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  • Romans Chapter Eleven

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    Romans Chapter 11

    Introduction Chapter

    As with every other chapter an introduction of this section is dutiful.

    In chapter 10 Paul spoke of his own desire to see the nation of Israel saved.

    It’s obvious from the context that Paul’s desire was not explicitly the membership of Jews to the church but an actual salvation of the nation of Israel as prophesied in the Old Testament.

    This desire of Paul regarding the salvation of Israel was not only a wish, but also a wish that the other Apostles had and the evangelism that the Apostles practiced had as its goal the salvation of Israel. In other words, the acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah and the return of the Kingdom of God to the nation of Israel, that is what we know as the Messianic Kingdom.

    This by the way was the kingdom that Jesus had come to offer at the beginning of His public ministry, but as we all know, was rejected. Both Him as the Messiah and the Kingdom that He offered were rejected.

    Of course, if they rejected the King they also refused the Kingdom and as a result when and if they accept the King they will accept the Kingdom also.

    As we have had occasion to see it already, as surely we will see it again in the study of this chapter, God during the period we know as the Book of Acts was still stretching out his hand to the nation of Israel and offering them the possibility to accept Jesus as the Messiah, to repent nationally and receive the Kingdom promises.

    This is greatly highlighted by the sermon that Peter preached in:

    Acts 3: 13-26 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. 14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. 16 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. 17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 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; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 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. 22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. 23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. 25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

    In fact, this chapter we are studying will help us understand this concept even better.

    Paul then, in this chapter, explains that God has reserved a remnant of the nation for salvation and acceptance of them as a nation in the New Covenant. Paul explained that this is only by the grace and sovereign choice and not because of their attempts to obey the law and to have a justice according works or religion.

    Romans 11: 1-10

    Paul explains how the nation of Israel has, for a temporary period, rejected Jesus as the Messiah, so that God would in the mean time save the Gentiles and for making them part of the Kingdom of God by adoption through the establishment of the church. Also we will see how this chapter helps us to understand that the church and Israel are separate concepts or rather they both will be part of the complete Kingdom of God. Paul explains how Israel will be re-admitted again in the promises of the New Covenant Romans 11: 10-24

    Paul explains, that in fact, as the church was a mystery to the Jews and had never been seen in the ancient prophecies, so the re-admission of Israel was a mystery to the Gentile church, but now Paul revealed the mystery to the same church Romans 11:25

    Paul teaches us that the church in no way HAS REPLACED Israel in God’s plan but that Israel will be readmitted in the Kingdom and receive the kingdom promised in the Old Testament. So the doctrine of substitution that states that the Kingdom of God has been given to the church only and that Israel no longer has any part in the plan of God is an erroneous doctrine and Paul gives us confirmation that it is erroneous. Paul states that the nation, the remnant of the nation remaining will be saved by grace and sovereign election of God, it will be saved and so the whole nation will receive salvation and righteousness through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Romans 11: 26-32

    Paul concludes with an ode of blessing to God for His great love and His great plan of salvation.

    Romans 11: 33-36

    There is one last thing to say and it is this, and probably we will discuss it during the study, Paul and the Apostles at that very time hoped and prayed that everything they were speaking about in this epistle and others might be fulfilled during their lifetime, and certainly Paul and the other Apostles would not have thought that the Lord would have taken 2000 or more years to fulfill His entire plan of salvation.

    We need to make a statement about this and it is one that we had previously made. The world the Apostles knew then is not the world that we know today, or rather, they did not know that the world was as big as it is, they did not know that there were other continents and that in these continents there were people that God wanted to save.

    So for this reason the imminent return of Jesus was something that they had hoped in their day because God had not revealed how much of the world there still was to be saved. The discovery of the New World took place in 1492, 1492 years after Christ. It is even more obvious today, however, that we are really close the imminent return of Jesus, now all that was prophesied is being fulfilled, including what Paul writes in this chapter.

    Romans Chapter Eleven

    Romans 11:1-6 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. 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. 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 is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

    From this we understand that Paul often indicated that his speeches were a subject continuously flowing for a long stretch. This is important for us because we have entered chapters and verses in the texts and therefore it is important for us to pay close attention when there are words that indicate a continuation of a speech made in the previous chapter.

    Paul says, then, because of what he just said, what had he just said?

    Romani 10:19-21 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. 20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

    In fact if Paul’s speech was over at the end of Chapter 10, one could argue, as many argue today, that God has for ever and definitively rejected His people Israel. Therefore Paul makes this concept clear for us, Paul wonders if it can be inferred that God has abandoned His people because they are disobedient and contradicting.

    Paul answers: “Certainly not, because I too am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away his people which he foreknew “

    Paul said, “Absolutely not!” God has not rejected His people, Paul himself in fact says that he is a Jew

    and a descendant of Abraham according to the flesh and belonging to the tribe of Benjamin. Then again Paul says that God has not rejected his people whom He foreknew.

    Now here we could really mistakenly understand the foreknowledge that Paul mentions having the same connotation of, but I think it’s different, what we saw written in:

    Romans 8:29-30 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

    As we see from the context in Romans 8 the foreknown is a personal thing that concerns salvation by sovereign election of individuals, as the text makes clear.

    Here in Romans 8 the foreknowledge means foreknowing individually all those whom God has predestined and called and those He called He justified; and those He justified He glorified. In this case the foreknown is a foreknowledge in a personal and intimate way and not in a generic way or as a nation.

    It seems to me instead that here in Romans 11:1 the foreknowledge Paul is speaking about is that of national election and not of each individual Jew. It’s true that those who God chose of the people, of the individuals, after the day of Pentecost became members of the church, the body of Christ, and they were individuals elected by the sovereign choice to be part of the church, these were all Jews.

    Here, however, Paul is simply saying that, as a nation, as a people among all nations of the earth, only Israel has been foreknown and only to Israel as a nation God made certain promises.

    For example, God’s promise that Israel would never cease to exist as a nation.

    Geremia 31:35-40 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: 36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. 37 Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD. 38 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. 39 And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. 40 And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the LORD; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.

    This is a very important promise because it shows that Israel today as a nation must exist and in fact although there have been many attempts to destroy this people, this people still exists and still exist today as a nation just as God prophesied.

    This is not true instead of many other peoples. Many peoples and nations have ceased to exist, for example, just to mention a few, the Etruscans and the Edomites no longer exist, many indigenous tribes of the Americas are completely extinct and many other peoples were absorbed by other nations and have mixed within them forever losing their individuality as peoples. The Jews, however, continue to exist, they have always kept their identity as a people from the beginning and to this day they are a real nation at all effects.

    There is a misconception that has been developed especially in the church which is especially found in the world today, especially in the Middle East, but not exclusively, and it is this, Israel as a nation has no right to exist, Israel is not a real nation, that their land is not where it is today and it does not belong to them.

    These concepts are not biblical and therefore can not be supported by any human logic because if the logic is not in line with the Bible it is not acceptable.

    Let’s examine this concept together.

    God promised Israel a land, in fact, what we know as the Promised Land, we find these promises in the following verses:

    Genesis 15:7 ; Genesis 17:8; Genesis 28:13; Genesis 35:12; Exodus 3:8; Exodus 6: 8; Deuteronomy 30: 1-9

    The fact that we really have to understand and accept is this, it was God who promised them the land, in other words, God is the One who retains the property of the whole earth, the whole world, He can give any piece of this world to whom He wants and take it away from whom He wants.

    This we must understand well otherwise there will only be confused when we examine this concept.

    In other words, God is completely sovereign over the affairs of mankind and does what He wants and allows what He wants.

    In the past, God gave Israel the right to conquer this land and occupy it. They fought and conquered this land and this was the will of God. After this they had a period of blessing and prosperity, especially during the reign of King David and Solomon, after which, Israel and Judah became increasingly apostate and rebellious. For these reasons God punished His people by sending them into captivity, Israel in Assyria and later Judah in Babylon for 70 years. Then a very important thing happened which in fact reflects what happened recently again.

    The promised land, as it had been before it was re-established and recognized as a nation in 1948, was indeed inhabited by various peoples including a small remnant of Jews who remained in the promised land.

    In ancient times it was pagan and Gentile kings who were moved by God and allowed Israel to go back and re-occupy the Promised Land. Even if this thing was permitted by pagan and Gentile kings, however, it was willed and decreed by God Himself.

    Listen to the words that God uses about King Cyrus who was the pagan king who released and helped and greatly favored the remnant of God’s people in order to allow them to return to the land that had belonged to them in the past.

    Isaiah 44:26-28 That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: 27 That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: 28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.

    Isaiah 45:1-7 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; 2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: 3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. 4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. 5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

    Incredible words from the human point of view and especially for those who are the promoters of the doctrine of free will. However, we see that the free will of man as they call it, will is always submit to the perfect will of God. I would also like you to notice that God’s words are very beautiful toward Cyrus, God has blessed him and used him to favor His people.

    We can not speculate, but it would not surprise me if God has given Cyrus eternal salvation, who knows.

    It was God, that put Cyrus in power, it was God who gave him victory and as we see in the verses of Isaiah 45, for those who insist that the term that God opens and closes doors is not Biblical or is invalid, it is definitely a Biblical and valid concept.

    see also Acts 14:27; 1 Corinthians 16: 9; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3; Revelation 3: 8.

    It seems evident to me that the concept is present and valid in Scripture.

    However, let us remember that God is truly sovereign over ALL the affairs of man, let alone if He is not sovereign over the fate of his own people.

    Look at what even the king of Babylon says:

    Daniel 4:34-35 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

    The thing that surprises me even more than a pagan king declaring these facts, is the fact that many alleged and professing believers do not really believe the things Nebuchadnezzar said about God.

    Oh many say they do believe this, but then instead they believe, teach and promote doctrines that deny these same facts.

    See also the following passages:

    Isaiah 14: 24-27 and Isaiah 46:9-11 which says: Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

    So saying that Israel today is not a true nation and that it has no right to exist and to occupy that piece of land, which by the way is only a small fraction of what God has promised him, it is not at all a biblical reality, it is rather a vain human reasoning that indeed is actually satanic.

    Satanic because it is Satan who from the beginning of the creation of the nation of Israel has pledged to destroy it, and that has not stopped yet to do so, Revelation 12: 1-8.

    The Jewish nation after the rejection of Messiah and after 70 AD, were dispersed within the Roman Empire and were missing form the land until, again, God allowed them to return to their land inhabited similarly to the one that existed during the period of time, during and after the Babylonian captivity.

    So if God allowed His people to return to occupy the land that He promised them in ancient times, if God has promised that they would never cease to exist as a nation, if God allowed pagan kings and Gentiles to ensure the return of His people in the land, then I ask, why is it that in 1948 God has no right to make them return to the land and restore them again as a people and nation in the exact same place where once lived?

    If they are a nation and God has promised them to be such and forever, what’s the problem today? God today cannot again do what he did in the past?

    Certainly God can, and since God has prophesied these things, and these things had to be fulfilled, it certainly will be so. Otherwise, if the church is allowed to believe and declare otherwise, then it means she wants to agree with what the world says, not with what God says. If you want to argue with God you can, but do not think that God really cares about that we think.

    It is us, the believers, who have to get the mind of Christ, that is, think as God thinks and we must in order to agree with Him and not with what the world says.

    These ideas, which many call “Zionism” are almost all nonsense. I said almost all!

    God brought them in the land where they are today although He used England and the United Nations to do so. Yes, God has used them as He used pagan kings before, so what’s the scandal today?

    But now that Israel again exists as a nation, this fact has become a real problem in the world and even in the church, a real problem in the world. This is Antisemitism and it is an abomination to God. I want to say that, unfortunately, it seems to me that the church often aligns itself more with the world than with God, the church often seems to me that she wants to be a friend of the world but I hope we know that if believers are friends of the world they become at enmity with God.

    Now, I will say this about the term Zionism, and it is that the nation Israel today is certainly idolatrous and apostate, secular and its government surely and without doubt it is embroiled in the corrupt politics of which all governments of the world are part of this is safe to say.

    It must be said too, that the situation now is identical to how it was in Israel before the Babylonian captivity with kings rather than a democracy, this is obvious.

    As Israel chose at that time kings to govern them 1 Samuel 8: 4-5, today Israel has chosen a prime minister and a democracy, but this does not detract from the fact that they are back to having their national identity and are back in the land, the same land they had occupied thousands of years ago, and all this was allowed and desired by God and not by man.

    Governments around the world are all corrupt, that’s for sure and definitely Israel is compromised as the others.

    This does not detract from them at all their right to be in the land where they are because it is God who gave it to them and it is God Himself who has evicted them in the past and God who has brought them back many times.

    Israel is a nation created by God, protected by God, preserved by God and God will save it and also tell you that Israel has the right to defend themselves, to defend its citizens against any attack and insurrection of any enemy that wants to destroy them as the the rest of nations have the same right, they have the same rights of every other nation in the world.

    Do they have the right to do wicked and abusive things? No! Certainly not! As no one else has, but like all others they practice them.

    However Israel is not behaving differently than any other nation would that was in their same conditions. I do not condone any evil deed and injustice and God as well does not condone or tolerate them and God will judge their actions.

    We cannot use the logic that because Israel in 1948 was declared a state and a nation by the United Nations and then the United Kingdom, Israel is not a nation and is in the land illegally.

    The legality of Israel’s sovereignty as a nation and the presence of Israel in that land was given to them by God not man.

    We can not use the logic that says, because the government of Israel is compromised and corrupt and is like the rest of the world, and is involved in Freemasonry in the world then the nation of Israel has no right to exist and to have its presence in the land in which it is located. This is ridiculous because it would mean that no nation has any right to exist if we use this reasoning.

    We can not use logic that because the Jews today are centuries old and live in a secular manner that anyway, they have ceased to be included in God’s program and that they will not be converted. The remnant of the nation, will be converted to Messiah Jesus and yet two thirds of the population of Israel will be judged and destroyed,see Zechariah 13: 8-9.

    God will not avoid judging His people as He judges all other nations who deserve His judgment.

    In fact, as we see in the Scriptures, in the prophecies of the last days that we find especially written in the book of Zechariah, when Jesus returns there will be many Jews in the Promised Land, and as Zechariah says, two-thirds of them shall be cut off in that promised land itself, while the one third that will survive will be the remnant of the nation who will accept the Messiah and this is the remnant of which Paul speaks in this chapter.

    When we analyze Deuteronomy 30:1-9, we see that there are seven declarations regarding the program of God for Israel. Let us remember this, many if not all the prophecies given to Israel are prophecies with more than one fulfillment but they all concern Israel the nation.

    1. The nation will be evicted from the promised land because of its infidelity to God, Deuteronomy 28:63-60 and Deuteronomy 30:1-3.

    2. There will be the future repentance of Israel Deuteronomy 30:1-3.

    3. Their Messiah will come (twice) Deuteronomy 30:3-6, Acts 3:13-26

    4. Israel will be readmitted into the promised land Deuteronomy 30:5 (this includes the re-admission in the 1948 land)

    5. Israel will be converted as a nation Deuteronomy 30:4-8; Romans 11:26-27.

    6. Israel’s enemies will be judged and destroyed Deuteronomy 30:7.

    7. The nation will receive all the promises that God made, including the land, all of the promised land Deuteronomy 30:9.

    At this point of the study I would like to make a parenthetical study of the three covenants that God made with Israel. This study is essential to better understand the concept of periods of divine practical functions in those times and it will be of immense help to understand that Israel and the church are two distinct entities both created by God and that both are part of the Covenants that God made precisely with Abraham.

    The very first covenant that God makes concerning Israel He does so with Abraham.

    We find this Covenant described in detail in:

    Genesis 15:1-21 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

    This is what is known as the Abrahamic Covenant. This covenant among other things is the covenant from which comes the promise of the New Covenant which is actually an extension of this same covenant.

    We see that God continually mentions His people Israel and the covenant that He made with Abraham. Even to Moses before the exodus from Egypt and before the covenant that God makes with his people through Moses, God makes this statement:

    Exodus 6:1-8 Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. 2 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: 3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. 4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. 5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. 6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: 7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.

    The Covenant that God makes with Moses and His people, that is the Law of Moses, is a completely different and unique covenant and is separated in a sense from the Covenant that God made with Abraham even though it is made with the people of Israel and it’s connected from the stand point that their sojourn in the land of promise was contingent on their obedience to the commandments of God, that is the law of Moses. The promises made to Abraham, however, were not contingent on their obedience to the law but to the promises made by God through Abraham and to his offspring. That’s why the New Covenant is in fact the fulfillment of all the promises of God through the covenant God made with Abraham.

    However, although Jesus Himself fulfilled the law of Moses and has established the New Covenant, all the promises made to Israel as a nation are not yet fulfilled, and we can in no way entirely spiritualize God’s promises to make them all fulfilled in the church or from the church. This again is because the promises made with regard to the promised land are not yet fulfilled and can also logically not be fulfilled by the church.

    Many Old Testament prophecies cannot be spiritualized to apply them, even trying to do so, to the church. Either all the prophecies and promises to Israel can be spiritualized or none of them can be.

    Let us remember that the church did not exist in the Old Covenant. The church is divinely generated and it was a mystery in the past. It has now been revealed by the Holy Spirit through the apostles and prophets of the apostolic era see: Ephesians 2:11-22 and Ephesians 3:1-13.

    Israel, as chapter 11 of Romans explains very well later, has not yet received the promises that God made to Abraham although they are fulfilled by and in Jesus, this is because they are still in a state of apostasy and disbelief as a people and nation. Israel will only and exclusively receive the promises if and when they accept Jesus as the Messiah and as King, only thus they will receive the fulfillment of the promises made in the covenant God made with Abraham.

    The promises are fulfilled to Israel only when they accept Jesus not only as a spiritual savior but also as Lord and King of the kingdom that was promised to them by God, the kingdom which includes the promised land.

    This by the way is also the context of the epistle to the Hebrews, making them understand that the promises made to Israel can only be fulfilled nationally if Jesus is accepted as the nation’s Messiah, this means the fulfillment of the New Covenant that God made with Christ in their behalf.

    This fact is described in:

    Hebrews 8:7-13 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 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: 9 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. 10 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: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.13 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.

    This is the reference of the promise of God that we find in:

    Jeremiah 31:31-40 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: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:33 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. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, 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. 35 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: 36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. 37 Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD. 38 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. 39 And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. 40 And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the LORD; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.

    The Covenant made through Moses is the one that was abolished by God, this is what the epistle to the Hebrews teaches as well as much of the New Testament, Not so much abolished rather fulfilled by Jesus.

    However, the Covenant made with Abraham was not abolished at all, not like the Covenant made through Moses.

    I repeat the New Covenant is part of the covenant made with Abraham and so was fulfilled by Jesus as indeed the law of Moses, but the establishment and the fulfillment of the New Covenant in Jesus Christ, includes the fulfillment of all the promises made to Abraham, for the blessing of the nations through Abraham’s seed that is Jesus as well as all the promises made to the fleshly seed of Abraham, that is, Israel.

    We understand, therefore, that the Kingdom and the land promises made to Israel cannot be passed to other nations because although Jesus is the spiritual savior of people from every nation, the land that God has promised and as a result the specific realm to which it belongs, the promised land has never been promised to other nations but only to Israel. In fact God has promised that the kingdom which he has promised Israel will include the land, Israel will reign over the nations of the earth at one time.

    Isaiah 61: 4-9 They will rebuild the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the waste places in the past, repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. 5 There, foreigners shall feed your flocks, the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vine-growers. 6 But you will be called priests of the Lord, people will call you the ministers of our God; ye shall eat the riches of the nations, you will touch their glory. 7 Instead of shame ye shall have double; Instead of shame, you will rejoice in your lot. Yes, in their land they shall possess double, and will have eternal happiness. 8 For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity fruit; I will give them faithfully reward and will make with them an everlasting covenant. 9 Their seed shall be known among the nations, their offspring among the peoples; all who see them will recognize that they are a race blessed by the LORD.

    Because of these facts it is useless to try to apply a spiritual fulfillment to the promise of God concerning the land. Look at what this passage says, just by reading it we understand the real meaning. Will the church eat the wealth of nations? Perhaps only if you are speaking of the Roman church, but this is not what the context says. Israel will touch the glory of nations. Then he says in verse 7 in their land they shall possess double, and will have eternal happiness, does the church have a land, a country? No, but Israel does! In verse 9 he says that their race will be known among the nations, their offspring among the peoples and all who see them will recognize that they are a race blessed by the Lord.

    Is the church a race in the world? No! But the Jews are indeed a race and a nation among nations.

    As we see the Covenant made with Abraham has never been abolished at all and is in fact what Paul is saying here in Romans 11.

    Jesus indeed is the fulfillment of the promise of the seed through which the whole world is blessed, as though we clearly see the promise made to Israel regarding the land is not a promise that can be fulfilled spiritually but has to be a promise fulfilled in a real and physical way. Yes Jesus fulfilled the covenant yet God cannot and will not give what He promised to Israel to anyone besides. They will receive what God promised through Jesus but they will receive the promises God made them.

    Both in Genesis 15 and in Jeremiah 31, we find these realities exposed for us.

    Let’s take a look at these passages to see what Scripture tells us about it.

    First of all we see that God has sworn to Abraham that this covenant would be fulfilled entirely by God Himself.

    This is evident in Genesis 15 from the fact that God puts Abraham in a trance. In other words He makes Abraham disabled, renders him not able to be an active part of the promise. After that it is God who puts in place the covenant and it is God who swears to Abraham that He will Himself do all that he promised with no participation by any other.

    It is God through Jesus who will fulfill His promises, even those concerning the land. Since everything, as Paul well says, is by grace and faith in Christ, but we know that all this is by sovereign election, even the salvation of the remnant of the nation of Israel.

    In fact, this very fact was mentioned in:

    Hebrews 6: 13-20 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because he could not swear by no greater, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. 16 For men swear by one greater as well, and so for them the oath is a guarantee that puts an end of all strife. 17 Thus God, wanting to demonstrate more clearly to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that through two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we have a great encouragement, us, who fled for refuge to hold on upon the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor sure and steadfast in our lives, and that enters into the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek .

    As we see God established this covenant alone, He swore by Himself. The covenant in ancient times was done by two or more people and was established by the same people when they passed among the killed and divided animals they swore fidelity to the covenant and its promises. However, in this case it is God alone that passes between the divided animals and who swears by Himself that He will fulfill the promises made to Abraham.

    While the promises made in the covenant of the law of Moses were dependent on the loyalty and obedience of the Israelites, the covenant made with Abraham was dependent only on God’s faithfulness to His own promises. In fact, the New Covenant is based on the loyalty and obedience of the one man, Jesus Christ, who is the seed of Abraham, from the human point of view but who is also God.

    Then due to Jesus’ natures as He is the son of man, the son of Abraham and son of David according to the flesh thus connected to the human and physical part of humanity including Israel and the promises made to Abraham’s fleshly seed, and His divine nature that has to do with the spiritual nature of man and also of Israel. This therefore denotes the fact that God works spiritually but also of course, that He also operates according to the promises made to the earthly nation of Israel.

    That is why Paul later in Romans 11: 28-29 says: As for the gospel, they are enemies for your sake, but because the election, they are beloved because of the fathers, 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

    This step is important because it explains that regarding the Gospel Israel has become and enemy, temporarily, so as to allow them, the Gentiles to access the salvation of God, but as the ancient election, which election? The election of their salvation as a nation and the fulfillment of the promises made to them by God. They are loved because God promised to their ancestors certain things, and God is faithful to His promises because nothing that God has promised Abraham is without repentance. This statement is huge because in fact it excludes the fact that God did not at all exclude Israel from receiving all the requirements of all the promises that He made to Abraham, including the earthly promises of the land and kingdom. Promises that do not belong to the Gentiles even if participating to the church.

    We see that in the final verses of Genesis 15 God promised this to Abraham:

    18 In that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “I give to your descendants this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 the Kenites, the Kenizei, the Kadmonei, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites. “

    Now, I do not know about you, but to me it seems clear that God makes a covenant for which He swears by Himself that He would give to Abraham’s descendants, He says: this land and He then describes the details and boundaries of it. From the river of Egypt, which would be the Nile, to the great river Euphrates in Babylon, the modern nation of Iraq. This is the extent of the land promised to Israel by God as a territory. In fact until now Israel has never owned that entire territory and this is fundamental to the fact that if God has promised it then God will keep His promise.

    The land that God mentioned here cannot be a spiritual territory to be inherited by a spiritual Israel, meaning the church. It’s therefore clear that the land in question is indeed the geographical location in the Middle East and this promise would have no reality or any sense if it were not really fulfilled in this world, in that location and for the descendants of Abraham, that is, the remnant of the nation of Israel a physical Israel but always redeemed by Jesus through the New Covenant at the end of this age, see:

    Zechariah 13: 8-9 And all over the country will take place, “says the LORD,” that the two parts therein shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left therein. 9 I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tested. They will call on my name and I will answer them. I say: This is my people, and they shall say, The Lord is my God “.

    Where is this happening? In the country! What is the country in question? Is it a spiritual country?No! No! It’s a real land and the country in which the nation of Israel and Judah shall dwell at the time of Jesus’ return. This is the whole context of chapters 12-13 and 14 of Zechariah.

    God says that two-thirds of the people in the land will perish. I would like to ask a question, if we spiritualize everything and we apply this to the church that would mean then that two-thirds of the church will perish? Only one third of the church will live and that third of the church will inherit the land and Jerusalem?

    No, my dear friends such interpretations would not add up at all we spiritualized Israel and we exchanged it with the church, then many things do not add up. God will refine a third of the Jewish people who live in the land of Israel during the time of the great day of the Lord, that is, during the period of the great tribulation and the coming of Jesus. This people is not and can not be the church.

    Also in Jeremiah 31, the Lord says in fact two essential things to Israel, that is, Israel will never cease to be a nation before Him and the second is that God mentions the total reconstruction of Jerusalem, that the city of Jerusalem which is in existence today in Israel.

    The Jerusalem that God mentions is the earthly Jerusalem it will be destroyed again during the great tribulation period.

    Among other things this is confirmed by the passages that we find in Zechariah 12: 10-14; Zechariah 13: 1; Zechariah 14: 1-5.

    In Jeremiah 31 we also see another thing that is important to the proper understanding of the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant, and the connection between them that is both spiritual and physical or earthly.

    We find the connection of the New Covenant, God’s promise to Israel that they would never ceased to be a nation and that Jerusalem in Israel, which is part of the land promised to Abraham in Genesis 15, would have been completely rebuilt.

    The covenant made with Abraham and then the New Covenant in Jesus are the promises that God has fulfilled and is in the process of fulfilling by Himself, in fact are and will all be fulfilled by God in and through Jesus Christ.

    Then the New Covenant is also the fulfillment of the law of Moses and also of the covenant made with Abraham which include Israel and the Gentile nations whom are all made to be a part of the kingdom of God in two ways. The first way is the elect of the Gentile nations by the church and the other by means of the salvation of the remnant of the nation of Israel at the end of this age, but they are both fulfilled by sovereign election, grace and faith in Jesus Christ.

    The New Covenant is therefore an extension of the covenant made with Abraham because they are God’s promises fulfilled only in and through Jesus Christ. These include the Covenant made with Abraham, which also includes the promises made by God to David, so that all the promises made to Israel are and will all be fulfilled in and through Christ.

    There is also a passage in Matthew 11 that we want to examine because it is really important for the understanding of these things.

    Matthew 11: 3-6 Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? “4 And Jesus answered and said unto them,” Go and tell John the things you hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised, and the gospel is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is he who takes no offense at me. “

    Reading this passage we must take into account specific questions. The disciples of John the Baptist ask Jesus if He is the One who is to come.

    Who was the One who was to come according to the Old Covenant promises? The Messiah, and what did the Messiah have to do according to such promises? He was supposed to restore the Kingdom to Israel the nation and establish the Kingdom of God on earth, this is what we know today as the Messianic Kingdom.

    Jesus answers and says, “Go and tell John the things you hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised, and the gospel is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is he who takes no offense at me. “

    Jesus answering them what is He telling them? Is He saying yes or no? His was a positive answer! But the question I want to ask here is this, what gospel was Jesus referring to here?

    Many believers reading this statement immediately insist that this is the gospel of salvation that we preach today. I ask, is it?

    To answer we do have another question. Which gospel do we preach? Jesus, born of a virgin, the Son of God, perfect man, crucified and risen Christ for the forgiveness of sins ascended into heaven and will return a second time. The Christian or Gospel of grace and salvation cannot exist without the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    So at this point of the story of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus, was preaching the Gospel, is it then the same that we preach today? The answer is very obvious or should be at this point, it was not the same message exactly and was not preached in the same way it is preached after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    Thus we see that the type of message was different then as it is today. When the Baptist and Jesus preached it was a message only to the nation of Israel and not to the Gentile nations, this is made evident and clear by what Jesus had said earlier in chapter 10 of Matthew.

    Matthew 10: 1-8 And he called unto him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James of Alpheus, and Lebbeus, surnamed Thaddeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. 5 These were the twelve whom Jesus sent out after giving them these orders: “Do not go among the Gentiles and do not enter into any city of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 Go and preach, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; Freely you have received, freely give.

    We see then that Jesus gave to His disciples authority to cast out demons and heal any disease but tells them to go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and not to go to any other city, not to the Samaritans or the Gentiles. He tells them go and preach saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand. This Kingdom of Heaven for the Jews was a synonym with the Kingdom of God that is synonymous with the Messianic Kingdom, which is the Kingdom promised to Israel in the Scriptures.

    Before going further, there is another thing we need to say about all this. If it were true that the church has replaced Israel and that the church is the fulfillment of all the promises made to Israel and that the blessing are that God would save the nations by saving people from every nation and making them to become part of the Kingdom of God through the same church and this is the fulfillment of all the promises made by God, by such He would have saved the nations.

    However, it is not really entirely so, since we find a passage in Zechariah that belies everything.

    Zechariah 14: 1-16 Behold, the day of the Lord is; then thy spoil shall be divided in your midst. 2 I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women raped. One half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will come out to fight against those nations, as at other times fought in the day of battle. 4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, forming a great valley; one half of the mountain shall remove toward the north and half of it toward the south. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of my mountains, because the valley of the mountains will extend until Atsal; yes, you flee as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah; so the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with thee. 6 On that day there will be more light; bright stars will be darkened. 7 It will be a unique day which is known to the LORD not day nor night, but towards evening it shall be light. 8 On that day living waters will go out from Jerusalem: half of them will go toward the eastern sea, and half toward the western sea; It will be so much in summer and winter. 9 The LORD will be king over all the earth; On that day there will only be the LORD, and only his name. 10 All the land will be changed into plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; and Jerusalem will be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate, instead of the first gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. 11 People will live there, and there will be nothing left to curse, but Jerusalem shall dwell safely. 12 This will be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; he will consume their flesh while they are standing, their eyes will consume in their sockets, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. 13 In that day will for pleasure of the LORD will be among them a great confusion; each of them will seize the hand of his neighbor, and will raise his hand against the hand of his neighbor. 14 Judas himself will fight against Jerusalem, and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered together: gold, silver and garments in great quantities. 15 Similar to the other plague is the plague that will strike the horses, mules, camels, donkeys, and all the beasts that shall be in those camps. 16 And it shall be that every survivor of all the nations which came against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.

    In this passage, several things are crucial to the proper understanding of everything concerning Israel. The first thing we see is that there is no chance that he is talking about the church in the context of Zechariah 12-13 and 14.

    Here we are talking of one Jerusalem city in Israel and the remnant is of the nation of Israel and the period of which the texts speaks are the last days or better yet what we know as the day of the Lord. This is known by what is written indicating the return of Jesus and in fact in this passage it speaks exactly of the coming of the Messiah. This passage is not talking about the first coming of Jesus, but of the second and in relation to Israel and not the church of the New Testament.

    In addition here there is the mention of the kingdom of Messiah over all the nations of the earth at the time of His coming, verse 9, also in verse 14 the passage refers to the survivors of the nations, which can not speak of the salvation of the Gentiles through the church because the context of the language and the period in question cannot be that of the first coming of Jesus nor of the work of the church.

    All this indicates that there is a particular distinction between Israel and the church, between the church’s place and the Messianic Kingdom.

    So as we see here there is a national and an individual foreknowledge. Foreknowledge of national Israel is not a heresy or a false doctrine. Paul says that God foreknew His people referring to Israel as a nation and not as to the church, as many now like to say, they say that now the people of God are only and exclusively the church. For now we cans say so, but it will not be forever.

    I do not know about you, but I still prefer to be considered a child of God adopted by an intimate relationship of Father and son between us and God than to be considered a nation even if elected and special to God.

    Now, it is evident from Scripture itself that the church is also one people made up of many people who come from all the nations of the world including the Jews, see: Ephesians 2: 11-22, but the church is more than a people, the church is the bride Jesus, Revelation 21: 2; Revelation 21: 9; Revelation 22:17, the church is the family of God Ephesians 3: 14-15, the church is the body of Christ 1 Corinthians 12: 12-13; 1 Corinthians 12:27, the church is made up of adopted sons and daughters of God, Romans 8:15; Galatians 4: 5-6; Ephesians 1:15; the church is the temple of God, 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21; The church is a living building where God resides Ephesians 2: 21-22; 1 Peter 2: 4-5.

    The church is all that, but Israel is not all that, and despite the fact that it will be included in the eternal Kingdom of God they will always be a different entity from the church.

    Israel also in the Millennium, for example, will have an actual physical temple in which God will reside, this is made more than clear in Ezekiel 41: 1-25; Ezekiel 42: 8.

    Then Israel, though it will be saved completely and spiritually as a nation, Israel still will not be the temple of God, the church instead it is now the temple of God and without any particular building because the church itself is the building, each individual believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

    So when you hear people say, let’s go to the house of the Lord referring to when you go to church, this is actually a term that is not even Biblical because the house of the Lord, the temple of the Holy Spirit is each believer, wherever we are, every individual son and daughter of God. The building itself is not the house of the Lord, believers, individuals, are the house of God and the temple of God.

    That is why Jesus said when two or three are gathered in His name He is in their midst.

    This is just to signify that church authority is present and brotherhood is present, in a union of the Spirit who unites us to Christ and to each other.

    It’s obvious that even a single person is always the temple of God, but there is of course to consider the brotherhood and its unity in that sense, is not to say, however, that when a person is alone thy are not the temple of God, we are, but we are commanded to be together as a body, this is what the Lord desires, unity and brotherhood with each other and with him, Hebrews 10:24-25.

    Let us remember also that the church is a SPIRITUAL kingdom and a HEAVENLY PEOPLE while Israel is a TERRESTRIAL kingdom and people and will be for a thousand years after its salvation.

    While it is certain that the church here on earth is now the representation of the kingdom of God but from this we cannot exclude and eliminate Israel to whom the promises of God were made in antiquity.

    Because God is not a God who tries to confound us with symbolic words or difficult to understand.

    True that the word of God can be truly only understood through the work of the Holy Spirit, but it is also true that God’s word is in itself simple and clear and can be and must be understood in a literal way in which it is exposed. Even the symbolism of the word of God has a literal application and not a metaphorical one.

    Many things concerning Israel cannot be spiritualized or put in a context where they can be interpreted metaphorically and symbolically.

    However God has clearly said to Israel, to the house of Jacob and to the house of David, the nation:

    Romans 11: 26-27 And so all Israel will be saved as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob. 27 And this will be my covenant with them, when I have taken away their sins. “

    This passage above would be useless and would make no sense if the church had completely replaced Israel in God’s plan.

    If it were true that Paul was speaking only of the elect Jews who became a part of the Kingdom of God through the church, this step would be unnecessary as well as many other statements about the promises made to Israel. The church for example is not the heir to the promised land, this was never said of the church and that the church was promised a land territory.

    In fact the heavenly Jerusalem is described in Scripture in a very different way to the Jerusalem to which refers the Scripture when it is applied to Israel.

    In short, this spiritualization of Israel that many people like to invent is not and cannot be supported by Scripture because it cannot apply all the promises that God made to Israel to the church.

    Even if they try to say, he was trying to say that the promised land will be given to those elected Jews who enter through the church we could never properly interpret the passages that we find about this in Zechariah 12-13-14.

    It’s so obvious then that the distinction that Paul makes here on the foreknowledge of God refers to Israel as a people and a nation, and not only as participants in the kingdom through church membership.

    So that we now understand that God has not forsaken His people at all, the people are His, Israel whether we like it or not belongs to God, rebellious or not, He is their God, and He will do what He wants and as God has promised, God will be faithful and He will never abandon Israel.

    Just because all this is true, however, it does not mean that the Jews will be spiritually and eternally saved if they do not believe in Jesus, in fact, when a Jew dies today rejecting Christ he will surely go into perdition.

    This is a fact that cannot be denied: John 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins “

    However, Israel is always God’s people, and God foreknew them and will never abandon Israel in the sense that He will not let Israel be completely destroyed, even if and when he is in a state of apostasy.

    In fact this is a sure fact and we read it in the next verses that Paul wrote:

     

    Romans 11: 2-4 Do you not know what Scripture says in the story of Elijah? As he turns to God against Israel, saying, 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what did the divine voice say? “I have reserved seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

     

    Paul uses an episode during the period of Israel’s history when the prophet Elijah was the first major prophet in Israel at that time.

    Let us briefly examine the meaning and the reason why Paul uses the passage of this period mentioning this prophet, this is extremely important in understanding what Paul is talking about here.

    The period in question is described for us in the Old Testament in: 1 Kings 17: 1-24; 1 Kings 18: 1-45; 1 Kings 19: 1-19.

    Elijah was a prophet to Israel during the reign of King Ahab about 919-897 BC This period is a very dark period in the history of Israel because the apostasy level in that nation was almost complete. Without going into great details regarding this period it is sufficient to know that the nation was almost entirely in apostasy and was dedicated to the worship of the false god Baal. Queen Jezebel, Ahab’s wife was the great promoter of the apostasy of Israel and the worship of Baal. There were in Israel in those days 450 prophets dedicated to Baal and 400 dedicated to Asherah another false god.

    During this period of great apostasy, similar to Israel and of Christianity in the world today, the Lord chose in those days Elijah to bring a message of judgment and repentance to the nation.

    Elijah in the power of the Lord challenged Ahab and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, with great power the Lord and with fire from heaven which consumed Elijah’s sacrifice despite the prophets of Baal called upon Baal all day the sacrifice presented by them was not obviously consumed, see 1 Kings 18: 20-38 .

    After God consumed the sacrifice with fire from heaven, Elijah killed all the prophets of Baal with the help of the people, because the people had partially and temporarily turned again to God after His great intervention.

    But Jezebel threatened Elijah with his life and Elijah so greatly blessed and filled with  power the day before, when he heard Jezebel’s threat fled in fear and went to hide in a cave.

    It was in this cave that Elijah had a personal encounter with God and what happens during this meeting is what Paul mentions.

    Elijah thought, and perhaps even rightly from his point of view, that he was alone, the only prophet of God. He thought through all that apostasy only he had remained to serve God. How many times we believe we’re the only ones who really serve the Lord in these days of apostasy?

    Certainly Elijah’s thought was certainly valid for the situation in which the country was, of course, even when we think we are just like Elijah we think this because we see so much apostasy, false doctrines that we become discouraged as Elijah became discouraged in fact he fell into a depression .

    How often we too become discouraged and maybe even depressed because we see that those who serve the Lord in the purity of the truth and the non-compromised Gospel are few, alone and isolated?

    In those days, in Israel, in reality, the situation was even worse than the one we are living in today, for the moment; Elijah had so many good reasons to think that he was alone, even for us today it can be like this.

    But the Lord tells him that He himself had reserved seven thousand who had not served and worshiped Baal.

    The Lord said that, according to Paul and according to doctrinal fact, God had sovereignly chosen and reserved for himself a remnant.

    Even at a time so dark and evil as that of Elijah’s day the Lord for grace If elected for a residue of Israel, reserved and preserved for the service of God.

    This is a great encouragement for us because we see that in our case and in our day the Lord has reserved us, we are part of an elect remnant by grace, in fact, if we are, we also know that we are not alone.

    Certainly we are few compared to the many apostates, we will certainly be small groups, scattered and isolated as were the 7000 in the days of Elijah, however, the Lord has always elected a remnant by grace and sovereign election, just as Paul says in the following verses.

     

    Romans 11: 5-6 So then, also in the present time a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace; but if it works for, it is no more grace, otherwise the work would no longer work.

     

    So Paul says that even in his own present time, there was a remnant according to the election of grace.

    This statement is very important and interesting.

    The first thing we see is that Paul says that even in his day God had reserved for itself a residue, which means that they were few compared to the many who were at that time.

    Of who is Paul talking about now? The church? Not only and not necessarily. Let us remember that the context of this chapter teaches us that Paul is speaking of Israel. Since the previous chapter, the context and the subject is primarily the people of Israel. Here again it is of them that Paul is talking about. In fact, Paul makes no mention of the Gentiles until we reach verse eleven.

