St. Paul’s Letter To The Romans Chapter 9

Beloved Lord,

It was through the Old Covenant
people of Israel that the promised seed of the Messiah was preserved.  You
trained them in holiness and when the time was ready for the mission of the
Messiah it was a faithful remnant of Israel who not only recognized and followed
Him but after His Ascension, faithfully carried out His command to spread the
Gospel message of salvation to the entire earth, beginning the harvest of souls
into the gates of heaven.  It was through the Old Covenant faithful that the
Universal Church of the New Covenant in Christ’the new kingdom of Israel’was
established and the Gentile nations were admitted into fellowship with the One
True God.  We are thankful for our Old Covenant fathers who set the foundation
upon which the Universal Catholic Church has been built and we look to the time
when the whole covenant family is united in singing the Song of Victory of the
Lamb.  Send Your Holy Spirit, Lord, as we study St. Paul’s message of hope for
the promised ingathering of all of Israel into one Covenant people in Christ.
We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen to
Christ “the trustworthy King!”  [Note: the Hebrew word “amen” is an acrostic
formed from the Hebrew words El Meleck Ne’eman =”God is a trustworthy king”,
see Talmud, Shabbat 1196, The
Jewish Book of Why,
page 152, and
Revelation 3:14].


+ + +


The Vatican, March 15th
, 2006: Pope Benedict XVI’s Wednesday homily: “By choosing the twelve,
introducing them into a communion of life with him and making them sharers in
the same mission of announcing the Kingdom with words and deeds (cf. Mark 6:7-13; Matthew
; Luke
; 6:13), Jesus wants
to say that the definitive time has arrived; the time for rebuilding God’s
people, the people of the 12 tribes, which is now converted into a universal
people, his Church. By their mere existence, the twelve – called from different
backgrounds – have become a summons to all Israel to conversion and to allow
themselves to be reunited in a new covenant, full and perfect accomplishment of
the old. By entrusting to them the task of celebrating his memorial in the
supper, before his passion, Jesus shows that he wanted to transfer to the entire
community, in the person of its heads, the commandment of being a sign and
instrument of the eschatological assembly begun by him.” 


“…but as
regards those who are God’s choice, they are still well loved for the sake of
their ancestors.  There is no change of mind on God’s part about the gifts he
has made or his choice.”

In Romans 1:16
Paul acknowledged that the Gospel of salvation was intended for the Jew first:
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel.  It is the power of God for the Jew
first, and then the Greek”
and Jesus instructed the woman of Samaria in His
encounter with her at the well of Sychar, “for salvation comes from the Jews”
c].  But this preeminence of the Jew in God’s plan of salvation
has now become the problem.  In chapter 3 Paul
asked the question: If Israel is the chosen people of God and the ones meant to
receive the gift of salvation [see John 4:22], then
how can it be that many have refused that path to salvation?  In the first
century AD only a faithful remnant of Israel has embraced the New Covenant of
the Messiah Jesus and His Gospel of salvation.  What is the meaning of this
rejection and what is its significance in the historical election of Israel as
the first among many nations and the irrevocable promises made by Yahweh to His
chosen people’made to them at Sinai and to their forefathers the patriarchs,
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?


In Romans chapter 4 Paul had referred to those promises but
only as they were related to Abraham’s justification by faith as contrasted with
works of the old law.  Now Paul returns to the foundational promises made to
Abraham and applies those promises to the question of Israel’s rejection of the
Messiah and the “in gathering” of the Gentile nations of the earth into the New
Covenant of salvation in Christ Jesus.  In Romans chapters 9-11 St. Paul
expresses a heart wrenching yearning for the restoration of a fractured family
and develops the short answer he gave to his own question in chapter 3 into a
longer discourse, assuring his Jewish Christian audience that no matter how much
human beings are unfaithful to the covenant, this unfaithfulness cannot abrogate
God’s covenant promises; indeed the way human beings behave only makes God’s
righteous promises more remarkable.  God’s faithfulness; however, does not
protect the sinner from God’s righteous judgment [Romans 3:6], or
absolve his sin [Romans 3:8].
Now Paul addresses this question of Israel’s part in the history of salvation
and the future of those Jews who cling to the Sinai Covenant and who have
rejected the New Covenant in Christ.  He will rely heavily on Old Testament
Scripture in this chapter. In fact, Paul who quotes Old Testament Scripture in
all of his 14 letters, quotes over half of his Old Testament passages in his
letter to the Romans and the majority of those Old Testament passages are in
these 3 chapters of Romans 9-11!  Paul lists 12 Old Testament quotations the
3-part division of this portion of his address on the role of Israel in
Salvation History’a division in our modern translations that becomes the 3
chapters of Romans 9-11.



