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Israel's Election by God
Israel's Rejection of God
God's Ways Higher
God Not Rejecting Israel
Romans 11:5 In
then, there has
come to be at the
according to God's
Amplified: So too at the present time there is a remnant (a
small believing minority), selected (chosen) by grace (by God's
unmerited favor and graciousness).
ESV: So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by
ICB: It is the same now. There are a few people that God has
chosen by his grace.
NIV: So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by
NKJV: Even so then, at this present time there is a
remnant according to the election of grace.
NLT: It is the same today, for not all the Jews have turned
away from God. A few are being saved as a result of God's kindness in
Phillips: In just the same way, there is at the present time a
minority chosen by the grace of God.
Wuest: Therefore, thus also at this present season a remnant
according to a choice of grace has come into being.
Young's Literal: So then also in the present time a remnant
according to the choice of grace there hath been;
Summary on the Attributes of God
Spurgeon on the Attributes of God
Israel of God - Is God "Finished"
with Israel in His prophetic plan?
Off Site - Table
Comparing/contrasting Israel & Church
Off Site - Does the Church Fulfill
Israel's Program? - John Walvoord
The Jewish People, Jesus Christ and World History
- S Lewis Johnson
Are you confused about God's plan for Israel?
Then I highly recommend Tony
12 Hour Course on Romans 9-11
in which he addresses in depth the question of What
Will Happen to Israel?
or see the individual lectures below)
Romans 9:1-5 Paul's Sorrow Concerning Israel
Children of the Promise
The Potter and the Clay
A Remnant Will be Saved
The Righteousness of God
Has Israel Not Heard?
God Has Not Cast Away The Jews
Life from the Dead
Two Olive Trees
The Salvation of Israel
Note that when you click the
preceding links, each link will in turn give you several choices
including an Mp3 message and brief transcript notes. The Mp3's
are long (avg 70+ min) but are in depth and thoroughly Scriptural with
many quotations from the Old Testament, which is often much less well
understood than the NT by many in the church today. Garland takes a
literal approach to Scripture, and his love for the Jews and passion to
see them saved comes through very clearly in these 12 hours of teaching!
Take your home Bible Study group through this series if you dare. Take
notes on the tapes as the transcripts are a very abbreviated version of
the audio messages. This course is highly recommended for all who love
Israel! I think you will agree that Tony Garland, despite coming to
faith after age 30 as an engineer, clearly has been given a special
anointing by God to promulgate the truth concerning Israel and God's
glorious future plan for the Jews. Garland has also produced more than
20 hours of superb audio teaching in his verse by verse commentary on
depth transcripts also available) which will unravel (in a way you did
not think was possible considering the plethora of divergent
interpretations) God's final message of the triumph and return of the
our Lord Jesus Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords! Maranatha!
IN THE SAME WAY THEN: houtos oun kai:
This relates to the previous statement that
"I have kept for myself" (v4) which reflects
God's gracious choice ~ God's
THERE HAS ALSO COME TO BE AT THE PRESENT TIME A REMNANT: en to nun kairo
leimma kat ekloghen charitos gegonen (3SRAI): (6,7;
Come to be (1096)
(ginomai) means to cause to be ("gen"-erate), to become or to
come into existence. The verb "come to be" is in the
which means that this remnant has come into existence at a point in time
in the past and
is a permanent part of the great host of the saved. (just another small
"jot or tittle" supporting the great truth that one cannot lose his or
(leimma from leípo = to leave or to lack) (See study on
describes that which is left or that which remains.
Paul uses leimma in this verse to
describe that group of Jews in
national Israel which was left (so to speak) out of the general apostasy
(abandonment of a previous loyalty) of most of Israel. Yes, most of the
"chosen people" chose not to bow down to Jehovah, the great "I Am" but
to bow down and kiss Baal, the pitiful "is not" (i.e., an idol is
nothing). This remnant of Jews who placed their faith in the Messiah were "left" because God graciously elected them.
"elect" is from ekloge which means to select or pick out some from a
for an in depth study of
Trench describes as
“the seasons...the critical
epoch-making periods foreordained of God … when all that has been
slowly, and often without observation, ripening through long ages is
mature and comes to the birth in grand decisive events which constitute
at once the close of one period and the commencement of another”.
time to which Paul had reference was a strategic one, one marked by the
inclusion of the Gentiles together with the Jew in the one Body of
Christ, a time at which, while the Gentiles gladly received the Word,
Israel was apostate, a time at which in spite of Israel’s apostasy,
there was a remnant in Israel saved in the sovereign grace of God.
