God’s corporate election of Israel and individual election (Jew and Gentile)

In the Hebrew scriptures, God chose the Jews not because they were a piece of God, not because they were humble or because they were better than any other nation. He did it because that is what He wanted to do. In Romans 9, in contrast, the main emphasis is on the election of individuals – Jew and Gentile. The election of Israel as a nation is not the purpose of Romans 9. Both Jacob and Esau were Jewish (both father and mother), yet God rejects Esau and accepts Jacob. Here’s the hard part: God’s choice had nothing to do with foreseeing who was going to be good and who bad. Both of them were rotten. Jacob was a heel (a pun in English), a deceiver – that is what his name means – yet Jacob was chosen as the channel of the promise.

The majority of Christians, except those of the “Reformed” (the Reformation) movement would say that Romans 9 is not about individual Christians but about the Jewish nation or a remnant of the Jewish nation, for to admit that God “mercies” (verb in the Greek) individuals – all of whom merit damnation – those he wants to mercy, implying that salvation is a unilateral sovereign act of God, is just not fair. (God’s election. No not of a Mormon president)

How to discuss and preach “election.”

“The doctrine of election we profess to hold, should not be a mere abstraction of theology; an article of faith which we find it necessary to adopt in order to insure a consistent and scriptural body of Divinity, while we ignore and deny its practical application. It is perhaps the most solemn and awful of all Scriptural revelations. It certainly can only be discussed and preached effectively by us in those rare states of mind when the exquisite balance has been reached between tender adoration of the sovereignty and holiness of God, and pathetic sympathy with the helplessness and sinfulness of man.”

(“Second coming of Christ: Premillenial Essays,” by Nathaniel West, 1879).

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35 thoughts on “God’s corporate election of Israel and individual election (Jew and Gentile)

  1. Thank you for your labor of love elraphy! Our brother Peter wrote; But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9 ESV

  2. “In Romans 9, in contrast, the main emphasis is on the election of individuals – Jew and Gentile. ”

    So I guess when Paul says in Romans 9:4 “who are Israelites…” he meant individuals. Like when he said “the giving of the Law” is pertaining only to individuals who keep the Law…Or only individuals who participated in the Temple service….Or those individuals who are descendant of the fathers….Or those individuals that Christ came from their bloodline….We get it now…..

    • Dan, you’re good for me. As we say in South Africa, “I supposes it’s like Moses, who keep us on our toses.”

      What do you make of the verses immediately following verse 4?

      Romans 9:4-7
      4. Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
      6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

      • “but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.”

        Get it? The descendants of Isaac are Israel. And whoever is grafted in. That fact of course does not make them blood relatives…..

        • Good. To reiterate: individual Israelites and individual Gentiles of the (ABRAHAMIC) promise. Not to forget that at the “end” God will do a blanket work of Israelite salvation where – after Armeggedon – all (the remnant of) Iarael will be saved.

          • “Good. To reiterate: individual Israelites and individual Gentiles of the (ABRAHAMIC) promise”

            That not what the Abrahamic promise says.

            “And I will make you a GREAT NATION, and I will bless you, And make your name great And so you shall be a blessings.

            And i will bless a those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EART shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:2-3)/

            It does not say “all the individuals of the earth….” Get it?

            • In Romans 4:11, Abraham is designated “the father of all them that believe,” which means two things:

              – He is the earthly head of the those who believe in Christ.
              – His spiritual children conform to his likeness.

              If we are in Christ, we are “Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29), because “they which are of faith (In Christ), the same are the children of Abraham” (Gal. 3:7), and consequently they do “the works of Abraham” (John 8:39). In contrast, all those who are not in Christ (Jews included) “are of your father the Devil, and the desires of your father, ye will to do” (John 8:44).

              There is Abraham, the natural, progenitor of a physical seed. My focus here, which is more important to Christ (and therefore to the Apostle Paul), is the spiritual fatherhood of Abraham IN CHRIST.

              Jewish spirituality outside of Christ is a dead end.

              “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor 5:17).

              • “There is Abraham, the natural, progenitor of a physical seed. ”

                What became of the physical seed? Israel, right? Even the writer of Gal. knew this…And he said that ALL Israel as an entity will be saved.

