Amplified: It is as Isaiah predicted, If the Lord of hosts had not left us a seed [from which to propagate descendants], we [Israel] would have fared like Sodom and have been made like Gomorrah. [Isa. 1:9.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: And even as Isaiah foretold: “Unless the Lord of Hosts had left us some descendants, we would have become as Sodom, and we would have been like Gomorrah.” (Westminster Press)
ESV: And as Isaiah predicted, "If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah." (ESV)
ICB: It is as Isaiah said: "The Lord of heaven's armies allowed a few of our descendants to live. Otherwise we would have been completely destroyed like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah." Isaiah 1:9
NIV: It is just as Isaiah said previously: "Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah." (NIV - IBS)
NKJV: And as Isaiah said before: "Unless the LORD of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah."
NLT: And Isaiah said in another place, "If the Lord Almighty had not spared a few of us, we would have been wiped out as completely as Sodom and Gomorrah." (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: And previously, Isaiah said: 'Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom and we would have been made like Gomorrah'. At present the gentiles have gone further than the Jews (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: And even as Isaiah said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us offspring, we would in that case have become even as Sodom and been made like Gomorrah. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and according as Isaiah saith before, 'Except the Lord of Sabaoth did leave to us a seed, as Sodom we had become, and as Gomorrah we had been made like.'
Septuagint (Lxx) of Isa1:9: kai ei me kurios sabaoth egkatelipen (3SAAI) hemin sperma os Sodoma an egenethemen (1PAPI) kai os Gomorrha an homoiothemen (1PAPI)
|Romans — 3:21-5:21||Romans — 6:1-8:39||Romans — 9:1-11:36||Romans — 12:1-16:27|
|Romans 9||Romans 10||Romans 11|
Israel's Election by God
Israel's Rejection of God
|God's Ways Higher
God Not Rejecting Israel
Are you confused about God's plan for Israel? Then I highly recommend Tony Garland's 12 Hour Course on Romans 9-11 in which he addresses in depth the question of What Will Happen to Israel? (click) or see the individual lectures below)
Note that when you click the preceding links, each link will in turn give you several choices including an Mp3 message and brief transcript notes. The Mp3's are long (avg 70+ min) but are in depth and thoroughly Scriptural with many quotations from the Old Testament, which is often much less well understood than the NT by many in the church today. Tony Garland takes a literal approach to Scripture, and his love for the Jews and passion to see them saved comes through very clearly in these 12 hours of teaching! Take your home Bible Study group through this series if you dare! Take notes on the tapes as the transcripts are a very abbreviated version of the audio messages. This course is highly recommended for all who love Israel! I think you will agree that Tony Garland, despite coming to faith after age 30 as an engineer, clearly has been given a special anointing by God to proclaim the truth concerning Israel and God's glorious future plan for the Jews. Garland has also produced more than 20 hours of superb audio teaching in his verse by verse commentary on the Revelation (in depth transcripts also available) which will unravel (in a way you did not think was possible considering the plethora of divergent interpretations) God's final message of the triumph and return of the our Lord Jesus Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords! Maranatha!
AND JUST AS ISAIAH FORETOLD EXCEPT THE LORD OF SABAOTH (1Sa1:3) HAD LEFT TO US A POSTERITY: kai kathos proeireken (3SRAI) Esaias ei me kurios sabaoth egkatelipen (3SAAI) hemin sperma: (Isaiah 1:9; 6:13; Lam 3:22) (Jas 5:4)
See related topics:
Unless the LORD of hosts had left us a few survivors (This truth should break all human pride, for even the survivors deserved death, even eternal death, but were graciously [not merited] given life, even eternal life!), we would be like Sodom, we would be like Gomorrah (How? Pictures the Jews as utterly obliterated as a people group!). (Isa 1:9-note)
Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, And it will again be subject to burning, Like a terebinth or an oak Whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy (set apart by God and for God) seed is its stump (Stump is connected to the underlying root and the implication is that there is life that will come forth in this "stump" which represents the remnant of believing Jews, including a remnant from the tribe of Judah and the lineage of Jesse and David, from which the Messiah would come into the world as a Man Who was still fully God). (Isa 6:13-note)
Foretold (4280) (proereo from pró = before + eréo = to say, declare) means literally to say before and so to foretell or to speak of in advance. The perfect tense speaks of the permanence of God's prophetic word, none of which have ever failed or will ever fail. You can't say that about anyone else's word! (See Josh 23:14, 15) Isaiah spoke it at a point of time in the past and the words are still true and efficacious or "energetic". Joshua spoke of promises such as that in Isaiah when he said to Israel that…
Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass. (Josh 21:45)
Had left (1459)(egkataleipo from en = in + kataleipo = forsake, desert) means literally to leave down in. It conveys the sense of deserting someone in a set of circumstances that are against him. Here in Ro 9:29 the verb means to cause to remain or to exist after a point in time.
Posterity (4690) (sperma from speíro = to sow) refers to seed sown as containing the germ of new fruit and here clearly represents the offspring of Abraham and the context would appear to include both believing and non-believing Jews.