Although the nation had rejected Jesus, thousands of individual Jews had
come to faith in Him (Acts 2:41 4:4; 6:1).
ACCORDING TO GOD'S GRACIOUS CHOICE (lit = choice of grace): kat ekloghen
for in depth word study of
is genitive of description.
The ground or motivating factor in this choice of certain in Israel who
were to be the objects of the
choice of God for salvation, was
the spontaneous overflowing love of God bestowing the gift of salvation
upon one who does not only not deserve that gift, but deserves
appropriate punishment for his sins (compare a vessel of wrath otherwise
prepared for destruction).
God did not choose this remnant because of its natural
descent or their "good works" (for as Jesus says "apart from Me you can
do nothing"), but solely because of His grace, His unmerited favor (Dt 7:7-8
Ep 2:8-9 2 Ti 1:9).
Remnant Summary (Click study on
In the history of Israel a remnant may be discerned, a
true heart circumcised born again by faith remnant of "spiritual" Israel
within the nation of Israel. In Elijah's time 7000 had not bowed the
knee to Baal (1Ki19:18). In Isaiah's time, Israel had been reduced to
only a few godly "survivors" (Isa1:9), for whose sake God still forebore
to destroy the nation. During the captivities the remnant appears in
Jews like Esther, Mordecai, Ezekiel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego. At the end of the seventy years of Babylonian captivity it was
the remnant that returned under Ezra and Nehemiah. At the advent of our
Lord, John the Baptist, Simeon, Anna, and those "who were looking
forward to the redemption of Jerusalem" (Lu2:38) were the remnant.
During the Church Age the remnant is composed of believing Jews
(Ro11:4-5). But an important aspect of the remnant is prophetic. During
the great tribulation a remnant out of all Israel will turn to Jesus as
Messiah, including the "sealed" Israelites of [Rev7:3-8]. A great
multitude of Gentiles [Rev7:9] will also be saved during the great
tribulation. Some of these will undergo martyrdom (Rev6:9-11), some will
be spared to enter the millennial kingdom (Zec12:6-13:9). Many of the
Psalms express, prophetically, the joys and sorrows of the remnant.
Romans 11:6 But
if it is by
grace, it is
longer on the
Amplified: But if it is by grace (His unmerited favor and
graciousness), it is no longer conditioned on works or anything men
have done. Otherwise, grace would no longer be grace [it would be
ESV: But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis
of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
ICB: And if God chose them by grace, then it is not for the
things they have done. If they could be made God's people by what they
did, then God's gift of grace would not really be a gift.
NIV: And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it
were, grace would no longer be grace.
NKJV: And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise
grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer
grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
NLT: And if they are saved by God's kindness, then it is not by
their good works. For in that case, God's wonderful kindness would not
be what it really is--free and undeserved.
Phillips: And if it is a matter of the grace of God, it cannot
be a question of their actions especially deserving God's favour, for
that would make grace meaningless.
Wuest: But since it is by grace, no longer is it out of a
source of works. Otherwise no longer is grace, grace.
Young's Literal: and if by grace, no more of works, otherwise
the grace becometh no more grace; and if of works, it is no more
grace, otherwise the work is no more work.
BUT IF IT IS BY GRACE IT IS NO LONGER ON THE BASIS OF WORKS: ei de chariti, ouketi ex ergon: (Ro
2 Timothy 1:9;
is saved by
and not by works (cf Ro 4:4-5) which
parallels the truth Paul taught in [Ro 9:30-33]. It is impossible to mix
and works, for the one cancels the other. Israel’s main concern
had always been in trying to please God with good works (Ro 9:30-10:4).
The nation refused to submit to Christ’s righteousness (Ro 10:4-5), just as
religious, self-righteous people refuse to submit today.
This truth is found in a parallel
verse in Deuteronomy where Moses warns the nation of
"Do not say in your heart when the
LORD your God has driven them out before you, 'Because of my
righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,' but it
is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is
dispossessing them before you. It is not for your righteousness or for
the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land,
but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your
God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which
the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Know, then,
it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving
you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people. (Deuteronomy 9:4-6)
OTHERWISE GRACE IS NO LONGER GRACE: epei e charis ouketi ginetai (3SPMI)
If it were on the basis of works God's grace would not be what
it really is -- free and undeserved. Human effort and God’s grace are
therefore mutually exclusive ways to salvation.
