ROMANS CHAPTER 10:
ISRAEL COLLECTIVELY FAILS TO RECOGNIZE GOD'S PLAN OF REDEMPTION FOR HUMANITY

 

Holy Father,

From the Fall of our first parents You have preserved a faithful remnant of Your people.  A faithful remnant that has persevered through adversity'a faithful remnant from humanity that would come to form the first people called into covenant with You and later, from that same people another faithful remnant to serve Your Son, Jesus the Messiah and to be filled and indwelled by God the Holy Spirit as the New Covenant people of God'the universal Catholic Church.  Give those of us who have come to the new Zion to sit at the feet of Mother Church and to study these sacred Scriptures the perseverance to be Your faithful remnant to carry forth to the next generation of covenant believers the truth of Your divine Word, Jesus Christ.  We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

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Yahweh comes as judge of Israel: "The God of gods, Yahweh, is speaking, from east to west he summons the earth.  From Zion, perfection of beauty, he shines forth; he is coming, our God, and will not be silent.  [...].  'Gather to me my faithful, who sealed my covenant by sacrifice.'  The heavens proclaim his saving justice, 'God himself is judge.'" Psalm 50: 1-2, 5-6

 

"That day'declares Yahweh'I shall gather in the lame and bring together the strays and those whom I have treated harshly.  From the footsore I shall make a remnant, and from the far-flung a mighty nation.  And Yahweh will reign over them on Mount Zion thenceforth and forever."  Micah 4:6-7

 

"But what you have come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church of first-born sons, enrolled as citizens of heaven."  Hebrews 12:22

 

'Faith is a seamless garment." St. Thomas Aquinas

 

In Romans 9 Paul had built his discussion of the failure of Israel to embrace Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah with significant Scripture quotations, placing his discussion within the context of these Biblical passages.   When Paul speaks of Israel he is not speaking simply of Roman Judea as the old Covenant people'Paul is writing of the hope of a completely restored Israel as the nation existed in the time of King David and King Solomon before the civil war that split the 12 tribes into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah in 930BC [see the Salvation History study lesson # 17].  The Northern Kingdom of Israel strayed from the Covenant with Yahweh and fell into idol worship.  Israel would be ruled by 9 different royal families until judgment in the form of the Assyrian invasion was visited upon the Northern Kingdom.  The Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom in 722BC, taking the people of the 10 tribes eastward into exile [2 Kings 17:1-6].  Only a faithful remnant of the 10 tribes would eventually return from exile to the Galilee, the rest of that land would become known by the name of the capital city of the Northern Kingdom, Samaria.  Samaria would be ruled by foreign nations and would be inhabited by 5 foreign tribes of peoples who brought with them their false gods and coupled their pagan worship along with their own interpretation of the worship of Yahweh [see 2 Kings 17: 24-41 & the Salvation History study lesson # 18]. It would be to a descendant of these people that Jesus would share His Gospel of salvation when He spoke to the woman of Samaria in the Gospel of John chapter 4 telling her that she had 5 "husbands" and the man with he now was not her "husband" [see John 4:16-18, & the Gospel of John study chapter 4]. Jesus would also tell the Samaritan woman that she worshipped what she did not understand and that salvation was from the Jews [John 4:22].  This is a significant exchange in light of the history of this woman's people.  According to Hebrew tradition a concubine could only call her man "master" or "baal"'only a legal wife had the right to address her man as "husband."  "Baal" was also the name applied to a variety of Canaanite false gods.  Like her people who had worshipped 5 false gods or 'baals' in addition to the distorted worship of Yahweh this woman had 5 men in her life and the man currently with her was not her "husband"'just as Yahweh was not truly her people's God.  Hosea's prophecy of the restoration of the nation of Israel in Hosea 2:18-20 is significant in light of Jesus' exchange with this woman who inhabited the land of the lost Israel.  The prophecy reads: "When that day comes'declares Yahweh'you will call me, 'My Husband', no more will you call me, 'My Baal.'  I shall banish the names of the Baals from her lips and their name will be mentioned no more."  This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ who took the New Israel, the universal Church as His Bride, gathering the lost tribes of Israel that has been scattered among the Gentile nations back into the Covenant family of God beginning with the Gentiles of Samaria [see Acts 1:8; 8:5-6 & 14-17].

