As we come again to our study of Romans, let me remind you that Israel was God's chosen people, He had given them and them alone His Word. Notice what Paul said in chapter 9:
who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, Romans 9:4 NASB
This being the case some Jews were no doubt asking the question: If this Gospel that Paul is teaching is the truth, if it is really from God, then why do the Jews who had received all the rest of God's revelation reject it? How can it be true if Israel doesn't believe it? The reason that Israel is not accepting the Gospel is because they are under a curse.
The most often quoted First Testament text, the one quoted more than any other in the New Testament is Isaiah chapter 6 verse 9:
He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.' "Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed." Isaiah 6:9-10 NASB
The most common description of the people of Israel stated in the New Testament is that they are deaf and blind and hard-hearted and unresponsive. They reject the things of God. This is why they were not believing the Gospel, they were blind.
Yahweh warned Israel that she would be cursed, she would be driven out of the land, scattered among the nations of the earth if she did not obey Him. Someone may ask, "How is God keeping His promises to Israel when they are in exile?" We must understand that Israel being in exile is not a going back on the promises God made to them, it is one of the promises to Israel. They are in exile and under the curse because of their breaking of the covenant.
In our last study we looked at verses 11 through 13, which highlight the universal scope of the Gospel. The offer of the Gospel is a universal one, proclaiming salvation to all who will believe in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection for the sinner. It is to Jews and to Gentiles, it is a universal offer.
for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED." Romans 10:13 NASB
Calling on the Lord, is an act of worship. It is to believe that Yeshua of Nazareth is Yahweh, the God of Israel, the one and only Savior. This is a recognition of the deity of Yeshua, He is the God-Man. This is vital to salvation. It is only those who call on Yeshua as Yahweh who will be saved. The Scriptures over and over teach the deity of Yeshua.
But of the Son He says, "YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM. Hebrews 1:8 NASB
This quote comes from Psalms 45:6. The chief point of the citation is to contrast sharply the Deity and eternal dominion of the Son with the subservience and mutability of the angels. They serve, He reigns. This verse gives us one of many clear and irrefutable proofs of the deity of Christ in the Bible.
Early in church history, theological controversies resulted, so the Church got together at councils, and at these councils they hammered out the doctrines of the Church. Out of these councils, they formulated creeds.
In A.D. 325, the Church held the Council of Nicea. The purpose of the Council of Nicea was because the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ was being attacked. There were people saying. "Jesus was not really God, He wasn't God's Son." So, this council came together at Nicea, and the result of the Council at Nicea was "Homoousios"--of one essence, meaning that Jesus Christ was of the same essence as the Father. They declared the deity of Jesus Christ.
In Jesus' day the great teachers used a technique which is today called remez or hint, in which they used part of a Scripture passage in discussion, assuming their audience's knowledge of the Bible would allow them to deduce for themselves fuller meaning. Apparently, Jesus used this method often. If you don't know Jesus' text, you won't get His point. An example of this is seen in Jesus' comments to Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus said:
"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10 NASB
This is a strong declaration of Christ's deity, but you won't get it if you don't know His text. The background to this statement is probably Ezekiel 34. Yahweh, angry with the leaders of Israel for scattering and harming his flock (the people of Israel), states that He Himself will become the Shepherd and will seek the lost ones and deliver (save) them:
"I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment. Ezekiel 34:16 NASB
therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another. Ezekiel 34:22 NASB
So Yahweh says, "I will seek the lost...I will deliver My flock", then Jesus comes along and says, "the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." By using this phrase, knowing the people knew the Scripture, Jesus was saying to them, "I am the Yahweh in the flesh, Israel's savior."
Alright, today we want to look at Romans 10:14-21, the key to understanding these verses may be found in:
But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. Romans 11:13-14 NASB
Paul is an apostle to the Gentiles and in magnifying his ministry he is making the Jews jealous in order to bring them to faith in Yeshua. In the next two verses in our text Paul may be explaining the need for the Gentile mission:
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!" Romans 10:14-15 NASB
Some commentators see these verses as directed toward the Jews, some see them as directed to the Gentiles and some see both. I would not push the issue, but it seems to me that in these two verses Paul is explaining his Gentile mission. He has just explained the universal scope of the Gospel, it goes beyond Jews, so now he talks about his Gentile mission.
