About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Chapter 9:1 to 29

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Godís Sovereign Choice (ch. 9:1-29)


Romans 9, 10, and 11, are three fairly controversial chapters, mainly because Paul deals with Israel and how God relates to Israel throughout prophetic history.  Those who believe that the church has replaced Israel in prophetic history view these chapters altogether differently from those who believe that Israel is still the centre of prophetic history.  I am of the later belief.  So, when Paul speaks of Israel in these chapters I believe he is speaking of national Israel , not what some call spiritual Israel, meaning New Testament Christians or the church.         


In Romans 9 through 11 Paul shifts his thinking a bit, although in one real sense of the word he doesn't.   Paul has been speaking about salvation by faith, and that salvation is for both the Jew and the Gentile, because it is by faith in Jesus and not by obedience to the Law of Moses that was given only to the Jews.  One might think that God is thus finished with Israel and that her special status among the nations is over.   


The first thing that Paul says in verse 1 is, "I speak the truth in Christ."  Paul does not hesitate to say that what he is speaking is the truth.  That would be hard for many people to take these days, when truth is relevant, and varies from person to person, from place to place, and from time to time.  Note that the truth he is speaking about is the truth that is in Christ, the truth that applies to Jesus.  Jesus is ultimate truth.  For the Christian, there is no compromise on that fact.  Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6)      


Paul then says, "I am not lying."  Most people today would not consider Paul lying.  They'd simply write him off as an old fashion fundamentalist, a designation that has fallen into disrepute these days.  People would write Paul off because he is thinking as a modernist, when the rest of the world is post-modern, meaning; there is no ultimate truth to be understood.  Paul believed in absolute universal truth and that truth was found in the Lord Jesus Christ.


Paul also states that his conscience that was influenced by the Holy Spirit confirms that he is speaking the truth.  Conscience is something that is not all that important these days, and again, it is because of relativism.  If every man has his own brand of truth, then one's conscience is based on what he believes, and whatever he believes would obviously not be opposed by his conscience.  So, if Paul says that his conscience tells him that he is not lying, that means nothing these days, but it did back then.  Paul was convinced, and properly so because of all the visions and revelations he had received from Jesus.  That what he has said and will say, is God's honest truth.        


Here in Romans 9 Paul shows the intensity of his feelings that he has for his fellow Jews.  He qualifies his words by saying that he is not lying and that his conscience confirms this in the Holy Spirit.  In verse 2 he says that he has great sorrow and unceasing anguish over the state of the Jews.  These are strong and powerful words.  They show intense feelings on the part of Paul.  He goes as far to say in verse 3 that if "I myself", if it were possible, would wish to be cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers.  Although Paul was called the Apostle to the Gentiles, you can see his heart towards His fellow countrymen.  Paul was willing to lose his salvation if that could lead the Jews to Jesus and salvation.  


One note about the words "I myself".  We saw these words in Romans 7.  This is even more proof that Romans 7 is Paul speaking about himself and not mankind in general.  If he uses the words "I myself" here, and he is talking about himself, then by the same reasoning he is speaking about himself in Romans 7.  


The words "I myself" also stress what he is saying.  Paul was more than willing to lose his salvation for the salvation of Israel , but we all know, that is not possible.  All people must stand before God by themselves.  No one can stand before God on our behalf, other than Jesus Himself, and if we reject Jesus, we stand alone. 


Note the words "my people, those of my own race, and, the people of Israel" in verse 3.  I don't think we can have it any clearer.  Paul is not thinking about the church here.  He is not thinking about spiritual Israel.  Paul does not believe in Replacement Theology.  When Paul speaks of Israel in chapters 9 through 11, he is speaking about his brothers, his race, the people of Israel.    


In verse 3 you will note the words "cut off".  Paul most likely uses these words here because he will use them in chapter 11 when he speaks of unbelieving Jews being "cut off" from the olive tree analogy.  He might also use these words because we see them throughout the Old Testament as they are applied to Jews who refuse to obey the commands of God. 