Writing to the Galatian churches Paul
If you seek to be justified and
declared righteous and to be given a right standing with God through the
Law, you are brought to nothing and so separated (severed) from Christ.
You have fallen away from grace (from God’s gracious favor and unmerited
blessing). (Galatians 2:21,
Paul understood grace as shown by his
testimony to the Corinthians that...
by the grace of God I am what I am,
and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than
all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
Henry Alford, commenting on
the contents of verse six, says;
“And let us remember, when we say an
election of grace, how much those words imply: namely, nothing short of
the entire exclusion of all human work from the question. Let these two
terms be regarded as, and kept distinct from one another, and do not let
us attempt to mix them and so destroy the meaning of each.”
seeking, it has not
those who were
obtained it, and the
Amplified: What then [shall we conclude]? Israel failed to
obtain what it sought [God's favor by obedience to the Law]. Only the
elect (those chosen few) obtained it, while the rest of them became
callously indifferent (blinded, hardened, and made insensible to it).
ESV: What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking.
The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,
ICB: So this is what has happened: The people of Israel tried
to be right with God. But they did not succeed. But the ones God chose
did become right with him. The others became hard and refused to
listen to God.
NIV: What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not
obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened,
NKJV: What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the
elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
NLT: So this is the situation: Most of the Jews have not found
the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have--the
ones God has chosen--but the rest were made unresponsive.
Phillips: What conclusion do we reach now? That Israel did not,
on the whole, obtain the object of his striving, but a chosen few "got
there", while the remainder became more and more insensitive to the
righteousness of God.
Wuest: What then? That which Israel is constantly seeking, this
it did not obtain. But those chosen out obtained it. And the rest were
Young's Literal: What then? What Israel doth seek after, this
it did not obtain, and the chosen did obtain, and the rest were
WHAT THEN? THAT WHICH ISRAEL IS SEEKING FOR IT HAS NOT
OBTAINED: Ti oun o epizetei (3SPMI) Israel, touto ouk epetuchen (3SAAI):
1 Corinthians 10:19;
What was Israel “so earnestly” seeking? The answer can be found in
[Ro 9:30-10:3] -- They were pursuing righteousness, a right standing before
God. The situation was ironic. The Jews zealously sought to be accepted
by God on the basis of works and the righteousness of the Law (cf.
Romans 10:2-3). However, they were not accepted by God; only the elect were,
because of God’s
choice by grace.
So this is the situation: Most of the Jews have not found the favor of
God they are looking for so earnestly. Why? [Ro 9:32] Because it is obtained only by
faith and they were stubborn and rebellious.
The writer of Hebrews (4:2)
(NASB) indeed we have had good news
(gospel) preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did
not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard."
(Amplified " For indeed we have had
the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they
[the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from
bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them,
because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire
personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power,
wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in
faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe)."
BUT THOSE WHO WERE CHOSEN OBTAINED IT
AND THE REST WERE HARDENED: e de ekloge epetuchen
de loipoi eporothesan (3PAPI): (5;
2 Thessalonians 2:13,14;
1 Peter 1:2)
"The Chosen" (1589)
(ekloge from eklegomai in turn from ek = out +
légo = select, choose, eklegomai meaning to choose or select
for oneself, but not necessarily implying rejection of what is not
chosen) means literally a choosing out and in Scripture speaks of
election, the benevolent purpose of God by which any are chosen
unto salvation so that they are led to embrace and persevere in Christ’s
bestowed grace and the enjoyment of its privileges and blessings here
and hereafter. Although not used in this way in the present context,
ekloge, can describe election which is vocational. The Lord called out
the tribe of Levi to be His priests, but Levites were not thereby
guaranteed salvation. Jesus called twelve men to be apostles but only
eleven of them to salvation. After Paul came to Christ because of God’s
election to salvation, God then chose him in another way to be His
special apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; Rom. 1:5).
