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The Epistles of Paul - Romans Part 15, 07-18-2014: Jacob, Esau and the Nations, continued
Comparing the Israelites of Judaea with the Edomites of Judaea from the beginning of Romans chapter 9, towards the later part of that chapter Paul went on to explain that the calling of Yahweh in Christ is for the both Israelites of Judaea and the Israelites of the ancient dispersions, those who were taken into the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities and who never returned to Palestine. Paul quoted pertinent passages from Hosea and Isaiah in order to illustrate his assertions. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah tells us that these people would be found in Europe, and that is where the apostles went after them. These are indeed the Nations sprung from the seed of Abraham which Paul describes in Romans chapter 4.
Then in Romans chapter 10 Paul contrasted the Israelites of the ancient dispersions, who were no longer called by the name of Israel, to the Israelites of Judaea to whom Paul continued to apply the name Israel. Keeping the law and the writings, keeping the Sabbaths and the rituals and the circumcision, ostensibly they deserved to keep the title. The Israelites of the dispersions included the Romans themselves, and although Paul does not explain as much the Romans were from a body which departed from Israel many centuries earlier, and were not of the Assyrian captivity. Yet Paul considers them to be “lost” Israelites from the very beginning of the epistle, in the language which he uses in reference to them that in the Old Testament was only used in reference to Israel.
Here in Romans chapter 11, Paul turns his attention once again to the Israelites of Judaea, whom he considers the remnant of Israel, and indeed they were. They were the remnant of Israel in spite of the fact that all of those Israelites cast off in ancient times, the Nations to whom Paul brought the Gospel, were in fact being reconciled to Yahweh. Therefore we must continue to bear in mind that since the beginning of Romans chapter 9 and the opening of his prayer for his brethren in Judaea, whom Paul had described as his “kinsmen according to the flesh”, there are three parties which Paul addresses throughout this discourse: the Israelites of Judaea, the Edomites of Judaea, and the dispersed Israelites of antiquity who were being reconciled to Yahweh in Christ. Paul called the first group Israel, but sometimes they are also included under the general description of Judaeans. Paul referred to the second group, the Edomites, as Judaeans but he never considered them to be Israel, and in Romans 9:6 he explicitly told us that they were not Israel. As for the third group, Paul did refer to them as Israel in other epistles, but not here in Romans where the context of his message is quite different. Here Paul labels the third group as “the Nations”. In other epistles he more explicitly reveals that they are “lost” Israel, such as in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, for instance, where he referred to some of the nations of Europe which were practising paganism, Paul called them “Israel according to the flesh”, and he certainly was not talking about Judaeans of any sort. This is why context, both Biblical and Historical, as well as the internal context of any given epistle, is so instrumental in acquiring a correct interpretation of Paul's epistles. The world was confused as to who was who, and in these respects it still is today. But Paul of Tarsus was certainly not confused.
Before commencing with Romans chapter 11, we shall discuss a few details from the end of chapter 10 which we believe are worth repeating. In Romans 10:19 there is a very misunderstood statement, where concerning the remnant of Israel in Judaea Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 32:21 and says “19 Then I say, had Israel not known? Firstly, Moses says, 'I will provoke you to jealousy by a nation that is not, by a nation without understanding I will provoke you to anger.'” Many universalists abuse this passage to support their perversions of Scripture. However here Paul is using Deuteronomy 32:21 as a rhetorical device. In the context of Deuteronomy, Yahweh was warning Israel that he would provoke them to jealousy with another people whom He considered to be no people. Here Paul is using the passage in much the same way, however this time the people who were “not a people” were indeed the Nations of the cast-off Israelites of old. Paul had already explained in Romans chapter 9 that the cast-off Israelites of the dispersions were described by Hosea as being “not a people”, and in Christ they were to be reconciled to Yahweh, once again to be considered His people and the sons of Yahweh. Therefore Paul uses this passage as a rhetorical argument, that these who were “not a people” would provoke to jealousy the remnant of Israel which was not cast off, but which continued to look to the law for their righteousness, not yet having accepted Christ.
