Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service of God and the promises;”

Who are Israelites”–Descended from Israel, or Jacob; honored by having such an ancestor, and by bearing a name so distinguished as that of his descendants. It was formerly the honorable name of the people of God. Paul now enumerates some of the glories of the Jewish race. 

Jacob, their ancestor, had been called Israel (Gen. 32:28) by the Angel of the Lord.  Israel means “a Prince with God,” and this proud title was borne by his descendants. Their very name of Israelites implied their very high dignity; they were a royal nation; princes of the Most High God.

“to whom pertaineth the adoption
Literally:  “whose {is} the adoption.”  To whom it belongs.  Who had been selected of
God as His people, and on whom He had bestowed peculiar privileges.

That is, national adoption of Israel, not personal God adopting the nation of the Jews to be an holy people to Himself, and calling them His sons and His first-born.  It was the elevated external privilege of Israel.  Their adoption of the nation into the family of God , or to be regarded as His peculiar people, (Deut. 7:6).

         ADOPTION:  (Grk.–huiothesia)–Adoption is the taking and treating a stranger as one's own child. It is applied to Christians because God treats them as His children; He receives them into this relation, though they were by nature strangers and enemies.  It is for    this that Christians are so often called the sons of God.

It is true that, compared with the new economy, the old was a state of minority and pupilage, and so far that of a bond-servant (Gal. 4:1-3); yet, compared with the state of the surrounding heathen, the choice of Abraham and his seed was a real separation of them to be a Family of God (Ex. 4:22; Deut. 32:6; Isa. 1:2; Jer. 31:9; Hosea 11:1; Mal. 1:6).

“and the glory”–
That “glory of the Lord,” or visible token of the Divine Presence in the midst of them, which rested on the
Ark of the Covenant and filled the Tabernacle during all their wanderings in the wilderness;.

        GLORY:  (Grk.–doxa)–The manifestation of God among them; principally by the cloud and  pillar ; the Shekinah, or Divine presence, appearing between the cherubim over the Mercy-Seat. 

This is referring to the visible, luminous appearance of the Divine presence, which was called by the Israelites “the glory of Jehovah,” or as the rabbis called, it, the Shekinah.

“and the covenants”– covenants made with Abraham and Moses, the old and new covenants. The Covenants of Promise to which the Gentiles before Christ were “strangers” (Eph. 2:12); meaning the one covenant with Abraham in its successive renewals (see Gal. 3:16,17). 

          COVENANTS:  (Grk.-diathēkai)–Frequently called two covenants; the one  promising, the other exhibiting the promise.

The covenant was given long before the Law.  It is termed covenants, in the plural, because it was so often and so variously repeated, and because there were two dispositions of it, (Gal. 4:24)–“Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants, the one from the Mount Sinai…”
1.      The glory; the visible emblem of the divine presence.
2.      The
covenants; those made with their fathers. The giving of the Law (Ex 20:1-17:1); the service of
God in His temple.
3.      The
promises; those contained in the O.T.

The Israelites were all taken into the family of God, and were called his sons and first-born, (Exodus 4:22; Deut. 14:1; Jer. 31:9; Hosea. 11:1); and this adoption took place when God made the covenant with them at  Mt. Horeb  (Sinai,).

         The various compacts or promises which had been made from time to time with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and with the nation; the pledges of the Divine protection. The covenants made with Abraham, both that which relates to the spiritual seed, and that which was peculiar to his natural descendants (Gal. 3:16,17); which covenants were afterwards renewed by Moses, (Deut. 29:1). 
         Understand that
Gentiles really have nothing to do with these covenants.  In Gen. 15
God made a covenant with Abraham, and gave to his earthly progeny the token of circumcision; and in Gen. 22 God confirmed His promise to Abraham’s seed, which is Christ (Gal.. 3:16).  With David, God made an earthly Kingdom-covenant–that one of David’s descendants would sit upon his throne forever (II Sam. 7:13), as Gabriel told to Mary (Luke 1:32-33).  In the future God will make a New Covenant with the houses of Israel and Judah (Heb. 8:8-12).

