|Romans - Wayne Barber/Part 43|
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2007|
|Israel as a nation and a people have been blessed with many privileges from God. In this article Dr. Barber shows us what some of those privileges are—and why Israel still needs the same redeemer as the Gentiles.|
Israel, A Privileged People
The Apostle Paul, according to his natural birth, was a Jewish man. If you will look in Romans 9:1 you will see that: “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren.” Now the word “brethren” is explained in verse 3: “my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites.”
We have to know that Paul is Jewish by natural birth to understand what he is doing in chapters 9-11. He is very grieved for his kinsmen. Did you know that there are three groups of people on this earth? Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, when you come to know Christ you move into a different category altogether. So those are your three groups: the Jewish people, the Gentiles and the body of Christ, those who have put their faith into the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was a new man in Christ, but according to his first birth, his physical birth, he was a Jewish man, and he is very concerned about his kinsmen.
Now he has a dilemma, for you see, when the Apostle Paul was stopped on the Damascus Road, the veil was lifted off of his face and he realized that Jesus Christ was the Messiah he had believed in all along. He had been persecuting Christians. Jesus stopped him and said, “Paul, why art thou persecuting Me?” That was the conversion of Paul. Now he realizes that the people who are his kinsmen according to his fleshly birth have rejected Jesus as being their Messiah.
He began back in chapter 1 to set the stage for justification by faith alone in Christ alone. That is the only way a person can be saved. There is no other way. In 1:16 he says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.” He understands that God alone can save a man. It is never based on the merit of what a man can do. It is based on the grace and the power of God to save a man. In 1:19-32, the Gentiles are desperate for that salvation, which only comes by faith in Christ. But then in 2:1-3:8, he shows that the Jewish people, his very kinsmen, also are desperate for the same faith in the same Christ that we put our faith into. There is only one way of salvation.
In 3:9-20 he makes sure that we understand that there is only one way to salvation. It is through the Lord Jesus Christ by putting our faith into what He did for us and His shed blood upon [[the cross]]. Romans 3:23-24 says, “for all [both Gentiles and Jews alike] have sinned and fall short of the glory of [[God]], being justified as a gift by His grace [only by His grace], through the redemption which is in [[Christ]] [[Jesus]] [there is no other redemption]; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.”
Then in chapter 4 of Romans he tries to explain to them this is nothing new. If you will look back at Abraham, our forefather, Abraham the great patriarch had to be justified by his faith, and his faith had to be in the same Christ that we put our faith into. Salvation has always been centered around the Lord Jesus Christ. Then he mentions David and shows them that this has been the way it has been all the way through. There has never been another way. God says that the only way to salvation is when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The dilemma is clear as he enters into chapter 9 thinking about his kinsmen, realizing that somehow they are depending on an external relationship with God to do something eternal in their life. He realizes it won’t work that way. It is never based on the merit of what a man can do for God. It is always based on the fact of what God has done for man. He begins by showing them all the privileges that they have had.
The Apostle Paul, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit of God, begins to show them the integrity of what God had already done with Israel. He starts off in verse 4 by referring to Israelites. Now why did he use the term “Israelite”? The term “Hebrew” referred to their language when they were called the Hebrews. The term “Jew” referred to their nationality. But the term “Israelite” refers to their theocratic covenant, which goes back to Israel.
Do you understand where the Jewish people came from? They were God’s idea. They were not man’s thought. You see, God singled out a man by the name of Abram in Genesis 12. Then in chapter 15 He covenanted with him. We are going to see some of that. He passed that covenant to Isaac, his son, the son by faith that was by Abraham and Sarah in the later years of their life. Then he passed that covenant on to Jacob. Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Esau had absolutely no thinking towards God, no repentant heart, but Jacob did. However, Jacob was a deceiver and a conniver and God had to deal with him. Jacob got the birthright, not the way God had intended, but he got the birthright and God had to deal with Jacob’s heart. God dealt with him in such a severe way that He touched him and caused a limp for the rest of his life. But He changed his name from Jacob to Israel.
