“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 happened to Israel, until the fullness of the time of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, there shall come out of Zion a Deliverer, and shall turn away the ungodliness from Jacob.”
Thank you for your kind consideration in asking my thoughts on this passage. If they indeed be my thoughts then they are of no use to you or any other who may read them. No scripture is of private interpretation so all matters must be in agreement with the whole of the revealed word. There is One Lord, One Faith and One baptism for the remission of sins. The Word which was in the beginning is the same yesterday today and forever. I do not care for dispensationalism or even the casual divisions of the Old and New Testament with regards to the scripture. When Abraham left his fathers home, not knowing where he was going, in search of a city upon a hilltop which had foundations, whose builder and maker is God. It is the same city which John saw descending out of heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. The tree of Life in the Garden of Eden is the same tree that the redeemed of the church of Ephesus were given to eat from as they overcame the world by faith. The enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, which is Christ, is the same as the wheat and the tares, the sheep and the goats, the wise and the foolish virgins, the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of His dear Son.
When God created the earth, He saw the wickedness of man upon the face of the earth and He destroyed it by a flood. He delivered eight souls in the ark not because they were prime stock or the paragon of His creation but because He called them righteous. He chose them and delivered them from the wrath of His judgment. As Noah and his family emerged from the ark they came to a new heaven, for there was no more firmament, and a new earth, the old being destroyed by the flood. This is the land of Shinar, the country of two rivers and the Spirit reveals these rivers in all of the written word. There is the true river of life and the counterfeit river of death. They look alike as much as wheat and tares look alike in the early stages of development. They flow in the same direction, back to God. One is destined to eternal damnation with weeping and gnashing of teeth, while the other is appointed unto eternal life and rest in the Anointed of God.
The one flows from the belly of those who the Lord has given to believe and back to His throne of His people. It is windy and narrow, hedged in on all sides and only those whose names were written in the Lambs book from the foundation of the world find it. Wisdom is here and She has hewn out seven pillars and has built Her house which is the holy habitation of God. Here the righteousness of God adorns the residents. They have been washed in the blood of the Lamb in the regeneration. They are born from above. The old man is crucified that the body of this death might be destroyed. They are anointed with the olive oil beaten and pressed, which is the anointing of the Holy Spirit. They all smell of myrrh and pure frankincense. The streets are so pure they appear transparent and the glory of God is the light thereof.
The other river is broad and calm, as a city without walls. It leads to destruction and many there be that find it. It is Rehoboth, the city of wide streets. The harlot is on each corner calling to the simple and the fool. She is bedecked like wisdom for she wears white garments with scarlet and purple, but they are Babylonian garments with Egyptian embroidering. Her bed is gold, silver and precious stones and the merchants of this world are made rich by her. She has sold herself for naught and has made the world drunk with the wine of her fornication. She has made a confectioner which is like unto the Holy Ointment. It smells similar but it has been smeared onto the flesh of man to hide the stench of death. She has kindled a fire to warm herself and her lover from the same wood that built her house and fashioned her idols. She is occupied with labour for God has set the things of this world in her heart so that she cannot find out the things of the Kingdom of God.
“I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham of the tribe of Benjamin” This would appear, taken alone and out of context, that Paul is making a point of saying that the natural children of Abraham are not forsaken by the Lord. But what of the Ishmaelite? And the sons of Keturah? Are these not also children of Abraham? Naturally, yes but spiritually, no, for Abraham is the father of the faithful and those who are given to believe. Ishmael was a son of Abram. He was born before his name was changed to Abraham. The sons of Keturah were not the children of promise for the promise was that Sarah would conceive and bare a child. Hence, there is only one child of promise and in Isaac shall thy seed be called, therefore, “God hath not cast away His people whom He foreknew”.
Sarah conceived and brought forth Isaac. Isaac took Rebeckah to wife and when they were brought together and God gave her conception, two nations were in her womb. Two manner of people were separated from before they were born, having done neither good nor evil, that the purpose of God might stand according to election. Not by works of righteousness which they may or may not have done but because Jacob was loved of the Father with an everlasting love and Esau was hated of the Father with an everlasting hatred. One was eternally chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and afore ordained unto glory. The other was of the seed of the serpent, reserved unto judgment. “Even so then, at this present time also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace”.
Jacob grew and married. First was Leah whom he did not love and she bore him many children. Then by the handmaids and Rachael, whom he loved, he had twelve children, eleven boys and one girl. These represent the children of Jacob before his name was changed. After his encounter at Peniel in which he wrestled with the angel, having power with God, his name was changed to Israel. Therefore the only true child of Israel was Benjamin, the son of my right hand. The others called themselves by the name of Israel, saying, we are 12 sons of the same father, but there is only one son of Israel. Later, two were added or grafted in who were the sons of a foreign Gentile woman but Jacob said, “And now thy two sons, Ephraim an Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt, before I came unto thee in Egypt, are mine as Reuben an Simeon, they shall be mine”. (Gen.48:5) Thus, they are not all of Israel who are (called) of Israel. “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seaketh for; but the election hath obtained it and the rest were blinded.”
