Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome. More specifically today’s passage is found in the eleventh chapter of this New Testament epistle. “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he force knew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? How he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and dogged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not o brained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them: let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back always” (Romans 11:1-10).
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: if by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh,a nd might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also hly: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou hearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelieve they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high minded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree” (Romans 11:11-24).
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come inm. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Simon the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto. Them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:25-32).
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counseller? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Romans 11:33-36).
When you come to the eleventh chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul you will come to the third and final chapter which was dedicated exclusively and solely to an appeal the apostle made concerning the nation of Israel. If you begin reading with and from the first and opening verse of this passage you will find the apostle asking a very pointed and powerful question—the question of whether or not God had cast away His people. If you read the words which are found in the previous chapters you will encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the nation and people of Israel and their rejection of the Messiah and Christ. The apostle John would write in the opening chapter of his gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth that He came unto His own and His own received Him not. Within and throughout this gospel you will read of the various times when the Jews themselves rejected and despised the Messiah. What’s more is that not only will you read of their rejection of the Messiah but you will find their rejection of the words and works of the Messiah during those days. In fact I would dare say that you cannot read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John without encountering and coming face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the Jews’ treatment of the Messiah and as early as the fifth chapter of the book. What’s more is I would even dare say that the beginning of the rejection of the Jews would begin as early as the second chapter when Jesus entered into the Temple and fashioned a scourge of cords and used it to bring cleansing and reform unto the Temple. It would pretty much be from this particular moment in time the Jews’ rejection of the Messiah and Christ would begin—something which would be presented within and throughout the rest of the gospel.
I am convinced that if you want to truly understand the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the midst of the New Testament epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome there is a great need to recognize and understand the Jews’ rejection of the Messiah and Christ during the generation in which He walked among them. What’s more is that their rejection wasn’t merely limited to the time of the Messiah when He walked among them but it was also present and manifested during the days of the apostles when they walked upon the face of the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful reality of how the Jews not only rejected the physical Messiah and Christ who walked among them for three and a half years but they would also reject and despise the word, the name and the preaching of the resurrection of the Messiah. The issue(s) the Jews had while the Messiah was present among them was centered upon His apparent disregard for the Sabbath day, the works which He would do which would seemingly show no respect for their traditions, and even His claim that He was the Son of God thus making God His Father and making Him equal with God. Oh this is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful reality that is found in the Jews’ treatment of the Messiah while He walked among them as the Word which was made flesh. Moreover this rejection of the Messiah and Christ was prophesied by the ancient Hebrew prophet Isaiah and is recorded for us in the fifty-third chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah.
If you want to truly understand the words which are found in this New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome there is a great need to acknowledge the history of the rejection of the Jews toward the Messiah and the Christ. What’s more is that you must not only acknowledge the history of the Jews’ rejection of the Messiah but you must also acknowledge that was written concerning their treatment of the prophets during the generation of their fathers. Jesus made it perfectly clear when speaking unto the scribes and the Pharisees that during the generation of their fathers they persecuted, stoned and even killed the prophets. In fact the prophetic book of Jeremiah is a powerful examine of the persecution, affliction and suffering of one of the prophets of the Lord as Jeremiah would be cast into a cistern, would be cast into prison, would be beaten and would be sorely mistreated—not only by his own people within Anathoth but also by the religious and political leaders. This is something which must be recognized for the true prophets of the Lord, the apostles of the Lord and even the Messiah Himself would not only anger the religious and political leaders but would also greatly offend them. If you read the entirety of Scripture you can and will encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the rejection of the prophets during the generation of the fathers of the children of Israel for they would reject all the holy prophets from Elijah to Elisha, from Isaiah to Amos, from Joel to Micah, from Jeremiah to Ezekiel and the various other prophetic voices which were present during those generations. More often then not the religious and political leaders would indeed be those who would greatly afflict, persecute and eventually stone and kill the prophets of the most High God in an attempt to silence the words and voice of the living God within their generation.
