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Open up a box of crayons and look inside. Which colors do you like the best? Which colors do you like the least? Do you know where you get your opinions from? The Ones who made you. You see, before you were born, Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit decided whether you’d like blue better than green or red better than orange. They programmed your little brain to have an extremely narrow definition of concepts like good, beautiful, delicious, and fun. Why did They do this? Because They are obsessed with variety (see Understanding God: His Obsession with Complexity & Variation). And since it was Their plan from the beginning to make zillions upon zillions of humans, They came up with many creative ways to ensure that all of those humans wouldn’t end up as clones of each other. Just as you don’t want to listen to a fifty hour song that only has one note in it, your Creators weren’t interested in creating zillions of humans who all think, act, and look alike. So when it came time to create you, They put together a zesty little combination of fascinating features that would result in you being not quite the same as anyone else. They painted your skin a very specific shade. They programmed the cells in your body to grow into a very specific shape. Are you thin or fat? Are you a straight stick or do some parts of you bulge out? Perhaps you have a fat gut or a large butt or a big chest. Maybe your nose is huge or your ears stick out or you’ve got boats for feet. While you look in the mirror and see a bunch of flaws, your Gods see fascinating variety. They like ears that stick out just as much as ears that lay flat. They like long fingers just as much as stubby ones. Big guts, small guts, high butts, low butts, flat chests, big chests—it’s the variety that makes it all so fun. They don’t want a white world or a black world. They want snow white, inky black, and every fascinating shade in between.
The next time you’re out among people, take a moment to notice that endless variation that is all around you. No two humans are exactly alike, and if you’re honest, there are plenty of human features that you just don’t find very appealing. The truth is that you’re quite the narrow-minded little thing with a very pinched up view of “attractive.” This isn’t your fault, it’s how you’ve been wired. Being narrow minded comes naturally to humans, but our Gods are not humans, and when we start blurring the lines between Them and us, all kinds of problems arise.
The apostle Paul was an ethnic Jew. If we liken humans to crayons in a box, then when the apostle Paul looked inside the box, he saw one fantastic shade of crayon sitting among a bunch of other shades that were really rather ugly by comparison. All of those other crayons represent other non-Jewish ethnicities, which Paul refers to as Gentiles. As far as Paul is concerned, Gentiles are yuck, but Jews are fabulous.
Now we should expect Paul to think his own ethnicity is better than all others, because Paul is a human, and all humans have their share of foolish ideas. But when we mistake human Paul’s view for the Divine view, well then we end up in a major mess. Because while Paul is obsessed with the superiority of his own ethnicity, the Gods who created humans see all ethnicities as being of equal value. We only think this isn’t true when we are failing to appreciate how vastly different humans are from Gods.
THE DIVINE PERSPECTIVE
Because we’re humans, we need to think of things from a human perspective in order to understand them. This is where it is helpful to use human analogies to try and understand who our Gods are and how They think. But while there is great value in thinking of ourselves as God’s “children” and thinking of Him as our loving “Father,” we also need to realize that no human analogy can perfectly explain a non-human being. God isn’t really our “Father” the way another human is our father. Human fathers don’t create their own offspring. They don’t get to choose every detail of who their children will be. When a human father is first handed his newborn child, that child is a total stranger to him. Are you seeing how limited the “father” analogy is when applied to God? You didn’t just happen to Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. You exist because They chose to create you, and They created you exactly as They wanted you to be. You weren’t someone They had to get to know—They chose every detail about your personality before you were even born. They didn’t birth you, nor do you have Their DNA floating about in your cells. So when They call you Their “child,” They’re not being literal.
Our Gods use human metaphors to help us grasp important concepts and principles, but those metaphors always fall drastically short of giving us a complete understanding of who They are. At some point, we have to stop searching for similarities between Them and us and start acknowledging the vast differences. For example, when you look around in this world, you see a bunch of things that repulse you. You’re just not going to use the term “beautiful” for things like dung beetles, spiders, and leeches. Because you didn’t choose to create these things, and because you don’t have the ability to appreciate how amazing they are, you quickly write them off as yuck and you figure the world would be a nicer place without them. You don’t find it fabulous that your body has to pass waste every day. You didn’t design humans from scratch, and you don’t understand most of what your body does, so you simply fail to appreciate all of the brilliance and beauty that your Gods see when They watch Their creatures in action. What’s positive about foul stenches and rotting remains? As a limited human you can’t grasp the positivity of these things on your own, you need to listen to the perspective of the Ones who created all things.
You see, the truth is that our Gods don’t make things that They don’t like. When a human artist paints a hundred pictures, he ends up viewing some as lousy and some as good. Not all of his paintings come out the way he had hoped because he’s just a human, and humans are incapable of perfection. But our Gods are not humans, and They aren’t hampered by our limitations. They like everything that They make, and everything that They make comes out exactly as They want. As humans, we can’t even begin to fathom having such abilities, nor can we grasp the depth of delight our Gods experience as They interact with, direct, manipulate, and sustain all of the countless creations They have designed. While you live out your existence amid a sea of Someone Else’s preferences, your Creators never exist among anything that They don’t want. They have everything Their way all of the time. Their whole experience of existing is vastly different than your own. So different that you’re not going to get anywhere close to understanding it if you’re not talking to Them directly.