    We have to make an important statement at this point, we understand now that the believer after the resurrection of Jesus and after Pentecost is a regenerated person, a new creature in Christ, a person born again and baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, the church. Of this there is no doubt.

    The Jews, the Israelites then as the Gentiles today, at this time, are saved only through the new birth, and only if they are part of Christ’s body the church. It’s not actually national identity that makes them right with God, it has never been so.

    Matthew 3: 1-12 And in those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 This fact is the one spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “a voice of one crying in the wilderness:” Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. ‘ ” 4 Now John himself wore clothing made of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region around the Jordan went out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance! 9 And think not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; because I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham even from these stones. 10 And now the ax is laid unto the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I baptize you with water for repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, and I am not worthy to carry his sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 He holds his winnowing and completely wipes his floor; gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. ”

    Also from this passage we understands very well what John was saying. The physical and religious affiliation of the seed of Abraham was not by itself a sufficient thing to obtain automatic salvation.

    In other words even the Jews had to always receive salvation by grace through faith.

    In fact, even before the birth of Israel, the condition was always the same.

    Let’s see what Scripture tells us even about Noah.

    Genesis 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of God.

    The passage says that Noah found grace in the eyes of God and for this fact he was elected and that is why God commanded him to build an ark and that’s why Noah obeyed.

    The subject was the same for Abraham. Abraham was an idolater who lived in an idolatrous country, but even he was chosen, chosen by God, we can say then that even Abraham found favor in the eyes of God, this is indeed confirmed in:

    Nehemiah 9: 7 You are the LORD God who chose Abram; You brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans, and you gave him the name of Abraham.

    Like we see, God has chosen Abraham, He chose Abraham and it was for this reason only that Abraham obeyed and believed God, for this reason and for this reason alone Abraham believed.

    Let us remember that from Abraham and Isaac was born Jacob, in other words Israel. So the birth of Israel was also by election and by grace and was generated from and by the faith of those who were still chosen and elected by God.

    The human decision or choice is always at individual level but at the same time it is also at national level in the case of Israel. The decision and the faith is never separate from the election, the choice and the will of God. When God wants us to do something, and how he force His will so that eventually our submits to His.

    This is evident in many passages, but I think the most striking is the story of Jonah. God wanted Jonah to do His will, Jonah did not want to do it and Jonah disobeyed God, even fled in the opposite direction of the one God wanted him to go. However, God convinced him to obey in a violent and forced way, pretty much God bent Jonah’s will to subdue him to do what He wanted him to do. You see, because when God chooses us, God makes us eventually subdue to Him and His will.

    So, to say that God never does violence to human free will is not at all a Biblical statement or reality.

    Take for example what Paul told us in Romans 9: 11-16 (in fact, when the children were not yet born and had done any good or evil, that the purpose of God might stand according to election not because of works, but of him who calls), 12 she was told, “The elder shall serve the younger”, 13 as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 16 So then, it’s not by those who want or work, but upon God’s mercy.

    We already discussed this passage and we certainly made it clear that when God speaks of election, the call of God is speaking not only of the nation of Israel, but is talking always about  individuals God chooses.

    Jacob and Esau were individuals, that he’s talking about individuals and not just nationalities we see in what God says to Pharaoh.

    So we must understand that God’s sovereignty means that certain things happen, this is due to the omniscience and omnipotence of God. What God decrees and declares will happen! God makes things happen because things are decreed by Him, things are fulfilled as He wills, and everything still takes place with the cooperation of the human will. The case of Jacob and Esau is an example of how this thing happens.

    Is because of God’s decrees. Esau was evil, yes, but Jacob was also, let us remember that there is no one who is righteous, not even one. However, because God had chosen Jacob instead of Esau, Jacob received God’s promises, even if from a human standpoint the blessings were obtained dishonestly.

    So we see that, in a way, it is almost impossible for us to understand how the will of God always dominates the human will to accomplish what He wants. God however allows the person to do what his sinful nature wants to do, but it all takes place within the limits set by God and eventually all results in the will of God.

    In other words, God sets limits to what a sinner can do, but still, whatever that person does it does not involve any change to the purpose of God’s will.

    This means that the salvation of the elect is determined by election, as was also the choice of Jacob, and this is by the sovereign will of God which dominates our will as sinners and aligns our will and all the circumstances around to the fulfillment of His will.

    In salvation all this happens in an instant as well so that the two will mix together causing the sinner to acknowledge their sinful condition and their will becomes precisely aligned with the will of God, and only then the elected person to salvation is convinced by the Holy Spirit of sin, judgment and righteousness, this all takes place for the regeneration of the elect sinner.

    In this way the human will is actually forced to obey God but it also becomes submissive voluntarily with that of God, in fact the will of the person truly becomes that of wanting to obey God. So, it is because God decrees a thing that the human will eventually submits to the divine will.

    Let us also remember the demons obeyed and obey Jesus and the divine will, every creature submits to the will of God. God is God and He has the right to do what He wants and all must necessarily submit. God will not submit to the human will somehow as if He has to bow down to the agency of man.

    To believe that God must submit or that somehow is limited in His power because of human free will places man and Satan above God, this thing creates idolatry and not only, it strips away, although it really it cannot literally do it, yet it insults the omnipotence and the sovereignty of God.

    The free will of man is not God and therefore can never limit the power of God. It’s like saying that man’s will can trump God’s will, absurd and blasphemous!

    This is in fact the objection to which Paul anticipates and responds in:

    Romans 9: 15-24 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

    The language in this last passage regards the fact that Paul is talking about individuals and individuality when he says:

    So He (God) hath mercy on whom He wills and hardens those he wants (individuals).

    And besides, he says: He has not the potter (God) right over the clay (human beings), to make from the same lump a vessel (individual) to honor and another (individual) to dishonor?

    The vessel in question here, some say, are nations. But of course it is not so because the passage says a vessel this is singular so it’s an individual, the vessels in the plural form are still not nations but the number of individuals who come from the various nations.

    Paul also says: (God) has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction (rebel individuals)? 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory upon the vessels of mercy, which he has already prepared for glory (individuals, elected to salvation)

    The final confirmation is that the vessels are all individuals is found in verse 24 where Paul mentions Jews and Gentiles as both groups from which the individual vessels are chosen by God, these are individuals, and Paul says that he has called us , not only among the Jews but also of the Gentiles ?

    (Individuals elected both Jews and Gentiles)

    Saying, that He has called us not only among Jews but also of the Gentiles is the key that confirms the fact that the election in question is individual and not only national as it was in the case of Israel.

    That’s where the concept of irresistible grace comes from. It comes from the understanding of what the word of God clearly tells us, it is due to the better understanding of who God is and how He acts.

    No one can resist for too long the call and will eventually submit of God when He stretches out His grace on that person. This fact really comforts me and makes me better understand the sovereignty, omnipotence, and love that God has for us. It’s always been that way, even before the birth of Israel, and so it has always been after it, and so it is today.

    In reality no one can resist the will of God, no one! That’s why earlier in Romans 9, Paul anticipates readers’ objections to what he is writing and says:

    Romans 9: 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still have to say? For who can resist his will? “

    A believer cannot be disobedient to God’s commandments but cannot however resist the will of God, why? Because any being both human and angelic must submit to the will of God when God wants them to and even when they do not He will get them to do His will. It’s crazy and untrue to say God does not force any one to do what He wants.

    We also saw that about Satan with Job, Satan can only do what he is permitted to do by God. Satan can not, I repeat, cannot do whatever he wants, so even the human being cannot. God is great and He does what He wants and all have to submit to what He wants when He wants.

    Returning to chapter 11 of Romans, Paul is speaking now of the Israelite remnant elected and saved by grace. Here salvation is always in the context of Israel, although we are always talking about the church even in Paul’s day, it must be remembered that even the church, however, the day of Pentecost and for a short time after, was entirely Jewish.

    The apostles, the disciples, that is, the 120 mentioned and the following believers on Pentecost

    Acts 2:14-40 were all Jews.

    Even in those days, God had not abandoned His people and has chosen a remnant of them beginning with the Apostles and then others after them, and even if they were part of the church they were always a remnant of Israel, chosen and saved by grace.

    We must already understand what Jesus told His apostles that, while the Apostles were considered the founders of the church, the body of Christ, and they are the foundation of the church, they were still inseparably linked to the nation of Israel in a special way.

    Matthew 19: 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel .

    Luke 22:29 And I will grant the kingdom, as my Father has assigned it to me, 30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. “

    There is an actual connection with the Apostles and Israel, a national connection and not only to the church.

    Also in Luke 22:29 we see that Jesus speaks of the Kingdom of God and not specifically about the church. It ‘important to distinguish the difference between the Kingdom of God Israel understood and the church.

    Again, the church is part of the Kingdom of God, we say that God’s Kingdom is heavenly and it is, but it’s also an earthly kingdom. The totality of the elements that form that the church and Israel are the full Kingdom of God.

    When Jesus refers to the Jews He almost always refers to God’s Kingdom and never to church.

    If you pay close attention, how many times is the title Kingdom of God mentioned when God’s word is referred to the church? Only eight times. How often is the Kingdom of God mentioned in connection with Israel? Twenty-one times.

    It’s obvious then even from these numbers that the Kingdom of God has a special connection to the nation of Israel.

    I repeat, it is not that the church is not part of the Kingdom of God, but the kingdom of God which is the complete Kingdom of God includes the church and Israel.

    Let us remember, however, that the church was a mystery to Israel, see Ephesians 3: 1-11.

    It should also be mentioned that Israel as the kingdom of God was a mystery to the Gentile church and has become more and more with the passage of time; but Paul had already warned the church of this mystery and we will see it later in Romans 11:25.

    The passage that more confirms that the term Kingdom of God is connected even more to the nation of Israel than the church is found in:

    Acts 1: 1-8 I have made the first, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day he was taken to heaven, after giving commandments by the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 To them, after suffering, he showed up alive with many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father: “that, he said, you heard from me. 5 For John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days “. 6 So those who were come together, asked him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time you will restore again the kingdom to Israel?”. 7 But he said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. “

    I know I have mentioned this passage several times before, but this is the passage that is the key to understanding the connection of the Kingdom of God with Israel and that in fact Jesus was not here talking about the church, especially in this specific context.

    As we see from this passage we understand very well that there is a clear distinction between the Kingdom of God in the Jewish context and the church in the context of the complete or entire Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of which however even the church is also a part of.

    It is written that Jesus, in verse three, spoke to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. The things concerning the Kingdom of God had a different context from the church, this it is evident from the question itself they ask Him in verse six.

    “Lord, is this time you will restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

    It’s obvious then that the intention of the Kingdom of God for Israel has a different meaning from how we understand it as part of the church. It’s still an understanding that it is not wrong as many believe it to be in the church.

    The response Jesus gives is of utmost importance, because although Jesus does not respond with a yes or a no, however, He answered in an affirmative way. Jesus answered:

    “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own authority.

    This response means that Jesus says yes, eventually God will restore the Kingdom to Israel, the kingdom exactly as they intended it, the Kingdom prophesied in the Old Covenant.

    There will be a time, a proper time that God has established by His own authority in which He will restore the kingdom to Israel and Jesus as their King.

    This is the Messianic Kingdom, or the Kingdom of God that was promised to Israel. This Kingdom is not the church but it is distinctly separate and different from the church.

    We must remember that God in the past has promised to Israel two different things that cannot include the church as the recipient of these promises, although you can assume that the church is spiritual Israel.

    The two things that cannot be fulfilled by the church are the promises made to Israel that it would always be a nation and that Israel would possess the land promised to him by God.

    So from all this must inevitably reach the conclusion that Israel is a separate and distinct institution from the church and that he has received from God promises that in no way can at any time belong to the church, all that is written in the Old Testament.

    There are too many passages in the Old Testament that can not be spiritualized, and also we find the detailed mention of the promised land is one of those things that cannot be attributed to the church,

    see Ezekiel 37: 1-27; Ezekiel 45: 1-22.

    Secondly Ezekiel also mentioned a fourth temple in the city of Jerusalem, and that means from the text itself, things that can be only in connection with earthly Israel, the nation.

    It would make no sense if Ezekiel was speaking of the church in these following passages even if you tried to spiritualize everything written therein you could not make it at all be explained by a spiritual or a symbolic language, see Ezekiel 41: 1-26; Ezekiel 42: 1-20; Ezekiel 43: 1-27; Ezekiel 44: 1-31.

    On the night of His betrayal Jesus told His disciples these words which are also very important in the understanding of what we’re talking about here, or to better understand what He meant in Acts 1.

    John 16: 12-15 I have yet many things to tell you, but I’m still not within your reach. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever things he has heard, and will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

    What is Jesus referring to here? What is He talking about? First of all, the key to this passage is the coming of the Holy Spirit.

    Jesus says that the state in which His disciples were at that very time could not allow them to understand the things He would have wanted to tell them. However, Jesus says, that after the Spirit of truth would come (Pentecost) then He would reveal things they had never been revealed before. At that moment they would be instructed by the Holy Spirit to know and understand them.

    Which things is He referring to? First of all, the mystery of the church, see Ephesians 3: 1-11. Then the things to come, things to come in the context of the Epistles written to the church. All that Jesus wanted to communicate to the church, and that was about the church, Jesus has communicated to them by the Holy Spirit and what was communicated to them was written and today we have all this revealed in the pages of the New Testament.

    This passage is important because it shows us two things. The first one is the things to which Jesus refers explained to the Apostles and then to us the mystery of the Church, the mystery of the salvation of Jews and Gentiles together in one body of Christ, the church.

    The second thing that helps us to understand is this. There were two sources of revelation that God was giving to the Apostles, one was already known to them and this was the Scripture of the Old Covenant which described the Kingdom of God as they understood it and even rightly so I say. This was precisely by means of the prophets of old, this was the revelation already given to them by the prophets describing the Kingdom of God. Now let me ask? Was God hiding things from the Jewish people? No, He was not. What He told them was clearly understood by both the prophets and the people. What God told them did not have a mysterious or spiritual metaphorical meaning.

    However there was in fact a mystery, not revealed to them in the Scriptures of the past, this was now revealed to them as a new revelation which in fact was a mystery. This mystery was the church, something that was now being revealed to them by the Holy Spirit, always after Pentecost, however.

    It’s always important to understand, however, that God even after Pentecost did not stop to offer the possibility for Israel to accept Messiah and then to re-establish the kingdom of God promised to them in the past, that is what we now know now as the Millennium.

    Therefore it is clear that the church and the Kingdom of God promised to Israel were and are connected in a definitive way, but they are actually two different and separate things, two different promises but ultimately both united in Jesus Christ through the New Covenant.

    One reality is to be part of Christ’s body in a real spiritual union with Him, this is the Church. Another reality is the nation of Israel, which always by accepting Messiah is redeemed and re-admitted into the Kingdom of God through the New Covenant, which will make it an earthly nation but also an eternal and spiritual nation that will receive again the primacy over the nations as the nation chosen by God from where the Messiah will reign as king and not only as king of Israel, but king of the nations.

    Psalms 2: 8-9 Ask of me, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance and the ends of the earth for thy possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron, shatter them like a clay pot. ‘ “

    Revelation 19: 11-15 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and he judges and makes war in righteousness. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many diadems, and he had a name written that no one knows except him; 13 was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called “The Word of God.” 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword to strike the nations with it; He will rule with a rod of iron , and he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

    The passage of Psalm 2 is parallel with the passage of Revelation 19 and is connected with the prophecy of Isaiah 61.

    That is the prophecy that Jesus read in Luke 4 and declared it fulfilled when He read it:

    Isaiah 61: 1 but Jesus stopped in the middle of verse 2. The Spirit of the Lord, is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the humble; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD

    In fact, the second part of verse 2 of Isaiah 61 and the following verses speak of the second coming of Jesus and the subsequent Kingdom of God and of Israel on earth this is a parallel passage of the others we have just seen, and of the following chapter 20 of Revelation.

    Isaiah 61: 2b-11 and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all that mourn; 3 to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy of mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting to manifest his glory. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the waste places in the past, repair the ruined cities, desolate for many generations. 5 Foreigners will graze your herds, the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vine-dressers. 6 But you will be called “the priests of Jehovah” and will be called “ministers of our God.” You will enjoy the riches of the Gentiles, and the glory of them will go to you. 7 Instead of your shame you will have double honor; Instead of the confusion they will rejoice in their inheritance. Therefore in their land they shall possess double, and it will be everlasting. 8 For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery in the holocaust; I will give them faithfully a reward and will make with them an everlasting covenant. 9 Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them will recognize them because they are a blessed offspring of Jehovah. 10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom puts on a diadem, like a bride adorns herself her jewels. 11 Therefore, as the earth produces its vegetation and as the garden is sprouting that which has been sown, so the Lord, the Lord will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all nations.

    There can be no mistake as to what this passage is speaking about, it is not possible that this passage is speaking about the church. This passage is speaking about the time of Jesus’ second return not His first one. This passage is speaking about Israel. Jesus speaks about those who mourn in Zion. Zion is not the church in this context, Zion is the city of Jerusalem and this is confirmed and evidenced by what the prophet Zechariah wrote:

    Zechariah 12:10 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.

    As we clearly see the language of Zechariah confirms what Jesus says in Isaiah 61. Zechariah is describing the period of the Day of the Lord, Jesus’ second coming not His first. Therefore since it is about His second coming the passage in Isaiah 61 cannot be referred to the church for two simple reasons. First of all the church will not be mourning in Zion, Jerusalem and secondly those who apply this to the church they apply it to what the church is doing between the first and the second coming of Jesus but the text speaks about what Israel will be doing in Israel after Jesus’ return.

    Israel at that time will be, together with the church, the kingdom of God who will reign on earth. Jesus will be the King of Israel, and who will reign from the throne of David in Jerusalem, Israel.

    This reality, namely, that Jesus is to reign as king of Israel is definitively revealed by the Angel Gabriel when he announced the birth of Jesus to Mary.

    Of this we have already spoken in the study of chapter ten. But since I know we have short memories, we revisit this angelic declaration.

    Luke 1: 26-35 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man named Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Hail, highly favored, the Lord is with you; You are blessed among women “. 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his words and wondered what this greeting could mean. 30 And the angel said, “Fear not, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father; 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end. ” 34 And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”. 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

    As we see Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a son and shall call His name Jesus. Incredible indeed even the savior’s name has been chosen by God, however, Gabriel says that he will be called the Son of the Most High, this is Jesus’ divine title, then Gabriel said that God will give Him the throne of David his father, and He would reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.

    These statements are enormously important to understand the concept of who Jesus is and what he came to do, because Gabriel first says that Jesus is the Son of God and then that Jesus is the son of David. The throne of David belongs to David the king and his royal descendant, and this is not the throne on which Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of God.

    That is the majesty of the divine throne. The throne of David instead has an entirely Jewish connotation. This is the throne of the King of Israel and it is not the throne of the divine majesty in heaven.

    Jesus must be the king of Israel, and frankly, He is not yet, and is not at this moment.

    Messiah is in fact a title that is connected only to Israel, Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, not of the church. Jesus is the savior of the church but he is not the Messiah of the church. I know that we are accustomed to call Jesus the Messiah even in the church, and Jesus is Messiah, but it is not the real position for which the church must recognize Him. Jesus title in the church is Lord and God. Jesus is the head of the body, the church.

    In fact, to confirm that the title Messiah is only connected with Israel the nation we find it again right here in Gabriel’s declaration when he says that Jesus will reign over the house of Jacob forever. Interestingly, Gabriel says Jacob and not Israel, why?

    Since God is all-knowing, God is a God who reveals things clearly. He chooses Jacob’s name because it is a name that can be attributed only to the nation of Israel and not to the church.

    It cannot and must not be connected to the church because the church has been never ever reported in Scripture as to the house of Jacob.

    All references where the Scripture mentions the name Jacob even in the New Testament are never referred to the church. Although one can call the church spiritual Israel, however, He never called the church the house of Jacob.

    The distinction use of the name of Jacob instead of Israel is intentional for that very reason.

    The title Messiah is the title of the king of Israel, the anointed One of God, Jesus is the anointed of the anointed, the King of kings. Often in the New Testament Jesus more several times than not is called the Lord Jesus Christ.

    The word Christ in the Greek is the word Christos which is a translation of the Hebrew word or rather the title Mashiyach , which means the Messiah, the anointed of God. This title in a general way was the title of the king of Israel and Jesus is the supreme king of Israel. But Jesus still has not actively ruled as such, since He was rejected by Israel when He came and offered Himself as the Messiah-the anointed king of Israel.

    This means that even in the writings of the New Testament wrote to the church the name of Jesus was almost always mentioned as Jesus = Son of God and Christ = Messiah-God’s Anointed.

    This is very important because it confirms exactly what Gabriel said the Son of God shall be called Jesus, but the title of Son of David is Christ, or Messiah. So we also see here the connection name of Jesus the Christ to the title of the Messiah is in connection to Israel and the Messianic kingdom.

    Now I hope that we have finally realize that the nation of Israel is a separate entity from the church, but that both are and will be part of the Kingdom of God. The church is God’s Kingdom temporarily and at this time, but it is not the recipient of the promises God made about the land and the title of nation and of the Messianic Kingdom, or the Millennium, which is promised only to the nation of Israel.

    The remnant mentioned by Paul now is the nation of Israel is the remnant mentioned Zechariah, but Paul hoped it was going to be an occurrence of his days.

    As we have said several times before, all the Apostles were hoping in the acceptance of the Messiah by the nation, the remnant of the nation. They did not realize, however, that it would take more than two thousand years before this thing would happen.

    Then the remnant of the nation of Israel of which Paul speaks here is the remnant of the nation of Israel as we would know it today.

    Even this, however, will be the remnant that will see the return of Messiah, so far it is therefore considered that the wicked and perverse generation of which Jesus speaks is the nation of Israel until it entirety rejects Messiah Jesus.

    This generation then starts from the days of Jesus and remains so until the future conversion of the nation’s remnant. It’s easy then to reconcile the generation period, for instance, of which Jesus speaks of it in several passages and which many people experience problems in their interpretation.

    A couple of them are: Matthew 12:34; Luke 21:32.

    There is another very interesting one that in fact confirms what we are saying so far:

    Matthew 21: 40-46 Therefore when the lord of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those ‘workers? 41 They say to him: He will miserably destroy them badly, those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other workers, which shall render him the fruits in ‘his day. 42 Jesus said unto them, Have ye never read in the Scriptures: The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? 43 Therefore I say unto you, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will make the fruits of it. 44 And whoever shall fall on this stone will be crushed, and she will sap the one over which it shall fall. 45 And the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, he perceived that he said them. 46 And they tried to arrest him; they feared the multitudes, because those were holding him as a prophet.

    This parable is interesting. The context and the words used are very important and should be carefully examined. The context is uniquely applicable to Israel.

    The vine or rather the vineyard has always been the nation of Israel:

    Isaiah 5: 1-7 Let me sing for my beloved a song of my beloved about his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2 a hedge around, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted vines of excellent quality, it built a watchtower and dug a wine press. He expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What more it could have been done to my vineyard that I have not already done? Because, while I expected it to yield grapes, did it yield wild grapes? 5 But now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be entirely devoured, I will break down its wall and it will be trampled. 6 will make them a desert: it will not be pruned or hoed, but there shall come up briers and thorns; and I command the clouds not to give any rain fall. 7 For the vineyard of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the plantation of his delight. He looked for righteousness, but behold, oppression, for justice and here’s cries of anguish.

    So we see that when Jesus spoke of the vineyard He spoke of Israel, this is also important to understand better the context that we find in John 15 when Jesus mentions that He is the vine, but the vineyard has always been Israel, then what Jesus says in John 15 it cannot be interpreted as many interpret it by applying it to the church. Instead, we must see this context and we have to connect it to the context that we also find written in the Epistle to the Hebrews, where the author is talking about the Jewish religion and of Israel. It’s so obvious that there are no contradictions and that an elect can fall from grace, a chosen one can never fall from grace.

    In John’s Gospel Jesus, who when He speaks He speaks in context with the rest of Scripture, is therefore explaining to the Apostles thatin order to be saved Israel must belong to the true vineyard, that is namely Him now. They, Israel are now the branches but He spoke in that context obviously relating to the Israelites and then He says that if the Israelites did not accept Him as the Messiah they would be cut off and burned in the fire.

    This passage speaks then of the apostasy of Israel and not about an individual believer who is part of Christ’s body and then for some reason falls from grace because they no longer in dwell Jesus.

    This in effect can also be linked to the membership to the olive tree speech which Paul describes later in chapter 11 regarding the branches that were cut off and to which they are then grafted in again. This speech is practically one with the speech that Jesus makes in John 15. It speaks about the same context.

    So, back to the parable of Jesus in Matthew, the vineyard is then Israel and Judah, this is in line with the prophecy of Isaiah. The fact that Jesus says that God will give the vineyard to other workers, that is, the vineyard, Jesus is obviously still referring this to Israel. Jesus said that since they had rejected Him as the Messiah, that is, King of Israel, God would give the kingdom that was promised to a people, says the text in English; but people in the original Greek language is the word nation.

    So, what Jesus is really saying is yet more confirmation of the fact that, since He refers it to a nation He is always talking about the nation of Israel.

    Israel is the only nation to which a Kingdom has been promised by God, the context then dictates that any reference to Jesus in this parable is in a exclusively Jewish context.

    This is therefore another nation but it’s always the nation of Israel, the one that will produce the fruits of repentance and will no longer be in a state of apostasy, but of faith in Messiah.

    The interpretation that Jesus was saying that he would instead give the Kingdom to the Gentiles or the church rather than to Israel is mistaken. The nation that Jesus mentions is the same remnant of the nation of Israel that Paul is mentioning in Romans 11.

    Jesus simply tells them that the Kingdom will be taken away from them and subsequently each generation of Jews who do not accept Jesus as their Messiah in a national way, remember that still, ironically the Jews are waiting for the Messiah but still reject Christ.

    The Kingdom, then, says Jesus, will be given to an Israelite nation when it will accept Him as the Messiah;

    This is perfectly in line with: Zechariah 12: 10-11; Zechariah 13: 1-2; Zechariah 14: 1-19.

    This was later confirmed by Jesus himself when he declared these words:

    Matthew 23:37-39 Jerusalem, Jerusalem , you who kill the prophets and stones those who are sent! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate . 39 For I tell you, that from now on you will not see me again, until you say , ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ “

    Jesus is affirming the judgment of God on apostate Israel, remember that apostasy is to fall away from the faith, or rather remain in a state of disbelief concerning the person of Jesus Christ. That’s why the apostasy is a concept often mentioned in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

    The apostasy actually is rejection, the rejection of Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation, both individual salvation as well as the national one. That’s why the epistle to the Hebrews is so misunderstood and filled with disputes that arise in the church regarding the subject of salvation.

    The epistle is written in a strictly Jewish context and is aimed mostly at Jews as the name and the content of it suggests. We cannot, we must not misconstrue the context for asserting the beliefs that a true believer can fall from grace or can lose their salvation.

    The context and content of Hebrews speaks to the Jews, it says that Jesus Christ is the only way to their salvation, both individual and national. The epistle explains and talks about the fact that their old religion and the law cannot give them salvation, it speaks of the abolition of the Old Covenant, and that salvation is by grace alone and by faith in Jesus Christ and its speech is very clear, no one can have salvation in any other way but through Jesus.

    The epistle speaks also to people who still were not sure whether or not to believe in Jesus alone for salvation. These people were exposed to the Gospel and to the church but many were deciding to return or rather stay in their old religion and in the law and give up the true and only source of salvation by grace and faith in Christ alone.

    This is called apostasy and it is a condition of damnation.

    I would like to examine with you a certain passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which is used in conjunction with the loss of the salvation of believers.

    I would like to examine it together with an Old Testament passage that in fact we have already seen before. We will see what the context speaks of Israel, the Jews.

    Hebrews 6: 4-8 For men who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, 6 if they fall, it is impossible to bring them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God again and put him to an open shame. 7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often falls on it, and produces useful herbs for those who cultivate it, receives blessing from God; 8 But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is rejected and near to being cursed, and will end up being burned.

    Isaiah 5:1-8 Let me sing for my beloved a song of my beloved about his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2 He built a hedge around, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted vines of excellent quality, he built a watchtower and dug a wine press. He expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What more it could have been done to my vineyard that I have not already done? Because, while I expected it to yield grapes, it did yield wild grapes? 5 But now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be entirely devoured, I will break down its wall and it will be trampled. 6 will make them a desert: it will not be pruned or hoed, but it will grow briers and thorns; and I command the clouds not to let any fall rain. 7 For the vineyard of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the plantation of his delight. He looked for righteousness, but behold, oppression, justice and here’s cries of anguish.

    Look at verses 7-8 of Hebrews and then to verses 4-7 of Isaiah these steps are parallel and the context is the same. They are talking about Israel in both the passages, the Jews and not speaking of the church, or believers already regenerated.

    The rejection of Jesus as Savior and Lord is severe and is almost always fatal.

    This is the context of Hebrews, it may seems to say that a regenerated person can lose their salvation, but that is not its context and meaning.

    Back then, the generation of which Jesus spoke in Matthew 23 on which the judgment of God would fall was that generation and every generation to come, and counted as the same one, why? Because it continues to reject the Messiah and this places Israel is in a state of apostasy. Israel from that day to today is in a state of apostasy because he continues to reject Jesus Christ, His Messiah.

    Let’s see if the passage of Hebrews says that a person already saved can lose their salvation.

    We already know that the context of the epistle to the Hebrews is in fact a Jewish context, so we have to look at everything in that context, how we should do for most of the Synoptic Gospels that speak mostly of the ministry of Jesus as the Messiah.

    Hebrews 6: 4-7 For men who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, 6 if they fall, you impossible to bring them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God again and put him to an open shame.

    This is the language that they assert speaks of the loss of salvation for believers already born again. The passage in question, however, does not speak of people already regenerated.

    But,not so fast say the promoters of the heretical doctrine that states that a true elect can fall from grace, ” It says they were enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, were made partakers of the Holy Spirit?” ” Is this not the description of being born again? “

    No! It is not! What does this passage describe then? It describes the Jewish people, the Jews who have in fact received the testimony of Jesus Christ and who have experienced and lived in the light of Jesus’ miracles and even of the Apostles, this is what it means to have been partakers of the Holy Spirit. Being enlightened is synonymous with having experienced the light of the world, Jesus Christ, as revealed by the following steps: John 1: 1-5; John 1: 9-14; John 8:12; John 9:5.

    Jesus has enlightened those who have experienced His presence and the presence of His person and His Spirit and also through the miraculous works of the Apostles. Enjoyed the heavenly gift means that the heavenly gift is Jesus Christ Himself, they have tasted of Jesus in their midst and again His presence in the apostolic works. Having been partakers of the Holy Spirit also means the same thing.

    Jesus himself gave Israel the condemnation of divine judgment when he confirmed himself that they, the Jews were committing apostasy, that was practicing the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

    Matthew 12: 31-32 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And anyone who speaks against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the next. “

    They were therefore also sharing in what the Holy Spirit was doing in their midst through Jesus Christ, but instead of accepting Jesus as the Messiah and glorify God they rejected Him blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

    In fact, they said that He did these miracles with the devil’s power and they attributed the works of Jesus to Satan.

    The Jews rejecting Jesus and salvation, in the context of the Hebrews’ passage were in essence practicing the same sin of those who had rejected Jesus when He appeared to them as the Messiah.

    The Jews’ religious ruling class rejected Jesus as the Messiah and condemned Him to death by crucifixion, so now the author of Hebrews uses a parallelism and says that if a person rejects Jesus as the only way to salvation and remains in his old religion, in this case Judaism, they fall from grace, meaning they are in a state of apostasy from which is almost always likely not to be able to brought back to true faith, so it was as the Jews who did this crucified Jesus again by rejecting Jesus as Messiah even now rejecting Him was as if they crucify Him again, as if he were exposed to an open shame. Why? Because it is saying that in fact Jesus is a liar, a liar who came from Satan and not from God and therefore deserved to die and this exposes Jesus again to an open shame as He was exposed when he was crucified.

    All this was to say in conclusion is that Jesus is not God, He is not the Messiah, He is not from God but instead He is a satanic liar.

    Apostasy does this in fact, it denies the deity and lordship of Jesus and exposes Him to shame by saying in effect that He actually deserved to be crucified because He was guilty of blasphemy that He cannot come from God. This is why any other religion and even false gospels are apostate and all those who practice them are in a dangerous state of apostasy.

    Thus we see that the passage in question in the book of Hebrews is not at all directed to born-again and regenerated believers. Hebrews does not speak of regeneration but simply of having been exposed to the works of Jesus and the Apostles through the Holy Spirit.

    What does this mean for us today? Is it possible for a person to blaspheme the Holy Spirit today? And if so how? What does it mean this today?

    Just to clarify a point, this does not mean that if a person does not believe that the languages spoken today in the Pentecostal church and the prophecies that are declared there and some so called miracles, signs and wonders that are declared to be from God or rather by the Holy Spirit, that we are blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

    Many hyper-charismatic and Pentecostals in fact, accuse brothers who believe in the cessation of some gifts of the Spirit of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

    This is not the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit! The study of the Word of God and church history makes us aware that some gifts or signs belonged to the apostles and tho them that were to guide the church during the apostolic age.

    A passage that really helps us to understand this concept is found in:

    2 Corinthians 24:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, with signs and wonders, and mighty deeds.

    There are many passages that demonstrate that only a particular selection of people had these gifts, however, according to many today, and in my opinion, these gifts came to an end because the special ministry of the apostles, which was the foundation of the church and the completion of God’s revelation was to b put in writing was completed. In addition the signs, wonders and miracles were always for Israel. They had to be proof to them that these things came from God.

    1 Corinthians 1: 21-22 For since in the wisdom of God the world did not know God through its wisdom, it pleased God to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching, 22 since Jews require a sign, and the Greeks look for wisdom,

    1 Corinthians 14: 21-22 It is written in the law: “I speak to this people in foreign languages and other lips, but even so they will not hear me,” says the Lord. 22 Wherefore tongues are a sign not for believers, but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers, but for believers.

    In fact if it was as our Pentecostal and charismatic friends say, that because some reject some gifts and signs today this is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, then Jesus should perhaps be guilty of this as He said this:

    Matthew 7: 21-23 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? “. 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. “

    But Jesus always in that same context before hand told us that we can recognize if the result of a persons’ works is really from God or not!

    More than anything, you know why Jesus condemned the Jews for having rejected Him as the Messiah? It was so much because they rejected the the signs and miracles, but instead He says this in:

    John 5: 36-47 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has given me to accomplish, these works that I do bear witness of me, that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified about me; Ye have neither heard his voice, nor seen his face, 38 and you have not his word abiding in you, because you do not believe in him whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures, because you think that by them you possess eternal life; and they are they which testify of me. 40 But you refuse to come to me to have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men. 42 But I know you, that you have not the love of God in you. 43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not; if another comes in his own name, him ye will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from God alone? 45 Think not that I will accuse you before the Father; there is who is accusing you, Moses, in whom you have set your hope; 46 because if you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? “.

    As is well known, Jesus says, in effect, that the works He performed were proof enough that He was the Messiah, but then Jesus says that Scripture itself is the true witness to what they did not believe. They in fact investigated the word of God which bore witness of Him, but they did not see Jesus in them. Jesus in fact puts the emphasis on believing God’s word about Him even more of the same works that He He performed.

    Deuteronomy 13: 1-11 tells us that false prophets can easily operate in a miraculous way and that the only way to recognize them is to confirm them with a specific thing, the word of God. This is always the case, only the word of God teaches us which works are valid and come from God.

    So we can, with the word of God today ascertain if some signs and gifts are from God or not. Then I say no, rejecting false gifts and false signs according to the word of God is not to blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

    The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit today is instead similar to the one practiced at that time and has EVERYTHING to do with Jesus and nothing to do with the rejection of the works of the Pentecostals or Charismatics.

    Blaspheming the Holy Spirit was and is denying that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and denying that Jesus is God and Lord and the only way to God. It’s to say now as then, that Jesus is not who He says He is.

    In essence this has always been and is still the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Why? Because it is the Holy Spirit that Jesus Himself said would reprove the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.

    When someone rejects Jesus as Lord they resists the conviction of the Holy Spirit and reject Jesus ad Lord. This, too, is explained very well in Hebrews.

    Hebrews 10: 26-31 For if we sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but only a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who breaks the law of Moses dies without mercy under two or three witnesses. 29 What worse punishment do you think deserves the one who has trampled the Son of God and considered profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said: “To me belongs vengeance, I will repay, ‘says the Lord. And elsewhere: “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    This passage teaches us very well what apostasy is. It tells us that it is the only sin that can never be forgiven, why? Because apostasy is a state of disbelief that lasts to the death of the person and damns the person, that is, the person dies in his sins because he rejected the only way of salvation that is Jesus. For the Jew rejecting Jesus as the Messiah was and is their damnation and their forfeit to the promises of God, because Israel can only get the promises made to them through conversion of Jesus the Messiah.

    This step therefore does not teach at all that people after they are born again lose their salvation because they sin willfully. The context of the entire Epistle and this same passage and what it actually says is speaking about apostasy and the willful sin that a person commits in this case is to reject Jesus after receiving the knowledge of the truth, which in this case and in every case is the Gospel.

    That is why Jesus told His disciples I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me. John 14: 6.

    This statement not only abolishes the validity of any other religion today, but for the Jews it meant that their religion and keeping the law of Moses was abolished and that to go to the Father, that is God could happen only through Jesus and no more through the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.

    The sin in question here in Hebrews 10:26 is the very sin of which the author of the epistle spoke before, that is the sin of unbelief. That this is the case, we see it written in:

    Hebrews 3: 7-19 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers tempted me to the test , though they had seen my works for forty years. 10 Therefore I sdegnai with that generation, and said always Errano his heart and have not known my ways; 11 so I swore in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest. ” 12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God, 13 but exhort one another daily, as long as it is said: “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, provided we continue till the end in the confidence we had at the beginning, 15 while there is said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the provocation.” 16 Those who were in fact the ones who, having heard, did provoke? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt by Moses? 17 Now who were those with whom I was angry for forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom swore that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19 Now we see that they could not enter because of unbelief.

    I would like that we remember two things about this fact, the first thing is this: it is true that those who practice sin as a lifestyle, that is, that their ways have not undergone any moral change, will not inherit the kingdom of God, this the Scripture teaches in many passages.

    But what we need to focus now is the second thing, namely, the fact that here we are talking of unbelief and that this is the sin in question, Hebrews 3:12 speaks of an evil heart because of unbelief.

    Verse 26 of Hebrews 10 in fact mentions then that if a person sins willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

    This sinning willfully is the same as is in the passage of Hebrews 3: 12-13 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God, 13 but exhort one another every day, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

    and

    17 Now who were those with whom I was angry for forty years? It was not those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom swore that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19 Now we see that they could not enter because of unbelief.

    Hebrews 4: 1-7 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, we fear that some of you do not remain excluded. 2 For us as well as them was the gospel preached, but the preached word did not profit them, not having been joined to faith in those who heard. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest as he said, “So I swore in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest.”

    And so he said, although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 In fact, somewhere, about the seventh day, he said thus: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this passage, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, while those who were first preached the good news there did not enter because of their unbelief, 7 again he determines a day, “Today,” saying in a long time, as has been said before through David, “Today, if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

    As we see it is very clear from the whole context of Hebrews that the sin in question, of which we are talking about is the sin of unbelief that is apostasy from the one and only faith that can save.

    Because then it says in Hebrews 10: 26b no longer remains a sacrifice for sins?

    This statement has no meaning at all with regard to sin in the sense of committing generic sins, but has everything to do with the sin of unbelief which is apostasy from the one and only true faith, which is a falling away from the one and only valid and perfect sacrifice that can take away sins, Jesus Christ.

    The meaning of the statement there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins is precisely directed to the Jews who wanted to return to their old and abolished religion with all of its animal sacrifices.

    In fact, in the same exact context, the book of Hebrews explains that the animal sacrifices were a symbol of the Messiah’s work and that only His sacrifice can forgive sins, this fact is all that the Hebrews 9 continuing into Hebrews 10:1-25 says.

    This had prepared the reader to hopefully understand that the author is now talking about the sin of unbelief and the rejection of the Messiah as the only way to salvation and as the only valid and perfect sacrifice.

    In fact, that’s why it also says in Hebrews 10:28-29 Anyone who breaks the law of Moses dies without mercy under two or three witnesses. 29 What worse punishment do you think deserves the one who has trampled the Son of God and considered profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

    As we see the rejection or the sin against the knowledge of the truth means not to believe in Jesus Christ, He is the truth and it is the only sacrifice for the forgiveness of the sins of everyone, including Israel.