Israel had 12 sons and all those sons, of course, married and had families and that became the nation of Israel, the 12 tribes of Israel. They became the Israelites. So all the privileges they enjoyed goes back to a covenant given to Abraham, passed to Isaac and then later passed to Jacob who became Israel. In Genesis 32:28 it says, “And he said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” So these became God’s possession. These were people of high privilege among the nations in the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul wants to remind them of how special they have been. But he is using this as a piece in the puzzle to solve what he has been teaching in chapters 1 through 8.
How does God deal with Israel? Well, He deals with them the same way that He deals with us. There is only one way of salvation. As we study this I want to remind you that Israel messed up. Though they were a privileged people of God, they thought that privilege somehow was a result of a virtue that they had. Now this is the mistake a lot of people make. Because I am prosperous, because I am privileged, because of whatever, maybe it is because of something I have done. That is where they missed it. You see, it was never because of them that they were privileged. It was because of God that they were privileged. They missed the whole point of the privileges God had given to them.
Let’s begin and look at all the privileges that Paul mentions in verses 4 and 5 of chapter 9. First of all, Israel had the privilege to enjoy the preference of God. God preferred them among all the nations on this earth. Verse 4 says, “who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons.” That little term, “adoption as sons” means sonship, but differently than what we have already heard in chapter 8 of Romans. The sonship that we have as believers, the body of Christ, is internal and it is eternal. The sonship that they had was external. You did nothing except be born as an Israelite. That is all they needed. It was a special sonship God gave to them. But it was not an eternal sonship. I think Paul has already clarified it in Romans 9:3: “For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” You see, this is where their sonship was. It was a fleshly, external sonship with God. They entered into this adoption as sons when they were born an Israelite.
As God’s nation they were His firstborn. Exodus 4:22: “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My first-born.”’” They were His own possession. Exodus 19:5 says, “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine.” My own possession. You are My son. You are My first-born.
Then they were His son. Hosea 11:1 reads, “When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” God thought of them this way. They were His people. His chosen. Isaiah 43:20 tells us, “The beasts of the field will glorify Me. The jackals and the ostriches; because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people.” It was a high honor to be of the preference of God among the nations of this earth. God singled them out. They were His people. They enjoyed His preference on this earth.
If you will study through chapter 9 and see what he is doing at the introduction of the chapter, it is what the prophet Isaiah did. He is trying to recall them from where they have come. He is trying to show them that they are not where they are because of themselves. They are there because of God. They have missed this. It is what the prophet did in Isaiah 51:1: “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.” Go back and remember, you didn’t do anything on your own. God did this for you and gave you a special sonship on this earth. You were His preference among all the nations of this earth.
Not only did they have the preference of God, but secondly they enjoyed the very presence of God. Now this is unheard of. God decided He loved these people and decided to dwell on this earth with them. Again, look at Romans 9:4: “who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory.” Now when you see this term “the glory,” they would call it the “Shekinah glory.” That glory symbolizes and pictures the very presence of God. In Exodus 29 we find the glory he is speaking of. There was the glory in the cloud by day and the fire by night. Yes, God dwelt with His people that way. The cloud moved and they moved. Not a bad way to live every day of our life, is it? When the cloud moves you move. If the cloud hasn’t moved, don’t move. The presence of God is so key to them.
But it is not just the glory that led them through the wilderness. It was the glory that settled on the Tabernacle. It was the glory that symbolized and pictured to them the presence of God among them. It says in Exodus 29:43, “And I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory.” On that day, all the glory of God came down to the Tabernacle. Exodus 40:34 says, “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” God came down to live among those people. These were special people. The pagan nations knew nothing of this. God had preferred them among nations and had shown them that He would let them enjoy His presence.
The third thing about this was that they got to enjoy the provision of God. It says in verse 4, “who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons [the preference] and the glory [the presence] and the covenants [the provision].” You see, all the provision that God made for those people somehow centered around the covenants that He gave to each one of them. The word “covenant” is plural. That is important. There are many covenants. As you go through the Old Testament there is the Davidic covenant, the Palestinian covenant, you have all kinds of covenants. But I want to tell you why I think it is plural. I think that Paul is thinking of one covenant. There is only one covenant of grace, and that is the Abrahamic covenant, the everlasting covenant. We are a part of that because it promises three things: a land, a nation and a seed. That seed, Galatians 3 says, is Jesus Christ, through whom all nations will be blessed. We have been blessed through that Seed. We are a part of this covenant. All of the other covenants somehow dovetail out of this one everlasting covenant of grace that was given to Abraham. That is what I think he is talking about here. Not only was it given to Abraham, but it was given to Isaac and it was given to Jacob and then honored all throughout scripture. And whatever covenant came along somehow dovetailed out of that one covenant.
