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Will we go to heaven when we die if we've never told anyone that we believe in Jesus Christ for salvation? Listen to this lesson to learn what "confess with the mouth" means in Romans 10:9 with its special emphasis on the Jewish nation. Find out the three phases of salvation and how only one assures us of our eternal destiny and happens the instant we believe in Christ. Learn about the prophesied two returns of the Jews to the land and striking details of the coming Armageddon Campaign.
Dr. Dean wrote a paper entitled "Believe and Confess: Does the Bible Teach a Two-Step Way to Salvation" for a book to be published by Bold Grace Ministries on Difficult Passages for a Free Grace Gospel. Click the Notes link to view this paper.
Confession Unto Salvation: The Deliverance of Israel and Gentiles, Too
We’re in Romans 10. Last week I had several people comment that it seemed like I ran out of time. There is no way to teach through this whole section and really hit the key points in an hour. Because of some of the complexities in this passage with some of the exegesis in the passage, it’s important to take some time, maybe two or three weeks just to lead up to it so people have time to let it soak into their thinking. What appears to be on the surface, especially in Romans 10: 9-10, is what you’ve heard, what has sort of been programmed into your tiny little brain over the last years of your life makes it sound like Romans 10: 9-10 is all about how to get into heaven. That’s how it’s used by so many people, and if you come from certain backgrounds that’s what you’ve heard again and again and again. But it doesn’t have anything to do with how to get into heaven or a guarantee of heaven or how to have eternal life. It’s much different.
In fact, the message in Romans 10, as in Romans 9 and 11, is about Israel. So tonight we’re going to finally get through these verses. What does it mean to confess with the mouth, that confession is made unto salvation in Romans 10:10? What this means is that the ultimate deliverance to Israel and Gentiles, too, is to turn back to God. This isn’t just about God’s deliverance of Jews. It’s not just about individual salvation. It’s about how God has provided a way for Gentiles to be delivered as well.
Just a reminder of the context. Romans 9 demonstrates the righteousness of God in His rejection of Israel because Israel has rejected God’s grace provision. That’s the focal point. He’s not arbitrarily rejecting them because they’re “not elect”. He’s rejecting them because they have rejected Him. In Romans 10 the demonstration is that this rejection is based on Israel’s corporate rejection of God’s Word. God’s Word has been near to them. It has been close to them, throughout their history. Yet they have rejected it generationally. From generation to generation they have rejected the prophets. They have killed the prophets. Because they have neglected and rejected the revelation God gave them they’re going to come under national judgment. Indeed, for today and for the last 2000 years, we have seen them under national judgment.
Then Romans 11 answers the question whether God has permanently cast away His people? The answer is no, He still has a plan for national, ethnic Israel. Just some things to bring our minds back to where we are this week. We’ve had a lot of things going on the last seven days. We’ve got some people here who weren’t here last week. We always have to have a little review to make sure we’re back on target.
The first point is that the key point in Romans for receiving eternal life is not getting “saved”. That’s American, western evangelicalism, reducing everything to the concept of getting saved and that that equals justification. For Paul, in Romans, justification is how you gain eternal life. It’s what happens at that moment you trust in Christ when you receive redemption, you’re regenerate, and you receive the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. At that point you’re declared righteous. That’s justification.
The second point is that salvation is used for either the entire concept or the end result. It’s not a synonym for justification in Romans. Justification is covered in Romans 3:21 to 5:11. Then Paul moves on to sanctification and the spiritual life. In Romans 3:21-5:11, there are some shorter treatises of justification and in Galatians 2. But in Romans and Galatians where he focuses on justification he never mentions confessing Jesus as Lord. Belief is the only condition for salvation. Our justification is based on faith in Christ alone.
The third point we’ve seen is that nowhere else in all of Paul’s epistles does he mention confession of anything as a condition for justification, not to mention Jesus as Lord. He never mentions that anywhere else so why do we think that somehow public confession or telling your neighbor or telling your friend or telling somebody that you believed in Jesus, is necessary for salvation?
Fourth point is that Paul reiterates that justification is by faith alone in the first part of Romans 10:10. He says, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness.” How do you gain righteousness? You believe with your heart. The heart there stands for the mind, the thinking part of the soul. The fifth point of review is what salvation means. In Romans it’s distinct from justification as we’ve seen in Romans 5: 10-11 it’s often future to justification, “having already been justified, we shall be saved.” See two different concepts in time. Justification is over with and completed in the past and because of that, we shall be saved in the future.
