Romans 9: --Paul Against Predestination

Before looking at this chapter it may be helpful to look at some of the main teachings of Paul to show that the old, and new, forms of predestination allowed people to ignore the Word and get their validation from "signs" or charismatic experiences. Because the Jews were in the process of being "disfellowshipped" and even destroyed as a nation, Paul informed them about a new spirit which is nothing like the charismatic spirit--

Chapter 1: Most who lived before the law ignored the teachings of God and felt so predestinated that they ignored Him and made idols "in their own image."

Chapter 2: All are warned that they are not "predestinated" (beyond being lost) but will be judged by the same standards they use against others. God did not select the Jews to place them beyond His judgment.

Chapter 3: The only advantage the Jews had was "the oracles of God." That is, the only spiritual weapon anyone has is the inspired Word. However, the Word was reinterpreted to mean that it permitted them to continue in paganism and force God to give them more grace.

The primary evil of all people was "what came out of their mouth." However, all people could be cured of "false religion" by "stopping their mouth" so that they could listen while "the law speaks."

Chapter 4: Paul shows that Abraham closed his ears to the pagan form of "religious Babel." As a result he could hear God speaking to him. His faithful obedience to the word of God made him the model of faithfulness for all generations.

Chapter 5: The pagan religions--including Judaism as it then existed--produced extreme mental agitation and the demand to "see miraculous signs." These were most often "seen" during charismatic festivals driven by wine and music. Amos and Isaiah proved that their religious festivals had been modified by adding elements of Canaanite Baalism.

Adam, as the "one man," set the stage for false religions (as the source of spiritual death). However, by refusing to listen to the religious leaders of His day, Jesus performed the one righteous act which could free all people from self-seeking (idolatry) and turn them to right living. In this He was the second Adam.

Chapter 6: A religion of the senses left everyone dead and powerless. They were virtual slaves in their old religion. Through turning to Christ by obeying "that standard of teaching," one could become the slave to right living. This involves being "baptized into Christ" even as the body is baptized in water.

Chapter 7: The Jews were lost in the sense of an adulterous wife who had "died to" the law of her husband. From the prophets we understand that Israel was called a prostitute going all the way back to Egypt.

This "adultery" continued when Israel abandoned the Word and right living and adopted the religion of the various "gods" including Tammuz. The "worship service" condemned by Amos has been identified as the marzeah which was a "feast with and for the dead." Being "in connection" with Christ freed one from these destructive practices.

"Out of the Canaanites' belief in local gods with restricted spheres of influence arose a tendency to minimize the extent of God's claims and to bind Him by necessity to the people of a given area. God and His people came increasingly to be felt to exist for each other and to be mutually dependent. As certain of the false prophets expressed it, 'Is not Yahweh among us? None evil can come upon us!" (Micah 3:11). Again, while Israel might reject the pagan's belief in the masseva, or pillar, they could and did transfer the masseva-concept to the ark. With God thus 'contained,' they fell prey to the delusion of being able to control God's power for their own ends." (Theo. of OT, p. 105).

Chapter 8: A new and different manifestation of the "law" is made possible by a new "spirit." This is not the old "spirit of slavery" as spiritual adultery; it was the "spirit of sonship" which gave one free access to the Father without having to "drum him up" from the dead, the business trip, or 'relieving himself' (See Elijah versus Baal).

Paul introduces the subject of God's foreknowledge and predestination. Because the Jews believed that "Father Abraham stands beside the gates of hell and prevents any Jew from entering" Paul seems to end his thoughts, inserts chapters 9-11 as a "synagogue sermon," and then picks up in chapter 12 with his thoughts.

In summary, the Jews believed in "predestination." But now they find that Paul says that they can be lost and the Gentiles can be saved. What went wrong? Perhaps God failed. Or perhaps the Word failed. No, Paul says, you failed. Paul then uses some "predestination" texts from the Old Testament to show that God's "path" whichl the Jews were supposed to walk would predestinate them to the destination He picked. However, they made another choice, picked another "path" and were then destined to reach the destination they picked.

Chapter 9: The old signs did not prove that Jews were predestinated. In fact, they followed the "signs" which caused them to ignore the Word. According to Amos they died of "hunger and thirst for the Word." However, the word did not fail just because God extended His offer to anyone He choose--He did not have to consult the Jews. He honored none for their self-righteousness because even Israel had been "chosen" as an act of mercy to "an adulterous people." They were no better than Pharaoh upon whom God showed mercy.

This chapter is a direct address to modern Calvinism which demands "signs" as proof that one is selected while denying that the "gospel is the power of God to salvation to those who believe." If the Gentile could believe, then they could be saved without "pursuing" it through Judaism.

The Gentiles were not immune from the tragic error in a budding Gnosticism of which it is said--

According to the Gnostic myth, through some tragic failure a spark of the divine was planted in some (but not all) persons and the memory of its divine origin erased. Humankind continued in its ignorant stupor until the high God had mercy and sent Christ to remind man of his true origin. Salvation, therefore, came through knowledge (gnosis) but this gnosis was more than just intellectual awareness of the divine origin of one's true self. Knowing for the Gnostic went beyond mental recall; it meant active reunion with one's divine source through all kinds of ecstatic experience--dreams, visions, speaking in tongues, etc. In this return to the divine source, one is liberated from the bodily prison (Roetzel, Calvin J., The Letters of Paul, John Knox Press, Atlanta, p. 83)

The Gentiles were not condemned for seeking intellectual knowledge. Rather, Paul condemned the charismatic need to have God prove Himself--

In all types of Gnosticism the highest goal of the spiritual life is the obtaining of divine substance for oneself. The Christian faith distinguishes itself from this seemingly devout but actually selfish piety by locating the focus of Christian life not in the accumulating of spirituality or spirit for oneself, but more mundanely, in giving oneself to the neighbor. In Gnosticism the goal of spiritual life is the emptying of oneself in order to be filled with divine substance--it is vertical; in the Christian faith the goal is the emptying of oneself for the human neighbor--it is horizontal. This difference of directions in energy determines the difference in types of evidence. Special 'spiritual experience' (gnosis 'puffs up,' but Christian love 'builds up' (1 Cor. 8:1b)." (Bruner, p. 275)

This makes Paul's appeal to the Scripture and to "offering the body as a living sacrifice" very important to understand.

Chapter 10: Comparing the charisma of Paganism with being "in Christ," Paul calls their attention to the "charismatic rituals" at Mount Sinai. There, the Israelites performed the common worship of trying to "summon their god from across the sea" even while God was writing the Covenant Words on stone.

The bull (Apis representing Osiris) worship involved the same "out of your mind" experiences demanded by many religions. This was a religious festival involving singing, instruments, and dancing. This rejection of the Covenant minimized the word and even make Bible study evil. The Jews were without excuse because God's "voice has gone out to all the earth."

Therefore, the new way to "call God" is to hear, believe, repent, confess and "call on His name" which is done at the time and place of baptism.

Chapter 11: When the Jews were involved with their paganism, God "sent them a strong delusion that they believe a lie and be damned." The charismatic rituals are described by most of the prophets and it was primarily their "religious festivals" to which they had added Canaanite music which was the "snare" which caught them. God "rescued" a few worthy of death people to vindicate His name but He did not predestinate them to heaven or hell. Their failure had some good effects when God turned more forcefully to the Gentiles to find a new group who would carry out His commission to be a blessing to all people or nations. In time, some of the Jews could be "grafted" back into the "Vine" but on the same terms as the Gentiles.

Chapter 12: The Christian "sacrifice" demands that the body (life) be offered to others as a "living sacrifice." The new worship is "spiritual" or "rational worship." Being "in spirit and in truth," according to Jesus, is to follow His teachings which rescued the mind from pagan charismatic rituals. This enables believers to "live in harmony" with others. Therefore, the rescue by God can only be proven by treating others in a way which was contrary to the paganism which the Jews had adopted.

Chapter 13: The "moral law" is still in effect because it was not a "Jew" law or a "ritual" law. The eternal ten commandments were summed up in honoring God with "self" and treating others as you treat the self. This would result in the Old Testament demand which was centered in righteousness and justice. It has been noted that the Ten Commandments include "duty to God" on the vertical plane and "duty to others" on the horizontal plane. The exception is that "the seventh day" has been defined as "the one of the Sabbath" which is the Lord's day.

The demand is to "cast off the works of darkness" which were the charismatic practices of paganism which had taken over many of the Jews.

