Israel and Her Prophets

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?’ So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’ But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: ‘I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.’ But Isaiah is very bold and says: ‘I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.’ But to Israel he says: ‘All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people’” (Romans 10:16-21).

Because Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90:2), He is capable of:

  • eternally purposing humanity’s salvation in Christ (Ephesians 3:11), then

  • promising and predicting the gospel of peace through His Old Testament prophets in the Holy Scriptures (Romans 1:1-2), then

  • demonstrating time and again via the inspired New Testament penmen how the gospel is the fulfillment of His prophetic word (Romans 16:25-26).

The Old Testament foreshadows and predicts Christ and His gospel (as Isaiah did in Isai­ah 52:4-53:12) in several unexpected times and places.

In Psalm 19, David poetically describes God’s revelation of Himself in nature—the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens. This universal, natural revelation of Jehovah, according to the pen of the Spirit-guided apostle Paul, foreshadowed the preaching of the gospel to every crea­ture in all nations (Romans 10:18).

In Deuteronomy 32—the song written by Moses shortly before his death—predicts God’s decisive response to idolatrous Israel’s rejection of Him (Romans 10:19). If the physical off­spring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob provoked Jehovah to jealousy, He will seek to provoke them to jealousy by offering salvation and sonship to the Gentiles, idolators who repent of their spiritual folly and become citizens of spiritual Israel (Galatians 6:16)—a chosen generation, a holy nation, God’s own special people (1 Peter 2:9).

The success of the gospel among the Gentiles was foreshadowed in Isaiah 65:1. Jehovah and His Savior will be found by those who never had the spiritual preparation and cultivation the Jews did (Romans 10:20). And, unlike the Gentiles, the Jews (Isaiah 65:2) will repeatedly reject God’s extended offer of salvation and sonship (Romans 10:21).

The gospel of Christ and His salvation permeates Old Testament prophecy. It was not a stopgap measure, an 11th hour move of divine desperation, or a Plan B substitute for what God had eternally purposed and prophetically predicted in the Old Testament. The Messiah and His suffering, the proclamation of His gospel of peace in all nations, the Gentiles’ willingness to call upon the name of the Lord, and the Jews’ obstinate rejection of their Messiah and His gospel are all foreshadowed and predicted by Jehovah’s Old Testament spokesmen.

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Author: jchowning

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