Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 24
NOT ALL ISRAEL IS ISRAEL
We’re going to get back into Romans Chapter 9, and remember this Book of Romans is so basic to not only our understanding these doctrines of Grace, but even as Paul brings out here in these middle three chapters of God dealing with Israel, and where Israel stands in His program even today.
“That is, They which are the children of the flesh, (That is those from Ishmael and later on from Esau) these are not the children of God: (Oh they’re children of Abraham, but they’re not in the line of the Covenant.) but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”
Now you remember the word “seed” is from the Greek word Zera. It is a word very much like our English word “sheep.” It is always used the same way, whether it’s in the singular or in the plural. In other words if you look at one sheep over here it’s a sheep, and if you look at a flock of sheep over here it’s still sheep. So you have to determine from the text is he speaking of many in the word seed, or is he speaking one. Now the article here designates that it’s the singular seed. And so only “the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Go back to Genesis 21:9: Here we have the situation where Isaac and Ishmael are going to have to be separated.
“And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: (son of flesh)for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. (son of promise) And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son (Abraham loved Ishmael, but Abraham still did not have the long range concept of the Abrahamic Covenant of a Messiah coming through his loins). And God said unto Abraham, `Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed (singular) be called.'”
And again it’s speaking of the coming of the “Seed of the Woman” Who is Christ. The Seed of the woman could not take off through Ishmael or Esau, it had to come through the son of promise who was Isaac! Now we’re going to run into the same thing in the next generation when Isaac’s wife Rebecca has twins in her womb. Back to Romans Chapter 9.
“For this is the word of promise” Now I can’t emphasize enough this word promise as I did in the last lesson. Abraham’s almost 100 years old, and Sarah is almost 90, so it had to take a miracle of God for her to conceive, and that miracle of course is a result of the promise of God. And these promises go all the way back to eternity past before Adam was ever created. All of these things were already set in God’s concrete if I can use that term.
“For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.”
Now God’s speaking. People have written that they appreciate my standing constantly on the Sovereignty of God, and I will never back away from that. God is Sovereign, and we’re going to see that in some of these coming verses. All right, so God made the promise, that through Abraham, and Isaac would come this next son of promise in verse 10:
“And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; [Rebecca has twins in her womb] (For the children [Esau & Jacob] 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;)”
Now Who are we talking about? The Sovereign God! Now I’m going to have to stop before I go any further, and the thought just struck me this morning as I was mulling this over while I was getting dressed. You know I put it on the board a few lessons ago that as mankind moves down the river of life, and on both sides of the banks of that river are constant doors of opportunity over which was written, “Whosoever Will May Come,” but as soon as we respond to that opportunity, and step through that door we can look back at that door and see written over it, “Chosen From Before The Foundations Of The World.”
Now then in these next series of verses here in Chapter 9 are some things that are mighty hard to swallow, and very hard to teach, because people will confuse the issue, and they’re going to fall into the trap of saying, “Well, if it’s all up to my being elected, then why should I worry about it. I’ll just go my own way, and if God sees fit to grab me by the nape of the neck, and I’m elected, then I’ll go to Heaven. If not, I’m going to go to hell because I have no choice in the matter.” Listen, the Bible never teaches that! But here’s where I’m going to clarify it. These succeeding verses now, and everything that we’ve been covering touching the elections, the calling of the believers since eternity past, is a doctrine that really should be studied only by, I think, the believer. Because now as a believer God wants us to know that in our exalted position, we didn’t come in by accident. We came into this position because in eternity past, “God Chose Us.” Now you see that’s something that only the believer can take by faith because God said it. I can’t argue with it, but for the unbeliever he can’t comprehend this, and I don’t expect him to because it isn’t for the unbeliever to try and swallow. All the unbeliever has to understand is, “Whosoever Will May Come.” The unbeliever has to understand that God has said:
II Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
The Scripture says that Christ died for every man. And I ran into a verse the other night and I have read it over and over all these years, but had never really seen it, and of course that’s the beauty of this Book you can never exhaust it. Let’s look at John’s Gospel, and it’s speaking of John the Baptist.