    If a person under the law of Moses was sentenced to death for the transgression of the same, how much worse will the punishment of those who trample Jesus, the Son of God and consider profane, that is still less of the blood of animals, the precious blood of the lamb of God? The Son of God 1 Peter 1: 18-21; and now you’re ready for the shock of the century?

    Those who reject Jesus consider profane the blood of the covenant by which, the text says, he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace, means actually that the blood of Jesus sanctified Jesus Himself in His own Covenant, the Covenant in His blood.

    Obviously all those who are part of the covenant through Jesus are also sanctified as a result, but the context here is talking about Jesus and of the covenant which are both sanctified this does not at all refr to the person who rejects Christ who is sanctified.

    The context does not support the fact that the person had been sanctified by the sacrifice of Jesus because only people who believe are sanctified, who is and remains in unbelief is not so sanctified at all. The context cannot be applied to the person who is rejecting Jesus but it refers to Jesus and the Covenant itself.

    In fact, look to what Hebrews 9: 17-24 says: The will indeed is valid only after the death of someone, because it has no force while the testator is still alive. 18 Therefore even the first was not inaugurated without blood. 19 For, when every commandment according to the law were proclaimed by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying: “This is the blood of the covenant that God has ordained for you.” 21 Likewise with the blood he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And, according to the law almost all things are purged with blood; and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of heavenly things should be purified with these things; but the heavenly things themselves had to be him with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the presence of God for us,

    The sanctification of the whole Covenant and what follows from it is sprinkled by the blood of Jesus, and also He is sanctified by it and is He who sanctifies by it, He is sanctified as high priest and sanctifies the Covenant as the perfect sacrifice that He is.

    To those who object to the fact that Jesus cannot be sanctified I would just point out what He said in:

    John 17:17-19 Sanctify them through thy truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. 19 And for them I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

    Besides, we see in the subject of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, when one rejects Jesus, in fact, the passage says, they have insulted the Spirit of grace. There is only one Spirit who applies God’s grace, the Holy Spirit. Thus we see that rejecting Jesus as the sole source of salvation and as the only valid perfect sacrifice and rejecting Him as a Messiah is an insult or to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

    The word used in Matthew 12 in fact means to oppose intensely .

    In fact, this has always been said of the Jews who resisted, opposed intensely the Holy Spirit, even Stephen said this in:

    Acts 7: 51-53 Men stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit ; as your fathers did, so do ye. 52 Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecuted? They even killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you are now become betrayers and murderers; 53 you who have received the law by the angels, and have not kept it. “

    So the word blaspheme, insult, resist, oppose with intensity the Holy Spirit are synonymous. The apostate resists, he is vehemently opposed to the Holy Spirit, the apostate by his insulting and mocking disbelief both rejects Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

    Apostasy is in fact the total and permanent surrender to unbelief regarding the person of Jesus Christ.

    What Jesus said in:

    John 8: 23-24 And he said to them: “You are from below, but I am from above; You are of this world, I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins. “

    What did Jesus say was the only sin that could not be forgiven? The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, right? He says here that they would die in their sins, which means that none of their sins would be forgiven, why? Because they did not believe that He was who He said He was.

    Actually it is the same sin that Jesus mentions in Matthew 12.

    It’s clear that Jesus said that all sins, all, would be forgiven except one, and that one is in fact what makes the people remain in a state of apostasy, that is the sin of unbelief, the sin that rejects Jesus as Lord.

    Therefore Jesus also says for the same reason Israel will be left in divine judgment, but not forever, as I already said many times before they will remain in this state until the remnant of the nation will say:

    “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

    This is in fact the Messianic announcement, and it is obvious that Jesus was not speaking of their weak popular attempt on the triumphal entry day, because Jesus made this statement after the episode of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

    Instead, Jesus ascended up to heaven, and from there will come back and is on that day that Israel will say:

    “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

    For the word of God tells us this about it:

    Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced; then they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and will be greatly saddened for him, as it is greatly saddened by a firstborn.

    Revelation 1: 7 Behold, he cometh with clouds and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth shall wail because of him. Yes, amen.

    These Scriptures announce that those who pierced Him that is in fact the Jews, are the ones on which Jesus Himself by the way, will shower on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplication, this is the description of the repentance of Israel and the acceptance of Him as Messiah. This is undoubtedly a future event and does not talk about the first coming of Jesus.

    It’s also evident that we cannot spiritualize these prophecies to apply them to the church. The church is not the house of David, the believers in the church are not the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and even more the church is not the one who pierced him.

    It’s obvious that they are talking about the remnant of the nation of Israel.

    All this is then placed in a very important statement by Paul right in:

    Romans 11: 25-27 For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening of Israel is in, until has entered the fullness of the Gentiles, 26 and so all Israel will be saved as is written: ‘the deliverer will come from Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them, when I have taken away their sins. “

    So we have seen that Scripture confirms everything we have described concerning the remnant of Israel, which is and will be saved by election and grace, we read earlier in Zechariah that Jesus Himself will be the One who will pour upon them the Spirit of grace and supplication.

    Paul then continues saying something very well known to us. Paul speaks of the fact that the remnant is saved by grace and not by works.

    Verse 6 And if by grace, it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace; but if it is of works, it is no more grace, otherwise the work would no longer be work.

    Here Paul is again, speaking as he often did in this Epistle, that the remnant of the nation of Israel is and will be saved in the exact same way every Gentile elect will be saved, that is, by election and grace and not by because of any work of the law.

    Specifically Paul undoubtedly is talking in this context of the works of the law that are precisely related to the Jewish people.

    You hardly need to argue this point much because we did a lot until now. It is always an important fact given that Paul mentions it constantly.

    It becomes apparent that Paul does not want in any way any one to believe that salvation is in some way tied to works that a person can practice or whether it is related exclusively to the Jews simply by nationality, at least not without the acceptance of the Messiah. There must be this acceptance, that is the element that is necessary for their salvation.

    Here Paul does not mention faith either but election and grace and he excludes the works of the law.

    To save some time on this subject let us examine two steps that will help us greatly to understand this subject.

    It is worth reviewing again this concept, given its importance.

    Let us first examine a very famous passage, we often use in the church,

    Ephesians 2: 1-10 you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, according to the prince of the air power, the spirit that now worketh in sons of disobedience, 3 among whom for a time also we all lived in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages that will be the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 for ye are saved by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

    The passage begins with the unequivocal description of the utterly corrupt state of a person, the state of spiritual death in which we all are at one time. This is the state of bondage to sin, the state of a sinner. This description from every point of view takes away any chance a person can possibly have alone to get to the faith that leads to the acceptance of the Gospel.

    This condition, is better viewed and described in Romans 3: 9-18; and Romans 8: 5-8.

    All this is essential to understand in order to better understand Paul’s next declaration in Ephesians 2:4

    But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with him and with him has made us to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 there to show in the ages to come the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 for ye are saved by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

    So, since it is impossible for a person to free themselves from their condition of spiritual death, in fact, how can a person who is spiritually dead give themselves life? Obviously, they can not!

    In fact, Paul says, BUT GOD, this little word, BUT GOD is a huge statement because it actually tells us that what is impossible for man is possible with God.

    Paul is saying that we were spiritually dead, we were slaves to our sinful nature, we belong to and we obey Satan and all this is sinful human nature, in spite of all of these overwhelming odds, God who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us, loved us when we were not righteous nor justified, in fact He loved us when we were still sinners, when we were in a state of spiritual death, see also Romans 5:8-10.

    It’s at that point that He loved us, Jesus died and rose again for us, us the elect, and we indeed in God’s redemption program, have died with Christ and we are risen with Him, and we are seated with Him before God.

    This is our position in Christ, even though we were sinners and by nature children of wrath, in God’s redemptive plan, we were in fact already in Christ when He went to the cross and when He died and was buried, and when He rose again and ascended into heaven when we did He in fact brought us with him into the presence of God where we are always.

    That’s why He cried out ” It is finished” because in truth it was finished. I know this not only difficult to understand but also difficult to accept, however these are not heresies but concepts that Scripture shows us clearly that these are spiritual realities difficult to understand for us mere mortals.

    Even Romans 6 confirms that this fact is a spiritual reality:

    Romans 6: 3-9 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with Christ in a death like his, we shall be also of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that we should no longer serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ being raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him

    Here in Romans 6 we see that the powerful work of the Holy Spirit has made us active participants in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus when we were born again, the Holy Spirit has applied to us what Jesus had done for us and therefore elected us in a real sense and we actually died with Him, were buried with Him and were risen with Him, now Paul in Ephesians 2 also says that we are seated with Him in heaven with God.

    This is being in divine position as to the fact that we were already there in a spiritual sense when Jesus was crucified and buried and when resurrected and when he ascended to heaven.

    The baptism of the Holy Spirit puts us in a real present condition at the time of regeneration that places us in line in a real sense with what God has already predetermined for us elect, which was still true even at the time Jesus did it in the past, if we want to be specific God had already done all this before the foundation of the world itself, Ephesians 1:4-14.

    This does not mean that we were regenerated at the time of the crucifixion and the resurrection. In reality as well says Paul in Ephesians 2, we still belonged to Satan and were by nature children of God’s wrath. However remember that because Jesus died for the elect, it mans that He foreknew and them, us, and we were truly in Christ for a redemptive purpose even at the cross.

    Let us remember that God does not live in world time but He lives in eternity, eternity is another dimension even though He also lives in our time. God has planned His plan of redemption and has elected all those who were to be included in it already before the foundation of the world, therefore we also were there 2,000 years ago, but in fact something was missing then. What? The Gospel call, the and the regeneration by the Holy Spirit, that is the practice of the gift faith that comes by hearing the word, or rather the Gospel of Christ, Romans10: 17.

    Our redemption is therefore real always but active only when applied to us through the Spirit of God and the Gospel call, but it is real even from before the foundation of the world. That is when God has written our names in the book of life. True salvation itself, the regeneration takes place at the precise moment that God has established for us. In other words our redemption is all really done but it must be applied by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel call and the subsequent regeneration and gift of faith.

    Now that we know God has already done all of this in our lives and until now the concept of faith has not even appeared yet in Ephesians 2, for until now God did everything and we did nothing, so to avoid any objection or being misunderstood Paul says ” for by grace you are saved.”

    Again, we repeat in Ephesians 2 so far there is no mention of the word faith until verse 8. God has done it all this is why Paul mentioned that it is by grace alone, it is for mercy and for His great love for us. Let’s remember that grace means unmerited favor, a favor we can do nothing to earn it, it’s only because God chose to give it to people.

    Now in the famous verse 8 Paul again says: 8 For ye are saved by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

    Paul now introduces the concept of faith throughout all this thing that God has done. Many insist that this passage separates faith from grace, that is, that the passage separates grace and faith by making the gift of God to be applied only to the word grace and salvation and not to faith. In other words they say that the term: “it is the gift of God” does not apply to faith.

    But let’s see what Scripture tells us about this concept:

    Titus 3: 4-5 But when the kindness of God our Savior, and his love for men, 5 appeared he saved us not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, justified by his grace , we should be made heirs of eternal life, according to the hope we have.

    Here in Titus passage we see that the concept is virtually identical to what Paul says in Ephesians 2 and Romans 11:6, in other words that it is not by works that we are saved or that we can be justified, but it is by God’s mercy, and grace (and faith) we are saved through regeneration of the Holy Spirit.

    But now here in Titus the concept becomes even more interesting because Paul says that we are justified by His grace, he does not say by faith here, but by grace.

    Since the famous thing that all of us Evangelicals always cling to is that we are justified by faith, and this is absolutely true, see Romans 5:1, now what Paul says makes us wonder. He is saying that we are justified by grace but here he does not mention faith at all.

    Now I do not know about you, but this passage and the use of this statement by Paul, must necessarily lead us to the conclusion that what Paul said in Ephesians 2:8 means that we are saved by grace and justified by faith but grace and faith are in fact synonymous.

    So we can safely conclude that if God’s grace is a gift of which Paul speaks in Ephesians 2:8 then faith is also because it is used as a synonym to grace. So faith also is the gift of God. So the only conclusion one must reach is that faith is a result of grace and therefore both are a gift from God.

    You see, you cannot make use of two different words that together produce the same result without arriving to the only correct conclusion, namely, that both words have the same divine origin, and so yes, grace and faith are both gifts of God and not from us.

    This therefore excludes all human work in order to make us attain salvation, that is, this means that all of salvation comes from God, it has been programmed by God, was made by God and is applied by God without any human intervention, except for the human intervention that is, the one is caused by God by the very person who is elected.

    Justified by grace and faith, can only mean that even if it is we who believe and believe genuinely, it is God who causes faith in us because it is the gift of God.

    Do you remember what the famous passage in Acts 13:48 says?

    The Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord; and all those who were ordained to eternal life believed.

    This short verse is huge in significance with regard to the confirmation of the fact that faith in people is caused by God, is caused by the fact that those who believe are preordained by God for eternal life. For this reason we believe, just for this reason. Faith then is a gift of God given us by Him to gain eternal life, that is salvation, and it is caused by God, but not only caused, it all comes from God.

    The only true human element in salvation, that is, the only part of man involved comes equally from God, the man Jesus Christ, both man and God. The human merits that are charged to us believers are the merits and virtues of Jesus. Only this One man, Jesus, has accomplished all that God required, and he did it for us.

    Just in the same context of the law and salvation let us remember what Paul told us in:

    Romans 8: 3-4 For what the law could not, because it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in flesh similar to that of sin and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    So it is clear that, as Paul says here in Romans 11:6, salvation is by election and by grace and not by works of the law and is further evident, therefore, that even faith can and must be considered a human work but it is a gift from God caused by the election of God motivated by His mercy and His love.

    All this does not apply exclusively to us Gentiles but it also applies to the national remnant of Israel, this is what Paul is saying here. Israel, too, will have to accept Jesus as the Messiah, will have to accept His sacrifice and will have to accept the fact that He is risen from the dead.

    There is a difference, however, among those who have not seen and yet have believed and those who believe, but who believe assisted by the appearance of Jesus Himself.

    This concept is introduced by Jesus in:

    John 20: 24-29 Now Thomas, called Didymus, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him: “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came to locked doors, stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands; also stretch out your hand and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. ” 28 Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God.” 29 Jesus said to him: “Because you have seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. ”

    Thomas, one of the twelve, was a Jew but he would not believe that Jesus was resurrected unless he saw Him with his own eyes, until he saw Him since he was not with them when the others saw Him.

    In fact, even more, not only Thomas would not believe if not for sight, but he said he would not have believed it if he had not seen first hand Jesus’ wounds.

    Jesus showed up when Thomas was there and told him to touch His wounds and Thomas worshiped Him and declared Him Lord and God. Jesus told him that he had believed because he saw Him and then Jesus says that those who would not have seen Him but who would believe would have been even more blessed.

    What does all this mean in reality? Means something very important, it means that faith is really not just one thing that is practiced by believing in what we cannot see but is something that can be there and can be seen with our eyes in order to be believed.

    It seems a paradox, but in John 6 Jesus confirms this fact.

    John 6:36 But I have told you: you have seen me, but you do not believe.

    There is that old saying that goes ” seeing is believing” this does not seem to be true according to Jesus. According to Him you can see and still not believe. In fact this has always been Israel’s problem. Israel always had great evidence of the presence and power of God and always ended up in unbelief, so even more this happened when Jesus came the first time.

    These, in John 6 not only they saw Jesus in person, but they saw the miracles, they saw the dead rise again, they had just witnessed how Jesus had miraculously provided food, many of them even followed Him as their teacher, their rabbi and he tells them this:

    John 6:63-66 is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words I say to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe “; For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was who would betray him; 65 and saying, “That’s why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

    Not only Jesus but also other passages confirm this fact, for example:

    Hebrews 3: 7-9 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers tempted me to the test , though they had seen my works forty years.

    We had already seen before about unbelief and we see here where it says that the Jews had seen His works for forty years. Yet, while seeing the works of God they still did not believe because they had a heart of unbelief.

    So works, miracles, signs and wonders do not necessarily cause faith in people, especially the Jews.

    In fact, Paul says that it’s the Jews who require a sign in order to believe:

    1 Corinthians 1: 21-22 For since in the wisdom of God the world did not know God through its wisdom, it pleased God to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching, 22 since Jews require a sign, and the Greeks look for wisdom,

    The irony is that even with signs the Jews did not believe, and this was evident when Jesus did all His miracles, healings and signs and even after when the Apostles continued to do them.

    Jesus himself condemned the present generation saying:

    Luke 11:29 Now as the crowds pressed around, he began to say, “This generation is evil; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

    John 6: 28-30 They asked him, “What must we do to accomplish the works of God?”. 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 Then they said to him, “What sign therefore dost thou do that we may see and believe you? What work do you do?

    Even here in this passage taken from John 6 we see the folly of the Jewish people, that is, that they were so stuck in wanting to see works and see signs, as Jesus says, in order to believe in Him, which by the way it was He who was performing myriad of miracles and signs. Despite everything, even after He tells them that they must believe in Him, they asked Him what sign would do and what work would He do so that they could believe.

    This is madness, they had every imaginable evidence to believe and still did not believe, this is serious! They saw but they did not believe! This fact is why they are condemned and still they did not believe and do not believe in Jesus.

    In fact, with all these passages in evidence is the fact that miracles, signs and wonders are not the elements that cause faith, there are many other passages that confirm this fact.

    For example:

    Where does faith come from?

    Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    1 Corinthians 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world did not know God through its wisdom, it pleased God to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching

    Faith does not come from miracles signs and wonders, faith is a gift of God that is given to the elect through the preaching of His word, the Gospel.

    Signs and miracles do not create true faith this is made evident by what is written in

    John 2: 23-25 Now, while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many believed in his name, seeing the signs which he did, 24 but Jesus did not trust them, because he knew them all, 25 and because he did not need that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man

    As we see here he says, they believed in His name because they saw the signs he was doing , but the reality was that Jesus Himself did not trust them and knew what was in their hearts. Jesus knew that the kind of faith they had was not the faith that He accepted as genuine, in fact it was not faith at all.

    This was evident from the fact that most of the people were later accomplices of His rejection and His death.

    The faith that is real and valid we also saw it in the parable of the sower. In that parable we see that there are examples of people who accept the word superficially, but this kind of acceptance does not have roots and ultimately proves to be a false faith, or rather it is not faith at all.

    This is the kind of belief of which John speaks in the passage we have just seen. Jesus, God, knows what is true faith and what is not.

    Authenticity of faith is demonstrated through perseverance during trying times, that’s why they call it evidence, because trials make clear whether or not a person continues in faith. However, the tests are not for God but for us, to confirm to us whether or not we are in the faith, and that we have true faith.

    There are many passages that confirm this. As we said, the parable of the sower is one:

    Matteo13: 18-23 Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he that received the seed along the way. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 but has no root in himself, and is of short duration; and when tribulation or persecution because of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 But he that received the seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word; and he becomes unfruitful. 23 What instead receives the seed in good ground is he who hears the word, understands it, and bear fruit; and it produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, and another thirty one. “

    Another important passage in this regard is the following:

    John 6: 63-66 is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words I say to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe “; For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was who would betray him; 65 and saying, “That’s why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

    In this passage we see many very important things.

    First of all, God knows those who believe and those who do not believe because faith is from Him so it’s easy for Him to understand who are those who believe and those who do not believe. God knows His own, see:

    John 10: 14-15 I am the good shepherd, and know my own and my own know me, 15 as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

    2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “LET EVERYONE WHO NAMES the name of Christ.”

    This is obvious seen that God foreknew the elect and He wrote their names in the Book of Life from before the foundation of the world, and Jesus died for them. For God it is simple to know and understand those who belong to Him.

    So Jesus knew who it was that did not believe, though they followed Him, they had chosen Him as a teacher, by their will they would follow Him even in fact hoping that Jesus was the Messiah, but in their heart this faith was not steadfast, and in fact, Jesus puts them to the test and they fail the test, as we see the proof was not for Jesus it was for them, they were disciples, they followed Him, but they had not the faith that God requires. The faith that God requires comes from Him, behold, Jesus confirmed it by saying that you cannot believe in Him unless it is granted you by the Father.

    Then the faith in Jesus that many people seem to show is not really faith at all and possibly it will be obvious as it was for those disciples in John 6 as they stopped following Him and did not follow Him anymore, this is apostasy by the way. However, as we see even if they were considered disciples, that is Jesus’ followers, however, they were not even saved, they had no saving faith. Who does not have saving faith will be offended by God, eventually they will find things in the world that satisfy them more and they will no longer follow Jesus. While only those that have true saving divinely given faith, deep rooted faith in Jesus will produce the fruits of true faith. They are the only ones that produce fruit. This is the meaning of the parable of the sower.

    When there is no true faith a person is not rooted in Christ and they all will fall away eventually, see also:

    1 John 2: 18-19 Children, it is the last hour. And, as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; by this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but this happened because it was revealed that not all are of our own.

    As we see here, those who abandon the faith, or rather, those who does not continue in it, means they do not have true faith, and they are actually considered to be antichrists. These are branded antichrists just as Judas was, who as we can well understand from Scripture was not a believer at all he did not lose his faith, Judas had always been an antichrist as are those who become apostates from Jesus. It is not that they were believers and then they were not anymore, rather they never were!

    So we understand that apostasy is in fact that a person never truly believed in Jesus, the apostate can follows Jesus at times, for a period, but they follow with other motivations that are not faith in Him for who He is. Often people follow Jesus because of what He can do for them at the physical or material level, but this is not true faith. We do not believe in Jesus for no other reason than for the reason that the gospel exposes:

    Romans 10: 8-12 But what saith it? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” This is the word of faith, which we preach; 9 because if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made for salvation, 11 as the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in him shall not be ashamed.” 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 In fact, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”.

    So we understand that the grounds of the alleged faith of many Israelites of that time was a faith based only in the works, in the signs and the wonders in order to receive temporary blessings. They did not believe however that He was the Messiah of the Scriptures, they only wanted what He could provide physically and materially.

    They did not want to repent of their sins, they wanted to be blessed and remain as they were, in fact as Jesus well said:

    John 5: 39-40 You search the Scriptures, because you think that by them you possess eternal life; and they are they which testify of me. 40 But you refuse to come to me to have life.

    In fact, why was Israel in unbelief? Not because he did not believe in miracles and signs but because they did not believe that Jesus is the Lord, that is, the Son of God, that is one with the Father.

    In fact that was exactly the reason for which Jesus was crucified.

    That’s why I agree with the fact that one can not have salvation without believing and consequently confess that Jesus is Lord. Everyone wants a savior, but not everyone wants a Lord who rules over them.

    So were the Jews, they did not want to submit to the Lordship of Jesus, they only wanted what Jesus could give them in a temporal,material and physical sense.

    That’s why many who put the emphasis on miracles, signs and wonders are often those that diminish the importance of the word of God, whereas Jesus always made His word, the word of God, of primary importance and not the works. Jesus was not ignorant of His works but He did not elevate them above the word.

    The kingdom of God that Jesus taught was quite another thing. Jesus never denied that Israel would not receive the kingdom of God, but to receive it had they had to by accepting Him as the Messiah, as the Lord, as King and as the Son of God.

    To do this they must believe and repent, which they refused to do, they are refusing to do even now but eventually they will, see Zechariah 12: 10-14; Romans 11: 25-26.

    The grace of God is the element with which the remnant of the nation of Israel will be saved. God Himself will make the whole thing happen at the right time.

    Isaiah 9: 5-6 For a child is born, to us a son is given. On his shoulders he will rest the empire, and will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 6 There will be no end to the increase of his government and peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice from henceforth and forever. This will do the zeal of the LORD of hosts.

    This famous passage is often used in reference to the first coming of Jesus and in fact the first part of verse 5 speaks in fact of the first coming of Jesus, the rest of verse 5 and 6, however, speak about the Messianic kingdom of Jesus and therefore the government of Messiah on earth.

    As we see at the end of this passage God declares that the zeal of the LORD will do this, this includes the salvation of all the elect Gentiles and the remnant of the nation of Israel just like Paul is saying here in Romans 11.

    Again, Paul removes the works from the framework of salvation, they were just trying to observe the law which the Jews wanted to practice to be considered righteous by God.

    Always the Jews would get stuck on the practice of the law and by these works they were denying Jesus Himself.

    For example, from the beginning, Jesus declared that He had come to fulfill the law of God and also said to the Jews that if their righteousness did not surpass the one of the Pharisees they could not enter into God’s Kingdom, Matthew 5:17-20.

    This statement was very worrisome for the Jews and the Pharisees themselves. Why? Because the Pharisees themselves were considered the most righteous people of all regarding the law, even Paul himself confirmed this in:

    Philippians 3: 4-6 even though I myself might have confidence in the flesh; if anyone thinks he has that confidence, I’ve a lot more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Jew of Jews; As to the law, a Pharisee, 6 as to zeal, persecuting the church; as to the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

    This was exactly how they thought they were, blameless as to righteousness which is in the law.

    Then this was also worrisome for the people because they believed the Pharisees to be so righteous that no one could actually be just like them. In many ways that is how people today see priests, bishops, cardinals, the Pope and also many charismatic and Pentecostal gurus, but often also as people consider pastors and elders of the church.

    It is true that all of these should be an example and surely should live above any possible reproach, but what the people also forget today is that we are righteous only by the merits and virtues of Jesus Christ imputed to us by grace through faith in Him.

    In fact, this principle was exactly what Jesus was saying in Matthew 5: 17-20. He had to fulfill the law so that by faith in Him and His work of redemption by which one could obtain God’s righteousness that surpassed the righteousness by the works of the law, because by the works of the law righteousness cannot be achieved, in fact Jesus himself said to Nicodemus in John 3, this is a whole work accomplished by God, from above, from the regenerative power of the Spirit and of course by faith in Him, see John 3:1-21.

    Jesus himself put everything in order when he told the story of the Pharisee and the publican. The publican was justified because he confessed his sinfulness and threw himself on the mercy of God, while the Pharisee thought he was righteous for his works and in fact he believed to be more just than the publican whereas in God’s eyes they were both sinners but only the publican considered himself such and obtained mercy from God.

    Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

    Only the redemptive work of Jesus can justify the sinner who believes in Him and only the merits and virtues of Jesus can impute righteousness.

    Romans 8: 3-4 For what the law could not do, because it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in flesh similar to that of sin and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    Romans 3: 21-31 But now without the law is manifested God’s justice, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe because there is no distinction; 23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 He, God has foreordained to make atonement, through faith in his blood, to thus demonstrate his righteousness for the remission of sins that were previously committed during the time of God’s patience, 26 to show his righteousness at the present time, that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has the faith of Jesus. 27 Where it is boasting then? Is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 We therefore conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is God only the God of the Jews? It is also of the Gentiles? Of course, it is also the God of the Gentiles. 30 For there is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 we then make void the law through faith? So it is not, indeed we establish the law.

    2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made Him, who knew no sin to be sin for us; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

    So as we see any person’s works of are ineffective to be justified even if they are the works of the law. Only the works of one man can justify sinners, those of Jesus who fulfilled the divine law.

     

    Romans 11: 7-12 What then? Israel has not obtained what he wanted, but the chosen ones obtained it, and the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of slumber, eyes not to see and ears to hear.” 9 And David says, “Let their table become for them a snare, a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution. 10 Let their eyes be darkened not to see, and bow down their backs the ongoing “. 11 I say then: They stumbled so they could fall? God forbid: but by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness?

     

    Paul says, then seeing all that has been said, Israel, the nation, has not obtained what she wanted. What was she looking for? They tried to get receive the promises made to them by God regarding the Kingdom and the promised land through the fulfillment of the law by works.

    The elect of Israel Paul says, all Jews predestined by God to receive salvation by election, grace and faith in the Messiah have up to that point received eternal salvation, but the other Jews, that is, the rest of the nation that has continued and that even today continues to reject the Messiah, these are the ones that have been hardened.

    What exactly they were hardened mean? Have been hardened by whom? We have already examined this concept in Romans 9, but now here again Paul mentions that they were hardened.

    Who has hardened the nation who did not believe in the Messiah? It’s a legitimate question. If we say God, we are accused of proclaiming an unjust God, and we are accused of blasphemy against God as we have associated Him with evil. If we say that they got hardened on their own, this does not match up with what Scripture asserts.

    Scripture clearly states that it is actually God who hardens whom He wills.

    Romans 9: 14-18 What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 16 So then, it’s not by those who want nor work, but upon God’s mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this reason I raised you up, to show in thee my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” 18 Thus he has mercy on whom He wills and hardens whom He wills.

    This passage clearly shows us that God is definitely involved in the hardening of people and we also see that in the same passage, Paul eliminates the fact that God is unjust even if He has mercy on some and hardens others.

    Now this fact should be enough for a believer, it should be enough to trust God, to trust what He does.

    Instead, we know that everyone always wants an answer. Paul in fact does not give them a theological explanation of these facts, the answer Paul gives about is the following:

    Romans 9: 19-24 You will say to me then, “Why does he still have to say? For who can resist his will? “. 20 Rather, who are you, O man, that repliest against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’. 21 has not the potter authority over clay, to make from the same lump a vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? 22 And what if God, willing to show his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much patience the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And that he might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which he has already prepared for glory, 24 even us whom he has called, not only among the Jews but also of the Gentiles?

    Practically Paul says that God does what he wants and no man has the right to question God and questioning how and why He does what He does.

    I could stop here, as the Scripture does not explain exactly how it is that God hardens and why. However, since I know that this answer is not, and is not sufficient for many let’s see if we can reconcile the fact that God hardens people but not directly because of their unbelief.

    Let us examine together many Scriptures which speak of God’s hardening.

    Exodus 4: 21L’Eterno then said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you you do before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you power to do; but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go.

    Deuteronomy 2:29 But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass on its territory, for the LORD your God had hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, to give it into your hands, as it is precisely now .

    Joshua 11:20 Indeed, it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts that they should make war against Israel, that Israel would vote them utterly without using any pity for them, but annihilated them as the Lord had commanded Moses.

    John 12: 39-41 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them. ” 41 These things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory and spoke of him.

    In addition we also have the passage of Romans 9 we have already seen that is very clear.

    So we see that God has a true personal involvement in hardening the heart of a person.

    Does this mean that God hardens the heart of a person? One might think then that a person’s heart is soft and that God hardens it so that that person cannot and will not believe.

    This, however, according to what Scripture teaches us about the human heart would be wrong.

    Scripture teaches us instead that the human heart is not actually a soft heart at all, it’s not a heart that responds to God. Then the question is this one: it does not respond to God because God hardens it or is already hard and for this reason it does not respond to God?

    The correct answer is always found in Scripture.

    Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can know it? 10 I the Lord search the heart, I test the mind to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his actions.

    Ezekiel 36:25-27 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; I cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take away out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances in practice.

    Mark 7: 20-23 And he said, ‘What comes out of a man is what defiles. 21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, malice, deceit, insolence, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. “

    Romans 3:9-18 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all! We have previously charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin, 10 as it is written: “There is none righteous, not even one. 11 There is none that understands, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 All have turned aside, all have become useless; there is none that doeth good, not even one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulcher, with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips; 14 their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; 15 their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their ways, destruction and misery, 17 and they have not known the way of peace; 18 there is no fear of God before their eyes. “

    We see that Scripture is very clear, the human being is completely corrupted by sin, and the heart of man is desperately wicked, it is made of stone or better it is hard as a stone. From the heart of man come only evil things and in the last passage that we have read we find confirmation that there is no good or morally righteous element that can be acceptable to God to declare man righteous.

    Also as we read in Ezekiel 36: 25-27 only God’s intervention can make the heart of man soft and respond positively to God, and in that specific context, it speaks of the hearts of the remnant of the nation of Israel, hearts that will respond to God because He causes them to respond by changing their hearts.

    We see that this is true also in other passages, such as:

    Acts 16: 14 And a woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshiped God, was listening. And the Lord opened her heart to give heed to what Paul said.

    And also in Luke 24: 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures

    here we see that although it refers to the fact that Jesus opened their mind the subject is actually the same of opening the heart.

    In other words, only those who are enabled by God to understand, understand. Only to those who God changes the heart, and opens the heart and mind can therefore respond to God in a positive way.

    Jesus Himself declared this fact:

    Matthew 11: 25-27 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 Yes, Father, for so it seemed good. 27 All things have been delivered to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son will reveal him .

    Matthew 13: 10-11 Then the disciples came and said to him: “Why do you speak to them in parables?”. 11 But he answering, he said to them: “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

    As we see then it is God and only God who gives the possibility to understand the things of God, only God opens hearts and minds of people and therefore creates in them faith.

    Now, after having seen that in fact it is so, it is God who opens hearts and minds and gives faith to those He chooses to have mercy upon, as Paul says in Romans 9 and who wants then He hardens.

    But we have seen that the heart of man is already hard and does not respond positively to God by itself.

    How does God harden something that is already hard? What does it mean that God hardens?

    In fact the matter is this, only God can intervene to change and open the heart of man, so simply to harden the heart of man means that God does not change its condition of hardness, God does not open the heart nor enables it to respond positively.

    Hardening then is simply the fact that God leaves the heart in a state of hardening, and that when it is left in that condition it can still harden more and more against God, but that’s because it is the same person who hardens his heart but God who allows it because in fact it is what He wants to happen, and so in that sense it is God who does it but not directly.

    The more a person with a hard heart is offended by the word of God because God does not open his heart to accept his word, the more that heart is hardened against God and His word.

    So when God hardens hearts just it means that does not change it and then do not open it is closed and the only thing a person can do is to rebel against God more and more.

    Now the fact is that, God does this for two reasons, one is that if a person is not elected to salvation God does not change nor open his heart and then faith cannot exist because the heart is too hard to accept the word of God.

    This is the condition of every man without God’s intervention, and cannot, but at the same time does not want to submit to God and wants to remain rebellious to God. In fact a person will always rebel more and more when confronted with the word of God.

    The second reason that God keeps the heart of the people hard and makes his word always harden it more and more is that for this cause God demonstrates His power against those who resist.

    This was precisely the case of Pharaoh and the case of Israel, that is why Pharaoh did not want Israel to go away and that’s also why Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah.

    God wants man and Satan to see that only He is omnipotent and sovereign and that if it is not He who opens hearts, men can only rebel against Him and that even if man does the will of Satan he can never win against God. God also shows that He is fully and completely sovereign, because despite everything it is He who dictates the course of everything and everyone in the way He desires.

    It’s God who then adjusts the heart of every person to make it more or less hard, but that in any case softer or harder, and makes every man in any case do His will as and when He wants.

    God has the ultimate power over the human heart. This means that when God leaves it hard and when the hard heart is offended and instigated by the the word of God and convicted by the Holy Spirit it becomes even more hard.

    Plus a hard heart is attacked by God and His word and hardens. Only when God decides to open a heart and make it malleable to his word and to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, only when God actually changes a heart of stone, a heart already hard, with a heart of flesh, that is soft and alive then and only then the man responds positively to the word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

    The heart of a sinner, however, when it is not changed and even if a person does not become born again, may be more or less manipulated by God to bend the human will to do His. In other words, there are levels of hardness of heart that make people act but ultimately they will always do what God wants.

    Let’s take as an example Pharaoh. He already had a hard heart towards the people of God and toward God. The Lord meant that Pharaoh would be hurt in his human pride and he was humbled by God and the king of Egypt, who was regarded as a god and considered himself the most powerful man in the world and also a god, became helpless before the omnipotence and the sovereignty of God. This made Pharaoh’s heart even harder.

    We see that in fact so says the Lord himself, it would be Him to harden the heart of Pharaoh. So God did by not changing Pharaoh heart and not softening it so because of Pharaoh’s pride his heart all the more hardened against God and His people.

    But we see that God has always acted on the heart of Pharaoh and later softened it enough to release Israel. However, to do so He had to with a big price to pay on Egypt’s and Pharaoh’s part.

    To wound the pride of Pharaoh God had to hit him severely by killing his firstborn, that is the heir to the throne, Pharaoh’s son and then all the firstborn of Egypt. This made Pharaoh heart vulnerable at that time to God’s will.

    However God wanted Pharaoh’s heart to harden again, and even more than before it was hardened. This is because God is in control over the heart of man to adjust the hardness with which man responds to God but ultimately it is God who manipulates the human heart to do His will.

    So God also did this with Israel at the coming of Jesus and at the preaching of the Apostles, and consequently so far, there is a partial and temporary hardening of the nation of Israel.

    This shows us the omnipotence and sovereignty of God, if not God is not omnipotent nor sovereign.

    According to previous words used by Paul in this section of the chapter we find the words from the Old Testament Scriptures that we find in Isaiah 29:11 and then in Psalm 69: 22-23

    as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of slumber, eyes not to see and ears to hear.” 9 And David says, “Let their table become for them a snare, a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution. 10 Let their eyes be darkened not to see, and bow down their backs the ongoing “.

    So it has been and still is in the case of Israel. God has done all this to his people, but why? Why did He not allow Israel according to His sovereign will to accept Jesus as the Messiah? Because God allowed us and the rest of the world thus to enter into the Kingdom of God through the establishment of the church, the body of Christ.

    Paul then says: I say then: They stumbled so they could fall? God forbid: but by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss the wealth of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness?

    From this passage we deduce several things. First of all, it was God who allowed them to have a spirit of slumber, eyes not to see and ears to hear.

    It was God who made it their table became a trap for them and a snare that caused God to recompense them for their stubbornness and spiritual pride and He obscured their eyes from seeing the truth.

    But Paul now asks if they stumbled to fall. What does this mean? Before we saw that a remnant of Israel was saved by grace and election because of the promises made by God through the Abrahamic Covenant, but the remnant in the days of Paul was not and is not the entire remnant. Here Paul says that there are some who have been blinded for a period, these are those who have stumbled.

    Stumbled upon what? The stumbling block that according to Scripture and Jesus Himself traditionally refer to Himself ; see Matthew 21:42; 1 Peter 2: 6-7.

    They have stumbled over Jesus, but even by this fact they did not utterly fall away. What does this mean? It means that even if they have stumbled they have not fallen away completely.

    The meaning of the word fall is another word that is used to describe the state of apostasy.

    This means that Israel will not fall into complete apostasy forever, this means that it will remain in a state of apostasy but only for a period.

    This was done by God so that by the falling away of most of the nation of Israel salvation would come to the Gentiles. Without the temporary fall of Israel salvation in the world could not have come. For this temporary fall of Israel the salvation of the Gentiles should have indeed led to jealousy the people of Israel itself and for that reason lead them to repent and believe in Jesus desiring the salvation of the Gentiles were receiving and they are receiving today.

    There is a very important reference to this and it is found in:

    Isaiah 28:11-16 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. 14 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. 15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: 16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

    This passage is very important because it is this that Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 14:21-22.

    In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul mentions it in reference to speaking in foreign tongues and it is a reference to the prophecy we just read in Isaiah that focuses on Israel and by the means of which the Lord said He would speak to His people, that is, Israel, using foreign languages, that is, languages of the Gentile nations.

    This in fact was the only true purpose of the sign of languages just as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14.

    The sign of languages so was just for unbelieving Israel, this had been done to try to move them to jealousy and make them return to faith in the Lord Jesus.

    All this it also makes clear that the languages in question are certainly real languages of peoples and Gentile nations and not the intelligible and unknown sounds, in other words are they are not an angelic and mystical language but real languages.

    This miraculous sign, that is, people who did not speak a certain language and suddenly spoke it to communicate the wonders of God to the Jews, again to Jews who spoke Gentile languages of the countries where they had been driven and where they lived.

    Acts 2:4-12 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

    We understand very well from the same text that these in Acts were Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven, and they were amazed because Galilean men spoke in their own native languages.

    They heard them speaking the great things of God in their own languages.

    The question they ask is: “What does it all mean?”

    Peter replies to them in his sermon next in Acts 2, however, Paul gives us the meaning even more clearly in 1 Corinthians 14 where he tells us that the spiritual sign of languages was given precisely because God was speaking to the unbelieving Jews by the use of the languages of the Gentile nations.

    All this as Isaiah says, was to try to get them to believe that it was God who was doing all of this in a supernatural way and that in fact, the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was for their salvation and this was the New Covenant prophesied by God in ancient Scriptures and that only by accepting Jesus as the Messiah all the promises made by God to His people would be fulfilled.

    In fact they have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, but God is awaiting the fullness of the iniquities of the world and His wrath upon Satan and those on earth who serve him. This will point to the imminent danger of the total destruction of Israel at which time God will change the hearts of the nation and shall pour on them a spirit of grace and supplication,

    Zechariah 12: 10-14 “And I will pour upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced; then they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and will be greatly saddened for him, as it is greatly saddened by a firstborn. 11 In that day there will be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo. 12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart: the family of David’s house by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14 all the remaining families, each by itself, and their wives by themselves. “

    So the reason and purpose of speaking in tongues is clear from the context of Scripture itself; these were not angelic or spiritual languages or prayer languages, but they were real human languages of nations in existence at that time. These languages were given by God as a sign to the Jews in order to move them to jealousy and bring them to believe in Messiah Jesus.

