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Paul’s Epistle To the Saints in Rome Book 1

This is volume 1 of a 2 volume set being made available as two books, with the first volume covering the first 8 chapters and the second volume covering the last 8 chapters. This first volume covers chapters 1-8. You will find the second volume listed below with it's viewing and ordering information as well. "In writing these books, it struck me that Paul's teaching on the salvation of all men is the natural outworking of the Love of God. That is why Paul first establishes the Love of God in Romans 5:7-10, and then he immediately shows us how this applies to all of creation. The result is "justification of life to all men" (5:18)"

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 4

The Judgments of God

After giving us a lengthy list of sins of the "depraved mind" at the end of Romans 1, Paul then concludes in 2:1-3,

1 Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 And do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment upon those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

Paul was already beginning to work his way toward the point that the whole world was guilty before God and that "all have sinned" (3:23). Paul had been educated in the rabbinic traditions, where he was taught how to be righteous by obedience to the law and the traditions of the elders. Sinners were outside the temple (having been excommunicated), and the ungodly were mainly found among the non-Jewish ethnos. But Paul reverses that entire assumption by showing that all men are sinners in need of grace.

The problem, as Paul soon shows us, began with Adam, whose sin condemned him to death, along with all of his descendants and even creation itself. In 5:12 he tells us outright that the sentence for Adam's sin was death, or mortality, and because this resident death weakens us, all men sin. Paul says, "so death spread to all men, on which [eph ho] all sinned."

Mortality is the Death Penalty

Mortality is a degenerative disease, pictured in the Law as leprosy. Hence, the law of the cleansing of lepers in Lev. 14 lays out the path to immortality. Seeing that it took two birds (doves) to cleanse lepers, the Law prophesied two comings of Christ, each fulfilling its own prophetic type and shadow.

Paul then traces the rise of idolatry and worship of the creatures, both man and animals, as the reason God finally turned man over to the devices of the depraved mind that is common to all men. Man is not divided into two groups, righteous or unrighteous, but are all given equal status as mortals who sin in various ways out of the same death-ridden nature. His mortality is the soul's great weakness. The soul itself God pronounced "very good," along with everything else that He created.

In other words, man does not have a sinful soul, but a mortal soul that sins. Because all men are mortal, all men sin. The doctrine of "the total depravity of man" ought to be amended accordingly.

God, then, has already judged both Adam and all men by imposing the death sentence upon all. Thus, men have no right to judge others self-righteously.

Repentance is a Divine Gift

Even those who have repented can claim no credit for it, for it is God who leads us to repentance.

4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Here Paul is already previewing the sovereignty of God that is set forth more fully in Romans 9. Death working in us prevents us from repenting (turning, changing the mind or belief). God has sent forth His Spirit to work within us and institute those changes. Thus, Paul closes every avenue of escape by which a self-righteous man might claim credit for his good works. He is left without portfolio, standing naked before God, entirely dependent upon Him for his salvation.

5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who will render to every man according to his deeds.

There are those who believe that at the cross Jesus put away the Law and thereby abolished sin itself, for "where there is no law, neither is there violation" (Rom. 4:15). Where there is no sin, there can be no judgment either. Hence, some say incorrectly, there is no further judgment for sin. But Paul makes it clear two decades after the cross that there is yet "the day of wrath."

While the fact of universal salvation was established at the cross, the outworking of it and the timing of salvation is an entirely different matter. In fact, these two factors are bound up in the two doves needed to deal with death, along with the two goats needed to deal with sin (Lev. 16). When Jesus died on the cross, He finished the work of the first dove and the first goat. But He still had a second work to do, by which our salvation could be complete.

It is necessary to understand these two works of Christ in order to lay proper foundations for that which Paul explains to the saints in Rome. Paul does not contradict himself when he speaks of judgment and wrath upon the unrighteous in chapter 2, while later speaking of the salvation of all men in chapter 5.

