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Reasons to Believe Part 3: Jesus will return as King Video Post

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The 2nd of 3 studies looking into the evidence for believing in the Bible as the word of the creator God, specifically the God Of Israel, This 2nd study considers the uniqueness of the book and examines in detail why it should be trusted and relied upon as such.
See the evidence – you decide!

Description: A king with far more ability and power than present rulers, Jesus will soon bring righteousness and true peace to the whole world. God has given us ample reasons to believe this, because Bible prophecies have been fulfilled so accurately.

Watch the whole series here on our website.

Reasons to Believe in a Creator Three Part Video Bible Study Series

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Reasons to Believe Series

An event organised by the Christadelphians in Rugby (UK) during November 2017 at the public venue the Benn Hall.

God does not ask us to have blind faith in him and his plan, in Hebrews chapter 11 it says “…Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” God has left us plenty of evidence that he exists and that his message revealed in the Bible is real.

We are running three events in November to outline some of the reasons we believe the Bible to be true. We hope you will join us for the talks, the friendly discussion and maybe even some light refreshments too.

We are always keen to receive your feedback, you may leave comments in the comments area below or alternatively email us at Feedback@ChristadelphianVideo.org and we will get back to you with a reply as soon as we can. If you wish to make a comment a about anything you have seen or read on this page – Good or Bad, Please use the form below

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Christadelphianvideo.org exists to serve the brotherhood in providing both preaching and Study material in video and other forms to assist in the proclamation efforts of individuals and Ecclesias alike and also as a preaching tool in itself.

This website was set up to assist in this endeavour and our aim is to Declare the God of Israel to those who are seeking the truth about the Human condition and the message of salvation found within the pages of scripture (the Bible).

We are a group of Baptised Christadelphians from all over the world who volunteer their God given time and resources to this cause.

Follow us on our dedicated Facebook page
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Or our website http://bibletruthandprophecy.com/

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Download our ‘Free’ Bible APP – ‘KeyToThe Bible’ for i-phone or Android

Bible App

Features: Bible, Personal Journal, Reading Plan, Video On Demand KeyToTheBible was created by Christadelphians for everyone to learn about God’s message. Our beliefs are based wholly on the Bible, we regard the Bible as inspired by God and without error in its original form.

For more information on the Christadelphians

Bible Truth and Prophecy

Talks, Videos & Articles

ChristadelphianVideo (@Christadelph) | Twitter

The latest Tweets from ChristadelphianVideo (@Christadelph). Bible Truth & Prophecy https://t.co/WOKMXNMbom. England, United Kingdom

The Christadelphian

A publisher of Christadelphian books, magazines and preaching materials for Christadelphians worldwide; we sell Bibles, religious books, magazines and gifts.

Free Online Bible Study Courses – Learn More About The Bible – This Is Your Bible

Free Online courses and instruction on important bible topics concerning Salvation, God, Jesus Christ and his coming kingdom on earth

Read a variety of booklets on-line concerning various key Bible subjects.

True Bible Teaching Booklets

 

 

The 3 Deceivers of the Faithful: Study 2 ‘The Danger of the False Prophet & Harlot’

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Description: Study 2: This talk expands the explanation from study one to include Biblical proof revealing who the false prophet and the great harlot are, that believers will stand on the right side with the Lord Jesus Christ, not against him..

Christadelphianvideo.org exists to serve the brotherhood in providing both preaching and Study material in video and other forms to assist in the proclamation efforts of individuals and Ecclesias alike and also as a preaching tool in itself.

This website was set up to assist in this endeavour and our aim is to Declare the God of Israel to those who are seeking the truth about the Human condition and the message of salvation found within the pages of scripture (the Bible).

We are a team of Baptised Christadelphians from all over the world who volunteer their God-given time and resources to this cause.

Follow us on our dedicated Facebook page
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Bible Truth and Prophecy, – Welcome to our channel run by the Christadelphians Worldwide to help promote the understanding of God’s Word to those who are seeking the Truth about the Human condition and Gods plan and Purpose with the Earth and Mankind upon it.
We are always keen to receive your feedback, you may leave comments in the comments area below or alternatively email us at Feedback@ChristadelphianVideo.org and we will get back to you with a reply as soon as we can.

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Bible Truth and Prophecy

Talks, Videos & Articles

ChristadelphianVideo (@Christadelph) | Twitter

The latest Tweets from ChristadelphianVideo (@Christadelph). Bible Truth & Prophecy https://t.co/WOKMXNMbom. England, United Kingdom

The Christadelphian

A publisher of Christadelphian books, magazines and preaching materials for Christadelphians worldwide; we sell Bibles, religious books, magazines and gifts.

Free Online Bible Study Courses – Learn More About The Bible – This Is Your Bible

Free Online courses and instruction on important bible topics concerning Salvation, God, Jesus Christ and his coming kingdom on earth

Read a variety of booklets on-line concerning various key Bible subjects.

True Bible Teaching Booklets

 

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Christadelphian Video | This site is solely for the purpose of Preaching Gods plan and purpose for this Earth and mankind upon it.

 

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404 Followers, 672 Following, 42 Posts – See Instagram photos and videos from ChristadelphianVideo.org (@christadelphianvideo)

Download our ‘Free’ Bible APP – ‘KeyToThe Bible’ for i-phone or Android

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Features: Bible, Personal Journal, Reading Plan, Video On Demand KeyToTheBible was created by Christadelphians for everyone to learn about God’s message. Our beliefs are based wholly on the Bible, we regard the Bible as inspired by God and without error in its original form.

 

The 3 Deceivers of the Faithful: Study 1 ‘The Danger of the Beast’ The Apocalypse.

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This year’s Northern Prophecy Day was again a great success – 3 excellent studies, 2 from Bro Ken Styles (Royal Oak) and a milestones signs of the times update by Bro Matthew Pearce (Rugby)
Description: Study 1: This prophecy talk shows that weekly world events relating to the Bible are constant. It also reveals the identity of the ‘beast’, that we may watch, walk rightly before God and be not deceived.

Christadelphianvideo.org exists to serve the brotherhood in providing both preaching and Study material in video and other forms to assist in the proclamation efforts of individuals and Ecclesias alike and also as a preaching tool in itself.

This website was set up to assist in this endeavour and our aim is to Declare the God of Israel to those who are seeking the truth about the Human condition and the message of salvation found within the pages of scripture (the Bible).

We are a group of Baptised Christadelphians from all over the world who volunteer their God given time and resources to this cause.

Follow us on our dedicated Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/BibleTruthandProphecy/

Or our website http://bibletruthandprophecy.com/

If you would like to subscribe to our channel, once you have clicked ‘Subscribe’ make sure you click the cog next to the subscribe button and select ‘Send me all notifications for this channel’

 

For more information on the Christadelphians

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Talks, Videos & Articles

ChristadelphianVideo (@Christadelph) | Twitter

The latest Tweets from ChristadelphianVideo (@Christadelph). Bible Truth & Prophecy https://t.co/WOKMXNMbom. England, United Kingdom

The Christadelphian

A publisher of Christadelphian books, magazines and preaching materials for Christadelphians worldwide; we sell Bibles, religious books, magazines and gifts.

Free Online Bible Study Courses – Learn More About The Bible – This Is Your Bible

Free Online courses and instruction on important bible topics concerning Salvation, God, Jesus Christ and his coming kingdom on earth

Read a variety of booklets on-line concerning various key Bible subjects.

True Bible Teaching Booklets

 

Christadelphian Video (christadelph)

Christadelphian Video | This site is solely for the purpose of Preaching Gods plan and purpose for this Earth and mankind upon it.

 

ChristadelphianVideo.org (@christadelphianvideo) * Instagram photos and videos

404 Followers, 672 Following, 42 Posts – See Instagram photos and videos from ChristadelphianVideo.org (@christadelphianvideo)

 

David: A Man After God’s own Heart Part 1 ‘David and Goliath’Video Post Rugby Family Day 2017

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Part 1 ‘David and Goliath’

It’s Yahweh’s battle with sin. Having strengthened David through the spirit, he in complete trust of the Father, overcomes and rolls away the flesh, depicted by Goliath.

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We are always keen to receive your feedback, you may leave comments in the comments area below or alternatively email us at Feedback@ChristadelphianVideo.org and we will get back to you with a reply as soon as we can. If you wish to make a comment a about anything you have seen or read on this page – Good or Bad, Please use the form below

You must be logged in to submit a review.

Christadelphianvideo.org exists to serve the brotherhood in providing both preaching and Study material in video and other forms to assist in the proclamation efforts of individuals and Ecclesias alike and also as a preaching tool in itself.

This website was set up to assist in this endeavour and our aim is to Declare the God of Israel to those who are seeking the truth about the Human condition and the message of salvation found within the pages of scripture (the Bible).

We are a group of Baptised Christadelphians from all over the world who volunteer their God given time and resources to this cause.

Follow us on our dedicated Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/BibleTruthandProphecy/

Or our website http://bibletruthandprophecy.com/

If you would like to subscribe to our channel, once you have clicked ‘Subscribe’ make sure you click the cog next to the subscribe button and select ‘Send me all notifications for this channel’

 

For more information on the Christadelphians

Bible Truth and Prophecy

Talks, Videos & Articles

ChristadelphianVideo (@Christadelph) | Twitter

The latest Tweets from ChristadelphianVideo (@Christadelph). Bible Truth & Prophecy https://t.co/WOKMXNMbom. England, United Kingdom

The Christadelphian

A publisher of Christadelphian books, magazines and preaching materials for Christadelphians worldwide; we sell Bibles, religious books, magazines and gifts.

Free Online Bible Study Courses – Learn More About The Bible – This Is Your Bible

Free Online courses and instruction on important bible topics concerning Salvation, God, Jesus Christ and his coming kingdom on earth

Read a variety of booklets on-line concerning various key Bible subjects.

True Bible Teaching Booklets

 

 

Jonah: 5 Part in-depth Bible Study: Study 2/5 – “Fish” Video post

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Description: Jonah is miraculously swallowed by a Divinely appointed fish after being thrown overboard. He prays a wonderful Psalm to God and commits to finishing his job.

This excellent study series on Jonah was delivered at Glenroy Bible Study weekend by Bro Brendon Clark (Tawa).

You can download a copy of the accompanying notes referenced in the study and watch the whole series in full here: … http://wp.me/P7p3qt-oVD

Watch this video to find out why the Word of God is reliable and trustworthy.

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Brendon Clark is a member of the Tawa Christadelphians in NZ.