    So today, it’s still the nations by means of the church in their own languages who preach the gospel throughout the world, the nations through the church declare the great things of God in their national languages and Israel who were scattered around the world and dispersed among nations for centuries has heard the preaching of the Gospel in the different languages of the Gentile nations, all this was done by God to move them to jealousy.

    Here is an other reason why the supernatural sign of languages no longer needs to exist today; because today the Jews still can hear the Gospel and the great things of God preach in the different languages of the countries where they are dispersed around the world. In addition let’s think about it for a moment, the languages were given as a miraculous sign to the Jews they were given specifically and mostly during the time that the Gospel was preached in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and then as it spread through out the known world at the time.

    As the Gospel has spread worldwide and has been and is preached by the nations through the predominantly Gentile church, the Jews have the opportunity to hear the wonderful works of God without being called by the spiritual evidence of speaking in languages as it was at that time.

    Practically the sign has lost its function once the Jews have been dispersed outside Israel and now live scattered in the nations of the world.

    The Jews therefore adopted the languages of the countries where they now live. The history of Israel and of the church confirms that it is so, in fact, when Paul says that tongues will cease, as he does in

    1 Corinthians 13:8, he meant precisely that, namely that tongues will cease to be a gift or a sign, not because those who believe this are blaspheming the Holy Spirit, but because God has now determined that the usefulness of that sign because of the circumstances regarding the church and Israel, has ceased to be useful.

    So all the speech given in the prophecy of Isaiah 28 in conjunction with what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14 is connected to what Paul is saying here in Romans 11.

    That is, God has tried to move them to jealousy by saving the Gentiles nations and turning them into the body of Christ, the church.

    Let us ask ourselves now, has this worked? No, not completely! Certainly many Jews have become Christians and are now part of the church. However, does this mean that Israel, the nation has converted?

    No! Not at all! The nation has not been converted, and for this fact cannot therefore get the promises made by God through the covenant with Abraham. The promises that God made to Israel can only be applied to Israel. As we have seen these are promises that can not be applied to the church even if you tried.

    Now Paul says that if their partial and temporary fall has become the riches of the world, and their loss the riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their FULL participation be?

    The partial and temporary fall of Israel has indeed become the riches of the world, God so loved the world, not just Israel, and sent Jesus to be Lord and Savior of all who believe in Him, this is the real meaning of John 3:16-17.

    Not all the world will be saved in the sense that not all individuals of the world will get salvation, but only those who believe in Jesus, just as it is and will be for Israel.

    God has blinded Israel, rendered him deaf and left him in a state of disbelief for the most part, so that salvation could be spread throughout the world through the preaching of the Gospel through the church.

    However, the fact that Paul uses the term here saying full participation concerning Israel must apply to something.

    Why does Paul use the term full participation? If the remnant of Israel was only the elected who are being saved through the church, and if Israel has become a spiritual entity and the church has now replaced Israel, why say full participation? The full participation of who?

    If the intention of how God saved Israel had been simply to be part of the elect by grace through the church then the full participation had already been in place even in Paul’s time. Also it would be unnecessary to distinguish the elect Jews from the Gentiles, unless there is a plan in place for the salvation of a remnant or a part of the whole nation.

    Only if you take this fact into account you can come to the right conclusion, namely, that the Jews who simply become part of Christ’s body, the church cannot be the full participation spoken of by Paul.

    Because if it did, the whole context and the speech made so far by Paul in this chapter would make no sense at all. The full participation of Israel is when the remnant of the nation, again by election and grace of God will accept Messiah Jesus and will come as a nation to receive God’s promises made to them in the Covenant made with Abraham and will then receive their eternal redemption.

    Let’s take a look at a passage that we need to consider at this point. Many would argue and argue what we will be saying mentioning this passage.

    Galatians 3: 27-29 Because you have been baptized into Christ you have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you 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.

    By taking this passage alone one can make it say many things. For example, some people use this passage to say that a woman can be a pastor or an elder in the church and they say that a woman can teach doctrine in the church.

    This passage, however, does not say this at all. This passage does not speak of ministerial roles in the church, in fact the passages which context speak of ministerial roles clearly disqualify women from these roles, see: 1 Corinthians 11: 1-16; 1 Corinthians 14: 33-38; Ephesians 5: 22-33; 1 Timothy 2: 11-15; 1 Timothy 3: 1-2.

    Since we know that Scripture and God do not contradict themselves then we should interpret what we read well and correctly.

    It’s more than obvious that Scripture in what is explicit and implicit and church history itself tells us that the woman does not govern the church and has no pastor or doctrinal teaching ministries.

    Some use this passage of Galatians 3 to insist in saying that the woman in Christ, that is in the body, the church can do anything that a man does but this is not a correct use of the passage.

    To understand the real meaning and proper context of the passage we have to actually understand the context and intention that God has given to this epistle.

    The whole epistle was written to the church of Galatia for a reason. The reason was that this church was attacked by Jews who wanted to force the Gentile believers to practice the law of Moses in addition to simply believe in Jesus Christ.

    Paul is explaining to the Galatians that it is just faith in Christ and His work of redemption and not obeying the law of Moses for which thy get salvation.

    This is the short version of the meaning of the epistle. The entire chapter 3, where we find the passage in question in fact describes precisely what it really means to have salvation in Christ comparing it to the ineffectiveness of trying to practice the law of Moses.

    Galatians is in short what the epistle to the Hebrews is in full.

    Let’s look at what Galatians 3 says.

    O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you not to obey the truth, you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ has been portrayed, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, you would end up in the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain, if indeed it really was in vain? 5 He therefore who dispenses the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith? 6 Thus Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned as righteousness”; 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached before the good news to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 Therefore those who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10 Now all who are of the works of the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things written in the book of the law to do them.” 11 For it is evident that no one is justified by the law before God, because, “The just shall live by faith.” 12 Now the law is not of faith, but “the man who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men: if an agreement is ratified, though covenant of man, no one sets aside or adds to it. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and his descendants. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” as if referring to many, but as of one, “And to your offspring,” which is Christ. 17 And I say this: the law, which was four hundred and thirty after, does not annul the pact ratified before by God in Christ, so as to break the promise. 18 For if the inheritance derived from the law, would be no more of promise. But God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 Why then was the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the offspring should come to whom the promise was made; it was ordained by angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: because if it had been a law capable of giving life, then really righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that he might be given to believers the promise by faith of Jesus Christ. 23 Now before faith came, we were kept under the law, as locked in until faith would be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor 26 For you are all sons of God through 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 you 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.

    This passage explains to us very well different things, already in chapter 2 of Galatians Paul had explained very well that the Gentiles and the Jews were no longer under the yoke of the law of Moses, Galatians 2: 11-20.

    As we already have seen in the study so far, the covenant that God made with Israel through the law of Moses is completely different and is a not directly connected to the covenant that God made with Abraham which also includes the Gentiles.

    The covenant of the law was not the covenant of promise. The covenant made with Israel in the Law of Moses was a covenant with the people themselves and the blessings and curses were contingent obedience of the people of Israel to the entire law.

    The covenant made with Abraham, however, was contingent only to the promises and the oath of God and the fulfillment of the covenant contains the specific promises made to the seed of Israel, the people that comes from Abraham, that is physical Israel.

    The promise of course was and is the Messiah and all that God has promised is and will be fulfilled in and by the Messiah Jesus, this includes all the promises made to Israel, which include a kingdom that includes a specific geographic territory in the Middle East and that includes a kings and a throne, which is the throne of David, which is the king of Israel. These specific promises are not part of the promises made to the other Gentile nations.

    These are promises made only to the physical seed of Abraham that is Israel, however, they are contingent upon the acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah because He is the promise of God and the covenant is fulfilled in and by Him only.

    The fulfillment of the covenant that God made with Abraham includes the New and Eternal Covenant all earthly and spiritual promises are only obtainable for those who become part of the covenant through faith in Christ.

    So the covenant with Abraham and the Eternal Covenant include a promise that goes beyond the promises made to Abraham’s fleshly descendants, in other words Israel. These include the blessing and salvation of the Gentiles nations, always by the promise of God through Jesus Christ.

    So also in the Covenant made with Abraham and the New and Everlasting Covenant is seen particularly that certain promises are not yet fulfilled for Israel because Israel did not accept Messiah, and therefore cannot yet receive all the promises related to Israel.

    But then, what do verses 26-29 of Galatians 3 mean: For you are all sons of God through 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 you 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

    This passage does not at all affect the meaning that there is no longer a distinction between Jew and Gentile regarding certain promises made to Israel, it simply means that to achieve salvation, eternal salvation, one must not be only the Jews but that now even the Gentiles obtain by the same promise made to Israel in effect salvation without having to adhere to the law of Moses.

    This passage does not neutralize races or sexes, does not neutralize a slave or a free person. In fact if we take for example the slave and the free, if a person is a slave and accepts Christ and becomes a part of Christ’s body do they cease to be a slave in the reality of the world? No! Does a free person become a slave? No! They may become a slave of Christ yes, but this is not becoming a slave in a real sense nor is a slave freed from his earthly master because he is in Christ.

    So with the same logic then a woman does not cease being female and a man does not lose his masculinity therefore the roles in the church remain those that God wants them to be according to His word and will.

    The same goes for the Jew and the Gentile. The Jew does not become a Gentile and a Gentile must not become a Jew to be in Christ, just faith in Christ is required for both because He is the only way to salvation.

    Also this passage actually was written to mean that God does not distinguish or does not prefer anyone but instead saves everyone equally. The method and the vehicle are the same for everyone and He includes all in the promise. What the passage does not say however, it does not exclude or abrogate the promises made to Israel by the covenant itself of which it speaks.

    As for salvation through faith in Christ, God does not favor the Jews but included the Gentiles, but because the Gentiles have accepted Jesus more easily than the Jews does not mean that God loves the Gentiles more and now has abandoned the Jews.

    This is indeed part of the speech that Jesus made to Nicodemus in John 3 where He said that God so loved the world that He sent Jesus so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. The Jews believed that salvation was only for them and not for the Gentiles, or rather, if a Gentile wanted to be saved he was to first become a Jew.

    God has defeated this idea instead. For the Gentile after the church has become more Gentile than Jewish God says instead that He has not finished with Israel, but He’s going to save it and in fact later in Romans Paul warns the Gentiles not to fall into the same trap of spiritual pride and presumption in which the Jews had fallen before, thinking that now God only loved them and had forgotten or had abandoned Israel, see:

    Romans 11:24-29 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? 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. 28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

    Galatians then simply tells us that God does not favor the Jews but does not favor the Gentiles either, that by faith both can become part of the New Covenant in Jesus who is the fulfillment of the covenant made with Abraham. Then he says that there are no more slaves in Christ. Here also the Gentiles and the Jews both understood that slaves did not have the same rights as masters. Slaves were given just what the masters wished they had. There were good masters and others who did not treat well their slaves.

    Instead Paul says that whether slaves or masters, whether slaves or free citizens with the rights of citizens all are equally children of God and therefore both are equally treated as children without distinction. The subject of females and males is equal to that of the Jews and the Gentiles and of slaves and free.

    Both Jews and Gentiles believed that women were inferior to men. The Jews even had a court in the temple built specifically for women. In the synagogues the women were seated separately from men. Women and children were an underclass of people in Israel.

    For the Gentiles the thing was very similar, even in Roman and Greek society women although they were not considered as they were at the very bottom as in the Middle Eastern societies, they were still treated differently from men when it came to many things and they were still considered less important than males.

    So God is the great equalizer and He places women at the same level of man regarding His love, His grace and His salvation. All this, however, as we have seen does not preclude the fact that the roles in the church were not to be observed in the way in which Scripture tells us.

    So here in Galatians 3 we are not talking about the fact that God gives the same right to the woman to govern the church, or that God will give to the woman offices in the church, like the slave does not get freedom or the Jew remains such as the Gentile also, so the woman in salvation is like the others, also considered by God in His grace and mercy available only through faith in Christ. This passage has nothing to do with roles but only with the grace given in the body of Christ, where precisely for this reason alone all are equal.

    In conclusion, the Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female are part of the eternal covenant in Christ, the fulfillment of the covenant made by God with Abraham, through faith in Christ and not by means of their participation in the Hebrew religion or obedience to the law of Moses.

    This is the real and only context of this passage and is not at all talking about roles in the church as many instead misunderstand.

    By this context therefore we realize that Israel is and remains Israel, its ethnic independence does not depend on its membership in the church or its exclusion from the church. Israel is Israel, a nation, a people and a race and is in fact the only nation and worldly people that God Himself has created and to which he made specific promises.

    So it is important to understand that even here in Romans 11 Paul speaks about the nation of Israel just by saying that it was excluded temporarily from receiving the promises made to her by God because of unbelief, but that all this is a temporary fall which has caused God’s blessing to the Gentile nations always and only through faith in Christ, then how much more will their full participation mean in God’s program.

    So as we have already mentioned, Israel is participating now by the grace of God to his presence in the kingdom of God through a remnant that today is part of the church. However, this cannot of course mean the full participation that Paul speaks of is only the Jew’s participation through the church otherwise his entire argument would make no sense at all.

    If it were only for Jews being part of the church and becoming Christians, if it meant they would have to lose their nationality and even their earthly promises, promises made to them by God, the whole matter that Paul brings forth in chapter 10 and here in chapter 11 of Romans would make no sense.

    Moreover, if Israel were to lose its identity as a nation and not inherit the earthly promises made to them by God, something worse would happen.

    The worst thing would be that God would have lied. As we have seen in the Scriptures of the Old Covenant God promised that Israel would never cease to exist as a nation and its status as nation would be forever.

    God promised to the remnant of the existing nation at the return of the Messiah Jesus, a well-defined territory, a real temple in Jerusalem, Jerusalem in Israel, both of which would be rebuilt completely and would have the much larger size of the current one and which also this city would have existed forever.

    I repeat these promises cannot be applied in any way to the church or to the nations or the remnant of the Gentile nations.

    Their full participation was and is a future thing, something that Paul and all the Apostles prayed and hoped was going to happen in their day. They were waiting for the imminent return of the Messiah in conjunction with the repentance of the remnant of the nation of Israel and the acceptance of Messiah by the nation. This we have found to be so from Peter’s preaching in Acts 3.

    The full participation of Israel is precisely when the remnant of the nation will believe in Jesus and accept his king and therefore the kingdom promised to them.

     

    Romans 11: 13-15 For I speak to you Gentiles, as I am the Apostle to the Gentiles; I honor my ministry, 14 to try if I can somehow cause jealousy for those of my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

     

    Now Paul says something very important that we have to take into careful consideration. Paul says,

    For I speak to you Gentiles” As we see even here in connection with the passage we have previously mentioned in Galatians 3, if in fact Paul’s argument were to the effect that now in Christ there is no longer Jew or Gentile as some say, why then in this passage, in fact, int the whole chapter 11, he is distinguishing between Jews and Gentiles? Why make ethnic distinctions if they do not matter anymore in Christ?

    The answer we have already seen before, the reason why Paul in Galatians 3 says that in Christ there are no more Jews or Gentiles is simply based on the fact that salvation is for everyone and not just for a protected category of people as the Jews believed they were.

    As for the promises made to them, however, it is a completely different case. In that case, as well as we understand what Paul says, Israel is particularly blessed and certain promises made to them by God are only for them.

    So the eternal salvation and church membership, that is the body of Christ is not based on the ethnicity of the people, it is not based on sociological status of the people and is not based on the sex of a person.

    So as we see it is very important how we interpret the word of God because only with the right interpretation of the Word of God we can understand exactly what God says.

    Paul in many passages does not distinguish the difference between Jew or Gentile, but in this one it is only done to explain that all people of any people to be saved must just believe in Jesus Christ and what Jesus has done. This is why Paul also explains this to show that the Jew’s salvation is not due to the obedience to the law but by faith in Christ.

    The promises that God made to Israel as a nation concerning the kingdom promised to them, the throne of the kingdom of Israel, and the geographical area of the earthly kingdom promised to them but they are always contingent on the faith of the people, faith in Jesus Christ.

    So Paul rightly refers to the recipients of this chapter as Gentiles and for that he differentiates them from the Jews, so this must have to do therefore with the promises that God made to Israel as a nation and not to the promises made to the Gentile church.

    Paul adds another important comment and that is, that he had been called by God to be specifically the apostle to the Gentiles. As I am an apostle of the Gentiles; I honor my ministry.

    This fact is evident from Scripture that describes the apostolic call of Paul which originated directly from Jesus Christ.

    Paul was called to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles.

    Acts 13:47 For so has the Lord commanded, saying, “I have made you a light of nations,

    Acts 22: 21 But he said to me, ‘Go’ for I will send you far away to the nations. ‘ “

    Acts 26: 15-18 And I said, “Who are you, Lord?” And the Lord said: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But arise, and stand because for this I have appeared: to make you a minister and a witness of the things which you saw, and those for which I will appear, 17 Delivering thee from the people and from the nations, to whom I send you 18 to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive, through faith in me, forgiveness of sins and their share of the inheritance among them which are sanctified. “

    Even in this passage we see something that is said that it is very, very important about what we’re talking about. Jesus Himself called Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles. Let us remember that when we find in Scripture the words, peoples or nations it’s talking about non-Jews, the Greeks, also called Gentiles. In the world according to God there are only two kinds of people, the Jews and the Gentiles. Who is not Jewish is Gentile.

    In this passage Jesus also said that he would send Paul to the elect of the nations or the Gentiles, so that they would be converted from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God by faith in Jesus and that they might receive the forgiveness of sins and this is the key of what we are saying, when Jesus says, receive by faith in Me the forgiveness of sins and and their share of inheritance among them which are sanctified.

    Jesus mentions that the Gentiles have their share of the inheritance among the sanctified, indicating that they have a specific part of inheritance in God’s plan, a specific heritage, which is not necessarily entirely identical to the inheritance God promised to the redeemed nation of Israel. They will have their own specific part of the inheritance that is different from the promise to the Gentiles in the church.

    To the church God promises a heavenly inheritance rather than earthly one although it is not excluded that the church will reign with Christ even on earth during the Millennium:

    John 14: 1-4 ” Let not your heart be troubled; Believe in God, believe also in me! 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions; if not, I would have told you so, and that I go to prepare a place for you 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come and receive you to Myself; that where I am, you also may be; 4 and where I am going, you know the way. “

    1 Peter 1: 3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 for an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled unalterable which is kept in heaven for you.

    Revelation 21: 9-26 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

    15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

    As we see in these passages that the Church’s inheritance is very different inheritance than the one God promised to Israel as a nation even if it will be a redeemed nation in Christ.

    We look at the differences that exist between the inheritance God promised to believers through the church and the promises that God made to Israel as a redeemed nation.

    As we well understand, I hope, by the passages we just read that what God promises to the church and the church’s inheritance is very different from the promises made in the Old Testament to the nation of Israel. Let us remember that the covenant in which God promised to Abraham and his carnal progeny that is Israel has no condition other than the fulfillment of it by God.

    Already from what Jesus said to His disciples in John 14 we understand that the place that Jesus went to prepare for them and for all of us who are part of the church is not an earthly place but a heavenly place that Jesus Himself has gone to prepare.

    Secondly we see in the 1 Peter passage that the inheritance of the church is in heaven, preserved in heaven for the elect. In conclusion in the passage of Revelation 21 we understand very well that the abode of which Jesus spoke in John 14 and the reference to the inheritance in 1 Peter is the heavenly Jerusalem.

    The heavenly Jerusalem is home to the church and it is the inheritance of the elect that are part of the church.

    The heavenly Jerusalem has some unique features that can not be compared at all with the language used to describe the Jerusalem that is mentioned in the Old Covenant in relation to the promises made to Israel.

    Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel, which by the way it is not at this time, this one is the Jerusalem that is described in several passages of the prophecies and promises made to Israel.

    The heavenly Jerusalem comes down from heaven, the earthly Jerusalem will be rebuilt in Israel on this earth.

    The heavenly Jerusalem will extend fifteen hundred miles of perimeter and the walls are 144 cubits tall.

    The earthly Jerusalem in the reign of the millennium according to the prophecy of Ezekiel is divided in thus manner:

    Ezekiel 48:9-22  The oblation that ye shall offer unto the LORD shall be of five and twenty thousand in length, and of ten thousand in breadth. 10 And for them, even for the priests, shall be this holy oblation; toward the north five and twenty thousand in length, and toward the west ten thousand in breadth, and toward the east ten thousand in breadth, and toward the south five and twenty thousand in length: and the sanctuary of the LORD shall be in the midst thereof. 11 It shall be for the priests that are sanctified of the sons of Zadok; which have kept my charge, which went not astray when the children of Israel went astray, as the Levites went astray. 12 And this oblation of the land that is offered shall be unto them a thing most holy by the border of the Levites. 13 And over against the border of the priests the Levites shall have five and twenty thousand in length, and ten thousand in breadth: all the length shall be five and twenty thousand, and the breadth ten thousand. 14 And they shall not sell of it, neither exchange, nor alienate the firstfruits of the land: for it is holy unto the LORD. 15 And the five thousand, that are left in the breadth over against the five and twenty thousand, shall be a profane place for the city, for dwelling, and for suburbs: and the city shall be in the midst thereof. 16 And these shall be the measures thereof; the north side four thousand and five hundred, and the south side four thousand and five hundred, and on the east side four thousand and five hundred, and the west side four thousand and five hundred. 17 And the suburbs of the city shall be toward the north two hundred and fifty, and toward the south two hundred and fifty, and toward the east two hundred and fifty, and toward the west two hundred and fifty. 18 And the residue in length over against the oblation of the holy portion shall be ten thousand eastward, and ten thousand westward: and it shall be over against the oblation of the holy portion; and the increase thereof shall be for food unto them that serve the city. 19 And they that serve the city shall serve it out of all the tribes of Israel. 20 All the oblation shall be five and twenty thousand by five and twenty thousand: ye shall offer the holy oblation foursquare, with the possession of the city. 21 And the residue shall be for the prince, on the one side and on the other of the holy oblation, and of the possession of the city, over against the five and twenty thousand of the oblation toward the east border, and westward over against the five and twenty thousand toward the west border, over against the portions for the prince: and it shall be the holy oblation; and the sanctuary of the house shall be in the midst thereof. 22 Moreover from the possession of the Levites, and from the possession of the city, being in the midst of that which is the prince’s, between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin, shall be for the prince.

    This is a full description of the territory that the tribe of Judah in Israel will inherit. Part of this territory is the holy city and as we see it has a different measurement from the heavenly Jerusalem. Also we see that in it are mentioned the Levites who still will be the priests of Israel who will serve God in the temple.

    About the temple, the heavenly Jerusalem has no temple Revelation 21: 22-24 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon, to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of those who are saved will walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into her.

    The earthly Jerusalem in Israel again, according to the prophecy of Ezekiel, has a temple and it is among other things a different temple from the one destroyed rebuilt after the return of Israel from Babylon and subsequently destroyd by the Romans in 70 AD.

    This new temple we find it in its full description in Ezekiel 40:50 Ezekiel 48:21.

    Let us return to the Levites for a moment. God promised to the Levites that they would be a priesthood forever:

    Jeremiah 33:14-26 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. 15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. 17 For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; 18 Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually. 19 And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying, 20 Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; 21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. 22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me. 23 Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 24 Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them. 25 Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; 26 Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.

    But, as we see although God has promised that the Levites would be a priesthood before Him forever, we also see from Hebrews 6:20 to Hebrews 7: 1-28 that the priesthood has been changed from the priesthood of Aaron and Levi to Jesus’ priesthood in the order of Melchizedek.

    How it is therefore possible? If the priesthood is changed, how do we get the Levites as priests again?

    Simple, the Jesus’ priesthood is spiritual and it is in fact the one that matters, the Levite priesthood that we find described in detail and that will exist in the Millennium, and that operates in the temple in Jerusalem in Israel in the Kingdom of Israel, the priesthood is only symbolic and memorial that celebrates God’s faithfulness and God’s promises to His people. It represents the law and God’s promises. It is not however an effectual priesthood, in other words, besides the memorial and symbolism it does not hold any other real significance nor does it work spiritually. As we have the Lord’s supper, the Passover celebration in the church as a memorial of what Jesus did on the cross, Israel will also have the Levitical priesthood and their work as a memorial of God’s promises to His people.

    There will be a temple and a Levitical priesthood in the Millennium and it is clear from the language that we find in the chapters of Ezekiel 40:46 to 48:22. The Levitical priesthood in the Millennium, then, is not a priesthood recognized by God as an effective priesthood in the spiritual sense.

    In fact it had never been an effective one as Hebrews says, it was in fact necessary that there would be the abolition of the first covenant, that is what the law of Moses, because in fact the pact was spiritually ineffective. The first covenant was in place waiting for Jesus Christ who would fulfill the law of God in full and so it was. Jesus thus fulfilled the Levitical priesthood’s functions of which it was a symbol as they were waiting for the promise of God, Jesus Christ the Messiah. See Hebrews 9: 1-28.

    The Levitical priesthood with all its sacrifices and ordinances could not accomplish what instead Jesus fulfilled and accomplished by Himself and through Him.

    As we have well seen in the study of Romans when we studied chapter 8, Jesus is now our High Priest and He ministers in the presence of God the Father on our behalf. No longer there is a need for the high priest of the Levitical law. So when the Scripture in the New Testament describes the priesthood of the believer we must understand it in a spiritual context.

    The Levitical priesthood ministering in the Tabernacle before and then in the Temple in Jerusalem did so because Israel was waiting for the One who would fulfill all the law of God and that is what Jesus has done.

    Animal sacrifices were actually offered to God as a symbolic offering of faith in Messiah who would fulfill the law and would have made His sacrifice and His ministry the valid ones.

    Jesus ministers in the true tabernacle in heaven that is in the true presence of God in the heavenly places. The first Covenant with its earthly temple was symbolic although the presence of God was real in that place but it was not the place where God wanted to dwell in reality. The throne of God was and is in the heavenly realms because everything here is what the Old Covenant represented, it was only symbolic and temporary. This is in fact what the Epistle to the Hebrews describes for us very well.

    So let us return for a moment to the church’s priesthood. The church’s priesthood is not a priesthood which offers sacrifices as they were offered in the Old Covenant. The church’s priesthood is not only dedicated to be worked by a hierarchical group of priests as it was and as unfortunately still is practiced in the Roman religion. In fact, the Roman religion is an abominable offense to the complete and effective ministry of Jesus Christ, including His perfect and complete sacrifice. This fact can be understood very well in:

    Hebrews 9: 19-28 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. 21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

    As we clearly see in verse 24 and following that Jesus entered the very presence of God once and not to offer Himself again and again. The Roman religion blasphemes the effective and complete and sufficient sacrifice of Jesus as it offers Jesus as the true sacrifice continually in their own rite of the Mass. For this reason, the Roman religion has become a religion of dead works as was the Jewish religion after Jesus fulfilled it. The priesthood of the Roman religion is useless as is the Levitical priesthood which is abolished with respect to the effectiveness of the ministry itself.

    The priesthood that is effective, sufficient and valid is that of Jesus Christ.

    Only Jesus’ sacrifice is effective before God. The human priesthood, even though Christian is not effective as that of Jesus and it is not connected to the work of salvation in the sense that it has no effect on the work of salvation accomplished by Jesus.

    The priesthood of the church or of believers is only spiritual and has a specific function that is as follows.

    1 Peter 2: 5 you also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

    First of all we see here that Peter says believers are a holy priesthood, made suitable and sanctified by the sacrifice of Jesus so that we can stand in the presence of God. Jesus has given us direct access into the presence of God for which we are entitled as sons and daughters to offering praises to God Himself, without human intermediaries, to offer thanksgiving and prayers, that is, without the assistance of priests of a human order. The only High Priest, for which we receive this right is Jesus Christ and His presence at the right hand of God and our presence in Him before God makes us priests of God.

    There are several passages that confirm these facts:

    Our only mediator between us and God and only High Priest is Jesus alone:

    1 Timothy 2: 1-5 I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men, 2 for kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3 For this is good and acceptable before God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

    Even in this passage we see that not only Jesus is the one and only mediator between us and God, but in the same context we find the meaning of what the sacrifices offered by the priesthood of the church or the believer really are. These are written in verse one, that is: supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving.

    Romans 8: 31-34 What shall we then say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will he not also freely give us all things with him? 33 Who will accuse God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ is the one who died, and furthermore is also risen: he is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

    Again, having to mention the ministry of High Priest of Jesus for us before God, and for this reason the following passage says:

    Hebrews 4: 14-16 Having therefore a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we have not an high priest who can not sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

    We have the continuous presence of Jesus before God, but not only, we are present in Him we too are in the presence of God, we, the elect born again:

    Ephesians 2: 4-6 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with him and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

    Colossians 3: 1-3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God . 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth, 3 for you are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

    We must remember that because Jesus is our High Priest He ministers similarly to the High Priest of the Levitical covenant. In the Old Covenant the high priest entered the Most Holy Place once a year, that was to go in the presence of God to make atonement for the sins of the people and to be the representative of the people of Israel. So much was his task the Lord gave instruction to Moses that they make an ephod and a breastplate, these had a special connection to the PRIOR Scriptures we read about what Paul says regarding the spiritual life of believers:

    Exodus 28:6-29 And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.7 It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together. 8 And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. 9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: 10 Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.11 With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.12 And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial. 13 And thou shalt make ouches of gold; 14 And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches. 15 And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it. 16 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof. 17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. 18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. 20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. 21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.22 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold. 23 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.24 And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate. 25 And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it. 26 And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward. 27 And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.28 And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod. 29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.

    It is more than obvious what was the purpose of God in these instructions regarding the ephod, and the breastplate on which the names of the tribes of Israel were engraved. It’s interesting that Aaron and any high priest after him carried the ephod on his heart bringing Israel symbolically in the presence of God, so that the symbol of the ephod and the breastplate on the high priest in essence meant he had to carry the burdens of the people by the symbolic stones worn of his shoulder and had to love the people of God, for this reason the breastplate was over his heart, this is symbolic of the love that the high priest had to have for Israel. In addition to this, he led the entire nation symbolically in the presence of God every time the high priest entered into the presence of God. Not only that, but when the high priest offered prayers and supplications for the people in the temple he had Israel on his heart, and he was the mediator of the people by which the prayers, the praises and the thanksgivings of the people they were accepted by God.

    So the New Testament tells us that Jesus is now the High Priest for which our offers are accepted by God and we are actually and spiritually always present before God in Christ as Israel was symbolically in the presence of God through the ephod and breastplate of the high priest. We elect are in fact and in reality and not only symbolically present in Christ before God spiritually.

    This is what it means to be in Christ, that is why we are baptized into the body of Christ. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is essential to have this very position in Christ.

    That’s why Romans 8: 9 says: If the Spirit of God dwells in you, you are no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him.

    Also for this reason we see the importance of what Paul tells us in:

    1 Corinthians 12: 12-13 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 Now we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink into one Spirit.

    These passages raise a complaint against the erroneous doctrine of the Pentecostal baptism of the Holy Spirit. Our baptism is in essence the new birth, the regeneration of the elect. It is not a second blessing that God gives to those who deserve it or who seeks it.

    This baptism is the union of the elect to Christ and as well Paul says in Romans 8: 9 if one does not have the Holy Spirit he does not belong to Christ. So if a person is not baptized by, with, in, the Holy Spirit in Christ that is in His body they are not regenerated and not saved, and I say it again, the speaking in tongues is not the evidence that this has happened, at least not today.

    This baptism and spiritual position of the believer in Christ and then the subsequent presence of the elect in Christ before God is a consequence of Jesus’ prayer in John 17.

    In fact this prayer, in John 17, is called by theologians the high priestly prayer, the prayer of the High Priest.

    Jesus prays this: John 17:20-26 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, 21 that they may be all one, as thou, Father, art in me and I in you; It also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you sent me. 22 And I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one, as we are one. 23 I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 24 Father, I will that where I am, to be with me those whom you have given me, that they may see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I knew thee; and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26 And I have made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them and I in them. “

    This prayer by the way has already been answered by God the Father for all who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ who are regenerated, baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ, baptized into His body thus creating a real spiritual union between Jesus and the elect by the Spirit and the union of Jesus to the Father makes us united with Jesus and with the Father and among other believers.

    This is how God has meant that the elect be in Christ and in Christ in the presence of God forever. In an actual position we are always spiritually present in Christ before God, and then we will be even physically, after the resurrection or after the transformation of our mortal bodies.

    That is why death for the believer is nothing, because it is only a natural and corporeal and still temporary, but spiritually, nothing changes. That’s why Jesus said to Martha:

    John 11:25 25 Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? “.

    However just wanted to mention this in order to better understand the ministry of the church’s priesthood. The church does not need priests who minister about the sacrificial sacrifice of Jesus. This only Jesus did and only He could have done it. I repeat the priesthood of the Roman religion is as useless to a minimum and at the worst it’s a blasphemy because they keep practicing a spiritual service that relates to adding to salvation and that puts Jesus Christ personally in a state of perpetual sacrifice which is contrary to what He actually has done and accomplished.

    That’s why Jesus cried from the cross, ” It is finished” . Certainly Jesus continues His ministry of High Priest but the ministry of His sacrifice has been fulfilled fully. Jesus already died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God. The cross and the tomb were already dealt with and what Jesus had to do He did it once and for many.

    He does not have to continue to do so which is what the Roman religion does every time it celebrates the Mass. In fact they themselves call it the sacrifice of the mass. The ministry of Jesus instead now is that of the High Priest, the sacrifice was already honored one time for many, and once and for all.

    Even the High Priest of the Levitical covenant when he entered the presence of God had already offered the sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus, however, does not need to be repeated as the one of the Jewish religion and the Roman religion. Remembered, yes, but not repeated.

    We have already mentioned briefly what the priesthood of the believer is but we will see a little more detail as to what this priesthood does.

    As we saw the priesthood of the believer and the church has nothing to do at all with what has been done by Jesus regarding the work of salvation.

    Regarding the work of salvation Jesus has done everything and no man can add anything to what Jesus did. His sacrifice, His work of redemption is effective, complete and fully sufficient as He has done it.

    The spiritual priesthood of the church though has several utilities.

    The first sacrifice we make to God through Jesus Christ, in other words that is valid and accepted because of what Jesus has done and because of His and our consequential presence in Him before God is described in:

    Romans 12: 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies, which is your reasonable service as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.

    The first and best living sacrifice is ourselves, it’s our life, our service to God and we’ll see what that means when we study the next chapter. Here we just want to mention only that our reasonable service is living because God desires that our whole life is given in service and obedience to Him.

    Our reasonable service is not only what we do to worship on Sunday as many believe it is, but it is giving every part of ourselves and of our lives over to do the will of God. Jesus is the prime example of what it means to be a living sacrifice, not only a saving sacrifice but a sacrifice of a life devoted and dedicated to God in every aspect.

    After that we see that the priesthood of the believer demands that we offer not only ourselves physically and not just every aspect of our whole life, but it is as Peter says:

    1 Peter 2: 9-10 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; 10 you, who once were not a people, but now are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

    We have also seen before in 1 Timothy 2 that some things that the priests were offering in the Old Covenant are the things that we are called to offer as priests in the church.

    The priests in the Old Covenant were called to offer prayers and supplications for themselves and for the people.

    Expressly prayer is explicitly mentioned very little or almost at all in the law of Moses. However, it is implicitly evident that prayer was a regular practice of Jewish worship of God. The priests were commanded by God to do things that specifically have to do with prayer. The priests had to ensure that there was a sacrifice burned in the morning and the evening and these sacrifices were connected with the practice of the people’s prayers.

    The Jewish people prayed in the morning, at noon and in the evening and this was in conjunction with the work of the priests in the temple that offered the burnt offering on the altar in the morning and evening Exodus 29: 38-42.

    It’s also interesting that after that God has commanded these holocausts in Exodus 29, Chapter 30 begins with God’s command to build the altar of incense, Exodus 30:1-6.

    The incense was to be burned on the altar by the high priest in the morning at the time of the morning sacrifice and in the evening in connection with the of the evening sacrifice Exodus 30: 7-9.

    Now let’s look and see what the offering of incense symbolizes.

    Already in Luke 1 we find a very interesting mention about it.

    Luke 1:8-10 And it happened that while Zacharias exercising his priestly office before God in the order of his class 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord to burn the incense. 10 Meanwhile, the entire crowd of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.

    So we see here very clearly that the incense was definitely linked to the prayers of the priests and the people and they were linked to the burnt offerings in the morning and evening. All this is related to the acceptance of the prayers offered by the priests and the people.

    Another scripture confirming that the incense is related to prayer or is the representative of prayer is found in Psalm 141: 2 Let my prayer come before you as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

    Again we see the connection David makes to prayer as incense and the evening sacrifice.

    There are two passages that seal the whole thing and we find them in:

    Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense , which are the prayers of the saints.

    Revelation 8: 3-4 3 And another angel came with a golden censer; She stood at the altar, and he was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the angel’s hand the smoke of the incense went up before God along with the prayers of the saints.

    So then we see that the offering of incense, some translations call this perfumes, but it’s just another word for incense, is always closely linked to prayer.

    So prayer as incense and the burnt offerings of the morning and evening were to be offered by the Levitical priests. Today, prayer is an offering and it is called a sacrifice that believers as priests in the church offer to God. The fact that in the past everything was done in conjunction with the burnt offering was based on the fact that only through the burnt offering and the incense God accepted the prayers of the people, now it is due to Jesus’ sacrifice and of His ministry of mediator or high priest that God accepts our prayers.

    Another sacrifice tied to the offer of incense and the offerings of the the Levite priests today is that we also have the duty and the privilege to offer to God the sacrifice of praise.

    This is confirmed by a passage we find in:

    Hebrews 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruit of lips that confess his name.

    As we see again, it’s trough Jesus’ sacrifice and High Priestly duty that our praise is acceptable to God.

    We find that in the same context also the passage that we read before in 1 Peter 2 basically applies the task of the believer as a priest in the church to offer the sacrifice of praise. Peter says:

    1 Peter 2: 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a people for God’s own, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;

    This concept of the sacrifice of praise, however, is not singularly concept of the New Testament but also as a concept and practice that we find in the Old Testament.

    Jeremiah 33:11 will still be heard the voice of joy and gladness the voice of the bridegroom, and voice of bride; the voice of people who will say: Give thanks to the Lord of hosts; for the LORD is good; because His mercy endureth for ever; bring offerings of praise to the house of the LORD : for I will bring again the captivity of the country, and I will restore it in the state that it was before, said the Lord.

    So as the offerings of the priesthood of the believer in the Church is to offer intercessions and supplication prayers and give praises and thanksgiving to God and to offer our whole life as a living sacrifice, which is our reasonable service to God.

    We have seen so far all the differences that exist between the heavenly and the earthly Jerusalem even in the Millennium. The difference between the Levitical priesthood that will exist in the millennium that that will minister in the temple and the priesthood of the church which ministers now and will minister in the heavenly Jerusalem where, however, there is no temple but it will be in the very presence of God’s throne. Let’s remember, the Levitical priesthood, the temple in the Millennium and the animal sacrifices offered then will only be symbolic and memorial. As I said this will be a memorial of the promises and covenants God mad with Israel but they will have nothing to do with the actual effectiveness of what Jesus accomplished.

    So it is clearly shown in Scripture that there are notable differences between the church and even the redeemed nation of Israel in the Millennium and perhaps after the Millennium.

    These differences cannot be and should not be ignored as they do exist and should be taken into account and must be therefore carefully examined.

    We did this, and we have seen that Scripture describes that there is a real distinction between Israel and the church, but that both are a creation of God and that both have a special place in God’s redemptive plan. Both definitely need to be redeemed by Jesus Christ but it is obvious that one has earthly blessings and the other heavenly ones and yet both are eternal. It is therefore very possible that redeemed Israel will rule on the new earth forever while the church still having access to the new earth will still abide in the New Jerusalem for ever.

    So Paul here in this chapter is distinguishing undoubtedly the ethnic / spiritual differences that exist between Israel and the church.

    Paul understood his calling, that he was called as an Apostle to the Gentiles while Peter actually was the apostle to the Jews.

    Galatians 2: 7-9 Indeed on the contrary, having seen that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter to the circumcised 8 (for he who had shown strength in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, had powerfully operated also in me for the Gentiles), 9 having known the grace that was given to me, James, Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go among the Gentiles, and they among the circumcised.

    The fact that the Apostolic call of Paul was addressed to the Gentiles is very important in this context because in spite of his fidelity to the specific call of God to the Gentiles, Paul always has a great desire to bring his Jewish brothers to conversion in Messiah Jesus. These Jewish conversions among others were a desire for all the apostles because they hoped that eventually this would lead to the remainder of the nation to repent in their days and that Jesus would return to re-establish the Messianic Kingdom and restore the kingdom to Israel.

