Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4
October 29, 2017
4 Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God], and the promises;
5 Whose [are] the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ [came], who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
1901 ASV Translation:
4 who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God], and the promises;
5 whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
- I. The Identification Issues of Paul's "Kinsmen".
- A. Their specific "identity".
- 1. They are Paul's "brethren".
- 2. They are Paul's "kinsmen according to flesh".
- 3. Point: Paul is deliberately identifying the physical seed of Abraham, those whose genetic makeup came initially through Abraham and Sarah, then through Isaac and Rebekah, and then through Jacob and one of the four women with whom he procreated children. The gene pool was enlarged by women outside of Abraham's gene pool time after time, generation after generation, so that none of his offspring except Isaac was of the Abraham/Sarah gene pool. After Isaac, every man's genetic makeup was diluted from Abraham's by a host of women introduced into the stream. Clearly, the "kinsmen" were only of a slight actual genetic connection. But, just as clearly, Paul considered anyone who could trace his/her lineage back to Abraham through a male predecessor was his "brother" and "kinsman".
- 4. Theologically significant reality: Paul is talking about genetic Jews, not "spiritual Israel". This belies the claptrap that today's "Church" is somehow "Israel".
- B. The points of focus.
- 1. They are "Israelites".
- a. There are "Israelites indeed" (John 1:47), as opposed to "Israelites" who have been compromised as to the character that is supposed to exist in "Israelites".
- b. In Acts (2:22; 3:12; 5:35; 13:16; and 21:28), the term is used of people of the nation of Israel with at least a leaning toward "opposition to their God". Some situations indicate genetic Israelites who are also inclined to believe God as in John 1:47 above.
- c. Paul used the term only twice in Romans (in our current text and 11:1) and both times it referred to someone who had a genetic link to Abraham.
- d. 2 Corinthians 11:22 uses "Hebrews", "Israelites", and "the seed of Abraham" to address Paul's opponents' claims to be representatives of God and His Truth. These uses end up saying the same thing three ways: there was a pronounced predisposition to think of the "Jews" as the people of God who had superior positions in respect to the question of who could claim to have heard from God. There is no uproar in the Old Testament about any of the recorded prophets of Israel being "gentile" in origin. God spoke to and through the Jews in respect to any message He had for humanity. Even Jesus' original apostles were all Jews. Thus, Paul is blunting the claim that he was unqualified to be such an apostle made by his adversaries.
- e. This is the umbrella identity tag that carries certain "also" issues along with it.
- f. This is the beginning of Paul's deep attachment that caused him at one point to seek by prayer the position as their "redeemer" as one "accursed" for their sake. It is, definitively, an "attachment of family" (my "brethren", my "kinsmen"). This raises a question of the "ties that bind" in respect to "blood" and "genetics". Does "being of the same father" have a legitimate hold on our emotions? Are we supposed to love "family" more than others?
- 2. "Of whom the adoption".
- a. The "of whom" signals, not their actual "ownership", but their proximity by Abrahamic genetics to the concept of God's "adoption" of men into His family and kingdom.
- b. The "adoption". This is a term that is primarily linked to "the Spirit of adoption" (8:15), "the redemption of the body" (8:23), and being an "Israelite" (9:4) in Romans. In Galatians it refers to the placement of a "son" into his identity as an "heir" so that he is no longer under teachers and governors as no more than a slave. And in Ephesians it is used to exalt God's "election" of men to be His beloved whom He predestined to this "adoption" (1:5). This latter reference clearly includes "gentiles" at this point in the progress of the Plan.
- c. The point: "Israelites" are, by genetic linkage to Abraham, the effective vehicle of God for the accomplishment of the promises regarding God's "adoption" of men into His kingdom rulers as "heirs" of the Father. As such "vehicles" of God's works, they have a special place of prominence in Paul's "love" so that he is willing to be accursed from Christ for their sake.
- 1) This "special place" is by reason of their genetic linkage to Abraham as the friend of God.
- 2) This "special place" is, specifically, a place in the divine focus for the pursuit of His kingdom plan(s). This, when seen from the perspective of God's intentions for good, is a high place of honor. As such, it is not a matter of merit, but of grace (Deuteronomy 9:6).
- 3. The structure.
- a. The adoption.
- b. The glory.
- c. The covenants.
- d. The giving of the Law.
- e. The temple ministry.
- f. The promises.
- g. The "order". The "adoption" is a "promise" that is focused upon "the benefits of maturity" in respect to inheritance. The "glory" is a "promise" that is focused upon the transformation of the person as to his/her actual attributes with "love" and "faith" at the roots and the elimination of "fleshly" corruptions as a primary issue. The "covenants" are essentially "promises" that are "set in stone" in the sense of Galatians 3:15-17 (immutable after confirmation). The legislation of The Law was, according to Paul, a most fundamental "tool" to get men to abandon "works" as hopeless so that they would turn to The Promise in "faith". The "service" was the primary "teaching" instrument to reveal the reality by means of the "shadow of good things to come". And "the promises" were those specific commitments aligned under "The Promise" so that men might "believe" that God was serious about producing the Eternal Kingdom of The Christ. From this we can see that "adoption" was the "event" that put what "the glory" had achieved into place. Once the person's "transformation into a different glory" has been achieved, he/she can be put in place as a functioning "heir" of the Kingdom. And "the covenants" were specific commitments put into place by God for the enhancement of the "faith" of God's people as ehcouragements to take "The Promise" seriously in "faith". Then, there is a shift from the "adoption/the glory/the covenants" focus upon entering into the Kingdom with a position of status under The Christ to a "means" focus that includes both "The Law" and "The Service"; the former as a separator of men from their own efforts and the latter as an "instructor" of what the Reality is as shadowed by the details of The Service. And finally, there is a focus upon "promises" that establishes "grace/faith" as the actual means to all of these particulars and we move into "the adoption".