By John Douglas [edited]
(This message was given
at a Sovereign
Grace Advent Testimony Conference in
Let us turn to Romans 15 and in particular to the verses 9, 10, 11, and 12,
which all contain the word Gentiles. These verses are important. Do you know who the Gentiles are? They are those who do not come from the stock
of Jacob, those who do not pertain to the twelve tribes of
I commend verse 10 to your attention, And again He saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles with His People. I have already explained who the Gentiles are. This meeting today is, I guess, composed of a congregation of Gentiles and the preacher of the Word is a Gentile. There are some observations I want to make about this verse.
Five Introductory Observations
1. It is important to learn when reading the Bible, whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament, the three expressions Gentiles, Heathen, Nations all have the same word in the original. There may be few exceptions, but nearly all the time, when you find the word Gentiles in the Bible, you are entitled to read Nations. Or, if you find the word Heathen, please get this impressed upon your mind and heart, let it be your practice, automatically, to link in the Heathen with that word Gentiles and Nations, because these three words in your Bible all spring from the same word in the original. I cannot emphasise this too strongly, for Christians continually forget this all-important point. If you read the heathen in the Bible you are not to imagine that the Lord has in mind those whom we would regard as heathen. That is not the thought in the Bible. The Lord is talking about Gentile peoples, and we are among them. Ordinarily in Scripture, when Gentiles are mentioned, they represent the ungodly world. So those three words are there. I am going to be repetitive and I do hope that it is not too tedious, but I do want it to stay with you that the three words Gentiles, Heathen and Nations all come from the one word in the original.
2. It is equally important to observe that
3. Those saved among the Gentiles are called upon to engage in
full-hearted joy, an abiding and an overflowing joy. The Lord says, Rejoice,
ye Gentiles. They are to rejoice with His People; to
4. I want you to notice the significance of the word, again. It occurs in verses 10, 11, and 12. Mark those instances. Remember that we believe in the verbal inspiration of Gods Holy Word, and three times the [Holy] Spirit of God says again, to the Christian. Why does He repeat this word? He is showing us that it is generally taught in the Old Testament that the Lord will allow for the admission of Gentiles into the Church, which is His Body. He would allow for the occasion when the Gentiles would be brought to Christ, to know the Lord. That is why again and again, quite deliberately, the Scripture has that word repeated. The subject is generally taught. The Lord is saying, in effect, Do you see how the whole Bible is alive with this subject?
5. There is a group of verses here with quotations from the Old Testament. All three parts of the Hebrew Bible are represented in the quotations that are found here in Romans 15. In verse 9, there is a quotation from the Psalms. In verse 10, there is a quotation from Deuteronomy. Verse 11 brings you back to Psalms. And in verse 12, the quote is from Isaiah. Do you know the three divisions of the Hebrew Bible that the Jews, even to this day, recognise? They are mentioned by the Saviour in Luke 24, the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. For the Jews who were living through gospel days, that would have seen the whole Bible. So the apostle Paul, in quoting the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms, seems to be saying that throughout the whole Bible, God has made allowance for that day when the Gentiles would be brought under the sound of the Gospel, and so the whole Bible is there presenting that wonderful message. This teaching is in the Law (verse 10), the Prophets (verse 12), the Psalms, which term represents a number of books in the Old Testament (verses 9 and 11). That must be something in the testimony of God, in this chapter, for the believer who will take time to meditate on this passage. It is not as if God just casually mentioned the Gentiles in some isolated part of the Bible. Some of our friends in Christ think the Gentiles are not mentioned at all, which is sad, because the Lord shows here that this is widely taught throughout the Old Testament. It is certainly taught enough for us to have it brought to our attention here. From every part of the Old Testament there comes this testimony about those Gentiles who are to be brought into the fold and family of God.
Our subject is Israel in the Millennium and, as a matter of interest, in verse 8 as well as in verse 10, Israel is specified as a people; and, as I have pointed out, in verses 9, 10, 11 and 12 we read of the Gentiles as well. The two are seen to exist side by side. So, although these verses take in the Gospel era, there is reason for us to say they also extend their application to the days of the millennium. This is especially so with verse 10.
