Let us read Romans 10:21 and Romans 11:21.
“BUT TO ISRAEL HE SAITH: ALL DAY LONG I HAVE STRETCHED FORTH MY HANDS UNTO A DISOBEDIENT AND GAINSAYING PEOPLE.”
“For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He spare not thee (the Gentiles).”
In answering this most interesting question concerning God’s dealings with Israel, “how long is all day long,” let us note carefully one of the most solemn and significant messages that came from the mouth and heart of the Lord Jesus Christ; namely, “the parable of the vineyard.”
“Then began He to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. And at the season, He sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give Him of the fruit of the vineyard; but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. And again He sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. And again he sent a third, and they wounded him also, and cast him out. Then said the Lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send My beloved Son: it may be they will reverence Him when they see Him. But when the husbandmen saw Him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the Heir: come, let us kill Him, that the inheritance may be ours. So they cast Him out of the vineyard, and killed Him. What therefore shall the Lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it they said, God forbid. And He beheld them and said, What is this then that is written, The Stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the Head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that Stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever It shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Luke 20:9 to 18.
As we look into the Scriptures to find an answer to the question, “how long was all day long,” we know that that long day of God’s longsuffering toward His disobedient and stiffnecked people, Israel, began after the birth of that nation. Perhaps we should mark the beginning of that day from the month that Israel left Egypt.
About 1500 B.C. the children of Israel were under the tyrannical oppression of Pharaoh in Egypt. God sent Moses to Pharaoh with signs and wonders. Then the Lord commanded Moses to lead His people out of that land: “And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.” Exodus 12:37 and 38.
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.” “And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.” “And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.” Exodus 14:13 to 31.
Then followed the song of Moses and the children of Israel. Exodus 15:1 to 19. But in that same chapter we read, “. . . and the people murmured,” and we find this same statement in Exodus 16:2 and Exodus 17:3. Then in Exodus 32:7, God had something to say,
“And the Lord said unto Moses, get thee down; for thy people which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.”
The children of Israel were worshipping Aaron’s golden calf. God threatened to destroy them and Moses said, “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, to whom Thou swarest.” Exodus 32:13. God did. God will again remember these men to whom He sware.
But note God’s Word in Exodus 32:9:
“And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people.”
So Israel was a stiffnecked and disobedient people from 1495 B.C. up to the time that Jesus Christ came unto His own, and then what? “His own received Him not.” Read again “the parable of the vineyard” and get the full force and meaning of those words of Christ.
What are we to understand by this statement, “Christ came. unto His own, and His own received Him not?” We read in John’s Gospel several times, “many of the Jews believed on Him,” “many of the people believed on Him.” But this significant question was asked in John 7:48:
“Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on Him?” And then this significant statement in John 12:37. “But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him.”
Then we are told in I Corinthians 2:7 and 8, that the rulers crucified the Lord of glory. Again we read in I Thessalonians 2:14:
“The Jews who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men to fill up their sins alway; for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.”
Let us consider God’s dealings with Israel in three different periods:
First—From Egypt to the coming of John the Baptist.
Second—During Christ’s days on earth.
Third—From the resurrection of Christ until the Divine judgment recorded in the eleventh chapter of Romans.
Let us note one statement of the Lord to Moses about 1495 B. C. and another to Israel by Stephen about 35 A. D.:
Exodus 33:5: “For the Lord had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.”
Acts 7: 51 to 53:
“YE STIFFNECKED AND UNCIRCUMCISED IN HEART AND EARS, YE DO ALWAYS RESIST THE HOLY GHOST: AS YOUR FATHERS DID, SO DO YE. WHICH OF THE PROPHETS HAVE NOT YOUR FATHERS PERSECUTED? AND THEY HAVE SLAIN THEM WHICH SHEWED BEFORE OF THE COMING OF THE JUST ONE; OF WHOM YE HAVE BEEN NOW THE BETRAYERS AND MURDERERS: WHO HAVE RECEIVED THE LAW BY THE DISPOSITION OF ANGELS, AND HAVE NOT KEPT IT.”
