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The Epistles of Paul - Romans Part 5, 05-02-2014
From Romans chapter 1 where he cited the words of Habakkuk, that “the just shall live by faith” through Romans chapter 3, Paul had argued that justification before God was not by the rituals, or the “works of the law”. Discussing those arguments we cited many of the statements of Yahweh God by the prophets which certainly support Paul's position. Here in Romans chapter 4 Paul offers Abraham himself as an example in order to further illustrate his argument that justification is not by works, or rituals. However there is more to consider in the fabric of Paul's discourse than justification alone.
Firstly, in Romans chapters 2 and 3 Paul also drew a distinction between the Laws of Moses and the laws which were prophesied to have been written on the hearts of the children of Israel, as Yahweh had promised in the words of both Jeremiah and Isaiah. These laws, as it is related in Jeremiah, bear a direct relation to the New Covenant, and we saw that Paul explained as much in his epistle to the Hebrews as well. From this discussion it was hopefully elucidated that the basic ten commandments as well as the other moral laws of God transcend the Law of Moses which were imposed as a condition of the marriage relationship between Yahweh and Israel, and that while the Levitical laws and the associated priesthood are no longer in force, that Christians nevertheless have an obligation to uphold the basic commandments and the other moral laws of God.
Secondly, there is another facet of Paul's arguments, and that is that all of these things are addressed only to the children of Israel, as the fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture which concerns them exclusively, and that neither Paul nor the Scripture itself uphold the errant notions of modern universalism. It is demonstrable from statements which he made throughout this epistle that Paul believed the Romans to have descended from ancient Israel. Paul shall further discuss the relationship of Israel and sin to the Law as he proceeds throughout the subsequent chapters of Romans. Here, however, he explains how the faith of Abraham is greater than the works of the law, and how justification before God is of the faith of Abraham. Doing this, Paul also defines the faith of Abraham, and therefore there should be no confusion concerning the true scope of the Gospel message.
Romans 4:1 Now what may we say that our forefather Abraham has found [B wants the word for has found] concerning the flesh?
Here is the first place in this epistle to the Romans where there is a variation among the Greek manuscripts which is truly significant. The Majority Text and the Codex Claromontanus both have only “our father Abraham”. The text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Ephraemi Syri (C), which all have the word forefather. It is telling that the MT disagrees with the Codex Alexandrinus here since out of all of the ancient codices, the Alexandrinus is the one from which the Majority Text has descended, and the one with which it most often agrees.
Other modern translations, such as the ASV, also have forefather here, following the better manuscripts in this regard. However as an example of how much evil can be perpetrated through any so-called “translation” of Scripture, here is the version of Romans 4:1 from the New Living Translation: “Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God?” Rarely can so much treachery be manifested in the translation of a single sentence. The words “founder of our Jewish nation” and “being made right with God” are pure fabrications.
By his use of the term forefather here, Paul is asserting that Abraham is the progenitor of both the Judaeans and the Romans. Paul himself explicitly ensures the accuracy of this interpretation in verse 16 of this chapter, where he says that Abraham is the “father of us all”. This is in keeping with all of the other evidence presented by this epistle which demonstrates that the Romans were indeed descendants of the ancient children of Israel, since they “changed the truth of God into a lie”, as the King James Version has part of Romans 1:25. It may be possible to spiritualize the word father, to insist that it is only a metaphorical title, however it is much more difficult to insist upon such an interpretation of the word forefather. Throughout this chapter, the discourse demonstrates that the Romans were indeed of the ancient Israelites.
2 For if Abraham from the rituals has been deemed worthy, he has reason to boast, but not towards Yahweh.
Perhaps the Greek word πρός (Strong's # 4314), towards here, may have been in reply to or even in respect of. If Abraham had been deemed worthy from rituals, Could he have been the author of his own salvation?
In Luke chapter 1 we see, in part, the reason for Israel's need for salvation: “68 Blessed is Yahweh the God of Israel, that He has visited and brought about redemption for His people, 69 and has raised a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant, 70 just as He spoke through the mouths of His holy prophets from of old: 71 preservation from our enemies and from the hand of all those who hate us! 72 To bring about mercy with our fathers and to call into remembrance His holy covenant, 73 the oath which He swore to Abraham our father, which is given to us: 74 being delivered fearlessly from the hands of our enemies to serve Him 75 in piety and in righteousness before Him for all of our days. 76 And now you, child, shall be called a prophet of the Highest: for you shall go on before the face of Yahweh to prepare His path. 77 For which to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the dismissal of their errors, 78 through the affectionate mercies of our God, by whom dawn visits us from the heights 79 to shine upon those sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace.”
