Romans 11

In this chapter, Paul continues on with and concludes his explanation of the very deep doctrine of Election. Election is beyond human understanding, so we must simply take Paul for what he says.

Then in chapter 12, he will start dealing with very practical applications of Christianity; that is, how the Elect should live in public as well as private.

Paul has sounded as though all Israel had been cast off by God for their sin. Now he explains how the doctrine of Election works.

I must admit that this chapter is one of the most difficult passages in scripture. Great men have stumbled over it because it does not fit within human understanding.

Though all the commentators use the term "Jew" for Israel in this chapter, Paul never uses the term Jew. However, he does use Jew and Israelite interchangeably throughout his letters.

Paul uses the name Israel here interchangeably, including when he refers to the Church as the new Israel of God, and the Christian as the true Jew.

There are two uses of the name Israel:

First, national Israel; that is, the nation that traced its roots back to Jacob.

Second, the Israel of God, as mentioned in Galatians 6:16. The Israel of God replaced national Israel after the gospel went to the Gentiles, though the Israel of God can be traced back to the promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-4.

The context of the use of Israel will normally establish which Israel Paul is talking about.

Here is a breakdown of this chapter.

Vv. 1-6 God had not completely cast off all national Israel, but preserved a remnant by grace, and not by works.

Vv. 7-10 Israel's blindness was a judicial blindness, and was prophesied throughout Scripture.

Vv. 11-16 Paul presents Israel's fall and conversion in the light of the Gentile world.

Vv. 17-22 The Gentiles are cautioned against pride. Rather, they are to learn from the example of God's goodness and of his severity.

Vv. 23-32 Though national Israel faced the judgment of God and was cut off, all of the true Israel of God shall, when the time is right, believe and be saved.

Vv. 33-36 Paul admits that what he has presented concerning judgment and election is beyond human understanding: It is both the deep and unsearchable wisdom and knowledge of God.

Paul tells us that election is from the mind of God, and only God can understand it. And we are not God. Those who insist upon reducing chapters 9-11 to their human understanding destroy what Paul presented in these three chapters.

In the previous chapter, Paul has sounded like all Israel had been rejected for their rebellion and replaced by the Gentiles as God's people. Rebellion did cut off national Israel, and that rebellion resulted in national Israel being replaced by the new Israel of God, made up of both Jews and Gentiles.

Paul uses both terms, Israel and Jews interchangeably. He tells us there are true Jews, those who make up the true Israel of God, and there are religious Jews who make up the natural or national Israel. True Israel is by grace through faith, and national Israel is by birth or by works of the flesh---following the Jews' religion.

Based upon what Paul wrote in Romans 10, it appeared that God broke his covenant that he made with Israel in places like Psalms 94:14:

For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.

Paul offers several proofs that God had not broken his covenant.

V. 1, Hath God cast away his people?

First answer is given in Paul's customary form, God forbid.

Paul rejects the thought that God totally abandoned his people Israel, and proceeds to prove his point. His first proof is from his own self.

Paul answers the objection that God broke his covenant with Israel by stating his fleshly linage to Abraham through Benjamin. He shows that he was not a proselyte converted to the faith, but was by nature a true Israelite. And he has not been cast off. (Newell)

Philippians 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

Note that a true physical Israelite, or true physical Jew, must be able to prove his linage to Abraham through his tribal head, Benjamin in this case. Those today who claim to be Jews are Jews strictly by religion. However, there is a group of people who claim they are Israelites through the Anglo-Saxon race. How foolish.

The most vocal preacher at the Roanoke preacher's meeting, though claiming to have given up dispensationalism, has not. I mentioned Ron Paul to him, and he became even more vocal, saying that Paul hates Israel and national defense. In other words, he is still caught in the trap of dispensationalism that modern Israel is connected with the Old Testament Israel and it today is heir to the promises given in the Old Testament, and it is our responsibility to arm them so they can continue the wars over in the middle east.

And this preacher claims to be an expert in Scripture.

V. 2, has God cast away his people? Paul's second answer: God hath not cast away his people. God has his elect.

foreknew is a word the Armenian's stumble over. God foreknew not in the sense of God foreknowing how the individuals would respond; rather, God foreknew from the foundations of the world what HE would do for the individual. In other words, those whom God chose from the foundation of the earth were elect and predestinated to eternal life, and nothing can change that fact.

For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.

Paul make it very clear that the elect cannot be cast off.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Revelation 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

The genuine covenant people from the beginning of time have been those whom God foreknew that he would call to eternal life. The Old Testament saints such as Enoch, were elect by God to eternal life.

V. 2 is talking of the Old Testament Saints. Paul presented two classes of Jews, or Hebrews, before Christ. He discussed thoroughly the difference between the two classes of Jews in the previous two chapters. One class consisted of God's covenant people, those he foreknew and called and kept true to himself; the other class consisted of those who were outside the covenant.