 

The Southern Kingdom of Judah would continue to be ruled by descendants of King David until her apostasy resulted in judgment in the form of the Babylonian invasion and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem in 587/586BC [Jeremiah chapter 52].   The people of Judah would suffer 70 years of exile before permission was given for them to return to their land and to rebuild the Temple [2 Chronicles 36:19-23; Salvation History Study lesson #19].  However, only a faithful remnant would return to Judah and to rebuild the Temple which was completed in 517BC.  At the time that Paul lived and preached there was no unified nation of Israel.  Paul in Romans 9:33 quotes from the prophet Isaiah 8:14 concerning Israel and Judah and the "stumbling stone" that will become "a rock to trip up the two Houses of Israel" and "the children whom Yahweh has given me shall become signs and portents in Israel on behalf of Yahweh Sabaoth who dwells on Mount Zion" [Isaiah 8:18].  And then Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 28:16, "Now I shall lay a stone in Zion, a granite stone, a precious corner-stone, a firm foundation-stone: no one who relies on this will stumble."  We recognize the "corner-stone"/ "stumbling stone" as Jesus Christ but what is the significance of the references to Zion?

 

In the experience of the covenant formation between Yahweh and Israel, Mount Sinai had been the focus but when King David conquers Jerusalem circa 1000BC and brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, Mount Zion will become the focus of liturgical worship as the dwelling place of Yahweh: "Look, I and the children whom Yahweh has given me shall become signs and portents in Israel on behalf of Yahweh Sabaoth who dwells on Mount Zion [Isaiah 8:18]."    

 

Unlike Mount Sinai, whose location is uncertain, Zion has been a known location'a physical location within the boundaries of the ancient city of Jerusalem.    Jewish scholars identify Mount Zion as the hill in Jerusalem between the Tyropoean and Kidron valleys on the eastern side of Jerusalem which agrees with the Biblical references to Mount Zion as the site of the Temple of Yahweh and synonymous with Mount Moriah, while Christians from the time of Byzantine period have identified Mount Zion as the hill to the southwest of the Jewish Zion and across the Tyropoean Valley.  The Christian identification of the site of Zion is generally considered by Biblical scholars and archaeologists to be inaccurate.  The original location of Mount Zion not only probably included today's Temple Mount but the ancient city of King David.  At the time David and Solomon resided in Jerusalem [1000 BC - 930 BC], Biblical scholars and archaeologists believe the majority of the city was to the southeast of the present city where the village of Silwan is located today.  There is no debate; however, concerning the ancient origin of the place name Jerusalem, for this ancient city predates David's conquest.  The ancient documents known as the Amarna letters from the vassal king of Jerusalem to his great lord, the Egyptian Pharaoh, date to the 14th century BC and in that correspondence it is clear that the city called "Jerusalem" was one of several important city-states in Canaan under Egyptian control. But the etymology of the place name Zion is allusive.  The origin may stem from the Hebrew root snn, found in the derived form sinna meaning "large shield" or "fortress" and may have referred to David's fortress within the ancient city of Jerusalem.  

 

However, Zion's theological significance outweighs its actual location.  Zion is linked to a visionary experience witnessed both by Abraham and his descendant, the great King David. Both men are revealed to be Jesus' ancestors in Matthew's genealogy found in Matthew chapter 1:1: "Roll of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham." Abraham witnessed the angel of God staying his hand in his attempt to sacrifice his son'an angel who pointed out a ram that God intended for the sacrifice [Genesis 22:14] and David also saw the angel of the Lord at the same site in 2 Chronicles 3:1.  The Chronicles passage is a reference to 2 Samuel 24:16-25 where the angel of Yahweh is revealed to David just as he was revealed to Abraham.  In both cases the site is identified as Mt. Moriah [Genesis 22:2 & 2 Chronicles 3:1].  In the Bible the Patriarchs set up altars to Yahweh where they had experienced Yahweh's presence and the same is true of Solomon's Temple on Mount Zion/Moriah where the visionary experience of both Abraham and David serve as the authorization for the establishment of the Temple on that same site where Yahweh will continue to manifest His presence to His Covenant people and to fulfill His covenantal promises.  What is important about Zion is the revelation of God'not the physical site but the spiritual revelation of God to His Covenant people.  Zion is the spiritual concept that shapes the identity and the future of the Covenant people for tied with Zion is the divine promise of an eternal Davidic dynasty [2 Samuel 7:12-17; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14] which is fulfilled in Jesus the Christ, the Anointed Prince'descendant of David and inheritor of God the Father's Kingdom of Heaven on earth'the catholic/universal Church'the New Israel and the new Zion where God is present among His people as the Immanuel [Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 28:20] of the 5th kingdom promised to the prophet Daniel [Daniel 2:44-45] who will rule all nations of the earth [Daniel 7:13-14] and who is the "stone, untouched by hand" that will 'break away from the mountain" of the old Zion to reduce all old kingdoms to powder [Daniel 2:45].  It is the promised Davidic king who will become a "stumbling block" on Zion, the old Zion of the Old Covenant Church'a stumbling block upon which the Apostles will build the foundations of the New Zion'the New Covenant universal [catholic] Church of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.

