The Friends of the Nazarene On-line Magazine

Volume 3 -- September 1999 (40 pages)

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: Nazarene Saints Publishing© is a Bible research group for a better Scriptural understanding. We are dedicated to the preservation and publishing of Christian writings which aid Friends of the Nazarene© to "follow the Lamb no matter where the Lamb goes." (John 15:14; Revelation 14:4) The Friends of the Nazarene© are a spiritual community of Messianic Christians.  We are apologists dedicated to the defense of the truth that "God is One" and not three. The Bible is our creed. We view this "God-breathed" book as inspired alone, while the thoughts of men about it are not. We wish to respect the views of our multitude of Christian brethren. (1 Peter 3:15).

[Mark Miller / Senior Editor (USA West coast); Ralph Slaney / Senior Spanish editor (Europe); Alberto Padilla / Associate Spanish Editor (USA Northeast); Andy Weeks / Associate Editor [Webmaster] (USA Midwest); Andrew Foss / Hebrew editor (Northwest USA)]

IN THIS ISSUE ---

A CLOSER LOOK AT DANIEL

FAITH PERSPECTIVES

            Words of Encouragement

            A True Friend

ANNOUNCEMENTS

            Romans

            FBS Western Conference

GOD AND JUDGMENT

A WARNING TO THE JUDGMENTAL

DID THE PATRIARCHES KNOW AND USE THE DIVINE NAME?

THE MEANING OF ROMANS CHAPTER 11


TAKING A CLOSER LOOK AT DANIEL 8-12

Chapter 8 OF Daniel clearly begins with Greece and Persia. Then a "small horn" rises out of Greece. In Paul's day the word "Greek" meant anyone not a Jew. It was similar to "Gentile" in that Rome inherited much of its culture from Greece. Thus, Paul's "Jew and Greek" meant the known world.

Consider what Daniel 8:9-19 says in part. Where the prophet's words seem to be those referenced by Jesus the letters are in red.

9 And out of one of them there came forth another horn, a small one, [ROME] and it kept getting very much greater toward the south [EGYPT] and toward the sunrising [ASIA] and toward the Decoration [JERUSALEM]. 10 And it kept getting greater all the way to the army of the heavens [ISRAEL'S ARMY], so that it caused some of the [JEWISH] army and some of the stars [LEADERS] to fall to the earth [AS IN MASADA], and it went trampling [LUKE 21:24] them down. 11 And all the way to the Prince of the army it put on great airs, and from him the constant [feature] was taken away, and the established place of his sanctuary was thrown down [Matthew 24:1, 2 = 70 CE]. 12 And an [JEWISH] army itself was gradually given over, together with the constant [feature], because of transgression [see Daniel 8:13 and 9:24]; and it kept throwing truth to the earth, and it acted and had success. [the end of the 6 year war in  spring of 73 CE] [NWT]

The apocalyptic angel now provides more detail to Daniel regarding the end of Jerusalem's Temple Age:

13 And I got to hear a certain holy one speaking, and another holy one proceeded to say to the particular one who was speaking: "How long will the vision be of the constant [feature] and of the transgression causing desolation, [ Daniel 9:26, 27 = JERUSALEM AND THE TEMPLE; DANIEL 11:31 = JERUSALEM; Daniel 12:11 = JERUSALEM + END-TIME SAINTS; Matthew 24:15 = Luke 21:22-24] to make both [the] holy place [JEWISH TEMPLE] and [the] [JEWISH] army things to trample on?" [Matthew 24:1-3; Luke 21:5-7, 20-24] 14 So he said to me: "Until two thousand three hundred evenings [and] mornings [Fall of 66 to the Spring of 73 CE]; and [the] holy place [TEMPLE] will certainly be brought into its right condition." [THE CONDITION IT DESERVES FROM GOD'S STANDPOINT = LUKE 21:5-7, 20-24]. [Daniel 8:13, 14 NWT}

Evidently not clearly understanding the 2,300 day period, one angel tells another to make the prophet understand:

15 Then it came about that, while I myself, Daniel, was seeing the vision and seeking an understanding, why, look! there was standing in front of me someone in appearance like an able-bodied man. 16 And I began to hear the voice of an earthling man in the midst of the U'lai, and he proceeded to call out and say: "Ga'bri·el, make [DANIEL] there understand the thing seen." 17 So he came beside where I was standing, but when he came I got terrified so that I fell upon my face. And he proceeded to say to me: "Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of [the] end [OF THE JEWISH TEMPLE AGE = Daniel 9:26, 27; Matthew 24:1-3, 6, 14; Hebrews 9:26]." 18 And while he was speaking with me, I had become fast asleep on my face on the earth. So he touched me and made me stand up where I had been standing. 19 And he went on to say: "Here I am causing you to know what will occur in the final part of the denunciation [AGAINST ISRAEL], because it is for the appointed time of [the] end." [66-73 CE] [Daniel 8:15-19 NWT]

Danel 9:24-27 gives even more details of those "last days" [Acts 2:17; Hebrews 1:1; 1 Corinthians 10:11] upon Jerusalem and its Temple Age:

24 There are seventy weeks [490 YEARS] that have been determined upon your people [THE JEWS] and upon your holy city [JERUSALEM], in order to terminate the transgression, and to finish off sin, and to make atonement for error, and to bring in righteousness for times indefinite, and to imprint a seal upon vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies. 25 And you should know and have the insight [that] from the going forth of [the] word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem [455 BC] until Mes·si'ah [the] Leader, there will be seven weeks, also sixty-two weeks. [JERUSALEM] will return and be actually rebuilt, with a public square and moat, but in the straits of the times. 26 And after the sixty-two weeks Mes·si'ah will be cut off, with nothing for himself. [33 CE] And the city [OF JERUSALEM] and the holy place [HEROD'S TEMPLE] the [ROMAN] people of a leader that is coming will bring to their ruin [Luke 19:43, 44; 21:20-24; 23:28-31; Matthew 22:7]. And the end [SYNTELEIAS] of it will be by the flood [Greek = CATACLYSM]. And until [the] end [SYNTELEIA]  there will be [THE JEWISH] war; what is decided upon is desolations. [SEE THE OTHER OCCURENCES OF THIS WORD.] [NWT}

When Daniel 10:14 speaks of the "final part of the days" or "the time of the end" it refers to that period between 29-73 CE: "And I have come to cause you to discern what will befall your people [THE JEWS] in the final part of the days [OF THE JEWISH TEMPLE AGE], because it is a vision yet for the days [to come]." [Luke 21:22 = 29-73 CE] [NWT]

Daniel 11:15, 16, 22-35 describes the details during that six-plus year period [2,300 days] of the Jewish War with Rome between the fall of 66 and the spring of 73:

15 And the [ROMAN] king of the north will come and throw up a siege rampart and actually capture a [JEWISH] city with fortifications. [COMPARE Luke 19:43 AND Luke 21:20] And as for the arms of the south [EGYPT AND NORTH AFRICA --- WHERE DID THE "QUEEN OF THE SOUTH' COME FROM?], they will not stand, neither the people of his picked ones [LXX = CHOSEN ONES;THE ELECT = Matthew 24:12, 20, 21]; and there will be no power to keep standing. 16 And the one coming against him will do according to his will, and there will be no one standing before him. And he [THE ROMAN GENERAL] will stand in the land of the Decoration [JERUSALEM], and there will be extermination in his hand. ...  22 And as regards the arms of the flood [CATACLYSM = BACK TO Daniel 9:27], they will be flooded over on account of him, and they will be broken; as will also the Leader of [the] covenant. 23 And because of their allying themselves with him he will carry on deception and actually come up and become mighty by means of a little nation. 24 During freedom from care, even into the fatness of the jurisdictional district he will enter in and actually do what his fathers and the fathers of his fathers have not done. Plunder [JUDEA] and spoil and goods he will scatter among them; and against fortified places [MASADA] he will scheme out his schemes, but only until a time. 25 "And he will arouse his power and his heart against the [EGYPTIAN] king of the south with a great military force; and the [EGYPTIAN] king of the south, for his part, will excite himself for the war with an exceedingly great and mighty military force. And he will not stand, because they will scheme out against him schemes. 26 And the very ones eating his delicacies will bring his breakdown. "And as for his military force, it will be flooded away, and many will certainly fall down slain. 27 "And as regards these two kings, their heart will be inclined to doing what is bad, and at one table a lie is what they will keep speaking. But nothing will succeed, because [the] end is yet for the time appointed [Matthew 24:6]. [66-73 CE] 28 "And he will go back to his land with a great amount of goods, and his heart will be against the holy covenant. And he will act effectively and certainly go back to his land. [JUDEA] 29 At the time appointed [70 CE] he will go back, and he will actually come against the south [NORTH AFRICA]; but it will not prove to be at the last the same as at the first. 30 And there will certainly come against him the ships of Kit'tim, and he will have to become dejected. "And he will actually go back and hurl denunciations against the holy [JEWISH] covenant and act effectively; and he will have to go back and will give consideration to those leaving the holy [JEWISH] covenant. 31 And there will be arms that will stand up, proceeding from him; and they will actually profane the sanctuary [Matthew 24:1, 2; Luke 21:5-7 = JERUSALEM'S TEMPLE], the fortress [EITHER MASADA OR FORTRESS OF ATONIA], and remove the constant [feature]. [AT THE TEMPLE] And they will certainly put in place the disgusting thing that is causing desolation. [THE ROMANS IN JERUSALEM'S TEMPLE = Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:1, 2] 32 "And those who are acting wickedly against [the] covenant, he will lead into apostasy [JOSEPHUS IS ONE EXAMPLE] by means of smooth words. But as regards the [CHRISTIAN SAINTS] people who are knowing their God [John 4:22], they will prevail and act effectively. 33 And as regards those having insight among the [CHRISTIAN JEWS] people, they will impart understanding to the many [GENTILES]. And they will certainly be made to stumble by sword and by flame, by captivity [Matthew 24:10; Luke 21:24] and by plundering, for [some] days. [THREE AND A HALF YEARS]  34 But when they are made to stumble [Matthew 24:10] they will be helped with a little help [Luke 21:18, 19]; and many will certainly join themselves to them by means of smoothness. 35 And some of those having insight will be made to stumble [Matthew 24:10], in order to do a refining work because of them and to do a cleansing and to do a whitening [Malachi 3:1-3], until the time of [the] end; because it is yet for the time appointed. [66-73 CE] [NWT]

Daniel 11:39-44 traces the movements of the Roman "king of north" and the final destruction of Jerualem and her glorious Temple on the "mountain of decoration."

