Chapter # 10 Paragraph # 3 Study # 4
May 26, 2009
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
1901 ASV Translation:
18 But I say, Did they not hear? Yea, verily, Their sound went out into all the earth, And their words unto the ends of the world.
19 But I say, Did Israel not know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation, With a nation void of understanding will I anger you.
20 And Isaiah is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I became manifest unto them that asked not of me.
21 But as to Israel he saith, All the day long did I spread out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
- I. Paul's Claim That All Have Heard.
- A. The superficial appearance of Paul shooting himself in the foot.
- 1. At first blush, all of the questions of "how shall they call" seem to be rendered null by this follow-up claim that "all have heard". Why would Paul go to the effort of making a case for "sending, proclaiming, hearing, believing, calling", if, in fact, the "hearing" aspect of it has been a reality all along?
- 2. First blush issues are often misguided. Paul was not presenting an argument for "missionary recruitment" when he asked his "how shall they call" question. Rather, he was revealing the process that God had set up so that "salvation" might actually occur. Every step in that process is not only necessary, it is already in place. Paul's burden in chapter ten has been an explanation of Israel's "lostness" in spite of love so potent that it would take/has taken all of the external-to-the-lost steps required of the glory of God in its harmonic dance of justice and mercy. In the outside-of-the-lost world, where God and others operate, there were "issues" that made "lostness" an irreversible problem if nothing but Justice was running with the ball. God was, obviously, not interested in letting "Justice" triumph at the expense of "Life". Justice is the servant of Life, not vice-versa. Thus, God deemed it desirable for Justice to be met while Mercy was being exercised. This was done in Christ (Romans 3:26).
- a. This satisfaction of the requirements of Justice so that Mercy could be extended was all done "outside" of the human beings for whom it was done. It was done in "history" that was other than theirs; it was done by a Person not "them"; it was done out of values they did not hold; and it was done objectively.
- b. However, "salvation" cannot occur in that "outside" world. For a person to be "saved", he/she must bring what is "outside" within. This is the arena of "faith"; the "internalization" of reality by "belief". Faith does not create the outside reality, but it does bring the "believing" into an effective participation in it. This is the domain of "Life" and "Death". Existence is not the crucial element; the quality of experience in existence is the crucial element. And the quality of experience is primarily the outcome of what a person "believes" while experiencing.
- B. The significance of the claim that the process has always been "in place" with every element already functioning.
- 1. The proclaimers have already been "sent"; the proclamation has already been "made"; the hearing has already occurred. The only elements not in the "already" mode are the responses of the "hearers". These are two: believing/disbelieving and calling/refusing to call.
- 2. Paul's "point": Israel's "lostness" is not about "not having a chance to hear". Since chapter ten is an explanation of the lostness of Israel, the real issues have to be revealed. These "real issues" are not "external" so that it is "someone else's fault" if Israel is "lost".
- C. The meaning of "all have heard".
- 1. Without debate, there are, certainly, various degrees of information that is "heard". Paul is not saying that the specific content of "the faith" has been heard. That Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Christ by resurrection from the dead is not a universally "heard" element of Reality.
- 2. But, also without debate, there are various stages of "faith". No one believes in Jesus of Nazareth "out of the blue" just as no one works out a technical trigonometric problem without having previously worked out a host of lesser mathematical problems that have led the "worker" to the point of the more difficult problem. "Faith" does not come with omniscient understanding; it simply takes the "next step" as it arises in the on-going process so that greater understanding develops by that "faith".
- 3. Paul is not claiming that the "hearing" that has already occurred is of the technical knowledge of the Gospel. He is simply saying that "lostness" is the result of a cessation of "hearing" somewhere along the way.
- a. According to his Old Testament "evidence", there are two facts: first, even when Isaiah did make a clear proclamation, Israel did not "hear unto faith"; and, second, long before Isaiah, there were the instruments of revelation identified by Psalm 19.
- 1) These instruments of revelation are genuine and the knowledge they make possible is, likewise, genuine. However, they do not "force" the knowledge; they simply make it possible.
- a) According to Romans 1:20, the Psalm 19 facts are those of "eternal power" and what the Authorized Version translators called "Godhead".
- b) According to Psalm 19:1-6, this "revelation" exists even in something as "common" as the "heat" of the sun and it is universal (nothing is hid from it). And not only so, but the psalmist claimed that the revelation came each day and every night so that there is not a day/night period that goes by that does not "carry" the truth to men. In addition, he said that it was the "stars" that did a great deal of the night-talking because "they" are that which form a "tabernacle" for the sun.
- c) In addition to Psalm 19, there is the declaration of Psalm 97:6 where we read the AV's rendering, "The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples have seen His glory." This statement exists alongside of, and in harmony with, Isaiah 66:19 where God says "...I will send such ... to [those] that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations." The issue is simply one of "degree": all have felt the heat of the sun; not all have heard specific revelation about the details of the Creator of that sun.
- 2) The critical element is the person's response to the revelation. If it is allowed to speak uncontested, "faith" is involved and "understanding" is being developed. But, if the revelation is contradicted, resistance to faith is present and ignorance is maintained.