Having said all of this I find it absolutely necessary to first and foremost call and draw your attention to the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel narratives of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ for within them we find the disparate treatment of the prophets during the generation of the fathers as they would persecute, afflict and ultimately kill and put them to death. Before delving into the rejection of the Messiah and Christ by the Jews I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the tremendous persecution of the prophets during the generation of the fathers which were present in the earth in centuries past. With this being said please consider the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel concerning the treatment of the ancient Hebrew prophets during their generations by the fathers:
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness/ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).
“Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedge it round about, and dogged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandment took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto the husbandmen? They said unto him, He will miserable destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet” (Matthew 21:33-46).
“And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto so certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my failings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murders, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:1-14).
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stones them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, til ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:27-39).
“The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfect. Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and soonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Luke 13:31-35).
“And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hidden from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side. And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation” (Luke 19:41-44).
There is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the generations of the fathers—a generation which the Lord Jesus spoke to when speaking unto the scribes and the Pharisees. There is absolutely no mistaking it when reading each of these passages of Scripture that the generations of the fathers were such who despised, afflicted, spitefully entreated, persecuted and even killed the prophets which were sent unto and among them. Jesus used the generation of the fathers when speaking unto the scribes and the Pharisees to demonstrate and declare unto them their blatant rejection of Him and how they persecuted and afflicted Him during those three and a half years. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding this generation of the Fathers and how this generation of the fathers mistreated and spitefully entreated the prophets whom the living and eternal God would send unto and among them rising early in the morning proclaiming the word of the Lord. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the scribes, the Pharisees and even the Jews themselves who were following in the footsteps, the path and the pattern of their fathers who persecuted and put to death the prophets. Even the eleventh chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews describes the persecution and affliction of the prophets which the living God sent unto the generations of the fathers rising early in the morning to proclaim unto them the word of the Lord. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the final verses of the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews beginning with the thirty-second verse:
“And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barack, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets; who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others had trial of cruel mocking and scourging, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:32-40).
AND OF THE PROPHETS! OTHERS WERE TORTURED, NOT ACCEPTING DELIVERANCE THAT THEY MIGHT OBTAIN A BETTER RESURRECTION! OTHERS HAD TRIAL OF CRUEL MOCKINGS AND SCOURGINGS! OF BONDS AND IMPRISONMENT! THEY WERE STONED, THEY WERE SAWN ASUNDER, WERE TEMPTED, WERE SLAIN WITH THE SWORD! THEY WANDERED ABOUT IN SHEEPSKINS AND GOATSKINS! Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found here in the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews for within it we find the author emphatically describing the generation of the prophets and how the generation of the prophets were those who did indeed and did in fact experience affliction, suffering, great trials and were persecuted, stoned, imprisoned and even put to death with the sword. This is something we dare not and must not miss for the generation of the fathers which persecuted and put to death the prophets laid a foundation so to speak for the generation which would be present during the days in which the Messiah and Christ walked among them. It would be during the generation of the Messiah and the Christ that the scribes, the Pharisees and the religious system would entirely and altogether persecute and afflict Jesus of Nazareth. Time and time again within and throughout the gospels you will find the scribes and the Pharisees seeking to put Jesus to death that they might rid the land of His words and His works. Not only this but there were a number of times when the Jews themselves went about to kill Jesus of Nazareth because of the words which He had spoken and the works which He had wrought among them.