Sperma - 43x in 40v - Mt 13:24, 27, 32, 37 38; 22:24f; Mk 4:31; 12:19, 20, 21; Lk 1:55; 20:28; Jn 7:42; 8:33, 37; Acts 3:25; 7:5f; 13:23; Ro 1:3; 4:13, 16, 18; 9:7f, 29; 11:1; 1Co 15:38; 2Co 11:22; Gal 3:16, 19, 29; 2Ti 2:8; Heb 2:16; 11:11, 18; 1Jn 3:9; Rev 12:17. NAS - children(7), conceive*(1), descendant(4), descendants(16), posterity(1), seed(10), seeds(4).
If God had judged Israel the way their sins warranted their would have been no seed left. They would have been destroyed. In fact they should have been for in some ways Israel's sins against God were even greater than those of Sodom and Gomorrah (cp Mt 10:15, 11:20, 21, 22, 23, 24) because Israel's sins were against of a flood of light and evidence regarding the holiness of God and His desire to have a holy people (Lev 11:43, 44, 45). Now Paul will turn from God's sovereignty to man's responsibility. So in (Ro 9:6-29) Paul deals primarily with the sovereignty of God in salvation. In (Ro 9:30-10:21) he deals with man's responsibility in salvation and the two cannot be harmonized (at least in the sense that human "logic" can never explain how they interact). God's sovereignty and man's responsibility are two truths that are like parallel lines that will never intersect. If you try to harmonize them you will distort one truth at the expense of the other.
Matthew Henry notes that…
"The rejecting of the Jews, and the taking in the Gentiles, were foretold in the OT (Ro 9:26, Hosea 1:6). It tends very much to the clearing of a truth, to observe how the Scripture is fulfilled in it. It is a wonder of Divine power and mercy that there are any saved: for even those left to be a seed, if God had dealt with them according to their sins, had perished with the rest. This great truth this Scripture teaches us. Even among the vast number of professing Christians it is to be feared that only a remnant will be saved." (Heb 4:1, 2-note)
WE WOULD HAVE BECOME AS SODOM AND WOULD HAVE RESEMBLED GOMORRAH: os Sodoma an egenethemen (1PAPI) kai os Gomorrha an homoiothemen (1PAPI):
Become (1096) (ginomai) means to cause to be ("gen"-erate), to become, to come into existence, to be formed. Paul is being hypothetical, but this could just as well have been reality were it not for the longsuffering and lovingkindness of God to give Israel what they did not deserve (a posterity).
Homoioo - 15x in 15v - Mt 6:8; 7:24, 26; 11:16; 13:24; 18:23; 22:2; 25:1; Mk 4:30; Lk 7:31; 13:18, 20; Acts 14:11; Ro 9:29; Heb 2:17. NAS - become like(1), comparable(1), compare(4), compared(4), like(2), made like(1), picture(1), resembled(1).
Paul's point uses the historical analogy of the complete and utter annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah is that there would have been not one believer in Israel had not God Himself intervened.
At the Exodus, God rejected the Gentiles and chose the Jews, so that, through the Jews, He might save the Gentiles. The nation of Israel rejected His will, but this did not defeat His purposes. A remnant of Jews does believe and God’s Word has been fulfilled. Paul had defended the character of God by showing His faithfulness, His righteousness, and His justice. Israel’s rejection had not canceled God’s election; it had only proved that He was true to His character and His purposes.
Amplified: What shall we say then? That Gentiles who did not follow after righteousness [who did not seek salvation by right relationship to God] have attained it by faith [a righteousness imputed by God, based on and produced by faith], (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: What shall we then say? The Gentiles who were not looking for a right relationship with God received such a relationship, but it was a relationship which was the result of faith,
ESV: What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; (ESV)
ICB: So what does all this mean? It means this: the non-Jews were not trying to make themselves right with God. But they were made right with God because of their faith. (ICB: Nelson)
NIV: What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; (NIV - IBS)
NKJV: What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;
NLT: Well then, what shall we say about these things? Just this: The Gentiles have been made right with God by faith, even though they were not seeking him. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Now, how far have we got? That the Gentiles who never had the Law's standard of righteousness to guide them, have attained righteousness, righteousness-by-faith. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: What then shall we say? That Gentiles, the ones who do not earnestly endeavor to acquire righteousness, appropriated righteousness, in fact, a righteousness which is out of a source of faith. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: What, then, shall we say? that nations who are not pursuing righteousness did attain to righteousness, and righteousness that is of faith,
|WHAT SHALL WE SAY THEN: Ti oun eroumen (1PFAI): (Ro 9:14; 3:5)
At this point Paul makes a shift in emphasis from God's sovereignty to man's responsibility.
Once again Paul asked his familiar rhetorical question (What shall we say then?) preparatory to his summation of this situation. Having accounted for Jewish unbelief in terms of divine sovereignty, Paul now diagnoses it as due to a fatal prior commitment to a false way of righteousness. Divine sovereignty and the guilt of human willfulness (man's responsibility) are for Paul two aspects of reality. The conclusion is that Gentiles, who characteristically did not pursue righteousness but rather wickedness, and who certainly didn’t pursue a righteousness of their own making, have found righteousness through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Not all Gentiles, of course, but only those who believed in Christ were justified.
William Newell (Romans 9) summarizes God's sovereignty in election:
1. Man was lost-he could not save himself.
2. He was guilty-none could pardon him but the God he had sinned against.
3 He was by nature "a child of wrath" not deserving good; nor being able to change his nature. He was allied with God's Enemy; and had a mind at enmity against God: a mind not subject, nor able to be subject to God's law or will.
