I really messed up. God’s not going to forgive me this time. Can you relate to this feeling? Paul addressed this sentiment in Romans 11, the chapter we’re studying in the conclusion of our 3-part series on why Israel still matters to God. Some were questioning if Israel’s sins had caused God to reject them altogether. The comforting answer: Absolutely not! This week’s program explains that God has not closed the door to the salvation of Israel while revealing the responsibility Gentile Christians specifically have as a result of the gospel.
Over the past two weeks Chris has covered Romans 9 and 10, explaining how Paul knows the Law has become a stumbling block to the Jewish people, though a remnant remains true to God’s Word. Jumping into chapter 11 this week, we see how Paul hammers home this point that God has not rejected Israel. Just as the Gentiles have received the gospel, the Jewish people will receive that same Good News of grace because Israel still matters to God! Don’t miss this important truth from Romans 11.
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover, and with me is our host and teacher Chris Katulka. Right at the top of the program, I'd like to remind you to visit our website foiradio.org, and you can keep up on all things related to The Friends of Israel Today, radio program when you come. There, you can listen to all of our broadcasts, five years' worth of content with links to our feature products, highlighted in the show, or you can support our ministry by clicking on the donate button to help us continue teaching biblical truth about Israel and the Jewish people. Again, visit us at foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry was actually founded in 1938 by Christians in the Philadelphia area who believed that God loves and supports the Jewish people. And that didn't just come from some pie in the sky idea, this was something that they believe from a biblical basis. And one of the strongest biblical arguments in the New Testament that God has a plan and a future for Israel and the Jewish people, comes from Romans 9 through 11. And that's exactly what we're going to be studying. We're actually going to be wrapping up our study, we're in Romans 11 today. And so we're going to be looking at Romans 11, but always keep this in mind. The Friends of Israel exists because we believe God loves and supports Israel and the Jewish people and I think Romans 11 is going to show you just why. But before we get there, I want to thank our podcast listeners for tuning in online, on demand, whenever they want, that's right. If you're driving right now and you're listening, you can just go to foiradio.org and there you can listen online whenever you want.
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Steve Conover: But before we get to anything else in the news, antisemitic incidents in the United Kingdom have dropped by 13% in 2020 compared to the year before, this is likely due to COVID-19 lockdown regulations. However, the 789 events reported between January and June still represent the third highest number on record for that period. This according to a study by a British watchdog group.
Chris Katulka: Yeah. This is my take on this situation, Steve, even with coronavirus, keeping everyone locked up and indoors, Jew hatred continued to spread. While the number of antisemitic incidents went down, the report actually revealed that a number of online cases went up 4%. History has proven that Jewish people often become the scapegoat for economic crises, pandemics, and really any disaster. The Apostle Paul calls the church not to be arrogant against the Jewish people, but to fear. Romans 11, we're looking at that today. Why? Because harming Jewish people is like poking the eye of God.
We're wrapping up our series here on why Israel still matters to God today. And we're doing a study of Romans 9 through 11. And let me just tell you why I think this study is so important. I get upset when I see other nations and how they treat Israel. Arab nations who are extremely antisemitic and anti Israel, the UN who believes Israel, the only democracy in the middle East is worse at human rights than Iran, China, or even North Korea. Yes, these things, they make me upset, but I'm not surprised either.
What really gets me upset, what really makes me sad, I should say, is when Christians who have the Word of God in their hands, can read the whole counsel of God for themselves, believe that God is through with Israel as a nation. And argue that Israel is done. That there's no need for an Israel, a national Israel anymore. They hold to a view called replacement theology that believes that the church has ultimately replaced Israel or some version of that. And this is why I want us to study Romans 9 through 11. I wanted you to see from a new Testament perspective that Israel as a nation still matters to God today. We should not, as believers in Jesus, as people who value the Word of God, we should not overlook Israel's rebirth as a nation in 1948, as some random political happenstance that has no biblical significance. God is at work. He promised to restore His chosen people to the land and that He has a plan and a bright future for them.
Well, some might argue that's from the Old Testament, Chris, Jesus changed everything. Well, this is why Romans 9 through 11 matter so much because Paul is writing during the church age, which means this is after Jesus's earthly ministry. This is after His death and resurrection and ascension to sit at the right hand of the father. And this is even after the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church. Paul writes Romans 9 through 11. So a quick recap on Romans 9 and 10, if you're just tuning in. Paul is concerned that his Jewish brothers and sisters have not embraced Jesus as their Messiah, Paul would be willing to give up his own relationship with Jesus to see the Jewish people come to faith. While some might be concerned that God's Word isn't turning out the way it planned because Jewish people didn't believe in Jesus, Paul remains confident because he knows God has worked with a remnant of Israelites over the years who have remained true to God's Word. And that remnant of Jewish people is what Paul says is a true Israel.