39 And [THE ROMAN GENERAL] will act effectively against the most fortified strongholds [MASADA], along with a foreign god. Whoever has given [him] recognition he will make abound with glory, and he will actually make them rule among many; and [the] ground he will apportion out for a price. 40 And in the time of [the] end [66-73 CE] the king [EGYPTIAN] of the south will engage with him in a pushing, and against him the [ROMAN] king of the north will storm with chariots and with horsemen and with many ships; and he will certainly enter into the lands and flood over and pass through. 41 He will also actually enter into the land of the Decoration [JERUSALEM 66 CE], and there will be many [lands] that will be made to stumble. But these are the ones that will escape out of his hand, E'dom and Mo'ab and the main part of the sons of Am'mon. 42 And he will keep thrusting out his hand against the lands [TO THE SOUTH]; and as regards the land of Egypt [KING OF THE SOUTH], she will not prove to be an escapee. 43 And he will actually rule over the hidden treasures of the gold and the silver and over all the desirable things of Egypt. And the Lib'y·ans and the E·thi·o'pi·ans [THE HOME OF THE QUEEN OF THE SOUTH] will be at his steps. 44 But there will be reports that will disturb him, out of the sunrising [JERUSALEM] and out of the north [ROME], and he will certainly go forth in a great rage in order to annihilate and to devote many to destruction [70-73 CE]. 45 And he will plant his palatial tents between [the] grand [MEDITERRANEAN] sea and the holy mountain of Decoration [JERUSALEM]; and he will have to come all the way to his end, and there will be no helper for him." [SEE THE FINAL END OF ROME AT Daniel 7:11] [NWT]

Jesus the Nazarene references several verses in Daniel 12:1-12. It is understood by some that portions of these apply in an intial part of that Jerusalem of the years 29-73 as well as to certain future prophetic moments contemporary with the Parousia or Arrival of Messiah.

1 And during that time [66-70 CE/ END-TIME] Mi'cha·el will APPEAR [JPS; Matthew 24:30], the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of your [JEWISH CHRISTIAN] people. And there will certainly occur a time of distress [66-70CE and END-TIME OPPRRESSION - Revelation 7:14; 13:5, 7] such as has not been made to occur since there came to be a nation until that time [Matthew 24:21; Mark 13:20]. And during that time your people [THE END-TIME SAINTS] will be rescued [1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; Revelation 11:12]  , every one who is found written down in the book [Luke 10:20; Revelation 3:5 = THE LAMB'S BOOK OF LIFE]. 2 And there will be many of those [CHRISTIAN SAINTS] asleep in the ground of dust who will wake up, these to indefinitely lasting life and those to reproaches [and] to indefinitely lasting abhorrence. [John 5:28, 29; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 16; 1 John 2:28] 3 And the ones having insight will shine like the brightness of the expanse; and those who are bringing the many to righteousness, like the stars to time indefinite, even forever. [THE RAISED SAINTS = Matthew 13:43] 4 And as for you, O Daniel, make secret the words and seal up the book, until the time of [the] end [29-70 CE]. Many [CHRISTIANS] will rove about, and the [true] knowledge will become abundant [AMONG INSPIRED CHRISTIANS = NEW TESTAMENT = REVELATION]." [NWT]

Daniel recognizes the horror of what is to befall, first his own Jewish people, and then again the Christian end-time Saints. He wants to know "how long" this period of time will be. He hears the same length of time he had heard in Daniel 7:21-25.

5 And I saw, I Daniel, and, look! there were two others standing, one on the bank here of the stream and the other on the bank there of the stream. 6 Then one said to the man clothed with the linen, who was up above the waters of the stream: "How long will it be to the end of these horrible things?" 7 And I began to hear the man clothed with the linen, who was up above the waters of the stream, as he proceeded to raise his right [hand] and his left [hand] to the heavens and to swear by the One who is alive for time indefinite: "It will be for an appointed time, appointed times and a half. [66-70 CE and the END-TIME GREAT OPPRESSION = Luke 21:24; Daniel 7:22; Revelation 11:2, 3; 12:17; 13:5-7] And as soon as there will have been a finishing of the dashing of the power of the holy people to pieces, all these things will come to their finish." [70-73CE & END-TIME GREAT OPPRESSION = Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2, 3, 7; Revelation 10:7] 8 Now as for me, I heard, but I could not understand; so that I said: "O my lord, what will be the final part of these things?" 9 And he went on to say: "Go, Daniel, because the words are made secret and sealed up until the time of [the] end [Revelation 22:10]. [29-70 CE] 10 Many [CHRISTIANS] will cleanse themselves and whiten themselves [Revelation 7:14; Revelation 22:14]  and will be refined. And the wicked ones will certainly act wickedly, and no wicked ones at all will understand [Revelation 22:11]; but the [CHRISTIAN] ones having insight will understand. 11 And from the time that the constant [feature] has been removed [66CE & the BEGINNING OF END-TIME GREAT OPPRESSION] and there has been a placing of the disgusting thing that is causing desolation [Matthew 24:15; 70 CE & END-TIME OPPRESSION], there will be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. [66-70+ JEWISH CAPTIVES SURVIVE & END-TIME SAINTS KILLED] 12 Happy is the [CHRISTIAN SAINT] one who is keeping in expectation [Luke 12:36; Matthew 24:2] and who arrives at the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days!" [NWT] [PERHAPS THE TIME OF THE RAPTURE]

The above has been presented as an outline of notes of one possible understanding of these portions of Daniel. For more details see the Nazarene Commentary regarding Daniel, the Gospel of Matthew [chapter 24], and the book of Revelation. [Nazarene Apocalypse]


FAITH PERSPECTIVES

Words of Encouragement

I would like to thank you, and all of the members of this list` that referred me to the Nazarene web site, it is very well put together and has given me a lot to think about.

***

Just wanted to say thank you for the new email list! We've learned so much already from it! May Yahweh bless you as you do His will. In Friendship, Chrys.

***

I have a two month old on-line debate with a Seventh day Adventist about the trinity. This person is a former JW, a public debater (in public, on radio, on TV) and a very good one. In fact many debaters from many denominations would not debate him. He also happen to be a good friend of mine. In 1993 we discovered that we both had serious doubts about the many doctrines of the Jehovah's Witnesses. His debates also got him into trouble with the elders in his congregation. One of the most important factor that made him switch to the trinity was the brochure 'Should You Believe The Trinity'. The dishonesty of the Watchtower about its use of references he said, influenced him to do a 180 degree turn. He converted to the SDA church and had been their number one debater in Manila. Two months ago I e-mailed him to United Arab Emirates where he works at present. I shared with him the good news as preached by the Friends of the Nazarene. He made a comment about the Statement of Purpose in the Friends of the Nazarene online magazine which says: "We are appologist dedicated to the defense of the truth that 'God is One and not three.'" He said that we MISREPRESENT THE TRINITY JUST LIKE THE JW. From that started our two month on-line discussion. It now seems to be winding down. He has yet to reply to my latest e-mail which I copied and attached herewith. We had a chat a couple of days ago. He was obviously taken aback by the agrguments I made and the Friends of the Nazarene materials that I pasted on my e-mail about the spirit of God as the mind of God. He confided to me that the trinity might not be true after all. He also expressed dissatisfaction with the SDA church and said that he is now searching for a Christ-centred church. The materials in the Friends of the Nazarene website are giving him a great deal to think about. Hopefully the discussion I made with him would bear fruit to God's glory. My warmest affection to all. [AM - England]

***

Thanks for sending me this document I had tried to get it down the library but it wasn't available at least in England it is going to take some time to read and hopefully understand I have managed to order Ray Franz book crisis of conscience which I am looking forward to reading very much. I live in Essex England in a town called Southend-on-sea I had spent my time in various congregations around here and served as a servant in Leigh I found a link to Mark Millers autobiography on a site witness alert UK run by a brother in Scotland called Anton which has been very helpful next weekend I'm picking my daughter up from an assembly in Norfolk[since she is still a JW] my little girl is only 3 nearly to know I may possibly be able to see her grow up as I may not now be destined to die has this week cheered me up no end I suspected Armageddon this October 1999.I wasn't aware of the wt november95[what a laugh]!! I shall make a point of talking to the "apostates" who are always outside the grounds with great interest. I have also now got to prepare to present my ex-wife with this information I suspect it wont be well received for now I shall just point out the error of the wt 11/95 and see how that is received. thank you again best Christian wishes. [SS]

***

A REAL FRIEND

A simple friend has never seen you cry.


A real friend has shoulders soggy from your tears.

A simple friend doesn't know your parents' first names.
A real friend has their phone numbers in his address book.

A simple friend brings a Cake to your party.
A real friend comes early to help you cook and clean.

A simple friend hates it when you call after he has gone to bed.
A real friend asks you why you took so long to call.

A simple friend seeks to talk with you about their problems.
A real friend seeks to help you with your problems.

A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest.
A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps himself.

A simple friend thinks the friendship is over
when you have an argument.

A real friend knows that it's not a friendship
until after you've had a fight.

A simple friend expects you to always be there for them.
A real friend expects to always be there for you!

A simple friend will read and throw this letter away.
A real friend will keep sending it until he's sure it's been received.


 ANNOUNCEMENTS

·        A NEW TRANSLATION OF ROMANS: The Friends of the Nazarene have just completed a new translation of Paul's letter to the Romans. This work contains the Greek text with an interlinear translation. The main body of the translation has topic headings for memory purposes. Almost 1,000 footnotes provide commentary on every phrase and key words. There are Greek word studies and translation comparisons. Hundreds of cross references are provided. The entire work is about 190 printed pages in length. Some chapters are alredy up on the Friends web page and shortly we hope to have the whole work readable on line, down-loadable by Adobe, or available by email in a couple formats. Currently the letter of Titus is now under study as a future addition to Nazarene Commentary. Portions of the articles on Judgment and Romans chapter 11are taken from the notes in this new work.