 

Paul's Old Testament Passages found in Romans chapter 10:

Romans 10 O.T. Citations

1.  Leviticus 18:5

2.  Deuteronomy 9:4

3.  Deuteronomy 30:12-14

4.  Isaiah 54:4

5.  Isaiah 28:16

6.  Joel 3:5

7.  Isaiah 52:7

8.  Isaiah 53:1

9.  Psalm 19:4

10. Deuteronomy 32:21

11. Isaiah 65:11

12. Isaiah 65:2

 

Note: Old Testament passages site by Paul in chapter 10 are in bold type.

Setting aside the faithful remnant of Israel who has embraced the Messiah and the New Covenant Law of the Gospel of salvation, Paul turns to the question of why Israel as a collective Covenant people has not responded positively to Jesus' Gospel of salvation.  Despite Israel's rejection of the Messiah, Paul does not abandon hope for the salvation of Israel.  He does, however, emphasize that Israel must acknowledge the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law in order to embrace the New Covenant Law of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  These events are not totally unexpected.  Paul will use Old Testament prophecy to address the failure of Israel collectively to embrace the coming of the Messiah Jesus and the prophesied response of only a faithful remnant of Israel to welcome the Messiah.  This outcome was a prophecy made by post-exile prophet Zechariah who prophesies the "striking" of Yahweh's "shepherd" and the scattering of the "sheep, "  a verse quoted by Jesus who calls the Apostles' attention to the context of the Zechariah passage at the end of the Last Supper in Matthew 26:31.  In Zechariah 13:7-9 the prophet wrote: "Awake, sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me declares Yahweh Sabaoth!  Strike the shepherd, scatter the sheep!  And I shall turn my hand against the young!  So it will be, throughout the country'declares Yahweh Sabaoth'two-thirds in it will be cut off and the other third will be left.  I shall pass this third through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, test them as gold is tested.  He will call on my name and I shall answer him; I shall say, 'He is my people,' and he will say, 'Yahweh is my God!'

Question: How does Luke record the growth of this faithful remnant of the New Covenant Church in the Book of Acts?  See Acts 1:15; 2:41, 47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:1, 7; 9:31; 11:21-26; 12:24; 13:43, 49; 16:5; 17:10-12; 19:17, 20 and 21:20.

Answer:  Of those in Jerusalem the Church grew from the 120 in the Upper Room to 3,000 additional Jewish Christians after Peter's homily on the Second Great Pentecost, and later to 5,000.  Included in the ranks of the faithful remnant were both Pharisees and Priests.  St. James, Christian Bishop of Jerusalem, told Paul in Acts 21:20, "You see, brother, how thousands of Jews have now become believers, all of them staunch upholders of the Law..."

Question: The Zechariah passage prophesies the "refining" of the Shepherd's holy remnant "through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, test them as gold is tested"? How did God "refine" Jesus' faithful remnant of Israel?  See Acts 4:1-3; 5:17-18, 27-33; 6:8-15; 7:55-8:1, 3; 9:1-2; 12:1-5, 18-19; 16:19-24; and 2 Corinthians 11:23-29

Answer: The faithful remnant of Israel who became the nucleus of the universal Church of Jesus Christ faced persecution but those who endured the persecution are the ones who spread the Gospel message of salvation to the ends of the earth!  For more Old Testament passages on the scattering of the "flock"/ Israel and the preservation of the "faithful remnant" see Isaiah 10:20-23 [faithful remnant of Judah returns after the Babylonian Exile]; Isaiah 11:10-16 [future remnant after the coming of Messiah]; Ezekiel 5;1-4; 6:8-10; 34:1-6, 23-31; Micah 2:12-13; 4:6-7; 5:6-7.