Has God cast away his people?

First, v. 1, Paul referrers to himself as proof that God had not cast off his people

Second, v. 2, the elect cannot and will not be cast off by God.

Third, v. 2, Paul quotes Elijah as proof that from the beginning, God will not cast away his people---those he has chosen for himself. We see then that there has always been two classes of Hebrews, or Israelites, or Jews, as they later became known. Those whom God chose as his own, and those whom he left in their sins. Those Israelites who have been left in their sins were identified throughout the Old Testament as uncircumcised pagans.

The circumcision that makes one a Child of God has always been the circumcised heart, or the new heart placed there by the spirit of God.

Elijah... He was so distressed over national Israel's sins that he even prayed against them.

1 Kings 19:1-21

Romans 11:3, Paul quotes 1 Kings 19:10, where Elijah prays against the ten tribes of Israel.

Rehaboam split the ten tribes from the other two, and the Children of Israel became two nations: Israel and Judah. Judah followed the house of David, and Israel followed Rehaboam. Rehaboam then forbad Israel from going to Jerusalem to worship as they had been commanded by God to do. As the ten tribes, Israel became more pagan, God sent prophets to them.The altars that were thrown down were probably altars to the true God built by those Godly prophets, such as Elisha and Elijah. There was also a college of the prophets in the area of the ten tribes.

Elijah was certain all of Israel had apostasies, and had been cast off by God. He felt he alone was left faithful to the Lord. So general was the defection from God by the ten tribes, Israel, that Elijah was sure he was the last of the ones who worshiped the true God.

Today, those faithful to their Christian profession in the midst of a corrupt church many times feel I am left alone as the whole church goes whoring after strange gods.

Note: How many times have we felt left alone by God? We must not be rash in our judgments of others, for God alone knows who are his chosen. He alone knows the heart of a church.

V. 4, Paul quotes part of the Lord's answer to Elijah's fear that all Israel had been cast off by God. The entire answer is found in 1 Kings 19:15-18, but Paul only quotes v. 18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

Look at God's answer to Elijah:

I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

First, God reserved them by his free grace and mercy. They did not reserve themselves from the surrounding national apostasy.

Second, seven thousand men A certain number for an uncertain number, (Poole) which is typical of God. When we see an even number mentioned, it usually represents an unknown number. The seven thousand number does not included women and children, which were no doubt reserved with the men.

Paul points out to the questioning Jews that even under the worse judgment, God still has his elect.

V. 5, Paul tells them that there is a remnant of Jews according to God's election. Therefore, Israel's rejection is not total. Though those who believe may be few in respect of the whole, there are many thousands of the elect reserved by God's grace.

Vv. 4, 5. Twice now Paul has pointed out that the preservation of the elect is something that God must do, and that he does.

V. 6. Paul seems to get into a tangle of words here, but he reminds his readers again of what he has said all along. Grace and Works cannot mix. If Election is based upon works, there can be no grace involved. If Election is based upon free grace, there can be no works involved, other than the work of Christ.

For what is works is works, and what is free grace is free

Paul has spent the first 10 chapters of Romans, starting with Abraham, proving the impossibility of works and grace going together. Evidently, the Jews could not understand that impossibility of mixing works and grace any more than many today can understand that impossibility.

If election and calling were both of grace and works, then grace is no grace, and works are no works.

To here, 1/11/12

used, 2/12/12

I would like to make a point here:

The works of the Law as referred to by Paul was primarily the works of the Jewish laws and traditions, though it certainly applied to the Commandments.

The accusation against Stephen is found in Acts 6:,

For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.

The Jews hope of heaven rested in their obedience to not only the law of Moses, but also obedience to the traditions of the fathers, which voided most of the commandments.

In Galatians 2, starting with v. 14, Paul rebukes Peter for following Jewish law and separating from the Gentiles. In v. 18, Peter had worked to tare down that Jewish laws and traditions of separation between the Jews and Gentiles. He had seen the vision which made it clear that now there was no separation. But now in Galatians 2, Peter was rebuilding those laws, and Paul soundly rebuked him by name before all present.

Peter was not rebuilding the commandments for justification; rather, he was rebuilding the Jewish laws, and traditions.

Throughout Scripture, we are told that the Law of Moses, the Commandments and ordinances, will not justify. However, according to the context, the primary law Paul is talking of in Romans 11 and in Galatians is the laws and traditions of the Jews, as well as the commandments.

In fact, most of Galatians deals with the doing away with the division between the Jews and Gentiles, and the Judaizers attempt to get the new Christians to submit to Jewish laws and traditions, e.g., circumcision.

