The Future of Ethnic Israel – III

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson further expounds Paul's explanation of how the Jews' rejection of Jesus Christ accomplishes God's purposes.

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[Message] We are studying Romans chapter 11 and “The Future of Ethnic Israel,” and we’re going rather slowly, and I realize that and I hope that you are able to follow along in spite of the slowness of the pace at which we are traveling. Let me review just briefly what we have been saying. Romans 9, 10, and 11 form a special section of the Epistle to the Romans, and the apostle in Romans 9 and 10 makes the point that Israel is not among the elect as a nation because of spiritual pride and self-sufficiency. But coming to the 11th chapter he makes the point that Israel’s failure in spite of the fact that it is a failure is not total. He says in the 5th verse of this particular chapter, “So then even in the present season there has come to be a remnant according to the election of grace.” So he says that while Israel’s failure is that of spiritual pride, it is not a total failure. That is, at the present day there are Hebrew Christians within the family of God.

Now this has been true down through the years and it may help you to remember that the Christian church began as a Jewish church so far as its ethnicity is concerned, because on the day of Pentecost when the church entered into its existence it was almost entirely Jewish. It is not fair nor right in the light of the word of God to say that the promises that were made to them have not been embraced by a number of Jewish Christian believers.

Now the apostle makes that point in the first ten verses. He says that the election has obtained the salvation, but the rest, he states in verse 7, were hardened. Now they were hardened and the result has been that throughout this age there has been a noticeable hardness of heart on the part of the nation Israel, those to whom the promises were originally spoken. In the last part of the chapter, the apostle makes the point that Israel’s failure is not final. That is that the promises that he made in the past to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and confirm down through the years are going to be fulfilled to Israel. We read for example in verses 25 and 26,

“For I do not want you to be ignorant brethren of this mystery, lest you be wise in yourselves that hardening in part has come to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles shall enter in or shall have entered in. And so all Israel shall be saved, as it stands written.”

So we have then the statements made in chapter 11 that Israel’s failure is not total and Israel’s failure is not final. May the Lord bless this reading of his word. Let’s bow together in a moment of prayer.

[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for the opportunity to open the Scriptures. We thank Thee for the truths that are found within them concerning the Lord Jesus Christ most of all, then concerning the plans and purposes that Thou does have for this creation of which you are apart. Enable us, Lord, as we turn again to the Epistle to the Romans to follow Thy thoughts. Help us to see clearly. Give us the diligence to study the word of God in detail, and then, Lord, enable us to practice the truths that we learn from the Scriptures. We desire, Lord, not only to know the doctrines of the word but also we desire the enablement to apply them in our own personal lives and also with a view to the service of our great triune God, and the blessing of others. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

[Message] We have been looking at verses 11 through 24 which is a kind of interlude in the argument devoted to the question of the purpose of Israel’s rejection together with a warning to the favorite Gentiles who might think, and therefore, grow proud that God has chosen them because of something in them and that they stand in the place of blessing at the present time because of something traceable to themselves.

Now from what I have said so far you will notice that I have not raised the question of the future of ethnic Israel. We know that text says all Israel shall be saved, but does all Israel refer to ethnic Israel? And I mentioned in the last hour that there were three interpretations of these verses that have been significant. One is the interpretation posited by John Calvin and that is that the statement in verse 25 and verse 26 and the reference to Israel is one that is to be understood of not only Israelites but also Gentiles. So when we read in verse 26, “so all Israel shall be saved,” we are not to interpret this exclusively of ethnic Israel, but we are to interpret Israel as a broad term inclusive of all of the elect whether they are Israelites or whether they are of ethnic Israel.

I also referred to the interpretation of John Murray, a premier Calvinist exegetical theologian of the last several decades, and Mr. Murray affirmed that “nothing less than the restoration of Israel to faith, privilege, blessing can satisfy the terms of this passage.” So, Mr. Murray while he was an amillenialist or perhaps a post-millenialist, some have contended that he was that, he still at least believed that when the statement was made “all Israel shall be saved” that it was a reference to ethnic Israel.