At the end of Romans chapter 10, Paul also used the text of the opening verses of Isaiah chapter 65 as a rhetorical device, where he said “20 Then Isaiah very boldly says, 'I am found by those not seeking Me, I am become manifest to those not inquiring of Me.' 21 Then to Israel he says, 'The whole day long I stretch out My hands to a disobedient and contradictory people.'” Examining the original context of those statements from Isaiah, we see that the first statement was indeed directed by Yahweh to an idolatrous pagan Israel, who had only turned to Him after the beginnings of the punishment that they were receiving for their sins, while the second statement was also directed to Israel in general, but Paul uses it here to describe the remnant of Israel in Judaea. The rhetoric is fitting, since rejecting Christ they certainly were continuing in their disobedience. Here in Romans chapter 11 Paul continues with that discussion.
1 Now I say, has Yahweh thrust away His people? Certainly not!
The Codices Alexandrinus (A) and Claromontanus (D) have this verse to read in part “has Yahweh thrust away His people whom He foreknew?” while the 3rd century papyrus P46 reads “has Yahweh thrust away His inheritance which He foreknew?”
Of course, in Jeremiah chapter 31 Yahweh promised that Israel would always be a nation, so long as there were a sun, moon and stars, among other promises. From Ezekiel chapter 34, the chapter after the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem is described: “11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.”
Indeed I also am an Israelite, of the offspring of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 Yahweh has not thrust away His people, whom He knew beforehand.
Here Paul illustrates the necessity of being a genetic Israelite to be considered as one of Yahweh's people. If there were no such necessity, Paul would have had no reason to make any claims concerning his own genetic lineage. Rather, if the faith were merely for “whosoever believeth” regardless of whether they were of Israel, then Paul should not at all have been concerned with the Israelites of Judaea “according to the flesh” or with his own race and lineage! But here Paul answers the question concerning the people of God by describing his own racial heritage as an example, and not merely what he believed, and therefore the people of God are the people of God by genetic heritage, and not by belief!
The universalists cannot define certain words or concepts in the New Testament in one manner half the time, and in a contrary manner the other half of the time. If seed are literal descendants in Romans chapters 4 and 9, and if seed, or offspring as the Christogenea New Testament has it, are literal descendants here in Romans 11:1, then seed are literal descendants everywhere in the New Testament. If Israel is “according to the flesh” in Romans chapter 9 and in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, then Israel is “according to the flesh” everywhere in the New Testament. If Israel according to the flesh are those whom Yahweh knew beforehand here in Romans 11:2, then those whom Yahweh knew beforehand are Israel according to the flesh everywhere in the New Testament!
The universalists cannot have it both ways. These terms cannot refer to some ethereal non-genetic body of so-called believers part of the time, and literal genetic Israelites the rest of the time, with the universalists getting to pick and choose between the two concepts for each term whenever they are encountered. Rather, these terms must represent consistent concepts throughout Scripture or the Word of God is made into nonsense. In reality, the universalists teach nonsense and the Word of God is certain: genetic Israelites are the only people Yahweh God knew beforehand, and only for those genetic Israelites are the promises of God in Christ.
Do you not know in Elijah what the writings say? How he petitions Yahweh concerning Israel, [א and the MT add “saying”] 3 “Yahweh, they have killed your prophets, and they have demolished your altars, and I alone was left remaining, and they seek after my life.”
We have previously demonstrated that much of the evil in ancient Jerusalem was due to the infiltration of the Canaanites and Kenites in the most ancient times. Here we shall summarize that explanation, because we constantly need to keep the Biblical and historical context in mind when interpreting the Scripture. When Daniel, in the story of Susanna, found two corrupt priests who attempted to pervert the morals of a certain young woman, he exclaimed “O thou seed of Chanaan, and not of Juda, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust hath perverted thine heart.” The prophets tell the story of how, as Jude puts it, “certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men”. The apostle Peter described this same thing in his second epistle. These things cannot be understood in isolation, but only by inspecting and accepting the entire Scripture in its historical context, rather than just trying to explain in isolation one small event at a time.