You can visit their ecclesial website here…

Tawa Christadelphians |

An exciting 6 week seminar series on Monday nights 7 August to 11 September 2017 7.30pm to 9.30pm Register here The Bible contains many exciting prophecies about world events and the Time of the End. Come and learn in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere what it reveals about the plan and purpose of God for this world.

Study 2 – Jonah by Brendon Clark, NZ, 2017

 

We read Chapter 2 this morning from end of v17 of Ch 1, because the chapter break fits better between Ch 1v16-17, so we really need to consider Ch 1v17 through to Ch 2v10 as all of Ch 2. But last night, of course, we didn’t finish at the end of Ch 1, we finished at about v 8 or so, so we will pick up there and we will get as far as we can into Ch 2, probably about 3/4 of the way I suspect.

 

Who art thou Jonah?

Let’s start Jonah 1v8 where we left off last night. Then said they unto him, “Tell us we pray thee for what cause this evil is upon us. What is thine occupation, whence comest thou, what is thy country and of what people art thou?” You will recall that last night, we painted the picture that this wasn’t a hasty decision by Jonah, this was a planned decision. He had chartered a boat, he wasn’t a random passenger, he chartered a boat to go to Tarshish, and in the middle of the storm he had refused to do anything to help the sailors. It was the captain of the ropes who went down and asked  Jonah to “Cry to your God.” Why aren’t you doing something to help us in the midst of this problem? Call upon your God! But Jonah steadfastly refused to do anything to assist with the problems that these men faced. The tension of course for Jonah, is whether to help these Gentiles or to continue steadfastly in his plan to avoid going to Nineveh. And the irony of course is that these were Gentiles, just like the Ninevites. Either way, Jonah was kind of stuck, he either helped the Ninevites, or he helped these Gentiles.

 

And who is thy God?

So in v 8, the sailors wanted to know, ‘Is there a problem with Jonah’s family, is there a problem with his job, is there some natural problem with him or his people which has caused this great evil to come upon them, what is the root of this problem? What they want Jonah to do is to confess, so they are pressing Jonah to give an answer for what has gone wrong, for him to say that he is the cause of this problem. ‘Tell us why this is happening?’ So in v 9 Jonah does tell them. He says, “I am an Hebrew, I fear Yahweh the God of heaven which hath made the sea and the dry land.” Now if I could just refer you to your notes, in the first few pages, we talk about the structure of the book of Jonah. We go through a broad structure and then a more detailed structure and then I have given you a structure per chapter.

 

The Structure of the book

If you read the notes you will recall that each chapter is chiastic, which means that it is a series of ideas, presented with a central point. and then the same ideas are repeated in reverse order to the end of the chapter. Ch 1v1-3 are the introduction and are not counted, but then the chiasm starts in v4 and goes through to v16. V9 is the central portion of the chiasm of Ch 1. That is the key idea, structurally to which the writer wants us to pay attention, and then there is a key idea in each chapter which we will get to as we track through the chapter. So in Ch 1,  it is v9. We will come to why that is in due course, but just note that this is a central verse and we need to pay particular attention to it as we continue.

 

I am an Hebrew

Jonah says “I’m an Hebrew.” That is not so surprising, because they picked him up in Joppa, in Israel. In calling himself a Hebrew. he calls himself by a name that people from other countries would recognise. He didn’t call himself an Israelite. He didn’t say ‘I’m from Galilee or Gathhepher,’ he said “I am a Hebrew,” because that is what they would understand, that’s meaningful for them. But it also allows them to identify his God which is what they wanted. Remember they had cried to their gods, and had no luck. They had asked him to pray to his God and he had not and then they had cast lots to find out who was the problem. Well he says, “This is Yahweh Elohim,” the covenant God, the God of heaven, the God of sea, and the God of land. For the Phoenecians, the competing god was Baal, who was a god of the sky who could control the weather. So this is, of course, an argument that would be continued for hundreds of years, because in years to come there would still be a god of the Phoenecians of one kind versus the God of Israel in various battles through the history of Israel. The question for the sailors now is, Can this god control the sea? because that’s the problem they’ve got. They really do not care about anything else. Their problem is the storm. But Jonah has given them more information than what they are used to, because Jonah has said that his God is a God of the sea, and that’s important and his God is a god of heaven, well that’s important, because that’s where storms come from. And a God of land, well that is irrelevant for the sailors, they are not concerned with the god of the land.

 

But what it does do is it gives these sailors a very clear picture of the breadth and scope of Jonah’s God. Now they might not feel subject to that same god, but because they are polytheistic these men believe in a multitude of Gods, so any particular god who can control the sea and the heaven and the land, that is a formidable god. It is no wonder Jonah is in trouble, if Jonah has upset that god, well who is this man, who is Jonah, and what could that man have done to upset a god that powerful who could control all of those things? And why is he running away? So they ask Jonah a simple question, but he gives them information that would cause them to ask a number of further questions. And if you think about the way the Word represents these things, well the sea represents the nations, doesn’t it, and when God brought the dry out of the sea, well, that’s Israel, and the heavens is where the powers are, and where God dwells. So what Jonah says is This is the God over all things. This is the supreme deity, who controls all things. Well that is a mighty God. What Jonah doesn’t do is to say, ‘I am afraid of my God before whom I have sinned.’ Jonah just says, I am afraid of this God. I fear Yahweh, I reverence that God. He doesn’t say, and I’ve done some foolish things and I am in trouble, he just says, I fear that God.  So what Jonah does and what Jonah only does, is to declare his position, it is a statement of fact before them. He gives them no information about his occupation, about his family, about what he might have done, which are all the questions they ask, he doesn’t answer those questions, he just says, “I’m an Hebrew and I fear Yahweh,” but that’s a fearsome god. And through the book, of course, you see that this God clearly is in control of all things.  He controls the storm, he controls the heavens, he controls the fish, he controls the gourd, he controls the worm, he controls the sun, he controls all things through the book of Jonah and that’s the God that Jonah fears. And so, consequently, Jonah Ch 1, the men were now “exceedingly afraid,” in v10, because of what Jonah told them in v9 and the implications of who this God is. So they say, as you would, ‘Why hast thou done this?’ Because they knew that Jonah had fled, because he told them, ‘And what have you done? What is the story?’

 

I flee from my God

So you’ve got to understand now, of course, the disbelief these sailors have. How incredulous they might seem at this man. Why would you flee from a god of the sea by taking a sea voyage, that seems foolish, Jonah, when you are not even a sailor, why would you do that? Surely you know that would imperil everybody on the boat? Well he had told them he was fleeing from his God and in the first instance, that would mean to them, that Jonah’s God was a god of the land. If you come with me to 1 Kgs 20, here’s how they would think, because they have a particular view of what a god is, and if they were unfamiliar with the idea of Yahweh the God of Israel, they would think about Jonah’s God the same way they would think about their own gods, which is like this, 1 Kgs 20v23, “The servants of the king of Assyria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills, therefore they were stronger than we, because we were fighting them in the hills, but let us fight them instead in the plains where the gods of the hills aren’t, and surely we will be stronger than they.”

 

Jonah’s God is not a local god

So what do they understand when Jonah speaks about his god? They have a god who is god of their neighbourhood, who is the god of their town, or the hills or a forest, or wherever that God is domiciled, and that’s the extent of that god. So when Jonah gets on the boat and says I am fleeing from the presence of my God, to them that means your god is in Jerusalem and he is bounded by the borders of Jerusalem. He lives in the city and that’s your god, he is a local deity like they all had. So of course, you can run away and you can come under the auspices of other gods. Well, that’s what they would have thought when Jonah said he is running away from God. Well now, of course, they know that he is not just the God of Jerusalem or the temple, he is the god of the sea and the dry and the heavens, and so they are exceedingly afraid and ‘in horror’ it means at this crime that Jonah has perpetrated and what Jonah might have done and the trouble he’s put them in of this unknown god, this powerful god, an unknown outcome in a worsening storm.

 

What is being stressed here is Jonah’s failure before them. And again, ironically, and it is full of irony in chapter 1, Jonah fails to fear his God and these men do not. They fear Yahweh. Jonah reverences God but he is not afraid of what God is doing. Jonah professed his faith, ‘I fear Yahweh Elohim of Israel, the God of all things everywhere, he is omnipotent he is omnipresent’ and Jonah professes his faith in that God, while at the same time he tries to escape God’s omnipotence his omnipresence and by his very actions he denies his own beliefs in that same God. That is, as I say, think about Jonah, it makes no sense what he is doing. What Jonah is saying does not match up with what he is doing, so you can understand why the sailors are confused and terrified because they don’t know what is going on.

 

What shall we do?

V11 “Then said they unto him, What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm unto us, for the sea wrought and was tempestuous.” So they recognise now that their salvation depends upon one man, without him they can’t live. What shall we do to thee that the sea will be calm for us. So now instead of becoming God’s object of salvation he is now God’s object of destruction, Jonah. The captain, a pagan, who has yet to believe in the one true God, pleads with Jonah to influence Yahweh in what ever way he can, for Jonah to exercise any influence he has with his God, that they might be saved. And Jonah refuses them, just as he has refused God, while he is claiming to be a servant of the most high God. Clearl there is all kinds of hypocrisy here from the sailors’ perspective of Jonah.

 

We talked a little bit last night about what it might be like if your neighbor convicted you for your behaviour, as a pagan, entirely, someone ungodly. But the real question is, What gives Jonah the right to withhold the truth from somebody who is clearly asking for it. Why would you do that?  Why would Jonah refuse to tell the sailors about his God, who can control all of these things, before whom they are terrified? Now, I do that, I decide that I won’t tell some people about the truth, for all kinds of irrational reasons.  I know that you do too, and Jonah’s just done the same thing, and it takes the non-believers to convince Jonah to save them, for them to convict him in his hypocrisy and his unrighteousness, to press him into confession. Now he is not willing to do this until it gets to the very last moment. There are people in my life that I have refused to offer salvation to because they were different to me, because that’s essentially the problem for Jonah. Because there are people about whom I have been willingly ignorant, and who I could now convict me for refusing to offer them salvation. They’ll be there, they’ll be there for you.

 

If Jonah had just committed some straightforward crime there would have been some straightforward punishment, but this was a crime of a magnitude beyond what these sailors had experienced before. This is a prophet of God, a successful prophet,who had walked out on his God, disobeyed his God’s direct instruction, so they just don’t know what would appease that God. They had tried sacrificing the cargo, but they don’t know the nature of the God or what will satisfy this God, so Jonah has to be the one to do it. V 12, “Jonah says, throw me overboard and then the sea will be calm,” I know it is my fault he says in v12. So there is enormous pressure on Jonah, of course, in what he does.