A third interpretation is the interpretation that has been offered by G. C. Berkouwer, in the eyes of some the leading reformed theologian in the middle of the 20th Century, together with William Hendrickson, a man who is still living and writing commentaries, some of whom are sold in our bookstore. They are very good commentaries, generally speaking, providing you read commentaries with a little bit of perception. Incidentally, when we sell things in the book room that does not mean that everything within them is pure. This is the only pure book right here. That is, the Bible, and especially in the originally languages from which I am reading tonight. So the books are helps and one should read them with some discernment. Mr. Hendrickson and Professor Berkouwer have a similar interpretation. They think that when it says in verse 25, “and so all Israel shall be saved,” that this is not a reference to a future restoration of ethnic Israel. That is, it’s not a reference to a time in the future when there will be a great end gathering of Jewish people into the kingdom of God, but rather “all Israel” is simply a reference to the total number of elect Jews that are being saved throughout the age from the day of Pentecost on to the time of the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus.

So we are trying to look at this passage in the light of these interpretations and see what the apostle is teaching. Now last time we looked at verses 11 and 12. We were looking at our outline in which the apostle asks the question in verse 11, “I say then: they have not stumbled that they might fall, have they?” And we interpreted that as a reference to the apostle asking simply the question, was the purpose of their stumbling that they might fall? I offered you two interpretations of it, that some have suggested that we are to refer this to a permanent fall. The apostle would then be saying, “I say then: they have not stumbled that they should permanently fall, have they?” So the question introduced here would be a denial of such a permanent fall. They have not stumbled that they should permanently fall, have they? And we said that is a possible interpretation.

I suggested to you that it may be that Paul is reflecting on the more ultimate and the more gracious design of God in the stumbling and fall of the mass of Israel at the time with which he is dealing so that the point would be, “I say then: they have not stumbled that they might fall, have they?” And stress would be laid on the purpose clause. They have not stumbled that they should fall, have they? No. He has a further purpose in view. He has stumbling and falling, but the stumbling and falling are designed to provoke, through the Gentiles’ salvation, provoke the Jews to jealousy and bring them to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So then we are taking it that way. “I say then: it isn’t that they have stumbled that they shouldn’t fall permanently. God forbid! But by their trespass or by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles to provoke them, the Jews, to jealousy.” So the apostle’s answer then to the question in verse 11, we say first of all, is a denial. He says it is unthinkable and blasphemous. The word that he uses is the word God forbid. Literally, that expression means, “may it not come to be” or as it has been rendered in some freer versions, “Good heavens, no!” Mr. Philips renders it, “What a ghastly thought!” but he pronounced it differently. “What a ghastly thought!”

So the apostle first of all denies the question. “I say then: they have not stumbled that they should fall irrevocably, have they? God forbid!” So that’s his first answer. Now you see the reason he answers it this way and so emphatically is it’s obvious he thinks that God has given them certain promises, and consequently for them to stumble and fall irrevocably would mean that Israel should no longer have their promises. And if they no longer have their promises which God gave them unconditionally, then what should we say about the faithfulness of God? It would be obvious that he would not be faithful to his promises. He had promised them this. He had not said to them now if you do this, I will give you a glorious future. But he had said I will give you, Abraham, a glorious future. I will make your name great. I’ll give you a land and all the nations of the earth are going to be blessed in your seed, and he did that unconditionally. So for us to say that they have stumbled that they have irrevocably fall, well, that would bring into question the faithfulness of God.

So the apostle said, “God forbid!” But now he knows that it is desirable not simply to deny something as unthinkable and blasphemous. He wants to give reasons for it. So he says secondly, that the false step of the Jews has lead to Gentile’s salvation. Notice what he says in the remainder of that verse, “But by their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles in order to provoke them to jealousy.” In other words, the false step of the Jews has lead to Gentile’s salvation which God has intended in his gracious purpose to provoke Israel to jealousy. What an interesting thought that is. I wonder how many Gentiles really realize that the reason that they have been blessed by God in the present age includes not only their personal salvation, but that they might be the means of provoking Israel to jealousy. In other words, we have been saved with the further end in view that they, Israel, might be provoked to jealousy so that they might turn to the Lord. In other words, their recovery not their fall was his aim.

There’s a damper in joy on the Father’s house; I think I mentioned this last week, as long as the older brother refuses to come in. Now that is such an interesting point that the apostle makes here, and he labors the point because he will mention it again. Notice the 14th verse, “If by any means I might provoke to jealousy my flesh and save some of them.” So he conceives of himself as being an apostle of the Gentiles to provoke Jews to jealousy. What an interesting viewpoint of his apostolic mission.