So what does all of this have to do with Paul and Romans 11? Well, in Romans 11, Paul is discussing the subject of spiritual salvation. The problem is that he’s going to make a huge issue out of ethnicity. He’s going to talk about salvation for Jews and salvation for Gentiles as if these are two significantly different concepts. Then he’s going to drag Yahweh into it and talk as if Yahweh sees things the way Paul does. Well, no, Yahweh doesn’t. Yahweh is a non-human God, and as we’ve been discussing, Gods don’t view the world like humans do. Yahweh doesn’t have Paul’s hang-up about who’s Jewish and who isn’t. As the Co-Creator of all ethnicities, Yahweh finds the entire spectrum of human ethnicities quite pleasing. Yahweh loves variety. Paul loves Jewishness. Yahweh cherishes all of His human creations. Paul just cherishes the Jews while he endures the Gentiles.
Now you don’t have to personally identify with someone to properly describe how they view things. Maybe you loathe activities involving water, but your friend Dean loves all things ocean. So when you’re talking about Dean, you should say, “Yeah, he just loves being in the water. He’s a huge fan of water sports. Snorkeling, sailing, and water skiing—he just can’t get enough.” This is an accurate description of how Dean feels. You personally think Dean is crazy, but your opinion is not what you should be sharing if your goal is to help someone else understand how Dean thinks.
In the New Testament epistles, what we find are a bunch of Jewish men claiming to be explaining how God thinks. The problem is that they do a lousy job of separating themselves from God and acknowledging how differently God views the world. Yahweh is not a Jew loving racist. Yahweh is not obsessed with the political nation of Israel. Yahweh doesn’t think some humans are better than others because of their skin color or because of the genetic material of their earthsuits. In Romans 11, Paul is describing Paul’s viewpoint of the world, not Yahweh’s. But he’s calling Paul’s view Yahweh’s view, and because no one is bothering to ask Yahweh directly how accurately Paul is describing Him, we’ve got a whole crop of Christians today who think they’re somehow less loved by God just because they’re not Jewish. This is utterly absurd. God loves Jews and non-Jews with equal enthusiasm. God has always called all people to come to Him, and He doesn’t cringe when He sees Gentiles coming, nor does He keep them at arm’s length.
There’s nothing special about being Jewish. There’s a lot special about being a human being. Yahweh doesn’t see the world in terms of Jewish humans, Gentile humans, black humans, white humans, male humans, and female humans. Yahweh sees a bunch of precious souls walking around in brilliantly designed earthsuits. Yahweh doesn’t like one style better than another, He likes style variation. Your particular ethnicity, color, size, shape, and gender is very attractive to God on two counts. First, He loves the unique combination that He created you to be. Second, He loves how you add variation to the general sea of humanity. This is how Yahweh sees things, because Yahweh is not a human, He’s the Divine Creator. But you’re not going to get a good glimpse into Yahweh’s fascinating perspective of humans by listening to Paul. You might have, if Paul had been more in tune with Yahweh. But when it comes to conveying messages from God, Paul is a major zero. Like false prophets today, he lies his face off about how God views things, he grossly misrepresents who God is, and if you listen to him more than you listen to God, you’re going to end up with all kinds of issues that you don’t need to have.
Spiritual rebels try to create distance and barriers between souls and God when they preach. While Paul will say that Yahweh doesn’t favor the Jews over the Gentiles, he’ll go on to use so much favoring language, that a Gentile Christian can’t help but come way feeling like someone God is graciously enduring instead of someone God really wants. So bearing in mind the fact that Yahweh and Paul have vastly different views of the world, let’s now dive into Romans and get an appreciation for how important it is to not just let humans put words in God’s mouth without checking with God Himself.
All lot of Jews are making some really wrong spiritual choices. They’re defying Yahweh and rejecting Christ, thus they are heading towards eternal damnation. Paul knows this and the thought of his own people not making it into Heaven torments him to no end. Beginning at the start of Romans 9, he turns his focus onto this issue of ethnic Jews being spiritually lost and confesses that he personally finds this to be the worst possible thing.
With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it. My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. They are the people of Israel, chosen to be Yahweh’s adopted children. Yahweh revealed His glory to them. He made Covenants with them and gave them His law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping Him and receiving His wonderful promises. (Rom. 9:1-4).
Paul’s personal devotion to ethnic Jews is so strong that it even eclipses his devotion to God. Notice how he says he’d rather be cut off from Christ entirely—which would result in being damned by Yahweh—just to see all ethnic Jews saved. Jews in eternal bliss is the greatest prize to Paul, and he views it as so essential to his own happiness, that he considers his relationship with God expendable by comparison. Somehow “biased” just doesn’t seem strong enough to describe Paul’s view of the world. This man isn’t just pro-Jew. He’s obsessed.
Now let’s look at Paul’s language here:
They are the people of Israel, chosen to be Yahweh’s adopted children. Yahweh revealed His glory to them. He made Covenants with them and gave them His law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping Him and receiving His wonderful promises. (Rom. 9:4)
To hear Paul tell it, ethnic Jews are the only ones Yahweh did all of these things with. Well, no, this is absolutely wrong. Paul is referring back to the days of Moses when the Israelites were wandering about in the desert for 40 years. It was during that time that Yahweh introduced His Old Covenant with its many laws and promises. It was then that Yahweh instructed the Tabernacle to be built and created the sacrificial system as a means of both atonement and worship (see The Sacrificial System). But who exactly was Yahweh talking to in those days? Was it only a crowd of “purebred” Jews? Not hardly. The wilderness mob was a rainbow of ethnicities. There were ethnic Jews, Egyptians, and a bunch of other folks.
