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The Chosen Nation of
We believers in Christ Jesus need to grasp in its fullness exactly what the Lord God is telling us about Israel and the Jews , and His various dealings with them. It is no good at all to just make up our own minds about these people and the nation. We must understand the Holy Scriptures on these matters. I will be using the notes of the esteemed Bible scholar, H.A. Ironside. His lectures on Romans were given to the students of Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; the Evangelical Theological College of Dallas; and at various Bible Conferences in the USA and Canada. The notes in the book “Lectures on Romans,” which I am using, came from these sources. The time period was early this century in the 1920s.
ROMANS CHAPTER NINEGOD’S
PAST DEALINGS WITH ISRAEL
“Having carried us all the way from the distance and bondage and condemnation of chapters 1,2, and 3 to the glorious freedom and justification and eternal union with Christ of chapter 8, the apostle [Paul] now turns to consider another phase of things altogether. He well knew that many of his readers would be pious, godly Jews who had accepted Christ as their Messiah and their Saviour, but who were passing through a time of great perplexity and bewilderment as they saw their own nation apparently hardened into opposition against the gospel and sinners of the Gentiles turning to the Lord. They were always aware that the prophets predicted a great work of God among the Gentiles, but they had always been accustomed to think of this as following upon the full restoration and blessing of Israel, and, indeed, as flowing FROM IT. Israel should blossom and bud and fill the whole earth with fruit. The Gentiles should come to HER light and find happiness in subjection to her.
How could Paul reconcile his proclamation of free grace to the Gentiles everywhere, apart from their submission to the rights connected with the old covenant? In the three chapters that are now to occupy us, the apostle meets this question, and that in a masterly way...
He [Paul] enumerates, in verses 4 and 5, the great blessings that belong to Israel. He says that to them pertain the adoption (literally, the son-placing), and the glory, the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the ritual service, and the promises [earthly]. “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” (pp 109-112).
“To the faithful Jew who
had banked upon the promises of God to Israel it would appear that in large
measure these promises had failed; other wise, why would Israel be set
to one side and the Gentiles be in the place of blessing? But the apostle
now proceeds to show that God has ever acted on the principle of sovereign
grace.... “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
“What then, is the conclusion? Simply that the unrighteous Gentiles have, through grace, attained to a righteousness which is of faith....Why did they [Israel] miss it? Because they failed to realize that is it only to be obtained by faith, and that no man, by his own power, can ever keep that holy and perfect law. When God sent His Son into the world, who is the embodiment of all perfection, in whom the law was fulfilled perfectly, they knew him not, but stumbled over the stumbling stone of a lowly Christ when they were expecting a triumphant King. They [the Jews] realized not their need of one who could accomplish righteousness on their behalf, because they lacked faith. And so they fulfilled the Scripture in condemning Him. But, nevertheless, wherever He is individually received by faith, He saved the soul that trusts Him, though the nation has stumbled and fallen....” (pp 124-125).
ROMANS CHAPTER TEN
GOD’S PRESENT DEALINGS WITH ISRAEL
"Having, as we have seen, vindicated in a masterly way the righteousness of God in setting aside Israel nationally because of unbelief, and taking up the Gentiles during the present dispensation of the grace, the apostle now goes on to show that this deflection of the nation as such does not in any wise involve the rejection of the individual Israelite. The nation as such is no longer looked upon as in covenant relationship with God, nor will it be until it comes under the new covenant at the beginning of the millennium; when 'a nation shall be born in a day;' but the same promises apply to any individual member of the house of Israel as to any individual Gentile." (p 126).
"It is not a new thing, then, for God to speak to Gentiles. All that is new about it is that He is now speaking more fully, more clearly than He ever spoke before. He is now proclaiming in unmistakable terms an offer of salvation to all who trust His word. And did not Israel know that God was going to take up the peoples of the nations? They should have known, for Moses himself said 'I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.' And Isaiah, with uncompromising boldness, declares 'I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me.' Surely words like these could only apply to the heathen of the Gentile world. And as for Israel with all their privileges, concerning them God had said "All day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.' The subject is continued in the opening verses of the next chapter, in which, as we shall see, the apostle shows how God is getting His election, even out of Israel, during the present dispensation.