In the first section of this chapter, vv. 1-6, Paul shows that though national Israel was under the judgment of God, not all Israelites, or Jews, would be cut off. Paul himself was proof that God had a remnant preserved for himself. That remnant was by grace and not by works of any law, Mosaic nor Jewish.

Our second section is vv. 7-10 Israel's blindness was a judicial blindness, and was prophesied throughout Scripture.

In considering this section, we need to remember that Paul is dealing with a specific situation; that is, the coming final cutting off of National Israel that had been in existence since Jacob.

Though there are many things in this chapter that apply to us today, the context is Paul explaining to both the Jews and Gentiles of his day why National Israel is being cut off.

Paul probably wrote the book of Romans A.D. 56-58. During this time, the new church, which was made up primarily of Jews, was being prepared for the final cutting off of National Israel. The Jewish wars would start around A.D. 66, or 67, about 10 years after Paul wrote the book. The final cutting off would take place in A.D. 70. A.D. 70 was the end of the Jewish nation and world. All Biblical history from the Book of Genesis to the coming of Christ had revolved around National Israel.

V. 7, What then? Paul now sums up the argument he has been making from the first of his letter to the Romans.

Israel hath not obtained... Though Israel took great pains to seek righteousness and life by the works of the law, he failed to find what he was looking for.

We must say the same today. A great many people today are seeking life everlasting through keeping laws and traditions of men, but they will not find what they are looking for. They may be able to quote for by grace are ye saved through faith, but they are actually trying to mix grace and works. They fail to obtain that for which they are looking.

Though many are seeking eternal life through their works, only the election of grace will obtain it, for it is God who must give the desire and power to please him in salvation as well as in Christian living.

Today, there are a great many confusing gospel messages which have no life in them. Yet God has his elect---those whom he has called or will call to himself. Therefore, we have the need of the preaching of the Gospel as spoken of in Rom 8.

Though we may say with Isaiah, Lord, who hath believed our report?" we see here that God has his elect scattered world wide.

Blinded... (hardened, Geneva) Note that the context here is the elect and non-elect in National Israel at the time of Paul's letter.

2 Corinthians 3:12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

In other words, one must be saved to understand the Old Testament. So, rejecting Christ, National Israel could not see the Old Testament promises of Christ. Nor can the unsaved understand the trough of Christ in the Old Testament today.

Israel was supernaturally blinded and left happily in their sins for a specific reason. That reason was so just judgment would come upon the nation. The blindness was so Israel would be broken off, and a new nation of God could be grafted in --- that is the church.

Paul's word blinded was spoken to Israel of his day.

But as we look around in wonder at the lost, we see them happy in their sins. Or they may not at be happy, but they refuse to look up. But we do not know who the elect are, so we must pray for and consistently present the gospel to all men, no matter how hardened they might be in their sins.

V. 8. God hath given Israel a spirit...

Isaiah 6:9 ¶ And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Isaiah 29:10 For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.

Again, the context is Israel's judgment and cutting off for the sake of the Church.

Though that generation had heard, and even saw the Saviour in person, Israel as a whole could not see, hear, nor understand in their hearts the truth that was so clearly presented in the Old Testament.

Why? Because God had then in a deep sleep, and they were still in that sleep unto this day.

Note that this day was Paul's day, A.D. 58, and not our day. When studying Scripture, we must keep in mind its historical context. Prophecy is from when it is written not from when it is read.

Vv. 7-11, Israel's sleep was for a purpose. That purpose was to replace the old nation of God, national Israel, with the new nation of God, the Israel of God, or the Gospel Church.

However, the blindness today is not for the same reason as it was in Paul's day, in order that the Gentiles would be brought into the Gospel Church.

The blindness today is simply the strong hold of sin over the individual, and God alone decides whom he will call out of that blindness.

However, in both cases, Israel's blindness then and the sinner's blindness today was and is for the same purpose: the Glory of God.

They are left blind, deaf and indifferent to the Gospel, because it is in God's eternal plan that they be so.

Remember Romans 11:33, how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Vv. 9, 10.

Psalms 69:22 ¶ Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. 23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.

In this Psalm, David, who is a type of Christ, is speaking for Christ. Here we see Christ complaining about how his own people, Israel, would vex him, and give him gall for meat and vinegar to drink, which they did while he was on the cross.

Here is Christ praying down the wrath of God upon his enemies, and in this case, his enemies were the religious leaders of National Israel. He prays that all their good and pleasant things would be turned to their own destruction.

Vv. 9, 10, David prays that Israel's understanding would be darkened, so they would be unable to understand heavenly things. Rather than hunger and thirst after God, they would hunger and thirst after things of this world. The prayer was that they would have no desire to hear and understand the Gospel, and would be unable to understand it if they did hear it. The result would be their destruction and death, which took place in A.D. 70. Their destruction was in accord with Christ's words to the high priest.

