"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Study in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans – “On the Road of Righteousness” Chapter Eleven – The Remnant of Israel

~~ By James Fire

[note to readers: due to the length of this study, I've divided it into two parts, both have been posted in this one article.]

Early on in the book of Genesis we see the development of two cities: Jerusalem (formerly Salem) and Babel (later, this abandoned city-state becomes an empire, Babylon). These two serve as the dual themes in the Scriptures that portray the work of God – Jerusalem and the work of man and Satan – Babylon.

It’s important to note that in the book of Revelation; both cities are in view, having a longevity that spans nearly the whole of human history. But only one work endures beyond this present reality of creation: Jerusalem, in the form of the eternal New Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven, but is nonetheless the habitation of all the “seed of Abraham” which numbers as “the stars of heaven and the sand on the seashore” (Gen. 22: 17; Heb. 11: 11-13) – that is, the seed of believing Israel (the sand on the seashore, referring to the earthly kingdom of the Messiah) and the church (the stars of heaven, referring to that heavenly kingdom of the LORD Jesus Christ, the Head of the church and His bride); Romans 10:11-13


~*JUDGMENT and GRACE –

In nearly every Old Testament book the prophets of God pronounced the word of the LORD which involved warnings of coming judgment if His people did not repent of their sin and spiritual harlotry in going after other gods. Yet just as frequently, often towards the very end of these OT books, there is the lingering, persistent promise of Israel’s future glory and blessing as bestowed by YHWH in the restoration of the kingdom where the Messiah Himself would preside over as the King (Meschiach-nagid).

For a video on this subject please have a look at this message by (yours truly) on : “Israelology – Why Israel Matters to the Biblical Christian”.

God has proven Himself faithful to Israel throughout all the biblical annals of her history; likewise He shall continue to be faithful to Israel for the sake of Abraham, and fulfill His covenant with them.

Paul the apostle continues in his treatment of Israel as that viable entity and nation by which the LORD demonstrates His grace and faithfulness; a testimony to the whole world that reveals the heart of God with all of His tender mercies and love for His people. In the previous chapters we saw how God’s sovereignty and election of Israel as His own “peculiar people” (Ex. 19:5) was brought about (Romans 9: 20-23); as well as this, we also studied the human element that involves our responsibility in responding to the call of God Who has foreknown and foreordained those that come to Him (10: 8-13).


In the following 11th chapter we will be looking at many different biblical truths, one of which is this idea of a “remnant [of Israel]”. So with no further delay, let’s start the study with a look at an outline produced by Dr. Scofield regarding “the remnant”:

YHWH’s FAITHFULNESS to HIS PEOPLE –

That Israel has not been forever set aside is the theme of this chapter.
(1) The salvation of Paul proves that there is still a remnant (Romans 11:1)
(2) The doctrine of the remnant proves it (Romans 11:2-6).
(3) The present national unbelief was foreseen (Romans 11:7-10).
(4) Israel's unbelief is the Gentile opportunity (Romans 11:11-25).
(5) Israel is judicially broken off from the good olive tree, Christ (Romans 11:17-22).
(6) They are to be grafted in again (Romans 11:23-24).
(7) The promised Deliverer will come out of Zion and the nation will be saved (Romans 11:25-29). That the Christian now inherits the distinctive Jewish promises is not taught in Scripture. The Christian is of the heavenly seed of Abraham; Genesis 15:5-6; Galatians 3:29 and partakes of the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant.
(See Scofield Genesis 15:18) but Israel as a nation always has it own place, and is yet to have its greatest exaltation as the earthly people of God. See "Israel" Genesis 12:2; Romans 11:26 "Kingdom"; Genesis 1:26-28; Zechariah 12:8.

Romans 11: 1 – 3
1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying,
3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.



Here Paul offers as proof that God has not cast away His people, the fact that he himself is an “…Israelite, of the seed of Abraham…” You might say, yes, but he is of the church, and in the church there is no “Jew or Gentile, male or female, bond or free” and this is a good point. Let’s have a look at this passage in Galatians:

Galatians 3: 26-29
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.