But we will consider the entire chapter in one address, and so I forbear further comment now, save to insist that the gist of the present portion is evidently this during this present dispensation, when grace is going out to the nations, beyond the bounds of the Jewish race, this does not involve the utter rejection of Israelites but it does imply the end of special privileges. They may be saved if they will, BUT ON EXACTLY THE SAME TERMS AS THE DESPISED GENTILE. The middle wall of partition is broken down, but grace is offered through Jesus Christ to all who own their guilt and confess His name." (pp 133,134). (Emphasis added).
ROMANS CHAPTER ELEVEN
GOD'S FUTURE DEALINGS WITH ISRAEL IN FULFILMENT OF THE PROPHETIC SCRIPTURES
"We have already seen how His past dealings with Israel proved His righteousness in acting toward the Gentiles as He now does, despite the covenant made with the earthly people. Then in Chapter 10 we have seen that although the nation as such is set to one side, this does not in any way hinder the individual Israelite from turning to God and finding that same salvation which He, in His sovereignty, is proclaiming through His servants to the Gentiles. In the first part of our present chapter, verses 1 to 6, the subject of chapter 10 is continued and brought to a conclusion. The question is asked 'Hath God cast away His people?' By no means. Paul's own experiences proved that this was not the case; for he was an Israelite, of the natural seed of Abraham, and of the tribe of Benjamin; yet he has been laid hold of by the Spirit of God and brought to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ." (p 135).
"The great thing, however, for Israel to understand is that, if saved at all, they are saved exactly as Gentiles are saved, and that is by grace. Grace, as we have seen is unmerited favor. Yea, we may put it even stronger it is favor against merit. This precludes all thought of work....The two principles - salvation by grace and salvation by works - are diametrically opposed, one to the other. There can be no admixture of law and grace; they are mutually destructive principles." (p 136).
"Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles, and as such, he magnified his office; but he would not have the Gentiles for a moment think he has lost his interest in Israel rather he would see them stirred to emulation, that many might be saved from among them as they saw the grace of God going out to the Gentiles; on the other hand, he would not have the Gentile glory over the Jew because the latter was set aside and the former enjoyed the blessings that the Jew would have had, had he been ready to receive them. He continues his argument by introducing a parable, which brings out most vividly the divine plan. He says 'For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?' That is, if, as they wander among all the nations, a disappointed and weary people, under the band of the God of their fathers, the message of grace is going out to the Gentiles, and an election from them are receiving the message, what will it mean to the world as a whole when ISRAEL NATIONALLY will turn back to the Lord and become in very truth a holy people, His witnesses to all nations?
...They were natural branches
in the olive tree - Israelites by birth but not by grace, who were broken
off. And in order that the promises of God to Abraham should not fail,
'In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,' the branches
of the wild olive tree - the Gentiles - were grafted in among the remnant
of Israel, and thus Jew and Gentile believing together, partake of the
root and fatness of the olive tree."
MATTERS OF IMPORTANCE
We must not imagine that God is using the Hebrew Roots Movement or the Messianic Jews IN SEPARATION FROM THE CHRISTIANS, and that He is using them to bring "RESTORING" JEWISH DOCTRINES AND BOOKS which will bless the world RIGHT NOW! Just because Israel is now the home of the Jews again does not mean that God has taken them up again NATIONALLY at this stage. In the Tribulation, the time of Jacob's Trouble, God will take the Jews up again as a nation and He will deal with them severely as well as blessing them. A remnant will be saved, and they will witness to the nations in that period, NOT NOW at the end of the Church Age. Until then, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ under the Gentile headship continues its work. The Church is NOT to be "restored" either by a renewal of Jewish doctrines and rituals! All Jews who accept Christ and are saved are blessed in exactly the same manner as the Gentile believers. No Jewish movement is legitimate at this point in Church history, if it is acting outside the New Testament agenda and doctrines. Especially any movement which seeks to bring back Judaism with its laws, and rituals, its religious observance, its dominance and its insistence that the Jews per se are the prime people of God NOW, in the Church Age.
