Welcome to The Door. This is the Book of Romans, episode 17, chapter 9:6-13. This is going to be rather interesting tonight, at least it is to me.
We're going to be studying the Bible. This is not a sermonette. It's not something to inspire you. This is strictly a Bible study. We go into it deeply and we try to determine exactly what God says. That's all we're interested in.
It says in the Book of Matthew 4:4, "But he answered and said, 'It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that precedeth out of the mouth of God.'" It's important that we have every word, that there are no words taken out or left out or none added. That's what we have in the King James Bible.
Now, 1 Timothy 4:13 says, "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhalation, to doctrine." That's what this is tonight, doctrine.
We're going to be talking about election. What do you know about election? We're going to talk about it straight from the Words of God.
Romans 9, as we discovered last week, proclaims the sovereignty of God in the election of nations.
Romans 9:11 answers the question. "Since the Jews have by and large rejected their Messiah, and the Gentiles have entered the faith of Abraham, is God through with Israel?" The majority of the church today says God is through with Israel, that the church has taken Israel's place. When they go to the Old Testament and read about Zion, that means the church. When they read about Israel, that means the church. But the fundamental pre-tribulation, pre-dispensational saints understand very clearly that God still has a program for the nation of Israel, a major program. We're going to see some of that defended tonight in Romans 9.
Now, this is a graft I made of premillennial doctrine. You notice on the left side, you see the rapture taking place. Underneath there, you'll see seven years. Sometimes we call that The Tribulation, but it's not. It's the 70th week of Daniel or Jacob's troubles it's called, but they're three-and-a-half years. The last three-and-a-half years are called The Great Tribulation.
"Then shall there be great tribulation." (Matthew 24:21) You see the other yellow era in the middle coming down, and that is the Second Coming of Christ or the restoration of Israel.
Seven years apart, you have the rapture, the yellow era on the left.
You have the rapture when just the Christians are taken up to heaven. The world doesn't see Christ at that point. It's just a sudden disappearance of all the believers. And then antichrist comes for and sets up his reign as a political leader. He is a man of peace, and he becomes a man of miracles, and he is a man of the church. He is a Christian, a religious figure, and he's assisted by the head of the Christian Church across the world. We're going to get into detail maybe in the summer on this subject.
But then the antichrist will turn against Israel at three-and-a-half year mark, set up himself in the temple in Jerusalem, stop the sacrifices that'll be taking place and declare himself to be God. At that point, God breaks out the judgments upon the earth. That's when the seals are opened, the trumpets, the vials, and all the terrible things happen on the earth, the judgements, called The Great Tribulation.
At the end of that Great Tribulation, Christ comes back in the air, visible to everyone, on a white horse. Slays the armies of the world in the valley of Megiddo, over in Israel, and Israel is restored as promised to Abraham, back in the land, back in Jerusalem. God sets up his throne in Jerusalem, and David is resurrected to reigned with Christ.
You and I come back after seven years with God, with Jesus in heaven. We come back and we reign on the earth with him for 1000 years. During that 1000-year reign, children, I believe that were aborted or that died prematurely will come and be placed upon the earth and foster parented by many of us. They will come to maturity and there, they will respond to Christ as well. That's up for debate. That's my view on that. Be it as it may,
At the end of the 1000 years, there's going to be, what's called the great white throne judgment. No Christians will be in that. It'll not be for anyone but sinners. And then the new heavens, the earth is destroyed. A new heavens and a new earth are created where in dwelleth righteousness. That's pre-tribulational, premillennial.
Now, in my lifetime, through Rosenthal and a few others has arisen the concept of pre-wrath rapture. I read Rosenthal through several times and made careful notes, and I had to laugh at such absurdity.
He couldn't make his point from the King James Bible or the New International Version or the Revised Standard Version. He had to skip around and use several different versions because the text itself wouldn't agree with him. He created this false concept of pre-wrath rapture, and it's taken on to people who really don't study their Bibles anymore.