One facet of this infiltration of Israel is described in Malachi chapter 2: “8 But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. 9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law. 10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god. 12 The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts.”
But the infiltration is described a little differently in Ezekiel chapter 16: “1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, 3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. 4 And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.”
Finally, we shall see it described again in Jeremiah chapter 2, however we shall only quote a few segments of the chapter even though it is pertinent to our explanation in its entirety: “1 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. 3 Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD. 4 Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel: 5 Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? … 7 And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination. 8 The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. 9 Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children's children will I plead.... 13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.... 21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? 22 For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.”
From this we can determine the nature of the bad figs of Jeremiah chapter 24: “1 The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. 2 One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad. 3 Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil. ”
We present all of this so that we may be reminded that the prophets of Baal, the “false prophets among the people” which both Jude and Peter have described in their epistles, were not always Israelites but were often Canaanite infiltrators. The minds of the Israelites are continually corrupted by those Canaanite infiltrators. Peter, in his second epistle, says that “there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies”, and he proceeds to associate them with the “angels that sinned”, as Jude also says where he described “certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness”. The infiltration of Canaanite false prophets into the assemblies of Yahweh throughout time has been in fulfillment of the warnings found in the books of Numbers and Joshua, that if Israel did not destroy the Canaanites they would become thorns and pricks in our eyes, and so they are to this day.
Here in verse 3 of this chapter Paul quoted from 1 Kings chapter 19, verses 10 and 14. In verse 4 he quoted from verse 18 of that same chapter.
4 So what did the response to him say? “I have left to Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed a knee to baal.”
In 1 Kings chapter 18 we see the trial by fire whereby Elijah had challenged the prophets of Baal, and afterwards when Elijah prevailed and he had turned the people to Yahweh, four hundred and fifty of the prophets of Baal were put to the sword. In 1 Kings chapter 19 it is written that Ahab, who witnessed the trial by fire and knew about the subsequent slaying of the false prophets, had “told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword”, as we read in 1 Kings 19:1. Here is her reaction: “2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.” From this Elijah was troubled, and went to the land of Judah where he prayed (from verse 4): “O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” He was then approached by an angel of Yahweh which caused him to eat and to travel forty days, which ended at Mount Horeb. From verse 9 we read: “9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? 10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? 14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 15 And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. 17 And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. 18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”
The story of Elisha and Hazael of Syria is continued in Scripture in 2 Kings chapters 8 and 9, and Hazael is indeed used by Yahweh as a means to punish the disobedient in the kingdom of Ahab in Israel. However a close examination of the historical context of Scripture reveals that many of the people of Damascus in Syria, which Israel ruled over from the time of David, were themselves Israel, and that many Israelites were indeed dwelling both in and beyond the bounds of Ahab's kingdom. Neither does this passage mean to say that only 7,000 in Israel would be preserved, for indeed, a few decades later it is known from inscriptions that when the Assyrians took Samaria, a single city, they took well over 20,000 people off into captivity. Rather, in 1 Kings chapter 19 Yahweh reassures Isaiah that there were still 7,000 men in Israel who would not oppose him, and for that reason Elijah had nothing to fear because all those who did oppose him would be slain.
But there is another factor which we do not yet see which gave him reason to cite this account concerning Elijah, because Paul has not yet expressed the sentiment which he does later in the epistle, in Romans 16:20 where he says “20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” In order to see who Paul meant by “satan”, one can examine the context of the second earliest of Paul's preserved epistles: 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, where Paul said that the “son of perdition”, after the “working of Satan”, was sitting “in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Paul must also have understood Daniel chapter 9, which explains that after the cutting off of the Prince, the people of that Prince would come and destroy Jerusalem.