Note in verse 4 Paul applies the word "adoption" as it applies to Israel .  We often think that the word "adoption" applies to New Testament Christians, and in one sense of the word it does.  That being said, here Paul applies it to Israel.  His reasoning might be that God, through Adam, had a son, but He lost him and his descendents to the fall.  Therefore, when God chooses Abraham, and thus Israel, Israelis become adopted sons of God.         


In verses 4 and 5 Paul lists many advantages that the Jews had over the Gentiles. The last advantage is most powerful.  He says that from the Jewish fathers, Jesus' human ancestry can be traced.  Jesus was born into humanity.  Among all the things Paul lists, that is the important one. 


Paul goes on to say, "Who (Jesus) is God
over all."  This is a powerful statement.  Paul is saying here that Jesus is God.  This was the very thing his Jewish brothers couldnít accept.  This is what separated Paul from his Jewish brothers.  This is what separates the Christian from everyone else in the world.  It is this very fact that our modern western church, as seen in the Emergent Church Movement, is beginning to deny. 


There are a number of ways to prove in Biblical terms that Jesus was God, yet there are only a few verses in the New Testament that state this directly and with great clarity.  One of these verses is found right here in Romans 9:5.  Some others are; John 1:1, John 1:18, John 20:28, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:8, 2 Peter 1:1, and, 1 Timothy 3:16.


One of the advantages Jews had that Paul speaks of here is that they received the divine covenants.  Note that the word covenants is plural.  We often think of one Old Testament covenant, that being the Abrahamic Covenant, but that's not correct.  God promised Israel many things at many times over the years.   The Old Testament prophets spoke many promises from God. Beyond the Abrahamic Covenant we see the Mosaic Covenant and the Davidic Covenant, and what Jeremiah calls the New Covenant (Jeremiah 30 to 32).     


The other advantages Paul speaks of are as follows.  Israel had the privilege of being adopted sons of God, something Gentiles were also included in when it comes to New Testament times.  The principle that states "to the Jew first and then to the Gentile" applies here.  The Jews had first chance at being adopted sons of God. 


Another advantage is that "heirs is the divine glory."  This means that Israel had the distinction of having God's glorious presence with them.  No other nation had this advantage.   


Another advantage is that the Jews had the Law.  God gave Israel a special system of laws (Law of Moses) to live by, along with a temple and special rules of worship.  No other nation had these laws, or the temple.  All these things were prophetic of the Messiah that would come.  That's why Paul says that it was through the ancestry of the Jews that Christ, the Messiah, was born.  No other nation had any of these advantages.  The Jews were certainly blessed, but they did not know how blessed they were.                   


In verse 6 Paul assures his readers that Godís Word did not fail.  Anything God does, canít fail.  One might think because Israel rejected Jesus that His Word and promises directed towards Israel failed.  That is not so.  It's not so because as Paul says here, not all Israel is really Israel.  We came across this idea in Romans 2:28-29 and also in Romans 5:12, 17 and 18.                           


Paul explains why he said that not all Israel is Israel in verse 7.  He points out that not all descendants of Abraham are children of Abraham, and in turn children of God.  Abraham had a number of sons, including Ishmael and Isaac.  In Genesis 12:21 God specifically told Abraham that the great nation He had promised would be through Isaac and not through any other sons Abraham might have.    


Remember that Abraham had a wife named Sarah and a slave named Hagar.  Abraham had a son born from Hagar named Ishmael, yet God promised Abraham that he would have a son from his wife Sarah.  This would be that son of promise.  Sarah did conceive and Isaac was born.  The real children of Abraham, or Israel , would be from the lineage of Isaac, the child of promise, not from Ishmael, the son of a slave woman.  Paul explains this further in Galatians 4. 