God is preserving His promise through those Jewish people who believe. Paul knows that the problem is that the Jewish people have stumbled over the issue of how they attain righteousness. And it's not through the law, attempting to keep the law is working to attain your own righteousness before God. But it's Jesus who is the fulfillment of the law, who makes us righteous because He fulfilled the law. Faith in Christ is what makes us righteous. And this goes for a Jewish person and a Gentile person. Jewish people have no special dispensation, the same way a Gentile approaches God through Jesus the Messiah is the same way a Jewish person must approach God, through Jesus, the Messiah. But Israel is without excuse and they know the truth because it originates with them. So if you didn't get a chance to listen to the last two weeks on Romans 9 through 11, I want to encourage you to go to foiradio.org and there, you can keep up with all things, FOI Radio. And you can also hear the last two messages of the series as well. Why Israel still matters to God. Again, that's foiradio.org.
So Paul ends Romans 10 with a pretty harsh accusation against his fellow Jewish brothers and sisters who refuse to believe in Jesus. He closes with a quote from Isaiah 65:2, which says, all day long, I've held out my hands, did this disobedient and stubborn people, know Israel has a long history of rejecting God's messengers, and now they've even rejected God's Son. So one might naturally believe that God's going to reject them now. Well, turn the page. Listen to Romans 11, listen to how Paul opens this and Romans 11:1. He says this, “so I ask knowing what you know about how the Jewish people have rejected the Messiah so I ask, God has not rejected His people has He? Absolutely not! For I too am in Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.” Listen, Paul is saying, hello, I'm living proof that God hasn't rejected the Jewish people. I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham.
Again, this is a loaded title here, Paul isn't just saying, I'm a Jew, he's saying, I'm an Israelite. He's claiming the promises of God to Abraham of a land, descendants, and a blessing and that God would use the Jewish people and protect the Jewish people. And that through the Jewish people, all the families of the earth would be blessed. Read Genesis 12:1-3. He hasn't rejected Israel, Paul says, a people whom He foreknew. Jump down the Romans 11:11. Listen to what it says. I then ask, Paul writes again, “they did not stumble into an irrevocable fall, did they? Absolutely not! But by their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous.” But not only is Paul asking if God has rejected Israel, he's asking if Israel has sinned so badly and so much that they fall into a point where they can never get up again spiritually. And Paul says, “absolutely not!” The most emphatic way in Greek to say “no, never, could never happen, impossible.”
Let me turn this toward you now, as a believer in Jesus. Maybe you're listening to this message right now and you're saying, look, I'm not Jewish, I'm a believer in Jesus, I'm a Christian. What does this have to do with me? Well, look at what Paul says. God's Word didn't fail. There's a reason that Israel rejected the Messiah. Did you hear it? When I read it in verse 11, but by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous. Look, if you're a Christian, a follower of Jesus and you're not Jewish, you're Gentile, Paul's saying, it's because of Israel's rejection that you've received the blessings of God through Christ. And in turn those Jewish people should see what the Messiah looks like in our lives, as believers in Jesus, and that they might become jealous for what is actually a Jewish promise that's rightfully yours, that's in your heart.
Look, Paul later on says this in Romans 11:25, “but I don't want you to be ignorant of this mystery brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited, but a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved as it is written. The deliverer will come out of Zion. He will remove ungodliness from Jacob and this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” When Paul talks about a mystery here in Romans 11, he's talking about an event that will happen in the future, a prophetic event. And Paul doesn't want the church to misunderstand what's going on today in light of the future. A partial hardening has happened to Israel until a full number of Gentiles has come in. And so then what? All Israel will be saved. There's a day coming when that last Gentile, that last non-Jewish person will place their faith in Jesus Christ and God will then turn His attention back on Israel.
And throughout this series, we've been hearing about a remnant that God has been preserving for Israel. We heard about it in Romans 9. Paul mentioned it again in Romans 11. We didn't get a chance to talk about it because of time, but you can read it on your own, it's in the beginning of Romans 11, Paul is interested in this remnant that's preserving the Gospel in the Jewish community. We have people here at The Friends of Israel, a dear friend of mine, Steve Herzig a Jewish believer. David Levy, a Jewish believer. Those who are continuing to believe Jesus is the Messiah, a remnant. But we're seeing how God and the church age is moving from the part, the remnant, the part to the whole, for Israel. Currently a remnant believes, but there's a day coming when the part will become the whole and all of Israel will be saved. That those who are standing in the end who see Jesus coming at a second coming, the deliverer will come out of Zion, that's Jerusalem.