In each case, there is presumably a superior and an inferior position held in contrast: the Jew perceived himself as superior to the Gentile, the free obviously as superior to the slave, the male to the female (particularly in these ancient cultures), and yet in Christ, all are one, that is, there is no one held in a superior position to any others. All are on ‘an equal footing’ as it were, in their relationship to and with Christ Jesus. Note that Gentiles are considered the seed of Abraham if they belong to Christ. Likewise the Jews who are in Christ are seed of “Abraham, the father of the faithful” (vs. 9).

God in His foreknowledge knew and understood all the times Israel would fall into apostasy and turn from the living God to serve idols; a review of the books of 1st and 2nd Kings as well as 1st and 2nd Chronicles plainly shows that the houses of Israel and Judah had kings that were for the most part apostate, with a few shining exceptions such as Josiah, Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah. Even so, here and later on during the times of the latter prophets, though Israel endured scathing rebukes and chastening judgments from the LORD – He never forsook His people (but for a brief parenthetical moment during the times and ministry of Hosea in 1: 9-11) and promised to make good His Word as He declared both to Abraham and to King David.

Having such foreknowledge of Israel’s abject failures glorifies the faithfulness of God all the more. Though we may believe not, yet He abides faithful as it states in 2 Tim. 2:12-14. He would certainly be within His right to abandon these people (and all of us really) because of His foreknowledge of our unfaithfulness and wandering nature, but He doesn’t! He remains true to His Word and to us!

Romans 3:3-4
3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.



Even Elijah when confronted with the paganism that Israel gave herself over to, petitioned God and interceded against Israel, testifying to their unrighteous and unholy ways and bemoaning the fact that he alone stands righteous before the LORD:

A RIGHTEOUS REMNANT RESERVED –

Romans 11: 4-5
4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.


By the enabling and beautiful grace of God, there were those Hebrews (seven thousand in number!) that did not fall into apostasy, nor did Elijah have any knowledge of their existence prior to God’s declaration of them.

We ought to take this exhortation to heart in our day, this day of apostasy in accord with what the Bible declares about what will happen prior to the return of the LORD Jesus Christ. As we witness one ministry after another, one pastor following more of the same, even people we know personally whom we thought were steadfast and solid in the Word and walk with the LORD – who have all gone astray and been seduced by this pernicious period of perdition. We may be tempted into thinking that we are all alone, that we have no stalwart allies, and grow despondent over the increasing darkness.

I know that I certainly have in these recent years; have you?
Yet God by His election of grace shall preserve a remnant of believers, and more than this – even in the midst of such terrible darkness and deception, His work of the Gospel perseveres and accomplishes great exploits in the glorious salvation of souls: some of which have been high ranking members or even leaders of such deception. A testament of the sovereignty and power of the Living God!

Paul declares that in his day, there is a remnant of believing and faithful Jews – but where were they? They could be found as members of the church!

Dr. Scofield comments:
“Remnant, Summary: In the history of Israel, a "remnant" may be discerned, a spiritual Israel within the national Israel. In Elijah's time 7,000 had not bowed the knee to Baal 1 Kings 19:18.

In Isaiah's time it was the "very small remnant" for whose sake God still forbore to destroy the nation (Isaiah 1:9). During the captivities the remnant appears in Jews like Ezekiel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Esther, and Mordecai. At the end of the 70 years of Babylonian captivity it was the remnant which returned under Ezra and Nehemiah. At the advent of our Lord, John the Baptist, Simeon, Anna, and "them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem" (Luke 2:38) were the remnant.