Divine Judgment is Merciful, Kind, and Good

Romans 2:6 says,

6 who will render to every man according to his deeds.

This is a loose quotation from Psalm 62:12, which reads,

12 And lovingkindness [chesed] is Thine, O Lord, for Thou dost recompense a man according to his work.

Such recompense is said to be a matter of "lovingkindness," or chesed, which means "mercy, goodness, or kindness." Because this verse is quoted by Paul in Romans 2:6 as well as by John in Rev. 20:12, 13, the judgments of God are shown to be accomplished by the mercy and kindness of God. There is certainly judicial "wrath," but the wrath of God always proceeds out of His character—and God is Love. It is therefore to be seen as parental chastisement of a child, rather than as the unloving judgment of an impersonal judge.

Wrath itself comes from the Hebrew word aph, or "nose." It has to do with breathing hard, such a horse snorting in a threatening manner. Yet God is also patient (or "long-suffering"), which literally means "long nosed." Together, these Hebrew concepts formed Paul's thought process. One cannot separate the wrath of God from His patience, love, and mercy. This is seen clearly when a parent appears to be full of wrath when he or she disciplines the child, and yet the discipline is done out of love, rather than anger or hatred. The purpose of judgment is to correct the child, not to destroy him.

So also it is with the judgments of God. The wrath of God proceeds out of a heart of love, as He renders to every man according to his deeds.

Aionian Life

In my book, The Restoration of All Things, I show that judgment is eonian, not aidios. Judgment pertains to an indefinite time period, an eon which has a beginning and an end. Such judgment was not abolished at the cross, but His death ensured that this judgment would end in a Jubilee, according to the justice of the divine Law.

In Romans 2, Paul shows that God will render to every man according to his works, whether good or evil.

6 who will render to every man according to his deeds, 7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, aionian life ["life in The Age"]; 8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Paul's use of the term aionian zoe reflects the common belief of a Messianic Age yet to come, in which the Messiah would come and judge mankind. That coming Age was called "The Age." In that Age to come, men would be judged, some being recompensed for their evil deeds and others rewarded with immortality. Immortality is the reward itself; aionian life is the age in which it is enjoyed.

It is left for John to explain the distinction between the two resurrections in Revelation 20. The first is for the overcomers, who are raised to immortality at the beginning of The Age (20:4-6). They are said to have aionian life, that is, they may enjoy the benefits of immortality during the Messianic Age.

The rest must await the second resurrection at the end of that age (20:11-15). This second resurrection, Jesus said in John 5:28, 29, will include both believers and unbelievers. The believers will receive "a resurrection of life," while the unbelievers will receive "a resurrection of judgment."

Hence, the first resurrection is limited to a few, all of them believers. The second brings back all the dead, including both believers and unbelievers. This shows that the first resurrection is for overcomers only—that is, those who are called to rule and reign with Christ during this thousand-year Age (Rev. 20:6). The rest will enjoy the benefits of The Age, but without immortality.

The Order of Opportunity and of Judgment

In Romans 2:9-11 Paul writes,

9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace to every man who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.

Paul was writing about divine judgment in general. There are two resurrections, as John describes in Revelation 20, the second being associated with the judgment of the "lake of fire." But there is also divine judgment that comes just before the first resurrection. This judgment is directed at Jerusalem, "to the Jew first."

That judgment is described in Jeremiah 19 and in Isaiah 29:1-6. Jeremiah likens Jerusalem to an old earthen jar which is smashed in the valley of the son of Hinnom (gehenna in Greek). The prophet writes in Jer. 19:10, 11,

10 Then you are to break the jar in the sight of the men who accompany you 11 and say to them, "Thus says the Lord of hosts, Just so shall I break this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter's vessel, which cannot again be repaired..."

