ROMANS 9:4-5 - OVERVIEW - 8 BLESSINGS OF ISRAEL
INTRODUCTION: Because Gentiles have been grafted into the Jewish Roots, we now share with them these 8 blessings. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek. In Christ we are together “One New Man.” In Christ we are both parts of His Spiritual Body. This is the Mystery of the Gospel which it was given to Paul to share with the Church. As Apostle to the Gentiles, himself a Jew from the Sanhedrin - he held a position altogether unique. 14 of the epistles of the NT were authored by him, over ½ the books of the NT. Almost all of these 14 letters were primarily addressed to Gentiles. Hebrews was uniquely directed towards his fellow Jewish believers. It is important for Gentiles to understand that Romans 11 lays out for us our Gospel debt to Jews. Nations who understand and honor this are blessed. The opposite is true. This is perhaps the chief of the Gospel Mysteries given to Paul, and has yet to find full fulfillment. Note also how these 8 blessings tend to overlap.
1. ADOPTION - huio-theSIa - Strong #5206 - 5x in NT appearance. It comes from 2 Greek words: huiOS - meaning son - 382x - and TIthe-mi meaning a placing. By all means look up this Strong's reference, as it contains rich material. It is nota Western concept. See “Our Father Abraham” by Dr. Marvin R. Wilson under his chapter of “Block Thinking.” It is just the opposite to Greek Hellenistic Lineal thinking. The Bible is an Eastern book, and its teaching, especially the Parables, center on this concept. Every Jewish boy had to be adopted by his own father when he came to maturity, and then he became a partner with his father. It then would become “Isaac and Son,” as it were. Our Western concept of “adoption” is foreign to the Bible. Perhaps “Sanctification” as pertaining to full discipleship, is parallel to Biblical Adoption for Gentiles. Suffice it to say - This great blessing to Israel is now shared with us Gentiles in the “One New Man”, the Church, the Body of Christ.
2. GLORY - DOxa - Strong #1391 - 168x.
This is one of the most difficult concepts for Gentiles to grasp as it relates to God. Howbeit - if one goes to the “net” on the “Shekinah glory”, as called by the Jews - there are innumerable references, but hardly in line with the original Hebrew meaning. Moses prayed to God, “Show me Your glory,”
Exodus 33:18, which God did in a 13-fold manner, equating His Glory with the revelation of His Name - Exodus 34:6-7 (34:1-9) “And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth; 7keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the father's upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation.” This is the revelation of God's nature in the thirteen attributes.. “God's ways” are not proclaimed unto Moses in the thirteen characteristic qualities of the Divine Nature. The Rabbis held that there are thirteen distinct attributes in these two verses; though there are differences as to their precise enumerations.
1 & 2. the LORD, the LORD. Heb. Ye-hoVAH, Ye-hoVAH. Ye-hoVAH denotes God in His attributes of mercy: and the repetition is explained in the Talmud as meaning, 'I am the merciful God before a man commits a sin, and I am the same merciful and forgiving God after a man has sinned. Whatever change has to be wrought, must be in the heart of the sinner; not in the nature of the Deity. He is the same after a man has sinned, as He was before a man has sinned.”
3. God. Heb. el. The all-mighty Lord of the Universe, Ruler of Nature and mankind.
4. merciful. Heb. raCHUM; full of affectionate sympathy for the sufferings and miseries of human frailty.
5. and gracious. Heb. ve-chanNUN; assisting and helping; consoling the afflicted and raising up the oppressed. In man these two qualities manifest themselves fitfully and temporarily; It is otherwise with God; in Him, compassion and grace are permanent, inherent and necessary emanations of His nature. Hence, He alone can be spoken of as raCHUN ve-chanNUN (Mendelssohn).
6. long-suffering. Or, 'slow to anger.' Heb. Erech apPAYim; not hastening to punish the sinner, but affording him opportunities to retrace his evil courses.
7. abundant in goodness. Or, plenteous in mercy. Heb. rav CHEsed; granting His gifts and blessings beyond the desserts of man. This is the “fulcrum” or middle-point of these 13 attributes.
8. and truth. Heb. ve-eMET; eternally true to Himself, pursuing His inscrutable plans for the salvation of mankind, and rewarding those who are obedient to His will. Note that “CHEsed”, lovingkindness, precedes “eMET” truth, both here and generally throughout Scripture; as if to say, “Speak the truth by all means; but be quite sure that you speak the truth in love.”
9. keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation.Heb. noTZER CHEsed LAe-la-fim;Remembering the good deeds of the ancestors to the thousandth generation, and reserving reward and recompense to the remotest descendants.
10. forgiving iniquity. Heb. noSEH aVON; bearing with indulgence the failings of man, and by forgiveness restoring him to the original purity of his soul. The Heb. for “iniquity” is aVON; sins committed from evil disposition. YEtzer haRAH - is a Hebrew term of this difficult human disposition.
11. transgression. Heb. PEsha; evil deeds springing from malice and rebellion against the Divine.
12. sin. Heb. chat-taAH; shortcomings due to heedlessness and error.
13. will by no means clear the guilty. i.e. He will not allow the guilty to pass unpunished. Heb. ve-nakKEY lo ye-nakKEY. The Rabbis explain: ve-nakKEY acquitting - the penitent; lo ye-nakKEY, but not acquitting - the impenitent. He is merciful and gracious and forgiving; but He will never obliterate the eternal and unbridgeable distinction between light and darkness, between good and evil. God cannot leave repeated wickedness and obstinate persistence in evil entirely unpunished. His goodness cannot destroy His justice. The sinner must suffer the consequences of his misdeeds. The unfailing and impartial consequences of sin help man to perceive that there is no 'chance' in morals. The punishments of sin are thus not vindictive, but remedial.
visiting ... upon the children.See Ex. 20:5. This law relates only to the consequences of sin. Pardon is not the remission of the penalty, but the forgiveness of the guilt and the removal of the sinfulness. The misdeeds of those who are God's enemies are visited only to the third and fourth generation, whereas His mercy to those who love Him is unto a thousand generations.
(The above notes are largely taken from “The Pentateuch and Haftorahs” edited by J. H. Hertz, Second Edition, 1971.)
3. COVENANTS - di-aTHEke- Strong's #1242, 33x.
See Genesis 12, 15, 17. Here we see the progression for the key Old Testament Covenant that God made with Abraham. In chapter 12 He issues His call, and the three-fold separation He required of Abraham. In Chapter 15 by laying out the unusual sacrifice, and at sundown having a furnace and a torch pass between the divided pieces, He here assures Abram (whose name is not changed until the true covenant in chapter 17) that his servant Eliezer will not be his heir, but that from Sarai he will have a true heir. Also, Abram was almost asleep when God in Icon form as Father and Son walked through the pieces, not Abram, signifying that this was an unconditional promise that did not depend upon Abram at all. It isn't till we reach Genesis 17 that the Real Covenant is reached - all up to this point is preliminary. The circumcision of Abram and all the males of his family is key that validated the covenant. The change of name from Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah, is most significant. Here God added to their names the letter “cheth”, which is associated with “life.” When we say Yeshua Chai - Jesus Lives - we are emphasizing this point. It was following the change of names by “Life” being inserted, that the bodies of now Abraham and Sarah, became rejuvenated, and in 9 months Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 91. Not only was this a double miracle, but a triple one, for God revealed the sex of Isaac prior to his birth, and he was one of eight named before his birth.
The New Covenant of New Testament, is the Old fulfilled through the birth of Jesus. This Covenant is vastly superior to the Abrahamic, for Jesus inaugurates the Church, the One New Man, His Spiritual Body - and through the now Indwelling Holy Spirit, all promises of the Old Covenant are not viable, and open to Gentiles as well as Jews. Vastly different!
