"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called, and whom He called them He also justified, and whom He justified them He also glorified." Those verses are the lynchpin, or were the lynchpin, of the doctrine of Calvin. And from those verses and others like them Calvin concluded that man did not have free will. That the reward for some was gratuitous and punishment for others was gratuitous. That is to say that those who receive a reward didn’t merit it, and those who were punished didn’t merit that punishment. The theme of election and predestination continues in Romans 9. 13 - 21: "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. For He said to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. And I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy.
Yet we know Paul didn’t believe that Calvinists believe as I just stated about rewards and punishments being both unmerited and undeserving, because he couldn’t forget–well, that’s not quite right–he would remember what he said in Romans when he wrote to the church at Corinth just a year later about election and predestination, when he admonished the church there to live in a manner so as not to receive the grace of God in vain. He would remember the words of his master, Jesus Christ, who said, "No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God." Paul’s conclusion, then, when faced with the doctrine of predestination and election was to say what he said at the close of chapter 11, "Oh, the depth of riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out." Paul says that what may seem arbitrary to us on its face–the goodness of God–must not and cannot be arbitrary. But he was realist enough to know that reality is stronger than logic. By that I mean this: you and I have observed that the sun comes up every day. And it’s logical to assume that the sun’s gonna come up tomorrow. But if it doesn’t come up tomorrow, the reality of the situation is that it didn’t come up–no matter what the logic may be. He knew–Paul knew–the truth of the 26th verse of the chapter we read, "And so all Israel shall be saved. As it is written there shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." Now we know in that verse that Paul was talking about natural Israel, not spiritual Israel, because in the previous verse he said, "blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. But after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in all Israel shall be saved." Interesting idea, isn’t it? Stiff-necked, unfaithful, rebellious, backsliding Israel, en masse, it seems, will be saved. All Israel shall be saved, that is to say I assume all Israel at the time when Israel looks upon him whom they have pierced and mourn. Illogical, but it is the reality of the situation. And Paul knew that this notion of foreknowledge, predestination or election was known by Christ, when at the well he said to the Samaritan woman, "Salvation is of the Jew". Well, that doesn’t make sense. Why should salvation be of the Jew? But it is. It is the given; the premise of the Bible. We should consider now how the hope of the Christian is inseparable from the hope of the Jew. Indeed, there are not two hopes, but one hope. The promise that the Gentiles also will inherit the land is the same promise made to Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob–rehearsed and repeated all the way through the Law and the Prophets from Genesis to Zechariah.
But I think this morning we’ll satisfy ourselves with respect to the fact that salvation is of the Jew in a different way. And that is to talk about the name of God. The covenant name of God. God is called by many names in the Old Testament: El, Elohim, Elohi, El Shaddai, Adonai–words sometimes translated God. Some words mean Lord, but often refer to God, or perhaps in some cases, to both God and Christ. But the covenant name, the name that signified His special relationship with the Jews, was of course, Yahweh. An understanding of the special relationship that name signified for the Jews might be obtained by looking at a couple of passages in Exodus: the first in 3. 13 - 15. Here’s Moses. God is attempting, if you will, trying to convince–he convinced–God doesn’t try to do something and fail–Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Moses said to God, when I come to the children of Israel and tell them you have sent me, they’ll ask me your name. What shall I say? And God said to Moses, I am that I am, say I am hath sent me to you. This is my name forever and this is my memorial unto all generations. An alternate translation that I propose to give you is one that is approved by the Interpreters Bible, generally no friend to fundamental first century Christianity. In the 14th verse where God says to Moses I am that I am, literally the Hebrew words uttered there were Haya, Haya, a form of the verb "to be" in Hebrew. And it is properly translated–all agree, even though it still appears in the New English Bible , strangely enough, as I am, and properly translated I will be that I will be. Scholars also agree that the word Yahweh is a verbal noun derived from the word Haya which means he who shall be. Yahweh means he who shall be. In the 6th chapter of Exodus, verses 2 - 8, God spoke to Moses and said, I am the LORD. The word, spelled in capital letters is Yahweh. " I am Yahweh, and I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by the name of God Almighty. That is to say, El Shaddai; by the name of Yahweh I was not known to them. But now I have established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage wherein they were strangers. I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered my covenant. . .say unto the children of Israel I am Yahweh and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take to me for a people and I will be to you a God and ye shall know that I am Yahweh. And I will bring you into the land concerning which I did swear to give it to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a heritage for I am the LORD. I am Yahweh. I am He who will be." Time after time Yahweh’s name is used when talking about the special relationship that existed between God and Israel. Yahweh is Israel’s God of the covenant. Well, powerful name with much significance, as we shall see.