In other words, Jerusalem and "this people" were to be broken in such a complete manner so as not to be repaired again. In the days of the prophet, King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city, but it was repaired later in the days of Nehemiah. It was again destroyed by Rome in 70 A.D., but was again repaired. The final destruction, however, will be (I believe) nuclear, and men will no longer be able to live at that location because of the fallout.

Isaiah 29 describes this nuclear judgment in graphic detail, calling the city by its poetic name, Ariel, "the lion of God." He tells us that God Himself will lay siege to the city, saying, "I will bring distress to Ariel" (vs. 2) and again, "I will camp against you encircling you, and I will set siegeworks against you, and I will raise up battle towers against you" (vs. 3).

God lays siege to the city because her "enemies" had occupied the city and were living there. Many assume that the term "enemies" indicates a non-Jewish occupation of Jerusalem, yet in fact, it is the opposite. God says in the laws of Tribulation (Lev. 26:40-42) that if they are "hostile against Me" (Jesus Christ), then God will be hostile to them and treat them as His enemies.

Isaiah 63 speaks of this divine judgment where He comes from Edom with His garments stained with blood, as if treading the grapes. Edom, of course, was later absorbed into Jewry itself and so this judgment can only be fulfilled through them today. In that context, the prophet gives a history of Israel in the wilderness, and how the people worshipped the golden calf. Verse 10 says,

10 But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore, He turned Himself to become their ENEMY; He fought against them.

Genealogical Israelites become God's enemies when they become hostile to Him and when they rebel against the Holy Spirit. So this is what defines God's enemies in Isaiah 29. God says that He will judge "Ariel," or Jerusalem, because His "enemies" had occupied the city. Those enemies were the same people, whether in Jeremiah's day, or in 70 A.D., or in our own time. The Zionists took control of Jerusalem in 1967 and are even now expelling the Palestinian population in an unjust and partial manner.

So Paul says that this judgment comes upon mankind impartially, "to the Jew first," in the same manner that the gospel went "to the Jew first" (Rom. 1:16). They were privileged to receive the gospel first and to receive the promise of the Father, so they are also the first to be judged for rebelling against the Holy Spirit.

All are judged impartially, Paul says, but there is an established order of judgment, according to the knowledge and opportunity that men have to receive the gospel. The order of opportunity is stated in Acts 1:8,

8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.

Paul establishes very early in his epistle the idea of impartial judgment that is established in the divine Law. Partiality is injustice, or inequity (iniquity). Exodus 23:1-9 forbids partiality to either rich or poor, Israelite or foreigner. Malachi 2:9 condemns the people for showing partiality. James 2:1-9 also condemns it.

It is because of the impartiality of the divine Law itself that the Jew is judged with the same judgment as all others. The only difference is that they were given greater opportunity to know His will, and so they have greater accountability for rejecting it. This is a principle established by Jesus Himself in Luke 12:47, 48, where disobedient servants are distinguished according to their knowledge of the master's will.

So Paul affirms this in Romans 2:11, 12,

11 For there is no partiality with God. 12 For all who have sinned without [knowledge of] the Law will also perish without [knowledge of] the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law.

 The difference is that those who lived afar off and had never heard of the divine Law will be given "few lashes," while those who had possession of the Law will be judged with "many lashes." This is a basic principle of divine justice that reflects the Mind and Character of God.

13 For not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

The Jews had all heard the Law, for it was read in the temple and in every synagogue. The Law had testified of Jesus Christ and revealed the promise of the Spirit that was to be given—the promise of the Holy Spirit. But hearing with physical ears was insufficient without a proper response that would indicate the presence of true faith.

The Role of Conscience

14 For when the ethnos who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.

In other words, a man living a thousand miles from Jerusalem in those days might have had no opportunity to hear the Law of God, because no one came to teach it to him. But yet, he may know instinctively that murder, theft, and adultery were wrong. He may know within himself that he ought to treat his neighbor with kindness and justice. After all, the divine Law only makes sense to any reasonable man.

