Acts 28:25-31 — The Setting-Aside of Israel (for now)

25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers,

26 saying, ‘ Go to this people and say: “ Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive;

27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.”’

28 “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!”

29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves.

30 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him,

31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

did not agree (v.25) = were not harmonious

The quote in verses 26-27 is from Isaiah 6:9-10.

dull (v.27) = thick, fat

closed (v.27) = glued together, incapable of opening

no one forbidding him (v.31) = unhindered

Judgment must now be executed upon the nation and the blindness is now to come, which has lasted so long and will continue till the fullness of the Gentiles is come in (Romans 11:26). Stephen, whose death young Saul had witnessed and approved (Acts 8:1), had pronounced judgment upon the nation, in Jerusalem. God’s mercy had still waited. Marvelous grace, which took up the young Pharisee, Saul, and made him the apostle tot he Gentiles! Through him, the chosen instrument, the Lord still sought his beloved Israel, even after Jerusalem had so completely rejected the offered mercy. We have seen how the apostle’s love for his brethren had led him back to Jerusalem, though warned repeatedly by the Holy Spirit. And now he is used to give the very last message to the Jews and speak the final words of condemnation.

It is interesting to see how the Spirit of God quotes through the apostle the message of judgment, which was given to Isaiah 700 years before. How long-suffering God is. What infinite patience and mercy he manifested in dealing with Israel. Isaiah had announced the hardening judgment, and God waited 700 years before it was finally accomplished. Twice before these words from Isaiah 6 are mentioned in the New Testament. In Matthew 13:14-15, they are spoken by our Lord after the peole had rejected Him and the Pharisees had charged him with driving out the demons by Beelzebub, the prince of demons.  They rejected Him, whom the Father had sent. Again, we find the Lord making use of these words at another occasion. In John 12:37-41, they are applied after the full rejection of the Son Himself and His testimony. Here in our passage they are used for the last time. The rejection is now complete and the result is that the threatened blindness rests upon the nation. But we must not forget that the Spirit of God had announced all this in the Epistle to the Romans. The eleventh chapter unfolds the Jewish question and assures us that in spite of all this, the blindness of Israel is not permanent. God has not cast away this people, whom He foreknew. He will yet bring the remnant to HImself and forgive them their sins. God’s gifts and calling are without repentance.

The offer of the Salvation of God to the Gentiles will likewise close. Romans 11:18-22 contains the solemn message, one of the great forgotten messages of the Bible. Boasting Gentile Christiandom will some day be cut off and the broken off branches will be grafted in again into their good olive tree. — The Acts of the Apostles, by Arno C. Gaebelein, pages 427-429.

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