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    July 9, 1896

    “Studies in Romans. Who Are Israelites?” The Signs of the Times, 22, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters of Romans are devoted especially to the answer to this question, so that only a portion of it can be dealt with in this article. The matter has, however, been so clearly indicated in the studies of the second, third and fourth chapters, that we may pass over this ground more rapidly than we otherwise should. This does not mean that the chapters themselves should be dismissed with slight study, for there is no part of the Bible that has more to yield to the patient student; but our work of leading the student to it may be the more quickly done, in consequence of what has already been done.SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.1

    At first sight it would seem that the subject of the epistle is entirely changed. A more general view will show us that the apostle here carried out the original subject, showing who are heirs of God’s promise, and how only it is to be obtained.SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.2

    Paul’s Love for His Brethren

    “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh; who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel; neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, at this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth); it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 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. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will be hardeneth.” Romans 9:1-18.SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.3

    This is a long portion of Scripture for study, but if it is diligently questioned, to see exactly what it says, it will not be found so difficult as it is usually thought. We can put only a few of the manySITI July 9, 1896, page 418.4

    Questions on the Text

    that might and should be asked.SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.5

    What burden does the apostle say that he carried continually?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.6

    “I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.7

    For whom did he have this sorrow?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.8

    “For my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.9

    How great was his love and sympathy for them?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.10

    “I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.11

    Who were these brethren?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.12

    “Israelites.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.13

    What privileges did they have?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.14

    “The adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises,” and “the fathers.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.15

    What other great honor was theirs?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.16

    “Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.17

    If their condition was so bad, notwithstanding all the promises, how could the integrity of God’s word be shown?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.18

    “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.19

    Who only of Abraham’s descendants are the seed?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.20

    “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.21

    What is said of the children of the flesh?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.22

    “These are not the children of God.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.23

    Who are the seed?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.24

    “The children of the promise are counted for the seed.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.25

    What shows that the children are “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.26

    “When Rebecca also had conceived, ... the children being not yet born.... it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the young.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.27

    How did the verdict in after years agree with this?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.28

    “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.29

    Is there then unrighteousness with God?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.30

    “God forbid.” Not by any means. He “without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s works.” 1 Peter 1:17.SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.31

    On what then does every man’s salvation depend?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.32

    “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.33

    For what purpose did God say to Pharaoh that He had raised him up?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.34

    “That I might show My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.35

    What is the conclusion?SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.36

    “Therefore He hath mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.37

    Both Jews and Greeks.-Altho Paul was “the apostle of the Gentiles,” he did not forget his “kinsmen according to the flesh.” Wherever he went he sought out the Jews first, and preached to them. To the elders of Ephesus he said, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:20, 21. Paul’s solicitude for all classes, even for those who were personally strangers to him, shows, more than anything else, his likeness to the Lord Jesus Christ.SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.38

    Israel’s Advantage.—“What advantage then hath the Jew?” “Much every way; chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” Romans 3:1, 2. So here we read a wondrous list of things that pertain to Israel: the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises. A terrible thing it is indeed to prove unfaithful amid such inestimable privileges!SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.39

    “Salvation Is of the Jews.” Thus said Jesus to the woman of Samaria at the well. John 4:22 “Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came.” The Bible was written by Jews, and a young Jewess was the mother of our Lord. As man, Christ was a Jew, of the tribe of Judah. When we read that “we are saved by His life,” we know that it is by His life as a Jew. There is no divine gift and blessing for man that was not “to the Jew first,” and for the knowledge of which we are not indebted to the Jews.SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.40

    Nothing from the Gentiles.-The Apostle Paul says of the “Gentiles in the flesh,” that they are “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:11, 12. The covenants, the promises, even Christ himself, all belong to the Jews, and not to the Gentiles. Therefore whoever is saved must be saved as a Jew. “God at the first did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name.” Acts 15:14.SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.41

    Accursed from Christ.-It makes no difference whether we use the word “accursed,” or “anathema,” or “separated.” All mean the same thing, and express the most deplorable condition. To be without Christ is to be without hope and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:12.SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.42

    It was in that condition that Paul would have been willing to be placed for his brethren according to the flesh, if it would have done them any good. What does that show? Simply this, that Israel according to the flesh was, and is, in just that condition accursed from Christ, “having no hope, and without God in the world.” But since all the promises of God are in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20), those who are separate from Christ have no part in the promises; and therefore we learn anew the fact that Israel after the flesh, as a nation of earth, have not and never had any claim upon God above other nations; that God never made any special promises to Israel after the flesh, more than to any other people.SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.43

