Bible study: Israel and the Bible
Is there still a plan of God for Israel?
Yes, most definitely, the Bible speaks very clearly about Israel - God's intentions and His people. Let us open the Bible books Revelation and Ezekiel. We start in Revelation 6, here the first 6 seals are opened. In verse 4 we read that the peace is taken away from earth. I think that we can already see that peace is vanishing from earth today: Rebellion against parents, crime is growing (also due to drugs), war after war from the Second War onwards: Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, the wars in Africa, Yugoslavia, Ambon, Siria, etc. 7
These seals aren't opened yet, but we can be sure that it is GOING to happen. After the fulfillment of this six seals and tribulations, start Revelation 7.
So it are the Jews (the sealed servants of Israel), who are going to proclaim the Kingdom of God. In the Second War, the Jews already received a number on their arm, but until presently they did not received a seal on their forehead, as is written in Revelation 7 verse 3. Which is correct, because first the six seals from Revelation 6 have to be opened and fulfilled.
After that the Jew will proclaim the Kingdom of God (for the Church of Jesus Christ is then already caught up into Heaven, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). The Jews will proclaim throughout the whole world to all nations (Matthew 24:14) the Kingdom of God. Therefore I think, the Jews will remain scattered among the nations and not all Jews will return to the land Israel, since they will proclaim among all nations.
After this event, the 144.000 Jews proclaimed the Kingdom of God, ALL person on earth will know God and His Kingdom, Who lives in Heaven, and ALL persons had the choice for God or against God. Thereafter God will show His Powers to mankind, as is written in Revelation 8 and 9.
In Revelation, the temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem (the temple as described in Ezekiel 40-42), also that has not happened yet today. But this means that God Himself will take care of that, and the Palestines cannot withstand in Jerusalem. God Himself shall provide that the temple in Jerusalem shall be built. That IS the future and a fact.
In Revelation 11 verse 2 we read that the heathens, perhaps the Muslims and Palestines, the holy city Jerusalem 42 months, or 3 1/2 years will trample. That is for us Christians a reason to pray for the Jewish nation and Jews, that God will protect them during this present hardship.
After this 3 1/2 years God send two witnesses:
Verse 6 speaks of: "The powers of Heaven will close". In 1 Kings 17:1 we read that Elijah had the power to stop the rain or to let it rain. We know that Elijah did not die (but was taken up to Heaven), so it seems likely that Elijah is one of these witnesses.
Who is the second witness? It is easy to guess: Moses had the power over the waters and all kinds of plagues, as he demonstrated to the pharaoh in Egypt. Also Moses is taken away from earth by God without death (Deut. 34:5-6, Judas verse 9).
These 2 witnesses proclaim with Gods authority with a huge demonstration of powers, the signs of the Kingdom of God, in order to convince people on earth that God really exists. There is no escape for man, they see the powers and mighty of God, Who is living in Heaven.
But then in verse 7 the 2 witnesses are killed. And in verse 8 that their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city, where their Lord (Jesus) was crucified, that is in Jerusalem.
Verse 9 tells that all nations will gaze at their dead bodies. We do not have to be surprised, for with the present means of communication that is already possible (think of television and internet). Even the most poor on earth have a television. And yet many nations are able to watch the Wailing-Wall 24 hours per day through Internet. And in many countries Internet is already on television. So slowly, but CERTAINLY we see everything going into fulfillment.
After 3 1/2 days GOD raise them out of death, and the WHOLE world see that the 2 witnesses stand up and live again and went up to heaven. This is the future, like in verse 13 a great earthquake will kill 7000 people and destroy a tenth of the city Jerusalem (Remember the earth fracture at Jerusalem).
How do we see the present Jews and the nation Israel?
Lets see what is written in Ezekiel 37. Verse 7 tells about a noise: The calling of the Jews 1945 to return to Palestine. Movement: Indeed the Jews return to Palestine. The bones came together, bone to its bone: The Jews from all over the world are greatly returning to Palestine and in 1948 they proclaim the nation Israel.
Verse 8 sinews, flesh and skin came over them: More and more Jews from all parts of the world return to Israel, however a real faith in God is absent. This nation is liberal, and in his own force one combats against his enemies, and without the help of God that try to make peace, yes even in exchange of ground (ground that God promised them (via Abraham)). This is in line with verse 8, that states that the Spirit (of God) was not yet in them. Still the Jews in Israel think that they themselves are capable to make peace, still there is no recognition that God is their God. They see themselves as the Jewish people, especially among the youth there is a lot of drug use, dissoluteness, no devotion and recognition of God. For them the Messiah does not live and there is no consciousness of sin. The Spirit of God has not yet entered the Jews. What is not surprisingly, for the Spirit of God now lives in the Church of Christ.