“During the church-age the remnant is composed of believing Jews (Romans 11:4-5). But the chief interest in the remnant is prophetic. During the great tribulation a remnant out of all Israel will turn to Jesus as Messiah, and will become His witnesses after the removal of the church (Revelation 7:3-8). Some of these will undergo martyrdom (Revelation 6:9-11) some will be spared to enter the millennial kingdom (Zechariah 12:6-13:9). Many of the Psalms express, prophetically, the joys and sorrows of the tribulation remnant.”


Zechariah 13:9
9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, 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.


Just as there had been a remnant in the days of Paul, there had been in the Old Testament period as recorded in Scripture: Is. 1:9; 4:3; 11: 16; 37: 4; Jer. 6:9; 23: 3; 31: 7; Ezek. 14:22; Mic. 2: 12; and Zeph. 2: 9 and elsewhere. It should be noted that the term “remnant” doesn’t necessarily mean a holy remnant. There are those occasions when a ‘remnant’ in the Scriptures refers to those remaining who are yet left to be judged. A careful examination of this word in the context of Scripture clearly reveals what sort of remnant is being addressed.

NO ‘WORTHY’ WORK WILL WORK –

Romans 11: 5-6
5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Here, Paul speaks of that remnant according to the election of grace. It must be stressed that no remnant that is considered holy, is deemed by God as such because of their own merit, worthiness or uprightness. There exists a remnant only because of the foundational work of God’s grace, freely received by those elect, according to the foreknowledge of God.

The apostle elaborates on the nature of this grace, that it is apart from any works we could do, and by definition grace is something freely given at the expense of the One Who offers it, not at the one receiving it. To even suggest that the recipient (us sinners) can provide “works” worthy of being included in this remnant by the LORD God is blasphemous in every meaning of the word.

Any works done to attempt to provide for and prove our right standing with God suggests that our efforts and righteousness is comparable in quality and supplementary to the work of the LORD Jesus Christ on the Cross – but what can sinners, born into sin do, to bring equitable works and ministration towards their own salvation in the Light of the finished work of the SINLESS LAMB OF GOD Who (ALONE!) takes away the sin of the world?

Unfortunately today, much of the church is emphasizing salvation by works (a supposition long held by Roman Catholic dogma) and such drives the motivation of Emergent-types to feed the poor, clean up the environment, seek social justice, educate the untaught, etc. Often the scripture used to defend such actions is Phil. 2: 12-13: “…work out your own salvation…” but as it continues in vs. 13:
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

The efficacy of the grace of God in salvation, the forgiveness of sin, and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit Who takes up residency in the believer at that point of their expressing faith in Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior is what God “works in” and the result of this, is the saint’s willing and yielded nature in the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification and in conforming the saint more and more into the image of the LORD – this is personal holiness that influences perception (discernment*), conviction, conduct and actions as they relate to the ministry and truth of the WORD of God, and the subsequent “good works” which the LORD ordains and operates in, through our lives (Eph. 2:10) – not any social or political gospel, but that which pertains to the Kingdom of God and the KING Who Himself will inaugurate such at His Second Coming.

For a great study in discernment watch this video by pastor Josh Boubion from the Memorial Day '12 - Men's Conference on "Wisdom and Discernment"

. . . IS BLIND BUT ONE DAY WILL SEE –
ROMANS 11: 7-8
7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.


This nation, which was to be a “peculiar people” and “an holy nation” (Deut. 14:2) has for her long, long history sought for their Messiah (and still does to some and increasing degree); how utterly and tragically ironic that the very One that all of their hopes, dreams, aspirations and reverent devotion hung upon, was Himself hung on a cross, rejected by Israel, and forgotten by the vast majority of them: blinded and ignorant of the truth, they had missed “the time of their visitation” (Lk. 19: 43-45)!

MATTHEW 23: 37 - 39
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.


Interesting how our LORD spoke those words in just the way that He did: that they wouldn’t “see” Him . . .that is, recognize Him for Who He is . . . “till” – this spiritual slumber and “blinded” condition is not permanent according to both the Messiah of Israel and Paul the apostle; there is yet coming a day when such blindness will be removed and then Israel shall in fact understand Who their Messiah is, and receive Him!