Here we note that Israel’s gainsayings and disobedience began in the days of Moses and continued until the days of Stephen. Note what they did to the second messenger: “When they heard these things they were cut to the heart.” Acts 7:58. They rushed on Stephen and stoned him to death. All during those 1530 years God was stretching forth His hands to a gainsaying and disobedient nation. God still stretched forth His hands to that nation for some years after they killed the Prince of Life (Acts 3:14 to 17) and after they killed Stephen. Then note Acts 12:1 to 3, that it pleased the House of Israel when one of Christ’s twelve apostles was murdered.
In Luke 19:41 to 44 we learn that Jesus Christ, weeping, pronounced an awful judgment upon Israel. Then in Luke 23:34 it is recorded that He prayed on the cross that His Father would forgive them. So years after Christ called them “serpents,” He sent Paul to them to warn them: “Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; behold, ye despisers and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.” Acts 13:40 and 41.
The history of Israel, from Egypt to Isaiah, was one of some glory and honour but more of disgrace and dishonour. Then the history of Israel, from Isaiah until the day they said to Pilate concerning their own Messiah, “let Him be crucified” (Matthew 27:23), was one of sin, disgrace, judgment and sorrow. They asked for the blood of Christ to be upon them; and it has been.
Hear the words which the Lord Jesus spoke to them: “Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Matthew 23:32 and 33. Then He wept over His people and their city. Luke 19:41 to 4:3. His people did not know the time of their visitation, that is, the King’s visit. Note the judgment He pronounced: “But when the King heard thereof He was wroth: and He sent forth His armies and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.” Matthew 22:7. After that they “killed the Prince of Life.” Acts 3:12 to 18.
What a scene! The Lord of Glory hanging on Barabbas’ cross. Hear His words “. . . Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. Christ had said in Matthew 12:30 to 32 that Israel’s sin against the Son of man would be pardonable, but that if they sinned against the Holy Spirit, their sin would be unpardonable. They sinned against. the Son of man when they persuaded Pilate to kill Him. They sinned against the Holy Spirit when they rejected the testimony of Stephen and stoned him to death. Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:55) and said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of Clod.” Acts 7:56. Note carefully the words of Acts 5:29 to 32: “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.”
The Holy Spirit here is the witness of Peter’s statement to all the House of Israel in Acts 2:36: “Therefore let all the House of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Let us not follow the blunder of Christians who teach that Israel was set aside at Calvary and that Paul’s dispensation of grace began on the clay of Pentecost.
On the day of Pentecost twelve men stood up. Acts 2:14. Their audience was made up of devout Jews from every nation under heaven. Acts 2:5. There were some Gentile proselytes in the audience. Acts 2:10. The message was for all the House of Israel, twelve tribes. Acts 2:36. One of the Twelve later addressed a message to the twelve tribes of Israel. James 1:1. We have also read, in Acts 12:1 and 2, that James, the brother of John, was killed, and that reduced those who were apostles before Paul to ELEVEN. When the number ceased to be “TWELVE” the Lord ceased to record, in Acts, the activities of Peter and the Ten except as they had dealings with Paul. In the last sixteen chapters of Acts Paul is mentioned more than 100 times.
We find, in Acts 13:7 to 17, the record of the dispensational miracle, the salvation of a Gentile, because of the blindness of a Jew sent by God. This was the beginning of the turning away from Israel as a nation. This turning away is stated in Acts 13:46. We learned that Peter’s message in Acts 5:29 to 12 was addressed to Israel. In the warning of Acts 13:40 and 41 we learn that God’s judgment upon Israel, as a nation, had not yet taken place. Let us see by studying the Book of Acts that God deferred for nearly 40 years the awful judgment pronounced upon Israel in Luke 21:20 to 24. It is true that Christ, in Matthew 23:30 to 39, called them “serpents” and announced the desolation of Israel. But in Luke 21:20 to 24 we learn that that desolation would be when armies were surrounding Jerusalem.
The Lord deferred His wrath and gave Israel another chance. Christ, on the cross, prayed for their forgiveness. Then note the message of love and mercy delivered to them in Acts 3:12 to 26. Later on Israel committed the unpardonable sin and because of that sin and God’s judgment salvation was sent to the Gentiles.