Romans 13:11 says the same thing, “Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.” It’s nearer, but it’s not here. It’s just nearer. What happened when we first believed? We were justified. Every day we get closer to salvation so he’s clearly not using the term salvation for gaining eternal life. The reason you have that confused look on your face or that “deer in the headlight look” is because you’ve just heard that idiom in American Christianity so much that salvation equals as phase one. As we pointed out last time in Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.” Paul is saying something that is a lot more than I want all my Jewish friends and everybody else I’m related to that’s Jewish to go to heaven. He’s saying a lot more than that. To reduce it to justification for the Jews is to basically eviscerate or gut the passage of its real significance. He’s not just talking about wanting all the Jews he knew to go to heaven. That’s not what he’s taking about when he’s talking about salvation.
There are three ways salvation or being saved is used. Sometimes people call this the three tenses of salvation. That’s a common way today to refer to this. Others call it the three stages or the three phases of salvation. Phase one is justification. It takes place in an instant in time when a person believes that Jesus died on the cross for their sins. When they realize that Jesus is the solution and that by trusting in Him they have forgiveness of sins. There are different aspects to the salvation offer. Believing any of those related to Christ gets you justified in an instant by faith alone. We’re saved from the penalty of sin. There’s that word saved.
After that if we grow and mature as believers the technical term for that is sanctification. It’s a term related to our spiritual life, our experiential sanctification where we are saved from the power of sin. So when you see the word saved in Scripture you have to say, “Are we talking about getting saved from the penalty of sin or are we talking about being saved from the power of sin?”
In some places, like Romans 13 it’s saved from the presence of sin. It’s that we will be saved in the future. So it’s important to distinguish those but always remember this point that I don’t think has always been made clear. You can’t be saved from the power of sin and you can’t be saved from the presence of sin if you haven’t first been saved from the penalty of sin. You have to be justified before phase two or phase three can develop.
Now continuing the review, the sixth point is that only Romans 11:11 mentions the salvation of the Gentiles. If you read that passage as you read some of these passages you might say, “Well, I can see that that might mean justification.” Sure you can read anything into a passage but if you’re doing appropriate, correct exegesis, you don’t ever just ask if that meaning could work here. The question is how is the word used? How are words used by this author within this context in order to get the meaning out of the passage, not to read it into the passage?
Now if everywhere else the word salvation refers to some kind of deliverance, then what kind of deliverance belong to the Gentiles. In verses 18 to 22 there’s the discussion of what happens throughout human history as people have gone negative to God’s revelation of Himself and as a result God has brought a series of judgments upon the human race. Those are outlined there. Those are judgments upon Gentiles. That is the wrath of God that is being revealed against the human race. So by trusting in God and calling upon Him we Gentiles can be delivered from this judgment. This is brought out even in our passage in Romans 10:12 where after Paul talks about and quotes from Joel 2:32, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame”, he then explains that. Listen very carefully. He says, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek…” At that point he’s talking what he has said and he’s making an application that takes it to both Jews and Gentiles. Up to that point he’s been focusing on the Jews but in verse 12 he says that this doesn’t just apply to Jews or just apply to eschatological deliverance of Israel at the end times, it also applies to Gentiles. Gentiles can be delivered from the present judgment of God, not end time judgment, but present time judgment if they turn to God for deliverance.
So point six emphasizes that it’s consistent to see all these passages in the same way. So when we put all of this together, Romans 10:1 is not a limited expression of Paul’s desire that Jews get justified because that ignores everything else he’s been saying about the remnant. In Romans 9 his quote from Isaiah 28:16 and part of that verse is quoted again in verse 11, all of this connects. Sometimes when I read this passage and I get into it more and more each time I study it I just wonder if other pastors take as much time to go back to these original quotes.
Paul has an illusion or a quotation from Old Testament passages in every other verse just about. If you don’t go back to see what those original contexts are discussing, how in the world can you figure what’s going on in this particular passage? I say that because I remember that for years having discussions with other close friends as we were wrestling with trying to figure out the interpretation of Romans 10: 9-10, it took us years before we were going back and digging through and really coming to grips with all these Old Testament quotations. It’s not something you’re necessarily taught in seminary and it’s not something you get very easily. But it is very important.