ZECHARIAH 12:10
10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

ZECHARIAH 13: 6, 8-9

6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.
9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, 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.


The Messiah of Israel, pierced through by that Roman spear while hanging on the cross for the sins of His people (see Isaiah chapter 53; also Psalm 22); Who received such wounds that would later be inquired of by His grieving brethren who will finally understand their nearly fatal (but by the grace of God!) error!

Paul continues in his quotation of the Tanahk, citing King David:

ROMANS 11: 9-11
9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:
10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.


God in His absolute foreknowledge sees with unparalleled clarity every aspect of the world, including every individual and every individual choice made by each and every one of us; all long before He ever uttered the words “Let there be light. . .”

It might seem like cruelty to us, that the LORD would allow such blindness to prevent some from seeing the truth, and yet in all actuality it is a kindness. The LORD Himself stated that to whom “much is given is much required” (Luke 12:48); if truth is given to those who would reject such utterly, they would be judged based upon that rejection of truth granted. Since the LORD knows already who would reject His Truth, and who would receive it, in order to diminish the extremes of judgment upon some, He hides the truth from them.

A BLESSING NOW UNDISGUISED –
Yet just as Israel as a nation rejected the Truth Incarnate, the LORD has given them “this spirit of slumber” but as with any slumber, there is a time of awakening, and so they shall be; but first just as Israel has stumbled, the Gentiles have arisen to this profound opportunity of learning about the Messiah (the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth), the Gospel that is Himself and salvation freely offered, just as was foretold in the Scriptures:

GENESIS 22: 17-18
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

ISAIAH 49: 6-7

6 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: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
7 Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.


ISAIAH 60:2-4
2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.

ACTS 11: 1, 17-18

1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.

17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

EPHESIANS 3: 4-6

4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:


The Jewish people and particularly their leadership throughout the ages had typically viewed the Gentiles as an inferior breed of humans; in fact they saw them as mere kindling for the fires of hell. One prayer that Pharisees were oft praying was “G-d I thank You, that You did not make me a woman, a slave or a Gentile”
Yet God’s vision was far, far different; He “…so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son so that WHOEVER would believe in Him would … have eternal life.” Seeing how Israel rejected her Messiah, the LORD then turned to the Gentiles, and in moving so gloriously in the midst of such ‘gehenna kindling’, the LORD hoped to “provoke them to jealousy” …

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ PART TWO ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

FALLING AND FULLNESS –

ROMANS 11: 12
12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

Just as we Gentiles (goyim) have been incredibly, insurmountably blessed in this opulent opportunity in getting to know Jesus, the Messiah of Israel because of the “fall” of this nation, what sort of blessing can we expect when once the Messiah returns to this wayward world and received by that same nation that once rejected Him? Such blessings as described in what’s been referred to as the Millennium (Rev. 20: 2-7; “a thousand years” is mentioned 6 times in this passage alone) will be unparalleled! Also, may I say personally, ever since I first became a Christian I have had this love for Israel instilled within me, and it’s always abided in my heart. How thrilled I was, and honored to visit the Holy Land not once, but twice (may the third visit be from the portals of heaven, amen!)! Every saint that accompanied me said the very same thing that I myself felt: “It feels like I’ve come home!” One astute believer replied, “That’s because the One that dwells in our hearts HAS come home!

This is not to say that Israel doesn’t make mistakes in national and political protocols and decisions, or even that they are a godly nation – most Israelis today are either atheist, agnostic or belonging to other religions … even New Age mysticism (only a smaller minority are orthodox Jews and even a smaller portion of them are Messianic, that is, Jews that have received Jesus as their LORD and SAVIOR and are now a part of the church). In my opinion they have done a remarkable job in being careful and precise in their defensive retaliations against Islamic terrorist attacks and threats.