4. GIVING OF THE LAW - no-mo-theSIa - Strong #3548, 1x. The Torah here really means “Teaching.”
Thisis a temporary tiding over through types and shadows - until “Grace and Truth” came through the New Covenant in Jesus Christ - to replace the Law of Moses. And yet - all of the moral law under Old Testament Torah is now viable through the Holy Spirit. See Jeremiah 31:31-33 (31:31-34) - “Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32not 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 broke, although I was a husband unto them, says Jehovah. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Jehovah: I will put my law (TOrah, Teaching) in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” What Israel could notdo in keeping the Old Covenant TOrah, Teaching, because the Holy Spirit, the Promise of the Father was not given until Jesus provided the “Finished Work” of His Atonement - now under the New Covenant, Jew and Gentilecan keep the Torah because of the indwelling Spirit. At this point, it is most important to note Hebrews 8:6 - “But now has he (Jesus) obtained a ministry the more superior; by so much as he is also mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted(ne-no-moTHEte-tai) upon better promises.” Dr. David Stern in his “Complete Jewish Bible” translates this word “enacted” this way - “God has constituted as Torahthe New Covenant based upon these better promises.” This means that in God's sight, “The New Covenant” is on the same level as the entire Old Testament or Covenant. Messianic Jews accept this. One day Orthodox Jews will also! The word “ne-no-moTHEte-tai” appears only this once in the NT. We should unite in prayer that all believers and all Jews will have their eyes opened to see and discern the importance of this concept from God's viewpoint.
5. WORSHIP - laTREIa - Strong #2999, 5x.
The tribe of Levi led in this, and is largely laid out in the book of Leviticus, and the Tabernacle Worship as set forth by Moses. Under David and Samuel, Levi again in the Temple built by Solomon, led in this. The book of Psalms, mostly by David, but half by Asaph and other Levites, provided the basis for this wonderful worship. But after Pentecost, an entirely new type of worship arose. We now offer sacrifices to God by the fruit of our lips offering vocal praise and worship, and presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, whether Jew or Gentile. See Romans 12:1-2 for this picture. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of :God, to present your :bodies a living sacrifice;(a whole burnt offering or holocaust) holy, well-pleasing to God, your spiritual service. 2And be not fashioned according to this age: but be transformed by the renewing of the mind, that you may prove what isthe good and well-pleasing and perfect will of :God.” “Rees Howells, Intercessor” by Norman P. Grubb, shows what it is like to be possessedby the Holy Spirit, and prepared by God for true laTREIa or worship. Again, Gentiles now are grafted into their Jewish Roots, and can equally share with them in this high privilege.
6. PROMISES - e-pag-geLIa - Strong #1860, 53x.
This is closely connected with Covenant, which is the basis. The greatPromise of the Father is the Holy Spirit, all based on Messiah's Atonement. See Acts 1:4 (1:1-5), “And, being assembled with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard from me.”
Yet - take allthe Promises of the New Testament, and apply them. Don't settle for a “break-through” - go on to possessthe land! Now!
7. THE FATHERS - paTEres - Strong #3962, 419x
Gentiles can now do research on Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and even Joseph. We are now grafted in with Jews into the blessing that is inherent here. Look at the 12 tribes of Israel that come from Jacob. Here too Gentiles can glean areas of their inheritance. So though the patriarchs at the time were specialfor Israel, all that is involved here, is under the New Covenant, for the One New Man. Look up Embryonic Truths on our Website, and find 12 Restored Truths linked with the 12 Tribes of Israel, rich with insight and blessing for you and me.
8. CHRIST - MESSIAH - ChrisTOS - Strong #5547, 569x.
According to the flesh (SARka), Jesus as the Son of Man is our Messiah. He was born to die- for both Jew and Gentile. Thisis the Mysteryof the Gospel that God reserved for the Apostle Paul to reveal to the Church through his many epistles. As a Jew with rabbinical background, yet he was the Apostle to the Gentilesby the will of God. Jesus as God in the flesh is a hateful concept to Satan, for it spells his eventual and certain doom Christ comes from CHRIo, Anointed, Strong #5548, 5x. MaSHIach - Anointed One - AboveHis fellows, is the Hebrew word. The Fullnessof the Godhead bodily indwelt Jesus. His earthly life as Son of Man started in Nazareth and Bethlehem, but His eternal life was evermore with the Father - Before Abraham was, Jesus said, “I AM”. Jesus left His eternal relationship to take on identification with us, and as Son of Man, fulfilled Old Testament Scriptures and brought Redemption to the human race, and reconciliation for us with God. In Gethsemane as Son of Man - He questioned the cup of Calvary passing from Him - but immediately repudiated the thought as impossible, for for that very reason He became man and entered into this world.
CONCLUSION: Romans 9-11 should be mastered by every Gentile. Chapter 11 is often a portion of ignorance for much of the church, but ought not to be. These 8 words of Romans 9 above are so rich for Jews, but equally rich for us Gentiles. Let us master and walk in these truths with increasing understanding and application. - J.A.W.