These words in Luke chapter 1 are consistent with the design of God from the beginning. Here it is, in part, from Deuteronomy chapter 33: “26 There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun [an epithet for Israel meaning upright one], who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. 27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them. 28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew. 29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.”
In both Old and New Testaments, the children of Israel require salvation from their enemies, and we see it explained in both places that God Himself will be their savior. This aspect of Biblical salvation in the New Testament is virtually ignored by denominational Christianity. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:19 that “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.” Rituals cannot save anyone from their enemies. However the rituals of the law set Israel apart from the other nations and races, and were a sign that Israel was keeping the commandments of Yahweh. By keeping Yahweh's law, Israel pleases Yahweh their God, and He will save them from their enemies.
3 Indeed, what do the writings say? “That Abraham trusted Yahweh, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
Here Paul quotes Genesis 15:6, and to understand what Paul means by quoting it, the original and complete passage must be examined. In that chapter of Genesis, an aging and childless Abraham has no heir, and therefore he attempts to appoint a replacement from among the servants of his household. However Yahweh rejects Abraham's replacement, along with the idea that Abraham's heir should come from anywhere other than his own loins.
From Genesis chapter 15: “1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
Ostensibly, Eliezar of Damascus was a Syrian, which is an Aramaean, a descendant of Aram the son of Shem and great-uncle of Eber, from whom came the Hebrews. Eliezar was therefore of the same race as Abraham. However right from the beginning, in Genesis chapter 12, Yahweh promised Abraham: “2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing”. Then Yahweh promised Abraham further, in Genesis chapter 13, “14 And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.”
Therefore, this idea which Abraham had developed in Genesis chapter 15, that because he was still childless that he could somehow replace his seed with that of another man, even a man from his own race, was rejected by God. When Yahweh informed Abraham that his replacement theology was a bad idea, and once again told him that “he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir” and to “look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them … so shall thy seed be”, then Abraham believed God, and God “counted it to him for righteousness”. Yahweh would not allow replacement theology then, and He will not allow it today, since Yahweh God does not change.
The prophet Malachi was a second temple prophet, writing at least 200 years after the Assyrian deportations of Israel and most of Judah. From Malachi chapter 3: “6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. 7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.” The message of the Gospel is the path by which Israel returns to Yahweh their God. However the seed of Israel are not to be replaced: that is folly, and it is the device of men of little understanding. We should believe the Word of God first, and maybe then we too may share in the righteousness which Abraham had, if indeed we are of his seed.
4 Now to he who performs rituals, his [literally the] reward is not considered in accordance with favor, but in accordance with debt;
The verb ἐργάζομαι (Strong's # 2038) is usually to work, perform, or accomplish, among other definitions. Here it is interpreted from the context as to perform rituals, so that the translation is consistent with Paul's use of the phrase “works of the law” to describe those rituals.
When the children of Israel were under the Levitical law, they were obligated to make certain tithes and other sacrificial offerings at diverse times of the year, and then they were obligated to make additional sacrifices in order to signify atonement for their sins. In reality, this was a system of fines as punishments for transgression, however there is indeed a deeper spiritual significance to the blood offerings because the blood of the animal was offered in place of the life of the transgressor, and that was acceptable to God. From Leviticus chapter 5: “5 And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing: 6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.”
However, as Paul says in Hebrews chapter 9, “almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission”, almost all things, but not quite everything, could be propitiated with a blood sacrifice on behalf of the sinner. Under the law, there were some sins for which there was no atonement, and the life of the sinner himself was required. One of these sins was adultery. There is no possible recompense for adultery, and therefore adulterers were to be put to death. From Leviticus chapter 20: “10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”
The nation of Israel was the bride, the wife, of Yahweh their God. From Jeremiah 3:14: “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you”. From Hosea 2:2: “Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts”. The prophecy of Hosea is an account of Yahweh putting Israel away in divorce, while providing a promise that Israel would indeed be betrothed to Yahweh once again. How this could be is a mystery which Paul explains in Romans chapter 7, because the Law of God precludes a husband from taking back a wife who was married to others (Deuteronomy chapter 24). When the children of Israel engaged in paganism, they married themselves to strange gods. Therefore they were under penalty of adultery: they were all liable to death under the laws of God which they themselves had agreed to abide by.