We are going through Romans 9, 10, 11. We're going to lay a foundation that's going to dissipate and tear the foundations out from under that pre-wrath rapture, our post-tribulational, our post-millennial, our amillennial, and we'll explain that to you in a minute, doctrine. Now, that's premillennial.
What about post-millennial? Post-millennial does not believe, watch on the left, in the rapture. No rapture. They don't believe in the seven years and they don't believe in The Great Tribulation of three-and-a-half years. That's all gone.
The post-millennial don't believe in the restoration of Israel. They see the Second Coming as occurring at the end of the millennial reign of Christ upon the earth, and they don't believe in the new heavens and the new earth. A few may, but most don't.
And you say, then how does the millennial take place? Get ready for this.
They teach that the church is going to overcome the world, that there'll be a revival and righteousness will begin to reign, and the earth will be consumed with the glory of God through Jesus Christ. For 1000 years, it'll be a place of righteousness and holiness, where sin goes underground and disappears.
Now, that used to be a real popular doctrine. Through history, it lost much of its popularity. It has become a total absurdity. The only way to be a post-millennialist is to interpret the Bible allegorically.
One famous post-millennialist wrote, a Calvinist I'm talking about, and said, "Sure. If you interpreted the Bible literally, you'd be pre-tribulational, premillennial. But we know you can't take it literally." He admitted that just taking the Bible face value, it teaches pre-tribulational, premillennial doctrine. But if you allegorize it and don't let words mean what words say in a dictionary, then you can make the Bible say anything you want it to and you'd come up with post-millennial.
Now, next is what's called amillennial. Not much there. No millennium, no rapture, no tribulation. Just, Christ comes back, judges the world and is all over with. Pop, boom, bang, and off to heaven we go. Jews are just gone, so that's not very exciting and not very much chart-making on amillennial.
But I wanted to give you that position, because there's a whole lot more Christians in the world that are amillennialist than there are pre-millennialist. Even though the early church for the first 300 years were all pre-millennial, first, second, third century, you finally got down to Augustine in Roman Catholic doctrine before pre-millennialism was kicked out.
You see, the Roman Catholics teach that the millennium occurred between 500 AD and 1500 AD. Why then? Because that's when the Catholic Church could install Kings or uninstall them, could kill large numbers of people, and had power to rule over the earth. That had to be Christ's reign upon the earth. It's generally referred to as the Dark Ages. You wouldn't think that Christ's reign on the earth for 1000 years would be called the Dark Ages, would you? But in late years, people have stopped calling it that and started calling it different things because of the implications.
Now, this is the atheist view here. This is the atheist chart right here. When you start with nothing, you are nothing, you end up nothing, that's it. There's nothing to make. All right. I thought that.
Romans 9:1-5 recounts the significant role Israel has played in God's program. We dealt with that last week.
A quick review of that real quick. Romans 9:1-5 "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." That's Jews, Israelites. No question about that. "To whom pertaineth the adoption,” The adoption was designed for Jews. “...the glory,...” for Jews, “...the covenants...” for the Jews, “...the giving of law...” for the Jews, “...the service of God, the promises, whose are the fathers.” The fathers of the faith were Jewish. "And of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came." Christ came through the Jews. He was a Jew. These eight things all come from Judaism, "Who is overall, Christ. God blessed forever."
Now, with these eight things coming for the Jews, we have to wonder, but what about the fact that they didn't believe? It didn't seem to take well with them, these eight privileges; adoption, glory, covenants, giving of the law, service of God, promises, fathers of the faith, Christ came through the lineage. But it didn't seem to take.
John 1:11 "He came into his own and his own received him not." The Jews wanted to stick with the law, stick with Abraham, stick with Moses. They rejected Christ, by and large.
Now, 9:6-23, which is the subject of tonight, provides three examples of God electing a nation, electing a nation to be a recipient of his grace.
The truth regarding election will begin to be revealed tonight. It'll take three chapters, 9, 10, 11 to cover it all, but it will open up in a major way tonight.