5. He knew he was doing things "worthy of death"; but not only persisted in them, but was in league-approval with those of like practice; he was "of the world, " not of God.
6. Therefore, if any move be made toward man's salvation, it must come from God, not man.
7. God, being God, knew beforehand that the attitude of every man by nature toward his overtures would be to oppose them.
8. Since any real response to these overtures, therefore, must come from God's grace, He must elect to overcome effectually man's resistance, either: (a) In no case, (b) Or, in every case, (c) Or, in certain cases.
9. To hold God unable to overcome man's resistance in any case is to limit His power.
10. But to hold that God is unwilling to have certain saved is to deny His repeated word-
"Who would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth";
"As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live."
11. Therefore, it would seem that only in those cases in which it would no longer be consistent with God's glory-that is, consistent with His holiness and righteousness, and His just government of His creatures, would God withhold, or refuse longer to employ. His gracious operations in behalf of any creature.
12. But, when we consider Election, we must remove our thoughts wholly from this world, the first Adam, the sin of man, and his "attitude" toward God. The purpose of God according to Election is "not of works, but of Him that calleth." It is outside human history altogether. (Ref)
IT IS OF
THAT GENTILES WHO DID NOT PURSUE RIGHTEOUSNESS ATTAINED RIGHTEOUSNESS: hoti ethne ta me diokonta (PAPNPN) dikaiosunen katelaben (3SAAI) dikaiosunen: (Ro 1:18-32; 4:11; 10:20; Isaiah 65:1,2; 1Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 2:12; 4:17, 18, 19; 1Peter 4:3) (Ro 9:31; Proverbs 15:9; 21:21; Isaiah 51:1; 1Timothy 6:11)
Paul pictures a pursuit for righteousness, as if one were in a foot race. The Gentiles were not running toward God but from God!
Gentiles (1484) (ethnos) refers to non-Jews or the heathen or as often referred to in the OT, "the nations", terms synonymous with the Gentiles. All of mankind can be divided into Jew and Gentile and thus Gentile is a synonym for anyone who is non-Jew or who is not a member of the "chosen people". The Hebrew word corresponding to Gentile is goyim. From Genesis 12 onward the majority of the Scripture deals with Israel and the Jews, with the Gentiles mentioned primarily as they interface with the Jews. The NT does have more mention of the Gentiles after the formation of the Church, but the last book, the book of Revelation is predominantly Jewish with over 200 OT quotes or allusions to OT passages.
Did not pursue righteousness - In fact to the contrary the idol worshipping Gentiles actively sought to "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Ro 1:18-note)
Pursue (1377) (dioko [word study] from dío = pursue, prosecute, persecute) means to follow or press hard after, literally to pursue as one does a fleeing enemy. It means to chase, harass, vex and pressure and was used for chasing down criminals. Dioko speaks of an intensity of effort leading to a pursue with earnestness and diligence in order to obtain. To go after with the desire of obtaining. It gives us the picture of going on the track of something like the hounds on the hunt and pursuing after the fox and implying a continuing effort to overtake, reach, or attain the goal.
Dioko is in the present tense which indicates pursuit of God's righteousness was continually not on the spiritual agenda of the Gentiles. Sure, they pursued a form of "righteousness" (at least some of them did), but it was a human version of righteousness which is nothing but "wrongness" in the eyes of our holy God Who demands (and makes available in Christ - 1Co 1:30, 2Co 5:21-note Ro 10:3, 4-note, Php 3:9-note) perfect, unblemished, flawless righteousness. Jesus made it very clear that the Pharisees who labored legalistically (even hypocritically tithing the smallest of seeds Mt 23:23) in their attempts to meet God's standard, still fell short of perfection, which makes Jesus' declaration in Mt 5:20-note all that much more of a challenge to anyone who would seek to be in right standing before God.
Vincent says that dioko is
Dioko means to run swiftly after righteousness, even as one hunts for prey. Figuratively dioko pictures one earnestly seeking righteousness. The Gentiles did not run after nor seek righteousness as did the Jews, albeit in vain.
Paul is going to show that the Jews missed righteousness because they sought it by works rather than by faith. The Jews missed righteousness because they did not see the end of the law which results in righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ the Righteous One (Isa 53:11 Acts 3:14, Acts 7:52, Acts 22:14, cp Jer 23:6, 33:16). On the other hand, the Gentiles were not even pursuing righteousness.
Paul concludes the lesson on God’s divine choice (God's Sovereignty in Election) by reminding his readers that although God chooses some to receive His mercy, those who receive His judgment do so not because of something God has done to them, but because of their own unwillingness to believe the gospel or as he states in his letter to the Thessalonians…
Sinners are condemned for their personal sins, the supreme sin being the willful rejection of God and His Son Christ Jesus.
Righteousness (1343)(dikaiosune from dikaios [word study] = being proper or right in the sense of being fully justified being or in accordance with what God requires) is the quality of being upright. In its simplest sense dikaiosune conveys the idea of conformity to a standard or norm and in Biblical terms the "standard" is God and His perfect, holy character. In this sense righteousness is the opposite of hamartia (sin), which is defined as missing of the mark set by God.
Attain (2638)(katalambano [word study] from katá = adds intensity to the meaning of the next verb + lambano = take) means to take eagerly, grasp with force, lay hold of, sometimes to seize even with hostile intent (this literal meaning vividly depicted by the demon who seizes the son and dashed him to the ground in Mark 9:18). Katalambano was used in the sense of laying hold of so as to gain control of. In a secular Greek use we read "they were pursued and overtaken."