(epitugchano from epí = intensifier + tugcháno =
obtain, meet by chance, meet with, fall in with a person, hit the mark,
to attain) means to hit, especially hit a mark with an arrow, to chance
upon, and to to attain or obtain. The idea is to obtain or gain what is
(poroo from poros = small piece of stone broken off from a
larger one) means to make hard like a stone, and so to make callous or
insensitive to touch. Here as elsewhere in the New Testament, poroo
is used only figuratively and specifically only in a spiritual sense
referring to the effect on one's heart and mind. Poroo is used in
this verse (and the noun form, porosis, is used in Romans 11:25)
with a meaning similar to the verb skleruno in Ro 9:18 ("So then
He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He
Some versions translate poroo
in this verse as "blinded".
NIDNTT has the following
note on poroo...
(from Hippocrates on) is derived from
poros, tufa or tuff (porous stone), and means to harden, to form
a callus (when broken bones heal), and thus to petrify, to become hard.
(Colin Brown: New International Dictionary of NT Theology)
Kenneth Wuest comments that
to cover with a thick skin, to harden
by covering with a callous,” metaphorically, “to make the heart dull”
(John 12:40). (Wuest's Word Studies in the New Testament)
William Barclay has a
Poroo is the verb and
porosis is the noun which are used in the NT to express the
idea of what the AV calls 'the hardening of the hearts of men'.
These words are interesting, not only for their history, but also
for a most suggestive shift of meaning which they undergo.
At the back of both of them there is the word oros.
Poros is used in a variety of senses. Basically it means a
kind of stone, which Theophrastus in his work on stones describes
as a stone like Parian marble in colour and in texture but
lighter. Aristotle used the word for a stalactite, one of these
solidified drippings of water in a cavern. In the papyri the word
is used of the kind of stone that is used to pack the foundation
course of a building. Medically the words have certain technical
uses. Poros means the chalk stone that forms in the joints
and paralyses action. It also means a stone in the bladder; and
porosis means the process by which a callus forms at the
joining of the break when fractured bones unite. Porosis
does not mean a callus on the skin, as, for instance, a callus
formed on the hand by digging; the Greek for that is tule, which
is not a NT word. Porosis is the much harder and much more
irremovable bone callus that forms when a fracture unites. In all
these cases it is easy to see that the basic meaning of the word
is an impenetrable hardness, a hardness like bone or even marble.
The words then acquire two different sets of meanings.
(i) They are used in
connexion with something which has 'lost all power of sensation'.
Athenaeus has a queer story of Dionysius of Heracles. He became
overfat from over-eating. He became subject to fits of coma. His
surgeons could only arouse him by pricking him with long needles.
And even then certain parts of his body had lost all power of
feeling because the fat had lost its sense of feeling. It had
become peparomene, which is the perfect participle passive of the
verb poroun. The words have now become definitely connected with
'loss of feeling'.
(ii) The words become
connected with the idea of 'blindness' and 'inability to see'. The
word poroun is the only one of the group which occurs in the
Septuagint, and it only occurs once, in Job 17.7 where the AV has
it : 'Mine eyes have grown dim by reason of sorrow.'
So then we may say that at the back of them this group of words
has three ideas—the idea of 'hardness', the idea of 'lack of the
power to feel', and the idea of 'blindness', lack of the power to
see. With this background in our minds we turn to the NT.
Poroo and porosis together occur eight times in the
(i) They describe the mental condition of a man 'who cannot see
the lesson that events are designed to teach him'. In Mark 6.52
the disciples were bewildered when Jesus came to them walking on
the water because they did not see the meaning of the miracle of
the loaves and fishes, because their hearts were 'hardened' (peporomene).
When they were crossing the lake, they were worried about the fact
that they had forgotten to bring bread with them. This episode in
Mark follows the feeding of the four thousand; and Jesus asked
them why they were so worried about having no bread. `Have you
your hearts yet hardened?' He asks (pepbromene) (Mark 8.17). The
word here describes the blind insensitiveness which will not learn
a lesson. We sometimes say that things make no 'impression' on a
person. Now there were certain Greek thinkers who believed that
things did literally make an `impression' on the mind. It was as
if words and sights and ideas impinged on the soft, wax-like
substance of the mind, and literally left an `impression'. But
clearly if the mind becomes hardened there can be no such thing as
an 'impression' on it. Here the word describes unteachability. It
describes the man who is so wrapped up in his own little world
that nothing from any other world can touch him, the man whose
mind is shut to all ideas but his own, the man who is impervious
to the lessons that events are designed to teach him.