 

The Sea wrought and was tempestuous

The end of v 11 reads, “The sea wrought and was tempestuous.” The storm is continuing to get worse, and as they stand there on the boat with the waves getting higher and the storm getting worse, and the rain and the wind and all of that, the scales of justice sit with Jonah, and so what does he do. Well Jonah has still got choices of course.

 

Option 1, do nothing, they are sailors, they are at sea, storms happen at sea, that’s a fact of life, you deal with that as a sailor. Go back and do your job. And let’s not think that Jonah didn’t contemplate that. That was option 1, he didn’t choose that of course, but he could have done.

 

Option 2. Return to Joppa, now Jonah didn’t want to do that because that was where he came from of course, because from there he fled from God. Well that would suit the sailors, wouldn’t it, that’s a quick option, go back to Joppa and start again, it could have saved the sailors potentially, could have given Jonah the opportunity to go and repent before his God and to start afresh. Jonah couldn’t bring himself to do that, and there is a very good reason why. I believe. Jonah had sailed west from Joppa, the opposite direction from where Nineveh lay. Come to Jonah Ch 3, I think we are told the answer there. Jonah Ch 3v4, “Jonah began to enter into the city a days journey and he cried and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” In v2 of Chapter 3, God says to Jonah, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.” There has been a conversation between God and Jonah. Go and tell them what I have told you to tell them. So Jonah knows that destruction will come in 40 days for Nineveh. Jonah has chartered a boat to Tarshish, why? Jonah just needed to get 40 days out, that’s all. I just need to exhaust a 40 day period to avoid my responsibility for 40 days and judgment will come upon Nineveh. That’s it, not complicated. I just need to wait, I will charter a boat, it is going to take 6 weeks to get to Tarshish, or more. And return journey, 3 months, I don’t know, it just needs to be 40 days and thats all. I’m not going to Nineveh. I just need to avoid my job for 40 days. Nineveh will be destroyed, my people will be saved. You can see, it is entirely logical, what Jonah is doing, makes very good sense in Jonah’s mind. But he discards that option too.

 

Option 3, Jump. He could have just sacrificed himself perhaps, and said I will just go overboard myself, there will perhaps there will be a compassionate response, that he might have just gone and done it. And Jonah knew he was being disciplined by God. But Jonah didn’t take that option either, he made the sailors do it. Throw me overboard, you do it. Jonah would still expect to drown, perhaps it made the outcome easier to bear, I’m not sure, but Jonah asked them to execute judgment on him rather than executing judgment on himself. So as Yahweh cast the storm, the sailors cast lots and Jonah instructs them. And it is the resignation of death isn’t it, he expected to die when they cast him overboard. And for his disobedience Jonah is cast into the sea of nations. V13, except that, these men, these filthy gentile dogs, these pagans, rowed hard in v13, to bring it to land but they couldn’t, and they refused to sacrifice Jonah, so they bent their backs, they pulled the ropes, they tried and tried and tried to make landfall.

 

They having not the law are a law unto themselves Rom 2v12

These are remarkable men, aren’t they, an extraordinary spirit. Note v11 that the sea wrought and was tempestuous, now note in v13, the sea wrought and was tempestuous against them. There is no way they were going to make land because this is a God-directed storm, and God is against the sailors in the boat and the sea is actively against the sailors. They are divinely prevented. The casting overboard therefore of Jonah, and Jonah asked them to do it, he was willing and voluntary, and this begins the parable of Jonah as a type of the Lord. He was the willing sacrifice who was put to death for the salvation of others. They laid their hands upon him and they lifted him and they cast him to death. And it is a glorious type that exists through the book of Jonah, but it is different also, because these sailors they weren’t  like Pilate, and they weren’t  like Caiaphas who just wanted to put the man to death. These were heathen, these men, who showed a greater understanding than Jonah. They understood in some crude form the character of this God. When the Lord was sacrificed, he would pray for forgiveness for those who would put him to death, Jonah didn’t do that, so while he was a wondrous type in some ways, he’s a terrible type in others. Here the sailors themselves pray for forgiveness.

 

These sailors, gentile converts from the first overseas preaching effort which Jonah had tried to avoid, and here he is, converting nevertheless. And these pagans showed more concern for one single prophet of Israel, than the prophet of Israel showed for an entire nation. And they did what they could to save him. Ultimately, of course, v14, they realise they can’t, and so they do the only thing they think left to do, which Jonah has thus far failed to do, they cry unto Yahweh. “We beseech thee, O Yahweh,” in v14, “let us not perish for this man’s life and lay not on us innocent blood.” All key words aren’t they? “For thou O Yahweh has done as it pleased thee.” They couldn’t be sure they were doing what God wanted in the way God wanted them to do it, but they were trying. And you can understand that they probably feared themselves for their own lives because they were taking the life of one of Yahweh’s chosen servants. So it is a really hard position Jonah has put these men in. Nevertheless, v15, “They took up Jonah and cast him forth into the sea, and the sea ceased from her raging.”

 

What is Jonah thinking when these men are praying to his God, does it prick him it all, that they are crying to his God and doing whatever they can think of to his God and he steadfastly doesn’t. Is there a shred of compassion in the man. We don’t know what Jonah thought, but it is an interesting exercise to consider it. But in the end he didn’t, and he accepted that death was his due, that was the wages for his actions, and he stood by to be executed. So they do, and the sea ceased from her raging. It means literally that it “stood still from its anger,” and immediately it is all calm. The winds stopped, perhaps the clouds cleared, it is a sunny day, the ropes creak, the sail flaps a  bit, and that’s it. Well what would you do then? Well that was strange wasn’t it fellows? I’ve never seen the like of that before, what do you make of that? What kind of God is that? I don’t know how the conversation on the boat would go next, but it is fascinating to consider what these men did, perhaps they just stood around lost in their thoughts at the power of this God who could calm the sea like that. Perhaps they wondered about the specialness of this man that would cause his God to do that, in a moment. Absolutely they were part of something significant and special and they knew that. In v16 “Then the men feared Yahweh exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice and made vows.” Now they’d had proof, hadn’t they, that this was a God of the heaven and the sea and the dry. They feared the storm in v5, there was terror in the storm in v10, now we are through to reverential fear of this new God in v16. They’ve got no cargo left, there’s probably damage to the ship and they limped back to shore and do what?

 

I think they go to Joppa, these men, in fact, I don’t think, I am convinced they go to Joppa, I am convinced they go to the temple actually, these men. They offered sacrifice to Yahweh, vowed vows before him, with thanksgiving for deliverance and forgiveness. They feared Yahweh more than they feared Jonah. And they gave Yahweh a respect that Jonah should have given him, and they were obedient to this new God. And they you think about these men, and they are quite remarkable. Then while they are thinking these things, v17, Yahweh had prepared a great fish, already prepared. Not Yahweh prepared then, Yahweh had prepared and Jonah is in the belly of the fish 3 days and 3 nights, and of course, this is overflowing with symbology, this verse. Of course, that takes us straight to the New Testament, the Lord’s going to be in the belly of the tomb. It is wonderful though because it is a clear signpost forward from Jonah. And the Lord will quote this in Matt Ch 12, and he’d reference this story as a literal event, regardless of how fantastical it might seem the Lord references this as fact. And as wondrous as it was for the Lord to reference it back, it was also wondrous for him that it referenced forward, because he knew Jonah was 3 days and 3 nights in the belly and was then expelled, and though I will be crucified and I will be in the belly of the earth, I will be expelled from the tomb.

 

A fish was prepared

It was a wonderful reassurance for the Lord that Jonah was vomited up by the fish, because it pointed forward to him, faith in his Father, comfort in the plan, that the things that have been said will come to pass and I will be at the right hand of God. For the Lord could take all kinds of comfort from the story of Jonah, but for the immediate audience, there are other things. The fish was prepared by God that it might swallow Jonah, and swallowing is never good in Scripture, in fact, it is almost always very bad when things get swallowed, death, destruction and being overcome. It is a very hostile word. The initial inference, of course, is that God is going to execute Jonah with the fish, and he wasn’t, but the sailors wouldn’t have known that, not that they probably saw the fish, and Jonah didn’t know that. For Jonah this is a vehicle of destruction, and being swallowed by the fish meant death. Well why not save Jonah some other way? Why not, some of the floating cargo, the flotsam and jetsam off of the boat, that Jonah could have grabbed hold of. Jonah didn’t have to go into the fish, did he? For the fish itself is significant, and it really is. In your notes I have made the argument this is the basking shark, and there are some photos of different kinds of fish. The Hebrew word is just the word dag which can just mean a sea creature of some kind. There are really only three options for what this can be, the whale shark which is big and appropriate, and it is a mouth-feeder, it swims along with its mouth open, collects little fish, but its esophagus is too small for a man to fit through. You don’t find them in the Mediterranean either. Sperm whale, big enough, they live in the Mediterranean, could do, but the better is probably the basking shark, it is also just a vacuum cleaner, it swims along at about 2 knots an hour, and takes in thousands of litres of water an hour, and it has got a huge esophagus, large enough for a man to fit through. And in the photo I’ve got, you will see there is a diver swimming by the fish, they are unafraid of humans. They are large and docile these things. So the fish has to teach Jonah a lesson, so this wasGod controlling the uncontrollable. Nothing was left to chance in the story. It doesn’t really matter what kind of fish it is by the way. I think we are right about the basking shark, but the kind of fish isn’t the point.

 

And Jonah prayed

The nature of the fish and what it does is really what God wants to teach Jonah. In Ch 2v1, Jonah prays unto Yahweh, his God, out of the fish’s belly. So V2, “at the end of the time in the fish.” And I think it is wonderful really, it is just a reminder that it doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing, we can offer prayer, and here are some, as I said, a quick skim, it doesn’t require formality on many occasions. Jonah can offer a prayer from the fish’s belly, we can offer prayer anywhere, any time, for no reason other than the opportunity arises to offer prayer. Pray without ceasing, and so forth. Well Jonah does because the issue is that we offer prayer rather than waiting for the right time. But it is an interesting set of circumstances, because for a near easterner, given that they didn’t like the sea, drowning was an entirely ignominious way to die, in fact it is humiliating for them because they didn’t like the sea. So Jonah then, cries out in v2 by reason of his affliction unto Yahweh, and Yahweh heard me out of the belly of hell cried I and thou headrest my voice. So v2 if you like, acts as a summary of Jonah’s time from leaving the boat to being in the fish. And then through to v7 is the raw emotion of a man drowning as he sinks.

