Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 25
Let’s get back to Romans Chapter 11. In order to pick up the flow let’s go back up to verse 26 where Paul writes:
“And so all Israel shall be saved: (we looked at that. I believe that the escaping remnant in Matthew 24:15 will be that remnant) as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins (and we went back and looked at the new Covenant in Jeremiah). As concerning the gospel,…”
Now of course you always have to ask, what Gospel? I’ve made reference of a little booklet by Paul Van Gorder, one of the Bible teachers on the Old Radio Bible Class, and the title of the booklet was, Which Gospel When, and low and behold the other day I ran into a gentlemen who had a whole stack of them. Paul Van Gorder made it so plain that The Gospel proclaimed during Christ’s earthly ministry, and by the twelve disciples was the “Gospel of the Kingdom.” And the “Gospel of the Grace of God” came from the Apostle Paul (Reference I Corinthians 15:1-4). The same God of course, because God never changes, but He can change His message, and that’s what we talked about in our earlier lessons, “The Mysteries.” So out of that revelation of the mysteries comes what Paul calls, “The Gospel of the Grace of God.” In another place Paul calls it, “That Gospel which I preach among the Gentiles.” In another place he calls it, “My Gospel.” And still another he calls it the “Gospel of God, The Gospel of Christ.” But The Gospel that Paul is referring to in verse 28 is Paul’s Gospel, that Christ died, shed His sinless Blood, was buried, and rose again from the dead. Now that’s The Gospel to believe for your Salvation. You can’t add anything to it, you can’t take anything from it. So this Gospel then is what the Jew has been opposing ever since it began.
“As concerning the gospel, they (the Jews) are enemies for your sakes: but (let’s not try to destroy them because they’re our enemies; why?) as touching the election, (God extending Salvation to them) they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.”
Now who were the fathers? Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Remember that God had a special relationship with Abraham didn’t He? He loved Abraham, as well as David, a man after His own heart. And so God constantly goes back to those patriarchs and His love for them when He deals with their offspring, and I think that is what Paul is saying. That the election, that remnant of Israel that God is still preparing for that end-time event are beloved because of their forefathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and so on and so forth. Now verse 29:
“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”
Now that word “repentance” I think is crushed, and crucified about as much as any word in the English language. What is the true definition of repentance as we see it here in Paul’s writings? Well, it is not falling down on your face and weeping in sorrow for your sins, but rather the repentance spoken of here is a change of mind, a change of thinking. Now then when it comes to God’s dealing with Israel, Has He changed His mind? No! Now look at the verse in that light. Treating repentance as changing His mind. “For the gifts and calling of God are without changing His mind.” Now isn’t that plain? Well, what do we mean? Let’s go back to Genesis 12, because this is what it’s all referring back to. So let’s just see what it says in those first three verses, the Abrahamic Covenant.
“Now the LORD had said (back in Chapter 11) unto Abram, `Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: (now look at verse 2, where God is speaking to the man Abraham where He says:) And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and I will curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.'”
Now do you think God changed His mind? No! He hasn’t changed His mind. That’s still valid, that is still true, and that Abrahamic Covenant is still going to be fulfilled. Now you want to remember that this is still the whole idea of Christ’s first coming was to fulfill these promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Israel rejected it out of hand to the place that they crucified their Messiah. Did God turn His back on them forever? No. Like we’ve seen for the last several lessons, we’ve seen He has set them aside. He blinded them, but He hasn’t taken them out of His program. He’s still going to come back, and finish the Abrahamic Covenant. Absolutely He is. Now let’s go on over to Chapter 15 for a moment, and here in this passage we find Abraham showing his humanity. You know that’s what I always like to point out when I teach about these Old Testament characters. They were just as human as we are, they weren’t some super people, just as common and everyday as we are.
