[ 277 ] Les Feldick [ Book 24 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Seven Blessings for Israel |a
[ 278 ] Les Feldick [ Book 24 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] Seven Blessings for Israel |b
[ 279 ] Les Feldick [ Book 24 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Romans 9:4,5 |a
[ 280 ] Les Feldick [ Book 24 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Romans 9:4,5 |b
[ 281 ] Les Feldick [ Book 24 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] Not All Israel is Israel |a
[ 282 ] Les Feldick [ Book 24 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] Not All Israel is Israel |b
[ 283 ] Les Feldick [ Book 24 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] Romans 9:6-9 & Genesis 32:27,28 |a
[ 284 ] Les Feldick [ Book 24 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] Romans 9:6-9 & Genesis 32:27,28 |b
[ 285 ] Les Feldick [ Book 24 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] 'Believe in Thine Heart' |a
[ 286 ] Les Feldick [ Book 24 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] 'Believe in Thine Heart' |b
[ 287 ] Les Feldick [ Book 24 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] Romans 9:25-10:21 |a
[ 288 ] Les Feldick [ Book 24 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Romans 9:25-10:21 |b
SEVEN BLESSINGS FOR ISRAEL
We’ll return again to Romans Chapter 9, and begin with verse 4. In our last lesson we introduced this chapter by using the first three verses. It’s always so nice to be able to share with you what The Book says, and just as important, what The Book doesn’t say. We have a lot of preconceived ideas of what The Book says, and then when you really look at it, it’s not in there. And we must constantly be aware that there are a lot of ideas that are not according to Scripture.
Now as I teach Scripture I always like to point out whenever possible how intricately this whole Book was put together. Man could have never dreamed it up, and here is another one of those little instances where Paul now unloads on us with eight distinctive statements. Now when you put that in the numerology of Scripture, remember `seven’ is always God’s number of completion, and when you follow that with an eighth, it is then always a new beginning or something that goes beyond the finish. Now I know that when the Apostle Paul was penning the Book of Romans, and he came here to verse 4, he didn’t sit there and meditate for hours on end saying, “Now how can I find seven things, and then come up with an eighth.” He didn’t do that. He just penned as the Holy Spirit was giving him utterance, and now we can look at it and say, “Isn’t it miraculous?” Here he comes up with another one of those situations that has been with us all the way through Scripture, seven things, but also an eighth one.
Do you remember when we were studying the eight signs back in the Book of John? All eight signs were miracles. Well, seven of those signs took place before Christ’s death, burial, and Resurrection, which completed all that had to be done, but in the last chapter of that Book we come up with the eighth sign and miracle, and it was that sign of new beginnings. So you see this all through Scripture. Now let’s look at the first seven, and then we’ll take a look at the eighth one. Now verse 4 of Romans Chapter 9, and I think I will enumerate these, and come back and look at them. Speaking of his kinsmen according to the flesh up in verse 3:
“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, (1) and the glory, (2) and the covenants, (3) and the giving of the law, (4) and the service of God, (5) and the promises;” (6)
“Whose are the fathers, (7) and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came,…” (8) Now let’s go back and take them one at a time.
“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption,…”
Remember from our studies in Chapter 8, the word `adoption’ meant to be placed as a full son. In other words it’s a positional word, it’s not a legal term so much as it is positional. The Nation of Israel has been positioned as a unique set-aside nation of people. No one can infringe on that, no one can invade that position that only the Nation of Israel of all the people of the world enjoy. Let’s go back and just check a couple of verses in the Old Testament in the book of Deuteronomy Chapter 7. Since I don’t have my Bible marked or have any notes people may wonder how I can remember these verses. Well, I have to have crutches like everyone else. I know the first verse in this line of thought would be verse 6, but it’s much easier to remember Deuteronomy 7:7 than Deuteronomy 7:6. And so this is the way you do things like this, just lock this in Deuteronomy 7:7, and when you get there you see that verse 7 isn’t the verse you want but rather it’s verse 6. Are you with me? All right, so let’s go up to verse 6. Here Moses is writing to the Jew, to the Nation of Israel.
“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.”
Is that plain language? Hey I don’t see how you can make it any plainer. When people say, “What do you mean that Israel is God’s chosen and special people?” Well it’s right here. God has chosen that little nation of people to be the top of the heap. They’re king of the hill in all of God’s dealing with the human race. Now come into verse 7:
“The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:”
Now you see we’re living in a time where bigger is better. But you see God doesn’t work like man works. God didn’t choose the biggest nation on earth, but rather He did the opposite, He chose the smallest group starting with one man. We’ll be looking at that just a little later when we start to cover the “Covenant” portion of verse 4. For now we just want to look at their position as being the favored Covenant nation of God. Now go to the Book of Isaiah Chapter 66, and verse 22.
“For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make,…”
Now, if you’re a Bible student, where does your mind immediately jump to? Revelation Chapters 21 and 22. Even though this heaven and earth is going to be destroyed, yet God says He will create a new Heaven and a new earth for all eternity. Now Isaiah is referring to the same event. Now reading on:
“For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.”
Is Israel ever going to pass off the scene? Never! Even after we’ve gone through the millennial reign of Christ, and I think of this whole universe, (See II Peter 3:10) there’s going to come a whole new creation of new heavens and new earth, and who will still be the apple of God’s eye? Israel. Even in the eternal state Israel will have that unique position. Now don’t let that discourage you because what have I often said? You and I, as members of the Body of Christ, are even in a better position than Israel. Israel is not in the best position. We are, but the reason we have to constantly refer to Israel’s position is because the world in general under all the Satanic pressures, is trying to put Israel out of the picture, and it’s not going to happen. They can ignore the Covenant promises and Israel, but God will never lose sight of His Covenant people. Now, then, with that let’s go back to Romans and go into the next part of that verse 4, and that is part of their heritage, and uniqueness was the glory.
“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory,…”
Now I’m not going to take you all the way back to the Old Testament to look at that, but you see, I think we looked at the verse in the last lesson if I’m not mistaken; back in Deuteronomy with Moses I think. When Moses reminded the Nation of Israel that there had never been another nation of people that experienced the mountain on fire like Israel did with Mt. Sinai. Then Moses went on. Was there ever a people that experienced God coming down on the mountain with thunder and fire, and of course His glory? No other people on earth had ever experienced that, but Israel did. Then you leap the centuries, and you come on up to King Solomon building the Temple, and again we won’t look it up, but you all know the account. When Solomon had finished the Temple and they were ready to dedicate it, the children of Israel, of course, were gathered around it. What happened inside? The glory of God came in and filled that Temple. And it was so filled with God’s Shekinah glory that the priests didn’t even dare intrude.” Has that ever happened to anybody else? I dare say that you could visit every pagan temple that has ever existed and you’d never find any evidence of that kind of an invading glory. But Israel did.
Alright, that’s enough on the word `glory’ I think. And now here comes one that I always have to spend some time on, because any of you who have heard me teach very long, know that this is a word that I just bring up and bring up and bring up. And what is it? The Covenants.
“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants,…”
Now remember, you and I as Church-Age believers, are not under any kind of a covenant. Now I know you’ve heard of Covenant theology and so forth. But we are not under any covenant. But, now let me qualify right away and clarify. All the things that God did on behalf of Israel in regard to the Covenants, we are now experiencing that which falls over the edges. And so yes, we are experiencing the great Salvation of God and all that because of what God has done in fulfilling the Covenants with Israel. But as the Covenants themselves are concerned, we have nothing to do with them.
Let’s go to Genesis 12 because this is where everything ties together. That even as Paul writes these three Chapters, 9, 10 and 11, with a special regard to the Nation of Israel, we have to tie it all to the Old Testament account.. Most of you know it almost by memory. The Abrahamic Covenant. Now this is when God first spoke to Abram when he was still down in Ur of the Chaldees and made him one command, “Leave Ur and go to a land I will show you.” By faith Abraham went. And that’s the beginning of God’s dealing with that man called Abraham, out of whom would come the Nation of Israel.
Now you know it’s amazing, and I never tell things like this to ridicule, because I understand exactly how these things can happen. I had a gentleman come up to me last night, who’s been in my class at least six or seven years. He came to know The Lord about three or four years ago and has just become a good student of the Scriptures. And so he had had a conversation with one of his neighbors, and out of that conversation something came up that he couldn’t find the answer to, so he told the fellow, “Give me till tomorrow. I’ve got to go find the answer in my Bible.” While he was looking for the answer to whatever the question was he suddenly for the first time, understood and saw from his own Bible that the Nation of Israel had come from the very same twelve sons that had sold Joseph down into Egypt.
And I said, Now don’t feel bad. I had a fellow approach me, oh I’d say about ten or twelve years ago, who had been a Sunday school teacher for twenty some years, and he hadn’t even found the answer yet and he asked me, “Where did the nation of Israel come from, other than Abraham?'” Now you see, people have not been taught these basic fundamentals. That after Abraham received this Covenant promise that out of him would come a nation of people, the next person to come into that Covenant promise was Isaac. The next one in response to that Covenant promise was Jacob. And then out of Jacob came the twelve sons, one of whom was Joseph. And out of those twelve sons who, because of Joseph, ended up down in Egypt because of the grain shortage. And while those twelve sons and their families were in Egypt, what happened? They exploded in population. And those twelve sons became the twelve tribes of Israel that Moses led out and took through the wilderness experience. And Joshua led in the land. Now there’s the nation of Israel. Now I know most people must understand that. But you have that percentage who have never realized, “How did the nation of Israel ever come about?” Well that’s exactly how it came about, but it began back here in Genesis 12.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram (back in Chapter 11), `Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:'”
There was a reason for God wanting Abram to leave his father’s house. Abram’s family were idolaters, they were idol worshippers, they were pagans, they had no knowledge of the One true God. And so out of this whole then-known world, saturated with pagan worship, God puts the finger on this one man Abram, appears to him (the Scripture in the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament makes it so plain), spoke to him I think face to face, and gave him these instructions. “Leave your idolatrous family, make the break from paganism, and go to a land that I will show you.”
Now we know that Abram was not totally obedient, and I don’t put the blame on Abram, but rather on his father. I’m sure when Abram the son went in to tell his father that he was leaving, and he didn’t know to where, then taking into account the nomadic make-up of the people in that part of the world at that time Terah the father said what? “Well, we’ll just go with you.” Well you know Abram couldn’t tie him down, and lock the door on him so Terah went with them. But God stopped him half way between Ur and Canaan until old Terah dies up there in Haran. Because Abram could not keep that family tie with a pagan while God is now going to deal with this man on Covenant promises, bringing about the Nation of Israel out of which of course would come this Book, our whole spiritual realm of salvation, and everything else. It all begins intricately with the Nation of Israel. Now reading on we find God still speaking to this man Abram.
“And I will make of thee a great nation,…”
Now the first thing we think of is a great nation like America with 300,000,000 people, but that’s not what God calls great. Israel has never had over 15,000,000 as far as I can see from history, and that’s not as many people as some of the cities of the world today. So when God said `great,’ He was not speaking in terms of numbers, military power, and so forth. But this little nation has been great in so many other ways, and they still are, and they will be. In fact I made mention recently that when their Prime Minister was assassinated, what other little nation on earth of less than 5,000,000 people within their borders could have commanded all the big wheels of all the superpowers to come to their leader’s funeral? Nobody but Israel. Why? Because they are the very center of all of God’s dealing with the human race. Now reading on again.
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
In other words, through this one man would come God’s flow of all spiritual blessings. Now that’s hard for us to comprehend, but it is with this one man, and that’s why I make such an emphasis of the Abrahamic Covenant. Through this man, and the Covenant God made with him came The Messiah, The Redeemer of all mankind, and this is why Satan has constantly attacked the little Nation of Israel. Satan has to do anything in his power to somehow thwart God’s plan for the ages, and he has to start with the Nation of Israel. Now turn to Chapter 15., and let’s follow these Covenants. I see we can’t finish this verse in this lesson, but hopefully we will the next. Now verse 2. Now Abraham understood, he wasn’t ignorant, and, of course, he’s already 50 years of age when God speaks to him in Ur. And here God’s talking about a nation of people coming from his loins. How can a nation of people come when he hasn’t the first son yet. Here’s his argument.
“And Abram said, `Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus (Well Eliezer certainly had no gene connection with Abram.)?’ And Abram said, `Behold, to me thou hast given no seed (no child): and lo, one born in my house is mine heir (Lot).’ And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, `This shall not be thine heir, but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.'” What’s God saying? You’re going to have a son of your own from your own wife. That’s the way it’s going to be. Verse 5:
“And he brought him forth abroad, and said, `Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.'”
Now remember, this is a two-fold promise. We covered this when we were teaching Genesis that Paul teaches in Galatians that we are of the seed of Abraham. Even you and I as Gentiles, not that we become Jewish blood, but by virtue of the spiritual promises to this man Abraham, you and I may now enjoy and experience these Grace Age promises. But now let’s not stop there as we need to go back a couple of chapters to Chapter 13, and drop in at verse 16.
“And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth:….”
Now you have two completely different realms haven’t you? You have the stars which are heavenly and the dust which is earthly. Now, those who have heard me teach over the years, and especially while we were back in Genesis, always remember that God has divided everything in Scripture between these two areas.
1. The Nation of Israel which is earthly, and all their promises are earthly.
2. The Body of Christ, the New Testament Grace Age Church is heavenly, and all our promises are heavenly.
You and I are citizens of Heaven, all of our promises are heavenly and the Nation of Israel is earthly, all of her promises are earthly, and here you have it in these two verses. “Count the dust of the earth, so shall thy seed be. Count the stars of heaven so shall thy seed be.” Now go to Genesis Chapter 17, and we see another addition to this Abrahamic Covenant as parts are added as we go along. Now we see where this Covenant is going to continue. And this also become intrinsic to another verse a little later in Romans Chapter 9.
“And God said unto Abraham, `As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her; and she shall be a mother of nations: kings of people shall be of her.’ Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, `Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?’ And Abraham said unto God, `O that Ishmael might live before thee!’ (why can’t you use him?) And God said, `Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.'”
But God’s not casting off the people of Ishmael as nothing, and He says so in verse 20:
“And as for Ishmael I have heard thee; Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. (Arabs) But my covenant will I establish with Isaac,…” And never lose sight of that.
LESSON ONE * PART II
SEVEN BLESSINGS FOR ISRAEL
Now for our television viewers, we realize that some of you are seeing the program for the very first time, and so we like to inform people that this is just an informal Bible study, and that’s why you see coffee cups on the tables. My little wife Iris always the day before our tapings spends a good part of the day baking about 250 cookies for the class, and not one time in the past 5 years have I heard any one complain about her cookies. So I just wanted to give credit where credit is due.
I’m not a theologian, but rather I’m a full time rancher, and all of this the Lord has given me is just extra. The Lord has given me the best of both worlds. I love my ranching business, and I do have good cattle, but I also love to teach this Book. So the Lord has made it possible that we can teach almost every night of the week, and hearts are being blessed, and the television program has gone beyond what we could have ever dreamed. So we just give the Lord all the praise for it. Let’s continue from our last lesson. We just finished with the promise to Abraham continuing, not through Ishmael, but through the promised son Isaac. Let’s pick up this Covenant situation that Paul makes reference to in Romans Chapter 9, and verse 4 that to the Nation of Israel were given the Covenants. Remember never to the Church, but to the Nation of Israel. We looked at the one in Genesis 12, 13, 15, and 17, and let’s pick it up as this Covenant promise is repeated to Isaac the Son of Promise now in Genesis 26.
“And the LORD appeared unto him (Isaac), and said, `Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:'” Now in verse 3 we find the demands of the Covenant promise. They were to remain in the land of promise, which of course was Canaan.
“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries,…”
During our break time Jerry and I were talking and laughing about a statement that his wife Lorna had made while they were transcribing these little books for us. She comments once in a while, “I wish Les would just finish a verse before commenting on it.” Well I just can’t teach that way so maybe I’m unique that we stop in the middle of a verse and make a comment, and then hopefully it will come through and shed some light on the verse. But here we find in the middle of this verse that Abraham and Isaac are still dwelling in the middle of those Canaanite tribes that were there when Abraham came to the land. They haven’t gotten the whole land, it isn’t theirs yet, but the promise is that the day is coming when they won’t have to put up with the Canaanites because God’s going to give them the land. Verse 3 again.
“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swear unto Abraham thy father (do you see how it all goes back to that Abrahamic Covenant? Now verse 4, and here’s that Covenant.); And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed (his physical offspring) all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”
Well you say, how can God say `nations’ of the earth be blessed if He’s dealing with Israel. Well are you getting the picture? Everything has to come through this one little nation. And as I said in the last lesson, every word in this Book came out of the Nation of Israel. All the writers of Scripture, yes, I think including Luke, were Jews, and Paul makes that so plain in Romans Chapter 3:
“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles (or The Word) of God.” This is what makes this Book totally unique from any other religious book on this planet. Looking at the end of verse 4 again we find this promise in the Abrahamic Covenant,
“…and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed: Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”
Well of course if you come all the way on over now to Chapter 46 we will deal with the next one in line. So we’ve had Abraham, Isaac, and now Jacob. Jacob of course has gone up to Haran in Syria, and married his wives, and he comes back to the land with eleven sons, and then Rachel his wife had Benjamin, and died. So in all Jacob had twelve sons. One of his sons, Joseph you remember, wound up down in Egypt by virtue of his ungodly brothers selling him into slavery. But again when Joseph met with the brothers he said, “Don’t blame yourselves, because God did it.” Further in Romans 9 we will see how that is so true in every aspect of God’s dealing. He’s Sovereign, He’s Holy, and Righteous, and we dare not question any thing He does, because He is Sovereign. So here the Sovereign God has set it up so that Joseph would end up in Egypt. God sent the 7 years of good years in order to get ready for the seven years of famine. That whole famine was set up in order to bring the whole tribe of Jacob down into Egypt. Remember what God told Abraham and Isaac, that they were were not to go down into Egypt, but to sojourn in the land. But look what God tells Jacob.
“And Israel (or Jacob the man) took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, (down in southern Palestine) and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, `Jacob, Jacob.’ And Jacob said, `Here am I.’ (Now look what God says in verse 3) And he said, `I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; (now that was change wasn’t it? And the reason?) for I will there make of thee a great nation:'”
And that’s exactly what happened. After some 215 years of the children of Israel in Egypt Moses leads them out now a company of any where from 5 to 7 million people, and at that time they were the biggest nation in the world at that time. All right, so there that Abrahamic Covenant is repeated to Isaac and Jacob, and of course we have the “Covenant of the Law.” God gives Moses the Ten Commandants, and he comes down off the mountain, and gives the Law to Israel.