Just only after the Coming of Christ for the Church and the Christians (Church of Jesus Christ) is taken away from earth (1 Thess. 4:15-17), then just the Spirit of God can come over the Jews. So very CERTAINLY God still has a plan and future for the Jewish people, yes even greater than with the Christians. For the Jews will demonstrate Gods powers and proclaim all the COMPLETE world the Kingdom of God (The Christians proclaim the gospel).
Here after begins the first period of the Great Tribulation: 3 1/2 years (Revelation 11:2) and starts ff with the 144.000 Jews (Revelation 7:4).
After this 3 1/2 years the 2 witnesses are killed. And the beast in Revelation 13 rise in order to battle during the second half of the Great Tribulation for 3 1/2 years against the 144.000 Jews who will proclaim the Kingdom of God over the whole earth. The total Great Tribulation is 3 1/2 + 3 1/2=7 years.
At the end of the Great Tribulation, all nations and people pull up against Israel and the battle at Armageddon (Revelation. 16:16) takes place. And the Messiah, King Jesus, will come to assistance the Jews and HE HIMSELF will fight against the gathered nations and people and conquer them (Revelation 19:11-16). And place His feet on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:2-4).
Let us pray for the Jewish nation, and especially for the Jews in Israel, because they are still awaiting 7 terrible years of Great Tribulation.
Christians and Israel
Which relationship have the Christians with the Jewish people?
A very close relationship, namely a dual foundation. In Matthew 1 we find the genealogy of Jesus, and we read that our (mental) father is Abraham (Matthew 3:9 we have Abraham as our father) (Romans 4:9-25 makes it clear that Abraham is the father of the Gentiles, who come to faith). The Lord Jesus is born from the Jewess Maria, so our mother is a Jewish woman.
We own our salvation due to the Jewish people. At this moment we, believers, are grafted on the Jewish olive tree (Romans 11:11-24). But if some of the branches were broken off, so that Gentiles would come to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the root remains Jewish. A tree without roots dies. Despite their repudiation (rejection verse 15) the Jews remain God's people and also today a few come to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Conclusion: the Christians own their salvation due to the Jewish people, they are our "parents" Mary as our "mother" and the Lord Jesus Christ as "father", both of them are Jewish. The Bible says that we have to honour our parents, so also we as Christians have to stand up for the Jews and the State of Israel.
Are the Jews rejected?
The Bible says in Romans 11:15 that the rejection by God, has become our salvation. But beware, with repudiation and rejection. Nevertheless, they remain God's people!
God has spent the past 1900 years (after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem 70 A.D.) concentrated on the Gentiles. However, during this period Jews accepted in Jesus Christ as their Saviour. That is not surprising, because not all branches were broken off from the olive tree (Romans 11).
Now we are living in the final times, the Returning of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) is near, although we do not know the day nor the hour (Matthew 24:36 and 25:13). Jesus calls the believers to be vigilant. From the signs of the time, the believers know that the Returning of the Lord Jesus Christ is close.
Why we know we are living in the final times?
First, the State of Israel exist again.
The state of Israel was founded in 1948 (fulfillment of Ezekiel 37:7, 22). In 70 A.D., the temple at Jerusalem was destroyed and Jews were spread all over the world, they were included in the nations (but with the typical feature of a Jew, they are still set apart). Now since 1948 God brings back his people, the Jews, to the promised land, to the State of Israel. In 2018 they will celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel. This has been prophesied in Ezekiel 37:21-22::
Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all sides, and bring them to their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms.
It is also a fulfillment of Ezekiel 37:5-14 from all parts of the world from 1948, the Jews return to the State of Israel: the bones, the muscles are already there and the skin is growing (verse 5-8), but the spirit is not yet there in them. The Jews still do it in own their power, without repentance to God (the Father and the Messiah). The Jews keep still stuck to the law, they still think that through maintaining the law, the access to the Lord God is possible and others see the Lord God as love, which no one will condemn. There is still no sense of sin. Also at the time of Jesus' life on earth, the Jews did not wish to know about sin. Therefore, it is the task of Christians (their spiritual parents) to proclaim the Gospel, to convince them of sins and redemption through the blood of salvation and reconciliation, which the Lord Jesus Christ has accomplished. It is the duty of Christians to cooperate in proclaiming the completed work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In 2018, the State of Israel celebrated its 70-year existence. After many wars, now they seek independently (without God's help) peace with its neighbours. The spirit of God is not yet in them. That will only occur AFTER the Rapture of the Church (1 Thess. 4) and the Church goes to Heaven. Then the Jews pass through the Great Tribulation (Revelation 5-19) and the Lord God will totally continue with his people, the Jews. Then the Jews (the 144,000 from Revelation 7:4) will proclaim the Kingdom of God to those who are left behind on earth (all those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and did not live under the control of the Holy Spirit).
