Jehovah`s Witness/Spritual Israel vs National Israel
Hello Mr Hepburn
I am finding this debate between JWS and Mr Holland interesting. I appreciated your last answer and it was very convincing. I have actually asked Mr Holland to comment on your answer to me and I look forward to that. In the mean time after reading some more on this subject by Mr Holland it seems to me that he has a point when he insists that Romans 11:1 clearly shows that God did not cast of Israel. Is that not a plan statement of fact by Paul so how can you JWS say otherwise. Mr Holland also makes the point from verse 2 that God foreknew that the Jews would reject Jesus and that in spite of this foreknowing that God still did not permanently cast them off. By the way what Bibles were you quoting from. I understood the King James and the JW NWT but what were the other ones.
Hello again Gordon
Thank you for your questions.
I went and had a read of Mr Holland’s remarks, but I will try to keep my comments to your specific questions.
I will start with the other Bibles I quoted from
BBE = The Bible in Basic English produced by Mr C. K. Ogden of the Orthological Institute Working with a Committee under the direction of Professor S. H. Hooke, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Studies in the University of London, has been responsible for a new English form of the Bible made from the Hebrew and the Greek. First published in 1949 by Cambridge University Press
Diaglot = A Greek Interlinear by Benjamin Wilson 1865
GNGE = The 1976 Good News Version of the Bible, British edition, The British & Foreign Bible Society
To understand different books of The Bible we must try to understand the audience to whom it is written. In this case Romans was written to the Christian Congregation in Rome. This consisted of both Jews and Gentiles. . It is obvious that his purpose was to settle some differences in viewpoint between Jewish and Gentile Christians and to bring them toward complete unity as one man in Christ Jesus. He notes that neither Jew nor Gentile has any basis for boasting or for lifting himself above the other. He strictly warns the Gentile Christians that they should not become lofty-minded because they profited from the Jews’ failure to accept Christ, since the Jews’ fall allowed Gentiles to have the opportunity of membership in Christ’s “body.
So lets look at Verse 2 as it continues on from 1 “ God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.
Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,”
It is true God did not cast of his people, his people cast HIM of and rejected his messenger, his Son Jesus. As a result he abandoned them as a nation (not as individuals).
Does verse 2 show that God foreknew that would happen?. No. Look closely at that verse again. Where is the FULLSTOP? It comes AFTER
the word “foreknew
”. It is the end of a thought. What is that first sentence saying? Paul is telling all those in Rome including the Gentiles, that God had a relationship with Israel in the past. He knew them as a people. Here is how some other Bibles render that verse
God has not put away the people of his selection. (BBE)
God has not cast away his people whom he has foreknown. (Calvin an English rendering of the French Bible by John Calvin 1509 – 1564)
Not did put away the God the people of himself, whom he before knew. (Diaglot)
God hath not cast away his people which he knew before. (1599 Geneva Bible)
Of interest is the way the Diaglot and Geneva Bibles use the words knew before
and before knew
. That is exactly what the Greek word used here means. The Greek word is “proginosko” which is a compound word made up of “pro” meaning before or above, and “ginosko” meaning know. It is not here talking about "for knowledge" of events.
Continuing on what was it that God already knew? Verse 2 – 3
continue “ “Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.”
Paul quotes here from 1 Kings 19:14,18
“14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.... 18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”
It was natural Israel that had done bad in Jehovah's eyes killing the prophets and bowing before Baal. This is exactly what the Jews were doing now (at the time of Paul's writing). They had Jesus killed and were not worshiping God. In verse 5
Paul equates at that “present time” the “seven thousand” faithful men as being a remnant “Even so then at this present time
also there is a remnant
according to the election of grace.” A few Jews "a remnant
" had accepted the Christ and were exercising faith in the ransom provision.
In verse 8
Paul quotes from the Book of Isaiah
For the Lord has sent on you a spirit of deep sleep; and by him your eyes, the prophets, are shut, and your heads, the seers, are covered.”
Why were they in a "deep sleep" spiritually speaking? Because the Jews, as a nation, had become as stubborn and rebellious people (Isa. 65:2
) and that had lasted until the time of Paul's writing to the Roman, “at this present time
” “8 (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
” They had remained a rebellious people. In verses 17 -25
we see Paul refering to the promis of Abraham for a seed by which all mankind would be blessed and that his seed (Genesis 22:17-18
.”17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”)
Paul uses an olive tree as an illustration of the promise to Abraham. It sprouts and grows strong, but much of the tree is to cut out and NOT redrafted. Paul talks about an unnatural farm practice. That is the grafting in from a “wild olive” the wild olive being the Gentiles, because up until that time the Jews were
at one time a "special people
" a "treasure
" above all other people as the following texts show
“ Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”
“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.”
“Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.”
Because of their continual disobedience Jehovah said that, even though they had been special, they would be punished.
“You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” The punishment as a nation was to lose Gods favour as a nation. But as Paul showed, a remnant of them would maintain his favour, and they would be joined by the people of the nations (Romans 11:24
“For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree:”)
Peter later writes and ties this all together and applies the words written about the nation of Israel to the Christian Congregation
, the new “spiritual” nation of Israel. 1 Peter 2:9
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
All Israel will be saved, not natural Israel but the new grafted Israel
. Review the above information keeping in mind these texts as discussed in this and the first answer
Matthew 21: 43
Matthew 23: 37
Galatians 4: 22-26
Galatians 6 :15,16
Romans 9:22-25, 27
1 Peter 2:9
I can understand why people see Romans 11 as saying that natural Israel will be saved and have a place in world events, but that is if they read Romans 11 only. But one must remember that “ All scripture
is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,” 2 Tim.3:15
It is up to you to decide if “ALL scripture
” points to another conclusion or not. As for me, I prefer to look at “ALL scripture