You see, centuries earlier, there had been a major famine that had affected many nations. The ethnic Jews alive at that time were Jacob and his twelve sons. The famine was so bad, that people from all around traveled to Egypt to benefit from that nation’s abundant supply of grain. The only reason Egypt had food while everyone else was starving was because Yahweh had supernaturally prepared her using special instructions that He’d given the king of Egypt through the Jew Joseph. Well, do you want to travel to Egypt every so many days to buy more grain or do you just want to move there permanently and wait for things to improve? It was the great famine that brought ethnic Jews to Egypt, and once they were there, they decided to stay for centuries. Even when things became really oppressive, they still stayed there, mixing it up with other ethnicities and adopting the traditions and gods of Egyptian culture. When Yahweh finally hauled the Jews out of Egypt during the great Exodus, plenty of non-Jews tagged along. So the mob that Moses ended up leading around the desert for forty years was not just Jewish. There were both Jews and Gentiles. Gentiles were referred to as “foreigners” in those days—the term “Gentile” wasn’t used until the New Testament. But now we come to the critical question: who did Yahweh establish His Covenant with? Did He tell all Gentiles to go wait somewhere else while He had a private chat with ethnic Jews? Was the Tabernacle a “Jews only” club? Could only true Jews bring sacrifices to Yahweh? It turns out the Jews were snooty about their superiority even back in Moses’ day and there was a real sense of “incrowd, outcrowd” even as they all trooped around the desert. Knowing this, Yahweh specifically addresses the issue of non-Jews trying to interact with Him. Let’s see what He said.
“When a foreigner resides with you or someone else is among you and wants to prepare a fire offering as a pleasing aroma to Yahweh, he is to do exactly as you do throughout your generations.” (Num. 15:14)
“Native-born Israelites and foreigners are equal before Yahweh and are subject to the same decrees. This is a permanent law for you, to be observed from generation to generation.” (Num. 15:15)
“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” (Lev 19:34)
Yahweh says that Israelites and Gentiles are equal in His sight. Yahweh says Gentile believers are to be treated just like Jewish believers and that everyone gets to do the same stuff. The Gentiles get to present all of the same sacrifices. They get to go just as far into the Tabernacle. They get to do all the same rituals. There’s none of this rot about multiple courts and the Gentile “dogs” having to keep their “unclean” presence away from Yahweh’s holy rooms. We see such garbage happening in Herod’s remodeled Temple in the New Testament, but this was a clear violation of Yahweh’s Laws, because Yahweh said that Gentiles and Jews were equal in His sight.
In Isaiah 56, in the midst of a Gentile hating Jewish culture, Yahweh said through Jewish Isaiah:
“Don’t let foreigners who commit themselves to Yahweh say, ‘Yahweh will never let me be part of His people.’” (Isa. 56:3)
Why doesn’t Yahweh want Gentiles to view themselves as excluded from God’s people? Because Gentiles and Jews have always been equal in God’s sight. It’s only idiot humans who teach differently because, as we’ve been discussing, humans do a rotten job of acknowledging how much the Divine perspective differs from their own.
“I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to Yahweh, who serve Him and love His Name, who worship Him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to My Covenant. I will bring them to My holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in My house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isa. 56:6-7)
So who does Yahweh say His Covenant is for? Just the Jews? No, the Jews and the Gentiles. Why? Because Gentiles and Jews have always been equal in God’s sight. Are you grasping the point? God doesn’t get hung up about what ethnicity you are. Are you a human? Yes, you are. And because you are a human God loves you, wants you, and is inviting you to come to Him. Are you Jewish? It doesn’t matter what the answer is because your ethnicity doesn’t have bumpkus to do with whether God wants you or not. From the very beginning, Yahweh established His Covenant with an ethnically diverse group. But this isn’t what Paul teaches in Romans 11, because Paul projects his personal hang ups onto Yahweh. Paul passionately loves ethnic Jews, he endures inferior Gentiles, and he’s going to describe Yahweh as having his same attitudes.
So then, Paul starts on his bender about Jews versus Gentiles at the start of Romans 9 where he puts forth the total lie that ethnic Jews were the only ones Yahweh introduced His Covenant to. For an in-depth discussion of the rot that Paul puts out in this chapter, see Understanding Divine Election: Jacob I Loved, Esau I Hated (Malachi 1 & Romans 9). But now let’s jump ahead to Romans 11, where Paul is still going on about how disturbed he is that inferior Gentiles are polluting Yahweh’s chosen people while some ethnic Jews are being excluded from salvation.
I ask, then, has Yahweh rejected His own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin. (Rom. 11:1)
Today modern Americans emphasize the importance of the individual over the importance of the group. Sometimes we get so carried away with this that we feel it is acceptable to stomp on anyone who gets between us and our personal goals. Well, Paul’s cultural view is different. He thinks in terms of the group. It’s not that Paul doesn’t have a sense of self, because he does. He’s actually a very pompous little guy who thinks he’s superior to many others. But we can tell how group minded he is when he thinks God’s rejection of some Jews raises a concern that God has rejected all Jews. Since when does Yahweh have to treat all ethnic Jews as a single unit? The Old Testament is filled with examples of Yahweh treating individual Jews as, well, individuals. But despite all of his special training as a Pharisee, Paul’s a pretty dim bulb when it comes to recognizing some of the most central themes in Scripture—themes like Yahweh’s sovereignty, Yahweh’s judgment of souls on an individual basis, and Yahweh’s love for all people.