Secondly, the lawlessness gains, satan wins more and more influence:
The man seeks refuge in debauchery, drugs, swingers, free sex, raves, etc. The man is getting more tolerant in respect of sin: abortion, homosexuality, marriages between gays (The false prophets). The believer is cunning misled by the yoga in the churches, and searching in magnetism and acupuncture for healing (The false prophets). Man is pulled away from the Christian faith to Islam, Buddhism, all kinds of sects, occultism.
It is clear that we live in the final times. The Jews who accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour together with the believers from the Gentiles will go to Heaven at the (first) Returning of Christ (Rapture of the Church). They are not required to pass through the awful Great Tribulation.
The Jews, who did not come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and those who did not live under control of the Holy Spirit will stay behind and pass through a terrible time. Woe to the Jews, who will be persecuted by the Antichrist (1 John 2:18-22) and will be martyred, but also will be protected by the Lord God and they should not be killed. They will proclaim the Kingdom of God and the Messiah. All peoples and Nations will eventually pull up to Israel with the aim of destroying Israel. The Lord Jesus Christ will Personally return (at His second coming) and will put His Feet on the Mount of Olives and save His people and the State of Israel, and bring final peace in Israel.
Now we, believers, are living in the final times, seeing the signs of time, we have little time to proclaim the Gospel to our neighbours, who are still incredulous, and to the Jewish people. We are not allowed to turn our backs from the Jews and the State of Israel. Yes, it is our Christian duty to stand up for the Jewish people and the State Israel. Despite everything, God continues with His (Jewish) people. Therefore, we, Christians, may not cease and we need to stand up for God's people, the Jews and the Jewish State.
A few historical examples of persecution of Jews by the Christians:
1st relative to the Messiah professing Jews:
Initially believers (from Jews and Gentiles) came together on the eve of the resurrection day (Saturday night) or in the early morning (Sunday morning). In the 2nd and 3rd century there gone up votes on have the Sunday as a replacement of the Sabbath. The mark, that the old Israel was replaced by the new spiritual Israel, the Church. In 325 the Emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicea and the day of the Lord Sun (Dominus Sol) became the official day of rest. In 365, the Council of Laodicea (the city of the lukewarm Christians) mandated for all believers as a day of rest. And a curse was pronounced over everyone, which still would maintain the Sabbath. Another breaking point; the date of Easter. Initially the Church celebrated Easter on the same day as the Jews celebrated their Passover, so the day that God had set up for Israel. On the 14th Nissan (Nissan=the month that the Israelites left from Egypt), in the evening the Jews had to slaughter the Easter lamb, as type of the PASSOVER LAMB (Jesus), who on the same day on the cross of Calvary was slaughtered. In the Gospel, this day is called the day of preparation. On the 15th Nissan started than the seven-day feast of unleavened bread. However the new Israel had dismissed and wanted one wish to break with everything that was Jewish. There had to be a day according to the own calendar, separate from the Jewish Passover. At the same Council of Nicaea, it was decided that Easter was to be henceforth celebrated on the Sunday of the feast of Ishtar, the pagan goddess of fertility, on the calendar the first Sunday after full moon after the spring day, 21 March. In the Tanakh, we meet this name as Astarte, the goddess of the fertility of the Phoenicians and was called to the Babylonians and Assyrians "Ishtar".
Justification: It would be unworthy, that we at this sacred party would follow the custom of the Jews, which have sullied their hands with the most atrocious crime and spiritually blind. In the sequel, we want nothing more in common with the enemy people, the Jews!!!
At the Council of Antioch in 341 it was pronounced, that every one who is not keep this arrangement, would be excommunicated. These are just two examples, seen historically, the jealousy, about which Paul speaks, is applied in church history. And the believers out of the Jews are actually driven out of the Church. But only one took away the Jew from their Sabbath, Pesach, but also his Covenant with Abraham, what is an everlasting or rather was a Covenant of centuries. So a Covenant that applies to all 'centuries' with the promise that God as a blessing to the whole land of Canaan to Abraham's seed would give a perpetual possession. At the baptismal Covenant sings: "The Covenant with Abraham, His friend, He confirms from child to child". This Alliance has to do with the natural seed of Abraham and the land of Canaan. At the so-called Covenant baptism abandons the natural seed of Abraham, and replaces by the spiritual seed. Thereby placing the believers as spiritual seed under this Covenant. And if it was only remains with this, but the sign of this Covenant one does not apply only to this spiritual seed of Abraham, but one does the same thing with the Sabbath, one returns to the O.T. roots and fits the signs to their children. Those who received the so-called sign of this Covenant are now not the spiritual seed, but the natural seed of the spiritual seed of Abraham, some strange 'triple-jump' reasoning. It is suggested that Paul says, that the Covenant in his time was already outdated and was not far from disappearing. But then again one does not read his Bible well. Because spoken is about the Covenant of the Law, that God had entered into with Israel at the Sinai and not about the Covenant 'centuries' with Abraham. What it actually does is, that taking the Jew as the seed of Abraham, deprive the blessings of this Covenant. Thus also the rights to the land that God had promised them as a perpetual possession and applies this blessing to the new spiritual seed of Abraham, the Church. Therefore the Covenant with the natural seed would have dismissed!!??