Righteousness (1343) (dikaiosune [word study] from dikaios [word study] = being proper or right in the sense of being fully justified being or in accordance with what God requires) is the quality of being upright. In its simplest sense dikaiosune conveys the idea of conformity to a standard or norm. In this sense righteousness is the opposite of hamartia (sin), which is defined as missing of the mark set by God. In this sense righteousness is the opposite of hamartia (sin), which is defined as missing of the mark set by God.
Dikaiosune is rightness of character before God and rightness of actions before men. Righteousness of God could be succinctly stated as all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides through faith in Christ (Click here to read Pastor Ray Pritchard's interesting analysis of righteousness in the Gospel of Matthew).
In short, the Gentiles did not pursue right standing with God and yet they attained it. Why? Because they believed, while the Jew (Ro 9:31) "worked" futilely in an attempt to attain it.
EVEN THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS BY FAITH: dikaiosunen de ten ek pisteos: (Ro 1:17; 3:22; 4:9,11,13,22; 5:1; 10:10; Galatians 3:8; 5:5; Philippians 3:9; Hebrews 11:7)
Righteousness which is by faith (see Ro 1:16-17) - Imputed righteousness. Righteousness reckoned from the Savior's account to the sinner's account, fully meeting God's demands (Ge 15:6). This phrase is tantamount to justification by faith in Christ. Justification is the divine declaration of positional righteousness (the position of course being that the the believing sinner is now seen by the Father as immutably and forever "in Christ", the phrase of salvation which is often referred to by theologians as past tense salvation. Past tense salvation is a one time historical event (i.e., an event that has happened at a point in time in the past = the moment we truly believed in Christ). See related topic - Three Tenses of Salvation
Repeatedly Paul emphasizes the role of faith in one's reception of divine righteousness…
Even the beloved Jewish ritual of circumcision was only a sign and seal but never the effective agent producing divine righteousness. Paul explained that Abraham…
By faith - The preposition ek is rendered literally out of or from faith. As has been alluded to earlier, this is the only righteousness that is acceptable to God. Paul is not saying that Gentiles are saved on a different basis than Jews, but that the human requirement for salvation is faith.
Faith has always been the key to obtaining God's righteousness in both the Old and the New Testaments. And thus we read that…
In his letter to the Philippians after counting his human righteousness as dung (Php 3:8 "rubbish" = skubalon = that which was thrown to the dogs) affirms his desire that he…
Faith (4102) (pistis) represents a persuasion which is not based solely on a mental assent but upon a firm conviction of the veracity of a set of facts (truth), a surrender to that truth and a conduct emanating from that surrender. In sum, faith shows itself genuine by a changed life. Faith, like grace, is not static. Faith is a convicted heart reaching out to receive God’s free and unmerited gift of salvation.
William Barclay (see critique) wrote that "Faith begins with receptivity. It begins when a man is at least willing to listen to the message of the truth. It goes on to mental assent. A man first hears and then agrees that this is true. But mental assent need not issue in action. Many a man knows very well that something is true, but does not change his actions to meet that knowledge. The final stage is when this mental assent becomes total surrender. In full-fledged faith, a man hears the Christian message, agrees that it is true, and then casts himself upon it in a life of total yieldedness. (Romans 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)
Amplified:Whereas Israel, though ever in pursuit of a law [for the securing] of righteousness (right standing with God), actually did not succeed in fulfilling the Law. [Isa. 51:1.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: while Israel which was looking for a law which would produce a right relationship with God never succeeded in finding such a law. (Westminster Press)
ESV: but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. (ESV)
ICB: And the people of Israel tried to follow a law to make themselves right with God. But they did not succeed, (ICB: Nelson)
NIV: but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. (NIV - IBS)
NKJV: but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.
NLT: But the Jews, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: but Israel, following the Law of righteousness, failed to reach the goal of righteousness. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: But Israel, earnestly endeavoring to acquire a law of righteousness, did not measure up to the law. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, at a law of righteousness did not arrive;
|BUT ISRAEL PURSUING A LAW OF RIGHTEOUSNESS: Israel de diokon (PAPMSN) nomon dikaiosunes eis nomon: (Ro 9:30, 31, 32; 10:2, 3, 4)
But - (term of contrast) A change of direction. In contrast to the Gentiles who did not eagerly seek after righteousness, the Jews actively ran after a manmade variety of righteousness.
Pursuing a law - Paul continues the figure of a race (pursuit) after righteousness, emphasizing the vain, futile, even frustrating human attempts of the Jews to lay hold of righteousness which would make them acceptable to God.
Harrison rightly says that…
Paul understood this pursuit of righteousness by doing "good" works because as an unconverted Jew…
After his conversion Paul ask the legalistic prone Galatian believers this rhetorical question…
Israel like Paul in his unconverted state was pursuing righteousness by works not by faith.
DID NOT ARRIVE AT THAT LAW: ouk ephthasen (3SAAI: pthano):
Not (ou) signifies absolute negation. In other words there were no exceptions. The most righteous Jew to ever live did not reach the perfect standard set by the law.