“and the giving of the Law”
Literally:; “And the Law giving.”–This took place on
Mount Sinai (Ex. 20:1); that is,-the true Mount Sinai that is located in western Arabia. Comp. Psa. 147:19. The revelation of
God by God Himself, containing a system of moral and political precepts.

 This was also peculiar to the Jews; for to no other nation had he ever given a revelation of His will. It was the prerogative of this people, that all their laws, ceremonial, judicial, and moral were composed and delivered to them by God Himself. From Mount Sinai, and the possession of it thereafter, which the Jews justly deemed their peculiar honor (2:17; Deut. 26:18,19; Ps 147:19,20).

“the service of God”
Literally: “The service”–The phrase, “of God” is not in the original Greek text.  It is another instance in which the English translators added to the
Word of God.

       SERVICE:  (Grk.-latreia)–This is from the Greek verb  (latreuō)– which means, “to    render religious service.”  Here it refers to the  service as seen in the Tabernacle, temple, offerings and priesthood as found in Exodus and Leviticus.  These were regarded by the Jews    as the pride and ornament of their nation; i.e. the service of God in His temple.

The particular ordinances, rites, and ceremonies of their religious worship, and especially the sacrificial system, so expressive of the sinfulness of sin and the holiness of God. ,. of the sanctuary, meaning the whole divinely instituted religious service, in the celebration of which they were brought so nigh unto God.

“the promises”–The promises made to the patriarchs concerning the Messiah, including those promises that mentioned the “land of promise.”

                 PROMISES:  (Grk.-epangeliai)–The promises of the Messiah; and of the spread of the true religion from them as a nation.

Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed forever.”

         “Whose are the fathers”
         Literally: “of whom {are} the fathers”–Who had been honored with so illustrious an ancestry.

              WHOSE:  (Grk.–hōn)–Literally:  “of whom.”

           FATHERS:  (Grk.–pateres)–This is referring to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, the twelve patriarchs,  Moses,   Joshua, Samuel, David, etc.; without controversy, the greatest and most eminent men that ever flourished under heaven.

         These ancestors were the more renowned, as being the progenitors of the human nature of the MESSIAH.  Christ, the Messiah, “according to the flesh,sprang from them.  But this Messiah was more than man, He is God over all; the very Being Who gave them being, though He appeared to receive a being from them.  From whom, as to His human nature, Christ descended.
         From these, is an uninterrupted and unpolluted line, the
Jewish people had descended; and it was no small glory to be able to reckon, in their genealogy, persons of such incomparable merit and excellency.

 “of whom”
Literally: “From whom.” This is placed as the crowning and most exalted privilege, that their nation had given birth to the long-expected Messiah, the hope of the world.

         OF WHOM:  (Grk.–ek hōn)-From the midst of; whom.” This is placed as the crowning and most exalted privilege.  That their nation had given birth to the long-expected Messiah, the hope of the world.   In order to emphasize the point that the reference is only to Christ’s human origin, Paul adds, “as concerning the flesh.”

         “as concerning the flesh Christ came”
         Literally: “According to flesh {is} the Christ.”–So far as His human nature was concerned.

The use of this language supposes that there was a higher nature, in respect to which he was not of their nation. Greatest of all, Christ, in His fleshly nature, was of their race, of the tribe of Judah, and of the seed of David.        

“Who is over all”
Literally: “He being over all.”–This is an title that belongs only to the true God. It implies    supreme Divinity; and is full proof that the Messiah is Divine. (See Matt. 28:18). He is our    King and our Judge.

         “God blessed forever”
“God blessed to the ages”This is evidently applied to the Lord Jesus; and it proves that He is Divine.

If the translation is fairly made,–and it has never been proved to be erroneous,–it demonstrates that Christ is God as well as man. The doxology “blessed forever” was usually added by the Jewish writers after the mention of the name God, as an expression of reverence.  Truly divine, Jehovah. More than man; Divine.

           BLESSED:  (Grk.–eulogētos)–Without exception in Hebrew or Greek, the predicate  “blessed” (eulogētos), precedes the name of G od .  Here the order is reversed, “God blessed” (Grk.–Theos eulogētos)–referring to Christ, the One Who is blessed above by God above all.The original words, (Grk.–eulogētos tous aionas)–literally: “blessed to the ages,” imply the self-existent, independent Being, Who was, is, and is to come.

