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Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Romans by the Book (Lesson 73)

Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4

Romans by the Book                                                                        Lesson 73
Welcome to Home Bible Study.

We completed our study of Romans chapter 8 in the previous lesson.
I dare say we hardly “mined” all the treasure that great chapter holds.
What I mean to say is we could review it a dozen more times and glean new insights with each consideration.  That’s how this book works.

It’s been said that Romans 8 has the distinction of being termed the high-water mark of the New Testament.  In my opinion that’s equivalent to calling the Hope Diamond a “nice rock.”  Romans 8 is Paul’s doctrinal masterpiece on the subject of God’s grace.

Please open your Bible to Romans, chapter 9.

Overview of Romans 9

(V 1-5) Paul’s great sorrow for unbelieving Israel – Paul speaks to the unbelief of the nation of Israel by stating that God did not purpose to save all Israel.

(V 6-29) The real Israel, however, were an Elect, and not a natural seed – Paul defends God’s sovereignty

(V 30-33) Paul’s conclusion – the Gentiles attain God’s righteousness by simply believing - faith (method).  The nation of Israel, following the Mosaic Law (method), stumble at the – by faith way – or at Christ (who is the Cornerstone - Ephesians 2:20) missing salvation in this Grace Age.

In Romans 9 thru 11, our Apostle Paul explains God’s present dealing with the nation of Israel.  I know there is a need for this within the church today, but evidently at the time of this writing some of the Jews in this Roman congregation also wanted to know, “What’s going on?”  I don’t think for a minute that people have changed all that much over the years.  The fact that we have more than 600 church denominations presently in America (and growing) is prove enough that there is discord and disharmony amongst Believers.  But mainly I pick up on Paul’s message in these words, “But it is not as though the word of God has failed...”  So Paul is addressing their concerns.

More than a few people in the church and in our government believe that God is through with the nation of Israel.  Some of these folks teach a doctrine called, “Replacement Theology” saying the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people and He has no future plans for them…they have been “cut off.”  These folks believe the Church has replaced Israel as the primary means by which the world is blessed by God today and by which He does His work.  However, Scripture does not support such a notion.  For God has said:

“Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, “(the nation of) Israel is My son, My firstborn (Exodus 4:22).

“For you are a holy people (means: set apart) to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6).

“Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name; If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the LORD, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.”  (Jeremiah 31:35-36). 

God has NOT abandoned Israel; they are only temporarily “blinded” (Romans 11:25).

It’s a sad fact that many churchgoers today know very little about God’s favored nation.  Consequently, most are not concerned with God’s plans and His ways with Israel.  So, before we proceed with our study of RC9, I think it’s a good idea to visit the Old Testament and review the nation of Israel’s history briefly.  We’re not going to cover everything that occurred.  If we did that, we would be involved in a brand new Bible study.   

Here’s Paul’s dilemma

Paul’s gospel (Romans 2:16) is the fulfillment of all that the Old Testament proclaimed and anticipated (Jesus Christ is the end of the Law - Romans 10:4).  In chapter 4 of Romans, Paul taught that Abram himself was saved by faith (alone) and not by works, and that the kind of faith required for salvation today is precisely the same as that exercised by Abram.  

If the gospel Paul is preaching is indeed the fulfillment of all that the Jews had hoped for, for approximately two thousand years, then why were they missing out on its blessings?  Why are the Gentiles, who were “strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope,coming to Jesus Christ, in faith, while the majority of the Jews still reject God’s Son and the message of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:23)?

The LORD God committed Himself to bless Israel but now they have been nationally set aside, while Paul’s “good news” goes out to all nations without distinction between Jew and Gentile (Genesis 12:3; Galatians 3:28).   

Paul is preaching salvation apart from the Mosaic Law by simply believing, instead of by the Jews “religion and traditions,” promising blessings; and “heavenly blessings” at that!  The idea of salvation being offered to Gentiles is inconceivable to a Jew.    

From Israel’s perspective the Old Testament promises which were made only to them are now seemingly being forgotten or ignored:  “He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel.  He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His ordinances, they have not known them (Psalm 148:19-20). 

In addition to this, there is the question of the righteousness and integrity of God, for it would appear all that He had purposed for the nation of Israel actually failed to happen.

Digging Deeper

The history of the Jewish people is without parallel in history.  They’ve existed for more than 4,000 years.  Though depressed, downtrodden, taken captive into many foreign lands they continue to survive and appear again and again upon the pages of history.
When Frederick the Great asked the court preacher for proof, in one word, that the Bible was the inspiration of God, true, and accurate, the preacher replied, “The Jew,” your majesty.

The Jewish race was raised up out of an idolatrous world to reaffirm and teach that there is but one true God (Exodus 19:5-6).

God’s covenant with Israel begins approximately 412 years after the Noahic Flood in about the year 1936 BC with the call of one man named Abram, a Shemite, from Ur of the Caldees, to be the father of a great nation:  Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; 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.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

God commanded Abram to leave his country, his relatives, even his father’s house because they all worshipped false gods, including his father Terah.
Take note the Abrahamic Covenant is not a conditional promise (binding on both parties), its “unconditional,” which means it’s all about the LORD God.  There’s nothing required of Abram, and there’s nothing he can do that will undo this covenant with God.  Furthermore, there is no passage in Scripture anywhere that revokes it. 