Once these things are realized, the historical and Scriptural contexts of Paul's pleas for his brethren in Judaea may be better understood. It should be evident that while Paul knew that there were many Israelites outside of Palestine in his time, he also hoped that there would yet be a remnant of them who would be faithful to Yahweh in Israel in Palestine, and therefore they would be turned to Christ, just as while there were many Israelites in Palestine and elsewhere, there remained a faithful remnant within Ahab's kingdom in Elijah's time. It is these who were Paul's “kinsmen according to the flesh” whom he prayed for, because he knew with certainty that Jerusalem was about to be destroyed by the Romans. Those who had the warnings of Christ in the Gospels concerning that same thing would be able to escape the danger. Destruction was about to come upon those in Jerusalem who rejected Christ, and Paul sought to save his “kinsmen according to the flesh” from that destruction.
5 Now in this manner even in the present time there has been a remnant in accordance with the election of favor. 6 But if in favor, no longer from rituals: since favor would be favor no longer.
The Codex Vaticanus (B) and the Majority Text each have a lengthy addition to verse 6 which may read: “Moreover if from rituals, no longer is it favor, since the ritual does no longer profit” as the Codex Vaticanus has it, although the Majority Text and later manuscripts which copied it end the addition with the words “... since the ritual is ritual no longer.” The text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Claromontanus (D).
Paul is speaking of the remnant of true Israelites in Palestine, They have the favor of Yahweh God, as all Israelites do. The true Israelites in Palestine having the favor of Yahweh, that does not negate the fact that Paul already explained that the Israelites of the dispersions, the Nations, also have the favor of Yahweh. However Paul is stating that if they desire to remain in the favor of God, that favor is not dispensed through the rituals of the law. Paul explained this at length in Romans chapters 4 through 6.
Paul said in Romans chapter 4: “1 Now what may we say that our forefather Abraham has found concerning the flesh? 2 For if Abraham from the rituals has been deemed worthy, he has reason to boast, but not towards Yahweh. 3 Indeed, what do the writings say? 'That Abraham trusted Yahweh, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' 4 Now to he who performs rituals, his reward is not considered in accordance with favor, but in accordance with debt; 5 but to he not performing, but who rather is trusting on He who must judge the impious, his faith is accounted for righteousness. 6 Just as David also declares the blessing of the man to whom Yahweh accounts righteousness apart from rituals: 7 'Blessed are they who are released from lawlessness, and whose errors are covered: 8 Blessed is the man to whom Yahweh will not account guilt.'”
The purpose of the rituals of the law were for the propitiation of sin, and now Christ is the only propitiation for sin. So Israelites who continued to seek propitiation through rituals were actually rejecting Christ. Here it is also manifest, that since both Christ and rituals were propitiation for sin, and only the children of Israel ever had the law, then the favor in Christ which Paul speaks of is only pertinent for the children of Israel because only for Israel could sin be accounted.
Paul went on to say in Romans chapter 4: “13 Indeed, not through the law is the promise to Abraham or to his offspring, that he is to be the heir of the Society, but through righteousness of faith. 14 For if they from of the law are heirs, the faith has been voided, and the promise annulled. 15 For the law results in wrath, so where there is no law, neither is there transgression. 16 Therefore from of the faith, that in accordance with favor, then the promise is to be certain to all of the offspring, not to that of the law only, but also to that of the faith of Abraham, who is father of us all; 17 (just as it is written, 'That a father of many nations I have made you,') before Yahweh whom he trusted, who raises the dead to life, and calls things not existing as existing; 18 who contrary to expectation, in expectation believed, for which he would become a father of many nations according to the declaration, “Thus your offspring will be'”.
So we see from Romans chapters 4 and 9 that the Nations to whom the favor and promises in Christ came are those nations of Abraham's seed found in the Israelites from before the Assyrian captivity. Paul's references to Israel here, where he is describing the true Israelites of Judaea, do not discount from that same favor those of the Nations of dispersed Israel who are being reconciled to Yahweh. If in Romans 11:2 the phrase “seed of Abraham” refers to Abraham's genetic offspring, then in Romans 4:13 and 4:15 the same terms must also refer to Abraham's genetic offspring. Those nations which sprung from the loins of Abraham must therefore be identified in history, and they are: in the nations of Christian Europe.
