Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart

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Rome. 9: 1-5. In several successive phrases, the apostle repeats, calling his conscience to witnesses (compare interpretation at 2:15) in the presence of the Holy Spirit, how deeply saddened he is by the fact that the overwhelming majority of Jews reject the gospel. His desire for all Jews to be saved was so strong that he says: “I would like to be excommunicated from Christ myself for my brothers who are my own in the flesh, that is, the Israelites”

Next, Paul lists the seven spiritual advantages of the Israelites as the chosen people: to whom the adoption belongs (compare Is. 4:22) and glory (meaning God’s glory that was them; compare Ex. 16:10; 24:17; 40:34; 3 -Kings. 8:11), and covenants (Gen. 15:18; 2-Kings. 7: 12-16: Jer. 31: 31-34), and the statute (Deut. 5: 1-22), and worship (literally – the sacred ministry, by which, apparently, meant sacrifices and service in the tabernacle), and promises (first of all about the coming of the Messiah).

The Israelites became the successors of the promises given to the patriarchs (in the Russian text, fathers; compare Matt. 1: 1-16; Romans 1: 3) from the beginning and then fulfilled in the Messiah: from them is the Christ according to the flesh, God over all, blessed forever, Amen. This verse again unequivocally confirms the divinity of Jesus Christ.

2. GOD IS ELECTING (examples; 9: 6-18)

but. Isaac is preferred by Ishmael (9: 6-9)

Rome. 9: 6-9. The rejection by the Israelites of Jesus Christ does not mean that the word of God did not come true. It only confirmed again on a concrete example how the principle of God’s sovereign election established by God in Old Testament times operates. Paul recalls the truth that he set forth before his readers: “For not all of those Israelites (that is, spiritual Israelites; compare 2: 28-29) who are from Israel.”

Then Paul gives three examples from the Old Testament, in which he explains the principle of God’s election (Isaac and Ishmael, 9: 7b-9; Jacob and Esau, verses 11-13; and Pharaoh, verses 14-18). The first two examples show how God made His sovereign choice between the descendants of Abraham in the flesh, choosing from them the heirs of the spiritual promise.

Ishmael was born from Hagar (Gen. 16), and the other six sons were from Khetura (Gen. 25: 1-4), and all were descendants of Abraham (his “seed”), however, they were not considered children Abraham (here in Greek – born by him, in fulfillment of the promise he received). But, as God said to Abraham: “In Isaac, the seed shall be called upon you” (Gen. 21:12; in the Greek original: “In Isaac there will be your seed”). And Paul emphasizes the nature of this principle in other words: “not carnal children are children of God (here the Greek word is“ tekna ”, that is, born of God); but children (again. Tekna) promises are recognized as semen” (meaning “for the seed of Abraham

So, being a physical descendant of Abraham is not enough: you need to be chosen by God (Rom. 8:33), and you need to believe in Him (4: 3,22-24). God assured Abraham that His promise would be fulfilled not in Ishmael, but in Isaac: At the same time I will come, and Sarah will have a son (retelling Gen. 18:10).

b. Jacob is preferred by Esau (9: 10-13)

Rome. 9: 10-13. God’s sovereign election is further illustrated by an example relating to the second generation of patriarchs. Obviously, from the very beginning, God wanted to establish this principle in His relationship with Israel. And this example, even more than the first, emphasizes the sovereign nature of the election He makes, since we are talking about two twins. (In the case of the sons of Abraham, God chose the son of one woman (Sarah) and rejected the sons of other women.) And in this case (with the children of Rebekah), God’s election is demonstrated on two twins, when they were not yet born and did not do anything good or bad .

This shows that the election of God is not from works (not only from those works that are done, but not even from those that will be made in the future and about which God knows in advance), but from the Summoner (called in Romans 1: 6; 8:28 and called at 8:30, that is, the basis for the election is God’s plan (His “will”; 8:28; 9:11), and not the merit of the elected (4 : 2-6). God said to Rebekah: “The greater will be in the enslavement of the lesser” (compare Gen. 23:23) and in confirmation of His choice proclaimed: “I loved Jacob, I hated Esau” (compare with Mal. 1: 2-3).

Esau himself was not the servant of his younger brother Jacob, however, the descendants of Esau, the Edomites, became slaves to the Israelites (1 Chron. 14:47; 2-Kings 8:14; 3-Kings 11: 15-16; 22:47 4 Kings 14: 7). The love of God for Jacob was manifested in the election of Jacob by Him, and the hatred of God for Esau is that He excluded him from the spiritual heirs of Abraham. Speech in this case is not about hate in the literal sense of the word, but about that feeling, which the Creator was guided by, making His sovereign election (compare Matthew 6:24; Luke 14:26; John 12:25).