Turn to Deuteronomy Chapter 30 where we have another Covenant that God makes primarily now with Moses and the Nation of Israel, and we call this for sake of memory the, “Palestinian Covenant.” It’s a Covenant that originates with God that no one will ever be able to break. Now we know that the Arab world outnumbers the little Nation of Israel some where between 40-50 to 1. When I first taught Genesis, and I made some of these points, I had a dear Arab call me from one of our major cities who had watched the program, and he of course was furious that I was making the claim that the land of Palestine belongs to the Jews. I want the Arab folks to understand that God loves them just as much as He loves me or you. God’s offer of salvation goes just as much for the Arab as it does for the Jew, but the Covenant promises belong to the Nation of Israel. British Israelism is as far out in left field as you can get when they claim that you and I of America, and Great Britain, and some of the Scandinavian Nations are now the recipient of the promises because we’re the offspring of the “Ten Lost Tribes.” Don’t believe it. We’re offspring of lost tribes all right, my, our European ancestors were as lost as they could be, and they still are, and we still are, but the Covenant promises belong to the Nation of Israel. So God is speaking yet another Covenant, and no one can circumvent God’s Word.
“And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee.” Here is a prophecy from God. It hasn’t happened yet, but what did God know? That the Nation of Israel would be dispersed more than once. God knew that the Nation of Israel would become what we call, “The Wondering Jew.” Without a homeland, persecuted, driven, from one place to the other. But God says (and here is that Palestinian Covenant):
“And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I commanded thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then (after being dispersed for centuries) the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.”
Now I’m sure that many a Jew had lost sight of that promise, but a lot of them didn’t, but oh we’ve seen it in our own generation that God’s Word is true. He’s bringing them back from every nation under heaven. At one time it was documented that there were Jews now living in Israel who had come from 133 different Sovereign nations in the world. They had been driven everywhere, but now they’re coming home All the time you will read of another nation where there is no longer a Jew among their citizenry. I think the Nation of Albania is one of the later ones, there is not a Jew left in that little nation across the sea from Italy. There are only a few hundred left in Syria. The main two nations that have the most are Russia, and America where we still have large numbers, but for the most part the Jews have been going back to the little land of Israel based on God’s Covenant promise to that nation. Now let’s look at II Samuel, Chapter 7, and here is what we call the, “Davidic Covenant.” Remember all these Covenants are surrounded by the Abrahamic Covenant. Every Covenant that God made with Israel is within the bounds of that Abrahamic Covenant.
Look at this one, He’s dealing with King David. And David had already committed the sin of adultery. Bathsheba had become his wife, he now has Solomon, and Nathan, and so now God is looking at this royal family that’s going to begin with David, come on down to his two sons Solomon, and Nathan and then the genealogy goes down through history until we come to our New Testament with Joseph and Mary. Once or twice during the Babylon captivity it looked like that genealogy was going to be broken when there was only one man left in that kingly line that could still have a son. But God prevailed, and the genealogy continued until Christ was born. But anyway here’s where that Davidic Covenant begins.
II Samuel 7:12,13
“And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, (God says) I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, (or innermost being) and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.” It isn’t so much the 40 years of rule and reign that Solomon enjoyed, but rather that royal blood line that will carry all the way down through history until we get to the New Testament. Now here is the Covenant promise in the next verses.
II Samuel 7:14,15
“I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, (the Book of Hebrews makes it so plain that a good earthly father will do what with his children? He’ll discipline them, and God’s going to do the same thing with His Son the Nation of Israel. How will God do it? With other nations.) I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:” Now what’s the first word of verse 15? “But.” No matter how far Israel falls short, no matter how unbelieving Israel can be at various times, God says:
“But my mercy shall not depart away from him,…”
And all you have to do is look back in history, and God has chastened them time after time, after time, but they’re still under His thumb. And as I have mentioned over and over to people, this little nation that sits over there in the Middle East tonight is still that little nation that will yet one day be the apple of God’s eye. Oh they’re not tonight because they’re in unbelief, and there again I have to constantly remind my class people, don’t expect that government in Jerusalem to be Godly, don’t expect that government to be anymore righteous than any other government because they are secular. They are just ordinary human beings doing what they think is right for their particular circumstance, and they are just as much under the control of the god of this world (Satan) as Washington D.C. is. I think a lot of people think, “Well Israel, if they’re what the Bible says, then nothing evil should come out of that Knesset in Jerusalem.” Don’t expect that, but there is this exception, they are still God’s Covenant people. And right now they have been set aside, they’re spiritually blinded for the most part as a nation, but remember God’s not through with them. He is yet going to pick up where He left off, and this is exactly what He’s talking about.
II Samuel 7:15
“But my mercy shall not depart away from him,…”
All right I think that’s enough with the Covenant promises, until we get to Jeremiah, and I guess we had better look at that one in Chapter 31. And this is pretty much the final Covenant that God gives to the Nation of Israel, and of course it is yet future. It is not appropriate to put Israel under this Covenant promise tonight, but they will one day enjoy it.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, `that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:'”
God’s not going to just dress up the old Covenant, He’s going to make a whole new Covenant with this nation. Far be it for me to argue with the theologians, but I think most of you are aware that a lot of theologians claim that you and I as believers in the Age of Grace are under the “New Covenant.” Well if I read my Bible in plain English that just can’t fly, because to whom is God going to make this new Covenant? Israel, and no one but, so how can we be in a Covenant that makes with Israel. Well we can’t be, but like I said in the last lesson, we’re enjoying the benefits of everything that God did to fulfill this Covenant with Israel. In other words, the work of the Cross, the power of His Resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and all of these blessings we enjoy in this Age of Grace, but it’s not a Covenant relationship. We are members of the Body of Christ, He is the Head, we’re in the Body, but we’re not in a Covenant relationship. Now reading on.
“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:”
Well which Covenant did they break? Law. And we really didn’t stop and look at the Covenant of Law to much, but the giving of the Law was a Covenant, and so that Covenant Israel just constantly broke, even as we do they did. So that’s what God is referring to in verse 32. Now verse 33.
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD (Now here it comes, here is the new Covenant.), I will put my law in their inward parts, and wrote it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Now that isn’t going to be a choice of Israel. That remnant of Jews aren’t going to suddenly say, “Well we’ve decided to follow God.” No, No. When Christ returns and sets up His Kingdom that remnant of Jews that He has kept through that Tribulation period will see Him coming in the clouds of glory, and they’re going to believe in a moment. In fact we might as well look at it in Isaiah Chapter 66. Yes the nation is going to be born in a moment , that remnant that Paul again is going to be dealing with in Romans Chapters 9, 10, and 11. So we’ll be getting to it. But oh that Nation of Israel is going to born in a day spiritually, and then this new Covenant will become a reality. And God is going to put His Word, His Commandments in their hearts. They’re not going to have to teach their kids the law, they’re not going to have to have a priesthood to teach them the commandments, they’re going to know them. Now in Isaiah Chapter 66:
Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once?…”
Absolutely at the coming of Christ that remnant of Israel will suddenly see Him for what He is, and to the last Jew that’s in that remnant they will say, “My Father, My God.” And God will answer, “My People.” Now it’s been a long time since He’s said that about the Nation of Israel, but He will when that day arrives. Now let’s go back to Romans Chapter 9, and verse 4.
“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law,…
Israel came out of Egypt under Moses who leads them down to Mount Sinai, and as they’re camped around the mountain we find God calls Moses up into the mountain. The mountain of course was on fire, and smoke covered it, and that’s what he referred to when he said what other nation has ever experienced anything like that before. But while Moses was up there for 40 days, and nights, God wrote on the table of stones the Ten Commandments. And that is what we basically refer to as the moral law. But in order to bring in the religious system of the law, God also had to add to those Ten Commandments all the rituals. In other words all the regulations and rules, which we will call the civil Law.
And then all the stipulations of the priesthood, which we call the ecclesiastical part of the law, and then of course God gives Moses the instructions for building the tabernacle, and they accomplish all that while they’re yet down in the wilderness of Sinai. And as the tabernacle is finished, and the Shekinah glory comes down upon it, then every time the glory lifted and moved, they took down the tabernacle and followed it. And so that was the giving of the Law, and they took it on into the Promised Land after the 40 years of wondering in the wilderness. And for years it just set up there as a temporary little tent north of Jerusalem until finally God gave David, and through his son Solomon the permission to build a permanent dwelling place for their God, and that of course was Solomon’s Temple. Now that was all part and parcel then of the giving of the Law to this Nation of Israel. It’s all part of their heritage, the Law was never given to the Gentiles. But even as we have seen in Romans Chapter 3 that the Law was given to Israel, who else did it cover? Well the whole human race. But the Law as such was only given to Israel, and let’s never lose sight of that. In our next lesson we will be looking at the service that was connected with the Law, the rituals, and here again the Gentiles have no part in that either. That was strictly for the Nation of Israel as a total part of the giving of the Law.
LESSON ONE * PART III
SEVEN BLESSINGS FOR ISRAEL
I got a call yesterday from a man who had been watching the tapes and reading the little transcribed books, and he told me that all of a sudden the Bible was opening up to him. We’ve had many people tells us the same thing. So many people have read this Book over and over all their life, but just don’t understand it, and we trust that the Lord is using us at least a little bit to help that kind of situation. Let’s pick up where we left off in Romans Chapter 9:4, as we have been for the past two lessons, and the next part of that verse we will be covering is the services. Paul writes:
“…my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God and the promises;”
Now I would like to take a few minutes here to talk about the service of God which of course began when God gave the tabernacle to Moses, and then set up the priesthood with Aaron as the high priest. How the priest operated, how the tabernacle was set up, and later on the Temple. How the sacrifices were offered, the setting up of all the feast days throughout their religious calendar year, and then of course every thing was indicative, and looking forward to our own plan of salvation. This was not all just a bunch of religion with nothing behind it, but all of the practice of the law that Israel enjoyed was a picture of the coming of the Redeemer, and the plan of salvation as we are experiencing it today. But I think we have to be made aware that for us now in the Age of Grace we have no right whatsoever to bring any of the so-called religious practices into our system of worship.
There is no room in true Christianity for all the robes, and miters, and so forth that the high priest used, there is no room under this Age of Grace for feast days, and holy days, and so forth. I don’t make a big deal over the whole commotion of Christmas and Easter. All I tell people is that it’s not Biblical. There is nothing in this Book that gives us the right to celebrate certain high days of the year, there is nothing in this Book that tells us to celebrate the birth of Christ. There is nothing in this Book that tells us to make a special holy day of Easter, that all comes out of paganism, that comes out of Old Testament Judaism. Turn to the Book of Colossians. As far as Judaism is concerned, although that was certainly the system that God gave to Israel yet so far as you and I as believers are concerned, we are not to incorporate any of the services of Judaism into the Church Age. There is absolutely no room for all of these special days and so forth.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances (where do you associate ordinances? With services) that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”
Now if you will take a moment and make a mental picture of all this – that all of this ritual Israel practiced in the keeping of the law, the animal sacrifices, the robes of the priesthood, all of the washings, everything that you can think of that was associated with the ceremonial ritual has been nailed to His Cross. Now that was just a beautiful way of putting it, that when Christ died, when Christ finished the work of redemption there was no longer any need for any of that Old Testament ritual. But you know it’s so hard for mankind to lay aside things that appeal to the flesh, and that does. I remember years and years ago a dear lady that I never doubted her salvation, she had such a beautiful testimony, but she was so tied to what we would call high Church ritual. So I asked her one night at one of our classes, “Why?” And she said, “Oh I know it has nothing to do with my Salvation, but it just sort of makes me feel good that I’m worshiping, and it’s sort of a help to my worship.”
Well bless her heart I can understand her feelings up to a point, but on the other hand I have to come back, and say, but listen The Book doesn’t teach that. The Book says nothing about practicing a system of worship in this Age of Grace. Christ nailed all that to His Cross, and we are now free. In fact what does Paul say in Romans Chapter 14:
“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” “Don’t regard one day higher than another, but rather regard every day alike” is what Paul is saying. Now I have nothing against Sunday per se, but even Sunday is not taught in the Scripture as we understand Sunday.
I Corinthians 16:2
“Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
Paul merely says that as you come together and bring your offering on the first day of the week, on resurrection day, but so far as setting Sunday up as a special holy day, as a day that is above all the other days The Book doesn’t teach that. Every day is alike for the believer, we are to serve God just as much Monday through Friday as we would on Saturday and Sunday. And so this has all been nailed to His Cross. Now turn to the Book of Galatians Chapter 4, and this little letter Paul of course wrote specifically because the Judaisers of Galatia were convincing the Gentiles that they had to keep the Law of Moses if they wanted to experience salvation. And when Paul got word of that, he had to hurriedly pen this little letter admonishing them not to fall under the temptations to become legalists. Oh and it’s no different today. Again legalism appears to the human race because everybody likes to satisfy their own ego with, “Look what I’ve done, or look what I do,” and God will have none of it. It has to be all Grace, it has to be all His finished work or He cannot recognize it.
“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.”
Now what’s the word I’m looking at? `Service,’ see that’s exactly what he used back here in Romans Chapter 9. That the service of the sanctuary, well it was the system, it was their ritual, which of course God gave to Israel, but what did the idolaters do? The same type of thing of service and they went through their ritual by offering their sacrifices, they went through all their superstitious acts. I always like to remind my classes that I can remember when I was a kid, and our missionaries would come home from the foreign field, and they would show some of those old movies of that day. And they would show the fear of their people of the witch doctors. Well why were they so afraid of the witch doctors? Because they had power, and I remember one of the missionary in particular said that these people who are in spiritual darkness know Satan and the power of evil, but they know nothing of the power of God. And that is so true, these people know how to fear the powerful works of the evil one. That’s why they put out these fetishes and so forth to ward off the evil power. Remember when Paul got to Athens, and as he went down that row of idols on his way to Mars Hill, they had one god that was titled to the “unknown god.” And then Paul said :
“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, `Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.'”
Well what did Paul mean? They were afraid of the powers of evil, and that’s what superstition is. Superstition is never the other direction, superstition is never man somehow seeking God. Superstition is always man fearing opposing the powers of evil. And I would ask that you remember that. Here again Paul is using the same analogy and word that Israel was steeped in with their system of worship, and the pagans were doing much the same with their ritual and services.
“But now, after that ye have know God,…”
Where did all of Paul’s converts come from? From paganism. The whole world around Paul was steeped with paganism, mythology, idol worship and so that is what he is referring to in verse 8. To these people who had recently been steeped in idolatry and now come out of the darkness, and stepped into the light of Paul’s Gospel (Ref, I Corinthians 15:1-4), and so now this is what Paul is telling them. Verse 8 again.
“…when ye knew not God, ye did service (you went through all the superstitious ritual) unto them which by nature are no gods.” Why? They were nothing but wood and stones. They had no power except Satanic power. Verse 9 again.
“But now, (Have you ever noticed how often Paul uses that term? How on this side of the Cross everything is so different.) after that ye have know God, or rather are known of God, (Now what does that tell you? The unbeliever has no relationship with God, but the believer He knows all about us, because we’re His.) how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”
What’s Paul talking about? Religion, ritual, service, somehow appeasing a Holy God, and we’re to have none of that. But remember for Israel that was all part of their heritage, it was the very center of Jewish life. They were constantly meeting there in the Temple complex. They would come from every nation under heaven to keep these Jewish feast days. Now let’s go back to Romans Chapter 9, and verse 4 again.
“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, (and now the next one) and the promises;”
To Israel were given the promises. All of our Old Testament is prophecy, prophecy, prophecy, and to whom is all that prophecy written? Israel. I’ve stressed on this program since the day we started that there is not a single prophecy given to the Church. Not one! All of God’s prophecy is given to the Nation of Israel, and this is what Paul is talking about. Not only the Covenant promises, but even the prophetic promises, that everything God has promised the Nation of Israel is still going to happen. You and I can see that it is getting closer and closer. You know I tell my classes almost every night of the week, “All of this prophecy would still be hard to believe if it weren’t for present day technology.”
All of a sudden this has all become so believable. Now it’s not hard to believe that where the Book of Revelation speaks of the two witnesses dead on the streets of Jerusalem, and then after three days they’re raised from the dead, and they go up to heaven in a rapturous-like experience, and the whole world will see them go. Well until our satellite technology that was a tough one to believe wasn’t it? Also the prophecy about the “Mark of the Beast” Where every individual will have to have it in the Tribulation or they won’t be able to buy or sell. Hey it’s getting so close that it’s scary. Prophecy is now right out in front of us, we can see that it’s going to be fulfilled because of the technology. Now it’s not being fulfilled per se yet, but the stage is being set so that the promises that God made to this Nation of Israel can certainly come to pass.
“Whose are the fathers,…”
What’s the first thing you think of when you speak of the, “fathers?” The forefathers of the Nation of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the twelve Patriarchs, and you come up a little farther, and you come to Joshua, Samuel, Gideon, Samson, and then you come to King David, Solomon, the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel. All pertain to the forefathers of this little nation of Israel. Now the fathers make seven items we have covered in these last two verses and now for the eighth one. And as I told you in lesson one the eighth one goes beyond the finished part, and all of this pertaining to the Nation of Israel was leading up to what? The coming of The Messiah, The Christ; that’s the eighth one in verse 5:
“Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”
The Messiah, The Christ, The One with Whom we are intricately involved. “Christ then as the all in all.” Let’s look at a few verses with regard to that. Turn to the Book of Colossians again. We’re living in a day and time especially with the New Age people who are growing by leaps and bounds, they are reducing Christ to nothing else, but just another prophet. He’s just another name among the gods, and we have to be careful that we’ll never be taken in by such teachings. But never lose sight of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ Whom we serve, The Lord Jesus Who is the very Author and finisher of our faith is the Eternal, Creator, God of the universe, and I will never stop emphasizing that. Now here is a good one in Colossians. Verse 15 begins with the pronoun “Who” and that is referring to the Son up in verse 13, Whose Blood was given for our redemption, and forgiveness in verse 14.
“Who is the image of the invisible God, (Well what does that mean? God is invisible. The Trinity, the Elohim of the Old Testament was that invisible Godhead – Spirit. But out of that invisible Trinity stepped One Person of that Godhead, and He took on flesh, and became visible. Now this is what Paul is talking about.) the firstborn of every creature:” He’s before anything else has ever been. Verse 16:
“For by him (God the Son) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: ”
When people have the audacity to take this Person of the Godhead, God the Son, and bring Him down to the very level of the other gods of mankind’s dreaming, what a blasphemy. He is the very Creator, and one day every human being is going to know Him as such. The lost are going to meet Him at the “Great White Throne Judgment.” And for the most part they’re not going to argue with Him. I know there is Scripture that says some will ask, “Didn’t I do this, and Didn’t I do that.” But for the most part they will be speechless. I don’t care how many other god’s they have promoted, or how much religion they have practiced they will be speechless, and they’re going to be sent to their doom because they have refused to recognize Who He really was.