We read beginning in verse six. Romans 9:6 "Not as though the word of God had taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel."
Paul has anticipated that his readers are going to look at that first five verses and those eight things that were special for Israel and say, "Well, it just didn't work. It didn't take." Now, his argument is going to be ... I'm going to tell you ahead of time what his argument is going to be. His argument's going to be that God gave these promises and this word to believing Israel, to those who were the seed of promise, not just to the genetic seed. But to those who were of the faith of Abraham. And that in fact, it was effective with those who were of the faith of Abraham. It was not effective with those who continued in the law. That's where this chapter's going to go.
Romans 9:6 "Not as though the word of God had taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel." In other words, not everyone who's a genetic descendant is counted as Israel. Now, he is going to give illustrations for that, but let's go back to Romans 2 and see that this is a subject Paul is already broached.
Romans 2:28-29 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly: neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh." Do you remember that passage? "But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly: and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter whose praise is not of men, but of God."
Do you remember how he said that a Gentile, which was not circumcised, which did by nature the things contained in the law, was counted as circumcised? Whereas a genetic Jew who didn't obey the law was counted as uncircumcised?
His point is that just being of natural lineage doesn't put you in the line of faith and of the promise. It takes more than that. Again, the passage, "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel." Not every genetic seed of Israel is a true Israelite of promise. Genetic descent is not an entitlement. You don't go to heaven just because you're born a Jew.
Now, we're going to read three examples in this chapter of Israel's history, showing the contrast between children of the flesh and children of the promise.
Here's the first example: Romans 9:6-7"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." Now, this goes back to a physical, natural event that occurred. Abraham had a son, Ishmael, and God said, "No, I'm rejecting Ishmael through Hagar. That cannot be your seed. That's not the promised seed. I promised you a seed through Sara."
Notice verse nine. Romans 9:9 "For this is the word of promise. At this time, I will come and Sara shall have a son." When he talks about the children of promise, he's talking about the children who came through the promise that Abraham and Sara would have children.
God rejected Ishmael and chose Jacob, chose Isaac. Isaac was the child of promise. Ishmael was the child of the flesh.
"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 ..." By the way, that's the same word as impute, logizomai, imputed, "for the seed. For this is the word of promise. At this time, I will come and Sara shall have a child."
Now, has God replaced Israel with a church is the question. Has God moved beyond the natural seed to the spiritual seed of Abraham? I hear that term all the time, the spiritual seed. If you look it up in your Bible, there is no term spiritual seed anywhere in the Bible. It doesn't exist. It's a non-existent term. It's a non-existent concept. There is no spiritual seed anywhere in the Bible.
It takes a genetic Jew to make a spiritual Jew. A spiritual Gentile does not become a Jew, but being a Jew doesn't make you spiritual. But if you are yielded to the Spirit of God, then you become not just a genetic Jew, but a spiritual Jew, a child of the promise. Otherwise, you're just a child of the flesh. He's drawing an analogy here.
He's not attempting to redefine an Israelite, that an Israelite is actually a church member. He's defining an Israelite as a participant in the promise.
He's not attempting to replace the physical Jew with a spiritual Gentile. He's showing that God required more than physical descent for one to be counted as part of the blessings of the covenant.
Back to our text, verse seven.
Romans 9:7 "Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children."
Abraham had more than Isaac and Ishmael. He had several children after that. But only one of Abraham's children is counted as the seed, the lineage through which Jesus Christ will come. The others are not counted at all.
He said, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called," quoting Genesis 21:12. "That is, they which are the children of the flesh." He's saying that when Abraham went into Hagar, Ishmael was a child of the flesh, the children of the flesh. "These are not the children of God, but the children of promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise. At this time, Sara shall have a son."
Now, here's the chart. Abraham has Ishmael through Hagar. Isn't he a cute little Arab? Now, the Arabic people all come from Ishmael. They're cousins to Isaac, to the Jews. And the conflict that's over there in the Middle East started 4,000 years ago with Abraham having a child out of the will of God through the flesh, Ishmael. If he hadn't had Ishmael, history would've been totally different.