In this psalm, David prays down great miseries upon Israel. It also can apply in our day against those who war against the gospel of Christ.

Throughout the Psalms, a common prayer is that the enemies of God might be caught in the very snares they set for the righteous.

V. 9:

As unhappy birds are enticed by that which is their sustenance, and then killed, and so did that thing turn to the Jew's destruction, out of which they sought life, that is, the law of God, for the preposterous zeal of which they refused the Gospel. (Geneva)

Birds are enticed by the food to live, and but coming to the food, they meet death. It was the same with the Jews. They sought the law and traditions for life, and met death.

People love nice things, and will sacrifice their souls for those nice things offered by the world, flesh and the devil.

How many unsaved today are seeking life through their good religious works, and their religious traditions, yet they will surely meet death.

Lord, Lord have we not done many good works in thy name? And he will say unto them, depart from me ye workers of iniquity. Matthew 7:22, 23.

In this section of vv. 7-10, we have presented to us judicial blindness

That is, a blindness sent by God specifically to bring about the just judgment upon National Israel for its sin.

God left the vast majority of Israel in their blindness. Though they had a zeal for the law, their zeal was without knowledge, and could not bring life and righteousness.

Their blindness was for a purpose, and that purpose was so they would be broken off and the new nation of God grafted onto the root.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Either the god of this world is the Lord God, or it is the devil. Either way, the blindness is supernatural that leaves people content in their sin, and it is from the Lord God.

In Paul's case, that blindness was clearly prophesied; it was for a specific purpose, and it brought about the destruction of Israel.

I believe we are seeing the same blindness today in the US, as well as in other former Christian nations of the west.

I think the vote in NC for Newt proves the blindness that is upon this nation, to the destruction of this nation that is now officially in the hands of the anti-chirst.

The blindness is for the same reason that National Israel was blinded, so God can bring judgment upon these nations that have boldly turned from the Lord God of Scripture that they once so fervently served.

What is the purpose of God's judgment even today?

Romans 11:11, in Paul's case it was to provoke Israel to jealousy.

Throughout the Old Testament, we see that Judgment brought people to their right mind about the Lord God.

Ezekiel chapter 7.

Ezekiel 7:4 And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 7:9 And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the LORD that smiteth.7:27 The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land shall be troubled: I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

Underline the phrase: About 60 times in just his book, Ezekiel tells us that the purpose of judgment is not only to judge sin, but it is to teach the people that God alone is the Lord.

Throughout Scripture, especially in the book of Judges, we see that the result of God's judgment was the return of the people to their God.

We are living in the midst of serious judicial blindness. People, even those who profess to be God's people and to love his word, are happily blind to the truth of the God's word. In fact, many flee from the truth.


God is going to be justified as he is bringing judgment against the "Christian west" for their totally disregard for his word---open sodomy, murder by the multiplied millions, deceit, theft, covetousness which is idolatry.

The willing and deep blindness we see around us is God's doing, as he brings about judgment.

But as Paul points out. Not all were blind in his day. God had his elect remnant, nor are all to be left in their hardness in sin today.

God has his elect remnant in our day also, so we are required to take the gospel to one and all in order that they might be called by the Spirit.

The next section is vv. 11-16, Israel's fall and conversion in the light of the Gentile world.

Paul will show that the rejection of Israel was not total, for there was a remnant according to the election of grace.

The rejection of National Israel, was not total. National Israel was made up of individual Jews, and not all of those individuals were rejected. In fact, reading the book of Acts, we see how multiplied thousands of Jews received the gospel and were baptized.

Now he will prove that it was not final.

The purpose of casting off the Jews was the occasion of the calling of the Gentiles. Then the calling of the Gentiles would be the occasion of the restoration of the Jews. Not a restoration into a physical location in Canaan, but restoration into the people of God, the New Israel of God.

to here, 2/12/12


We have seen that Romans 11 can be divided up into five sections:

Vv. 1-6 God had not completely cast off all national Israel, but preserved a remnant by grace, and not by works.

Vv. 7-10 Israel's blindness was a judicial blindness, and was prophesied throughout Scripture.

Vv. 11-16 Paul presents Israel's fall and conversion in the light of the Gentile world.

Vv. 17-22 The Gentiles are cautioned against pride. Rather, they are to learn from the example of God's goodness and of his severity.

Vv. 23-32 Though national Israel faced the judgment of God and was cut off, all of the true Israel of God shall, when the time is right, believe and be saved.

We are at the third section, but we will finally finish the chapter.

This section is probably one of the most difficult and hotly discussed passages in Scripture. So the handout today is much more in detail.