William Barclay paraphrases it as…
The picture Paul paints is of a foot race and his contrast is sharp, presenting Gentiles who are unconcerned about acquiring righteousness as actually arriving at the prize, even though not competing in the race with the Jews. The prize of course is justification by faith.
This is a sad picture of the nation of Israel struggling intensely to perfect their religious life and coming up empty-handed.
Hodge puts the matter well: "The Gentiles, sunk in carelessness and sin, have attained the favor of God, while the Jews, to whom religion was a business, have utterly failed (Romans 9 - Hodge's Commentary on Romans)
The Jews choose in their pride and self deception choose to identify their own works with the perfect standard the law requires and God demands. Their whole effort was not grounded in faith but in works designed to gain acceptance (Ro 9:32).
Amplified: For what reason? Because [they pursued it] not through faith, relying [instead] on the merit of their works [they did not depend on faith but on what they could do]. They have stumbled over the Stumbling Stone. [Isa. 8:14; 28:16.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: Why? Because they tried to get into a right relationship with God, not by trusting God, but by depending on their own human achievements. They stumbled over the stone which makes men stumble, (Westminster Press)
ESV: Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, (ESV)
ICB: because they tried to make themselves right by the things they did. They did not trust in God to make them right. They fell over the stone that causes people to fall. (GWT)
NIV: Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." (NIV - IBS)
NKJV: Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.
NLT: Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law and being good instead of by depending on faith. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: And why? Because their minds were fixed on what they achieved instead of on what they believed. They tripped over that very stone the scripture mentions: (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Because of what? Because, not out of a source of faith but even as out of a source of works they sought to acquire it. They stumbled up against the stone which is a stumbling stone (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: wherefore? because -- not by faith, but as by works of law; for they did stumble at the stone of stumbling,
|WHY? BECAUSE THEY DID NOT PURSUE IT BY FAITH BUT AS THOUGH IT WERE BY WORKS: dia ti hoti ouk ek pisteos all os ex ergon: (Ro 4:16; 10:3; Matthew 19:16, 17, 18, 19, 20; John 6:27, 28, 29; Acts 16:30, 31, 32 33, 34; 1John 5:9, 10, 11, 12)
Why? - Why did they not arrive at God's standard?
Because - Righteousness has always been by grace through faith and not the result of works so that no man might boast. Israel failed to follow the prototype, Abraham, who presented the pattern by which one attains God's righteousness "(Abraham) believed in the LORD and He reckoned it to him as righteousness." (Genesis 15:6)
THEY STUMBLED OVER THE STUMBLING STONE: prosekopsan (3PAAI) to litho tou proskommatos: (Ro 11:11; Matthew 13:57; Luke 2:34; 7:23; 1Corinthians 1:23)
What was the result of pursuing righteousness by works rather than by simple, child-like faith? They stumbled!
Proskopto in its literal use pictures a traveler who bumps against an obstacle and is caused to stumble. Most of the NT passages use proskopto in a figurative sense, so that here in Romans Paul pictures Israel stumbling spiritually.
Proskopto is used 8 times and is translated (NAS) as beat upon, 1; dash, 2; stumble, 3; stumble at, 2; NAS (8) - slammed against, 1; strike, 2; stumble, 2; stumbled over, 1; stumbles, 2;
Proskopto - 9x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) - Ps. 91:12; Pr. 3:6, 23; 4:19; Isa. 3:5; Jer. 13:16; Da 11:14, 19, 33.
NIDNTT adds that…
TDNT has the following summary of prokopto…
Stone (3037) (lithos) was used in classic Greek to describe stones of every sort (even including fine, precious stones). The OT equivalent word is 'Eben which was part of the familiar Hebrew word "Ebenezer" which means "Stone of Help." (See also Jehovah Ezer: The LORD our Helper) How sad that the Jews had so many pictures and shadows of Messiah and yet for the most part refused to believe in Him (this is true of both Old and New Testament Jews).
Seven centuries earlier, the prophet Isaiah had predicted the stumbling that Paul is describing in Romans 9:32…
Related Topic - See Passages that describe Messiah as a Stone or Rock
Absorbed in their own efforts, the Israelites did not (or refused to) recognize that Christ the Stone described even in their own OT prophecies was the sure foundation for eternal life, and as a result they fell headlong over Him. The point of all this argument is to reiterate that God's rejection of Israel was not an arbitrary decision on His part, but was based on Israel's rejection of God's only provision (faith in Christ) for securing righteousness.
Amplified: As it is written, Behold I am laying in Zion a Stone that will make men stumble, a Rock that will make them fall; but he who believes in Him [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] shall not be put to shame nor be disappointed in his expectations. [Isa 28:16.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: even as it stands written: “I have set in Zion a stone which makes men stumble, and a rock which makes them trip. And he who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Westminster Press)
ESV: as it is written, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame." (ESV)
ICB: As it is written in the Scripture: "I will put in Jerusalem a stone that causes people to stumble. It is a rock that makes them fall. Anyone who trusts in him will not be disappointed." Isaiah 8:14; 28:16 (ICB: Nelson)
NIV: As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." (NIV - IBS)
NKJV: As it is written: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."
NLT: God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, "I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that causes people to stumble, and a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed." (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: the scripture mentions: 'Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offence, and whoever believes on him will not be put to shame'. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: even as it stands written, Behold, I place in Sion a stone, a stumbling stone, and a rock of offense. And the one who places his faith upon Him will not be put to shame. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: according as it hath been written, 'Lo, I place in Sion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence; and every one who is believing thereon shall not be ashamed.'