“The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, (Speaking of Christ) that all men through him might believe.” How many? All! Not just a few, but He came that all might believe. In verse 8, John the Baptist wasn’t that Light.
“He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, (Jesus the Christ, and here’s something that I had never seen before) which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
It says, “He lighteth every man,” and The Book doesn’t lie. Now I know a lot of us get all hung up when we realize that people down in the jungles of the Amazon valley, and in certain other spiritual dark places of the world have never heard the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4). And we can’t comprehend a Righteous God sending them to an eternal lake of fire. But listen, The Book says over and over that for some reason or other they have received the Light. They have a certain amount of knowledge. I can’t explain it but that’s what The Book says, and that’s what it says right here, that when Christ came into the world, “His light lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Now that’s a future tense verb, so it wasn’t just speaking of those living at Christ’s time, but rather it was also speaking of those coming on the scene even today. They have received somehow or other the Light. Let’s go to Titus Chapter 2, and another verse that I’ve even struggled with myself, but I take it by faith. I believe it with all my heart, and mind because The Book says it. Here the Apostle Paul is at the end of his earthly ministry, he’s going to be martyred before much longer. But look at this amazing statement, and remember it’s Holy Spirit inspired. It’s The Word of God.
“For the grace of God (That unmerited favor that God has poured out on the whole human race) that bringeth salvation hath (past tense) appeared to all men.” Not just a favored few, but all men. Now let’s back up to Romans that has thrown a curve at a lot of people, and it’s hard for me to teach it because it just seems so impossible, but it isn’t because The Book says it.
“For the wrath of God…” And remember we’re not under the wrath of God today, but rather the Grace of God. But His wrath is coming, it’s getting closer every day, and one of these days God’s going to have His stomach full, and He’s going to start pouring out His wrath. Now reading on:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may (Now watch this)be known of God is manifest in them…”
`Manifest’ is a multi-type term. There isn’t just one little segment of knowledge, they have a whole bunch, just like a manifold on a V-8 engine has 8 port holes. That’s one for every cylinder, that’s a manifold, and the same word is associated with this word manifest. A complete unveiling of knowledge.
“for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood (See?) by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they (the whole human race) are without excuse:” That doesn’t mean we can just sit in our living room and let the world go to Hell. But the constant admonition is that we are to promote the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Absolutely we are. Paul says in II Corinthians 5:
II Corinthians 5:20a
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…”
That’s exactly what He wants us to be. We are to be ambassadors of the tremendous message of reconciliation, but man will never come up before God at the Great White Throne Judgment, and be able to say to God that He was unfair, and that they never had a chance. They can’t say that they didn’t know, and God is going to say unto them, “Depart from me I never knew you.” Everybody has a certain amount of understanding. Now back to Romans Chapter 9.
So this whole concept of election, the foreknowledge of God as to who would become believers is something that the unsaved person doesn’t have to worry about, he doesn’t have to fret over it, he doesn’t have to take the attitude, “Well I don’t have a chance unless God elects me.” The whosoever will on the bank of that life stream river is always open. You know when I teach John’s Gospel Chapter 10 with the analogy of the shepherd and the sheepfold, I always teach that no man cometh into the sheepfold but by the door, and if they try to get in some other way then they’re thieves and robbers. And where is that door for that sheepfold? Ground level where the lost person can walk right through it. It’s not up on some high far way place that is inaccessible, but always at ground level. And all they have to do is choose to go through it, and if they don’t it’s not God’s fault. And we’re going to see this now in the next verses here in Romans Chapter 9. So always temper this with the fact that we can’t comprehend this, even though God’s Word says it, until we’re a believer. And then it is a point of assurance, and rejoicing. I’m secure in the Body of Christ because God chose me.
