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The Abrahamic Covenant And Prophetic History

Part 4

Introduction To Romans 9 Through 11  

 

Romans 9 through 11 concerns Israel's past, present, and future.  Yes, Israel has a future, but her rejection of Jesus put Paul in "great sorrow and unceasing anguish". (Romans 9:2)  Romans 9 through 11 was meant to direct Jews towards faith in Jesus, and encourage them with the promise of a better future.          

 

Romans 9:5 says the Jews had all the advantages in the world when it came to the things of God because they had the "divine covenants".  That's "covenants" plural.  God promised more to Israel than what is found in the Abrahamic Covenant.  The Old Testament prophets spoke promises from God as well. 

 

Not All The Descendents Of Israel Are Israel
Romans 9:6

 

In Romans 9:6 Paul makes a statement that those who believe Israel has no more place in prophetic history jump on and run with.  He says, "not all who are descendents of Israel are Israel".  This means that just because one is a biological descendent of Abraham doesn't mean he is a true Jew.  Only those who have faith like Abraham are his true descendents, and that includes Gentiles.  Jesus alluded to this when He told the Pharisees that their father wasn't Abraham but the devil.  (John 8:44) 

 

Later, in chapter 11 Paul explains this by using an olive tree as an analogy.  Jews were branches on this tree, and those Jews who had no faith were cut off from the tree and replaced by Gentiles who had faith. This may sound like "Replacement Theology", but it's not. This is still a Jewish tree.  This wasn't a new concept.  The inclusion of Gentiles into the family of God was permitted in the Law of Moses.  Abraham also had Gentiles under his authority circumcised. (Genesis 17:12)     

 

Some people think God uprooted this Jewish tree and planted a new generic tree they call "spiritual Israel", or the church.  They then reinterpret all Old Testament passages referring to Israel as referring to spiritual Israel, the church.  That sounds logical if you stop reading Romans at this point, but Paul says more.

 

The Reckoned Offspring Romans 9:7

 

Promise 2 of my 13 promises as stated in Genesis 21:12 says that "through Isaac your offspring would be reckoned".   Paul says this has been fulfilled. Abraham's elderly wife Sarah gave birth to a miracle son named Isaac just as God promised.  Abraham also had a son named Ishmael by Sarah's servant Hagar.  The promised offspring which we've learned is Jesus would come through Isaac's lineage, not Ishmael's.   

 

The word "reckon" is translated from a Greek word meaning "to call".  In short, the promised offspring, or Jesus, would be born from, or "called out of" the lineage of Isaac, just as Jesus was, and just as God promised.   

 

 

A People Who Aren't His Romans 9:22 29

 

So Gentiles are now part of the descendents of Abraham if they have faith in Jesus.  Paul confirms this by quoting from Hosea 2:23; "'I will call them my people who are not my people."  This sounds like "Replacement Theology", but it's not.  It's simply the inclusion of believing Gentiles into the descendents of Abraham.  There's a difference between replacing and including.

 

In verse 27 Paul quotes from Isaiah 10:22 and 23. Isaiah said that even though the descendents of Abraham would be as many as the sand by the sea, only a remnant would be saved.  Not all Jews throughout history will be saved.  Only a future remnant of Jews will be saved, but saved they will be.  If there is yet to be a saved remnant, God isn't finished with the Jews. 

 

Paul isn't saying God has replaced Israel with the church.  The tree analogy makes that clear.  The tree hasn't been uprooted and replaced by a generic Gentile tree.  Some Jewish branches have been cut off and replaced with some Gentile branches, but the tree remains as it has always been, a Jewish tree.  Gentile Christians should see themselves as being branches cut from a Gentile tree and grafted into this Jewish tree.  In one sense of the word, Christians are Jews.  A people who were once not God's people, now are.  Most Christians in the western world don't think in terms of being adopted into this Jewish family.  We've westernized our Jewish heritage out of existence so little is known of our Jewish roots.       

 

The Faith Of Abraham Romans 10

 

For a detailed explanation of these three chapters you can read my commentary on the book of Romans.   http://stevesweetman.com/commentarylist.htm

Chapter 10 is about faith, the preaching of the gospel, and the expansion of the descendents of Abraham.  

 

All Israel Will Be Saved Romans 11

 

In Romans 11:1 Paul asks, "did God reject His people?"  This is a logical question after what he has said about the influx of Gentiles into the family of Abraham.  Some might have thought that God was scrapping the Jews and replacing them with Christian Gentiles, but that's not so.  When Paul uses the words "His people" in this context, it's in reference to Abraham's descendents as understood in Old Testament terms.  This isn't spiritual Israel.  This isn't Replacement Theology.  It's Inclusion Theology.     

   

In verse 11 Paul asks, "did the Jews stumble as to fall beyond recovery?"  The answer is "no".  Abraham's descendents will recover, and if that is so, she still has a future beyond the date of Paul's writing.  The recovery still hasn't happened.  So God is not finished with Israel. Besides, verse 24  says Jews can be grafted back into their olive tree again.       

 

Verses 25 and 26 is the climax of these three chapters.  That's why we can't stop reading at Romans 9:6.  Paul says, "I do not want you to be ignorant  Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles have come in.  And so all Israel will be saved."  Some of us are apparently ignorant.  Israel has gone through a hardening period in part so that the full number of Gentiles can be grafted into this Jewish tree.  When the last Gentile is grafted in, this age ends.  Israel as understood in Old Testament terms will find repentance.  God Himself will pour out a spirit of repentance on the Jews as promised in Zechariah 12:10 to 14, resulting in their  salvation.     

 

Romans 11:26 quotes from Isaiah and Jeremiah; "the deliverer will come from Zion; He will turn godlessness away from Jacob.  And this is my covenant with them when I will take away their sins."  God will turn the Jews from their sin because He promised Himself that would be so in the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 15.     

 

In a Jewish context, verse 29 states that "God's gifts and calls are irrevocable".  God will not revoke, change, or redefine the terms of the Abrahamic Covenant.  He has, and He will fulfill all His promises as they were originally meant to be understood.  He will do this on His own, without help from anyone.  Israel still has prophetic significance as a nation of people, even though she is still lost in her sins.

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