Eschatology in Romans Related to Israel and the Church, Part 6

December 16, 2016 at 6:26 AM

In this final installment in this series, we want to cover the remaining two sections in Romans that we believe deal directly or indirectly with Israel and God’s plans to fulfill His promises originally given to Abraham back in Genesis 12:1-3. We previously noted that in Romans and specifically in Romans 9 – 11, Paul takes pains to keep the entity called Israel (the nation) separate from individual Jews. Paul also clearly points out that salvation has always been received through faith, never works. Though God instituted the sacrificial system for several reasons, it was never designed to provide salvation or gain righteousness through the implementation of it.

Observing the many rituals outlined in the Mosaic Law was supposed to highlight how impossible it is to be and remain free of sin. It was also to point to Another, who would come much later and fulfill all aspects of that Law. The Law was given so that people would know just how far short we all fall from God’s righteousness as clearly evidenced in the life of God the Son, who was born into humanity and lived a sinless life, fully dependent upon the Father as a model for us to follow. Christ’s entire life was capped with righteousness as He fulfilled all aspects of the Law. Because of this, He became worthy to offer Himself as an atonement for humanity. All who place their faith in His atoning work are gifted God the Son’s righteousness. The Mosaic Law was never able or designed to accomplish this. It pointed out the problem and then pointed to Another who came to solve that problem.

Do you ever notice how some folks get really upset or even angry when the subject of hell comes up? No one likes to think of themselves as “bad” enough to be sent to hell and surely, no one likes to think of their close friends and relatives going there, much less themselves. The trouble is that throughout the book of Romans, Paul explains carefully and clearly that every human being born into this life is cursed. We all fall under condemnation because we are born with a sin nature. The very presence of that sin nature puts us on the outs with God even if we never gave into it for the entirety of our lives, which is impossible.

Jesus never gave into the sin nature because He was miraculously born without one. All of the temptations directed at Him were from without, just as it occurred in the Garden of Eden. Once our first parents fell through disobedience, the sin nature developed and was passed along to every other human being…except Jesus who was not born with one since the Father overshadowed Mary and Jesus’ earthly father Joseph was essentially out of the picture.

Paul’s argument throughout Romans is that not only is each and every person born into this world already condemned, but there is virtually no way we can save ourselves. Jesus paid the price, literally and Paul echoes this truth in his second letter to the Corinthian believers.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21; NKJV).

Jesus was not guilty of sin, yet volunteered to die in our place and to be treated as though He was a sinner. Everyone who places their faith in His atoning work receives His righteousness. From that moment on, we are seen not as enemies of God, but part of His adopted family. Salvation comes to each person always through faith, never works. In spite of this, there are members of cults and even well-meaning Christians who believe that works plays some part in our salvation. Yes, we are to do good works in His strength after we become Christians, but these works are not designed to save us, but to help us grow in our faith and walk and they also earn rewards. A failure to fulfill good works does not mean loss of salvation as some believe (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:12).

Paul also makes a distinction between salvation and the fulfillment of God’s plans, purposes, and promises for the nation of Israel. Paul assures us that salvation is gained in the exact same way for everyone – both Jew and Gentile – and that is through faith. There should be no debate about that. At the same time, God’s plan for individual Christians (whether Jew or Gentile) is rarely the same once salvation is gained. God’s purposes – though generally the same for everyone – are often worked out in different ways. Some Christians are called to become missionaries. Others are called to be pastors. Many are called to be a witness in the world of secular employment. God’s salvation for everyone is gained in the exact same way, though His will for each person following that salvation may appear to be different. Paul concludes that this is also true where national Israel is concerned and takes great pains to make this point very clear. In spite of this, many are unable to see his point and misunderstand what he is teaching. God’s original promises to Abraham concerning national Israel still await fulfillment and numerous aspects of the various covenants God entered into with Abraham, David, and others will not be fully realized until the coming Millennial Kingdom.

The Romans 13:11 verse is really a nod to the imminent return of Christ and/or our going to be with Him. Most conservative Bible scholars agree that this verse is essentially a nod to the PreTrib Rapture. No other version of the rapture would make any sense here because of Paul’s reference to Christ’s return as being imminent.

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed (ESV).

Some disagree that Paul is referencing what we call the PreTrib Rapture, but ask yourself this simple question. In light of Paul’s proclamation that we are to live properly in view of the reality that each passing moment and day brings us that much closer to being with our Lord, do you know when you will die? I’m guessing you don’t. None of us know when our deaths will naturally occur and how much longer we will live before our deaths do take place. Today could very well be my last day here on this earth. I have no clue. Because of that, I should live each moment, each day bringing as much glory to God as is possible, done in His strength by relying on Him. So if you have a problem viewing this text as pointing to the PreTrib Rapture, you should not have a problem understanding Paul to say that we do not know when our deaths will occur and because of that, we should live accordingly. Is that how you are living your life?

The passage in Romans 16:25 – 27 don’t necessarily refer directly to a specific eschatological event. “[The verses] do, however, indicate that the present time is basically a Gentile time.” [1]

25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen. (ESV)

Note also that Paul tells us that the truth about the Church itself was kept a mystery in the Old Testament. Some students of the Bible completely ignore this fact, preferring to believe instead that the Church is implied in the Old Testament, normally because of certain words like “sanctuary” and “saints” that are used in the OT.

What these folks fail to understand is that God’s revelation to humanity has clearly been progressively revealed. We need to remember the more God reveals to humanity, the more He also reveals to Satan. The more Satan knows, the better he can work against God’s plans, not that Satan has any chance of winning, but he can certainly make things very difficult for humanity. There were a number of things that God played very close to His chest. Since the church was never directly or indirectly implied in the Old Testament (only that the original promises to Abraham included the fact that Abraham would be a blessing to all nations), it should become clear that God has chosen to reveal His plans progressively, with each age marked by a distinct dispensation. Salvation has never changed, but the information God chose to reveal over time has increased with more clarity in each age.

Let me remind readers that when each article is presented here, we are stating our opinion about what we believe the Bible to be teaching. You, the reader, are responsible to take what is presented and compare it to Scripture. We’ve said this many times before. If Paul had no qualms about the Bereans comparing his teaching to Scripture (Acts 17), how can we? It is imperative that each reader understands that we are not an apostle or prophet and have no more authority than anyone else within Christ’s Church (His spiritual Body, made up of only authentic believers). As someone who teaches, we understand that we have a greater responsibility and we take that seriously. But each reader has a responsibility as well and that is to verify the accuracy of what we teach.

Thanks for joining us on this journey through parts of Romans. We have two new series upcoming as well. One is about the aforementioned Millennial Kingdom. What will it be like? What will people do? What role will the nation of Israel play in that coming kingdom? The other series is one where we will provide an overview of Dispensationalism. Don’t let that word scare you because it’s gotten a good deal of bad press over the past few decades. Is it truthful or not? We’ll find out so look for these series soon.

 

[1] Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (1996 Kregel), Thomas R. Edgar, p. 383

Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, Emotional virtue, eternity, israel, Judaism, Life in America, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Posttribulational Rapture, Pretribulational Rapture, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Eschatology in Romans Related to Israel and the Church, Part 5 The Politics of Politicians


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