                  • from these verse in Galatians; 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. Paul is saying being Jewish or gentile counts for anything (of merit before a Holy God) “but a new creation”! Those who have believed in and received Messiah Yeshua as their Lord; these are the chosen “sons of the living God”. Then in Romans 11 Paul writes; 25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, So who is the “all Israel” who will be saved? In context Paul speaks of both the elect (chosen) of the natural branch (elect Jews in Messiah) and those elect grafted (elect Gentiles) into the covenants and promises by faith in Messiah Yeshua who are now all children of Abraham! Paul wrote in Galatians; 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

                    7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. Galatians 3:6-9 ESV Paul concludes with this example; 23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[g] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

                    Sons and Heirs

                    4 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 3 ESV

                    • Yes Raphy, that is my understanding ” that “Israel of God” refers to both Jews and Gentiles” from what Paul wrote in the NT; “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Galatians 6:26 ESV Both elect Jews and elect Gentiles (all the elect of God are the Israel of God) are sons of God and offspring of Abraham, who is the father of faith. Paul wrote; 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. Galatians 3:6-9 ESV

                    • David you say:

                      “…my understanding ” that “Israel of God” refers to both Jews and Gentiles” from what Paul wrote in the NT; “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Galatians 6:26 ESV Both elect Jews and elect Gentiles (all the elect of God are the Israel of God) are sons of God and offspring of Abraham, who is the father of faith.”

                      By now, you might have noticed your tiny slip is showing – your “Galatians 6:26” should be Galatians 3:26. But suppose the bit “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith” did appear at the end of Galatians (immediately) before or after the “and to the Israel of God” greeting in Galatians 6:15, there are at least three reasons why it is very unlikely, from objective exegesis, that the “Israel of God” refers to the “church.”

                      In the NT, “Israel” is mentioned more than 70 times (only once in Galatians – “Israel of God”). If you are correct that “Israel” in Galatians 6:15 refers to a mix of Gentiles and Jews (the “church”), this would be the only time that “Israel” does not refer to ethnic Israel in the NT and so in the whole Bible.
                      Here are the relevant verses in Galatians:

                      Galatians 6:15-16
                      Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
                      16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on THEM and mercy, AND upon the Israel of God.

                      If “Israel of God” refers to all believers without distinction (Jews and Gentiles), who does THEM refer to? There are clearly two groups mentioned here (joined by “and”). Then “Israel of God” here is much more likely to echo “not all of Israel belong to Israel” (Romans 9:6). If, however, is a replacementist by inclination, “Israel” can be bent to suit one’s bent.

                      3. You intimate that Israel as been replaced by the church. That would contradict Romans 11. When Paul talks of “one new man…neither Jew nor Greek” he (in the glaring light of Romans 11) must be referring to the “body” of Christ to which both Jews and Gentiles belong. If you say that the Jew becomes swallowed up in the church, you no longer have a new composite man but a nude Jewish appendage dangling from an apparent renewed Gentile’s body, which in reality may be a corpse.

                      In sum, is it possible that you may have the wrong angle of dangle on this one.

                    • Raphy, let me begin by saying that I “may have the wrong angle of dangle on this one”. (It is the grace of God that I live and breath and have any light for anything.) I have not studied this in-depth as you have. Although, in high school I went through a paradigm shift after reading Romans 9-11 when I realized two things; 1 God chooses those who are saved (this was big for someone who was raised in arminian theology). 2. That Jesus (Yeshua) was not an American nor a Southern Baptist (He existed from the beginning with His Father in heaven and was born as a human in Bethlehem of Jewish descent through a Jewish mother i.e. Mary; begotten by God.). And that gentile believers are not “grafted” into Ireland but are “grafted” into a cultivated olive tree; namely Israel. Since that time I have spoken of this while giving messages in various places and that I do not consider myself to subscribe to “replacement theology”; evidently you have placed me there it seems. I am more akin to “promise theology”. If I am holding to a wrong position (and am not aware of it) may God help me with a right understanding. Here is my understanding God has an “elect” people from Adam until when Yeshua returns who are His people. Of course Abel, Enoch and Noah who became “and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Hebrews 11:7, and others such as Job who were gentiles living before the Abrahamic covenant went into effect. (Abram himself was a gentile who placed His faith in elohim and then was later circumcised). You referenced Romans 9:6 For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7 nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “through Isaac your descendants will be named.” 8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. 9 For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Q: is the first “Israel” in Romans 9:6 a reference to the elect people of God or the blood descendants of Israel? (It is clear that the second “Israel” in Romans 9:6 is a reference to the blood descendants of Israel).