There's nothing which faithful Jews alienate from the Gospel as the theory of the spiritual Israel, which applies exclusively the blessings on the Church. And let unilaterally the curse on Israel and the so-called Covenant baptism is no different than a corollary of this theory.
2nd relative to the Orthodox Jews:
A few quotes from the famous book by Werner Keller, ' ... And they were scattered among all nations', what about two thousand years horrific persecution of Jews describes and dedicated 'to all that the truth is close to your heart' (If you have strong nerves, I can heartily recommend this book). In 315 the first restrictions are imposed on the Jews. Under penalty of death by burning alive it is forbidden to acquire followers among Christians 'If someone join their wicked sect or attending their meetings he will undergo his deserved punishment'. The Jews get into the Codex Theodosianus the stamp of 'pernicious sect "and" criminal group'.
Now the persecuted become persecutors. The well-known Sermoner Chrysostemos (the golden mouth) used his Sermoning to blaspheme the Jews: 'When someone calls the synagogues a brothel, a place of sin, a haven of the devil, a satan's castle, a ruin for the soul, ... then he says still less than it deserves". That such a language from the mouth of an ecclesiastical authority started the burning of synagogues (and their leaders and visitors) is not surprising, goes without saying. The Jewish historian Heinrich Graetz writes: "The creeds of Jews hate (of the church fathers), later kings, statesmen and monks, Crusaders and shepherds gave a weapon against the Jews, to invent their instruments of torture and pyres installed".
Then come the Crusades: On the route to the Holy land, Jewish synagogues are burned, are all Jewish communities wiped out, they are being killed and burned (The first funeral pyres were not directed against believers during the Reformation, but against Jews). On 15 July 1099 Jerusalem is taken after a siege of 6 weeks and the 'Franks' under the leadership of Godfrey of Boullon storm the city. All non Christian inhabitants are killed without distinction. Also the fact, that these murderers had their clothing adorned with crosses and wooden crosses in their hand names when they killed civilians, left an indelible impression on the Jews. The cross is detested by the Jews since then and for many has the same meaning as the swastika of the Nazis. In Germany in 1286 suddenly popped up the rumor, that the Jews would steal hosties out of hatred against Christ and puncture or crush it into fiber. This led to terrible massacres among the Jews. In Wurtzburg of the more than a thousand Jewish inhabitants remained only a few in life. 164 Jewish municipalities fell victim to gruesome blood baths, 20,000 were horribly murdered. At this time, the lamentations in the synagogues, which were full of grief and sadness and to the present day recall this martyrdom. In the following centuries, they are violently persecuted. Then comes Luther, who tries to convert them to Christianity. When he fails, his initial benevolence takes place for antipathy and hatred. In 1538 his letter "against the parents of Sabbath" and in 1543 he published his "The Jews and their lies". Accusing them of ritual murder, poisoning of sources, witchcraft and treason against the Empire and he concludes: "what shall we Christians do with this corrupted, damned people of the Jews"? And what he writes is later used by the Nazis as a justification for the slaughter of 6 million Jews. If you read all this remains for me the torturous question regarding: "O God, what have we done to them in the name of your son Jesus"?
In 1478 the Pope grants to monks permission to set up a special Inquisition in Spain. Jews have to be baptized and renounce their faith. Who refused to convert was burned and who opted for abjuration were not burned, but drowned. The Inquisition left a terrible trail and this all in the name of Christ. Thousands left their life on the pyres.
Finally, one placed them in ghettos, walled city, where they constantly exposed to discrimination and persecution. They had it under the 'Half Moon (Turkey)' a better life than under the so-called Christian Europe. Then comes in the 30's "The holocaust", the "final solution to the Jewish question". The first planned action to completely eradicate the Jewish people, organized by the 'Christian' Germany. The Jews use the better name "shoah", meaning 'pointless destruction' and indicates exactly. What this meant, because it was not only an officially orchestrated destruction, but it was also so pointless.