Now God has been promising Abraham a land, and a nation of people, but who’s in the land? The Canaanites. Abraham is a stranger, he probably had to ask permission wherever he went with his flocks. In fact, while we were in Israel back in 1975, and Israel was still just coming out of their statehood, every place that an Arab or anyone would take their flocks, they would have to ask the orchard owner whether they could graze their sheep or goats for any number of days. I imagine it was much the same way with Abraham. He didn’t own a stick of ground. And he was a stranger in a land that had been promised to him, but he still didn’t have the deed to it. Now just watch how human he is. Let’s look at verse 8 of Chapter 15, where God has been making all these promises and then Abraham said:
“And he said, `Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?'”
God’s word wasn’t even enough for a man like Abraham. He said, “I want some proof.” And what does God do? He gives it to him. He gives him the deed to the land in the succeeding verses, all the way down from verse 10 to verse 18, God deeds, not just that little land from the Mediterranean to Jordan, but look how much God deeded to Abraham in verse 18. And the same day that he deeded the land, by virtue of the old customs, I think coming out the laws of Hammurabi.
“In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, `Unto thy seed have I given (past tense) this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.'”
All these different tribes were dwelling in that area of the world. That was a promise and God gave it to Abram, deeded it to him. You think He’s going to change His mind now all of a sudden and say, `Well no, I’m not going to let you have it’. No way! So regardless of what Israel does with the land, whether they give it back or whether they fight for it or whatever, you rest assured when Christ returns they’re going to have the whole Middle East as their homeland. All the way from the river of Egypt to the great river, Euphrates, all the way from Mt. Hermon, all the way down to the Red Sea. That’s going to be Israel’s homeland. They haven’t gotten it yet, they’re not even close, but they’re going to. Why? Because the gifts and calling of God are without His changing His mind. Now, let’s look at another promise in II Samuel Chapter 7. God is dealing with David. Another one of the patriarchs, a man after His own heart. And God loved David and David loved his God. But now look what God is saying:
II Samuel 7:12,13
“And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, (God’s not going to intervene in the physical element of death) I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, (in other words it would be his own son) and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.”
This is the promise of that kingly line that would go all the way from David down to the coming of Christ the King. Here it’s all promised. The house of David.
II Samuel 7:14
“I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, (and is he going to? You’d better believe it!) I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:”
Has Israel experienced that? Why, constantly they’ve been under the disciplining of their God. All you have to do is go back and read the book of Judges. What is that a story of? A story of a nation that was on a roller coaster. They would go up to a spiritual high under a righteous, holy judge and he’d die and what would happen to the nation? Down into the steps of sin and rejection. God would raise up another good judge and here they’d come again. And they would be blessed and they would be victorious over their enemies and then down they went. Up and down and up and down. Yes, God chastised them, but did He ever give up on them? No! We’ve seen this all the way through Israel’s experience that God has promised them and promised them and promised them, a King and a kingdom. He came the first time, they rejected it, they crucified Him.
And so The Lord in resurrection power went back to glory. To forget about Israel? No. Like a MacArthur who left the Philippians and said, `I will come back’, that’s exactly what Jesus told the Twelve there on the Mt. of Olives. He’s going back to Heaven, but He said, `I’m coming back’. The angel announced it, if The Lord Himself didn’t. And so Israel is approaching the day, we feel, that their Messiah is going to be coming back. Now, come back to Hosea for a moment. Beautiful prophecy. Hosea Chapter 6 and verse 1. Now these are promises that God has given to the nation through the prophets.
“Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.”
Watch the language there. What did it mean that he had torn and smitten? He chastised them! He had exercised discipline on them. But what are the last words of that verse? He will bind us up. What does that mean? He’s going to heal them. He’s going to heal the land. He’s going to heal their nation.