No, Yahweh has not rejected His own people, whom He chose from the very beginning. Don’t you know what Elijah says in the Scripture passage when he complains to Yahweh about Israel? Elijah said, “Yahweh, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” [1 Ki. 19:10]
And do you remember Yahweh’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!” [1 Ki. 19:18] (Rom. 11:2-4)
This isn’t quite what Yahweh said. Yahweh actually said that He was going to raise up three new leaders: a man named Jehu to rule Israel, a man named Hazael to rule Israel’s enemy neighbor of Aram, and a man named Elisha who would replace the prophet Elijah. Then Yahweh alluded to these three men starting some kind of bloodbath in Israel, and that in the midst of that violence He would spare 7,000 folks in Israel who were being faithful to Him. Here’s the actual quote:
“Then Jehu will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Jehu. Yet I will reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1 Ki. 19:17-18)
To clarify what’s going on here, realize that the prophet Elijah lived in a time when the nation of Israel was split into two warring kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. It was only in the north that a systematic slaughtering of Yahweh’s prophets was happening, and by 1 Kings 19, Elijah honestly thinks that he is the only God fearing prophet left. It was only in the north that the current rulers (Ahab & Jezebel) were trying to ram the worship of the idol Baal down everyone’s throats. So when Elijah says he’s the only one left in Israel who cares about Yahweh, he’s only talking about the northern kingdom of Israel. He’s not talking about the southern kingdom, in which there were a bunch more ethnic Jews. So what does Elijah’s very specific crisis have to do with New Testament Jewish believers? Paul now explains:
It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of Yahweh’s grace—His undeserved kindness in choosing them. And since it is through Yahweh’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, Yahweh’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved. (Rom. 11:5-6)
Paul is making two points here. First, he’s saying “Hey, don’t despair, Jews. Not all of our people have turned away from God. Just as there was a faithful remnant in the dark days of Elijah, there’s a faithful remnant today.” Fine. But now Paul is now going to veer down a totally wrong road by trying to absolve rebellious Jews of moral responsibility and blame Yahweh for their rebellion.
Yahweh says that He gives humans the choice to obey or rebel against Him. He says that He calls out to us, we then choose to respond to Him or not, and then we are judged by the choices we make. But this isn’t how Paul paints it. Paul makes it out like there are all of these Jews desperately searching for Yahweh, but Yahweh is intentionally blocking some of those sincere souls from finding Him.
So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of Yahweh that they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones Yahweh has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened. As the Scriptures say, “Yahweh has put them into a deep sleep. To this day He has shut their eyes so they do not see, and closed their ears so they do not hear.” [Deut. 29:4] (Rom. 11:7-8)
At the beginning of Chapter 9, Paul came out and said the Jews were more important to him than Yahweh. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we now find Paul making Yahweh out to be a jerk who is intentionally rejecting souls who earnestly want Him. Notice how Paul exalts ethnic Jews as being a people who always wanted to do right—it’s just nasty old Yahweh who has randomly decided to choose only certain ones of them while He intentionally nails others with spiritual blindness. This is absolute garbage and a total slam on the Character of Yahweh.
Yahweh has always taught that He is a very gracious God who responds enthusiastically to any soul who sincerely seeks Him. Yahweh also emphasizes the importance of choice. But if Paul were to tell the truth about his own people: how Yahweh has been graciously calling out to them for centuries while the Jews have been willfully spitting in His face, well then suddenly the Jews wouldn’t look so fantastic, and Paul would like an idiot to side with them over God. Notice how Paul says:
Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of Yahweh that they are looking for so earnestly. (Rom. 11:7)
Really? And just when was all of this sincere seeking going on? Since Paul is trying to use the Old Testament to whitewash his snarky ancestors, let’s do our own review of the Old Testament and check out some samples of Yahweh describing His experience of the Jews.
Israel officially became a nation during the lifetime of Moses. Oh look, there they are crafting a golden cow god for themselves and saying that it was the cow god who really rescued them from Egypt. Now that’s what you’d expect from a people who are sincerely seeking the favor of Yahweh. And there’s Yahweh, saying to Moses:
“I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Now leave Me alone so My fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them.” (Ex. 32:9-10)
According to Yahweh, He is responding to people’s soul choices. They are choosing to rebel against Him, therefore He is angry with them and threatening to destroy them.
Now let’s jump ahead several centuries to the lifetime of Samuel. Israelites are demanding a king. Yahweh says to the prophet Samuel:
“They are rejecting Me, not you. They don’t want Me to be their King any longer.” (1 Sam. 8:7)
Once again, Yahweh makes it clear that it is the Jews who are rejecting Him, not the other way around. Now let’s jump ahead several centuries to the time of Hosea and Amos. To the Baal worshiping people in northern Israel, Yahweh says:
“My people are being destroyed because they don’t know Me. Since you priests refuse to know Me, I refuse to recognize you as My priests.” (Hos. 4:6)
“The more priests there are, the more they sin against Me. They have exchanged the glory of God for the shame of idols.” (Hos. 4:7)
Who is rejecting who here? Are these Israelites desperately seeking God? No, they’re throwing Him over for false gods. A short while later through the mouth of Isaiah, Yahweh says:
“I have raised children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against Me.” (Isa. 1:2)
Jump ahead more than 100 years, and we’re in the time of Jeremiah. Yahweh says:
“My inheritance has acted toward Me like a lion in the forest. She has roared against Me. Therefore, I hate her.” (Jer. 12:8)
And then there are the very useful passages in which Yahweh looks back over His whole history with Israel and gives us a summary of how she’s treated Him. We find such a recap in Isaiah:
“From the very beginning, your first ancestor sinned against Me; all your leaders broke My laws. That is why I have disgraced your priests; I have decreed complete destruction for Jacob and shame for Israel.” (Isa. 43:27-28)
From Exodus to Malachi, we find Yahweh bitterly complaining of how the Jews refuse to respect, seek, obey, or love Him. Then we come to Jesus—who lived among the Jews that Paul is describing so highly. Paul says:
Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of Yahweh that they are looking for so earnestly. (Rom. 11:7)
Really? Because this isn’t how Jesus describes the New Testament Jews.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling.” (Matt. 23:37)
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus describes the Jews of Paul’s time as stubbornly refusing to respond to Himself or Yahweh. But Paul makes the Jews of his day out to be earnestly seeking Yahweh. According to Paul, Yahweh has looked out over all those earnest Jews and decided to block most of them from coming to Him. Why on earth would He do that? Because that’s just the kind of God He is.