 

Well Jonah does cry out in affliction, and the sailors cry out in affliction, and they all crying out for the same thing. The point of which of course, is that prayer is the only way we have of being delivered from any difficulties we face. And the sailors recognised it and Jonah of course, knew it. And the hope would be that God would respond with deliverance, and Jonah cries for the same reasons out of the belly of the fish. And we hear what Jonah is saying, so Jonah says the same thing twice, a parallelism, in Hebrew. The second half of the verse restates the first half of the verse. But notice what it doesn’t do, is that it doesn’t name the fish as sheol, so the belly of hell, here, in v2, is not the belly of the fish. So Jonah doesn’t understand that when he is in the fish he is in hell, that’s not what Jonah says. His affliction is in the belly of hell, so what Jonah actually means is ‘I am in the womb of the sea,’ I’ve been swallowed and I am in the belly, or the womb of the sea itself. So, come over to Isa 5, here is the same kind of idea. So Jonah is just personifying the sea, and he is giving it the form of a person. Isa 5v14, you see the same idea. Isaiah 5v14, Isaiah said, “Therefore, hell hath enlarged herself and opened her mouth without measure, their glory, their multitude, their pomp and he that rejoiceth shall descend into it.”

 

Sheol – In the womb of the sea

So what Jonah is saying, the fish isn’t simply a figure, I have been swallowed by hell right down to its belly, and I am stuck, right down into the deeps of the sea, swallowed by the grave, right down into its belly. So what he is doing while he is in the fish is telling the story of getting to be in the belly of the fish. He tells the story of the sinking he tells the story of the weeds, the tells the story of the blackness of the cruising weight of the water, failing light, failing hope and a last ditch prayer to God from whose presence he fled, that the same God he has rejected might not reject him. The hypocrisy of all of that. I don’t want to do what I have been asked to do, but I would like you to do what I and asking you to do, if that’s all right. Now Jonah has got some currency with God, I appreciate that because he has been a faithful prophet, and faithful people do unfaithful things. David was a faithful man and did some terrible things, but God would listen to David, and God would listen to Jonah. This is the first bad thing we have seen of Jonah’s life, we don’t know everything  else, but by and large we assume he lived a faithful life.

 

In his affliction Jonah goes to the Psalms

But here is the real irony, Ex 33v19, this is Jonah wanting God on Jonah’s terms. Ex 33v19, “He said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee. I will proclaim the name of Yahweh before thee and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and how mercy on whom I will show mercy,” God talking to Moses, Ex 33, but the language of that is interesting, because it is Psa 18 and what is remarkable in Jonah’s affliction Jonah goes to the Psalms, in fact Jonah goes to the Psalms over and over again in his plight. This is not an exhaustive list of the references Jonah makes in his own Psalm but they are a fair number of them. In Psa 18 we are told this from v4, “The sorrows of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid, the sorrows of hell compassed me about, the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon Yahweh, cried to my God, he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him even into his ears.” That’s exactly what Jonah has done and you can see why he would go to Psa 18. Then God responds in Psa 18v16, “ He sent from above he took me, he drew me out of many waters.”

 

Well sometimes the answer to prayer is ‘No.’ Sometimes the answer is not ‘yes.’ But Jonah’s Psalm, O man, this is a remarkable, a soaring Psalm of celebration of the care of God, of what God can do for the afflicted, of what God can do for us when we are in distress. It is a remarkable thing to say, while he is drowning, quite extraordinary, and it took to that point for Jonah’s pride to start to break, and for his own will to start to bend. Well, this is a Psalm that comes to Jonah, that would ascend to God, that God would know his affliction and he would hear him. V3, Because, and listen to what Jonah says, he is very clear, in the deep he goes, “Thou hast cast me into the deep in the midst of the seas, the floods compassed me about, thy billows, thy waves passed over me. And Jonah knew where this had come from. This is all God’s doing, Jonah is clear about that. But it suggests that when Jonah is thrown overboard and before the fish there is a little bit of time, that he is swamped by the sea and the waves, and the waves go over the top of him and he recognises that this is God, and when Jonah says, in the midst of the seas, it means “heart,’ this is Jonah continuing with the personification of the sea, he’s been in the belly, or the womb, and now he is in the heart of the sea, and it is probably the verse that the lord references in Matt 12v40 because the Lord said, “As Jonah was 3 days and 3 nights in the whale’s belly so shall the son of man be 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth.” Which is the language that Jonah uses to be in the heart of the sea. When Jonah says, the floods compassed me about, the word is better rendered ‘river,’ which gives us two interpretations. To later readers of the book of Jonah, so for those around the times of the ancient Greeks and the Romans, the Mediterranean was a river, that’s how they considered it. In fact they would consider the entire ocean to be a river, but to some that was the entire ocean. So in some of the later works of the famous Greek writers they would write about the sea as a river, so when Jonah says, ‘the river compasses me,” that’s what they might think, but probably and a more interesting one, really, is that there is probably a current in a sea, rather than the whole sea itself, and in the Mediterranean the current flows from west to east. So it would take Jonah towards Joppa. If he stayed in the current, he would bump into the coast of Israel and then the current goes north. So what Jonah probably means is that he was just dragged along by the current and he goes under the water. Could Jonah swim? Probably not. Was he fully clothed? Probably. So Jonah’s going to go under in a natural sense reasonably quickly. And then Jonah just goes, and you can see the references on the screen over and over again, to the Psalms. Psa 42, for example, he says this, “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God, when shall I come and appear before God.” Well that was the God that Jonah had left behind from whom he had fled. Psa 42v3. “My tears have been my meat, day and night while they continually say unto me Where is my God?” Well that’s what the sailors had said to Jonah on the boat. Psa 42v4, “When I remember these things I pour out my soul in me for I have gone with the multitude.  I went with them to the house of God with the voice of joy and praise with the multitude who kept holy days.” Well Jonah had been in the house of God and he had left it to avoid his commission and to throw in the towel from the temple. In Psa 42v7, which is particularly the bit Jonah uses, “deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy water spouts, all thy waves and they billows are gone over me.”

 

Well here is the hard question though, brothers and sisters, see how you go with this, I failed this. Jonah is pulled under by the weight of his clothes and the billows and the waves and the pull of the current and he goes under. Cast in the sea, Jonah thinks God has turned his back, as you might, he has cried to God and he is drowning and there is not hope. Psa 31v22, “I said in my heart, I am cut off from before thine eyes, nevertheless thou heedest  the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.” In Psa 31v22. He has turned his back on God and now he wants God’s help, he forgets God when things aren’t going his way, and wants God when he wants God, well that is not how God goes. Well v5 of Jonah 2, he is drowning, the depths close about, the weeds about his head and he recognises that this is really hopeless, there’s probably no way out. So Jonah is giving way to the burden of impending death. And in v 5 when he uses the word ‘death’, that is the same word as is used in Gen 1v 2, when darkness was on the face of the deep, so this is the chaotic, dark, unbridled, uncontrolled place that the sailors feared and that.

 

Darkness on the face of the deep

The Jews didn’t like on the sea. It is the chaos of Gen 1v2, and Jonah recognises there is no God there, it is just darkness on the face of the deep and I’m in the belly of that place. And you can sense his despair because that is what the world was like before there was light and before God moved upon the waters. So v6 of Jonah 2, down from the bottoms of the mountains, the earth with her bars was about me forever, yet hast thou brought up my life from corruptions, O Yahweh my God. So for Jonah, well there is nowhere else to go, he can only go down, and he sinks to the sea floor or thereabouts, surrounded by the mountains and the sea, surrounded by the sea, buried in the heart of Sheol. Surrounded by the bars and gates of the grave. Take a step aside from Jonah, every culture has a story like this, in some way or shape or form. Some kind of underworld mythology. We saw last night that the Greeks had Hades, and you pay your fare to the ferryman, and he will take you across the River Styx, and then you would go into the underworld. Well, that was their story. The Babylonians had a different argument. Their realm was surrounded by 7 walls and was ruled over by Irkalla who ruled that place. You had to get through the 7 gates to get to the dark place where the dead resided and so on they went, and ever other culture has a story like that of some kind.

 

The prison house of Sheol

Well, for the Jews, it is the prison, the prison house of Sheol, and that is why Jonah talks about the bars and the gates, you think about Samson, well it is the bars and the gates that fortify you and lock you in that Samson had to break out of the walls to escape. So that is the kind of story that Jonah is painting, I’m trapped in this prison house, and there is no escape from prison, impenetrable city , surrounded by a mountain fortress, and that’s the belly of Sheol. Well, how long does that takes? I’ve got a note in your notes about how long that might have taken. Jonah doesn’t drown. Now when Jonah is writing this Psalm, clearly he is conscious from when he goes into the water, all the way down to the bottom, because he can retell the story from the belly of the fish, but it isn’t long, and what it does say, is how remarkably well-timed the fish is. There is a very clear process for drowning that I have got in your notes. Maximum time to drown, 10 minutes. Probable time to drown, 6 minutes, but 3 minutes before you are unconscious, and then there is loss of oxygen to the brain, and then complete loss of oxygen and then you die. It is predictable, Well-timed and every one is exactly the same. What it means to Jonah is that God has got to time the fish to the second. When it says earlier on that God has prepared a fish, he really has, to just the moment for the fish to get Jonah before Jonah drowns. All Jonah sees is the door slamming on the prison house, and the key in the lock, and the lock then turned and there is no escape. But think about this, under that kind of stress, when you are drowning, or when you are under some other kind of enormous pressure like that, the brain does funny things, quite funny things. It is driven, and we can’t control it, particularly in drowning, it is driven for survival so it will eliminate all other things, to keep you alive so all of the energy will go there. So it means you lose the ability to make rational decisions, you can’t suddenly plan what you might do if you are saved. You are not thinking about tomorrow’s lunch, you are thinking only about the immediate circumstances. There is panic initially, you hold your breath. After a while you can’t do that, because the body is starting to cannibalise itself and the brain is just fighting to keep you alive. In that time, all the fluff of life is stripped off, and the brain reverts to type. It goes to the places it is familiar with. So the thinks you think about the most are the places the brain goes when it is under pressure, because that is familiar, because the brain doesn’t like to waste energy, it is all about efficiency, so it goes to the places that are most efficient, the well-trodden path. Well for Jonah, that is the Psalms, he can quote, I mean you saw them, there are 20 references in the Palms, in Jonah’s Psalm, while he is drowning. Think about it for a minute. He is a stubborn, bigoted, wilful proud Jew who has flagrantly disobeyed his God, but when you strip Jonah’s mind bare, what is it? It is the Psalms, that’s what’s left when the fluff of Jonah’s life is gone. When you stand before the Lord at the  judgment seat he’s going to say, here’s the mind that is in me, and the mind that is in you. Let’s strip away the fluff and see where your mind goes the most often.  Well, I squirmed a little bit when I read that and I thought, if I had 180 seconds left, would my mind go to the Psalms. On the cross, Psalms, in the belly of Sheol, Psalms. Brother Brendon? Possibly not. Which was an awkward question I asked myself, so I thought, though I might be able to criticise the wilfulness of Jonah, when I pop myself beside him, I thought, but he outshadows me in all kinds of other ways, because that was his mind compared with mine, which is quite remarkable, because that is a mind steeped in the word. But Jonah knows that he is really about to die.