7 What then, what Israel seeks after, this it did not attain to? But the chosen have succeeded, and the rest were hardened,
The Greek word ἐπωρώθησαν is an Aorist Passive form of πωρόω (4456), which is “to petrify, turn into stone...metaphorically in the Passive to become hardened” (Liddell & Scott). Usually the King James Version translates it as “to be blinded” in the passive, which is properly τυφλόω, hence the difference here.
Because many words have several possible definitions, and because the ancient languages such as Hebrew and Greek, or even Latin and Aramaic, did not use explicit punctuation, often there are at least several plausible options which the translator has when rendering a particular passage. In many cases, even a slight change in punctuation can mean a significant change in meaning from one language to another.
Here in Romans 11:7, neither the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece nor the King James Version extend the interrogation as it reads here. They all read the Greek to say “What then? [Where they end the interrogative and then present a statement:] What Israel seeks after, this it did not attain to.” Therefore they read this passage in a manner as if to infer that Israel and the chosen are two different entities! That alone infers the nullification of all of the promises of Yahweh to Israel, such as Isaiah 44:1 where the Word of Yahweh says “1 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: 2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.” In addition to all of the Old Testament witnesses concerning the children of Israel as forever being the chosen of Yahweh, the usual reading of this passage here in Romans 11:7 makes Paul a liar even when this passage is compared to Paul's own words elsewhere. Throughout this epistle Paul had discussed the called “in accordance with purpose”, the chosen, the preordained, the “appointed beforehand” which are only found in the Old Testament children of Israel, and everywhere he made such references Paul quoted Old Testament scriptures which are only applicable to the Old Testament children of Israel. Comparing Jacob and Esau in Romans chapter 9, Paul said in verse 11 that “that the purpose of Yahweh concerning the chosen endures”, and for that reason Esau was not included in the promises.
Although not one major New Testament translation can be found which agrees with the punctuation of the Christogenea New Testament of Romans 11:7, it is asserted here that the elect and Israel are one and the same, in accordance with the prophets and with all of Paul's earlier statements. It is also asserted that “the rest” are those Edomite Jews which Paul has been comparing to the remnant of Israel in Judaea since the beginning of Romans chapter 9, but also includes certain Israelites whom Yahweh had destined to punish for their blindness and rejection of His Christ.
Concerning Paul’s grammar, if the denominational translations of this passage are correct, then this would be the only time in all of Paul’s epistles that the phrase τί οὗν is used by him as an interrogatory phrase all by itself. Everywhere else that Paul uses the phrase, it is accompanied with other words which are included in the interrogation, even where the King James translators made it a separate question followed by a question. The minimum example of this is τί οὗν ἐστιν, or “what is it then?” in 1 Corinthians 14:15. So even though the King James Version often punctuates τί οὗν separately (writing “What then?”) the words which follow always formulate a question - except that in the King James Version here in Romans 11:7 we have the only exception. I must object. I do not find this verse to be an exception, but rather the punctuation should be as it is read in the Christogenea New Testament.
