name of
Israel shall remain (Isa. 66:22), that even that nation will be fully
on new creation ground, such as the Church, members of Christ, are now
as to their spirits, and will be shortly, as to their bodies, at the
When today poor blinded Jewish rabbis and elders
claim “Jesus of Nazareth” as belonging to them, as “one of their
prophets,” “perhaps the greatest one,” it causes in the heart of the
instructed Christian, only a lament. Christ was indeed, as to His
flesh, born of them; but they rejected and crucified Him; and He is
passed into a new creation, and is the last Adam, a Second Man, with
whom the Jewish nation as such has as yet no connection, any more than
have unbelieving Gentiles. “Except a man be born from above he CANNOT SEE the kingdom of God!”
Voltaire, the brilliant French infidel in the eighteenth century, speak
of Sir Isaac Newton (one of the greatest minds and godliest men of
history): “Look at the mighty mind of Newton. When he got into his
dotage he began to study the book called the Bible; and it seems, in
order to credit its fabulous nonsense, we must believe (says Newton)
that the knowledge of mankind will be so increased that we shall be
able to travel at fifty miles per hour. The poor dotard!” (Newton had
been studying and writing upon Daniel 12:4: “Many shall run to and fro,
and knowledge shall be increased,” when he made this prediction.)
Daytona Beach, in Florida, a few miles from my home, a man recently
traveled nearly six times fifty miles per hour! So it seems Voltaire
was the fool, the “dotard,” and not Newton! And the very room in which
Voltaire asserted, “A hundred years after I am dead the Bible will be
an unknown book”—is now a wareroom of the British and Foreign Bible