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Romans 11.4-Paul Cites 1 Kings 19.18 To Teach That God Has Not Rejected Israel Because He Has Set Aside A Remnant Of Believers In Israel

Romans Chapter Eleven  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:11:24
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Romans: Romans 11:4-Paul Cites 1 Kings 19:18 To Teach That God Has Not Rejected Israel Because He Has Set Aside A Remnant Of Believers In Israel-Lesson # 355

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Wenstrom Bible Ministries

Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom

Sunday June 21, 2009

www.wenstrom.org

Romans: Romans 11:4-Paul Cites 1 Kings 19:18 To Teach That God Has Not Rejected Israel Because He Has Set Aside A Remnant Of Believers In Israel

Lesson # 355

Please turn in your Bibles to Romans 11:1.

Thus far in our studies of Romans chapter eleven we noted Romans 11:1 and in this passage Paul poses a rhetorical question that is the result of an inference that could be implied from his teaching in Romans chapters nine and ten, namely that God has rejected Israel.

He emphatically rejects this idea and then presents himself as living proof that this is not the case.

Romans 11:1, “I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.”

Then, in Romans 11:2, he emphatically declares that God has by no means rejected the nation of Israel whom He foreknew.

Romans 11:2, “God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?”

Next, in Romans 11:3, he cites 1 Kings 19:10 to demonstrate that God has not rejected Israel.

Romans 11:3, “Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED YOUR PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN YOUR ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE.”

In this passage, Elijah pleaded with the Father against Israel when he was the lone surviving prophet in Israel who was alone in the desert because he was fleeing Jezebel who sought to murder him.

This morning we will note Romans 11:4 and in this verse Paul presents the Father’s response to Elijah’s complaint against Israel by citing 1 Kings 19:18,which records God telling him that He had set aside a remnant composed of seven thousand men in Israel that had not bowed the knee to Baal.

Romans 11:4, “But what is the divine response to him? ‘I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.’”

Paul in Romans 11:5 states that in the same way that God set aside a remnant for Himself in a Elijah’s day so He had done so in Paul’s day in the mid first century.

Romans 11:5, “In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice.”

Therefore, Romans 11:1-5 teaches that God has not rejected Israel because He has set aside a remnant of believers at the present time.

Now, let’s concentrate on the question that appears in verse 4.

Romans 11:4, “But what is the divine response to him? ‘I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.’”

This statement in Romans 11:4 stands in direct contrast to Elijah’s complaint to the idea that Elijah is the only believer in Israel who has not succumbed to idolatry.

“The divine response” is the noun chrematismos (xrhmatismov$) (khray-mat-is-mos), which refers to an act whereby God the Father verbally and authoritatively responds to Elijah’s prayer against Israel by giving Elijah revelation of His plan for Israel.

Paul is quoting from 1 Kings 19:18, which records the Lord’s response to Elijah’s prayer.

1 Kings 18:1-40 records Elijah’s courageous victory in standing up Ahab and the prophets of Baal.

On the heels of this great victory, Elijah achieves another one by praying to God persistently in accordance with His will to bring rain to Israel.

However, after these two great victories that the Lord gave Elijah, Jezebel, Ahab’s wife got wind of Elijah’s victory over the prophets of Baal and his execution of them.

She sends a threatening letter to the prophet and seeks to assassinate him.

Elijah in turn out of despair for his life, prays to God against Israel but God responds by telling Elijah that He has set aside for Himself a remnant of believers who will not bow to Baal.

Romans 11:4, “But what is the divine response to him? ‘I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.’”

“I HAVE KEPT for Myself” refers to the act of God “reserving” a remnant of believers in Elijah’s day and emphasizes that God the Father alone was responsible for reserving the remnant of 7000 in Elijah’s day.

“SEVEN THOUSAND MEN” is a literal number since in context, the seven thousand mentioned by the Lord to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:18 appear in 1 Kings 20:15 who accompanied Ahab, the king of Israel in defeating the king of Aram (Syria), Ben-hadad.

Notice, that the Lord does not mention women as part of this remnant, thus the number of this remnant in Israel in the days of Elijah was significantly higher than seven thousand.

In Romans 11:4, Paul is not saying that there was a remnant of seven thousand in Israel in his day but rather, he is simply quoting from 1 Kings 19:18 to support his teaching that God has not rejected Israel altogether.

Paul is saying that just as in the days of Elijah when God had reserved for Himself a remnant of at least 7000 believers so in his day in the first century, God had reserved a remnant of believers in Israel, thus demonstrating that He had not rejected Israel altogether.

Romans 11:4, “But what is the divine response to him? ‘I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.’”

“Who” is the qualitative relative pronoun hostis (o^sti$) (hos-tis), which emphasizes that these seven thousand Israelites in Elijah’s day were unique in character in contrast with the rest of idolatrous Israel in that they were believers.

“HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL” refers to the remnant of 7000 believers in Elijah’s day who never performed the overt act of worshipping the Canaanite deity, Baal.

Baal was the storm god worshipped throughout the ancient Near East.

Baal was considered to be the grandson of El and controlled rain, wind and clouds and was considered as responsible for fertility.

This forms the basis for the sexual orgies that constituted part of the worship of this deity.

He was depicted by artists as a man with a thunderbolt in his left hand, a club in the other and a helmet with the horns of a bull.

Baal first appears in the Old Testament in Numbers 24:21.

The Israelites were wandering in the wilderness and arrived in Moab and there many in Israel got involved in licentious worship.

This Canaanite deity continued to plague Israel for approximately 800 years from the time of their sojourn in Moab through the period of the judges (Judges 2, 6, 8, 10), the monarchy (1 Samuel 12:10) and the divided kingdom (1 Kings 16, 18, 22) until the time of the Babylonian captivity of Judah.

The most famous incident in the Old Testament associated with Baal worship occurred when Elijah challenged Jezebel’s 450 Baal prophets to a contest on Mount Carmel and defeated them, causing Jezebel to take a contract out on the prophet.

In Romans 11:4, the term “Baal” is used with reference to the worship of this Canaanite deity in Elijah’s day where in response to Elijah’s prayer against Israel, the Father declared to the prophet that He had reserved for Himself a remnant of seven thousand believers who never bowed the knee to this deity.

Therefore, in Romans 11:4, Paul presents the Father’s response to Elijah’s complaint against Israel by citing 1 Kings 19:18,which records God telling him that He had set aside a remnant composed of seven thousand men in Israel that had not bowed the knee in worship to the Canaanite deity, Baal.

This passage supports Paul’s statement in Romans 11:2 that God has not rejected the nation of Israel altogether.

God has by no means rejected the nation of Israel altogether because of her rejection of Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah because He has reserved for Himself a remnant of believers just as He did in Elijah’s day.

This recalls Paul’s remnant doctrine, which he taught in Romans 9:27-29.

Romans 9:27, “However, Isaiah cries out over Israel, ‘Though the number which is the posterity descended from Israel is like the sand, which is by the sea only the remnant will be delivered.’”

Romans 9:28, “In fact, the Lord will execute judgment upon the inhabitants of the land thoroughly and decisively.”

Romans 9:29, “So that just as Isaiah predicts, ‘If the Lord over the armies had not left to us descendants and He has, we would have become like Sodom and in addition like Gomorrah, we would have been made like.’”

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