It’s so sad when we have a world full of religion, and even in our own western cultures. And a lot of it is based on this Book, and yet they are totally ignorant of Who Jesus Christ really is. I’ll never forget years, and years ago when I first started teaching in just a little home Bible class of people from various denominations, and I’ll never forget when I made the statement that Jesus Christ was the Creator of Genesis 1, and saw mouths drop open all over the room. They had never heard that before, and as we were having refreshments afterwards in that living room, I’ll never forget as several came up to me and said, “Les are you sure of what you’re saying?” Well, it was so new to me at that time I probably wasn’t. But listen the more you get into this Book the more convinced you are than ever that the One Who hung on that Roman Cross was the One Who created the wood that it was made of. He was the One Who created the mount on which that Cross was planted. He is the Creator of all the host of heaven, He’s the Creator of everything that has ever been created, and then they reduce Him to nothing more than any of the other gods of the planet?. It’s past our understanding, but they’re doing it everyday.
Now this is who Paul is referring to then as having come out of all the things that Israel had enjoyed, but listen it goes a lot farther back than that. Going back to the beginning Adam and Eve have just eaten of the forbidden fruit, and have fallen. They have sinned against God, which God knew they would do. But listen, He is the Christ of Redemption because just as soon as Adam and Eve fell, and plunged everything under the curse, what did God immediately promise? A Redeemer? And here it is in Genesis Chapter 3, and the LORD is conversing here with the Devil, and He says:
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed;…”
Now remember I told you a couple of lessons ago to put that word seed in your computer, and here it comes. “The seed of the woman.” Galatians 3:16 tells us flat out Who the Seed of the woman is, and that is “Christ.” And here is where His promised coming is first voiced, and it’s right after Adam and Eve fell, and He has promised that the first thing He will do is set in motion the coming of the, “Seed of the woman.”
LESSON ONE * PART IV
SEVEN BLESSINGS FOR ISRAEL
Now let’s turn to Romans Chapter 9 again, and we might just finish verse 5 in this lesson. It always thrills us so when we get letters and telephone calls that tell us that you’re learning, because that’s all we hope to do is to help people enjoy this Book because it’s the greatest Book on earth, and there’s nothing that can be compared to it. But you have to study it to appreciate it so this is our whole reason for doing what we are doing, and that is to get people interested again in the Word of God. I intended to bring a quote with me today, but forgot it, but it was a quote from a former President of Princeton University. And the quote was, “Either it’s the epistles of Paul, or it’s back to nothing.” Now that’s not the full quote, and I’ll try to bring it with me next time. But that says it all, and unless Christendom gets back into the letters of Paul, and realizes that here is the seat of our doctrine as Gentiles, then it’s going to be on and on into a darkness, it’s going to be a Christendom without any power, and I’m afraid we’re seeing the results of it already.
So now let’s get back into the Book in Romans Chapter 9, for just a moment, and remember we’re still in verse 5. Speaking of the Israelites in verse 4.
“Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”
Now we looked at that verse some in our last lesson in Colossians, and found that Christ is the Creator, and Sustainer of everything. We saw that His finished work nailed all the rituals of religion to the Cross. And in our closing moments in the last lesson we were back in Genesis Chapter 3, so let’s go back there for a moment. Remember that just as soon as man fell, as soon as sin entered we find that God stepped in with the remedy, and that of course was the promise of a Redeemer.
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it (the seed of the woman) shall bruise thy head, (the serpent) and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Now that sounds like gobbledy-gook to the casual reader, but you want to remember that the “Seed of the woman” as the Book of Galatians explains is Christ, and He’s speaking to the serpent so the Seed of the woman is going to bruise the head of the serpent. Now you have to stop and think for a little bit, When did Christ bruise, and defeat Satan? Well at the Cross. Now how did Satan bruise Christ’s heel as we see in the last part of verse 15? The suffering that Christ went through with the ordeal of the Cross. And so here is the first promise then concerning Christ in the flesh. Now for a moment I’d like to go to the New Testament, in Matthew Chapter 1.
Now in our previous lesson we were dealing with the Davidic Covenant, how that God promised David that through him would come this royal line of kings out of which would come the final King, the Messiah of Israel, Jesus of Nazareth. But now here in this chapter we have another reference to this same fulfillment of the coming of the “Seed of the woman.” And remember the Seed of the woman in Scripture is always Christ, and we’ll be looking at that in a moment. Beginning with Eve, God promised that through the woman of the human race would come the Messiah. Now remember when we were back there studying in Genesis I showed so clearly that the very physiology make-up of the woman’s reproduction system shows that the fetus never receives any of the blood from the mother. In fact I lost my physiology text books that shows that so vividly, but I have a doctor in one of my classes that is in the process of getting me another one. But anyway I know that statement blows the mind of a lot of people, but it is physiology the way it is. The blood of the mother never courses through that fetus or baby in her womb, but rather the blood comes from the father. So Christ as the, “Seed of the woman” then had to be virgin born otherwise the blood would have come from a human father which would have tainted His divine ability to die for the sins of the world. And so consequently His blood came from His Father, as does every other creature that is reproduced.
In fact, I remember a year or two ago reading an article on cattle genetics, and you know I’m a cattleman, and am interested in that. But in this article we had veterinarians from Colorado State University proving the same thing. That even in the species of cattle none of the blood of the mother cow ever courses through the fetus. The blood system comes from the sire. Well this is all part of God’s intrinsic plan of getting ready for the virgin birth. That Christ’s Blood was divine because it came from His Father Who was God Himself. See how beautifully that all fits. Now I know the first thing people say is, “What about the RH Factor, and so forth.” Well another physiology book that I read one time explained the best that I had ever read, and he used an analogy of fencing your garden. If you want to keep out the rabbits, and dogs, and larger animals you can just put up a netting around your garden, and it will keep all the bigger animals out. But what will still get through? Well the smaller mice, birds, insects, and so forth. That is exactly how the placenta in the mother’s womb works. The major components of the mother’s blood never go through the placenta to the baby, but some of the small chromosomes and genes that carry our inherited characteristics will go through the placenta. So don’t misunderstand me on this subject, and I hope this clarifies this a little bit, because this boggles lots of people’s minds that when Mary, who was the physical fleshly mother of the Lord Jesus, and whose blood was just as corrupt as any other woman’s blood, and was a sinner just like everybody else, but none of her blood coursed through the baby Jesus. But always remember that His blood system came from His Father, just like any other child’s blood system comes from the father. I have all kinds of illustrations that I could give you but time doesn’t permit today. But nevertheless it all began back there with the promise of the, “Seed of the woman” in Genesis 3:15, and now here in Matthew Chapter 1 we will introduce the New Testament with almost the same kind of language.
“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (And then he goes through the genealogy) Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob;…” and so forth.
Now here we have Christ then born of the human element, Mary, but from the Father giving Him then that divine attribute of incorruption, His Body did not suffer corruption in the tomb, His Blood was not corrupted it was divine, and sinless, otherwise it could have never paid your sin debt and mine. So these are principles that have carried all the way up through human history, and the Scriptures. Now let’s turn to Luke 2 for a moment and follow that up.
“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.”
Which of course in the Hebrew meant Joshua or the Saviour. Let’s go on to the Book of Romans again, Chapter 1.
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures.)”
In other words all the aspects of His death, burial, and Resurrection were back there in the Old Testament. Oh it was in veiled language, but nevertheless it was back there. Now as we have an understanding we can go back and see it in Psalms 22, and Isaiah 52, and 53, and other places you will find graphic language of His death, burial, and Resurrection.
“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David…”
Do you see how that word seed just keeps chasing all the way through Scripture? The “Seed of the woman” in Genesis 3:15 is going to come right up through these Jewish Patriarchs, through the little Nation of Israel, and all the Covenant promises that I have been talking about for the past four lessons are based on God’s promise of the coming of the “Seed of the woman.” which is Christ. Reading verse 3 again:
“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;” (That’s why He was the God-Man. Now verse 4:) And declared to be the Son of God with power,…”
Now He manifested that power, of course, with all of His miracles throughout that three years of earthly ministry. One miracle after another, and some were more explicit in His power over nature than others. For example when they were in the little boat on the sea of Galilee, and a storm was raging, and the disciples were scared to death. The way I have it pictured in my mind is that Jesus was in a little double deck boat. He must have been below deck sleeping, and what did the Twelve do?
“And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, `Lord, save us: we perish.'”
They let Him know how worried they were because they’re about to sink, but what does Jesus do? He spoke the Word, and what happened? Hey, the wind died down, the sea became calm, and what did the Twelve say?
“But the men marvelled, saying, `What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!'”
Well they didn’t have the full comprehension of Who Jesus was, that He could speak a word, and the wind would die down. Well another obvious one was when He came walking on the water, and Peter tried it, and as soon as he took his eyes off Jesus what happened?
“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, `Lord, save me.'”
And remember there are many, many other times how He manifested His power even over nature. Do you remember when He needed tax money? What did He tell Peter?
“Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.”
And then in the last chapter of the Gospel of John, the eighth sign in that Book we find the eleven fishermen had been out all night, and had caught no fish. And here Jesus was on the shore with fish ready for breakfast, but He’s still not going to let them be skunked at not catching any fish, so what does He asked them?
“Then Jesus saith unto them, `Children, have ye any meat?’ They answered him, `No.’ And he said unto them, `Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.’ They cast therefore and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.'”
The net was full and yet it didn’t break. Well how did He know? He had that power over even the fish of the sea of Galilee. All right, that’s what Paul is referring to here in Romans Chapter 1. Repeating that verse again:
And declared to be the Son of God with power,…”
He’s declared to be the Son of God after the seed of David in verse 3, but with power. And never underestimate that power. And now I want to show you in Galatians that it is Christ who is the “Seed of the woman.” And we find that in Galatians Chapter 3: I never know where to start because I don’t like to just begin in the exact verse because we need to pick up the flow of the Scriptures. And again, remember, Galatians was written to Gentile believers who were being besieged by Judaisers that they just couldn’t be saved by faith in the Gospel alone but they must also embrace Judaism. They had to practice circumcision, they had to keep the Law, and so Paul has to write this letter to refute all that, and to straighten them out. We may someday teach the Book of Galatians on the program, but this is the theme of the little Book of Galatians. “You’re not under Law, You’re under Grace!”
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (Now that goes clear back to the Book of Deuteronomy 21:22.) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles (How?) through Jesus Christ;…” Now do you remember what the Scriptures said back there in Genesis 12? Through Abraham all the families of the earth would be blessed. How? Because the “Seed of the woman” would be coming through Abraham. Now reading on.
“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit (Not through Judaism, or Law-keeping, but rather) through faith.” Simply by believing The Word. It’s not what we do, but just simply believing the Gospel. (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) Verse 15. “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.”
When God made a Covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David or any of the other Patriarchs none of those great men could take away a single word or add to it. It stood settled in concrete because God was the One Who made it. And even though thousands of years of time may have elapsed, these Covenants are still absolute. No one can annul or abridge them, they are settled forever. Now reading on:
“Now to Abraham and his seed (Now in this case it’s not just talking about Christ, but it’s talking about that line of men and women who would bring it all the way to the coming of The Messiah) were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, (plural) as of many; but as of one, (Now here it comes) And to thy seed, (That is the seed of Abraham as well as women). which is Christ.”
So when you see that term the “Seed of the women” it’s always a reference to Jesus Christ the One Who was promised way back in Genesis Chapter 3. This falls back on that Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis Chapter 12, that through that man all the nations of the world would be blessed, and how? Through that “Seed of the woman” Who would go to the Cross, who would be raised from the dead, and would become the very epitome of our Salvation experience. Romans 9 verse 6:
“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:”
Is that gobbledy-gook? “Not all Israel are Israel.” Now go back to Genesis Chapter 17. Abraham and Sara were having no children, and so being human they got impatient, and so what did Sara suggest one day? Oh she lived to regret it, but she was the one who suggested it. Well according their custom she said, “Why don’t you have a child by our slave girl Hagar?” Well, old Abraham was just as anxious to have a child so he immediately agrees. And so Ishmael is born, but you see Ishmael was not the “son of promise.” Ishmael was after the energy of the flesh, and never lose sight of that, because that carries all the way through Scripture. Ishmael was after the flesh, and Isaac was the “son of promise.”
God kept promising and promising. Many people don’t realize how many years went by. I’m pretty sure that when God first promised Abram that a nation of people would come from his very body, and with his own wife Sarai he was only 50 years old. Then 25 years go by before he even leaves Haran to go down into Canaan, by now he is 75. Another 14 years go by before they finally decide that God’s not going to do anything, so they take matters into their own hands and have a child by Hagar. Now Abraham is 86 years old. God didn’t come through with His promise of a son until Abraham was 100. So how long did he wait? 50 years. That’s a long time, no wonder the poor guy got impatient. But nevertheless God’s Word was sure. In due time he will have a son, but not every child of Abraham was the promised son.
“And Abraham said unto God, `O that Ishmael might live before thee!’ And God said, `Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac:'”
Now what’s that? That’s a promise. Whenever God said, “I will” that was a promise. Now even though Abraham and Sara may have lost sight of it, yet it was God’s promise and it was going to happen. Now it’s the same way concerning the promises made to the Nation of Israel tonight. God has promised that He is yet going to return, and be their King, He is yet going to give them the Kingdom, because it’s promised. Now man doesn’t go on God’s time table, we get impatient, but with God, Who is eternal, time doesn’t mean anything. Now for over 20 years I’ve been expectantly waiting for the Lord to call us up in the Rapture. But 20 years in God’s timing isn’t even a split second. I think it’s been a long time, and it may be that long yet. I don’t see how it can be, I think we’re getting so close. Just remember with God time isn’t all that important. Now reading verse 19 again:
“And God said, `Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. (Now verse 20; remember Ishmael is a son of Abraham.) And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.'” Has God done it? Yes! I mentioned a few lessons ago that the Arabs outnumber the Jews tonight 50 to 1. So God has blessed them, they’ve got all the oil in the world, what more could they ask for? Now verse 21, and 22.
“But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.”
So going back to Romans 9:6 Not all the children of Abraham are children of the promise. Only those that came through Isaac, Jacob, and the Twelve Tribes.
“…For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:”
LESSON TWO * PART I
NOT ALL ISRAEL IS ISRAEL
ROMANS 9:6-9 AND GENESIS 32:27,28
Now we trust as we begin another series of four lessons that each of you will take your Bibles, and as one lady wrote the other day, “I bought a new Bible when I started watching you, and now it’s already all marked up.” Well that’s what we want, that’s the name of the game. You just search the Scriptures, and don’t pay quite as much attention to what I say, but be able to determine, “What does The Book say?”
Now we want to go right back to where we left off in our last lesson, and that was in Romans Chapter 9, and verse 6. Now remember we have been emphasizing that this Book of Romans is just almost the highlight of all of Scripture. And out of this great book I like to call Chapter 8 the gemstone of the Book of Romans, and now as we come into Chapter 9, 10, and 11 we’re going to be dealing with the Nation of Israel. Chapter 9 of course is Israel’s past, and the Apostle Paul is going to be referring back into the Old Testament, back and forth in order to make his point. Then when we go into Chapter 10 we’ll deal with Israel as God is looking at Israel today in the Age of Grace, and in Chapter 11 we’ll be looking at what is still ahead for that little nation.
Remember I’m always emphasizing that the largest part of Christendom, and I’m including the Roman Catholics, the Protestants, and many other groups refuse to accept the fact that God is not through with the Nation of Israel. Most of them have set Israel aside. Even back in the Reformation most of them were basically anti-Semitic because they accused Israel of being the Christ killer, and consequently God had turned to the Church with all of the promises given to Israel because He was through with that little Covenant nation, but I always say, “Don’t you believe it!” This Book is adamant that even though God has set Israel aside for this last 2000 years, yet He is one day going to bring them back to the land as we see He is doing, and one day God is going to pick up where He left off with His Covenant people. And so we have to be aware that the Jews are God’s chosen people, even though they’re out there in unbelief, they’re spiritually blinded for the most part yet God has not given up on them.
In our last lesson I paraphrased a quote, and I told you that I’d forgotten to bring the actual quote along, well today I have it with me. I called Princeton University to find out when this gentlemen had served as their president, and I knew it was a long time ago by virtue of what he said. Now, I will read his quote word for word today. This gentleman’s name was Francis L. Patton and he served as their president from 1888 – 1902. Now a president of Princeton today would never make a statement like this I’m quite sure, but remember at that time Princeton was still a bulwark of conservative Christianity as were a lot of the Ivy League Schools, now listen what this gentlemen said. “The only hope of Christianity is in the rehabilitating of the Pauline Theology. It is back, back, back, to an Incarnate Christ, and the atoning blood, or it is on, on, and on to atheism, and despair.”
Nothing truer could be spoken, but you see if this gentlemen at the turn of the century sensed that people were already ignoring the Apostle Paul’s epistles, what would he think today? We hear lots of people say that they think that Paul’s epistles shouldn’t even be in our Bible. I remember reading where someone had quoted a seminary professor as having stated that he thought Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus was nothing more than an epileptic seizure. So these are the kinds of statements you know that people make concerning the Apostle Paul and his epistles. But his epistles are the very bedrock of our Christian faith, and we have to move into Paul’s epistles if we’re going to get a clear view of salvation by Grace through faith + nothing. Now let’s pick up where we left off in our last lesson in Romans Chapter 9 and verse 6. In verse 4 and 5 we covered those seven things that were intrinsic to the Nation of Israel so far as His dealing with them from the Covenant promises. And then you remember in verse 5 we covered the aspect as the eighth part of all this, that it was all brought about so that Christ could come, not just to be The Messiah for Israel, but to be The Saviour of whole human race. Now then verse 6.
