Vessels of God’s Wrath and Mercy

What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:22-24).

In addition to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt in Moses’ day, there have been numerous ves­sels of wrath which were used providentially by God throughout the years of Jewish history from Mount Sinai to Mount Calvary. There were:

  • The Chaldeans in Habakkuk’s day (Habakkuk 1:5ff) who were led by Nebuchadnezzar, Jehovah’s battle ax and weapon of war (Jeremiah 51:20).

  • The Medo-Persian Empire (Daniel 2:32, 39) led by Jehovah’s anointed shepherd Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28-45:1).

  • The rapacious Greek army—a leopard with wings (Daniel 7:6), a male goat led by Alexander the Great—a “notable horn between his eyes” (Daniel 8:5).

  • The Roman Empire—strong as iron which breaks in pieces and crushes all others (Daniel 2:40).

All of these vessels of God’s wrath were endured with much divine longsuffering, because each played an essential role in preserving the Messiah’s lineage so that in the fullness of time God could “make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory” (i.e., Christians).

Just as Jehovah had no further obligation to the vessels of wrath named Pharaoh, Nebu­chadnezzar, Cyrus, and Alexander the Great once they had played their part, He, likewise, had no further obligation to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob once the predict­ed Messiah came with His prophesied gospel of salvation and the promised new covenant it necessitated.

“They are not all Israel who are of Israel” is true because the church (those saved by their obedience to the gospel) is now the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16) and it includes both Jews and Gentiles.

The vessels of God’s mercy—eternally purposed and prepared beforehand for glory—are called out of sin by the gospel and added to the new Israel of God when they (both Jews and Gentiles alike) call upon the name of the Lord. The ground at Calvary’s cross is level for all.

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Author: jchowning

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