Yet it’s because of the heart of God, His love for them and His grace that we His children reflect this same love and compassion for them, and yearn to bless them, pray for them, and look with hopeful, joyful expectation when the Messiah comes to them and blesses them with Himself! I cannot understand how any Christian, supposedly indwelt by the Spirit of God could be anti-Israel (much less, pro-Palestinian). How can we not love what God loves?

God’s love for the souls of Israel is the same as His love for any other soul that needs redemption; neither is superior to the other, and if any receives the love and blessings of God it’s only by His grace alone! Dave Hunt and Tom McMahon of The BEREAN CALL have had a discussion about this.

ROMANS 11: 13-16
13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.


The ordination of Paul as an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the LORD Jesus Christ was unquestioned (except at first) by the other apostles and elders of the church; if there were questions at all about his authority, no doubt these would have come up at the Council at Jerusalem (Acts chapter 15), if not much sooner. His writings likewise are endorsed (by none other than Peter), and esteemed as equal to Old Testament Scripture as mentioned in 2 Peter 3:15-17. It was agreed in the ministry that Peter would go to the Jews, and Paul to the Gentiles:

GALATIANS 2: 7-9
7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.


In regards to vs. 15 of our text, just as blessing is awaiting Israel who will one day receive their Messiah, so likewise blessing is awaiting the Gentile nations as they receive in turn – the Messiah of Israel, and also Israel herself; for the LORD will bless those that bless Israel (Gen. 12:3)!

Life from the dead indeed, in all of the parameters of our reality – the raising to eternal life, spiritually as we are redeemed, justified and born again in Christ Jesus, the raising to life of our minds as we are sanctified, the raising to life from the dead of our bodies on that day when our LORD returns for His bride, and even as He returns to this world to inaugurate His reign, the raising to life of this planet as the desert will blossom as a rose (Is. 35: 1-3), and longevity of human life is increased (Is. 65: 19-21), and the animal kingdom will be at rest – no longer divided between predators and prey (Is. 11: 6; 65: 25).

The first fruit and the root referred to in vs. 16 is I believe, Abraham, the father of the faithful – and just as the LORD counted righteousness to him as he believed God, so the LORD by His grace determined to bless his progeny and counted all that expressed “like faith” as their father Abraham – the entire lump of the believing remnant of Israel, the branches of all the tribes that believed and will believe the Truth of God’s Word – these are accounted as holy. Not only these of course, but also the believing Gentiles are accounted as children of Abraham in a living, spiritual faith – thus the descendents of Abraham being as the sand of the shore (Israel and her earthly kingdom) and the stars of heaven (the church and her heavenly kingdom); see Gen. 22: 16-18.

BROKEN BRANCHES and BLESSING BEQUEATHED –

ROMANS 11: 17-21
17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.
20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.


For those who espouse Replacement Theology (again, the belief that the promises and, or covenants originally granted to Israel were transferred to the church, because Israel rejected her Messiah), this is yet one more text that plainly shows the falseness of this doctrine.

There is no such thing as God casting away the entire tree of Israel, only those branches – the unbelieving elements that would not relate to God with genuine faith like Abraham – were broken off due to their unbelief. The tree itself (believing Israel, starting with Abraham) remains because we Gentiles (comprising of the “wild olive tree”) are grafted into it.

Nor does this verse teach the loss of salvation because the criterion stipulates that only those branches that don’t abide by faith are broken off and not spared. There are those that profess belief, who are in the midst of the church, and seem to be saved but are not. It shall be revealed who has genuine faith and who does not, ultimately on the Last Day when judgment arrives at the behest of the “judge of the whole earth”. Spiritual fruit is something that indicates spiritual life, and yet even here there are ‘seasons of the soul’ such as a time of plowing and of planting, a time of harvest and a time of rest - spiritual fruit is not always apparent.

The spiritual life of the believer results from the spiritual life of the LORD for He indeed is the Vine, and we are the branches (John 15:1-8) and as we abide in Him (a characteristic that only the saved possess, that is, to abide and remain abiding) we will be the bearers of spiritual fruit.

