David Pawson - Israel in the New Testament (Romans)
In the Past Israel has been Selected Part 2
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‘Thoughtful Thoughts’ 10.7.20 by John Dunning, Israel in the past, Pt 2. - Romans 9.
We have to worship God with our minds as well as our hearts, and this week we need to do a bit of thinking... This blog not only looks at Israel in the past, but because some verses in this week’s chapter have been abused by being taken out of context, we deal with them head on. Some theologians have ‘confirmation bias’. How? By believing they are already “in the know”, and just look for verses to justify whatever they were badly taught, and this is the problem here. An uptodate example of this is given at the end of our website version of this blog, where space is available.
Last time we looked at why Paul wrote the longest letter from ancient times; the letter of Romans, which was to direct Gentile leaders to accept Messianic Jews. (in fact the Messianic Jews were being persecuted more harshly than Gentile believers, as they were getting it from the Jewish leaders too, who saw them as traitors, and wanted their blood, as Paul discovered.) Far from being a diversion, Rom. 9-11 is the core of the book.
Rom.1-8. Bread and butter...
This is how Rom.1-8 is building up to Rom. 9-11.
In ch.1-4 Paul says that Messianic Jews and Gentile believers are all one in faith.
In ch.5-8 Paul says that Gentile and Jewish believers are all one in hope.
Then Paul reaches the main point of his letter in ch. 9-11.
9-11 The jam in the sandwich...
Chapter 9 In Rom.9:6 Paul admits that not all of his people are part of God’s family; “Not all who are descended from Israel are Israel...” Ch.9 talks about Israel in the past. To drive the point home, Paul speaks of the Israel of God in 9:1-13 compared to the God of Israel in 9:14-29.
Paul is writing to Gentile believers as he addresses them, “You Gentile believers…”.
When referring to the Jews he says “They…”.
When he refers to himself he does not include himself with either group but just says “I”, because he feels so opposed to the deep rift created by the Gentile leaders in Rome. We have yet to come to Rom. 10-11 over the next few weeks, but Paul is taking the Gentile leaders on a journey from where they are at in their thinking, to see things from God’s point of view.
Rom. 12-15. More bread and butter...
In the first lot of bread and butter, Paul spoke of being one in faith and hope. Now in finishing up, in the second layer of bread and butter, in Rom.12-15, Paul tells the Gentile church that they are all one in love. They must work out their differences when they meet together, by respecting each other’s conscience in matters of faith. For example, if Messianic Jews wish to continue observing food laws, who cares? We are free to eat or not to eat. As Jews may have a weakness for wanting to hang on to legalism, then Messianic Jew may continue on with it longer than necessary, in spite of it all being done away with. Conversely, Gentile believers have been showing signs of their weakness too, which are worse, by having a weakness of ‘licence’, by returning to sin. Thus they abuse the grace of God, thinking “it's all right, it's easier to do what you want and get forgiveness afterwards”. The fact is, that they are now all one in Christ, God’s new family, just as prophesied by so many prophets. Paul says both are sinners and both need God’s grace and mercy.
Dejavu. Here we go again...
Rom. 9 deals with the attitude of the Gentile church leaders of Paul’s day who refused to permit Messianic Jews to have leadership roles.
Still today many religious leaders dismiss Messianic Jews, so they form their own congregations, of which there are now many. The Bible knowledge of Messianic Jews is normally greater than Gentiles and they ought to be the church leaders.
An evangelical church declined an offer made by two Messianic Jews in their congregation, to teach the Gentile congregation the meaning of the feasts. Gentile leaders justify their position from Rom. 9, but to maintain their bias, they have to ignore Rom.10&11. As we are to cover ch.10-11 over the next few weeks, we won’t go into them now. So Messianic Jews are still ignored by many of the Gentile leaders. Those Messianic Jews also get it from Jews too…and an example of which I saw in an interview with a Messianic Jew this week, because the Israeli government was not permitting him to create a Messianic Jewish station in Jerusalem. When I was in Jerusalem, a Messianic Jewish congregation would not show their faces for fear of the Jews. If you are a Messianic Jew before going to Israel, you are not granted citizenship as a Jew, as all the other Jews are. So Messianic Jews get it from both sides. If you become Messianic once in Israel, you face being shunned by your family, friends and neighbors and work colleagues.
So why would Gentile church leaders reject Messianic Jews from leadership roles?
The Messianic Jew being interviewed made the point that when Jews find their Messiah, they are not really new conversions as such, as they already believe in the God of Abraham, but they are now recognising who it is, that is their Messiah. He went on to say that when Gentiles believe in Jesus, they are discovering God for the first time.
I hadn’t heard it articulated quite like that before, but when I thought about it, it is what Paul is saying in these chapters. That is quite a useful way of looking at it. Paul is telling Gentile leaders off for anti-semitism by exclusion of their brethren.
The reason why this is still relevant today is because of a theology called “Replacement Theology” that was started in Rome. It was perpetuated by Popes, and formalised by Pope Gregory. It was spread by those founding the Protestant churches by men like Luther and Beazer, (who developed Calvin’s Lutheran thinking). They argued that God had decided in advance who would be in His kingdom. The predestination boys ignored the fact that Paul was going on to argue the opposite by the time he finished his point, in ch.10&11. (Remember chapter headings were created by the church. It was all one point to Paul. I don’t want to spoil where we are going with this in ch.10 & 11, as we are coming to it over the next few weeks, but God is still very much at work in bringing Jews to Himself as Paul prophesied in ch.11.
When the Bible is surplus to requirements to church leaders.
Because the church has kept the best Bible teachers out of leadership, the Messianic Jews, the church lost its best teachers. After that, Gentile ignorance about what was in the Scriptures led to heresies creeping in.
Nothing has changed…As I write this, Bishop Cottrell is being confirmed as the Archbishop of York on 9 July 2020, UK time, making him the No. 2 person in the Church of England. He believes that culture should interpret the Bible, as he wishes to introduce “same sex marriage” into the Church of England. Cottrell so impressed Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, that he honours Cottrell with yet more tassels and long robes to be seen by men. In such circles the Bible has become surplus to requirements with the church’s decision makers. There may be some onlookers within the church who protest at their worst excesses, but even the Anglican churchmen who call themselves evangelicals undermine Acts 2:38, of the instruction to repent and then be immersed as a believer, when are the two conditions for receiving the Holy Spirit. By not following Scripture, it does not put God first. Such religious disinformation of christening replacing circumcision by Anglican ‘evangelicals’ does not assist the work of God. It is an attempt to justify disobedience - because they outlawed the translation of the word ‘baptizo’, meaning ‘immersion’, in Bible Society translations of the Bible.
So, how does Cottrell get around ignoring what the Bible says about marriage? You might like to read all about it here...
I’m John Dunning and that’s Thoughtful Thoughts for another week.
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