Hence, his conscience bears witness to the Law's principles of right and wrong, because the Law is written on his heart. His conscience can accuse or defend him alternately, if he does good or evil.

So even a person who never had been exposed to the Law as written down by Moses is liable to God on some level, simply because he has the inherent ability to know some basic principles of justice and injustice. He is therefore accountable to God according to his level of knowledge and his ability to know the main features of the Law.

Some insist that the Law is just for Jews. That is a total misconception. God called Abraham to administer the blessings and promises of God to all the families of the earth. The Law was later given to Israel for the same purpose. It was their responsibility to teach the Mind, Will, and Character of God to all men. Hoarding God's blessings was never part of the divine plan.

Romans 2:16 does not make sense unless you punctuate it properly and go back to the start of the sentence in verse 14. Here is the full sentence:

14 For when the ethnos who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a Law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts (their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing them or else defending them) 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

In other words, at the Day of Judgment, when God judges the secrets of men, the ethnos will be judged according to the knowledge that they had. If they had not been exposed to the Law of Moses, they will be judged according to the light that they did have.

Note the parenthesis, which explains "the Law written in the hearts." Paul was NOT saying that their conscience would accuse or defend them at the Great White Throne Judgment.

Also, Paul's use of the term "according to my gospel," is not a reference to another gospel, but is rather his emphasis on the fact that Jesus Christ will be the judge. While this may raise no eyebrows today, it was certainly disputed in Jewish circles in Paul's day, for it identified the "Ancient of Days" in Dan. 7:9-10 with Jesus the Judge in John 5:27-30 and Rev. 20:11-15.

Jewish Abuse of the Law

This is the end of a paragraph, and then Paul turns to address Jews more specifically. It is as if he were talking directly to a typical Jewish rabbi standing in front of him. The discussion centers on the purpose of the Law and what it means to be a Jew. The discussion continues to the end of chapter 8.

17 But if you bear the name "Jew" and rely upon the Law, and boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?

As custodians of the Scriptures, the rabbis believed that they were all of these things, as Paul well knew—for he had been among their ranks as a rising star many years earlier. Paul does not question the Scriptures, but focuses his attention on their understanding of the Law. He does not question their historic place in the divine plan as the custodians of the Word and as those called to be the organ of revelation to teach all nations. Instead, Paul questions the outworking of that calling. He implies that they have failed because they have misunderstood the Law and the Scriptures in general.

Their misunderstanding, combined with their hardness of heart, has caused them to reject the Messiah, because He did not fit their idea of His character or ministry. While they were looking for a miracle-working military general who would set them free from Rome, He came instead as a lamb to the slaughter. In rejecting Him, they missed the whole point of all the sacrifices in the temple, which had prophesied of the only Sacrifice that could actually remove sin and death.

Ferrar Fenton translates verse 21,

21 You teacher of another—should you not teach yourself? . . .

In other words, the rabbis need a better understanding of the Law—obviously, to learn a New Covenant understanding of the Law. Paul then proceeds to instruct this hypothetical Jewish rabbi.

21 . . . You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

It may seem strange and even offensive for Paul to be accusing a rabbi of theft and adultery. But Jesus did the same in His "Sermon on the Mount." The legalistic teaching of the rabbis was often designed to find a way around the spirit of the Law. (So it is today with modern lawyers arguing the case of their clients in court.) For every law, there is a legalistic way to escape prosecution, and therefore the lawlessness in society continues in spite of the multitude of laws that are written.

And so the Jews—who abhorred adultery—were guilty of adultery according to the spirit of the Law (Matthew 7:28). By allowing men to marry one day and divorce the next, they had found a way to legalize fornication. In Mark 7:9-13 Jesus gives the example of how they had legalized theft and thereby dishonored their parents in violation of the fifth commandment.