Yahweh laments Israel in Jeremiah chapter 9: “1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! 2 Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.” The charge had already been pronounced in Hosea chapter 7: “2 And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face. 3 They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies. 4 They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened.” Because all of the children of Israel were adulterers in the eyes of God, in the eyes of God they were dead because the penalty for adultery is death.
This is expounded upon in Hosea chapter 13: “1 When Ephraim spake trembling [or when he was humble, true humility is obedience to God], he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. 2 And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves. 3 Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.”
Ephraim, meaning the northern kingdom, was dead in sin. However in that same chapter of Hosea, there is a message of hope, because Yahweh had promised to save His people: “4 Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.” Therefore we see the people would be saved in spite of their adultery. Hosea continues: “5 I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. 6 According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me. 7 Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: 8 I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them. 9 O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. 10 I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? 11 I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.” This is a reference to the demands which the people had made for an earthly king, as it is recorded in 1 Samuel chapter 8. This was the beginning of the apostasy of Israel as a nation. Hosea continues: “12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. 13 The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. 14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” So in spite of Israel's sin, in spite of the fact that they were dead so far as Yahweh was concerned, they would be redeemed by Yahweh.
Therefore, in the very prophecy that introduces the New Covenant, in Jeremiah chapter 31, we read that “1 At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. 2 Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest. 3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. 4 Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.” There is no ritual which can repay Yahweh God for the sins which Israel had committed. The children of Israel would therefore be saved not on account of themselves, through rituals, but in spite of themselves, through the grace of God. How Yahweh chose to do this without violating His Own law is explained by Paul in Romans chapter 7.
5 but to he not performing, but who rather is trusting on He who must judge the impious, his faith is accounted for righteousness.
The phrase “He who must judge” may have been rendered “He who is justifying”. While the Greek verb κρίνω more commonly describes the act of judging, the verb δικαιόω is primarily “to set right”, but in this context it is “to do a man right or justice, to judge, i.e., 1. to condemn … to chastise, punish … 2. to deem righteous, justify” (Liddell & Scott).
As Paul said in Romans chapter 1, quoting Habakkuk, “the just shall live by faith”. Therefore the children of Israel would find their justification in the same manner that Abraham was justified.
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 text of verses 7 and 8 are practically verbatim from the Septuagint Greek of Psalm 32, here from Brenton's English: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”
This is a Christian paradox, that we sin, but that we will not sin, and that we will not sin, however all men indeed sin. This is the very crux of the paradox which Paul addresses in these chapters of Romans, since those who clung to the rituals of the law scoffed at the idea of grace and forgiveness of sin in the mercy of God upon Israel apart from the rituals. This is also why Paul asked the rhetorical question in Romans 3:8 where he says “And shall we not bring about evil things in order that good things may come?”, where the answer, of course, is negative, and again in Romans 3:31 where he said “Do we then nullify the law by faith? Certainly not! Rather we establish the law.”
Men cannot help but sin. This is that war between the nature of the Spirit and the nature of the flesh which Paul discusses several times in his epistles, and later in this epistle to the Romans, because such a struggle occurs in every Adamic man who seeks to do good. In Romans chapter 7, in a part of one such discussion, Paul says “12 So indeed the law is sacred, and the commandment sacred, and just, and good. 13 Then that which is good, to me has it become death? Certainly not! But sin, that it may bring sin to light, through the good in me accomplishes death; so that the sin becomes excessively wicked by the commandment. 14 Indeed we know that the law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, being ruined by sin. 15 For that which I perpetrate, I do not recognize; I do not practice that which I wish, rather I do that which I hate. 16 But if I do that which I do not wish, I concede to the law that it is virtuous.” [I have used the word sin here for illustrative purposes. Elsewhere I am usually biased against the word, because of its abuse which I had perceived in my own Catholic upbringing.]
This paradox is resolved, and an understanding that all Israel shall indeed be saved as the Word of God promises is fully ascertained, in an understanding of Psalm 32:2 and the first epistle of John. First, in Psalm 32:2, in the part of verse 2 which Paul stopped short of quoting here, there is our first clue: “Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” This may bring to mind the occasion where Yahshua Christ is said to have first laid eyes on Nathanael, as it is recorded in John chapter 1: “47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”
In 1 John chapter 3, the apostle assures us that “9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Now, the same apostle told us earlier in that same epistle that “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1), so he is not merely telling us in 1 John 3 that we do not sin, or he would be found to contradict himself. Rather, this must be his way of explaining that if one's “seed remaineth in him”, that sin will not be imputed to him, as David had said in Psalm 32. Sin will not be imputed to him, because he is born of God, being of the race of Adam, and not of the world, as he explains in chapter 4 of that same epistle. Sin will not be imputed to him because in spite of his condition in the world, there is no guile in his spirit. Since Adam was born of God, the bastards and other so-called races who are not of Adam must be those who are born of the world. The truth of the assertion that the entire Adamic race has such an ultimate salvation in Christ is revealed by Paul himself, since it is a topic of Romans chapter 5.