JUST AS IT IS WRITTEN BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE : kathos gegraptai (3SRPI) idou tithemi (1SPAI) en Sion lithon proskommatos kai petran skandalou: (Matthew 21:42,44; 1Peter 2:7,8)
Just as it is written - This exact phrase occurs 13x - Matt 26:24; Mark 9:13; 14:21; Acts 15:15; Rom2:24; 8:36; 9:13, 33; 10:15; 11:8, 26; 1 Cor 1:31; 2:9
Written (1125) (grapho [word study]) from root graph- = primarily means to scratch on or engrave as on an ornament, reports, letters, etc; English = graph, graphic, etc) means to engrave or inscribe with a pen or stylus characters or letters on a surface which can be wood, wax, metal, leather, stone, parchment, dirt (John ), paper, etc. (Click to review all 191 uses of grapho in the NAS)
The Lord Jesus Christ, “the stumbling Stone” (1Pe 2:4, 5, 6-note, 1Pe 2:7, 8-note), did not conform to the Jews’ expectations (He did not defeat the Roman army and set up an earthly kingdom - that will be fulfilled in His Second Coming), so they rejected Him instead of responding to Him by faith. To show that God anticipated this, Paul quoted from where "it is written"
Paul combines two statements to indicate the contrasting reactions by men to the Stone that God placed in Zion. To some people Messiah would prove to be a stumbling Stone and Rock of offense (Isaiah 8:14). Others would believe on Him and find no reason for shame, offense, or disappointment (Isaiah 28:16).
Behold (2400) (idou) means "Look!" and in Hebrew style narrative was used to emphasize an idea or call attention to some thought. In this case Paul wants every reader to look to the "Stone" that has been laid in Zion. Behold is in the aorist imperative and the middle voice which is a command calling for immediate, effective personal involvement which even conveys a sense of urgency in looking at the "Rock". Why? Because to choose not look to at the Rock of salvation assures one's destiny and "the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" (2Th 1:9)
Stone (3037) (líthos) means a stone, literally or as in the current verse figuratively referring to the Messiah.
Stumbling (4348) (proskomma from prós = to, against + kopto = cut, strike) can describe literal or figurative stumbling. It is something a person trips over. Thus proskomma can be an obstacle in the way which if one strikes his foot against he stumbles or falls or figuratively it can describe that over which a soul stumbles i.e. by which is caused to sin or which causes an occasion of apostasy. It is also used figuratively, to describe a cause of falling or an occasion of sinning (Ro 14:13, 20; 1Cor. 8:9; Septuagint: Ex 23:33; 34:12).
Proskomma - 4x Translated: obstacle, 1; offense, 1; stumbling, 3; stumbling block, 1
Barclay writes that…
The TDNT summarizes the meanings of proskomma…
A Rock of offense - In this context the Rock metaphor clearly symbolizes Christ. This picture of Christ as a Stone or Rock is intimately woven by the Spirit throughout both the Old and New Testaments and makes for a fascinating and encouraging study
Suggestion: This study would make an edifying series in a Sunday School class and would be very enlightening to those who are not that familiar with the Old Testament. Remember to carefully observe the context to arrive at the most accurate interpretation, interrogating each each "base" verse with questions such as… When does this take place? Where does this take place? What are the circumstances surrounding the use of this metaphor? Who are the "cast of characters"? Who used the name Rock? What attributes do you discover about the Rock or Stone? How should we apply this truth to our life today -- not Can we? - it is God's Word of Truth and it is ALWAYS applicable to our life. The more relevant question is "Will we allow the Spirit to speak the Word of Truth to our innermost being and respond with unhesitating obedience"?)… here are the Scriptures…
Offense (4625) (skandalon from a root meaning jump up, snap shut) was originally the piece of wood that kept open a trap for animals. Outside the Bible it is not used metaphorically, though its derivative skandalethron (e.g. a trap set through questions) is so used. The English word scandal is derived from the noun via the Lat. scandalum.