In these verses we see that Paul moved from the effect to the cause. He just said in verse 13, "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED." Then He says, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?" Paul is working his way backward, from the cause to the effect.
"How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?"--obviously, you can't call on Yeshua as Yahweh until you come to believe that He is Yahweh. Once you believe He is Yahweh, then you call upon Him as Yahweh.
"How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?"--the "in" is not here, but it is implied from the preceding statement. But it does have a "whom", that verb takes the genitive case and could be read this way, "But how shall they believe Him whom they have not heard?" So in the message of the Gospel the Lord Jesus Christ speaks. And when a person responds, he responds to the great Shepherd of the sheep, the Lord Jesus Christ:
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; John 10:27 NASB
They hear the voice of the Shepherd, the true Shepherd, through the proclamation of the message about Him. Could this be talking about Israelites? Had they never heard of Messiah? Their Scriptures were full of the message of Messiah. This seems better fitted to the Gentiles to me.
"And how will they hear without a preacher?"--did the Israelites need a preacher when they had the Word of God? The Jews had heard as Paul tells us in verse 18.
Rather than a noun, preacher, Paul uses a participle, "preaching," to show the action of what is regularly done. The present participle speaks of the ongoing act of proclamation of the Gospel.
The word "preacher" comes from the Greek verb kerusso, which is from the noun keruxz, which means: "a herald for a king." In fact the official kerux or herald would stand in the market place and blow a trumpet calling the attention of the crowd to the edict of the emperor, and his proclamation was as a command. He declares the policy of the king.
So, kerusso means to declare the policy of the king. We often think of preaching as loud, bombastic speech. This word has nothing to do with the manner in which you say something. It has to do with declaring a policy, God's policy.
God is sovereign not only in decreeing the ends, but also in determining the means to those ends. And God has decreed that someone carry the message of the Gospel so that people may believe. Even though God has determined those who will be saved, we are responsible to proclaim the message of the Gospel to all men.
Morris points out, "Hearing is a reflection of first-century life. Paul does not raise the possibility of the message being read. While there were people who could read, the ordinary first-century citizen depended rather on being able to hear something." Then he added, "If the message of God was going to be effective in biblical times, it had to be heard. And for this a preacher was needed" (Morris, 390).
It was an oral society in which the Gospel first came to the world. But in our society, the preaching may come from a book or tract or booklet explaining the good news. Yet the point is that for someone to "hear" the good news of Jesus Christ in order to believe, there must be someone delivering the message.
Just to show you how Scripture can be misunderstood, listen to what Ray Steadman writes, "I don't believe that the distribution of the Scriptures alone will ever be sufficient to win men. Now, I do not demean that ministry, because it is a very important one. The translating of the Word of God and the spreading of the Scriptures all over the earth are important. But they are only supplementary. That, alone, will never reach and change nations as does the Gospel when proclaimed by a human messenger."
So is he saying that God's word doesn't give the Gospel clear enough? We need a man to clarify the Scriptures? He later in the article writes this, "There has been a universal proclamation of the Gospel through nature." So God's Word is not enough to win men apart from human delivery, but nature is?
"How will they preach unless they are sent?"--how on earth would you ever get a Jew to preach to Gentiles unless they have been sent by God? The word "sent" here is apostello. Paul could be defending his Gentile mission here. He was sent by God to preach to the Gentiles. Behind it all--the calling, believing, hearing, and proclaiming is the Sovereign Lord who sends the messenger to deliver the good news.
William Cameron Townsend was a missionary in Guatemala trying to share the Gospel with a tribe that had never heard the Gospel. They spoke a little Spanish, but they had their own language, their own dialect. Not one word of the Bible had ever been translated into their language. One day William gave an Indian a Spanish Bible. But that man, who could not read English, looked at William and asked him a question that changed his life forever. "If your God is so great," he asked, "why can't he speak my language?" From that question came a dream, and from that dream came a vision, and from that vision came the greatest missionary translation organization in the history of the Christian church. From that question came the Wycliffe Bible Translators--because our God is great and He speaks every language.
"HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!" This is a quote from Isaiah:
How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7 NASB
The context of Isaiah's words was the announcement of God's favor in restoring Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity. So this is another return from exile passage. Good news is come to Jerusalem from Babylon that the captivity is over. The bondage is over. Deliverance is come. And here comes the messenger and he's running with the fact that Israel is going to be free, that deliverance is come, good news.
Isaiah chapter 52, the message, came first to Israel. But notice what follows in:
Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem; For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. Isaiah 52:9 NASB
Now the picture here is a historical event, the coming of a messenger announcing the freedom of a people in bondage, but it is a symbol of a glorious future day when true redemption and true salvation comes to Israel, but not just Israel:
The LORD has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, That all the ends of the earth may see The salvation of our God. Isaiah 52:10 NASB
God's salvation is going to go to the ends of the earth. When they heard him quote Isaiah 52:7 they should have remembered that this salvation message was to extend to the end of the earth, it was a universal message.
"How beautiful are the feet"--is a figurative way of expressing gratitude for the obedience of the messengers who have brought good news. In ancient times good news traveled by means of messengers who ran from one place to another. When an army marched off to war, no one knew for months how the battle had gone until the messenger came with the news. No one had a cell phone. You couldn't turn on the TV and watch the battle in real time as we can today. They didn't have the Internet that flashes news around the world instantly. Everything depended on the messenger arriving safely, with news from distant lands. But what if the battle had gone badly? That often happened, and the messenger was charged with telling the truth even though it plunged the nation into mourning. But oh, how happy the day when the messenger came running down the mountainside with good news on his lips.
The context of this text in Isaiah is that it is Christ that brings the good news. He is the faithful Israelite:
However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?" Romans 10:16 NASB
The NIV adds the word Israelites here, which is not in any manuscripts. But I think that is who the "they" is. He quotes from Israel's scripture, citing that they have not believed. The word to "heed" is hupakouo, we get acoustics from it. Akoe means: "to hear" and hupo means: "under," to hear under means to get under somebody in submission like a servant, to line up under somebody.
Commenting on "they did not all heed," John MacArthur writes, "It is not simply believing as if that's all there is to it. Oh yes, I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, I believe.... It is believing and submitting obediently. You can't get around that in the Scripture." The Lordship guys can't resist jumping on any mention of obedience to try to prove that salvation requires more that "simply believing." Here MacArthur says you must "believe AND submit obediently." So what does he mean by submit obediently? Well, elsewhere MacArthur says, "The true test of faith is this, does it produce obedience? If not, it is not saving faith." So if obedience is necessary for salvation, what should our next question be? How much obedience? Nobody can answer that!
Back to our text, Paul says, "They did not all heed the good news." This does not mean the obedience which the Gospel produces; it does not mean the obedience in which faith results or the obedience to which faith leads. He is talking about an obedience which consists in faith. The way to obey is to believe. He explains what he means in the rest of the verse, "For Isaiah says, Lord, who hath believed our report?" This is what we have said over and over, to believe is to obey the Gospel. We are called upon to believe the objective message concerning Jesus Christ. To do is to obey. Notice what Luke says:
The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith. Acts 6:7 NASB
What Luke means here is that these priests were believing the Gospel.
The word "report" here in verse 16 is akoe. The word akouo means:" to hear." And the noun akoe means: "the thing heard."
Paul had just quoted from Isaiah 52:7, and now he quotes from Isaiah 53:1:
Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? Isaiah 53:1 NASB
The question implies that most people didn't believe it. What is Isaiah 53 about? It is the message of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, of God laying our sins on Him, and then crushing Him in an atoning death on our behalf. The good news of the Gospel is rooted in the story of redemption--the work of Jesus on the cross.
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. Isaiah 53:2-6 NASB
How do we know that Isaiah 53 is talking about Yeshua? We know because the Bible tells us that this is about Yeshua. If you go to Acts 8 and look at the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, Philip tells us who Isaiah is talking about:
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: "HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH. "IN HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY; WHO WILL RELATE HIS GENERATION? FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH." Acts 8:30-33 NASB
He was reading Isaiah 53:7-8 when Philip came alongside his chariot:
And the eunuch answered Philip and said, "Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself, or of someone else?" Acts 8:34 NASB
The eunuch asks Philip, "Of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself? Or of someone else?" Contemporary Jewish interpretation was divided about this matter. Some said that it referred to the nation, some that Isaiah was speaking of himself, and some that he referred to the Messiah. But Philip had no doubts:
And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. Acts 8:35 NASB
Philip starts at Isaiah 53, which he knew by heart, and preached Yeshua to Him. Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah 53.