The phrase τί οὗν appears as the leading phrase to questions 18 times in Paul's epistles, in Romans, 1 Corinthians and Galatians. Romans 3:1, 3:9, 4:1, 6:1, 6:15, 6:21 (τίνα οὗν), 7:7, 8:31, 9:14, 9:19, 9:30, 11:7; 1 Corinthians 3:5, 9:18, 10:19, 14:15, 14:26 and Galatians 3:19. (The phrase τις οὗν appears at Philipians 2:1, which all agree is not interrogatory). This is readily verifiable in the Supplement to the fifth edition of Moulton-Geden’s Concordance to the Greek Testament under the Greek word οὗν. If τί οὗν introduces a longer question on every other occasion where Paul used it, then it must also introduce a longer question here. This is because the King James Version and other translators have rendered Romans 11:7 in a manner which conflicts with many of Paul's statements elsewhere, and with the books of the prophets. However if we can translate this verse in the manner in which it appears in the Christogenea New Testament, and that translation removes any conflict which Paul would have with his own statements elsewhere, then we are obligated to do so. It is not proper to force a translation of a passage in a manner which in turn forces the original writer to contradict himself. If contradiction is avoided with an alternate interpretation, so long as the rules of grammar and the integrity of the meanings of words are not violated, then that is the path which must be chosen. Therefore I assert that at Romans 11:7 the Christogenea translation and punctuation are indeed correct, and all others are wrong.
8 just as it is written, “Yahweh has given to them a spirit of slumber, eyes that see not, and ears that hear not, unto this very day.”
This saying is reminiscent of Isaiah 6:9-10, which is a prophecy to the people of Judah in general, whether they be good or wicked, and especially those who were at the time of King Uzziah. However more precisely, here in Romans 11:8 Paul is quoting from Isaiah 29:10.
Isaiah 29: “1 Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices. 2 Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as Ariel. 3 And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. 4 And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.... 9 Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. 10 For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. 11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: 12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned....”
By quoting this passage in reference to those who reject Christ, once again Paul connects the coming punishment and destruction of Jerusalem to the rejection of the Gospel. Paul only cares for his “kinsmen according to the flesh”, but Paul said in verse 8 “But the chosen have succeeded, and the rest were hardened”. Throughout these chapters Paul has been comparing Jacob and Esau, and informing us that Jacob was to receive favor and mercy from Yahweh. Those who were hardened were not necessarily all Edomites, but rather had included men whom Yahweh had predestined for such punishment, for one reason or another. We shall discuss these at length later in this chapter, when we encounter the broken branches of verse 17. But as we have discussed concerning ancient Israel, there were false prophets and a Canaanite population in Ariel, which was apparently a term for Jerusalem which is found in canon only in Isaiah chapter 29. Note that the prophecy focuses on the prophets, rulers and seers. Likewise, in Romans chapter 10 where Paul quoted Isaiah chapter 28 in reference to the stone set in Zion, that prophecy was addressed to the “hirelings of Ephraim”, an epithet often used of the watchmen or the priests, (28:1, 3) and “ye afflicted men, and ye princes [or rulers] of this people that is in Jerusalem” (28:14.)
9 And David says, “Their dining table will be for a snare, and for a hunting of beasts, and for a trap, and for a repayment to them;” 10 “Their eyes will be darkened to not see, and their backs continually bow.”
These passages quote from Psalm 69:22-23. We shall read a segment of this Psalm to see the context of what Paul refers us to: “18 Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies. 19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee. 20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. 21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. 22 Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. 23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. 24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. 25 Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. 26 For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. 27 Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. 28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.”
In this Psalm David makes an imprecatory prayer against his enemies. However it is also a Messianic prophecy of Christ and the enemies of Christ, and therefore we can readily see parallels with the events of the crucifixion as they are recorded in the Gospel. When we see the context of the Psalm and compare it to the way in which Paul quotes from it, it is a Messianic prophecy referring to those enemies of Yahweh God who partook in the crucifixion of the Christ!
Their dining table will be for a snare: their keeping of the law reveals their hypocrisy, and will not benefit them. They will be for a hunting of beasts: as it is written in Luke chapter 21, Christ said concerning the people of Jerusalem that there would be wrath upon them, and that “they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations”.
Jeremiah spoke of good and bad figs in Jerusalem. In Jeremiah chapter 24 the Word of Yahweh speaks of the good figs first, and then of the bad figs it says: “8 And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus saith the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt: 9 And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them. 10 And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.” With this it is evident, that here were certain men of Judah whose destiny it was to be turned over to the bad figs. These men were the broken off branches which we shall read about in the later half of Romans chapter 11, and the Canaanite and Edomite Jews who opposed Christ are the bad figs.