Now that raises an interesting question, I think. The Christian church then has as one of its primary functions according to Paul the provocation of Jewish people to jealousy. In other words, we should be so joyous and happy about our salvation, so secure in it, and making it so known that when Jewish people look and see Gentiles rejoicing in the Lord Jehovah, they’ll want to be saved too.

Now what do you think Jewish people must think about the Christian church? Why I think in all fairness to the Christian church there’s not a whole lot in the Christian church today to provoke Jews to jealousy. And if you think of the Christian church as a whole, and I’m thinking of the Christian church as a whole, I’m not attacking you. I think if Jewish people really came in here and took a good look at the congregation there would be a number of them that would be provoked to jealousy. And if they came to know some of you and knew the salvation that you have and the kind of life that you enjoy in the Lord, the happiness, the joy, the deep sense of satisfaction in your relationship to the Lord, they would be jealous.

But I’m speaking of Christendom as whole. There is little in it to provoke the Jews to jealousy. The church has gone back to the weak and beggarly elements of the Law of Moses, and Peter told us that was something that neither we nor our fathers were able to bear. The church, generally speaking, puts its believers under the law or its unbelievers under the law for salvation. Huge sums are spent for sanctuaries, but there is practically nothing that is said in the sanctuaries that is worthwhile. I’m not attacking individual churches, but we’ve had lots of illustrations right here in Dallas of large sanctuaries being built, very beautiful sanctuaries, but actually there’s practically nothing within them. They have soft lights, soft music, soft pews, and soft soap from the pulpit. [Laughter] There’s really nothing that is said that is related to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you think Jewish people would be jealous over that? No, they will not be jealous of that.

William Temple said, “Who would bother to crucify the Christ of liberal Christendom? The Christ that was crucified was the Christ who preached damnation and hellfire.” We’ve seen that. We’ve studied the New Testament. Who is the person who speaks more about hell than anyone else? It is the Lord Jesus Christ. He speaks frequently about that. So consequently, he was crucified, but the ministers today of the Christian church as a whole, there are many fortunately, godly men who are preaching the gospel, but generally speaking, the man who preaches hellfire and damnation is regarded as a fanatic, a weirdo, and certainly out of harmony with Christendom today.

What is preached? Well, the Lord Jesus Christ is preached, it is said, but he’s weak. He’s sentimental. He’s faceless. He’s goody-goody. He’s a kind of amicable carpenter. It was according to the apostle the mission of the Christian church to lead to the salvation of the Gentiles in order that ultimately that mission would reach the nation Israel.

Now the apostle states in the 12th verse, “Now if their trespass is the riches of the world and their defeat,” that would may mean diminution, their diminishing, “the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness?” In other words, he is saying, if what has happened is that the Jews have trespassed, they have stumbled; by the way, did you notice in the 12th verse it says, “if their trespass,” singular? It’s not plural. What is the Jewish trespass? Well, now I think the Jewish trespass since its singular can only be a reference to their rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. It’s clear that in the apostle’s mind the Jewish people are rejected not because they have sinned in sins, but they have sinned one great sin, and that great sin is the rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now he says though that, “if their trespass is the riches of the world and their diminishing the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness?” Now what is his argument? Well, his argument is something like this. If they have trespassed, they have rejected Jesus Christ and the result is that there is a richeness of divine blessing that has gone to the world of the Gentiles, how much more will be the result of their fullness? That is, Jewish fullness.

Now what does he mean when he says “their fullness?” Well, that word fullness is really a word that refers to the full number or the compliment or the replenishment. Let me kind of spell it out for you. What he really means by fullness is the full number of them, that is, of the Jewish people. If their trespass is the riches of the Gentiles and if their diminishing the riches of the world and the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness, that is when they come to their full number again, how much blessing can we expect? If they fail and there is great blessing to the world and to the Gentiles, how much more blessing to the world and to the Gentiles may we expect when the Jews come to their full number? It’s an argument from the lesser to the greater.