                    • First, David, let me say how wonderful it is that you believe that not only grace but also faith in Christ, as well as the desire to have faith in Christ, are all of the Lord.

                      I refer to your last bit:

                      “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Q: is the first “Israel” in Romans 9:6 a reference to the elect people of God or the blood descendants of Israel? (It is clear that the second “Israel” in Romans 9:6 is a reference to the blood descendants of Israel).”

                      Yes, Paul is using Israel to show that the flesh counts for nothing, and God will only show mercy to Jews AND Gentiles of the promise. These are those whom God saves (the elect).
                      In Romans 9 it does seem that Israel is subsumed under the general elect (Jews and Gentiles).

                      When we come to Romans 11, however, it becomes clear that Israel as a distinct group will be preserved.

                      Arminians – which includes most Armenians – insist that Romans 9 has to do with the nation of Israel (exclusively), in an attempt to deny that sovereign election (to salvation) applies to everyone without distinction (Jews and Gentiles).

    • Dan, Jewish roots are good and must be preserved, but careful not to mistake the roots for the ground that supports it – our Messiah.
      I intimated to David “get more Jewish,” but I say clearly to you, don’t be too Jewish.

      The scriptures respond to your comment:

      “Jesus has become a surety of a better COVENANT.” Hebrews 7:22

      “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the NEW COVENANT by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:13-15

      “…by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, ‘This is the COVENANT that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’ Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” Hebrews 10:14-18

      “…how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the COVENANT by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:29-30

      “They stumbled, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:8-10

      Mediator of the NEW COVENANT: “…Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant….” Hebrews 12:24

      “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross…. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:14-19.

      “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the NEW COVENANT, not of the letter [of the law] but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:2-6

        • What is Yiddish for ad hominem. Ad homentashen.

          Back to bread and butter issues.

          In the following scripture, is Paul addressing Judah/Israel (only)?

          “… our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the NEW COVENANT, not of the letter [of the law] but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6.

          Remember that the scriptures say that Israel is the apple, not the whole tree, of God’s eye,

              • “grafted in.” That means that individuals do not change the rules of the corporate covenant given to the Houses of Israel and Judah.

                How did Paul say? “Don’t boast…”

                  • How nice is it to read one’s own agenda into Scriptures. That way everything is falling into place. Ignorance is bliss…

                    One more time: “Behold, days are coming declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Jerem. 31:31) OOPPSS!

                    Not individuals of the house of Israel and Judah, not a remnant from the house of Israel and Judah…..

                    • For those who believe there is no salvation outside faith in Jesus/Yeshua the Messiah, the reason for the New covenant is salvation. Do you believe this, Dan? If you do, let me proceed.

                      The “House of Israel” refers to a group of people chosen by God. This group straddles more than 3000 years. You say the New covenant applies not to individual Israelites but to the whole house, which means “without exception.” If this is so, doesn’t it follow that you are saying that every single individual in the “House” will be saved.

                    • Oops. As it is impossible for an Israelite to have faith in Jesus if he lived centuries before Jesus, let me rephrase:

                      The “House of Israel” refers to a group of people chosen by God. This group, since Jesus’ time straddles 2000 years. You say the New covenant applies not to individual Israelites but to the whole house, which means “without exception.” If this is so, doesn’t it follow that you are saying that every single individual in the “House” will be saved.

    • The Lord to David

      2 Samuel 2:7
      Therefore let your hands be strengthened, and be ye valiant: for your master Saul is dead, and also the HOUSE OF JUDAH have anointed me king over them.

      There couldn’t have been much oil left over for cooking.

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