For more on the issue of the eternal security of the believer, please obtain a copy of William MacDonald’s excellent book, Once In Christ, In Christ Forever. There is a strong probability that I will produce a review of this treatment of the doctrine of eternal security on FROM the MIND of FIRE (FMF). For a sample of Mr. MacDonald’s teaching feel free to watch this series, beginning with this one on The Local Church.

Have a look at the description and some reviews of this book from GOOD READS:

Before we move on, let me say that this is a biblical truth that has been brutally abused by many professing Christians, who believe that once they have dedicated their lives to the LORD in salvation, or once it’s perceived that they are “of the elect” that they are then free to live life as they choose (carnal, fleshly, unspiritual, unproductive) without risking their salvation.

For me, ‘risking’ is not at all the issue, but rather the inability of such professors to actually prove that they were genuinely saved in the first place. No true believer need worry about ‘risking their salvation’ but we ought to examine ourselves (2 Cor. 13: 4 – 7) and see if we really are “in the faith” and to do so means to review the foundation of our salvation (2 Peter 1: 9-11) is it really based on faith alone in the grace of God alone, in Christ alone and the fruit of the Spirit which will (super)-naturally result from such faith.

ROMANS 11: 22
22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.


In these two extremely and seemingly divergent attributes of God’s severity and His goodness we might find contradiction, but only if one fails to consider the Person of the LORD Jesus Christ, the Holy Vessel of all the grace of God (1 Peter 5: 9-11; Rom. 5: 17-21) by Whom His goodness and severity is revealed. Should a person by faith receive Christ Jesus as LORD and SAVIOR, they shall experience God’s goodness in every capacity; should such a person not receive Him, then nothing but severity can be expected. Grace and truth come by Jesus Christ (John 1:17) and any who call upon His name in truth (Ps. 145:18; Rom. 10:13) can expect the grace of God. Those who reject such, will face God’s judgment according to truth, but in the absence of grace (John 5:22; Ps. 96: 13; Acts 17:31). Goodness vs. severity!

I believe that the continuance of the saint in the goodness and grace of God reveals genuine salvation and this holy work is evidential enough that such a person may know with entire veracity that they possess eternal life and have such assurance by faith (1 John 5: 12-13; Heb. 6: 9-15; 10: 22-23).

ROMANS 11: 23-24
23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?


Here we see that even those of “the olive tree” that is, of the progeny of Israel come to faith and “abide not still in unbelief” these also shall be grafted in! There is not a single soul that has ever been saved, that has done so apart from faith. No one can boast of any work accomplished in themselves that can prove worthy of the righteousness of God. So, only believing in God and trusting Him in the Person of Jesus Christ is required – such is the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ our LORD (Romans 10: 2-4)!

This text shows that it’s possible for God to “graft” the natural branches back in, and soon we will read how this is not merely a possibility but a promise by God (See also Ephesians ch.2)!

THE BLIND SHALL SEE –

ROMANS 11: 25-27
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.


Here is a crucial portion of Scripture that reveals the truth regarding Israel, the church and faith –

We have here a “mystery” that is, musterion in the Greek, meaning a truth formerly hidden but now revealed to those of the faith. The truth spoken here is that this blindness on the part of Israel is something that was anticipated by God the Son!

LUKE 19: 37 - 44
37 And when he [Jesus] was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.