So it’s a magnificent statement of the fact that the very fact that they have fallen meant blessing for Gentiles. When they come to their full number, what tremendous blessing there will be! Now he will argue this in a moment a little more fully, and we’ll save it for that. But notice in this 12th verse, the three-fold occurrence of the word “their,” now “if their trespass,” now what does that “their” refer to? Well, it can only refer to the Jews in this chapter; their trespass. For he will mention Gentiles here, if “their” trespass is the riches of the world and “their” diminishing, well that can only be a reference again to Israel, is the riches of Gentiles, how much more “their”, what’s that their referred to? Well, the same thing that the two preceding “theirs” have referred to. It referred to the nation Israel.

So who is to have the fullness? Well, of course, it is Israel. Verse 13, “Now I speak to you, Gentiles,” this is a transitional particle that we have and I’ve translated it now, “Now I’m speaking to the Gentiles.” The enlarging of the nation by the enriching of the Gentiles must not be thought to mean that he has no interest in the Jews nor that the blessing of the Jews is not an ultimate interest for the Gentiles. In other words, I want you to understand that I am speaking to you Gentiles. In a moment he is going to warn them. “As long therefore, as I am an apostle of the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry.” By the way, the Authorized Version has “I glorify my office.” So far as I can tell, there is no indication that apostle is an office in the New Testament. The word that is used here in verse 13 is the word that means service. In fact, it’s the word from which we get the word deacon. It’s the word that means ministry, and that’s what a deacon is. He is a minister. So he says, “I glorify my ministry,” not office. He did not think of his apostleship as an office. He thought of it as a gift, a spiritual gift. It is put at the top of the list of spiritual gifts, but nevertheless, it is a gift. So he says, “As long as I am an apostle of the Gentiles, I estimate highly my ministry if by any means I may provoke my flesh to jealousy and save some of them.”

Now what is Paul saying here in the 14th verse? Well, he’s saying there is a possibility which is an object of hope or desire that he may provoke his flesh to jealousy. Well, that’s what he said that the Gentiles were supposed to do in this age, wasn’t it? Back in verse 11, “By their trespass salvation has gone to the Gentiles to provoke them, the Jews, to jealousy.” So he says here, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy my flesh.

Now when he says my flesh, he means, of course, Jewish people; my ethnic flesh, a Jew. He has said back above remember, “God has not cast away his people,” this is the 2nd verse, “whom he foreknew.” Well, in the first verse, “God forbid! For I am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” So that’s his flesh and he says I am trying now to provoke to jealousy my flesh and save some of them. Did you notice that word some? In other words, the apostle is not suggesting that at the present time he will be able to save all of them, but some of them. He doesn’t expect that all of Israel should be saved at this time. He rather looks to the future when all Israel shall be saved. Verse 26, “and so all Israel shall be saved.”

Now the conclusion from verses 13 and 14 is introduced in first 15, “For if the falling away of them be the reconciliation of the world, what shall the receiving be but such a thing as life from the dead.” And again the argument is a fortiori. I don’t know whether I’ve followed this outline here for you, but this is the logic of coming world-wide blessing. Let’s look at it carefully. Verse 15, “For if their falling away,” what is their falling away? Well, that the result of their trespass. They are no longer in relationship to the Lord as they once were as a nation. Their falling away, but their falling away has been the reconciliation of the world. What is the reconciliation of the world in Paul’s thought? Well, if we look back at verse 12 we shall see he says, “If their trespass is the riches of the world and their diminishing the riches of the Gentile,” he means by this, for if their falling away would mean the reconciliation of the world, he means by this as a result of Israel’s trespass, the gospel has gone out to Gentiles, it has gone out to the world, and reconciliation is a blessing that the world of the Gentiles has experienced.

Now if you turn over to 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verses 18 and 19, he describes his ministry as a ministry of reconciliation. In other words, he preaches in such a way that those who are at enmity with God come to be at peace with him through the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now that’s taking place at the present time. “If their falling away be the reconciliation of the world,” because he’s talked about the riches of the world, the riches of the Gentiles.

Now he goes on to say, “What shall their receiving be but life from the dead.” Now what does the apostle, now it is clear what he means by receiving, why he means the same thing that he meant back here in verse 12 when he talked about their fullness. Their fullness is Israel’s return to the plan of God in the blessing of God and the experiencing of salvation. Now you can see from the word here in verse 15 that the same thing is meant, but it’s looked at here not from the human standpoint now, but from the divine standpoint. Their falling away and their receiving, in other words, it’s from the Lord’s standpoint. From the Lord’s standpoint it’s a falling away. From Israel’s standpoint it’s a trespass or a fall. From Israel’s standpoint it is their fullness. They come to their full number. From the Lord’s standpoint, it’s his reception of them into the place of blessing in the Abrahamic Covenant.