I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome for it highlights and underscores the blatant rejection of the Messiah and Christ by the nation and people of Israel. It’s important to note that the apostle Paul didn’t merely speak of the scribes, the Pharisees and the religious and political systems which were in place in the midst of the nation of Israel. The apostle Paul concluded the whole nation of Israel as being guilty before and in the sight and presence of the living God. The apostle Paul would conclude the Jews as being a nation that despised and rejected the Messiah who was manifested unto and among them for they would choose to reject both His words and His works. This is something which warrants strong consideration as it brings us face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the person of the Lord Jesus Christ who was indeed the Messiah and the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God and yet was despised and rejected by many within His generation. It’s important to note that there were great multitudes of men and women during His generation who did in fact receive Him—even those who believed on Him—and were given power to become sons of the living God. There were others, however—in fact many—who despised, ignored, rejected, afflicted and even persecuted Him because of the words which He had spoken among them. What’s more is they weren’t merely offended with the words which He had spoken but they were also greatly offended, angered and outraged by the works which He he wrought among them. It is with this in mind I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the fifty-third chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah as well as the words which are found in the second, third, fourth and fifth chapters of the New Testament book of Acts concerning the rejection of the religious and political leaders toward Jesus and their putting Him to death:
“Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne out griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he strikcen. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Ye it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for in, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travel of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he b are the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:1-12).
Before I present unto you the words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the following words which are found in the first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. It is within the first chapter of this gospel we find and encounter the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the rejection of the Messiah and the Christ which was indeed present in the earth. It is in the first and opening chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find an additional reference concerning the rejection of the Jewish people of the Messiah and Christ who came unto and among them as the Light and Life which was manifested unto and among them. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the first chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John beginning to read with and from the first verse:
“IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, he that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:1-18).
Having considered the words which were written and recorded in this first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the following words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts beginning within the second chapter of the book:
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved o God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:22-24).
“Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him Go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murder to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses” (Acts 3:12-15).
“Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:8-12).
“Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? And, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him” (Acts 5:28-32).
Within these passages of Scripture we find powerful descriptions of the religious and political leaders whom the apostle Peter together with the other apostles emphatically declared took the King of glory and not only persecuted Him but also crucified and put to death. It is absolutely unmistakable when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it presents us with a powerful picture of the incredible truth surrounding the rejection of the Jews together with their religious and political leaders of the Messiah and the Christ who was indeed manifested unto and among them. You cannot read the words presented in these passages and not come face to face with the incredible reality of the Jewish people together with their religious and political leaders who went about afflicting and persecuting the person of the Lord Jesus Christ during that generation. In the second chapter of this New Testament book we find the apostle Peter together with the other apostles speaking unto all those who were present before them in the city of Jerusalem while in chapters three, four and five we find them standing before the religious and political leaders which were present during those days. It is within those particular chapters we find the apostles continually speak unto the religious and political leaders of that generation and how they slew, crucified and put to death the Messiah who came unto them as both the Light and the Life of men. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this for as we are about to see this rejection of the Messiah would indeed extend beyond merely the religious and political leaders within Jerusalem and would extend unto the Jews themselves. When the apostle Paul concluded the people of Israel as having rejected the Messiah and the Christ he was referencing both the religious and political leaders as well as the Jews themselves. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:
“Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had said. Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:18-25).
“And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:16-18).
“After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him” (John 7:1).
“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?” (John 7:16-20).
“Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them and so passed by” (John 8:59).
“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (John 10:31-33).
“Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him. Many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus” (John 12:9-11).
It is quite obvious when reading the words which were found in these passages of Scripture that the Jews which were present during the generation in which Jesus walked upon the earth not only persecuted and afflicted Jesus but also sought to kill and put Him to death. You cannot read the words presented here in these chapters and verses and not come face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the Messiah and Christ being rejected and despised by the Jews—something which the apostle John made evident and clear in the first and opening chapter of this gospel. It is within the first and opening chapter of this gospel we find the apostle John describing how Jesus came unto His own and how His own received Him not. This is something we must needs recognize and understand as it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the tremendous truth surrounding the Jews themselves—above and even beyond the chief priests, scribes, elders and the religious community and system—sought to kill and put Jesus to death. There were at least two accounts found within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John where the Jews took up stones to cast at and against Jesus while there were other references to the Jews not only persecuting Him but also seeking to put Him to death. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this for there is something we must needs understand and acknowledge for it calls and draws our attention to the truth surrounding the Jews themselves who were angered, incensed, outraged and offended with Jesus because of the words which He spoke and the works which He wrought among them. What’s more is they sought to stone Him for blasphemy for He not only declared that God was His Father but by doing so He made Himself equal with God.