“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
Does that sound like double talk? Yes it does unless we understand what Paul is alluding to, and the only way we can pick it up of course is to go back to the Old Testament. Let’s go back to Genesis Chapter 32, and you remember Jacob the deceiver, the supplanter, whom we like to think deceived not only his father Isaac and his brother Esau, but he was also pretty good at it while he was up in Haran working for his uncle Laban. Jacob was always one step ahead of everybody if there was to be a sharp deal. And so the very name Jacob you remember means the supplanter, the deceiver, and that’s what he was. Now after he had been up in Haran and gained his wives, and all of his children with the exception of Benjamin of course, he comes down into the land of Canaan with God’s leading, and as soon as he gets back to Canaan who does he have to meet? Well his brother Esau, and of course Jacob is scared to death of what Esau is going to do to him, because after all, Jacob had tricked him some 40 years earlier. But now as we pick up the story here in Genesis 32 we find Jacob has surrounded himself with all of his flocks and herds and so forth in order to have a little bit of protection from the wrath of Esau. But God of course has something else totally on His mind, and that is, He is going to come down in human form as God did throughout the Old Testament, and He’s going to confront Jacob man to man. And here in verse 24 we’re in the dead of night, and I’ve always said that most of us can’t understand what it was like to be in total darkness. We have so many lights beaming everywhere that we don’t really get a pure view of total darkness anymore. But here we have old Jacob asleep on the ground, and no doubt in abject darkness.
“And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” Now you know I’m a literalist – this isn’t a figure of speech. God literally came down in a theophany in the form of a man, and He begins this true wrestling match with the man Jacob.
“And when he saw that he (God) prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.” In other words God crippled Jacob. And of course we know from other Scriptures that Jacob now walks with a limp for the rest of his life. But that’s not the important part. Verse 26.
“And he (The Lord) said, `Let me go, for the day breaketh.’ And he (Jacob) said, `I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.'”
I think it’s implied clearly enough, Jacob understands Who he’s wrestling with? He knows that he’s dealing with the God of his father Isaac, and his grandfather Abraham. And he understands that unless this God blesses him, he’s destitute. Now remember, way back when those two boys were born, and Esau was the oldest of those twins we taught that Esau was destitute of faith. Esau saw absolutely nothing in the promises of God, but Jacob on the other hand got a little glimpse, he had just a little flicker that he could see that there was something to be gained by getting the birthright as well as the blessing. In this little bit of faith God knows here’s the man that He can work with and Jacob understands Who this is that he’s wrestling with. So he says, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Now let’s move into the next verse.
“And he (The Lord) said unto him, `What is thy name?’ And he said, `Jacob.’ (Now watch this) And he said, `Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.'”
God told Jacob, “You just hung tough, you did not give up, you did not fail me.” So God sees that faith in this man Jacob, and by it He transformed him. Here’s Jacob’s true salvation, here is where Jacob experiences what we call today the “New Birth.” And so consequently since he is now a new man in God, in Christ, yes in Christ even back there. He’s now a new man, and God also gives him a new name. He’s no longer to be called Jacob, the deceiver, which was the natural, but now he’s to be called Israel, the prince with God. Don’t lose sight of those two names of Jacob and his offspring.
One of my rules of thumb has been that always you have first the natural and then the spiritual. That’s the way it’s been ever since the human experience First we have Cain the natural, then Abel the spiritual. First Ishmael the natural, then Isaac the spiritual. First Esau the natural, and then Jacob the spiritual. First King Saul the natural, and King David the spiritual, and then at the end time there will be first the anti-Christ, and then the Christ, and you can follow that all the way up through Scripture. All the genealogy will follow that same format, you will always get the format of the natural or non spiritual, and then the spiritual. Now it’s the same way in the life of Jacob. First he’s the natural man, he’s Jacob, now he becomes the spiritual man Israel. What were we originally? We were natural, we had nothing to do with the spiritual life, but after we’re born into the family of God, we’ve experienced Salvation and what are we? We’re Spiritual! We are now citizens of Heaven, we are now totally different persons.
So now then we’re going to have the beginning of the history of the Nation of Israel divided into these same two categories. We’re going to have that portion of the Nation of Israel that remains in the natural, they never do have a spiritual enlightenment, even though they are under the Covenant. And so I guess I should back up just a little bit. From the beginning of human history there has always been primarily two groups of people. Number one you have the lost which are by far the greatest number. The other side of the coin you have the believers, the saved of the ages, and it’s no different today. It doesn’t matter whether we’re black or white, rich or poor, bond or free, we’re either over in the lost, the natural element, or else we’re over here in the spiritual. Jacob is the beginning of this dividing line even within Israel the Covenant people of God. Some are going to remain natural, destitute of faith, but some are going to be spiritual, and are going to become believers. Turn to Isaiah Chapter 9, where the Scripture explains it better than I could.
“The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.”
Now do you see what that says? In other words, when God would speak through the prophets it went to the whole Nation of Israel, they all heard it, but how many truly responded? Only the believing element. The Israel. So the word would go out to the whole nation (Jacob) but only those who were enlightened by faith would respond to it, and it was always a small remnant, and it still is today. The vast masses of humanity can hear the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) and I mean hear and understand, but how many percentage-wise believe it for their Salvation? And that’s the way it’s always been, but also within the realms of the Nation of Israel itself. Now then when you come back to Romans Chapter 9 this is exactly what the Apostle Paul is referring to. That not all the Children of Israel would be spiritual only a few of them would be. So not all Israel is Israel. Now verse 7.
“Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.”
Now again let’s go back to the Book of Genesis Chapter 17. Remember that God for about 50 years had promised Abraham and Sarah a son. And out of that son would come the Nation of Israel, and the fulfillment of those Covenant promises. But Abraham and Sarah became impatient and went back into the pagan custom of using a surrogate mother. Sarah really had the idea first, and suggested that they have a son by their slave girl Hagar. Abraham of course quickly agreed to that, and from that fleshly idea comes the man Ishmael – again the natural side. But remember he’s a child of Abraham, and you see this is the conflict in the Middle East yet today. The Arab world says they are the true Children of Abraham because the Koran, if I understand it correctly, instead of putting the Covenant promises with Isaac puts them with Ishmael. And so consequently they feel as though they’re the rightful owners of the Holy Land, but you see our Book, The Word of God, contrary to what the Koran may say, puts all of these Covenant promises on the man Isaac.
“And God said unto Abraham, `As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.'”
Remember, we taught all that when we taught Genesis 5 years ago, that the `H’ difference in Abram and Abraham is the letter of the Hebrew alphabet that refers to Grace, and so the Grace of God is implied now by changing the name Abram to Abraham, and also the name Sarai to Sarah. Now verse 16:
“And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her; and she shall be a mother of nations: kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, `Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?’ (Now you see Abraham comes back to that energy of the flesh) And Abraham said unto God, `O that Ishmael might live before thee!’ (Why can’t Ishmael fulfill your promises, and in verse 19 God refutes him) And God said, `Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.'”
Now I mentioned in one of our previous lessons, whenever there is an “I Will” from God in Scripture, what is it? A promise. In other words Isaac becomes a promised Son, now I’m emphasizing that, and I’m taking it slowly because I want you to remember now that what God promises He is not going to let fail. And so in spite of the age of Abraham, now nearing 100, and Sarah nearing 90, the promise is valid because God said that He was going to do it, and Abraham was to call his name Isaac. In deference to our Arab people, (and we certainly don’t look down our nose at them here in this Age of Grace, because they are just as eligible as we are for God’s Salvation), we find that God deals with Ishmael.
“And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”
And God did. My land, look at the Middle East tonight, and you see 50 Arabs for every Jew. So God has blessed the Arab people, and not only did he give them 50 times more people than Israel, but he also gave them all the world’s oil; they have the wealth of the world in their back yard. God has blessed them and they’ve nothing to complain about, but look what God says in verse 21:
“But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.”
He was a son of promise, and on top of that he was a son of a miracle working power of God, because both Abraham and Sarah were well beyond normal child bearing. Now let’s come back to Romans Chapter 9, and here Paul says that all that are of the seed of Abraham are not the seed of promise. Ishmael had much off spring, and same way when you come to the next promised child, which is Jacob, we find that his brother Esau also had much offspring as well, and even though genetically Ishmael and Esau are children of Abraham, yet spiritually speaking they are outside the Covenant promise, because that could only go to the offspring of Isaac, and Jacob and down that family tree. So all these others are left out.
The danger of all this (we’ll see it a little later in this chapter), is that Israel got a little bit puffed up, and arrogant, and said, “Well now since we are the children of the Covenant, the children of the prophets what have we got to worry about? We’ve got it made.” And Paul is going to come and just blow them out of the saddle. “Hey you’re not going to enter into these promises of God simply because you’re in the right genealogy, you’re still going to have to enter in by faith.” We will see that as we move on through this Chapter 9. Romans 9:7
“Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” And of course the Seed there is in reference to Christ. The Seed of the woman that would come through the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and not through anyone else.
“That is, They which are the children of the flesh,”
Do you see what that says? Remember that’s what God said of Ishmael. Ishmael was born in response to the wishes of the flesh. God never once told Abraham and Sarah to go and have a child with Hagar. That was strictly a fleshly idea, and so Ishmael all the way through Scripture, even when Paul uses him as an allegory in Galatians Chapter 4, we find Ishmael is always pictured as energy of the flesh. And remember we can accomplish nothing in the energy of the flesh, but it’s only those that were born of promise that come into God’s Covenant program. Now reading on verse 8:
“That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” And again I think the word, “Seed” here is referring to the, “Seed of the woman” in Genesis 3:15, all the way up through the coming of Christ, and then as Paul says in Galatians Chapter 3:
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
Now then what’s that telling us? That every believer whether it was back in ancient Israel or whether it’s now at the end of the Church Age, every believer was promised to Christ before the foundations of the world. John’s Gospel Chapter 17, probably makes it as clear as any portion in Scripture. And of course I know that in John 17, “Christ’s High Priestly prayer” the men He is really referring to are the eleven, and that’s the way I have to look at it. But nevertheless they are just a little picture of all of those that would one day become the Lord’s by virtue of their Salvation. Here Jesus is speaking:
“I have manifested thy name (He’s praying to the Father remember.) unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me:…”
Now remember those eleven men were not believers until Christ came onto the scene, so Who already had His finger on them? Well God did, and you come on down to verse 12:
“While I was with them in the world, (His earthly ministry) I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, (Why? Because God gave them to Him, and what God does no man can undo) but the son of perdition; (Judas) that the scripture might be fulfilled.”
So what is this telling us? That everyone of us from before the foundation of the world were promised to The Lord Jesus Christ to be His. And so as He went to the Cross, He knew already those that would be His own.
LESSON TWO * PART II
NOT ALL ISRAEL IS ISRAEL
ROMANS 9:6-9 AND GENESIS 32:27,28
We’re going to get back into Romans Chapter 9, and remember this Book of Romans is so basic to not only our understanding these doctrines of Grace, but even as Paul brings out here in these middle three chapters of God dealing with Israel, and where Israel stands in His program even today.
“That is, They which are the children of the flesh, (That is those from Ishmael and later on from Esau) these are not the children of God: (Oh they’re children of Abraham, but they’re not in the line of the Covenant.) but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”
Now you remember the word “seed” is from the Greek word Zera. It is a word very much like our English word “sheep.” It is always used the same way, whether it’s in the singular or in the plural. In other words if you look at one sheep over here it’s a sheep, and if you look at a flock of sheep over here it’s still sheep. So you have to determine from the text is he speaking of many in the word seed, or is he speaking one. Now the article here designates that it’s the singular seed. And so only “the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Go back to Genesis 21:9: Here we have the situation where Isaac and Ishmael are going to have to be separated.
“And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: (son of flesh) for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. (son of promise) And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son (Abraham loved Ishmael, but Abraham still did not have the long range concept of the Abrahamic Covenant of a Messiah coming through his loins). And God said unto Abraham, `Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed (singular) be called.'”
And again it’s speaking of the coming of the “Seed of the Woman” Who is Christ. The Seed of the woman could not take off through Ishmael or Esau, it had to come through the son of promise who was Isaac! Now we’re going to run into the same thing in the next generation when Isaac’s wife Rebecca has twins in her womb. Back to Romans Chapter 9.
“For this is the word of promise” Now I can’t emphasize enough this word promise as I did in the last lesson. Abraham’s almost 100 years old, and Sarah is almost 90, so it had to take a miracle of God for her to conceive, and that miracle of course is a result of the promise of God. And these promises go all the way back to eternity past before Adam was ever created. All of these things were already set in God’s concrete if I can use that term.
“For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.”
Now God’s speaking. People have written that they appreciate my standing constantly on the Sovereignty of God, and I will never back away from that. God is Sovereign, and we’re going to see that in some of these coming verses. All right, so God made the promise, that through Abraham, and Isaac would come this next son of promise in verse 10:
“And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; [Rebecca has twins in her womb] (For the children [Esau & Jacob] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)”
Now Who are we talking about? The Sovereign God! Now I’m going to have to stop before I go any further, and the thought just struck me this morning as I was mulling this over while I was getting dressed. You know I put it on the board a few lessons ago that as mankind moves down the river of life, and on both sides of the banks of that river are constant doors of opportunity over which was written, “Whosoever Will May Come,” but as soon as we respond to that opportunity, and step through that door we can look back at that door and see written over it, “Chosen From Before The Foundations Of The World.”
Now then in these next series of verses here in Chapter 9 are some things that are mighty hard to swallow, and very hard to teach, because people will confuse the issue, and they’re going to fall into the trap of saying, “Well, if it’s all up to my being elected, then why should I worry about it. I’ll just go my own way, and if God sees fit to grab me by the nape of the neck, and I’m elected, then I’ll go to Heaven. If not, I’m going to go to hell because I have no choice in the matter.” Listen, the Bible never teaches that! But here’s where I’m going to clarify it. These succeeding verses now, and everything that we’ve been covering touching the elections, the calling of the believers since eternity past, is a doctrine that really should be studied only by, I think, the believer. Because now as a believer God wants us to know that in our exalted position, we didn’t come in by accident. We came into this position because in eternity past, “God Chose Us.” Now you see that’s something that only the believer can take by faith because God said it. I can’t argue with it, but for the unbeliever he can’t comprehend this, and I don’t expect him to because it isn’t for the unbeliever to try and swallow. All the unbeliever has to understand is, “Whosoever Will May Come.” The unbeliever has to understand that God has said:
II Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
The Scripture says that Christ died for every man. And I ran into a verse the other night and I have read it over and over all these years, but had never really seen it, and of course that’s the beauty of this Book you can never exhaust it. Let’s look at John’s Gospel, and it’s speaking of John the Baptist.
“The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, (Speaking of Christ) that all men through him might believe.” How many? All! Not just a few, but He came that all might believe. In verse 8, John the Baptist wasn’t that Light.
“He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, (Jesus the Christ, and here’s something that I had never seen before) which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
It says, “He lighteth every man,” and The Book doesn’t lie. Now I know a lot of us get all hung up when we realize that people down in the jungles of the Amazon valley, and in certain other spiritual dark places of the world have never heard the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4). And we can’t comprehend a Righteous God sending them to an eternal lake of fire. But listen, The Book says over and over that for some reason or other they have received the Light. They have a certain amount of knowledge. I can’t explain it but that’s what The Book says, and that’s what it says right here, that when Christ came into the world, “His light lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Now that’s a future tense verb, so it wasn’t just speaking of those living at Christ’s time, but rather it was also speaking of those coming on the scene even today. They have received somehow or other the Light. Let’s go to Titus Chapter 2, and another verse that I’ve even struggled with myself, but I take it by faith. I believe it with all my heart, and mind because The Book says it. Here the Apostle Paul is at the end of his earthly ministry, he’s going to be martyred before much longer. But look at this amazing statement, and remember it’s Holy Spirit inspired. It’s The Word of God.
“For the grace of God (That unmerited favor that God has poured out on the whole human race) that bringeth salvation hath (past tense) appeared to all men.” Not just a favored few, but all men. Now let’s back up to Romans that has thrown a curve at a lot of people, and it’s hard for me to teach it because it just seems so impossible, but it isn’t because The Book says it.
“For the wrath of God…” And remember we’re not under the wrath of God today, but rather the Grace of God. But His wrath is coming, it’s getting closer every day, and one of these days God’s going to have His stomach full, and He’s going to start pouring out His wrath. Now reading on:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may (Now watch this) be known of God is manifest in them…”
`Manifest’ is a multi-type term. There isn’t just one little segment of knowledge, they have a whole bunch, just like a manifold on a V-8 engine has 8 port holes. That’s one for every cylinder, that’s a manifold, and the same word is associated with this word manifest. A complete unveiling of knowledge.
“for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood (See?) by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they (the whole human race) are without excuse:” That doesn’t mean we can just sit in our living room and let the world go to Hell. But the constant admonition is that we are to promote the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Absolutely we are. Paul says in II Corinthians 5:
II Corinthians 5:20a
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…”
That’s exactly what He wants us to be. We are to be ambassadors of the tremendous message of reconciliation, but man will never come up before God at the Great White Throne Judgment, and be able to say to God that He was unfair, and that they never had a chance. They can’t say that they didn’t know, and God is going to say unto them, “Depart from me I never knew you.” Everybody has a certain amount of understanding. Now back to Romans Chapter 9.
So this whole concept of election, the foreknowledge of God as to who would become believers is something that the unsaved person doesn’t have to worry about, he doesn’t have to fret over it, he doesn’t have to take the attitude, “Well I don’t have a chance unless God elects me.” The whosoever will on the bank of that life stream river is always open. You know when I teach John’s Gospel Chapter 10 with the analogy of the shepherd and the sheepfold, I always teach that no man cometh into the sheepfold but by the door, and if they try to get in some other way then they’re thieves and robbers. And where is that door for that sheepfold? Ground level where the lost person can walk right through it. It’s not up on some high far way place that is inaccessible, but always at ground level. And all they have to do is choose to go through it, and if they don’t it’s not God’s fault. And we’re going to see this now in the next verses here in Romans Chapter 9. So always temper this with the fact that we can’t comprehend this, even though God’s Word says it, until we’re a believer. And then it is a point of assurance, and rejoicing. I’m secure in the Body of Christ because God chose me.
Let me give you another analogy. I don’t remember the man that wrote it. I read it years ago, and I had to struggle with it, but the more I’ve struggled the better I can see it. He gave the analogy of ten men sitting on death row in a state penitentiary. All of them were there for committing almost an identical type of murder, one was no more bizarre than the others. So each was awaiting the death sentence, and then in the midst of their waiting the Governor sends down a decree that pardons three of those ten men. And so those three at random were given their pardon and sent home a free man. Now then what right do the other seven have to say, “You have to pardon us also.” Can they rightfully say that? No, because what are they still deserving of? Their sentence. They are still guilty murderers who deserve death, but the other three by virtue of a Governors pardon have been set free. Now they didn’t deserve to be set free, they were just as guilty as the other seven, but what got them their freedom? Well the grace of the Governor. But the thing I want to point out is the other seven can never say one word, because they were guilty, they were sentenced and they’re going to get what they deserve. And in some ways that’s a pretty good analogy of how God’s Sovereignty in Grace works.