In Galatians 4:21-24 Paul says that Abraham had a son from the slave woman Hagar, and a son from the free woman Sarah.  In Galatians 4:24 Paul says that you can take this figuratively.  This means that there is a secondary meaning to this historical event.  Paul says that Hagar represents the Law and Sarah represents the promise of grace.  He concludes that Christians are sons of promise. (Galatians 5:29)  Just as Isaac was born from the power of the Spirit, so we are born by the power of the Spirit.  Paul goes on to quote from Genesis 21:10.  "Get rid of the slave woman and her son.  This is a dramatic statement.  Paul is saying that being a Jew, when it comes to salvation, means nothing, and I stress the words "when it comes to salvation" because when it comes to prophetic history the Jews still have significance, which we will see later. 


You might want to look at Genesis 21:10.  Isaac had just been weaned from Sarah and everyone was very happy except for Ishmael, the son of Hagar.  Ishmael mocked Isaac, and as a result Sarah was very upset.  She told Abraham to get rid of Hagar the slave woman and Ishmael because they will never share in any inheritance of Abraham.  Paul takes this historical event and spiritualizes it.  He says that you can take this figuratively.  He is putting a New Testament significance to this Old Testament event.  Obviously we believe Paul has the right to do this.  I donít believe that we have the right to do this.  If this were so we would have many secondary meanings to Old Testament events.  Paul had divine revelation in order to make these special interpretations.  It is an interesting study to see how Old Testament Scriptures are used and interpreted in the New Testament.                     

I have noticed over the years that many
preachers allegorize Old Testament passages.
That means they take an Old Testament
event and make a New Testament concept from it.  An example of this might be Israelis crossing the Jordon River to have a spiritual significance, which is, Christians going to heaven.  I find such allegorizing of Old Testament passages as being dangerous because we can make these passages mean anything we want them to mean.  I find those of the Replacement Theology do this a lot.  They allegorize the Old Testament because they believe, especially in the prophetic books, that the passages no longer apply to Israel .  They apply to the church.  This forces them to allegorize because they can't take these passages literally as they are written.     


Paul's conclusion is seen in Romans 9:8 and 9.  Only those who are born through Isaac, the son of promise, are the real offspring of Abraham.  Those who were born the natural way, through Sarah, (Arabs) are not the children of Abraham.  I believe this is important in our day when Islam is sweeping the world.  Muslims believe that they are the true Children of Israel.  Christians do not believe this because of what we see Paul saying here.      


If you do a detailed study on the Abrahamic Covenant, you will notice that God's promises were directed to three people, or groups of people.  The Abrahamic Covenant was directed towards Abraham, his descendents (Israel), and Abraham's offspring (Jesus).   We need to be clear on this because Replacement Theology teaches that the whole of the Abrahamic Covenant is fulfilled in Jesus.  That is not so.  Abraham and Israel, as well as Jesus, were promised certain things, including the promise of land.  So Israel still has historic and prophetic significance. What Paul is saying here does not disqualify Israel from being God's special nation. 


In verse 9 Paul quotes from Genesis 18:10 and 14 where God told Abraham that at the appointed time He would come to Sarah and she would conceive a baby boy.  Sarah's miraculous promised conception of Isaac is prophetic of Mary's miraculous and prophetic conception of Jesus.  God had a specific time in mind when He would come to Sarah.  He had a specific time when He would come to Mary.  You see this idea of God having an appointed time all the way through the Bible.  I am convinced that God has an appointed time for everything.  He had an appointed time for the conception of Jesus.  He has an appointed time for Jesus' return.  He has an appointed time for everything.            


In verses 10 through 13 Paul introduces Rebecca into the picture and her twin sons, Jacob and Esau.  Esau was born first and Jacob was born second, yet even before these two sons were born, before they had any chance of doing right or wrong, God had chosen which son would be important, which son the lineage of Abraham would flow through.  God chose Jacob over Esau.  He said that the older would serve the younger (Genesis 25:23).  This was contrary to Jewish culture.  Usually the oldest son would be the important son.  He would receive the inheritance and blessing from the father.  His brothers and sisters would submit to him.  God did just the opposite in this case.  He said the inheritance would go to Jacob, the younger brother. 


