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Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Revisiting Romans 9 and the Promises to Israel

One of the oddest things in Reformed/Replacement theology is its reliance on the "grafting in" passage in Romans 11. This truth of the Acts Age was part of the continuing offering of the earthly kingdom to Israel. Israel was never "replaced" in God's plans or promises regarding the Kingdom or the land. As we have seen in other studies, the Lord taught his disciples for 40 days after his resurrection about one thing: the kingdom in Israel (Acts 1:6). These are the men who were promised by the Lord they they shall "sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel."

Judging some "spiritual twelve tribes" in some "spiritual Israel" made up of Gentiles? This promise given not long after the Lord called Gentiles "little dogs" and told a Gentile woman he was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. The House of Spiritual Israel made up of Gentiles?

It is nonsensical to apply some sort of "spiritual Israel" to all these promises (or to the hundreds of connected prophecies in Moses and the Prophets). The "Israel" of God's earthly plan was still at the center of his working in the Acts Age. Paul tells us why the Lord used the grafting in of "little dog" (Matt 15) Gentiles into the root of Israel (not into some Gentile "spiritual Israel").

First Moses saith, I will provoke you [Israel] to jealousy by them [Gentiles] that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

-Romans 10:19

And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back always. I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their [Israel's] fall salvation [the kingdom] is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them [Israel] to jealousy. Now if the fall of them [Israel] be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them [Israel] the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

-Romans 11:9-12

 We have looked at the grafting in in other studies. Here I just want to look at Paul's clear statement in Romans 9:1-5.

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Let us bullet point these biblical truths and promises. 

To Israel pertains (present tense):
  • · The Adoption (an inheritance)
  • · The Glory
  • · The Covenants (plural)
  • · The Giving of the Law
  • · The Service of God (Worship/Priesthood)
  • · The Promises (to the fathers, Romans 15:8)
  • · The Fathers (from whom came Christ)

Just a quick note on this last one, “fathers.” In the Book of Acts alone, we have 25 or so references to the “fathers.” Men want to spiritualize all these references (and the references in the epistles), thus doing violence to the promises of God, rendering them almost meaningless. They thus accuse God of being a liar and dare to correct his meaning and apply these to themselves. 

While we’re here, I think I found 9 references to “the fathers” in the sense of those given the promises in the epistles written during the Acts Age. The word "father" is found 3 times in the Post Acts epistles , every time referring to the father of children. This is a concept exclusive to Israel (in the context of God's earthly plan for the land and for the priesthood).

This is earth's and Israel's future:

Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

-Zech 8:23

This is the fulfillment of Israel's Covenant. She shall finally serve as a holy nation and as a royal priesthood. Zechariah speaks of a priesthood of Jews. This is not Gentiles grabbing the skirt of a "Spiritual Jew-Gentile." This is the culmination of the "covenants" (which also includes a descendant of David sitting on a literal throne, in the land).

And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth/land is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

-Exodus 9:3-6

The Lord did not bring "spiritual Israel" or a "gentile Body" out of Egypt.  

Israel did not obey the covenant, which is why the Lord had to create a new covenant with the same people:

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them [Israel] out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

-Jeremiah 31:31-34

The context here is future. When we turn to the Book of Hebrews, written during the Book of Acts, written to Hebrews, this covenant is still future. 

Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

-Hebrews 8:1-13

This is the same people of Exodus 19 and the same people of Jeremiah 31 and the same people of Zechariah 8 and of all the prophets. Note the last verse (8:13), the "old" covenant was vanishing away as the New Covenant was ready to come in. The condition was Israel's redemption by faith. Peter offered this in Acts 3 to "Ye men of Israel." Did he mean, "ye men of spiritual Israel?" No, there was not a Gentile in sight!

You cannot cram a Gentile Body in here:


Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

The Replacement believerer (especially those who spew anti-Semitic hatred) would never call "Ye men of Israel" their "brethren." But both Paul and Peter do. Is this a promise to us today? If Gentiles repent, God will send Christ and restore all things as his Prophets have spoken?

We have covered how this current age and the current hope were hidden from "before the world began" (Ephesians) and have nothing to do with Moses and the Prophets who spoke "since the world began," I will leave that there and only note that Paul testified at his trial that he spoke NOTHING except that which was spoken by Moses and the Prophets in his Acts Age ministry (Acts 16:22; 28:23) . The Lord saved that which was hidden until Paul revealed in in the Book of Ephesians, Post Acts. Why would we want to look to earthly blessings when "unsearchable riches in heavenly places" await us?

A final word on modern-day Israel.

I am a Zionist. That is, I believe that the land God promised the physical seed of Abraham (from the Nile to the Euphrates) will come to pass. Israel will serve as a holy nation and a royal priesthood. But that does mean that I believe that the Israel in the land today is that nation. Surely not. She is still damaged by sin and unbelief. God's plan for this hour is to call Jew and Gentile into one, heavenly Body. But that does not change those who are the Lord's and Paul's and Peter's brethren "according to he flesh."

In the coming age of Jacob's Trouble, there will be those who "call themselves Jews, but are liars." These God tells us are of "the synagogue of Satan." That age concerns the earth again. It will be as the Book of Acts again. God will distinguish his brethren according to the flesh as he calls twelve thousand men from each of the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev 7). I suspect there will be those claiming to be believers, who are Gentiles, who will claim to be "spiritual Jews." It will be a grave sin then, and its sister sin in this age is a grave error.