Chapter 14: The "religious festival" was, according to God, "dedicating the food to God but eating it yourselves." The Gentile also "fed their god" by "eating the meat themselves." As a result, those who now had "food restrictions" or other untaught beliefs are neither good nor bad but they are weak. These people must be accepted but they must not be allowed to bring their "disputations" into the church. This does not permit everyone to do their own thing because Paul restricts one from putting "stumbling blocks" in the path of others. Nothing is to be added which does not contribute to "mutual upbuilding." This cannot permit practices which have always been divisive.

The "kingdom" is defined as opposite that of paganism and much of Judaism had been.

Chapter 15: The pagan "gods" were said to have created humans to "do their work." One could work for them primarily in the rituals: singing, dancing, playing music, and feeding them food and wine--even if the "brethren" starved to death (See Amos) physically and spiritually because of ignorance of the Word.

However, the new "religion" is to bear one another's burdens. Paul speaks of "singing to the Gentiles" which in various places is "teaching the unbeliever about God." This is very close to Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 which demand that we "fill up with the word of Christ" and then "with one voice" "teach and admonish" with only the revealed Word of God. Paul has been hindered from a "pleasure" trip because he was carrying out this Great Commission of "singing to the Gentiles" which can only occur "where they have not been told."

Paul outlaws those who had been troubling Corinth because their old paganism gave them the "office" of spiritual mediator between them and their god. He dismisses this by saying: "you are filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another." Yet, they still needed "teaching" which refuted the "direct operation" belief of the troublers who really had no spiritual gifts.

Chapter 16: Paul commends various people including Phoebe. She could not have been a "deaconess" because there was no Greek word available for Paul to describe her as an official female deacon. Rather, she is called a "succorer" or "protectress" who, in the Greek world, was a government agent who looked out for strangers traveling in a region. She was "welcome wagon, brother's keeper and meals on wheels." Notice that those who Paul honors are not honored for their office but for their "hard work."

Andronicus and Junias were not "female, later-day apostles." Rather, they were well known "among the apostles" for their good work. The feminine ending in some translations does not prove that they were women.

He warned against the false teachers who fooled the foolish by their "charismatic methods" and were dividing the church. To solve this eternal problem he reminded them that all of the "secrets" were now available to anyone who could read "the prophetic writings" which were now "disclosed" for everyone.

Introduction to Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine will explain some of the "predestination" examples to prove to the Jews that they were not predestinated beyond being lost.

Calvinistic predestination demands that if God has not operated upon you supernaturally to save you and prove it without even hearing the Words of God. Most people are stable enough that they do not naturally fall into a charismatic fit. This means that the local church would never be very large. Therefore, at Cane Ridge and elsewhere, the manufacturing of "signs" has been a cottage industry. When one has been manipulated into this sign the danger is that further growth is impossible and those not "saved" are treated as second class citizens.

Predestination demands signs

The Jews looked for "signs" and the Greeks sought "wisdom" to prove that they had some god connection. However, both of these are the demand for supernatural show and tell.

The Gospel, now as then, has to encounter the demand of those who ask for signs. Do we not see the craving for sign--for the display, that is, of supernatural power to crush and silence all doubt resulting in the superstitious corruptions of Christianity?

For what is superstition but an appeal from wisdom to power, an effort to silence the reason by the terrors of the senses?... Superstition is still the Nemesis, not of faith, but of unbelief.

And every such superstition necessarily grows always grosser and darker as it grows older. For the desire of the teacher for power, combining with the desire of the taught for certainty, must tend always to efforts at making the sign, which is to secure both, still more awful and convincing, by still greater and more awful attestations. A fresh miracle must be provided to silence each fresh heresy, a new prodigy to confirm each new dogma." (Hastings, Commentary on 1 Cor., p. 7).

Modern Gnosticism--Calvinism

Paul's warning is very important because there is a periodic loss of faith with the demand that God "send us a sign" that we are saved. Liberal theology is the shaker-and-mover in these efforts because it has convinced itself that God is incompetent to speak for Himself through the Word.

This most destructive doctrine can be seen to develop in several stages. First, it was stated by Calvin in his Institutes:

According to the Gnostic myth, through some tragic failure a spark of the divine was planted in some (but not all) persons and the memory of its divine origin erased. Humankind continued in its ignorant stupor until the high God had mercy and sent Christ to remind man of his true origin. Salvation, therefore, came through knowledge (gnosis) but this gnosis was more than just intellectual awareness of the divine origin of one's true self. Knowing for the Gnostic went beyond mental recall; it meant active reunion with one's divine source through all kinds of ecstatic experience--dreams, visions, speaking in tongues, etc. In this return to the divine source, one is liberated from the bodily prison (Roetzel, Calvin J., The Letters of Paul, John Knox Press, Atlanta, p. 83)

Not all men are created with similar destiny but eternal life is foreordained for some, and eternal damnation for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say, is predestined either to life or death." (Insti. 111, Ch. 23).

By the decree of God for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated into everlasting life, and others foreordained into everlasting death. These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished." (Confession of Faith, pp 23-24).

The original evil force of Calvinism (new and old) was felt in the Great Awakening in New Jersey in the 1720's and in 1734-1735 in Northhampton, Massachusetts under Jonathan Edwards. It is noted that "masses" of people with no intellectual driving force of their own do in these meetings what the preacher wants them to do--

A 'gathered' church meant that each of the members, as a prerequisite for admission, must be able to narrate an experience of the new birth without which no one could enter the kingdom... Among many of the unregenerate they would find those prepared to listen to them, for such knowledge of Christian belief as had been spread abroad bred convictions or at least an uneasiness which would respond to the preacher who pled with the unconverted and urged them to repent and turn in faith to God." (Latourette, p. 957-958).

This is why these "experiences" were taken as proof of revival even if they had no lasting effect on lives. However, this revivalism was a paradox because Calvinism guaranteed regeneration only to the predestinated people.

The doctrine of election, out of the Augustine heritage which was dominant in the churches of the Reformed tradition and which except for those influenced by Arminianism was generally accepted in New England and the Presbyterian churches, would seem to have discouraged any appeal to the unregenerate. If one were among the elect, so the belief ran, God's grace would prove irresistible and would reach all those whom He had chosen for salvation. If, on the other hand, one were not among the elect no amount of preaching would change the status. Yet it was mainly in the...called Calvinism and its doctrine of election that the Great awakening began and made its chief appeal." (Latourette, p. 958).

This explains why Thomas Campbell got into his first difficulty by offering communion to those who were not proven to be "regenerate" or "revived" and could "flash" the token given by the clergy.

Manufacturing the Signs

You cannot be "predestinated" unless you can prove it to an "examining committee" who examines your "experience" and certifies that you have been selected and cannot be rejected. However, people ignored Jesus' method of revival and righteousness and justice as proof and demanded signs which are identical to Babylonian, Hittitite, Canaanite and every other form of pagan religion.

Since experience was essential, and that experience had in it much emotion, seasons were to be expected when a community was aroused and tides swept through it changing many individuals. There were those, especially among the clergy, who prayed for such seasons and sought to encourage them. (Latourette, p. 960).

One of the devices was to establish the need of a deep inward experience--you are not likely to commit such outrages unless some "authority figure" demands it of you. This was promoted during private prayer meetings and fulfilled in the emotional atmosphere of the mass-meeting.

Much excitement and many emotional disturbances accompanied the revival. Although the expressions were different, one is reminded of the Flagellants whom we have met in Roman Catholic circles. There were screaming, laughing, trances, visions, and convulsions. Some of the preachers and lay exhorters deliberately stimulated these phenomena. " (Latourette, p. 960).

Latourette shows that the Flagellants came out of a popular movement outside of the monasteries. He points out that the singing guilds which began in Italy in the twelfth century, became organized in the thirteenth century along with musical instruments (1250AD). These "musical worship teams" often created a planned charismatic response--

They went in procession through towns, or met in the evenings on piazzas or before some shrine to sing hymns of penitence and adoration.

In 1259 "By a kind of contagion men, women, and children bewailed their sins and many of them marched through the streets, naked but for loin cloths, crying to God for mercy, and scourging themselves until the blood ran. (Latourette, p. 448).

This group became unpopular but arose again later and emphasized popular songs. This belief exists in several forms but one is--

The basic and fundamental doctrine of this organization shall be the Bible standard of FULL salvation, which is repentance, baptism in water by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, AND the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the initial sign of speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives them utterance." (United Pentecostal Manual, p. 22).

These groups found that the tongues, dancing, singing, handling snakes and drinking poison (without being able to spell the words) could only be stimulated by music.

Not Many Speak in Tongues

No man ever spoke in tongues outside of the presence or touch of an apostle. We don't know that after the sign they ever spoke in tongues again.