    Now Paul says

    15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

    Here Paul makes a very important statement. Paul says that the Messiah’s rejection by Israel means the reconciliation of the rest of the world. God caused Israel at that time, when Jesus came into the world the first time, to not accept the Messianic kingdom by rejecting the Messiah. This refusal is however a temporary rejection has caused the redemption of the Gentiles, that is, the reconciliation of the world to God. However, this was really always the plan of God and it is evident from what Jesus said to Nicodemus. He told him that He had come to save the world and that salvation was by faith in Him and not only and exclusively for ethnic Israel.

    John 3: 14-18 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

    However it is also true that membership in Israel makes it always God’s people a people who will eventually be saved by faith in the Messiah.

    We must remember that at the beginning of His ministry Jesus came to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom only to the Jews.

    Matthew 10:5-8 These twelve Jesus sent out after giving them these orders: “Do not go among the Gentiles and do not enter into any city of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 Go and preach, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; Freely you have received, freely give.

    I would also like you to notice that, as I have said many times before, the signs and miracles that we see described in passage and subsequent ones even those described in the book of Acts were closely connected with the offer of the Messianic Kingdom to Israel.

    As we have said before but it bears repeating, Jesus was preaching the Gospel and the Kingdom of which He spoke in the Gospels was actually the Messianic Kingdom and that gospel was the good news for Israel. It was not exactly the Gospel of the New Covenant in Christ that we know and preach today.

    Mark 1: 14-15 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the gospel. “

    The acceptance of the Messiah that is, the King of Israel, Jesus Christ, was always dependent on faith in Him and always connected with the repentance of the nation. The preaching of the Gospel to Israel by Jesus and the Apostles was indeed accompanied by signs and miracles always as it even was after Pentecost when the Gospel was now according to the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus but it always included the offer of the Messianic Kingdom to Israel.

    I say it and I repeat it, and the Scriptures confirm it, the signs and miracles that accompanied the preaching of the Gospel were for the conviction of Israel and not so much the Gentiles.

    1 Corinthians 1: 21-22 For since in the wisdom of God the world did not know God through its wisdom, it pleased God to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching, 22 since Jews require a sign, and the Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to the Greeks;

    So what I say and repeat, and I am sure the Scripture teaches us that the signs and miracles in the church after Pentecost were Apostolic gifts that were practiced by the Apostles and were not usually to be practiced by any believer as it is believed in most of the church today.

    This by the way is not being negative about the power of God today, it just means that the Apostles as they went on gave the government of the church to the elders and as the Gospel to the Gentiles was more and more accepted among them the signs and some gifts got to the point of no longer being needed, these were only for a period.

    We must take into account the fact that all the apostles were Jews and still offered the Kingdom to Israel through the Gospel and then gradually all this ceased to be the emphasis of the church as it turned to the Gentiles.

    When God again will turn His salvation and the Kingdom offer to Israel then I have no doubt that these signs and wonders will be again the emphasis along with the preaching of the Gospel. All this however will be in Israel, and I have no doubt that it will be the new Jewish believers in Messiah who will practice them. I believe that in fact the 144,000 described in Revelation will be the new apostles of the last days who will be dedicated to the salvation of Israel.

    Revelation 7: 1-8 After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth nor on the sea nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God, and cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God on their forhead. ” 4 Then I heard the number of those who had been marked: one hundred and forty four thousand of all the tribes of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand; the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand; 6 of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand; of the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand; 7 of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand; the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand; of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand; 8 of the tribe of Zebulun were sealed twelve thousand; the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand; of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

    This passage cannot be spiritualized as to apply it to the Gentile church, we cannot! This is not the description of a spiritual Israel it cannot be. These are 144,000 Jews, sons of Israel, of the nation of Israel, the House of Jacob, as well describes for us the word of God.

    We must remember that the signs, wonders and miracles were always in conjunction with God who was giving His people the confirmation of His works and word, which in effect it was Him acting.

    God has done this same thing always in the history of His people. Since the period of the Law where for forty years God’s people have seen and experienced the signs of God. When the people came into the promised land, however, God required them to walk by faith and obedience to His word and the signs gradually disappeared. The second time when God began to show signs to His people was the beginning of the period of the prophets. Even here, Elijah and Elisha endeavored to make most of the signs of God and after their death the signs, miracles and wonders gradually ceased until the coming of the Messiah. It was with the coming of Jesus that the signs, miracles and wonders, returned to Israel.

    The signs, wonders and miracles were done by God during these times were to validate the fact to the people that who practiced them were people chosen by Him to bring a new revelation to His people. If we are honest with ourselves and interpret the Scripture properly we cannot help but see that God has indeed done so only during these short periods and always in connection with Israel.

    Because Jesus is that He is the Son of God and that is God who sent Him to offer the Kingdom to His people and Himself as their King.

    The Apostles, both during Jesus’ ministry and after were Jews and were men chosen by God and the authority conferred upon them was to be able to accomplish the same miracles Jesus performed and it was given to them to confirm that they were sent ones (apostles in fact means sent) by God as was Jesus Himself.

    Even this very fact was to validate to Israel that this was God who was working through them because it was another period of new revelation given to the people of God. This was in connection with the nation of Israel and it is evident from the words that Jesus Himself said, and we repeat them again:

    Matthew 10: 5-7 These twelve Jesus sent out after giving them these orders: “Do not go among the Gentiles and do not enter into any city of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 Go and preach, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” . 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; Freely you have received, freely give.

    Matthew 15: 21-24 Then Jesus, headed toward the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman came from those surroundings, and he cried out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is terribly tormented by a demon. ” 23 But he did not answer anything. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, “Dismiss her, for she cries after us.” 24 But he answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”

    This continues even after the ascension of Jesus, after that the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost the Apostles began again to perform miracles. But I repeat that even in this case, miracles were done before the Gentiles, and involving them by miracles and signs, however, they were for Israel to witness, 1 Corinthians 1:22; 1 Corinthians 14: 21-22.

    The signs were for an unbelieving people, who in spite of seeing the works of God did not believe in the Messiah, and continued to reject the King and consequently the kingdom promised to them.

    Joel’s prophecy that our Pentecostal friends always cite in Acts 2 although obviously linked to the context of the church in reality, however, is only declared for the people of Israel, that is, both the fulfillment of the prophecy is exclusively related to Israel and is not directed to the fulfillment in the Gentile church which, however, was born after this event.

    Acts 2:14-18 But Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed them in a loud voice: “Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known, and give heed to my words. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ” ‘In the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 In those days i will pour out my Spirit on my servants and on My maidservants, and they will prophesy.

    As we see Peter himself directs to who the prophecy was given and for whom he is declaring this was fulfilled in Joel’s prophecy. Peter makes it clear that he is speaking to Jews, and those who live in Jerusalem. He is also saying that even though the Spirit is poured on all flesh it is to Jews that the prophesies, visions, dreams were given.

    This is also confirmed by what the word said earlier, namely:

    Acts 2: 5 Now in Jerusalem were dwelling Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

    These are Jews from every nation under heaven, these are not the Gentiles.

    All this context of the Pentecost episode is entirely Jewish and the prophecy of Joel was prophesied to the Jews not to the Gentiles. The Gentiles are not baptized in the church except until we arrive in chapter 10 of Acts, even as the Samaritans, that is, always in the presence of circumcised redeemed Apostles and sometimes also before unbelieving Jews.

    In fact, the prophecy of Joel has two fulfillments, one at that present time, that is, the day of Pentecost and the apostolic period and the other is the fulfillment of the Lord’s day which is still

    future.

    Acts 2: 19-21 And I will show wonders in heaven above and signs on the earth: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved “

    This is the future fulfillment which speaks of the events that will occur just before the great and glorious day of the Lord, that is, the return of Jesus.

    Even after having said all that Peter repeats to whom this message is addressed saying:

    Acts 2: 22-24 Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs that God did among you through him, as you yourselves know , 23 Man, delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, he was given into the hands and ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. 24 But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible that he was held by it

    As we clearly see, it is to the people of Israel that this is preached. All of this is then to head in chapter 3 of the Acts where Peter still preaching to Jews, again offers them the possibility of a national repentance and to receive the kingdom promised to them by God, Acts 3:12-26 and again anyway they sill reject it and also continue to reject it during the entire period described in Acts and will reject until His return.

    All this to say what? God had not stopped to stretch out His hand to a rebellious people, this is how Paul concludes chapter 10 of Romans. Even the Epistle to the Hebrews says:

    Hebrews 6: 4 For men who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, 6 if they fall, it is impossible to bring them back again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God again and put him to an open shame.

    They rejected the Messiah and have continued and continue to be an evil generation that continues to reject Jesus Christ as their Messiah.

    In those days they had been enlightened and had tasted of the heavenly gift. Enlighted by whom? By Jesus first and then the apostles later.

    John says in fact:

    John 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it

    John 1: 9 He (the Word) was the true light that enlightens every man that cometh into the world.

    Jesus himself said:

    John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying: “I am the light of the world; Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

    This was also confirmed in the Old Testament:

    Isaiah 9:1 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.

    The light of the world was coming and had illuminated the nation of Israel.

    Again, Hebrews says, they have tasted of the heavenly gift.

    This heavenly gift is Jesus, Jesus is the gift of God, and they had enjoyed His presence and the power of His Spirit, which is the Holy Spirit. In fact the gift of God is often referred to the gift of the Holy Spirit and they had tasted what the Spirit of God was offering them and this is very important in the context of what also happened the day of Pentecost.

    Also not only in the days when Jesus ministered as it was the Holy Spirit acting in Him. Everything that Jesus and the Apostles did was through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Again, this is why the Epistle to the Hebrews says that they were made partakers of the Holy Spirit.

    As we see all this does not mean at all that they had been baptized into the body of Christ and thus become partakers pf the Spirit in the church, but they shared in the outer work of the Holy Spirit which was operating ion their midst.

    Hebrews says also and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come.

    What is the good word of God? John clearly tells us that the word of God is Jesus himself:

    John 1:1-2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He (the Word) was in the beginning with God.

    John 1: 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us; and we beheld his glory, the glory of the Father, full of grace and truth.

    The word of God not only is the person of Jesus and all that He preached during His ministry but Jesus through the Holy Spirit continued to preach to the people of Israel through the Apostles:

    John 16: 12-15 I have yet many things to tell you, but they are not within your reach at this time. 13 Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever things He has heard, and will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He will take what is mine and declare it to you.

    As we see then, the word of God is what the Apostles preached and wrote inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Gospel as well that they preached is the word of God through which faith is given by God, see Romans 10:17.

    Moreover Hebrews also says , and the powers of the world to come.

    Here is where we find the reference to the miracles and wonders and signs of the power of the world to come which is connected to the resurrection of the dead, which Israel had been experiencing in several episodes.

    During Jesus’ ministry in fact Israel was able to see people being resurrected from the dead four times, five if we include the resurrection of the Lord.

    The episodes are as follows: The first episode, Jesus resurrects the son of the widow of Nain:

    Luke 7: 11-15.

    The second episode was the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter: Mark 5: 22-42; Luke 8: 41-51.

    The third is the resurrection of Lazarus: John 11:38-45.

    The fourth was the resurrection of several dead at the time of Jesus’ death: Matthew 27: 50-54.

    And just as I said the resurrection of the Lord himself.

    Also in the book of Acts there are three episodes where resurrections take place. At least two, one, the episode involving the stoning of Paul in Acts 14: 19-20 is not 100% confirmed as a genuine resurrection but it seems that it is anyway.

    The other two we find them in Acts 9:36-43; Acts 20: 8-12.

    The miracles, healings, resurrections are all signs of the world to come. Which world to come?

    The Millennium, this will be the Messianic Kingdom and the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, Revelation 20: 4-5; 1 Corinthians 15: 42-54; 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18.

    So the book of Hebrews speaks not of believers who cease to believe and which fall from grace but speaks of Jews who despite having had all the signs of God’s Kingdom in their midst including the person of Jesus Christ the Messiah continued to reject the Messiah.

    The word falling I repeat, does not mean losing salvation that one already has, falling is the word used for the description of the falling into apostasy, that is, being in a constant state of disbelief and rejection of Jesus Christ.

    Israel has received all the evidence needed to believe in Messiah, but despite all the signs that God has given them they keep falling into unbelief, into apostasy.

    Now we return what Paul says that: their acceptance means life from the dead.

    As we have seen already briefly that at the second advent of Jesus there will be a resurrection from the dead, we have seen that this is called the first resurrection, this first resurrection is the resurrection of all believers who died before the coming of Jesus.

    1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17 13 Now, brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant concerning those who are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we believe also that God bring with Him, through Jesus, those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we say to the word of the Lord: we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep, 16 because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and those who are dead in Christ shall rise first; 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

    I repeat every believer, will be resurrected in this resurrection, this one does not include people who died not believing in Jesus. The unbelievers will be resurrected at the second resurrection that we find also described in:

    Revelation 20: 5-6 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished . This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

    The second resurrection is best described in Revelation 20:11-15. This is the resurrection of the damned unbelievers of all ages and that of those who will die during the Millennium, this will include the just and the unjust of that time.

    Yes, during the Millennium people will die, this is made clear by several passages:

    Isaiah 65:18-20 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 18 But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. 20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.

    See also: Zechariah 8: 4-7.

    The crucial point is the word that Paul uses in this verse, that is, their readmission will be life from the dead. Why does Paul use the word readmission? Readmission to what? The readmission of whom?

    Obviously, both mean the readmission is Israel, but let us ask then why if there already were converted Jews in the church of all ages, starting from the days of Paul, if they were or are mentioned as the remnant, why use the term readmission?

    If these are the remnant, if Jews belonging to the church was the readmission of which Paul speaks this verse would then be useless.

    Useless because they would already be reinstated by being part of the church. If part of Paul’s church in his time until the return of Jesus was the only thing needed for the readmission of Israel this passage would make no sense as it is written.

    We then have to answer the questions posed above, what does the readmission mean? We have seen the readmission of Israel cannot be only the remnant in the present age of Paul nor the Jews who were converted from then to now and are part of the church. Here we must be talking about the readmission of the nation of Israel as a redeemed nation. This would be the nation’s remnant at the coming of Jesus. The readmission is therefore connected with the Second coming of Jesus, because this is life from the dead. Then we must look back again to the famous passages of Zechariah 12,13 and 14.

    Paul is talking about the nation’s readmission into the New Covenant therefore as we have said several times in different ways, this would mean the fulfillment of all the promises made to Israel through the Covenant made by God with Abraham.

    So if, the remnant was only composed of Jews added through belonging to church membership the readmission would not be and would not be connected directly to the coming of Jesus but would have already occurred and would not need to mention it in this context.

    We have seen that the coming of Jesus will indeed be the resurrection of the dead in Christ and therefore the readmission of the national remnant of Israel to the New Covenant. Thus the readmission to God’s plan for them is indeed synonymous with the resurrection which is life from the dead. It also means the resurrection of Israel from their spiritual death.

    The national salvation of Israel at the Messiah’s return and the resurrection of the saints in Christ is all woven together in one moment of history. All these things by the way will be at the end of this age and the beginning of a new era will dawn, the Messianic kingdom or Millennium which will then eventually transformed in the eternal era.

    The readmission of the national remnant of Israel and their life from the dead is also linked to the prophecy that we find written in:

    Ezekiel 37:1-28 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. 4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.15 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: 17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.18 And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? 19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. 20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. 21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: 23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. 24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. 25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

    As we see in this passage this is a prophecy that has nothing to do at all with the church as many like to teach instead. This prophecy does not apply to the church, in fact, the prophecies concerning Israel in the Old Testament have little or nothing to do with the church. I remind you again that the church in the ancient prophecies did not exist, she was never mentioned because God did not include the church in the prophecies concerning Israel.

    This is the new birth of the nation’s remnant that will reign in the Millennium. God will give them spiritual life and God will call the elect of Israel into the land of Israel.

    We also see that this prophecy is not completely fulfilled only with the new national birth that took place in 1948. This new national birth is part of the fulfillment of this prophecy, but not all of it. And it’s crucial to note that it is their spiritual birth where God puts the emphasis.

    The Lord’s recognition is the acceptance of the Messiah when He returns. The important fact described here is also the fact that the entire nation is again one nation, Judah and Israel will again be one people. This is already today.

    We see that verses 23 to 28 describe clearly that it is the nation of Israel and not the church of which Ezekiel is talking about.

    Ezekiel 37: 23-28 24 My servant David shall be king over them, and there will be one shepherd for all; and they shall walk in my statutes and keep my statutes, and put them into practice. 25 And they shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers dwelt. Shall dwell there, they, their children and their children’s children for ever, and my servant David shall be their prince forever. 26 I will establish with them a covenant of peace it will be an everlasting covenant with them; I will make them stable, multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 My dwelling shall be with them; yes, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 Even the nations shall know that I the LORD sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in their midst forever. “

    David, whose name is most likely used as synonymous with the title Messiah here describes Jesus as king and shepherd over a redeemed nation and this nation will walk in the decrees of God and put it into practice and observe the statutes of God. This nation will dwell in the land God gave as an inheritance to Jacob. Again, it is worthy to note that the use of the name Jacob removes any possibility that here we are talking about the church. In this very land they will dwell forever, and David shall be their prince forever.

    This description we had already mentioned before in this study and we find it in:

    Luke 1: 30-33 And the angel said, “Fear not, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and He will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David his father; 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end. “

    As we see all this describes the salvation of Israel in relation to the resurrection of the dead and the resurrection, the physical and then the spiritual rebirth of the national remnant of the nation of Israel.

    Ezekiel’s prophecy closes with this statement is that the evidence that Israel will again be raised to reign on the existing Gentile nations on earth during the Millennium.

    Ezekiel 37:28 Also the nations shall know that I the LORD sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in their midst forever. “

    Let us remember that in the New Jerusalem there is a sanctuary of God, there is no temple, but here God says that there is a tabernacle which is synonymous with the temple.

    In fact it is Ezekiel who describes for us the new temple in the land of Israel in Jerusalem during the time of the Millennium.

    The very interesting thing that confirms the legitimate literal existence of the Millennium as a real period of 1000 years when the Lord will reign, and the confirmation that Israel will be the kingdom that shall reign over the nations during this period is found in the chapters that describe the temple and the land of Israel at that time.

    This is an indisputable fact we see it right in the language that we find written in

    Ezekiel 39:17-20 As for you, son of man, “thus saith the Lord GOD:” By ‘the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field: Assemble yourselves and come. Gather yourselves on every side instead of the slaughter that I will do for you, a great slaughter on the mountains of Israel, to eat flesh and drink blood. 18 Ye shall eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of princes of the earth: as if they were rams, lambs, goats and bulls fattened in Bashan. 19 You shall eat fat to satiety, and drink blood until drunkenness to the massacre meal that I will do for you. 20 ye shall be filled at my table with horses and riders, of mighty men and soldiers of every kind, “says the Lord GOD.

    These first verses we read are the same exact description of what is being said in:

    Revelation 19: 17-19 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice, saying to all the birds flying in mid-heaven, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings , the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, small and great. ” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse and against his army.

    As we see, therefore, the description of the passage we find in Ezekiel is synonymous with the description we find in Revelation 19 and both describe the period of the return of Messiah and the subsequent destruction of the enemies of Israel and of God.

    After all this happens we see the description of the kingdom of God who will reign on the nations of the world and we see that at the head of the nations there is Israel and that Israel now recognizes their Messiah, that He is the Lord their God in their midst.

    Ezekiel 39:21-29 “I will display my glory among the nations, and all nations shall see my judgment that I have accomplished, and my hand that I have laid upon them. 22 So from that day forward the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God; 23 and the nations shall know that it was in his iniquity that the house of Israel went into captivity, because it had been unfaithful; so I hid my face from them, I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they fell all by the sword. 24 I treated them according to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions, and I hid my face from them. ” 25 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, “Now I will return the captivity of Jacob, I will have mercy upon the whole house of Israel and will be jealous for my holy name, 26 after they have borne their shame, and worth of all their unfaithfulness that they had committed against me, and dwelt safely in their land, and no one scared them. 27 When you bring them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the eyes of many nations, 28 they will know that I am the LORD their God, who made them to go into captivity among the nations, but he also gathered them together in their own country, without leaving out a single one . 29 I will not hide my face any more from them, because I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, “says the Lord GOD.

    This is the description of what is prophesied also in Zechariah chapters 12-13-14.

    As we see all these prophecies are addressed to Israel only, the house of Jacob, the house of David but do not speak of the church of the redeemed but of the nation readmitted into the eternal covenant of God in Christ, their Messiah.

    By the way this could not be referred to Israel after their return from Babylon before the coming of Jesus because Ezekiel’s prophecy speaks of a once again united Israel, which would, could not have been until 1948 when indeed God has made again Israel one. Indeed it was when God extended salvation again to the Samaritans in Acts 8 which began the reunification of the nation of Israel.

    In addition references to the Temple in Jerusalem during Messiah’s Kingdom and its details are for us meticulously described in the following chapters 40 through 44 of the book of Ezekiel.

    It’s obvious that what is described in the above section and also in the following does not apply to the church, it does not apply to the heavenly Jerusalem because the descriptions are not the same, they are completely different.

    Things that confirm this more and more leave us with no doubt that the Millennium is a real literal period and we are indeed talking about Israel and Jerusalem in the land and of Palestine. The cities are described in a completely different way and the fact that in an earthly Jerusalem there will be a veritable temple while in the Heavenly Jerusalem Scripture tells us that there is no temple.

    Revelation 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

    All this we have described so far is what Paul says about the fact that the re-admission of Israel in the New Covenant is eternal life from the dead, that this readmission is synonymous with the resurrection that is synonymous with the return of the Messiah Jesus. We also see that Paul had a hope which was to see the coming of Jesus which is associated with the salvation of Israel, not only their spiritual and eternal salvation but also the salvation of their destruction and very destruction of their enemies, which at that time will be trying to destroy them. Therefore their salvation is national, physical and spiritual!

     

    Romans 11: 16-17 Now if the first fruits are holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, the branches are holy. 17 And if some branches were broken off, and you being a wild olive were grafted in their place and made partaker of the root and fatness of the olive,

     

    Now here in this passage we have to make some important observations. The first point we find here is that in this context when Paul speaks of the branches one would think that he was talking about individuals only, but the context leads us to understand that the individualities are part of a broader context which refers of the grafting of the Gentiles into the natural olive tree, that is, the same as the seed of Abraham.

    Holy first fruits are the fathers of the past, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the holy mass is also the description of the faithful Israelites, the list that we find written for us in Hebrews chapter 11.

    Hebrews 11: 7-40 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not yet seen, moved with fear, prepared for the salvation of his family the ark, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance; and he left not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself, although she was past the age, received strength to conceive seed, and gave birth, because they considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 Therefore from one man, and as such was dead, were born descendants numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand along the shore of the sea, which can not be counted. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen from a distance, they were persuaded it and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that from which they came out, they had time to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, an heavenly Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. 17 By faith Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 even though God had said, “In Isaac shall a seed that will take your name,” 19 because Abraham believed God it was powerful enough to raise him even from the dead; why it regained it as a kind of resurrection. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made ​​mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions about his bones. 23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful and they did not fear the order of the king. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, because he had an eye to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them in Israel. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as if crossing a dry land; when in fact the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after you had turned around for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with unbelievers, because she had welcomed the spies in peace. 32 And what more shall I say? In fact I do not have time if I wanted to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, practiced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions , 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, drew strength from weakness, became mighty in war, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; others were lying on the wheel and tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, sawn timber, tempted, were slain with the sword, they went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (the world was not worthy of them), wandering in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, received not the promise, 40 because God had provided something better for us, that they not be made perfect without us.

    This is the mass of the faithful who preceded the Jews to whom this epistle is written and this is the mass of believers which Paul describes in his metaphor of the olive tree.

    So the first fruits and the mass of the faithful of Israel belongs to those who Paul is talking about. Paul then says if the root is holy, then the branches also are holy.

    Here we go deeper now into the same olive tree, Paul takes us to the root of the tree. The root is the consecration that sanctifies the whole olive tree. This is faith in God. This faith is the root that connects the faithful to God, and from which they receive life from God and from which they continue to receive life and nourishment. That faith is the context is made clear right from the passage of Hebrews 11 we have just read because it is faith that is described there.

    God, that is the Spirit of God is the One who gives life, He sanctifies, He justifies precisely through faith. The Holy Spirit is the living water of God, it is He who gives to drink to the faithful and He nourishes the faithful through the word of God, He is the spiritual sap that gives life to the branches.

    These things have become evident from several passages that describe the life-giving nature of the Holy Spirit.

    John 7:37-39 Now on the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, “If anyone is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. ” 39 But he said this about the Spirit, that they would receive those who would believe in him; the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

    As we see here the Spirit is the living water that becomes available through faith as He explains in verse 39, those who would believe in Him would receive the life-giving Spirit.

    Faith is access to the life of God as it says in:

    Romans 5: 1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord, 2 through whom also we have through faith, access to this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

    As we see it is faith that roots the believer in the life of God, which gives access to the living God.

    This is what Jesus himself said to the Samaritan woman in John 4.

    Jesus also said this in:

    John 6:63-65 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words I say to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe “; For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was who would betray him; 65 and saying, “That’s why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

    Even in this passage we see the living water connection of the Spirit through faith. They are necessarily dependent of each other. Without God’s election for example, there is no opportunity to receive and practice faith, without the Holy Spirit that gives life there cannot be faith but without faith there is no access to the life of God, all of this is generated and applied by the Spirit .

    1 Corinthians 24:13 Now we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink into one Spirit.

    However, to remain in the context of Romans 11 is sufficient to say that faith is the root, and this root is holy. Faith so rooted the olive tree in God’s life and it is the faith that sanctifies and bears fruit in anyone’s life who is rooted in God, so is the root holy, that is faith in God that makes the branches holy.

    Let us now turn to the description that Paul uses about the branches of the olive and the olive tree itself. The olive tree is a natural, domestic olive tree that is, not a wild one. The wild olive tree is a tree that produces no edible fruits or that can be used to produce oil. It’s basically a tree that does not produce useful things. So is the description of the Gentiles or pagans who we have already studied in

    Romans 1: 18-32.

    So that the Jews saw the Gentiles or the pagan people as fruitless and worthless because of their idolatry and sinfulness. However, we understand from this study and from reading and studying the word of God that without faith, even the Israelites were like the Gentiles, that without faith no one can please God.

    It did not matter that Israel had the revelations of God and the law, and He did not care that they practiced a religion ordained by God Himself if they were unbelieving and disobedient.

    Despite everything we have seen that Israel, despite all the signs that God gave them most remained incredulous and even though they were the natural branches they did not produce the fruit that God intended.

    Let us remember that the fruit that God wants is produced only if there is divine life that produces the result and that this result is true only if divinely given faith exists.

    The word of God teaches us this concept in many places and in different ways.

    We begin to see this in:

    Matthew 3:9-10 and think not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; because I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham even from these stones. 10 And now the ax is laid unto the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

    Jesus said this:

    Matthew 7: 17-20 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree can not bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Now therefore ye shall know them by their fruits.

    Matthew 15: 13 But he answered and said, “Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up

    So then if the plant does not produce fruit according to the will of God it is a useless tree that will be uprooted and destroyed.

    If the plant or tree, or in this case the branches are not planted or grafted by God they are destroyed.

    The very fact that Jesus cursed the fig tree when He found it without fruit in Matthew 21:19 was symbolic of the fact that because in Israel there was not found the result of faith in Christ, God was cursing that wicked generation of unbelieving Jews; which as we have seen is a continuous generation that will continue until the day it will believe in the Messiah. In fact in that context Jesus speaks to the disciples about having faith.

    The same parable of the sower gives us ample evidence that true faith produces good fruit but a lack of faith, that is the lack of roots, does not make a fruitful plant, in fact, the plant dies, which is synonymous of eternal death, as it will be eradicated or the ax will be places at the root of the plant which is cut and burned or the branches are cut and burned in the fire, as Jesus said in John 15, of this we’ll talk about in more detail later.

    So the natural branches or the grafted ones (both Jew and Gentile believers) are holy only because they receive the life of God through the holy root that is faith in God himself. We are sanctified by grace alone through faith in Jesus and His works. This is the only things that make us righteous and holy before God. Being rooted in Jesus (faith) then, is the basis of our position in Christ and therefore in the natural olive tree, that is the Kingdom of God and also the church and the body of Christ.

     

    17 And if some branches were broken off, and you being a wild olive were grafted in their place and made partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches, but if you brag against them remember not you’re carrying the root, but the root that supports you.

    Here now Paul speaks to the Gentiles that were added to the Kingdom of God through the church. Paul begins by saying that some of the branches were broken off, that is most of the Jews, and you, he says, the Gentiles that is, which belonged to the wild olive tree are grafted in their place to make the nations partakers of the promise through faith, the root and fatness, that is the blessings and promises of belonging to the natural olive tree.

    There is a description of this concept explained also in other words in:

    Ephesians 2: 11-22 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called uncircumcised by those who say they are circumcised, because these have been made so in the flesh by the hand of man, 12 were at that time without Christ, being alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, he who made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition, 15 having abolished in his flesh the enmity, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, to make in himself of the two one one new man, making peace, 16 and might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and to those who were near, 18 because through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building well connected grows an holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are builded together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

    There is another passage describing what Paul is saying about the promise of the covenant made with Abraham and we find it in:

    Galatians 3:6-16 So Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached before the good news to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 Therefore those who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10 Now all who are of the works of the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things written in the book of the law to do them.” 11 For it is evident that no one is justified by the law before God, because, “The just shall live by faith.” 12 Now the law is not of faith, but “the man who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men: if an agreement is ratified, though covenant of man, no one sets aside or adds to it. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and his descendants. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” as if referring to many, but as of one, “And to your offspring,” which is Christ.

    As we see here we have the explanation for the fact that every person is redeemed by God in Christ and only through Christ and faith in Him and His work of redemption.

    This warns us because as mentioned several times before the remainder of the nation of Israel, that is, the house of Jacob, and all remaining members of the tribes emanating from it should come back, or rather, as Paul says in Romans 11, they are grafted back in anew or readmitted, that is allowed again to come in, but this will happen only through the acceptance by faith in the Messiah and His work of redemption.

    But as we have seen, faith or salvation of any Jew during the time of the fullness of the Gentiles mentioned in verse 25 of this chapter, is not the re-admission of Israel as described in the Bible and the Old Testament prophecies.

    If this were the remnant of Israel about whom are speaking Paul right now and the Old Testament prophecies, it would not make any sense and it could not fulfill the prophecies in the way they are predicted. All this talk would be useless, invalid and the language used here could not in any way be reconciled with the facts presented in the prophecies.

    Thus, Christ and the seed that comes from faith in Him is the completed Kingdom of God. The predominantly Gentile church with some Christian Jews and then the salvation of the nation of Israel which is the remnant chosen by grace and sovereign election of God to return Christ, are the fullness or the completion of the Kingdom of God.

    I would like at this point to look with you at a passage that many in the church apply to believers and that many in the church mistakenly use to avail the thesis that a believer who is already born again can fall from grace or rather lose salvation.

    After we carefully examine the passage in question and connect it to the context and the subject that we are reading and studying here in Romans 11 we will see that the pitch does not mean what they want it to mean.

    The passage in question is found in:

    John 15: 1-6 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 Every branch in me that bears no fruit, He takes away; and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it bear more. 3 You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me and I in you; As the branch can not bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches; He who abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; Then they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned

    We have to begin to interpret correctly what Jesus is saying here. This passage is entirely Jewish in its nature and Jesus is not talking about the Church. Meanwhile, we see that there is a similarity between this passage and the one exposed in Romans 11.

    The context is similar but also different. Why? Because even at this point the church was not yet born, Jesus hadn’t died and resurrected nor ascended to the Father, and in addition in the Old Testament the vine or the vineyard was a symbolic title for the nation of Israel.

    The passage that best describes this concept we find in:

    Isaiah 5: 1-7 I want to sing for my beloved a song of my beloved about his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2 placed a hedge around it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted vines of excellent quality, built a watchtower and dug a wine press. He expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What more could have been done to my vineyard that I have not already done? Because, while I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? 5 But now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be entirely devoured, I will break down its wall and it will be trampled. 6 will make them a desert: it will not be pruned or hoed, but there shall come up briers and thorns; and I command the clouds not to get any rain fall. 7 For the vineyard of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the plantation of his delight. He looked for righteousness, but behold, oppression, justice and here’s cries of anguish.

    This here is a description concerning Israel. Israel was likened to a vineyard, a vine. Even here we see that the Lord expected a good result from this vineyard. We also see here that the men of Judah were the plantation of God’s delight.

    In John 15 Jesus is now directing the eleven apostles, Judas was already absent for betraying Jesus and this is also an important fact. Judas Iscariot was an unbeliever and an apostate Jew, he was not a true believer like the others. So Jesus is explaining to the 11 a metaphor that they would have definitely understood due to the fact that they were well acquainted with the Old Testament Scriptures and no doubt knew of the Isaiah 5 reading.

    Let us remember what Jesus says to his in John 16:

    John 16: 12-15 I have yet many things to tell you, but they are still not within your reach. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever things he has heard, and will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

    What Jesus was referring to here was that, only when the Holy Spirit would come, they would have understood the facts about the church, because the church was a mystery that would have only been revealed to them only after the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of the Pentecostal.

    This fact is very important for the correct interpretation of the passage in John 15.

    Jesus is then explaining to them things that concerned them as Jews and actually not as Christians. Here Jesus is talking about what it means for a Jew and for the entire nation of Israel to be saved, that is admitted into the Kingdom of God.

    This step is taught to them before the birth of the church, so they could understand better what and to whom Jesus was talking. In the context of the Kingdom of God promised to Israel this fact to which Jesus refers in effect meant that He was now the true vine and His Father is the One who takes care of the care and the fruit of the vine.

    Both Jesus and the branches are then taken care of by God Himself. This is the true vine which God planted, Israel who rejects Christ was and will be uprooted since it did not produce the fruit that God intended, that is, faith in Christ.

    Jesus is the true and only life giving tree from which the Jews and the Gentiles later, can receive the life and Christ alone who dwells in them and we can bear the fruit that God wants. In essence as the branches alone, Jesus says, cannot bring any fruit so if they do not have God’s life in them, the Holy Spirit, no life will result. Those mentioned here who do not produce the fruit of faith are in essence the dead branches, which by the way are really a reference to the works of the Jewish dead religion and those who seek to be righteous by the works of the law but who are spiritually dead will be cut off and burned, in other words they will be damned in the the lake of fire. Jesus is the vine and the analogy is similar to the analogy of the olive tree that Paul is describing here in Romans. In essence it is exactly the same thing that Jesus says.

    The Father is the gardener therefore, the Father is in fact one who takes care of the vine and the branches and causes them to be what He wants them to be. The gardener is the one who comes and takes care of everything. It’s His sovereign will, His work and omnipotence that makes it all work as he desires. This enlightens us even better also about the meaning of the parable of the sower. It’s finally the Father who takes care of the seeds sown in the good ground that He has prepared as a gardener because they could produce fruit according to His will. So the gardener, God, is He who takes care of the soil and makes it suitable to receive the seed of the word and grow plants that then produce fruit according to His desire. He alone can be the farmer of the land. Paul also tells us that the church is only responsible of three works of spiritual agriculture, that is, planting, watering and picking the harvest, the church does not treat and cure the soil, that’s the gardener’s work,that is God.

    1 Corinthians 3:6-8 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase; 7 then he who plants and he who waters is nothing, but it is God who makes it grow! 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one: but each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.

    Jesus also says that they, the Apostles at present were already clean, washed by the word of Jesus and the reference to abide in Him and He in them is in essence what the Holy Spirit has then come to do, first for them and then for all those who are grafted in the vine as in the olive tree.

    This is confirmed by what Jesus says in:

    John 14: 15-20 “If ye love me, keep my commandments; 16 and I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever, 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world can not receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come again. 19 Yet a little time and the world seeth me no more; but ye will see me: because I live, ye shall live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me and I in you.

    This passage which also precedes what Jesus says about the vine and the branches is very important for the proper understanding of what Jesus is saying. First of all, Jesus says that when the Holy Spirit would come He would remain with them forever. This confirms that the Spirit of God never leaves the true church, the true believers, He does not leave them nor will He ever abandon them. Jesus then says that they knew the Holy Spirit because Jesus says He lived with them. This is interesting, they knew the presence of the Holy Spirit how? Through the person of Jesus Christ, He was with them and lived with them but then Jesus says, that the Holy Spirit will be IN you. Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will be (on the day of Pentecost), when He comes to dwell IN them forever.

    The Holy Spirit does not come and go as many like to say, that He leaves the believer, leaves the believer and makes him spiritually die again, then when the person repents then the Holy Spirit returns.

    This theology is a lie. Jesus says He will be in them, and no longer will leave them.

    This is a very important fact because the Holy Spirit is the source of divine life and is the One that produces the fruits of the Spirit and faith in the believer. This then we see it connect well with what Jesus says later in John 15 when he says that they shall dwell in Him and He in them. This Jesus does through the Holy Spirit, this is the only reason for which a branch has life and produces fruit.

    In fact, Jesus says, without me you can do nothing. Because without Him a person has no spiritual life and is still dead in their sins, without Jesus any one is just good enough to be collected and burned.

    Jesus as the vine is in a sense Himself the fulfillment and the establishment of a new Israel and that only through Him one can have eternal life through faith. Only Israel can belong to God and to the Kingdom of God that God has promised him. The Apostles understood well the concept of the vine and of Israel, they understood what God had prophesied about the salvation and spiritual birth of the nation in Ezekiel 37 to 39.

    The branches that remain attached to the vine are in essence the same as the olive branches of which Paul speaks. The Holy Spirit not only gives the life of God and keeps it to bear fruit, but the Spirit of God also seals the believer in Jesus Christ.

    Interesting is the fact that when one proceed with a graft in a plant, both, vine and olive grafts have to be sealed and fastened by a sealant, like an adhesive substance with which the graft is sealed into the plant. Pitch was used in those days. This forms a seal, this seal ensures that the graft remains stuck and can not be detached from the plant in which it was grafted. It’s therefore clear that the word of God is more than clear in everything it says if one wants to understand it correctly.

    2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Now he that strengthens us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22 he also marked us with his seal, and put his Spirit in our hearts.

    Ephesians 1: 13-14 In whom ye also, having heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and having believed in him, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of those who God has purchased the praise of his glory.

    Ephesians 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption

    We see another passage that shows us this reality to which Jesus alluded, and we find it in:

    Luke 13: 6-9 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; he came and sought fruit and found none. 7 He said therefore to the vine-dresser: “Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why is there to use up the ground?” 8 But the other answered, “Lord, let it alone this year; will dig around it and put fertilizer. 9 Perhaps it will bear fruit in the future; if not, you can cut it down. ‘

    Surely Israel, the vineyard of God right from the Scripture of Isaiah 5 had not produced the fruit that God was looking out of it. As we saw earlier, there are several allusions and references to God that cuts trees or uproots trees that do not produce fruit according to His will. Israel rejected the Messiah and temporarily forfeit the Kingdom of God and God’s promises. Why? Because Israel has not believed in Him. Because he did not have the faith to accept his Messiah, he refused to believe in Jesus Christ. This is apostasy, the apostasy of Israel.

    Thus, the context of John 15 has everything to do with Israel and the apostasy of Israel. This is what Jesus is talking about, not about believers who do not want to any longer dwell in Christ then they are cut off. The passage speaks of unbelief and of faith in Christ and the belonging to Him and it speaks of the destiny of those who refuse to believe in Him.

    This for a Jew meant he could only be part of the Kingdom of God, that is the true vine of God, Jesus, only through faith in Him. The abiding in Him is synonymous with being rooted in Him. We have seen that this is possible only through faith in Him. To truly believe means to persevere. This is what Jesus is explaining, the context is Jewish although the principle could be nonetheless universal.

    Indeed the fact that Israel had rejected Him as Messiah, that Judas was going to betray Him is the basis for the context of what Jesus is saying. Israel like Judas, and some of His disciples see John 6: 64-65 did not believe in Him, and He had been rejected. For these reasons now He is saying to His true believers that a Jew, an Israelite, indeed, the entire nation has to believe and persevere in Him to be considered part of the Kingdom of God.

    This is a warning against apostasy, in other words unbelief about the person of Jesus Christ. This warning and this context is the same context of the context of the Epistle to the Hebrews. That’s why these passages seem to say that a true believer can lose their salvation or fall from grace.

    Scripture, however, never warns us of this, in fact it indeed denies it. Scripture warns us not persist in unbelief, that is, not to be apostates from Christ or rather from faith in Christ.