This passage, as well as the rest of the New Testament, must be understood in the light of Old Testament prophecies, such as:

Daniel 7:18-22 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. 19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; 20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. 21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

Here is the promised dominion of Christ through the spread of the Gospel of Peace, not through the power of the sword, as many Christians think must take place.

Vv. 11-16 Paul presents Israel's fall and conversion in the light of the Gentile world.

V. 11 through the end of the chapter is one of the most difficult and discussed passages in Scripture, so we will look at it all together down to v. 32.

It is from this section (v. 26) that theologians insist on a national re-gathering of Israel, which started in 1948. Their faith requires a national conversion to take place in the "promised land" of Canaan. However they ignore the fact that Christ is the Promised Land for his people now, Hebrews 4.

V. 25. Of this mystery... Here again we need to be reminded that Paul is explaining this mystery, which throughout Scripture is identified as the mystery of the Gospel Church and Christ in you, the hope of Glory. Then in vv. 33-36, we are told of the impossibility of knowing the mind of God. We cannot know the details of his workings in the mystery of his call of the Gentiles into the Kingdom of God.

V. 11, they stumbled, but did not fall.

Paul has made it clear that the rejection of the Jews of Paul's day was for a purpose---so that the gospel would go to the Gentiles, and the Jewish manner of worship would be forever abolished. That rejection of the Jews as described in Romans 11 is no longer in effect. The rejection of the Jews of Paul's day had a single purpose, and that purpose was accomplished about 2000 years ago.

We see Paul's words illustrated in Acts 13.

Vv. 45-51, the reception of the gospel by the Gentiles moved the Jews with envy about the multitudes that wanted to hear more of the grace of God. The Jews created so much turmoil among the chief leaders of the city that Paul and Barnabus were expelled them from the area.

Then in obedience to our Lord's words, they shook off the dust of their feet against those who persecuted them as a testimony against them, and left the city, and went to the Gentiles.

Acts 13 illustrates what Paul speaks of in Romans 11; that is, the Jews' blindness, and the purpose of that blindness. It was so the gospel would go to the Gentiles.

Romans 11:11

Albert Barnes :

Is Come unto the Gentiles referring to the non-Jewish world. The rejection and fall of the Jews contributed to the introduction of the Gentiles into the Gospel Church in the following manner:

1. It broke down the barrier which had always existed between the Jews and Gentiles.

2. It made it consistent and proper to send the knowledge of him to others because the Jews rejected the Messiah.

3. It was connected with the destruction of the temple: and the rites of the Mosaic law; and taught them, and all others, that the worship of God was not to be confined to any single place.

4. The calamities that came upon the Jewish nation scattered the inhabitants of Judea, and with the Jews also those who had become Christians, and thus the gospel was carried to other lands.

5. These calamities, and the conduct of the Jews, and the close of the Jewish economy, were the means of giving to apostles, and other Christians, right views of the true design of the Mosaic institutions. If the temple had remained; if the nation had continued to flourish, it would have been [much longer] before [the new church] would have been effectually detached from those rites. Experience showed that even with the clear teaching such as found in Hebrews, the church was slow in learning that the Jewish ceremonies were to cease. Some of the most agitating questions in the early church pertained to this; and if the temple had not been destroyed, the contest would have been much longer and more difficult.

See Acts 21:21, &c.

In other words, the rejection of Christ by the Jews was necessary in God's plan to bring to a close the old Jewish manner of worship. Christ was here. Now those Old Testament Jewish laws, ceremonies, sacrifices, offerings, rites, rituals and ordinances that pointed to Christ, as well as the Temple, had to be destroyed.

Acts 6:14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.

Through their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles… If those things had not been destroyed, the church would have remained not much more than a branch of Old Testament Judaism for many years

Now, vv. 12-26 brings us to a very difficult passage, particularly v. 26, and so all Israel shall be saved.

When I came to understand that natural Israel had been replaced with spiritual Israel, I had to settle this section in my mind.

There are many understandings of this difficult passage. Here is what fits best for me according to the context of the entire Scripture. This is not new with me, but is the logical implication of what others have said.

Rather than overload you with a great amount of research, I am going to give you the conclusion of hundreds of hours of research into every source I could lay my hands on. From the early church fathers of the first century after Christ to the late 1900s. This research is found in my book, "Israel's Identity, Israel's Conversion."

V. 11, I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

Israel's blindness was not permanent. In fact, it is compared to stumbling, falling and getting back up. It is not compared to falling and staying down. By the stumbling, salvation was brought to the Gentiles.

V. 14, If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

Following Paul's ministry, we find that Paul first went to the natural descendants of Abraham. When he was rejected, Paul went to the Gentiles, who rejoiced that the gospel came to them. Did Paul's going to the Gentiles change the natural Jews attitude toward the gospel? We are not told.