“Not as though the Word of God hath taken none effect.  For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.”
Paul now interjects a new thought.

“Not as though the Word of God hath taken none effect”
Literally:  “Not, however, that the Word of God has failed.”–Not as though the promise of God had entirely failed. “Though I grieve thus,” (vv. 2-3); “though I am deeply apprehensive” for the nation, yet I do not affirm that all the nation is to be destroyed. The promise of God will not entirely fail.

           NOT AS THOUGH:  (Grk.– ouch hoion)– “Not, however; but it is not as though.”

          NONE EFFECT:  (Grk.–ekpiptō)–Literally:  “To fall out of; to fall down from; to    tail; to fall from a place which one cannot keep; to fall powerless; has fallen out; has come   to nothing; hath fallen to the ground."

That is, has failed: (compare Luke 16:17). His word of promise to Abraham and his seed. The Jew might reply, “Why, then, if Israel had such privileges, covenants and promises, is the nation rejected? Has God, if Jesus is really the Christ, made His word of none effect?”  in the rest of the chapter Paul answers this objection. The first point is that there is a wider, greater Israel than that of the flesh. The Jews imagined that the word of God. must fail if all their nation were not saved.  This Paul now refutes, and proves that the word itself had foretold their falling away.

“they are not all Israel”
Literally:  “For not all the {ones} of Israel {are} Israel.”–Better rendered: “for not all they which are of Israel are Israel.”  Not all the descendants of Jacob have the true spirit of Israelites, or are Jews in the Scriptural sense of the term.

Not all his natural descendants are,  in spirit, true Israelites, to whom the promises of spiritual blessings were made (see Gal. 4:29). There is an Israel according to the promise as well as according to the flesh.

“Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children:  but in Issac shall thy seed be called.”

“Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children”
Literally: Nor because they are Abrahams seed {are} all children.”  Neither because they are lineally the seed of Abraham, will it follow that they are all children of God.  This did not hold even in Abraham's own family; and much less in his remote descendants.

         Paul is arguing that there is more to Jewishness than being descended from Abraham. But the Jews vehemently maintained the contrary; namely, that all who were born Israelites, and they only, were the people of God.   Jesus  told them that if they were Abraham's children that they would do the works of Abraham, but they were really children of the devil (John. 8:37-44). The former part of this assertion is refuted here, the latter, v. 24.  The sum is, God accepts all believers, and them only; and this is no way contrary to his word.  Nay, he hath declared in his word, both by types and by express testimonies, that believers are accepted as the children of the promise, while unbelievers are rejected, though they are children after the flesh.
         Neither because they are the seed of Abraham, etc.  Nor can they conclude, because they are the natural descendants of Abraham, that therefore they are all of them, without exception, the children in whom the promise is to be.  Not in the line of mere fleshly descent from Abraham does the election run; else Ishmael, Hagar's child, and even Keturah's children, would be included, which they were not. Many of the descendants of Abraham were rejected.

“but in Issac shall thy seed be called.”
Literally: “But in Issac a Seed shall be called to you.”–The promise is not confined to immediate natural descent, but may be accomplished in any part of Abraham's posterity. 

Abraham had several sons besides Isaac (Gen. 25:12); particularly Ishmael, who was circumcised before Isaac was born, and in whom Abraham was desirous that the promise should be fulfilled, (Gen. 17:18), and in him God might have fulfilled the promise, had He so pleased; and yet He said to Abraham (Gen. 21:12):  “Not in Ishmael, but in Isaac, shall thy seed be called.”

                  IN ISSAC:  (Grk.–en Issak)-This is restrictive, meaning “only in Issac.”

        SHALL BE CALLED:  (Grk.–klethesetai)–Literally: “named.” The meaning of  these words is, that not all Abraham's children by natural descent shall be heirs of the promises made to him, but only those in the line of Isaac. That is, Isaac, not Ishmael, shall    be called your seed; that seed to which the promise is made.