Why the Lord Came into the World: A Two-fold view
tells us that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision
for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers. So, the
Lord Jesus Christ is described as a minister of the
circumcision, and thus the purpose of the Lord, in His first coming
into this world, as it is highlighted here, is twofold. First
of all, in relation to
There are Christians today, genuine Christians, who think the Old Testament is a secondary book and does not matter much, but the Saviour said He did not come to abolish or undermine the Old Testament. He came to establish and fulfil it.
Remember, Romans 15: 8 assures us that the Lord came to
To what end, or why
would He confirm the promises? It is
clear it is in order to put
Gods Word Comes to Pass Irrespective of the Conditions
It seems to me, as I look through the whole period covered by the history of the Bible, that the Lord allowed time after time, for circumstances to arise where His people were involved, and those circumstances were so dismaying and so overwhelming, it seemed impossible for the Lord to honour His Word. But then He fulfilled His Word in spite of the circumstances which appeared to be so contrary. That cannot be coincidence. The Lord allowed for things to be done in that way, and we may reason aright that if the Lord did things that way consistently in the past, then He will work that way in our time, and, indeed, beyond our time. When it seems impossible for the Word of God to be fulfilled, it will be. Abraham, when he was an hundred years old and Sarah was ninety, reasoned with God about the birth of Isaac. It looked impossible, but God did it.
Jeremiah was told to
buy ground as evidence that, after the seventy years captivity, God would
Certainly, the Lord came to confirm the promises, to put His people onto firm ground and to emphasise that the Word will be [literally] fulfilled. When studying that word confirm, I decided to look at the adjectives related to it. I am not going to run through the whole list, but simply take a few.
Thoughts about the Word Confirm
An important adjective
for the verb confirm, which highlights the
meaning of the word, is found in Hebrews 2: 2. It is not difficult, and it is interesting to
have a word picture, an illustration that we can associate with this Bible
word. The verse says the word spoken by angels was steadfast. That
related to the giving of the law, and therefore every word spoken on
Another example is in 2 Peter 1: 19 where it says, We have
also a more sure word of prophecy. That word sure is an adjective coming out of the verb to confirm the prophecy. So, when the Lord Jesus came to
The Scripture in Romans 15: 10 comes from the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy 32, and we can make an important discovery. So, to get things in perspective, our text in Romans 15 comes from the Old Testament and that would show the Old Testament is not abolished. It shows too, since Deuteronomy is part of the law, and a key part of the law at that, that the Lord has not forgotten about, or relegated the law, making it of no account. The law is relevant. It is quoted in this doctrinal, theological epistle to the Romans. Romans 15: 10 comes from Deuteronomy 32: 43. That is an important discovery to make. The verse says, Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people. I would like to make and emphasise some observations on this Scripture.
You remember that everywhere in the Bible, virtually without exception, the three words Heathen, Nations, Gentiles all come from one word in the original. There is a demonstration of this when you look at verse 43 because if you did not know, you might say that this verse is different; that it is not an exact quotation, when compared with the parallel verse in Romans 15. Well, it is an exact quotation. When it says, Rejoice, O ye nations, that is the same thing as saying, Rejoice, ye Gentiles. That is very important. So Deuteronomy 32: 43 is thus far saying the very same thing as Romans, for nations or Gentiles is the same word. In the Hebrew, It is goi. The American friends commonly use the term guy.
would not be surprised if that expression came from the Jews of New York who,
when they were all working together, would speak of a guy when referring to a
Gentile. They would have been using
Hebrew, and somebody may have thought it a fancy word and decided to use it
too. I am not certain about this but it
seems to me that is how that word came into being. The nations, the Gentiles, the heathen; God
has a command for them, and it is, Rejoice, ...
with His people. You
see how the identity of
In Fact, There are Four Entities in Deuteronomy 32: 43.
The first is the Gentiles or
nations. The second is the people, namely
At the start, I said there are some verses quoted in the New Testament which will reach a new level of fulfilment when the Lord Jesus comes, and this is one of them. I do not doubt there are studious people in the Lords family who have understood long since that Romans 15: 10 has sprung from Deuteronomy 32: 43, but not so many [today appear to] have discerned the conclusion to verse 43. They have only noticed the little snippet that is taken and carried over into the New Testament and I believe they have never thought to work out what the context is in which that word is given at the first, and they have not asked themselves the question, did the Lord say anything else? When you do ask this, then you see that He did say something else, and what He said is infinitely important.
