HATH GOD CAST AWAY HIS PEOPLE?
Dr. W. A. Criswell
3-16-69 8:15 a.m.
On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message entitled Hath God Cast Away His People? And if you will open your ears and hear, you will learn a great deal. You will learn very much about God’s Word today. The title of the message is a question that is asked in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Romans, “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 whom He foreknew” [Romans 11:1-2].
Now there are people, who profess to be scholars in the Bible, who identify Israel as the church. And if you do that, the Bible is a conglomerate without any hope of being understood. You had might as well say that in reading history, where it says “American” I am going to say it means Hottentots, and where it says “Frenchman” I am going to say it means Australian aborigine. And when you do that in reading history it becomes an entangled mess. It has no schemes of history or story that you could unravel; it is a mess. The same is true in the Word of God. When the word Israel is used, it refers to Israel. When the word Jew is used it refers to a Jew. When the word Gentile is used, it refers to a Gentile. When the word Egyptian is used, it refers to an Egyptian.
If you will let it say what it says, as we do in every other area of life, the Bible will become full of meaning, and its prophecies will become increasingly pertinent to every hour and day in which you live and certainly increasingly significant and meaningful in the hour of your death and the judgment that is to come.
So when the Bible starts off here in the eleventh chapter of Romans and says, “Hath God cast away His people?” he is talking about Israel. He is talking about the Jew. “God forbid. For I also,” says Paul, “am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin” [Romans 11:1]. God said these Jews would be here until He comes again [Matthew 24:34].
And if you doubt that look up here on the platform. There’s one seated right over yonder. And there’s one seated right over here. And walk up and down the streets of Dallas, and you will see them in these stores and banks everywhere. But you are not going to find any Jebusites, and you’re not going to find any Hittites or Hivites. They’ve been dead so long, you never saw anybody who ever heard of anybody who ever saw anybody who ever heard of anybody who ever saw somebody whoever heard of anybody who ever saw one of them. But God said these Jews are going to be here until He comes again [Matthew 24:34]. And there is a fine specimen of fulfilled prophecy sitting right over there.
Now I haven’t time to even begin to go into this text and subject, “Hath God cast away His people” [Romans 11:1]. There is only a partial rejection of our Lord by the Jewish people. And there will be a restoration that I shall speak of later in the message.
The Jewish nation and the Jewish people; for almost four thousand years there has been a people of peculiar habit and customs and laws and traditions, who have lived in, I would suppose, every country and culture and civilization and national life under the sun. Yet they are not assimilated, they are not digested. Like the great Gulf Stream that moves through the Atlantic ocean, so this stream of Jewish national life, and customs, and habits, and Scriptures, and culture have moved through the course of human history.
And they have been most glorious in their civilization, their religion, and their contribution to humanity. Centuries before the halcyon days of Greece and Rome were the golden days, the golden era and age of Israel, and long before Herodotus wrote history, they had a great history. They had Scriptures before other nations even knew how to make and form letters of the alphabet.
And the men that they have produced tower above others of humanity like mountains above molehills; Moses and David and Solomon, Isaiah and Jeremiah and Daniel, Peter and Paul and John. There are no nations who have ever produced men of that stature. They are truly in their life a burning bush unconsumed [Exodus 3:2], oppressed, afflicted, persecuted. They still live, as God said they would [Matthew 24:34]. “Hath God cast away His people? God forbid” [Romans 11:1]. And the great contributions to the world have been made through these people, the Jews.
One: no nation has ever become monotheistic aside from the influence of the Jew. No nation. If any nation believes in one God, it was taught so by the Jew.
Second: all of these Scriptures, Old Testament, New Testament, with the possible exception of Dr. Luke, all of them who wrote the Bible, were Jews.
Third: the seven days that we have in our life and one of those days a day of worship and rest; the idea of seven days and one a Sabbath is a gift of the Jew.
Fourth: the tremendous and God blessed gift of Christ came through the Jew. The marvelous Savior that we worship is a Jew. He was born of a Jewish virgin mother, and He grew up in that home and in that environment and in that nation.
And fifth: our church is a Jewish institution. It was called for hundreds of years a synagogue. Then when the Lord built His church, the pattern of the synagogue, reading the Word and praying and preaching; the church that we have today is a Christian synagogue. How much we owe the Jew!
Nobody knows who wrote this famous poem:
Scattered by God’s avenging hand,
Afflicted and forlorn.
Sad wanderers from their pleasant Land,
Do Judah’s children mourn;
And e’en in Christian countries, few
Breathe thoughts of pity for the Jew.
Yet listen, Gentile, do you love
The Bible’s precious page
Then let your heart with kindness move
To Israel’s heritage;
Who traced those lines of love for you?
Each sacred writer was a Jew.