 

Please read Romans 10:1-13: Israel's failure to understand the true nature of holiness

"1 Brothers, my dearest wish and my prayer to God is for them, that they may be saved.  2 I readily testify to their fervor for God, but it is misguided.  3 Not recognizing God's saving justice they have tried to establish their own, instead of submitting to the saving justice of God.  4 But the Law has found its fulfillment in Christ so that all who have faith will be justified.  5 Moses writes of the saving justice that comes by the Law and says that whoever complies with it will find life in it.   6 But the saving justice of faith says this: Do not think in your heart, 'Who will go up to heaven?'  7 that is to bring Christ down; or 'Who will go down to the depths?''that is to bring Christ back from the dead.  8 What does it say, then?  The word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith, the faith which we preach, 9 that if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved.  10 It is by believing with the heart that you are justified, and by making the declaration with your lips that you are saved.  11 When Scripture says: No one who relies on this will be brought to disgrace, 12 it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek: the same Lord is the Lord of all, and his generosity is offered to all who appeal to him, 13 for all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved."

 

The literal translation of verse 1 is: "Brothers, indeed the pleasure of my heart and the request of God on behalf of Israel is to be saved."  Paul may once again be alluding to accepting on behalf of his "brothers" the role of the prophet in his willingness to intercede with God which recalls the desire to offer himself for the salvation of his people that he made in Romans 9:1-3 For Old Testament examples of such intercession see Exodus 32:9-14; Deuteronomy 9:18-20; 1 Samuel 7:5-12; Psalm 99:6; 106:23; Jeremiah 15:1 and 2 Maccabees 15:14.

 

Question: In verses 2-3 Paul writes of Israel's blindness in recognizing the Gospel message of salvation in Jesus the Messiah.  To what might Paul be comparing Israel's failure to understand with a failure related to his own life?  See Acts 22:3; Galatians 1:10-14; Philippians 3:6; and 1Timothy 1:13.

Answer: Paul's life before his conversion was an example of the same misguided understanding of "Israel's" [the covenant people of the Sinai] role in God's plan of salvation and Israel's spiritual "blindness" like Paul's physical blindness after he was confronted by Jesus on the Road to Damascus.

 

Question: In repeating what he had expressed in Romans 9:30-32, how does Paul identify Israel's failure to understand the saving message of the Gospel in Romans 10:3?  What does Paul say is the answer to that failure?  Hint: see Philippians 3:6-9 and Romans 7:14-25.

Answer: The Covenant people tried through obedience to the Law of Moses to achieve righteousness [a right relationship with God] and to establish their own path to salvation.  But "rightness" with God and the gift of salvation is not something that can be won'it is a gift of God; it is a gift that has been established by God's grace and through faith in Jesus Christ in whom "the Law has found its fulfillment." Since the old Mosaic Law has been fulfilled, Israel must let the old law go and embrace the New Law of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Using himself as an example in Philippians 3:6-9 Paul wrote: "In the matter of the Law, I was a Pharisee; as for religious fervor, I was faultless.  But what were once my assets I now through Christ Jesus count as losses.  Yes, I will go further: because of the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my lord, I count everything else as loss. For him I have accepted the loss of all other things, and look on them all as filth if only I can gain Christ and be given a place in him, with the uprightness I have gained not from the Law, but through faith in Christ..."  Paul's point is what is "old" is only good so long as it serve a purpose but if the "old" prevents the greater gift of the "new" it is no longer an asset but an impediment.  In this case the old law, which was good, has now become an impediment to the Gospel for those who refuse to come out of the old and into the new Law of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

In Romans 10:4 Paul writes, "the Law has found its fulfillment in Christ so that all who have faith will be justified." In his homily on this passage in Romans the early Church Father Origen wrote: "Moses did not say that the man who practices the righteousness of the law will live forever but only that he will live by it in this life.  For Christ is the end of the law, as the apostles says, and without Christ it is impossible to fulfill the righteousness of the law."  Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, Origen

 

Question: How has the old law been fulfilled in Jesus Christ?  How is it that we have been made justified?  Hint: see Galatians 3:23-24.

Answer: Finding the Messiah was the true goal of the Law.  The Law of Moses served to identify sin'sin which the blood of animals was incapable of removing.  The only remedy for the sin which was identified and in a sense "concentrated" in intensity by identification was through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus the Messiah.  It is through His sacrifice that we have been justified, "made right" in the site of God.  See CCC#s 1963-64.

