The Aaronic Blessing

“Now, I am speaking to you Gentiles.” (Rom. 11:13)

“Paul could make sense of his life only in the context of the promises to Israel. The temptation to regard Israel as a relic of the past, now supplanted by the Gentile church (Rom. 11:17-24), may have been acute among Gentile believers in Rome (cf. 14:1-15:3), but the phenomenon was probably common wherever the Gentile mission was accompanied by (and itself evoked) the self-distancing of Jews. That Paul combats this tendency, and against the evidence, insists that the future will include the salvation of Israel (11:25-32) reflects more than merely his disgust at Gentile “anti-Judaism.” It demonstrates his conviction that without the salvation of Israel the history of the world would make no sense at all.” (John Barclay, Paul and the Gift, 524)

Among Israel’s faithful remnant was a Shammaite Pharisee named Sha’ul, who had become a Yeshua-believer. He was the son of Pharisees, a descendant of Avraham, a member of the tribe of Benyamin, and studied under the famous Sanhedrin Rabbi Gamaliel. He had been commissioned by Yeshua to bring the Kingdom message (B’rit Chadashah) to the Gentiles. I can’t help but remember his agony (e.g. Rom. 9:1-6) when I watch this.

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