9 Is this blessing then on the circumcised [D interpolates only], or also on the uncircumcised? Indeed we say that faith was accounted to Abraham [The Christogenea New Testament has him here rather than Abraham, which is an error to be corrected] for righteousness. 10 How then was it accounted? Being in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
Abraham's righteousness was accounted to him before he was circumcised, and therefore righteousness is accounted apart from any ritual of law. Paul said in Hebrews chapter 7: “19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” Of course, Christ being appointed from the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20), this better hope had always existed, and is first expressed in Genesis 3:22.
11 And he received a sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith he had in uncircumcision, in regard to his being the father of all those who are believing, in a state of uncircumcision, for them also to be accounted that righteousness; 12 and father of circumcision to those not from circumcision only, but to those who walk in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had in uncircumcision.
The promises to Abraham and his seed were repeated several times before any mention of circumcision was made (Genesis chapters 12 through 16). The circumcision later given to Abraham (Genesis chapter 17) was for a sign of the faith in the promises. Circumcision was not the faith itself. Circumcision was later a part of the Levitical law, but the Levitical law was not the faith itself. Yahweh God foresaw that Israel would depart from the law, and therefore, as Peter explained, the need for a Messiah was foreknown at the “foundation of the world”.
From Genesis chapter 17: “10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.” As Paul said, the circumcision was a sign of the covenant – but the promises had come first, apart from any ritual.
The scope of the statement “all those who are believing” is limited to those whom Abraham is a father of, since the faith which Abraham had in the first place was that his seed would become a great multitude, and many nations, and that those nations would inherit the earth. Among Abraham's seed were Judaeans who kept the law and the circumcision, and the dispersed of Israel who did not. This has been the context of Paul's epistle since the first chapter, and it does not change.
Christ told the Judaeans who opposed Him that “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Elsewhere, even though they claimed to be seed of Abraham (John 8:33), He told them that “If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham” (John 8:37). Abraham believed God, but those in Judaea rejected Christ because they were not true children of Abraham. Paul explains the reasons for this in Romans chapter 9, that not all of those in Israel are of Israel, and that many of them were indeed Edomites. Paul's explanation agrees with the words of Christ concerning His enemies in John chapter 8 and in Luke chapter 11 and elsewhere. Christ told those enemies in that same place in John that God was not their father. Once again, we see that the Gospel message was to divide the Wheat from the Tares.
From Luke chapter 19: “9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” By “that which was lost”, Christ was making a reference to the true genetic children of Israel, as opposed to those who were claiming to be Israel by a display of the law and circumcision. While there was a remnant of true Israel among the Judaeans, most of Israel was “lost” both before and during the Assyrian and Babylonian deportations of Israel and Judah, many centuries before the time of Christ. The Romans were a branch of those who were “lost”.
From Jeremiah chapter 50: “4 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God. 5 They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten. 6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting-place.”
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.
The universalists love to twist this passage as well, but they refuse to acknowledge as Paul does here that the promise is “to Abraham or to his offspring” first, and then among the offspring of Abraham the promise is to those of the faith of Abraham, not to those who would cling to the law, or who claim that the keeping of the law alone makes one righteous. This is because, as Paul said in Hebrews chapter 7, “19 ... the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”
14 For if they from of the law are heirs, the faith has been voided, and the promise annulled.
Likewise, Paul wrote to the Galatians (4:17-18) that “17 Now this I say, a covenant validated beforehand by Yahweh, the law which arrived after four hundred and thirty years does not invalidate, by which the promise is left idle. 18 For if from law, the inheritance is no longer from promise, but to Abraham through a promise Yahweh has given it freely.”
The relationship of Yahweh to the children of Israel as a nation and the giving of the law to Israel did not supplant the promise to Abraham, but rather those things augmented the promise. In Christ, the promise to Abraham will be fulfilled with certainty, because if Israel sought righteousness through the law, then since all men sin all Israel would fail. Therefore Paul also told the Galatians (3:24) “So the law has been our tutor for Christ, in order that from faith we would be deemed righteous.”