Now what is meant by the expression in verse 15, “life from the dead?” “What shall their receiving be but life from the dead?” Well, evidently, it’s something great because back in verse 12 using the same kind of argument he says if Israel has trespassed, the result has been that the Gentiles have received blessing. How much more blessing when Israel is blessed! So we have the same kind of argument here, and we have to assume that this is something great. He says their falling away has been the reconciliation of the world. What shall their receiving be but such a thing as life from the dead? It must be great! It’s far greater than Gentile salvation. You think Gentile salvation is great. We think that’s, after all, what else is there some people think, unfortunately? They think we’ve had riches we Gentiles everything, really all the promises tend to have their ultimate end in us. Ah! How foolish! How foolish! As we shall see later on, we Gentiles enter into the blessing of God hanging onto the coattails of the Jews, and we should never forget that.

Now he says here, “such a thing as life from the dead”. What does that mean? Some of the commentators, one recent one has referred it to as “the climax of the eschatological drama of salvation, the general resurrection, the time in the future when everybody shall be resurrected, whether Jew or Gentile, all believers. Conceived,” he goes on to say, “not as any special renewal of Israel such as that in envisaged by Ezekiel chapter 27 or Hosea chapter 6, but the kind of resurrection from the dead which the targumist envisages in interpreting Hosea 6:2 through 4.” One which on Paul’s understanding of it was a resurrection of the faithful and elect both Jew and Gentile.

But is there any indication here of both Jew and Gentile? No. The argument has been almost entirely upon the distinction between Jew and Gentile; the Jews being rejected, the Jews falling away, the Gentiles having riches; the Gentiles having blessing, but then as a result of their blessing, Israel receiving the full number, their compliment being restored, and finally here, such a thing as life from the dead. Another commentator refers it to “spiritual life and all the blessings of redemption to the Jews.” That’s William T. G. Shedd’s interpretation. He’s an older commentator, a Calvinist, but Calvinist’s frequently go astray when they enter into eschatology, and Professor Shedd has gone astray. Why after all spiritual life and all the blessings of redemption to the Jews, why that would be included in reception. He says, “What shall their reception be but life from the dead?” So that would add nothing. Reception has already been stated. Obviously the words are to be interpreted by the preceding reconciliation of the world. He says, “For if their falling away be the reconciliation of the world what shall their receiving be but life from the dead?” Life from the dead must be something far greater than the reconciliation of the world; must be something far greater.

So the limited reconciliation of the Gentiles that followed Israel’s rejection must be followed by something that’s far greater. What about world-wide acceptance? In other words I’ll put it this way, the limited reconciliation followed Israel’s rejection, world-wide acceptance should follow her receiving, it seems.

Now the relatively small present Gentile’s salvation is therefore to be exceeded by something far greater in the future. If their falling away be the reconciliation of the world, we may have thought that reconciliation of the world was very great because Gentiles have been saved all over the world. The church has spread all over the world, but really we’ve barely touched the world, haven’t we? We’re a remnant. We’re still a remnant. As a matter of fact, the Lord Jesus refers to the church as a little flock, and that’s essentially what it is, but it’s called here the reconciliation of the world. The reception is doing to lead to something far greater, evidentially, than world-wide blessing to the Gentiles.

Well, I would like to suggest to you that what life from the dead suggests is an unprecedented quickening for the world in the salvation of individuals. That what we have here is a statement that if the falling away of Israel has been the reconciliation of the world, Gentiles have been saved all over the world. When Israel shall be restored to its place of blessing we will see an unprecedented world-wide experience of salvation. That is what it seems to me the apostle intends for us to understand by it.

Now I do not think then that he is referring to the resurrection from the dead. In the original text there is no article before the word life. What he really means then is something like, what shall their receiving be except something such as life from the dead? Now life from the dead is an amazing thing. So it will be an amazing kind of thing. What he’s talking about, in my opinion, is a world-wide salvation that is amazing.