The Dutch people really not to boast of their attitude, because only a few Dutch Christians, who hide them. A major part of police and law abiding Dutch officials collaborated in this. And the worst part, that some reformed Christians have declared: "They, so the Jews, have said: 'His blood be on us and our children'".
And this by them, where Sunday after Sunday 'the law' was read. God says in His 'Ten Commandments': I, JHW, your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers to the third and fourth generation those who hate me and do mercy to thousands of them that love me and keep MY commandments. There is spoken of the 3rd and 4th generation and this is not replaced by the 30th or 40th generation and this attitude implies, that all Jews would hate God???
The fact, that the Jews crucified Jesus, has them prosecuted by centuries. They were supposed that all agreed with His death, despite the fact that the Jewish leaders caught Him in the night for fear of rebellion among the people. The Jews were supposed to hate, although through the ages many Jewish people never knew of His existence, let alone, that they hate Him.
It was the President of Israel, Pilate, the GENTILE, who condemned Jesus to the death of the cross. He ONLY had the power to crucify Jesus. Even warned by his wife, not to crucify Jesus, he was such a coward and anxious for a rebellion, that he gave to the Lord Jesus Christ to be crucified. Not to the Jew's fault, but the pagan Pilate, and with him, we Gentiles.
In addition, the fact that it was the will of God that Jesus died on the cross. By His death, the believer is redeemed from the punishment for the sin of the believer. Every believer is to blame for the death of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every believer, and NOT the fault of the Jewish people. Without the death of Jesus on the cross, also no reconciliation was possible between the believer and God the Father!
When I visited the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, our Jewish tour guide pointed us only the place where the museum was. Why? He was a survivor of the Auschwitz camp and had survived the horrible experiments of the Nazis for years. Once he brought the "Christian" people to the Holocaust museum, but now he was no longer capable because Christians said: "that the death of the six million Jews in World War II was a punishment for the murder of Jesus and the Jews had said that the blood of Jesus would come upon them". For me, these kind of people NOT Christians! These people have sense of no guilt (awareness of sin). As I already wrote before God does not visit the 30th or 40th generation and it was the cowardly pagan Pilate who ordered to crucify Jesus. And not by a group of Jews. The Crusaders killed the Jews, a small group and therefore it would be centuries later hard to say that the entire Dutch population are guilty? You are not allowed to accuse a small group of Jews stirred up by the Jewish leaders, not as a whole population. This kind of people who do so, with such statements are NOT Christians. They do not have any awareness of the work of Jesus on the cross. It is His blood, which brings forgiveness for our SIN!
But let us remember, Jesus died on the cross for my and your SIN. Conclusion: I and each individual believer (=Christian) nailed Jesus onto the cross. It is the debt of our sin that Jesus died on the cross!
I would like to conclude with some verses from the Tanakh and may this provoke our thoughts: Jeremiah 30:11
I will make a full end of all the nations among whom I scattered you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will chasten you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
Obadiah 1:13, 15: You should not have entered the gate of my people in the day of his calamity; you should not have gloated over his disaster in the day of his calamity; you should not have looted his goods in the day of his calamity...For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you, your deeds shall return on your own head.
There is only one way of salvation for Jews and Gentiles, that walks through the cross of Christ, but we have darkened this way for the Jewish people. And this cross is a symbol of hatred, persecution, murder and destruction. Therefore, we monthly come together, to pray that God may remove this darkened cross by us from Israel and make a symbol of salvation and hope. And confess that we have failed in this bitterly.
Our prayer should be: OUR LORD, WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE, THAT WE NOT ONLY HAVE CONDEMNED THE JEWS, BUT STILL HAVE THEM PROSECUTED AND KILLED. WE HAVE NOT ACTED AS FOLLOWERS OF JESUS. WE ARE DISOBEDIENT TO YOUR WORD THAT READS: "WHO SAYS TO BE IN THE LIGHT, BUT HATES HIS BROTHER, IS IN DARKNESS AND HE IS FAR FROM ME". WE HAVE THE CROSS OF SALVATION MAKE TO A SYMBOL OF HATRED AND DEATH. HUMBLE US IN INTENSE AND REPENTANCE AND WE ASK YOU FORGIVENESS, TO DO THE WILL OF JESUS, WHO GAVE HIS LIFE ON THE CROSS.