There is an Israel unto whom was given the doctrines and the covenant but, “According as it is written, God hath given them the Spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, unto this day”. Their table remains a snare and a trap. A stumbling block to them because a vale is over their eyes and they cannot see. These are they who when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God but became blind in their own conceit. This is indeed a great advantage that God would reveal His glory in the tabernacle as built according to the pattern given in the mount and they hid their faces from it. But these were a foreshadow of the heavenly things and could not make the adherent thereof, though he sought it diligently, perfect.
There is another Israel. The true Israel of God who are the children of the Son of My right hand, the same right hand and Holy arm that brought salvation unto God. This Israel is not according to the will of man. It is not brought forth by natural progeneration but is born from above. It is not confined to the boundaries of a map or the tribal possessions of the families of this world. They are the seven thousand whom the Lord has reserved unto Himself whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world. They are chosen in Him being predestinated to be conformed to the image of the heavenly Son and when the dwelling of this tabernacle is dissolved, they shall stand in the presence of God to sing His praises evermore. They come from every kindred, every tribe, every nation and every tongue. They are neither Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free, male nor female. But are the redeemed of the Lord, the Israel of our God, “And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (Ps. 130:8).
The manifestation of these peculiar people was brought forth in a most wonderful way. The Holy Spirit called it a mystery. Paul begins to speak of this mystery when he compares the national Israelite to the natural branch, and the Gentiles to a wild branch. He speaks of the natural branch being removed and the wild one being grafted in but not to despair for, if according to God’s good pleasure, the elect natural branch may be grafted back in the fullness of time. The natural branches are they unto whom was given the doctrines and the covenant and the pattern of heavenly things in the mount. They were a natural race of people descended from Abram of the Ur of the Chaldeans whom God had chosen to be an example to all the world of His grace and mercy. They were given the signs and wonders, the blessings and protection and were established into a great nation among the heathen. The gospel of the power of God unto deliverance was preached unto them for centuries but it was not mixed with faith, which is a gift of God. Therefore they, as a nation, did not believe and were not delivered from the wrath of God. Yet there remained a remnant according to the election of grace.
The wild branches were by nature sinful and unclean. They walked according to the prince of this world the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. They were alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and were without God in this world. They were uncircumcised in the flesh, unchosen of God naturally and without hope. Yet there remained a remnant according to the election of grace.
Each of these two groups (land of Shinar) contained a large portion of ‘brute beast made to be taken out and destroyed’, ‘lude fellows of the baser sort’ or ‘seed of the serpent’, ‘children of the wicked one’. God has set the things of this world in the hearts of these children of Beliel so that they cannot find out the things of God. It matters not what their parentage was or religious affiliation is for they are ‘none of His’. The inhabitants of national Israel together with the wicked Gentile dogs, not having the Spirit of God within, are therefore, spiritually, Gentiles. They have been created by God and reserved unto the Day of Judgment. Their obedience to the law meant nothing whether it be in observance of Holy days, presentation of the sacrifices or the sign of the covenant, circumcision. The earthen vessels prepared for them after the seed of Adam, have been outfitted for destruction. They are ‘goats’, ‘tares’, ‘dogs’, ‘whoremongers’, ‘scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites’. They are of their father the Devil and although they present themselves at the banquet table claiming right, portion and memorial, though they make the sounds of the feasts and wear the outward signs of the solemn feasts of God, they have not a wedding garment.
Conversely, there is a smaller entity, a remnant, which being born naturally Gentiles have the Spirit of God within. These were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and loved with an everlasting love. In the fullness of time the Father reveals to them the hope of glory which is Christ within the earthen vessels which, being of the seed of Adam, were afore prepared unto glory. They with the ‘children of promise’ of natural Israel, have been, ‘elect according to the foreknowledge of God, by the sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Christ’. These have the law of God written in their inward parts and He causes them to walk accordingly. They have the imputed righteousness of the Elder Son who was faithful above all the house and that wedding garment is white as snow, washed in the blood of the Lamb. This little flock constitutes spiritual Israel and although for a brief moment those of the natural Israel who are elect appear to have fallen away, being blinded from the truth, yet when the time of the manifestation of the gospel to natural Gentiles, elect according to the grace of God, is finished, then shall all spiritual Israel be delivered.