For you and I as believers were Hell-bound sinners just like everybody else. We were just as deserving of God’s punishment as anybody could be, but why have we escaped? Because we accepted God’s pardon, and now here we are, we’re set free, and the rest of maybe some of our family, and loved ones, and friends are going on to their just deserts. But why are we escaping? The Grace of God. Never lose sight of that fact that it’s only the Grace of God that He put His finger on you, and me. We can never boast, and say, “I’m so glad that I was smart enough to read, and that I had the wherewithal to understand.” But it was only by the Grace of God that after we’re saved we can understand, “Yes, God had me in His sights before the world was ever created.”
You remember I gave the illustration about 4 or 5 years ago, and at the time that I read it I almost shook my head in unbelief, but again the more I think about it the more I believe it. This writer gave the illustration that within the human reproduction system, every human female has within her body the potential to produce thousands upon thousands of ova. Every human male has the potential to produce billions of sperm, and yet it only takes one sperm and one ova to make a child. This writer felt that the Sovereign God supernaturally predetermines which sperm fertilizes which ova.
Now that’s mind boggling when you think of the billions of people on the planet tonight, and everyone of them is a Sovereign act of God. Yes I’m believing it more and more. The same way I think in our everyday experience. I make no apology to the fact that every morning, without exception, I thank God for the day that some how miraculously He let my little wife and I meet. All the things that had to transpire in our two lives to bring my little wife and me to cross paths, fall in love, and now spend forty three years together. An act of God? Absolutely! And not just for the two of us, but for most of you. You can look back, and say, “Wasn’t it a miracle that my husband and I got together.” Most of you can tell the same story. Never sell short the Sovereignty of our God, and it was only by His Grace that He reached down and chose us. But again I have to be careful for the unbeliever, and I know we have a lot of you out there listening who would say, “Why should I be concerned?” You’d better be concerned, because Christ died for every human being. He didn’t die for just the few. He died for every one us, but it’s up to us to accept His offer of pardon. Don’t worry about whether you’re chosen are not, “You believe the Gospel.” (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4.) Once you’ve believed the Gospel for your Salvation then God will move in Grace, and He will show all these truths to you. Not all at once, but rather little by little they will come sifting through. Now let’s move on, and I hope I’ve clarified my view on that. Now verse 11 again:
For the children (Jacob and Esau now in the womb of Rebecca) being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.”
Now that was contrary to Middle Eastern customs. Even in the case of twins, whichever twin was born first he would be the eldest son, and he would be the rightful heir of the inheritances. And so this just flew in the face of what Isaac and Rebecca understood. They thought that this would be against human reason to think that the younger would receive the inheritance. But God, again in foreknowledge, before those lads were ever born, being able to see the beginning to the end knew that Esau would be destitute of faith. God knew that one day Esau would come in and sell the birthright for a bowl of bean soup, and God knew that later on Esau would also lose the blessing, and so in His foreknowledge God could say:
“…The elder shall serve the younger.”
LESSON TWO * PART III
NOT ALL ISRAEL IS ISRAEL
ROMANS 9:6-9 AND GENESIS 32:27,28
Now let’s get right back to where we left off in our last lesson and that will be again in Romans Chapter 9. I hope we can finish this chapter in the next two lessons. Remember the only reason we’re here is to teach the Word as I feel The Lord has opened it up to me, and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and you don’t have to. But if you do disagree with me hopefully you’ll search the Scriptures and see if I’m wrong or not. In our last lesson we left off in verse 12, so let’s read that again, and go on into verse 13.
“It was said unto her, (Rebecca up in verse 10) The elder (Esau) shall serve the younger.” (Jacob)
Now God said that before the boys were ever born. Now verse 13, and I know this throws a curve at people.
“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
Now I always have to qualify the definition of the word “hated.” It is not hate as we think of hating someone enough to practically do them harm. It’s a comparative term. Now, even when Jesus used the term in Luke 14:
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
Now Jesus never expected any human being to hate their parents, but it was a comparative term. That unless we can have such a love for the Lord Jesus that by comparison our love for the family is almost like a hatred. Now it’s the same way here with Esau, it wasn’t that God just had an intrinsic hatred for him, but His love for Jacob was so great, and almost beyond comprehension in comparison it almost seems as if Esau was hated. Now some time ago I was reading something by Charles Spurgeon, that great English preacher in London in the 1800’s. And a lady, after one of his services, came up to him and said, “Mr. Spurgeon, I cannot understand how God could hate Esau.” And Mr. Spurgeon said, “Lady, that’s not my problem. My problem is how in the world did He love Jacob?” And isn’t that it? It’s no problem to understand how He hated Esau because Esau was totally destitute of faith, and didn’t think anything of what God said, but how could He love Jacob? Now we’re not going to stop with Jacob. How could He love me?.
You know I have to stop and think back when I was a skinny little kid, and that dear preacher’s wife I’m sure, wept bitter tears over me, but she never gave up, and then one day that dear lady led me to The Lord. And some day, whatever I’ve been able to reap will be part of her harvest because she was faithful, and so it is with all of us. Why did God love you? Have you ever asked yourself that? Why should He? No more than why He loved Jacob. Now we’re going to see where Paul picks this up in the Book of Malachi Chapter 1.
“The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, `Wherein hast thou loved us?’ `Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?’ saith the LORD: `yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.'”
Now again you have to go back into ancient history, and the offspring of Esau of course were the Edomites, and they were mountain dwellers. Remember when you have someone that lives in the mountains they must be in good physical shape, because when you climb those mountains everyday for whatever purpose, you’re building up your physical stamina, and so the Edomites had become a physically strong people. And they had built their homes up in the cliffs, and had gotten proud and arrogant, and thought that nobody could destroy them. Well you can read on down through these verses and you can see what God said. He said, “I’ll destroy you, I won’t let you prosper because coming out of Esau they were anti-God, they had no time for God, and He says in verse 4:
“Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return (In other words God had already thrown down their houses once.) and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever. And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, `The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.'”
What God is saying, is that even these Edomites and all their pride, and physical stamina, and so forth, they were nothing under a Sovereign God. But little old weak Israel, God could make them what ever He wanted. Now back to Romans. This is where Paul quotes from them when he says:
“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
Now remember what I said in the last lesson. We’re going to come into these verses that are really tough. I had rather just skip the rest of Chapter 9 and go to Chapter 10 because it would be a lot easier, but we can’t do that, we have to take it as it comes. And for us as believers this is not a problem because you can now look back and see that you were chosen from before the foundation of the world. For a lost person listening to me, you’re still on the other side of the door, you’re still looking at, “Whosoever will may come.”
I was reading, I think William R. Newell awhile back, and he ran into a gentlemen in Michigan during his ministry, and that gentlemen made the rash statement, “Well if I’m in the elect, I have nothing to worry about, and if I’m not then there is nothing you or anybody else can do about it, because I’ll go to hell anyway.” And this writer said, “Mister, wake up, you don’t have to worry about being elected, what you have to worry about is what are you going to do with the Gospel. Reference I Corinthians 15:1-4. Are you going to believe it and then be one of the elect, or are you going to reject the Gospel, and go to your doom.”
And that’s exactly where I have to leave it, but now we’re going to see in these verses, from verse 14 to almost the end of the chapter, the Sovereignty of God. He can do whatever He wants to do, but being the Righteous Holy God that He is He will never do anything that is unfair. And this what we have to constantly keep in front of us. God will never be unrighteous, He will never treat somebody unfairly.
“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
Let’s go back again into Israel’s history, and we find that God has raised up the deliverer Moses to go down into Egypt, and confront Pharaoh. But in the end result He brings Israel out of Egypt, down to Mount Sinai. He’s already giving them the Manna, and He’s going to provide all their physical needs, and He’s getting ready to give them the Ten Commandments, and set up the whole system of the Law. But while Moses is up in the mountain, what takes place down at the base? While Moses was up in the mountain the Children of Israel asked Aaron, “Make us a God.” And you know what happened. Aaron said that he threw some gold into the fire and out came this calf. Isn’t it amazing what grown men can think of, but nevertheless here they begin this worship of that golden calf. And when Moses and Joshua came down off the mountainside, Joshua said, “Moses do I hear music? Do I hear laughter?” And Moses soon caught on, and said to Joshua, “More than that, they’re dancing.” They weren’t just dancing, they were in lewd lascivious dancing, they were naked in pagan worship around that golden calf.
Now then, what did God have every right in His righteousness to do with Israel? He had every right in His righteousness to wipe them off the face of the earth. Was God ready to do that? Yes He was. He was Hot in His anger The Word says. And He says in so many words that He would start over with Moses again. But what does Moses do? Oh, he falls on his face before God, and I think for almost thirty days he pleads with Jehovah God to spare these people. Don’t let the Egyptians be able to crow, “Well look what happened to those people that got away from us. Their God destroyed them in the wilderness.” So Moses pleaded, and he pleaded for them. Now on what basis did God spare Israel? His Mercy. That was the only thing that God could fall back on.
I think John Darby who used the term, “Here in all of His Holiness and Righteousness, He had every right to destroy the nation of Israel, but He withdrew into His Sovereignty.” And in His Sovereignty He poured out mercy. Isn’t that fabulous? All through Israel’s history when they would fail God in His promises, and would go into idolatry, where would God have to go each time? Back into His Sovereignty, and in His Sovereignty He would pour out mercy.
Now let’s come all the way up to the Cross of Calvary. Here Israel has demanded His death, and Rome is pounding the spikes into His hands. What could God had done? He could have cleansed the earth of the whole human race, but again what did He do? He withdrew into His Sovereignty. And as the Sovereign God of the universe that could do whatever He wanted to do. And as Christ hung on that Cross, what did God pour out? Mercy. Mercy not just for the Nation of Israel, but for the whole human race, and only because He is Sovereign. In any other circumstance He would have had to destroy the human race, He would have had to destroy Israel, He would have had to destroy you and I. And even today, why does God continue to offer Salvation to the human race? My when you listen to the news and read your newspaper, when you see what’s going on in all echelons of our society, what keeps God from just totally doing what He was going to do to Israel? His Sovereign Grace. And that’s where we are, He is Sovereign, and in Grace He poured out His mercy there at the Cross of Calvary.
Remember I mentioned in one of our lessons some time ago about a gentlemen from Tennessee who called one Sunday afternoon, and said, “Les, is the sinner’s prayer appropriate today?” Well that’s kind of a loaded question, but I caught it quick enough to say “No, that’s not appropriate.” Because what’s the sinner’s prayer? “God be merciful to me a sinner.” That’s not appropriate today, Why? God has already poured out His mercy. He did that at the Cross, and for us, for Him to pour out His mercy is a double take. And it’s the same as saying, “God, You had better do it again.” No He doesn’t have to do it again, He’s already poured out all the mercy of a Sovereign God, and so now what do we do? We appropriate that mercy by faith, and we say, “Yes, Lord, I know that your mercy was poured out, and now I believe it, I appropriate it, it’s mine.” And that makes all the difference in the world if we don’t understand what God has already accomplished at the Cross on our behalf. Now let’s come on back to Romans Chapter 9, so this is what Paul is referring to, that when Moses was flat on his face after the episode of the golden calf, and that’s when God told Moses:
“…I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (Because God is Sovereign. He is the final authority. Now verse 16.) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
Now turn with me to John’s Gospel for a moment to Chapter 1. Here He’s speaking of them who had become believers, and He says:
“Which were born, (Into the family of God) not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, (But how were they born?) but of God.
Now as Jesus was dealing here in John’s Gospel, He’s still with the Nation of Israel in His earthly ministry isn’t He? What was the great opposition to Jesus of Nazareth during His earthly ministry. Turn on over to Chapter 8. I’ll tell you what the problem was, these Jews of Jesus’ day, especially the Pharisees with whom He had most to do, were proud of their lineage. They were proud of their genealogy, they weren’t the children of Esau, they weren’t the children of Ishmael. They were children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and you see it over and over. And so when Jesus came and confronted them with their sins, why couldn’t they see their sins? They were relying on their genealogy. Hey, we’re the the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we don’t have a sin problem. Oh no? Look what Jesus says now in Chapter 8 of John’s Gospel.
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.”
Quite an accusation isn’t it? My, as the sons of Abraham who thought they were righteous, they should have been able to embrace Jesus, and realize Who He was. Why couldn’t they? Because they were blind. Now reading on:
“I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.”
Wow! What’s He doing? He’s slapping them in the face that they didn’t know the same Father that He did. But they take it and throw it back at Jesus with a horrible answer.
“They answered and said unto him, `Abraham is our father.’ Jesus saith unto them, `If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. (You would be people of faith.) But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.'”
In other words when God spoke to Abraham, Abraham didn’t respond in self righteousness and say, “Hey, away with you, we’re going to kill you.” No. Abraham the man of faith recognized Who God was when He came into his life. Now verse 41, and Jesus said:
“Ye do the deeds of your father, (watch this) Then said they to him, `We be not born of fornication: we have one Father, even God.'”
Do you realize what their throwing at Jesus? See they didn’t believe in His virgin birth, What was the story going through Nazareth? That Mary and Joseph, even if he was the father, had conceived out of wedlock. And I imagine the story was going around that Joseph wasn’t even the father, and so they’re throwing this whole thing that Jesus of Nazareth was a result of fornication, an immoral act. I tell you what, you have no idea how low these people were. Now verse 42:
“Jesus said unto them, `If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? (or what I’m saying, and then Jesus answered His own question) even because ye cannot hear my words. (It never registered with them, and remember this is strong language He is using.) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. (your father) He was a murderer from the beginning, and (your father) abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
And then look at the next verse. Do you think Jesus knew what He was talking about? Boy you had better believe it.
“Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, `Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?’ (or demon. That’s unbelievable isn’t it.) Jesus answered, `I have not a devil: (demon) but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.'”
We won’t take time to finish that chapter, but go ahead and read it, but what I want you to see is, what were these Jews relying on? Their genealogy. They were the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but even though they had that unique opportunity, they had the Scriptures, they had the Word of God, and the priesthood, but what were they? Wrapped in unbelief, and they could not comprehend. Now let’s come back to Romans, and verse 16 again.
“So then it is not of him that willeth,…”
In other words a person can’t just say, “Oh well, since I am of a particular genealogy, or nationality, or race, I’m going to be a child of God.” But you see it doesn’t work that way, and that’s what Jesus was speaking about that we just looked at.
“…nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
Well the purpose of running is to get from one place to another, and so the whole concept here is, it isn’t up to a man to make up his mind, well I’m going to do this for God, and I’m going to go from here to there for God. No it doesn’t work that way. It’s absolutely contrary to the workings of a Sovereign God. Now verse 17.
“For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, (The Pharaoh of Egypt) `Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.'”
Now what’s that verse referring to? Well, after the plagues that had stricken Egypt, even though it was the ancient world and they didn’t have communication as speedy as ours, did the word get across the then-known world what had happened in Egypt? Absolutely. Even the Canaanites clear up there in present day Palestine, by the time the Jews got there they knew what had happened down in Egypt. And they knew that God of the Israelites had destroyed Egypt. The pagan Canaanites up there years later still talked about how the God of Israel had dealt with Pharaoh. And when you go back and read ancient history, Egypt was in shambles so others just came in and took it over really. But God did all this with Pharaoh in order to accomplish His Sovereignty.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
NOT ALL ISRAEL IS ISRAEL
ROMANS 9:6-9 AND GENESIS 32:27,28
Now back to Romans Chapter 9, and I thought I was going to finish this chapter today, but it doesn’t look like we are even going to get close. At the close of our last lesson God had been dealing with Pharaoh, and how God put him in that position for the purpose of magnifying His own name. Now in verse 18 we come down to this whole concept again of the mercy of God.
“Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”
Now the word `hardeneth’ in the Scripture is usually translated `heavy.’ In other words, when Isaiah spoke of a burden that was heavy it was as the same Hebrew word here translated hardeneth. In other words, the more Pharaoh tried to oppose God the more God’s wrath weighed down on the man. Now here’s something that we have to understand. Pharaoh, like anyone today, came to that place of hardening his own heart, not because God made him do it, but because God put him in a place of either accepting or rejecting, and by rejecting he hardened his own heart. Even though the Scripture says that God hardened his heart.
Again I have a quote today that goes like this. “Men are not lost because they are hardened, they are hardened because they are lost.” Do you hear that? Remember I coined my own phrase a few lessons back that went like this. “We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners.” And we’re sinners because we’re born of Adam. So when God hardened Pharaoh’s heart as the Scripture says, it wasn’t that Pharaoh didn’t have a choice. It was that when God put him on the spot Pharaoh grizzled up and said, “I’ll not let those people go.” And so he really hardened his own heart.
“Thou wilt say then unto me, `Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? (Remember God’s Sovereign) Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?'”
In other words could Pharaoh turn around in the face of God, and say, “Why did you make me what I am?” No, he had no right to say that because he of his own volition rejected God’s offer of taking Israel out of Egypt. Now verse 21, and this is a tough one. We have to realize that this is God’s Word, and every one of these verses is for us.
“Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump (of clay) to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:”
Let’s go back to the Book of Jeremiah Chapter 18 for a moment, and again in years gone by I would struggle with this, but I no longer do because I can just see that all we’re dealing with is a Sovereign God. But a Sovereign God Who deals in mercy, and we appropriate that mercy by His Grace. So we don’t have to struggle with this like Paul just said, “Well God, why did you make me the way I am?” Because He’s Sovereign, absolutely He made me the way I am. You know I made the statement years ago, “Don’t ever complain to God about how you look, or how you are physically put together.” Hey that’s not our prerogative. God made us the way we are for His purpose, and we are to accept what we are as we are. And it’s the same way with our gifts and our talents, it’s not for us to complain, and say, “Well God, why didn’t you give me this gift. Why didn’t you let me sing like that person can sing.” God’s Sovereign, and it’s the same way with wealth, and all these other things. A lot of us are prone to say, “Well God, why couldn’t you make me wealthy?” Well it’s not in His will necessarily that I have wealth. So we should always realize that He’s the potter, and He has control of the clay.
“The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD saying, `Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. (He was working a lump of clay) And the vessel that he made of clay was marred (it had a fault) in the hand of the potter:…'”
So what does the potter do? Have you ever seen one? Up comes that clay, and he’s spinning it, and all of a sudden if he doesn’t like the looks of it, what does he do? He just pushes it down on the plate again, and starts over. This is exactly what happened here as Jeremiah is watching the potter making a work, and all of a sudden a fault develops so he just pushes it back down into the lump.