So when we come to 10:1 the salvation we’re talking about is the same salvation Paul is talking about in 1:16 and it ultimately talks about the total package of what God provides for us in terms of deliverance from the wrath of God today and from eternal judgment in the future. So Romans 10:1 prayer of Paul that Israel is that they be saved but not simply justified. In verse 2-3 we saw that the problem with Israel is that they’re ignorant of God’s righteousness. They think they can get there on their own ignoring the Old Testament teaching in Isaiah 64 that all of our works of righteousness are as filthy rags.
Then we move on to Romans 10:4 where he talks about the fact that Christ is the end of the Law. We saw this is the important word telos indicating the fulfillment or the goal of the Law. Because Jesus is the goal of the Law the Law has come to an end as stated in numerous other passages as a basis for experiential righteousness. He’s not talking about justification righteousness at this point. This is all about what saved can be more than justification. It’s talking about phase two deliverance salvation. That’s critical to understanding this passage. We’re not talking about how to get eternal life. We’re talking about the present time experience of the richness of God’s grace in delivering us from living in the fallen world. That’s being applied not only to Israel but also to Gentiles. So the Law is no longer related to sanctification but it has been replaced.
Now this is where we stopped last time. This is really interesting and one of those fun little passages to study because there’s a series of quotes taken out of the Old Testament from Deuteronomy 30: 12-14. If you’re really interested you will turn to Deuteronomy 30 so that there can be a comparison. I know, that’s hard to do when you’re sitting there and you have to slip back and forth in your Bible. But let’s do it. Let’s look at these verses in context.
He doesn’t quote directly from what we now know as the Masoretic Text. His quotes are coming out of the Septuagint, the Greek translation [LXX] of the Hebrew Old Testament. That’s why you see some differences. The other reason you see some differences is because he is sort of cherry picking the phrases and sentences he wants to focus on because he’s not saying this is a fulfillment one to one of the Deuteronomy 30 passage. He is making an application that the principle of Deuteronomy 30: 11-14 is the same today as it was then. That is that divine revelation is as available to you right now as it was to the Jews in the wilderness.
In fact, maybe even more so because you have the internet. You’re sitting there with your computer or smart phone or iPad or whatever and you can pull anything up just like that. So we have more Bible truth available to us today than in any other period of Biblical history. We also have more biblical falsehood or false teaching about the Bible than we’ve ever had before in human history. You can go out to all kinds of websites on the internet with all kinds of Christian teaching that will just confuse you more than anything else. But part of learning involves confusion sometimes. It’s out of confusion that we can gain clarity after a while.
Romans 10:6 says, “But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: Do not say in your heart, who will ascend into heaven?” He’s quoting from Isaiah 30 and then he’s making an application. So the point that Deuteronomy 30 is making is about revelation. The ultimate way in which God has revealed Himself to us is not through the written word but the Living Word, the Logos, the Eternal Second Person of the Trinity. So he’s making an application that the real word that is so close to the Jews in the wilderness is the Living Word, which is Christ. He’s saying that they don’t need to say that the Word needs to come down from heaven because it’s already here.
“Or who will descend into the abyss, that is to bring Christ up from the dead. But what does it say? The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” Now pause that thought a minute. Romans 10: 9-10 says that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you’ll be saved. What are the two body parts that he talks about there? Mouth and heart. Go back to verse 8. He says, “The word is near you in your mouth and in your heart.” This is the message related to faith which we preach.
The point that he’s making here is very simple. He goes back to the Old Testament illustration that here were the Jews in the wilderness. The Exodus generation has died off. Moses is talking to the conquest generation and he’s warning them that at some future time there is going to be judgment on Israel because they’re going to go apostate. And they’re going to be so apostate that God is going to remove them from the land completely because they reject God’s Word. That’s the point of verse 14 in Deuteronomy 30 and verse 8 here. The Word was near them but they rejected it. That’s why Israel again finds itself under judgment in Paul’s time because they rejected the revelation that God has given them which he’s already applying in the context to Christ who is the ultimate revelation of God.
Now we’ll compare Romans 10:6-9 with Deuteronomy 30:11-14. Deuteronomy 30:11 is stating what Moses said as he goes to the Jews and tells them what is necessary for God to return them to the land and for that discipline to be removed. The focal point of Deuteronomy 30 is on a future restoration of the Jews to the land. This is expressed very clearly as the beginning in verse 1, “So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you.” He’s reminding them of all the things they were to avoid in chapter 29 which would lead to their being banished from the land unto all the nations like they are now.
