tisdag 24 juli 2018

Israel, the people and the land, in the Christian Era - Guest entry



Israel, the people and the land, in the Christian Era
by Lewis H. Clementson, J.D.

There are several widely held opinions in the Christian community concerning the nation of Israel; primarily that Israel deserves a special and favored status by all Christians, and also that their homeland has a special spiritual significance. These issues alone, and not all the others that may arise concerning Israel, shall be the focus of this article.

The history of Christianity can unfortunately be summarized as a continual effort to remove as many of the blessings from Christ’s perfect and complete redemptive work as possible, and thereby remove these promises from the scriptures. However, it is almost as destructive to add anything to the scriptures that is not there. 

Thus, this discussion shall focus on the importance, or lack thereof, of Israel as set forth in the scriptures. For to me, it is only the scripture that matters, no matter how many Christians may believe otherwise. And then determine if this is not just another example of something that has been added to the scriptures.

The blessing of Abraham
I have been a devout believer for over 46 years and one of the things that has been pounded into my Christian head regarding the Jews is that God will bless those who bless them and curse those that curse them, or words to that effect. We will start there.

This blessing is contained in Gen. 12:1-4 and reads as follows:
Now the Lord had said to Abram:
‘Get out of your country, From your family

And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’                                                                                                                                    

So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him”
This was the first time that God spoke to Abram and is the primary verse from which the blessing is derived. The other 20+ scriptures that refer back to this passage simply recite it. (see Appendix A) Some of them add a reference to the land that was given to Abram and his descendants. However, if God gives the land to Abram, then it is only logical that his descendants would inherit the land. For instance:
Genesis 26:4: "I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed”

Otherwise, none of these 20+ scriptures expand upon the original blessing.

It is widely believed that the verse which reads “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you” applies to all Jews, even those alive today. And thus, we surmise that we must be very careful about how we speak about the Jews. 

However, a close look at the passage discloses that the blessing is directed at Abram and only at Abram. It was spoken to Abram and God says “you” to Abram twice in this verse. An objective interpretation cannot extend it beyond the man Abram. In this entire passage, God was speaking to Abram. Thus, the blessing was bestowed on Abram. It was not bestowed on anyone or anything else.

The only verse in this passage that could possibly be stretched to include the nation Israel is “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”. 

Without a doubt, all families of the earth have been blessed by Jesus, who was “in” Abram at the time as his seed. (Matt. 1:1, Rom. 1:3) The verse is stating a fact, that in Abram all the families of the earth would be blessed. They certainly were. It does not bestow an additional blessing. If one wants to find an additional blessing, then he must look elsewhere.