So why would the Gentiles rejoice? The Lord has met with
you and saved your soul.* Are you
rejoicing about that? If I asked some
friends why they are rejoicing, somebody may say that it is because their sins
are all put away. Somebody else with
more study may say it is because the Gentiles, unworthy as they are, are put on
the same foundation as
[* Note. The words above, saved your soul in this instance, refers to our eternal
salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus; but there are other
instances throughout the Scriptures where the clause the
salvation of your souls (1 Pet. 1: 9),
refers to a future salvation when the regenerate believer will rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory (v. 8). It is
the Christians Hope! A hope which will be brought unto you (as obedient
children) at the revelation of Jesus Christ
(v. 13, 14).
It is therefore connected to the time of Resurrection and the millennial
But there is another
reason why you should rejoice. It is
found in Deuteronomy, and it is Gods command for the Gentile to rejoice
because (1) God is going to avenge the blood of His servants; He is going to
deal with His adversaries, and (2) He will be merciful to His land, and to His
people. So the Gentiles are to rejoice,
not only because the Lord will deal with His adversaries in due time but they
are to rejoice because the Lord will be
merciful unto His land and to His people.
The verse is quoted in Romans to show that what Deuteronomy says is
still relevant. The verse is not now
relegated to history, having had only a past fulfilment. No, the original wording ultimately relates
to the future, the Book of Romans indicating that Deuteronomy
32: 43 is still given currency with God in our time. God has by no
means finished with this word from Moses.
That brings us straight into the subject of
Set Your Heart on this Song
Before leaving Deuteronomy 32, we should consider the
significance of verse 46. I will ask you to search your heart and come
to a conclusion, how many Gentile
Christians have a hold of this and have rejoiced with His people,
A Look at Exodus 19
We turn to Exodus 19 to see how the Lord will be merciful
unto His land and His people. This is a
statement on the immutable purpose of God.
This chapter refers to the third month which coincides with Pentecost in
the feasts of
1. What was the purpose of God in bringing
2. When we come to verse
5, we see the next thing in the purpose of God for we read of Gods peculiar treasure. The
Hebrew word is segullah. What does that mean? It is translated a
peculiar treasure. The word
occurs eight times in the Old Testament and a lot of those times God is talking
3. The third thing we should notice is in verse 6.
The jot is the smallest letter in the Hebrew language. The letter jod is shaped like a comma but it is not a punctuation mark. If you look at verse 6 you will see a comma after the word priest. It is just a tiny little mark, of course. That is a punctuation mark in the English, but in the Hebrew when jod is used as a letter, it looks like a comma but it is not placed at the bottom of the line; it is at the top. It is shaped like a comma, but it is a letter. And the Lord said not one of them will pass away.
In verse 6, there is a letter b. At the top
of that letter there is a small piece of ornamentation in some fonts, and I may
compare that to the tittle. And the Lord
said that neither the smallest letter nor the smallest part of a letter will
pass away till all will be fulfilled. So
4. They will become a Holy Nation. That is part of the purpose of God also. I spoke to a young man who was not disposed
to believe as we do, and so he was resisting all the way, but I told him to
These then are the
essential points. (1) God has brought
Yet for All That
Turn to Leviticus 26, where we find Gods covenant
expounded. In this chapter, there is a
long projected history of Israel having walked contrary to God, and God reminds
His people of the years of woe and heartache and sorrow and despair and dismay,
which come as a result of [wilful] sin.
Somebody may say God has forgotten
In verse 42, the Lord states quite clearly that He
did not make His covenant with
Our principal quotation
in this message has been that God will be merciful to His land and to His
people. There is a marvellous promise in verse 44. There is a long list of details about
A gradation is
there. That is to say, it is like steps
going down and getting worse as they go.
It is bad enough to be cast away, but it is infinitely worse to be
abhorred, and worse still if God would destroy them utterly, and finally break
His covenant. They go from bad to worse,
but the Lord is not going to cast them
away finally. That is what He has said.