Now, here's the second example he's going to give. Romans 9:10-11 "And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived," and that's the wife of Isaac, "when Rebecca also had conceived by one," now why that by one? Because she's going to have twins. He's making the point that the two children came from the one father.
"Even our father, Isaac, for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil." On a side, these children didn't belong to Calvinist parents, because they were born without having done any good or evil. No sinful natures. They didn't eat the tree of life. I mean, tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They hadn't sinned yet. They hadn't done any good or evil. Just a sidebar there.
"Neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand." There's that word election for the first time. "Not of works, but of him that calleth."
He's simply saying that these two sons didn't compete for that position. God appointed that position before they were born. Now, when you go back and read about Isaac and Ishmael and their competition, you find out that it appears that they competed. It appears they competed because, and when these twins were coming out and Esau comes out of the womb, Jacob reaches up and grabs him by the foot.
Romans 9:11 "For the children have not yet been born, neither having done any good or evil. That the purpose of God according to the election might stand, not have works, but of him that calleth. It was said unto her, the elder shall serve the younger."
Back to Abraham. Abraham has Isaac and Ishmael. God rejects Ishmael, says he's not the chosen seed. Then Isaac has Esau, Jacob and Esau. Jacob and Esau are twins. And Jacob grabs Esau by the ankle and holds on. And then they end up struggling and you know the story. I won't go into it. I don't have the time, but it looks like Jacob actually wrestled it out. But he's going to tell us it's not by will, not by might.
God rejects Esau, so what we have now are seed of promise. These are your seed to promise Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Now, here's a map and this is the red line, represents the land given to Israel. Israel rightfully owns part of Egypt, about a third of Saudi Arabia, about half of Iraq, part of Kuwait, most of Syria, a little bit of Turkey, all of Jordan and all of Lebanon. And of course, the Gaza Strip and Israel proper. That's what God gave to Abraham in his seed. Now, there's some debate about that line running through Egypt. I think it's actually a little more to the east there on the River of Egypt, not the Nile River. But that would move it over to that finger of water you see there and run down through the Red Sea. But there's difference of opinion there.
Now, here is what Ishmael inherited in Saudi Arabia. That's where the Arabs all came from.
And then here is what Esau inherited. The Edomites conquered the Nabataeans. What we call Petra, the rock city of Petra, that was Esau's Edomites.
God pronounced judgment on the Edomites and they ceased to exist, but the Ishmaelites will exist all the way up through the Second Coming. The Bible prophecy was very clear on those two.
Romans 9:13, "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." God elected Jacob and his descendants over Esau.
Do you remember how Sara said, "Cast out the bond woman. She'll not be heir with my son, Isaac"? (Genesis 21:10) And Abraham obeyed the voice of his wife and sent his concubine, so to be, away with her son, who was about 14 years old probably at the time. Sent them out into the desert with a bottle of water and they nearly died. The Bible said, God, he loved Jacob, but Esau he hated. We'll deal with that a little more.
Romans 9:11, "For the children being not yet born," we read that, "neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand." In other words, this choice God made was an election. “not of works, but of him that calleth.”
Now, Jacob probably thought, and Jacob's mother probably thought that they had worked him into position number one. But God elected the children of promise, not just the physical seed.
So, is election arbitrary? That is, does God just elect out of the blue with no cause, rhyme or reason? That would be nonsensical. That'd be the first and only time God in eternity ever did something without good forethought and reason, and foreknowledge, and cause, and purpose, and design. Now, we may not know the full design of what God has done, but it has a purpose and there's a reason. And it's not going to be cruel.
Now, Genesis 18:18 says God elected Abraham, chose him. God says of Abraham, "Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. For I know him." God says, "I know him." Now, this is before he has a child, "That he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring up on Abraham that which he has spoken of him." God elected Abraham, but God knew, knowing as he does all things, that Abraham would teach his children. So that his children would teach their children, and they would perpetuate the words of God from generation to generation. God knew that about Abraham, before he elected him.