Why did God choose Jacob over Esau?  Paul says that Godís choice was not made as a result of any good or evil thing that these two sons did because the choice was made before they were born.  Paul's point here is that God choice was not based on good or bad works.  God's choice was based on His purpose in election.  This little phrase has caused much controversy and division within the church for centuries.  The word "election" here simply means "a choice".  Paul's point is simple.  God chose Jacob just because that was what He wanted. 


The words "not by works but by Him who calls" in verse 12 simply means that God chose Jacob because of nothing he did.  God chose Jacob just because that is what He wanted.         


In verse 13 Paul goes on to make another more dramatic point.  He quotes from Malachi 1:2 and 3 when he says that God loved Jacob and hated Esau.  I am not sure that I can explain this to everyoneís satisfaction.  There has been much debate over this verse for many centuries.  Once again, I doubt that I will end the debate.  All that I can say is that God is Sovereign and He can do what He wants to do, yet, in light of such Scriptures as John 3:16 where we see that God loves everyone, we need to look at this verse more closely.  Many people say that God did not hate Esau as He would hate sin.  Esau is part of everyone in the world spoken of in John 3:16.  Therefore, God must have loved Esau.  The general thinking among Bible teachers is that God did not hate, as in despise, Esau.  He simply set him aside.  The emphasis here is on God's sovereign choice in this verse.  It's not on the word "hate". 


In Greek, the words "I hated" is an aorist verb.  That means the hating was a one time event.  It wasn't a continuous hating.  This supports the idea that hating is in reference to the choosing of Jacob over Esau and not the lack of love that God had for Esau.  


Beyond this explanation we know that God chooses the whole world to be saved.  He also chooses certain people, and not all, to do specific things that go along with His purposes.  He chose Moses to bring the Law to Israel.  He chose Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles.  He did not choose me to be the apostle to the Gentiles.  God can choose whoever He wishes, and it doesnít depend on our works.  It depends of His choice alone.


If you read the Genesis account of Esau, you'll notice that he is not the type of person that should lead a godly family.  Hebrews 12:16 calls him a godless man.  He was godless because he had no regard for his birthright, his inheritance.  He traded it away to his brother Jacob for a meal.  He was also so angry at Jacob that he was attempting to kill him.  You can read this in Genesis 27:41.  Esau appeared to be a man that was always on the go, always outdoors doing things, not a man suitable to lead a family.  For these reasons that God knew ahead of time, even before Esau was born, God would make the choice who would lead Abraham's family next.  .  


Here is another thought on the word "hate" as it is used with Esau.  Do you remember in Luke 14:26 where Jesus said that you could not be His disciple unless you hated your mother, father, wife, brother and sister?  Do you really think that Jesus is promoting hatred towards your family?  Could He not be saying that when you compare your love to God, love towards your family and fellow man is so much less, it is like hating them?  Could not this thinking be applied to God hating Esau as well? 


All that being said, this is probably the correct answer to our problem with the word "hate".  In Genesis 29:31 we see that Leah was loved less than Rachel by Jacob.  The Hebrew word for "loved less" is idiomatic of the day.  It is also used in Malachi 1:3 that Paul quotes here, yet in Malachi, the translators translate the Hebrew as  "hate" instead of "love less".   So, when Paul quotes from Malachi 1:3, we should probably think in terms of God loving Esau less than Jacob, although we would still wonder why God loves some less than others.  My only answer as it applies to Esau would be because of Esau's ungodly behavior.      