All of this serves as a backdrop and foundation for what we find in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome for the apostle Paul would indeed write how the Jewish nation and people despised and rejected the Messiah and the Christ who was present among them. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for the apostle Paul would declare how he wished to God that he were accursed by and cut off from God instead of and in place of the Jewish people that they might be saved. The apostle Paul acknowledged and understood that the Jewish people despised and rejected the Messiah—and not only despised and rejected the Messiah but also despised and rejected the word, the gospel and name of Jesus the Christ. It is within the New Testament book of Acts we encounter and come face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the rejection of the Jews toward the word, the gospel, the name and even the preaching of the resurrection of the Messiah. In fact the apostle Paul himself would experience in various cities such as Lystra and Derbe, Corinth, Thessalonica, Berea and others the rejection of the Jews as they sought to kill him thus removing the preaching and teaching of the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ during those days. Having said this I would like to now ask you to turn and direct your attention to the following words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts beginning with the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters:
“And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas,: who speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. But they shook the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 13:42-52).
“And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, they were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: and there they preached the gospel” (Acts 14:1-7).
“And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day departed with Barnabas to Derbe” (Acts 14:19-20).
“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and electing that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you is Christ. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude and of the chief women not a few. But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go” (Acts 17:1-9).
“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still. And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed” (Acts 17:10-15).
“After these things Paul departed from Athens and came to Corinth; and found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately from from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all jews to depart from Rome) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers, and he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. And he departed thence, and there’d in a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak ,and holy not thy peace: for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt the: for I have much people in this city. And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them” (Acts 18:1-11).
“And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go put to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem. There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciples, with whom we should lodge” (Acts 21:10-16).
“And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, crying out, Men of Israel, help: this is the man, that teacheth all men every where against he people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. (For they had seen before with him in the city of Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) And all the city was moved, and the people ran together a; and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and fortieth the doors were shut. And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the solders, they left beating of Paul. The the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done. And some cried one thing, and some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle. And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people. For the people of the people followed after, crying, Away with him” (Acts 21:27-36).
I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and understand the words which are found within these passages for within them we see a powerful picture of the Jews’ rejection of the word, the gospel and the name of Jesus of Nazareth. The Jewish people continually and repeatedly rejected the word and gospel of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in various cities—and not only did they reject this word and gospel but they also blasphemed and opposed themselves. There were multiple accounts of the Jews afflicting and persecuting the apostle Paul and even on one occasion stoning him thinking that he was dead. This is something we dare not and must not miss when reading the eleventh chapter of this New Testament book for within it we find the apostle Paul asking whether or not God had cast away His people. This question would be followed by the apostle Paul declaring how he himself was an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. Moreover the apostle would go on to write and declare that God had not cast away his people which He foreknew and then goes on to appeal to the narrative of the days of Elijah. It’s important to note that the days of Elijah were days that were wrought with idolatry and immorality as the northern kingdom of Israel was run by Ahab the king who was married to Jezebel the daughter of the king of Sidon. It would be this Jezebel who would indeed set up prophets of Baal and would slaughter and put to death the prophets of the Lord. So severe was the persecution of and the persecution against the prophets of the Lord that Obadiah hid fifty prophets in a cave to spare their lives from the murderous and tyrannical rage of Jezebel the queen of the northern kingdom of Israel. This takes on a whole different meaning when you find the prophet Elijah being called to directly confront Ahab and his wickedness which was present in the land during those days. Not only was Elijah instructed to confront Ahab but he was also instructed to confront the false prophets of Baal and the other false prophets whom Jezebel had established and set up during those days. The eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings is a powerful picture of Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal and the false prophets whom Jezebel had set up—those who sat at her table and dined with her—atop Carmel in a showdown and conflict of fire.
