Paul was pointed. The Jews wouldn’t accept the gospel message, so he turned to the Gentiles.
Here’s when it happened: Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you (Jews): but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth (Acts 13:46-47)
While his position may have been abrupt, it was God-advised. His visions and revelations, as we’ve learned, were that the Gentiles would receive the gospel. And it’s these verses that lead some to believe that God was and is finished with the Jews. How would you respond to someone who said that?
We simply compare Scripture with Scripture. It helps to have a perspective of God’s overall plan, which is for Jesus Christ to be glorified and to reign forever and ever (Exo. 15:18; Psa. 146:10; Dan. 2:44; 7:14; Mic. 4:7; Matt. 6:13; Luke 1:33; Rev. 11:15). Do we think for a minute that when He reigns eternally, it will only be over the Gentiles? As much as you read about Him reigning, you read that it includes all nations (Ps. 22:27-28; 72:17; Mic. 4:1-2; Rev. 7:9; 11:15). If God had not opened the door of the gospel to the Gentiles, how would all nations become a part of His eternal kingdom over which He will reign that was first promised to the Jews?
Since Paul received the full revelation of God’s purposes with the Gentiles and Jews, let’s look briefly at one of his explanations in Romans 11. Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. (11:25b).
But then, God does something different with the Jews that is hard for us to comprehend, because He has not done it yet and has never done it before. Here we go with what Paul said next in Rom 11:26-27 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (27) For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
He’s quoting from Isaiah about something still future, and there’s going to be a new covenant with Israel to take place after the rapture of the church. It’s going to be a covenant of mercy with Israel.
Isa 54:6-10 For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. (7) For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. (8) In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. (9) For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. (10) For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed (in the tribulation); but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
What does that mean? It means just what it says. So read it again and believe it. He’s talking to Israel. Maybe you’re questioning this covenant and wondering if it’s a new one or an old one revived.
Let’s go to a rule of Bible study. Don’t run to commentaries on this. Compare scripture with scripture. Another prophet discussed the same topic and sheds more light. Jer 31:31-34 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: (32) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: (33) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, (those days = tribulation) saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (34) And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Back to where we were in Rom 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. It’s still future as of Paul’s writing. This is likely to blow your mind, but He’s going to take away their sins, not because they received the gospel of Jesus Christ. He’s just going to take Israel’s sins away—by grace and mercy—apart from anything else but His promise. Paul said, regarding Israel in our study passage: As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your (Gentiles) sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. Rom 11:28 They are an elected nation, per His promises to their forefathers. The Gentiles (Americans and other nations) receive God’s mercy and grace by faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. Israel as a nation gets a new covenant.
All this leads up to a better understanding. In our present church age, we, through the gospel, receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This wasn’t available to folks in the Old Testament, and they wondered about it.
After the rapture, Israel won’t get the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That mercy will be over. But Israel will get the indwelling of God’s law. Read this verse again: “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer 31:34)
Both groups, Jews and Gentiles, get their sins blotted out miraculously. Us through simply believing the gospel of Christ. Them, simply through God’s future act on their behalf. And the following prophesy applies to them before it applies to us: I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. (Isa. 43:25)
We ask, “Why would He blot out their sins automatically apart from Christ’s shed blood?” They ask, “Why would He blot out the Gentiles’ sins through simply trusting Christ?” Neither makes sense. But it’s God’s mercy that does it in both cases.
Rom 11:33-36 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
All this begs for an understanding of another secret…the theme of the Bible. It’s not what you may have been taught, and when you understand it, this difference between how God deals with the Jews and Gentiles will become much clearer. Stay tuned.