All of the above being said about verse 13 and God loving one brother over another, we must remember that Paul has Malachi 1:2 and 3 in mind when he said that God loved Jacob and hated Esau.  If you go back and read Malachi 1 in its entirety, you will see when God said that He loved Jacob and hated Esau, He was not speaking of Jacob and Esau as individual men.  He was in fact speaking of Jacob, meaning Israel , and Esau, meaning Edom , as nations.  So, it's not that God hates individual people.  He can hate the nations, the culture, that individuals live in.  This is the meaning to God loved Jacob and hated Esau. 


In verse 14 Paul asks a question that everyone would ask after saying what he just said.  He asks, "Is God unjust?"  On the surface, it sounds like God is being unjust.  Paul clearly says that God is not unjust.  In verse 16 Paul quotes from Exodus 33:19 where God simply says that He will have mercy and compassion on anyone He wants.  Again, it is all about God's sovereign choice.  Some people may not like it, but if God is God, He can do what He wants, whenever He wants, and to whomever He wants.  


In verse 16 Paul concludes that since God is sovereign, His dealings with man do not depend on either man's desire or effort.  We can desire all we want to be included in God's will but that accomplishes nothing.  We can work hard at trying to please God so He will include us in His will, but that will accomplish nothing as well.  As Paul says in Ephesians 2:8, it is not by works but by grace.  So none of us can boast.            


In verses 17 and 18 Paul gives another example of the same reasoning. He says that God raised Pharaoh up to show His divine power.  This is an important Biblical concept.  Daniel 2:21 states that God causes leaders to rise and He causes them to fall.  Here, Paul confirms this with Pharaoh.  It was God who caused Pharaoh to rise to international prominence, and He did so to show is power to the nations.


How did God show His power through Pharaoh?  He did so by causing him to rise to power and by cutting him down by judging him with curses. 


Paul says that God's name was declared throughout the whole earth.  As He brought Pharaoh and Egypt down, all the surrounding nations saw the power of God being displayed in judgment.   


People are confused over how and why God hardened the heart of Pharaoh.  The story is seen in Exodus 4 and beyond.  Pharaoh hardened his own heart before God hardened it more.  So, it is not as if God did something against Pharaohís will.  It may be similar to what we have already talked about earlier in Romans 1.  If we are going to sin, then God may give us over to our sin, that is, let us sin as much as we want.  Pharaoh already was in unbelief and rebellion against God.  He already hated the Jews.  God simply provided the means by which Pharaoh hardened his heart even more.  Every time another curse came on Egypt, Pharaoh grew harder in his heart.  It is important to understand that God did not just reach down into Pharaoh's heart and make it hard.  God sent plagues to Egypt and to Pharaoh that gave Pharaoh the opportunity to repent.  He didn't repent.  He hardened his heart instead.  This is how God hardened Pharaoh's heart.  Again, God did not do anything to Pharaoh against his free will.


Paul actually quotes from Exodus 9:16.  Also in Exodus 7:3 God says something similar.  The point to Pharaoh's heart being hardened is that God can show His mighty power to the world.  If Pharaoh's heart was not hard, then he would have let Israel free.  At that point God's display of mighty power in judgment would not have been displayed to the world.  We should be clear on this point.  God did not harden Pharaoh's heart, as in, doing something against Pharaoh's will.  He just provided the opportunity for Pharaoh to harden his heart more than it was. 


I believe as God hardened Pharaoh's heart the same will happen at the end of this age.  I see this Old Testament event being prophetic of the end of this age when the anti-Christ will arise as another Pharaoh.  In like fashion God will show Himself to be who He really is in the judgments that we see in the book of Revelation. 


Once again, this is what I believe is the important issue here.  How did God harden Pharaoh's heart?  Did He reach down into his heart against his will and make it hard?   No.  God performed miracles that progressively got more severe.  The first miracle for example was Aaron staff that turned into a snake.  No harm came to Pharaoh because of this, but as the miracles went on, they got more severe and more harm came to Pharaoh and Egypt.  Pharaoh's heart got progressively harder because of God's miracles that came against him, not because God reached down into his heart and made it hard.  There is no interference by God into the free will of man here.  This is clear to me, and should solve this problem of God making man do something against his will.  To confirm what I've just said, in Exodus 8:15, in response to the plague of frogs, the text says that "Pharaoh hardened his heart".  So there you have it.  Pharaoh indeed did harden his own heart in response to the miracles of God.             