Rome. 9: 14-18. With the words What shall we say? (compare 1: 1; 6: 1; 8:31), Paul no doubt leads the reader to the question: Is it really not true with God? (i.e., was God really unjust, preferring Isaac to Ishmael, and Jacob to Esau?). Follows characteristic of Paul megenoito – No (interpretation at 1: 4). The point is not in such cases in justice, in its human understanding, but in the sovereign decision of God, as is evident from what He said to Moses (Ex. 33:19); the apostle quotes these words.

Almighty God has the right to pardon those who want to pardon. He is not obliged to extend His mercy to all people without exception. So, the pardon does not depend on the willing and not on the one who strives (in the English text, not on the will of the person and not on his efforts and efforts). None of the people can earn or earn Divine mercy.

Then Paul gives a third example – the Egyptian pharaoh from the book of Exodus. God told him through Moses: for that very same I set you up (that is, put forward into the arena of world history), to show My power over you, and that My name should be preached throughout all the earth (compare Ex. 9:16). God revealed His power (Rom. 9:22) in freeing the Jews from the hand of Pharaoh. Other nations heard about it and were afraid of God (Ex. 15: 14-16; Jesus. 2: 10-11; 9: 9; 1-Kings. 4: 8).

Paul introduces a quote from the Old Testament with the words: For the Scripture speaks to Pharaoh, which is important, since thus the word of Scripture is equated with the Word of God. Then Paul concludes: “So whom he wants, pardons (compare 9:15), and whom he wants, hardens” (i.e., “makes him stubborn”; (compare Ex. 4:21; 7: 3; 9:12 ; 10:27; 14: 4,8; compare 14:17).

Pharaoh hardened his heart because such was the decision of God (Ex. 7: 13-14,22; 8:15, 19, 32; 4: 7,34-35). All this shows that God makes a choice and does things according to the law of the Supreme Lord, however, not on the basis of arbitrariness, for He is not a despot, and therefore Pharaoh was responsible for his actions.

Why did God harden Pharaoh's heart


Rome. 9: 19-21. Again anticipating the reaction of his readers, Paul puts the following question: “Why else are they accused? For who will resist His will?” (in Greek here is the goal set by him). Such questions are still asked today by those who reject the biblical doctrine of God’s Supreme Authority. If God chooses, why does the responsibility fall on man?

Who can go against Him? Responding, Paul again emphasizes that the Supreme Authority of the Creator is a reality that people cannot but accept, and therefore the very posing of such questions is unauthorized: But who are you, man, what are you arguing with God? (compare Is. 45: 9). A person, being a creature, has no right to put questions to the Creator.

Paul quotes further from Isa. 29:16 Will the product say to the one who made it: why did you do it to me? Continuing this analogy, Pavel asks again: Does the potter have power over clay, so that from the same mixture make one vessel for honorable use, and another for low? As you know, a potter of the same clay takes a part of it in order to make a beautiful, delicately decorated vase, and another part of it adheres to a kitchen pot (compare Jer. 18: 4-6). And clay has no right to complain, to challenge the decision of the potter! Similarly, the Almighty Creator has no less power over His creatures, especially since man was created by Him from the dust of the earth (Gen. 2: 7).

Rome. 9: 22-26. Having likened God to a potter, Paul illustrates in this example how God’s sovereign goal is accomplished in relation to individuals. The apostle presents two possibilities for consideration and begins with the words: What if? What if (in one case) God with great patience (compare 2 Pet. 3: 9) spared the vessels (compare Romans 9:21) of anger (meaning His ), ready for death? The ready-made communion can be returnable here, i.e. it should have the meaning of those who prepared themselves, but rather they should be perceived in a passive form, ie, as prepared – long since ready for that (matured in order), for the wrath of God to be poured upon them.

These objects of God’s wrath are those unsaved people who are doomed to eternal condemnation (John 3:36). God still tolerates their resistance to Him (compare Acts 14:16; Rom. 3:25), however, their condemnation is coming. It is those who oppose God and refuse to turn to Him (Matt. 23:37), who prepare Him for condemnation. They, as Paul writes in Rome. 2: 5, gathering (against oneself) wrath (of God) on the day of judgment.

In hell, they will know for themselves both his anger and his strength (compare 9:17). God does not feel pleasure in anger; from the beginning, He does not elect any people to stay in hell. And some part of the people is prepared by Him for eternal condemnation not because He is pleased with the suffering that lies ahead, but because of their sin. Because of him, who condemns them to destruction, God “wants” to reveal His anger and at the appointed time He will reveal it.

