God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew - God has not finally and irrecoverably rejected a people whom he has loved (or approved) so long, ὁν προεγνω, for this is evidently the meaning of the word in this place, as we have already seen, Romans 8:29, and is a very general meaning of the original verb ידע yada in Hebrew and γινωσκω in Greek; as I have had often occasion to notice in different parts of this work, and what none will deny who consults the original. See Schleusner, Parkhust, etc.
Wot ye not what the Scripture saith - Ουκ οιδατε, Do ye not know what the Scripture saith? The reference is to 1 Kings 19:10, 1 Kings 19:14. And the apostle's answer to the objecting Jew is to the following effect: God hath not universally thrust away his people, for whom in the promise to Abraham he intended, and to whom decreed, to grant his special favor and blessing; but the case is now much as it was in the days of Elijah: that prophet, in his addresses to God, made his complaint against Israel thus: -
God hath set cast away - This is an explicit denial of the objection.
Which he foreknew - The word “foreknew” is expressive not merely of foreseeing a thing, but implies in this place a previous purpose or plan; see the note at Romans 8:29. The meaning of the passage is simply, God has not cast off those whom he had before purposed or designed to be his people. It is the declaration of a great principle of divine government that God is not changeable: and that he would not reject those whom he had purposed should be his people. Though the mass of the nation, therefore, should be cast off, yet it would not follow that God had violated any promise or compact; or that he had rejected any whom he had foreknown as his true people. God makes no covenant of salvation with those who are in their sins; and if the unbelieving and the wicked, however many external privileges they may have enjoyed, are rejected, it does not follow that he has been unfaithful to one whom he had foreknown or designated as an heir of salvation. It follows from this, also, that it is one principle of the divine government that God will not reject those who are foreknown or designated as his friends. It is a part of the plan, therefore, that those who are truly renewed shall persevere, and obtain eternal life.
Wot ye not - Know ye not.
What the Scripture saith? - The passage here quoted is found in 1 Kings 19:10-18.
Of Elias - Of Elijah. Greek, “Elijah” ἐν Ἡλιᾳ en HēliaThis does not mean that it was said about Elijah, or concerning him; but the reference is to the usual manner of quoting the Scriptures among the Jews. The division into chapters and verses was to them unknown. (See the Introduction to the notes on Matthew.) Hence, the Old Testament was divided into portions designated by subjects. Thus, Luke 20:37; Mark 12:26, “At the bush,” means the passage which contains the account of the burning bush; (see the notes on those places.) Here it means, in that passage or portion of Scripture which gives an account of Elijah. He maketh intercession to God against Israel - The word translated “maketh intercession” ἐντυγχάνει entungchaneimeans properly to come to the aid of anyone; to transact the business of anyone; especially to discharge the function of an advocate, or to plead one‘s cause in a court of justice. In a sense similar to this it is applied to Christ in his function of making intercession for us in heaven; Hebrews 7:25; Isaiah 53:12. In the English language, the word is constantly used in a good sense, to plead for one; never, to plead against one; but the Greek word may imply either. It expresses the function of one who manages the business of another; and hence, one who manages the business of the state against a criminal; and when followed by the preposition for, means to intercede or plead for a person; when followed by against κατά katait means to accuse or arraign. This is its meaning here. He accuses or arraigns the nation of the Jews before God; he charges them with crime; the crime is specified immediately.
He maketh intercession to God against Israel - The word translated “maketh intercession” ἐντυγχάνει entungchaneimeans properly to come to the aid of anyone; to transact the business of anyone; especially to discharge the function of an advocate, or to plead one‘s cause in a court of justice. In a sense similar to this it is applied to Christ in his function of making intercession for us in heaven; Hebrews 7:25; Isaiah 53:12. In the English language, the word is constantly used in a good sense, to plead for one; never, to plead against one; but the Greek word may imply either. It expresses the function of one who manages the business of another; and hence, one who manages the business of the state against a criminal; and when followed by the preposition for, means to intercede or plead for a person; when followed by against κατά katait means to accuse or arraign. This is its meaning here. He accuses or arraigns the nation of the Jews before God; he charges them with crime; the crime is specified immediately.
If ever a people needed light, it is those who are living in the very closing days of this earth's history. We want to know what saith the Scripture. We want to come to the living oracles of God. We want that living faith which grasps the arm of infinite power, and we want to rely with all our being upon Jesus Christ, our righteousness. And we may do it. Yes, we do it profitably to our own soul's interest. FW 66.4Read in context »
Yet this apostasy, widespread as it has come to be, is not universal. Not all in the world are lawless and sinful; not all have taken sides with the enemy. God has many thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal, many who long to understand more fully in regard to Christ and the law, many who are hoping against hope that Jesus will come soon to end the reign of sin and death. And there are many who have been worshiping Baal ignorantly, but with whom the Spirit of God is still striving. PK 171.1
These need the personal help of those who have learned to know God and the power of His word. In such a time as this, every child of God should be actively engaged in helping others. As those who have an understanding of Bible truth try to seek out the men and women who are longing for light, angels of God will attend them. And where angels go, none need fear to move forward. As a result of the faithful efforts of consecrated workers, many will be turned from idolatry to the worship of the living God. Many will cease to pay homage to man-made institutions and will take their stand fearlessly on the side of God and His law. PK 171.2
Much depends on the unceasing activity of those who are true and loyal, and for this reason Satan puts forth every possible effort to thwart the divine purpose to be wrought out through the obedient. He causes some to lose sight of their high and holy mission, and to become satisfied with the pleasures of this life. He leads them to settle down at ease, or, for the sake of greater worldly advantages, to remove from places where they might be a power for good. Others he causes to flee in discouragement from duty, because of opposition or persecution. But all such are regarded by Heaven with tenderest pity. To every child of God whose voice the enemy of souls had succeeded in silencing, the question is addressed, “What doest thou here?” I commissioned you to go into all the world and preach the gospel, to prepare a people for the day of God. Why are you here? Who sent you? PK 171.3Read in context »
The prophet Isaiah, looking down through the centuries and witnessing the rejection of prophet after prophet and finally of the Son of God, was inspired to write concerning the acceptance of the Redeemer by those who had never before been numbered among the children of Israel. Referring to this prophecy, Paul declares: “Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me. But to Israel He saith, All day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” AA 375.1
Even though Israel rejected His Son, God did not reject them. Listen to Paul as he continues the argument: “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 foreknew. 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 digged 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.” AA 375.2
Israel had stumbled and fallen, but this did not make it impossible for them to rise again. In answer to the question, “Have they stumbled that they should fall?” the apostle replies: “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; how much more their fullness? For I speak to you 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, and 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?” AA 375.3Read in context »