As the Scriptures say: “Yahweh has put them into a deep sleep. To this day He has shut their eyes so they do not see, and closed their ears so they do not hear.” [Deut. 29:4] (Rom. 11:7-8)
Notice that phrase “to this day.” This is Moses talking. He’s probably saying this around 1490 BC. When Moses says “to this day,” he means “From the time Yahweh led us all out of Egypt until now, forty years later as we stand at the border of the Promised Land.” And by the way, Moses is lying, because Yahweh did not block the Jews in the wilderness from understanding who He was. Those Jews intentionally chose to reject Yahweh, and it was their choices which Yahweh responded to. Some individuals actually listened to Yahweh and when they did, Yahweh responded very favorably towards them. But Moses is frustrated in Deuteronomy, so he’s being the same jerk Paul is being by deciding to shuffle off the blame onto Yahweh for the rebellion of people who he is way too emotionally attached to. Because you see, Moses also prizes his relationship with his own ethnic group over his relationship with God, which is why he says right to Yahweh’s face that he’d rather be eternally damned with the Jews than be separated from them. The Jews viewed God as having a Book of Life in which He wrote down the names of those who were accepted by Him. When Yahweh is furious with the Jews over the cow god incident, Moses essentially says, “Hey, if You’re going to cut them off, then cut me off as well, because I’m with them.”
“Now if You would only forgive their sin. But if not, please erase me from the book You have written.” (Ex. 32:32)
Nice. Are you getting a feel for what poor role models we have in the Bible?
God comes first, not people. When we reverse these priorities, we end up doing what Moses and Paul are doing: slandering the Character of God for the sake of downplaying our own willful rebellion. Here in Romans 11, you need to take a hard look at how deceptive Paul is being. Moses died around 1490 BC. Four hundred more years passed between the Old and New Testaments. So Paul is using a quote that is over 2,000 years old to make it sound like Scriptures say Yahweh has been intentionally blocking sincere Jews from finding Him to Paul’s very day. This is an absolute lie that grossly misrepresents who Yahweh is and how He operates.
Likewise, David said, “Let their bountiful table become a snare, a trap that makes them think all is well. Let their blessings cause them to stumble, and let them get what they deserve. Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and let their backs be bent forever.” [Ps. 69:22-23] (Rom. 11:9-10)
This is a quotation from Psalm 69, which was written by David when he was in one of his many hateful moods. David is feeling badly treated by certain humans, and he wants Yahweh to mercilessly trash those certain humans on David’s behalf. What does David’s carnal gripe fest have to do with ethnic Jews coming to God? Absolutely nothing. Like Peter, Paul loves to misapply the Psalms.
I ask, then, have the Jews stumbled in order to fall beyond recovery? Absolutely not! On the contrary, by their stumbling, salvation has come to the Gentiles in order to make Israel jealous. (Rom. 11:11)
Whoa. Stop. Paul just laid one mother of a lie on you. Did you catch it? Here’s the key question: why is it possible for Gentiles to get saved? Paul says:
I ask, then, have the Jews stumbled in order to fall beyond recovery? Absolutely not! On the contrary, by their stumbling, salvation has come to the Gentiles…
According to Paul, the only reason you inferior yuck Gentiles ever even had a shot at salvation is because the superior Jews stumbled. In other words, if the Jews hadn’t messed up with Yahweh, you Gentile yucks would never have been invited in. You’re only in because the Jews messed up. This is what Paul is telling you. According to Paul, salvation is like a party that Yahweh is throwing, and He’s only invited ethnic Jews. All of you loser Gentiles can just sit out in the cold or burn in Hell—Yahweh doesn’t even care that you’re alive. Oh, but then some Jews don’t show up to Yahweh’s party. Now suddenly there are some open seats at His party table. Well, this bugs God, because He hates looking at empty chairs. So it’s only now that He goes outside looking for any warm body that He can get to fill the available spots. Oh look, there’s you: an inferior Gentile. Oh, well, fine. You’re better than no one. Come on into the party. But realize that you’re only getting in because a better, classier, more deserving Jew failed to show.
Do you have any idea how offensive this kind of picture is to Yahweh? This is putrid theology. This is a revolting lie from beginning to end. In Revelation, Jesus said that the fickle devotion of Christians made Him want to vomit. Well, all three of our Gods have equally strong feelings about this absolute garbage that Paul is pumping out here in Romans 11. Yahweh loves all people and when spiritual leaders teach certain souls to feel unwanted by God for something as irrelevant as their earthsuit’s genetics, God is outraged. You can be sure that Paul got himself into major trouble with Yahweh by spewing this rot in Romans and filling the heads of Gentile Christians with such outrageous lies. But Paul’s not done being a horse’s behind. Because you see, not only did you Gentile yucks get invited to the party only because some better Jews failed to show, but according to Paul, the only reason Yahweh is even inviting you into His house is to make those no show Jews jealous. So see, it’s all about the Jews to Yahweh, and you Gentile Christians are nothing more than props He’s using to entice the Jews back to Him. Watch the language here:
On the contrary, by their stumbling, salvation has come to the Gentiles in order to make Israel jealous.