The alternative to the first opportunity is the conversion of God with the “vessels of (His) mercy”: “In order together”, i.e. (simultaneously) “to reveal the riches of His glory (8: 29-31; Col. 1:27; 3: 4) over with the vessels of mercy that He prepared for glory The expression He prepared for glory in verse 23 means that God prepared them for glory in advance by giving them salvation.

Up to this point, Paul spoke as if in general terms, but in verse 24 he implies his readers directly, saying, above us — after all, both he and his readers belonged to those vessels of mercy that the sovereign God chose. Moreover, he not only chose, but also called them (both Jews and pagans). The fact is that God’s election was not only revealed to the Jewish patriarchs (Isaac and Jacob, verses 6-13), but Paul’s contemporaries and people living in the present were also honored.

In confirmation of his words, especially with regard to Gentiles, the apostle quotes two verses from the book of the Prophet Hosea (Hos. 2:23; 1:10). God ordered Hosea to give his children symbolic names: Loammi (not My people) and Loruhama (unpardonable). This was done as a sign that God turned away from the northern kingdom – Israel and condemned it to Assyrian captivity and exile (Hos. 1: 2-9).

However, the God of Israel rejected forever. In the verses quoted by Paul, He promises to restore him as a beloved people … Ethnically, the pagans were not God’s people, because the Holy Spirit and Paul inspired to apply these verses to them, as well as to those Jews who were elected and called God as His people in Christ Jesus. Os 2:23 the apostle leads in a free quote to apply this verse to the Gentiles. He just applies it, and does not interpret it in the sense that Old Testament Israel has become, they say, part of the New Testament Church.

Rome. 9: 27-29. Here, the apostle Paul quotes verses from the Old Testament in support of the fact that there are always a certain number of Israelites among the elect and those who are called by God, although they constitute a minority both in relation to those called and in relation to their own people. Paul quotes Is. 10: 22-23 and 1: 9 (both in the Greek translation of the Septuagint), from which it follows that, in judging disobedient Israel, God, by the right of His sovereign choice, always retains its remnant.

Why did God harden Pharaoh's heart

This is evidenced by such historical events as the Babylonian captivity and expulsion from the country of both Israel and Judah, as well as the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 after the birth of Christ; The same principle will be observed at the end of time, with the “deliverance from ungodliness” of Israel as a whole (Rom. 11: 26-27). And today we see this principle in action. The Jews who become members of the Church, that is, members of the Body of Christ, are those whom Paul further calls “a remnant chosen by grace” (11: 5); he includes himself in it (11: 1).

B. Practical results of the election (9:30 – 10:21)


Rome. 9: 30-33. And again, Paul asks the familiar rhetorical question: What shall we say? (compare 4: 1; 6: 1; 8:31; 9:14), preparing readers for the conclusion from what he said above. It is interesting to note that the apostle defines “pagans” (literally (other) “nations”) as those who “did not seek righteousness”, but received it – “righteousness from faith”.

Below we will read in Paul that the Jews, along with the pagans, also went to the Church (11: 1-5), however, the growing bitterness of the Jews against Christ and the predominance of the pagans in the Church during the third missionary journey of Paul speaking of pagans, he contrasted them with Israel.

But Israel, who sought (literally “sought and sought”) the law of righteousness, did not reach the law of righteousness. This refers to the law of Moses (compare 7: 7,12,14). Those who wanted to attain righteousness by law had to observe everything written in the law (James 2:10). But why did Israel not attain such righteousness? – “Because they were looking not in faith, but in the affairs of the law” (in the English text, “not by faith, but as if it were given according to the affairs of the law”; in the Greek original, “not by faith, but … by deeds”).

Why did God harden Pharaoh's heart

The Jews, at the same time, did not want to understand that they simply were not able to fulfill the law in all and to the end, and therefore need forgiveness by faith. Some of them stubbornly hoped to execute the law at the cost of their own efforts. For they stumbled (Romans 11:11) on a stumbling block. This stumbling block is Jesus Christ (compare 1-Pet. 2: 4-8).

He, according to the Jews, was not what they expected, but because they rejected Him instead of accepting Him by faith. Desiring to show that God foresaw this, Paul quotes Isaiah from the book of the prophet (8:14 and 28:16; compare Roman. 10:11); being united by him, these two places speak of two opposite reactions of people to the Stone, laid by God in Zion (compare with Zion at 11:26).

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