I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL

elgreco_paul154x200

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

Dr. Robert R. Seyda

EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS

CHAPTER ELEVEN (Lesson XXX)

Verses 25-27: Dear Brothers, I want you to understand the secret truth that God kept hidden but has now revealed. This truth will help you understand that you don’t know everything. The truth is, that Israel will continue to be stubborn until the time for reaching non-Jewish people comes to an end; and that is how all Israel will be saved. The Scriptures say: “The Savior will come from Zion; He will take away all evil from the family of Jacob. And I will make this agreement with those people when I take away their sins.”1

Here we find some of Paul’s doctrine of prophesy with regard to the salvation of his own people, the Jews. He stipulates that only after the time of the Gentiles is finished will this happen. This coincides with Peter’s statement concerning the end of the Gentile dispensation upon which our Lord will return to gather the church.2 So it is permissible to believe that in the period immediately following the rapture, which the book of Revelation declares will start the tribulation, the Jews will then turn to Jesus and finally believe in Him as the Messiah.3

Although this may be clouded in mystery for some, Paul wants the believers in Rome to know that God’s rejection of Israel in favor of the Gentiles has a positive purpose. However, he also knew that what the Psalmist said in his day, had every reason to be true in Paul’s day: “When those who live in obedience see this, they will rejoice; while those who live in disobedience will be reduced to silence. So, let those who are wise make note of these things and contemplate the lovingkindness of the Lord.4 And the prophet Hosea echoes these words coming from the LORD: “It is I who answer and take care of you. I am like a green cypress tree. Your fruit comes from Me. Whoever is wise, let him understand these things and know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and those who are right and good will follow them, but sinners will not follow them.5

We might say that Paul was calling for the same thing that Solomon announced: “Trust in Adonai with all your heart; do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him; then He will level your paths. Don’t be conceited about your own wisdom; but fear Adonai, and turn from evil. This will bring health to your body and give strength to your bones.6 But alas, Paul had to confess to the Corinthians that the Jews, from the time of Moses, did not want to see the light that God’s Word brings: “Their minds were not able to understand. Even to this day when the Law is read, there is a covering over their minds. They do not see that Christ is the only One who can take the covering away.”7 And, unfortunately, it will remain that way until God is finished with calling and saving the Gentiles who believe.

As a Jew, Paul knew he was not advocating something new when it came to the break in the salvation plan for the Jews and the insertion of the Gentiles for a period of time. This was already hinted by Isaiah’s prophecy: “On that day Adonai will raise His hand again, a second time, to reclaim the remnant of His people who remain… He will hoist a banner for the Goyim [Gentiles], assemble the dispersed of Isra’el, and gather the scattered of Y’hudah from the four corners of the earth. 8 Later on, Isaiah gave the children of Israel the assurance that all was not lost: “‘A wife married in her youth cannot be rejected,’ says your God. ‘Briefly I abandoned you, but with great compassion, I am taking you back.’9

One Jewish writer notes that the Greek word for “blindness” here is porosis, reflecting “hardness” (of their hearts). Also, the term “fullness of the Gentiles,” is a specific Hebrew idiom that goes back to Jacob’s blessing over Joseph’s children. At this event, Jacob deliberately switches what would be their normal order of blessing. He gives the younger son, Ephraim, the “higher” blessing of the older son. In Genesis 48:19, Jacob prophecies that Ephraim’s descendants would be among the nations. The term he uses is m’loh ha goyim, or “fullness of the Gentiles.” It would thus seem that Paul is referring to the return of the exiled ten tribes in the Millennium, when all Israel will “look upon Him who they pierced,10 and their blindness will end. This would support what he said here in verse 15 regarding “life from the dead.”11

But to Jeremiah, the Lord made it clear that the reason He left for a brief season was because of Israel’s unfaithfulness. We read: “‘You prostituted yourself to many lovers, yet you want to return to me?’ says Adonai.12 So even though they may be estranged, God knows that the Jews want to get back into a close, personal relationship with Him. Later, we find even more compassionate words from the Lord: “‘The days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when I will make a New Way of Worship for the Jews and those of the family of Judah. The New Way of Worship will not be like the Old Way of Worship I gave to their early fathers. That was when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. But they did not follow the Old Way of Worship, even when I was a husband to them,’ says the Lord. ‘This is the New Way of Worship that I will give to the Jews. When that day comes,’ says the Lord, ‘I will put My Law into their minds. And I will write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.’”13