 

In Romans 10:5 Paul quotes Leviticus 18:5 from the Septuagint [all Paul's quotations are from the Greek Septuagint]: "I, Yahweh, am your God: hence you will keep my laws and my customs.  Whoever complies with them will find life in them.  I am Yahweh." A few verses earlier in Leviticus 17:11 Yahweh has reminded Israel of the necessity of blood sacrifice, "For the life of the creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you for performing the rite of expiation on the altar for your lives, for blood is what expiates for a life." Holiness was one of the essential qualities of the Covenant people of God.  Holiness under the Old Covenant is defined as a separation from sin and through animal sacrifice, repentance of the offender, the covering of sin and  the restoration of communion with the One True God.  But the full reestablishment of communion with God only comes through the total forgiveness of sins and this forgiveness is only offered in its completeness through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Faith in Christ is therefore, the true goal of the Law.  It is Christ's intervention on the Cross which makes righteousness available to all humanity, "But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the Law, locked up to wait for the faith which would eventually be revealed to us.  So the Law was serving as a slave to look after us, to lead us to Christ, so that we could be justified by faith." Galatians 3:23-24.  See CCC# 430-31;1967-68.

 

In Romans 10:6 Paul quotes Deuteronomy 9:4 [also probably Deuteronomy 8:17] and 30:12-14: "But the saving justice of faith says this: Do not think in your heart, 'Who will go up to heaven?  '  7 that is to bring Christ down; or 'Who will go down to the depths?'"  Deuteronomy 9:4 contains the warning to the children of Israel "Do not think to yourself, once Yahweh your God has driven them before you, 'Yahweh has brought me into possession of this country because I am upright..." Paul points out that to ask "Who will go up to heaven?" is to deny what God has done in Jesus Christ who has died for the salvation of the world, who has been raised from the death and who has ascended to the Father.  It is the equivalent to implying that God has not already sent the Messiah from heaven to redeem mankind.  The quotation from Deuteronomy 30:13 "Who will go down to the depths" [literally the Abyss], implies to ask this question is to deny that Christ died for our sins and then descending to the depths of Sheol led those who died before His Incarnation to Paradise: "Christ himself died once and for all for sins, the upright for the sake of the guilty, to lead us to God.  [...] And this was why the gospel was brought to the dead as well, so that, though in their bodies they had undergone the judgment that faces all humanity, in their spirit they might enjoy the life of God." See 1 Peter 3:18-4:6; CCC# 633

 

But we must also view these Old Testament quotations in their proper context.  Deuteronomy 30:11-14 concerns the application of the Law, "For this Law which I am laying down for you today is neither obscure for you nor beyond your reach.  It is not in heaven, so that you need to wonder, 'Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it down to us, so that we can hear and practice it?'  Nor is it beyond the sea [the depths] for us and bring it back to us, so that we can hear and practice it?'  No, the word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to put into practice.."  The contrast Paul wishes to make is between the "righteousness" that comes from grace by faith in Christ and the false righteousness the Jews seek under their own power through works of the Law.  What Paul writes in Romans 10:8 is the quote from Deuteronomy 30:14, "No the word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to put into practice."

Question: How does Paul apply this Old Testament passage in Romans 10:9-10?

Answer: He preserves the heart and mouth language of the Old Testament passage and turns it into a profession of faith by hearing the word and believing [in your heart] and professing with your lips--the missing part of the verse from Deuteronomy = putting this into practice is living it as a profession of faith.  These verses form a chiastic pattern: 

IF:

  1. " you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and  [Romans 10:9a]
  2.  you believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead"

THEN:

"YOU WILL BE SAVED"

 

2.   "It is by believing with the heart that you are justified and

  1. by making a  declaration with your lips that you are saved"

Such a profession of faith is the outward expressing'the putting into practice'of the inward commitment of the "heart."

 

Romans 10:11, "When Scripture says: No one who relies on this will be brought to disgrace..."in Romans 10:11 Paul may be quoting  Isaiah 28:16  again, "So the Lord Yahweh says this, 'Now I shall lay a stone in Zion, a granite stone, a precious corner-stone, a firm foundation-stone: no one who relies on this will stumble" [see 9:33] or perhaps he is referring to Isaiah 54:4: "Do not fear, you will not be put to shame again, do not worry, you will not be disgraced again..." a passage which speak of restoration of the covenant people as the Bride of Yahweh'or perhaps he is again combining two passages into one thought'salvation through Jesus Christ and the restoration of the Covenant people of the nation of Israel through Him.

 

Paul concludes this section by quoting Joel 3:5 "12 it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek: the same Lord is the Lord of all, and his generosity is offered to all who appeal to him, 13 for all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved."  In the Book of the Prophet Joel the prophet speaks of the New Age and the Day of Yahweh when Yahweh promises "I shall pour out my spirit on all humanity.  Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old people shall dream dreams, and your young people see visions.  Even on the slaves, men and women, shall I pour out my spirit in those days.  I shall show portents in the sky and on earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.  The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the Day comes, that great and terrible Day.  All who call on the name of Yahweh will be saved, for on Mount Zion will be those who have escaped, as Yahweh has said, and in Jerusalem a remnant whom Yahweh is calling."