Modern Zionism Perpetuates the Lawlessness

The spirit of modern Zionism is based upon this entire mindset that Jews are privileged to steal land from Palestinians and to murder them if they stand in the way of this theft. It is based upon the idea that God is partial in His judgments, that Jews are the only true "men," and that all others are on the level of "beasts," and that therefore the Law of God applies only to the manner in which a Jew treats a fellow Jew in good standing.

This idea of Jewish superiority prevailed more in Paul's day than today, because many Jews today have a more enlightened view of humanity, having become more "worldly." But among the traditionalists and Orthodox, one only has to read their literature to see very quickly how they despise all others.

I recommend reading Dr. Israel Shahak's books: Jewish History, Jewish Religion and Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel. Not only does he show the bigotry of Jewish religion, but also provides in himself the contrast that is seen in many Jews who have revolted against such bigotry.

23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the ethnos because of you, just as it is written.

Paul was quoting from Isaiah 52:5 and again in Ezekiel 36:20 and 23. When anyone is known to be of a particular religion, others look to that person as an example of his God's teaching. If the person is a liar and a thief, then his God is blamed. Men are fruit inspectors. If the fruit is evil, then they conclude that the God who planted that fruit is also evil.

The Dividing Wall

In Paul's day, the dividing wall in the temple established a division of humanity and gave Jewish men the right to come closer to God than women or converts among the ethnos. This division held true in all the synagogues as well, where proselytes were not citizens of the Kingdom, but a servant class, following the presumed precedent in Joshua 9:27,

27 But Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, to this day, in the place which He would choose.

Both Jesus and Paul corrected this overblown Jewish nationalism and religious bigotry, which was certainly the well-known reason why the ethnos were repulsed by Judaism. Unfortunately, the God of the Bible was blasphemed as well. Joshua's treatment of the Gibeonites in the verse above was because of special circumstances involved in that case. In part this was to fulfill Noah's curse upon Canaan in Gen. 9:25-27, where Canaan was to be made a servant. Secondly, it was due to their deception in pretending to be from a far country (Joshua 9:6).

The rabbis, however, turned this into a general principle, thinking this was how to treat all the ethnos only because they were non-Jews. Thus, the lawful judgment of Joshua was used as a precedent to justify racial bigotry. This, Paul argued, was a violation of the Law.

True Circumcision is of the Heart

Romans 2:25 and 26 reads,

25 For indeed circumcision is of value, if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 If therefore the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

Paul had just accused the Jews of dishonoring God by violating the Law (2:23). In the next chapter he makes it very clear that "all have sinned," Jew and Greek alike. For this reason, every Jew's circumcision was to no avail and had no value in the sight of God. The reason is that circumcision was (and still is) an Old Covenant vow of obedience, when done as a religious ritual. It is an obligation to be perfectly obedient as a condition for justification. But no one was able to fulfill that vow. Hence, circumcision was made uncircumcision through sin.

In other words, they have all broken their vows of obedience, rendering their circumcision null and void.

On the other hand, if an uncircumcised man were able to keep the Law, "will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?" Yes, of course. Paul is not suggesting that any man is actually able to keep the whole Law, for he says in 3:19 that the whole world has come "under the Law," that is, they have "become accountable to God."

Being "under the Law" is NOT something that man does by making a vow of obedience (as Christians normally define the term). Being "under the Law" is the condition of the sinner who has violated the Law, putting him under arrest and held accountable to the Law and its penalty. No man is under the Law until he has sinned, for the Law is made for lawbreakers, not for the righteous (1 Tim. 1:9). The Law has no interest in us until we violate it.

In his discussion with the Jew, Paul makes it clear that physical circumcision is not what really sets a man apart for divine service. God is looking for those with pure hearts, whether circumcised or not. When Jesus Christ died to fulfill the first goat of Lev. 16,15-20, His blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat in Heaven (Heb. 9:11, 12). This act "atoned" for sin, that is, it covered (Heb. kaphar) our sin, giving us a positional righteousness. It was as if we had never sinned.

