Our study of Remans 11 has been necessarily brief. Those who desire a more in-depth treatment should consult the com mentaries of Robert Haldane, Matthew Henry, Charles Hedge, and John Murray, as well as the lengthy exegesis in Iain Murray's important work, The Puritan Hope. The following points, however, have clearly emerged from our examination of the text.
1. The entire Gentile world will be converted to faith in Jesus Christ. The mass of the Gentiles will come into the covenant, until the conversion of the Gentiles reaches the point of "fullness" (a word meaning completeness or totality, v. 25).
2. Genetic Israel will be converted to faith in Jesus Christ. While there will always be some Hebrews who become Christians, the Jewish people as a whole will only be converted after the conversion of the Gentiles (v. 11-12, 15, 23-27). This means that the key to the conversion of Israel is the prior accomplishment of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20), the salvation of the nations.
3. Not every individual Gentile or Jew will be converted. The conversion of both Israel and the Gentiles will be analagous to the rejection of Israel. Even though Israel as a whole was cut off from the covenant, some Jews have continued in the true faith (v. 1-7). Even so, when the Gentiles and Israel are converted as a whole, this does not mean or require that every last individual in either group will become a Christian. There will always be exceptions. But just as the overwhelming majority of Jews rejected Christ when He came, so the overwhelming majority of both Jews and Gentiles will be grafted into the stock of the faithful people of God.
4. The conversion of both Jews and Gentiles will take place through the normal means of evangelism in this age. Nothing is said here of any cataclysmic event — such as the Second Coming — which will result in mass conversions. The large-scale conversion of the world will occur as the gospel is preached to the nations; in fact, this very passage categorically denies any other means of conversion (10:14-17). The insertion of the Second Coming into this passage by some writers is completely speculative and misleading. The entire context demands that the conversion of the world take place as the normal continuation of processes already at work, as a simple reading of v. 11-32 plainly indicates. As Charles Spurgeon said: "I myself believe that King Jesus will reign, and the idols be utterly abolished; but I expect the same power which turned the world upside down once will still continue to do it. The Holy Ghost would never suffer the imputation to rest upon His holy name that He was not able to convert the world."
5. The motive for the conversion of Israel will be jealousy. The Jews will see all the Gentile nations around them, happily enjoying the covenant blessings promised to God's people of old; they will see that God's mercy has been extended throughout the world; and they will become jealous (v. 11, 31; cf. 10:19). Again, this will not be the result of any cataclysmic event (such as the Rapture), for it is the continuation of a process already at work in Paul's day (v. 14). Jews (such as Paul himself) were already becoming converted through this holy jealousy, and Paul hoped to restore others by the same means. But he points to a day in the future when this will happen on a grand scale, and the Jews as a people will return to the faith.
6. Converted Jews, in every age, belong to the Church of Jesus Christ; they are not a distinct group. There is, properly, no such thing as a "Hebrew Christian," any more than there are separate Biblical categories of "Indian Christians," "Irish Christians," "Chinese Christians," or "American Christians." The only way for Gentiles to be saved is by becoming grafted into the one "olive tree," the faithful covenant people (v. 17-22). And the only way for a Jew to be saved is by becoming a member of God's people (v. 23-24). There is no difference. By His finished work Christ "made both groups into one" (Eph.2:14). Believing Jews and Gentiles have been united "in one body," the Church (Eph.2:16). There is one salvation and one Church, in which all believers, regardless of ethnic heritage, become children of God and heirs of the promises to Abraham (Gal. 3:26-29). The creation of a special Jew-Gentile distinction within the body of Christ is ultimately a denial of the gospel.
7. Israel will not be restored as the Kingdom (Matt. 21:43; 1 Pet. 2:9). The Bible promises the restoration of Israel as a people, but not necessarily as a State; nothing requires that the two must go together. Even assuming, however, that there is still a State of Israel when the Jews are converted, Israel would simply be one Christian nation among many, with no special standing. The peo-pie of genetic Israel will be part of the covenantal tree of life, but there is no longer any religious significance belonging to Palestine. The whole world will become the Kingdom of God, with all nations standing on an equal footing within that Kingdom.
In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, "Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance" (Isa. 19:24-25).
8. The conversion of Israel will result in an era of great blessings for the entire world. There will be even greater fulfillments of the covenantal promises, an overflowing abundance of Spiritual riches, so much so that, compared to the previous state of the world, it will be like life from the dead (v. 12, 15). This is when the Biblical promises of the Kingdom's earthly blessings will reach their highest and most complete fulfillment. God's Holy Mountain will have encompassed the world, and "the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11:9).
Who, then, is this Christ and how great is He, Who by His Name and presence overshadows and confounds all things on every side, Who alone is strong against all and has filled the whole world with His teaching? Let the Greeks tell us, who mock at Him without stint or shame. If He is a man, how is it that one man has proved stronger than all those whom they themselves regard as gods, and by His own power has shown them to be nothing? If they call Him a magician, how is it that by a magician all magic is destroyed, instead of being rendered strong? Had He conquered certain magicians or proved Himself superior to one of them only, they might reasonably think that He excelled the rest only by His greater skill. But the fact is that His cross has vanquished all magic entirely and has conquered the very name of it.
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