Therefore, God would bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who curse Abraham. The one man. This fact was born out in his life story. If anyone was blessed in his life, it was Abraham. But the same cannot be said of the nation of Israel. For instance, after the original nation split into the two nations, Israel and Judah, after Solomon’s death, the nation of Israel did not have a single righteous king, not one. They went from one fierce judgment to the next.  
The fact that the Abrahamic blessing was on the man and not the nation was of such paramount significance that Paul addressed it directly in Gal. 3:13-16,18, 26-29. Look closely at Paul’s words:
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith… 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ…  18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise… 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
In the above passage, Paul goes to considerable lengths to declare unequivocally that the blessing on Abraham was NOT to his seeds, plural, but only to his “seed”, singular, Christ. Let that single point sink in. It is the point of the passage. Here is that Bible verse again:
“Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.” Gal. 3:16
Paul wrote that, and he wrote that to make the singular point in as clear and concise a manner as possible that the blessing on Abraham was NOT on Israel, but on Abraham and on Christ. That is the whole point of the verse. There is absolutely no other way to read it or interpret it. 
This is confirmation of our earlier reading of Gen. 12:1-4 where we saw that the blessing was on the man Abraham, and not on the nation to come. God’s blessing was on Abram and his seed (singular) Christ, not on his seeds (plural), the nation Israel. If this conflicts with your long-held beliefs, then take it up with Paul.
Paul went on to further emphasize the point by stating “There is neither Jew nor Greek”, which is to say that neither Jews nor Greeks enjoy any special status in the Kingdom of God. Can you accept that?
Paul wrote, “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his descendants, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” Rom. 4:13
And consider also Eph. 2:14 “For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, (Jew and Gentile)
What more could Paul write to make it any clearer? The blessing on Abraham was NOT on the nation of Israel, but on the one man Abraham and on his seed Christ. The Jew has no greater Abrahamic blessing than the Gentile believer. 
I am well aware that I am contesting that which the majority of Christendom believes, having had it pounded into us from our rebirth, but we must give way to scripture and be ready to replace myth with Bible whenever needed. And it is certainly needed in this case. You can bless Jews as much as you want and receive no greater blessing than if you bless me.
God’s Chosen People?
Hopefully I have succeeded in dispelling the myth that, apart from Christ, the Jews and the nation of Israel are heirs of the blessing to Abraham. They are not. So now we will direct our attention to other possible sources of special status for Jews outside of the blessing to Abraham. 
The most common belief is that the Jews are “God’s chosen people”, even now in the Christian Era. I do not contest that the Jews were God’s chosen people before Christ. I see no point in arguing about that. They have Genesis to Malachi to support that claim. But what about now?  
The Jews’ special status before the coming of Christ was a result of the promises from God to them. They were unique in all the earth in this regard. But this changed. Their covenant with God was replaced with a new covenant. When it was replaced, the old covenant became obsolete. 
The fact that the Old Covenant was replaced by a new and living covenant is something that most Christians already know and accept. Therefore, I will not burden the reader with a lengthy display of scriptures establishing this fact, but rather assign them to an Appendix so that it can be optional reading. (see Appendix B)
So if the Jews’ special status as “God’s chosen people” rested upon their possession of mankind’s only covenant with God, and that covenant is now obsolete and has in fact been replaced with a New Covenant, then there is no more validity to the Jews’ claim that they are God’s chosen people.
They were promised some land and they have that. This promise does not extend to Christians in any way and should not concern Christians in any way. Its only purpose seems to be as a means for Christian leaders to raise money to pay for themselves to take a trip and lead a group.
No mention of special status for Jews or Israel in the New Testament
There are 85 instances in the New Testament when the nation “Israel” is mentioned. All but one is a reference to the nation of Israel in a way that no other word would suffice. Each refers to the nation or the land. None of them refers to any special status upon the Jews or their nation. 
The one verse that is the exception is a verse that describes all Christian believers as the “Israel of God”, which is the exact opposite of what Jews wish to promote. (Gal. 6:16) If something as truly significant as the Jews being special in the Christian Era is a fact, then shouldn’t the New Testament say that? Most New Testament writers were Jews. 
James was the head of the Church in Jerusalem, which consisted entirely of Jewish believers, and he said nothing about it in his letter. Jude was the Lord’s brother and he said nothing about it in his letter. 
Neither did Peter in his two letters. If the Jews were special in the New Testament world, then these apostles would have said so, but did not, and our faith is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” (Eph. 2:20).
The only exception to this is Paul’s discourse on this subject in Romans Chapters 9-11. (see Appendix C.) For three entire chapters in his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul discusses the status of the Jewish people. 
In this discourse, Paul talks almost entirely about their salvation, or rather their lack of salvation. He starts out by expressing the enormous sorrow and grief that he feels for the Israelites and would trade his salvation for theirs if it were possible. That is hardly an expression of their revered status.
“I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites” Rom. 9:1-4
“That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.” Rom. 9:8
He is in such great sorrow and continual grief in his heart because they are obviously going to hell. He goes on from there to explain the judgment on them for their rebellion and disobedience and the certainty of their destruction. 