    In the wish that Paul expressed, he showed how completely he was given up to the Lord, and how much he shared in his Spirit. Christ gave himself for men, consenting even to be separated from God, in order that he might reach and save the lost. There is none other name under heaven whereby men can be saved, and consequently Paul’s being accursed would not have saved his brethren, as he very well knew. But he simply showed how desperate was the case of the Jews, and how great was his solicitude. While no human sacrifice can avail, men are privileged to share Christ’s sufferings for others. Paul says of himself, “who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body’s sake, which is the church.” Colossians 1:24.SITI July 9, 1896, page 418.44

    Circumcision Made Uncircumcision.-We have before read the words, “If thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.” Romans 2:25. This language was addressed to the Jews, who in the same connection were charged with breaking the law. Romans 2:17-24. In the thirty-first verse of this present chapter we also are told that Israel did not attain to the law of righteousness. And the reason is that they did not accept Christ, through whom alone the righteousness of the law can be obtained. So again we find that Israel, Paul’s “kinsmen after the flesh,” were not Israelites at all, but Gentiles, separate from Christ, “having no hope, and without God in the world.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 419.1

    No Failure in the Promise.-This is a sad state of things. All the promises belong to Israel, and there is nothing from God for any other nation, and yet the very people known as Israel are accursed from Christ. Nevertheless the word of God has not failed, “for they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” The unbelief of some can not make the faith of God without effect. Romans 3:3. If every literal descendant of Jacob were lost, that would not weaken in the least God’s promises to Israel, since the true Israelites are only those who believe the promises.SITI July 9, 1896, page 419.2

    The Seed of Abraham.—“In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Isaac was the child of promise; therefore those who believe the promises of God are the seed of Abraham. To the Jews who were self-satisfied because of their descent, John the Baptist said, “Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father; for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Matthew 3:9. He could do that as easily as he could make man in the beginning from the dust of the earth.SITI July 9, 1896, page 419.3

    The Flesh and the Promise.—“They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” This text alone should forever set at rest the speculations about the return of the Jews to old Jerusalem, in order that God’s promises may be fulfilled. Still more should it put an end to the absurd notion that any nation, as England or America, constitutes Israel, and is heir to those promises of God.SITI July 9, 1896, page 419.4

    God’s Foreknowledge.-When the children were not yet born, and had done neither good nor evil, it was said of them, “The elder shall serve the younger.” God knows the end from the beginning, and could tell what each one would do. The choice was in accordance with what is said of God, “who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2 Timothy 1:9.SITI July 9, 1896, page 419.5

    “Esau Have I Hated.” —This was not written until many years after the death of both Jacob and Esau. “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord; yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” Malachi 1:2, 3. Of his descendants it is said that they shall be called, “The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever.” Verse 3. And why? “Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath forever.” Amos 1:11. Jacob, on the other hand, while no better by nature than Esau, believed the promises of God, and was by them made partaker of the divine nature and thus an heir of God and a joint heir of Jesus Christ.SITI July 9, 1896, page 419.6

    No Unrighteousness with God.-Mark well verses 14-17 for evidence that there is no arbitrariness in God’s choice. It is all of mercy. “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.” So it is all of “God that sheweth mercy.” The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord (Psalm 119:64), and “His mercy endureth forever.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 419.7

    God’s Purpose for Pharaoh.-The case of Pharaoh is cited by the apostle as an illustration of the statement that “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” “For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.”SITI July 9, 1896, page 419.8

    It is immaterial whether this refers to the bringing of Pharaoh to the throne, or to the preserving of him up to that time. One thing is certain: it does not teach us, as is commonly supposed, that God brought Pharaoh to the throne for the purpose of wreaking his vengeance upon him. It is astonishing that any professed Christian could ever have dishonored God by such a charge against him.SITI July 9, 1896, page 419.9

    The purpose of God in raising Pharaoh up, or causing him to stand, was that he might show to him and in him his power, and that his name might be declared throughout all the earth. This purpose was accomplished in the destruction of Pharaoh because of his stubborn resistance. But it would have been accomplished just as well, and much better for Pharaoh if he had listened to the word of God. Pharaoh saw God’s power, but would not believe. If he had believed, he would have been saved, because the power of God is salvation to every one that believeth.SITI July 9, 1896, page 419.10

    Pharaoh had an imperious will. His one great characteristic was steadfastness, pertinacity degenerating into stubbornness. But who can estimate the power for good that Pharaoh would have been if his will had been yielded to the Lord? To yield to the Lord would have meant a great sacrifice, as men count sacrifices, but no greater than that which Moses had made. Moses had given up the same throne, to cast in his lot with God’s people. A wonderful and honorable position was offered to Pharaoh, but he knew not the day of his visitation. It involved humiliation, and he rejected it. As a consequence he lost everything; while Moses, who chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, and to share the reproach of Christ, has a name and a place that will endure throughout eternity. The mercies of God rejected turn into curses. “For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the transgressors shall fall therein.” Hosea 14:9. E. J. W.SITI July 9, 1896, page 419.11

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