And you know what? We're going to take you to the final sections of Romans 11. I don't want you to go, stick around. I want you to finish up Romans 11, to hear the importance of what it looks like when the Jewish people believe. It still matters, Israel still matters to God. But before we get there, I want to share with you a resource. Look, we only have so much time to share with you on Romans 9 through 11, but there's so much more richness here on why God loves Israel. And this subject is important to us here at The Friends of Israel, that we actually dedicated an entire conference to it a few years ago. 16 messages on the three chapters that best display God's plan for Israel, that God's not through with Israel, that He has a plan for them. The Apostle Paul really believed it was important for the early church in Rome, to know these truths about Israel and we believe actually Paul's message couldn't be any more relevant for the world that we're living in today.
Steve Conover: You can listen to all 16 messages, two of which were taught by you, Chris, and this audio teaching series is available on CD, MP3, and as a digital download. To purchase, visit us at foiradio.org. Again, that's F-O-Iradio.org, and we'll have the link on our homepage. Or you can call our listener line, it's (888) 343-6940. Again, that's (888) 343-6940 and someone will return your call during our regular business hours. To reach us in Canada call (888) 664-2584. Again in Canada, that's (888) 664-2584.
Chris Katulka: We are wrapping up our series on Romans 9 through 11, the most important three chapters on why Israel still matters to God today. And I hope Christians all around the world hear this message. God's not through with Israel. Israel matters because Israel's existence in future is a marker for God's faithfulness. It's a testimony that God's Word is true. God made an unbreakable promise to Abraham in Genesis 12 and 15, that promised Israel land, descendants, and a blessing. And it was God who made that promise to Abraham. It was God's name written on the contract, not Abraham's name actually, it's God's holy reputation at stake. If God rejects Israel, then God becomes a liar and you know what? God can reject you then. And that goes against God's holy standards. How can you trust if God can live up to His word, if He actually rejects somebody He made a promise to. Listen to how Paul ends Romans 11. In one verse, I actually think Paul explains why Israel still matters to God today.
Romans 11:28. It says this, “In regard to the Gospel, they are enemies for your sake, but in regard to election, they are dearly loved for the sake of the fathers.” That's Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Verse 29, “For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” I'm going to read that again. “For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable, just as you were formerly disobedient to God, but now have received mercy due to their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all people to disobedience so that He may show mercy to all of them.” Listen to this, Paul is saying yes, right now, as a regard to the Gospel, they are an enemy. Israel is an enemy. This makes me think of what's going on in Israel today with a decision to shut down an evangelical TV station that was airing in Israel because they were sharing the Gospel with Israelis in Hebrew. In regard to the Gospel it's relevant today, they are enemies Paul says, they push back against the Gospel.
But don't let that persuade you from believing that God's through with Israel, because they were chosen by God. They were elected for a purpose that goes back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, verse 29. And here's the kicker friends, in light of everything that we've been learning for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. God's call and promise to Israel, which promised a land, a people, and a blessing is irrevocable. It can't be changed. It can't be reversed. It can't be destroyed. Look, Paul brings us back full circle to Roman 9, disobedience and mercy. And Paul's saying to those Gentile Christians in Rome. Look, just as you were once disobedient and now has received mercy, who says that the same grace isn't extended to the ones God made an irrevocable promise to. You can't undo a promise God makes. For the gifts and call of God are irrevocable. So listen, next time you watch the news about the Middle East, or you hear how the UN treats Israel unfairly. Yes, that's something to be sad and mourn over knowing that one day God's justice is going to prevail.
But when you hear a pastor or a teacher or a biblical scholar tell you, God has no reason to restore the nation of Israel or the church has replaced Israel, get your Bible out friends and go to Romans 9 through 11. And remember the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. And if God's not through with Israel, then He's definitely not through with you.
Steve Conover: Chris, I'm thinking of the listener that they've been confronted with these very clear truths, these last three weeks in Romans 9 through 11. And Paul's emphatic that he's not done. And they're in a church that doesn't hold this view and they've gotten their Bible out and gone to Romans 9 through 11. How would you suggest they approach that topic with their fellow church members or their pastor?
Chris Katulka: I always think it's great to start at a grassroots level. And what I mean by that is this, if you're passionate about Israel and the Jewish people, and maybe you go to a church where that's not their doctrinal position, that's understandable, but I would love for that person to know that God's Word is plain and clear. It can't be any more plain and clear. And I actually think if they are passionate, they can infect other people with the goodness of what God's Word is saying about Israel, and the Jewish people. It's very clear from Genesis to Revelation, God has a heart and a call to the Jewish people and to the nation of Israel. And all you have to do is point to what's going on in Israel and say, look at God is at work, the Jewish people are back in the land, it's never happened to any group of people in history before. God's at work.