Vv. 15, 16, For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

Paul talks about the blessedness when the natural Jews experience the converting power of God's grace. We know from the book of Acts that the first church, probably till about 100 AD, was primarily made up of natural Jews. Accordingly, not only were the first preachers all Jews, the Apostles, but so was the vast majority of the first Christians. The explosive growth of the Gospel Church in the first 70 years was due to the work of natural Jews, Hebrews.

V. 17, And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; if some...

Paul does not say all. Obviously, some natural Jews came through the period of Christ as honest believers in Christ. Those who refused to believe in the promised Messiah were broken off. They were broken off because of disobedience to the gospel. Paul says that no one has the assurance of God's grace, and what happened to the Jewish nation proves it. We should, therefore, serve God with fear and trembling, v. 22. He is the holy God and demands holy service.

Vv. 23, 24, And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?

The national Jews were not cast off permanently. Acts 2 shows us that even many who crucified Christ were grafted back into the root through the faith in the One they crucified.

V. 25, For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

This mystery... The Spirit seems to start a new thought here, and it is a thought that is a mystery, hidden from the natural eye. Throughout Scripture, this mystery is the uniting of the Jews and Gentiles into one body, the body of Christ as found in the Gospel Church.

V. 26, All Israel shall be Saved

There are two general views:

First view. Hodge (1797-1878), and many others, holds that Israel means "the whole" literal nation yet to be gathered and saved.

However, upon close examination of God's Word, the only view consistent with Scripture is that the Israel of Romans 11:26 is the Israel of God of Galatians 6:16.

16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Calvin and others hold Paul's view that the Israel in v. 26, is the Israel of God as identified by Paul in Galatians 6:16. Calvin:

26. And so all Israel, etc. Many understand this of the Jewish people, as though Paul had said, that religion would again be restored among them as before: but I extend the word Israel to all the people of God, according to this meaning,  — " When the Gentiles shall come in, the Jews also shall return from their defection to the obedience of faith; and thus shall be completed the salvation of the whole Israel of God, which must be gathered from both; and yet in such a way that the Jews shall obtain the first place, being as it were the first-born in God's family." This interpretation seems to me the most suitable, because Paul intended here to set forth the completion of the kingdom of Christ, which is by no means to be confined to the Jews, but is to include the whole world. The same manner of speaking we find in Ga 6:16 The Israel of God is what he calls the Church, gathered alike from Jews and Gentiles; and he sets the people, thus collected from their dispersion, in opposition to the carnal children of Abraham, who had departed from his faith.

As it is written, etc. He does not confirm the whole passage by this testimony of Isaiah, (Isa 59:20,). but only one clause,  —  that the children of Abraham shall be partakers of redemption. But if one takes this view,  —  that Christ had been promised and offered to them, but that as they rejected him, they were deprived of his grace; yet the Prophet's words express more, even this,  —  that there will be some remnant, who, having repented, shall enjoy the favor of deliverance.

Paul, however, does not quote what we read in Isaiah, word for word;

"come," he says, "shall a Redeemer to Sion, and to those who shall repent of iniquity in Jacob, saith the Lord." (#Isa 59:20).

But on this point we need not be very curious; only this is to be regarded, that the Apostles suitably apply to their purpose whatever proofs they adduce from the Old Testament; for their object was to point but passages, as it were by the finger, that readers might be directed to the fountain itself.

But though in this prophecy deliverance to the spiritual people of God is promised, among whom even Gentiles are included; yet as the Jews are the first-born, what the Prophet declares must be fulfilled, especially in them: for that Scripture calls all the people of God Israelites, is to be ascribed to the pre-eminence of that nation, whom God had preferred to all other nations. And then, from a regard to the ancient covenant, he says expressly, that a Redeemer shall come to Sion; and he adds, that he will redeem those in Jacob who shall return from their transgression. {1} By these words God distinctly claims for himself a certain seed, so that his redemption may be effectual in his elect and peculiar nation. And though fitter for his purpose would have been the expression used by the Prophet, "shall come to Sion"; yet Paul made no scruple to follow the commonly received translation, which reads, "The Redeemer shall come forth from Mount Sion." And similar is the case as to the second part, "He shall turn away iniquities from Jacob": for Paul thought it enough to regard this point only,  —  that as it is Christ's peculiar office to reconcile to God an apostate and faithless people, some change was surely to be looked for, lest they should all perish together.