ROMANS 9:1-29 ISRAEL'S ELECTION and REJECTION
Chapters 9, 10 and 11 are one long parenthesis in Paul's speech in the Romans letter. These chapters deal with God's ways with his chosen people Israel. In the O.T., God had promised repeatedly that He would bless His people over other peoples. God had Abraham justified by faith and this path of justification by faith was open to any who, like Abraham, believed in God. How did it then, that Abraham's descendants refused to accept the Gospel? Was it not a paradox that the nation, which had received so many privileges and blessings, did not recognized the Messiah, when He came to Earth, even rejected Him. And now the Gentiles, which in the past were alienated by the Gospel, accepted this message of grace? How is God's choice of Israel and His promise to bless the world through Israel to reconcile with Israel's rejection of the Gospel? Has God rejected His people and He became unfaithful with His promises to Israel? In these three chapters Paul is struggling with this problem, which for him meant a large personal care. We will learn that God has set aside Israel temporarily and now is gathering a new people from Jews and Gentiles together: the Church. Now God is busy to gather a people for His name from the Gentiles (Acts 15:14-18). The rejection of Israel, however, is temporary. After the Rapture of the Church, God returns to His people Israel and then use them as channel of His blessing for the remaining pagans.
Vs. 1-3: In these verses, Paul explains his great love for his own people, he had a great sadness and a continual heartache, because his brethren according to the flesh, despite their many privileges the message of salvation could not or wanted to understand.
Vs. 4-5: After revealed his heart, now Paul substantiated with clear arguments, why he thinks his brothers in the flesh will not loose salvation in the Lord Jesus. And Paul mentions eight privileges, which they had enjoyed as God's people:
- The adoption to sons. Exodus 4:22, Israel as a people shared in the rights of the sonship of God.
- The shekhinah glory, the glory of God in the Tabernacle of Moses, the Temple of Solomon and His presence in the pillar of cloud. God lived among them.
- The Covenants. QUESTION: WHICH COVENANTS GOD HAS CLOSED WITH ISRAEL?
1st The Abrahamic Covenant with the circumcision as a sign,
2nd The Sinaitic Covenant, (Ex.19-30),
3rd The post-diaspora Covenant (Deut.30:1-9),
4th The Covenant with David (2 Sam.7:5-29) and
5th The new Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8:7-13).
- The legislation. QUESTION: SO TO WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN THE LEGISLATION?
As only country, Israel had received a written law of God, the Torah are the oracles of God entrusted to them (Rom. 3:2).
NOTE: There is nowhere in the Bible, that the law was given to the Church. That the law, rather the 'ten commandments' which is yet read in certain churches and so the law is imposed to the church, has to do with the fact, that the Church is seen as 'Israel'. But mentally this is Biblically incorrect. Please note: The law is the Torah, all the commandments in the first five Bible books (O.T.). So the law is much more than just the Ten Commandments.
The 10 Commandments let the Christian clearly see that one is a sinner and needs the forgiveness through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian can with falling and standing up, keep the 10 Commandments through the power and action of the Holy Spirit.
- Worship, the service in the Tabernacle and the Temple service. This service will be restored in the coming peace in more glorious form, which is described in detail in Ezekiel.
- The promises. God's promises concerning the redemption are included in the Abrahamic Covenant. The promises concerning the Messianic Kingdom are included in the Covenant with David. Promises, which are often wrongly, are annexed to Christian heritage. The Gospel is Sermoned, that is not a promise, but a proclamation of salvation which need to be believed in. This is no message to the nations, but to people from the Nations. Israel as a nation is the carrier of countless promises of God.
- The patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Furthermore, all the great men of God, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David and all the prophets, to which God has spoken and promises of recovery.
- From them is the Christ. Jesus Christ was the promised 'seed of Abraham' and is 'the son of David'. He was a Jew, therefore the salvation out of the Jews and who will once again come as the King of the Jews.
Verse 6: At first sight, the conclusion would be justified that God's salvation plan with Israel by their rejection of the Messiah is blocked and the promises to Abraham remain unfulfilled. This is not possible, says Paul, for it is not possible, that the word of God would expire. This is so excluded.
Now we must distinguish between:
1st God's word in the sense of its eternal Council acts, which are fixed. The promises to Abraham were unconditional promises, Council decisions of God, which cannot be broken. John 10:35 the Scripture cannot be broken.
2nd God's word in the meaning of His message of salvation to the individual man, which only can be obtained through the path of faith and repentance. We read in Hebrews 4:2, that the Gospel Sermoned to Israel, was not to their utility because it did not went along with faith.
On the other hand it is so impossible, that the word of God in the sense of his eternal Council decisions can be raised. But on the other hand, it is possible, that the word by unbelief in the life of the individual can be made powerless.
Paul makes this distinction clear in the next part of the text, that not all who are descended of Israel, are Israel.
Vs. 7-12: Although God's promises to Abraham and his seed are fixed, only a certain part of that children of the promise are regarded as descendants. Verse 8 only the children of the promise are posterity.