·        PROPHECY FORUM: Those interested in current thoughts on Biblical prophecy will find the web page Prophecy Forum a helpful tool for considering a variety of views on the subject. Prophecy Forum is also available in hard copy publishing and a free copy will be sent to those who request it. The web page is: http://www.cqlcorp.com/fbs/Research/ProphecyForum/Default.htm [Note on 07/2003: site has closed down]

·        FREE BIBLE STUDENTS WESTERN CONFERENCE: The Third Annual Christian Believers Western Conference for the spring of the year 2,000 [!!] has been planned for Eastern week of April 21-24 at the Marriott Hotel in Upland, California. The hotel is near the Ontario International Airport. The theme of the conference is "Christian Responsibility" based on Luke 19:13. For further information email David Karavas at  . More information will be provided as the Spring of the year 2,000 draws closer.


GOD AND JUDGMENT

The Bible's Theme

Many believe the Bible's theme is "salvation" and such a joy is not inaccurate. One must admit there are several over-lapping themes in the Bible. However, a little thought would make it clear that before "salvation" there must be something else. Something which leads to salvation. Something which is the very basis of salvation. That something is "judgment."

Let us consider for a moment the word "salvation" as it occurs in at least one translation. "Salvation" occurs a total of 226 times. It occurs first in Jacob's death-bed prophecy: "I will truly wait for your salvation, O Yehowah!" [Genesis 49:18] The word occurs most often in the Psalms. [80 times] and next in Isaiah. [30 times]

How often does Jesus [meaning, "Yah Saves"] the Nazarene mention "salvation"? It may surprise some that the Nazarene only used the word "salvation" twice as reported in the Gospels. First, our Lord speaks to the short Jewish man, Zachaeus: "Today, [Zachaeus], salvation has visited your home because you are a child of Abraham. For the Son of Humankind came to seek and save what was lost." [Luke 19:9, 10] And, secondly, when he speaks to the Samaritan woman at the well: "You [Samaritans] worship in ignorance. We Jews know whom we worship, because salvation is of the Jews." [John 4:22] Thus, in the entire bulk of the Nazarene's teachings he mentions the word "salvation" only twice.

What about other mentions of "salvation" in the Christian Bible? In the Book of Acts Peter uses the word in a sermon to the Jews: "There is no salvation in another person. There is not another name under heaven given to humans by means of which we may get saved." [Acts 4:12] Also, Paul uses the word when before a Jewish synagogue: "[Jewish] men, my brothers, you offspring of Abraham, and those in our midst who fear The God, the message of salvation has been sent to us." [Acts 13:26] And, again later, when rejected by the Jews, Paul says: "Since you [Jews] are pushing us away from you because you do not consider yourselves worthy of ageless life -- behold! we turn to the non-Jews. Indeed, the God commanded us in the words [of Isaiah], 'I have appointed [Israel] as a light to the non-Jews, for you to be a salvation to the farthest reaches of the earth." [Acts 13:46, 47]

The apostle Paul uses the word "salvation" about two dozen times. Salvation comes only to those who have conviction. [Romans 1:16]  Paul prays for the Jews' salvation. [Romans 10:1] To attain salvation one must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. [Romans 10:10] Because the Jews rejected Messiah (heavenly) salvation may come to the non-Jews [Romans 11:11]  Salvation is nearer than when we first believed. [Romans 13:11] "Now is the day of salvation." [2 Corinthians 6:2] Repentance must precede salvation. [2 Corinthians 7:10] The Gospel includes salvation. [Ephesians 1:13] Put on the "helmet of salvation." [Ephesians 6:17] To gain salvation one must behave in a manner worthy of the Gospel. [Philippians 1:27, 28] Salvation must be worked out in fear and trembling. [Philippians 2:12] One must stand firm and remain sanctified to gain salvation. [2 Thessalonians 2:13] The Scriptures are necessary to make one wise for salvation. [2 Timothy 3:15-17]    Salvation is available to all, however, the worldly life must be rejected. [Titus 2:11, 12]  There is no deliverance if salvation is rejected. [Hebrews 1:14] Before salvation would become a reality the Son of God had to be perfected through obedience to God. [Hebrews 2:10] Only by obedience may one gain salvation. [Hebrews 5:9]

Other occurrences of "salvation" in the Christian Bible are 1 Peter 1:5, 9, 10; 2:2; 2 Peter 3:15; Jude 3. Neither John nor James use the word "salvation" in their epistles. The word occurs three times in Revelation 7:10; 12:10; 19:1]

Since repentance, faith, and works must precede salvation it is clear something else must come before it. That is -- judgment -- God's declaration that a person is "Not guilty!" and may be judicially declared acceptable for life, either in heaven amidst the Church, or upon earth as the everlasting home of humanity.

Now consider a more powerful and pervasive theme in the Bible.

God as Judge

That God is Judge few would dispute. It follows that as the Almighty Creator he may inspect or judge His work at any time. Of course, He cannot be Judge without Law, which He Himself establishes. Thus, Isaiah speaks of God, "Yehowah is our Judge. Yehowah is our Law-giver. Yehowah is our King. He will save us!" [Isaiah 33:22] It seems clear that these three offices of God are involved in salvation and thus precede it.

The word group "judge" and "judgment" occurs many times in the Bible, more often than "salvation." For example, the word "judge" occurs 183 times, one of the earliest at Genesis 18:25 where Abraham calls Yehowah "The Judge of All the Earth." In the Hebrew Bible the word "judge" occurs most often in the two books Psalms [20 times] and Ezekiel [22 times]. The words judges and judging occur 106 times. The word judicial 158 times. The word "judgment" itself occurs 256 times. So, with over 700 occurrences of the idea of judgment, the Bible is very much a book about such.

In the Bible judgment begins in Eden where Adam and Eve disobeyed God and were thus judged by Him. [Genesis 3:16-20] This not only affected them, but also their children, like an STD. [Romans 5:12-17] God's judgment upon humanity was death (unconscious extinction) and there still all humanity who ever lived -- save One -- remain. Would all of the dead receive their own judgment? This would be impossible if they remained in the grave. How would God exercise His authority as Judge, Law-giver, and King -- if He so wished -- and make it possible for all humanity to be judged? The how of that is explained in the Christian Bible. Let us examine the subject of judgment and salvation as taught by Jesus and Paul.

The Nazarene and "Judgment"

Though Jesus only used the word "salvation" twice in the Gospel accounts, he had much to say about judgment. The Scriptures will show that the Nazarene taught there would be a Judgment Day upon which all mankind would be judged according to their words and works during their life time on earth. Let us compare some of his teachings.

Sodom and Gomorrah would rise with certain Jewish cities on Judgment Day. [Matthew 10:13] Other cities and lands would also rise on Judgment Day. [Matthew 11:22-24; 12:41, 42; Luke 10:14; 11:31, 32]  Some may find it difficult or impossible escape the judgment of Gehenna -- everlasting extinction. Some could never be forgiven even upon their rising in the New Age. [Matthew 12:32; 23:33; Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47] Even wicked men realized they deserved a certain type of judgment. [Luke 23:40]

On what basis would people be judged, according to the teachings of Jesus Christ? Would they rise in a resurrection for some probationary opportunity, to re-live their human existence as it were, and thus be judged in perfection? There is no such idea presented any where in the teachings of the Nazarene. Did Jesus have anything to say on how exactly humanity would be judged. Indeed.

Note what he teaches in Matthew 12:34-37, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings forth good out of a good treasure; and, the evil person brings forth evil out of an evil treasure. However, I tell you this: every careless word which humans speak they will give an account for it on the Day of Judgment. Because by your words you will be pronounced innocent and by your words you will be found guilty and condemned." Is it fair to conclude from these words of Jesus that whenever Judgment Day occurs everyone will be judged on the basis of their speech? These words here do not seem words spoken at some future probationary period, but rather those spoken now while in this life.

Jesus speaks about the basis for judgment at John 3:16-21 in a very famous context: "For The God had such loving concern for the whole world of humankind that He gave his Only-begotten Son, so that everyone with deep conviction in the Son may not be destroyed but attain ageless life. He that has deep conviction in the Son will not be condemned. The person who does not have deep conviction in the Son has been condemned already, because of not showing deep conviction in the name of the Only-begotten Son of The God. Now this is the judgment: Light has come into the world of humankind, but people have loved darkness over Light because of their own evil works. Because the person who is habitually vile hates the Light and refuses to approach the Light so that they might not be rebuked. However, the person who is truthful is willing to approach the Light so that their deeds may be revealed as having been done according to the will of God." Such persons living in Jesus' generation of time would be raised on Judgment Day and receive whatever payment is due them. As Jesus taught them: "Because the Son of Humankind is destined to arrive in the Father's glory with his angels and then every person will be repaid in harmony with their conduct. ... For everyone who is ashamed by me and my words among this adulterous and wicked generation, the Son of Humankind will also be ashamed of them when he arrives." [Matthew 16:27; Mark 8:38]

At John 5:28, 29 Jesus shows this judgment will occur upon the resurrection with two outcomes: "For just as the Father has life in himself, so also the He gave the Son to have life in himself. The Father gave to the Son the authority to make judgment because he is the Son of Humankind. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming in which all those in the graves will hear his voice and will come out. Those who have done good things to a resurrection of life; but, those who habitually practiced evil things to a resurrection of condemnation." Jesus draws these words from a combination of Isaiah 26:19 and Daniel 12:2 from the Jewish Greek Septuagint, "The dead shall rise, and they that are in the tombs hall be raised. ... And multitudes of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall arise -- some to ageless life, and some to ageless reproach and shame."

Jesus taught his apostles that he would send a spiritual helper upon his return to heaven. This spirit-helper or comforter was to teach them about a variety of subjects. Note this in John 16:8-11 where one of these subjects will be "judgment." On the basis of this we could expect that those inspired disciples who wrote later would also deal with "judgment." We find just the case. Consider Paul's teachings on the same subject.

Paul and "Judgment"

Did Paul agree with his Lord Jesus: humanity would be resurrected to be judged regarding their conduct during their life times? Did Paul ever mention a probationary period in which mankind would grow to perfection and then be judged?

The earliest mention of Paul's teachings on "judgment" and the "resurrection" are found in the book of Acts 17:31 and Acts 24:15: "Because The God has determined a day upon which He will righteously judge the earth's inhabitants by a Man He appointed. Also, He has given an assurance to everyone by having resurrected him from those dead. ... I have a hope in The God concerning a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous." In order to judge those righteous and those unrighteous God would have to resurrect all humanity from the grave.