“Not as though the Word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel which are of Israel: Neither, because they are of Abraham are they all children but in Isaac shall thy seed be called.” (Romans 9:6f) Once again the land of two rivers is seen. There is an Israel that is based solely upon earthly and carnal matters. It is of the earth, earthly and cares nothing for the truth of God. “Because when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man…” (1:21)
The other river is the Israel that is of the heavenly and cares nothing for the things of the kingdoms of this world. “For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is circumcised which is outward in the flesh; But he is a Jew which is one inwardly and circumcised of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter, whose praise is not of men but of God.” (2:28)
The land of Shinar is also seen in the Gentile reference. One is not a Gentile who is one outwardly according to the flesh but who is one inwardly having no hope of glory. They are wicked that love the darkness for their deeds are dark. They are wise in the things of this world being prosperous and successful in the business of this present evil generation. “And the kings of the earth (natural Gentiles), who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her (natural Israel), shall bewail her when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city! For in one hour thy judgment is come.”; “The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city….And all the shipmasters and all the company of ships and sailors and as many as trade these, stood afar off and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!” (Rev. 18)
The other is a river that is despised of the natural Israel and called unclean. But they have hope for the Spirit of the Most High God dwells within. They are exemplified by people like Ruth who, being a Moabite outcast Gentile, proclaimed to Naomi, “Intreat me not to leave thee or to return from following you, for whither thou goest I will go: and whither thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people and thy God my God.” (Ruth 1:16) Where did this zeal for a God she had never heard of come from? Flesh and blood did not reveal it unto her. It came from her Heavenly Father to His beloved child according to the election of grace. “For when the Gentiles, which hath not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness and their thoughts between themselves while accusing or excusing one another.” (2:14f) These Gentiles (by nature) have the heart of stone removed and a heart of flesh placed within. Upon this heart, God has written His Holy law, not the Law of Moses which was a ministration of death, but the pure law that Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders saw upon the mount in its perfect clearness. (Ex. 24:9f) This is the law which Christ came and fulfilled to every jot and tittle in complete righteousness and because He was faithful God causes His children, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile, to walk in complete obedience. If this sounds somewhat familiar, we need not go any further than to the New Covenant which Jeremiah spoke of that the Lord Himself would establish with Israel. “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and the house of Judah:” (Jer. 31:31) God did not say He would make this covenant with the house of Israel and the house of the Gentiles. He said the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Therefore, anyone who is a partaker of this covenant must be of one of these two families. The one family representing the children of the one ‘who has power with God’ and the other being the ‘children of promise’. These are not two houses but two representations of the same house whose builder and maker is God.
“Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God…. A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put in you…and cause you to walk in My statutes and ye shall keep My judgments and do them.” (Ez.36) This was the covenant that David prayed to the Lord about for his son Solomon when he said, “And give unto Solomon, my son, a perfect heart to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies and thy statutes and to do them and to build the palace for the which I have made provision.” (I Chr. 29:19) This is not after the law which was given in the wilderness which neither the fathers of national Israel nor the children of promise could keep, “ for by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Romans 3:20) It was not according to the traditions, training or education of the wisdom of man, “for they shall no more teach each his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know ye the Lord, for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:34) “It is not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord of host.” (Zech. 4:6)
This ‘mystery’ was hid in ages past although spoken of by the prophets as they were led of the Holy Spirit. But in the last days it became manifest for all the world to see as a sign of the power, wisdom, grace and mercy of God. This is the mystery of the gospel whereunto Paul was made a minister and apostle, “having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: that in the fullness of time He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and on the earth in Him.” (Eph. 1:9) “How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his Holy apostles and prophets by His Spirit, That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and of the same body and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel:” (the power of God unto salvation) (Eph. 3:3f)
This is the ‘mystery’ that Paul did not want the Roman brethren to be ignorant of. It was revealed in heaven when John heard the words in the Spirit, “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished as He declared to His servants the prophets.” (Rev. 10.7)
What shall we say, therefore, brethren? God blinded the hearts and minds of His elect of the national household of Israel and caused them to fall away for the purpose of revealing the mystery of His will. And when the fullness of the time of the Gentiles had been fulfilled He grafted back in such as should be saved. And so all Israel was delivered from the wrath of God. First by the shed blood of the Lamb of God who came and saved His people from their sin. Then from the wrath of God as He returned, riding the white horse, conquering and to conquer, wherein He destroyed the last vestige of the desolate house of a stiff necked and rebellious nation, which is called Babylon and spiritual Sodom and Egypt, that great city in which our Lord was crucified. Let the world chase after and war over the dust and ruins of the inheritance of the natural house of Israel. Let them build their man-made, hand-crafted polluted temple to a God who knows them not for they are workers of iniquity. Let them seek to re-establish the ministration of death and the handwriting of ordinances which were contrary to grace and faulty. They call the precious blood wherewith the Lamb purchased His bride as common and would crucify Him again being children of wrath. The children of faith care not for these things. They seek the same things that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sought for, that building that hath foundations, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone, whose builder and maker is God.
Be not entangled with the things of this world but seek first the kingdom of God, for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination before the Lord.
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
Banner of Hope
Volume 2, No. 2 - August 2008