It is obviously Paul’s plan to use the significant number 12
in the Old Testament quotations, which in Scripture represents the number of
perfection of government and is the number for Israel in covenant with Yahweh
[see the document The
Significance of Numbers in Scripture
in the Documents section of Agape
Bible Study]. *The Hosea citation reference may vary according to what
translation is being used.  All Old Testament quotes Paul uses are from the
Greek Septuagint [a translation from the original Hebrew texts first made circa
250 BC: see the document: The Septuagint Old Testament Translation vs. the
Jamnian and Masoretic Translations of the Old Testament


Since the number 12 is significant in its connection to
Israel in covenant with God, Paul does not ignore this connection but names
“Israel” 12 times in his 3 part presentation:  Paul refers to “Israel” 12 times
and Israelites twice [9:4; 11:1] in Romans
chapters 9-11:

[Interlinear Greek translation:  references to Israel: Romans 9:6 (2
times); 9:27
(2 times); 9:31; Romans 10:1; 10:19; 10:21; Romans
11:2; 11:7; 11:25; 11:26.

Romans 9

Romans 10


1. 9:6 “not all
those of Israel”
6. 10:1
“Brothers…and the request to God on behalf of Israel is for to be
9. 11:2 “how he
pleads with God against Israel..”
2. 9:6 “these
(are)  Israel”
7. 10:19 “did
not Israel know”
10. 11:7 “What
then?  What seeks for Israel”
3. 9:27 “but
cries on behalf of Israel”
8. 10:21 “but
to Israel He says”
11. 11:25 “that
hardness from part to Israel has happened”
4. 9:27
“numbers of the sons of Israel”
12: 11:26 “and
so all Israel will be saved”
5. 9:31 “Israel
but followed after Law”

With the two references to “Israelites” added to the
references to “Israel” there are a total of 14 references’double
perfection and fullness [7 being the number of perfection and fullness,
especially spiritual perfection].


Please read Romans 9:1-5:
The Divine Prerogatives of Israel

Note: All Old Testament quotations will be in bold type
in the next 3 chapters.

1 This is the
truth and I am speaking in Christ, without pretence, as my conscience testifies
for me in the Holy Spirit;
2 there is
great sorrow and unremitting agony in my heart:
3 I could pray that I myself might be accursed and
cut off from Christ, if this could benefit the brothers who are my own flesh and
4 They are Israelites; it was
they who were adopted as children, the glory was theirs and the covenants; to
them were given the Law and the worship of God and the promises. 
5 To them belong the fathers and out of them, so
far as physical descent is concerned, came Christ who is above all, God, blessed
for ever.  Amen


In the first two verses of this passage Paul expresses his
heart felt longing for the restoration of all his “brothers” who are the
“firstborn” sons of the Old Covenant.  There are Jews who have accused Paul of
abandoning his people.  St. James, Bishop of Jerusalem will advise Paul on this
problem when Paul visits Jerusalem in the spring of 58AD after this letter has
been written and was being delivered to Rome: “You see, brother, how
thousands of Jews have now become believers, all of them staunch upholders of
the Law; and what they have heard about you is that you instruct all Jews living
among the gentiles to break away from Moses , authorizing them not to circumcise
their children or to follow the customary practices”
[Acts 21:20-21].
But this is not new information to Paul.  Knowing these things are being said
about him, Paul now refutes those accusations.  In 9:3 Paul states
he is willing to offer his own life as a sacrifice if it would bring all his
Israelite and Jewish brothers into the New Covenant in Christ.


Compare what Paul writes in Romans 9:1-3
with what he wrote in 8:31-39.

Question: Is what he writes here a contradiction of
his former words?

Answer: No.  The chapter 8 passage deals with God’s
love and faithfulness and this chapter 9 statement testifies to Paul’s willing
sacrifice of himself for the sake of the salvation of his kinsmen.  In fact, the
two statements compliment one another in that God’s faithfulness and love for us
moves us to love others with His same intensity’to the point at which we should
be willing, as Christ was willing, to suffer anything in order to bring
salvation to others in need of God’s gift of salvation.


Question: Paul’s willingness to sacrifice himself for
his kinsmen [“brothers” = adelphoi] recalls what Old Testament prophet’s
unselfish offer to sacrifice himself for the sake of his kinsmen?  See Exodus

Answer: After the sin of the Golden Calf, Moses
interceded with God on behalf of the Israelites who had embraced the worship of
a symbol of Egyptian idolatry and offered to sacrifice not only his life but his
own salvation for their sake.  Paul’s willingness to offer himself in the same
way would have recalled Moses’ act of unselfish love to Paul’s Jewish audience.
Paul is telling them that he has the same love and devotion to this generation
of his Israelite kinsmen that the great Moses had for his


Note: It is interesting that both these generations, that of
Moses and that of Paul, are the only two generations in the Bible that are
called “perverse”, “accursed” “corrupt” or “wicked” generations: see Acts 2:40; Numbers
& Deuteronomy
.  In Matthew
Jesus says that all the evils of the other generations of Israel
will fall upon Paul’s generation.


Question: Is Paul’s difficult situation with his
kinsmen in anyway similar to the relationship Moses, the greatest of all
prophets before the coming of Christ, had with his people?  Hint: see Exodus
; 17:3-4; Numbers
, 10; and 16:1-15; 17:6-7.

Answer: There are many similarities.  Moses’ people
did not understand God’s plan which had been revealed to Moses and they
constantly challenged his authority as Yahweh’s covenant representative.  Paul
is telling his Jewish audience, “just as your ancestors misunderstood Moses, so
you now misunderstand me’but like Moses my motives are pure and I am led by the
Holy Spirit who gives me the authority to speak to you about matters of faith
and salvation.”

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