Now, you say, well, that's works. No. If you read the life of Abraham, he was not a perfectly righteous man, but he's a man who kept coming back to the path of faith.
Now, Malachi 1:1-3 says concerning Esau, "The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi." The prophet's going to say something. "I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say," that's Israel, "You say, 'Wherein has thou loved us?'" And God answers, "Was not Esau Jacob's brother, saith the Lord? Yet I loved Jacob and I hated Esau." There it's stated again.
"I hated Esau and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas Edom," that's the land of Esau, "saith, we are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the Lord of hosts. They shall build, but I will throw down. They shall call them 'the border of wickedness' and the people against whom the Lord hath indignation forever." God also foreknew the Edomites. He knew what they would be and what they would become, and he didn't entrust his words with them.
What if God had entrusted his words to the Arabic people? What will we have today? Can you see that God sees the end from the beginning? So when God elects, he knows what he's doing. He has a program and a plan in mind. It's not just blind election.
Now, here's what 1 Peter 1:1-3 says about election. "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocias, Asia, and Bithynia." He's writing. Those are all Gentile cities. Gentiles were called strangers to Israel. So he is writing to Gentile strangers. "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." He's not talking about individuals here. He's talking about the Gentiles in general, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Christ. Grace beyond you, peace be multiplied."
God elected the Gentiles to take Israel's place in his favor, based on God's foreknowledge. What did God know? He knew everything. Election is always based on foreknowledge because God cannot not have foreknowledge. He's always got foreknowledge. Knowing what he does, he elects, and we may not see the plan or the program. Going to get more specific here.
God elects nations to be the focus of his grace, not individuals to salvation. It's going to be a revelation to many. God does not, and has never elected an individual to salvation. When you look up the word elect or elected throughout the Bible, you find it consistently applied to a people group or to a nation, never to an individual. We're going to see that in the text.
Romans 9:13 "As it is written, Jacob I've loved, Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God?" That God would love one and hate the other? "God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I'll have mercy on whom I'll have mercy, and I'll have compassion on whom I'll have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." Jacob was running. He was willing, but that wasn't what got him in the position. God had elected him. All that finagling in the flesh didn't have anything to do with it.
Romans 9:15 "For his saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I'll have mercy, and I'll have compassion on whom I'll have compassion." Now, you've got to read that passage right there in the context of when God said it to Moses and why, and what the subject was, which we will do.
This is the third example, Romans 9:17 "For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh." He's taken us back to that statement, "I'll have compassion on whom I'll have compassion."
Romans 9:17"For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth." And when he said raised him up, he's talking about how he brought him to the position of Pharaoh. That's interesting that Egypt thought they were making their own pharaohs, and God was behind the scene making the pharaohs. Now, that means that this Pharaoh was God's choice. Like presidents are God's choice, regardless of what men do. There's a purpose.
Romans 9:18-19 "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he'll have mercy, and whom he will, he hardeneth." Now, that hardening is not a created process. It is an ongoing thing that develops in the course of the history of individuals. "Thou wilt say then unto me," he anticipates a rebuttal of this, "Why does he yet find fault for who hath resisted his will?" In other words, if God is having mercy on whom he'll have mercy, and whom he will he hardens, then that's his will. Who can change it? So we're just victims, right?
Paul says, Romans 9:20 "Nay but, O man." He's reminding us of who we are. "Who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why has thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another onto dishonor?” Now, if you take, like the Calvinist, that to be a statement about your child, that God either created your child for honor or dishonor, God either brought your child into the world to have mercy on him or to damn him, to have grace on him or to harden him, you got a strange, cruel God. You got a mixed up, messed up God. But that's what the Calvinists actually believe.
See, he's not talking about individuals here. He's talking about Gentiles and Jews as an entity, as a group. And he's talking about a dispensation of God working with them in a given economy.