It is absolutely necessary to recognize and understand the words which are presented in this passage of Scripture for not only do they show a direct confrontation of the corruption, the wickedness, the immortality and the idolatry that was present during those days but it would also set up Jezebel’s greatest threat of murder during those days. It would be because of the outcome there at Carmel that Jezebel would place a threat upon Elijah himself and if it were to be enacted in our generation might have even issued a warrant for his arrest and/or even put a bounty upon his head. The events which took place atop Carmel would place Elijah solely and squarely in the crosshairs of a murderous, idolatrous, evil and wicked queen who would seek to threaten his life and promise death would come upon him by that same time the following day. So angered and outraged was Jezebel at what took place at Carmel that she would threaten Elijah’s life and would force the prophet who had just called down fire from heaven—and not only called down fire from heaven but also prayed for rain after the heavens had been shut up for three and a half years. This is something which must be recognized and understood for what we find within this passage of Scripture within the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome calls and draws our attention to one of the greatest truths in all of Scripture—a truth that not only touches and applies to Scripture but also is and has been present within the generations. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of the Old Testament book of First Kings:
“And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are found hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in. pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken. And Elijah said unto the propehts of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, an dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under. And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepers, and must be awaken. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the vending sacrfice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, not any that regarded. And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. AND they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water. And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and aid, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there” (1 Kings 18:17-40).
“And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the LOORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel” (1 Kings 18:41-46).
“And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, If I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which be longeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am. Not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an an gel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold there was a cake baked on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.l And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God” (1 Kings 19:1-8).
“And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquakes fire; but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealousy for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be a prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass that him that escape the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me Sven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:9-18).
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to return to the eleventh chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome. Within this passage of Scripture the apostle Paul appeals to the days and narrative of Elijah and how Elijah made intercession to God against Israel, saying, “Lord they have killed thy prophets, and dogged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.” The apostle Paul goes on to write of the answer of God to the prayer of Elijah in which he made intercession on behalf of a nation that killed the prophets and dug down the altars of the Lord. The prophet Elijah thought that he alone was left and that there were none righteous and yet the living God declared unto him that he had reserved unto himself seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal nor kissed him. The apostle Paul would then go on to transition to the present time and reveal the incredible truth that there was a remnant according to the election of grace—and if by grace, then is it no more of works. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth that we as the saints of God have indeed been called to be a remnant within this nation—and not only within this nation but also within this generation. We as the saints of God must needs be a remnant of those who have not bowed their head not bent the knee to the false gods and idols of this generation and have indeed reserved ourselves unto holiness and righteousness. In the seven years of the tribulation there will be a remnant among the nation and seed of Israel which will be one hundred and forty-four thousand while there will also be those who will refuse to take the mark of the beast which will be mandated and required of all in order to buy and sell during those days.
I am absolutely convinced that there needs to be a remnant like Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael in the land of Babylon—those who will refuse to bow down to the false gods and images made by man in the earth knowing that by doing so it might cost them their lives and their being cast into the fiery furnace. There needs to be a generation of men and women like Daniel who will ignore and refuse to obey the decree of kings, rulers, princes and governments who would seek to mandate they no longer pray and seek the face of the living God and no longer read the Word of God not preach the gospel knowing that it could mean their being cast into the den of lions. In the generation in which we are living there is a great need for a powerful remnant of men and women of effectual, fervent prayer knowing that the effectual and fervent prayers of the righteous avail much. We as the saints of God must needs understand that we are indeed and are in fact living in dark and dangerous times and there is a need for a remnant of righteous and holy saints to be those who are willing to live without compromise and without reservation before a just and holy God. We as the saints of God must needs be those who refuse to bend the knee and bow the head to any of the false idols and false gods of this world and those who are willing to stand as shining lights in the midst of darkness ready and willing even to confront the false gods and powers of darkness if called upon by the living God to do so.