Paul calls Isaiah to witness from chapter 53 verse 1, that very few are believing what he proclaimed--and what he proclaimed in that chapter, you recall, is the coming of Christ and His sufferings and resurrection and the doctrine of justification. So his point in verse 16b is that very few Jews are believing.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 NASB
This is a very familiar verse. Many have memorized this verse and use it for evangelism. The word "hearing" here is akoe the same word used for "report" in verse 16.
Let me ask a question here, Does the Word produce faith? Hearing the Gospel is necessary, but not a sufficient condition for salvation. Israel heard, but they did not believe, verse 18. If hearing the Word produced faith, then we should go out on the street, grab people, and bring them in here and hold them captive as we preach to them until they are saved. But that won't work. Elsewhere Paul teaches:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Ephesians 2:8 NASB
Faith is the gift of God. Faith is the effect of regeneration, not the cause of it.
for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1:23 NASB
These two prepositions "of" and "through" are different. "Of" is source, the imperishable seed referring to the Holy Spirit. And "through" refers to the instrumentality of the Word. The Holy Spirit gives us life so we can believe the Word.
We have to believe the message, but we can't believe it unless we are given life. Those who are given life must hear the message so they can believe. So to those who have life, faith comes by hearing the message of Christ:
But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; "THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD." Romans 10:18 NASB
The objector here says, "Surely they have never heard, have they?" This construction is a double negative. The effect is to rule out entirely the possibility that they did not hear. So Paul replies, "Indeed they have." Many see Paul here quoting Psalm 19 as proof that they have heard the Gospel. Psalm 19 tells us that the knowledge of God has been written for us in two volumes, general revelation--the Creation; and special revelation--the Bible. In the first part of this Psalm the Psalmist, David, says that God reveals Himself through His world, through nature. These verses are a declaration of the greatness of God as seen in the world of nature.
Now let me ask you something? Can man come to know God through nature? As man looks at the creation, the earth and heavens, does he realize there is a God who he must trust? Is this what Psalm 19 teaches? That is the common interpretation of them.
Tertullian, the early church father, said, "It was not the pen of Moses that initiated the knowledge of the creator. The vast majority of mankind, though they have never heard the name of Moses--to say nothing of his book--know the God of Moses nonetheless. Nature is the teacher; the soul is the pupil."
Do men come to know God in any way through looking at nature? What about the scientists who look at the universe through the Hubble Telescope? When they see those awesome sites of God's creation, do they fall down and worship God? They do if they are a Christians. But if they are not Christians, what they worship is The Big Bang Theory.
The late author and astronomer, Carl Sagan, said, "The universe is all that ever was and ever will be." As an astronomer who studied the heavens, he didn't see the glory of God, he didn't see God at all. Julian Huxley, who was an English evolutionary biologist, said, "It is all accident, all a matter of chance. No reason, no end, no purpose at all." These men studied God's creation, and they never saw Him or His glory. Natural man says that the matter of which the universe is made somehow over billions of years organized itself into all that we see without any outside assistance or intelligence.
What is called natural or general revelation will not bring anybody to God; just like special revelation won't bring anybody to God. The only way man comes to God is if God draws him to Himself:
"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44 NASB
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 1 Corinthians 2:14 NASB
The man without the Spirit cannot appreciate God's glory through the heavens, or through special revelation. God must first effectually call a man, then man can see His glory in creation and in The Word. How much do dead men see of the glory of God?:
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21 NASB
This verse destroys every variety of "natural revelation" and natural theology: "The world through its wisdom did not come to know God." Can natural men, using natural means, derive truth from nature? No, they can't!