(ii) They describe the mental condition of the man 'who has made
himself incapable of seeing the meaning of God's word for him'.
Paul says of the Jews that their minds are 'blinded' when they
hear the word of God read to them (2 Cor. 3.14). A man can lose
any faculty if he will not use it. Darwin lamented the fact that
he had lost the power to appreciate music and poetry, because he
had given all his time to biology. He said that if he had life to
live over again he would keep that faculty of appreciation alive.
If a man erects his ideas into supreme authority for long enough
he will in the end be incapable of receiving the ideas of God.
(iii) They describe 'the attitude of the Jews' to God. In spite of
the miracles they did not believe in Jesus because God had blinded
their eyes and 'hardened' their hearts (John 12.40). These are the
words that Paul twice uses to describe what had been happening to
Israel throughout all her history (Rom. 11.7, 25). They describe
the man who stubbornly takes his own way, who is deaf to the
appeal of God, because he has been busy making God in his own
image. They describe the man who thinks he knows better than God.
(iv) The immoralities of the Gentile world are due to the fact
that their understandings were darkened because of the porosis of
their hearts (Eph. 4.18). The idea is that they have so long
stifled conscience that conscience has ceased to function.
Conscience has petrified. It is so calloused that it has no
(v) When Jesus was about to heal the man with the withered hand in
the Synagogue and when he saw the bleak looks of the orthodox
because the deed was going to be done on a Sabbath he was grieved
at the 'hardness' (porosis) of their hearts (Mark 3.5). There are
two things there.
(a) They had so long
identified religion with rules and regulations that they could not
recognize real religion when they saw it.
(b) They had so legalized
religion that they had forgotten human sympathy. Because they had
so long taken their way and not God's way they were completely
insensitive alike to the appeal of God and the appeal of human
Whenever a man sets his own ideas in the place that God should
take, whenever he stubbornly goes his own way, he is on the way to
a condition in which his heart is petrified, in which his heart
and his conscience have become insensitive and when his eyes are
blind. (adapted from from William Barclay's treatise on "New
Testament Words". Westminster. John Know Press)
Those chosen and the rest hardened
equate with the
"vessels of wrath"
prepared for destruction and "vessels of mercy" prepared beforehand for glory (Ro 9:22,23)
You say if He Hardened it's "not fair" -- don't take God to court Oh
man. God is fair and just. Who are we to question His justice. That any
are shown mercy should cause us to give Him glory in the highest for
none deserved or earned His mercy. We must look at salvation from God's
viewpoint not from man's where we think we can earn His favor or since
we are so good in serving Him He owes us something. Modern day
Christianity has a "small" God made in man's image and needs a fresh
infusion of His divine perspective on life & eternity that he might
simply bow in reverential awe at so great a salvation and so wonderful a
THE REST WERE HARDENED: oi de
loipoi eporothesan (3PAPI): (Isaiah
2 Corinthians 3:14;
2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
They were "covered with a thick skin" or
"hardened by covering with a callous" which was a metaphor meaning to
make the heart dull as in (Jn 12:40). (Lk 8:10) perfectly illustrates the
elect remnant & the rest being hardened to not be able to understand
what He was saying.
The Lord says to Isaiah
after he cries "Send me" to...
"Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on
listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.'
10 "Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and
their eyes dim, lest they see with their eyes, hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts, and return and be healed." 11 Then I said,
"Lord, how long?" And He answered, "Until cities are devastated and
without inhabitant, Houses are without people, And the land is utterly
Isaiah’s preaching would not be that the people would repent but that
they would harden their hearts against his messages. Isaiah’s message
was to be God’s instrument for hiding the truth from an unreceptive
people. Centuries later, Jesus’ parables were to do the same)
Note in the passage in Isaiah, the
prophet asks "How Long?" and God explains that Israel's spiritual
hardening will not be forever thus implying that there would be a
remnant of believing Israel (see Isaiah 6:13).
Why are they hardened? It
is in essence a judicial act of God for Israel's refusal to heed the Word of God (cf God's
hardening in Ex 4:21 7:3 9:12 10:20, 27 11:10 14:4, 8, 17; Dt 2:30
Jn 12:40) and in response to them first hardening their hearts (Ex 8:15, 32 9:34 10:1
2Ch 36:13 Ps 95:8 Pr 28:14 Mt 19:8 Mk 3:5 Ep 4:18 Heb 3:8, 15 4:7).