This Paul assures will result because of the resurrection of Jesus. Note how he puts this in 1 Corinthians 15:20-26: "Now, however, Christ has risen from the dead as the first of the harvest of all those who have lain down in [death's] sleep.  For since death came about because of a human [Adam], resurrection of the dead is likewise because of a Human. For just as all continue to die in Adam, just so all will be made alive in Christ." Exactly how and when this will happen will be discussed under a following sub-heading.

So, if it were not for the sacrificial death -- the ransom -- of Christ Jesus all humanity would never even have an opportunity to be judged! Now, God would be pleased if every single one of humanity could be saved, for he really does not desire any to be destroyed, but all to attain repentance. Compare 1 Timothy 2:3-6, "God wishes that all humans should be save and reach a completely knowledge of truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and humankind, a man, Christ Jesus, who surrendered himself as a ransom for all." And, Peter writes, "God does not wish any to be destroyed but all to make room for repentance." [2 Peter 3:9] Though this is what God would wish it is not what will be the final outcome. For, Paul states that some of the elementary teachings of Christ's doctrine is "repentance from dead works, conviction in God ... resurrection from the dead, everlasting condemnation [judgment]." [Hebrews 6:1, 2] He also makes it clear in Hebrews 9:27, "It is destined for humankind to die once, and after this, a judgment."

Did Paul agree with Jesus regarding the manner in which humanity would be judged? He writes precisely about this subject in Romans 2:14-17 -- just before asking the question, "How will The God judge the world of mankind?" [Romans 3:6] -- "For when Gentiles who have no Law obey by natural instinct the commands of the Law, they, without having a Law, are a Law to themselves; since they exhibit proof that a knowledge of the conduct which the Law requires is engraved on their hearts, while their consciences also bear witness to the Law, and their thoughts, as if in mutual discussion, accuse them or perhaps maintain their innocence-- on the day when God will judge the secrets of men's lives by Jesus Christ, as declared in the Good News as I have taught it." [Weymouth] It is Paul's Gospel that all humanity will be judged based on their conduct in this life.

Now, we saw in Ephesians 1:13 that salvation was part of the Gospel. Above in Romans 2:17 we note "judgment" is part of the Gospel. Of course, the judgment comes before salvation.

Now some will ask, "Is this fair?" That is, is it fair for God to judge humanity in their sinful state? [Romans 5:12] Paul describes two parts to humanity -- the Jew and the non-Jew. The Jew will be judged based on his own Law [Romans 2:12], while the non-Jewish world will be judged by their own conscience. Is this a valid assumption? When the judges of Nuremberg had before them the Nazi leaders most responsible for the holocaust they were confronted with this problem -- what if one is only acting in obedience to their superiors? The judges determined that there was such a thing as "the universal human conscience." Thus, these human judges agreed with Paul regarding even the sinner's conscience being an adequate judge. Therefore, upon their resurrection to that future Judgment Day, Jews and non-Jews will be judged on the basis of their words and conduct during their life times as the children of Adam.

Is it possible that God knows that despite inherited sin "the universal human conscience" is enough to cause "righteous" persons to avoid habitual evil? It seems so. So, we all face that judgment based on our own life record. As Paul puts it in Romans 2:3-6, "And you who pronounce judgment upon those who do such things although your own conduct is the same as theirs -- do you imagine that you yourself will escape unpunished when God judges? Or is it that you think slightenly of His infinite goodness, forbearance and patience, unaware that the goodness of God is gently drawing you to repentance? The fact is that in the stubbornness of your impenitent heart you are treasuring up against yourself anger on the day of Anger -- the day when the righteousness of God's judgments will stand revealed." [Weymouth]

What about those who "never heard about God"? Twice in his letter to the Romans Paul makes it clear that humanity is without excuse if they did not come to a belief in God. For example, in Romans 1:20 he writes, "[The God's] invisible attributes are clearly apparent from the world's creation, being understood by the things made -- both His power and godship. Therefore, they are without an excuse." And, again in Romans 10:18, Paul asks, "Did they not hear? Surely, they did." And then he quotes from the creation Psalm 19:4, "Into all the earth their voice went out and to the very limits of the inhabited world their words." In other words, creation it sufficient to arouse awe in any person living on the planet. >From this awe, reverence for the Maker should have resulted. This, together with the implanted conscience -- lacking in animals -- should have been enough to cause two reactions: faith in God (whatever He may be), and, human-kindness toward others living on this planet.

What does the Bible actually say about Judgment Day? Let us turn out attention to some details.

The Day of "Judgment"

There will be a Judgment Day. All humanity alive and dead at that moment -- or should we say, those moments -- will be judged completely on what they did, or did not do, during their life times. There is not one Bible text which describes some future "probationary period." The Bible teaches there will be two basic judgments: one involving only the Church of Christ or "Christendom." And, later, humanity in general.

Paul inferred such when he was discussing the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:23-26, "However, everyone in their own order: Christians, at [Christ's] Arrival; next, the End, when .... the last enemy, death, is abolished." Possibly, one may argue that there are three future periods of judgment. What are they?

1. THE PAROUSIA-JUDGMENT OF THE CHURCH

As Paul shows above the first resurrection and judgment take place following the Parousia (Presence) of Jesus Christ. Paul refers to this early or initial judgment in several places in his epistles. All of these texts deal with the parousia-judgment on the Church:

" ... the revelation of God's righteous judgment. He will give back to every [Christian] person in harmony with their own deeds -- ageless life to those persons who seek glory, honor, and incorruption by enduring in good works. However, to those [Christian] persons who are belligerent and disobedient to the truth, but rather obey unrighteousness -- there will be wrath, anger, oppression and distress upon the soul of every person who works harm [to a fellow] -- first the Jew, but also the rest of the world. In contrast, glory, honor and peace to every person who does good works -- first the Jew and then the rest of the world. For The God is completely impartial." [Romans 2:5-11]

"Because everyone of us will present ourselves before God's judgment, just as it is written, 'As I am living, says the LORD, every knee will bend before Me and every tongue will confess to The God.' So, then, everyone of us will render an account to The God." [Romans 14:10-12]

"Do not judge matters before the time -- until the Lord arrives -- for he will expose and bring into the Light dark secrets and motives of the heart. It will be then that everyone of us will have praise from The God." [1 Corinthians 4:5]

"Because all of us [Christians] will be exposed before Christ's judgment-seat. Then everyone of us [Christians] will get the proper payment for everything done while in the fleshly body -- whatever was habitually practiced -- good or vile." [2 Corinthians 5:10]

Peter speaks in a similar fashion when he writes: "However, these persons will provide an account to the One ready to judge the living and the dead. ... Because the judgment will start with the House of The God, and, if it begins first with us [Christians] what will be the end of those [Christians] disobedient to God's Evangel?" [1 Peter 4:5, 17]

Also, the beloved apostle John writes, "So, then, my little children, continue united in [the Son] so that whenever he is made visible we may speak freely [in the day of judgment] and not be shamed in his presence." [1 John 2:28; 4:17]

Jesus the Nazarene teaches these truths in many parables regarding the parousia-judgment of the Church. These can be read at Matthew 24:43-25:46 and Luke 12:32-48. In all of these the disciples of Jesus who are raised in the parousia-judgment are judged on the basis of their expectant conviction and their loving charity to others. Those Christians throughout the Gospel Age who abused their fellow associates and refused to aid those in need -- a sin of omission -- will have their professed Lord say to them, "Get away from me! I never knew you! ... Depart into ageless extinction!" [Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew 25:46]

2. THE THOUSAND YEAR JUDGMENT

That Christian body of the Saints declared to be "righteous" [Matthew 25:37, 40] will become part of the Celestial Kingdom reigning with Messiah over the earth. Their reign will include "judgment." Revelation 20:3, 4, 6 promises: "... so that [the Devil] may no longer mislead the non-Jews anymore until the Thousand Years have ended. I beheld those sitting down on thrones and judgment was given to them. ... They came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a Thousand Years. ... This is the first resurrection."

Over whom will these judge? Revelation 20:3 has just mentioned the non-Jews [ethne] whom Satan can no longer mislead. It seems fair to conclude that these ethnics are those of the two-thirds majority of humanity who are not killed during the Day of Wrath of the Almighty and the Lamb. [Revelation 6:17; Revelation 7:1, 2' Revelation 9:15] If humanity is about six billion at that time, then four billion will be permitted to continue living on earth at the beginning of the Thousand Years.

It is likely these non-Jews, or "nations," are the same as those mentioned in Zechariah 14:3, 5, 16, "Yehowah shall go forth and fight with those non-Jews [ethnsin] as when He fought in the day of battle. ... Yehowah my God will come with all His Saints. ... And it shall come to pass that those non-Jews [ethnon] that came against Jerusalem [and who] survived will annually come to worship the King, Yehowah Almighty." [We will discuss other features of this in a moment.]

It should be admitted that Revelation does not provide many details of life DURING the Thousand Years. We only know non-Jews, or nations, who survived the Day of Wrath, perhaps amounting into the billions, will enter a life without the Devil. [Compare Revelation 21:24 KJV] We are not told here that these peoples continue to live on throughout the Thousand Years. We are not told that this will be a probationary period while these peoples grow to human perfection. We are told very precisely, directly, and with no room for misunderstanding, "The rest of the dead did not come to life until the Thousand Years were ended." [Revelation 20:5]

There are several Bible-based speculations we can make. First, Revelation 20:6 tells us that Second Death has no authority over the glorified Church. This would seem to indicate Second Death has authority over others, likely those non-Jewish nations who survived the Day of Wrath. That this is the case is made evident in two Scriptures.

The first is back in Zechariah 14:17 which declares that those non-Jews who refuse to worship the King will have the same fate as those peoples who died in the Day of Wrath. This would seem to harmonize with the Second Death which will be authorized by God over these non-Jews during the Thousand Years.