    Scripture warns us to ensure that it is confirmed and evident that we are in the faith and in the grace of God but not that if we are in Him and then because of our sin we have ceased to be. It is not the sin of the believer that separates him from God and that makes him lose his salvation but it is not to believe in Jesus by which a person does not abide in Jesus it then means that he or she does not have the life of God in them. They do not have the life of Christ, that means not to be born again, he that does not have the Holy Spirit is condemned.

    Romans 8: 9-11 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. If anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

    Jesus was saying that to gain salvation it was no longer by being a part of the old vineyard, that is, Israel, that is, being a Jew only in the flesh, but to enter into the kingdom of God or to be saved it is only by abiding in Him, the new vine and the One who has created a new Israel. This is what finally Jesus was also responding to the Samaritan woman in John 4.

    Even if salvation comes from the Jews, that is, Jesus Himself, Jew after the flesh, but again the allusion to the true vine is Jesus, this was not then by belonging to Judah or Samaria, nor the place of worship that would determine belonging to God. It was the Spirit and the truth that would lead people to faith in Messiah.

    So in these two verses that Paul wrote here in Romans 11 we find that, to ensure that the nations, the Gentiles entered into the eternal Kingdom of God, some branches, that is, most of the Jews, were cut off from the kingdom of God because of their unbelief.

    Paul warns the Gentiles though that they have their spiritual life only because of the spiritual sap that comes through the root. We have seen that the Holy Spirit of God is the sap that gives life to the branches and He is what roots everyone in God’s through true faith that is bestowed upon us by God, it is faith that is supernatural and has its origin in God. By faith we have access to the life of Christ and through the Holy Spirit who is the sap that produces the fruits of the faith that God desires.

    Now Paul warns the Gentiles not to feel superior to the Jews now because God decided to save them. This, however, we will see as Paul says, it’s a temporary thing. The arrogance of the Gentiles in the church, however, has become a real problem throughout the history of the church. Even today the church that is predominantly Gentile often feels superior to the people of Israel because they believe, incorrectly, that God has forsaken His people, and that He only saves and favors them. This whole chapter, Romans 11, however, was written by Paul precisely to refute these erroneous thoughts of spiritual pride.

    I must say that this chapter has been misinterpreted and perhaps never really taught in the church just for this very reason, that is, for them to believe in the church to have a position of favoritism over the people of Israel and to propagate spiritual pride and finally even worse, to propagate an anti-Semitic spirit. It’s just at this point Paul is warning them. Anti-Semitism is a satanic sentiment. In fact, Satan has always hated the people of God and has always tried to destroy them completely. Why? Because from them came Jesus the Redeemer, because the redemption of the remnant of Israel at the end of this era means the return of Jesus and the Kingdom of Christ on this earth, the redemption of the earth and the destruction of the kingdom of Satan and finally his same eternal damnation.

    As we see however, God has not forsaken His people, and in fact Paul is explaining why, and also how the Gentiles have been grafted into the kingdom of God, but they did not receive the promises as they had been promised to Israel. It was also for this very fact that Jesus declared in:

    Luke 13:23-30 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,

    24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: 26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. 29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

    This passage is in fact what Paul is saying here, those in Israel who have rejected and continue to reject Messiah will be cursed forever, and the Gentiles together with the remnant of the Israelite nation will sit at the table in the Kingdom of God, but the last, that is, the Gentiles will be the first to get in through the church and the first to whom the kingdom had been offered, Israel will be the last to receive them, but they will nevertheless.

     

    Romans 11:19-22 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed 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. 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.

     

    Paul continues with the warning to the Gentiles, telling them that they will say that God has cut off the Israelites branches to graft the Gentiles branches in. This is a reference to the arrogance of the Gentiles growing in their thinking by saying that now the Jews are cursed forever but the Gentiles are blessed by God and God has forgotten the promises made to His people. This is a thought that curses whoever thinks it.

    God long ago in antiquity said this about Israel:

    Genesis 12: 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, and by you shall all the families of the earth be blessed. “

    Numbers 24:5-9 How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! 6 As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river’s side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters. 7 He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. 8 God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows. 9 He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.

    As we see those who bless Israel will be blessed those who curse him will be cursed. God has the right to judge and the right to have mercy as and when he wants, but not man. The church in fact should not curse, but bless, in fact we are called to bless and love even our enemies. Then to rejoice in the judgment of Israel and curse them and be proud believing that God has abandoned the people to whom He made many promises to bless only those who have received mercy through their judgment is a contradiction and it is a real sin in the true sense of word.

    Look what God said to Israel’s enemies even if God Himself used them to judge Israel in the past, but because they were elated and found pleasure in the demise of Israel God condemned them.

    Obadiah 1:8-15 Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? 9 And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. 10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. 11 In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. 12 But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 13 Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; 14 Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress. 15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.

    Ezekiel 35:1-15 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it, 3 And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate. 4 I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD. 5 Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end: 6 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee. 7 Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth. 8 And I will fill his mountains with his slain men: in thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy rivers, shall they fall that are slain with the sword. 9 I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 10 Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there: 11 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged thee. 12 And thou shalt know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume. 13 Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them. 14 Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate. 15 As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

    As we see in these two passages concerning Edom the Lord judges them severely for their hatred of Israel and judges them severely because in their pride they believed that God had abandoned and as hating Israel and they rejoiced in the judgment that God had bestowed upon His people.

    For the Lord has condemned and judged every nation that hated and struck Israel, even though those nations have done so in the judgment of Israel which was allowed and actually wanted by God.

    It seems cruel that God would allow wicked nations to sternly judge Israel and then pour out His severe judgment on that very nation for what they did to Israel. However God judges their own hatred for the people of God, which they already had in their heart. God judges not because He himself these nations to judge His people, but because they hated Israel in their heart and they desired evil upon the people of God. They still wanted to inflict their hatred on Israel, God limited it but he used it to inflict discipline on His people. God however, judges the heart and the human motivations. So here we see how the sovereign will of God mixes with the free will of man, which is always wicked and how and why God holds the human being responsible for his own actions and his sins.

    So this now is a warning to the Gentiles, the nations and the Gentile church not to become proud and think that God has abandoned His people to a permanent judgment and that is only by grace and faith and mercy of the sovereign election of God that a person receives salvation, that is to be grafted in the natural olive tree as Paul depicts it.

    There is no reason why a person can or should become proud because they are in Christ, there is no Biblical reason why a person might boast of their salvation and their faith.

    Scripture is very clear on this concept, no one can glory in anything if not exclusively in Jesus and His work of redemption.

    Ephesians 2: 8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. 9 Not of works, lest anyone should boast; 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    Again this passage informs us clearly that we can not boast of anything because we are saved by grace through faith which is a gift of God, it says, are His workmanship. We are God’s work, God has done it and we have no reason to boast of anything we have done to receive and earn salvation. Even of one’s faith! Faith is a gift and a work of God that He gives us personally to receive His salvation.

    1 Corinthians 1:27-31 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

    As we also see in this above passage it is very evident that it is not the person who does anything but that it is God who does everything to give salvation to the elect.

    As Paul says God has chosen and He says it three times in the same sentence then He says that it is thanks to God that we are in Christ Jesus. He is our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

    This means that Jesus and He alone is our whole salvation, He is wisdom with and for which we receive wisdom for salvation, the Gospel, the word of God, He is our righteousness, for He is risen for our justification and to make us righteous before God. He is the One who makes us holy and consecrates us to God and sanctifies us and makes us persevere, and He is our redemption, that is the completeness of our salvation from beginning to end, all this who boasts, if there is a reason to boast in anything we should boast only in the Lord.

    Paul has so far spent many chapters in this epistle explaining the salvation and the believer’s position is that it was Jew or Gentile so that we cannot boast at any point in anything except in the Lord.

    Unfortunately, we know that with the passing of time and with the continued propagation of false doctrines and the collaboration of human thoughts it is not difficult to fall into Spiritual pride and think they we are better than others when in fact if it were not for the grace and the work God we really do not have anything in which to glory.

    So to think that the Gentiles now have the exclusive favor of God and Israel has lost it forever is indeed wrong and it’s something damning in effect. For true believers there is one thing that will cause the severe discipline of God and a real lack of blessings, it is for those who that magnify themselves against Israel even if Israel is in a state of apostasy and in need of mercy.

    In fact this is what God says later on when he says:

    Romans 11:30-31 As in the past you have been disobedient to God, and now you have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also have now been disobedient, that by the mercy shown to you they also may obtain mercy.

    This is a very important passage and we will examine it better together when we get there, but for now suffice it to say that for the same mercy shown to the Gentiles also God may have mercy of Israel. This also means that the Gentile church should at least have mercy on the people of God because of it, that is we have received mercy, and we should extend it back to them.

    We no longer have the right to be proud and arrogant toward the nation of Israel as they were broken off because of their unbelief, here it is, that this is the reason why Israel is under the temporary judgment of God, they are unbelieving. Being unbelieving as we have found out before means to be without faith, without faith in Jesus Christ no one can be saved, so them being cut off is not, as many say, the losing of a salvation already attained but it is to be in a stater of apostasy, in other words disbelief about the Gospel, that is the person of Jesus Christ. So be cut off does not mean that these were once saved but then lost their salvation, they never had it and they could not have it because of their unbelief. That is why even the cutting off of the branches in John 15 is not referring to those who believed but also that passage speaks of unbelief or apostasy.

    Many Israelites, almost all in fact, were broken off, cut off from God’s promises because of their unbelief, this is the only reason.

    Now what Paul is saying to the Gentiles here he says in the same context and in the same vein. You can not understand this to be talking of falling from an already obtained state of grace, that is to lose the salvation that one already has, but it really means what in fact has happened to the nation of Israel.

    If and when even the Gentiles nations start to be in disbelief toward the Gospel then even for them there will be a cutting off because of unbelief. So you can clearly see that Paul refers to the apostasy of nations regarding the Gospel.

    This is something that is happening today more and more in Gentile nations. For almost two thousand years they have received and have lived in the light of the Gospel now there is a general rampant apostasy on part of all the nations which once lived in the light of the Gospel. It’s clearly seen throughout the history of the world there have been several periods where nations have readily accepted the Gospel but then little by little as that time past, faith in Christ gradually decreased until it became almost gone. Where before people would repent and believed, today there is apostasy, that is a falling away from the truth of the Gospel. This is as Paul says, to be cut off because of unbelief. Today the areas in the world where the Gospel had never before entered is where faith is and where there is an awakening.

    Scripture warns us of the great apostasy of the last days, this is taking place in these days, hit has already for some time. In the western world where the Gospel has brought much fruit for many years apostasy is already in place and is increasing. Instead we see that despite all the difficulties and persecution the Gospel is spreading in Asia and in countries where the Gospel had never been preached and where it is a new thing, in these countries there is widespread belief. This is what happened in Europe and then in the new world, that is, in the USA and South America and Australia to date. However, all this is changing drastically in these countries and apostasy, or rather unbelief about the Gospel is increasing at alarming levels.

    This is what Paul is talking about here.

    The nations, the Gentiles will be cut off because of their unbelief as has happened to Israel.

    So Paul is simply saying that if because of unbelief God cut off what is considered the natural branches, in other words Israel, God will have no problem in cutting them off, for the same reason, even the wild branches, that is, the Gentile nations.

    It’s more than true that in His judgment God always remembers mercy and that even when there is an increase of apostasy God still continues to have a small remnant among the nations. It is not that God stops to save but that the number of people who believe decreases drastically.

    This will be the condition of the world from now until the end of this era, that is, until Jesus returns.

    The cutting off Paul refers to is yes individual, but it is only in the context of the Gentile nations and the danger they face if they fall into apostasy which is general disbelief.

    So if God did not spare the natural branches, in other words the majority of the nation of Israel because of their apostasy, surely God will not spare the wild branches, that is, the Gentiles if they become unbelieving.

    Paul then says: Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen; but toward thee, God’s goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

    Paul says in fact to consider the goodness and severity of God. Contrary to the view of many today that God is only love and that He always puts up with all things, Paul tells us that God becomes severe in certain circumstances.

    We know that God is love, of course, God is perfect love.

    1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

    God is love, God loves in a way that we humans have a great difficulty understanding.

    Agape, that is, the kind of love that God is and that God practices is estranged from human understanding because God’s love is perfect like Him. God’s love is not just sentimental in nature. The love of God is decision that He makes also because of the faithfulness to His promises.

    However, the love of God is not without feeling and is not devoid of passion, but this is all according to His perfect character and is always in perfect unity with the rest of His attributes. His patience, His goodness, His mercy, His faithfulness, and last but not least his truth.

    Our love does not reflect the love of God because human love is selfish in nature, and because the human being does not have the same perfect attributes of God it cannot love as God loves, this kind of love is not in the human DNA.

    God has a perfect love that also is not based on human behavior, but is based on the love God has for His Son Jesus Christ. God so loved the world, He did it in Christ, His creatures, that in His mercy He wanted to save who would otherwise be damned without His intervention and this would be certain. God has decided to love sinful and wicked humans and save them even if they deserved eternal damnation.

    God had therefore to reconcile His perfect righteousness and holiness with His perfect love and mercy and this He did in and through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the reconciliation of God’s justice and His love, this God has done without violating His just and yet merciful character.

    Then God is severe because the wages of sin is death, and God does not compromise on this. This is why Jesus had to offer His life instead of requiring the life of those whom God has decided to save. Someone had to die and pay the price for sin and that someone was Jesus.

    God is severe with those who persist in unbelief and in the wickedness of their sinful nature. God was and is hard on the people of Israel because of their unbelief. Let us remember that God is not directly responsible for the unbelief of His people, the man is in unbelief on his own, that we have already ascertained before, I hope, from the study of Romans 1:18-32 and this has also always been the condition of God’s people:

    Hebrews 3:16-19 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

    What God has done in the sense that He has hardened them, in fact caused them not to receive the faith that only He can bestow on those He has chosen before the foundation of the world.

    Ephesians 1: 4; Revelation 13: 8; Revelation 17: 8.

    Those elected were elected, that is chosen for salvation before the foundation of the world to be in Christ, He was also elected before the foundation of the world to be the one in which the elect would receive the faith and consequential eternal life, that is, salvation. 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8.

    We already discussed the fact that the non-elect do not receive faith and therefore it is entirely fair to say that God has hardened or blinded them so that they cannot believe the truth, but it is not God who hardens them and blinds them actively. We now know that they cannot but also do not want to believe, their will is the part that makes them responsible. The hardening of God is nothing but the word of God and the truth that makes unbelievers be even more resistant to them, this causes an increase in hardening of a heart which is already hard and already resistant to the truth and the word of God.

    The truth and the word of God only causes further hardening the hearts of those who are not elected to believe. That’s how we can say that God hardens people but that He is not responsible for their already hard heart. God is severe with these unbelievers. Here Paul says that the severity of God unto a people who is unbelieving and apostate predominantly caused them to be cut off from the Kingdom of God.

    That’s why Paul says, severity toward those who have fallen.

    Fallen where? Into apostasy because of their unbelief. Pretty much a non-elected person is an apostate because as he says:

    Hebrews 6: 4-5 For those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, 6 and then have fallen, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance because they crucify to themselves the Son of God and put him to an open shame.

    We see here the same disputed passage where the author of Hebrews tells us that they were exposed to the full revelation of God through the Gospel but have fallen .

    Again the word fallen is an indication that they remained incredulous and fell into apostasy.

    The word fall is an indication in the word of God, which is to fall into a particular state, namely that of apostasy.

    That’s why Jude in the blessing and the doxology at the end of the Epistle states: 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you blameless before his glory with exceeding joy, 25 to the only wise God, the our Saviour, be glory, majesty, dominion and power, both now and for all ages. Amen. Amen.

    Here the word fall is not referring to preserve us from generic sins but to a specific sin, that is, the abandonment of the true and only faith in Jesus Christ. He is saying that God protects us from falling into apostasy.

    The Greek word aptaístous used here translated fall, it means that God protects us and makes us stand firm, we can not be moved from our position. The most suitable example is a tree that can not be uprooted and therefore cannot fall and therefore cannot die.

    The uprooting of the tree or the cutting of the branches is not related to those who are already in Christ. God is not a liar, and does not deceive, God is faithful to His promises and He is true, He does not lie. God is truth.

    So if we worship Him in spirit and in truth this simply means that to worship God we must be born again, and we must worship Him in accordance with His truth and by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit we know that He himself is the Spirit of Truth John 14:17; John 16: 13-15. The word of God is truth John 17:17.

    So worshiping God in spirit and in truth just means that we worship God through the life of the and being spiritually alive through the Holy Spirit and the word of God, the fact is that we must be people born by God’s Spirit, who guides us into the truth of His word.

    Romans 8: 1-9 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but in the Spirit, 2 because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not, because it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in flesh similar to that of sin and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 In fact, being carnally minded is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 Therefore the mind controlled by the flesh is hostile to God, it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So those who are in the flesh can not please God. 9 But if the Spirit of God dwells in you, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him.

    God does not ever lie, so if He says that there is now no condemnation for those in Christ it means that there is now no condemnation. If Jesus says that all that God gave Him would go to Him, and that He would not lose any but make them rise on the last day, it means that He will do this.

    If Jesus said that anyone who goes to Him He will never drive away, it means that they will never be put out for any reason. If Jesus said that He gives eternal life to His sheep, and they shall never perish it means that they will NOT PERISH EVER! If Jesus said that no one is able to snatch us out of His hands and the hands of the Father, it means that NO ONE CAN be snatched.

    If Jesus says: Verily, verily, I say unto you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

    If the word of God says that God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more now that we have been reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

    God has saved us from the wrath to come means that God will do just this and we cannot therefore say that Scripture also says that a true born-again believer can lose what God has promised him. God would not only be a liar and unfaithful, but He would also be a deceiver if he said one thing and then another came to be. But we know who the liar and the deceiver is, it is not God, it is Satan and anyone who teaches false doctrines and lies. They serve Satan and not God, no matter what they declare that they are or to whom they say that they belong.

    Many people are simply deceived and yes, they can be true believers but if you constantly live in deception and false doctrines you can be deceived by them. This also reinforces spiritual pride and loyalty, not the word of God but to the beliefs of their denominations. It’s a very serious thing to discredit what the Lord Jesus and the word of God say, it means that if we say the opposite of what He says we are calling God a liar. This is serious, indeed very serious stuff.

    Then having again realized that a true believer can never lose their salvation we must reconcile what the word of God says within the true meaning that it presents to us.

    An apostate is already incredulous and remains so forever if it he or she are not chosen onto salvation. A person who apparently follows Jesus but then abandons Jesus is not a true believer, is not a true disciple, Jesus has made it very clear in:

    John 6: 63-66 is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words I say to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe “; For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was who would betray him; 65 and saying, “That’s why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

    They were disciples and followed Him but they did not believe in Him, this makes them unbelievers, apostates, this confirms the fact that they abandon Jesus and no longer followed him. This is not the same fate as those who are truly born again and persevere to the end.

    This is essential in understanding the apostasy and the state of disbelief and understand that Scripture therefore does not say that a true believer can lose their faith and therefore salvation, but Scripture warns that those who do not persevere in faith will go into perdition. This is a person that other than losing what they already have, simply means that those who abandon Christ, who shows lack of faith never had it, and that is why they abandon the path of truth. All this does not in essence have to do with the sin in the general sense but it has everything to do with the sin of apostasy, or unbelief.

    These are the seed that fell on the hard earth, the seeds that fell on the rocky ground that produced no root, the seeds that fell among the weeds and thorns, like Judas and the disciples mentioned in John 6, as well as those mentioned in 1 John 2:19 that says: They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but this was because it was revealed that not all are of us.

    It’s clear that these mentioned were not true believers, these are the removed branches, these are the cut off branches, these are the uprooted trees, clouds without rain, these are also those of whom Jude writes in his epistle, so that what Jude writes in the conclusion of his letter is very important to understand in its context. God protects His children from falling into apostasy and makes them persevere until they are blameless in His presence with great joy.

    In conclusion Paul says to the Gentiles Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: severity of those who have fallen, and goodness towards you, even if you persevere in goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

    God is severe with those who continue in unbelief, so with those who fall into apostasy, these fall without remedy. God is good, however, to those whom He saves, in this case because He allowed that the Jews would continue and even today continue in their apostasy so that His goodness, His mercy could be poured out upon the nations, the Gentiles.

    So Paul is saying to the Gentiles not to think with pride that they are for some reason better than the Jews and that this why God saves them. Paul is actually saying to be grateful and humble and to thank God who has decided to allow His people to remain in unbelief for a period to ensure that the Gentile nations might be saved. Persevering in God’s goodness means to continue to believe, continue to receive the mercy of God through the Gospel, to persevere in the faith otherwise even the Gentiles as the Jews will be cut off.

    Romans 11:23-24 And they also, if they abide not in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive wild by nature, and grafted into a good domestic olive against nature, the more these people, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree.

    Now Paul confirms what we are saying long ago, namely, that when the remnant of the nation of Israel has finished to persevere in unbelief, will be grafted in again, for God is powerful and can do it. That is, God can bring Israel to salvation in the New Covenant in Christ and thus receive all the promises that God has made them in the past.

    At the beginning of the chapter Paul said that God has not forsaken His people permanently, Paul says it will be when they will believe in the Messiah Jesus the power of God which grafted the Gentiles into God’s Kingdom is powerful enough to be able to graft in again the remnant of His people who will believe in Jesus as the Messiah.

    We have said many times during this study that the remnant of Israel will amend their unbelief and for this reason they will be grafted back into the Kingdom of God through the new covenant. This is the covenant of which God speaks in the ancient prophecies and mentioned by the author of Hebrews.

    Jeremiah 31:27-34 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast. 28 And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD. 29 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. 30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge. 31 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: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 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.34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, 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.

    Ezekiel 36: 23-28 And I will sanctify my great name profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. The nations shall know that I am the Lord, “says the Lord GOD,” when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the countries and bring you into your country. 25 then I will pour upon you clean water and ye shall be clean; I cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take away out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances in practice. 28 I shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

    Hebrews 8:6-12 But now Christ has obtained a ministry the more excellent as he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises, 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, would not have been necessary to establish another . 8 For God, rebuking, says: “Behold, the days come that I will make with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant, 9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt because they continued not in my covenant, and I have rejected them, says the Lord. 10 So this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws in their minds and write them in their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 And none of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, “Know the Lord”. They shall all know me, from the least to the greatest of them, 12 because I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins and their misdeeds. “

    From these prophecies we understand that the Covenant with the house of Israel in the context of the New Covenant is relegated to the last days and the conversion of the nation because what is written in these prophecies is not yet fulfilled, we understand very well the language that these references are not related to the first but the second coming of Jesus, just look at the condition of the house of Israel from then to now.

    These written things cannot be applied to the converted Jews in Paul’s day, so they must have a future fulfillment.

    Let us remember that it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is the power of God for the salvation of those who believe in Jesus Christ first for the Jew, then for the Gentile, but as we have seen previously the Jews who were first shall be last and the last, the Gentiles shall be first, that’s exactly what Jesus was saying in Matthew 20:16; Luke 13: 29-30.

    So God is able to graft them in again when they believe in Messiah Jesus. If the nations stop believing in Jesus they will again be cut off and as we said this is actually happening at this very time. We are entering the period described by Paul in:

    2 Thessalonians 2: 1-4 Now we beseech you, brethren, of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him, 2 ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, either by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as if from us, as that the day of Christ has already come. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, 4 the opponent, one who exalts himself above all what it is called god or object of worship, so that sitteth in the temple of God as God, showing himself that he is God.

    The apostasy and the revelation of the Antichrist are among other things synonymous with what Jesus said in:

    Matthew 24:11-22 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will grow cold; 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. ” 15 “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Who is on the housetop not come down to take something home; 18 and whoever is in the field not turn back to get his cloak. 19 But woe to the pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days! 20 And pray ye that your flight be not in winter or on the Sabbath, 21 for then there will be a tribulation so great, such as was not since the world’s beginning until now, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

    What Jesus mentions in Matthew 24 is the period that many have come to know as the great tribulation. This period relates to the nation of Israel and its possible conversion.

    This period is described in the Old Testament in: Jeremiah 30: 1-7 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, saying, Write in a book all the words that I said to you, 3 for, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, where I will restore the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD, and will bring them into the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. ” 4 These are the words which the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah: 5 “Thus says the LORD: We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear and not of peace. 6 Ask now, and see if a male can give birth. Why then do I see every man with his hands on their loins like a woman in travail? And all faces are turned into paleness? 7 Alas, for that day it is great; no there was no one like it; It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he shall be saved.

    As we see the language used by both Jeremiah and that of Jesus is in effect almost identical.

    It therefore clearly indicates that Jesus in Matthew 24, was referring to the period described in Jeremiah 30. We see the environment is truly in line with the remnant of Israel more than anything else.

    It’s the zeal of God who will accomplish this and will do it for His faithfulness to His promises. God is and must be faithful to Himself first. This is confirmed by several Scriptures:

    Hebrews 6: 16-18 For men swear by one greater, and so for them the oath is a guarantee that puts an end of all strife. 17 Thus God, wanting to demonstrate more clearly to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that through two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we have a great encouragement who fled for refuge to hold upon the hope set before us.

    God has sworn by Himself because there can be no greater promise that when God gives His word without anyone else as a part of the fulfillment of His promise.

    That is, the promise is not relegated to the fulfillment by anyone else except God.

    In the Old Testament God said:

    Deuteronomy 9: 4-6 When the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, do not say in your heart: “It is for my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land.” Instead, for the wickedness of these nations that the LORD drives them out before you. 5 No, it is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you go in to occupy their land, but for the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God will drive them out in front of you, and to fulfill the word sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and Jacob. 6 Know therefore that it is not for your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you to possess this good land, for you are a stiff-necked people.

    We see that it is for no other reason that God is faithful to His people if not for the justice of God and not for that of the people, indeed God has no good things to say about the loyalty of His people but speaks of His own faithfulness and God is bringing them in the land as an inheritance only to fulfill the promises sworn by Him to their fathers.

    Also in: Isaiah 9: 5-6 For a child is born, to us a son is given. On his shoulders will rest the empire, and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 6 There will be no end to the increase of his government and peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice from henceforth and forever. This will do the zeal of the LORD of hosts.

    As we see God promises here the first and second coming of the Messiah, then God promises that His zeal is what will accomplish everything.

    Twice in Ezekiel 20, God declares that it is for the sake of His name that has saved and brought Israel into the promised land, we find this in verses 14 and 22.

    Then later God speaks about His faithfulness to the promises made to His people and says in:

    Ezekiel 20:33-44 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: 34 And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. 36 Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. 37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: 38 And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 39 As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols. 40 For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. 41 I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. 42 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers. 43 And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed. 44 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have wrought with you for my name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

    Again in verse 44 the Lord says it is for His name’s sake and not according to the wicked ways of his people which will bring them into the new covenant and His promises.

    Thus we see that, since the first coming of Jesus Christ and to the Second, Israel will act according to their evil ways and their corrupt actions, despite everything, it is because of His own faithfulness that God chooses to save Israel and to restore to them the Kingdom.

    This then is true of everyone, including the Gentiles, which surely act according to their evil and corrupt conduct. God saved the world because He loved His creation and has established a covenant with His Son Jesus Christ, so that salvation, both of Israel and the nations, is only due to the mercy and faithfulness of God.

    Salvation has nothing at all to do with human conduct, human works or religious status.

    So that the Gentiles have absolutely no right to be conceited, haughty and proud of having believed or being better or favored by God above Israel.

    In fact, then Paul goes on to say:

    In fact, if you were cut out of the olive for wild nature and grafted into a good olive against domestic nature, the more these people, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree.

    Simply, if in fact the Gentiles who were outside the Kingdom of God’s promises have been included because against nature with respect to Israel, then God will graft back His people into His promises because they have been promised by God. Certainly! For God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy and pity on those upon whom He will have compassion. Of course! Because God is faithful to His promises and He will fulfill them in His time and in His way. This was in fact the answer that Jesus gave His disciples in:

    Acts 1: 6-7 So those who were come together, asked him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time you will restore again the kingdom to Israel?”. 7 But he said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has placed in His own authority.

    The readmission or the grafting in of the remnant of the nation of Israel into God’s Kingdom will happen over time and at an appropriate time that God has established in His plan of redemption.

    So the rejection of the Messiah by Israel was already established and permitted by God so that the Gentiles might become part of the Kingdom of God through the establishment of the church. However also the readmission of Israel into the Kingdom of God through the acceptance of the Messiah at His second coming was planned by God to happen at the precise and perfect time chosen by God.

    The period Jesus described in Luke 4 was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 61 verse one and half of verse two, where He says that the acceptable year of the Lord was fulfilled.

    This year of the Lord’s grace is not really a year of 365 days, but a symbolic year that is actually a period, an era, an age, an entire generation. Immediately after this period the prophecy of Isaiah in fact mentions the day of vengeance of God, this is what we know as the Lord’s day, that is the period of judgment of God on an unbelieving and wicked world, the Antichrist, the false prophet and two-thirds the nation of Israel.

    In the prophecy we find in Daniel 9 regarding the seventy weeks mentioned by the archangel Gabriel, we read:

    Daniel 9: 20-27 While I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, 21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, fly swiftly, he reached me about the time of the evening. 22 He instructed me, and spoke to me and said, “Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications a word went out, and I have come to let it known, for you are greatly beloved. Therefore consider the matter and understand the vision: 24 Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for iniquity, to bring in eternal justice, to seal up the vision and the prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place. 25 Know therefore and understand, that since it came out the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with square and moat, even during troubled times. 26 After the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall die, and not for himself. And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; its end will come with a flood, and until the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 He also will stipulate a covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, until the total destruction, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. “

    The interpretation of this prophecy as always has a double fulfillment. It has a close fulfillment and a more remote one.

    What we want to see is the remote one or the future, because always like the other one has to do with the nation of Israel, and will help us to better understand the end times of which Scripture speaks, both the Old Testament and the New.

    This is a Messianic prophecy and we then have to interpret the meaning of the passage in a Messianic context, so also the interpretation of the weeks here mentioned. The weeks here mentioned are not seven day weeks bu they instead consist of seven years each. The first seven weeks concern the rebuilding of Jerusalem this is the period between 445-396 BC The sixty two weeks in other words 434 years are 396 BC to the year 38 AD which culminate with Jesus entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday until a week later, when He dies.

    So that there would actually be a space, a shortfall in the amount of weeks which is actually the present age which comes before the last week which is a seven-year period, which is known as the tribulation period, and it is in perfect line with other prophecies about the second coming of the Messiah and what precedes it.

    The period before the start of last week, that is the tribulation period of Israel is the church age in which we have lived until now and we’ll live until then.

    Watching carefully to what Daniel says about what happens in this period so that we find in the prophecy of Daniel nine verse 27 he says that the prince of the people of the nation that destroyed the city and the sanctuary, that is, the Roman Empire or what it will represent in the future time, which many believe it could be either the EU or even the United Nations, in short, the head of this empire that still descends from the Roman empire or as you will is the Roman empire reborn, as they call it, in this case the anti-Christ, the head of this empire, will make a covenant with Israel, a seven-year deal, but in the middle of the week, in other words three and a half years, he will stop the sacrifice and the oblation in the temple and after that the antichrist will be so devastating and will usher in the period of great tribulation. This period is also called Jacob’s trouble, so we know it primarily has to do with the nation of Israel.

    So this Daniel passage speaks of the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem in 70 AD but then speaks of the events that will occur in very the last week, that is, the last seven years before Messiah’s return.

    The prophecies that confirm this are:

    Matthew 24: 11-22 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will grow cold; 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. ” 15 “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Who is on the housetop not come down to take something home; 18 and whoever is in the field not turn back to get his cloak. 19 But woe to the pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days! 20 And pray ye that your flight be not in winter or on the Sabbath, 21 for then there will be a tribulation so great, such as was not since the world’s beginning until now, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

    The abomination of desolation spoken of Jesus is the same thing Daniel says in Daniel 9. This reference obviously cannot be applied to Antiochus Epiphanes which actually desolated the temple even before the birth of Jesus. So the prophecy of Daniel was not referring only to that desolation but one coming later.

    In addition, if the fulfillment of that prophecy was only the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD, then the prophecies of Matthew 24, 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 12-13 could not exist as they are written. Since Revelation was probably written during the reign of Emperor Domitian the period between the years 81 to 96 DC. The prophecies of the book must then have a fulfillment that takes place after the year 70 AD. This means that the Antichrist in question, the one described by Daniel, Jesus and John is not the prince nor the episode which destroyed the temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD.

    Jesus also says, the Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, yet this did not happen. When that happens then the end will come.

    The period during the last week or seven years is the end of time according to Jewish prophecies.

    Jesus is therefore referring to the period that will precede His return, that is, the period of great tribulation which never has been that bad yet. The fact that Jesus says that there will be a tribulation so great that there has never been before and never will be is definitely a reference to something that still has not happened in Israel.

    Those days will have to be cut short, in fact, the duration will be three and a half years. So immense the tribulation is and will be the devastation of those days, that if times were not shortened no one would survive.

    The period in question is the period written in Zechariah chapters 12-13-14. These chapters are about the period immediately preceding the Lord’s return and the period mentioned by Daniel and Jesus and John in Revelation 12-13, and the following chapters.

    This period has yet to take place, so when the last week, that is, the last seven years begin, God will begin to bring the remnant of Israel to salvation until Messiah’s return.

    Revelation 13: 1-5 And I saw a beast rise from the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of the lion; And the dragon gave him his power, his throne and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 4 And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war with him?”. 5 And there was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given him to work forty and two months .

    The beast in question is the Antichrist, who is the devastating prince mentioned in Daniel, this is when he will stop the sacrifices in the new rebuilt temple in Israel, this is what Jesus speaks of:

    Matthew 24:15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (let the reader understand),

    and of which Paul speaks in:

    2 Thessalonians 2: 1-4 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him, 2 ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, either by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as if from us, as that the day of Christ has already come. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, 4 the opponent, one who exalts himself above all what it is called god or object of worship, so that sitteth in the temple of God as God, showing himself that he is God.

    All this happens in the middle of the seven years that is the three and a half years or the forty-two months mentioned in Revelation 13:5.

    In verse 14 of Revelation 12 John speaks of the tribulation of Israel and says Israel will be nourished for a time, times and half a time, hidden from the face of the serpent.

    A time, a period of seven years time, half a time three and a half years.

    So that John is writing that the elected remnant that will be saved will be preserved by God for three and a half years which is the period of which Jesus has spoken saying that the time would be shortened so that the elect might be saved. This is the one third of the nation of Israel mentioned by Zechariah in Zechariah 13:8-9.

    So it can also be deduced that the elect of whom Jesus is talking about in Matthew 24 specifically is the remnant of the nation of Israel, even though the prophecy of Joel says that in that day whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, that is, both Jews and Gentiles.

    But now all this has given us the impetus to go in the next few verses of Romans 11.

     

    Romans 11: 25-27 For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening of Israel has happened, until has entered the fullness of the Gentiles, 26 and so all Israel will be saved as is written: ‘the deliverer will come from Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them, when I have taken away their sins. “

     

    So that we understand here that God still has a real redemptive program designed to readmit Israel in His promises through the New Covenant. In fact, Paul now warns the Gentile believers not to become proud about the condition of Israel.

    Already times before Paul warned the Gentiles starting with verse 18 not to brag about their favor with God, then in verse 20 Paul warns them not become proud and now again in verse 25 Paul warns not to be overconfident in themselves concerning Israel because their hardening as Paul had already explained was because of Israel’s unbelief and it is only to bestow the mercy of God upon the Gentiles, that’s why God temporarily and in part cut off Israel from the Kingdom promises. This cutting off and this hardening was and will be partial and temporary, only for a specific period in God’s plan.

    Paul now mentions to the Gentiles believers that there is a mystery. A mystery is something still not revealed to them until that day. But now Paul explains what the mystery is so that the Gentiles do not become conceited about the favor, that is, the grace they are enjoying with God.

    Like to the Jew, the church was a mystery in their ancient Scriptures so the readmission of Israel was a mystery to the Gentile church that had already begun to believe that God had abandoned Israel completely.

    The ironic thing is that even today because of those who sowed the false replacement doctrine, the salvation and the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel remains a mystery even in a part of the Evangelical Church today.

    The Jewish roots of the church have been uprooted for the fear that the church be made Jewish and obligated to espouse the law of Moses. It’s sad that any reference to the Jewish roots of the church has been eliminated, since eliminating the Jewish roots we lost a big piece of Scripture that describes the fullness of God’s redemptive plan.

    In a sense, the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture has meant that the church became increasingly disinterested in the fate of Israel.

    Compliance by the Gentiles to the Jewishness of the church was mentioned by Paul also before and Paul warned the Gentiles not to become proud because of the fact that it is only by the mercy of God and faith that Gentiles are admitted.

    The fact is that everything that the law of God had revealed was symbolic of the person and work of Jesus Christ, especially in reference to Israel and the redemption of Israel.

    If the Scriptures are examined carefully with an eye to the Jewish roots of the church we would never have come to the conclusion that God had forever forsaken His people to His judgment and that the promises made to Israel in the past were only to be fulfilled in and by the church.

    The promises made to Israel were all fulfilled in Jesus Christ, but they are binding for Israel and the promises revealed in the New Testament made to the Gentiles also are always fulfilled in Christ in the creation of the church and the promises made to it. Even in this we see that there are similarities but however there are differences as well.

    The problem of the loss of the Jewish roots in the Gentile church was created and originated mostly out of the Roman church as always in her arrogance has removed everything around to establish her own kingdom and her position in the world. This however, is not the kingdom of God but the kingdom of Rome. God with the Roman religion does have anything to do except that it used God’s name in vain and has blasphemed and is still blaspheming His name.

    The most anti-Semitic entity that has ever existed in actuality was not even the Nazi movement but the Roman religion. It has caused more damage to the world and to the name of God and the true church, than anything else.

    For this very reason, however, the Reformed Church considered this falsehood, like she did with other doctrines of the Roman religion. Unfortunately for this fact, Antisemitism and the replacement doctrine is something that has been maintained even today, but after careful scrutiny and investigation of the Scriptures we can safely and clearly see that it is false.

    Only through the study of Romans 11 it is clearly evident that God has a specific plan of redemption for the nation of Israel. Obviously everything is also clearly evident from the correct study and the correct interpretation of Old Testament prophecies along with the Gospels.

    So the re-admission of Israel was a mystery to the Gentile church at that time and remains a mystery to a segment of the Evangelical church even today.

    Which do you think is the number one reason that this was a mystery to the Gentile church at that time and even today?

    Simple, ignorance of Scripture. The Gentile church at that time had not received the instructions and teachings of the law and the prophets. Only the converted Jews dispersed in the Gentile nations knew the ancient Scriptures.

    For only to them was proclaimed Jesus as Messiah of Israel but to the Gentile church the messianic concept was not usually preached. Then for the Gentile church the concept was purely a mystery.

    So Paul in Romans 10 and 11 introduces the concept of the redemption of Israel in a light and a vein a little different, not entirely but a little different from the Gentile redemption.

    It’s interesting to know that the church was a mystery to the Jews because the church in fact was not revealed in any way in the Old Testament prophecies. The redemption of Israel in fact was a mystery to the Gentile church because they did not know the prophecies, promises and Israel’s history.

    The church became instead a reality through the revelation of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles that’s why the concept of the church which included the salvation of the Samaritans and the Gentiles was a real dilemma for the Jews, it was because the church did not exist in the old Scriptures.

    The Gentile church however, being ignorant of the ancient Scriptures could not understand the redemption of the nation of Israel outside of the Gentile church, which is apparently difficult to understand in much of the church even today.

    Again, this is because in the past the Roman religion has abandoned the apostolic teachings and adopted wrong methods to interpret Scripture. It’s ironic that the religion which insists that it is the true church and that keeps the apostolic succession and that believes and keeps the traditions and the apostolic teachings, this religion associated with Christianity is the first one that betrays all of these things.

    The second reason for which the redemption of Israel was and still is a mystery to many, it is precisely because of presumption, conceit, spiritual pride. It’s assuming and maintaining a position of arrogance about their own presumptions, this is what Paul warns about.

    It happens easily that the Gentile church has forgotten that it is formed by a remnant of the nations that has been chosen and saved by grace only. Looking to the Jewish people that historically have always somehow resisted the Holy Spirit and have almost always failed to exercise faith is easy to assume that Israel is worse than all the other nations, to assume that this is why God has abandoned them to His judgment.

    In addition, the Gentiles think that because the Jews are the ones who rejected the Messiah and the Kingdom and that the Gentiles instead achieve salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, this all seems to be an unforgivable sin and indeed in a sense it is, but it is also unforgivable for those of the Gentile nations who reject Christ. There is nothing to be proud of in having faith in Jesus because no part of salvation depends on the one who is saved, so why boast!