No woman is recorded to have spoken in tongues even in an apostles's presence.

In First Corinthians ten, Paul reminded them of Israel's failures in the wilderness and when Paul prohibits women from speaking in the short assembly to honor God's Word scholars see him pointing to Miriam who aroused the women to sing, play instruments and dance while Moses recited the song to the men. Later, she is not condemned as performing the charismatic prophesying along with the elders as a judgmental sign against the complainers. Rather, she was judged for pretending to get a direct message from God.

Paul will say that the songs in Corinth should be revealed doctrinal truth (1 Cor. 14:6) but Miriam here and later claimed that she as a prophetess had the right to speak for God. However, a Presbyterian writer called their attention to the wilderness experience and especially to Amos and warned against any artificial means of stimulating the church--

In the first place, it will be noticed from the account of the triumphant rejoicing on the shore of the Red Sea that the men sang only: 'Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake saying.'" (Girardeau, George, p. 33)

Miriam was not condemned for repeating what had already been revealed by Moses, but later when she claimed to be inspired, God judged her. Now, she "leads the women out" and Girardeau says--

In the second place, it was Miriam and the women who used instruments of music on the occasion: 'And Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went after her with timbrels and with dances." (Girardeau, p. 33).

God said that some of the people got messages in "dark speeches" always as a warning but Moses was to reveal the Word and God choose to speak to him face-to-face. Therefore, in chapter eleven Paul demanded that the women not "prophesy" in the pagan sense of prophetesses who "threw off the veil" in order to "attract men."

In chapter twelve the pagan awakening rituals might be continuing in Corinth and it was possible that someone could be "cursing Jesus" and the wise Corinthians would not know. They all wanted to speak in tongues as a Calvinistic-like need to be validated by God but not all had the gift.

In chapter thirteen he compared these charismatic exercises to one who would use the trumpet and sound retreat when the army was on the verge of victory. These instruments were never musical but were to send clear signals in case of danger.

In chapter fourteen, he calls us back to Isaiah 28 where the speaking in tongues was the sign that the enemy was at the door and Judah could not grasp the danger of the promise of greener pastures for everyone.

Now, in Romans Nine, Paul will warn against the beliefs in predestination which demanded supernatural signs and caused one to ignore or ridicule the Word of God as the Jews had before God sent the arrogant Assyrians speaking unknown tongues. They failed because they ignored the Word and not because they did not have an overabundance of exciting religious festivals and even pagan arousal or resurrection ceremonies.

Therefore, it is logical that in Romans ten he will warn them against the Israelites ascending and descending ritual at Mount Sinai exactly when God was giving them the Word in written form. He will show (as John Locke might) that the only place they could get their "message" was from hearing the God-sent teachers. One "arouses" or "calls on God" at the time and place of baptism and not at some revival ritual.

However, in Romans eleven Paul will call us back to David--who was not the model worship leader but the prophet--who performed the charismatic ritual while moving the ark to Jerusalem as a judgmental sign that they were deserting God. In all of the "praise God with the harp" Psalms David calls God's wrath down on the Gentiles but he was really "judging himself as he judged others." We saw this in Romans 2:1 where David judged himself by passing judgment on the "lamb stealer."

Paul again calls us back to Acts 28, Isaiah 6 and Isaiah 29 and Deuteronomy 29:4 just before God gave His song of judgment against Israel. They had been "disfellowshipped" by God and sentenced to destruction. Therefore, Paul described the entirety of the Jewish experience as one great charismatic ritual where the people ignored the vision like they had ignored the scroll. God "covered the heads" or seers (Isa 29:11 See 1 Cor. 11:1f) and "sealed the eyes" or the prophets because they were stunned, amazed, blind, drunk without wine and staggering without beer. They would speak from the ground, mumble out of the dust, have a ghostlike voice from the earth, and a whispering voice from the dust.

as it is written: "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day." -- Rom 11:8

And David says: "May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. -- Rom 11:9

May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever." -- Rom 11:10

From this same charismatic sign of a threat around them, which the Jews met by charismatic worship which ignored the Word, Paul will in Romans chapter nine call us back to the potter and the clay--

The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. -- Isa 29:13

Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish." -- Isa 29:14

You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "He did not make me"? Can the pot say of the potter, "He knows nothing"? -- Isa 29:16

In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. -- Isa 29:18

Once more the humble will rejoice in the LORD; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. -- Isa 29:19

The ruthless will vanish, the mockers will disappear, and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down-- Isa 29:20

The Demand for Arousers

The Jews rejected the notion that lives could be changed by teaching the Bible. It was simply necessary to live the legalistic lives ordained for everyone. For this reason they often lost the Bible and turned to charismatic religious festivals to "feel" spiritual.

In the same way, Calvin taught that hearing the Word might have been the original method Jesus used to create faith. However, once "predestination" is in force one receives faith as a supernatural sign that one is among the chosen--

But they do not consider, that when the apostle makes hearing the source of faith, he only describes the ordinary economy and dispensation of the Lord, which he generally observes in the calling of his people;

but does not prescribe a perpetual rule for him,

precluding his employment of any other method; which he has certainly employed in the calling of many, to whom he has given the true knowledge of himself in an internal manner, by the illumination of his Spirit, without the intervention of any preaching. (Calvin's Institutes, Westminister Press, Vol. II, p. 622).

Perhaps this is why many cannot find any meaning to Scripture and demand the "leap"--

God can never be found along any way of thought; for indeed this idea of God bursts through and destroys all the fundamental categories of thought; the absolutely antithetical character of the basic logical principles of contradiction and identity. To want to think this God for oneself would mean insanity." (Brunner, Emil, Revelation and Reason, pp 46f.)

John Locke is the "bugbear" of modern charismatics because (while rejecting inspiration as a protest against Calvinism) he claimed that "we have nothing in our minds which has not been put there through one of the human senses." Those who believe they might be inspired, however, feel that these God-ordained senses are not adequate. Jesus said that "My words are spirit and life" and the apostles felt that what they knew needed to be recorded.

The Qualifications of the Arousers

Speaking in tongues is held to be the absolute sign that one is saved. However, because people rarely speak in tongues out on the frontier, there arose a style of preaching which largely ignored the Word and concentrated on trying to "meet the needs."

To understand early forms of preaching you have to understand Jewish and Calvinistic "experiences." The pagan's hired "arousers" or "awakeners" who were often foreign women who could "sing the magical incantation or play music to arouse the worshipper to make them feel that god was aroused." The Jews adopted this practice, many of the Psalms are "arousal" hymns, and during the Inter-Testament period an attempt was made to prevent their being sung.

The Baptists had a peculiar appeal to the masses. Their preachers, usually with very slight education, knew their audiences and how to address them in language (with a musical cadence) which would hold their attention and bring conviction. They tended to be highly emotional." (Latourette, p. 1037).

The Result of Arousal Revivalism

During both the first and second "awakening" while the emotional high of the moment--like a drug high--was seen as proof of super-spirituality, when the drug wore off, observers could say with Paul to the Corinthians, "your meetings do more harm than good."

It is not surprising that after the "exercises" are over and the "booty has been divided up" the jealousy and conflict has not benefited one bit from the revival

Divisions in the churches accompanied and followed the Great Awakening. The more ardent preachers of the revival had sharp words for those ministers whom they deemed unconverted. Whitefield occasionally spoke caustically of those who did not follow him. Others were even more vehement. On the other side were many, both clergy and laity, who were alienated by the emotional excesses, were angered by the denunciations of the more ardent itinerant preachers... 'New lights' 'Old lights' in Presbyterian and Congregational churches often separated into distinct units. (Latourette, p. 960).

The Second Great Awakening

First, we should note that no "wing" of the restoration movement has ever been "Calvinistic" nor has it ever been "Charismatic." Some of the "restorers" were, in fact, "disfellowshipped" from the Presbyterian churches because they rejected their doctrines.

Barton W. Stone as a self-supported Presbyterian circuit preacher of Calvinism had witnessed some of the "charismatic exercises" and set up a joint meeting with several churches at Cane Ridge in hopes of reproducing the effects. This involved several competing preachers with the expectation that something might happen and--

As the revival interest grew, and as the meeting became larger and longer, unexpected and bizarre manifestations, called 'exercises,' began to occur. They were considered visible manifestations of the direct action of the Holy Spirit... The commonest were the 'falling exercise' and the 'jerks.' The names are sufficiently explanatory. The barking exercise sometimes accompanied the jerks, and the dancing exercise grew out of them. There was also the running exercise. It was reported that those who came to scoff were not immune to these seizures. However, it was only the devout who ever experienced the laughing exercise. (Winfred E. Garrison and Alfred T. DeGroot, The Disciples of Christ, St. Louis: The Bethany Press, 1948, p. 99).