Let’s go back and just walk through how God covenanted with Abraham and follow it through with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To me it is significant of how privileged these people were. They enjoyed the very provision of God. God entered into covenant with them and because of that, provided for them all through the Old Testament. Genesis 15:1 would be a great place to start.
God initiates the covenant. It was not based on a virtue they had. It was based on a plan that God had and the grace and the character of God. Genesis 15:1-6 reads, “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great.’ And Abram said, “O Lord God, what wilt Thou give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ And Abram said, ‘Since Thou hast given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.’ Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.’ And He took him outside and said, ‘Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
Now through a careful study of chapters 12 and 15 through 17, you will see the three things that God promised him. He promised him a land very specifically outlined which is there today, Israel. It is still not all the land that God promised them. He promised them a nation, but He also promised him a seed through which all the nations would be blessed. That was the first time we see God covenanting with Abraham.
If you will turn to Genesis 17, you see him reaffirming this. Now He is about ready to get it started. Abraham thinks he has already got it started because he has had a son by a hand-maid of Sarah’s. That wasn’t good enough. Abraham is 99 years old. He was too old to have children and so was Sarah, but God said, “You are going to have a child.” In 17:7 He says, “‘And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.”
Jump over to Genesis 22. This is when Isaac is now born. He is a child and he is growing up and God says, “Now let me see, Abraham, if you really believe Me. Do you believe that Isaac is the key and through him one day will come the Messianic redeemer? Do you believe that? Take Isaac up on the mountain and kill him.” Abraham takes the guys with him, takes the packhorses. They get all of their stuff together. He takes the knife. Everything is ready for the sacrifice. He tells the men at the foot of the mountain, “We will be back. We will be back.” Hebrews 11 says he believed that if he had to kill him, God would resurrect him. That is how much Abraham believed.
He passes the test. God is so pleased. Beginning in Genesis 22:15 we read, “Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, ‘By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son [proving how much faith you have in Me], indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. [By the way, it is not “their” enemies. The Hebrew there is singular masculine, “of his enemies.” The seed he is talking about is the Lord Jesus Christ.] And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.’”
So then, He takes Abraham three different times (Chapter 15, Chapter 17, Chapter 22) and reaffirms that covenant. Now turn to Genesis 26:1. Isaac is going to have the same covenant. I think that is why it is in the plural in Romans 9. He says in verse 1, “Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. And I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.’”
This is beautiful. God moves from Abraham, and now He covenants with Isaac. But look in Genesis 28:10. Now He is going to covenant with Jacob. Here are your three covenants. One covenant, yes, but made to three different individuals, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Genesis 28:10-15 says, “Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. And he had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’”
It was this covenant that was referred to when they were in captivity in Egypt for 430 years. Listen to the words of Exodus 2:24: “So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” I love that! God is faithful. God made the covenant. It had a land in it, and a nation in it and it had a seed in it, and God continues to do what He promised them He would do. In Exodus 6:1, right before they were to exit the land of Egypt, it says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he shall let them go, and under compulsion he shall drive them out of his land.’ God spoke further to Moses and said to him, ‘I am the Lord; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, Lord, I did not make Myself known to them. And I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned. And furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage; and I have remembered My covenant.” There it is right there. You have one covenant but it really is covenants because it was given to Abraham, it was given to Isaac, and it was given to Jacob. And everything that God did to provide for Israel somehow centered around those covenants that He made with their forefathers.
It goes all through the Old Testament. He remembers His covenant. It required a land, it involved a seed and also a nation. He did not forget it and He has not forgotten it. Israel is a privileged people. They were people who understood the preference of God. They enjoyed the presence of God and His provision. All you had to do was remind them of what He had done.
But also, they had enjoyed the protection of God. Do you realize that the Law God gave to them protected them? As a matter of fact, it is very clearly stated in Galatians 3. But look at verse 4 of chapter 9 again. He said, “who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons [His preference] and the glory [His presence] and the covenants [His provision] and the giving of the Law and the temple service [His protection].”