 

Now let’s finish on v7 “When my soul fainted within me,” Jonah said, “I remembered Yahweh and my prayer came into thine holy temple.” And just as it was in Ch 1v6 with the sailors, prayer was presented as the key to salvation, where we might otherwise perish, and in those seconds, Jonah does. And in Psa 16v8-11 we are told this, “I have set Yahweh always before me because he is at my right and and I shall not be moved, therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoiceth. My flesh also shall rest in hope for thou will not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffers thy holy one to see corruption. Thou will show me the path of life, in thy presence is fullness of joy. At thy right hand there are pleasures.” The very presence from which Jonah fled, he knew in that presence is fullness of joy. Jonah is not a wilful, problematic son, he is a faithful and remarkably godly man who has a single issue with God and a life of complete dedication to the Truth. And a remarkable relationship with is Father, full of the Psalms. And in that moment, in that white hot furnace of pressure for Jonah, God acts, and at the right second this enormous fish appears, having been prepared. And Jonah might not remember passing through the gullet of this great fish, he might have passed in to unconsciousness just before. Certainly his time is up, and either he thinks he will drown, or if he is alive in the fish he thinks that’s it, either way there is no coming back from this, and Jonah knows he is about to die, and still, Oh he is tough, he is a tough man, Jonah, because he still has an argument but the rest of that, after morning tea.

 

Transcript by Fay Berry 2017

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Christian Zionism and the Balfour Declaration

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Description: The events during WW1 that led to the Balfour Declaration and the eventual State of Israel are outlined. Remarkably after nearly 2000 years of dispersion, the Jews have returned in fulfilment of God’s promise. Despite their failings, the Lord will convert His people and rule from Jerusalem over all the earth.

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Melchizedeck Study 1: Consider How Great this Man Was

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10: Paul’s Letter To The Romans Study 10 – cpt 9

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The Epistle to the Romans

by Neville Clark at TTG Bible Class.

Reading – Romans 1

Paul teaches the Jewish believers who thought they were better than the Gentile believers that they were all saved by faith not works..

Study 10 – The epistle of Paul to the Romans by Neville Clark TTG 2017

 

“The righteousness of God with Israel.”

 

Romans Ch 9

 

The climax of the Apostle’s argument

This is the beginning of the section which is the climax of the Apostle’s argument in the book of Romans, the righteousness of God with Israel. It is at once a most fascinating and controversial section of the book, fascinating, of course, because it deals with the subject of election, the method by which God would choose one person and reject another person from salvation. Romans, of course, and this chapter in particular raises some of the most difficult questions in scripture and answers them. If I had to choose a chapter of Scripture which would be my favourite, there is no question, it would be Rom Ch 9. You wait until you see the argument unfold. So it is fascinating. It is controversial because to many modern commentators Chs 9, 10, and 11 are a closed book, they can’t make sense of them. In fact once commentator said it like this, “The book of Romans is 8 chapters of gospel at he beginning, 5 chapters of application at the end, and 3 chapters of puzzle in the middle,” referring to these three chapters of 9,10 and 11. That’s the section we are going to commence. In fact, even in the truth, you may regard Romans Chs 9,10 and 11 as something like a stand-alone section in the middle of Romans, all about God’s dealing with the nation of Israel. Now the reason people might think Romans breaks up a little like that is because, the fact is, you could read directly from Ch 8:39, the last verse in Ch 8 straight into Ch 12:1 without any disruption in the flow of argument. You could conclude the story of the argument of Romans in Romans Ch 8, in fact I’ve got a set of notes in my shelf at home, which is, just Romans 1 to 8. I have heard series of studies which brethren have done, Rom 1 to 8. There is no question, Rom 8 is the end of a sub-section in Romans, so Ch 8:39 is a pause, if you like, in the argument. But let me put it like this, if you were to think of Romans as an argument just revolving around Chs 1-8 it would be a bit like eating the cake without the icing.

 

There is no question this is the climax of the argument that rolls through Chs 1-8. Let me just draw your attention to some of the links. In Ch 8:33, you have the subject of election, “Who will lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Well you meet exactly the same word in Ch 9:11. “The purpose of God according to election.” Rom 8:15, you have the subject of Adoption. “We have received the spirit of adoption.” Well, Ch 9:4, amongst the eight blessings bestowed upon Israel, first, “The adoption.” Ch 8:16 speaks about the fact that we are “children of God.” Ch 9:8 speaks of “children of God.” You see, he is actually continuing the argument of Chs 1-8 not starting a completely new and unrelated argument about the nation of Israel. But before the Apostle begins to expound this section, there is a problem. You see, up until this point of time, Paul has been arguing the case for the righteousness of God using the doctrine of the atonement and the person of the Lord Jesus Christ in relation to that. And in almost every  turn in the road, he has run up against this or that Jewish notion which was contrary to scripture; the purpose of the Law, the place of Abraham, the significance of Christ, the rite of baptism, the Jews had very strong thoughts on all those sorts of things which were most often wrong. So you see that by the end of Ch 8 we have got to, as far as the apostle is concerned, is that there is a good portion of the ecclesia, or ecclesias, who at this point, would have a very dim view of the Apostle, the Jewish portion of the ecclesia, a very dim view. At best they might have said that he was nullifying Old Testament Scripture, and at worst, they might have said, that he had become completely anti-Semitic. You think about the argument so far as it is in Romans.

 

God is no respecter of Persons

Ch 1, the Gentiles have failed to find God. They are completely unrighteous. Well of course the Jew would have applauded that conclusion at the end of Ch 1. But then look what happens, Ch2, “God is no respecter of persons,” he says, even though the Jews thought he was. Circumcision is no guarantee of God’s favour, even though the Jew thought it was. Men are account Jew, based on their character, not based on their physical descent. Based on that, you see, the Jews in the ecclesia could well argue that Paul was saying that really, there is no such thing as a Jew, couldn’t they. Ch 3, Oh well, says the Jew, I’ve got the Law, I will be fine, I’ve got the Law of Moses. Not good enough says Paul, the Law was never ever intended to save you, righteousness comes by faith, it does not come by the Law. Ch 4, look at Abraham, he was pronounced righteous ever before the Law was given. And then look at David, in Ch 14, he couldn’t have saved himself by works even if he had wanted to. There was no law that could absolve him of the sins he had committed, adultery, murder, and therefore he concludes at the end of Ch 4 that Abraham was not just the father of the Jews, but also of the non-Jew. And then Ch 5, what does that say? Well it’s that all man are born under condemnation from Adam. The Jew didn’t agree with that, he thought he was above condemnation, the problem is, Paul says, in Rom 5:12, that “sin came by one man,” and the Jews are also descendants of Adam, they are also descendants of that one man, just like Gentiles are. Baptism Ch 6 applies to everyone. The Jew thought that baptism was a rite that applied to Gentiles who had to wash themselves before they could become Jews. What’s more, Ch 7 says, that law, the Law, as mere law, did nothing for you, it was only a tool to lead you to Christ. And because of all of that, you see, by the time you get to Ch 8, the world is not divided between Jew and Gentile, it is divided between carnal and spiritual. He has completely re-defined the two groups of people that make up the entire population of humanity, to what the Jew thought. The Jew divided the world between Jew and Gentile, the Apostle divided it between carnally and spiritual, he has completely obscured the identity of the Jew in his argument. And you can imagine the Jewish mind running down those chapters, you see, by the time he gets to the end of Ch 8 he has been completely demolished, hasn’t he. Everything he stood for has been wiped out, completely wiped out.

 

God never ever intended to save every Jew

So the question arises now in Ch 9, if that’s the case, is Israel finished? Is Israel finished? You see that, so entirely has the Apostle dismantled the Jewish notions of legalistic righteousness that when you get to Ch 9, he is reeling in despair, wondering whether God still has a purpose with the nation of Israel. Well, this is what Ch 9, 10 and 11 look like. I am just going to restrict my comments on this slide at least, to Ch 9. The simple answer is this, Yes, God does still have a purpose with the nation of Israel. Ch 9:1-5 open the chapter with words of genuine distress that the Apostle has over the nation. Now he says these words, he begins like this to allay any concerns that he was anti-Jewish. The fact is, that the real argument of Ch 9 begins in V 6, but he prefixes it, you see, by these heartfelt sentiments feeling for the nation, given the blessings they had and the atrocious mess they have made of them. Vv 6-13, Well, the argument begins, just because some Jews never believed, he says, does not mean that God’s purpose with the nation has finished. Jewish disobedience could never undermine God’s purpose, why not? And this is earth shattering, because God never ever intended to save the whole nation anyway, he never intended to save every Jew. Only the true seed of Abraham. That is the process of election. But Vv 14-18, does that mean God’s unjust? If he picks one person and he discards another person, does that mean he is unjust? No, says, the apostle, it is not a mater of God’s justice, it is a matter of God’s mercy. No-one deserves salvation, no-one has the right to be picked by God. And so Vv 19-21, he explains that, by reference to God’s dealing with people like a potter does with the clay. And a simple summary of that section is, and a bit of a complicated and a controversial section, God does not reject any item, or if you like, any person until that person becomes unworkable. And since salvation is subject to God’s mercy, rather than man’s nationality. Gentiles can be saved equally well as Jews. And then between Vv 22-29 he quotes 4 Old Testament chapters to prove his point. He quotes the prophecy of Hosea twice, to show that not all Gentiles will be lost. And he quotes the prophecy of Isa twice to show that not all Jews would be saved. And then he concludes the Ch Vv 30-33, with an explanation of where the Jews went wrong. So that is the story of Ch 9, but as you can see, we are entering a highly sensitive section of the book of Romans. This is the story of God’s treatment of the nation of Israel and the Jews are not going to agree with this exposition, unless the Apostle can prove it unequivocally. When I say unequivocally, I don’t mean prove it by logic, I mean prove it by Scripture. These are Jews, If you are going to say anything, particularly about their nation, you are going to have to prove it by Scripture. Everything he says is going to have to be beyond question, underlined twice. How does he do that? This is how he does it. 33 times in three chapters, Rom 9,10 and 11, the Old Testament is quoted, in fact, in Rom 9 alone, there are 13 quotations from the Old Testament, which I’ve got to tell you, is more than in any other chapter of the Bible. 13 times he is going to quote the Old Testament in this chapter, to make his point. Nothing else in Scripture compares with this, you see, but you’ll appreciate, for half the ecclesia who were the initial audience of this letter, there is no subject in the world more controversial. This is Rom 9, unbelievable.