 {1} There is more discrepancy in this reference than any we have met with. The Apostle follows not literally either the Hebrew or the Septuagint, though the latter more than the former. In the Hebrew, it is, "to Sion,"..., and in the Septuagint, "for the sake of Sion," .... Then the following clause is given verbatim from the Septuagint, and differs materially from the Hebrew, at least as translated in our version. The Syriac and Chaldee give the verb a causative meaning, so as to make the sense the same as here. But it may be regarded as an infinitive with a pargogic ?, and in a transitive sense, which it sometimes has. See #1Ki 2:16; Ps 132:10. If so, the verse will agree with the Apostle's words, and may be thus rendered,  — 

Come to Sion shall a deliverer, And to turn away the ungodliness that is in Jacob. He shall come to Sion, and shall come "to turn away," etc.; or the ... may be rendered even, "Even to turn away," etc. This rendering corresponds more than that of our version with the substance of the verse which follows.  —  Ed.

If Calvin is right, and I believe Scripture requires his understanding, then my understanding of the fullness of the Gentiles is as good as any.


11:25, blindness in part is happened to Israel, appears to require that the Israel in v. 26 be descended from the Israel of v. 25. However, we cannot avoid the fact that Christ removed the distinction between the Jews and Gentiles, and that the new circumcision is spiritual, Ephesians 2:14, Galatians 3:28, Colossians 2:13, 3:11, &c.

Second view. Baptist theologian, A.H. Strong (1836-1921) places Romans 11:25, 26, with Matthew 24:14 and Revelation 20:4-6:

(a) Through the preaching of the gospel in all the world, the kingdom of Christ is steadily to enlarge its boundaries, until Jews and Gentiles alike become possessed of its blessings, and a millennial period is introduced in which Christianity generally prevails throughout the earth.

Daniel's image, 2:44, 45 supports Strong's position, but not Hodge's.

Col. 1:23 — "the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven"—Paul's phrase here and the apparent reference in Mat. 24:14 to A.D. 70 as the time of the end, should restrain theorizers from insisting that the second coming of Christ cannot occur until this text has been fulfilled with literal completeness (Broadus).

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. As fulfilled in Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

Strong implies that the fulfillment of Romans 11:25, 26, and so all Israel shall be saved came before 70 AD — all the elect of a literal Israelite nation were saved before the nation was destroyed.

The following develops the two key statements in a manner consistent with the overall Scripture. Vv. 12-30 must be understood in the light of the entire word of God:

1) the fullness of the Gentiles, and
2) all Israel shall be saved.

This will be hard to follow, but I will sum it up simply.

1) fullness of the Gentiles explained.

First, God had given the promise to Abraham that he would inherit the land of Canaan. However, the promise could not be fulfilled for several hundreds of years. We are told why:

Genesis 15:16, But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

The pagan Amorites were in possession of the land that had been promised to Abraham. But their wickedness was not yet full, so it would be some years before the land spued them out. They would not be removed until the fullness of their sin came about. The heirs to the promised land, Canaan, had to wait for that time. However, the "law of the land" that required it to spue out its wicked inhabitants was then and is now an universal law. We see in this law that God is no respecter of persons, for it applied not only to the pagans, but applied equally to "God's chosen people," Israel. God warned his people:

Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. (Lev. 18:24-28. See also Lev. 20 & Ezk. 9:9-10.)

When the Israelite nation became full of perverseness, the Lord also removed it from the land, and gave it back to the pagans for 70 years. Then He returned a portion of it to the Jews, as recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah.

Consequently, there is a filling of the cup of wickedness that causes God to move against a people to give their national homeland to someone else. Romans chapter two also tells of this filling of evil.

In the Old Testament, He removed the Amorites from the land with Israel's sword. He then removed Israel from the land with Assyria's and Babylon's swords. He regave some of the land to Israel with just the word of a king.

Second, For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (Rom. 11:25.)

Israel — who is Israel? Is it a nation or is it the Israel of God? Do God's promises revolve around a nation or do they revolve around Christ and faith in Him? It is clear that the context of Romans and of the Old Testament prophecies require that Israel be the Israel of God, the Gospel Church.

Furthermore, one will find that Paul, when referring to the mystery, overwhelmingly refers to the mystery of the Church as connected with the gospel of Christ, which makes both Jews and Gentiles one in the body of Christ — the Israel of God is made up of the called, justified, sanctified and sealed by the blood of the new covenant. (See Mr. 4:11, Rom. 16:25, 1 Cor. 2:7, 15:51, Eph. 1:9, 3:3, 9, 5:32, 6:19, Col. 1:26, 27 — Gentiles and Jews are on equal footing in Christ.)

Third, blindness... In the context of Romans, this passage through v. 36, refers to the blindness of Israel; that is, the blindness of the Gospel Church, to its position in Christ. The Church of the Firstborn is more than conquerors in Christ (and all that entails), but today it is unable to see that it is on the "winning side" in time and history. It today cowers in its private corner hoping for a supernatural escape from the troubles it brought upon itself, while the wicked do their own evil thing unhindered.

Fourth, blindness in part. The Israel of God, at our present time in history, has almost a total defeated attitude toward its place in Christ, yet just as in Old Testament Israel, there is a remnant: God's sovereign electing grace has reserved a remnant that has faith that it can conquer the world for Christ.