And you know what? I don't know if it has to come from the pastor, but you can definitely have an impact on someone's life, if you share with them the truth of how God is using Israel and the Jewish people.
Steve Conover: Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: Last week, I had an extraordinary experience. As I was walking with my children in the Old City of Jerusalem on the way to buy groceries, we passed an ice cream parlor. And little David asked me to buy him an ice cream cone and naturally Ruth, Meno and Victor wanted the same and so we went inside and bought the treats. And as the children were eating their ice cream, I noticed a man sitting at a table, reading aloud, the Psalms. I knew this man and realized that he was not the Psalm reading type. So I asked him if someone in his family was sick. It is customary among Jewish people to read the Psalms when a family member is sick. "No, he replied, no one in my family is sick." He then led me into a back room where I saw four men sitting at a table playing cards. Intrigued, I asked, "What does reading the Psalms have to do with playing cards?" He told me a sad and sordid story.
He was a habitual card player and had lost all of his money. In desperation, he went to a so called wise man for advice, this wise man counseled him to borrow more money and hire an expert card player to win back what he had lost. He therefore borrowed a considerable amount of money and even pawned his wife's gold watch, which he had given to her before their marriage. Then he started to recite the Psalms thinking that would help him win back his money and his wife's gold watch. Soon however, he had lost the borrowed money and the money received from the watch. And now he was ashamed and even afraid to go home. "What shall I do?" He asked in despair. "First, I replied, you must immediately stop playing cards or participating in any other form of gambling, otherwise you will suffer an even greater calamity. And then you must pray to God to give you a new heart and a new spirit."
In his anxiety and embarrassment he promised to do all that I told him, but he begged me to go home with him as he was ashamed and afraid of his wife and children. After completing my shopping, I took my children home and then accompanied this man to his home. And then I found his wife distraught and very angry. The children looked hungry and dirty and lacked proper clothing and shoes. I spoke quietly to his wife and told her she should try and forgive him otherwise, the situation would become even more desperate. And little by little, I managed to quiet her, her husband wept and promised never to play cards again. But I told him, "Unless you accept the Messiah in your heart, you will never be able to keep that promise." His wife then asked, "How can a decent man like you befriend such a wretch as my husband who sins way more than he himself." I told her that our Savior came to heal those who were sick, people just like her husband.
"It is possible, I said, that the Lord allowed him to get into this predicament so that he would realize his own helplessness, perhaps God used me as his messenger to help him." After I left, the husband and wife were reconciled. A few days later, he found a job and now he works at my side. Last Sabbath, I went to this family's home and took them with me to our place of worship. And after the service, I invited them to my home for dinner. Let us pray for the salvation of this family. The Lord is able.
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us for The Friends of Israel Today radio program once again. And we've just enjoyed the series on Romans 9, 10, and 11, these last three weeks so much. Chris, any final thoughts?
Chris Katulka: Yeah. I just really want to encourage our listeners to go over and reread Romans 9, 10, and 11. We didn't get time to dig into every aspect of it. But if there's one thing that comes across when they are finished reading that, they're going to see that Paul's heart in the church age is for Jewish people to come to faith in Jesus, the Messiah, and that God still has a plan for them. And that matters. And if they want a more in depth study, they can go to foiradio.org and there they can get our 16 messages on Romans 9 through 11. Something I think will definitely benefit them.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka, today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong and I'm Steve Conover, Executive Producer. And one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
2014 Prophecy Conference CD Set
God’s not through with Israel! Paul devoted three chapters, Romans 9–11, to this very fact. We devoted an entire conference to these chapters!
Enjoy listening to these sixteen messages from The Friends of Israel’s Bible teachers explaining God’s plan for Israel from these three chapters.
Apples of Gold: The Peacemaker
Seeing a man distraught one evening, Zvi approached him and asked if he was okay. When he heard the man had spent all of his money on gambling, Zvi told him he needed to find peace from the only One who could change his heart. The man had relationships to repair with his family, so Zvi helped the man get home to tell his wife the truth about his gambling. He then took time to share God’s promises for everlasting life with them.
Zvi’s story is available in Elwood McQuaid’s book, “Zvi: The Miraculous Story of Triumph over the Holocaust,” available at our online store.
More stories from Zvi are also available in his book, “The Best of Zvi,” available at our online store.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.