And then as years and ages passed,
And Nations rose and fell,
Though clouds of darkness oft were cast
O’er captive Israel
The oracles of God for you
Were kept in safety by the Jew.
And when the great Redeemer came
For guilty man to bleed,
He did not take an angel’s name,
No- born of Abram’s seed-
Jesus, who gave His life for you,
The gentle Saviour was a Jew.
And though His own received Him not,
And turned in pride away,
Whence is the Gentile’s happier lot?
Are you more just than they?
No; God in pity turned to you-
Have you no pity for the Jew?
Go then, and bend you knee to pray
For Israel’s ancient race;
Ask the dear Saviour every day
To call them by His grace.
Go, for a debt of love is due
From Gentile Christians to the Jew.
[“The Jew,” author unknown]
Now I am going to capsulate the history of Israel. Two thousand BC, approximately, God called Abraham. He was called a Hebrew, crossing over, for he came from Ur in Chaldea across the Euphrates River into the Promised Land. Two thousand BC God called Abraham [Genesis 11:31; 12:1-4].
About 1500 BC Moses was raised up [Exodus 3:7-10]. About 1000 BC David and Solomon lived [1 Chronicles 3:1-9]. In 606 BC to 587 BC Judah was carried into captivity into Babylon [Jeremiah 39:1-9; Daniel 1:1-4]. After 722 BC the Assyrians had destroyed the northern ten tribes [2 Kings 17:6]. Seventy years after the Judean captivity, in 536 BC, under the decree of Cyrus, they returned home, forty thousand of them about, under Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah [Ezra 2:64].
In 165 BC Judas Maccabeus rose up and for awhile brought liberty to his nation. In 63 BC Pompey came to a quarrelling hierarchy and made Judea a part of the Roman Empire.
In 30 AD Jesus was crucified [Matthew 27:32-50].
In 66 AD the whole land became aflame in rebellion against Rome, and Nero sent Vespasian with his son Titus to quell the rebellion. They first conquered Galilee under a Jewish general who later became a great historian, Flavius Josephus, who wrote the story of the war. And when Nero was forced to commit suicide, Vespasian returned to Rome to be made emperor of the empire. And Titus, his son, who later followed his father as emperor, Titus prosecuted the war, and in April of 70 AD brought one hundred thousand Roman legionnaires against the city of [Jerusalem]. And in August of 70 AD the city fell, the temple was burned, the very site was destroyed. And the people have lived strangers in the earth without a national home until May of 1948. And in June 1967 at the end of the Six Day War, they won back Jerusalem, and the kingdom extends to the banks of the Jordan River.
In these Christian centuries especially the Jew has suffered great and indescribable persecution. In 1096 AD there were launched the holy Crusades by the Christians of Europe. And in 1096 AD the Christians of Europe launched those holy Crusades by murdering all of the Jews in Europe who would not submit to baptism. Isn’t that a marvelous way to launch a holy Crusade in the name of Jesus?
In England one year after the Crusade was launched, in 1097 AD, in England every Jew was killed, all of them. The last bastion was in the city of York, and the five hundred Jews that remained in the city of York were shut up in the York castle with their rabbi. And there in a hopeless besieging each one slew the other one, and only the rabbi was left, and he died in the final confrontation. And for four hundred years there were no Jews in England.
When the American colonies were founded there were no Jews in the American colonies. And the first Jews were invited by the Baptists of Rhode Island who took an oppressed synagogue and their rabbi, and that was the first Jewish congregation in what became the United States of America.
And the persecution of the Jew in Germany has been atrocious and unspeakable, indescribable. In Strasburg for example they took the entire Jewish community of two thousand souls, built an enormous scaffold, put those two thousand souls on that scaffold and burned them alive, all of them.
And in your day and in your lifetime in a so-called Christian nation in Germany, Adolf Hitler murdered them by the millions and the millions. One of the most memorable, indelible scenes I’ve ever looked on with my eyes was in 1947, soon after the war, in Dachau just on the outskirts of Munich. And I walked into the furnace room. And that’s the first time I ever saw a furnace decorated with innumerable sprays of flowers and wreaths, where fathers, and mothers, and aunts, and uncles, and friends, and people, and families had been incinerated, burned in that awesome furnace.
So when a Jew looks askance upon a Christian just don’t forget he has two thousand years of heartache and murder and persecution that lies back of our proffered love and kindness. Christian history—what is called Christian history, the Crusades, thousand other things of like kind—so-called Christian history is an abomination to God and an affront to civilized man.
That’s why I am always careful to say when I go abroad, “America is not a Christian nation!” It has Christians in it. But America is not a Christian nation. It’s getting to be a nation of rape, and dope, and violence, and murder, and disobedience, and riot, and lawlessness, and crime, and disorder. And it is increasingly so, and if God doesn’t intervene, we’re going to become a nation of anarchy.