    But God continues to have mercy on all, and as Paul said earlier, God did not abandon His people even though his people abandoned Him. God is faithful not to the loyalty or the obedience of Israel, but to His own faithfulness in the fulfillment of His promises.

    Paul shows us in this chapter that it is still God who made sure that most of Israel would continue to be incredulous in his usual way so that God Himself could spread His salvation to the rest of the world by creating a new people, that is the church.

    However what Paul warns here is what the church has done instead. The church has forgotten Paul’s warning and tried in every way to avoid the correct interpretation and the study of this passage and many other passages that confirm rather that Israel will be saved and the Kingdom he will be again restored to them.

    The fact that salvation is by election and grace through faith in Jesus the Messiah makes the only way that any person or nation, in this case of Israel, will be or can be saved.

    So we have to exclude all forms of presumption and pride because no one can glory in anything except in Jesus Christ.

    The mystery of which Paul speaks here of course is the salvation of Israel. This will happen when God has completed the salvation of the number of Gentiles to be saved by Him whom He already chose before the foundation of the world.

    The mystery is that God did not abandon His people, and that God will fulfill all the promises made to them in the past. The mystery then is this: the church presumptuously may think they have replaced Israel and that God has fulfilled all His promises in the Gentile church, but Paul says it is not so.

    In fact, the Scripture clearly shows that it is not so. In fact all the promises are fulfilled in Christ and through Christ but God fulfills His promises exactly to whom He made them.

    The promises made in the Old Testament are fulfilled in Jesus Christ but they are for Israel, the promises for the church can be found in the Epistles of the New Testament and they are for the church, both will then be brought together and forever.

    It’s also true that some of the promises for the church are also for Israel, because the church has entered the New Covenant even before Israel.

    For example, the resurrection from the dead was promised to Israel before the church. The Kingdom of God was promised to Israel before, but since then the church has come in before she will be the first to receive some of the promises of the New Covenant.

    You will remember that we have already mentioned the saying of Jesus when He declared that the first (the Jews) would be last and the last (the Gentiles) would be first. This is exactly the context and meaning of that statement.

    As previously mentioned the scriptures and the Old Testament promises are clearly for the Jews but they are a mystery to the Gentiles, the church and the promises made to the church are a mystery to the Jews.

    The salvation of Israel is in no way different from how God saves others. Israel is rebellious and unbelieving, and Israel is a religious hypocrite, Israel rejects the Gospel, Israel is compromised with the world, Israel must be born again and accept Jesus as the Messiah. These conditions are absolutely different from the condition of the rest of human beings.

    The Gentiles are in the same condition and even when the Gentiles reject the Gospel and Jesus as Lord and Savior they are apostate just as Israel.

    In fact not only the Jews are guilty of the death of Jesus, but the whole world is guilty because Jesus came to save all people of the world and died for their and our sins.

    The condition of salvation by grace through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ is the same for everyone, which is why it is folly to be presumptuous and think that Israel is without remedy and without hope.

    So Paul now says that there is a predetermined number of Gentiles who must become part of the church before all Israel may be saved.

    In fact, Jesus said that the Gospel would be preached in all the world, that is, to all nations, tribes and tongues of the world prior to His return.

    Matthew 24: 11-14 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will grow cold; 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. “

    We are told in Revelation that the church will be formed by people who belong to all nations, all tribes, all languages of the world. There will then representatives of all nations, tribes and languages that will be part of Christ’s body. Before this can happen though obviously the Gospel must be preached to all. Israel we have already determined will be saved immediately before the return of Jesus.

    Let us remember that the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke are more dedicated to the Jewish Messianic aspect of the ministry of Jesus Christ, they are much more Messianic Gospels than the Gospel of John which, although it contains Messianic aspects, is written to reveal Jesus as God and Lord for everyone.

    I remind you that the Gospel of the Kingdom is a dichotomy, in other words it contains the message of universal salvation and the Gospel of the Messianic Kingdom and Jesus as the Messiah and Savior of Israel.

    So when Jesus declares that the Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world He is referring to the full Gospel, the one that contains all the promises of God even those made to the remnant of the nation of Israel.

    So then when we read Matthew 24 we understand much better or should understand better that Jesus is referring to the redemption of Israel and the context is confirmed when it is examined with the rest of the counsel of the word of God.

    Matthew 24: 15-31 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Who is on the housetop not come down to take something home; 18 and whoever is in the field not turn back to get his cloak. 19 But woe to the pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days! 20 And pray ye that your flight be not in winter or on the Sabbath, 21 for then there will be a tribulation so great, such as was not since the world’s beginning until now, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Lo, here is Christ, “or” It’s there “, do not believe him. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, even the elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 If they say to you: “Here it is in the desert”, there you go: “That is in the inner rooms, ‘do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man. 28 For wheresoever the carcass is, there the eagles be gathered. ” 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 30 And then shall appear in the sky the sign of the Son of Man; and all the nations of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

    The context shows us that what Jesus is saying is referred to the remnant of the nation of Israel.

    The fact that he mentions the desolation written by the prophet Daniel is a clear indication that even at that time, at that moment the listener could understand what He meant. Jesus as the majority of Jews knew the prophecies of Daniel, Gentiles did not. Jesus also refers previously in His speech regarding His return to those who live in Judea, in other words around Jerusalem, in that region and this reflects the prophecies of Zechariah we already have seen clearly several times, in chapters 12-13-14.

    Also the fact that Jesus mentions to pray that their flight from Judea does not happen on the Sabbath is a further indication that He refers this to Jews. We have also seen that Jesus refers to this as a demonstration of what will happen just before His return.

    The time of the persecution of Jacob that we have previously stated will be a period of three and a half years, these are the days mentioned by Jesus that will occur after the desolation of the third temple, see 2 Thessalonians 2: 3-4, which is the parallel passage of the period we are talking about in

    Matthew 24: 15-22, Daniel 9:27 and Revelation 12: 13-17 and Revelation 13.

    Jesus says that, immediately after the tribulation of Jacob, that is the great tribulation period will last three and a half years for the survival of the elect and the divine judgment on the world, after those days, He will return to save Israel.

    Throughout this period the number of the Gentiles, that is, the completion of the church will be implemented and when this number that is predetermined by God will be completed the remnant of the elect Jews will be saved as the Scriptures declare, and so all Israel will be saved.

    Now Paul says that all Israel will be saved, this is the remnant of the nation that survives and comes out of the great tribulation. This happens when the last member of the Gentile church will be saved and baptized into the body of Christ. God knows exactly when this will happen and that time will be the time when Jesus will return.

    This moment will be in conjunction with the transformation of the living Christians at that time and in conjunction with the resurrection of the dead in Christ who, and both the transformed believers and the resurrected ones will be caught up in the air to meet the Lord in the clouds, and at that moment the Lord appears and returns again landing on the Mount of Olives and will destroy His enemies and the enemies of Israel.

    This is the time of which Paul speaks here, when he says: and so all Israel will be saved as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them, when I have taken away their sins. “

    As we see this is the passage that parallels the return of Jesus as He comes to save Israel. As we clearly see this is an event that was to happen in the future time even in the time of Paul, so it cannot relate to what happened at the first coming of Jesus, which means that the covenant with them mentioned in verse 27 also if it is the New Covenant that Jesus ushered in by the birth of the church, means that God has fulfilled it also for Israel and therefore it is not yet completed.

    This means then that the New Covenant is indeed fulfilled and established by those who belonged and still belong to the church and this also included all the Jews who had converted at that time, but at that time according to what Paul says here, the New Covenant cannot be considered to be fulfilled for the remnant of the nation of Israel of which Paul is speaking. This means that the remnant of which Paul speaks, those that had been saved at that time was not and is not the full and complete remnant of the nation of Israel.

    The covenant with them has yet to be fulfilled and this will happen when Jesus returns He will save the nation will save it from destruction both physical and spiritual and as Paul says will remove sin from Jacob, that is Israel, which again, if it was only the remnant saved at that time God would have already done that at that time and it would be senseless to look for a future fulfillment. Jesus had already come once, but He did not fulfill what Paul is saying because if He did then this statement of Paul would not be possibly an event to be fulfilled in the future. It is evident that Paul is speaking about the future event that speaks of the Second coming of Jesus. This would corroborate Peter’s sermon in Acts 3:13-26.

    All this that Paul is speaking about is the completion of the Kingdom of God.

    This episode described by Paul is in fact the resurrection that is life from the dead, that’s why Paul declared previously in: Romans 11:15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead ?

    Their readmission then is the readmission of whom? Israel of course.

    But wait a minute,” someone will say: ” I thought that the remnant of Israel were the Jews who were saved during the Apostolic era and after that God has abandoned Israel and treats it like any other nation?”

    Obviously it is not so! Their acceptance is the episode of which Paul speaks now right here in verses 26 and 27. Their readmission is when for the acceptance of the Messiah Jesus, they will be born again, all the remnant of the nation will become born again.

    This is in agreement with the prophecies of Ezekiel. The new birth of Israel as described in Ezekiel 36 and 37. However, it is not only the spiritual resurrection of the nation but will also be the moment of the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the completion of the Kingdom of God. The establishment of the Messianic Kingdom called Millennium is the fulfillment of the New Covenant with Israel and the fulfillment of all the promises that God made them.

    The Savior Jesus, the Messiah will come from Zion. Zion is another name that is used to describe the city of Jerusalem. It is also the mountain where Jerusalem is, this is called Mount Zion. The crest of the mount of olives from which Jesus ascended into heaven is part of the same mount where the feet of the Messiah will stand at His return.

    This is the mount that continues east of Jerusalem but in physical distance is only about 2000 paces from Jerusalem and on which Jerusalem stands, Mount Zion is the city of David. The Messiah, the son of David, king of Israel will come to Jerusalem to save His people. This was what they expected from Jesus when he came the first time, however He will do this at His second coming.

    Acts 1: 9-12 Having spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men dressed in white stood beside them 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven. ” 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey.

    A Sabbaths day’s journey is about a mile.

    Zechariah 14: 3-4 And the Lord will come out to fight against those nations, as at other times he fought in the day of battle. 4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, forming a great valley; one half of the mountain shall remove toward the north and half of it toward the south

    The Lord will come to Jerusalem because this is the city where He will reign for 1,000 years on the throne of David in David’s city, Zion. And it’s from here that the salvation of Israel comes, see

    Isaiah 59:20 and Zechariah 12:10 and Zechariah 13: 1.

    Again we see that because the whole chapter is dedicated to the physical people of Israel, Abraham’s physical seed, now Paul will confirm that he is talking about the future remnant of Israel at the coming of Jesus Christ, that makes him say that the Messiah will come to Jerusalem to remove the iniquity of Jacob.

    As we saw above the name Jacob is synonymous with Israel and is used in the Scriptures exclusively in reference to the physical seed of Abraham. It is never reported in any way to be used as a title for the church or applied to the Gentiles who for some mysterious replacement doctrine have in some way replaced Israel in God’s salvation plan. What is described here is therefore the re-admission of Israel in the olive tree mentioned earlier by Paul.

    The words that Paul quotes here are from the promises and prophecies of Israel made in the Old Testament to that nation.

    Many times God has declared that he would make a new covenant with the nation of Israel. This New Covenant is what Jesus has set up with His death, resurrection and ascension, but again, at that time even a remnant of Israel was indeed saved and included in the church, yet the whole nation would not believe and did not turn to Messiah.

    Even after the ascension of Jesus, the New Covenant, which includes all the promises made by God to His people in ancient times was offered again to Israel, the restoration of the kingdom to Israel was still offered for a period but was still rejected even up to today, see Acts 3: 17-26.

    After that the Apostles, especially Paul, focused to go and preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, but never ceased to offer the New Covenant to the nation of Israel because the Messiah acceptance precisely meant the resurrection and eternal life and the return of Jesus to reign on earth and then to judge the world.

    Their prayer and desire was that Israel should repent and that Jesus would return, for that matter even the church prays and wishes for the return of Christ, but unfortunately does not seem interested in the conversion of Israel which is in fact a Biblical contradiction.

    As we see from the history of Israel and the world, in the year 70 AD the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed by the Romans and the people of Israel were again dispersed and evicted from the land of promise.

    For nearly two millennia Israel was dispersed among the peoples and ceased to be one united nation in the land they had occupied. As we all know and as we talked at the beginning of the study of this chapter, in 1948, God allowed them to be reconstituted as one recognized nation and returned to occupy only a sliver of land to them promised which still includes Jerusalem.

    However Jerusalem, even after their rebirth as a nation (not the spiritual rebirth), remained later occupied by Gentiles, and still to date is not the capital of Israel, God’s temple is still destroyed but Jerusalem and the temple will be built again and Jerusalem will again be the capital of Israel and Jesus will be the King who will reign in it. The savior then come out of Zion and will remove the iniquity of Jacob, and will fulfill the new covenant between Him and Israel.

    This is the mystery that the church did not know, but the church can know it if she wants to. It takes humility and great search of the Scriptures, which must be interpreted in the right way, which is why Paul warns the Gentile church not to become proud and not to be presumptuous, instead it has been and still is.

    This mystery has been revealed by the word of God. We too, like the Apostles, should pray, hope and work in the Gospel to see the salvation of Israel which means the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the transformation and glorification of believers.

    In fact, that’s why Paul says:

    Romans 11:28-32 As for the gospel, they are enemies for your sake, but because of election, they are beloved because of the fathers, 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30 For just as well as you once were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by the disobedience of these, 31 so do these also have been disobedient to the present, by the mercies of you made, also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has delivered all men to disobedience, to have mercy on all.

    So for a period determined by God Israel has become an enemy of the Gospel, this happened however, so that the Gentiles might be saved. As we have seen before God hardened most of Israel so that they were completely opposed to the work of redemption that is in Jesus Christ.

    They hated and rejected their Messiah and for the same reason they handed Him over into the hands of the Gentiles, the Romans, to be crucified. Only that, Israel did not realize that all of this, even if they wanted it was in fact exactly the result that God had intended.

    Peter explained this in detail:

    Acts 2: 22-23 Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs that God did among you through him, as you yourselves know , 23 was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, he was given into the hands of men and ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain Him.

    Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to strike him, to make him suffer. Offering his life as a sacrifice for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the LORD will prosper in his hand.

    As we see, it was the will of the Father that Jesus be put to death, that’s because without the shedding of the blood of Jesus there would be no forgiveness of sins for anyone, Hebrews 9:22.

    There would be no remission of sins of the elect of the world nor of the remnant of the nation of Israel. Israel wanted the Messiah to come and deliver them from their earthly enemies who oppressed them, whereas God wanted to save them and He wanted to save the world, that is, first of all spiritual salvation and and then physical salvation.

    However, Jesus came the first time also to fulfill the law of God and this fulfillment included His sacrifice, His death as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, in fact, so that the elect from all over the world could be saved.

    But no one can deny that God will deliver His people Israel from their earthly enemies as well but the liberation and salvation which Israel has rejected and will reject until the second coming of Messiah Jesus will be the eternal and spiritual one, in fact it will be the acceptance of this salvation that will graft back in Israel into the so-called olive tree, that is the Kingdom of God, that is God’s promises, this is the Eternal Covenant or the New Covenant spoken of in the Old Testament. For now, Israel is still outside of the eternal covenant of God and Israel has been and still is enemy of the Gospel for the Gentiles’ sake.

    Even today the Jews are enemies of the Gospel. When Jesus began His ministry they proven to be the enemies of the Gospel. They have wanted and caused the condemnation and subsequent death of Jesus, it was they who persecuted the apostles and believers in Jesus even before the Romans did. Paul himself was a zealous persecutor and largely intended on destroying the followers of the Gospel, the followers of Jesus. The Jews wanted at all costs to destroy this new way, as it was called. For them it was a heresy, for them it was a movement that was spreading lies and condemning their religion and the law of God.

    Paul, however, after he was regenerated and saved by God indeed wrote that in fact the Gospel is the confirmation and the fulfillment of the law.

    Romans 3:30 For there is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid, indeed we establish the law.

    Romans 10:4 For the end of the law is Christ for righteousness to everyone who believes.

    The end of the law is Jesus Christ, that is Jesus the only man who was able to carry out fully the divine law, so that by faith in Him righteousness to the whole divine law is fulfilled in those who believe in Him.

    This is what we have learned in:

    Romans 8:2-4 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do because it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in flesh similar to that of sin and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteousness of the law be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    Therefore it’s the law of the Spirit of life in Christ that frees us and that will also free Israel from sin and death. It was impossible and it is impossible even today and has always been impossible that the law could make righteous because it was and is and always will be impossible for any person to obey and fulfill all the divine law. So God did so by sending Jesus to do it because He is the only man who could have done it, all this is precisely so that the righteousness of God’s law might be fulfilled in everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus.

    That is why it is futile for the Jews to continue to seek their own righteousness before God by the works of the law. They continue to be enemies the Gospel as the Gospel teaches us that it is only by faith in Jesus who has fulfilled the whole law of God through whom we get the placed into a state of righteousness before God. Only by faith in the work of redemption of Jesus you can be considered justified before God.

    Israel continues instead to seek the righteousness which is by law but which in essence can not get while rejecting, even still today as then hates the gospel, because the gospel takes away their spiritual pride and also national or ethnic. The Gospel commands us to humble himself before God to make every human and religious work ineffective before God.

    The Jew, however, as most of the world, wants to earn the right standing before God through religious attempts. God however has so condemned anyone who attempts to obtain righteousness through religious works even the works that He himself had prescribed in the law of Moses.

    The righteousness of Israel was never desired by God by the works of the law but was always based on faith in God’s promises regarding the Messiah who was prophesied and symbolized in the works of the law. God has always condemned the unbelief of His people, law that has catapulted them in their attempts to be justified by the law.

    This is clearly made evident by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who in fact declares:

    Hebrews 3:7-19 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) 12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

    As we clearly understand by this text of Hebrews it is unbelief that condemns and the law itself cannot save and justify since the rites of a religion can easily be practiced without there being any real faith in God. In fact, this was and is the problem of Israel.

    In addition, it was the unbelief of Israel and what is it today? They did not believe and do not believe in Jesus Christ who is the fulfillment of the law. In fact, we have said before in the study, the only faith that God accepts is faith in Jesus Christ, because it is only through Him that we can know God only by knowing Him as Lord we know God the Father. Jesus Himself told us this in several passages:

    John 14: 7-11 If you had known me, ye should have known my Father; from now on you know and have seen him. ” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father” 9 Jesus said, “For a long time I am with you, and thou hast not known yet, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me, He doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; if not, believe because of the works themselves.

    Matthew 11:25-27 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 Yes, Father, for so it seemed good. 27 All things have been delivered to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son will reveal him.

    John 6:40 For this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone who comes to the knowledge of the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. “

    John 17:1-3 Jesus said these things, then raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son, that even the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

    Take for example these passages and we see the connection. The Father’s will is that the elect come to the knowledge of the Son to have what? Eternal life!

    Then Jesus says in John 17:3, that eternal life is what? That we know the Father and Jesus Himself.

    So by believing in Jesus Christ we automatically believe in God, the true God, the Father, this perfectly confirms Peter’s declaration which he made in:

    1 Peter 1:18-21 knowing that not with corruptible things, like silver or gold that you were redeemed from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, 20 who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God.

    In verse 21 Peter says that it is through Jesus that we believe in God who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him as God so that our faith and hope are in God. So we see that the faith that pleases God is not generic faith but a specific, it is faith in the Son that brings us to the knowledge of the true and living God. In fact it is true that if a person is not born again, and this can be only by faith in Jesus Christ, one cannot know the true and living God which means that faith, true faith is not practiced.

    That’s why Hebrews 11:6 says But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.

    Again, here we have to specify that the faith that God requires is not a generic faith in Him. God requires a specific faith in Him only through having faith in Jesus Christ. Although here in this verse of Hebrews faith seems to be generic and even humanly generated this is not the case at all and this we must know it already.

    We know that Scripture states that no one seeks God:

    Romans 3: 10-11 as it is written: “There is none righteous, not even one. 11 there is none that understands, there is none that seeketh after God.

    To believe that God is, in the context of Hebrews is in fact to believe in Jesus Christ. The entire book of Hebrews is centered on faith in Jesus Christ alone. So what seems to be a contradiction if taken out of its proper context is no longer a contradiction but a truth that must be understood in the context of the whole counsel of God regarding the subject.

    So the author of Hebrews in the epistle is telling us from the beginning of it to the end that Jesus is God, Jesus is Lord, Jesus is the Messiah and that, in fact, like the rest of Scripture shows us, we must believe in Him as such.

    By doing this one believes in God with the faith that pleases God, as the Father was pleased only in the Son and what the Son did. Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17: 5.

    So that to please God we must believe in Him in whom God is pleased, Jesus His Son. Only thus, having faith in Jesus is believing in God and only through Jesus we can seek and find God and thus receive His blessings. So God rewards those who seek Him through the Son. In fact, even the context of Hebrews 11 tells us that faith in the Old Testament was in God’s promise about the Messiah Jesus and not a generic and unrecognizable God.

    So let’s see how believing in Jesus Christ is to fulfill the law of God, which justice, as it is in Christ and because of Jesus Christ, His merits and His virtues is imputed to us by faith in Him.

    This is what Israel needs to get right in order to become part of the New Covenant in Jesus Christ, this for Israel is achievable only through grace and faith in the Messiah Jesus. That’s why they are actually enemies of the Gospel but they are also enemies of God’s law as really they do not understand it and still reject who the law represents.

    As we have studied in this chapter they were made enemies of the Gospel for our cause. This so the Gentiles could be included in the kingdom of God and in the eternal covenant in Jesus Christ by sharing in the body of Christ, the church.

    Again, at this point it is worth and necessary to repeat that if the participation of the elected Jews through the membership in the Church was sufficient to establish the kingdom of God on this earth, though as we said this is how many interpret Galatians 3: 26- 29 and as Paul also says Ephesians 2: 11-16, then the Jewish ethnicity and the Gentile one would have been in fact completely eliminated because of belonging to Christ in the church, means that Romans chapters 10 and 11 are totally unnecessary and in fact may not be supported biblically.

    As we see however, there are no contradictions in Scripture. The appearance of contradictions are there because the word of God itself is not interpreted well and is not designed lunge. As we have said several times before if Scripture is examined only superficially it does not play well then everything that we read can apparently make us believe things that are not real facts.

    The fact that Paul maintains a separation between ethnic groups when he speaks of the subject of belonging to the Kingdom of God should make us think that then Galatians 3 and Ephesians 2 does not eliminate the two ethnic groups.

    Because if there is no distinction why does Paul keep it?

    Yes, it is true that Jews and Gentiles in Christ are one man just because the one man is Christ, and we are one in His body, but only to a particular nation among all the nations of the world God has promised certain things. These things as we have said and proved by Scripture belong only to the nation of Israel who will be redeemed at the end of this age.

    Even this thing, that is the end of this age, indicates the beginning of a new era, that is the Messianic era. The return of Jesus Christ will usher in the beginning of the era that we know as the Millennium.

    If the Church had replaced Israel and the promises made by God to the physical nation of Israel were no longer valid why write this chapter? This chapter might not make any sense if the church was the one and only institution to whom God now fulfills all the promises made to Israel in the Old Covenant. If it was only necessary that the Jews become Christians as the Gentiles are, and were part of the only church in this age what would be the purpose of this chapter? If this were true the next verses would need to be eliminated.

    The remnant of the nation of Israel instead will be grafted back into the kingdom of God as part of the Eternal Covenant or the New Covenant, this is exactly the context of Romans 11. In fact Paul in the following verses confirms this fact by saying:

    but because of the election, they are beloved because of the fathers, 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

    This passage is important because it indicates that the physical nation of Israel is and remains a chosen people, the whole speech Paul makes in chapters 10-11 in fact keeps them separate from the Gentiles for the same reason.

    The Gentiles are the nations, Israel is a separate nation from the nations, otherwise God would not continue to make distinctions between them. This is of great importance in understanding the plan God has for Israel. The fact that Paul makes these differences between Israel and the other nations shows us that Paul is not speaking of the church, which is made up of elected representatives of all nations, but here Paul is speaking of a specific nation, a chosen people and this is not the church. Israel is unique in the world, and the Gentiles are a set of nations, yet Israel is unique in the world and is seen by God always as separated from the rest of the nations. The church is unique in the world but it is not a chosen nation.

    Why? Because even if God chose many elect of all nations to be part of the church, Israel remains alone a chosen people, from which there will be a remnant of elect who will be saved by grace and faith, but they always are a part of the nation of Israel. Israel is loved not because of the fact that they are righteous and good of their own but they are beloved because of the fathers.

    What does it mean beloved because of the fathers?

    They are loved by God because of God’s promises made to their fathers. This statement also separates them from discrimination. God has promised to be a blessing to all nations through the promises made to Abraham.

    The covenant made with Abraham is the covenant that holds the promise of the Messiah for Israel and the promise of the salvation of the nations. All of this is produced by the unconditional promise of God made to Abraham and his descendants in the flesh that is Israel this all for the loyalty and obedience of one Jewish man, Jesus Christ the Messiah.

    John 4:22 Ye worship what ye know not; we worship what we know; for salvation is from the Jews.

    The promises made to Israel, that is, the physical seed of Abraham in the covenant made by God with him are exclusively influenced only by the faithfulness of God, the faithfulness and truthfulness of His promises made to Abraham and to His people.

    That’s because they are irrevocable and without repentance.

    This is exactly what Hebrews explains in:

    Hebrews 6: 13-18 For when God made promises to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men well swear by one greater, and so for them the oath is a guarantee that puts an end of all strife. 17 Thus God, wanting to demonstrate more clearly to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that through two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we had a great encouragement to us, we fled for refuge to hold upon the hope set before us.

    God has sworn by no one greater because there are none greater, He swore by himself promising Abraham that He would perform what He had promised. God has shown clearly to the heirs of the promise the immutability of His counsel, because it is impossible for God to lie. God keeps promises, the promises He made to Israel are immutable, irrevocable and without repentance because God fulfills and maintains all He promises and there are no conditions on the part of any other.

    Even during the period when Israel was subject to the law of God, God said:

    Deuteronomy 4:33-38 Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? 34 Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35 Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him. 36 Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire. 37 And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt; 38 To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day.

    Deuteronomy 7:6-10 For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be his special treasure above all the peoples that are upon the face of the earth. 7 The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all peoples; 8 But because the LORD loved you and because he would keep the oath which he swore to your fathers, the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy unto thousands of them that love him and keep his commandments, 10 but it promptly to those that hate Him making them perish; He will not delay, but will promptly judge those who hate him.

    From these two passages we understand that God chose and made promises to Israel because he loved their fathers and because He has made the promises and God will never deny the promises He made. What God says He will bring it to completion. When God puts His love on someone no one and nothing will make Him lose that love. Let us remember also that the love of God is synonymous with His choice of someone. God chooses and those He chooses is why He loves them and He loves them to the end.

    Now if God loved and chose this people He will not abandon them and never will deny His promises, none of them, He made clear that He will fulfill them. Why? Because the people are faithful? No! No!Because God is faithful! Look at what the Lord says in Deuteronomy 7 verse 9.

    He says that it is He who is faithful to His covenant. At what Covenant is He referring to here? Which one the law of Moses?

    No, it refers to the promises made to Abraham. This fact can be understood from what He says at the beginning of the passage:

    The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all peoples; But because the LORD loved you and because he would keep the oath which he swore to your fathers

    So let’s see what is the oath made to their fathers, which ones? Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This oath is the covenant made with Abraham to which God has sworn by Himself, which is the covenant that has no human compliance but it is God who accomplishes it completely through Jesus Christ, this covenant as we have said includes the promise of God,the Christ and the Covenant in Him, the eternal one. This was promised to Israel and to the nations with only the fulfillment in Christ.

    Now at this point the promoters of the replacement doctrine will say:

    See it’s true then that the Jews can only obtain eternal salvation if they are in Christ and therefore must be part of the church to obtain eternal life and therefore the church has replaced Israel!”

    This statement is only true in part, only the part that says that Jews can receive eternal salvation by faith in Jesus Christ is true. This being true, it is also true though that the church may not have replaced the nation of Israel by the mere fact that promises were made to the physical nation of Israel which is a distinctly separate entity from the church.

    The point of the whole chapter we are studying it is this, that God must readmit, graft back in Israel in His kingdom. This does not happen to the Jews only through the church, this is done for the elect remnant of the nation of Israel that will repent and believe at the end of this age, at the return of Jesus and accept Jesus as the Messiah.

    This is the chosen nation to be readmitted in the Covenant of Abraham, for now the nations are grafted into the covenant in Christ through the church but when the predetermined number of elect of the nations will be fulfilled, Israel will be saved.

    This is a clear distinction, and this is the nation that will inherit the promises made to Abraham in Christ. That is why God says in Deuteronomy: Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments, but it promptly to those who hate making them perish; He will not delay, but will promptly judge to those who hate him.

    It’s true that the promoters of the replacement doctrine say when they say that God has judged his people and revoked the promises He made because they have hated and put to death Jesus their Messiah, but it is also true that God has not at all completely abandoned His people. The judgment and revocation are not permanent but they are temporary, that is, until the number of the Gentiles will be complete.

    The covenant made with Abraham and all that it includes, that is the promises made to Israel, will be fulfilled for them precisely because God says that it is He Himself who will keep His covenant made toward those who love Him and keep His commandments.

    This will be the condition of the people of Israel who repent and accept the Messiah when He returns. Of course, God has judged and is judging His apostate people which is what exists today. Then the replacement of Israel by the church if it is just temporary but not permanent. The promises made to Israel however are not for the church and are not fulfilled in the church and only get the remnant of the nation that is the remnant of which Paul is speaking in this chapter and is what Scripture clearly shows us.

    From the beginning Paul is making the point that God did not abandon His people:

    Romans 11: 1-2 I say then, has God rejected his people? God forbid, because I too am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away his people which he foreknew

    Romans 11:12 Now if their fall is the wealth of the world, and their loss the wealth of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness?

    Romans 11:13 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

    Romans 11:23-24 And they also, if they abide not in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive wild by nature, and grafted into a good olive against domestic nature, the more these people, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree.

    Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening of Israel has happened , until the fullness of the Gentiles has entered in,

    As we see all these verses show us that the judgment and the hardening of the nation of Israel is for a time and it is not permanent. Since it is not permanent it means that Israel has a real place in the Kingdom of God and that this place is separate and different from what God has done in the church.

    As Jesus declared to Israel when He said,

    ” You will not see me again until you say blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”

    That’s what I said and I repeat it is the title of Messiah and this is the declaration that Jesus is Lord.

    What Jesus is saying is confirmation along with other Scriptures that we find in Zechariah who say,

    Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” .

    God is faithful to His promises to the very end, surely Israel today is under the judgment of God, and only because it is the chosen people of God does not mean that is saved outside of Jesus Christ.

    We have said it many times, a Jew as a Gentile who die outside of Christ dies in his sins, and goes into eternal perdition.

    As Paul says, you can not be justified by the works of the law so even if religious Jews try to obey God this does not save them. In addition, they have an even bigger problem even within the law of Moses. This problem is, they cannot even offer acceptable sacrifices to God according ti their own law and and according to their own law there can be no remission of their sins, because without the shedding of blood there is no remission.

    The Jews at this time are in a state of apostasy and despair, no Messiah and no hope, but despite their apostasy and rebellion, God has not abandoned them, God will save them from all their enemies, those earthly and spiritual enemies.

    God will save them from sin and death and will fulfill all the promises He made to them, because in His magnanimous goodness and mercy, because of their election, the number of the Jewish elect will receive the promises of God in Christ.

    Scripture tells us:

    2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he can not deny himself.

    So if God has made a promise that depends only on His faithfulness and not on man’s faithfulness it means that God cannot deny Himself and God will somehow fulfill His promises, He will do so, giving the remnant of Israel grace through His sovereign election, all the promises made by Him.

    That is why Paul can now say:

    30 For just as well as you once were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by the disobedience of these, 31 so these also have been disobedient to the present, by the mercies made to you, they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has consigned all men to disobedience, to have mercy on all.

    Now Paul says that the Gentiles were once disobedient to God, and not that the Gentiles were or are exempt from divine judgment. Even if they do not believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins they will be judged. That is why from the beginning of this epistle Paul made it clear that all, both Jews and Gentiles are disobedient to God and are subject to sin and therefore to divine judgment.

    Romans 3:9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all! We have previously charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;

    Romans 3:19 And we know that everything the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be silenced and all the world be guilty before God.

    Romans 3:21-23 But now without the law is manifested God’s justice, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe because there is no distinction; 23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,

    Clearly Paul is not saying, as we made clear in Romans 3:9, that the Jew because he is a Jew, is not subject to the same conditions under which God submits the Gentiles regarding sin.

    Paul has shown us that in fact precisely there is no distinction, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and by the works of the law no one can be justified.

    Paul declares that the Gentiles were once disobedient, but it is not true that many Gentiles were and still are unbelieving? Certainly! Of course! The point that Paul is making is very important with respect to the context that we are studying, that is, Israel. Why? Because this statement by Paul is in conjunction with what he had previously stated:

    Romans 11:19-25 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed 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. 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. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? 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.

    Paul does not explain that a Gentile believer can fall from their faith if he already believed. We have seen that this passage in short means that the Gentiles, the nations, were and still are receiving the favor of grace, mercy and God’s salvation through the Gospel, it means that the Gentiles will be saved as long as the grace of God will be upon them, until they believe they are grafted into God’s salvation program but if and when they become hardened will become apostates and will gradually cut them off just as has happened to Israel.

    The Gentiles in the world are continuing to receive God’s salvation while Israel instead remains in apostasy and unbelief. This will continue to be as long as Israel remains incredulous and until the number foreordained by God of the Gentiles come to faith and become obedient to the Gospel.

    Paul warns the Gentiles, that is, the nations that if they become hardened over time and begin to be incredulous God will cut them off as well, that He will make them infertile in the faith as he did with Israel. This is happening today at an alarming rate in the nations that have lived in the light of the Gospel for a long time but now are becoming unbelieving and apostate. God is cutting them off, but as soon as the number of preordained elect of the nations is completed, at that point God will turn again to have mercy on Israel and readmit the remnant of the nation in His Kingdom, this is the salvation of Israel, the re-admission of Israel in the New Covenant in Christ.

    So, Paul says that for now precisely the nations are getting mercy for disobedience of Israel, so Israel at present is so disobedient, for mercy made to the Gentiles also may obtain mercy.

    So that by the mercy made to the nations they may also obtain mercy.

    It is not because of anti-Semitic sentiments and hatred that Israel will be saved but by the compassion and mercy of those who have received mercy, that is, the Gentile church.

    What a serious sin the Roman religion has caused with its feelings of hatred towards the chosen people of God. It is a serious sin to hate those who God loves. The church was and is called to preach the Gospel to the Jews to bring salvation to this people. So far both the Roman religion as a false church which it is and sadly and unfortunately also the Reformed Church has maintained an anti-Semitic sentiment and this prevented from preaching the Gospel to Israel. In fact, they have sown a false doctrine that has caused a large part of the evangelical church to become proud and to become conceited and to really hate the Jewish people and side with those who hate them.

    However, there will come a time, the time of Jacob’s trouble, that is, the tribulation and the great tribulation, seven years of suffering and persecution of the Jews as there never was before. This is the period of which Jesus warned His apostles:

    Matthew 24: 15-22 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Who is on the housetop not come down to take something home; 18 and whoever is in the field not turn back to get his cloak. 19 But woe to the pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days! 20 And pray ye that your flight be not in winter or on the Sabbath, 21 for then there will be a tribulation so great, such as was not since the world’s beginning until now, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

    So far, the church has failed in the mission to evangelize Israel. But there will come a time when God will raise up a large number of evangelists who will devote themselves to the salvation of Israel.

    I believe that Scripture shows us that this army of evangelists who will bring salvation to Israel will be a large group of Jewish converts.

    I firmly believe that the reason why God gives us a description of the 144000 and the two witnesses of Revelation 11 is to describe the preaching of salvation to Israel.

    As we said before, the conditions of salvation must be the Gospel and it will be preached to Israel and even if they believe when they see Jesus return, still they will believe because of the Gospel that is preached to them during the Tribulation.

    Revelation 7:3-8 says, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the front of the servants of our God.” 4 Then I heard the number of those who had been marked: four thousand of all the tribes of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand; the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand; 6 of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand; of the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand; 7 of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand; the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand; of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand; 8 of the tribe of Zebulun were sealed twelve thousand; the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand; of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

    144000, this army is not symbolic, it is real and it is formed by 12,000 men of each tribe of Israel. This cannot be interpreted in any other way than in a literal way in which it is exposed. If the Church had replaced Israel in God’s plan, if the church was a spiritual or symbolic Israel, what good would be to describe these details with such precision that these sealed, that these servants of God are precisely 12,000 men of each tribe of Israel? As we see here too there is a great inconsistency with the doctrine of substitution. It is undoubtedly a passage that eliminates the possibility of the replacement of Israel by the church.

    Some people speculate and say that this is the remnant of Israel who will be saved. Could this be a possibility? Let’s see’!

    How many Jews live in Israel today? Since the last update of the Jewish population in Israel, in January 2016, the number of Jews living in the nation of Israel is six million three hundred and thirty-five thousand.

    According to the prophecy of Zechariah 12:8-9 two-thirds of the Jewish population in Israel will be wiped out and a third will be saved. So according to the numbers we have today a third of the population would be two million eleven thousand and twelve, not 144,000.

    If we consider that the Lord is attracting more and more Jews in Israel then surely the number will increase even more, and a third will be even more and thus the saved remnant may not be the 144,000.

    So what would be the reason that God will seal 144,000 12,000 of each tribe of Israel if they are not the saved the remnant of Israel?

    It then becomes obvious that these 144,000 Israelites must have a specific assignment during this time of tribulation.

    Scripture does not give us a clear explanation, but as always the Scripture is not an incomprehensible mystery. God gives us the explanation of what is revealed in Scripture if we commit ourselves to find the answer. If God wrote and revealed something then God gives us the explanation.

    It’s up to us to find it by interpreting the word of God in the right way according to the context it presents.

    As we have seen so far in this chapter a few things are clear that may help us understand why God has chosen and sealed the 144,000 and what their job will be.

    Some teach that these 144,000 are evidence that the church is already at that point raptured and is no longer in the world and this is why God had to choose Jewish believers to preach the Gospel.

    This could be true only if the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture was valid. Interpreting the word of God in the right way, however, we understand that the rapture will happen at the one and only visible return of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15: 51-55 this is the same event that is described in

    1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17 and these passages do not support a secret or invisible rapture of the church.

    Scripture gives us evidence of a single and unique and visible return of Jesus Christ, who tells us that every eye shall see him.

    Revelation 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn because of him. Yes, amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, ‘says the Lord,” who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. “

    Even Jesus confirms that His coming is visible for everyone and it is one event:

    Matthew 24: 29-31 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 30 And then shall appear in the sky the sign of the Son of Man; and all the nations of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

    Jesus also warned that during the period before His return we must be careful not to believe news of His coming or His presence being invisible or hidden when he said:

    Matthew 24: 21-28 For then shall be great tribulation such as there never was from the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Lo, here is Christ, “or” It’s there “, do not believe him. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, even the elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 If they say to you: “Here it is in the desert”, there you go: “That is in the secret rooms, do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son man. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there the eagles be gathered. “

    Here Jesus is telling us that His coming is not going to be in secret and mysterious but that it will be a recognizable event and here Jesus is describing in fact the great tribulation period that will be especially for the people of Israel, and even here He tells us some very useful things for the understanding and the description of His coming.

    In verse 26 Jesus says not to believe those who say that He is present in secrecy but instead what He says in verse 28, confirms exactly when He will come, this is exactly quite perfectly parallel language with:

    Revelation 19: 11-21 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and he judges and makes war in righteousness. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many diadems, and he had a name written that no one knows except him; 13 He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called “The Word of God.” 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword to strike the nations with it; He will rule with a rod of iron, and he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And on his robe and on his thigh a name is written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice, saying to all the birds flying in mid-heaven, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains , the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, small and great. ” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword that came from the mouth of him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

    As we see what Jesus says in Matthew 24 is in short what is described in Revelation 19 about His coming. Where the eagles gather and where the carcass is, is exactly the description of what happens when He returns which is well described in greater detail in Revelation 19:17-21 which we just saw.

    So we have established that at the return of Jesus Christ, the church will still be here because the rapture of believers is synonymous with the return of Jesus as we see it is one coming and it’s visible and not secret and invisible.

    So who are the 144,000?

    As we also mentioned at the end of the chapter 10 study on this subject, Paul warned also in Romans 11 the Gentile church not to become conceited and not to think that now God had forsaken His chosen people, and that He had given the Gentile church exclusives of His promises and blessings to it alone.

    This is in fact the direct context of chapter 11. Paul told the Gentile church that God has not finished with Israel, God will include again the remnant of the nation of Israel saved by grace and sovereign election by faith in Christ the Messiah.