 

Paul’s reputation

Well, he begins the chapter. Ch 9:1-5 Paul’s distress at Israel’s unbelief. V 1, “I say the truth in Christ,” he says, “I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 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,” why does he need to say that, why does he need to begin the chapter like that? Well, because, as I have already explained a moment ago, he has a certain reputation. There are many who regarded him a traitor to the nation. I mean, they have just read eight chapters and by Ch 9:1, they regard him as a traitor to the Jewish cause. Let me just show you something about the Apostle’s reputation. You know, in Acts 21, after the conclusion of the third missionary journey, the Apostle comes back to the Jerusalem ecclesia and the Arranging Brethren of that ecclesia took him aside in Acts 21:18, they took him aside and they spoke privately to him and this is what they said. V18 of Acts 21, “The day following, Paul went in with us,” that is with Luke, and those who had gathered, “unto James,” the recording brother of the Jewish ecclesia, the largest ecclesia in the world, Jewish ecclesia. “And all the elders were present, and when he had saluted them he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministering. And they said to him, Paul, thou seest brother how many thousands of Jews there are that believe, and they are all zealous of the Law, and they are informed of thee, that thou teaches all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses.” That’s the reputation he had got, you see. Not just in Rome, this is back in Jerusalem. He’s got this reputation amongst the Jewish world within Christadelphia in the first century. That’s why he begins Ch 9, in the way he does. The result of this, by the way, in Acts 21, the result of this discussion was that the Apostle goes to the temple. He goes to the temple on the seventh day, the record tells us, and the Jews in the temple, non-Christadelphians, they start a riot. He’s arrested, he appeals to Caesar, and he ends up in prison in Rome. It is this discussion that led to his ultimate imprisonment in Rome the first time. That’s how sensitive things were you see, and that’s why, as I say, he opens the chapter in the way he does. He is very keenly aware of it.

 

And so you read, three times in V 1 of Rom 9 statements of his integrity. “I’m telling the truth,” “I’m not lying,” he says. “The Holy Spirit confirms my honesty,” which by the way, is simply a means of saying that I am telling you the truth before God. Back in Acts Ch 5:3 you might recall that Ananias and Saphira lied to the Holy Spirit which a couple of verses later is said to mean that they lied to God. So he says, “My conscience,” as it were, if I could paraphrase, “my conscience bearing me witness, before God.” Three times in V1 he’s determined about the genuineness of his spirit. Such is the agony of mind, in fact, on this issue, he wishes that he could swap places with the nation. Look at V 3, “I could wish that myself were cursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” You might instantly recognise in that verse the sentiments of Moses in Ex 32:32, after the incident of the golden calf on the 6th occasion of ascending the mountain, uninvited, and he gets to the top and he says to God “If thou wilt forgive their sin, and if not, blot me out of the book thou hast written.” What is he saying? If you are going to destroy them, then destroy me with them.” Isn’t he? If Israel must die, I will die with them. You will see in V 3, the Apostle is going one step further, “If I could die,” he says, “I wouldn’t die with them, I would die for them,” isn’t he? I’d die for them. And you know, read carefully V 3, he knows what he is saying is an impossibility, he doesn’t say “I wish,” he says, “I could wish.” The offer he is making in V 3 is not a realistic offer, but it is a measure of his sincerity.  He says, “I could wish that I myself was accursed,” the word ‘accursed’ there is the Greek word ‘anathema.’ It means ‘devoted to destruction as an accursed thing.’ You read it many times in the Old Testament. Achan took the accursed thing, those Babylonish garments, the wedge of gold and such, the things from Jericho, he took them. He becomes as a consequence an accursed thing himself, devoted to destruction. What he is saying here in V 3 is, ‘If it were possible, I would forfeit the kingdom of God to save my nation, if I could,’ he says. And the unbelief, you see, the unbelief of the nation of Israel was all the more tragic by virtue of the privileges they had.

 

Israel’s privileges

Look at Vv 4 and 5, there are eight privileges enumerated here, which the nation of Israel was subject to. “Who are Israelites, this nation,” he says, “who are Israelites, to whom pertaineth, number 1, the adoption, 2, the glory, 3, the covenants, 4, the giving of the Law, the service of God, the promises, whose are the fathers and of whom as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who over all, God blessed forever. It is not saying, by the way that Christ is God, in my margin I have made a little change, ‘God-blessed,” Christ is blessed by God forever. But what are these blessings, eight blessings, you see came upon the nation of Israel. What were they? The adoption, well as the slide says, that’s son-ship. As a nation they became God’s children. The glory, they got the glory, that is the Shekina glory that dwelt in the Most Holy Place and proved that God dwelt amongst them. They got the covenants, now there is debate, in fact in translation that says it is ‘covenant’ singular or ‘covenants’ plural here. If it is ‘covenant’ singular, it would evidently be the Mosaic covenant. If it is covenants plural, then you could add to that the Abrahamic and the Davidic. They got the Law, given at Sinai, the basis of the nation, and the envy of all surrounding nations. The people who looked at them were meant to look upon them and their conduct and their wisdom, and say “what nation is there so mighty as this as that has your God.” “They had the service of God,” it says, toward the end of V 4, what’s that? It’s actually the service of the Tabernacle, with the priests and the priesthood. Who could atone for the sins of the nation. Whatever nation had that? They had the promises. These are not the covenant promises, these are now the multitude of promises that the prophets delivered throughout the Old Testament. The guarantee, if you like, of God’s providence working in their lives. So for example, Deut 18:18, the promise of a coming Messiah, modelled after Moses himself, who would be a king, Jer 23:5, after the nation was restored and elevated. Countless promises you could enumerate. Whose were the fathers, they had the fathers, and you might say, well what’s so special about that, we’ve all got fathers. No, no, no, no, it was because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were the fathers of this nation that all the blessings came upon them. God didn’t choose them in Deut Ch 7 because they were the greatest or the most numerous of all nations, he chose them because of the relationship he had with Abraham. The fathers were worth an awful lot to that nation, and then if you like, the greatest blessing of all, the Messiah, came from Israel and as a consequence of him being a Jew, he went first to the house of Israel. Enormous number of blessings, but despite those blessings, perhaps in spite of those blessings, the nation, at least as a nation, completely failed to respond.

 

Has God’s purpose with Israel failed?

And so now the Apostle drops a bombshell, in verse 6. The nations unbelief does not disrupt God’s purpose. V 6 through V 13, does the fact that the nation didn’t believe, or didn’t respond, to God’s work with them, does that mean that God’s purpose with the nation has failed? Does that mean that the prophecies about the nation has failed? And the answer, of course, is ‘no.’ Why no? And the answer is that God’s purpose with the nation of Israel never required the salvation of every Jew, and as you will see, he never ever intended, right from the days of Abraham, to save every mortal descendant of Abraham. Now I say that that’s a bombshell. The Jews never ever thought that, that never ever entered their mind, they thought they were automatically saved as a consequence of having Abraham’s blood. God’s intention from the outset was never to save every single Jew. Look at the argument V 6, “Not as though the word of God has taken none effect for they are not all Israel which are of Israel.” So, what is the verse saying? “Does Israel’s unbelief make God’s purpose with them of none effect? No they are not all of Israel which are of Israel.” What does that mean? It means that the hope of salvation was only ever to a special class within the nation. It was never intended to include every Jew. So think about what that means to a Jew reading this epistle. Never intended to include everyone. They are not all Israel after the spirit, he says, which are of Israel after the flesh, that’s the point.

 

In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

V 7 “Neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children, but in Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Now there wouldn’t be a Jew alive who didn’t agree with that. They thought, you see, they were saved simply because they were Abraham’s seed, by natural descent. The problem was Abraham had two children. Was Ishmael saved? Were both of Abraham’s children saved. No they weren’t were they? They weren’t. Ah but the Jew had an answer to that, he says, ‘Well of course not, because they had different mothers, so of course only Isaac would be saved. Descent had to be through Isaac.’ Sure. Well then, were all Isaac’s children saved? V 10, “Not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even our father Isaac, for the children being not yet born, having done neither 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. So Isaac had two children, but Esau wasn’t selected. So it is not good enough simply to be a son of Isaac, yet Esau was a son of Isaac, by the same mother as Jacob.  Not only that, he was a twin of Jacob, and not just a twin, but the firstborn twin. And if that is not enough, brothers and sisters, the decision that God made on Esau’s eternal welfare, was made before the kid was even born, is the point that is made clearly in V 11, he hadn’t even done good or evil and God has already decided against him.  Unbelievable. At least, you might say, at least Ishmael’s character was made manifest when he was rejected from the household of Abraham, Esau hadn’t even seen the light of day, and God selected against him, in the foreknowledge of God, his character was evident. God knew what the boy would be like, V 13, “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated, and he knew that when the boys were in the womb, fighting.