Also, note several things from Isaiah 65:17-20: "For here I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart. But exult, you people, and be joyful forever in what I am creating. For here I am creating Jerusalem a cause for joyfulness and her people a cause for exultation. And I will be joyful in Jerusalem and exult in my people; and no more will there be heard in her the sound of weeping or the sound of a plaintive cry. No more will there come to be a suckling a few days old from that place, NEITHER AN OLD MAN THAT DOES NOT FULFILL HIS DAYS; FOR ONE WILL DIE AS A MERE BOY, ALTHOUGH A HUNDRED YEARS OF AGE; and as for THE SINNER, ALTHOUGH A HUNDRED YEARS OF AGE HE WILL HAVE EVIL CALLED DOWN UPON HIM. [NWT] If we apply this to the Thousand Years -- and many rightly do -- we learn there will be older persons who will die. These are in contrast to the "sinner" and thus it seems fair to conclude these older persons who die are righteous persons. Therefore, these older people do not live throughout the whole Thousand Years.

In contrast there will be "sinners" who will live to be one hundred years of age -- or one-tenth of the length of the Thousand Years. These "sinners" were not misled by the Devil for he is out of action during the Thousand Years. Though one-hundred years old these "sinners" will also die as old persons but in their case "they have evil called down upon." [Ecclesiastes 8:12] This seems to harmonize with Zechariah 14:17 as well as with the Second Death which remains an executionary instrument to be used on any habitual sinners DURING the Thousand Years.

This Bible-based view will seem new and unusual to many who have had other Biblical commentators form their understandings of Revelation. No doubt there are many questions these will raise based on the view given above. "Why would God do it that way? It makes more sense to .... " Of course, it is obvious that the clay should never say to the Potter, "Why?" as if to challenge His way of doing things. [Romans 9:20, 21]

Paul states that Christ must reign until the last enemy death is destroyed. [1 Corinthians 15:24-28] Judging from Revelation 20:11-13 this occurs AFTER the Thousand Years are finished and the Devil has been destroyed by the Second Death. "What is the point to the Thousand Years?" someone will ask. One answer would be: By Christ and the reign of the Church for a Thousand Years absent the Devil, God will demonstrate to all humanity that His way of doing things is right and successful.[Isaiah 11:1-5] Imagine a world without the Devil and with the righteous influence of Messiah reigning supreme. [Isaiah 26:9] Thus, Christ will do what "the god of this world" could not -- and do it in one-sixth of the time, or less. [2 Corinthians 4:4]

With ten generations of humanity living under the Thousand Year reign of Christ and his Church, despite any "sinners" who refused to repent and change [Revelation 21:27; Revelation 22:15] -- and under the righteous influence of the godly -- the earth will be turned into a paradise. A paradise ready for those future peoples who will inherit the earth forever. [Psalm 37:29] But, how and when will this final judgment occur?

3. THE LAST JUDGMENT

We come now to what many have called "the Last Judgment." We have already read how only the Church is raised in the "first resurrection" BEFORE the Thousand Years. Also, we have read that "the rest of the dead did not come to live until the Thousand Years were ended." [Revelation 20:5] This is exactly what the rest of the chapter reveals. For after the Thousand Years have ended and are completely over, the Devil is released to make a final attempt upon those non-Jews alive at that time. Though Satan will have those who will join him in a futile attack against the New Jerusalem, God's fire will descend upon all of these rebels and into Second Death they go -- everlasting extinction. [Revelation 20:7-10]

It is after this -- after the destruction of the Devil and his rebellious followers -- that death traceable to Adam is "destroyed." [1 Corinthians 15:24-28] Death and Hades are emptied and become useless. Even those millions who were buried at sea, or died at sea, will also be raised. For the grand vision promises: "And I saw a great white throne and the one [Messiah] seated on it. From before him the earth and the heaven fled away [Revelation 20:10], and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead [Revelation 20:5], the great and the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. But another scroll was opened; it is the scroll of life. And THE DEAD WERE JUDGED OUT OF THOSE THINGS WRITTEN IN THE SCROLLS ACCORDING TO THEIR DEEDS. And the sea gave up those dead in it, and death and Ha'des gave up those dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds. And death and Ha'des were hurled into the lake of fire. This means the second death, the lake of fire. Furthermore, whoever was not found written in the book of life was hurled into the lake of fire. [Revelation 20:11-15 NWT]

These masses of all humanity who have ever lived are not raised to some probationary period. They are judged, as Paul has already stated, on the basis of their God-implanted conscience. [Romans 2:15-17] These are judged, as the Nazarene taught, on the basis of their words and their deeds. [Matthew 12:36, 37;  John 3:19-21] Thus, proving that God has not changed as the "Judge of All the Earth," the Davidic Psalm will come true: "For you, [Yehowah], will pay back to everyone in harmony with their deeds." [Psalm 62:12]

But, we wonder, what we must do -- or not do -- to receive God's favorable judgment and the approval of Christ? Consider the next article.


A WARNING TO THE JUDGMENTAL!

How We Will Be Judged

One of the strongest themes of the Bible is about God's judgment. Judgment cannot be separated from the Gospel. [Romans 2:17] God has lovingly provided two important things in this regard: first, the means through His Son for a resurrection so that we may be judged favorably. And, second, the teachings of His Son which actually tell us what we need to do in order to be declared "righteous" in the resurrection. It will be helpful to briefly consider just two of these teachings.

1. STOP BEING JUDGMENTAL!

Perhaps one of the most important matters we need to learn and apply is recorded for us in Matthew 7:1, 2. Note our Lord's words of warning: "Stop being judgmental so that you are not condemned! Because you will be judged by your own standard of judgment." Now that is something to make one sit upright and pay attention. We all create our own standards for others, and many often express this in their conversation with others, often amounting to gossip, or even slander. [Proverbs 11:13; 16:28; 20:19] Jesus made it clear that we would be judged by such careless words. Compare Matthew 12:37, "For by your own words you will be acquitted and pronounced innocent; and, by your own words you will be found guilty and condemned."

Two of the Nazarene's inspired disciples also wrote in the same manner. Paul echoes Jesus when he writes at Romans 14:4, 10, 13, 19 "Who do you think you are to be judging another Master's servant? To his own Master he fails or succeeds, for surely the Lord himself is strong enough to make him succeed. ... Why do you judge your brother? Why do you look down on your brother? For everyone of us will appear before God's judgment-throne ... and give an account. ... Therefore, stop judging one another. ... Let us follow a course of peace." The knowledge that we will stand before Christ and give an account, ought to make us less judgmental of others. Whether we realize it or not, the standard of judgment we use for others will be turned on us. Does it not seem, then, that the course of wisdom is to develop a merciful, kind, and loving attitude toward everyone else? [Colossians 3:13]

James also writes in a similar vein when he says: "What are the reasons for the fights among you? Do they not result from your own selfishness? ... Brothers, stop speaking against each other! Whoever speaks against a brother is judging him and thus sets himself up as judge and law-giver. There is only One judge and law-giver who is able to save or destroy! So, who do you think you are to be judging your neighbor?" [James 4:1, 11, 12]

Such warnings ought to make any Christian cautious when speaking privately to others. It is usually through speech that we are in danger of creating a log with God that will reveal our tendency is to be habitually negative when it comes to our opinions on others. Such a "wicked treasure" will ultimately lead to great shame before Christ's throne. It is very possible that t will turn out to be a "resurrection to ageless shame and reproach." [1 John 2:28; Daniel 12:2] If a disciple of the Nazarene discovers -- or has it kindly brought to their attention -- that they tend to be negative, adversarial, or confrontational in their speech, it would be better to strive to learn to remain silent. We all have opinions -- and few of us think our opinions wrong. However, is it always necessary to express them?

When we find ourselves defending a cherished hope can we present our convictions in an apologetic tone? For example, Peter advises, "Hold the Christ dear in your heart ever ready to give a defense [Greek: apologian] to anyone who demands a reason for your Hope, but do so mildly and respectfully." [1 Peter 3:15] And, Paul agrees when he counsels: "Let the words you speak always be gracious, seasoned with salt, and know it is binding you learn how to give a proper answer to anyone." [Colossians 4:6]

2. CHARITY AND HOSPITALITY

The second matter Jesus stressed a great deal was the need to be charitable and hospitable to others, including enemies. [Luke 6:30-35] In the famous parable of the sheep and goats -- where the sheep are declared "righteous" and the goats "cursed" -- Jesus made it clear that those who would "inherit the kingdom" [Matthew 25:34; 1 Corinthians 15:50] were those who treated even the lowliest and humblest Christian in this manner: "Because I was hungry and you [sheep] gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a visiting stranger and you treated me with hospitality. I was ill-clad and you gave me clothes. I was sick and you cared for me. I was a prisoner and you came to visit me. ... I tell you [sheep] this truth: Based on how you treated one of the most insignificant of my brothers, just so you treated me." [Matthew 25:35, 36, 40] Mother Theresa dedicated herself to caring for the dregs of humanity and taught, "See in the faces of the poor our Lord Jesus Christ."

The force of our Lord's parable thunders when we realize that the "goats" were "cursed" - not because they treated others harmfully or inhumanely -- but, because they DID NOTHING WHEN THEY SAW THE NEED! [Matthew 25:41-46] James gives his own pronouncement regarding the sin of omission: "If one knows what is good and right to do and does not do it -- it is a sin!" [James 4:17] Among these sins James surely would have included two things: slander and failure to show charity. He writes: "If any person thinks he is a 'true worshipper' and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives himself and his 'true worship' is completely worthless. ... If a brother or sister is ill-clad and without sufficient food -- and you say, 'Good luck and I hope you find something!' -- and you do not give them what they need, how are you benefited [before God]? And so, conviction without works is completely dead!" [James 1:26; 2:15-17]

How we should pray that our Father will give us the wisdom to guard our tongue, and the love to always show charity and hospitality to those in need. Then, before the judgment-throne of Christ at his Parousia we will be able to speak freely in his presence without any shame or embarrassment. [2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 John 2:28]


DID THE PATRIARCHS KNOW AND USE YHWH?

Many claim that the name Yehovah was not used by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob because of what God tells Moses at Exodus 6:2-3: "And I appeared to Abraham to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty but name of me Yahweh not I made myself known to them." (The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament, John R. Kohlenberger III)

First of all, at this particular verse, the Divine Name is vowel pointed "Yehwah" which is understood to mean "He Causes To Become." According to The Torah A Modern Commentary, "The most widely accepted explanation of YHVH connects the Name with the word hayah (to be), a causative form of which could be Yahveh, 'He who causes to be' [6]. Another form could be Yahuah, meaning 'He who indeed will (show himself to) be' [7], or 'He who proves himself' [8]." (page 426)

Therefore, it becomes apparent that the name refers to God as the eternal One, the One who causes things to be, the one who purposes things and then causes those things to occur; a promise maker, and the keeper and fulfiller of those promises.