“…so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. (Have you got the picture?) Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying. O house of Israel, (Remember Jeremiah is a prophet of Israel, so this is written to the Jews of that day.) cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”
Now then you know where I have a problem? And it’s still hard for me to comprehend. Since God is in such control of the Nation of Israel, why did they not accept the Messiah when He made His appearance? And why, since He was in control, did they cry out to crucify Him? The only answer that I have is in Ephesians Chapter 1, and then we’ll go to II Timothy, because comparing Scripture is the only way we can reconcile some of these things. And I’m not going to let you lose sight of the Sovereignty of God. Everything began with Him, and everything is in His control even today.
“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated (same as elected or called) according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of (Who’s will?) his own will.” Do you see that? Everything comes together according to His divine purpose. Let’s turn over to II Timothy. What is is His divine purpose under His Sovereign will?
II Timothy 1:7-9
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me (Paul says) his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, (We didn’t deserve it, we didn’t run, and will to the place where God said, `All right I’ll take you.’) but (He has called us) according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
That’s almost unbelievable. Especially from the human element, but by faith as soon as we become a child of God we can look back and see, “I was chosen before God ever created Adam.” God already had you and I positioned in the Body of Christ. This is why Paul could say in Romans Chapter 8:
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature (or creation) shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Why? Because we were already His before anything was ever created. How in the world can people say, “Well I’m not secure, I have to work, I have to live so that I don’t lose all this.” No you don’t. You have been called with a purpose in God’s mind, and we rest on that. Now that doesn’t give us license. My, if I have one favorite cliche that I use over and over it is, “Grace is not License.” Just because we’ve entered into this tremendous mercy that was poured out on the Cross, and it was precipitated by the Grace of God, and I appropriate it by faith, that doesn’t give me license, that doesn’t give me the right to go out and steal, commit adultery, and all the other things. But it’s all in His divine purpose that we are called, we are elected, we’re His. Now come back to Romans Chapter 9.
“And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,”
Who’s he talking about? Every believer, whether it was back in Israel, or Christ’s earthly ministry. Those disciples we saw back in John 17, that were given to Christ, those are vessels of mercy. For every born again child of God today we’re vessels of mercy, none of us deserve anything, it’s all of His mercy, but it was poured out at the Cross. And now we have appropriated it by faith. Now verse 24.
See Paul includes himself. Remember Paul is the epitome of a sinner saved by Grace isn’t he? If there was ever a man that God had every right in the world to zap it was Saul of Tarsus, but what happened? Saul didn’t suddenly come to his senses and repent, and say, “Oh God, I’m so sorry won’t you please accept me?” No. Saul was on his way to Damascus to carry out his dirty work. And what happened? God just literally knocked him off his horse, and spoke to him”
“And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”
That was what? Grace! Grace! And so we are in that same category with the Apostle Paul, we are saved without ever doing anything on our part. And listen, that’s the way it’s always been. You know I’m always taking you back to Genesis, and the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve have sinned, they’ve partaken of that forbidden tree, and immediately saw their human nakedness, and what did they do? They sewed their fig leaves, but those fig leaves just sort of fell into nothing when they heard the LORD coming down the path, and what did they do? They run and hide, even with their fig leaves they are in no shape to meet their Righteous Creator so they hide. Does the Creator give up, and say, “Well I can’t find them, I’m going back to heaven?” What does He do? He finds them, and He’s see them in their hiding, and says, “Adam where art thou,” and Adam has to respond. But what does God do? He restores them. What is that? That’s mercy. That’s Grace. When I say that we’re in the Age of Grace I never imply that God’s Grace is something that was unknown until we get to Paul. It becomes the great attribute of God with Paul’s epistles, but Grace was already evident in the Garden of Eden.
And as I have already showed you when Israel went after the golden calf, what kept God from destroying them? His mercy and Grace. And when they rejected the Messiah, and they crucified Him, again God had every right in this world to wipe Israel off the map, but why didn’t He? His Grace. And the whole human race tonight – why has God forestalled destroying humanity when we know they deserve it. He doesn’t because of His Grace. And we can never comprehend it.
“Even us, whom he hath called, not of Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.”
That threw a curve at most Jews. I always take you back to Acts, and we did this in Haiti recently where we had the opportunity to teach about 700 people every day for five days straight. One of the verses I used was in Acts 22, where Paul addresses a great crowd of Jews after returning from his journeys to the Gentiles. He comes back to Jerusalem, and he is trying to get these Jews to see that again it was the One that they crucified that had sent him to the Gentiles.
“And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; And saw him (Jesus) saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; for they (the Jews) will not receive thy testimony concerning me. And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. And he (The Lord Jesus) said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” Paul is speaking to this great crowd of Jews. This next verse tells you everything about the Jews’ attitude toward Gentile dogs.
“And they gave him audience unto this word, (what word? `Gentiles’ in verse 21.) and then lifted up their voices, and said, `Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.'”
Why? He dared to say the word Gentile. Now that was their attitude, and now take a verse like verse 24 in Romans 9 in that context and what did that do to the Jews? It infuriated them. Now verse 24 again:
“Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles” This wasn’t a concept of Paul, this wasn’t something that he pulled out of the woodwork. Go to Isaiah 42:
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: (He is speaking of Christ the Messiah) he (The Messiah) shall bring forth judgment (rule, government) to the Gentiles.”
This is an Old Testament concept. Absolutely. God had the Gentiles on His mind, but not until He had finished His work with Israel. Look at Chapter 49, and I’m doing this so you can see this isn’t just a Pauline concept that God was going to turn to the Gentiles. This was all part of the Old Testament Covenant that the day would come when Israel had completed the promises – then God would turn to the Gentile world.
“And he said, `It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: (Jacob was the nation as a whole, but Israel was the believing remnant.) I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.'”
Israel was to have had the opportunity, and they did to a certain extent, because every word of this Book has been written by Jews. But God had even more than that in mind for the nation, but they rejected it in their unbelief. But here was God’s idea that He was going to go to the Gentile world through this Covenant people. There are other passages that I could show you, but we won’t take the time for that today. But I just wanted you to see that God from the beginning knew that the day would come when He would go to whole Gentile world with His Salvation. But when Israel was constantly rejecting this idea, He had to send the Nation of Israel out into dispersion. He took away their Temple, took away their land, and turned to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul in this tremendous Gospel of the Grace of God. Now look briefly at Romans Chapter 9, and verse 25:
“As he saith also in O-see, (Book of Hosea) I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”
Who were the people that were not His people? Gentiles! Who were the people who would finally come to the place where they would say, “You’re my God,” and He would say, “You’re my people.” Well, you and I now in this Age of Grace. That was all foretold clear back there in the Old Testament even in the Book of Hosea.
LESSON THREE * PART I
“BELIEVE IN THINE HEART”
Now let’s pick up where we left off in our last lesson and that’s in verse 25 of Romans Chapter 9. Remember Chapter 9 is Paul dealing with Israel’s past, and why they have been having the problems that they’ve had. And then in Chapter 10 we’re going to be dealing with how God treats Israel today, and of course never forget that in Romans Chapter 3, Paul gives us a hint to what that is when Paul says,
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
So Paul says that there is no difference. Today a Jew has to approach God on the same basis that we as Gentiles do. And then when we get to Chapter 11 it will be dealing with Israel’s future. God is not through with the Nation of Israel like 90% of Christendom would like to tell us, but Israel’s Covenant promises are going to be yet fulfilled. But of course it can not happen until God is through dealing with the Gentile Church, and we’ll see that so graphically in Chapter 11. Here in Chapter 9 we’re still dealing with Israel’s past, and so naturally Paul is going to be dipping back into the Old Testament because Israel’s dilemma was prophesied. God knew Israel was going to be blind to these things, and that she would not recognize her Messiah even when He came, so Paul makes reference in verse 25 to the old prophecy of Hosea.
“As he saith also in O-see, (Greek for Hosea) I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.”
Now I think in order to pick up what Paul, and Hosea were referring to, we need to turn back to the Book of Acts for a moment. And remember there was a great counsel that was trying to settle the controversy as to Paul going to Gentiles. Whereas the Jewish believers in Jerusalem thought Paul was wrong in doing this. So consequently they had called Paul up to Jerusalem to answer these things. But as you remember, Peter came to Paul’s defense finally. And remember that a good while ago God had sent him up to the house of Cornelius, and Peter’s eyes were opened to the fact that, “Yes, God could save Gentiles without becoming proselytes of Judaism.” But here in Acts Chapter 15, let’s begin with verse 12, where they have listened to Peter as he has shared with these Jews at Jerusalem, and I imagine that included all twelve disciples, and some of the other leaders at Jerusalem, and now look at their conclusion.
“Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace,…”
Remember there had been an uproar because the Jews were jealous of their relationship with Jehovah God, and they couldn’t comprehend these things, but finally, and as I have often said, God does everything Sovereignly. Had Peter not had that eye-opening experience at the house of Cornelius, Paul would have never gotten off the hook. Christianity would have never gotten off the ground. But God did open Peter’s eyes twelve years earlier to the fact that Gentiles could be saved by simply believing. So now it’s concluded.
“And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon (Or Peter) hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, (And now he goes back to the Book of Amos) After this (After the calling out a people for His name in verse 14.) I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:”
Now here the conclusion was made then that, “Yes, God is going to call out of the Gentiles a people for His name.” Now I’m well aware of the fact that scripturally Gentiles certainly do not come into that intimate relationship that God had with Israel when He called them, “My People.” And then when they fell away, in their unbelief, then He said to Moses, “Thy People.” And it won’t be until Israel comes back in complete belief, when the return of Christ is taking place at His second coming, that they will recognize Him, and once again they will be called, “My People.” But other than this portion right here in Acts where God says, “That He’s going to call out of the Gentiles a people for His name.” We as Gentiles are more correctly referred to as “His Born Ones.”
We are the children of God, and that’s a term that Israel has never enjoyed, and never will, and that’s what I stressed even in our seminar last Saturday. We, as members of the Body of Christ, enjoy a position that Israel will never obtain, and of course I’m of the impression that the Church will be the Bride of Christ, and as such we’re joint heirs with Christ, we’re going to reign and rule with Christ, and that means that everything that is His will be ours, and everything that is ours of course is His. But this is that tremendous relationship now that we have as being the very “Born Ones” of God Himself by virtue of our salvation experience. Now back to Romans Chapter 9 again, and verse 25. I think these are the people that are referenced here by the Apostle Paul, that these Gentiles who were never reckoned in the Old Testament to have anything to do with Israel’s God, but now they are indeed a people that God has called out from among the Gentiles, called them to Himself. When He is through calling the Gentiles out, we will see in Romans Chapter 11 that He will again turn back to His Covenant people Israel. Verse 26:
“And it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called (Now here comes what I just referred to – “The Born Ones” that they will be called) the children of the living God.”
Now that’s us. That’s the Gentiles. We are not a Covenant people like Israel was. Never buy into this Covenant relationship. We are not under Covenants, we are under “The Born Ones,” we have been born from above by the work of the Holy Spirit the moment we believe. And so this, I think, is exactly what we have to emphasize. That last part of verse 26 where it says, “We will be called the children of the living God.” Now verse 27 and Paul is going to go to yet another portion of the Old Testament. He’s going to go to Isaiah.
“Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:”
Now, I’ve stressed this before in the program, at least in our classes here in Oklahoma, that there is what I call a doctrine of the remnant all through Scripture. God has never enjoyed the majority. It’s always been that small remnant. Now I guess the first one that you could refer to would be the flood. Out of all those billions of people I think that were on the earth at the time of the flood, how many remained true to God? Eight! And even some of them became rather despicable afterwards. But nevertheless only eight – that little tiny remnant. And then when finally the nation of Israel comes into view, the Word would light on Jacob, the whole nation. But how many out of Jacob would respond and believe? Just the few and they were usually referred to as Israel. Now, it’s the same way here from this portion in Isaiah. God has always had His remnant even within the nation of Israel.
Now you all know the account of Elijah there on Mt. Carmel, when he confronted all the prophets of Baal. Jezebel was about 14 or 15 miles to the east. But yet you remember that account of Elijah, after he heard the threat from Jezebel, that he would be the next day, like all her priests were today. And what did poor old Elijah do? He must have been in good shape because I don’t know how long it took, but all of a sudden from Mt. Carmel, clear up there in Northern Israel, we find him clear down at the Mount where the Ten Commandments were given down in the Southern area. He ran, ran, ran, you remember, and finally as he’s all tuckered out he sits down under a Juniper tree and what does he say?
I Kings 19:10
“And he said, `I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.'” (But what did God tell Elijah?)
I Kings 19:18
“Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”
Seven thousand out of a few million is still only a little remnant. And so this is what’s always been the case. Oh we like to think that the Jews for the most part were an obedient people, but were they? No. Only a few were left as true believers, and that of course included the parents of John the Baptist, Zacharias and Elisabeth, Joseph and Mary. Just that little few that were still true believers of the God of Abraham. The rest had been cloaked in nothing more than their religion. That’s all they had – just a dead religion, and that’s why Jesus called them, “whited sepulchers” because they were a dead religion with no spiritual life whatsoever. And then you can come all the way up to the end of Christ’s earthly ministry, and again I like to use the Scripture because some of these statements are rather graphic. So let’s go back to Acts Chapter 1 for a moment, and begin with verse 15. And here we are, after three years of Christ’s earthly ministry up and down the highways and byways of the little nation of Israel.
I think most people are totally misled for most think that all those multitudes everywhere He went were all believers. They weren’t. Why did they follow Him? Not because He was the One they were placing their faith in, but He was the One that was handing out free lunches. People were no different than they are today. You promise a free lunch and the multitude will come, you promise a healing meeting, and the multitudes will come. I guarantee you they will, but they weren’t believers. The only reason He healed them all, He was proving Who He was. These people were just a multitude trying to cash in on something that was for nothing. But by the end of those three years, and after His crucifixion and Resurrection, this group of believers meet in the upper room in Jerusalem. I’m not saying that this is all there were in all of Israel, but rather all there was in the area of Jerusalem.
“And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty.)”
And I think that was it. I think that this was the sum total of the true believers, of Jews, at least in the area of Jerusalem. A following of 120 after three years of His kind of a ministry. And then we wonder why our numbers today are small and getting smaller all the time. Because the true believing element is getting attacked from every direction, and I’m sure you are aware of an article in the last U.S. News & World Report where these great so-called famous theologians are just gutting the Scripture. They are disclaiming all the claims of Christ. They’re telling us that He was nothing but an impostor, and I think the most ridiculous statement that one of those fellows made was, “How in the world can people believe that when the writers of the Gospels went back and quoted what Jesus supposedly said, they were asking people to remember word for word things that had been said 10 to 20 years previously.”
Logically, you couldn’t expect people to remember all the words of Jesus as He gave the Sermon on the Mount. Of course they couldn’t, and they didn’t. I’m always emphasizing every word of this Book is not picked from somebody’s notes, or put together from research, but rather it’s put together as the Holy Spirit moved these writers, and they didn’t have to stop and wonder what was said. They wrote as the Holy Spirit moved them to write, and see these intellectual theologians don’t know that. They’re strictly looking at all this from the human stand point. What do these theologians think about Moses writing the first five Books? Moses wasn’t there at the creation, and I guess that’s why they can’t believe the Bible. Moses wrote about the creation by inspiration, and how did Moses write about his own death in the Book of Deuteronomy Chapter 34? By inspiration. And so it is with every writer of Scripture, and it’s the same way with this writer, the Apostle Paul. He did not have to sit and contemplate, and wonder, he wrote as the Holy Spirit gave him utterance. Now back to Romans 9. God has always had that remnant, and now since we’re dealing with Israel’s past with regards from Paul’s point of view, he’s now going to include some of the Jewish believers since Pentecost, even in his own ministry. Remember Paul always went to the Jew first, some believed, but most believed not. So this is what Paul is making reference to then, that there would be a remnant that would be saved. It’s the same way again at the end of the age. There will only be a remnant of Jews saved at the end of the Tribulation. Just a small percentage. Zechariah tells us:
“And I will bring the third part through the fire, (The great Tribulation) and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them 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, `The LORD is my God.'” So only a third, just a remnant of the Jews will be saved, and that means that 2/3 will lose their lives. Let’s come on up to verse 28 of Romans Chapter 9.
“For he will finish the work,…”
God never does anything halfway and then quits. Man does that. But what God starts, He finishes, and He started a work with Israel in 2000 B.C., and He hasn’t forgotten them, and He is yet going to finish what He started with Israel. Now granted, there’s been over a 1900-year gap that God hasn’t been dealing with them on Covenant basis, but He is still going to finish what He started. Verse 28 again:
“For he will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness:…”
In other words, once that seven years of Tribulation starts it will be seven years of Him primarily dealing with the Jew, and He will be dealing with the Jew according to His righteousness. You can’t go beyond that. His righteousness is going to mandate that by the time that seven years is ended. The unbelieving element will have suffered His wrath, and His judgment, but the believing remnant are going to come into His rule and reign when He sets up His kingdom. Remember 7 years is not a very long time compared to the 6000 years it’s been since Adam. Now finishing the verse:
“For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness; because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.” Now that’s also reference to Matthew Chapter 24:22:
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved:…”
Well I’ve always taught that to mean that the seven years will end right on schedule, and won’t be extended. When that seven years is complete then God’s through, He’s in total Sovereign control. Now verse 29:
“And as Esaias (Isaiah) said before, `Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrah.'”
Now again, what’s the reference? Had it not been for the remnant every time what would have happened to the Nation of Israel? God would have had to destroy them like He did Sodom. And that’s exactly what Paul is making reference to. But even though Israel was constantly turning back in unbelief, beginning especially at Kadesh-barnea when they could have gone in and had the land of promise, but in unbelief they turned around and went back into the wilderness. But there again there was that remnant of true believers, and it’s the same way as we come to the end of the age. There will be that remnant of Israel that will cause God to spare the nation.
“What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.”
They came out of their bleak, dark, godless idolatry, paganism, and they have stepped into the glorious light of God’s grace, something that Israel could never understand. But Paul is again reminding them that these Gentiles, who of course had not been following after righteousness, but they’ve attained it. Why? Because they had faith, and that’s what the Jew even today cannot comprehend. I made mention recently that I had read where the First Lady was so thankful that America was finally throwing away absolutes. Well, if they could only see that’s our problem, but you see this is a Book of absolutes, and I usually stress two of them in particular, and most of you know what they are.