Look now at verse 2, “And you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the Lord will restore you from captivity.” When does this occur? It occurs at the end of the Tribulation period. This is talking about when the Jews are brought back to the land as a regenerate people and the land is restored to them. Now in Isaiah 11:11 God says, “Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people.”
When’s the first time? Well in the context of Isaiah 11:11 it says I will bring you back from all the earth a second time.” When did the first time occur? Well, some people think it occurred when they returned from the Babylonian Captivity in 538 but they didn’t come back from Egypt or Rome or Turkey or primarily any place but Babylon and only about 45 to 48, 000 came back with Zerubbabel the first time. There wasn’t a large return back to the land during the 2nd Temple period. There was still a huge number of Jews living in the Diaspora. But there had to be a return under God’s plan so there would be a nation in the land to whom the Messiah could come. There had to be an authority structure in the land so that they could choose to accept or reject the Messiah. But most of the Jews at the time Jesus came lived in the Diaspora.
There are about 50%, probably about 48% of Jews in the world today live in the world today. The greatest percentage of Jews in the world today live in Israel for the first time. We’re within two percentage points of having 50% of the Jews in the world living in the land God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That hasn’t happened since 722 B.C. That’s significant, I think. Very significant. It doesn’t mean that the Rapture is tomorrow but it doesn’t mean it’s not.
Okay, so what is Paul saying? He quotes in verse 6, “Do not say in your heart, who will ascend into heaven.” This is from Deuteronomy 30:12 where Moses says not to be looking off into heaven for something. You’ve got it right here. No one needs to go to heaven and bring it to us that we may hear it and do it. In Romans 10:7 Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 30. He asks who will descend into the abyss. That’s the word from the Septuagint. In Deuteronomy 30:14 it says that the Word of God is not beyond the sea that you should say, “Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?” That’s looking for God’s revelation in some distant location.
Romans 10:8 quotes from Deuteronomy 30:13 and states, “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” You don’t have to go looking for it. You don’t have to say that maybe if you could have gone to heaven I could find it or if I’d gone into the abyss I’d find it. Paul is quoting Moses and saying that you don’t have to look for it. For God’s revelation is at hand. It’s right there. It’s right next to you. It’s available in your mouth and in your heart. All you have to do is accept it and do it. So that’s the background to understanding that mouth and heart come out of Deuteronomy 30:14 and its related to the Jews turning to God.
When? For individual justification? No. For national or corporate deliverance at the end of the Tribulation period. The point I’m making is that when you study the context of Romans 10 and the context of the quotes you know right away that neither Moses nor Paul were talking about how to get into heaven. All these contexts are talking about how Israel will ultimately be delivered by God and restored to the land and realize all the promises of the Abrahamic covenant.
Now we are at Romans 10:9 and 10 which begins, “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Now if you think salvation here means getting into heaven, then two conditions are presented. You have to believe in your heart that Jesus has been raised from the dead and you have to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. So if you haven’t confessed with your mouth out loud that Jesus is Lord then you’re not going to get to heaven. What about someone who is a deaf mute? That’s not politically correct but I’m never been accused of being politically correct. Anyway, these are not conditions for getting justified. This is talking about something completely different.
It’s explained further in verse 10 which starts with the word “for” indicating an explanation. “For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Belief is a matter of thought. It’s not a matter of feeling. It’s a matter of accepting something as true. The result is that when you believe or trust in Christ as Savior you receive the imputation of Christ’s righteousness and God declares you to be justified. With the mouth you confess, resulting in something different. Salvation.
So let’s tear it apart a little bit. It starts off with what is a third class condition in the Greek. Greek talks about “if” clauses and expresses them grammatically four different ways. The first indicates “if” and we’re going to assume the condition is true. The second is “if” and we assume the condition isn’t true. The third is that it could be either way, maybe you will and maybe you won’t, but the idea is that more likely you will but there’s still a chance of pure contingency there. So that’s how it’s used here. It’s a third class condition. “If you confess” but you might not. So it you don’t, you don’t get the results.
