The Jews

Look now to Romans 11 starting with verse 8..

8. (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

9. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them

10. Let their eyes be darkened that they may not see, and bow down their back always

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

12. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

13. For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office

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

15. 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? Romans 11:8-15

Here in verse 11 it says through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles. Because the Jews fell in unbelief, the Gentiles could be saved.

Lets go over that again. Jesus came to the Jews, the lost sheep of Israel, but they could not accept him. We read in verse 8 above that God had given them a spirit of slumber ... unto this day [until now]. I believe this is what is meant by giving them up in Micah 5:3

Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. Micah 5:3

Therefore the gospel could be preached to the Gentiles, i.e. all the world. Now verse 12 is very interesting in that it describes the fall of the Jews as the 'riches of the world' and the diminishing of them as the 'riches of the Gentiles'. But then this is contrasted with their fullness, which he implies will be much greater when he says how much more their fullness? First their falling then comes their fullness. Verse 15 speaks of their casting away as the reconciling of the world and their restoration as something much greater, life from the dead. First comes their casting away, then their receiving back.

Then in verses 16-24 there is a long discussion comparing the Jews to natural branches of a good olive tree and the Gentiles to branches of a wild olive tree, grafted into the good. This is because the natural branches are broken off. Then it is followed by mention of grafting the natural branches back into the tree.

16. For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches

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

18. Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee

19. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in

20. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear

21. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee

22. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off

23. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again

24. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? Romans 11:16-24

Micah, above, speaks of this process as the giving up of the Jews followed by their return. Paul here has three ways he describes it.

A. Their fall followed by their fullness.

B. Their casting away followed by their being received back again.

C. And their being broken off followed by their being grafted back in again.

Now these terms, fullness, receiving back and grafted back all refer to one and the same thing, their salvation.

Here is Romans 11:25-32.

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

26. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

27. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins

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

29. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance

30. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief

31. Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy

32. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. Romans 11:25-32

And now we find it spelled out plainly in verse 26 thusly: And so all Israel shall be saved.

Also here God is laying out his ultimate aim in verse 32, that he might have mercy upon all. In order to do so, he must first bring blindness upon Israel. Thus he says: blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. If the fullness of Israel is their salvation, then the fullness of the Gentiles is their salvation also. After the salvation of the Gentiles will come the salvation of Israel, the Jews.

Let's look at verses 26 -27. Rearranging the word order so it makes a little more sense we get this.

For this is my covenant unto them, all Israel shall be saved when I shall take away their sins; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.

All Israel shall be saved when I shall take away their sins; written that way it sounds pretty obvious doesn't it. Now a look at 28-29:

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

29. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance

They are enemies of the Gospel. [Don't be surprised at this.] It's for your sake means that this had to happen for salvation to be available to the Gentiles [the readers of Romans]. They will continue to be enemies of the Gospel till the blindness is removed. But they are beloved as touching the election. The election is the choice i.e. they are chosen. This is because of the covenant made with their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That the gifts and calling of God are without repentance means that they cannot be changed, this applies to that covenant.

Now let's look very carefully at verses 30-31

30. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief

31. Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy

You, Gentiles, were in unbelief. Now you have mercy because of their unbelief.

They, the Jews, are in unbelief. They will obtain mercy through your mercy! Or in other words, they will obtain salvation through your salvation. And your salvation is what us meant by the fullness of the Gentiles coming in.

We note that the wording here is fullness of the Gentiles be come in. [One might expect this to mean "the full number of the Gentiles".] If fullness speaks of salvation, what does it mean to say it has come in? And where is it come into? And why is the word fullness used to mean salvation?

Without writing another essay on salvation, let's argue this. We who are alive and remain on this earth, who know and follow the Lord, are being saved. Those who have passed on to be with Him in eternity are the saved or have been saved. They have come in to the heavenly city and are those who stand worshipping before the throne and/or cry from beneath the altar. They have been harvested.

Now there are people continually being saved and continually passing on to be with Him, so how can we speak of a time, a fixed point of time, when the fullness of the Gentiles comes in?

Well look at how the Lord speaks of the fullness of Israel in Romans 11:12 and later makes that equivalent to saying all Israel shall be saved in verse 26. If the fullness of Israel is all Israel, then the fullness of the Gentiles is all the Gentiles. [And no, we're not teaching universal salvation here.]

Does this mean that a full number of the Gentiles will come in and no more after that? Here we must realize that the Lord can use generalities, just as we do. It does not mean that no Gentiles were saved before Jesus came. It does not mean that no Jews were saved after Jesus ascended to heaven. It does not mean that no Jews are being saved today. Nor can it mean that no Gentiles can be saved after 'all Israel is saved'.

It's referring to a significant event in which a large significant number of Gentiles come in all at once. That event is spoken of in Revelations.

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Revelations 13:7 KJV)

And then, after that, a large significant number of Jews come in all at once. That event is spoken of in Zechariah.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (Zechariah 12:9-10 KJV)

The fullness of the Gentiles must come in before the blindness is removed from Israel. Then all Israel gets saved. So there is some kind of cause effect relationship between these two events.

We said earlier that God is laying out his ultimate aim in verse 32, that he might have mercy upon all. After the Gospel is preached to all the world, the fullness of the Gentiles can come in. His instruction to the Gentiles then is found just after completing chapter 11 and rolling on to chapter 12 where we read this.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1

Here the word 'therefore' points back to the goal stated in chapter 11. That All Israel be saved. The phrase present your bodies a living sacrifice speaks of laying down our lives for the Lord. This is the martyrdom of the Church, the Saints spoken of in Revelation 6.

9. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held

10. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth

11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. Revelation 6:9-11

Here the martyrs in heaven are told that after a 'little season' the rest of those, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. This speaks of a certain number whose martyrdom is required and a certain condition that must be fulfilled.

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