This was very important to people who were primarily Calvinistic. It proved that they had been supernaturally selected by God as one of the predestinated people.

Therefore, when the excitement died down; when they couldn't get past Duncan's Tavern on the way to the fields and forests; and when they didn't feel very "spiritual" the next Sunday, they felt that they had been deluded and turned in disgust from any form of church.

The evidence is that these experiences often result from men in competition trying to attract the largest "audience"--

Lewis argued from the usual role of women in possession performances that this was due to their exclusion from authority in male-dominated society--i.e., spirit possession as a sex-war. Unfortunately, there are many societies where males are both dominant and possessed. Wilson, in replying to Lewis, attributes the phenomenon to conflict, tension and jealousy between members of the same sex. (Montgomery, p. 159).

This movement did not form the basis for Churches of Christ. Rather, some went back into Calvinism, even leaders deserted their families and joined the Shakers just down the road, and the movement became the basis for Mormonism. Of one "exercise" it is said--

Hundreds fell to the ground senseless, the most elegantly dressed women in Kentucky lying in the mud alongside rugged trappers. Some were seized with the 'jerks,' their heads and limbs snapping back and forth and their bodies grotesquely distorted. Those who caught the 'barks' would crawl on all fours, growling and snapping like the camp dogs, fighting over garbage heaped behind tents... One preacher wrote to another: 'thousands of tongues with the sound of hallelujah seemed to run through infinite space; while hundreds of people lay prostrate on the ground crying for mercy. Oh! My dear brother, had you been there to have seen the convulsed limbs, the apparently lifeless bodies, you have been constrained to cry out as I was obliged to do, the gods are among the people." (Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History (New York: A.A. Knopf, 1945), p. 14).

Writers noted that this was Calvinistic which denied that "you" could hear the word and believe it if God had not predestinated you. Because the "exercises" had no Biblical basis in the preaching, restoration leaders repudiated them--

The reason the delusions made little progress among the disciples save only at Kirtland where the way for it was paved by the common stock principle (communism), is to be found in the cardinal principle everywhere taught and accepted among them that faith is founded upon testimony. (Hayden, Quoted by Jividen, p. 85).

When Sidney Rigdon had no success in getting Restoration churches to adopt the practice he joined with early Mormons who took over the church at Kirtland, Ohio--

Many would have fits of speaking in all of the Indian dialects which none could understand. Again at the dead hour of the night, young men might be seen running over the fields and hills in pursuit, as they said, of balls of fire, lights, etc.) (Jividen, Glossolalia, p. 84).

At Kirtland, Ohio, the place of the first temple, Brigham Young received the gift of tongues several weeks after his baptism while praying with some friends: 'The Spirit came on me, and I spoke in tongues, and we thought only of the day of Pentecost.' The Saints anxiously awaited the arrival and the verdict of their Prophet, Joseph Smith. When he came, he informed Young that his gift of tongues was the pure Adamic language.' Shortly thereafter, Smith himself received the gift. (Hamilton, p. 87).

Barton W. Stone is periodically claimed to be the true "founder" of churches of Christ; and this form of charismatic "exercise" is claimed to be our "roots" which we have rejected and need to "replant" in order to experience a revival. However, Stone did not promote the experience and Campbell praised him many years later while utterly condemning the Cane Ridge episode as some form of insanity. He could not approve of Stone if Stone promoted charismatic religion.

In 1831 Stone wrote favorably of the "exercises" (Randall, Max Ward, The Great Awakenings and the Restoration Movement, College Press, p. 386) but in 1833 he tested it by its fruits by writing--

We have seen this state of things continue but a short time, and then disappear for years. We have seen many of these converts soon dwindle, sicken and die, and become more hardened against the fear of God, than they were before--many of them becoming infidels, by thinking that all professors of religion are like themselves deluded by strong passion and imagination."... All must acknowledge that some good results from such revivals; but all must acknowledge that great evil also rose out of them. Those, who were under strong affections, believed they were born of God, and who made a public confession of faith, and fell from it, are of all people in the most pitiable situation, seldom do they ever after embrace religion--these by their example, discourage others, and fill their minds with prejudices against religion. (Stone, Barton Warren, The Christian Messenger, Vol. VII, No. 7, July, 1833, pages 210-212--See Randall p. 390, for the complete letter).

Stone rejected every principle of Calvinism and by rejecting predestination there simply was no need for the "second work of grace" seen in some form of supernatural sign that God had chosen you. Like Campbell, Stone believed that one could read the Scripture and come to a saving faith, be baptized and be saved. No person was automatically included and no believer was excluded by God. Stone did not look at Cane Ridge and say "have a revival experience." Rather, he looked at the Bible and with his five-fingered hand pointed out: "Hear, believe, repent, confess and be baptized."

Calvinism in extreme forms of Neo-Pentecostalism sweeps over the churches from time to time tempting people to want to adopt music as the primary tool used to bring on charismatic practices including speaking in tongues.

Campbell rejected the fanaticism but felt that the people of Kentucky were so evil at that time that the revivalism paved the way for his more rational preaching. However, he said:

The machinery of modern revivals is not divine, but human. It is certainly divisive. They are undoubtedly deceived who repose the slightest confidence in it. The spirit of the crusades is in it--the spirit of fanaticism is in it--the spirit of delusion is in it. The Spirit of God is not in it, else he was not in the Apostles; for he taught them no such schemes--no such means of catching men. This is a bait which was never put by Christ's fishermen on the evangelical hook. (Alexander Campbell, quoted by Randall, p. 373)

These "exercises" have always been confused with "Revivalism." Such artificial methods often have the goal of "attracting sheep from other folds" so that the bills can be paid. Of these phenomenon in general Campbell warned against them as a method of true "revival"--

But in the rage of sectarian proselytism, 'the Holy Ghost' is an admirable contrivance. Every qualm of conscience, every new motion of the heart, every strange feelings or thrill--all doubts, fears, despondencies, horrors, remorse, etc., are the work of this Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit is equivalent to the spirit of holiness, and its fruits are goodness, gentleness, purity, peace, joy, etc. But not so the fruits of this evangelical Holy Ghost. To it is ascribed all the anguish, horror of conscience, lamentations and grief, which precede that calm called regeneration, so often witnessed in our greatest revivals. (Millennial Harbinger 1831:212).

Later, Campbell wrote to dispute that the church is the product of Cane Ridge--

When then shall we think of that religion which is the mere offspring of excited feelings--of sympathy with tones, and attitudes, and gestures--of the noise, and tumults, and shoutings of enthusiasm--of the machinery of the mourning bench, the anxious seat, the boisterous interlocutory prayers, intercessions, and exhortations to 'get religion on the spot' etc., with which all are conversant who frequent revival meetings in seasons of great excitement. (Millenial Harbinger. 1840:167)

The brief brush with the "holiness movement" by Restoration churches was really a "brush off" and there was never any serious ecstatic manifestation in churches which depended upon Scripture for sole authority.

In 1853 W. K. Pendelton wrote of these earlier events:

Simply that it was a peculiar form of nervous disease, that was both epidemic and contagious. It came suddenly, as the destruction and the pestilence, both at noonday and in darkness--seized upon all classes and conditions, good and bad, old and young, male and female, bond and free, saint and sinner; affected them all with the same characteristic symptoms of bodily derangement--tarried for a season and then disappeared. Its effect on the mind, so far as it was peculiar, was simply excitement. No new truths were communicated,--no old errors corrected--nor miraculous utterances given; but simply an excitement, despondent or hopeful, gloomy or joyful, clear or confused, according to the convictions of the mind at the time of the attack and influence of circumstances during its continuance. (quoted by Randall, p. 373).

There is a reviving and perhaps "sweeping" urge to restore Levite-like "clergy worship teams" where worship is "performed for you." This urge for mental excitement was always confused by the pagans and Jews with "a spiritual experience" which had the reviving power to make you holy.

Therefore, there could be no better time to see that the Jews' feelings of superiority were always caused by exciting worship which resulted in ignoring the Word which meant ignoring God. As a result, God destroyed all but a tiny remnant and the thousands of trumpets and harps regulating the temple could not prevent God from taking it down--for the third time--stone by stone.