See? God’s only saving you Gentile losers to make Jews jealous. It’s all about the Jews to Yahweh. They’re His favorites. The rest of you non-Jews are just annoying burdens that He’s putting up with. And by the way, Jesus didn’t save you and Yahweh didn’t save you. It’s really the Jews who you should be thanking for your salvation, because it was the Jews who brought spiritual riches to the whole world.
Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down Yahweh’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it. (Rom. 11:12)
See? You Gentiles were “enriched” by the Jews. Forget about Jesus and Yahweh—it’s really ethnic Jews who have unlocked the gates of Heaven for you. You see the Jews are so incredibly awesome, that even by screwing up, they have managed to specially bless you inferior humans. So now, just wait until the Jews get it together and start obeying Yahweh. If all of you Gentiles have gained salvation through the rebellion of the Jews, just imagine what awesome perks you’ll gain when the Jews repent and start to obey. Because you see, your entire sorry Gentile existence revolves around ethnic Jews. When they trip, you gain salvation. When they stand strong—well, we can’t even imagine. Wow, those Jews. There’s just no end to the debt we owe them. This is what Paul is teaching you because the man is so steeped in racism and a worship of his own ethnicity that he actually thinks he’s spot on to tell Gentile Christians that they wouldn’t even have a relationship with God if it weren’t for the Jews.
Remember how Yahweh said that Jews and Gentiles were equal in His sight? Well, Paul is saying that the Jews are the only ones Yahweh really loves, and that Gentiles are only tools Yahweh is using to save more Jews. This is the guy the Church tells you to worship. This is the “St. Paul” she tells you to pray to. This is the guy she punishes you for questioning. And once we call this kind of outrageous rot “God breathed” is it any wonder we’re making it hand over fist touring Christians through the “Holy Land”? Is it any wonder we’ve got a bunch of Christians fawning over Israel and treating ethnic Jews like they are God’s gift to the universe? Is it any wonder that we’ve got a bunch of pompous Messianic Jews strutting around like they’re better than everyone else while Gentile Christians hang their heads and try to think of ways that they can compensate for their inferiority? Do you see what happens when we listen to idiots like the apostle Paul? Do you see why it’s so important that you talk to God yourself instead of just believing the slander that some arrogant apostle puts out? What does Yahweh say? That Gentiles and Jews are equal in His sight. God does not love Jews more than anyone else. If you’re a Gentile Christian, you need to get it through your head that no human on this planet saved you. Not a Jew, not a pastor, and not your praying friends or mother. God saved you. God saved you because He wanted you. He wanted you because He made you. He doesn’t want you just so He can make Jews jealous. You’re not just some billboard that He’s using to try and attract the better humans over to Him. Every soul is precious to God, but thanks to the morons who put our New Testament together, we’ve been circulating this garbage from the apostle Paul for nearly 2,000 years and calling it “Divinely inspired.” Let’s hear it for leaders in the Church who have oatmeal for brains.
Now the apostle Paul loves to brag about how he’s an “apostle to the Gentiles.” And once you realize that the man views Gentiles like pond scum, you realize that he thinks he’s making a grand sacrifice to witness to these lowlifes. So why is the superior Paul soiling himself with the company of Gentiles? Why do you think? He’s just trying to use the Gentiles to make the Jews jealous.
I am saying all this especially for you Gentiles. Yahweh has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I magnify my ministry, for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so I might save some of them. (Rom. 11:13-14)
Step aside Yahweh and Jesus: Paul is going to save the Jews by waving the salvation of the Gentiles in their faces and provoking them to jealousy. The picture here is rather like the sleaze who shows up at a party with a girl he doesn’t even like just so he can make the girl he does like jealous. And as soon as the better girl starts flirting with him, he ditches his date and goes off with the girl he really likes. The Gentiles are just bait to Paul—and he likes to boast of how he’s just using them to attract the people who he really cares about. Wow, what a jerk.
For when the Jews were rejected, Yahweh offered salvation to the rest of the world. What will happen, then, when they are accepted? It will be life for the dead! (Rom. 11:15)
What is so incredibly lame about this argument is that human beings were around for thousands of years before there ever was a “Jew.” And by the way, Abraham was not a Jew. A true Jew is a descendant of Jacob, who was Abraham’s grandson. Jacob had a twin brother named Esau, but Esau’s descendants are not at all considered Jews. So you really can’t call anyone a “Jew” prior to Jacob (who Yahweh renamed Israel). Yet the Jews call Abraham and Isaac Jews, which is ridiculously wrong, and here in Romans 11, Paul says that Yahweh never even offered salvation to non-Jews until the Jewish nation rejected Him. Well, that didn’t happen until centuries after Abraham’s death, yet Paul will wax on and on about the great faith of the Jewish patriarch Abraham. See the doubletalk? If Jacob’s twin brother Esau who was born of the same mother is viewed as having an entirely different ethnicity than Jacob, then Jacob’s father Isaac certainly can’t be a Jew, and neither can Jacob’s grandfather Abraham. Jacob (aka Israel) is the start of the “Jewish” line. So according to Paul’s idiotic logic, Abraham couldn’t have gotten saved, and neither could Noah or Enoch or Seth or Sarah or any other non-Jew until centuries into the history of Israel after the Jews had had plenty of time to reject Yahweh. But it gets better still, because Paul will soon reveal that he feels the critical moment when Yahweh turned away from the Jews to finally offer salvation to the Gentiles only happened after the Jews rejected Christ. This means that there was no salvation for any Gentile in all the thousands of years of human history that came before Christ.