Because Israel initially rejected her Messiah (review Acts chapter 7 and Stephen’s Old Testament treatment of Israel and how she initially rejected her prophets, only to receive them the second time – most notably, Moses and how he relates this truth with their rejection of their Messiah, Y’shua), those “things which belong to thy peace” became hidden from their view; that is, they became spiritually blinded to the truth of the Messiah’s identity. Yet Paul by the Spirit indicates that there is a terminus to this blindness – it won’t last forever. Consider the word that is profound in its impact and meaning in vs. 25 of our text in Romans: “until”

“…blindness in part is happened to Israel until…” This blindness is in part, albeit a majority part (because there are those of the remnant of Israel that have indeed placed their faith in the Messiah), but it will one day come to an end when “the fullness of the Gentiles [has come]”. This “fullness” was spoken of in Acts 15 at the Council of Jerusalem, when the elder James (half-brother of our LORD) spoke of how God would "call out a people [not Israel, but Gentiles] for His name (vs. 14)" after which He would once again rebuild the “tabernacle of David” that is, the restoration of the government of Israel under His own rule.

We have already seen in various passages how that the Gentiles would come to [His] light (Is. 60:3) and how further revelation was given to Paul that the Gentiles would become a new entity along with believing Jews known as the body of Christ, the church (Eph. 2: 11-22; 3: 1-6).

This is why we believe that once the church, the body of Christ is completed [in "fullness"], we (both the living and the dead in Christ) shall en masse be raptured out of this world, and at such time, Israel’s eyes – the remnant only at first – will be opened, and ultimately “all Israel will be saved” when the Messiah presents Himself (for the second time) to her at His Second Coming (Zech 12:9-14; 13:6; Is. 63: 1-3). The ungodly condition of Israel in which she exists (for the most part) today will be turned away by the Messiah and He will restore her to right standing with Him by “taking away their sins”.

ROLE REVERSAL and REPENTANCE –

ROMANS 11: 28 - 32
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.


Documentation in Scripture is abundant in regards to the Jewish opposition of the Gospel; Paul contended tirelessly against equally tireless Jews and ‘Judaizers’ that wanted either to be rid of such a sect as these ‘Christians’ or to place such under the law. Even so, these that are adversarial to us who are Christians, and likewise opposed to the Gospel ought to be prayed for and loved just as we’ve been instructed by our LORD – to pray for our enemies, bless those that curse us, etc (Matt. 5: 44; Rom. 12: 14).

God’s gifts and calling of Israel will not ever change; He intends on completing that good work He has started in that nation, beginning with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob just as He intends on completing that good work He began in us, His church (Phil. 1:6).

Some might think it strange that “God” and “repentance” would even be used in the same sentence. A similar passage is found in Genesis, where He seems to have repented of ever having created man in Genesis 6:6:

GENESIS 6:6
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.


The Hebrew word used here for “repented” is nacham, and is used in reference to God elsewhere in the Scriptures such as Exodus 32:14; Jer. 18:8-10; Jonah 3:10 and Joel 2:13; it doesn’t mean to repent of sin committed as is commonly appropriate for us sinners, but where God is concerned, it means simply rather “to sigh, , to be sorry, to pity, to exert strength to change, to re-grasp the situation, and for the situation to take a different course of purpose and action”. God cannot repent of sin because He is holy and without sin (1 Sam. 15:29).

In our text in Romans, this idea of “without repentance” on God’s part, simply means that He will not be sorry for His choosing of Israel, nor exert any effort to take a different course” in His “purpose and action” towards Israel and the promises He has made with them by covenant.

It appears that there is a mutual relationship of reciprosity between Israel and Gentiles where God’s purposes and plans are concerned; that is, during the time in which Israel was walking in righteousness, being obedient to the Word of the LORD, it was the Gentiles who walked in darkness (Is. 42: 6-7), but once Israel failed to recognize the “time of her visitation” by the Messiah, “blindness in part” has happened to her, but that the Gentiles should come to the Light of the LORD and receive the opportunity for salvation (as represented in the church) as a result of Israel’s fall is apparent.

RICHES of RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR ISRAEL and the CHURCH –

ROMANS 11: 33-36
33 O 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 hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.


The inscrutable nature of God, the mystery of His wisdom, judgment and knowledge are indeed beyond the mind of mere man to discover; our finite minds cannot fathom the infinite mind of the LORD – thus it becomes foolishness for any who would seek to be His counselor (though how many times I have tried, in times of prayer to do so!).

