Romans Lesson 29: The Limited Time of the Gentiles :: By Sean Gooding

Chapter 9:14-29

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.’ 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.’ 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

19 You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?’ 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25As He says also in Hosea: ‘I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.’ 26 ‘And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.’ 27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved. 28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.’ 29And as Isaiah said before: ‘Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah.'”

Thanks for the responses to the last article. It is glad to know that someone is reading them.

The subject of Israel is one that is not often spoken about in many churches. Thankfully, we have sites like Rapture Ready that focus on the end times, and as such, there must be discussions about Israel. God is not done with Israel as yet, and since Jesus is coming to rule the world from David’s throne, is it obvious that God is not done with Jerusalem either. Salvation has been offered to all men everywhere freely. From the very first blood sacrifice in Genesis 3, where God made Adam and Eve clothes of skin, to the public execution of Jesus, salvation has always been made available at the expense of another to us. In the OT, the blood of bulls and goats offered temporary coverings for sin that had to be repeated each year; and then in Jesus, His once-for-all sacrifice is the end of the OT daily sacrifices.

However, God is the one who offers salvation, and it is a limited time offer. This is one of the hardest things to accept as humans. But in Hebrews 9:27, we are told that once a person is dead, their fate is sealed by the choice they made while alive as far as Jesus and salvation are concerned.

In the account of Lazarus and the rich man, Abraham made it clear that they each made their choices while alive, and their eternity was based on that choice. Death then ends the choice as far as eternity is concerned.

There are those that teach a purgatory, where one’s sins can be atoned for after death by the prayers and indulgences of one’s loved ones. This is just emotional blackmail by a false religion. There is no salvation after death.

In this passage, Paul uses the person of Pharaoh as an example. Some would read this passage and come to the conclusion that there was no way of salvation for Pharaoh. He, we are told, was used as an example by God. But what God knew as being God and what He did as a deliberate action are two different things. Let me explain.

God knew that Pharaoh would rebel for the whole ten plagues and that, even after his apparent humility, he would change his mind and try to kill off the nation. This Pharaoh, we are told, did not know the God of Joseph, but he got a face-to-face introduction; he saw God’s almighty hand face-to-face over a long period. But he chose to rebel; all he had to do to save his land was to let the Jews go. That simple, that plain, and that easy. But pride is the forerunner to destructions, and Pharaoh forgot who was God and who was the man.

Thus, his whole nation was destroyed by God. But in the midst of that, there were Egyptians that went out with the Jews as they left Egypt, Genesis 12: 38, called a mixed people. These believed the power of God and humbled themselves and lived. God chose that Pharaoh because he knew he would be a rebellious man, and He, God, used him to demonstrate His power, but the Egyptians who believed and humbled themselves were saved. When a person, in this case, Pharaoh, pridefully shakes his fist in God’s face, then God turns up the heat, and they get what they ask for, God’s power on display.

The same will be true in the Tribulation; the people of the earth will know that God is doing the things that are happening, but they will rebel even more and not humble themselves (see Revelation 16:9); the people cursed the name of God and refused to repent (see verses 11 and 21 as well). This is what happened to Pharaoh; he knew that God was real but refused to humble himself.

In Romans 9:22, we see that God is long-suffering and patient with sinful men. Before Judah went into captivity in Babylon, God patiently waited 490 years before He sent judgment. God extends to us grace and mercy beyond all we deserve; He puts up with sinful piles of dust that rebel and defy Him face-to- face as we deny His existence and claim to be our own gods. We are told over the next few verses (23-24) that God was patient for our sakes. Whose sakes? We the Gentiles? God has, for 2,000 years, patiently waited for the Gospel to reach the utter parts of the earth – for the translations to be done, the printing press to be invented, and for churches to send missionaries all over the world so that every last Gentile who will be saved, is saved.

In John 12: 22-24, we see that even as He came to the end of the earthly ministry, the Gentiles were asking to see Jesus. I am currently reading through the book of Acts, and the Jewish Christians are astonished that the Holy Spirit went to the Gentiles as well. They have not one, but two conferences about that in the book of Acts. The second, in chapter 15, has some wanting the Gentile Christians to be circumcised; they are still blown away that the gospel came to us. But it did.

Nation will come around again. The entire focus of the Tribulation is the nation of Israel. The NT church is taken out at the beginning of Revelation 4. From that time on in Revelation, the church is not mentioned again as far as being on earth. Thus, the time of the Gentiles is over as far as the salvation we now have offered to us in Jesus. God has decided that we have this much time, and then He will proceed with the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and David; this requires a full return of His attention to the nation of Israel.

For now, rejoice, my brothers and sisters; God, our God, the God, has chosen to allow us to know the Gospel; to know about Jesus, His shed blood and His salvation. He has made known to us the riches of His love and grace; He deals with us in the framework of His love and mercy; He deals with us gently as mere dust; and He has prepared for us a home that will leave us jaw-dropped for a long time once we arrive. In 2 Corinthians 12:4, Paul could not even put into words what he saw on the other side. Paul, like Luke, was one of the more highly educated men who wrote the Bible, and he could not find the words to describe the other side.

Let me dispel a false doctrine that has permeated the NT church of late:

The doctrine is that God has chosen who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. Nothing could be further from the truth. This doctrine negates the need for evangelism and even personal spiritual growth. We see the idea of personal choice all the way through the scriptures. Adam made a choice to disobey; Cain made a choice to kill Abel; Joshua called Israel to choose whom they would serve; David made a choice to step on the battlefield with Goliath; and Joseph chose not to be bitter when the events of his life unfolded in Egypt. Jesus chose to stay on the cross. He laid down His life; no one compelled Him. Ananias and his wife chose to lie to the Holy Spirit, and on and on we can go.

We Gentiles have been grafted into the covenant that was given to Abraham; we are joint-heirs with Israel because, like Abraham, we believed God and it was accounted to us for righteousness. It was given to us, and this will go on for a short time longer. How do I know this? In Luke 21:24, we are told that the events of the end will go until the time of the ‘Gentiles are fulfilled’; we are told in Romans 11:25 that we will go on until the ‘number of Gentiles has come in’; and then God will revert to dealing with Israel. We all need to get to work and get to our peoples. The time is short.

The time is near, and the end is not far away. God has been patiently building for 2,000 years, and He has already allowed Israel to be resurrected. Jerusalem is the political capital city; so then, the return of Jesus is not far off. Are you ready? Do you know Jesus as Savior? If you do know Him, are you living surrendered and submitted to Him? Our time is coming to an end, and the time of Israel is fast approaching; the next phase is soon to be upon us in full force. The world has no clue what is coming, but we should be waiting with bated breath for the glory of God to be revealed and the return of our Savior, first to call us home, and then to bring us back to serve in His kingdom.

God bless you,

Dr. Sean Gooding

Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

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