If Paul is saying here that the message has been heard through natural revelation, then what is the point of sending people out to preach? Paul may simply be using the words of Psalm 19 (without claiming to be quoting them in context) to stress the wide extent of the Gospel in the world for all Israel to hear. He may mean here what he does in:
because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; Colossians 1:5-6 NASB
The Gospel had been preached in the known world:
if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. Colossians 1:23 NASB
Again, the Gospel has been extensively proclaimed, the Jews have heard. In effect, Paul says the Gospel preaching to Jewish people has been just about as wide as the influence of the heavenly bodies, appealing to a text in Psalm 19. The Gospel has been universally preached, so Israel does not have any excuse. They cannot say, "We have not heard." The promised Messiah was proclaimed from the fall in the Garden and throughout the Old Testament era. Paul's main point is clear: The message of Christ has been preached to Israel, and she has heard it, and so is responsible for her unbelief.
But then they say that they have not understood:
But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, "I WILL MAKE YOU JEALOUS BY THAT WHICH IS NOT A NATION, BY A NATION WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING WILL I ANGER YOU." Romans 10:19 NASB
Again, the objector says, "Surely Israel did not know?" Know what? Well the answer Paul gives from Deuteronomy 32 and Isaiah 65, are not proof that Israel understood the Gospel. They demonstrate that Israel had been warned that Gentiles would be coming in and sharing the blessing they had been promised.
Paul responds, "Moses said," and when you quote Moses, folks, you're quoting the supreme authority to a Jew. Then he quotes, Deuteronomy 32, The Song of Moses, which is a prediction of Israel's last days. Let's look at the context:
"They have acted corruptly toward Him, They are not His children, because of their defect; But are a perverse and crooked generation. Deuteronomy 32:5 NASB
This marks the unbelief of Israel, and verse 20 marks the judgment of God:
"Then He said, 'I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; For they are a perverse generation, Sons in whom is no faithfulness. Deuteronomy 32:20 NASB
Then the next verse, verse 21, is the one Paul quotes:
'They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation, Deuteronomy 32:21 NASB
God is telling Israel, "I'm going to turn to another people, another nation, a Gentile nation and bless them and provoke you to jealousy." This prediction of Moses could find its fulfillment only in the conversion of the Gentiles through the Gospel of Christ. They were the "no people" brought into intimate relationship with God. And the Jews should have remembered Deuteronomy 32, they should have repented, they should have seen the truth of the Gospel as it went to the Gentiles.
And Isaiah is very bold and says, "I WAS FOUND BY THOSE WHO DID NOT SEEK ME, I BECAME MANIFEST TO THOSE WHO DID NOT ASK FOR ME." Romans 10:20 NASB
Then Paul gives a second proof text from Isaiah, so you have the Law and the prophets here. Moses representing the Law, Isaiah the prophets. The words "very bold" mean: "clear, plain, easily understood." And this is a quote from Isaiah 65:1:
"I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, 'Here am I, here am I,' To a nation which did not call on My name. Isaiah 65:1 NASB
You see the fact that pagan, uncircumcised Gentiles are believing on the Messiah and inheriting the promises made to Israel was predicted by Moses, and Isaiah, and it is happening all around them and should waken them to the truth of the Gospel they are rejecting. Paul is justifying his mission to the Gentiles because of Israel's unbelief.
But as for Israel He says, "ALL THE DAY LONG I HAVE STRETCHED OUT MY HANDS TO A DISOBEDIENT AND OBSTINATE PEOPLE." Romans 10:21 NASB
This is a quote from Isaiah 65:2, the next verse:
"I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts, Isaiah 65:2 NASB
So both those verses come right out of that sixty-fifth chapter. In other words, all the prophecies and all the fulfillments and all the Gospel that Israel heard was not believed by most of them.
"I have spread out My hands"--is an anthropomorphism to bring out the tender concern of God. Some see in the phrase, "All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people" a picture of the cross. In the cross of Jesus Christ there is incessant expression of unyielding love for the nation Israel and also for us Gentiles.
The word disobedient is apeitheo, which means: "to disbelieve." And the word antilego means: "to deny, contradict, declare oneself against him." So Paul is saying in verse 21, "Israel is without excuse for her unbelief." It is not so much a matter of ignorance, but of obstinance.
What outward means did God not use to draw the Israelites to love and honor Him? Exodus, Red Sea, Jericho, Giving of the Law, manna, water in the desert. Without the sovereign call of God. no man will ever come to Him. Even if someone rose from the dead, they will not believe unless God Himself draws them. How thankful are you for your salvation?
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