“…and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
“But without faith it is impossible to please him:…”
Those are absolutes, and that was Israel’s problem, they couldn’t believe what God said. But here come these Gentiles, and they hear the Apostle Paul preaching and they could believe it, and Israel just shook her head, so that’s exactly what Paul is talking about. Now verse 31:
“But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, had not attained to the law of righteousness. (Why?) Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law….”
We’re not that much different today. I would again just in general say that 90% of Christendom, and I’m including Protestant, Catholic, and all the rest that use the Bible as their rules of order, are still living under a “Works Religion.” Do this and that, and then maybe God will accept you. But Paul screams that it’s not of works, but it’s all faith. “Faith + Nothing.” Oh, nothing thrills my heart more than people that have been steeped in this kind of religion who come up and tell me what a total difference when they realized that, and they simply rely on the finished work of Christ on our behalf. Now verse 32 again:
“Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone;”
And Who has been the Stone of stumbling? The Christ! Jesus of Nazareth for Israel, and He’s still the Stone of stumbling for the world today. They stumble over these precious truths concerning Christ in His finished work of the Cross. Verse 33:
“As it is written, `Behold, I lay in Sion (Zion) a stumbling stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.'”
And so we know Who the Stone of all Scripture is. It’s Christ in all the various aspects of a stone, but here He is a Stone of stumbling. There’s a legend, it’s not Scriptural, but is so appropriate for this. When they were building the first temple all the stones were cut at the quarry. Nothing was ever hammered at the sight of the Temple. So the quarry sent in the head cornerstone, the one that was to be the final stone to hold everything together, and it came in too early and the builders didn’t know what to do with it. So what did they do? They threw it off into a vacant lot, and with time, grass and weeds grew up around it, and over time people would use that vacant lot for a shortcut. And as they would take a shortcut through that vacant lot they would stumble over that stone that had been misused by the builders. And that is the perfect picture of what we’ve done with Christ.
LESSON THREE * PART II
“BELIEVE IN THINE HEART”
Now we just finished Chapter 9, and that was dealing with Israel’s past so let’s go right into Romans Chapter 10, and remember this chapter will deal with Israel in this present day dispensation. And as Paul makes so plain back there in Romans Chapter 3, that now since everything has been accomplished at the Cross, and he has now been going out into the Gentile world, that there is no difference. And I can’t emphasize that enough. A Jew doesn’t have to give up his Jewishness, but they have to separate themselves from all of the Old Testament economy because this is the whole idea of this age of Grace. We have nothing to do with Law. That was all settled at the Cross. I love that verse in Colossians:
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross;”
A Jew today is under no different situation than a Gentile so far as God is concerned, and they have to understand that. Since Chapter 10 of Romans is dealing with the Jew in this present age, it stands to reason that everything in Chapter 10 has an application for us. And that’s why we use this chapter so often in our salvation verses, because it’s no different for us than it is for the Jew. Salvation is now offered on that same level playing field. A Jew doesn’t have an advantage over a Gentile nor is he disadvantaged, we’re both alike, we’re all under sin, we all need salvation; there’s no difference.
But I think Paul is trying to emphasize that so many of Christendom have the opinion that God’s all through with the Jew. Because they were the quote, unquote “Christ Killers,” because they rejected their Messiah, and God sent them into a dispersion, and destroyed their Temple. This 90% think that God is through with the Jew. And I’ve made statements of what others have said, including Martin Luther, who was a detester of the Jews. I think it was from a religious point of view because again he felt they had killed the Messiah. But that is not according to Scriptures. Martin Luther might have come up with a lot of other good concepts, but he was sure in left field on that one. Now let’s read, and remember Paul is writing to Gentiles. The Book of Romans is written to the Gentile believers at Rome.
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” Do you remember what Paul said about this back in Chapter 9? He said that he would even give up his own Salvation if he could see the nation saved.
“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.”
Now, he’s talking about the Jews here, but you know what? That’s the problem with most of Christendom today. They may have a zeal, they may never miss a Church service, they may be there every time the doors are opened, but they have no knowledge of the Scriptures. They are totally ignorant of the Scriptures. I remember a couple that I once taught and they have long since died, but the wife told me, sort of puffed up as she left the class one night, that she had taught Sunday School for 30 years at the First Church in Oklahoma City, and she said, “I know my Bible.” I replied, “Well, I’m surprised you came, are you coming next week?” She said, “O yes, we’ll be back.” Well the next week on the way out she almost repeated it word for word. But bless her heart, after coming for about 4 weeks, and with no pomp or puffiness, she said, “I never knew that I was so ignorant.” Well praise the Lord when we get to the place that we realize that we don’t know it all, that’s when we begin to learn, and I’m in no different situation even yet. I told some people the other day that every day I’m seeing things that I never saw before.
As we were coming through Iowa the other night, and I was teaching some of the very people that I started with about 25 years ago, one of those ladies came to me and said, “Les we all can think back, how in the world did you put up with us as ignorant as we were?” I said, “Look, if you would have known any more than you did, then I wouldn’t have been able to teach you anything.” Because I didn’t know much more, but you see if we can just get to the place where we can understand that we really don’t know that much, then we can never exhaust this Book. And then that’s the beginning of learning when we can realize that we do not know it all. But getting back to the text, these Jews had a zealousness for God. You know how religious the Jews were, the Pharisees with their self righteousness, their robes, their praying in public. They thought they were doing God a service, but they had no knowledge, they were totally ignorant of the things of God.
“For they being ignorant…”
Ignorance doesn’t mean a lack of brain power. If we haven’t been taught something we’re ignorant of the subject, and in this case it’s just simply that they had never been taught. They had never opened up their thinking to understand what The Book says.
“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
And another word for believing is what? Faith! They were trying to do it with their own works, and leaving faith out of the picture. I’ve got to constantly remind us, isn’t that exactly where most people are today? They’ll do this and that, and do whatever a denomination prescribes, and they do it according to rote, and ritual, but without faith. And it’s going to count for nothing, they might just as well stay home. And Israel was no different, they kept the feast days, they wouldn’t miss a feast day for anything, and they followed the sacrifices, they followed the law to the letter, but with no faith, and as you know by now, “Without faith it’s impossible to please God.” That was just as true in the Old Testament economy as it is today. And so Christ was that object of faith that Israel was expected to embrace. He came proving Who He was, and they should have known Who He was. He was the fulfillment of over 360 distinct prophecies out of the Old Testament. If they knew their Bible like they thought they did, they should have recognized Him the moment He began His ministry. But why didn’t they? They didn’t know their Bible.
Now let me give you an analogy. Here I think we’re on the very closing moments of this Age of Grace. I continue to teach that I think the Lord is coming for us any day now. Now that doesn’t mean I’m setting dates, but I think that we’re getting so close as we see the world so rapidly falling into more and more wickedness. And again let me share with you about one of our listeners who called from a distant city, and this fellow was saved out of abject ungodliness himself. And he said, “Les, this country is going down the tube isn’t it?” And I told him that it has been for quite a while now. Why? Well he said, “You know the kind of men that are working for me in this moving business, these 25 or 30 young, strong hulks, these guys that can pick up a refrigerator and carry it on their back. One of these fellows came to me the other day and said, `You know, we’re living in wicked times aren’t we?'” And this guy said, “Yeah, but why do you think that?” Because he knew what kind of a lifestyle that he lived. So this worker told him that he was invited the other night to a house party, and he said the drugs and sex got so awful that he had to leave. Now if that kind of a person can’t stand it, imagine the depths that those kind of people are going. And I’m hearing it over and over, not just in our big cities, but it’s where ever you go. There is a complete breakdown in morality, there is a complete losing of Godly restraint, and it’s starting to mushroom. Well what’s it telling us? We’re getting close to the end. Let’s go for a moment to Luke Chapter 21, because I don’t won’t to be an alarmist, I’m not a sensationalist, and I have never taught sensationalism. Let’s begin with verse 25, and we may also go on back to Matthew Chapter 24.
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;…”
Now what does that mean? They have problems that they have no answer to, and the world is full of it. Just in the last few days have you noticed all the turmoil in all the various areas of the world. There is new fighting all over. It seems like the whole world is in turmoil. And then you have the population problem, because the world is just being inundated with people, and some of the most poverty stricken areas of the world are having a population explosion. Well they don’t know what to do. Most of you know we just came back from Haiti a month or so back, and it’s the same way there. Abject poverty, they have nothing except kids. The world is in perplexity tonight, there is no answer to their dilemma, and these are all signs of the end time. Now read on:
“…the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”
Now I know this language is primarily for the seven years of Tribulation that is coming, but we’re seeing the beginning of it. We’re seeing the stage being set for that final seven years. Now let’s look at Matthew Chapter 24, and again I’ve always taught that Matthew 24 is the Tribulation event, but they’re not going to all of a sudden come out of a sea of calm, and then just break loose, but we’re going to see everything start roaring, and the stirring of the so-called water, so that when the Tribulation comes it will just be increased tremendously. But we’re seeing the beginning of all this, and it should tell us, especially those of us who know God’s Word that we’re getting close to the end. We know it but what about the world around us? It never enters their mind. I don’t care where we go, whether it’s North, East, West, or South, its frantic building activity. Now look what Jesus said in this chapter.
“But as the days of No-e (Noah) were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (And we’re seeing the introduction to it) For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,…”
Is there anything wrong with that? No, but it’s that intense activity, there is just no slowing it down,. And then I read every once in awhile about the tremendous amounts of money that people are spending on their wedding reception. It’s not unusual for wealthy Jews to spend up to $40,000.00 for their kids’ wedding. Unreal isn’t it? And it’s not just over there, it’s the same way here, but nevertheless this is the make-up of society today. Now verse 39:
“And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Remember how I always taught the flood? It wasn’t just the water coming up gradually from that rain, but it was an instantaneous breaking up of the fountains of the deep, it was instantaneous destruction, they never knew what hit them. And here we have it as an indication of how it’s going to happen again. Here we have the events leading up to the end times, we should know, as a nation of people with Bibles in all our homes, if America can’t be enlightened, then who in the world can be. But they aren’t, they don’t care, they have no concern for the most part. Back to Romans 10:
“For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.”
Absolutely! The Mosaic system was legalism, but it also had to have faith. They couldn’t take either one by themselves, it wasn’t faith plus nothing as it is in this Age of Grace, but remember their works would never amount to anything if it was without faith. In other words, they had to do the things that God said to do under the Law, because they believed that it was what God said. But most of them left the faith element out completely and just did the works, and again that’s where we are today in Christendom. People are doing the works, they’re doing the things that they think need to be done, but without faith, and God will not accept it. Now verse 6, and that verse starts with the word “But,” and what have I always told you about that word in Scripture? It’s the flip-side.
“But the righteousness which is of faith (That righteousness that comes by believing the Word of God) speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above): Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) (Now look at verse 8) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;”
Now when I deal with that situation that we don’t have to ascend to some high mountain to find Christ, or go down into the lowest portions of the earth to find Him, but where is He? Right in front of us. Now here I always like to go back to John’s Gospel Chapter 10, and that is probably as good an illustration that I can find. And Christ is using Himself as the Shepherd of the sheep. But not only is He the Shepherd, but He is also the “Door” to the sheepfold. Now let’s look at it, and Jesus is speaking.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” Most people just read that, and all they picture is somebody just trying to steal a sheep or lamb. But this is a spiritual thing. What’s He telling us? That people who try to gain heaven other than what He has described, are going to be cast out as thieves and robbers.
“But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” Now I want you to come all the way down to verse 6:
“This parable spake Jesus unto them; (Jesus is talking to His own people, the Children of Israel) but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. (They were blind, ignorant, and now He’s going to clarify it.) Then said Jesus unto them again, `Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.'”
What’s Jesus saying? He is the only way, and it’s no different today, but they try to come in every other way except the way that Christ has given us. Now whenever I’ve taught this chapter in the past, how have I put it? Where was the door to that sheep fold? Not way up on some sheer cliff, or across that raging river, but right in front of them at ground level where anybody could walk through. And remember as you walk down that river of life that we all walk, we see the door with a sign on it that says, “Whosoever will may come.” And when you walk through that door, we can look back at that door, and we can see written on the other side “Chosen before the foundation of the world.” But this is exactly what Paul is saying here in Romans Chapter 10. You don’t have to ascend some place and bring Christ down to your level where you can approach Him. Or you don’t have to bring Him up from the deep, because He’s right in front of every person.
A question came up the other afternoon, “What about people who have never heard the Gospel?” (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4.) And we think there are people maybe in the dark parts of Africa, or South America, are they lost? Of course they’re lost. Why? Because The Book says that every man that comes into this world has been enlightened. Let me show you in John’s Gospel, I found this verse not long ago, and I thought I knew John’s Gospel, but here was a verse that I had totally missed all these years. And this is what The Book says even though I can’t comprehend it, and I can’t explain it logically, but the Sovereign God has said it, and He will never send someone to an eternal doom without cause. This verse is speaking of Jesus coming of course in His first Advent as John the Baptist had announced Him remember.
“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Now when I saw that I thought, I’d never seen that before. How many times have people asked me about these people who have never heard the Gospel. Well I know that Romans 1:18 says that they are without excuse.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
But you see here in John’s Gospel is why they’re without excuse. No human being has ever come into life on this planet without having the light that God has given him, and consequently they’re going to be held responsible for it. Now go back to Romans Chapter 10, and verse 8:
“But what saith it? (The Scriptures) The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth,…”
This isn’t just a casual statement; it means what it says The Word is there for the taking so why don’t they take it? Because the Word says that they refuse to step into the light because the light will reveal what they’re really made of, and they don’t want to see or hear. And so they reject the Light, to their own doom, and it’s sad, because Christ tasted death for every man as in II Corinthians 5:
II Corinthians 5:14
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.” Now that’s what The Book says, and we have to understand that. Now coming back to verse 8 again.
“But what saith it? The word is night thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith,…” Not works, not legalism, but the Word of faith, or belief. Let’s turn real quick to Romans Chapter 1, and this says it no differently than many other Scripture verses.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (the Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;…”
And you can follow these Scripture references through, and it’s always Paul’s admonition to him that believeth.
LESSON THREE * PART III
“BELIEVE IN THINE HEART”
We will pick up where we left off in our last lesson and that will be in Romans Chapter 10, and verse 9. Remember when we closed the last program we were talking about the word is nigh thee, it’s right in front of us, it’s even in our mouth. Not the word of Law, not the word of legalism, not any word of what you have to do, do, do, but the word of faith Paul says which we preach. And recently I came across a better definition of the word preach. You know I always like to disclaim that I’m a preacher, but I like the word this fellow used when he said, “When you preach something you’re proclaiming it.” I’ve got no problem with that definition, and I hope that I am proclaiming what the Word says. Here it is in verse 9:
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,…”
And a better way to translate that is if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. See we can’t lose sight of that. Now I do not agree with Lordship salvation, I feel that’s an act of works. But when we enter in by faith, we experience the new birth, and we become a child of God, and we experience all these things that we saw back in Chapter 1 that is connected with the word `Salvation.’ That we’re forgiven, sanctified, glorified, baptized into the Body, and we’re indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and on and on I could go. Then one of the other things that happened is Christ becomes Lord of our life. I think that follows as naturally as daylight follows darkness. And that’s what Paul is saying now, that if we confess with our mouth the fact that Jesus is Lord.
Now I used to be associated with a situation where we thought that before anybody could be recognized as a believer or a candidate for Church membership they had to go in front of the whole congregation, and tell their testimony. And this is the verse that those people and I would use. But now I do not feel that this is what this verse is saying. This verse is not saying that if you want to be proclaimed as a believer you have to get up in front of a congregation and give your testimony. That’s not what The Book says, but I do think that it says, “That when you have entered into a Salvation experience you’re not going to keep it to yourself, its something that means something to us, and we’re going to share it.”
I hope that our class people, and many of them do, can get to the place that they can talk about the things of the Lord as easily as you can talk about the weather, because it becomes that big a part of us. And this is what the Apostle Paul is saying here, that if we come to the place where Jesus is Lord we should be ready to share with anybody that will listen. I never ascribe to forcing anything on people, by grabbing them by the nape of the neck and shoving this down their throat, because it won’t work. But when the Lord gives you an opportunity or opening with just a word or two, then be ready to share. Now continuing on with verse 9.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
Now that’s the Gospel isn’t it? That means that you’ve believed the Gospel for your salvation. And the Gospel is that Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose again. And if you believe that God has raised Him from the dead, what’s the promise? “Thou shalt be saved!” It doesn’t say that you can try to be saved. It doesn’t say now you’re working the best you can to be saved, it says that when you believe the Gospel, the promise from God is “Thou shalt be saved!” How can you water that down? How dare people change that, because this is what The Book says, and this is what we try to help you understand. Now verse 10, and Paul is going to qualify it a little more. It isn’t head knowledge that saves you . A lot of people will have the head knowledge that, “Yeah, Jesus lived I know, evidently there was a crucifixion, and Rome did kill people that way, and maybe I could believe that He was raised from the dead,” but you see that’s head knowledge.”
But for us who truly believe, this is isn’t something that we associated with history necessarily, although it was certainly an act in history. Yet we know that when Christ died, He died for us. We know that when He was buried, we were buried with Him. We know that when He arose from the dead we also were resurrected to a newness of life. And again this is what Paul is rehearsing for our benefit.
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;…”
I was reading a good man the other day, and he had a thought that I had really never considered before. He said, “Really, instead of using the word saved, we should say that we have been imputed righteousness.” That’s not a bad idea, because that’s exactly what God has done. Way back when we were in Romans Chapter 3, I took you back to Genesis Chapter 3 when God provided the animal sacrifices for Adam and Eve, which took care of the blood aspect. Then what did He do with the skins of those animals? He clothed their nakedness. But what does the rest of the verse say?
“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” So He clothed them, and then, remember I took you to Isaiah Chapter 61, and verse 10:
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,…” And then Romans 3:22 says the same thing.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:…”
Now Paul is following that up, he’s still carrying on that same theme, that once we become a believer we are covered with God’s righteousness. Oh, not to the world around us, they can’t look at us and see God’s righteousness, but we don’t have to worry about them. Who sees the righteousness of Christ? God does. God looks on us and He doesn’t see Les Feldick, He doesn’t see you by name, but He sees Christ in His righteousness, and that’s the beauty of it. I would never dare stand in God’s presence on my own merit nor would you, but I could stand in His presence covered with the righteousness of Christ. And here is what Paul is now admonishing again. So we believe unto righteousness. That is the true aspect of our salvation, we are now made what God has proclaimed us to be. So looking at verse 10 again:
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Well we pretty much have covered all that. If you’re excited about what God has done for you, then you’re going to tell people.
