“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” (Romans 9:4-5)
We now have before us a list of eight separate privileges of the Jewish people. Paul mentioned back in Romans 3:1-2 that there were many advantages to being a Hebrew; chief among them being the commiting of the oracles of God unto them. It was primarily through Jewish human writers that the Spirit of God wrote His Holy Word, the Old Testament was a peculiar possession of theirs. However, in addition to that, Paul now goes into a little more detail in Chapter 9 about the “much every way” he alluded to back in Romans 3:2. The eight privileges of Israel listed in Romans 9:4-5 are as follows:
1.) The Adoption
“When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” (Hosea 11:1)
We tend to think of this scripture in reference to the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 2:15) where its deeper, prophetic meaning was fulfilled. But this verse also applies literally to the nation of Israel. God loved His son, Israel, and called him out of Egypt (Exodus 4:22-23). The Lord adopted Israel as His own special people (Deut. 7:6). No other nation or people has ever been called God’s son, though the individual who trusts in Christ is made a child of God through adoption (Rom. 8:14-16). The adoption of a particular nation of people is a privilege exclusive to the Hebrews.
2.) The Glory
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.” (Leviticus 16:2)
The Psalmist described God as the One Who dwells between the Cherubims (Ps. 80:1), referring to the Shekinah Glory of God which rested as a cloud upon the Mercy Seat in the Temple. It was at this place within the Holy of Holies where the visible Presence of the Lord met with the High Priest on the Day of Atonement each year (Exodus 25:22, Leviticus 16:30-34). Though the Christian has the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16), no people, including the Church, has ever had the privilege of the visible Presence of the Glory of God except the nation of Israel. That Fire that led by night and Pillar which led the Hebrews through the wilderness by day (Ex. 13:21-22) was a unique physical manifestation of God’s Presence peculiar to those people, as well.
3.) The Covenants
“For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” (Hebrews 8:7-10)
Dr. C.I. Scofield, in his Scofield Reference Bible, listed seven separate covenants which preceded the New Covenant that we have in Christ; four of those being specific to Israel. The Abrahamic Covenant established the Hebrew nation (Gen. 12:2), the Mosaic Covenant enacted the Law of Moses (Ex. 19:5); a Law that was given directly to Israel whereby their nation was to be governed (Lev. 26:46). The Palestinian Covenant promises the final conversion of Israel back to the Lord and the restoration of the nation into the land of Palestine (Deut. 30:3) — a covenant that remains to be fulfilled, though the Hebrews do possess a portion of the Land of Promise today. It is a secular nation which has been established since 1948; a true Theocracy ruled by the Lord Jesus Christ will one day be realized when He returns again to rule, both over Israel and the entire world (Luke 1:32-33, Isaiah 9:6-7). And, finally, Israel was given the Davidic Covenant which specifically promised that the Throne of David would be occupied by the Lord Jesus forever (2 Samuel 7:8-17).
The Church has been given the New Covenant of Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, but the nation of Israel was the particular recipient of the covenants which preceded it.
4.) The Giving Of The Law
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:” (Exodus 19:5)
The Law of Moses was not universally given to all of mankind, but to one specific nation: Israel. They were designated and set apart as a peculiar people, different from all others, to be the one race through whom God would give His Divine Law. Neither has God ever given the Law of Moses over to the Church. We were reminded earlier in this Epistle that the Gentiles have not the Law (Rom. 2:12-14). No other nation or people have had this special covenant of the Law with God (Deut. 4:8).
We have looked at the first four of Israel’s privileges. Lord willing, we will look at the last four next time. May the Lord God bless you greatly.
To God goes all glory. In service to Him,
*Scofield Reference Bible, (c) 1909, 1917, 1937, 1945 by Oxford University Press