15 For the law results in wrath, so where there is no law, neither is there transgression.
Paul explains in Romans chapter 5 that “until the law sin was in the Society; but sin was not accounted, there not being law”. As we had asserted earlier in these presentations, the moral laws of God transcend the Levitical law or the laws of Moses. Man was created by God to do good, and not to do evil. From Ephesians chapter 2: “10 for His work we are, having been established among the number of Christ Yahshua for good works, which Yahweh before prepared in order that we would walk in them.”
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 [literally established] you,”) before Yahweh whom he trusted, who raises the dead to life, and calls things not existing as existing;
From Genesis chapter 17: “5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”
Paul's citation of Genesis 17:5 in verse 17 defines what he meant by Abraham's offspring in verse 16. Where Paul says that “the promise is to be certain to all the offspring”, or seed, by quoting Genesis 17:5 Paul clarifies for us that Abraham's offspring are those nations which came from Abraham's loins.
The denominational sects imagine that in Christ, many nations somehow became Abraham's seed, which is exactly contrary to the promises of God, and which is also exactly contrary to the teachings of the apostles. Paul illustrates the fact that Abraham “trusted Yahweh, who raises the dead to life”. Two thousand years before Christ arose from the dead, Yahweh performed that same miracle on behalf of the womb of Sarah, which Paul is about to explain in verse 19 of this chapter.
Where Paul then tells us that Yahweh “calls things not existing as existing”, we can ascertain that the nations which were of Abraham's seed did not exist when the promise was made to Abraham, but that they indeed must have come into existence later. Therefore we must look at the Scripture and at the historical record and determine which nations they were, because none of them existed in Abraham's time, and because the children of Israel certainly can be traced from their initial departures from Palestine and up until modern times. None of them were Jews, and Christ told the Jews that they were not His sheep in the first place. Yet those Israelites in Judaea who did hear His voice lost their identity as Judaeans when they turned to Christ, so they were never thereafter known as Jews.
This is the primary endeavor of what we commonly refer to as Christian Identity. We endeavor to use the archaeological data and the historical records which we have, correlate them with Scripture, and deduce the identity of those nations which came from Abraham's seed. Those are the nations in which Abraham believed, and those are the nations which are the proper and exclusive heirs of the Gospel of Christ since if one is not of one of those nations, one is simply not a part of what Abraham believed. Paul himself was the first teacher of this doctrine, and we profess to follow him.
When the promise to Abraham was made, there were no Trojans, and therefore neither were there any Romans or Illyrians. The Trojans were part of those who departed from Egypt apart from Moses, and the Romans and Illyrians descended in turn from them. We shall discuss this further when we present Romans chapter 11. Therefore we should not be surprised that Paul preached to both the Illyrians and the Romans.
When the promise to Abraham was made, there were no Danaan Greeks, Makedonian Greeks, or Dorian Greeks. According to the records of the Greeks themselves, the Danaan Greeks came from Egypt also, and settled in the Peloponnesus. Several centuries thereafter, the Dorian Greeks came by sea and conquered for themselves those parts which the Danaans had held. The Makedonian Greeks later also descended from these. Therefore we should not be surprised to see that Paul preached the Gospel to these Greeks, and Paul even told the Dorian Greeks of Corinth that their ancestors had been in the Exodus with Moses (1 Corinthians 10). However when Paul encountered the Lycaonians in Acts chapter 14, or the Ionian Greeks in Acts chapter 17, he did not speak to them as Israelites, because they were not descended from the Israelites. Rather, the Lycaonians and Ionians descended from others of the Adamic Genesis 10 tribes, and Paul spoke to them them accordingly.
When the promise to Abraham was made, there were no Sakae (as the Persians called them), which are the tribes properly called Scythians (since modern archaeologists abuse the term Scythian), there were no Galatae, and there were no Kimmerians (who are only Sakae known by their Assyrian name). From these came the Germanic tribes of Asia and Europe, as well as related tribes who remained in the Near East, such as the Parthians. Yet it should be no surprise that Paul preached to the Galatians, and mentioned the Scythians in his epistle to the Colossians. All of these were the descendants of those Israelites taken captive by the Assyrians 800 years before Christ.