Romans 9:22 ”What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known?" Listen to this. He's talking about Pharaoh now, remember? "Endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction." Pharaoh and Egypt, especially the first born, were fitted to destruction. But what did God do? He endured with much longsuffering those vessels.
God actually gave Pharaoh over more than a year's time, gave him 10 opportunities to repent, and manifested miracles and wonders, and even responded to his wish to withdraw those plagues. During that course, if you'll read it, you'll find it said several times that Pharaoh hardened his heart. That was his choice. You'll also find it several times, God hardened his heart.
So the question is, how did God harden Pharaoh's heart? By enduring with longsuffering. You see, God actually hardens the heart of every unbeliever.
Every time you witness to someone, give them the gospel, they turn on the TV or on the radio and they hear a gospel preacher and they say no, their heart gets harder. They reach a point in this life to where their heart is too hard to respond, and then God manifests his glory in their damnation. Whereas those who believe, their hearts are made tender. They may have started with a hard heart, but they respond little by little.
Steve Swartz was telling a testimony last week of how he was a drug addict and pothead and other drugs, and his life was so messed up. He hated everybody, was mean, cruel, indifferent to everything. He ended up down in Memphis, traveling through with a crowd, and he rented a house of an old lady, an apartment there. He said she was the nicest old lady, and every time she got a chance, she told him about Jesus. He said she was 87 years old.
He just kept turning her off saying, "No. No, God's not for me. He couldn't help me. I'm too far gone." He didn't break, he didn't give. One day, he was leaving the apartment and he saw her out there with a hoe, bending over, digging in her flower bed, chopping weeds. He stopped and he thought, "It was none of my business. Her weeds. That's what she wants to do."
But he started to walk on and then he looked back. And he turned around to her and he said, "Could I help you do that?" He said, 10 minutes later, he was saved. 10 minutes later, he's born again. What happened? That hard heart, the old lady turned that heart just a little bit and then she began to work on it. Talking to him while he hoed. Holy Spirit moved in, melted that hard heart, gave him a new heart.
That's the way God works. He'll either take that hard heart and take it out and give you a new one, or he'll harden the heart you've got. Through grace, through mercy, through the smile of a child, through the opportunity to vote against abortion, through an opportunity to take a stand for righteousness.
Every step you take supporting the queer agenda, supporting abortion, supporting persecution of the righteous in advance of the evil, every movie you watch, every song you listen to, every conversation you have is moving your heart one direction or another. God is hardening your heart, and you're hardening your heart. Now, you say, “but I'm not resisting his will.”
You're the one making the decision. Now, he may foreknow the decision you're going to make. But if I could do time travel, I could go back and go into the future and see what you're going to do, what decisions you're going to make, and I come back and I say to you, "Don't do that, that'll take you the wrong place," and you do it anyhow, and I say, "I happen to know for a fact that that's going to damn you," and you make your choices, the fact that I knew what you were going to do has no bearing on what you do. You do as you will choose to do.
God knows the end from the beginning, but it's your choices that'll bring you to your end, not God's knowledge of those choices. "He endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction."
Exodus 8:32, "Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go. Endured with much longsuffering that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy." You see, Pharaoh and people like him paint a dark background. They turn the lights out. Liberal agenda in America turns the lights out. They bring darkness. But what that does is it allows the jewels of God to be displayed against the dark backdrop. And they shine ever brighter.
God is not perturbed by that darkness. It's part of the program. "That he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory. Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles." Now, he's suddenly gone from his three illustrations, all Jewish, all historical factual points, all making the point that God rejected some and elected others. Three illustrations. Now, he said, "Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles." We're going to talk about a new election, he is.
Romans 9:25 -27"As he saith also in Osee," that's like Hosea, "I will call them my people, which were not my people." This is a quote. "And her beloved, which was not beloved." You see, at that time, when that prophecy was given, the Gentiles were not beloved. The Jews were. But God predicted there'd come a time when he would call them his people, which were not his people, and call her beloved, who was not beloved. "And it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, 'You are not my people;' there shall they be called the children of the living God."