Question:  Has this prophecy been fulfilled?  Hint: see Acts 2:17-21.

Answer: Yes, according to Peter this prophecy was fulfilled on the Second Great Pentecost in 30AD when God the Holy Spirit descended upon the remnant of Israel gathered in the Upper Room in Jerusalem signaling the birth of the New Covenant Church: "..this is what the prophet was saying: 'In the last days'the prophet was saying: 'In the last days'the Lord declares'I shall pour out my Spirit on all humanity."

Acts 2:16-17a

 

Question: In the Old Testament those who "call upon the name of the Lord" denote covenant believers who believe all that the Lord has taught and practice those teachings in their lives.  What is the meaning for New Testament believers?  Hint: see 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1:2; 6:11; Acts 2:38; CCC# 432

Answer: In the New Testament this definition is transferred to Christians

 

Continuing to quote from the Old Testament Scriptures and applying the context of those quotes to his letter Paul begins the 4th stage of his argument in Romans 10:14-21.  Paul argues that Israel has failed to take advantage of this new and easier path to salvation that was promised by the prophets and fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Paul's indictment of the Old Covenant people in this section of the letter is harsh.

 

Please read Romans 10:14-21: Why did Israel, even through prepared to receive the Gospel, reject the message?

 "14 How then are they to call on him if they have not come to believe in him?  And how can they believe in him if they have never heard of him?  And how will they hear of him unless there is a preacher for them?  15 And how will there be preachers if they are not sent?  As Scripture says: How beautiful are the feet of the messenger of good news."  16 But in fact they have not all responded to the good news.  As Isaiah says: Lord, who has given credence to what they have heard from us?  17 But it is in that way faith comes, from hearing, and that means hearing the word of Christ.  18 Well then, I say, is it possible that they have not heard?  Indeed they have: in the entire earth their voice stands out, their message reaches the whole world.  19 Well, another question, then: is it possible that Israel did not understand?  In the first place Moses said: I rouse you to jealousy with a non-people, I shall exasperate you with a stupid nation.  20  And Isaiah is even bold enough to say: I have let myself be found by those who did not seek me; I have let myself be seen by those who did not consult me; 21 and referring to Israel, he says: All day long I have been stretching out my hands to a disobedient and rebellious people."

 

Question: Paul begins by offering 4 objections or difficulties in verses 14-19.  What are they?

Answer:

  1. How can the people be expected to believe the Gospel of salvation unless it is preached by God's elected messengers?  [verses 14-15]
  2. Not all have responded in faith to the "good news" of the Gospel.  [verses 16-17]
  3. Is it possible that Israel did not hear the message? [verse 18]
  4. It is possible that Israel did not understand the message that was delivered.  [verse 19]

 

Question: How does Paul answer his own questions?

Answer: He answers by quoting Scripture:

  1. First in Romans 10:15 he quotes Isaiah 52:7 and the prophet's prediction of the Gospel message of salvation: "How beautiful on the mountains, are the feet of the messenger announcing peace, of the messenger of good news, who proclaims salvation and says to Zion, 'Your God is king!'  This Isaiah passage is from a part of the Book of Isaiah known as the Book of Consolation which announces the Gospel [which means "good news"] that Yahweh's personal reign of salvation will begin in Zion.  The promise of this divine reign which will replace the reign of earthly kings has been promised in Isaiah 43:15 and by the prophets Jeremiah in 3:17; 8:19; Ezekiel 20:3; 34:11-16; Micah 2:13; 4:7; Zephaniah 3:15 and in the Psalms 47; 93; 96; 97; 98; 145; 146

Question: Did Yahweh send messengers to instruct Israel?

Answer: Yes, there is no doubt that Israel was told by the messengers of God to expect the coming of the good news of their salvation.

 

  1. In Romans 10:16 Paul quotes from Isaiah 53:1, the opening verse of the fourth song of the Suffering Servant which prophecies the Passion of the Christ: "Who has given credence to what we have heard?  And who has seen in it a revelation of Yahweh's arm? Like a sapling he grew up before him. Like a root in arid ground.  He had no form or charm to attract us, no beauty to win our hearts; he was despised, the lowest of men, a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering, one from whom, as it were we averted our gaze, despised, for whom we had no regard.  Yet ours were the sufferings he was bearing, ours the sorrows he was carrying..."  Please read the entire passage in your Bibles: Isaiah 53:1-12

Paul gives no response as to why Israel as a collective Covenant people has failed to respond to the coming of the legitimate Davidic Messiah.  Israel has heard the words of the prophet Isaiah'words fulfilled in the Passion of the Christ.