QUESTION: WHO ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE?
The first condition is, partake of the preferring God's, which was reflected in the election of Isaac over Ishmael, Rom.9:7 by Isaac will one of descendants of you speak.
Verse 11: on the basis of this same preferring intention did God, even before the children were born, Jacob as a carrier of his promises to Abraham, instead of Esau. Jacob and Esau were twins, of which Esau was the oldest. However, God rejected Esau, the oldest and the youngest was Jacob favourite.
This has nothing to do with their personal salvation, as is sometimes suggested, but with the line of continuation of God's promises to Abraham. The two conditions are faith: Ishmael was begotten in the flesh, but those of free, namely Isaac by the promise Gal. 4:23. Isaac was spawned by the faith of Sara (Heb. 11:9-11). Only Isaac and Jacob were joint-heirs of the promise and these apply so to posterity.
The condition of faith becomes highlighted in Galatians 3, where Paul writes in verse 16, which-to Abraham and his seed were made, in the singular that is the vows to Christ. Christ is thus the actual carrier of the promises to Abraham and to whom further apply these promises?
Galatians 3:7 and 9: those who are of faith, children of Abraham, which consists of the faith are thus blessed together with the faithful Abraham. So only those who have come to faith in the Lord Jesus, his legal heirs of the promise.
Verse 12 the oldest will serve the youngest.
QUESTION: IN WHAT WAY ESAU WAS SUBSERVIENT TO JACOB?
Unfortunately, this often misinterpreted. This prophecy does not relate to the individuals Jacob and Esau, because Esau has never been subservient to Jacob, but relates to their offspring: Edom and Israel cover the long period, in which the Edomites, have been subservient to Israel.
Verse 13 Jacob I have loved and Esau I have hated. A text which has brought a lot of turmoil. QUESTION: Does this mean that God Jacob has given eternal salvation and Esau has foreordained to eternal destruction?
First of all, what means this 'hate'? We also find the same meaning in Luke 14:26, where the Lord Jesus says, "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple". This is not a call to hate parents, wife, children, etc., because that would go against the fifth commandment to honour father and mother. If they make it us impossible to be faithful to Christ, then we have to give way to Him and even the love for our loved ones must give way to the love of Christ. Therefore it means no hate in absolute terms, but a 'marginalisation'. It is in this text, that love must have priority in our lives to Christ and even if circumstances would ask for, the love of parents etc. has to cease if circumstances ask for it. So God has also given priority to Jacob to fulfill His promises and in God's election Jacob is deprived. This text is a quotation from Mal. 1:2. Apparent from the context, that it is also not about the persons Jacob and Esau, but to the Nations, that would originate from them, namely Israel and Edom. Israel was God's chosen nation and Edom had brought on the wrath of God, because of their far from brotherly behaviour at the time of disaster for Israel.
Compare verse 4 with Psalm 137:7. Further, among others, Jeremiah 49:7-22, Ezekiel 25:12-14, Ezekiel 35:1-15. When it is writing in Malachi, that God hated Esau, so put Jacob at behind, this means not, that God foreordained Esau to eternal destruction. But that God's wrath would affect Edom, because it had acted against vengefully against his brother Judah and has nothing to do with 'election'. Vs. 14-19
Would there be injustice with God?
Absolutely not. Paul shows this with some events from Israel's history.
Verse 15 is a quotation from Exodus 33:19. When the Israelites had made the golden calf, God could have them righteously condemned, but upon the intercession of Moses, God wishes to act with them on basis of grace. On the personal request of Moses, one sees God's glory, God says, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and whom I am merciful, I will be merciful". In this manner of acting, one cannot find any injustices of God, because Israel had forfeited all their rights. But in His Sovereign, God revealed His grace to be able to save at least part of his people. However, there is no question of divine randomness, for God showed Israel His mercy after intercession and intervention of Moses, who is a type of the Lord Jesus.
Verse 16: Grace is not based on human will or merit, but of God, Who takes care of.
Vs. 17.18: God cares not only about who He wants, but in the person of Pharaoh God shows His power, to harden, whom He will. We must not conclude from this that God hardened Pharaoh's heart randomly. Pharaoh, God had blasphemed and challenged and said; Exodus 5:2 "Who is the LORD, that I should heed his voice and let Israel go?" Exodus 7:13; The Lord said to Moses, Pharaoh's heart is adamant: he refuses to let Israel go. And Exodus 8:15, 32; 9:35 showed that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (first). God is not the author of evil or He inspires people to sin and thereafter condemn them. Though He uses the wicked, such as in the case of Pharaoh to show His power, to do His will and His plan. When, however, clearly showed, that Pharaoh neglected the warnings and as it turned out, that he himself did not wanted else, God let him in the state, which he had brought upon himself.