It is a scathing rebuke of a people whom Paul dearly loved. Only at the end does Paul give them a glimmer of hope. He says that at the end of this age, a remnant, which is a very small percentage, will be saved as a testimony to God’s goodness. But in general, the three chapters are mostly about salvation and how the Jews had missed it completely. 

There is no objective reading of this discourse that could lead the reader to believe that Paul believed that the Jews enjoyed any special status because they were Jews, other than the fact that God in His mercy would save a few of them at the end of this age despite their stiff-necked and stubborn nature toward God. 

If anything, this discourse serves as another example of Jewish New Testament writers failing to mention any special status for Jews or the nation of Israel, even when discussed at great length.

Three references to Jews’ condemnation in the New Testament

As mentioned above, Paul once referred to the body of Christian believers as the “Israel of God”. Here it is:

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.” Gal. 6:15-16

I have never read a commentary on this phrase “Israel of God” that did not interpret it to mean the body of all believers and not the Jews and that is certainly how I have always read it. It is a continuation of Paul’s theme in Chapter 3 where he wrote “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29) 

The context of this passage is Paul’s great letter to the Galatians in which he argues at length that we are not saved by the Jewish law, but by faith. In the previous verse, he wrote “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” 

Paul states that being Jewish does not matter; neither one matters. That being Jewish avails nothing!!!

The second and third references to the status of Jews in the New Testament are found in The Revelation of Jesus:

In His letter to the church in Smyrna, our Lord said, “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” Rev. 2:9

And in His letter to the church in Philadelphia, our Lord said, “Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.” Rev. 3:9

Jewish believers take the position that Jesus was not referring to real Jews, but imposters, because He said “are not”. However, this interpretation is not consistent with them being a “synagogue of Satan”, a reference to the Jewish place of worship, nor His reference to “blasphemy”. 

The only consistent interpretation of these two fierce attacks on the Jews is one that is consistent with the behavior of the Jews at that time, which is not one that accurately reflects the true Jewish faith, but one of fierce persecution of Christ’s Body, outrageous blasphemy and their creation of a true synagogue of Satan. Our Lord Himself describes the Jews as liars, blasphemers and a synagogue of Satan. 

I read Flavius Josephus’ First Jewish-Roman War, 66-70 AD, in which he describes the Jews’ savagery during that period and can attest to the accuracy of this description. 

This savagery is all the more repulsive because it was in comparison to Roman savagery, which was unparalleled at that time and place. It was for this reason that the Jewish General Joseph switched sides and adopted the Roman name Josephus.

The Holy Land
Many Christians get goose bumps when they go there. It is their dream. Oh, and to be baptized in the Jordan River is akin to the rapture. OK, go ahead. 

There is no harm in any of that. I am as impressed with the creation of Israel as a nation in 1948 and its miraculous endurance since then as much as anyone. It has God written all over it. 

But it is all to fulfill prophecies to the Jews, principally in Ezekiel and Jeremiah, not Christians. It is their homeland, not mine.

I have a close friend who pastors a Messianic congregation in Israel. He is very annoyed with American Christians giving money to Israel because the Israeli government is fiercely opposed to the Messianic community and uses that same money to persecute them in an aggressive manner.

It seems that if ever a Christian leader wants to get a big round of applause, he just mentions his strong support for Israel and cites “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”. Actually, this verse is not a command at all. David is telling them how to pray for Jerusalem.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:

‘May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
Prosperity within your palaces’.” Ps. 122:6-7


Jerusalem was a precious place to David. Anyone who reads his story will understand why he wanted people to pray for its peace and prosperity. However, I do not read this passage as a biblical command to pray for Jerusalem.

I was baptized in the James River in Richmond, Virginia and it was special enough for me.

Most of the Jews whom I have met are smarter than me, but no more godly. They are the descendants of Jews who have rejected the gospel for 2000 years. The “Holy Land” is not holy to me. The glory zone where I pray is my holy land. 