Some Christians teach that God ceased His dealings with “the House of Israel” as a nation, when Christ was crucified and that “the House of God” of I Timothy 3:15 had its historical beginning on the day of Pentecost, or a few weeks before that day. You will observe that “the House of God” in I Timothy 3:15 and 16, is mentioned in connection with a great mystery. Others teach that the Lord dealt with “the House of Israel” as a nation and as an Israelitish church up to the close of Acts and then, “the House of God” of I Timothy 3:15 began. The careful student of the Book of Acts will note that the casting away of Israel and the reconciling of the Gentiles was gradual rather than abrupt.
“The House of God” in Ephesians 3:6, is called the Joint-Body and a Secret not made known to Israel’s prophets (3:5). Certainly it was not made known to the Twelve in their ministry in the first chapters of Acts. The Eleven contended with Peter for preaching to a Gentile. Acts 11:1 to 7. Peter himself said it was unlawful until God gave him the housetop vision. Acts 10:28. Certainly no “mystery” began on the day of Pentecost when everything was in fulfillment of Scriptures. There was not yet the Joint-Body of Ephesians 3:6 when Cornelius was converted. Not one of the Twelve ever used the word “Body” in referring to the Church. The Body is the Church of God. But the Church of God was not necessarily the Body.
God’s all day long to the Jews, extended this side of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. In Acts 3:26 Peter said to the Jews, “unto you first.” In Acts 13:46 and Acts 18:5 and 6, Paul said to the Jews, “unto you first.”
Surely Acts 28:25 to 28 marked a crisis in the history of Israel. So did the stoning of Stephen in the seventh chapter of Acts. But Romans 11:15 marked the end of Israel’s day, so far as their priority rights, special privileges and any Kingdom offer were concerned. Israel was cast away and reconciliation was sent to Gentiles.
Today God could truly say, “all day long have I given Gentiles the opportunity to be saved by grace.” Let us remember, “If God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He spare not thee (Gentiles).” When will God’s day of grace end? He knows. We can only say, “it may be today.”
We have looked into Israel’s past. Let us see something of their glorious future. Read carefully Ezekiel 37:22 to 28. We quote a few of God’s promises to and concerning Israel:
“I will save them”—“I will cleanse them”—“So shall they be My people, and I will be their God.”—“David My servant, shall be king over them. “—“They shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob wherever your fathers have dwelt . . . They shall dwell therein, they and their children and their children’s children for ever.”
Read also Ezekiel 36:24 to 38, for some very interesting information concerning Israel’s future. Note the Lord’s statement in Ezekiel 36:37:
“Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.”
In this chapter we read,
“I will take you from among the Gentiles and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you to your own land.” “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” “And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden . . .”
Here we are reminded of God’s promise in Isaiah 62:1 to 4:
“For Zion’s sake will I not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see Thy righteousness, and all kings Thy glory; and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephizibah, and thy land Beulah; for the Lord delighted in thee, and thy land shall be married.”
In contemplating the wonderful future of Israel and Jerusalem, let us remember the Word of the Lord in Ezekiel 36:22 and Romans 11:26 to 28:
“Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.” Ezekiel 36: 22.
“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion 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 fathers’ sake.” Romans 11:26 to 28.
Thus we see that the Lord is to do wonderful things for Israel and Jerusalem for His own holy name’s sake and because His gifts and calling are without repentance.
About 1495 B.C. the children of Israel were led out of Egyptian bondage. Why?
“AND GOD HEARD THEIR GROANINGS AND GOD REMEMBERED HIS COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM, WITH ISAAC AND WITH JACOB. AND GOD LOOKED UPON THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, AND GOD HAD RESPECT UNTO THEM.” Exodus 2:24 and 25.
God remembered His covenant with Abraham. He will do that again and again deliver Israel. Romans 11:26 to 29.
Note again Jeremiah 23:7 and 8: “Therefore behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But the Lord liveth, which brought up and led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land. “
Yes, we can surely believe that things are going to happen for Israel and for Jerusalem. But until the coming, and reign of the Messiah and King, Whom they rejected and put to death, the individual unbelieving Jews are headed for an awful judgment. Note God’s Word in Romans 2:6: “. . . God; Who will render to every man according to His deeds.” “Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile.” Romans 2:9.
Here is God’s message for Jews and Gentiles in this day of grace: “For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:11 to 13.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.