“After two days (when we speak of prophetic days, according to Peter, how long is that? `A day is but a thousand years in God’s sight and a thousand years is but a day’. So I think it’s speaking of 2,000 years here) will he revive us:…”
Isn’t He doing it? Of course. You go back to pre-World War II. Go back to the 30’s and all the way back then into the early 1900’s and the 1800’s. Who would have ever dreamed that the Jews would one day have their own land and a sovereign government. Only Bible scholars, they were writing about it, but no one else ever thought of it. Whenever the Jews would talk to the powers that be in England and America and what have you, they would laugh at them. The English actually offered them a piece of Africa for their homeland that was uninhabitable for the most part, and they said, “No we don’t want a piece of ground in Africa, we want our own homeland, Israel.” And here they are. They’ve been coming back now for the last 100 years, and since 1948 they have been pretty much an independent state.
“After two days (or two thousand years) will he revive us: in the third day (which takes you into the Kingdom age) he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.” Indeed, He’s going to be ruling from Jerusalem, and He will right there in their midst. Now verse 3, when they come into that Kingdom economy:
“Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”
Now we in America are not so much concerned with the former and latter rain, but in the Middle East it was everything. That’s why Israel became a waste land for thousands of years, they lost the latter rain. They may have had some of the earlier rain, but they would never get that latter rain. But now since Israel is a nation and they’re beginning to green up and it’s beginning to blossom as a rose, Israel is beginning to experience the former and the latter rains. In other words, they are getting it in two times during the year instead of one. All of these are simply to show as Paul says, concerning the elect of Israel, that God has not changed His mind. Now to Romans Chapter 11, verse 30.
“For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:” Remember what we saw earlier in this Chapter? Just go back a page, because that’s the only way you learn is to go over and over it.
“I say then, `Have they (the Nation of Israel) stumbled that they should fall? (in other words, become completely out of God’s program) God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the (whom?) Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.'” Oh, wonder of wonders. Now let’s go back to the last part of the chapter and that’s exactly what Paul is going to say.
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”
This is beyond us. How in the world could He take a Covenant people like Israel, give them all the promises that He gave to the patriarchs and the prophets, then even through the coming of their Messiah, and deal with them on Covenant ground. And then see them crucify the One He gave them, and cry out in total rebellion, “Away with him.” And then have God say because they did that, “I’ll now send Salvation to the Gentiles.” Who would have ever thought of anything like that? No one but God! But this is what God did. And so, because they rejected everything that God had promised, they have brought about what had to be done for our Salvation. And that of course, was His sacrificial death and His burial and His Resurrection.
“For as ye in times past have not believed God,…”
We have two facets. We can believe in God. How many people do that? Just about everybody, at least in America. We’re open to the Scriptures and so forth. Most Americans will admit they believe in God. But what’s the other one? Believe God! Now that narrows it down. How many people believe God? That becomes then, faith. Believing in God doesn’t take faith into consideration at all. But to believe God, is faith, when we take God at His Word. Now that’s exactly what we’re talking about here. The Gentiles, for thousands of years, did not believe God. They may have believed in some god, but they did not believe God. And you see, this is where all of a sudden it makes such a difference when we believe God, we take what He says and we believe it, and that’s what? Faith! So when the Scripture says that Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead, what does God expect us to do with it? Believe it! And when we believe it with all our heart, what does God do again? He opens up our whole ability to believe, He comes in, He makes us a new person and all these things become so easy to comprehend. Which before were just so hard to comprehend. Now let’s go on.
“For God hath concluded them (Israel) all in unbelief, (because of their total rejection) that He might have mercy upon (how many?) all. (now who are the all? Jew and Gentile. The whole human race.) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! (we can’t even come close to comprehending His wisdom.) how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out. For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?”
Now I think that history can pretty much prove presidents or kings rise and fall pretty much based on the men around them. If they’ve got weak advisors, or people that are constantly getting the president or king or whatever, in hot water, history is not going to be very kind to them, are they? God doesn’t have that problem. He doesn’t need a cabinet. He doesn’t need counselors. He’s all the counseling that He ever needed. You know I always like to use that verse in Acts about the predetermined counsel of God and the foreknowledge of God? What does that mean? That the Triune God came together and without any outside counsel, they put the whole thing together and His ways are past human understanding.