You see, the prophet was looking at Samaria. He was seeing the woman at the well. He was looking up in Corinth and in Rome, Greece, Athens, Thessalonica, where they were worshiping idols, committing fornication, abusing children, going to big arenas where they killed people and where the gladiators fought to death. And they were not God's people. The Jews were living in righteousness, relatively speaking, holiness. And God said, there's going to come a time when it's going to be said of those wicked people, "You are the children of the living God."
Romans 9:27-28 "Isaiah also crieth concerning Israel, 'Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,'" this is a different subject now, but still a prophecy, "'Though the number be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.'" (Quoting Isaiah 10:22) You notice he's dividing Israel into two groups. A large number as the sand of the sea, and a small group, a remnant that'll be saved. "For he will finish the work," some kind of work that's going to need to be finished, "and cut it short in righteousness." He's going to limit the time, cut the time off. "Because a short work will the Lord make up on the earth." That's a prophecy of the tribulation, when 144,000 Jews are saved and they began to preach. And God saves a number, a remnant of Israel, which flee into the wilderness south of Jerusalem. And there, God feeds them with manna from heaven, as he did in days of old. A remnant shall be saved.
Romans 9:29 "And as Esaias saith before," (Quoting Isaiah 1:9) this is another prophecy, "Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma and been like unto Gomorrah." He said Israel is going to be reduced down to such a small number that they're about to perish like Sodom and Gomorrah did.
Now, Matthew 24:21-22 says, "For then shall be great tribulations, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened," notice the similarity to the prophecy we just read, going to do a short work, cut the time short, "except those days be shortened during the great tribulation, there should no flesh be saved."
In other words, The Great Tribulation is going to kill everybody on the face of the earth if it lasts throughout the three-and-a-half years to the seventh year mark. God is going to shorten it for, I think, about 45 days, to prevent the whole world's population from ceasing to exist. "Except the days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved, but for the elect's sake," there's that word elect, "elect's sake, those days shall be shortened."
Now, if you don't know the difference between Israel and the church, you're going to get some messed up doctrine. For one thing, you're going to end up with a church in the tribulation like many have if you think the elect is referring to people who got elected to salvation. You see that?
I’ve been reading a lot recently about that misconception, I read today, one guy said “... Well,” he said, "If we do get raptured out," which he didn't believe we do, he said, "I would rather go ahead and get ready now to go through the tribulation, get raptured out, than not to be ready."
Let me tell you what.
If you think you're going to go through the tribulation, let me tell you what to do to get ready. Get yourself a new pair of boots and a new Bible. And when you hear about the 144,000, get there just as fast as you can and follow one of those guys around, and preach with him until you die a martyr's death with your head cut off. That's getting ready for the tribulation.
Or move to a big city, so that you can preach to the people when all the food runs out. You can stand up boldly on the street corner and say, "No mark for me," and die. The idea of chicken, coward Christians fleeing to the mountains and storing up food to try to live out the tribulation? Pitiful. Pitiful, weak Christians. If I believed I was going to have to go through the tribulation and reach that point to where you're begging to die, all these things stinging you, I'd say, "God, just let me go on the front end." I won't hang around that long. I want to die a glorious martyr's death.
Matthew 24:22 "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved, but for the elect's sake." The elect is Israel. Israel that God has re-elected after the church is removed, we'll get to that in Romans chapter 10 and 11, Israel has been re-elected after the church is raptured out. They are God's elect, and they are the ones that are fleeing to the wilderness to survive. They're the ones that the antichrist sends out a flood to drown them back in the mountains there. And the earth has a crack in it that opens up and receives that flood of water where the dam is broken loose. You say, what dam? It's not built yet. It will be.
Matthew 24:23-24 “Then if any man shall say unto you, 'Lo, here is Christ,' or there: believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Folks, that's not for the church. That's not about Christians. That elect is Israel that's in danger of being deceived during the tribulation.