Let me explain to you why I said that. I put the Law and the temple service together. The word “temple” is written in italics in the New American Standard, which means it is not in the text. The word is latreia, which means to serve, but it is a service of worship. You serve within a worshipful experience. So you see two things here and I think they need to be put together. First of all, when you think of the Law, what do you think of? You think of the Ten Commandments, the first part of it, the moral law. What does the moral law say? This is what God commands, and no man can fulfill. It is a relationship to others. Galatians 5:14 says that the Law is fulfilled in one word, love, and man cannot produce that. That is why he has to be saved, and the Holy Spirit of God must live in him. But that is the Law. The Law protects us because it gives us God’s standard. It shows us where we have sinned. It shows us where we are wrong.
There is another side to that Law and that is the ceremonial Law. You have the moral and the ceremonial. What is the ceremonial? That is the service. That is the temple service. That is the sacrificial system. That is the priesthood. That is why they had the Tabernacle. That is why they had the Tent of Meeting. That is why they had the Temple. God shows His mercy. Under law, man cannot. Grace is in the ceremonial law, which Jesus did away with. It is found in Him now. The ceremonial law meant that because of the shed blood of an innocent sacrifice, man could once again walk with God, not based on what man could do. Man could do nothing. But based on the sacrifice and based later on what God did. Romans says, what the law could not do, weak as the flesh is, God did. There is your moral law. There is your ceremonial law right there. You see, they had it right in front of them, folks. They had it right in front of them, and they couldn’t see it. They didn’t realize that Law condemned them. But God’s grace was in the system, in the sacrificial system. It was pointing to the one sacrifice, Jesus, who would come one day. He would die for the sins of the Jews and the Gentiles, so that man by faith could be justified as he puts his whole trust into Christ. Then he can live up under grace, no longer under Law.
That is what they had. They had the very protection of God. You say, “I don’t see that as protection.” Oh, yes. You must see it as protection. God protected them by showing them what they couldn’t do and then by showing them what He could do and His provision for them. Galatians 3:19 says, “Why the Law then? It as added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made. Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.”
They had the Law. They had a baby sitter. They had something to put in front of them to confine them and to shut them up, to lead them to that frustration, but also to that glimpse of glory and to the grace that would be given them in Jesus Christ. And they turned their backs on Him, folks. They didn’t understand what was in their very hands.
They had the preference of God, the presence of God, the provision of God, the protection of God, but they also had the promises of God. Now I am not going to spend a lot of time on these. But if you will go back in the Old Testament and list them, you could fill a legal size sheet of paper, single spaced, on both sides with all the prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament. I am just going to save you from doing that and not go over all of them. All the promises of God he is talking about are the ones centered in Jesus Christ. You have to see this. They are all centered in Christ. That is his whole purpose in writing chapters 9, 10 and 11.
Let me show you what I mean. Every promise of God made in the Old Testament, even to Israel, is centered in Jesus Christ. Now watch this. Second Corinthians 1:20 says, “For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him (Christ) they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” You see, God gave the promises, but the promises are centered in the Lord Jesus Christ. They had them right in front of them.
Look at the promises they had of the Messianic work that Christ was coming to do, the redemptive work that he was going to do on the cross. Then in Galatians 3:16 we read, “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is, Christ.”
In other words, is Israel going to be saved? It says all of Israel will be saved. You have to put that into the context of Zechariah where it refers to the third that is left. It will be those who turn to Him and recognize finally Yeshua, Jesus, as their Messiah. That will be the day of salvation for Israel. It won’t be any other way. God will have to bring them to that point. They had the promises right in front of them. Right in front of them! Paul talked about that in chapter 1 as he began to introduce the good news of God.