The Jews rejected the Word and replaced it with pagan-like rituals which various prophets identify as revelry. Many of the rituals sound very much like what happened at Cane Ridge where people "whispered and muttered" and claimed to be getting a message from their God. Now Paul has to tell them that they were pagans (spiritual adulterers), have been rejected by God, the "tongues and prophesying" at Pentecost was God's sign against them, and He has turned to a new "restoration" effort (grafting in the non-predestinated as the way of revival). However, it was the Jew's failure and the word did not (will not even now) fail even if they locked it up, cut it up and ignored it.

Summary of Chapter Nine:

Paul wrote to correct several misunderstandings which arose from his earlier letters as they were interpreted to meet the needs of some teachers who were not really believers. Two errors needed special attention. The first was the belief that Paul taught salvation by faith or grace only. This led to the natural result: "Let us sin that grace may abound." To the Jew who put their total trust in the law this seemed natural. The second false belief of the Jews was predestination which taught that being a Jew guaranteed salvation. Therefore, when Paul taught--"Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts" (1 Cor 7:19), he alienated both the "legalists" and the "anti-legalists" by denying both views.

It is possible that Paul either took a parenthetic detour in chapters 9-11 or--as some scholars believe--inserted a synagogue discourse to clarify his message. There are three reasons for this belief: First, chapter eight ends with a discussion of the moral demands of God and chapter twelve picks up again with the same discussion. Secondly, Paul seems to give a response to a comment from the synagogue audience (they didn't preach but discoursed). He stated: "I am not a liar as you charge." Thirdly, in chapter eleven he ends his discourse with a doxology and the Amen.

Therefore, chapters 9-11 is a "theodicy" or "vindication of God." Whatever the case, the message of Paul does not change. God--contrary to many false teachers--is perfectly capable of revealing Himself through His Word so that sincere seekers can find Him and His righteousness. And contrary to the "anti-legalists" He contacts the human spirit with words which Jesus called spirit and truth.

First, Paul is not a liar and is very sad to have to tell the Jews that they had all of the advantages. They had all of the best players and were experts in the "rule book." However, the game was now over and they have lost because they played by their own rules. Being "picked" by the Cubs does not make you immune from being fired.

Second, their failure was not God's failure or the law's failure. It was just a fact that not everyone who descended from Abraham was ever chosen for special privileges. "Family" did not count as much as "faith."

Third, God never planned to spiritually bless the "natural" children of Abraham (law, Jerusalem, temple) but the people of faith. Therefore, Paul warns that you had to trace your lineage back to God and not Abraham.

Fourth, Sarah was a type of faith or a spiritual law, city, temple or faith. However, Hagar--chosen against God's will--was a type of Mount Sinai, Jerusalem and slavery. Therefore, all of these elements were given as punishment and not to save Israel.

Fifth, Esau was the "eldest" but not the most trustworthy son. Therefore, God choose Jacob perhaps to show that He is not bound to their rules of who inherits. "Seniority" does not count and now God has chosen the "younger brother" or Gentiles.

Sixth, it is said that "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." However, Paul calls us back to the prophecy to show that he was speaking of two nations. Therefore, he was not talking of personal election to either heaven or hell.

Seventh, personal election to salvation was not in the statement to Rebekah. The prophecy simply speaks of who will serve whom.

Eight, personal predestination to salvation was not in the statement about God hating Esau. Rather, Paul quoted Malachi who showed that God hated the descendants of Esau because "you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law."

Ninth, It had better be right for God to show mercy because He showed mercy to Israel, the Egyptian prostitute, by rescuing them. However, because in chapter ten Paul will call us back to Mount Sinai, we understand that God showed mercy to Israel primarily by not going with them into Canaan. This should refute their notion of superiority because God was never their personal, national god--you could still find Him in Egypt and not in the Ark of the Covenant.

Tenth, to complete his insult to put the Jews in place, Paul showed that God showed mercy even to Pharaoh. However, God did not predestinate Pharaoh to heaven or hell by showing mercy. Rather, God "showed mercy" by keeping him alive for the moment.

Eleventh, if God has all of this power then "how can He blame us" for resisting His will? Paul will say, however, that God did not set out to make Israel into the miserable "cracked pot" preserved to "store up God's wrath." Therefore, Paul calls us back to the many Old Testament examples of The Potter and the Clay to show that God predestinates every lump of dirty, lifeless clay to be a beautiful "Ming" vase (pronounced 'vazz'). However, the clay might have a fault and God changes His predestination and makes them into a pot for everyday use. If this fails then God rejects them. However, God has the power to even "unharden" and "uncrack" a broken vessel just as He can "unadulterate" an adulterated marriage.

The lesson to us is not to look for some sign of predestination but to obey God.

Twelfth, Paul illustrates the power of God by changing the imagery back to the "prostitute" who had been "divorced but taken back" by pointing to Hosea. However, this new "wife" is not national Israel. Israel was polluted beyond redemption as a nation. Therefore, God "takes one from a city" or a tiny remnant of Jews. He even takes "Gentiles" from out of paganism. That is, He takes those of whom the Jews said, "you are not my people." Both Jews and Gentiles had no "connection to the vine" but were "grafted in" by God in the next chapter.

Thirteenth, Israel was so totally destroyed that it was necessary for God to personally "save a few bodies" from the death penalty but only to prove that He and His Word prevail.

Fourteenth, the Gentiles did not "chase righteousness down" to find it any more than the Jews. However, God put Himself squarely in the middle of the street and "let Myself be found" by the non-seekers. These could not have "pursued" God by the law and, therefore, it must have been by faith.

Fifteenth, because there was no righteousness possible by the law because of human weakness and the Jews did not pursue righteousness by faith, then they have stumbled over the very stone (Jesus) which could have been their foundation or resting place. The Jews always wanted a "sign" but Jesus gave them the Word--which they could not hear any longer.

Sixteenth, the "cornerstone" now became the "trap" which the Jews sprung and the trap's stone fell on them and crushed them. The "charismatic Messiah" who would smash the "unelect" did not "perform" and therefore their only "foundation" was rejected.

Seventeenth, Therefore, the Jews cannot blame God for destroying the Jewish state, the city of Jerusalem, the temple, and therefore the entire sacrificial system of worship. These were signs of their rejection and not signs of their superiority. The "signs" had served their purpose and would be dismantled. "Hagar" is rejected and "Sarah's" children are chosen.

Therefore, in the next chapter Paul will return the Jews to their spiritual adultery at Mount Sinai to warn the Roman church against the forms of idolatry which they practiced in Egypt, at Mount Sinai, and in Canaan.

It is true--the Jews were predestinated for a special purpose----

I speak the truth in Christ--I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. -- Rom 9:1-2

For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, -- Rom 9:3

the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. -- Rom 9:4

Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. -- Rom 9:5

Paul spent a lot of ink claiming that he was not--as the false teachers charged--a liar. See Gal 1:20; 2 Cor 1:23; 11:31; 1 Tim 2:7. Only truth-speakers really care but this got Jesus and Paul in a lot of trouble when they did not interpret the Old Testament according to the Jewish notions.

He is so sincere that he would give up his eternal life it he could save the Jews. Why else would he work without pay and put up with all of the danger and personal abuse?

The Jews were not predestinated to eternal salvation. Rather they were "adopted" as children and not because of their God-connection. They were shown great glory, received the covenants, the law, the grand temple and great promises. As "orphans adopted" by God they could have seen this as proof of God's love and tolerance.

Therefore, the Jews in Rome cannot trust their national choice because the rejected these blessings

However, that doesn't diminish God because His promises are still good.

It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. -- Rom 9:6

Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." -- Rom 9:7

In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. -- Rom 9:8

For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son." -- Rom 9:9

1. The Power of God's Word is defended as that which was worth defending even as Paul points out that the majority of God's predestinated, elected, and decreed nation would fail as a "collective" or "tribe." Therefore, he continues--

2. God did not predestinate the nation of Israel but Individuals of faith.

In the contest between Canaanite Baalism and God, of the three million who came out of Egypt only about 7,000 had not bowed to and kissed Baal in charismatic "exercises."

Later, only about 25,000 - 50,000 returned from Babylonian captivity and most of these rejected the Word.

Therefore, the "natural" children of Abraham rejected God and were themselves rejected. However, God still had a right to select Isaac to be a channel of blessing to all other Jews and continue the tiny "remnant" until Messiah was born and the "gospel promise" made to Abraham would be brought to mankind.

As a body Jesus refused to speak to the Jews in direct language but spoke to them in parables (Matthew 13). However, individual Jews believed Jesus, obeyed Him and became Christians.