Now we get to get to look at that word “confess”. It’s a familiar word to everyone in this congregation. Homologeo. It doesn’t mean “to say the same thing as”. It is used to indicate confession in a courtroom setting but it doesn’t always mean confession. See, according to Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich there are other English words that could be used to translate confession, depending on the context. Two are “admit” or “acknowledge”. I like to use those two words as synonyms for confession because confession is one of those holy words that people use all the time. It loses its meaning because it’s too familiar. When you say that you just have to admit your sin to God, all of a sudden that seems to clarify things a little bit but it also means to declare something. Sometimes it’s used with a sense of praising God in the sense that we’re praising what He has done or admitting or acknowledging what He has done. So you see how the word groups works together.
If you do a simple word substitution here and you use the word “declare” and you translate it “if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you’ll be saved.” It is a public declaration that Jesus is God. He’s divine. The word “lord” there doesn’t simply mean master. It goes back to the fact that the Lord Jesus is God. Lord represents His deity. Jesus is His humanity. Christ is His role as the Messiah.
Now look at that confessing parallel to a phrase that’s found in verse 14 where we read, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Calling on the name of the Lord represents the same idea as “confessing or declaring with your mouth” the Lord Jesus in verse 9. It’s the same thing. Calling upon the name of the Lord is a declaration. And so all of this fits together.
Now the next thing we ought to do in terms of analysis is to recognize that Romans 10:9-10 is structured according to a chiasm. (Pastor Dean showed a chart here showing the verse) The “chi” in that word represents an “x”. So if you just look at one side of an X, you see a line going in and then going out. This is how you structure that in an argument. Sometimes you can have 8, 10, 12 points. I’ve seen chiastic diagrams of two or three chapters in the Scripture. In a time when we didn’t have bold-faced type and italics or underlining and all these other things to visually emphasize different things then you did it with your literary organization. In a chiasm the focal point is on the two parallel things that are at the center of the chiasm.
So in this diagram, the A line says, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus”. The fourth line which is parallel to it we call A prime is “and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”. So these two lines mirror another. The B line is “and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” The mirror to that says, “for with the heart one believes unto righteousness.” Now let’s look at those two concepts. “You will be saved” is parallel to “believing unto righteousness”. Now it’s real easy to think that believing unto righteousness might be justification. Sometimes I’ve said that and I’ve really misspoken. That’s what I’ve heard a lot but when I got back into this the other day I thought that it’s easy to slip on this.
This chiastic diagram is so critical. In the B statement, “if you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved.” Is that phase one or phase two salvation? That’s phase two, sanctification. If that’s phase two then believing in your heart unto righteousness has to be what? Phase two. Which means we’re talking about experiential righteousness here, not justification righteousness. This fits the context of Romans. Paul quit talking about justification righteousness in Romans 5:11. How many times have I said that? That means everything after Romans 5:11 is talking about something related to the spiritual life, phase two, sanctification and even glorification, phase three. Now when we break down this parallel here which is, “you will be saved” and “unto righteousness” are parallel concepts. They’re synonymous. If “saved” never means phase one in Paul’s terminology in Romans, then it has to refer to phase two. Therefore the righteousness of the second parallel clause must also be referring to Phase two. It’s real easy to do that.
Those of you doing the Bible Study Methods course on Sunday nights will see that this is where detailed, structural diagrams really help us see what’s going on in the text. It’s real easy when you’re familiar with something in English just to read past it. I do it. You do it. We all do it. That’s the conclusion that since “saved” here is phase two, “righteousness” must also be phase two. Now I’m not the only one who’s made this observation. There are a number of people who have arrived at this conclusion but we tend not to be in the majority. But we all tend to be people who hold to a free grace salvation. This is a common view but it is not a majority view. It fits the text very well.
So in Romans 10:9-10 what Paul is talking about is the same kind of thing that is being talked about in Deuteronomy 30. The people being talked about there are people who at the end of the Tribulation period are about to call upon the name of the Lord. They’re already justified. They’re already believers. So the context is talking about believers who are growing in spiritual maturity, seeking continually to obey God, and realizing that in their spiritual life. So Romans 10:11 is a further explanation. Paul says, “For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed. [or put to shame].” Why won’t you be put to shame? Because you realize that ultimate deliverance eschatologically. Because we’re justified we will be saved.
When I talk about saved I don’t want you to think there’s a total dichotomy between being saved, phase two or phase three. What did I say? You can’t get phase two and phase three unless you have phase one. Saved is used in a full-orbed sense but the emphasis in these passages is not on getting justified. Romans 10:11 is quoting from the last part of Isaiah 28:16. It’s what Paul quotes in Romans 9:33. So this is important to connect all of these dots.
