Saturday, 26 October 2013
For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins. Romans 11:27
As with the preceding verse, this one needs to be taken in context. It is tied directly to the thought of verse 26 and should be read as a whole –
“And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.'”
More than just a quote tied to another quote from a different passage of Scripture as Paul often does, the citing of verse 27 follows directly after the previous quote from Isaiah 59 which was used in verse 26. Here is the entire original citation from that chapter –
“‘The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,’ Says the Lord. ‘As for Me,’ says the Lord, ‘this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.'” Isaiah 59:20, 21
Paul is stating that what was spoken to Isaiah was future to Isaiah’s time. But even more, it was future to Paul’s time as well. As Paul is the apostle to the gentiles and because his epistles are doctrine for the church age, then “when I take away their sins” must be yet future to us even now. National Israel will be delivered, according to God’s “covenant with them.”
If one reads commentaries from great scholars of the 17th – 19th centuries, it is evident that they, long before Israel was re-established as a national entity, felt that this was speaking of a future time of Jewish acceptance of Christ. Albert Barnes felt that “God will doubtless convert the Jews, as he does the Gentiles, by human means, and in connection with the prayers of his people…” He couldn’t foresee this as an actual return to the land, nor an actual return of Jesus to them, but he understood that the Jews would be converted in a massive way in the future.
Adam Clarke said that, “It may not be amiss to subjoin here a collection of those texts in the Old Testament that seem to point out a restoration of the Jewish commonwealth to a higher degree of excellence than it has yet attained.” After stating this, he cites 32 Old Testament passages which he says specifically applied to national Israel and which will be enjoyed by them in the future. He understood, because the Bible teaches, that these promises were never intended for the church.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown states the following concerning this: “Those who believe that there are no predictions regarding the literal Israel in the Old Testament, that stretch beyond the end of the Jewish economy, are obliged to view these quotations by the apostle as mere adaptations of Old Testament language to express his own predictions [Alexander on Isaiah, &c.]. But how forced this is, we shall presently see.” These scholars clearly understood that replacement theology is “forced” and unnatural. It is a contrivance of man and not of God.
The list of such scholars continues on with the common element among them that they believed in a literal interpretation of these passages. The main principle concerning such interpretation is, “If a passage can be taken literally then it should be taken literally, unless there is a compelling reason for it not to be so taken.” Unfortunately, though this is a principle element of biblical interpretation, and even though there is no “compelling reason” for dismissing a literal interpretation of Romans 11:26 & 27, far too many people simply dismiss the passage as “spiritual.”
And this, inexcusably, continues on even after the miraculous return of Israel the people to Israel the land. Their current state of disobedience is irrelevant. The covenant was from God and therefore it is inviolable. He is working in the world, preparing them in advance, for the fulfillment of these sure promises.
Life application: Romans 11 is to be literally interpreted. Accept and believe.
Alone in a sea of trouble and turmoil – Israel is becoming more and more isolated as each new day dawns. I fear that even the president of her strongest ally can be counted among those who are working against her for evil. But through Jesus I am Your child, O God. As Your child I pray for Israel, I support Israel, and I petition You on behalf of Israel. Thank You for hearing my prayer for them. Amen.