3. The promise was not a wage God owed the nation. Otherwise God has no choice.

Paul will often prove that the Jews and Gentiles had no great value which made God want to honor them. Rather, both had rejected the light of revelation and nature and every single individual deserved death. Therefore, if God exercised His justice every person would be destroyed.

However, out of this total mess God had a right to select certain people, give them the message, and send them out to try to be the teacher and example for others.

4. Therefore, Paul gives two well-known examples of God's free will and choice--

a. The argument from Sarah and Hagar

God made a promise that Isaac would be born when "nature" clearly showed that Sarah could not have a child. Therefore, those who were "natural Jews" had been "sifted out" of the process and were just like Gentiles.

b. To seek to be a natural--rather than spiritual--Jew was not desirable.

(1). God deliberately ignored the laws of inheritance to prove that natural people have no inheritance in His plan. The spiritual people will walk by God's covenant.

(2). In addition, the natural Jew is described by the natural Law which was given to Israel after they ignored His Word and engaged in musical idolatry at Sinai.

In Galatians Paul will show the two channels of mankind created when the descendants of Abraham disobeyed God. The "allegory" of Sarah and Hagar was to illustrate the by-nature channel and the by-promise channel--

Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware (are you ignorant) of what the law says? -- Gal 4:21

For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. -- Gal 4:22

His son by the slave woman was born in (1) the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman (b) was born as the result of a promise. -- Gal 4:23

These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. -- Gal 4:24

(a) Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. -- Gal 4:25

(b) But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. -- Gal 4:26

(c) And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Re.11:8

The Jews who troubled Rome and Paul were "natural Jews" who worried about their "law" and their "place." However, the law had been fulfilled and the temple would be destroyed. Paul showed that the entire period at Mount Sinai, in Canaan, the kings, the law, Jerusalem and the temple (see Acts 7) was not promise Judaism. Rather, it was nature Judaism.

However, we hear a questioner from the back row of the synagogue yell out: "There, you see, Isaac was chosen because he was the child of a free woman. Therefore, God is still helpless: He does what He is obligated to do or what He is predestinated to do."

It was natural that the son of the free woman would rule even if God said that His choice was not dictated by seniority. The Jews considered themselves selected, free and senior but Paul tells them that God has rejected them as His first choice but again not because He was forced.

Neither Jacob nor Esau were predestinated to go to heaven or hell.

The Argument from Jacob and Esau

Next, Paul finds an example which was not based on any cultural worth--

Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. -- Rom 9:10a

Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls-- Rom 9:10b-11

she was told, "The older will serve the younger." -- Rom 9:12

Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." -- Rom 9:13

Well, the Jews might argue, Hagar was a slave and God could not choose her to be the mother of the faithful. Their culture could have told God that. Therefore, Paul reminds them of another example which is not based on the free versus slave relationship.

Jacob and Esau had the very same father and the very same mother. The only legal reason God would be powerless to do His own will was that Esau was a few seconds older than Jacob.

However, God sent a message down through time and space that neither child deserved to be the senior male of the family. Therefore He exercised His own free will by choosing Jacob even though neither had yet done good or evil.

This proves that God had the right to choose the Jews for certain tasks and He now has a right to choose the "new Israelites" or "the spiritual children of Abraham" to carry His Word to the entire world. The Gentiles are not automatically included in the roll of the saved nor are the Jews condemned to hell.

However, the Jews will once again see this as predestination to either heaven or hell. Paul seems to say that have no choice, and therefore God is "out of line" to blame us for His own raw power. If God really hated Esau personally and decided to send him to hell then they might have a point.

Paul quotes from two sources to prove that--

Personal Election to salvation is not in the statement to Rebekah (9:10b-11).

The LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger." -- Gen 25:23

God did not send the "nation" to hell. Rather, one nation would be stronger than the other and, therefore, the weaker will always serve the stronger. In addition--

--Personal salvation is not in Rom. 9:13 -- God did not say that He hated Esau before he was born.

Paul quoted Malachi who said--

I have loved you," says the LORD. "But you ask, 'How have you loved us?' "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" the LORD says. "Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals." -- Mal 1:2-3

Malachi shows that God hated the "Esau" nation because they rejected the Word--

True instruction was in his (Levi) mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. -- Mal 2:6

For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction--because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty.

But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi," says the LORD Almighty. -- Mal 2:7-8

So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law." -- Mal 2:9

Again, Paul points the Romans to this passage to prove that the total failure under Law was not God's fault. The fault was the dishonoring and tokenizing of the Word of God. Therefore, the Jews cannot plead that God has personally predestinated them for salvation and the Gentiles to be lost.

The Jews cannot charge that Paul teaches that God hates them personally but makes choices on mercy and not destructive hate.

To Prove this Paul gives two examples of undeserved mercy

First, Undeserved Mercy to the Israelites

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! -- Rom 9:14

For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." -- Rom 9:15

It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. -- Rom 9:16

The charge Paul seems to hear from the "synagogue floor" was that if Paul was right then God was unjust. However, being just is one of the ways God is defined--

Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery." -- 2 Chr 19:7

In this event, God had mercy and compassion. However, He never predestinates hate or hell.

Paul points to the book of Exodus to show that when Moses was on the mountain getting The Book of the Covenant as a law of blessing, the people were down in the valley singing, playing music, dancing naked, and saying that the bull of Apis had saved them from Egypt--God's Covenant counts for nothing but our experiences validate our religion.

As a result of this idolatry, God sentenced all of Israel to captivity and final destruction. In addition, He refused to personally go with them into Canaan (Exo 33:3). He did promise to send His presence with them. In this case, God showed mercy by not personally going with Israel as a "personal God" into Canaan where He knew they would destroy themselves.

To be assured that God still honored him, Moses asked to see God's glory. However, God showed only His Goodness as Moses was hid in a cave. God said:

"And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. -- Exo 33:19

The subject of this passage, the "it", is NOT personal ELECTION, it is God's MERCY and COMPASSION to all people. By calling the "literate Jews" back to the Old Testament they would--if any cared--be able to go back and understand that God did not owe them anything except death. Therefore, their rescue from the desert was based on pure mercy.

Secondly, God gave Undeserved Mercy to Pharaoh

Paul really adds "insult to injury" by classing the Jews with Pharaoh who was the "model of sin's power." They were kept alive because of God's mercy just as was Pharaoh but neither had a "ticket to heaven or hell" based on God's free choice.

God never good people but He elevates certain people to work His will. Notice that Paul clearly shows two, and only two, reasons for God's promotion of Pharaoh--

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose,

(1) that I might display my power in you and

(2) that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." -- Rom 9:17

Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. -- Rom 9:18

In Exodus 9:17 God told Pharaoh that he had "set yourself against my people" which meant that he had set himself against Yahweh. However, his superior position did not mean that he was superior. Rather, his elevated position was so that God could (1) preach or show him true power and (2) that as a result of the contest God's name might spread ahead of that of any human leader--

"But I have raised you up for this very purpose, (1) that I might show you my power and (2) that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. -- Exo 9:16

The RSV translates verse 16: "but for this purpose have I let you live." God did not create, rear and preserve Pharaoh just to send him to hell. Rather, in His mercy He gave him his role and allowed him to be a living example.

This is our first "clue" to the pattern of the potter which Paul will use to prove that God has a right to make a choice and a right to change His mind. God gave Pharaoh many chances to "repent" and follow His will but Pharaoh rejected all of these choices. Finally, he was like a pot which hardened and cracked. However, God hardened Pharaoh by showing him mercy which would be rejected.

But, they demand to know, If God has His Choice and can bestow mercy on His own choice then how can He continue to blame us?

In chapter eleven Paul will say--

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. Rom 11:25

Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Rom 9:19

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Rom 9: 20

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? Rom 9: 21

As he often does, Paul uses God's teaching from Isaiah and Jeremiah to show that God does not predestinate certain people to be saved and others to be lost. Isaiah makes the following argument to prove that God can never be blamed for our failure--

a. While God makes beauty out of mud, He never takes a beautiful "vase" and makes it into "mud." Rather, He first seeks to make a vase "for noble purposes." If the clay resists His gentle pressure He then turns and makes the clay into a "pot for common use."

b. Even if the common pot cracks He can still use it to store grain.

c. If it refuses this small service then the Potter (God here) uses it to "store up His wrath."

d. Only when the clay has hardened, cracked, and become totally useless does the potter burn it, break it into small pieces and throw it out to make a path to be trodden upon.

The Pattern of the Potter

The entire context of the Roman letter is the danger from idolatry which was the legalism.