God’s promises to Abraham (name changed by God – Genesis 17:5) were progressive.

  • At Ur: the promises were “the land;” and that his seed should “become a great nation” (Genesis 12:1-2).

  • At Shechem:  the promise of the ownership of the “land to his descendants” (Genesis 12:7).

  • At Bethel:  the promises “all the land you see,” and that his descendants should be as the “dust of the earth” - for number (Genesis 13:15-16) – (therefore, all the promises made to the nation of Israel are “earthly” in nature).

  • At Mamre:  that his seed should be for numbers as the stars of the heavens – (therefore, the promises made to the Church are “heavenly” in nature) and that the land should extend from the “River of Egypt” to the “River Euphrates” (Genesis 15:5, 18)

The Abrahamic Covenant consisted of three promises:  a great nation would come from Abram’s seed, they would possess their own land, and God promised a Theocratic government, i.e. He Himself would rule through a representative that He would appoint (Moses for example).  Then one day He would come Himself to live among them, be their King and govern them (Isaiah 9:6-7).  *Remember this.

The Abrahamic Covenant was unconditionally confirmed to his son, Isaac (Genesis 26:1-4), and to his grandson, Jacob (Genesis 28:10-15).

Abraham was chosen and he proved a mighty man of faith, but hardly perfect.
We see the same characteristics in his children.  Isaac was a good man, but not as good as his father, and Jacob, Isaac’s son, who succeeded to the birthright by deceiving his father, was still less so, and the twelve sons of Jacob, with the exception of Joseph, greatly degenerated from Abraham.

So we find in that short dispensation of approximately 430 years, all of Abraham’s descendants wound up working as slaves in Egypt just as the LORD God prophesied, “God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendents will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years…” (Genesis 15:13). 

During the time the Jews were enslaved in Egypt, they grew into a nation.  When God sends Moses to bring them out of Egypt, their population had grown too roughly 7 million – give or take.

Around 1500 BC God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai.

After Moses and Joshua died the nation of Israel had no ruler.  They cried out to the LORD God and He raised up “Judges” who governed them for about 450 years.  But then Israel became “jealous” of the heathen nations around them who had kings to lead them.  They wanted to be “like them,” so the elders of the tribes came to Samuel demanding that he, “appoint a king for us” and Saul was selected (1 Samuel 8).  Saul’s reign as king lasted 40 yrs.

After Saul’s death David became the next king of Israel.  Now David wanted to build a “house” for the Ark of the Covenant that was currently dwelling in a tent/tabernacle.  To be brief, God declined the offer (2 Samuel 7:4-17).  But in these verses God makes a covenant with King David.  This is known as the Davidic Covenant in Scripture.  This covenant between God and David elevates the nation of Israel to an international kingdom.  In short, it established an “everlasting throne” from which God Himself would one day rule and reign.  This promise to David was fulfilled at the birth of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:31-33; Romans 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:25).  David’s reign lasted 40 years.

David was succeeded by his son Solomon.  Solomon built the LORD God’s temple.  Solomon reigned 40 yrs.

At the death of Solomon at about 975 BC, the kingdom was divided.   Solomon’s son Rehoboam and two tribes, Benjamin and Judah, remained in the south; Jerusalem was its capital, and Jeroboam, an insurrectionist, got the other ten tribes called Israel, of the north; Samaria was its capital.  Now Northern Israel lasted about 255 more years before being carried away into captivity to Assyria in the year 721 BC.  About 115 years later Judah, in the south, was overrun by Babylon, and the people taken into exile.

538 BC - King Cyrus, of Persia, conquered Babylon, setting Darius on the throne as a “lesser king.”   King Cyrus is mentioned more than 30 times in Scripture.  He is important in Jewish history because it was under his reign that Jews were first allowed to return to Israel after 70 years of captivity to rebuild the temple.  The prophet Isaiah predicted this would happen 150 years before Cyrus was born, “Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed, Whom I have taken by the right hand, To subdue nations before him And to lose the loins of kings; To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut; I will go before you and make rough places smooth; I will shatter doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars.  I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The LORD, The God of Israel, who calls you by your name.  For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name (150 years before your birth); I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me (Isaiah 45:1-4).  Cyrus’ decree to release the Jewish people, in fulfillment of prophecy, is recorded for us in Chronicles 36:22-23.

445 BC – Nehemiah was sent to “restore and rebuild” the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:5-8).  The angel Gabriel told Daniel that he is to “know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks…”  (Daniel 9:25).  This event starts God’s countdown of time.

397 BC – the 39 books of the Old Testament ended.  Four hundred years of Biblical silence commenced.

4 AD – Jesus Christ was born.

5 AD - Saul (Paul the Apostle) was born.

33 AD – Jesus was crucified (Daniel 9:26 - “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing…”  This is a prophecy concerning Jesus crucifixion and consequent death).

(To be continued)

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