When we turn to the New Testament the name Yahweh never appears. One might say, well the New Testament is written in Greek, so why should it be there? Or Aramaic? Well, most of the Jews at the time of Christ didn’t speak Hebrew. They wouldn’t have used the word Yahweh. The Bible they had was the Septuagint; the Bible written in Greek. So it’s not unusual that they shouldn’t use Yahweh. Besides the superstition had grown up among the Israelites a couple of centuries before the birth of Christ that the word Yahweh was too sacred to be said. Therefore, in the New Testament God and Lord always come from one of two Greek words: Kurios - Lord and Theos - God. They are the only two words for God or Lord in the whole Testament. Now isn’t it curious that both Paul, a Rabbinical scholar who knew Hebrew fluently, and Jesus Christ, who knew the Hebrew scriptures well, never used the word Yahweh? Well, let me just direct your attention to one passage of scripture that I hope will shed some light on the subject. In Phillipians 2. 7 - 10, "Jesus made himself of no reputation and took on him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man he humbled hmself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name."
Well, what was his name? His name is Jesus and everybody knows that Jesus is the Greek for Joshua. But sometimes we don’t always know or remember that Joshua, in Hebrew Literally, is Yah Oshea. So, then, Jesus’ name, Yah Oshea means Yahweh saves, or literally, He who will be saves which is Jesus’ name. We’ll understand better when we read that passage in Genesis that talks about I will be that I will be, or he who shall be. Yahweh was to be manifested in Jesus. Jesus was the executor of the covenant. Paul says that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. A testimony of that fact is in his name. Look at Matthew, chapter 1: Mary, Joseph’s wife, would bring forth a son and call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done to fulfill the words spoken by the Lord through the prophets saying, "Behold, a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." So it is true that God has made Jesus our Lord. And he will execute the covenant for both natural Israel and for spiritual Israel. And this is demonstrated in Isaiah 49. 5 - 8: "And now saith the Lord who formed me from the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob again to him, though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength (speaking of Jesus). And He said, it is a light thing that thou should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give thee (Jesus) as a light to the Gentiles that thou may be my salvation unto the end of the earth."
I wanted to talk a little this morning about how Jewish the first century church was, but I won’t have time to do that except to remind you of a few things. That there was no New Testament in the first century. It wasn’t until sometime between 170 and 220 AD that the four gospels and the letters of Paul were considered to be viewed by Christians universally as ‘the scriptures’. It wasn’t until 367 AD that Athanasius–no friend of ours, he foisted off the doctrine of the trinity on us–who finally gave us the list of the 27 books that we call the New Testament It wasn’t until 29 years later at the Council of Carthage that the actual canon of the New Testament came into being. Those first century Jews had the Old Testament, and Paul said–and he meant it–"For the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain." And the apostles asked Jesus, "Lord, will thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"–because that’s all they had. That promise. They were very Jewish. Unfortunately, we see what happened. We can see what happened with Jews when dealing with Christians in their own time. At the Council of Jerusalem, the conference in Jerusalem when Paul came back with Titus and they had this big to-do about whether or not everybody ought to be circumcised, where some were trying to impose the law on the first church. They finally concluded that the people should refrain from meat offered to idols, and from fornication–a good idea since after all fornication was a regular practice in the worship of Diana of the Ephesians, the ancient mid-east god Artemis. But they decided that maybe they ought to impose a little bit of the law. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but this is how I see it. So we’ll tell them that they should refrain from things strangled and from blood. They had to get a little bit of the law into the first century church.
Now the same thing started happening in reverse. The heathens, the pagans, had to get a little bit of their stuff in. In the 2nd century, around 140 AD, this fellow Marchion comes up and says, look–the God of the Old Testament has nothing to do with the God of the New. They are two different Gods. The God of the Old is irrelevant. He also said, because he was one of the Gnostic tradition, that what you see as real is not actually real; the real things are unreal, idealistic, in the Platonic notion that the only thing worth saving in man was something spiritual which somehow could be saved. And so Christianity suffered first at the hands of the Jews, the early Christian Jews, and then at the hands of pagan influences.
Never mind. God will work His way with Israel. Consider yourself almost incidental to His purpose. You will be saved only if you are a Jew by adoption. In Zechariah 8. 23, we read:
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts,
in those days (kingdom age) it shall come to pass
that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations,
even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying,
we will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you."