It was unfortunate that when the Lord did reach out to them by sending His Son, they rejected Him. But for Paul, the promise of an ultimate reconciliation was still part of God’s eternal plan. That’s because God’s message was intended to show them the truth: “I will raise up one Shepherd to be in charge of them, and He will let them feed – my servant David. He will pasture them and be their shepherd.”14 And now that Jesus of Nazareth has been identified as that Shepherd, it was incumbent upon Paul to get them the message so that they could not say no one told them.

God goes on to tell Ezekiel His plan to bring Jews back from all over the world so they could be a nation again.15 And we know that on May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was founded again on the same land that was given to Abraham. And as if by God’s plan, the name of the head of the Jewish Agency who proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel was named David, who also became their first Prime Minister and Defense Minister of the new State of Israel.16 Prophesy experts tell us that the final gathering of the Jews will take place after the Gentile dispensation is over and will occur subsequent to the Rapture of the church.

The prophet Hosea also speaks of this day when the sons of Israel will return and look for the Lord their God and for David their king. And they will come trembling before the Lord in the last days and be received graciously by the Lord.17 And the prophet Micah had some encouraging words: “Is there any other God like You, one who forgives sin and the wrong-doing of Your chosen people who are left? He does not stay angry forever because He is happy to show loving-kindness. He will again have loving-pity on us. He will crush our sins underfoot. Yes, You will throw all our sins into the deep sea. You will be true to Jacob and show loving-kindness to Abraham, as You promised our fathers in days long ago.”18 And Zechariah is given this prophecy: “I will give strength to the family of Judah. I will save the family of Joseph, and I will bring them back, because I have loving-pity on them. They will be as if I had not turned away from them. For I am the Lord their God, and I will answer their prayers.”19

And all of this will happen, says Paul, because Isaiah prophesied that God’s anointed Deliverer will come out of Zion to be their Savior.20 This appears to be the answer to David’s prayer who prayed: “How I wish Isra’el’s salvation would come out of Tziyon! When Adonai restores His people’s fortunes, Ya‘akov will rejoice, Isra’el will be glad!21 When in Zechariah God said he would answer their prayer, we find such a prayer in the Psalms: “Save us, Adonai our God! Gather us from among the nations, so that we can thank your Holy Name and glory in praising you.22

No doubt Paul felt heartsick when so many Jews rejected his message of salvation, the message that the angel gave to Joseph: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She is to become a mother by the Holy Spirit. A Son will be born to her. You will give Him the name Jesus because He will save His people from the punishment of their sins.23 It was the same message that Peter preached in the Temple after the Jews had coerced the Romans to crucify Jesus but God raised Him from the dead: “God has raised up His Son Jesus and has sent Him to you first to give God’s favor to each of you who will turn away from his sinful ways.”24 And to one of his own disciples, Paul passed on this same message: “We are to be looking for the great hope and the coming of our great God and the One who saves, Christ Jesus. He gave Himself for us. He did this by buying us with His blood and making us free from all sin. He gave Himself so His people could be sanctified and eager to do good.25

1 Isaiah 59:20 + 27:9a

2 Acts of the Apostles 3:19-21; Cf. Luke 21:23-24

3 Revelation 11

4 Psalm 107:42-43

5 Hosea 14:8-9

6 Proverbs 3:5-8

7 2 Corinthians 3:14

8 Isaiah 11:11-12 – Complete Jewish Bible

9 Ibid. 54:6b-7 – CJB

10 Zechariah 12:10

11 Messianic Bible: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

12 Jeremiah 3:1 – CJB

13 Jeremiah 31:31-33; 32:24-26

14 Ezekiel 34:23

15 Ezekiel 37:21-28; 39:25-29

16 David ben Gurion (1886-1973)

17 Hosea 3:5

18 Micah 7:18-20

19 Zechariah 10:6

20 Isaiah 59:20-21, 27:9

21 Psalm 14:7 – Complete Jewish Bible

22 Ibid. 106:47 – Complete Jewish Bible

23 Matthew1:20-21

24 Acts of the Apostles 3:26

25 Titus 2:13-14

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s