 

The purpose of God according to election

Now V 11 calls that “The purpose of God according to election.”  The word ‘election’ means, ‘selection.’ It just means selection, that is the decision God makes with people in order to fulfil his purpose, and that purpose required the selection of Jacob, and the rejection of Esau, even before the boy had shown his true colours. Now how would you be, if in this hall we had a mother right now who we knew was going to give birth to twins, well there wouldn’t be one of us who would say one’s in he kingdom, and the other one’s not, by name, but that’s what happens here. So what is this section saying? Here’s the summary. A man does not commend himself to God simply being born of Abraham because Ishmael was not commended. A nation does not commend itself to God simply by being born of Isaac because Esau was not commended. And I say ‘nation,’ because in verse 13, when Malachi says “Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated,” he is speaking about two nations, he is speaking about Jews and Edomites because two nations are in thy womb, Rebecca was told in Genesis 25. So a nation doesn’t commend itself to God simply by being born of Isaac, because Esau wasn’t commended. You see, the Jews thought that God was obliged to accept them just because they were children ofAbraham, but Paul has just shown on two occasions that that did not occur. And why? Why not? Well because simply having Abraham’s blood is not how God defines being a child of Abraham. The question is, do you live like Abraham? Do you obey God’s word, that was what the real question was here, that’s the rub. Abraham’s natural blood is of about as much use for your salvation as Christ’s literal blood. The question is, what are you like? But can you see where this is heading? The very principle that the Apostle has just established which would allow God to choose Isaac over Ishmael, or Jacob over Esau, will also allow him to choose Gentiles over Jews.  Because what if the Gentiles had more the character of Abraham than the Jew? I mean, what was the reason God chose Isaac over Ishmael, or Jacob over Esau, it was about their characters. Well where would the Jews stand then, based on the fact that his is how God acts, where would the Jew stand if the Gentile had a character that he didn’t?  You see, he’s setting himself up, and well, I will tell you now, in V 24, that is exactly the conclusion he gets to. But he is setting himself up for this argument, but before you get to V 24, you’ve now begun a lot of other side questions, because when it came to Ishmael or Esau, the Jews didn’t care. They were perfectly happy to write those boys off and the nations that came from them, they didn’t care at all, they didn’t give a rush about those two descendants of Abraham, but the moment you turn around and say that God might save a Gentile and reject the Jew, that’s not fair. Not fair.

 

Is there unrighteousness with God?

V 14, “What shall we say then, is there unrighteousness with God? By no means,” he says. Now how can the Apostle simply say, ‘Is God unrighteous, definitely not, how can he say that? Well, the quote in your margin would be something like Psa 92:15, “There is no unrighteousness with God.” Like it is an explicit statement in Psa 92;15, “There is no unrighteousness with God,” so ‘God forbid,’ or ‘let it not be,’ or ‘by no means,’ is true. That is to say, God always makes the correct choice. He is going to get it right. However, in order to answer the question in V 14 more fully, ‘Is God arbitrary about who he selects,’ does he play fair, does he give everyone a fair crack? Paul is going to bring into view two characters. Moses, and Pharaoh, he’s going to introduce us to these two men, Moses and Pharaoh.  And I will tell you why. Moses pleads with God to save Israel. He pleads with God to save every single Jew, and God says, ‘no.’ Pharaoh on the other hand conspires against God to destroy Israel, by which I mean, every single Jew, and God says ‘no.’ Now why is that important? And it is simple, the answer is because God never intended to save every single Jew, therefore Moses is wrong, but God did say that he would save the nation, which required the salvation of at least some Jews and therefore Pharaoh was wrong, you see? And here’s the argument, V 15, “But God said to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Now that is a quotation from Ex 33:19 after the incident of the golden calf.

 

Now what happened? Just cast your mind back. Well, God told Moses when Moses comes down the mount and he smashes the tables of stone and God tells Moses to stand aside while he destroyed the nation and began again with Moses.  And Moses intercedes, as we mentioned a little earlier, to God for the nation, ‘If they are going to die,’ he says, ‘ then let me die with them, blot my name out.’ God says, ‘No, not acceptable, not acceptable.’ Moses says then, ‘Well, all right then, will you save them for me?’ And based upon the fact that we’ve got a first name relationship, will you do it for me? If you won’t do it in an outright sense for them, will you do it for me?’ God says, ‘You know what, Moses, I will do it for you I will save them for you.’ And then Moses says, ‘All right, I’ve got one more request, “show me thy glory. Show me thy glory.” ‘Let me see the character of the God that would destroy a nation. Let me see the character of the God I am dealing with’ and the answer comes back, ‘All right, I will do that for you Moses.’ “I will make all my goodness pass before thee. I will be gracious to whom I am gracious, and I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy.” You see, what Moses didn’t appreciate was that in order that God might save the nation, it did not obligate him to save every single Jew in the wilderness. Within a year, let me tell you, the whole wilderness generation had been consigned to death. By Num 14 “your carcasses shall perish in the wilderness.” You see, God was right, God was right in his initial judgment against the nation, but his purpose was going to continue through the next generation. The nation would still survive, though not every individual would be involved.

 

And so V 16, “So then,” he says, “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy,” well, what does that mean? Well, “the him that wills” and the “him that runs” is Moses, you see? In simple terms, what he is saying is that the fulfilment of God’s plan is not up to Moses. In Ex 31:12, Moses “willed,” when he asked God to forgive Israel, that was Moses will. In Ex 34:8, Moses it says had  “Made haste and prayed for God’s angel to go with them.” So Moses “willed” and Moses, “ran” to try to save every single Jew, what he didn’t understand was that God didn’t need to save every single Jew to fulfil his purpose with Israel. But in the same way that God would ‘Show mercy to whom he would show mercy,” he would also show judgment to whom he would show judgment.  V 17, “For the Scripture said unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up that I might show my power in thee, that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore he will have mercy upon whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”

 

Did Pharaoh have a choice?

Now what’s going on there? Well, it is very simple. God shows mercy to some and deliberately doesn’t show it to others. As we know in the case of Pharaoh, God specifically hardened him and then destroyed him, which only raises the next question. V 19, “Well,” he says, “thou would say then unto me” says the Apostle, so he is speaking to the ecclesia, and he says, ‘And since I have said this, and I have told you how God acts, you are going to say to me, “Well then why does God find fault with Pharaoh, because Pharaoh did not resist his will.” How can God take a man and harden him, which means he is going to sin and then punish him for sinning? How can God do that in V 19? How can God punish Pharaoh for resisting his will when God hardened his heart in the first place and no one can resist God? Did Pharaoh have a choice? Now this, of course, in V 19, is one of those passages which has generated an enormous amount of discussion. You will be aware that many times in the Exodus record, throughout the ten plagues it says, that “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” Perhaps we will be equally aware that on many other occasions it says, that “Pharaoh hardened his own heart.” We might explain that by saying that these two statements complement rather than contradict each other, well that’s true, but how is it true? And does that really answer V 19? Well, No it doesn’t. The answer to this riddle is to be found in how the Potter works with the clay. Now I am going to come back to Pharaoh and show you what I mean in a moment, but let’s just keep reading for a bit, Vv 20 and 21. Look what he says, “Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” Now that’s Paul’s answer to the question of V 19, do you think that answers the question? Why does God find fault with people he hardens who resist his will and then God punishes, well, V 20 “Who art thou that repliest against God?” V 21.”Shaul the thing that God formed question why it has been formed in such a way?’ Now commentators have looked at what Paul says in V 19 and looked at the answer he gives in Vv 20 and 21, and concluded often that Paul side-steps the issue, that his answer is simply, ‘Who are you O man, to answer God back?’ And, I must admit, that when I first read this, when I was much younger, I thought, oh what kind of an answer is that? One commentator I read said, “This is the weakest point of the entire epistle.” Well, if you had a superficial understanding of these verses, sure, it is the weakest point of the epistle. Let me show you what is actually happening here. He is speaking about the Potter’s work with the clay. And in order to do that he quotes a combination, as your margin says, Isa 29, Isa 64, Isa 45, but there is another very powerful, and I am going to suggest, most important quotation in your margin and you need to highlight it, and it is Jer 18:6, you will see it there on that little ‘f’ in V 21. This is the critical quote to understand the solution to this dilemma. What does it say in Jer 18, here is Jer 18:6-10 on the screen. “Oh house of Israel,” he says, “can not I do with you as this Potter says Yahweh? Behold as the clay is in the Potter’s hand, so are ye in my hand, O house of Israel.” So there’s your context, there is no question we are talking about how the Potter works with the clay. “At what instant,” the Potter says, “at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to pluck up, to pull down and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, then I will repent of the evil that I thought to do to them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to build and to plant it, if it then go and do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will also repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them.”

 

God will work with a pot until it becomes unworkable.

There are two points from this verse in Jer 18. Here is the first one. It is God’s prerogative as the Potter to make whatever he wants, and the second point is, that the exercise of God’s will is conditioned by the response of the clay. You see the significance of that? It is God’s prerogative as the potter to make whatever he wants, but the exercise of God’s will toward that clay is conditioned by the response of the clay. What does that mean in plain English, it means this, God will work with the pot until such time as the pot becomes unworkable. At that point, God will use that pot for his purposes without any consideration for the eternal well-being of the pot, because he has given up with the pot. But if that pot continues to be workable, the potter will take it off the wheel, squish it together and try and re-form it into the pot he wants. If it is marred, he will pull out that little stone, and keep working with the pot. The minute the pot says “Get your hands off me,” …throw the pot in, or else, he will leave the pot and make it an object example for other pots not to copy, but the critical thing is, he never stops working with the pot until the pot becomes unworkable.

 

Pharaoh hardens his own heart

Now let’s talk about Pharaoh. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, Pharaoh hardens his own heart. Let me show you how it happens. God only, as it turns out, hardens Pharaoh’s heart after Pharaoh has proven himself unworkable. Look at the ten plagues. We’ve got a prophecy in Ex Ch 4:21, and Ex Ch 7:3 before the plagues begin, that God will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and then we have the plague of blood. Pharaoh hardens his heart. Frogs, he  hardens his heart. Lice, he hardens his heart, Flies, he hardens his heart, Murrain, he hardens his heart, only when it comes to the boils, does God say, ‘I’m going to harden his heart.’ Hail comes, he hardens his heart, and then from that point on, God hardens, God hardens, God hardens. You see the point? God did not harden Pharaoh’s heart until Pharaoh became unworkable. I would draw your attention to Ex 7:13-14, it would appear to say in the Authorised Version, that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart right at the beginning in Ex 7. All modern translations disagree, so I am quoting you here the RSV but the NIV’s the same. Pharaoh harden his own heart in Ex 7:13-14. So what you find, you see, is by the time God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, Pharaoh has already hardened it himself seven times. God does not stop working with the pot, even if it is an Egyptian pot, until the pot becomes unworkable. That’s the fundamental policy of the potter and the clay. In fact, in Ex 9:16 it says that Pharaoh was specifically told by Moses, “For this cause,” he says, “I have raised thee up to show my power in thee,” speaking on behalf of God. The result was that at the end of Ex Ch 9 “Pharaoh sinned yet more.” Can you see the point? The clay always determines its own destiny. God doesn’t give up on a person until there is no chance left. But there is one thing God does do, when a person has proven themselves unworkable, God doesn’t necessarily discard them straight away, he may well use them to save others, even if they won’t be saved themselves.

