With the background we have already given in the first three chapters of our study, we can now understand Romans 9-11. Most misunderstand it simply because they have not understood the basic difference between Israel and Judah and how the prophesies to each differ. Paul starts out in Romans 9:1-5 by stating his concern for his brethren after the flesh,
4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, [huiothesia, or “sonship”] and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
This is a general statement that God chose Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-Israel exclusively through whom to bring forth the promises to the world. Amos 3:2 reflects this:
2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
Authority and responsibility always go in equal measure. Because God chose Israel for a glorious purpose, He held them liable when they refused to fulfill their responsibility to bear the fruits of the kingdom and bring righteousness into the earth. If Israel had NOT been chosen, God would not have brought them into judgment. Israel would not have been carried into captivity in 745 BC, nor would Jerusalem have been destroyed in 70 AD.
Both the Old and the New Covenants were to be made with the House of Israel and Judah (Hebrews 8:8-12). That has always been the beginning point of the salvation that God intends for His creation. Any non-Israelite who sees that Yahweh is the true God and Creator of all, and who desires to join himself to Israel's God, is welcome. It has always been this way. No non-Israelite has ever been excluded from the covenants of God, if he came by faith and repented of his old ways, renouncing all other gods. Solomon tells us God's intention for the temple in his famous dedication prayer in 1 Kings 8.
41 Moreover concerning a stranger that is not of Thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for Thy name's sake;
42 (For they shall hear of Thy great name and of Thy strong hand, and of Thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house;
43 Hear Thou in heaven, Thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to Thee for; that all the people of the earth may know Thy name, to fear Thee, as do Thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by Thy name. . . .
60 That all the people of the earth may know that Yahweh is God, and that there is none else.
Solomon recognized that the temple was located in Israel, but it was intended to be a house of worship for ALL the people of the earth. Israel was charged with the responsibility of bearing witness of God to all men. If they witnessed to the true character of God, it would not be long before all would be attracted to the God of Israel and would want to worship a God like this. If others only knew the loving character of Israel's God, they would find that He is “the desire of all nations” that they have longed to know (Haggai 2:7).
Isaiah goes so far as to tell us that the sons of the strangers (foreigners) who join themselves to the Lord would be given in God's House “a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters” (Isaiah 56:5). He goes on to say in verses 5 to 8,
5 . . . I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.
6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of My covenant,
7 Even them will I bring to My holy mountain [kingdom] and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar; for Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for ALL people.
8 The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel, saith, Yet will I gather others to him besides those that are gathered unto Him.
This last verse really forms the essence of Paul's discussion in Romans 9-11. When God regathers the lost house of Israel—those dispersed during the days of Isaiah the prophet—He will also gather “others” to Himself. In fact, in the sovereignty of God, this was always the bigger plan. Israel was cast off and “sown” in the world, as Hosea tells us, in order that God might gather in a greater harvest that goes far beyond Israel. “The God of the WHOLE EARTH shall He be called” (Isaiah 54:5).
This bigger purpose of God does not negate the calling of Israel as a people. It only shows us that Israel was called to be a blessing to all the families of the earth (Genesis 12:3). They were entrusted with the Scriptures, the law, the promises—yes, even the Sonship itself, as Paul tells us in Romans 9:4. It was not so that they could sit back and enjoy a position of master race. They were called in order to be the servants to all men. Those who would be great must be servants of all. Jesus was the greatest Servant; therefore, He is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. If Israel as a people wish to be great, they must put on the mind of Christ and be willing to take the form of a servant, willing even to die for the least of men.
Some men are proud to be Israelites after the flesh and think their “chosenness” entitles them to walk after the flesh. God is not particularly impressed with such people. After all, God pronounced judgment upon both Israel and Judah in spite of their being chosen. If a man is chosen, then let him be a servant of all. Disdaining non-Israelites is not the mind of Christ. Being an Israelite will not be relevant when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ. We are justified by faith—not by being an Israelite. It has always been this way, and it always will be so.
God's Sovereign Choices
From the 6th verse of Romans 9 and on, Paul engages in a discussion of the sovereignty of God in His choices. As Creator, of course, He has the right to make whatever type of vessel He chooses. Man is not the author of his own soul, nor the master of his destiny. All of this is well illustrated in the Old Testament, as Paul shows us.
6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel which are of Israel;
7 Neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children; but in Isaac shall thy seed be called [quoted from Genesis 21:12].
8 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.
In the Old Testament example cited here, Abraham had more than one child. Ishmael was born before Isaac, and years later, Abraham had another six sons through Keturah (Genesis 25:1, 2). These other sons received many gifts (Gen. 25:6), but they were not “counted for the seed.” Only Isaac was the “seed” through whom the Messiah would be born and the promises would be given to the rest of the world.