Thus skandalon was literally, that movable part of a trap on which the bait was laid, and when touched caused the trap to close on its prey. Skandalon thus came to mean any entanglement of the foot. Figuratively, as used most often in Scripture, skandalon refers to any person or thing by which one is drawn into error or sin. (but see more detailed notes below)
Skandalon is used 15 times: KJV (15) - occasion of stumbling, 1; occasion to fall, 1; offence, 9; stumbling block, 3; thing that offends, 1; NAS (15) - cause for stumbling, 1; hindrances, 1; offense, 2; stumbling block, 7; stumbling blocks, 4
Skandalon - 11x in the Septuagint (LXX) - Lev 19:14; Josh 23:13 (translates Heb = moqesh = bait or lure placed in a hunter's trap); Jdg 2:3; 1Sa 18:21; 25:31; Ps 49:13; 50:20; 69:22; 106:36; 119:165; 140:5; 141:9; Hos 4:17
As noted above, in the NT skandalon is always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way. Sometimes the hindrance is in itself good, and those stumbled by it are the wicked. Paul clearly uses skandalon in the good sense here in Romans 9:33. He also records that rejection of the Messiah was especially true with respect to His Crosst…
Skandalon can describe that which causes someone to sin or that which produces certain behavior which can lead to ruin. Skandalon thus denotes an enticement to conduct which could ruin the person in question. For example, Balaam’s device was a trap for Israel, John recording Jesus' words…
Skandalon can refer to a hindrance which stresses that which cause harmful or annoying delay or interference with progress. For example, Paul writes…
William Barclay has a lengthy note on skandalon writing…
Regarding skandalon, Vine writes that it was
originally the name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached, hence, the trap or snare itself, as in [Romans 11:9-note], ‘stumbling block,’ quoted from [Ps 69:22 - see Spurgeon's note], and in [Revelation 2:14-note], for Balaam’s device which proved to be a trap for Israel rather than a stumbling block to them… In NT skandalon is always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others or causes them to fall by the way. Sometimes the hindrance is in itself good, and those stumbled by it are the wicked. Thus it is used (a) of Christ in [Romans 9:33-note] “(a rock) of offense” [cf 1Cor 1:23'; see 1 Peter 2:8-note] and of His cross [Gal 5:11] of the “table” provided by God for Israel [Romans 11:9-note] (b) of that which is evil, eg, [Mt 13:41] lit., “all stumblingblocks”; [Mt 18:7] “occasions of stumbling” and “occasion”; [see Romans 14:13-note] “an occasion of falling” of such use of Christian liberty that proves a hindrance to another; [see Romans 16:17-note] “occasions of stumbling,” of the teaching of things contrary to sound doctrine. (Vine, W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. 1996. Nelson)
Paul is saying in these verses that the Messiah is either a stumbling stone (to perdition) or a stepping stone (to salvation). That "stone" which caused Israel to stumble, the "rock" which offended their self-righteousness, was none other than their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Israel's rejection of their Messiah resulted in God setting Israel aside and turning to the Gentiles.
AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED (put to shame): kai o pisteuon (PAPMSN) ep auto ou kataiscunthesetai (3SFPI): (Ro 5:5; 10:11; Ps 25:2,3,20; Isa 45:17; 54:4; Joel 2:26,27; Php 1:20; 2Ti 1:12; 1Jn 2:28) (1Pe 2:6)
He who believes in Him - In Christ. The one who places his faith in Christ.
Believe (4100)(pisteuo from pistis; pistos; related studies the faith, the obedience of faith) means to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust. To accept as true, genuine, or real. To have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something or someone. To consider to be true. To accept the word or evidence of. Present tense signifies this is his "lifestyle" (not perfection, but direction).
(Not) Be disappointed (2617) (Kataischuno from kata = down but here intensifies meaning of verb aischuno = to shame) means primarily to put to shame, to humiliate, to disgrace (1Cor 11:4, 5) and (as used in the present verse) to disappoint or to frustrate one's hope (Ro 9:33-note, Ro 10:11-note, 1Pe 2:6-note).
To disappoint means to fail to meet the expectation or hope of, to hinder from the possession or enjoyment of that which was intended, to prevent the fulfilment of (a plan, intention, etc.
In the passive voice it can mean to blush with shame at one's predicament.
Aischuno and its compound forms kataischuno and epaischunomai are used in the Septuagint as translations of bos and its derivatives. In Greek culture, the focus was not on the objective consequences of actions but on the feeling of shame that might come with exposure of shameful deeds to others. The OT sense of the word is clearly seen in Ro 9:33 and Ro 10:11, each of which quotes from the OT and affirms that anyone "who trusts in him will never be put to shame." (Richards, L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
The NIDNTT writes that…
The root aisch- refers originally to that which is ugly and disgraceful. Aischuno (Homer onwards) thus meant originally to disfigure, make ugly. It is found in Greek literature almost exclusively in the mid. or pass. with the meaning to feel shame, be ashamed, or to be confounded, be disconcerted. Epaischunomai (Aesch. onwards) is a strengthened form of the mid., and kataischuno (Homer onwards) of the active and passive meanings of aischuno. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
TDNT on aischuno, kataischuno and epaischunomai [word study]…
This group was in common use and is thus often found in the Septuagint (LXX). The sense is “to shame,” “put to shame” (God mostly as subject), “be shamed or ashamed” (personally rather than publicly). The main point of aischune is not “feeling of shame” but “disgrace” i.e., the shame brought by divine judgment, though sometimes with a stress on “being ashamed.” (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)
Vine writes that kataischuno…
involves the falsification of ideas, the exposure of pretensions, and the nullification of hopes. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson or Logos)
Kataischuno - 13x in 12v - NAS = disappoint(1), disappointed(3), disgraces(2), humiliated(1), put to shame(3), shame(3).
Luke 13:17 As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him.
Comment: The critics of our Lord were thoroughly put to shame by His words.
Romans 5:5-note and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Comment: God's hope (absolute assurance of future good) will not bring disappointment because God loves us and enables us to withstand tribulations.
MacDonald: If we were to hope for something but then later find that we were never going to get it, our hope would be put to shame or disappointed. But the hope of our salvation will never be put to shame. We will never be disappointed or find that we have rested on a false confidence. How can we be so sure? Because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or Logos)
Romans 9:33-note just as it is written, "BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."
Romans 10:11-note For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."
Comment: MacDonald - "The thought of public confession of Christ might arouse fears of shame, but the opposite is true. Our confession of Him on earth leads to His confession of us in heaven. Ours is a hope that will never be disappointed." (Ibid)
1Corinthians 1:27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
1Corinthians 11:4 Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. 5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.