 

Vessels of wrath fitted for destruction.

So, V 22, “Well, what if God willing to show his wrath and to make his power known, endures with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” So here are people who will not be in the kingdom of God, “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” And the word ‘fitted’ is in the middle voice, which simply means,  they have fitted themselves to destruction. It is their choice to be destroyed. They might not think of it quite in those terms, but by their own conduct they bring the sentence against themselves. V 23, And that God might in contrast “make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.” But you notice the difference between Vv 22 and 23? Obviously V 22 is talking about people fitted to destruction, and V 23 is about people fitted to glory, or prepared for glory, but the difference is this, the vessels of wrath in V 22 fit themselves to destruction. The vessels of mercy in V 23 are prepared by God. They are prepared by God. And you see, this is where it becomes meaningful for us, brothers and sisters, God is equally as long-suffering with us as he was with Pharaoh, because we are being shaped for his purpose – we are not being shaped for Our purpose. So God’s the potter, not us. We can never stop responding to the hand of the potter. At your own peril, you stop responding to the hand of the potter. We might look at trials that come upon us, Why is this happening to me? Why is that happening to me? In fact I often think that the trials that come upon me are so because I am fighting the hand of the Potter. Or I want to be a different kind of pot than what the Potter has decided. The exhortation therefore is simple, we’ve got to remain pliable, the water’s got to keep going on the clay, if you stop reading your Bible, the clay dries out. We are earthen vessels, the water leaks out, and all of a sudden, well dry clay is not as pliable as wet clay, is it? Think about why we have been called to the Truth and why our next-door neighbour wasn’t called to the Truth. What is so special about us? Nothing is so special about us. God simply showed mercy. He simply showed mercy, so then think about how we will reward him for his mercy, and how much of our time, our energy, our motivation our aspirations revolve around what God wants instead of what we want.

 

Not of the Jews only but also of the Gentiles.

And so when you come to V 24, he now drops the next bombshell. “Even us,” he says, “whom God hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. Understanding all of that he says, it is very clear not all Jews will be saved. But understanding all of that, he says, it is equally clear, not all Gentiles will be lost. God’s purpose doesn’t require a firm cleaving to only one nation, he is looking for a certain character, you see? And what he does now, between Vv 25 and 29, is he gives four Old Testament quotations to prove his point. Two from Hosea, and two from Isaiah, and look at them. Remarkable! V 25, “As God also says in Hosea, I will call them my people which were not my people and her beloved which was not beloved.” So that’s a quotation from Hos 2:23.

 

“Not my people” will become “my people”

What’s it all about? Well there were ten tribes that had just been sent into Assyrian captivity. They were God’s people but Hosea says they had become wicked and they are “not my people,” being that they are now in captivity, but in the kingdom of God, God will have them back, he will regather all of national Israel and they will become “my people” again, you see? And that is what he is saying, “I will call them my people” in the kingdom age, which were “not my people,” and “her beloved” which was not beloved. He is talking about the restoration of the nation of Israel. And then again in V 26. “It shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them Ye are not my people there shall they be called the children of the Living God,” now that’s a quotation from Hos 1:10, making the same point as V25 but with a difference, Israel doesn’t just become God’s people in V 26, they become children of the living God. That’s not the same as just being natural Israel, that’s spiritual Israel. Turn just one page back to Ch 8:14, Israel in the kingdom are gong to become children of the living God. Ch 8:14 says, “As many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” So you see what Hosea is saying in V 26 of Rom 9, Israel is not just regathered, they are converted to the Truth, that’s how they become “my people” again, that’s how they become “children of the living God,” not simply by being relocated from the four corners of the world back to the land of Israel, but by being changed in their character. But here’s the question, Hosea is speaking of the Jews, and he is applying these Scriptures to Gentiles, because what he is basically saying in these verses here is, that the Gentiles can come to the Truth, I mean, that is what he has just said in V 24 and this is how he is proving it. Well here is a question for you, How can Paul take Jewish Scriptures which are about the regathering of the nation and say that those scriptures now are…I am appropriating them and I am applying them to the Gentiles to prove to you that the Gentiles can come to the Truth. The answer is this. This whole notion of “my people,” or “not my people,” where does that first occur in the Bible? And by happy coincidence, in Ch 10:19, you have a quotation from Deut 32:21. And this is what it says. Rom 10:19 quoting Deut 32, “But I say,” he says, “did not Israel know. First Moses said, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are not my people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.” So what he is simply saying here is that God tried to provoke Israel back to the Truth by choosing the Gentiles. He tried to make Israel jealous of the hope of salvation by calling non-Jews to the Truth. Now it didn’t work, but that’s what he tried to do, but my point is, the Gentiles are called “no people,” that’s who it is in V 19, they are called “no people” or “not my people.” So think about what you have just read then back in Ch 9:25-26, the Jews were “my people,” they disobeyed and they became “not my people,” but in the kingdom age you are going to bring them back, convert them and call them “my people.” Ah! So what that means is if God can take a people who are “not my people,” and bring them back into the fold and call them “my people,” if he can do that with the Jews, he can do it with the Gentiles, who are “not my people,” and call them “my people,” see that? He’s just established by quoting Jewish Scriptures, the method by which God can justify calling the Gentiles to the truth, because he simply says, God can take a people who  are “not my people” and call them “my people,” if they convert. Well he is going to do that with Israel in the future, so clearly he can do it with the Gentiles now. Let me tell you, that is a brilliant use of two quotations in Hosea.

 

God only ever needed a remnant.

And now two quotations from Isaiah, V 27. Isaiah also cried concerning Israel. Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea a remnant shall be saved,” it is quoting Isa 10:22 and it is simply saying God only ever expected to save a remnant in Israel. He also knew that most of the Jews would be unresponsive. V 28, “For he will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness. Because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.” Now the “short work” here, this is Isa 10:23. Isa 10:23 says that “God will make a consumption” or a “destruction,” in the midst of the land. Now initially of course, it has reference to the Assyrian invasion in the days of Hezekiah, but Paul is using it in V 28 here, of the imminent destruction of AD 70, and he calls it a “short work,” because Matt 24 and verse 22 says, “Except those days should be shortened no flesh would be saved.” And then V 29, and as Isaiah said before, so here’s the second quotation, “Except Yahweh of Sabaoth, or the Lord of Sabaoth, had left us a seed, we had been as Sodom and made like unto Gomorrah,” quoting Isa 1:9. Once again, the emphasis is on a remnant. If God hadn’t left a remnant here, he would have wiped us out in the same way he wiped out Sodom and Gomorrah. A complete and utter annihilation of the Jewish race. Unless God preserved a remnant. But you see in those four quotations, he has just established to principles, two key principles, Number 1, God can take a group who are “not his people,” and he can make them “his people.” That’s what Hosea teaches, and it is not restricted just to Jews. And secondly, from all those who are called, God only expects to save a remnant. That’s what Isaiah teaches. And if I could be so bold as to suggest, that also is not restricted just to Jews. So V 25, 26, two quotes from Hosea to show that not all Gentiles will be lost, Vv 27 through 29, two quotes from Isaiah to show that not all Jews would be saved. So summarise that. Some Gentiles will be called, despite the fact that the Jews thought none would be. Some Jews would be called, despite the fact that the Jews thought that all would be. And in both cases, if I had time I could show you, it is the children of these prophets that tell the story. This is “my people” is in fact the Heb word Ammi which is Hosea’s son, and “the beloved” in V 25 is the Heb word Ruama, which was Hosea’s daughter. And the remnant of Vv 27-29, well that’s Isaiah’s sons Sheer Jashub, a remnant would return. So in fact the children, the names of the children, tell the story of these two prophets. And that brings us to the final section Vv 30 through 33. V 30 says, “Well what shall we say then,’ V 30 says, “that the Gentiles which followed not after righteousness have attained to righteousness even the righteousness which is of faith, but Israel which followed after the law of righteousness have not attained to the law of righteousness.” How is it, he says, that the Gentiles who had none of Israel’s privileges, succeeded where Israel failed? Well it is easy he says, V 32, how, “Wherefore, because the Jews sought it not by faith, but as it were by works. For they stumbled at the stumbling stone.” Israel was never ever looking for righteousness in the right place. They sought righteousness by law whereas the Gentiles responded to the offer of righteousness by faith, that was the difference. And of all the privileges that Israel had, now recall back to Vv 4 and 5 to those eight astonishing privileges the nation had. Of All those privileges the greatest of the lot was that Christ came from their nation. And of all the stumbling stones, that also proved to be the greatest. They stumbled at that stumbling stone, as it is written in V 33, “Behold I lay in Zion a stumbling stone, a rock of offence, and whosoever believeth on him, Christ shall not be ashamed.” They didn’t accept him. And they didn’t just reject him, they actually killed him. And you know, brothers and sisters and young people,  you marvel, at what the nation has done here, they had such enormous privileges, yet they failed so dramatically, and you’ve got to wonder, perhaps, whether they failed in proportion to the blessings they received. I mean, it is a fact isn’t it, that sometimes the advantages we have in life can be the very source of our downfall, because so often our advantages cost us nothing, and so we never really value them, so think about us, we’ve got the truth, we live in a comfortable society, no one stops us doing what we are doing, we want for nothing, really. We want for nothing. But what has it really cost us to be Christadelphian? For many of us in this room, we have known nothing else, we were born onto Christadelphia. Oh yes, we made a personal decision for baptism, but the fact is that most young people that are brought up in the Truth get baptised but for the Gentiles in this ecclesia, they had to leave something behind, they had no privileges, they were not “my people,” and they saw the Truth like a beacon in a very dark world, didn’t they, so if we are going to learn anything from Israel, it must surely be this, don’t take the Truth for granted. Count your blessings. Don’t expect that just because we are Christadelphian God will automatically save us, that would be the fatal mistake of the nation of Israel, as if our blood meant something to God, because every which way I read Rom 9, brothers and sisters, it is very clear to me that the abiding lesson from Israel’s history is that to fulfil his purpose God only ever needed a remnant.

Whole series here….

Paul’s Letter To The Romans Study -Neville Clark – Bible Study Series

 

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