Therefore, God will have mercy on anyone He so chooses, and He will harden anyone He so chooses, as Paul says in verse 18.  The point here is that God is the one in charge.  Our works, whether good or bad have nothing to do with His choices, yet once again, He has chosen all to Salvation, but not all respond in faith.  When it comes to specific tasks for man to do, God will choose whoever He wants.


In verse 19 Paul anticipates just another one of those questions that people will ask as a result of what he has just said.  If God's dealing with man is based solely on God's choice without man's participation then why should God blame us for anything?  We can't resist His will.  We can't do anything about the situation.  This is my paraphrase of verse 19.  The question makes perfect sense. If God manipulates us to do something against our wills, why should we be blamed by Him if we don't accept His will?  The answer is as I have stated. God does not manipulate us to do anything against our wills.  He provides the opportunity for us to either harden our own hearts or accept His will, as He did with Pharaoh.


Paul answers this question in verses 20 and 21, and it is simple.  God is sovereign.  If God is God, and He is, then He can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants, and to whomever He wants.  Paul compares God to a potter.  The potter is the creator.  If he wants to create something for special occasions he can.  If he wants to create something for everyday use, he can do that as well. 


One thing I need to point out here is that I don't believe Paul is talking about salvation here.  I don't believe God creates some to be saved and others not to be saved.  We're talking about God calling people to certain tasks.  He may call some to be apostles and some to helpers of the apostles.  Each one has His God given calling.  Each one should live within the calling God has for him.


Paul says that should the one God created say, "Why did you make me that way?"  This is in the context of the potter making clay into something either for noble purposes or common purposes.  There's one thing we should understand about God creating us.  God created Adam and Eve as perfect individuals, without sin or sickness.  The question thus arises.  Does God create us the way we are?  Did he create me to be legally blind?  Did he create others with certain illnesses?  This may be debatable because people believe that God did create me to be legally blind.  I should thus accept who I am as God's creation.  I suggest that God could have prevented me from being legally blind, but He didn't.  Like you, I was born into a sinful and sick humanity.  Part of being born into this situation is that sin and sickness come natural to all of us from birth.  Therefore, I'm not convinced that God created me to be legally blind.                  


The simplest explanation for verses 22 to 24 is this.  God has great patience towards those He will eventually pour His wrath on, yet, when His wrath is poured out, all will see His power.  By stark contrast, those who receive His mercy will be seen by all.  It is similar to what we saw earlier, when sin increases, grace increases more.  With this backdrop of Godís wrath against sinful man, the foreground of His mercy is clearly evident. 


This is seen in the exodus of Israel from Egypt.  
God chose to show His mercy on Israel.  Once released from Egyptian bondage, Israel was to be God's special people among the nations.  That was predetermined before Israel ever went into Egypt.  Israel eventually became enslaved by Egypt.  God had already said that those who bless Israel will be blessed, and those who curse Israel will be cursed as seen in Genesis 12:1-3.  God had lots of patience towards Egypt, as Paul says here when he speaks of God having patience on the objects of wrath.  God had about 400 years of patience to Egypt before He finally destroyed them, yet, in the destruction of Egypt, the salvation, the mercy of God, was demonstrated on Israel, as stated by Paul here.   


The last phrase of verse 24 clearly shows us that God's mercy is not, and will not, be shown just to the Jews, but to the Gentiles as well.  God's plans are for all peoples of the earth.        


