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Explain Romans 11:33-34 and Isaiah 40:28

The mind and boundless energy of God.

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(All quotations from the King James translation unless stated otherwise).

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

Paul in context is remarking on the extraordinary turn of events whereby God was turning the Jews’ rejection of their Messiah into an opportunity for the gentiles. The Jews were blinded by their unbelief and the Gentiles by belief could be ‘grafted in’. The promise to Abraham that in his seed all nations would be blessed was being fulfilled in a way that no one could have foreseen.

Genesis 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

How God would bring it about was a mystery that the prophets couldn’t penetrate.

1 Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

Christ by his death not only provided atonement for sin but at the same time fulfilled the Mosaic covenant and took it out of the way. His resurrection from the dead in defiance of the law that cursed those hanged upon a tree (Deuteronomy 21:23) showed that God had both accepted his sacrifice and also set the Mosaic Law aside.

Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

In doing so he established a new covenant based on circumcision of the heart rather than the flesh.

Hebrews 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

The Mosaic ritual was removed and the act of belief in and baptism into Christ and obedience to his commandments opens the way for all nationalities to become heirs of the promises made to Abraham.

Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham‘s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Paul in Romans 11:33-34 is marvelling on the way God thinks and works to fulfil his promises and is quoting (as you know) from Isaiah 40.

Isaiah 40:13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?

The answer of course is no one. There is one God and no other. Note also the correlation of the ‘mind of the Lord’ with the ‘Spirit of the LORD.

Isaiah 45:6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.

The other part of the ‘mystery’ is that the Jews as a nation have not been ‘cast off’ forever but will be restored at the return of Christ when the fullness of the Gentiles has been brought in.

Romans 11: 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 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: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

Luke 1:32 Christ is to reign on the throne of David from Jerusalem.

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Men in all their wisdom are not able to understand or find out anything about God other than that which is revealed in scripture through his prophets. This is why reading and understanding scripture is so important and why reliance on so called ‘direct revelation’ (other than what is written) to the individual is foolish.

Ecclesiastes 8:17 Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.

Job 11:7 Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?

Isaiah 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

Isaiah 40 begins with the time yet future when the desolation of the Jews and Jerusalem will finally be at an end.

Isaiah 40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.

Their Messiah will return from Heaven, Elijah (v3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness) will have done his work and Israel’s eyes will be opened.

Zechariah 12:10 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.

Zechariah 13:7 takes us back to Christ’s death and the dispersion of Israel.

Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered:

Zechariah 14 takes us forward to the future invasion and destruction of Jerusalem and the return of Christ.

Zechariah 14:1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

Israel will be in a desperate situation, the state of Israel that they have rejoiced in since 1948 will lie in ruins, bringing them to conclude that God has forgotten them. God through Isaiah is telling them that he has the situation under control.

Isaiah 40:27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

After this third and final overturning of the kingdom of Israel it will be restored forever under the hand of him whose right it is.

Ezekiel 21:25 And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, 26 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. 27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.

We don’t know how God will bring this about but we believe and trust that he will.

The exhortation is to wait upon the Lord and the reward for doing so has a two-fold application. 1. to the restored strength of Israel as a people. 2. to the raising of those in Christ to the divine nature when they will be like God and not faint or become weary forever.

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

If you want to come to grips with what the Bible really teaches, why not take the free Bible study course available on www.thisisyourbible.com? This course will give you a background in the major themes of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

As with everything we offer, there is no cost to you other than your time and effort. You will also have a personal tutor to whom you may pose questions either from the course itself or those questions which come to you as you read the Bible.

I hope this helps.
Glenn Smith

 
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