“For the scripture saith, (See how Paul is always resting on the Word of God, even as he writes the Word of God) `Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.'”
Now I know that some people think that I make too much of the Apostle Paul, and I leave Peter in the shadows, but now let’s go back and see what Peter says, after the revelations of Paul have been around for a long, long time. Peter can write in I Peter Chapter 2 (and remember that these little epistles are written just shortly before Peter and Paul were both martyred, which means that Paul’s epistles and doctrines have been out there a long time already, so of course Peter can come to this kind of a conclusion), and here in verse 2 he’s comparing new born infants to new Christians.
I Peter 2:2-6
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, (There’s that analogy of the stone again that Christ was the Stone that was cast aside, and became a Stone of stumbling, especially to Israel.) but chosen of God, and precious. Ye also, as lively stones, (And remember Peter is writing to living Jews of the dispersion, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t apply to us.) are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (Now here it comes in verse 6.) Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, `Behold, I lay in Sion (Zion is Jerusalem,) a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.'” (or disappointed.)
How many people today, even in the midst of churches on every corner are slipping out into eternity, thinking they’re going the right direction. But I have to wonder, what must it be like when all of a sudden they wake up in eternity, and they are not where they thought they were going? Do you know what they are? They’re disappointed, and that’s what Peter is saying. Put your faith in the Rock of offence, The Stone of stumbling, and let Him be precious to you. And isn’t it amazing that Peter, coming out of Acts 2:38, doesn’t repeat `repent and be baptized for the remission of sins?’ No, he doesn’t mention that anymore. Why? Because that’s even in Peter’s past. And now Peter says, How do we obtain to this position of not being disappointed? By believing! Verse 7:
I Peter 2:7a
“Unto you therefore which believe…”
Oh that’s what I want people to see. This is all we see now anymore, we are to believe, not just a head knowledge, but to really with all our heart believe that Christ was Who He said He was. He’s The Son of God, He was The Messiah of Israel, but it doesn’t stop there. He went to that Cross, He died in our place, He shed the atoning Blood, He was buried, and He arose in power and glory from the grave. Verse 7 again.
I Peter 2:7
“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious, but unto them which be disobedient, (unbelievers) the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,”
Israel cast Him aside, and He became a Stone of stumbling for them, but He’s still coming back to take His place as the Chief Corner Stone of God dealing with the Nation of Israel, as well as the world as a whole. Now coming back to Romans Chapter 10, and let’s read verse 11 once more.
“For the scripture saith, `Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'”
When were teaching in the Old Testament I used to put my timeline on the board showing the river of humanity, and with the call of Abraham, how with him and the little nation he started, God pulled out of that river of humanity a little stream that was Jew only, with a few exceptions. So that was primarily God dealing with the Nation of Israel all the way up from 2000 B.C. until we get well into the Book of Acts. But there were a few Gentiles. He sent Jonah to Nineveh, then there was the Syrian general Naaman, Ruth the Moabite, Rahab at Jericho, and maybe a sprinkling of others, but it was primarily God dealing with His Covenant people Israel.
You see all that has just flip-flopped. Now in this Age of Grace God is primarily calling out Gentiles, but there are a few Jews, not many, but it’s open to them. God hasn’t closed the door on the Jew, but it’s just that most of them are so blinded they cannot see that the One that their forefathers crucified is the One to Whom they have to come for Salvation even today. So there is now in this Age of Grace, no difference.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?…”
Now as we come through these succeeding verses I want you to realize something. God has ordained from the beginning of the human race that He will use human beings to promote His salvation, whether it was in the Old Testament or New Testament. Very seldom have I run across someone who found salvation all by themselves without benefit of some other human being. God has always arranged that the Word of God be promoted by you and I as humans. He didn’t leave it in the hands of angels. Oh He could of, but He didn’t, He left it in the hands of fellow human beings, and that’s why Paul tells us in II Corinthians 5:
II Corinthians 5:18
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;” So we’re suppose to be ministers of reconciliation, we are expected to be ambassadors for Christ.
II Corinthians 5:20
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,…”
God expects us to share what we know with those who have never heard or understood. And that’s exactly what Paul is bringing out here. Looking at verse 14 again:
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (or proclaimer). How can these people understand unless someone explains it to them. Now verse 15.
“And how shall they preach, except they be sent?…”
Again we have to be used of God. The verse I like to use for this is in Acts Chapter 16. I can do nothing, and you can do nothing unless God goes ahead of us. And remember here in this verse we have Paul and Silas coming down from northern Greece into the city of Philippi. Lets begin with verse 13.
“And on the sabbath (The Jewish sabbath the seventh day) we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.” Just a few ladies that had come together, I suppose Jewish, to have some kind of devotional. And now verse 14 is the verse I want to show you.
“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, (This lady was in the upper echelons of society) which worshipped God, (She was religious, but lost.) heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”
Even the great Apostle Paul, with the power that he had, could he open the hearts of those people with his preaching? No, it took the work of the Holy Spirit to open the heart of Lydia, and then the words of Paul took root, and it’s no different today. You and I can never get across to people any of these truths unless the Holy Spirit opens the heart and spiritual eyes of those to whom we’re speaking. I don’t think anybody realizes that better than I do. I can do nothing, my words are nothing more than a tinkling cymbal unless God Himself opens hearts. I’ve got people sitting here that know exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve had so many ask me, “Why didn’t I catch this 15 – 20 years ago?” Well it just wasn’t God’s time, but in His own time, He’s going to open our heart and spiritual understanding. Back to Romans 10:15:
“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach (or proclaim) the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel, (Israel especially) For Esaias (Isaiah) saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?”
Even the great prophet Isaiah, what kind of ears did most of his words fall on? Deaf! Most of Israel didn’t pay any attention to the prophets, and would have rather had them thrown into the dungeons or put to death than hear them. So Isaiah in his frustration, and yet inspired by the Spirit says, “Lord who hath believed us? It just falls on deaf ears.”
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Remember we can’t hear until God speaks. How many times have I stressed, “Mankind is never expected to believe anything until God speaks it.” There’s a verse in Deuteronomy 29, that we’ll keep using until you know it from memory.
“The secret things (Things that God had not spoken) belong unto the LORD our God:…”
Why? He’s Sovereign, He doesn’t tell us everything that we’d like to know. He tells us every thing that we need to know, but He’ll tell it in His own time. And that’s why I rebel at the fact that Adam and Eve understood the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4), and I’ve had people try to tell me that. Or that Abraham understood the Gospel. No, because God hadn’t revealed it yet. It wasn’t to be revealed until much, much, later. Why? Because it was kept secret, it was held in the mind of God. So they weren’t expected to believe that Christ would die, and be raised again even though the Old Testament was full of it by innuendo at least. Why? Because you don’t believe something until God says it. Verse 29 again.
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever,…”
Now of course that verse was spoken by Moses to Israel, but that part hasn’t changed. When God revealed the Gospel of the Grace of God, and all we have to do is believe that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, when God said that’s all that’s necessary for salvation, believe it, and what does He expect us to do? Believe it! Because now He has revealed it, and here is where we are whether we like it or not. We have to understand that God has now said, “We will be saved by faith + nothing in that which He has now proclaimed. Back to Romans 10:17 once more.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” You don’t put your faith in something that some denomination says, but in what God says. God tells us things in His own time.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
“BELIEVE IN THINE HEART”
Now let’s get back to where we left off in Romans Chapter 10, and we just might even get into Chapter 11 in this lesson. Remember in the last lesson we closed with verse 17, and I commented that God doesn’t expect someone to respond until He speaks it. I always give the example, When did Noah start building His ark? Did he jump the gun? No, he didn’t start until God says, “Build an ark.” And then Hebrews Chapter 11 says:
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” We also see that Abraham by faith left Ur:
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”
So Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees. When? When God said for him to, and so it is all the way up through Scripture that when God speaks it and men respond to it, then God sees it as faith. He reckons that faith. So it is now with the Gospel. We’ve had it revealed to us. Paul has brought it out to the Gentile world and now God lays that responsibility upon Gentiles to believe the Gospel which Paul calls “My Gospel:”
“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” He also calls it “The Gospel of the Grace of God.” In addition he calls it “that Gospel which I preach among the Gentiles.”
“And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles,…” He also calls it “The Gospel of the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation.”
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.”
So that’s what we’re to believe today, that which God has revealed to us. Now then, Paul is going to come back once again, to Israel’s situation in verse 18.
“Have they not heard? (Be careful – who is the `they?’ Israel – the Jews) Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, did not Israel know?…”
How many times have I told our classes here in Oklahoma, when Jesus came to the nation of Israel, they could have known Who He was. They should have known Who He was. But did they? Israel did not know. Now why do I say that? The Old Testament was full of prophecy. Three hundred and sixty something, if I’m not mistaken, distinct prophecies concerning His first coming in the Old Testament. The Jews of that day knew their Old Testament, at least they thought they did. They should have known Who He was the minute He came on the scene. But they didn’t. Why didn’t they? Because they could read the Old Testament and not see a word it said.
You know, people are no different today with Paul’s letters. If they read it at all, they read it and yet they don’t read it. I had a friend of mine who I had read something that Paul wrote several times before he finally caught what Paul was talking about, and so many are the same way. Well, Israel was no different. They would read those Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah and they didn’t know what it was talking about. So here He came, presenting Himself, performed the miracles, performed the signs, and they still couldn’t believe Who He was.
But, let’s not castigate the Jew. We’re no different. America’s no different. No nation on earth has been so saturated with this Word of God, the Bible, as Americans. Bibles in every home. Every home that I ever knew of has more than one copy. It may collect dust, but it’s there. It’s preached over and over and over. That’s what I said a couple of programs ago. Churches on every corner and yet America has no concept whatsoever tonight, on the whole, that we are approaching the end times. They have no idea that all these things taking place are just a constant stage setting, day by day, for the appearance of the Anti-christ. That world ruler. Why do you think everybody’s talking about global government? Why do our business men talk about nothing tonight but global business, a global market? And now we’re getting closer and closer to a global religion. This Book has prophesied it. It’s all in here, but they don’t know that. They’re totally ignorant. It’s not because they haven’t the brain power, it’s simply because they’ve refused to see what The Book says. So Israel was the same way.
“Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses said I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, (Now I’m sure he was making reference to the time when God turned to the Gentiles.) and by a foolish nation I will anger you.”
Isn’t that exactly what the Gentiles, in the early days of Christendom did to the Jew? Why did they hate Paul so? Why did the Jews try to kill him everywhere he went? Because he was going to the Gentiles. How many times have I taken my classes back to Acts Chapter 22, and this isn’t any kind of put down on our Jewish people, that here they had had it pounded into them ever since they’d become a nation in Egypt that they were a set-apart people. Yes they were God’s Covenant people, God told them in Egypt that He would put a division between them and the Egyptians. And in Deuteronomy He says it as plain as day, “You are a separated people unto me.”
“For thou art a holy people unto the LORD thy God; the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.”
“…I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people.”
In Exodus 19 he tells Israel they will be a kingdom of priests.
“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation, These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.:”
So absolutely they were a set apart people, but you see it carried all the way over into Paul’s day, and now when Paul starts going to the Gentiles they hated him for it. Now let’s look at Acts Chapter 22, and here Paul is speaking to this great Jewish crowd in Jerusalem. He is now under protective custody of the Romans, or the Jews would have pulled him limb from limb. But under that protective custody of the Roman troops he stands on the stairway and addresses this great crowd of Jews. Here Paul is rehearsing his salvation experience, and it’s emphasized three times in this Book of Acts. His conversion is totally detailed in Chapter 9, 22, and 26, here we’re looking at the one in Chapter 22. And he’s gone through the whole procedure of his salvation on the road to Damascus, and then you come to verse 17:
“And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; And saw him (The ascended Lord Jesus) saying unto me, `Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; for they (the Jews) will not receive thy testimony concerning me.’ And I said, `Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.’ And he said unto me, `Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles. And they gave him audience unto this word, (What word? Gentiles) and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth; for it is not fit that he should live.'” (Why? Because he dared to use the word Gentile.)
Now do you see that? When this same Paul starts going to the Gentile world with salvation based upon that Jew (Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew, and don’t you ever forget it), the Nation of Israel detested Him, and now Paul comes back and says, “Even Moses foretold that this is what you’d do. Moses prophesied that another nation would come into fellowship with your God, and you would hate them for it.” And isn’t that exactly what Israel did? The more the Gentiles should come to the Gospel, the more the Jewish people fought it, except for the few, of course. And it’s no different today. In Israel’s law of return, who do they try to keep out? Christians or Jewish people who are professed believers in Christ. Why don’t they want these people in Israel? Because religiously they still maintain that there’s no room for a Gentile in their so-called religion. Now verse 20:
“But Esaias is very bold, and saith, `I was found of them that sought me not;…'”
We’ll come right back to Romans, but first go to the Book of Ephesians, and let’s never lose sight of some of these basic fundamental truths. And this again goes back to my timeline when I said in the Old Testament that it was Jew only with a few exceptions, and here Paul confirms that. Remember Paul is writing to Gentiles at Ephesus, he’s writing to us.
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past (Old Testament) Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; (In other words the Jews referred to the Gentiles as uncircumcised.) That at that time (Old Testament economy.) ye (Your Gentile forefathers) were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world;”
Now that was the lot of our Gentile forefathers plain as day, and then what about the next verse? Oh it’s that flip-side verse again. We’re no longer in that horrible situation:
“But now in Christ Jesus (And in that finished work of the Cross.) ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
So we’re made nigh by not coming into a Covenant relationship, nor by coming under Judaism, “But by the blood of Christ.” Do you see what a difference that makes? And now you can see how this whole thing has been totally inverted, whereas in the Old Testament it was Jew only with a few Gentile exceptions, and now it’s practically Gentile only, with a few Jewish exceptions. Now coming back to Romans Chapter 10, and reading verse 20 again.
“But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; (speaking of Gentiles) I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.”
Who was that? The Gentiles. They weren’t concerned about Israel’s God, they weren’t the ones that were worried about their eternal doom, they were saturated in their paganism. But to whom did God send the Apostle Paul? Those very same people. Now this fulfills again a basic rule of Scripture. Beginning with Adam and Eve, no one of the human race ever seeks God. I know that shocks a lot of people but it’s true. No human being ever seeks God. God is always the Seeker, God always makes that first move, and He is the One that prompts the human being to respond. Remember that, also let me show you from Scripture so that you don’t take my word for it. Let’s go back to John’s Gospel, Chapter 3, and let’s begin with verse 17.
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might be saved. (God’s not willing that any should perish) He that believeth is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already,…”
Just by virtue of being a child of Adam, they’re condemned when they come into the world. Remember we’re not sinners because we sin, but rather we sin because we’re sinners. And how do we become sinners? By being born of Adam. So every child of Adam detests the light, they don’t want the light, and they’re condemned already Jesus says. This is in red in my Bible, so it means He said it. Now reading on verse 18:
“He that believeth is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God. And this the the condemnation, that light is come into the world, (Remember the verse in John Chapter 1, and verse 9 that the light is in the world, and it lighteth every man that comes into the world? All right, we’re talking about that same light.) and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
Now that’s proof positive, that man in his own desire will never seek God, but rather God is the Seeker, and never lose sight of that. If you’re a believer here today don’t give yourself credit for having found salvation No you did not. God came looking for you, and found you, and brought you to the place where you believed. Just like Lydia that we read about in the last lesson, it was God Who opened her heart. It wasn’t Paul who opened her heart, but rather God. Remember Peter back in Matthew Chapter 16, Jesus and the Twelve were up in northern Israel, and He ask the question:
“…Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, `Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’ He saith unto them, `But whom say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, `Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered and said unto him, `Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.'”
So you see this is the whole concept of Scripture, even Peter and those other ten that were believers, it wasn’t that they had the smarts to realize, “Oh, hey that’s the Messiah.” But rather as the Messiah came and put the finger on them, the Spirit of God opened their understanding. They then recognized that this is the One that we have to follow. Now let’s come back to Romans Chapter 10, and verse 21.
“But to Israel he saith, `All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.'”
Now I’ll admit this is one of the toughest things for me to comprehend in Scripture. Here God brought about supernaturally the Nation of Israel, didn’t He? Called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees, and told him right up front that He was going to make of him a nation of people. And finally He fulfills the promise with the birth of Isaac, supernaturally a promised son. Isaac fathers Jacob, and Jacob fathers the twelve sons, and they end up down in Egypt. Immediately God begins to deal with those Israelites as now His chosen set-apart nation. He brings them out of Egypt supernaturally, miracle, after miracle, and that multitude of Israelites follow their leader Moses. Every step of the way God moves in the miraculous, He brings them down to Mount Sinai, the fire and thunder on the mountain.
In fact, they have discovered that some of the rocks up there on Mt Sinai, over in Jordan, have been burned with a fire unlike any other rock formation on earth, they’ve pretty well established that. So this isn’t just a legend from Scripture. Then Israel was given the tabernacle, He has jelled them as a nation of people. God has substantiated every thing, and they’re ready to go into the Promise Land. But what do the people do? They said, “Send in the spies, because we can’t believe God.” And so God condescends, and says, “All right I’ll let you send in spies.” You know what happened. Those twelve spies were gone forty days, and brought back a report that they could never take the land. God had told Moses and Israel that He would drive out the Canaanites with hornets. And all they would have to do is just move in and take whatever was there.
But Israel wouldn’t believe God, they wept and wailed, because they couldn’t take the Promise Land, and as a result they had their first Tishah B’ab. You know what that was don’t you? I hope you do. It is that 9th day of August where dramatic things have happened to the Nation of Israel, that made them weep, and weep, and weep. Why? Because they didn’t believe. Now let’s go back to the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 3 for a moment. We’ve used these things before, but these things bear repeating. Let’s begin in verse 7:
“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation [or testing] in the wilderness:” [You see it’s taking us back to Israel when they were ready to go into the Promise Land.] When your fathers tempted [tested] me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, `They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So [God said] I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest). (Now I think Paul wrote Hebrews so now he’s coming back and making the analogy. So he says) Take heed, brethren, (learn from that horrible experience) lest there be in any of you an evil heart of (not drunkenness, not adultery, not any other gross sin that we normally think of, but the evil heart of what?) unbelief…'”
God hates nothing more than unbelief, and when He says it, He thinks we should believe it. Now let’s go on down to verse 15, and finish the lesson.
“While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. (There was again a remnant, Joshua, Caleb and a few of the others) But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, (in unbelief) whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? (because they didn’t believe that they could take Canaan) And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”