All this is written into the text, because God intends to bring
Some Negatives are Positives
There is a rule in hermeneutics about Gods negatives, and it is this, that Gods negatives in a paragraph like this one, are intended to be positives. Thus, the first phrase would be, I will embrace them. (He will not cast them away). If He says, I will not abhor them that means, I will warmly receive and love them. When He says, I will not destroy them utterly, that means, I will save and protect them. And if He says, I will never break My covenant, it means, I will keep and establish My covenant. It is a lovely thought to turn them into positives.*
[*Note. Paul, in 1 Cor. 10: 1-11, is not threatening disobedient and immoral regenerate members of the Church with the loss of eternal life in a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21: 1); but he is threatening the wicked and immoral members of the church - (if they do not repent) - whit the loss of a millennial inheritance upon this earth, (1 Cor. 5: 13; 6: 9-11)]
In Jeremiah 30: 3, the Lord has said, For lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. So the Lord is going to bring them back, in the millennium. In what way will God plant them in the land? In chapter 32: 41 we read, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and 1 will plant them in this land assuredly with My whole heart and with My whole soul. The Lord will do this when the Lord Jesus comes again. That God should speak of His whole heart and His whole soul is a unique statement in Scripture. Did you ever come across anything like that before about God? As if the Lord would speak as man speaks. It is called in theological language, anthropomorphism.
Notice that in the
next verse (42) reference is made to all this great evil and again all the good that I have promised them. One is set against the other. This verse is very important, and tells us
that as the evil has come, so the good will [i.e., eventially, but only after
the kingdom age has ended] follow, and each in conformity to His Word. The past influences the future. History
is to be used as an aid to prophetic interpretation. Bible
history may be used as a guide as to how we study prophecy and how we should
understand prophetic scriptures. You
could write a note in your Bible alongside verse 42
because the history of
An Example of Gods Word Executed with Precision
A simple illustration would be that of Pharaoh. God spoke through Moses saying tomorrow at about this time I will bring a plague (e.g. Exodus 9: 18). How was the prophecy fulfilled? Was it interpreted spiritually and did it take an infinite amount of time for the prophecy to be fulfilled? Or, did Moses explain that he did not intend to take Gods Word literally? No, the next day at the exact time the plague came. Every word of God was steadfast and sure.
That is the note on which we began and that is the note on which we conclude.
(a) The Word of the
Lord will go forth from
(b) Near the beginning
of the Book of Isaiah (7: 14) is a wonderful prophecy concerning a
special birth, the virgin birth of Christ, which belongs to His
first coming. That virgin birth is something the
natural man cannot believe.
Interestingly, the end of the Book (66: 8)
has a prophecy about the second coming, also marked by a special birth, but
this time, the birth of a nation. At the coming of Christ the veil will slip
* * * * * * *
By C. H. Spurgeon
Failure at a crucial moment may mar the entire outcome of a life. A man who has enjoyed special light is made bold to follow in the way of the Lord, and is anointed to guide others therein. He rises into a place of love and esteem among the godly, and this promotes his advancement among men. What then? The temptation comes to be careful of the position he has gained, and to do nothing to endanger it. The man, so lately a faithful man of God, compromises with worldlings, and to quiet his own conscience invents a theory by which such compromises are justified, and even commended. He receives the praises of the judicious; he has, in truth, gone over to the enemy. The whole force of his former life now tells upon the wrong side. If the Lord loves him well enough, he will be scourged back to his place; but if not, he will grow more and more perverse, till he becomes a ringleader among the opposers of the gospel. To avoid such an end it becomes us ever to stand fast.
* * * * * * *
Suminary of Romans 9 - 11
By Herman Newmark
1. Paul longs for
2. There is still in
3. The larger part of
4. They have not stumbled so that the nation should be utterly lost, but that salvation might come directly to individual Gentiles (11: 11-14).
6. At Christs Second Advent
7. The knowledge of the foregoing produces worship, praise and adoration of the God of Jacob ‑ ending in complete surrender to His glad service (11: 32; 12: 2).
8. Meanwhile the Gospel is to be preached to Jew and Gentile alike, for none can hear without a preacher, and the message to be preached is the Word of God (10: 5-21).
9. Believing Gentiles should today provoke the Jews to jealousy by their godly lives, and should show them the mercy which they have received from God (11: 11-14, 28-31).
We see, clearly, then,
that God has NOT finished with His
* * * * * * *
Loving Devotedness (2 Samuel 21)
By Cecil Yates Biss
(This article is taken from notes of an address given by Dr Biss, but was not printed until after his home‑call).