 

  1. Again to the question: "is it possible that they have not heard?" Paul responds answering "Indeed they have" [Romans 10:18] and then quotes Psalms 19:4: "in the entire earth their voice stands out, their message reaches the whole world." The voices that stand out are the voices of the messengers who carry the Gospel. 

 

Question: Read Psalm 19.  How would you characterize this psalm?  What is the connection to Romans chapter 10 and to the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20?

Answer:  Psalm 19 is a hymn of praise to Yahweh as Creator of the heavens [vs. 4-6], and as the divine author of the Law [vs. 7-19].  Both nature and the Law reveal the perfection and holiness of God.  The psalmist speaks of the sun as a creature controlled by God but in Scripture the sun also symbolizes justice [see Wisdom 5:6 and Malachi 3:20] and so the psalmist connects the gift of the sun giving light to the world with the gift of God's Law which gives light to the mind and soul.  Paul applies this verse [19:4] to the Apostles whose "voices stand out" and whose message of the light of Christ reaches the whole world as commanded by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20

 

  1. Paul's last question: "Is it possible that Israel did not understand?"  He answers his own question with 3 passages from sacred Scripture: Deuteronomy 32:21; Isaiah 65:1 and Isaiah 65:2.

·        Deuteronomy 32:21: "They have roused me to jealousy with a non-god, they have exasperated me with their idols.  In my turn I shall rouse them to jealousy with a non-people, I shall exasperate them with a stupid nation."

This passage was very familiar to the Old Covenant people. It is a line from the Song of Witness given to Moses and Joshua in which they were commanded: "Now write down this song for you to use; teach it to the Israelites, put it into their mouths, for it to be a witness on my behalf against the Israelites; against Israel whom I am bringing into the country which I swore to his ancestors that I would give him" [Deuteronomy 31:19-20a].  This great canticle of Moses was to be sung at every Sabbath liturgy.  It was sung at the close of the additional Tamid lamb sacrifice in the morning [doubled on the Sabbath; see Numbers 28:9-10] when the wine libation was poured out on the altar.  It was sung by the congregation to remind the people of the obligations of Yahweh's Covenant.  This song celebrates the unique and awesome power of the God of Israel as the one true God who gives blessings to His covenant people [Deuteronomy 32 verses  1-14] but it also warns of the people's rebelliousness [Deuteronomy 32 verses 15-19] and their consequential judgment [Deteronomy 32 verses 19-25].  The canticle, however, does not end with the stinging blow of judgment but promises that Yahweh is faithful and He will not abandon Israel but will intervene on behalf of His people and that His judgment will work toward redemption and restoration.  Such is the content of verse 21 which promises God will rouse Israel to jealousy with a people who are not of the original covenant or promised seed.  This, Paul is suggesting, is what has been fulfilled in the Gentiles, those who were not Yahweh's people, who have come to salvation not looking for salvation while the Jews who looked for salvation rejected the Messiah.  Paul will return to this allusion to Israel's jealousy in Romans 11:11-14.

 

The final two quotations in chapter 10 are from Isaiah 65. This passage is a prophecy of coming judgment upon Israel and forms prophecies that extend into the last chapter of Isaiah.  These two verses expand upon the previous quotation in Deuteronomy in which a people not of the covenant will be called by a faithful remnant of Israel into union with the one true God while many of the Old Covenant people remain in rebellion.

 

 

Please read the final prophecy of Isaiah in 66:5-22. In this prophecy the Church has seen the suffering and rejection of the faithful remnant of Israel by their brothers [in verse 5] and well as the birth of the New Covenant people of God [in verses 6-17].  Isaiah 66:18-21 has been seen as the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the Gentile nations and verse 21, "And some of them I shall make into priests and Levites" as a prophecy fulfilled in the spiritual priesthood of the New Covenant which replaced the hereditary priesthood of the old'a New Covenant which signaled a new creation'the new Zion, the Universal Church founded by the faithful remnant of Israel who fulfilled their mission to carry God's call to the nations of the earth.