Fifth, until the fullness of the Gentiles come in. Who are the Gentiles? The Spirit of God has already identified the Gentiles from both the Old Testament and the New as the unconverted — that is, those who have not the converting, obedient faith of God in Christ. (Rom. 11:1-6.)

Sixth, fullness... God has turned the world over to the pagans according to Ezekiel chapters thirty eight and thirty nine. He is leaving it in the hands of the pagans just as He left Canaan in the hands of the Amorites until their wickedness was full. The Gospel Church remains blinded to its place in Christ; therefore, it cannot claim what belongs to it in God's promise to Abraham, that is, the promise, that he should be the heir of the world. (Rom. 4:13.)

The fullness of the pagans will come in, and then the Church will see its truth in Christ. At that time, the stone of Daniel 2:34 will overcome the world's powers and fill the earth through the power of His Sword of the Spirit.

2) all Israel shall be saved..

Isaiah 45:17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

The context of Isaiah 47:17 shows this to be reference to the Israel of God, the Christian Church, according to God's sovereign, electing grace. Paul has already made it clear that no matter how much he longed after the natural Israel after the flesh, he knew God's election was not by race, Jew and Gentile, but by God's sovereign grace and purpose. Therefore, all the elect of God shall be saved. See especially Isaiah 11

First, the Deliverer out of Sion. The problem is, however, that though elect and converted by the sovereign grace of God, most (not all, for there is a remnant) of the elect are blinded to their place in Christ. Moreover, they are caught up in sin as their pastors preach for profit and not for the Lord. They preach peace, peace when there is no peace. Nevertheless, there is a remnant of pastors also, e.g., Isaiah.

Second, shall turn away. Though the elect are blinded to their possession in Christ, one day, however, the Lord will raise up pastors after His own heart, and they will preach the Word of God. Jer 3:15, 23:4, Ez 34:23, 37:24.

Third, Sion, deliverance comes from the pulpits of the Gospel Church, the true mount Sion, the city of the living God, the true Jerusalem. (Heb. 12:22-24.)

The law of God will go out from the pulpits of God under the power of the Spirit of Grace, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: the wickedness in the Israel of God will be turned away. God's elect will repent, turn from their wicked deeds, call upon the Lord, and their land will be healed.

V. 27, For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. Isaiah 59:16-27. [M]y covenant — No matter from where this covenant is traced, it always speaks one of two things: Covenant to restore National Israel to Canaan, as he did under Ezra and Nehemiah. Or of election and the Abrahamic covenant of forgiveness of sin as found only in Christ as it refers to the Gospel Church. (Isaiah 55:3, Jer. 31:31ff., 32:38ff., Ezk. 36:25-39, Heb. chs 8 & 10.)

The covenant of grace, or of the forgiveness of sin was always made concerning the workings of the sovereign grace of God in calling and turning Israel to Himself. Paul made it clear that the covenant of grace does not operate according to nationality, but according to God's sovereign grace as seen in election. (Gal. 3:29.)

V. 28, As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.

This refers back to natural Israel who crucified Christ and persecuted the gospel. Their enmity against the gospel does not change the fact that the Lord can and does still call natural Israel to Himself. Paul was an excellent example of v. 28 in action.

Vv. 30-32, For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

To prove that the national Jews were not separated from God permanently and that the Lord could still love them as individuals and call them by His converting grace, Paul refers to the Gentiles to whom he writes.

V. 32, For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

Paul again reduced all men regardless of natural birth to the same level, unbelief.

Each person must have God's sovereign grace and mercy for him or her self, and, as we have seen, one of the key messages of Paul's many letters is that God's mercy is not according to natural birth.

Romans 11:33-36, Paul concludes his message with the Old Testament fact repeated many times: The mercies, wisdom and workings of God are completely beyond man's power of reason. We have to accept the Word of God by faith.

If we try to make the Israel of God of the New Testament a literal, carnal, regathered nation, then we must say that Daniel was wrong; we must say that the promise is to a carnal nation and not to Christ and those who have exercised the faith of Abraham. In fact, we must change the clear teaching of the Word of God, and we live in a hopeless age of evil and unbelief.

Romans 11:11-31, tells us that the Lord will one day fulfill His promise that the meek will inherit the earth. But the time has not yet come, for He has for the present and for His purpose, permitted sin to prevail in His people and the wicked to prevail over them. However, the Scriptures are full of passages promising the world to the righteous through the workings of the God's Spirit of Grace, e.g.,

Daniel 7:18-22, But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

The day is coming when the fullness of the wickedness of the Gentiles will come in, and the new Israel of God will see and claim their victory over the world that is their's in Christ.