    Paul in essence said to the Gentile church to be the instrument through which God wants to evangelize His people.

    In fact this is the meaning of what Paul wrote: so do these also to the present have been disobedient in order that, by the mercy to you made, also may obtain mercy.

    As we see so far the church has stubbornly and proudly not want to be the divine instrument for the salvation of Israel precisely because, as Paul warned not to do, she has done and is doing, the church has become presumptuous.

    Most of the church decided to ignore God’s divine mandate to show mercy to the chosen people, why? Because now the church believes that she is the one and only chosen people, and that in fact God has replaced Israel with the church.

    So according to this strange and erroneous doctrine as we said we should completely eliminate from the Bible chapter 11 of Romans because otherwise this chapter would serve no purpose or reason to exist.

    Then one can get to the fairly obvious and clear conclusion that in the future times, those immediately preceding the return of Jesus, the church will not be absent from the world, but instead most likely wll be greatly persecuted and will have to go into a state of underground existence. This means that it can not, therefore, and especially evangelize the nation of Israel because it will not have physical access to the nation of Israel.

    Antichrist will ensure that both Israel and the church are isolated and persecuted, see Revelation 12, so only those who will already be in the land of Israel will have access to the people who will be living in it.

    In fact, the 144,000 are sealed by God and will have access to the nation of Israel as no one else can have, these are Jewish believers especially chosen to bring the good news of the Gospel to the nation, as are also the two witnesses who will preach in Jerusalem and will be witness of the nation of Israel, see Revelation 11.

    This in essence will be as if God had completed a real circle of His plan of salvation. God chose a pagan, Abraham, turned him into a chosen people, Israel, to whom as people and nation, donated all his revelations.

    Through this people, God has blessed the nations sending the Lord, the Savior, the Messiah also a Jew in the flesh. He has trained His body the church with which He has brought and is bringing salvation to all nations.

    Even though the church had an entirely Jewish beginning it will therefore also have an entirely Jewish ending in the sense that, as the church started, so God will complete His salvation. The beginning and the end of the church will be Jewish. God began with a pagan and ended with the Jews who are still derived from pagan Abraham that God has chosen to bless the world.

    So it is clear that the 144,000 are Jews and are obviously believers in Jesus. The will have to be the ones who preach the Gospel to the nation of Israel, which remnant, by the preaching of the 144,000 will be converted at the coming of the Messiah.

    This may be the only obvious position and assignment that the 144,000 can have, there would be no other reason for which God has chosen them.

    Now many will say, ” but the Scripture does not say this explicitly, so it goes beyond what is written.”

    It seems to be so but it is not true in this case, why? Because we must understand that the 144,000 are in fact Jewish believers and therefore they are still part of the church, the body of Christ.

    This means that the church was is and will always be the instrument through which Israel will be evangelized, only in this case it will be again an entirely Jewish church as it was the day of Pentecost and this has to be the order as God designed it to be.

    That’s why we can take information from the second part of Joel’s prophecy which Peter preached in Acts 2.

    Acts 2: 18-21 In those days pour out my Spirit on my servants and on My maidservants, and they will prophesy . I will show wonders in heaven above and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved ” .

    This passage has not been fulfilled in the days of the Apostles so it is obvious that Joel is speaking about a future period. The period here is obviously the period that immediately precedes the return of Jesus Christ. Note the word used servants,the same is used to describe the 144000 as it is here in Joel’s prophecy. Now for most of the Epistles Gentile believers have been addressed with other words, brothers, children of God, saints but almost never as servants. however, the term servant for the most part has always been used in relation to Jews. Only a clarification of the term that is used in line with the use referenced to the 144000.

    The period described in Joel is in fact the period described by Jesus:

    Matthew 24: 29-31 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 30 And then shall appear in the sky the sign of the Son of Man; and all the nations of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

    This period and signs described by Jesus is the same period and signs that Joel describes in his prophecy.

    What Joel prophesied is what Jesus says and it is the description of what happens which is also described in the book of Revelation:

    Revelation 6: 12-17 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal; and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, as a fig tree shaken by a high wind drops its unripe figs. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great, the rich, Captains, the powerful, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 because it came the great day of his wrath; and who can stand? “.

    See also Revelation 9:2-4.

    When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost the church was entirely Jewish, and the parenthesis of the Gentile church for centuries has brought the Gospel to the nations. The Gentile church was called by God to be the vehicle by which salvation would come again to Israel.

    The Gentile church has greatly failed in this task, but not completely, she has failed in part, she has not obeyed God in the sense that she did not and will not bring the Gospel to the remnant of the nation of Israel, in essence, however through the Gentile church the 144,000 will receive salvation as they will believe in the Messiah.

    Many think that the 144,000 may come from the Christian Messianic movement. This could be very credible and will probably be so. So that the Gentile church in a sense has nonetheless still contributed to the salvation of Israel.

    I think it’s a beautiful plan of God, which led the church from a Jewish origin to a Jewish ending through which He has, and will have fully accomplished His will and the Gentile church will have preached the Gospel to the nations and through it the 144000 will come to faith and they will complete the plan of salvation of God in the last days.

    Israel in effect will be saved in the end because a segment of the evangelical church obeyed God and loved God’s chosen people and preached the Gospel to them and through whom God will seal the 144,000 Jewish evangelists of the last days.

    We see then that in spite of the disobedience to God and even hatred or indifference that a large part of the church has had toward the Jewish people, a part of the church has understood God’s plan and God has guided it in His will and in obedience. We see that God is all powerful and that always fulfills His will, He does so even if the majority of His Church is disobedient.

    This teaches us that God is completely sovereign, and that even if we are disobedient, He always raises some who are obedient and do His will.

    This is another reason why the doctrine of free will is fallacious. This teaches us that what God does and can do is not limited by obedience of the people and their choices. This teaches us that it’s not true that if man does not choose to obey God does not work.

    Some teach that if and when the church does not evangelize people who are perishing go to hell because the church has not done what she had to do. This is actually a blasphemy against God and His attributes and it’s a lie.

    But God is not limited by any disobedience of man since God is completely sovereign and God is faithful to what He promises and claims. If God declares that all the elect will be saved and He would not lose any of His elect and that He will make them rise on the last day, this means then that nothing and no one can prevent God to do what He wills.

    No elect will be lost, no elected will go into perdition, all the elect will be saved, notwithstanding the partial disobedience and apathy of the majority of the church. If the church does not go to the elect, God will send the elect to the church. God has no problems with the fulfillment of His will and God is not limited by any man and by no angel, the fact remains that in any way, God will not save anyone if not for the preaching of the Gospel.

    We have already seen and studied this subject there is no need to repeat it, we know that Scripture in the words of Jesus and the Apostles clearly support the doctrine of sovereign election or predestination. We know that Jesus and the Apostles not only believed in this doctrine but taught it.

    Paul says now that God has consigned all men to disobedience so that He might have mercy on all.

    This means that everyone, both the Gentiles that is, the people who form the nations and the Jews who form Israel are all sinners, all without exception are locked up, prisoners of sin in their nature and they all need the mercy and grace of God.

    Salvation is only by the grace of God by His sovereign election and His will. God will reach all the elect of all nations, He will even reach the remnant of the nation of Israel, because God has decreed that He wants to save the world, or rather, the elect both Gentile and Jewish of the world.

    All these are the reasons ultimately causing Paul to exclaim what he says in the following verses:

    33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? 35 Or who has first given to him, so that it has to receive the reward? “. 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.

    Here Paul gives praise to God for the riches of God, in His wisdom, the wisdom of God and the knowledge of God.

    Paul finds that in the plan of God’s salvation, God demonstrates His riches, His wisdom and His knowledge. These are divine attributes that are evident when we examine the prominence of God’s redemptive plan. These are profound things, in other words, things that cannot be recognized through an understanding of God that is only superficial.

    The plan and God’s redemptive plan must be seen and understood in its depth as well as we have to understand and know God in a personal and profound way rather than in a superficial way.

    This is really a big problem in the church and in the lives of many believers. The Holy Spirit, however, investigates the depths of God and reveals them to the church, if and when one wants to receive from God His truth:

    1 Corinthians 2: 9-10 But as it is written: “What eye has not seen nor ear has heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

    So there are two reasons why people do not receive the deeper revelations of God through the Holy Spirit.

    The first reason is spiritual pride and religion, and the second is not being born again, as Paul says later in this same passage:

    1 Corinthians 2:12-14 Now we have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that are freely given by God. 13 Of these we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but taught by the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    So even now Paul in Romans 11 tells us in the form of a praise, that God has given us the knowledge of His riches, the proof of His wisdom and His knowledge in the world’s redemptive plan, He gave it through His word and the revelation it taught us by the Holy Spirit.

    The riches of God are all that God has given us and will give us in His salvation. The first and greatest riches that God has given us is His only begotten Son, by which gave us grace for salvation.

    John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld his glory, the glory of the Father, full of grace and truth.

    Salvation, the grace of God and the truth of God have been abundantly given to us by God in the person of Jesus Christ.

    Titus 2:11 For the saving grace of God has appeared to all men

    The saving grace of God has appeared to all in the person of Jesus Christ and as always well says Paul in Tito in the next chapter:

    Titus 3: 4-7 But when the kindness of God our Savior, and his love for men appeared, 5 he saved us not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs of eternal life, according to the hope we have.

    As we see the grace of God was given to us in the person of Jesus for our salvation and was spread abundantly over the elect by the Holy Spirit to always justified by the grace of God in Jesus we might be made heirs of eternal life. Eternal life is the deep richness of God to undeserving sinners.

    This is the depth of the riches of God, in fact, the wealth of eternal life is in fact where we attain the complete knowledge of who God is:

    John 17: 1-3 Jesus said these things, then raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son, that even the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

    There is not and there can be no other wealth in the world if one does not have God and belongs to Him.

    As God said to Abraham, that was already the owner of great material wealth:

    Genesis 15: 1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying: “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”

    In fact the exact and literal translation of this passage should be this:

    Fear not Abram I am thy shield, and thy inheritance, or your great reward.”

    God was telling Abraham that He was the protection and the provision of all that Abraham needed, namely that God is the wealth that is greater than any wealth that may be in the world.

    That is why Jesus said:

    Luke 9: 23-25 He said to them all, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 In fact, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his soul?

    So if we have God’s salvation, if we belong to God and God belongs to us we have the greatest wealth in the universe. Who is richer than God? What can be comparable to Him? No one and nothing.

    The Psalmist in Psalm 73 in fact declares:

    Psalm 73: 23-26 Yet I am always with you; thou hast taken by the right hand; 24 you guide me with your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?

    And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

    The context of Psalm 73 in fact speaks of the futility of those who are wealthy but don’t belong to God, it’s the realization of the Psalmist to not be envious of the wealthy who do not know God because they have nothing.

    Paul inspired by the wonder of the thoughts He has for God then mentions the wisdom and knowledge of God.

    How wise and knowing God is! God is omniscient, He knows everything, knows all, nothing and no one takes Him by surprise.

    There is a human thought which turns into a blasphemous doctrine that deprives God of His attributes, if I may say so, because no one can in reality deprive God of anything, but still, this false doctrine paints a portrait of the person of God that is false.

    In fact this doctrine is the doctrine of human free will which teaches that God is limited or rather that God restricts Himself to intervene when and if man opposes His will. In this doctrine, God cannot save such a person if that person does not believe in Jesus and reject the Gospel while saving with pleasure a person, no one knows why, instead who believes in Jesus and wants to receive the salvation offered to them. Please note, I said that this doctrine teaches that God cannot save a person. How is that God cannot? God can do anything He wants and nothing is impossible for Him.

    Indeed, the truth is that no man wants or can believe in Jesus! However, God wants and therefore will actually save only those who do not want and cannot be saved because the word of God tells us that no one is righteous and no one seeks God and everyone without exception is dead in sin and is a child of God’s wrath according to nature.

    No one really in their own human sinful nature wants to be saved at all! If it were not for God who wants to save some and intervenes to save people who otherwise would not be if left to themselves, they would go into perdition voluntarily and happily.

    So we see this doctrine insults God and makes Him helpless before the human will and human choice. This then might as well be applied to Satan and his angels meaning that God somehow and for some reason would be forced to give the victory to Satan and this would mean that Satan could oppose the will of God and actually win.

    These are evil doctrines that exalt humans and Satan and diminish God, in fact, part of this doctrine goes on to say that not only God must bow down to man and reward human decisions when a person accepts Jesus and the Gospel, but also that He is powerless to be able to keep people in a state of salvation. In this doctrine people would eventually have to remain saved because of their own efforts and once again end up deserving to be saved because they rescued themselves.

    These are blasphemies and blasphemous thoughts and lying doctrines. It’s instead humans and angels including Satan which must bow to the will of God, it is the will of man who submits to the will of God, not God to the human will, the human free will is not sovereign, God is sovereign and it is God that enables the human to respond to His will.

    The will of man is not free at all. Every human being is enslaved and not morally and ethically free. Man is a slave of his own sinful nature and a slave to Satan. The free will of every man responds only to his own sinful nature and to the will of their father the devil and it cannot and does not want to, if not for the intervention of God’s will, respond positively to the will of God.

    If we just think that born again believers often have difficulties in obeying God, let alone who is not born again. It’s really a heresy to believe that a person who is not born again can or will submit voluntarily to the will of God and obey Him.

    Romans 8: 5-9 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 In fact, the carnally minded is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 Therefore the mind controlled by the flesh is hostile to God, it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. 8 So those who are in the flesh can not please God. 9 But if the Spirit of God dwells in you, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him.

    But God is sovereign 100% and everything and everyone has to bow down and obey His will. Satan and his angels can never do anything if God does not allow them. That is made evident in many passages. Man and Satan can never do anything if they are not allowed by God.

    The most obvious passage of the Lordship and Sovereignty of God on Satan is found in Job chapter one and two, but they are not the only ones.

    God is sovereign, it is obvious that God always intervenes to carry out His will, which is always benevolent towards those elected to salvation, see Romans 8:28, this promises us that everything works for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

    It’s further obvious then, that those who are not elected and do not belong to God, for them, nothing works for their own good, so then you have people around the world who serve Satan, even if they do not consciously know it. Nevertheless these belong to Satan and do his will that’s why evil exists in the world, as long as there is sin in the world, as long as there are sinners serving Satan there will be evil in the world, the more servants of Satan there are the more evil there will be, but since God is sovereign it is He who still restrains and contains evil and prevents it from being completely and totally out of control and this it can only be done by an omnipotent, omniscient and sovereign God.

    God is never caught off guard because God knows what happens even before it happens. In God’s plan there is no plan A and a plan B that he must implement in a hurry to try to subvert an enemy surprise attack. There is only one plan, God’s! There is no plan B with God. He does not need plan B.

    His wisdom and knowledge together with His omnipotence, the fact that He is all knowing and His sovereignty place Him in the position of superiority above every creature so much so that no creature can ever subvert or supplant His will and purpose.

    There is a beautiful passage, in fact a whole Psalm which gives us the idea of God’s sovereignty, omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence:

    Psalm 139 Lord, you have examined me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise, you understand my thoughts from afar. 3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue, thou, LORD, knowest it altogether. 5 You hem me in, you’re in front and behind, and place your hand on me. 6 The knowledge that you have of me is wonderful, too high for me to attain. 7 Where do I go from your Spirit, whither shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, thou art there; if I go down into Sheol, there you are. 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost depth of the sea, 10 even there your hand will lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 that darkness can not hide anything and night for you is as clear as day; Darkness and light are the same to you. 13 For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, and in thy book they were all written the days that were intended for me, when as yet there was none of them. 17 Oh, how precious are your thoughts to me O God! how great they are! 18 If I would count them, they outnumber the sand; When I awake, I am still with you. 19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God; therefore, depart from me bloodthirsty men. 20 For Your enemies they speak against thee wickedly and make use of your name to support their lies. 21 LORD, do I not hate those who hate you,? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them mine enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. 24 See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

    Even as David was, Paul is now inspired by the wonder of God’s attributes, also David says in verse 14 how wonderful are the works of God. Even David flows with praise into the depths of God and acknowledges that God knows everything and everyone, God knows everything, so it is true that God knows the thoughts of everyone, He also knows the words that a person will say even before they do. God knows the entire contents of each person’s life. For David said of all his days, our days, God knew us even before they were and then David remains in a state of wonder and awe and exclaims Oh, how I precious are your thoughts, O God! How great they are! 18 If I would count them, they are more numerous than the sand.

    These exclamations of David are comparable for the exact same reasons as Paul says in the passage we are studying.

    Paul continues now saying:

    How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For “who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? 35 Or who has given him something first,

    so as to be repaid? “

    Here Paul echoes the very words of the Lord in Isaiah 55 : 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” says the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    God does not think as men think, in fact, God does not even think how some believers do, God’s ways are different from those of man, this is because man has immense difficulties in understanding God and how God works. The thoughts and ways of God are indeed incomprehensible to the natural man, that is, the man who is not born of the Spirit of God, in fact, God’s thoughts and His ways are also often misunderstood even to born-again believers, this happens for a variety of reasons.

    But the natural man Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 2 can not understand the thoughts of God and His ways.

    1 Corinthians 2: 10-16 But as it is written: “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” To us God has revealed them through the Spirit: for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the things of a man except the spirit of man which is in him ? So no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, to know the things that God has given unto us; 13 also we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual things. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man, however, judges all things and he himself is judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? ‘ Now we have the mind of Christ.

    This passage is in a sense the answer of the questions that Paul asks in Romans 11, in fact, in verse 16 of 1 Corinthians 2 Paul quotes Scripture itself and asks the same question he uses in Romans 11.

    The human eye could never see, the human ear has never heard nor ever did it arise in the human heart the things God has prepared for the elect.

    Here Paul tells us in the beginning verse 10. Many use this verse to explain things we can not understand or better that are difficult to understand. This verse is so often used to justify the fact that we do not know all the things that God has prepared for us in eternity. While it is true that we do not know all that God has prepared for us in eternity, this is not what this verse is saying.

    If we take and apply this verse out of context it might appear that this fact is directly connected to the things that are hard to understand or that we may not know.

    Instead if we interpret the verse exactly in its proper context, in fact, Paul tells us that God has revealed them instead through the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who actually reveals to us the deep things of God because it is He who reveals them and explains them. In fact, Paul tells us that it is the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit who knows the things of God and reveals them. How does He reveal them? By osmosis like some like to think? No! No! Through the proper understanding of the revelations that God has given us in His word through His Spirit.

    This next Scripture itself tells us that it is so. Jesus said this to His Apostles:

    John 16:12 -15 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

    This was said by Jesus to His Apostles to explain to them and us that it was the Holy Spirit who would guide them into all of God’s truth because He would take the revelations of God and would announce them to them. They were announced by the Spirit and they have been written for us, so that we could have the same revelations that they received from God.

    The Spirit then truly investigated the deep things of God and has revealed them unto us by Him and through the apostles and prophets of those days. These are the things Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 2, these are the things that the Spirit has revealed to us in the New Testament writings.

    Scripture, especially the New Testament are the new revelations and the explanations of ancient revelations that God has given us to understand inspired by His Spirit.

    I hope that at this point of the study, we realize that only the apostles and prophets who have put in writing to us the Scriptures of the New Testament are the ones that Jesus spoke of in John 16.

    However it is true that the Spirit of God from the interpretation and right understanding of the Scriptures, has given us the revelations of God, which are the ones that Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 2. Let us remember that only the apostles and prophets of that period are the foundation of the church and the foundation are the sound doctrines which were written for us today. There are none added after these revelations.

    These things, are the things revealed to us by God are therefore understood only through the Spirit, that is true even today.

    This is what Paul says when he says to us God has revealed them through the Spirit: for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the things of a man except the spirit of man which is in him? So no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, to know the things that God has given unto us; 13 also we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual things.

    These are things that are accessible to all who are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God, so that to understand the things of God one must have the teaching and guidance of the Spirit of God. This is indeed the meaning of:

    1 John 2:27 But as for you, the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and is no lie, abide in him as it has taught you.

    The anointing that every born-again believer has is the Spirit of God which dwells in us, so that nobody else can confuse us and teach us false doctrines because the Spirit guides us in the understanding of sound apostolic doctrines.

    So it’s true what Paul says, these spiritual things are not things we can learn from the world, nor by school education, nor by science but only through the word of God and the Holy Spirit. In fact, Paul says the man who has not the Spirit of God that teaches and guides them in the word of God cannot understand the things of God because for the natural man spiritual things are foolishness, they are actually incomprehensible because they are discerned by the Spirit, they are understood only if the Spirit helps us to understand, in fact the Spirit of God is our teacher in the word of God.

    Now because one has the Spirit of God does not mean that the Christian does not need to be taught by teachers of the word of God, in fact the problem in the church is that there are many false teachers who deceive even true born again believers because when one remains under false doctrines for a long time possibly even if the Spirit signals that the doctrines are false, most believers follow their carnal and human desires and therefore believe in the lies rather than the truth and persist in standing under false teachings there is a real brainwashing that leads to ultimately believe in a lie instead of the truth.

    However, all this to say that one can understand what God put in writing and what God has revealed to us, we can understand through the Holy Spirit, in fact Paul is in 1 Corinthians 2 and in Romans 11:34 quotes a Scripture from Isaiah 40: 13-14.

    The question that Paul and Isaiah put it: “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?

    The answer is obviously no, but instead it is He who makes known to us His thoughts and He is our counselor. No one can know His thoughts except that the Holy Spirit precisely instruct us about them.

    In fact Paul also says in: 1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord for he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

    Now we understand that believers have the Spirit of God who reveals to us the mind of Christ and then we can know God’s thoughts because He makes them known to us. It is therefore impossible to know the thoughts of God for those who do not have the Spirit and therefore do not have the mind of Christ.

    In fact Paul then continued to quote the Old Testament Scripture says:

    35 Or who has given to him first, so as to receive the reward? “.

    No one has given anything to God, for there is nothing anyone can give Him so no one can receive a reward from Him either. This passage is from Job 35:7 and 41:11, and the answer we know it well now. No one can give anything to God, it is God who gives us grace and mercy and grants us salvation in Jesus Christ. Even the blessings we receive after salvation are not a reward but they are by grace, the mercies that God bestows upon us are not rewards, if anything if God has given a reward to someone He gave it to His Son Jesus Christ and not to us.

    Isaiah 53:10-12 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

    As we see the reward, the prize God has given it to His Son for what He has done and for what He has suffered. The irony of this is that God does not give men a reward but instead God gives men as a reward to Jesus, the elect of the nations and the elect of the nation of Israel. In fact, this speech perfectly back up when we read the following passages:

    John 6: 37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will never drive away;

    John 6:39 This is the will of him that sent me: that I should lose none of those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.

    John 17: 1-2 Jesus said these things; then he raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him.

    As we see from the passages just read and what Isaiah says, the reward that God has given to Jesus are the elect Gentiles and Jews for whom Jesus died, the redeemed from all over the world are the reward given to Jesus, our salvation not our reward, but a reward for what Jesus has done and His legacy are the elect. Our salvation, so it is completely undeserved by us but deserved by Jesus, the reward goes to Him.

    So this also contradicts the Arminian doctrine of salvation by human choice and free will. This doctrine decrees in effect that God gives salvation as a reward, a reward for the faith that a person practices, a reward for choosing Jesus when the person is put before the Gospel. This is wrong, God does not give His salvation as a reward otherwise salvation would not be by grace but by works. Only works can earn a reward or a pay.

    The only thing that we can bring to God are our sins, our sinfulness, our brokenness and nothing else.

    There’s a Psalm that helps us understand that man can not give anything to God to receive from God any reward.

    Psalms 49: 6-12 They have confidence in their wealth and boast of their great wealth, 7 but no man can redeem his brother, nor pay to God the price of his redemption. 8 The ransom of his soul is too high, and the money will always be insufficient, 9 because it cannot live forever, and avoid seeing the tomb. 10 In fact, the wise will die; the foolish and the ignorant will perish and all leave to others their wealth. 11 They think that their houses will last forever and that their houses are eternal; therefore they lend their name to the lands. 12 But also are held in high honor, man does not last; he is like the beasts that perish.

    As we see no human wealth, nothing a man possesses can be enough to offer to God for what He has not the redemption of the soul. The price to pay for a soul is too high, and only Jesus, the only begotten Son of God was able to sufficiently pay the price for the redemption of the souls of the elect who are His reward given Him by God the Father.

    We see that the promoters and believers of the Arminian doctrine in the end believe in salvation by works although they deny it, instead at the root of their doctrine that is what they believe. They believe that God rewards a person for believing and choosing Jesus. They believe that salvation is by grace but they consider faith a human work and that God rewards those who believe by giving them salvation because of their right choice; and not only that, many of them also believe that a believer may lose the reward of salvation unless it is maintained by human efforts and that God finally has to reward only those who faithfully keep themselves saved. They deny salvation by works but in fact they believe in salvation by works, and that salvation is a reward for their own works.

    This my friends is another gospel and it is a heresy, unfortunately most of the Evangelical Church today believes in this gospel indeed this is even the subtle change of the false gospel of the Roman religion. Yes Jesus is historically the same Jesus but the theological content of their gospel is different from that of Jesus and the Apostles.

    That’s why then it was easier to also to present a different spirit, which is then passed as the Holy Spirit. Today in most of the church a different gospel is preached and believed and a different spirit reigns rather than the Holy Spirit and many are deceived.

    In fact, after Paul states no one can give God anything to receive a reward in return, he then rightly says:

    36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen. Amen.

    Here is the conclusion, not only the conclusion of Chapter 11 but the conclusion of the will and motivation of God. The reason is that it is from God that every good thing proceeds, only through Him and for Him all things exist and were created.

    There is also a passage in Revelation 4, which describes part of the praise that is given to God in heaven and it says:

    Revelation 4: 10-11 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and by your will they were created and exist. “

    It is God who created all things by His will and for His glory and for His honor and power all things were created.

    These things that both Paul and John wrote are the description of the main reason for which God has made all things by His will. God did so solely to receive glory and honor and demonstrate His power.

    Everything reveals the glory of God, the honor goes only to God and it is His power that fulfills His perfect will.

    That’s why we cannot intrude by any human attempt in the plan of God. The only human interference in the plan of God are two, one negative and the other positive. The independent human interference in God’s plan caused sin and death, the only positive human interference was in fact generated by God in the person of Jesus Christ, which is indeed a man but He is a perfect man without sin and not only but also completely and fully God.

    So no human thing outside of Jesus Christ can be anything but actually it deprives of the glory of God that’s why Romans 3: 23-24 says: 23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God – 24 but are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

    Thus we see that man outside of the redemption in Jesus Christ is totally devoid of the glory of God and therefore cannot glorify God. So we see that only redeemed and justified men and women are the only ones to give glory to God.

    This is also evident from the speech that Paul makes in Romans 9 where he says:

    Romans 9:21-24 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

    This passage perfectly explains the concept. God chooses by His will and there is nothing to contest Him because God as the creator has the right to choose certain people to freely and give them non deserving mercy so that the riches of what says the text? His glory! To receive glory God has had mercy on whom He wanted to do have it.

    However, as we read in the passage God receives glory and also power. Power for what? How? In the way He created everything as we shall see shortly, but He demonstrated His power not only in the creation of everything, not only in His salvation but also in His wrath. The power of God is therefore demonstrated in creation, in salvation and His judgment.

    So God created everything and everyone to receive glory and honor from what He has created and redeemed, and to show His power in all of this, even in the fulfillment of His wrath.

    Also Colossians 1: 15-20 tells us exactly what Paul is saying in this final verse of Romans 11.

    He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature; 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, dominions, principalities, powers; all things were created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things and all things hold together in him. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things have the preeminence. 19 For God was pleased to dwell in him in all His fullness 20 and reconcile all things to himself through him, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him, I say, whether things on earth, as those who are in heaven.

    Every creature cannot resist the power of God, everything created demonstrates the power of God, the salvation of God demonstrates the power of God and the wrath and judgment of God demonstrate the power of God and all this to give glory to Him and honor Him. That’s why Colossians says what it says, Jesus has reconciled all things through Him through by the cross so that He has the supremacy over all things.

    Now as we look at creation, salvation, and the wrath of God, we see that they show His power and give glory and honor to Him alone.

    In creation God has shown His glory and His power.

    God created everything just by speaking things into existence only by His word. Only an all-powerful God could do this. God speaks, and things happen ,that which God declares comes to pass,

    see Genesis 1: 1-30.

    Not only that but all that God has created declares His glory and power.

    Psalms 19:1-4 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Romans 1: 18-23 The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness; 19 since what may be known of God is manifest in them, God having manifested it in them 20 In fact, his invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood by his works; so that men are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but they are given to vain imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Although they claim to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

    We understand clearly in the two steps we have just read, that both the power and the glory of God are clearly exposed, revealed in what God has created. In fact one of the passage sentences of Romans 1 says that men recognize the existence of the Creator, they recognize His omnipotence and His glory, but in spite of all the evidence, Paul says, they exchanged the glory of God with creatures and images and still knowing God by all this idolatry they did not glorify Him.

    The glory and power of God are further revealed and demonstrated in salvation, in the redemption of men.

    This is a subject that could be studied and discussed at length. But we do not want to take too much time here in having to enter too deeply into the merits of this subject.

    We begin to say however that God is almighty and does not need any help from anyone to do the things that He wants to do. The only reason that he involves man in His plans is a privilege and is His choice because God does not need anyone to actually accomplish His will.

    Take for example the church on earth. God has chosen people, has redeemed and has appointed the church to do His will in the world. In reality, however, even if the church is made up of men and women, what does Scripture tells us that the church is? The church is the body of Christ on earth, that is, in the church we are all members of the body of Christ, but the fact remains that we are the body of Christ, and He is the head of the body. As we all know even in the physical human body the head contains the brain which is the center that controls the entire body. No head, no brain function and the body cannot act at all. So even if God is working with men and women in the world to do His will, in fact the power in the church is of God and not of man. The Holy Spirit has come to make us act in the power of God. So even if God makes use of us it is His power, through His Spirit that is working.

    What does all this mean? Some actually say that God needs us, actually this statement is erroneous. God has chosen to work with men and women but only because He has redeemed us and gave us the privilege to serve Him and to be the extension or rather to be of the mystical body of Jesus in the world.

    God would not really need anyone, and in fact He does not need us to do what He wants, but He wants to use men to precisely show His power at work in spite of our weaknesses and our mistakes as well as our sins.

    Paul made this fact clear when he said:

    2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.

    Also Paul said the same thing even in:

    Philippians 2: 12-13 So, my beloved, you who were always obedient, not only when I was present, but now much more in my absence, Strive to work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to do of His good pleasure

    Another step that confirms this is in:

    Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. 9 Not of works, lest anyone should boast; 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    This last passage is very important and clear in the explanation of this subject.

    Ephesians 2 from the first verse to the latter was written to demonstrate the complete inability of man to achieve salvation on his own. Man is dead in his sins and by nature is a son of God’s wrath, that is serving Satan and Satan’s slave.

    Paul then says, ” But God,” God has had mercy on many only by grace, that is He undeservedly saved whom He chose to have mercy upon. Here Paul says that God made us alive, that He has regenerated us in Christ. To avoid misunderstandings again Paul tells us precisely that salvation is by grace and we have been saved by God through faith, which is not from us but it is a gift from God. It is not by virtue of any human work (if not for the virtues of the man Jesus Christ) so that we can not boast of anything, because our salvation comes entirely from God in Christ.

    So we must necessarily conclude that even faith is given to us and is a gift of God and is not in itself ours. In fact, we cannot boast of anything, we cannot boast of faith because it is a gift from God. So we see here that there is, unfortunately, a part of the church that is guilty of spiritual pride because it believes and teaches that faith is a human work and that it is a thing that we can throw away and lose.

    Instead Paul goes on to say that the church, the elect are a divine work of God created in Christ. Obviously if we are a divine work and a divine creation, we cannot inject any virtue or merit on our part, even faith.

    We are indeed a divine creation and therefore supernatural, so that even the plan that God has for us His plan are the good works that God wants us to accomplish so that even these are not really our works, but as well as the text says, God has prepared them in advance because we should walk in them.

    We walk in them by God’s doing and power and that is precisely what Paul wrote in Philippians 2:13. God’s power in us works in us to both will and to do according to His good pleasure, which is precisely the same thing that Paul describes as the good works that God has already created so that we should walk in them.

    So at the end of all this talk we must complete it by seeing how Paul concludes 1 Corinthians 1 where he states:

    1 Corinthians 1: 27-31 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the strong; 28 and God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not, to bring to naught things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, 31 that, as it is written: “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

    In other translations verses 29 and 31use the word boast as a synonym for glory. So when it is said to give glory to God in essence we are saying that we boast in God alone, and we do not boast in anything else, this is the true meaning of glory, the glory belongs to God and is only His.

    So that’s why we said that salvation gives glory to God alone and must be equivalent to creation. No believer can boast or receive glory for creating so why do they want to boast of having some merit, albeit tiny in salvation? If creation is all by glory and power of God, then even salvation must be. No human being is involved in creation and no human being except the man except Jesus Christ has anything to do with salvation. Salvation belongs entirely to God as does His glory.

    Revelation 7: 9-10 After this I beheld a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples and languages; these were standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.”

    As we see the redeemed in the presence of God know without a doubt that salvation belongs only to God and not to any man except Jesus, the lamb of God. This is the one and only man to whom belongs the salvation, and of course He is not only man but also God.

    God Himself declares:

    Isaiah 48: 9-11 9 For my name’s sake I defer mine anger, and for the sake of my glory will not cut you off. 10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. 11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this; how could my name be profaned? I will not give my glory to another. “

    Among other things, the context in which we find this passage is what God is saying to Israel, namely Jacob, who as we have seen clearly is not the church.

    The context is very clear, God saves Israel and will save the elect for the same reasons, that is, for His name’s sake, for the love of God Himself He saves and does not give His glory to another.

    Let alone giving His glory to small insignificant men, worms that have nothing to offer to God and still has the audacity to say:

    I did it, I believed!” Imagine if every person can claim the right to having believed and having chosen God or having believe in Him such as God should therefore reward them.

    As we see if it is man alone who chooses Jesus and who alone believes with a faith that still we do not know where it comes from, then it would mean that man would be able to glory in some way and of something about him as to his salvation.

    Instead, God clearly shows us not only here in Isaiah, but throughout His Word that salvation and glory belong to Him, and that He did not credited to anyone but Himself.

    In fact He attributed salvation and glory to His only begotten son and this is legitimate even if Jesus is man. It must be so, so that the only people who will receive the glory of God will get it just because they are in Christ and joint-heirs with Christ.

    Romans 8: 16-17 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. 17 And if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him to be glorified with Him .

    The only reason we receive salvation and glory is only because God chose us first, each elect was chosen by God before the foundation of the world to be adopted as His children through Jesus Christ.

    Ephesians 1: 3-7 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he hath made us accepted in the beloved, 7 in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace,

    Romans 9: 21-24 Hath not the potter authority on the clay, to make from the same dough a vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? 22 And what if God, willing to show his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And this to make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he has already prepared for glory, 24 even us whom he has called, not only among the Jews but also of the Gentiles?

    Again, there is no doubt, or at least there should not be, salvation and glory belong only to God and His only begotten Son, Jesus, and then after to those whom He has chosen to give salvation as a undeserved gift .

    Moreover, God not only demonstrates His power in His wrath and in His judgment, not only in creation but also in salvation.

    Only Almighty God can fulfill His plan of salvation despite all opposition from Satan and his angels, and even from men who serve Satan, that is all human beings which at one time have all served Satan and belonged to him.

    Ephesians 2: 1-3 you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, according to the prince of the air power, the spirit that now worketh in sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all lived time in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as others.

    Satan has opposed the plan of salvation of God from the beginning. Satan with the cooperation of men, tried to destroy the lineage of Messiah and to destroy God’s people, Israel, since the beginning of its existence. Satan always using men has tried to manipulate everything in order to destroy the Messiah when He appeared. Satan and man have tried in every way to possible to destroy Christians and stop Christianity and continually have sought to destroy Jacob in the centuries of his history. Satan has continually created false religions and also false churches with which he continues to deceive even today billions of people. Satan has tried in the same way to destroy and corrupt the word of God, the Bible. Satan with the help of angels and men is still continuing to try to destroy the true church, the true Christians and still is trying to destroy Israel . Question: has he succeeded at all? Absolutely not!

    God always beat him on every front, God always protected His whole plan of salvation and being in number always in the minority to Satan and his followers, and in any case God in His omnipotence, despite the incessant opposition of His enemies has always won and He still wins lately and powerfully, ultimately will destroy all his and our enemies and will fulfill His plan completely and perfectly.

    This was, is and will be the demonstration of the power of God in His salvation. Nothing and no one could, can and may deny God in spite of their attempts to do so.

    That’s why it’s really a blasphemy to think that man in his weakness could oppose God and always by his will force God to reward him for his choices concerning salvation.

    Another reason why we can understand that God has not finished and did not abandon Jacob. The reason is that Satan, man and the false church still want to eliminate Jacob. For if God had abandoned His people and was not going to save them there would be no reason to preserve them and protect them from its enemies. If God had no special place for Israel in His plan of redemption He would not have to preserve it and make sure that Jacob would become again a nation and that he returned to his land.

    For those believers who insist that this happened only because it was wanted by man and it is only a secret Zionist plan, then they have to stop declaring that God is sovereign as with their human reasoning they diminish the sovereignty and omnipotence of God.

    They do this because otherwise they would have to admit that God not only allowed his people to return to the land He promised to them but they must also admit that this people has a divine favor and purpose that no other nation on earth has ever had and ever has today.

    The serious thing is that by their human or worse doctrines, they attempt to diminish the attributes of God to justify their erroneous doctrines and then as if this were not enough in essence indirectly declare that God is a liar, that God does not keep His promises, and that God is a God who has confused His word so that it cannot be understood literally but instead must be understood symbolically.

    Which, in reality they confuse everyone even more, whereas the word of God is very clear. They themselves decide what passages are to be interpreted symbolically and which ones literally. This last thing is to take the word of God and make it fit their own desires and beliefs ultimately violating the whole counsel of God.

    Reducing the word of God to symbolic language, to spiritualize the word of God and make it metaphorical when it suits them actually is in a sense a type of Gnosticism. Adding and removing from the word of God is a serious and dangerous thing.

    In short, God demonstrates His power at the expense of many and He will fulfill His will regarding His creation, His salvation and also His wrath and judgment, thus proving His glory and power in all those things.

    In closing then everything comes from Him, through Him and for Him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen. Amen.

    As we have already seen all that is good comes from God, so that because of His love, grace and patience even unrepentant sinners and the non elect are somehow recipients of His blessings.

    Jesus said that God is merciful and good even towards the infidels:

    Matthew 5: 44-47 But I tell you: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father, who it is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the good and on the evil, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what do ye more than others? Do not even the tax collectors? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. “

    Paul also made this same statement, however, in a different context:

    Romans 9:22 And what if God, willing to show his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

    James tells us that every good thing comes from God:

    James 1: 17-18 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 He brought us to his will by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    Here in James especially this statement is in the context of salvation, as we see from what he says in verse 18.

    So salvation comes from God, through God:

    Salvation is only by Him and it is only through Him, again this eliminates any possibility that there is something human whereby salvation can come.

    As we have already said the only human aspect is only by means of one man, Jesus Christ, for which salvation is coming and has been fulfilled and provided only see also Romans 5:15; Titus 3: 4-7;

    1 Timothy 2: 5.

    In addition, only through the Holy Spirit salvation is applied by the regeneration of the sinner, the gift of a supernatural faith and through the word of God. By His sovereign and omnipotent will and only through this we get salvation.

    Ephesians 1: 3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he hath made us accepted in the beloved, 7 in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and understanding, 9 making known the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself, 10 to gather in the fulfillment of the dispensation of time under a single head, in Christ, all things, both which are in heaven as those that are on the earth. 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will, 12 that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also, having heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise; 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory.

    Titus 3: 4-7 But when the kindness of God our Savior, and his love for men, 5 he saved us not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that being justified by his grace, should be made heirs of eternal life, according to the hope we have.

    Look at what Paul says to Timothy in order to dissolve any doubt that salvation is entirely originated by God through grace in Jesus Christ, and not from any human thing

    1 Timothy 1:14 so the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

    How, then, we see there is no room for any other work or any other human means for which we have salvation.

    And indeed all creation receives its sustenance from God:

    Psalms 145: 9-17 The LORD is good to all and compassionate to all his works. 10 All thy works shall praise thee O LORD, and thy saints bless thee. 11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of thy power, 12 to make known to the sons of men your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. 14 The LORD sustains all who fall and lifts up all who are culled. 15 The eyes of all look expectantly to you, and you give them their food in due time. 16 You open your hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing. 17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

    So that in fact all things are from God, through Him and for Him so that the glory is only His, Amen.