OUTLINE FOR THE JEWS AND ISRAEL AS FOUND IN THE BIBLE
NOTE that great portions
of the Old Testament Scriptures, in particular Isaiah, deal with predictions
of the sufferings, the blessings, and the ministry of the remnants of the
nation of Israel in the Tribulation period of seven years. These scriptures
deal with this coming time period, READ THEM, they are astonishing.
Leviticus 26:40-45; Deuteronomy 30:1-5; Isaiah 11:10-16; 27:6-13; Jeremiah 23:3-8; 31:7-11; 32:37-41; Ezekiel 34:11-16; 36:22-28 and Daniel 12:1.
"For, lo, the days come,
saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel
and Judah, saith the Lord; and I will cause them to return to the land
that I gave to their fathers, and shall possess it....Alas! for that day
is great, so that none is like it it is even the time of Jacob's trouble,
but he shall be saved out of it....For I am with thee, saith the Lord,
to save thee though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered
thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee but I will correct thee in
measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished."
THE JEWISH REMNANT DOCTRINALLY
God has NOT cast aside Israel forever! The Church of Jesus Christ is NOT Israel, and will never have dominion over the earth! The theme of Romans chapter 11 shows us that clearly. There is a Biblical doctrine of the Remnant of Israel, which we must attend to with diligence in these times. A brief outline is as follows
THE NATION OF ISRAEL.
1. The present unbelief of Israel was predicted, Rom 11:7-10.
2. This unbelief was the opening for the Gentiles, Rom 11:11-25.
3. Israel is now at this present time judicially broken off from the good olive tree, Christ Jesus! Rom.11: 17-22.
4. Israel as a nation is yet to be grafted in again. Rom. 11:23,24.
5. Not until the Church Age is over (the fullness of the Gentiles) and the Tribulation period will the nation of Israel be saved. Rom. 11:25-29.
6. Israel as a NATION always has its own place, but is now in the period when it is cut off from the "good olive tree" and is yet to be restored. In the Millennium kingdom of Christ Israel will have its greatest exaltation. Genesis 12:6; Zech. 12:8; Luke 13:1-33; I Cor.15:24. Under the Davidic covenant see II Samuel 7:8-17.
THE INDIVIDUAL JEW AS
This is an entirely different subject! Quite true that both subjects are heavily involved with each other, but they are NOT the same. A "remnant" of Israel is seen throughout Scripture. Just as the Christian Church, which is in extreme apostasy now, has a "remnant' within it in the denominations, so too does Israel as a nation always seem to have a remnant within.
In Elijah's time 7,000
had not succumbed to worshipping Baal (1 Kings 19:18).
In Isaiah's time there was a "very small remnant" (Isaiah 1:9).
During the OT captivity the remnant of Israel were shown in their glory, as Ezekiel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Esther and Mordecai were all of the remnant. When Jesus Christ came to earth there was only a remnant left! John the Baptist, Simeon, Anna, and those who were faithful to God were the remnant "them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem" (Luke 2:38).
In the Church Age the remnant of the Jews is composed of those who become believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and become part of the Body of Christ (Rom.8 : 4-6). They are under GRACE you will note, not under any Jewish system during this period AT ALL! Romans 9:31; Galatians 5:4-6.
The remnant of the nation
of Israel is entirely different to the remnant of Jews who become Christians
in the Church Age. Israel will have only a remnant who will come to Jesus
Christ as their Messiah in the TRIBULATION! After the Rapture of the Church,
and the close of the Church Age, God will deal again with Israel as a nation.
Many of the O.T. Psalms deal with the joys and sorrows of the remnant of
the Jews in the Time of Jacob's Trouble, i.e. in the Tribulation.
See their martyrdom in the Trib. (Rev. 6:9-11) the Jew's becoming witnesses for Christ in the Trib. (Rev. 7:3-8). Some will still be alive on the earth to enter the Millennial Kingdom of Christ (Zech. 12:6-13:9).
"And I heard the number
of them which were sealed and there were sealed an hundred and forty and
four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel."
"The Jew and Israel as the Bible Presents Them "
W. B. Howard ...Editor of Despatch
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