Conclusion
If it is possible for us to start over in our thinking about Israel and the Jews by restricting our thinking to the Bible alone and also try to suppress all the outside opinions forced on us, then we would see the error of our ways. 

Based on the words of our Lord and head of the church, they are a “synagogue of satan”, blasphemers and liars. 

And based upon the words of the Apostle Paul, they are a disobedient and contrary people awaiting destruction and condemnation. 

Oh, how wrong we have been because we accepted propaganda rather than scripture. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong from the scriptures. 

And please spare me the “scripture clearly teaches”, “everyone knows” and the “it is well established” retorts so prevalent in unsupported positions of all kinds. Those are the watchwords and trademarks of the false teacher. I much prefer that you show me.

For Lewis Clementson´s books on Amazon.com - click here. For some of his teachings on Facebook click here.


Appendix A
Blessing to Abraham
And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. "I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly." Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,
"I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."
since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?
"I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;
God also said to him, "I am God Almighty; Be fruitful and multiply; A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, And kings shall come forth from you.
Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. But the sons of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly, and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty, so that the land was filled with them.
'The LORD your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are this day like the stars of heaven in number. 'May the LORD, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand-fold more than you are and bless you, just as He has promised you!
"He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you.
"Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted.
"You made their sons numerous as the stars of heaven, And You brought them into the land Which You had told their fathers to enter and possess.
"Look to Abraham your father And to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain; When he was but one I called him, Then I blessed him and multiplied him."
The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land " So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.
"Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham.
'See, I have placed the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to them and their descendants after them.'
"So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am giving you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may live long on the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time."
"You shall therefore keep every commandment which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land into which you are about to cross to possess it; so that you may prolong your days on the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give to them and to their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. "For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. 
“Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ.
"It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.' "For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways."
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.




Appendix B
The Old Covenant replaced with New Covenant
In discussing this change and when and how it would take place, Jesus said “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matt. 5:17-18) In so setting forth the timetable for the exchange, Jesus said that it would occur when the Old Covenant was fulfilled. By saying “til all is fulfilled” and “pass”, He indicated that it would be fulfilled and pass. And it did.
He also said when this would happen. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” (Matt. 11:13) Meaning that the prophets and law would stand until John the Baptist, but not after.
Note again that Jesus had said, “til all is fulfilled”. The Old Covenant would end when it was fulfilled. “And he said unto them, ‘These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me’.” (Luke 24:44) Indicating that the law and the prophets were fulfilled in Christ and came to an end at that time.
Elsewhere, the New Testament confirms the obsolescence of the Old Covenant and the entering of the new. In the letter to the Hebrews, the writer writes, “In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (Heb. 8:13) The Old Covenant is obsolete. And again, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Heb. 10:20) God provided a new and living way through Christ. Why would anyone want another? The old serves no useful purpose.
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:39





Appendix C
Romans Chapters 9-11 in full
(with emphasis added)
9:1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my [a]countrymen according to the fleshwho are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”
10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25 As He says also in Hosea:
“I will call them My people, who were not My people,

And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”

27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:
Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,

The remnant will be saved.
28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.”

29 And as Isaiah said before:
“Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed,

We would have become like Sodom,
And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,

And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
10 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from aboveor, “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
14 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? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who [g]preach the gospel of peace,

Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:
“Their sound has gone out to all the earth,

And their words to the ends of the world.”
19 But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says:
“I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation,

I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.”
20 But Isaiah is very bold and says:
“I was found by those who did not seek Me;

I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”
21 But to Israel he says:
“All day long I have stretched out My hands

To a disobedient and contrary people.”
11 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written:
“God has given them a spirit of stupor,

Eyes that they should not see
And ears that they should not hear,
To this very day.”

And David says:
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,

A stumbling block and a recompense to them.
10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see,
And bow down their back always.”

11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!
13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
16 For if the first fruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and [k]fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, [l]goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,

And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”

28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?

Or who has become His counselor?”
35 “Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”

36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.







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