Paul never made it west of Italy in his journeys, however when the promise to Abraham was made, there were no Spaniards outside of the people of Tarshish, who were Japhethites (like the Ionians), and we see from the time of Solomon that the children of Israel were regularly traveling to Tarshish. These so-called Phoenicians were the progenitors of the British, the Irish and the Iberians (from the Israelite word for Heber or Eber), and the Greek classical writers avow that the tin trade to those same islands belonged to them. Israelite Phoenicians settled those islands and in many other places in the Mediterranean beginning nearly fourteen hundred years before Christ. For example, the word Sardinia is derived from Shardana, which is the name of a group of the ancient Sea Peoples. It can be shown that in Hebrew, the term Shardana refers to a remnant of Dan.
There were other people in Europe for many centuries before the migrations of the tribes of Israel. There are over two thousand years of the Japhethite presence in Europe before the Greeks began their own written records circa 700 BC. However the Christian nations of Europe are indeed the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham, and it is not a coincidence that all of those nations adopted Christianity once it finally reached them, a period which itself took over a thousand years in some instances. Paul continues his description of the faith of Abraham:
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:”
Here once again Paul quotes the promise to Abraham, this time from Genesis chapter 15 where it says: “4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
19 and he not being weak in the faith, nor having considered his own body by this time being dead, being about a hundred years old, and the deadness of the womb of Sarah, 20 but at the promise of Yahweh he did not doubt in disbelief, rather he was strengthened in faith, giving honor to Yahweh, 21 and having full satisfaction that what He has promised, He is also capable of doing [or able to do]; 22 for that reason also “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
The word for nor in verse 19 is omitted by the NA27 here, since it is wanting in the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Ephraemi Syri (C). I have (rather uncharacteristically) followed the Codex Claromontanus D and the Majority Text, both of which have the word, since it clarifies the sense of Paul’s meaning. Without it the phrase may be rendered: “And not being weak in the faith to have considered...”, and the meaning is the same.
In verse 18 of this chapter Paul quoted Genesis 15:5 where Abraham was told that many nations would come from his own bowels, and that contrary to expectation, because he and his wife were so far advanced in their years, he was assured that “thus your offspring will be”. Then here in verse 22 Paul quotes Genesis 15:6, where Abraham believed the promise of God that his offspring, from out of his bowels, would become many nations and therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness”.
So-called replacement theology, or dispensationalism, or any belief that anyone other than Abraham's physical, genetic children could possibly be the heirs of the covenants of God are therefore blasphemy, because they are a direct contradiction to the Word of God. If we seek the righteousness of faith which Abraham was accounted, we too had better believe that his seed became many nations, and that those nations are the exclusive heirs of the covenants. Otherwise we are contradicting the faith of Abraham! We also see here that the faith of Abraham is in substance, for Abraham believed the material value of the promise. The faith of Abraham is therefore not in degree only, as the denominational sects teach, and the degree is meaningless apart from the substance.
Furthermore, if you are not of those nations which descended from Abraham, then you cannot be an heir to these promises, because you are not a result of the promises and because Abraham did not believe in you. If you are not part of what Abraham believed, you cannot inherit anything along with Abraham, and you have no part with Christ. These promises were destined for Israel, but they were not destined for you unless you are a product of what Abraham believed!
23 Moreover it was not written regarding him only, that it was accounted to him, 24 but also regarding us, to whom it is destined to be accounted, to those who believe in He who raised Yahshua our Prince from death, 25 who was handed over for reason of our transgressions, and was raised for reason of our acquittal [or justification].
Paul said “us, to whom it was destined to be accounted”. That means both Paul and the Romans were destined to be heirs of the promises which God made to Abraham. That cannot be, unless the Romans were of the children of Israel as well as the Judaeans, however that is exactly what Paul has been saying ever since Romans chapter 1. The only people destined to be recipients of the promises of God to Abraham are the children of Israel, and only Israel was destined for the justification whereby Abraham was also justified.
Regarding “those who believe”, meaning those who believe in God and the Resurrection of Christ, once again it was the gospel which was to separate the wheat from the tares. The Jews pretended to believe God, but they rejected Him when they rejected Christ.Regarding “those who believe”, meaning those who believe in God and the Resurrection of Christ, once again it was the gospel which was to separate the wheat from the tares. The Jews pretended to believe God, but they rejected Him when they rejected Christ.
From Isaiah chapter 43: “25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. 26 Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.”
From Isaiah chapter 45: “17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. 18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. 19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. 20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. 21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. 23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. 24 Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. 25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
Yet the justification of Israel, and the fact that all Israel shall indeed be saved, does not preclude the first promise of eternal life which was made to the entire Adamic race, which is found in Genesis 3:22. That shall be the focal point of our next presentation in this series, when we discuss Romans chapter 5.