This "legalism" is seen throughout the Old Testament where people reject God's Word and try to "invent" their own worship because it makes them feel good and spiritual. By quoting Isaiah Paul shows that the fact of "questioning the potter" was the act of charismatic worship to replace righteousness and justice. Jesus called this "vain worship"--

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Romans 9:13

Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Romans 9: 14

Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Romans 9: 15

Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potters clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? Romans 9: 16

Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? Romans 9: 17

And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. Romans 9: 18

The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. Romans 9: 19

For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: Romans 9: 20

Ezekiel drew Jerusalem on clay as God's way to signal the siege--this was the "Word of God." Later, God showed that to question Ezekiel was to question the Potter because he was delivering the Word of God. Again the prophets always associate music with ignoring God and "turning things upside down"--

"As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, 'Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.' -- Ezek 33:30

My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion,

but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. -- Ezek 33:31

"Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well,

for they hear your words

but do not put them into practice. -- Ezek 33:32

Isaiah continues to show that God works with the "cracked pot" even when the pot refuses to be molded to His purposes--

For Jacob my servants sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. Isa 45:4

Bachiyr (g972) baw-kheer'; from 977; select: - choose, chosen one, elect.

O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones. 1Chr.16:13

Bachar (g977) baw-khar'; a prim. root; prop. to try, i. e. (by impl.) select: - acceptable, appoint, choose (choice), excellent, join, be rather, require.

For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. De.7:6

I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: Isa 45: 5

That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. Isa 45: 6

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? Isa 45: 9

Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth? Isa 45: 10

Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. Isa 45: 11

I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. Isa 45: 12

I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts. Isa 45: 13

Paul, therefore, shows How Predestination Works to prove that He is not Unjust--

God's First Step:

THE word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Jer 18:1

Arise, and go down to the potters house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Jer 18: 2

Then I went down to the potters house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. Jer 18: 3

God's Second Step:

And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as SEEMED GOOD to the potter to make it. Jer 18:4

The CLAY did something while the Potter was trying to make it into a "MING" vase. We can understand this event by looking at other events:

Shachath (h7843) shaw-khath'; a prim. root; to decay, i. e. (caus.) ruin (lit. or fig.): - batter, cast off, corrupt (-er, thing), destroy (- er, -uction), lose, mar, perish, spill, spoiler, * utterly, waste (-r).

These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. Gen 6:9

And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Gen 6:10

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. Ge.6:11

And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for ALL FLESH had corrupted his way upon the earth. Ge.6:12

And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence THROUGH THEM; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Ge.6:13

And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. Ge.6:17

so he made it again another vessel, as SEEMED GOOD to the potter to make it. Jer 18:4b

Good is:

Yashar (g3474) yaw-shar'; a prim. root; to be straight or even; fig. to be (causat. to make) right, pleasant, prosperous: - direct, fit, seem good (meet), / please (well), be (esteem, go) right (on), bring (look, make, take the) straight (way), be upright (-ly).

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Pr.3:6

God's Third Step: Jeremiah continued to show that the choice of how one reacts to God's effort is initially in one's own hands. The issue stems from Israel's willingness to disobey God and think that God cannot SEE them or understand what they were doing.

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Jer 18:5

O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potters hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. Jer 18:6

At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; Jer 18:7

Because of their sin God determines to destroy them. However, His predestinated decision is CONDITIONAL:

If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. Jer 18:8

In the same way, when God predetermines to build or plants a kingsom it is CONDITIONAL:

And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; Jer 18:9

If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them. Jer 18:10

Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: Jer 18:11a

Frame is:

Yacar (h3335) yaw-tsar'; prob. identical with 3334 (through the squeezing into shape); ([comp. 3331]); to mould into a form; espec. as a potter; fig. to determine (i. e. form a resolution): - * earthen, fashion, form, frame, make (-r), potter, purpose.

When God PURPOSES it is a PRE-PURPOSE. However, his predestinated plan for people is CONDITIONED on which "fork" in the road they take.

return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. Jer 18:11

God's Final Natural Step:

To teach the lesson, Jeremiah was told to take along those who had caused Israel to fail--the elders and priests--and go to the potter and buy a clay jar. After accusing them of the same evils their ancestors had committed in the wilderness, Jeremiah is told--

THUS saith the Lord, Go and get a potters earthen bottle, and take of the ancients of the people, and of the ancients of the priests; Jer 19:1

And go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee, Jer 19:2

And say, Hear ye the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle. Jer 19:3

Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; Jer 19:4

They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: Jer 19:5

Then shalt thou break the bottle in the sight of the men that go with thee, Jer 19:10

And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potters vessel,

that cannot be made whole again:

and they shall bury them in Tophet,

till there be no place to bury. Jer 19:11

Thus will I do unto this place, saith the Lord, and to the inhabitants thereof, and even make this city as Tophet: Jer 19:12

And the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods. Jer 19:13

Then came Jeremiah from Tophet, whither the Lord had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the Lords house, and said to all the people, Jer 19:14

Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it,

because they have hardened their necks,

that they might not hear my words. Jer 19:15

The Changed Predestination for the Pot

If choice and mercy do not work then the "jar" stores up its own doom--

What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: Rom 9:22

And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Rom 9:23

Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? Rom 9:24

Kletos (g2822) klay-tos; from the same as 2821; invited, i.e. appointed, or (spec.) a saint: - called.

JUDE, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Ju.1:1

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Re.17:14

Earlier, Paul proved that the people had a choice in becoming "the objects of His wrath"--

THEREFORE thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. Rom 2:1

But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. Rom 2:2

And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Rom 2:3

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Rom 2:4

But, after thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Rom 2:5

Who will render to every man according to his deeds: Rom 2:6

To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: Rom 2:7

But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Rom 2:8

Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil; of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; Rom 2:9

But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: Rom 2:10

For there is no respect of persons with God. Rom 2:11

If God predestinated some to hell He would show respect of persons. As such, He would be guilty of every precept of the Law of Moses:

Prosopolepsia (g4382) pros-o-pol-ape- see'-ah; from 4381; partiality, i.e. favoritism: - respect of persons.

Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. Eph 6:8

And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. Ep.6:9

MY brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. James 2:1

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: James 2:8

But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. James 2:9

Prosopolepteo (g4380) pros-o- pol-ape-teh'-o; from 4381; to favor an individual, i.e. show partiality: - have respect to persons.

For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; Rom 2:12

(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. Rom 2:13

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Rom 2:14

As many means "as many."

Hosos (g3745) hos'-os; by redupl. from 3739; as (much, great, long, etc.) as: - all (that), as (long, many, much) (as), how great (many, much), [in-] asmuch as, so many as, that (ever), the more, those things, what (great, - soever), wheresoever, wherewithsoever, which * while, who (- soever).

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Ro.3:19

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: Ac.10:34

Prosopoleptes (g4381) pros-o-pol- ape'-tace; from 4383 and 2983; an accepter of a face (individual), i.e. (spec.) one exhibiting partiality: - respecter of persons.


For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; Rom 2:12

(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. Rom 2:13

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Rom 2:14

Peter warned his readers that Paul's writings in connection with predestination and faith were hard to understand and easily perverted--

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 2 Pet 3:13

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 2 Pet 3:14

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 2 Pet 3:15

As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own 2 Pet 3:16

Therefore, in His foreknowledge God had Peter contradict predestination--

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 2 Pet 3:17

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2 Pet 3:18

In Isaiah and Jeremiah the predestination (Plan or advice) of the Jews did not succeed because the Jews rejected the Word of God and substituted their rituals with music and both a sign and a cause of the failure of the Word.

Now, to cap-off the prophecy Peter warns future generations that they, too, can fall from a secure position (this sound like a contradiction) by ignoring the Word which God gave.

The "impossible" Revival of the Smashed pot is not national

In Isaiah 5 Israel is seen as a vineyard planted and tended by God Himself. However, because they imitated the musical worship of Baalism they could not hear God's Word and fell. As a result, the vineyard first became useless. Then, a few clusters grew on the cursed vines but even the cluster was bad. However, some individuals might be saved but even they were bad. Finally, perhaps God might save just a tiny bit of juice from the whole lot. This was the remnant which God would save by His grace.

Again (as always) the people failed in their predestinated role as God's "vineyard" by changing their religious festivals into musical celebrations. As a result, as Amos warned, they hungered and thirsted for the Word until they died or went into captivity. The Psalmist wants God to change His predestination but it will only come when God sends the son of man to send revival. Psalm 80 is somewhat parallel to Isaiah 5 in showing that God "planted" Israel as a "vine" but they refused to produce fruit because of their mixing of secular wine and music with their religious festivals. He wrote (in part)--

"Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself. -- Psa 80:17

Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. -- Psa 80:18

It is too late to ask God what He has already done!