It is clear, in reading the accounts concerning Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that God had in fact had made himself known as that type of God. So, what could Exodus 6:2-3 actually mean? Well, since all Scripture harmonizes, I am of the personal opinion that Exodus 6:2-3 is actually God asking Moses a question. Remember, there were no punctuation marks in the earliest Hebrew manuscripts, so it is up to each translator to insert those punctuation marks where he or she feels they are most appropriate to accurately convey in the receptor language (English), what is being said in the source language (Hebrew).

Others are of this same opinion:

"Also as respects my name Jehovah did I not make myself known to them?"

(James Washington Watts, 1977)

"...Mr. Locke and others read it interrogatively, for the negative particle, lo, not, has frequently this power in Hebrew: 'I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, and by my name Jehovah was I not also made known to them?'" (The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, page 41)

Remember it was Moses spent many years living amid Egyptian culture, and becoming "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," and, "was mighty in his words and works." (Acts 7:22)

It was he, not Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who had not personally experienced God as a purposer, promiser and fulfiller. It is entirely possible that this is why this man who was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and who was mighty in his words and works, could honestly say to God, without contradiction, "Look! The sons of Israel have not listened to me; and how will Pharaoh ever listen to me, as I am uncircumcised in lips?" (Exodus 6:12, NWT) And again, "Look! I am uncircumcised in lips, so how will Pharaoh ever listen to me?" (Exodus 6:30, NWT) If these were references to Moses being unable to utter speech with ease, then it certainly would not be possible to say he was "mighty in his words."

Also, Moses must have been concerned that the Israelites would not accept him as truly being one of their brothers, familiar with the true God and the true religion. Similar, for example, to an African American in our culture, who becomes successful, and is then viewed by other blacks as a traitor, or "not really black."

Notice what God tells Moses: "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." (Exodus 3:6, NWT) God tells Moses exactly who he is, yet notice what Moses says: "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I have to bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt." (Exodus 3:11, NWT) Now, notice how God answers this particular question: "To this he said: ''Because I shall prove to be with you..." (Exodus 6:12a, NWT)

It is Moses that God "shall prove to be" with. He has already "proved to be" with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! Now, although Moses had possibly heard the name Yehovah, he obviously did not understand the full import of what it meant. God apparently takes this opportunity to use an incredible play on words to drive home the "meaning" of his name to Moses. Notice the dialogue:

"Nevertheless, Moses said to the true God: 'Suppose I am now come to the sons of Israel and I do say to them, 'The God of your forefathers has sent me to you,' and they do say to me, 'What is his name?' What shall I say to them?' At this God said to Moses: 'I SHALL PROVE TO BE WHAT I SHALL PROVE TO BE.' And he added: 'This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, 'I SHALL PROVE TO BE has sent me to you.' Then God said once more to Moses: 'This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, 'Jehovah the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is my name to time indefinite, and this is the memorial of me to generation after generation.'" (Exodus 3:13-15, NWT)

This brings us again, to Exodus 6:2-3. After Moses appeared before Pharaoh, Pharaoh made it even harder on the sons of Israel, so when the officers of the sons of Israel encountered Moses and Aaron, they blamed them for the increase in harsh treatment. This is when Moses turned to Jehovah and said, "Jehovah, why have you caused evil to this people? Why is it that you have sent me? For from the time that I went in before Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have by no means delivered your people."

(Exodus 5:22-23, NWT)

In answer to Moses, God states confidently to Moses, "Now you will see what I shall do to Pharaoh..." (Exodus 6:1, NWT) It is during this discourse that God reassures Moses, "Look! I am Jehovah! I used to appear to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as God Almighty, and by my name Jehovah had I not also made myself known to them? Have I not been strong and mighty for them? Have I not made promises to them and fulfilled them?"

God now assures Moses that he has remembered the covenant that he made with them, and as "He Who Causes To Be," he will certainly bring them out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, deliver them from slavery, take them as a people, prove to be God to them, and bring them into the land that he promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. After all, he is Jehovah! (Exodus 6:4-8)

Finally, immediately after asking Moses "...by my name Jehovah was I not also made known to them?" notice how God says, "And I also established my covenant with them..."  (Exodus 6:4, NWT) The word "also" obviously links the previous statement with the statement being made. According to Random House Webster's College Dictionary, "also...1. in addition; too; besides: He was thin, and he was also tall. 2. likewise; in the same manner: Since you're having another cup of coffee, I'll have one also..." [Contributed by Michael Welhous]

CONSIDER FURTHER NOTES ON THE ABOVE:

EARLY USES OF THE DIVINE NAME JEHOVAH

The first to utter the divine name YHWH in the Bible is a woman, Eve -- Genesis 4:1 [Yehwah]

She most have taught it to her son for he uses it next Cain -- Genesis 4:9

Mankind in general began to use, or call on the name YHWH, during the life of Enosh before the Flood and people in general -- Genesis 4:26

Following the Flood Noah used YHWH -- Genesis 9:26; 10:9 [Yehowah]

Others who then used YHWH --

Abraham -- Genesis 12:8; 13:4; 15:2 [Yehwih], 8; 18:1, 27, 30-32; 22:13; 24:1, 7

Sarah -- Genesis 15:18; 16:5; 18:14

Melchizedek -- Genesis 14:22

Lot -- Genesis19:14, 18

Abimelech -- Genesis 20:4

Abraham's servant -- Genesis 24:9, 26, 27, 31, 35, 40, 42, 44, 48

USE OF EL SHADDAI OR "GOD ALMIGHTY"

First used by God -- Genesis 17:1 (never by Abraham)

Isaac -- Genesis 28:3

To Jacob -- Genesis 35:11

Israel uses -- Genesis 43:14; 48:3

 

The first vowel pointing of YHWH [by the Masoretes] in the Bible is Yehwah, not Yahweh (Genesis 2:4)

The vowel pointing of Yehowah occurs first at Genesis 3:14 and is the majority form in the Hebrew Bible according to the Masoretic Jews of the year 1,000 CE..

YHWH was so well known and used that place names resulted: Genesis 22:14


THE MEANING OF ROMANS CHAPTER 11

There are a variety of views regarding Roman chapter 11 and Paul's example of the olive tree as it relates to Jews and non-Jews. Some see a prophecy about the restoration of fleshly Israel, while others create other prophetic scenarios. What is the lesson behind this most intriguing chapter of the Bible? The thoughts below are offered as one opinion and not the only opinion. Nor is it offered with an agenda to offend or belittle another view.

It seems fair enough that we understand the contextual setting of Romans chapter 11. Also, it seems fair that we cannot ignore what Paul has already written on related subjects. Before going to Romans chapter 11 let us consider what Paul has lready written about the Jews and non-Jews.

Both Jews and non-Jews Under Sin's Condemnation

In chapters 1 to 3 Paul argues that both the Jews and the non-Jews are under the condemnation of sin and therefore doomed to God's wrath. First, however, Paul shows that both the Jews and non-Jews will have an opportunity to gain salvation based upon their conviction:

For I am not ashamed of the good news because it is God's power unto salvation to everyone who believes -- to a Jew first and but also to a Greek. For God's righteousness is being revealed out of faith unto faith. [Romans 1:16, 17 Nazarene Commentary (NC)]

Then Paul demonstrates why God has "abandoned" the Jews in Romans 1:18-31. He concludes his list of reason why God "abandoned" the Jews with, "[Those Jews] knew perfectly well the judgments of The God that those habitually doing those things are worthy of death. But, not only do they habitually do these things they also think approvingly of others who habitually do such things." [NC]

Paul continues to show the Jews that they cannot escape God's judgment:

"Therefore, O [Jew], you are without a defense! For you judge yourself when you are judging everyone else as guilty if you habitually practice the same things you are judging. Because we know that God's judgment -- upon those who habitually practice such things -- is in harmony with truth. But, is this your logic, O Jew: Do you think you can escape the judgment of The God while you continue to do the same things as those you judge who habitually practice such things? Or, do you despise the rich kindness [of The God] -- His restraint and tolerance? Not realizing that the kindness of The God is [trying] to lead you to repentance? However, in harmony with your hard and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in a day of wrath when the righteous judgment of The God is revealed. [The God] will reward each one in harmony with [their] works [Psalm 62:12]." [Romans 2:1-5 NC]

Paul does not omit the non-Jewish world from God's judgment, for just before asking, "How will God judge the world?" [Romans 3:6], he explains how the non-Jews will be judged. "According to my good news through Christ Jesus [this is how] it will be in the day The God judges the secret things of all humankind." [NC] He then goes on in chapter 3 to prove that all -- Jew and non-Jew are under sin's condemnation. Paul explains what a "true" Jew is: "For the true Jew is not manifest in the fleshly circumcision; but, in the secret Jew (with a) spiritual "circumcision" of the heart and not in writing. His praise is not from humans but from The God." [Romans 2:28, 29 NC] Thus, the real or true Jew is not one who is circumcised, boast of the Law, and his own lineage. The "true Jew" is the one who walks after the faith of Abraham.