Thus, even an uncircumcised man can have his sin covered, and the Law considers him to be perfectly righteous, for God calls what is not as though it were (Rom. 4:17). This imputation of righteousness, prophesied by the first goat of Leviticus 16, is explained more fully in Romans 4, but it is the basis also of 2:26.

The Jew who claims righteousness on account of physical circumcision and his attempt to fulfill his vow of obedience to the Law—such a man is always proven to be a sinner under arrest being prosecuted by the Law as a lawbreaker.

The non-Jew who has faith in Jesus Christ's work on the cross, by which the prophecy of the first goat was fulfilled, can claim righteousness before the Law, because his sin has been properly covered. This is done, not by putting away the Law, but by actually following its precept found in Lev. 16:15-20. The Law showed us the way to obtain Grace. Though it prophesied in terms of a goat, it truly spoke of faith in Jesus Christ.

Hence, the non-Jew's "uncircumcision" is made circumcision by faith in Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the prophetic Law.

27 And will not he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?

The Jews prided themselves on being the ones divinely chosen to judge (rule) the world. But Paul tells the Corinthian church in 1 Cor. 6:2,

2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by YOU, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?

Likewise, the book of Revelation says nothing about the Jews ruling the world, but speaks only of those who follow Jesus Christ. Rev. 20:6 says that "they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years." No Jew who has rejected Jesus as the Christ will qualify to reign with Him, nor will this priesthood be Levitical, for Jesus is the High Priest of an entirely new order (Melchizedek).

God has called judges from virtually every tribe, tongue, and nation, as we read in Rev. 5:9, 10,

9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art Thou to take the book and to break its seals, for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."

And so Paul concludes in Romans 2:27 that non-Jews will judge Jews, for such a calling is not based upon circumcision or upon flesh of any kind, but is determined by the heart and by one's relationship with Jesus Christ.

Who is a Jew?

28 For he is NOT a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he IS a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Paul approaches this from both the negative and the positive. Those claiming Jewishness by their fleshly circumcision are NOT JEWS in the sight of God. Those who possess the heart circumcision, however are of the tribe of Judah in God's sight. "His praise is not from men, but from God." Here Paul employs a play on words. The name Judah means "praise." Thus, Paul says, his Judah-hood (that is, identity as part of in the tribe of Judah) is not from men or by men’s perceptions, but from God.

In other words, what men call a Jew (or Judean, or Judahite) is not the proper definition of the term. It is man's definition, not God's. From God's perspective, any man who revolts against the King of Judah has forfeited his position in the tribe. He is cut off from among his people. But any man who accepts the King of Judah has joined the tribe of Judah.

Hence, the Church is the real tribe of Judah, from God's perspective.

This is also evident from the law of sacrifice in Lev. 17. It was lawful to sacrifice an animal outside the place where He has put His name. However, the man had to bring the blood of that sacrifice "to the doorway of the tent of meeting" (17:4) to present it to Yahweh. If he failed to do this, he would be "cut off from among his people."

Jesus Christ is the true Sacrifice for sin. He was crucified outside the camp (Heb. 13:13), where the sacrifice was made. That much was lawful, but only those who present His blood to Yahweh as a covering for their sin will be justified. Any Jew who rejects His sacrifice, who refuses to present His blood to Yahweh, is "cut off from among his people." In other words, he is no longer of the tribe of Judah.

This is the penalty of the Law. Such a law-breaker cannot claim genealogy as a right to remain within the tribe. The Law always trumps genealogy, and for this reason God always brought judgment upon both Israel and Judah. Israel was cast out first in 721 B.C.

Judah was not cast out as a tribe, because the tribe continued to function through Jesus and His followers; but many individual genealogical Jews were cut off and no longer were considered to be Jews in the eyes of God. And many ethnos were grafted into the downsized tribe of Judah, not being "natural" Judeans, but full citizens of Judah nonetheless.