1Corinthians 11:22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.
Comment: The lack of control at the time of the Lord's Supper and the shameful treatment of poorer brethren is most inconsistent with the Christian faith.
2Corinthians 7:14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I was not put to shame; but as we spoke all things to you in truth, so also our boasting before Titus proved to be the truth.
2Corinthians 9:4 otherwise if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we-- not to speak of you-- will be put to shame by this confidence.
1Peter 2:6-note For this is contained in Scripture: "BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." (See similar uses of kataischuno in the Septuagint translation of some of the Psalms below)
1 Peter 3:16-note and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.
Comment: MacDonald "Even if a believer’s life is blameless, the enemies of the gospel will still find fault with him and bring false charges against him. But when the case comes to trial, and the charges are found to be empty, the accusers will be ashamed." (Ibid)
Kataischuno - 57x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) - Jdg 18:7; Ruth 2:15; 2 Sam 10:6; 16:21; 19:5; 2 Kgs 19:26; Ps 6:10; 14:6; 22:5; 25:2f, 20; 31:1, 17; 34:5; 35:4; 37:19; 40:14; 44:7, 9; 53:5; 70:2; 71:1; 74:21; 119:31, 116; 127:5; Pr 19:26; Isa 3:15; 28:16; 54:4; Jer 2:36; 6:15; 7:19; 9:19; 10:14; 15:9; 17:13, 18; 46:24; 48:13, 20; 49:23; 50:2, 38; 51:17; Ezek 24:12; Hos 2:5; 4:19; Joel 2:26f; Mic 3:7; 7:16; Zeph 3:11, 20; Zech 10:5; 13:4.
Given the fact that the Septuagint has many more uses of kataischuno, below are most (but not all) of these passages to help discern the meaning of this verb.
Isaiah 54:4 "Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
Jeremiah 2:36 "Why do you go around so much Changing your way? Also, you will be put to shame by Egypt As you were put to shame by Assyria.
Jeremiah 6:15 "Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down," says the LORD.
Jeremiah 7:19 "Do they spite Me?" declares the LORD. "Is it not themselves they spite, to their own shame?"
Jeremiah 9:19 "For a voice of wailing is heard from Zion, 'How are we ruined! We are put to great shame, For we have left the land, Because they have cast down our dwellings.'"
Jeremiah 10:14 Every man is stupid, devoid of knowledge; Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols; For his molten images are deceitful, And there is no breath in them.
Jeremiah 15:9 "She who bore seven sons pines away; Her breathing is labored. Her sun has set while it was yet day; She has been shamed and humiliated. So I will give over their survivors to the sword Before their enemies," declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:18 Let those who persecute me be put to shame, but as for me, let me not be put to shame; Let them be dismayed, but let me not be dismayed. Bring on them a day of disaster, And crush them with twofold destruction!
Jeremiah 46:24 "The daughter of Egypt has been put to shame, Given over to the power of the people of the north."
Jeremiah 48:13 "And Moab will be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel, their confidence.
Jeremiah 48:20 "Moab has been put to shame, for it has been shattered. Wail and cry out; Declare by the Arnon That Moab has been destroyed.
Jeremiah 49:23 Concerning Damascus. "Hamath and Arpad are put to shame, For they have heard bad news; They are disheartened. There is anxiety by the sea, It cannot be calmed.
Jeremiah 50:2 "Declare and proclaim among the nations. Proclaim it and lift up a standard. Do not conceal it but say, 'Babylon has been captured, Bel has been put to shame, Marduk has been shattered; Her images have been put to shame, her idols have been shattered.'
Jeremiah 51:17 All mankind is stupid, devoid of knowledge; Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, For his molten images are deceitful, And there is no breath in them.
Hosea 2:5 "For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, 'I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.' (NET Bible note = This statement alludes to the practice of sexual rites in the Canaanite fertility cult which attempted to secure agricultural fertility from the Canaanite gods)
Hosea 4:19 The wind wraps them in its wings, and they will be ashamed because of their sacrifices (Reflects Israel's apostate idolatrous Baal worship)
Joel 2:26 "You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; Then My people will never be put to shame. 27 "Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, And that I am the LORD your God, And there is no other; And My people will never be put to shame. (Promises to be fulfilled in the Millennium)
Micah 3:7 The seers will be ashamed and the diviners will be embarrassed. Indeed, they will all cover their mouths Because there is no answer from God.
Micah 7:16 Nations will see and be ashamed Of all their might. They will put their hand on their mouth, Their ears will be deaf. (NET Bible note: Apparently this means the opposing nations will be left dumbfounded by the LORD's power. Their inability to respond will make them appear to be deaf mutes.)
Zephaniah 3:11 "In that day you will feel no shame Because of all your deeds By which you have rebelled against Me; For then I will remove from your midst Your proud, exulting ones, And you will never again be haughty On My holy mountain.
Zechariah 10:5 "They will be as mighty men, Treading down the enemy in the mire of the streets in battle; And they will fight, for the LORD will be with them; And the riders on horses will be put to shame.
Zechariah 13:4 "Also it will come about in that day (Millennium) that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies, and they will not put on a hairy robe in order to deceive;
Spicq on the frequent (when compared to the NT) Septuagint uses of kataischuno…
Warren Wiersbe sums up Romans 9 writing that…