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What does Romans 9:23 mean?

“And that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:23-24 Revised Version Improved and Corrected) 

We believe the “vessels of mercy” pertain to the members of the Gospel Church, whether Jew or Gentile. The Church is composed of “Israelites indeed” (John 1:47), meaning true Israelites, regardless of heritage, in which there is nothing false. 

The Jewish nation, or earthly Israel, had become the “vessels of wrath” (see verse 22) since the Jews, as a nation, did not recognize nor grasp the presence of their Messiah when he walked the earth. Because they failed to hear their call, they lost their opportunity to rule with our Lord in heaven. 

Therefore, Gentiles and Jews alike, who accept their Redeemer, have replaced the Jewish nation as the sole heavenly seed. 

The Apostle Paul confirms this thought when he says, “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary . . . it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” (Romans 9:6-8) 

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28- 29)

To learn more about salvation and the role of Jesus’ followers in God’s coming kingdom listen to, “How Did Jesus’ Resurrection Change Both Heaven and Earth?”