Let me give you another analogy. I don’t remember the man that wrote it. I read it years ago, and I had to struggle with it, but the more I’ve struggled the better I can see it. He gave the analogy of ten men sitting on death row in a state penitentiary. All of them were there for committing almost an identical type of murder, one was no more bizarre than the others. So each was awaiting the death sentence, and then in the midst of their waiting the Governor sends down a decree that pardons three of those ten men. And so those three at random were given their pardon and sent home a free man. Now then what right do the other seven have to say, “You have to pardon us also.” Can they rightfully say that? No, because what are they still deserving of? Their sentence. They are still guilty murderers who deserve death, but the other three by virtue of a Governors pardon have been set free. Now they didn’t deserve to be set free, they were just as guilty as the other seven, but what got them their freedom? Well the grace of the Governor. But the thing I want to point out is the other seven can never say one word, because they were guilty, they were sentenced and they’re going to get what they deserve. And in some ways that’s a pretty good analogy of how God’s Sovereignty in Grace works.
For you and I as believers were Hell-bound sinners just like everybody else. We were just as deserving of God’s punishment as anybody could be, but why have we escaped? Because we accepted God’s pardon, and now here we are, we’re set free, and the rest of maybe some of our family, and loved ones, and friends are going on to their just deserts. But why are we escaping? The Grace of God. Never lose sight of that fact that it’s only the Grace of God that He put His finger on you, and me. We can never boast, and say, “I’m so glad that I was smart enough to read, and that I had the wherewithal to understand.” But it was only by the Grace of God that after we’re saved we can understand, “Yes, God had me in His sights before the world was ever created.”
You remember I gave the illustration about 4 or 5 years ago, and at the time that I read it I almost shook my head in unbelief, but again the more I think about it the more I believe it. This writer gave the illustration that within the human reproduction system, every human female has within her body the potential to produce thousands upon thousands of ova. Every human male has the potential to produce billions of sperm, and yet it only takes one sperm and one ova to make a child. This writer felt that the Sovereign God supernaturally predetermines which sperm fertilizes which ova.
Now that’s mind boggling when you think of the billions of people on the planet tonight, and everyone of them is a Sovereign act of God. Yes I’m believing it more and more. The same way I think in our everyday experience. I make no apology to the fact that every morning, without exception, I thank God for the day that some how miraculously He let my little wife and I meet. All the things that had to transpire in our two lives to bring my little wife and me to cross paths, fall in love, and now spend forty three years together. An act of God? Absolutely! And not just for the two of us, but for most of you. You can look back, and say, “Wasn’t it a miracle that my husband and I got together.” Most of you can tell the same story. Never sell short the Sovereignty of our God, and it was only by His Grace that He reached down and chose us. But again I have to be careful for the unbeliever, and I know we have a lot of you out there listening who would say, “Why should I be concerned?” You’d better be concerned, because Christ died for every human being. He didn’t die for just the few. He died for every one us, but it’s up to us to accept His offer of pardon. Don’t worry about whether you’re chosen are not, “You believe the Gospel.” (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4.) Once you’ve believed the Gospel for your Salvation then God will move in Grace, and He will show all these truths to you. Not all at once, but rather little by little they will come sifting through. Now let’s move on, and I hope I’ve clarified my view on that. Now verse 11 again:
For the children (Jacob and Esau now in the womb of Rebecca) 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.”
Now that was contrary to Middle Eastern customs. Even in the case of twins, whichever twin was born first he would be the eldest son, and he would be the rightful heir of the inheritances. And so this just flew in the face of what Isaac and Rebecca understood. They thought that this would be against human reason to think that the younger would receive the inheritance. But God, again in foreknowledge, before those lads were ever born, being able to see the beginning to the end knew that Esau would be destitute of faith. God knew that one day Esau would come in and sell the birthright for a bowl of bean soup, and God knew that later on Esau would also lose the blessing, and so in His foreknowledge God could say:
“…The elder shall the younger.”