Let us be very clear on what Paul
is not saying. He is not saying that divine hardening
is the cause of Israel's rejection of the gospel, but a punishment for
it. Their hardening was the result of their resisting the truth, just as
Pharaoh’s heart was hardened because he first resisted the truth and
thus first hardened his own heart. It is not surprising to see Pharaoh,
a pagan idol worshipping despot, harden himself against the Lord, but it
might come as a surprise that most of God’s "chosen people" would do the
same thing! Indeed, most of Israel was hardened because they deserved it
and it was a just recompense (v9) for their sin against so great a
The noted Christian scholar Charles Feinberg, like Paul a believing Jew,
tells the following story that gives contemporary evidence that God will
never be without a believing remnant of His chosen people Israel.
Over a quarter of a century ago a Russian Jew of great learning named
Joseph Rabbinowitz was sent to Palestine by the Jews to buy land for
them. He went to Jerusalem. One day he went up on the Mount of Olives to
rest. Someone had told him to take a New Testament as the best guidebook
about Jerusalem. The Christ He had known was the Christ of the Greek and
Roman churches, who were his persecutors and the persecutors of his
people. But as he read the New Testament he became acquainted with the
real Christ of whom the Old Testament Scriptures had foretold, and his
heart grew warm. He looked off toward Calvary and thought: Why is it
that my people are persecuted and cast out? And his conviction gave the
answer: It must be because we have put to death our Messiah. He lifted
his eyes to that Messiah and said: “My Lord and my God.” He came down
from the mount a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. He went home to
Russia and erected a synagogue for the Jews, over the door of which was
written: “Let all the house of Israel know that God hath made that same
Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” [Ac2:36]. He was one
of the many present remnant of Israel, which proves conclusively and
better than words that God has not cast away His people.
In the following verses, Romans
11:8-9, Paul explains this hardening in Old Testament terms using
quotes from Deuteronomy and Isaiah. Deuteronomy is used to represent the
Law and Isaiah the Prophets. Thus both the Law and
the Prophets testify to God’s sovereign and predetermined hardening of
hearts. But remember that Israel's hardening is neither capricious nor unjust.
Romans 11:8 just
as it is
GAVE THEM A
SEE NOT AND
Amplified: As it is written, God gave them a spirit (an
attitude) of stupor, eyes that should not see and ears that should not
hear, [that has continued] down to this very day.
ESV: as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this
ICB: As it is written in the Scriptures: "God gave the people a
dull mind so they could not understand." Isaiah 29: 10 "God closed
their eyes so they could not see, and God closed their ears so they
could not hear. This continues until today." Deuteronomy 29: 4
NIV: as it is written: "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes
so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to
this very day."
NKJV: Just as it is written: "God has given them a spirit of
stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not
hear, To this very day."
NLT: As the Scriptures say, "God has put them into a deep
sleep. To this very day he has shut their eyes so they do not see, and
closed their ears so they do not hear."
Phillips: This is borne out by the scripture: 'God has given
them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see and ears that
they should not hear, to this very day'.
Wuest: even as it stands written, God gave them a spirit of
insensibility, eyes for the purpose of not seeing, and ears for the
purpose of not hearing, until this day.
Young's Literal: according as it hath been written, 'God
gave to them a spirit of deep sleep, eyes not to see, and ears not to
hear,' -- unto this very day,
JUST AS IT IS WRITTEN: kathos gegraptai (1SRAI):
(grapho) is in the
which emphasizes the lasting and binding authority of that which was
written. It has been written at some point in time in the past and it
"stands" written. This is a common introduction to
OT quotations (Romans 1:17 2:24; 3:4 Mt 4:4, 6-7, 10). The
stresses continuity and permanence, and implies the divine authority of the
So here Paul presents a rather free translation and paraphrase of both
Deuteronomy and Isaiah
(the first line from Isa 29:10,13 & last line from Dt 29:3,4) noting that
Israel as a nation has been judicially blinded and deafened by God because
of their stubborn refusal to see or hear the true revelation and will of
God. In context Moses said they had
"seen all that the LORD did before
(their) eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh" and their "eyes (had)
seen...great signs & wonders." (Dt 29:2-3).