What Paul was talking about at the very end of Romans 9:33 he connects the dots for us. It seems like how did he go through what he is saying in Romans 10:1-10 when verse 11 he pulls us right back to where he was at the end of chapter 9, verse 33. Now in Isaiah 28:16 it reads in the Masoretic text, “Whoever believes will not act hastily.” The word there in the Hebrew is chush and it should be translated “agitated”. You won’t be upset. Your stability is in God. He’s the one who’s going to deliver you. The Septuagint translated it, “Whoever believes will not be ashamed.”
So there’s a textual problem there and many people believe the Septuagint has the correct reading, and I agree. Perhaps the Masoretic text was corrupted at this point and used a word which is very similar. The first letter could easily be mistaken if it was misread or two letters were too close together, it might resemble the other. The Septuagint probably represents a better reading there and it should be translated “whoever believes, whoever trusts in God, won’t be ashamed. He will deliver us.”
Then he goes on to say, “For there is no distinction.” This is where he applies the principle to both Jew and to Gentile. Up to this point the application has been only in the direction of the Jews and their future deliverance corporately which has to do not with their individual justification but their corporate deliverance. So that takes us back to where we have to say that whatever else we have to say, whatever is going on here, nothing in this passage is really focusing on how to get eternal life.
So he goes on to say in Romans 10:13, “For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Why is that important? It’s important because in Matthew 23, just before the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus comes and He weeps over Jerusalem and He says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem. The one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather you children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings but you were not willing.” Then after that He tells them He will not return until they call upon the name of the Lord. So what has to happen before Jesus returns as Israel’s Messiah to deliver Israel from oppression? Israel has to call upon the name of the Lord.
Now that’s a whole other interesting story, which we might do one day but calling upon the name of the Lord is not synonymous to getting justified. It is the action in Scripture if you go all the way through the Old Testament and New Testament passages, calling upon the name of the Lord is what believers do in order to be delivered from their present circumstances of adversity. It’s calling upon God to come and rescue them from whatever it is they are going through. You find that term many times in the Psalms. Now what Israel has to do at the end times is they have to confess or declare their sin before God. Leviticus 26:40-42, which is at the end of the discussion of the five cycles of discipline when the Jews are taken out of the land, God is going to state the conditions for the return of the Jews to the land. God said to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, “If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against me and also in their acting with hostility against Me and that I also have acted with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies—if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember My covenant with Jacob and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, I will remember, I will remember the land.” So there’s the condition.
They have to admit their guilt before God and they have to turn to God. This is the same terminology that’s used in Deuteronomy 30. Now that is expressed in Romans 10:13 corporately when they call on the name of the Lord. Here Paul quotes from Joel 2:32, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Let’s turn to Joel 2. If you were with me through the Revelations series or Daniel series and you listened to those you will recognize this. Joel 2:32 is one of those great passages describing the end times.
In Joel 2:32 we have the end of the Tribulation period and the time is the Day of the Lord. The time when Jesus Christ returns to rescue Israel from possible destruction, potential destruction from the Antichrist. This section is also quoted by Peter on the Day of Pentecost simply to show that the kinds of events that happened afterwards represent the actions of the Spirit just as the actions on the Day of Pentecost. Joel 2 talks about the Day of the Lord and the judgment that’s coming and what God will do to restore the land to Israel. There’s also a quote at the end of verse 27 that says, “My people will never be put to shame.”
Paul may be adding that idea that those who believe in Him will not be put to shame. In verse 28, he says, “It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind and your sons and daughters will prophesy and your old men will dream dreams and your young men will see visions.” This is in the Millennial Kingdom. “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days and I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord.” That’s describing the calamity of the whole end time of the Tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon.
Then verse 32, “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered.” This is at the time of the blood and fire and columns of smoke and the sun turned into darkness and the moon into blood. That’s when it will come to pass at that time that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered [saved]. So Joel 2:32 is talking about what happens at the end of the Tribulation period, at the end of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, as Christ is going to come to deliver Israel and He’s going to deliver the remnant. Now this happens in the Campaign of Armageddon.