After proving Scrupturally by a number of citations in Hebrew Bible verses, Paul establishes that the Jew and the non-Jew are under sin's condemnation. He then explains how both the Jew and the non-Jew may be pronounced innocent by God through conviction in Jesus Christ. He writes: "Even God's righteousness by means of belief in Jesus Christ and [righteousness] unto all those who believe -- for there is no distinction [between Jew and Greek]. For they all sinned and fall short of the glory of The God." [Romans 3:22, 23 NC]

God is not just the God of the Jews, but also the non-Jews, and all may by faithful obedience benefit from His provisions for a righteous judgment. Romans 3:29, 30 states: "Or, is [He] The God of only the Jews, and not non-Jews? Yes! Also, non-Jews! Since it is the one God who will pronounce innocent [Jews] out of belief and also [non-Jews] by their belief." [NC]

After considering how faith in Christ's blood is involved in the process of salvation in chapters 4 to 8, Paul then addresses the natural conflict between the Jewish Christian and the non-Jewish Christian. He first mentions the curse which now rests upon the Jews and then goes on to declare another "Israel" --

Because great is my grief and unceasing pain to my heart. For I wish to be the very one who is anathema and [separated] from the Messiah on behalf of my brothers, my fleshly relatives. ... However, it is not as though the Word of The God has failed. For not all those from Israel are "Israel." Nor, because they are the seed of Abraham [are they] all children [of Abraham], but "Your seed will be called Isaac." [Genesis 21:2] That is, the fleshly children are not the children of The God; rather, the children of the promise are accounted as the Seed.  However, it is not as though the Word of The God has failed. For not all those from Israel are "Israel." Nor, because they are the seed of Abraham [are they] all children [of Abraham], but "Your seed will be called Isaac." [Genesis 21:2] That is, the fleshly children are not the children of The God; rather, the children of the promise are accounted as the Seed." [Romans 9:2-8 NC]

 

Some will accuse God of injustice but Paul continues to prove that there is no injustice with God. Indeed, as the Potter He is free to show mercy where He pleases. He points to the case of Jacob and Isau and how God showed mercy to Jacob not based on works, but according to His own choosing. He continues to prove that Israel did not fail to hear because the heavens gave their around the clock testimony. [Romans chapters 9 and 10]

"Only a remnant of Israel will be saved," Paul argues as he uses several Hebrew Bible texts to prove his point. He proves that God would call Jews and non-Jews on the basis of their conviction in Jesus Christ. Now this brings us to Romans chapter 11. We have learned how and why the Jews were abandoned as a nation, cursed by God, for their disbelief. The logical question to follow is raised by Paul, "I ask, then, did The God reject His People?" [Romans 11:1 NC] Judging from what we have read before, Paul must mean rejected absolutely as though no Jew could attain unto God's righteousness and salvation. He explains why this is not the case: "No, never! For I am an Israelite! From the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Benjamin! The God did not reject His People whom He knew first." [Romans 11:1, 2 NC]

Paul points to himself as an example that God did not make a blanket rejection of the Jews. He then proceeds in verses 2 to 4 to draw a parallel with Elijah and the 7,000 from among the millions of Israel who had no served Baal. He then writes:  "So, then, also, at the present time a remnant [of Israel] has come to be by [God's] choosing and unmerited favor." [Romans 11:5 NC] This "remnant" composed of Jews, by believing in Jesus Christ, became a part of that real "Israel" composed of "true Jews."

Paul writes in Galatians 3:29 and Galatians 6:15 about an "Israel of God" composed of Jews and Greeks. Peter also writes in like manner using language simlar to Paul's: "But you [non-Jews] are 'a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that you should declare abroad the excellencies' of the one that called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  For you [non-Jews] were once not a people, but are now God's people; you were those who had not been shown mercy, but are now those who have been shown mercy." [1 Peter 2:9, 10 NWT]

This language agrees with the Nazarene: "And so I tell you [Jews]: God's Kingdom will be removed from you [Jews] and given to a nation producing [Kingdom] fruitage. ... Jerusalem, Jerusalem, murderer of prophets and those casting stones against those sent [by God]. How often I wished to gather your children just like a hen gathers her brood under her wings. However, you [Jewish] people did want it. Behold, your house is abandoned!" [Matthew 21:43; Matthew 23:37, 38]

This rejection of the Messiah by the Jews opened an opportunity for non-Jews. Paul explains this: "I ask, then, did [Israel] stumbled so that they might fall? No, never! Rather, [Israel's] trespass means salvation to the non-Jews to provoke [Israel] to jealousy. However, if [Israel's] trespass means riches to the world, and their failure means riches to the non-Jews, how much more [Israel's] fullness?" [Romans 11:11, 12 NC]

What Paul means by this is illustrated by a Nazarene parable:

Matthew 22 In further reply Jesus again spoke to [the Jews] with illustrations, saying: 2 "The kingdom of the heavens has become like a man, a king [God], that made a marriage feast for his son [Jesus]. 3 And he sent forth his slaves [the apostles] to call those [Jews] invited to the marriage feast, but they were unwilling to come. 4 Again he sent forth other slaves, saying, 'Tell those [Jews] invited: "Look! I have prepared my dinner, my bulls and fattened animals are slaughtered, and all things are ready. Come to the marriage feast."' 5 But unconcerned they went off, one to his own field, another to his commercial business; 6 but the rest [of the Jews], laying hold of his slaves [the disciples], treated them insolently and killed them. 7 But the king grew wrathful, and sent his [Roman] armies and destroyed those murderers and burned their city [Jerusalem]. 8 Then he said to his slaves, 'The marriage feast indeed is ready, but those [Jews] invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go to the roads leading out of the city, and anyone [non-Jew] you find invite to the marriage feast.' 10 Accordingly those slaves [disciples] went out to the roads and gathered together all [the non-Jews] they found, both wicked and good; and the room for the wedding ceremonies was filled with those reclining at the table. 11 When the king [God] came in to inspect the [Jewish and non-Jewish] guests he caught sight there of a [Jewish] man not clothed with a marriage garment. 12 So he said to him, 'Fellow, how did you get in here not having on a marriage garment?' He was rendered speechless. 13 Then the king said to his servants, 'Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the darkness outside. There is where [his] weeping and the gnashing of [his] teeth will be.' 14 For there are many invited, but few chosen." [Matthew 22:1-14 NWT; for details see the Nazarene Commentary on MT 22:1+]

Although fleshly Israel was cursed and abandoned this was not a blanket condemnation, for any individual Jews could still accept Christ and be welcomed into the true Israel composed of both Jews and non-Jews. But, what is the meaning of the expression, "how much more [Israel's] fullness"?

Translations approach the phrase differently. [TCNT: full restoration; WMS: the full quota of Jews; NW: full number.] See notes in Nazarene Commentary on Romans 11:25. Opinions vary on the meaning here. Some see some future conversion of the Israeli nation to Christ. It is clear the Saints "will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" on the Day of Judgment. [See notes on Matthew 19:28. (Luke 22:30)] All who ever made up "Israel" will be judged on that Day. [See notes on Roman 2:12-16; compare also notes on Matthew 12:33-37, 39-42; Matthew 16:27 = Mark 8:38.) After Judgment Day the entire compliment of righteous "Israel" will be a force for good on the everlasting New Earth. [See notes on 2 Peter 3:13 and Isaiah 65:17.] There will also be fleshly Jews who will survive the Day of Wrath and live on into the Thousand Year reign of Messiah. [Isaiah 65:17-24; Isaiah 66:22, 23] The Greek word for "fullness" is PLEROMA (4138) and is thought to be drawn from the total of a ship's crew.

This "fullness" is further explained by Paul to involve the resurrection of the Jews from the dead. Note Romans 11:13-16:

However, I tell you non-Jews -- in as much as I really am, then, an apostle to the non-Jews, I glorify my ministry -- if somehow I might provoke my own flesh to jealousy and might save some from among [Israel] --  for if the casting away of [Israel] means reconciliation of the world, what will their reception mean if not life from the dead? Now, if the firstfruits are holy so also is the whole [harvest]; and, if the Root is holy, so also the branches.

Paul seems to make it clear that fleshly Israel as a whole was "cast away" but the entire body of all Israel would be raised from the dead and restored to God, or received by God. Over these "tribes of Israel" the Church of Christ will reign. So their "reception" or "restoration" would involve the resurrection. "What will their reception mean if not life from the dead" is also rendered: KJV: what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead; CON: gathering of them; MON: their restoration; WEY: admission. Jesus taught the Jews of his generation would be resurrected on Judgment Day and find the example of Sodom, the Queen of Sheba, and citizens of Nineveh difficult to endure. [See notes on Matthew 11:24; Matthew 12:33-36, 41] Paul teaches a resurrection of both the righteous and unrighteous on a day of judgment. [Acts 17:31; Acts 24:15] This is likely the "reception" Paul has in mind -- the resurrection of the righteous among all the Hebrews who have ever lived to life under Messiah's reign here on earth. [See notes on Revelation 20:12-14.] Not all Hebrews or Jews will gain everlasting life. [See notes on Matthew 23:33.]

What does Paul mean by "If the firstfruits are holy so also is the whole"? Other versions render this phrase: KJV: for if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy; TCNT: first handful of dough, so is the whole mass; KNX: consecrated. Paul uses "firstfruits" twice elsewhere in Romans. [See notes on Romans 8:23 and Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15.] In 1 Corinthians 15:20, 22 the Risen Christ is the "firstfruits." Paul has just mentioned the resurrection of the dead and it seems possible that here now he means the Risen Christ as the "firstfruits" of the "whole lump" of the Church. [See notes on Matthew 13:33; James 1:18; Revelation 14:4.] NOTE: there are a variety of views on all of these verses. Some view the firstfruits as the Patriarchs but consistency with Paul's own use of "firstfruits" may limited it here to the Risen Lord.

So, then, who or what is the "Root"? This word "root" confirms the above meaning. For Christ is the "root" [Isaiah 11:10; Revelation 5:5; Revelation 22:16] and the Church composes the "branches." [John 15:1-10] Isaiah 53:2 foretells concerning the Messiah as rising up like a "root" in a desert. Paul uses the word "root" one other time at Romans 15:12, "Isaiah proclaims: 'There will be the root of Jesse, and there will be One arising to rule nations; on him nations will rest their hope.'"(NW) Based on this it would seem fair to conclude that the "root" is the Holy Seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ. However, some hold the root represents the patriarchs and thus associates this tree with fleshly Israel. Regarding any root associated with Israel Malachi prophesies: "For, look! the day is coming that is burning like the furnace, and all the presumptuous [Jews] and all those doing wickedness must become as stubble. And the day that is coming will certainly devour them," Jehovah of armies has said, "so that it will not leave to them either root or bough.... Remember, you [Jewish] people, the law of Moses my servant with which I commanded him in Ho'reb concerning all Israel, even regulations and judicial decisions." [Malachi 4:1, 4 NW] Note John the Baptist's warning to the Jews at Matthew 3:9, 10, "The God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these rocks. Already the ax is lying at the root of the trees."