When the son of man came He did not attend the "musical rituals" at the Feast of Tabernacles. He denounced the Jews as "children playing musical games" while plotting to kill Him. And he ejected the funeral mourners while He was reviving the dead girl--she was not dead in the pagan sense which called on the mourners to appease her so that she knew that she was loved and would not return and do them harm.

When Jesus revived this dead girl He did what He did to create the universe: He spoke the words and revival came. This was the nature which Christ brought with Him from God--

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. -- John 1:14

"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. -- John 6:63

Jesus knew about the "dead vine" of Judaism caused by their rejection of God and His Word. Therefore, He became the new vine. He showed the contrast with Isaiah 5 by saying that even as God Incarnate He would do exactly what God commanded Him. Only in this way can He become the true vine to keep the Word as "spirit power" coming from God--

"but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. "Come now; let us leave. -- John 14:31

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. -- John 15:1

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. -- John 15:2

Dead vines, cracked pots and adulteresses! No fine people there to force God to predestinate anyone to heaven.

In the potter analogy, the pot was hardened, cracked, and beyond any use as far as the human potter was concerned. However, God still has a way of saving those who have predestinated themselves to be lost.

Paul, therefore, points us back to Hosea and divorce to prove his point how He takes the place of the failed people--

As he says in Hosea: "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people; and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one," -- Rom 9:25

and, "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,'

they will be called 'sons of the living God.'" -- Rom 9:26

Moses "permitted" divorce because the "hardness of the Jews heart" allowed them to treat a wife as disposable property which subjected her to death. To declare her innocence and freedom to remarry, he demanded that the man give her a certificate which, according to Josephus, was a "certificate of innocence." However, to limit their wild practices, Moses declared that if the "put away" wife married another then the divorcing man could never take her back as a wife. The "permission" therefore carried along a powerful restriction.

In the same way, Jesus said that the Jews could not make-and-break the marriage relationship to suit their fancy. To limit their "freedom" Jesus says that if you break the bond and she remarries, the old marriage has been adulterated and cannot be restored. By analogy, once you put "acid" into a cup of coffee it is no longer called coffee: it is called acid and you can never drink it again--it has been adulterated.

The prophets understood this and said--

"If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers--would you now return to me?" declares the LORD. -- Jer 3:1

Paul uses this passage because the meaning of adultery is that a marriage bond is broken and must not--cannot--be restored by human power. In the same way the dead vine and the cracked pot cannot be restored.

In time, when Israel had totally rejected even supernatural tolerance as shown in Hosea, and after the nation became a spiritual whore, God "divorced" them and "sent them away." However, because He was God he had the power to do what no Jew was to do. That is, He had the power to restore the people as His "wife."

I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one. ' I will say to those called 'Not my people, ' 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.'" -- Hosea 2:23

As a result, all of Israel was a "broken pot" which could not be mended, a "dead vine" with no chance for revival, or they were a "divorced wife" which could not be taken back again. There was none so righteous that they had a legal claim on God's grace. Therefore, they were all predestinated to be lost based on their own merit.

However, Paul continued to show that "dead vines" will be cut off so that the tiny branches still attached to Jesus as the vine can be fruitful. These branches are the tiny remnant which God saved out of grace. All of those millions of natural descendants of Abraham were lost but the prophet cried and Paul quotes--

Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. -- Rom 9:27

For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality." -- Rom 9:28

It is just as Isaiah said previously: "Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah." -- Rom 9:29

Cracked pots, dead vines, adulterated wives and now "Sodomites" and the whole "city" is in worthy of being destroyed. These "deviates" were the "superior" people of the earth demanding that not even God Himself can overcome Abraham and keep them out of heaven even if they are Sodomites.

However, God is not helpless! God created and God can tear down. No person who has ever lived can show his "ticket" out of Sodom to be spared. And God would speedily carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality. A million Jews would die very shortly, their nature city and temple would be torn down stone-by-stone, the nature music and burning animals would cease and the Jewish nature state would come to an end.

However, a tiny remnant of Jews and Gentiles were warned, fled the city and the claim is that not one Christian died in Jerusalem. Therefore, Paul again connects with Isaiah who said--

Though your people, O Israel, be like the sand by the sea, only a remnant will return. Destruction has been decreed, overwhelming and righteous. -- Isa 10:22

A few Jews tried to earn God's approval by going to Temple on the Sabbath but most of them turned to Canaanite Baalism. Most Gentiles tried to find God through the musical rituals of "Ishtar mourning for Tammuz" and the "sun rise services." However, neither Jew or Gentile "found" God on their own. Only when God has stood squarely in the middle of the street and "allowed Himself to be found" would a tiny group survive.

Now, Paul uses the fact established in earlier chapters that neither Jew nor Gentile had succeeded in their search for religion. Therefore, the few Gentiles who found salvation in Christ are God's true remnant according to the promise made to Abraham.

What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; -- Rom 9:30

but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. -- Rom 9:31

Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." -- Rom 9:32

As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." -- Rom 9:33

Faith always came from "hearing and hearing from the Word of God." The Jews could just believe and obey the Word of God and He would accept that as keeping the whole law. Keeping God's commandments was not considered the "works" which Paul condemned. Rather, from his statements from the prophets we know that "works" was trying to do something which pleased themselves while "devoting" it to God. Amos shows the clearest case of trying to "marry" paganism to the law.

The Jews in imitation of the Canaanites believed that God was "far away" or perhaps even dead. Therefore, they had musical arousers who tried to "call God into His temple" to meet their needs so that they could then go out and do whatever they wanted to do. However, Paul again alienates the Jews by showing that you don't have to go up to Jerusalem to the temple and buy a lame lamb--you can find God in the vineyards of Greece--

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth;

and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. -- Acts 17:26

God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. -- Acts 17:27

In the Hebrew the two verbs are the nifal tolerativum: 'I let myself be found (gave myself to be found), let myself become manifest." (Lenski, Rom. 10:20).

Paul continues to call us to Isaiah who warned that the Jews failed by their Cane-Ridge like rituals. They claimed that they were "seeking God" but they were "pursuing their own imaginations." They were "out of their minds" and this and other clues clearly show that they were involved with the musical attempt to find God on their own terms while ignoring the Scripture which was always the source of revival--

I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, 'Here am I, here am I.' -- Isa 65:1

All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people,

who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations-- -- Isa 65:2

a people who continually provoke me to my very face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on altars of brick; -- Isa 65:3

who sit among the graves and spend their nights keeping secret vigil; who eat the flesh of pigs, and whose pots hold broth of unclean meat; -- Isa 65:4

The cracked pot could not mend itself, the dead vine could not come alive and the adulterous wife could not return. Therefore, God "went looking" to find the remnant not smart enough to know that you can "reach out and touch Him" by giving cups of cold water.

However, the thought that Jesus could mend the pot, become the new vine, and die in the place of the adulterous wife could not be accepted because Jesus was "just that carpenter's son" and "we don't know who his father is." He had never "called up the gods" nor had he joined in at the "talent fair" at the Feast of Tabernacles to become "a man of note." The brothers of Jesus had warned Him that He had better get "on the program!"

The final analogy is that the walls and temples always fell down because the Jews couldn't build a wall that could not be torn down. It was not the "wall of fire as salvation" provided by God Himself. To make the new "temple" stand firm you began with a cornerstone or capstone which would tie the "living stones" together so that it could not be torn down.

However, if you refused to be "molded into" the new temple or wall the cornerstone would trip you up or fall on you and smash you like an animal trap. Peter calls us back to the Old Testament when he warned--

For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." -- 1 Pet 2:6

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, " -- 1 Pet 2:7

and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message--which is also what they were destined for. -- 1 Pet 2:8

He also knew about Isaiah who wrote--

and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.

And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. -- Isa 8:14

The "experiences" of the Jews led them to believe that they were predestinated and could not be lost. This, in turn, led Calvin and others to believe that Christians are predestinated and cannot be lost. The charismatic "experience" once validated puts one in a "secure position" from which one cannot fall. This false belief always "did more harm than good."

Therefore, because they were ignorant of their own Bible, Paul calls them back to their prophets to show that initially no person was worthy of salvation. However, God extended His grace to the Jews in order that they become a "nation of priests" to minister His Word to all "nations" which would include Gentiles.

Even when they failed God always gave them a second and third chance until they were "hardened" beyond being "worked with." Even then, God has the power to take such utterly dead, hardened, cracked, and adulterated people back if they will permit Jesus to make them alive, soften their harts, mend the cracks, and purify the defilement.

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