Yesterday in a retreat one of the questions they asked me, they put me up there and asked me questions, one of the questions they asked me was this, “Why is it that our teenagers are turning to dope, and sex, and drink, and violence, and disobedience, and riot, and student unrest?” And I said, “There is a plain and simple answer. We are reaping; we are reaping the generation of the [Dr. Benjamin] Spock children, the permissive children: ‘Don’t you dare correct them lest you warp their little personalities.’ And you’re beginning to reap what you sow.”
And you’re going increasingly to reap that, unless there comes back to the American family and the American home, discipline! Why, I used to think my mother was so harsh on me. Now I have come to the conclusion that the best instrument we had in the house was that big strap that hung back of the kitchen door. I’ve just changed my mind, changed my mind.
And I don’t know how these psychologists are going to do, except as they say, they’re going to deny the Word of God when they get out of this Book. Spare the rod and spoil the child [Proverbs 22:15, 23:13-14]. And I want to say to some of the psychologists who belong to this church, thank God there are Christian psychologists who believe the Bible and the Word of God. And there are psychiatrists who practice their medical profession in a marvelous and Christian way. But so much of what is taught in this modern day and time is derogatory. It is an affront to God, and it annihilates what we know as organized society.
While I was in San Francisco this week, this past week, I never saw so many deadbeats and bums and filthy people in my life as I saw in San Francisco. I just can’t imagine such things. You know, I’ll quit preaching, just start talking, so let me say one other thing. I got in very, very late. The plane was scheduled to be late. When it did finally arrive we didn’t have that tailwind, the pilot said, he announced to us, didn’t have that tailwind that he hoped for and we were plowing up there in the air, so we were very late.
Well, when I landed at Love Field I saw about two hundred clean cut boys, about two hundred. And they were all moving down one of those corridors where Braniff has its planes, moving down that Braniff corridor, to the right, moving down that Braniff corridor. Well, there was such a mob of those kids, there were about two hundred of them. They were fine looking youngsters, clean cut, bathed, shaved, dressed nice. They looked fine, they looked like American boys. And I stopped one of them, and I said, “Who are you and what are you doing and where are you going?” And the boy replied, “We are draftees and we are entering the army.” So I stopped and let them pass me by, about two hundred boys late at night, about midnight, toward midnight, drafted, and going into the army.
Then as I turned and walked towards the baggage area, I thought I have just been in San Francisco and I have looked upon hundreds and hundreds and thousands of those dirty, unwashed, long haired, long bearded, filthy beatniks! And I thought, isn’t this something? The United States government drafts these fine boys and sends them out to Vietnam, and those beatniks by the thousands are in Hawaii, I saw them in Hawaii. Hawaii is scared to death, scared to death. They think their whole state there is going to be ruined with them. I saw them in Hawaii by the thousands. I saw them this weekend in San Francisco by the thousands. And they are leeches; they don’t work. They don’t produce. They don’t do anything but live off of America. And there they are, and these fine boys are drafted and sent to the army. Why do you not draft them? They’re not doing anything. They’re not proposing to do anything. Why don’t you draft them? Cut off his hair, shave him, put a gun in his hand, march him out! Why don’t you do it? Or put him to work? The Bible says if a man will not work he must not eat [2 Thessalonians 3:10]. And when you disobey God’s Book and God’s law, you, your nation, the state, everything in it that we hold dear is headed for chaos and anarchy.
You don’t ever outlive the Bible. You don’t ever outlive God. You don’t ever outlive the Word of the Lord. God still runs this universe and His judgments are still regnant.
Well, dear me, I just have left my sermon all together. Let me summarize it in just a moment. Oh, I don’t like to do this. I ought not to do this. Let me summarize it just for a moment.
Israel, God’s people. And what got me off on that was the story of the Christian attitude toward the Jew is one of tragedy. Everything is not Christian that is called Christian. Then I was saying America is not a Christian nation. It is a nation in which Christians live, lots of us.
Now the Jew; “Hath God cast away His people?” [Romans 11:1]. Three things, one: “God hath not cast away His people” [Romans 11:2]. And I haven’t time to preach on it, but that’s what the eleventh chapter of the Book of Romans is about. And in this eleventh chapter of the Book of Romans, Paul likens all of us to a tree. He likens us to a tree. And here is a tree that God has chosen, and He tears out the branches because they were not fruitful. And He grafted into that tree of the nations the wild olive branches, the Gentiles. But he says someday God is going to graft back into that tree its rightful branches, the Jewish people. “And so all Israel shall be saved” [Romans 11:15-26].
Oh, we haven’t time. God hath not cast away His people [Romans 11:2].
