Romans Bible Study Lesson 42

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Israel Missed the Call

Romans 10:13—21

Paul continues to address his Jewish kinsmen—those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Messiah. He is explaining to them God’s Mystery plan as revealed directly to Paul by Jesus Christ. It’s his desire and prayer that unbelieving Israel becomes saved (Notice it is his prayer for them to be saved in verse 1. When he addresses fellow believers it is Paul’s practice to say we or us.) This salvation by faith apart from the Law is right in front of them all they need to do is confess (agree with God) who Jesus Christ is and believe in His work (death, burial and resurrection). Verse 12 then marks a dispensational change from the Old Testament and the Gospels by stating that there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. Before the dividing wall of the Law was torn down at the cross, there was a huge divide between Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:12—15).

Verse 13

This verse is a quote from Joel 2:32 and relates to the Tribulation period just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Joel 2:30—32 30“I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. 31“The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 32“And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered;

Peter quotes this passage in Acts 2:21 because the end-time events were commencing. God was going to pour out His Spirit and people would prophesy, dream and have visions, Wonders and signs would then be seen in the heavens and on earth during the Tribulation culminating in the Second Coming. The promise was that anyone who called out to the Lord in faith while living through the Tribulation period would be saved.

Paul now uses this statement for Israel to be saved into the Body of Christ. However, Paul did not say anything about the Tribulation or the Second Coming because these events do not have any place in this Dispensation of Grace.

Verses 14—15

Although this outlines the general procedure of disseminating the gospel the main purpose here is for Paul to explain the steps toward believing and then showing that Israel did have every opportunity to respond.

Verse 16

Unfortunately, Israel in general did not respond to the good news. As Isaiah says: “Who has believed our report?” When God sent out prophets with His word, the vast majority of Israel rejected that message and went their own way.

What was the good news that Israel rejected? First let’s define good news for various people and times.

In Isaiah’s day the good news was that if Israel would turn back to God that God would bless them and send them their Messiah. Noah’s good news was that building an ark would save him and his family. In the Gospels the good news of the Kingdom was proclaimed because the King was in their midst. The good news was that the Promised Kingdom would very soon materialize. Our good news is about God’s grace. Instead of the wrath of God being poured out on the earth with the beginning of the Tribulation, He introduced His plan to go directly to the Gentiles through Paul.

Verses 17—20

Paul summarizes that hearing the Good News of God’s Word can lead to faith. Without knowledge how can anyone believe? Since Israel did not believe Paul asks: “Surely they have never heard, have they?” It seems impossible that they could have heard the Good News and rejected it. He answers his own question with a quote from Psalms 19:4 stating that the word has gone out into the entire world.

Well, perhaps Israel heard but didn’t understand the message. Paul refutes this with a quote from Deuteronomy 32:21 saying they did understand and because they understood and rejected the message, that which is not a nation would make them jealous.

We know that God wanted to provoke Israel to jealousy by having the Gospel go to the Gentiles (Romans 11:11) but this verse is not referencing that. This group that is not a nation is the believing group of Jews within Israel. The term nation could not refer to the Gentiles since Gentiles are composed of many nations. The leaders of Israel hated this believing remnant of Jewish believers (Acts 5:17). These believers were the ones promised the Kingdom while the current leadership would be rejected (Matthew 21:43; Luke 12:32). First believers within Israel made the leaders of Israel jealous then the Gospel going to the Gentile made them jealous. These two things were to bring unbelieving Israel to God but both failed.

Isaiah (65:1–2) further explains who this group of believers within Israel is. They were not out seeking God, but God was seeking them. They didn’t ask for their Messiah, their Messiah made Himself know unto them. God quit dealing with the leaders of Israel and found another flock within Israel.

Verse 21

Israel is characterized as disobedient and stubborn. The leaders are characterized as bad shepherds that plundered the sheep of Israel—the same sheep they were to protect and care for (Ezekiel 34:1—10). In spite of years of poor, ungodly leadership God was still reaching out to them in love. He gave them every chance to repent and come back to Himself (Acts 3:19). Matthew 23:37 shows Jesus’ love for Israel.

Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.