From verses 25 to 27 Paul quotes from Hosea 2:23, Hosea 1:10, and Isaiah 10:22 and 23.  Paul's quotes include, "I will call them who are not my people," and, "You who are not my people will be called sons of God." These statements are often misunderstood.  


Many people believe these statements concern the Gentiles who weren't God's people but now are through the cross of Christ, but that's not so.  If you read the Hosea 2 the people who aren't my people are Israelis.  You might ask, "How can Israelis not be God's people?"  The answer is simple.  In Hosea 2 we see that God divorces Israel.  Israel is seen here as God's wife and because she has committed adultery, He divorces her.  Israelis are thus no longer God's people.  To further prove this point, the Isaiah verse Paul quotes in verse 27 clearly states that the author is speaking of Israel, not Gentiles.  What these texts are saying here is that the day will come when God will remarry Israel, and she will be the wife He has wanted her to be.  If you read all of Isaiah 10:20 and beyond, you'll see that to be the case.  Paul is talking about Jews here, not Gentiles. To be even more specific, both God and Paul are talking about the remnant of Jews that will return to Him at the return of Jesus. 

Many people miss what I'm about to say.  I have just pointed out that the Old Testament passages that Paul quotes are in support of the idea that God's people who aren't His people refer to backslidden Jews that will some day become God's people again.  We have a problem because here in Romans 9 Paul uses these quotes to support the idea that Gentiles are included into the family of God, the true Israel .  It appears on the surface that Paul is misappropriating these Old Testament passages by suggesting they prove Gentiles are now a part of true Israel when in fact they don't prove such a thing.  I can't say for sure that I can solve this difficulty for sure.  Many people believe that Paul understood the true meaning to these Old Testament passages. I can't see that he would not have misunderstood them.  Many say that he is simply making the point that if God can call backslidden Jews His people, He could certainly call Gentiles his people, and that certainly does make sense.    


In verse 6 Paul said that not all Jews are really Jews.  Those who are real Jews are the remnant of Israel as seen here in verse 28, and they are those who will eventually receive Jesus as the Lord and Saviour.       


In verse 25 Paul quotes from Hosea 2:23 that predicts the day God will return to Israelis and call them "my people".  That day is still in the future.  It's the day when this present age ends.  It's the day when Jesus returns to earth and the remnant of Israel will be saved.  In light of this fact, verse 26 is important.  He quotes from Hosea 1:10 that says, "It will happen in the very place where it was said to them, 'you are not my people, they will be called the sons of God.'" Think this through.  When God divorced Israel ; stop calling Israel His people, Israel was a nation in their own land.  Here in verse 26 God says that when He returns to Israel and calls it my people again, Israel "will be in the place where it was said, 'you are not my people'.'"   The place where Israel was when God rejected Israel was the land in which they lived as a nation.  This tells me that at the end of this age when God returns to Israel and calls it His people, Israelis will be back in the land where they were when God separated Himself from them.  Of course, Israelis are in their land now, at least part of their land.  That makes 1948, when Israel became a nation, an important date in history.        


In verse 28 Paul says that the Lord will carry out His judgment on earth with both speed and finality.  This is in clear reference to the Great Tribulation when God will judge all the nations of the earth.  Once the process of judgment begins, it will come speedily and it will be final.  Once judgment begins, no one will stop it.  It will be too late to repent, as I believe is seen in the book of Revelation.  Once judgment is over, it will be over. 


Paul closes this section in verse 29 when he quotes from Isaiah 1:9.  Isaiah basically compares Israel to Sodom and Gomorrah.  Israel was that sinful.  That's why Revelation 11:8 calls  Jerusalem in a figurative sense Sodom.  If God had not have had mercy on Israel, she would have been destroyed long ago, like Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed, but, as Paul has been saying throughout this chapter, God has mercy on those He wants to show mercy to.  Here we see God showing mercy to Israel.  There will be a saved remnant from Israel that will receive God's mercy and in this remnant all the promises directed towards Israel in the Old Testament will be fulfilled.             


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