Let me explain the incidents of the story. Saul was a man, impetuous in obedience or disobedience. He grossly disobeyed God in not slaying Agag the Amalekite (1 Samuel 15); yet rushed forward to destroy the Gibeonites, to do service as he thought, though quite unbidden. In Joshua 9 we read how they deceived Joshua; who, instead of asking directions of God, rashly made a league with them, thinking they had come from afar. But when he had sworn not to destroy them, he found they were a people nigh unto them! An oath was an oath; and Joshua, finding he had made a mistake in judgment, did not make it worse by breaking his oath. So the Gibeonites dwelt among the Israelites as servants.
Saul presents us with the character of one misguided by religious zeal. (It is a dreadful thing if such zeal gets off the lines of Truth). Such zeal led to the Saviours crucifixion. Saul was bound to have protected the Gibeonites, instead of that, he slew them! This was a public act, a national sin; and the land was smitten with famine for three years.
David was king at that time. He enquired of the Lord why the famine was sent and was told it was because the Gibeonites had been slain. He was bound to deal with the matter in a public manner; so he sent to ask them what he could do to atone for the sin. They demanded, as the murderer was then fallen, that seven of his sons should be given up to be slain before the Lord. The expression before the Lord should be noted; meaning as an act of judicial punishment. Whether the Gibeonites were right or wrong is doubtful. I do not think they were right but David did not hinder them, as it was an act of public punishment and atonement; to let all see that public sin should be punished. Do not say that David allowed this in order to get Sauls sons out of the way, for he spared Mephibosheth for Jonathans sake; who, as a rival to the throne, was more to be feared than the rest.
The one bright spot in this dark story is the devotion of Rizpali. Her two sons were taken and hanged on the hill before the Lord (verse 9). This hanging up intimated that they were persons under a judicial curse (Deuteronomy 21: 23). When people were judicially cursed, they were slain and the body hanged up as a public demonstration of it. Understanding this, the passage in Galatians 3: 13 respecting Christ has more force. He took His peoples position and bore the heavy curse, as their Substitute.
We know nothing of Rizpah but what God has related here. She comes before us as an example of devoted love; determining that nothing should separate her from her children. So she took sackcloth and spread it upon the rock, and there abode day and night to chase away beasts and birds from her loved ones; and, what must have been yet more dreadful to her than the weary watching, was looking on their shrinking, blackening bodies. If we want a picture of devotedness, we must look to a womans heart to show it. God refers to it when He asks, Can a woman forget her sucking child, etc.?
What a real Book the Bible is! Here is a simple and natural story which might take place to-day; did take place then. Rizpah had her troubles. Bitter and deep they were. So have we. What was the cause of hers? SIN! What is the cause of ours? SIN! Troubles would never have come but for SIN. These troubles came to Rizpah through no fault of her own. Many have to feel that their troubles come through their own fault; their own carelessness and mis-doing; but here is one who suffered the bitterest, sorest anguish, harder than death itself, through no fault of hers. What is more, this poor Rizpah was all alone in her sorrow. No one was willing to share that lonely midnight watch with her! Sometimes, we have the help of the sympathy of others, and very precious it is; but how many troubles have to be borne alone, as the pressure of sorrow and affliction when left by those we love. So we see Love sustained Rizpah and kept her up.
What would be the good of this story if we were to stop here? To consider the sorrows of others would not make our own load lighter. There is not a page of the Bible with which we may not connect Christ, so this picture presents us with a feeble illustration of the Love of Christ. To speak of Him, is to speak of One Who came to be a Sufferer from the cradle to the grave! He came to suffer for His peoples sins! He came to suffer with them, not merely as a Pattern, but as a Fellow-sufferer - to bear the load for the sake of those for whom He suffered - and we can think of Him as really with us in our suffering, as when He was on earth.
Rizpah suffered for others, and in this was a pattern of One Who suffered not only for, but with His people. Human sorrow can be measured by the human heart, but not so His sorrow; and His Love is a Love that passeth knowledge.
Rizpah suffered for her children. Jesus for those who never loved Him till they knew how He had loved them! He suffered from the hand of man; from the rage of Satan, and from the wrath of God against Him as the SIN-BEARER.
Rizpah gained her end at last, and those bodies were buried as kings sons should be.
and joint heirs with Christ ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8: 17b, 18, A.V.).
heirs on one hand of God, joint heirs on the other of Christ, since we suffer with [him] in order also that we may be glorified with [him]. I reckon for that (are) not worthy the sufferings of the now (present) time [to with the coming glory (present) be compared] (Lit. Greek).