Likewise who could possibly claim to give to God something He would esteem of value and thus indebt the LORD to recompense us for such?

The Gospel is not something readily grasped, much less believed by human beings apart from the sweet influence of the Holy Spirit Who ever seeks to point the way to Jesus Christ; this Gospel is a mystery and the ultimate embodiment and fulfillment of the wisdom, knowledge, judgment and grace, mercy and peace and righteousness of God! However we who have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16) have been given this mystery and the understanding of it, the Father having revealed it to us, His “babes” – or those who come to God in simple faith, apart from intellectual pride and arrogance:

MATTHEW 11: 25-26
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.


Just as the LORD has been faithful in “calling out a people for His Name” and revealing to us Gentiles His grace and salvation, so He will be faithful to Israel and remove her blindness so that she too may receive the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 2:1-2) and the blessing of those covenants which the LORD established, and from which He will not repent!

This concludes this chapter, and the trilogy (Chapters 9 – 11) of Paul’s treatment of the nation of Israel, the church and the grace of God respectively between the two. Next is chapter 12 where we shift from some of the doctrinal instructions from the apostle, to the practical application and how we ought to conduct our lives in truth, as a result of receiving the truth represented in the Word of God. For now, let me leave you with these two great passages that reveal the LORD’s faithfulness by covenant with David and Israel, the people of God.

2 SAMUEL 7: 10-13, 16-17, 25-29
10 Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime,
11 And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house.
12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.

25 And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said.

26 And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.
27 For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.
28 And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:
29 Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord GOD, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.


PSALM 89: 3-7, 20-21, 24-29, 34-37

3 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,
4 Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.
5 And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.
6 For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?
7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.

20 I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him:

21 With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.

24 But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.

25 I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers.
26 He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
27 Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.
28 My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.
29 His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.

34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.

35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.
36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.
37 It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah
Read more!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Of CHAOS and CONFUSION - a film by PAUL FLYNN

The following is intended as an advertisement of sorts but also as an endorsement of Paul Flynn's ministry of Megiddo Films (http://megiddofilms.org/) as well as his podcasts as found on Pod-o-matic, Megiddo Radio (http://megiddofilms.podomatic.com/).

Quite soon he will be releasing a new film called OF CHAOS and CONFUSION. Here is a brief clip of what to expect:

Of CHAOS and CONFUSION: The MODERN CHURCH (note: the clip states this film will be released in the winter of 2011, but Paul updated the release date to the summer of 2012, which is very soon!).

The chaos and confusion that has overtaken the church which has for the most part lost her ability or at least her volition to discern the teachings and dogmas that are being promoted in our day.
We have addressed this issue of discernment on TTUF with the article:

Is The Discernment Gene Becoming Recessive in the Body of Christ?

And the following article from The RED PILL Consortium:

Our State of Affairs: Nationally and Spiritually

I am greatly anticipating this film from our brother Paul and would eagerly suggest that you likewise order this film from his ministry web site. Once we obtain copies of these, may we share them with other believers and continue to be on guard against any such "leaven" that is, false teachings and practices that are encroaching and infiltrating our church fellowships, even ones that were formerly solid doctrinally.

I'm sure we have all felt the anguish of teachers of the WORD whom we received from and been blessed by their ministry in the past, but since then have gone wayward, joining the apostasy of this present age.

This is why it's vital that every believer, every disciple of Jesus Christ truly be a student of the Word of God, studying for themselves and learning the truth of Scripture and not depending on a pastor or teacher for the entirety of their spiritual nourishment and edification.

John 8: 31-32

31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
.

2 Tim. 2: 15

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (emphasis mine)


2 Timothy 3:15-17

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works
.

May the LORD bless you and keep you in HIS TRUTH, free from the entanglements of deception, spiritual lethargy, lukewarmness and the chaos and confusion of this present age; and secure in the grace, peace and truth and the love and joy of the LORD! Read more!
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