These truths also emphasizes
that seeing the miraculous does not necessarily result in genuine
Sometimes a person who has been struck on the head may seem to be fully
conscious but is mentally confused and unaware of his surroundings. Just
so, says Paul (as did Isaiah before him), God has enveloped Israel in a
state of spiritual numbness, in an attitude of deadness towards
spiritual things in a mental and moral dullness or apathy.
GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF
(3SAAI) autois o theos pneuma katanuxeos:
the LORD has poured over you a spirit
of deep sleep, He has shut your eyes, the prophets; and He has covered
your heads, the seers. (Isaiah
Stupor (2659) (katanuxis
from katá = an intensifying preposition. + nússo = to
prick, pierce) literally a piercing through and is used of numbness
resulting from a bite or poisonous sting. In the present context
katanuxis signifies the dulling of Israel's spiritual senses.
"Spirit of stupor" is
thus more literally “the spirit of
These OT quotes both illustrate God’s judicial hardening of unbelieving
Israel, and show that what Paul is teaching is not in violation of or
inconsistent with the OT. The gospel writers also used a similar
expression to indicate the Jews’ failure to recognize Jesus as the
God silenced the prophets (Isa 29:10) because Israel refused to hear them
(Isa 30:10-11); thus God would make his message plain through the
Assyrian invasion (Isa 28:9-13). Israel had become blind and deaf to
God’s word (Isa 29:9-10), having excuses (Isa 29:11-12) and a pretense of
righteousness (Isa 29:13-14); but someday they would see and hear again
(Isa 29:18, 24).
EYES TO SEE NOT: ophthalmous tou me blepein (PAN):
This tragic condition rings out
over and over in the Old Testament...
"Yet to this day the LORD has not
given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear. (Deuteronomy
And He said, "Go, and tell this
people: 'Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do
not understand.' (Isaiah
'Hear this, O foolish and senseless
people, Who have eyes, but see not; Who have ears, but hear not. (Jeremiah
"Son of man, you live in the midst of
the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear
but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house. (Ezekiel
Jesus reiterates (in His
explanation of the parable of the seed, the Word of God, and the
different responses of the "soils" it fell upon) this same sad state of
most of Israel still present in the New Testament times even in the very
presence of the Light of the World...
And He was saying to them, "To you
(His disciples) has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but
those who are outside get everything in parables, in order that WHILE
SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE; AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR
AND NOT UNDERSTAND LEST THEY RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN." (Mark
Moses’ point was that after forty years of wilderness wandering the
Israelites still had not come to understand and appreciate what God had
done for them in delivering them from Egypt and giving them their own
land, even on the very eve of their possession of that land. Paul seems
to be saying that the Jews of his day were still laboring under the same
spiritual blindness that caused them to crucify their Messiah
AND EARS TO HEAR NOT (and it has continued)
DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY: kai ota tou me akouein (PAN) eos tes semeron
In Kings we read...
34 To this day they do
according to the earlier customs: they do not fear the LORD, nor do they
follow their statutes or their ordinances or the law, or the
commandments which the LORD commanded the sons of Jacob, whom He named
Israel... 41 So while these nations feared the LORD, they also served
their idols; their children likewise and their grandchildren, as their
fathers did, so they do to this day. (2 Kings
Paul explained Israel's
spiritual blindness and deafness this way to the Corinthians...
But their minds were hardened; for
until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil
remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day
whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart (2 Corinthians
Compare Stephen’s speech
in Acts 7...
51 "You men who are stiff-necked
(Hard, obstinate, proud ) and uncircumcised in heart (see
Scriptures on Circumcision)
and ears are always resisting (rush against or upon in a hostile
manner, assault, resist by force and violence!) the Holy Spirit; you are
doing just as your fathers did. 52 "Which one of the prophets did your
fathers not persecute? And they killed those who had previously
announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers
you have now become; 53 you who received the law as ordained by angels,
and yet did not keep it." (And just prior to stoning Stephen to death)
54 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began
gnashing their teeth at him.
Charles Spurgeon wrote
"Fate says the thing is and must be,
so it is decreed. But the true doctrine is- God has appointed this and
that, not because it must be, but because it is best that it should be.
Fate is blind, but the destiny of Scripture is full of eyes. Fate is
stern and adamantine, and has no tears for human sorrow. But the
arrangements of providence are kind and good."