They had the preference of God, the presence of God, the provision of God, the protection of God, the promises of God, but they also had the patriarchs of God. I don’t remember a time I have ever wanted to go back and check my family history. Somebody said if you could choose your ancestors maybe you could guarantee success in your life. Well, that doesn’t work. However, you talk about ancestors, folks, they had the fathers. What fathers was he talking about? He was talking about those patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When they would sit around the house and wanted to talk about what Israel was all about, about all their heritage, they knew exactly where to go back to. They would tell the stories of Abraham and they would tell the stories of Isaac and they would tell the stories of Jacob. Of course, there were others, Joseph and all the ones in the Old Testament, but I think of these three specifically because they lived before the Law and they lived such faithful and holy lives before God. This was what Israel was supposed to be, not just a nation of flesh and blood, but a nation that by faith believed God and believed the fact that He would send His Son who would redeem them. That is what Israel was supposed to be. That is what Paul is about to say in chapter 9. They had all of this in front of them, and they still have it.
Then Paul saves the best for last. They not only had the preference of God, the presence of God, the provision of God, the protection of God, the promises of God, and the patriarchs of God, but they were also told they would get to enjoy the very person of God themselves. He would be born on this earth through their race. He would get His humanity from the Jewish race. That was prophesied and promised to them. Romans 9:5 says, “whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” What a verse.
You see two things in that verse. I want you to look at the two natures of Christ—His human nature and His divine nature. You have to see them both. First of all, he says, “from whom is the Christ according to the flesh,” flesh and blood. The word “from” is ek—out of. Out of you will be born one. You ask, “Why is that important?” I’ll tell you why. If you are dealing with someone who doesn’t honor the deity of Christ as the God-man, they will always attack this one point. For instance, they will say, “Oh, no. Jesus wasn’t born of a virgin. He was born of a carpenter and a little lady named Mary. And one day right as he was baptized, the Spirit came to indwell him. Then right before he died on the cross, the Spirit left him. Oh, Christ was in him but he was not the Christ. Do you see the difference?”
But Paul says, “He will be born out of you.” It means that He will actually, literally be born out of the line of David. Go to Luke 3 and check out His bloodline through His mother. It goes back to Nathan the son of David. (Remember, He didn’t have an earthly Daddy. He was born of a virgin, so you have to check His bloodline through His mother.) That is what Paul is saying. He will be born right out of you. He didn’t inherit a body. He became flesh! How did that happen? It’s a mystery. But He did. And He lived as a man on this earth. Incredible! He was a man.
Now, it says, “according to the flesh.” Don’t ever think for a second that His body of flesh was like yours because yours has in it the nature of Adam to sin. He did not have that. He had the inherent divine nature of God in Him. How in the world could He have ever sinned? Had He sinned, there would be no second person of the Trinity. Then you wouldn’t have a Trinity. He was God, born in the flesh. Don’t try to figure it out, just accept it. Stand on it! That is who He is. He had a body like ours, Hebrews says “similar” to ours. Yes, flesh and blood, but not like ours. Mine is full of the old perverted desires of the flesh because of Adam. His wasn’t. As a matter of fact, John the Apostle said when Satan came to tempt Him that he tried to draw out of Him something and he found that there was nothing in Him that he could draw out of Him.
The second part of this is His divine nature. He says, “who is over all.” The “is” is in the present tense. Is today, is tomorrow, always will be over, superior to all. Who is He? Born out of Israel. But who is He? He is the one who is over all. Then it says, “God blessed forever.” That word “blessed” there, eulogetos, is only used of God. It comes from a word that is special: eu is good and logos is to speak, so it means “to speak well of”.
Paul said in this verse, “God blessed.” What is he saying? God be well spoken of forever for what He did in Jesus Christ. Then he says, “Amen.” You know, sometimes you read that and you go right on as if it means nothing. Yes, it means something: “May it always be so”. Don’t ever forget it.
Look what they had in their grasp. They were given all of this. But folks, they for some reason misunderstood something. They thought prosperity and blessing somehow hinged on a virtue that they must have had. The word “covenant” is diatheke. It is different than a suntheke. Suntheke is when two equals go into covenant. Diatheke is when one makes it for the benefit of somebody else. You are certainly not worthy of any of it. That is diatheke. They missed it. They thought it was because of who they were that God had done these things. No, it was because of who He is and what He wanted to do through those people. So with integrity, the Apostle Paul explains the privileges that Israel has had but forsaken and missed the whole point of the central figure of all of it which was Jesus Christ, their Messiah whom they had rejected. There is only way one to salvation for Jew or Gentile and that is by putting your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.