Matthew 24:29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days ..." Guess when this time period is? It's after the tribulation, "Shall the sun be darkened and the moon shall not give her light. And the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven shall be shaken."
Matthew 24:30-31 "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and they shall all the tribes of the earth mourn when they see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." That's not the rapture. That's not the church. That's during the tribulation. That's the elect of God, Israel. Read my book, Eight Kingdoms, if you want further clarification on this.
Roman's 11:4-6, "But what saith the answer of God unto him?" Now, remember, we're going to come to 11. This is a couple chapters away, but we've got to jump ahead to get this passage. "But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant," 7,000 men, a remnant, "according to the election of grace." He's not talking about these individuals being elected to salvation. He's saying that in the nation of Israel, at that time, there were 7,000 people who had not bowed the knee to Baal. They were the election of God, election of grace.
Roman's 11:7"What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh after, but the election hath obtained it." Who are the election in this passage? That's the Gentiles. "Israel hath not obtained that which you seeketh, but the election hath obtained it and the rest were blinded." That'll be clearer when we go through chapter 10 and 11, but take my word for it. The election at that point is the church. "According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber," that's the Jews, "eyes that they should not see, ears that they should not hear unto this day." He's talking about the nation of Israel being unelected right now.
Back to Romans 9:30. "What should we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is the faith." That was the unelected group. "But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness," that was the elected group, "hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at the stumblingstone." He's going back. You remember our three illustrations about God choosing Isaac, not Ishmael, Jacob, not Esau, and choosing Pharaoh for judgment, and electing Israel to be delivered from Pharaoh? Israel became God's elect at that point, the whole nation.
You know you can be elect and go to hell? That's right. You can be elect and go to hell. Being elect doesn't make you saved. Being elect, it means you're in the right category, the right group on which God is showing grace and mercy at this time. But you have to believe.
Israel as a whole was God's elect, but not all of Israel was Israel. It's the seed of promise that's counted for the seed, not the natural state.
"For they stumbled at the stumblingstone." This is a quote again from Isaiah 8:14, 28:16, Psalm 118:22, Matthew 21:42, Matthew 44:1, 1st Peter 2:7-8. It's quoted many times in the New Testament.
Romans 9:30 "As it is written, behold, I lay in Zion a stumblingstone," from Isaiah, "a rock of offense. And whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." This is the point at which God causes a stumbling of Israel. He predicted that during his ministry. He knew that Israel would turn their back on him. "He'd come into his own, his own received him not." He knew that. "But as many as did receive him," Gentile or Jew, "he gave power to become the sons of God." (John 1:11)
When the Jews thoroughly rejected Christ, probably somewhere along in the Book of Acts, about chapter seven, maybe somewhere along there, God turned from the Jews and turned to the Gentiles. And that's when God saved the Apostle Paul, made him the apostle to the Gentiles, and they became God's focus at that point, because the Jews had stumbled at the stumblingstone.
Now, what made the Jews stumble, the stumblingstone? Now, who was the stumblingstone? Jesus. What hardened their hearts? Jesus did. How did he harden their hearts? By getting in their way. By being there as a rock, a rock to be put at the pinnacle of their temple and be the height of everything. But instead they stumbled over that rock. And when they did, they fell. We're going to talk about that later. He said, they fell, in the next chapter.
"A rock of offense." He offended them. Their heart was hardened. They became the unelect. The church became the elect. "And whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." You are a Gentile. If you believe, you won't be ashamed. You can look up those passages if you want to study that further.
Finally, Romans 4:11. "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised; that he might be the father of all them that believe." Gentile as well. "Though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also." Paul's been anticipating this 9th, 10th, and 11th chapter. That the Gentiles, which weren't circumcised and didn't have the law, yet upon believing, Abraham becomes their father. And they become part of the lineage of faith that get born into the elect, so to speak, by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
So righteousness is imputed unto us now. And so that is all for tonight.