Now Armageddon is not a battle. It’s a campaign. There are actually eight stages to the Battle of Armageddon. It happens in the Valley of Har Megiddo. Har is the Hebrew word for mountain. There’s a huge tell or mountain built over the ancient city of Megiddo. So far they’ve discovered about twenty-seven or eight layers of civilization at Megiddo. During the time of Solomon it was one of his great cities where he had a major fortress and where he stored his chariots and soldiers. It overlooks this huge valley. That valley goes from the southeast to the southwest and the northwest end of that valley ends right at the modern city of Haifa which is the only deep water port in the eastern Mediterranean.
When you’re standing up there on the escarpment of Mount Carmel, the same Mount Carmel where Elijah called down fire, and you look down on Haifa, you see the ocean. This is where the U.S. fleet comes in to refuel. It’s the only deep water port there. You can just see that this is where the naval ships of the Antichrist come in to offload troops and equipment and using this huge valley that extends all down through this area to the southeast as his logistical base in his fight against Babylon and against Israel. So that’s stage one which is gathering the armies of the Antichrist for this great battle.
The second thing that happens chronologically is that he’s going to destroy the seat of power in Babylon. The third thing that happens is he’s going to attack Jerusalem and Jerusalem will fall. The believing Jews have already evacuated. There’s a remnant of Jews that didn’t listen to Jesus and didn’t leave but they’re still saved. They’re now under siege in Jerusalem. The majority though have left and they headed south across the Judean Desert, across south of the Dead Sea into what is now the modern Hashemite kingdom of Jordan in the area of Petra and Bozra.
Under the fourth thing that happens the armies of the Antichrist then trap them down in that canyon-type mountainous territory at Petra and they’re surrounded. At this point the remnant calls upon the Messiah to deliver them. They call upon the name of the Lord. They’re already believers. They’re already justified. Now they’re coming together as a nation and they call on the name of the Lord. They recognize corporately, nationally that Jesus is their Messiah. They call upon Him to deliver them.
This is when Jesus returns and rescues them from the surrounding armies of the Antichrist. Then they head back north with the tribe of Judah and Dan leading the way with the Messiah heading back to Jerusalem to rescue those trapped in Jerusalem. They end up in the final battle in the Valley of Jehoshaphat which is the Kidron Valley which runs between the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus Christ is going to rescue them, defeat the Antichrist and the False Prophet. Then they’re going to have a victory ascent up the Mount of Olives.
(At this point Pastor Dean shows photos of the area, describing each of them. Visit www.deanbible.org to view the slides/photos associated with this Bible study or click on the link below.) How do we know this? In Jeremiah 49:13-14 we read, “For I have sworn to Myself, declares the Lord, That Bozrah will become an object of horror, a reproach, a ruin, and a curse and all its cities will become perpetual ruins I have heard a message from the Lord, and an envoy is sent among the nations saying “gather yourselves together and come against her, and rise up for battle!”
Then the Lord Jesus Christ is going to return. This is stated in Isaiah 63:1-3, “Who is this who comes from Edom, with garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength? It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’ ‘Why is Your apparel red and your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?’ ‘I have trodden the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger and trampled them in My wrath, and their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My raiment’.”
This passage is written from the perspective of the Lord Jesus Christ having won the battle and He’s bringing the Jews that he’s rescued back into the land.
In Isaiah 34:6 we read “The sword of the Lord is filled with blood. It is sated with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.” That hasn’t occurred historically. This is all a description of what happens during the times of this last Armageddon Campaign.
(Pastor Dean shows more photos). These show you the lovely, lovely territory coming south out of Bethlehem across the Judean desert. I remember the first time we took a trip to Israel we’d gone over to Petra. We drove south about two hours to come back at Eilat and to cross over at Aqaba. It was about the 26th or 27th of June and there was a sirocco wind blowing across the Judean desert right in our face. You have to walk between two cyclone fences maybe about thirty yards apart. You have to walk about a hundred yards from the Jordanian side to the Israeli side, dragging your baggage behind you, walking into this 15, 20 or 25 miles an hour wind. The temperature was 117 and it was like walking into a hairdryer. That’s 117 with a heat index of 135. Lovely territory that they’re going to have to escape through. But it’s also very difficult terrain to follow someone and to attack them. Just think about that, what it’s going to be like. Lovely terrain as you head down into Petra. So this is the scenario is when we look at the passage in Romans 10. Romans 10 is talking about this future deliverance when they call upon the name of the Lord.
Next time we’re going to come back and we’re going to wrap up the rest of the chapter as we go forward. Here there’s going to be an application why Israel has rejected the gospel. We’ll get into those passage in the last part before we get over to chapter 11.