Paul now reaches his main point in Romans chapter 11 -- a lofty attitude among the non-Jews against the Jewish brethern. In doing to he uses the parable of an olive tree with both natural branches as well as engrafted wild branches. Consider Romans 11:17-24:

But, if some of the branches were broken off -- while you, being from a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them -- becoming a sharer together with the olive tree root's nourishment -- do not be bragging against the [natural] branches. But, if you do brag against them [understand] you do not bear the Root, but the Root [bears] you. You will say, then, "[Natural] branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." Fine! They were broken off because of unbelief; but you remain steadfast by means of [your] belief. Do not be arrogant, but be in fear. For, if The God did not spare the natural branches neither will He spare you. Observe, then God's kindness and pruning upon those who fell; but upon you God's kindness if you continue in that kindness, otherwise you also will be pruned off. But, if those [of Israel] do not continue in their unbelief they will be grafted in, for God is powerful enough to graft them in again. For, if you - originating from a naturally wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree -- how much more will these natural [branches] be grafted into their own olive tree. [NC]

The illustration of branches on a tree being pruned off or removed does not originate with Paul, for Jesus the Nazarene use the same idea. Here lies the problem Paul is counseling: boastful arrogance on the part on a non-Jew over the Jews. It would be like those (non-Jews) in the wedding feast parable chiding "those invited" (the Jews) but who begged off. (John 15:6)

Paul warns the non-Jews: "Do not be arrogant, but be in fear." Or as other versions put it: KJV: be not high-minded, but fear; GDSP: you ought not to feel proud; you ought to be afraid; WMS: stop your haughty thinking: rather continue to be reverent; PME: stand in awe; NEB: put away your pride, and be on your guard; NW: quit having lofty ideas. Compare notes on Romans 12:16; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 2:12. Paul speaks of individual Jews who may be grafted into the New Israel Olive Tree by accepting Jesus as Messiah. Throughout the centuries hundreds of thousands of Jews have converted to the Christian Church. They Jews would have to respond to Peter's exhortation at Acts 2:38.

So, the main point of Romans chapter 11 is to rebuke the non-Jews for any arrogant attitude regarding the Jews in the Christian Church. He uses the parable of the olive tree only to illusrate the need to understand how easily God could lop off a non-Jewish branch and graft in a Jewish one. Despite this warning both Jew and non-Jew can expect God's mercy. Consider Romans 11:25-32.

For I write you, brothers -- that you be not ignorant of this mystery, so that you do not become wise in your own [eyes] -- that a callousness has happened in part to the [nation] of Israel until that time the entire complement of the non-Jews comes in. And, so, all Israel will be saved, just as it has been written, "A Deliverer will come from Zion. He will cast out any irreverence from Jacob. And this is my covenant to them when I take away their sins." [Isaiah 59:20, 21] Regarding the Gospel [the Jews] are enemies to your benefit, but regarding the choosing, [the Jews are] beloved because of the [Hebrew] forefathers. Because, God will not change His mind regarding His charitable gifts and His invitation. For, just as you were once disobedient to The God -- but now you have received mercy because of [Jewish] disobedience -- so now, also, the disobedience of these [Jews] [has meant] mercy to you, so that now they may also receive mercy. For The God has shut them out all together because of their disobedience so that He may show mercy to all of these. [NC]

 

Paul warns the non-Jewish Christians in Rome to "not become wise in your own eyes." This is Paul's main point in Romans chapter 11: the attitude of the non-Jews toward the Jews and the boastful arrogance it may expose. Here Paul has returned to the plural "you" and addresses himself to the non-Jewish Christians in Rome. Paul tells these non-Jews that , "A callousness has happened in part to the [nation] of Israel." In harmony with the prophecy of Psalm 118:22 and Isaiah 53:1, 2 Israel as a nation rejected their Messiah. On "callousness" compare notes on Romans 7:24 where Paul speaks for Israel. [See notes on Romans 11:7. (2 Corinthians 3:14-17)] Individual Jews would continue to accept the Messiah and become Christian disciples. Paul says that this "callousness" will continue "Until that time the entire complement of the non-Jews comes in." Non-Jews will continue to flock to Christ and the Church until the door to the wedding feast is shut. (See notes on Matthew 22:2+; also Matthew 25:1+) By that time all the Jews and non-Jews who will become part of the Bride of the Lamb, the heavenly New Jerusalem will reach its full complement or, "fullness." [On fullness see notes on Ro11:12.]

What does Paul mean when he writes, "All Israel will be saved"? There are a number of views on this. He may refer to that true "Jew" of Romans 2:28, 29, or real "Israel" of Romans 9:6, 7. (Compare also Galatians 3:29 and Galatians 6:16.) That is, the Church, the New Israel of God, that spiritual nation of 1 Peter 2:9 composed of true Jews, both Jews and non-Jews. Or, he made allude back to the point made in Romans 11:15 -- the resurrection of all the Hebrew stock to judgment before Christ's throne. (Acts 24:15; Revelation 20:12-14) The Church must be perfected before all the ancient servants of God are raised to life. (Hebrews 11:13, 39, 40; Revelation 20:4, 6; 1 Corinthians 15:23, 24) In this manner "all Israel will be saved" -- that is, all those "righteous" among the Hebrew stock. (See notes on Romans 2:12-16.)

Paul now quotes Isaiah 59:20, 21. Paul has quoted Isaiah 59:7, 8 at Romans 3:15-17. (Isaiah 27:9) "A Deliverer will come from Zion," Isaiah says. Likely this "Deliverer" is in Messianic representation by Jesus Christ. Psalm 2:6 shows him enthroned in Zion since his ascension in 33 CE. (See Paul's quote of Psalm 2:7 at Acts 13:33.) [The use of Zion occurs in Matthew 21:5 (see notes); John 12:15; see notes on Romans 9:33; Hebrews 12:22; 1 Peter 2:6; see notes on Revelation 14:4.] This may refer to Christ's coming as Messiah to the Jews beginning 29 CE; and/or, it may refer to the Day of Judgment when "all Israel" is raised to life and their judgment before Messiah. (See notes on Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30)

"He will cast out any irreverence from Jacob."  The reason Yehowah rejected Israel in the sixth century BCE is explained in Isaiah 59:2-16. How does the Deliverer "cast out" all ungodliness from Israel? At the very least, surely, this will be done at the Judgment Day Paul has referenced earlier in Romans 2:12-16. On Judgment Day -- when Israel is raised with Sodom, the Queen of Sheba, and the people of Nineveh -- those who were habitually vile among the Hebrews will be "cast out." [Compare a similar expression in the notes on Matthew 13:50.] Note also John 15:6, "Anyone who does not remain in me will be cast out as a branch and becomes dried up. People will collect those branches and hurl them into a burning fire." The language here is parallel to Matthew 13:50 in the sense of judgment and being cast out. See in John 12:31 how judgment is associated with being "cast out."  

"This is my covenant to them" Or, as Goodspeed has it: "my agreement with them." It may mean, "this is my promise to them" in this matter of casting out of Israel any ungodliness. There is a possibility here of an allusion to Jeremiah 31:31-35. Either way, the Jacob mentioned is a cleansed Israel, rid of all those who were ungodly in the history of the Hebrew stock. If Jacob here means spiritual Israel, that is, the Church (Galatians 6:16), then this may be a reference to Jeremiah 31:31-35 (see cross references to Hebrews) and the justification of the members of Christ's Body. "When I take away their sins." The reading in Isaiah 59:20 reads from the Hebrew Text, "He shall come as a redeemer to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn back from sin." (JPS) And from the Greek Text, "The deliverer shall come for Zion's sake, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." (LXX) Based on the Hebrew the Deliverer will assist only those who turn from sin. (Isaiah 27:9) Note the 'casting away' at Romans 11:15.

"God has shut them out all together because of their disobedience," Paul affirms regarding the Jews as a nation. As a group fleshly Israel has been shut out because of their disobedience even as Isaiah chapter 59 declared. Only a remnant of Jacob obtained membership into the New Israel of God. [Compare notes on Romans 3:9.]

Paul now concludes this subject of the attitude of the non-Jewish Christians toward the Jewish Christians who had already come into the Church:

O, the depth of God's riches, knowledge and wisdom! Unsearchable are His judgments and untraceable His ways! For, "Who ever knew the LORD'S mind? Or, who ever became His counselor?" [Isaiah 40:13] Or, "Who ever has given to Him that it will be repaid to him?" [Job 41:3] Because everything originated from Him and by Him. And to Him be the glory unto the ages. Amen! [Romans 11:33-35 NC]

 

Paul's phrasing reads in James Moffatt: "What fathomless depth lies in the wisdom and knowledge of God." The paraphrased version by Phillips has it: "Frankly, I stand amazed at the unfathomable complexity of God's wisdom and God's knowledge." Paul reaches a crescendo now in praise of The God who has purposed all of this from the beginning. [On "riches" see notes on Ro2:4 and Ro9:23. (Psalm 139:6) On "wisdom" see 1 Corinthians 1:22, 30; 2:7; see notes on EP1:8, EP1:17, EP3:10. On "knowledge" see 2 Corinthians 4:6; 10:5; Colossians 2:2, 3.] "Unsearchable are His judgments." The word "judgment" is right at the center of Paul's theme throughout Romans. [See notes on Romans 2:2, 3, 5,16; Romans 3:3:4, 6, 7, 8; Romans 3:8; Romans 5:16; Romans 13:2; Romans 14:10. (Psalm 36:6)]

Paul quotes Isaiah 40:13, "Who ever knew the LORD'S mind?"  The Greek for "mind" is NOUN (3563) in this quote of Isaiah 40:13 which draws on the Jewish Greek Septuagint. For the Hebrew Text uses RHUACH (7307), also rendered "spirit." Paul does the same at 1 Corinthians 2:16. This proves that the "spirit of God" is the "mind of God." In Hebrew, and likely the oldest Greek copies of the Septuagint, the Tetragram of YHWH occurs in Isaiah 40:13. Speaking of Yehowah, Paul affirms,  "Everything originated from Him and because of Him." Knox renders this: all things find in him their origin, their impulse, the centre of their being. This includes His Son who originated from his Father. (Proverbs 8:22; John 1:18; 1 Corinthians 8:6)

From this examination of Romans chapter 11 we have considered one view which limits Paul's main theme as dealing with the natural conflict between those former Jews and non-Jews who had become Christians. Romans chapter 11 is virtually a commentary on our Lord's parable at Matthew 22:1-14. Many Jews have been invited to the Marriage Feast but few will be chosen, and these from among Jews and non-Jews. How grateful we are to presently share in this invitation and choosing. May we -- Jew or non-Jew -- see it to the finish. We rejoice in that future day when "All Israel will be saved!" [The above article was taken from the footnotes of the new translation of the Letter to the Romans found in Nazarene Commentary.]


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