Question: WHAT TEACHES THE HISTORY OF PHARAOH US IN RELATION TO GOD'S PATIENCE?
It is clear from this history, that there is a limit by God, we can harden and continue to fight against God, but then there comes a time that God let man in this hardened condition. After seven pests is enough and says God to Moses, Exodus 10:1 "Go to Pharaoh, for I have adamant his heart and that of his servants". Then Pharaoh, as a tool of God, is used to make known among the Gentiles His name and His power and to show Israel that He was their God. God took care about Israel, as He wanted and hardened Pharaoh, as He wanted. The believer is used by God to show the overwhelming richness of His grace. And the hardened man is used by God to show His power, as Pharaoh persists in his hardening.
Vs. 19-23: Contradicting God is one of the toughest properties of the man, who its own limited mind wants to assess God and would like to call God to account.
Verse 19 is a question, behind which lurks a fatalistic image of God, as if God's dealings handles outside the will of men. That God's acting does not pass the human will, is proven by the just quoted history of Pharaoh, after all had God not with much long-suffering treaties Pharaohs tenacity?
When in the following verses, Paul uses the example of the clay and the potter that is not to give the impression that we are dead material in God's hand, but to point out to us, that not the potter is accountable to the clay, but the clay to the potter.
The image of the potter becomes clear, as we read in Jeremiah 18:3-4: So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
According to Isaiah 64:8 we are the clay, God is our former and we are the work of Him in His hand.
The KJV used instead of failed 'depraved' and that is actually our situation. God had created man well formed, not as a result of failed work of the Potter, but as a result of our sin God's work is 'depraved'. This 'failed' or rather 'depraved' material is not thrown away, no, the Potter reforms them, albeit as objects of wrath by glorified. In contrast to these objects of wrath, the objects of mercy are prepared to glory of the Potter.
Now we have to read perfectly well, what it said, because Paul is extremely accurate at this point.
QUESTION: WHAT IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE IN APPROACH, IS THERE BETWEEN THE TWO OBJECTS?
What does it say in verses 22 and 23? The objects of wrath were prepared by God to destruction, but the objects of mercy He has prepared to glory. There is neither taught here nor anywhere else in Scripture that God chooses people to damnation. People are never prepared or foreordained by God to objects of wrath. What is God's Word quite wonderful accurate, if we want to read this well.
We also find the same word 'prepared' in Mark 1:19 and Matthew 4:21, where Johannes and James arrange their nets. It so means preparing or restoring the piece which was broken.
God has never prepared all those 'objects of wrath' for this purpose. He did it with much longsuffering treaties and then 'prepared' to destruction for His glory to make known among those objects of mercy.
Verse 24: And those objects are we, says Paul, "who He called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles" and he illustrates that with the history of Hosea.
Hosea was not the father of 'his' children, who his wife had given birth, which is reflected in their names: Lo-Ruchama means 'not beloved', 'not the object of my affection' and Lo-Ammi 'not my people'. These names express God's attitude against the disobedient Israel. But God looked back to the day, that the word 'not' would be removed from their names. Hosea prophesies here in the first place on the future restoration of Israel, as 'Lo-Ammi (not my people), transforms into 'Ammi' (my people).
Paul, however, here under the leadership of the Holy Spirit adds a new dimension and gives it a dual prophecy fulfillment. In the House of the potter are now both 'Jewish' as 'pagan' clay and both get access to salvation by faith. The "not loved ones' turns into 'lovers', yes even they (verse 26) are called sons of the living God.
After Paul from Hosea has shown, that the admission of the Gentiles already was foretold, he lets see now from the Prophet Isaiah, that Israel is not entirely, but a 'rest' will be preserved. Isaiah 10:20-23 teaches us the following:
It is only a rest, a remnant of the House of Israel and Jacob, that will escape.
They will no longer rely on him, who hit them, so no longer experts it from their allies.
Then in truth they will rely on the Lord, and their salvation will not be the result of diplomatic negotiations, as it is still the case, but by divine intervention. This remnant will repent, return to literally 'El Gibbor', the mighty God. Then God will be their strength, who will salve them.
This prophecy was already partially fulfilled in the call of King Hezekiah, as we can read in Chronicles 30:6, but in the future the restoration of Israel will be completely fulfilled.
This will be completely God's work, Paul says in verse 29 If the Lord of hosts had not left us children, we would have fared like Sodom and been made like Gomorrah.
Why God does this? 11:5 teaches us, So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace", where his Name will be glorified in his dealings with Israel.
Paul knew, as in the beginning of this chapter, heartache and had pain for the sake of his brethren in the flesh and his prayer went to God for them.