So what Paul has told us here so far is this, he has said the present day is the day of Jewish rejection, Jewish trespass. Only a remnant of Israel is being saved. This is the day of Gentile salvation. The nations are being saved. The nation has been rejected, but the nations are being saved in order to provoke the nation to jealousy in order that the nation may come to faith in the Lord that there may be world-wide blessing far greater than anything the nations have ever known at the present time. What a magnificent picture of the future! It’s Paul’s plan of the ages. So today is Jewish rejection, but Gentile acceptance on a scattered scale. Not everybody in the world is saved, incidentally, only some. Not all Gentiles without exception, but some from every tribe, and kindred, and tongue, and nation; the world. But the future is something different.

Now then in verse 16 we turn to something that is a little different. Here the apostle launches into an admonition, because he had a problem with the Gentiles in his day. The problem, obviously, was we are being blessed. Israel is not being blessed, so what would be the tendency? Why the tendency would be for the Gentiles to boast against the Jews. Do you know that is exactly what happened in the history of the Christian church? If you will go back into the Middle Ages and before, and then on into the period of the Reformation, you will discover that there was a persistant tendency on the part of Gentiles to boast against the Jews, and no one was more strong in this than Martin Luther. He spoke of the Jewish people as I’ll give you the exact German quotation next week. I don’t have it with me right now, but it’s something like, “Would ironstone deviled hardened so that it is impossible for them to be turned.” I remember the first part of it, Stock-stein-eisen-teufel-hart. And the tendency of the Christian church has been to fail to see that we enjoy our blessing in order that they may enter into theirs.

Notice how the 16th verse begins, he says, “Now if the first fruits be holy, also the lump. And if a root be holy, also the branches.” This introduces the admonition, and it’s an admonition directed to Gentiles. It also, of course, gives reasons for expecting that the Jews shall be received. What’s intended by the figures, because these are clearly figures? “Now if the first fruits be holy, also the lump. And if the root be holy, also the branches,” does that kind of leave you cold? Does that sentence kind of move around in your cranium without attaching itself to anything in particular? Do you know why? Well you haven’t in your Bible reading reached the Book of Numbers yet. Now if you’ve reached the Book of Numbers, now I’m not blaming you for it because you’re not suppose to be there yet in your Bible reading this year, but if you have reached the Book of Numbers you would recognize that this expression is related to something in the Old Testament. What is meant by the first fruits and the root? Well, we’ve got a minute. I hate to launch into this. It may not be wise to do it, but it will prepare you for what we come to next time. What is represented by them?

Now it will help to begin with what we do know. The following context points to Israel the nation being the branches. Look at verse 17, for example. “Now if some of the branches were broken off,” now that’s clearly a reference to Israel. Verse 19, “You will say to me they were broken off, the branches were broken off, that I, Gentile, might be grafted in.” So the branches refer to individual Jewish people. Notice the plural. So if the branches refer to Israel the nation, then we would assume that the lump, also, refers to the nation Israel, because there clearly is relationship. “If the first fruits be holy, also the lump. If the roots be holy, also the branches.” So the branches are related to the lump. So the lump must be a reference to the nation Israel.

Now this figure of the lump and the first fruits is related to Numbers chapter 15, verse 17 through verse 21. I think that I’ll just read this and we’ll have to stop. Next time we will pick this up. I won’t go quite as tediously. This is a very difficult section. I want you to pay some attention to it, that’s why I’ve gone rather tediously through it. But we won’t be quite as tedious next time. I don’t want to scare you away, but let me read Numbers chapter 15, verse 17 through 21, and you be thinking about this before our study next week.

“The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land to which I am taking you and you eat the food of the land, present a portion as an offering to the Lord. Present a cake from the first of your ground meal and present it as an offering from the threshing floor. Throughout the generations to come you are to give this offering to the Lord from the first of your ground meal.”

The first fruits of your lump, your ground meal. What this means is that the Israelites were to offer a cake from the dough of the first ground flour as it came from the threshing floor, and the giving of this cake to the Lord consecrated all of the lump or all of the dough, all of the harvest.

Now we’ll have to stop. Time’s up. Let’s close with a word of prayer.

[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for this portion of Thy word and we do ask that as we do ponder it that Thou would guide us into an understanding of its meaning. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.