A father has the biblical right to choose which of his sons is to be the prime heir. If the oldest son does not exhibit the right character, or does not have the mind of his father, then the inheritance might be given to another son. God, too, is our Father and retains this same right.
Even as God told Abraham to cast out the bondwoman (Hagar) and her son (Genesis 21:10; Galatians 4:30), so also did God cast out the whole house of Israel—and Judah as well, once they had brought forth the Messiah. Why were they all cast out? Because they refused to be obedient to God, thinking their physical lineage was enough to ensure the inheritance. But God was not pleased at all. He was looking for sons and daughters who had the desire to please their Father. He wanted sons and daughters in His image and likeness. When Israel and Judah each failed as nations to fulfill God's desire, He gave them a lawful bill of divorce and cast them all out of His house.
Does this mean there is no further profit in being an Israelite? No. Does it mean God will have no further dealings with Israelites after the flesh? No. Paul makes it clear in Romans 11:2 that “God hath NOT cast away His people which He foreknew.” Of course, God had indeed cast them out of His sight (Jeremiah 7:15), but Paul was saying that God had not FOREVER cast them out of His sight. God still had a plan for Israel. We saw in our last issue that Hosea 2:20 prophesied God would yet betroth Israel unto Himself “in righteousness,” that is, in accordance with the law—not by putting away the law. But at the same time, God will never justify any unrepentant sinner or nation, whether he is an Israelite or not.
Israel in Captivity for 2,520 Years
Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians in a series of deportations from 745-721 BC. Their captivity to the literal nation of Assyria ended when Babylon overthrew Assyria in 607 BC, but Israel never returned to the old land. Instead, as their population grew, they began moving north and west into Europe. Many went through the Caucasus Mountains located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Hence, modern historians call them Caucasians. Many came in covered wagons pulled by oxen in much the same way as the American West was settled. They brought apple seeds with them and planted them along the way—a tradition which Johnny Appleseed continued in the American West. In fact, one can trace the history of Israel through the history of the apple. Israel loved the leeks and garlic of Egypt, but they also came to love the apples of Assyria.
Israel's “seven times” of captivity was 7 x 360 years, or 2,520 years. This is also twice 1,260, called in Daniel and Revelation, “a time, times, and a half a time” (Daniel 12:7; Revelation 12:14). A period of 2,520 years is a complete judgment cycle of seven “times” (Leviticus 26:28). And so we find Israel's dispersion ending in 1776 AD, which was precisely 2,520 years after the beginning of their dispersion in 745 BC. The year 1776 was the year America signed its Declaration of Independence, which was, in essence, a declaration that Israel's dispersion and captivity had ended. They were declaring themselves independent from European captors—not only from England, but also from the oppression of the Roman Church which had long dominated many European nations.
How Captivity Affected Israel
God brought Israel into captivity in order to give them their heart's desire—false gods. The people had thought God's law was oppressive and evil, so God said, “Alright, if you think the laws of other man-made laws are better, I will place you under their dominion for 2,520 years. Perhaps then you will see that My law sets men free, while man's laws bring only bondage.”
The first part of their captivity was spent in Assyria. Then they developed their own system of false gods until the gospel finally began to reach them many centuries later. James wrote his letter to them (1:1), as well as Peter (1 Peter 1:1, 2), who calls them in the literal Greek, “elect strangers of the dispersion of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” These were areas in the northern part of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) where many Israelites had already begun spreading westward on their way into Europe.
Unfortunately, as the Church degenerated over the centuries, the converted Christian Israelites in Europe again found themselves in captivity, this time to the Roman Church system. The book of Revelation prophesied this phase of captivity would last 1,260 years. In essence, it was the last half of the full 2,520-year captivity. We dealt with this in our book on The Seven Churches.
This long captivity of Israel made it difficult for them to fulfill their calling to bless all families of the earth with the gospel of Jesus Christ. There were always a remnant of grace in Israel that bore witness of God, but the majority of the people continued to follow men and Church traditions, rather than the Word of God. Hence, while a form of gospel was preached, it did not go much beyond the boundaries of Europe, except when it was exported by violent conquest and forced upon others in a form of spiritual slavery. Such is man-made religion.
It took centuries before that gospel reached the rest of the world, because the Israelites were just as rebellious and idolatrous in the Caucasian Church as they had been while living in the land of Canaan. The Church was so busy gathering wealth and political power that they ceased to bear witness to the true character of God. In fact, they portrayed God as such an evil character that other religions such as Islam sprang up to counter Christianity.
Can we blame them? I cannot. Most have never seen true Christianity in action. Most of them have never seen Jesus Christ for who He is. They have seen only a blasphemous image of Him. They have seen only a Christian god who condones the military might of the Crusades, who blesses and sanctifies the Inquisition, who sets up spiritual popes and political dictators and kings, giving them the divine right to rule regardless of their spiritual qualifications. They have seen king Saul in action and think this reflects the heart of the God of Israel.
