Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 1 Study # 8
December 3, 2017
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:
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 Israelites Are From The Fathers.
- A. In Romans Paul uses the plural "fathers" in three contexts.
- 1. The first is our current text.
- 2. The second is 11:28 where "Israel" is an "enemy" of the Gospel, but is "beloved" for the fathers' sake.
- a. The connection here is "the election". Israel was "elected" by God, and this is declared to be an "election" wherein there are both "elect" and "non-elect" persons. The "election" was of Israel as a nation with special favor with God; but within that "elect nation" there is an "individual" election that does not include all who belong to the nation (11:7).
- b. This is a restatement of Paul's 9:6 declaration that "they are not all Israel who are of Israel". Just as there were Ishmael and Isaac as sons of Abraham and only Isaac was the heir of the promises, so also in "Israel" there are those who are "the election" and there are those who are "hardened" and only "the election" are recipients of the blessings of the promises.
- c. Thus "Israel" is, currently in Paul's day, an "enemy" of the Gospel, but the "elect within Israel" are not, and "Israel" is "beloved" as a national entity because of the promises made to the fathers.
- 3. The third is 15:8 where Paul says the promises were made to the "fathers".
- a. This is the clearest indication of all of just "who" are "the fathers": Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and possibly the twelve original tribal heads as sons of "Israel".
- b. There is some indication in the Davidic Covenant that David was also considered one of "the fathers to whom the promises were made".
- c. In any case, the term "fathers" in Paul's theology are those among "elect Israel" who are recipients of the promises that include the nation "Israel" as a national structure.
- B. The "point" here is that Israelites have Paul's loving loyalty simply because they descended from those who received promises from God that cannot be fulfilled if Israel disappears from the scene.
- II. From Whom Is The Christ.
- A. The "fleshly" element in the Person of The Christ came from the genetic linkages of the fathers and Israel.
- 1. Technically, the "linkages" are only through the "mothers" as they are from the "fathers". Every "mother" has a father so that every child is "from the father", but Jesus was deliberately kept from the direct input of a "father" so that he is only "from the fathers because His mother had a "father".
- 2. The issue is that it was the "fathers" who received the promises, not the mothers. However, Isaac was not born until Sarah "believed" those promises herself (Hebrews 11:11).
- B. The Greek of the characterizing phrase regarding The Christ is significant: it is probable that Paul is characterizing The Christ as "The One being over all, God, blessed unto the ages, amen". Robertson says "the natural way" to take the phrase is for "the One being God" to refer to The Christ.
- 1. "God-blessed forever" is an adjectival phrase indicating that The Christ is blessed of God unto the ages. But this is not what Paul wrote. Greek for such an idea would have been "of God blessed unto the ages".
- 2. The definite article "the" has a natural attachment to the word "God" ("The...God") that is simply interrupted by the intervening phrase "being over all". The definite article could be tied to the participle "being" (He Who is...), but this does not diminish the weight of Paul's description of "The Christ" being "The God" because there are multiple cases where a single definite article is followed by two nouns that are both attached to it. In this case it is a participle used as a noun and a noun following (The One being...((and))...The God).
- 3. The fact that Paul intends to reveal the deity of The Christ in his presentation of the reasons for his grief and sorrow is probable: Israel's rejection of The Christ was a rejection of Israel's God -- directly, not by some circuitous route such as a rejection of God's Christ being a rejection of God, Himself.
- a. The leaders of Israel accused Jesus of making Himself "equal" to God (self-deification) as the reason for their opposition (John 10:33).
- b. Their perception of His words was accurate: He did "make Himself God".
- c. Jesus' "making Himself God" by His words is not the problem; the problem is whether or not, in fact, He is God. If He is God, His words ought to make that clear (which the Jews agreed they did). If He is not God, His words were a legitimate basis for His crucifixion. A lie of that magnitude requires death. Thus, the real issue is whether, or not, He is God. There can be no fence-sitting on this issue. The bald fact is that Jesus' redemptive death for the sins of all humanity in all time means nothing if He is not God. No mere human could possibly have met the requirements of Justice for all sins of all time.
- C. Blessed unto the ages, Amen.
- 1. The use here is a reflection of Romans 1:25 where human beings altered the truth about God and worshiped and served the creature more than the "blessed forever Creator". The two texts are exactly the same at this point ("...blessed unto the ages, amen").
- 2. In Mark 14:61 Jesus is asked if He is "...the son of the Blessed". "The Blessed" is, in this text, an actual "name" for God.
- 3. 2 Corinthians 11:31 identifies God as "The One Who is blessed unto the ages".
- 4. Ephesians 1:3 gives us a reason for our being the recipients of "blessings": God simply extends what is natural to His own being and character. He is "blessed" so He "blesses". 1 Peter 1:3 is an echo.
- 5. The point: since Christ is "The God" Who is "blessed unto the ages, amen", it is beyond tragic that men put themselves outside of this fundamental characteristic of God by rejecting His truth for a lie and worship the creature(s) rather than the Creator.