Sunday, October 01, 2006

Jews and Gentiles as respective vessels in Rom. 9:22-23?

It’s an old counter-Calvinism view that the vessels spoken of in Romans 9:22-23 refer to two collective groups of people, namely; the Jewish nation and the Gentiles. This works as follows:

Vessels of Wrath = Jews (under the old covenant)
Vessels of Mercy = Gentiles (grafted into the new covenant)

Paul is not therefore talking about the eternal destinies of these two peoples obviously, as Paul himself was a Jew saved by Jesus. But about the fates of the two peoples; - Judaism would die out to be replaced by Gentle-grafted Christianity.

However, I feel that there are, some basic problems with such a view. Verse 24 reads (as an immediate follow on from v. 23) - even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentles? Paul notes that both Gentiles and Jews are in the category 'vessels of mercy.'

Therefore, the vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy cannot be Jews and Gentiles respectively, as both Gentiles and Jews are identified as vessels of mercy. And we may infer from this with working parallels that both groups are also found in vessels of wrath.


EDGAR said...

Hi Tim,

In my blog ( ) I mentioned the following:

"In Matthew 21:33-42, Israel’s rejection of Jesus as the Christ brought upon themselves the wrath of God (v. 41). Thus, they became vessels of wrath. And because God “will bring those wretches to wretched end” (v. 41), this mean then that they are now prepared for destruction. But by his great patience, God did not pour out his wrath upon them right away, instead, he “endured them with much patience.” But why did he endure them with much patience? He put up with them so that he could make known the riches of his glory to the Body of Christ, the united Jews and Gentiles (Eph. 2:11-16; cf., Rom. 9:24-26). God giving the Gentiles salvation and using the Gentiles (as they are predominant in the Body of Christ today) in his divine plan brought jealousy to the Jewish people (Rom. 10:19; 11:11). Some might ask, “I thought the Jews have rejected the Christ, why it is there were Jews in the Body of Christ that Paul mentioned?” True, the Jews as a nation rejected Christ, but there were Jewish remnants (9:27) who recognize Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. As a matter of fact, there were 120 Jewish disciples who preached Christ among their brethren after Jesus went back to heaven. Some of their Jewish brethren accepted their message, but the majority (i.e., as a nation) rejected them and their message."

Therefore, I dont think the vessels of wrath were the Jewish People of the Old Covenant and the vessels of mercy are the Gentiles.



timgough said...

Great! good to know your in agreement. Its just a view i'm encountering in my reading of sources.

Thanks also for your helpful blog post.