“1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.”
Paul, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is about to make a sharp turn in this book of Romans. He has been dealing with salvation, our security and all of the glorious benefits we have in Christ. He has warned the carnal Christian, and he has warned those that reject the free offering of salvation in Jesus. If you were to jump ahead to chapter 12, “I beseech you therefore…,” it would be a logical jump from the end of chapter 8. We have the security in Jesus that we need to grow, and there I beseech you; but in chapter 9, Paul makes a sharp turn to talk about the nation of Israel. He spends 3 chapters laying out the case that God is not done with Israel as yet. It is as if Paul were writing along about the great salvation we Gentiles have in Jesus and suddenly he was reminded that salvation is for the Jews as well.
There have been of late, and I am sure it is no new doctrine, that God has replaced the Jews with the NT Church, He is done with Israel, that dispensation is over, and there is no more of God’s work to be done in, with and through them. Paul makes the case in the next three chapters that nothing could be further from the truth. The Apostle John in the book of the Revelation makes the case that God is not done with Israel yet; rather, there is simply a gap of time that God has set aside for the Gentile church to grow and thrive, and that time will come to an end and He will deal with Israel, the nation, once again.
Take a look at this very book of Romans and its layout. There are 8 chapters dealing the salvation we have in Jesus, then a break about Israel, then Paul picks up telling us how to live out the salvation we have (chapter 12-16). In these first 5 verses, Paul gives us a few reasons why God cannot be done with Israel as yet:
- Israel; still in God’s plan: verses 1-5
All that we have in the Bible is directly from Israel. The law, the prophets and the fathers of the faith like Abraham are all Jews. There is no Christianity without the Jews. Our Saviour is a Jewish Savior, a Jewish Carpenter and a Jewish King. He is our Jewish High Priest after the order of Melchizedek who was the High Priest of Salem, later to be called Jerusalem. All of the writers in the Bible are Jewish, the book covers Jewish traditions and history, the Bible tells the story of the Jewish forefathers and their families, and of course, the very story is centered in Israel. The vast majority of the geography in the Bible is Jewish.
Jesus is a Jew. Not was a Jew, but is a Jew. Once he was born and took on the human form, He still has that form. When we see Him, we will see the same Jesus that encouraged Thomas to touch Him. We will see that same Jesus that ate breakfast in John 21 with his disciples. We will see the same Jesus that spoke to the two on the road to Emmaus. Jesus is a Jew, an Israelite, and He is the biggest and most important fact to remember that God cannot be done with Israel. In fact, Jesus will rule the world from Jerusalem, David’s throne in Israel. Israel will be the center of commerce and worship in the coming new kingdom. In Isaiah 66:22-23 we find these words,
“For as the new heavens and the new earth
Which I will make shall remain before Me,’ says the Lord,
‘So shall your descendants and your name remain.
And it shall come to pass
That from one New Moon to another,
And from one Sabbath to another,
All flesh shall come to worship before Me,’ says the Lord.”
This passage in Isaiah 66 is about the Millennial Kingdom. Jesus is in Jerusalem, called Zion, and we are told that the people of the world, ‘all flesh,’ will come to worship the Lord. They will do this in Zion; Israel. This is obviously not happening now, and it has not happened before. This is a future action, and so we can see that Israel will play a central part in the end and into the new age to come. In Isaiah 2:3-4 we have this promise to the world’s people at the time of Jesus’ earthly Kingdom,
“And many peoples will come and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways so that we may walk in His paths.’ For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Then He will judge between the nations and arbitrate for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer take up the sword against nation, nor train anymore for war.”
Notice that the word of the Lord will come from Jerusalem and law will go forth from Zion, Israel; and people will go to the Lord at the house of Jacob, Israel, and there He will solve their issues and bring global peace. Israel is at the center of the end times. It has to be; Jesus is coming back as a Jewish King to fulfill the promise made to Judah in Genesis 49:9-10,
“Judah is a young lion—my son, you return from the prey. Like a lion he crouches and lies down; like a lioness, who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes and the allegiance of the nations is his.”
Jesus is the fulfillment of this promise. Right now, there is no King in Israel, no scepter and no one sitting on David’s throne. That promise is yet to be fulfilled. God cannot leave promises unfulfilled; He must meet every promise He has ever made. If HE can cheat Judah and David, He can cheat us. If His promises are not sure for all of us, they are not sure for any of us. In 2 Corinthians 1:20, Paul assures us that God’s promises, once promised are as good as done,
“For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”
- Israel: Don’t forget where you came from, verses 1-5
One of the most important things for us to recall is the summary that Paul, really the Holy Spirit makes here in these first 5 verses. While it is true that Paul is writing – and yes, he is a Jew – yes, he does love his nation Israel and he would gladly give up his salvation so they, the Jews, could have their eyes opened like his were; never forget that Paul was writing at the behest of the Holy Spirit. God is the one who wrote these words with Paul’s muscles and pen. God is telling us that He is not done with Israel. He has a plan for her, a plan to redeem her, at least a remnant and to restore her to her glory for His glory.
In Ezekiel 16:1-14 we see God describing his relationship with Israel – how he found her abandoned and He washed her and He took her as His wife; He made a covenant with her and clothed her and loved her, yes, and even as she went astray and was an unfaithful wife. God then called a prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute; and even as his wife was cheating on him with men, he, as a picture of God with Israel, redeemed her, and she was no longer the prostitute. This is the promise of God to the nation. For a time, about 2,000 years, Israel will be put aside, shelved so to speak, and one day God will come for her. The people He loves and cherishes and to whom He has made eternal promises that cannot be broken.
Folks, we are saved by a Jewish Gospel, saved by a Jewish Saviour, who shed perfect Jewish blood on a cross in Israel on a hill just outside of Jerusalem to fulfill the requirements of the Jewish Law found in Exodus 20 – Leviticus 27. Jesus’ sacrifice tore the veil of the Jewish temple and satisfied the wrath of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Jewish forefathers. We study a Bible where 41 books are deliberately centered on the history and person of Israel, from Genesis 12 to the end of the Gospel of John. We have one book, The Revelation that, once we get past chapter 4, only talks about Israel. The Temple mount, the two witnesses who are Jews, the 144,000 Jewish men who evangelize the world looking for Jews to be saved, and on and on we can go.
People who remove Israel from the future plans of God and replace it with the NT Church have to do a lot of creative reading and have to do a lot of flat- out lying.
I don’t know if God let Paul know that his people, the very people he was lamenting over, would be rejecting Jesus come 2,000 years later; and if history is right, Paul died in the mid 60’s AD before the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman military in 70 AD. God spared him this grief. But one day, his longing and his love for his people will be fulfilled when the heavens split open and the Messiah, followed by the armies of Heaven, split open the sky (Revelation 19:11) and rescue Israel. Their eyes will be opened and their hearts softened by 7 brutal years of persecution at the hands of a ruthless dictator named the Man of Sin. The Jews rejected Jesus at the crucifixion; but one day soon, they will receive Him and He them, and the world will never be the same again for eternity.
Don’t be like the Jews; open your eyes and open your hearts to the King of kings, the Lord of lords and the only Saviour, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. We find our security in the following verses, 1 John 5:12-13. Are you secure in Jesus?
“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church