11 Now I say, did they stumble in order that they would fall? Certainly not! But in their fall is preservation to the Nations, for the provocation of them to jealousy. 12 But if their fall is the wealth of the cosmos, and their defeat the wealth of the Nations, how much more their fullness?
Paul is not talking about fullness for the Edomites. The Edomites were destined to stumble at the stone, because they were never supposed to accept Christ. Rather, Paul is talking about those of his brethren, his “kinsmen according to the flesh” who had not yet accepted Christ, and therefore stumbled at the stone. In their fall is the preservation of the Nations: many of the Israelite Judaeans went along with the Edomite plans to destroy Christ, and in the death of Christ the nations of scattered Israel have reconciliation to God. But in turn, as the gospel goes out to the nations of scattered Israel, the Israelites of Judaea, who maintained the law and the prophets, were provoked to jealousy.
From Acts chapter 22, where upon his arrest, Paul gave a defense before the people of Jerusalem concerning his mission which was from Yahshua Christ: “21 And He said to me ‘Go, because I shall send you off to distant nations.’ 22 Now they listened until this word, and raised their voice saying 'Take such as him from the earth! For it is not fit that he lives!'” So we see with certainty that the Judaeans were provoked to jealousy upon the thought of sharing Paul's message of redemption with the other Nations, regardless of the origin of those nations, and regardless of whether those Judaeans themselves had accepted Christ.
Of course, Paul's discourses both in Acts and here in Romans are historically relevant to his own time, but his discourses are no longer relevant to our time. Christ Himself said of Jerusalem that it would no longer bear fruit, and those Israelite Judaeans who continued to reject Christ were ultimately separated from their brethren in Christ, and ultimately mixed in with the Canaanites and Edomites who never accepted Christ. These are the broken-off branches described later in this very chapter of this epistle.
13 Indeed I speak to you, the Nations, because I am an ambassador of the Nations; I honor my office, 14 if possibly I would provoke to jealousy my kinsmen, and preserve some from among them. 15 Indeed if the disposal of them is the reconciliation of the cosmos, what would the acceptance be, if not life from among the dead?
Paul clearly imagined that being provoked to jealousy upon seeing the Gospel of Christ go out to the Nations, which were indeed the children of scattered Israel, by that he would also turn his Israelite kinsmen among the Judaeans to Christ. Paul is a kinsman to all Israel, but here he expresses his desire for his kinsmen in Israel, because not all of those in Judaea are his kinsman, and doing so he is emphasizing the racial scope of the Gospel. Not once did Paul express concern for any Edomite or non-Israelite. Not once did Paul express any concern for “whosoever believeth” in Judaea. Not once did Paul express a lack of concern for Israelites who did not believe: all of his concern in this aspect was for his “kinsmen according to the flesh” who did not believe hoping that they would somehow be preserved!
If the Israelites of Judaea had not acceded to the desires of the Edomite Sadducees, from which was the party of the high priests, as well as others of the party of the Pharisees who desired to put Christ to death, then there would be no reconciliation to Yahweh for the Israelites scattered abroad, since Christ would not have been the Lamb of God and there would have been no release from the Law in the manner which Paul described in Romans chapter 7. The Edomites only had their way because much of Israel went along with them. Therefore Peter, addressing the people of Judaea and speaking of Christ as it is recorded in Acts 2:23, exclaimed that “He [Christ] by the appointed will and foreknowledge of Yahweh was surrendered, who crucifying through lawless hands you have slain!”
Here Paul also defines the scope of the word cosmos, or world, as the Adamic world of scattered Israel and the Adamic Genesis 10 nations, since he himself has confined the message of the gospel to the nations which sprung from the loins of Abraham in Romans chapter 4, who are those of the Roman οἰκουμένη who were both Judaean and Greek, Scythian and Barbarian, slave and free.