 

But this final prophecy in Isaiah chapter 66 ends in a blessing in verse 23 and then in verse 24 with a terrible warning of endless punishment which will fall upon those who reject Yahweh's plan of salvation. Those who reject the path of salvation become enemies of the Lord.  Jewish Synagogues do not end the reading of the Book of Isaiah on this warning but have formed the custom of repeating the promise of verse 23'a promise which every New Covenant believer should pray is fulfilled when God's first-born people of the covenant'our elder brothers'will be reunited into the Covenant family of the one true God, "When that day comes, a fountain will be opened for the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to wash sin and impurity away."  Zechariah 13:1

 

Question for group discussion:

Question: Please read Isaiah chapter 53 and discuss the descriptions of Yahweh's Suffering Servant that were fulfilled in the life, ministry and Passion of Jesus of Nazareth.

Answer:

Isaiah 53

Other Old Testament references /New Testament fulfillment

Who has given credence to what we have heard?

Quoted in John 12:38

Despised, the lowest of men

 

Psalm 22:6-7: Jesus will reference this Psalm from the cross: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" Ps.22:1

A man of sorrows

Passion in all the Gospels

Yet ours were the sufferings he was bearing

Matthew 8:17

We thought of him as someone being punished and stuck with affliction by God

Hebrews 2:10

whereas he was being wounded for our rebellions

2 Corinthians 5:21

crushed because of our guilt

Romans 4:25

Punishment reconciling us fell on him

Galatians 3:13

and we have been healed by his bruises

1 Peter 2:24

We had all gone astray like sheep each taking his own way

Ezekiel chapter34; 1 Peter 2:25

Yahweh brought the acts of rebellion of all of us to bear on him

2 Corinthians 5:21

Ill-treated and afflicted,

Matthew 26:63

He never opened his mouth

1 Peter 2:23

Like a lamb led to the slaughter house

Jeremiah 11:19; Matthew 27:14

Like a sheep dumb before its shearers

John 1:29

He never opened his mouth

Acts 8:32-33

Forcible after sentence he was taken...having been struck down for his people's rebellion

Matthew 27:20-26; Mark 15:8-15; Luke 23:20-25; John 19:12-15

He was given a grave with the wicked

Matthew 27:38; Luke 22:37

And his tomb was with the rich

Matthew 27:60; Mark 15:42-46; Luke 23:50-5; John 19:38-42

Although he had done no violence

1 Peter 2:22

It was Yahweh's good pleasure to crush him with pain; if he gives his life as a sin offering

Passion in all Gospels; Romans 6:7; Hebrews 9:26; 1 John 1:7

He will see his offspring and prolong his live, through him Yahweh's good pleasure will be done

Matthew 28:5-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-10; John 20:1

After the ordeal he has endured he will see the light and be content.  By his knowledge, the upright one, my servant will justify many by taking their guilt on himself.

Romans 3:26; 1 Peter 3:18

Hence I shall give him a portion with the many, and he will share the booty with the mighty, for having exposed himself to death and for being counted as one of the rebellious, whereas he was bearing the sin of many and interceding for the rebellious.

Jesus took upon Himself the task of universal redemption which Isaiah assigned to the Suffering Servant.  See Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20; John 6:51-56.  Just as at Sinai when the blood of the sacrifice sealed the covenant of Yahweh with His people [Ex. 24:4-8] likewise, on the Cross the blood of Jesus, the perfect victim sealed the "New Covenant" of Jeremiah 31:31-34

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2006 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.

 

Catechism references in Romans chapter 10 [* indicates verse quoted in citation]

10:1

2632*; 2636*

10:9

14*; 186*; 449*

10:2

579*

10:12-13

2739*

10:3

1953; 1977*

10:13

2666*

10:6-13

432*

10:14-15

875

10:7

635*

10:17

875

 

 

Resources used in Romans chapter 10:

The Interlinear Bible Greek-English, volume IV

The Teachings of the Church Fathers, Ignatius Press

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Dogmatic Canons and Decrees: The Council of Trent; Vatican Council I; etc.

The Sixteen Documents of Vatican II

Jerome's Commentary on Romans

Chrysostom's Commentary on Paul's Epistle to the Romans

Romans, Joseph Fitzmyer

Romans, Brendan Byrne

Navarre Commentary'Romans

Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture'Romans

Strong's Concordance

Modern Catholic Dictionary

Many Religions, One Covenant: Israel, the Church and the World, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Ignatius Press, 1999

Ancient Israel, edited by Hershel Shanks, Biblical Archaeology Society, 1999

Sinai and Zion: An Entry Into the Jewish Bible, Jon Levenson

The Temple: Its Ministry and Services As They Were at the Time of Jesus Christ, Alfred Edersheim

The Jewish Publishing Society Guide to Jewish Traditions, Ronald L. Eisenberg

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2008 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.