And since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy, their descendants will also be holy—just as the entire batch of dough is holy because the portion given as an offering is holy. For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too.
But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing Yahweh has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of Yahweh’s cultivated olive tree. But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root.
“Well,” you may say, “those branches were broken off to make room for me.” Yes, but remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. For if Yahweh did not spare the original branches, He won’t spare you either. (Rom. 11:16-21)
This metaphor of two trees is another big slam on Gentiles. A cultivated tree is one that is being carefully pruned and cared for by a human owner. In this metaphor, Paul compares Israel to a cultivated olive tree: one which a loving Yahweh has been paying attention to and fussing over and carefully tending to for centuries. But you Gentiles—well, you’re just a wild olive tree. You’re like a weed: you’re growing out in some random place. No one cares about you. No one’s tending to you. No one is pruning you or nurturing you. Yahweh doesn’t give a flip that you’re alive because He’s so busy tending to His special tree. This is the hateful little image Paul is putting forth. Then he says that Yahweh has snapped off some branches of His good tree and grafted in some of you inferior Gentiles from that wild, unwanted tree. My, aren’t you so privileged to be sharing sap with the superior Jews. Oh, but don’t get cocky—and don’t relax. Paul doesn’t want you to feel comfortable here in God’s tree. He wants you to remember that you don’t really belong here, and he wants you to live in constant fear of Yahweh suddenly tearing you out again. After all, if Yahweh tore off those far better Jewish branches, He’ll be all the swifter to rip off trash like you.
Notice how Yahweh is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in His kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off. And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for Yahweh has the power to graft them back into the tree. You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So if Yahweh was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into His cultivated tree, He will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong. (Rom. 11:22-24)
Here’s more of Paul grinding your Gentile face into the dirt. He once again reminds you that you aren’t made of the good stuff. You’re inferior by nature—you’re a branch cut from that wild freak tree. Yahweh violated the laws of nature grafting a yuck like you into His nice tree, and don’t think it wasn’t a strain, because you don’t really belong there. But grafting an ethnic Jew back in—oh yes, Yahweh “will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong.”
Gentiles, you need to understand that this is not God talking. This is a very deluded, hateful, spiritual rebel talking. If any part of you doubts this, then you need to do some serious praying. Ask Yahweh Himself to help you get a correct understanding of just how much He loves you, because He does love you. He loves you, and He does not in any way view you to be of inferior stuff. He didn’t find it a strain to save you. He doesn’t hesitate to embrace you. The apostle Paul is spewing lies all through this chapter and clearly demonstrating that he didn’t have the first clue about who Yahweh really is. A comprehensive look at all of Paul’s writings clearly reveals that the man was never saved, was never a true believer, and is most likely in Hell today (see Debunking the Conversion of Paul). This is why it is critical that you be talking to your Creators directly in life. Never just believe what any human tells you, because humans get it wrong so much of the time.
ALL OF ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED (BUT ONLY IN THE DELUDED MIND OF PAUL)
I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved. (Rom. 11:25-26)
No, this is an absolute lie which reflects Paul’s absolute refusal to align with God’s truth. God has always taught that prolonged spiritual rebellion on earth will result in spiritual damnation in eternity. In the Old Testament we find records of thousands of ethnic Jews being eternally damned by Yahweh. Nothing about being a Jew guarantees someone salvation. But remember: Paul is desperate to see his ethnic people saved. He’s so tormented by the idea of Jews in Hell, that he has simply decided he can change God’s rules for Him. Humans do this all the time: when we don’t want to believe something, we say it can’t be true. Then we act like our declaration somehow alters the way the universe works. Relativism says, “Reality is whatever I define it to be.” Atheism says, “There is no God because I don’t want there to be.” It’s all such idiocy, but this is how we humans are, and Paul is flaunting his foolishness here in Romans 11 as he declares that all Israel will be saved. This is utterly absurd. It’s like the man has never even read the Old Testament.
As the Scriptures say: “Then a Savior will come from Jerusalem, and He will turn Israel away from ungodliness.” [Isa. 59:20-21]
“And this is My Covenant with them, that I will take away their sins.” [no reference] (Rom. 11:26-27)
No, Paul is misquoting here. What Isaiah 59:20-21 actually says is this:
“Then a Savior will come to Jerusalem and to the people of Jacob who have turned from sin.”
A Savior coming to those who have already repented and are sincerely seeking God is an entirely different deal than a Savior coming and forcing everyone to obey God. Paul lies, lies, lies, and none of your church teachers are showing you this. That is not right.
The second quote Paul uses isn’t even found in Scriptures. The closest scholars can find is Isaiah 27:9, but notice how Yahweh is clear that the forgiveness of sins will come after the people sincerely repent and turn away from their idol worship:
But Israel’s sins will be forgiven only when the stones of pagan altars are ground up like chalk, and no more incense altars or symbols of the goddess Asherah are left. (Isa. 27:9)
Paul desperately wants Yahweh to promise to give ethnic Jews a free pass to Heaven just because they’re Jews. Yet Yahweh never says this. Instead, He says over and over again that rebellious Jews will be eternally damned if they don’t repent. Ethnicity doesn’t buy anyone an extra measure of grace.
Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. (Rom. 11:28)
Hogwash. You Gentiles aren’t benefited by the Jews. You don’t owe the Jews bumpkus. God loves you as you are. The Jews have nothing to do with your relationship with Him. Ah, but skip ahead to Romans 15, and you’ll find Paul using this rot about Gentiles owing the Jews a spiritual debt to squeeze money out of the Gentiles. You see, Jewish believers back in Jerusalem have fallen on hard times and they could really use some help. Well, fine, we Christians should be glad to share with each other as God prompts us. But is God ever going to say to you, “Hey, Gentile loser–fork over the cash. My better kids are in trouble and if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t even be bothering with trash like you”? NO, HE WILL NOT. But watch the manipulative language Paul uses here:
The believers in Macedonia and Southern Greece were happy to give their money to help the poor among Yahweh’s people at Jerusalem. They were happy to do this, and really they owe it to them. These who are not Jews have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, so they should use their material possessions to help the Jews. (Rom. 15:26-27)
Isn’t that shady? And if you think Christian leaders today are above this kind of rot, you’d better think again. Nothing cracks open those wallets faster than someone making you think your security with God is at stake. Bring on those false prophets who report having visions of Christians burning in Hell for failing to tithe (see All About Tithing). You need to ask God before you just believe what some human says. And don’t just be handing your money over to whoever has their hand out (see Giving to the Poor: Cautions for Christians). God gave you everything you have–wait for Him to tell you when to share. And when God wants you to share, He just tells you to share, He doesn’t start threatening you with Hell or reminding you that you’re one of His lesser kids. The games Paul plays here in Romans are utterly wicked.
Yet the Jews are still the people God loves because He chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Rom. 11:28)
Here’s more rot. Yahweh doesn’t love people because of who their friends or ancestors were. Yahweh doesn’t love ethnic Jews because they came from Isaac, Jacob, and Abraham. Yahweh loves every soul as His own creation. Ethnicity and ancestry have nothing to do with it.
For Yahweh’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn. (Rom. 11:29)
Paul is such a liar. Yahweh can change His mind whenever He darn well wants to. And once again, the Old Testament gives us clear examples of Yahweh revoking both callings and gifts. He called King Saul to be the king of Israel, then later rejected him. He called Aaron’s son’s Nadab and Abihu to be priests, then when they disrespected Him, He fried them to death. He gave Jeroboam the surprising gift of a kingdom and set him up as king over northern Israel, only to then reject him and kill off his entire family line. Reject Yahweh, and He will reject you: this is a theme we find throughout the Old Testament. But sincerely seek Him, and He will eagerly embrace you. It has everything to do with soul attitude, and nothing to do with ethnicity or with Yahweh being some limited Being. Instead, He says right in Scriptures that He’ll change His plans whenever He wants to.
“If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom, but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey Me, I will not bless it as I said I would.” (Jer. 18:7-10)
But of course Paul isn’t going to quote a passage like this, because the man is so full of deception.
Once, you Gentiles were rebels against Yahweh, but when the people of Israel rebelled against Him, Yahweh was merciful to you instead. (Rom. 11:30)
Paul talks as if salvation is a sporting event being held in a stadium with a limited number of seats available. As long as the stadium was filled with Jews, Yahweh ignored the Gentiles. It was only when some Jews abandoned their seats that Yahweh then invited Gentiles to come and experience salvation. Well, no, we find plenty of examples of Yahweh saving Gentiles in the Old Testament long before any Jew rejected Christ. Yahweh has always made salvation available to every soul.
Now the Jews are the rebels, and Yahweh’s mercy has come to you so that they, too, will share in Yahweh’s mercy. (Rom. 11:31)
No. Yahweh’s mercy has always been available to the Gentiles. Gentiles have never had to wait on Jews for anything. Here is a critical point for you to grasp: God does not give other humans the power to control your soul choices. No human can block you from coming to God, and no human can make God change His view of you. God is your God, He’s not just the God of the Jews. He called you to come to Him because He wants a relationship with you, not because He’s just using you to get more Jews.
For Yahweh has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so He could have mercy on everyone. (Rom. 11:32)
Actually, no. Yahweh says He put us here to give us the chance to make an informed decision about how we are going to respond to Him. We’re not doomed to fail, and we’re not all guaranteed endless mercy.
Oh, how great are Yahweh’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! (Rom. 11:33)
No, it’s really not “impossible” for us to understand why God does what He does. We certainly can’t fully comprehend Him, but we can get a lot farther than we think—especially when we stop listening to Paul.
“For who can know Yahweh’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give Him advice?” [Isa. 40:13] “And who has given Him so much that He needs to pay it back?” [Job 41:11] For everything comes from Yahweh and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen. (Rom. 11:34-36)
When you just read those last lines, Paul sounds pretty reverent, doesn’t he? And yet his praise of Yahweh rings utterly false after he just spent the whole chapter grossly misrepresenting who Yahweh is. Yahweh is not at all the coldhearted Gentile hater that Paul makes Him out to be in this chapter. Yahweh is not standing over you with an axe just waiting to chop you back off of His tree for being unworthy scum. Yahweh is a kind, compassionate, and gracious God. He loves all of His humans from the moment He creates them, and it takes a whole lot of willful defiance on our part to get that love to stop. Certainly if we push Yahweh too long and hard, He will indeed cut us off—but not for being of the wrong ethnicity. Your ethnicity is simply not a factor in your relationship with God. He wants you to succeed with Him, and He will delight in helping you do so if you sincerely submit to the Authority of your three glorious Makers. So if you’re feeling one down for not being Jewish, it’s time to realize that the Jews have never had any spiritual advantage over you. God loves all ethnicities and Paul is a spiritual idiot: remember those two principles and you’ll stop being so easily dragged down by much of the garbage we find in those pesky New Testament epistles.
Romans 5: Paul Leads Us Astray on Sin & the Character of Yahweh
Romans 13: How should Christians respond to governing authorities?
Applying 1 Corinthians 9: Roasting Paul
God & Ethnicity: Understanding Cultural Bans in the Bible