All right, second: they are going back to the homeland and there is going to be a Jewish nation again. That is in the passage that you read [Jeremiah 16:14-15], and it is in Jeremiah 32:37 and to the end of the chapter [Jeremiah 32:37-40], and a hundred other places.
It is in the last verses of Amos. God bless him, my name, I’m named for him, he is not my namesake. Amos; “I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord” [Amos 9:15]. Oh, the Bible is full of it.
One: God has a purpose for Israel [Romans 11:15-26].
Two: the nation will go back to that land [Jeremiah 32:37-40]. And you’re seeing these things fulfilled in your day.
All right, a third thing: they are going back in unbelief. One of the most startling of all of the things I’ve ever looked upon in my life is this; no small part of Israel is agnostic and atheistic. They’re going back in unbelief [Ezekiel 36:24-28]. That is the most astonishing thing you will ever see in your life. For example, the seal of the Hebrew University is this: “The earth shall be filled with knowledge.” Well, the passage is, “And the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the water covers the sea” [Habakkuk 2:14]. But they lopped off “of the Lord,” and the seal says, “And the earth shall be filled with knowledge.”
They’re going back in unbelief. And you will find that in the thirty-sixth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel. It is after they go back that the Lord cleanses them, and puts a new heart in them and a new spirit [Ezekiel 36:24-28].
All right, now the last: and they’re going to be converted. If I could use an expression from Isaiah, “A nation is going to be born in a day” [Isaiah 66:8]. Now I am going to take time to read the passages from Zechariah of the conversion of Israel. Chapters 12, chapter 13, and chapter 14, listen to what God says:
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn who has died.
In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadad Rimmon in the valley of Megiddo.
As the mourning when Josiah was killed at Hadad Rimmon, and after they buried good King Josiah, the people gathered there and had a great lamentation [2 Chronicles 35:24-25]. That’s the kind of a lamentation it’s going to be when Israel looks upon Him whom they have pierced [Zechariah 12:10].
Then in that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
And one shall say as they look upon Jesus, What are these wounds in Thine hands? And He shall answer; These are the wounds which I received in the house of My friends.
And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem.
And the Lord God shall come, and all the saints with Him.
And it shall come to pass in that at evening it shall be light.
And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.
Well, you say, isn’t that unusual thing for God to do to appear personally to those Jewish people at that time when they are converted, at the end of the great tribulation, after Jacob’s trouble? [Jeremiah 30:7]. Isn’t that an unusual thing? No, no, for we need to read the Word of God, and we need to know how God does. That’s not unusual.
Tell me, when Jesus went back to glory did He leave His brethren in unbelief? For the Book says, “Neither did His brethren believe on Him” [John 7:5], but there in the upper room you find His brethren along with Mary, their mother, praying, waiting for Pentecost [Acts 1:14]. Why, how, when; they were saved when Jesus appeared to His brethren personally. He won James [1 Corinthians 15:7] and He won the rest of His brothers to the faith before He returned to heaven.
Now what did Jesus do about the apostle Paul? As Paul described that, now you look at this Word, as Paul described that in 1 Corinthians 15:8, Paul says, “And He appeared unto me, as of one born out of due time,” ektrōma. You have a traumatic experience, ektrōma. It literally means as in an abortion, as one born out of due time. Well, what does that mean? Why, it means simply this. Some of these days the Lord is going to appear to all of His people, to all of His people [Revelation 1:7]. But He appeared to the apostle Paul before that time [1 Corinthians 15:8]. And He won personally the great Gentile preacher, God’s prophet to the Gentiles, He won Saul of Tarsus to the faith, personally [Acts 9:1-18]. He is going to do that same thing to the Israelitish nation, one of these days, one of these glorious days, at the consummation of the age [Romans 11:26; Revelation 7:1-17, 14:1-5]. And I preached on that for two years going through the Revelation. And how could I even but mention it in this little brief moment this morning?
But brethren, I’m just a-saying that God lives! And there are great purposes elective, known, sovereign in heaven. And you may think this world is a loose and it’s forgotten, and it’s mad! Like these existentialist philosophers say, “It has no aim or meaning.” Ah! not to us who love God and believe this Book. There are sovereign purposes of the Lord that are moving through history and through every day of it, and they speak to us in black headlines if we know how to read them, the signs of the times [Matthew 16:3]—the Lord’s presence among us.
Well, we must sing our hymn of appeal. And while we sing it, a family you, a family you, a couple you, one somebody you to give yourself to God [Romans 10:9-10], to open your heart to the Lord’s presence, while we sing this song, come. In the balcony round, come. There is time and to spare. The press on this lower floor, into the aisle and down here to the front, come. “Pastor, I give you my hand. I give my heart to the Lord [Ephesians 2:8]. Here I am and here I come.” Do it now. On the first note of the first stanza, step into that aisle and down here to the pastor. And God bless you in the way, while we stand and while we sing.