In the twentieth century the Christian God has been portrayed to them as One who has chosen the Jews to confiscate their land and make them servants in their own land of Palestine. When any of them attempt to resist this, their houses are dynamited and their property seized, on a mere suspicion of resistance. Many languish in prison for months and years without a trial. Christians applaud this, citing the Jewish “chosenness” as justification for all their sins. And the Muslim world is given to believe that the god of Judaism is the same as the Christian God. Once again, the house of God is turned into a den of robbers.
The Slave Trade
Jews are not the only ones with a wrong concept of God. We Christian Israelites have done much the same thing in Europe and even here in America. We took the mandate to “subdue” the earth (Genesis 1:28) as if we had a license to kill, rob, lie, and enslave others. Black Africans made money selling black Africans to slave trade companies, 90 percent of which were Jewish. The slave traders sold them to white Christians, who usually disregarded the law of God regarding the treatment of bondservants.
There is plenty of blame to go around. No one is immune. However, God holds Israel more liable, for we were given the Scriptures and should have known better. Time and time again God reminded Israel that they were not to oppress others, for they too had been bond slaves in Egypt. Exodus 22:21-23 says,
21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt . . . .
23 If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto Me, I will surely hear their cry.
24 And My wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword. . . .
When the Bible speaks of having bond servants, God made it very plain that He would take up their cause if men mistreated them. There is no biblical slavery as we define the term today. All bond servants had certain rights—Israelites and non-Israelites alike. No man was given unlimited power over another man's life, nor even over his ox or ass. All relationships and authority must be governed by the law of God, or it will ultimately lead to slavery.
God did judge us with a great civil war in the 1860's. While we know there were hidden agendas for this war by rich and powerful banking interests, nonetheless, God's purpose for allowing this to happen was, I believe, our violation of the law of slavery. It is a biblical principle that “he that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity” (Revelation 13:10). Those who oppress men will themselves be sold by God into oppressive slavery.
The Israelites of Europe and America disregarded the divine law by thinking they had the divine right to enslave others. Therefore, God judged America by a great Civil War, which not only killed hundreds of thousands of men, but also brought about the suspension of the American Constitution and the enslavement of the entire population. When the representatives of the southern states boycotted the United States Congress, they walked out without setting a date to return. By law, this suspended the Constitution, and so Washington operated from then on under executive order. This martial law would have been repealed after the war, had Lincoln survived. But powerful banking interests behind the scenes wanted to enslave the people politically through a strong centralized government. So they had Lincoln assassinated, and the government has continued to operate under executive orders to the present day.
The year 1860 was 6 x 434 years after Israel began to go into Assyrian slavery in 745 BC. The 434-year cycle is a factor called Judged Time. We dealt with this time cycle in our book, Secrets of Time, pp. 73-76. It was 2 x 434 years from the year Israel entered Canaan to the year the people refused to release all bondservants in the days of Jeremiah. This refusal brought about the fall of the city of Jerusalem. It appears that America fulfilled the same type of pattern after 6 x 434 years. In 1860 the southern states refused to release the bondservants, and this led to a terrible civil war—judgment upon the whole nation—which set the stage for the banking system to enslave all of us economically in 1914 through the Federal Reserve Act.
Long Church tradition taught us by example king Saul's form of oppressive government. Somehow we never seem to learn the Golden Rule. We seem to have learned the Rule of the World: Oppress or be oppressed. So as soon as we could, we threw off Rome's yoke of bondage, but we used our newly-found liberty as an occasion to put others into slavery. Instead of subjecting the world to the law of liberty wherein they would find true freedom, we enslaved them to men's traditions.
If even a simple a majority of our forefathers had come to America with the mind of Christ, they would have set men free, rather than enslave them. If they had come as a servant people, God would have worked out His purposes for all men with a minimum of conflict with the native Americans.
Some say that we as Israelites had a right to claim this North American continent just because we were Israelites. That is like excusing Jacob for lying to his father to get the blessing, just because he knew that God had called him rather than Esau. If we had really understood the sovereignty of God, we would have prayed and let God work things out in His own way. Meanwhile, we would have asked God how to be better servants, rather than how to be more powerful masters.
No, we have no right to criticize the Jews for their treatment of the Palestinians without also pointing out our own sins. We too are a fleshly people. Both the Jews and the Israelites are leavened with the spirit of dominance. We are equal-opportunity sinners. The divine law accuses all of us impartially. It is time we stop justifying ourselves as if this is the patriotic thing to do. “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:10). Let us repent, declare the Jubilee, and get on with the business of blessing all families of the earth, setting them free in Christ, and then protecting their freedoms by obedience to the perfect law of liberty.