Category Archives: ROMANS 11

Paul shows how God has dealt with the nation of Israel after they rejected their Messiah.

ROMANS 11

GOD’S DEALINGS WITH THE NATION OF ISRAEL.

Romans chapters 9-11 form a parenthetical section in the epistle, in which the apostle shows that the gospel to Jew and Gentile as detailed in chapters 1-8 is perfectly in harmony with the purpose of God. In chapter 9 the emphasis is upon incidents from Israel’s past which declare the principles behind that purpose.  In chapter 10 the emphasis is on Israel’s present unbelief and its consequences.  In chapter 11 the emphasis is on the future for Israel when “the Redeemer shall come from Zion”.  It is noticeable that in these three chapters the apostle speaks 14 times of Israel, with the emphasis on what they are as a nation, whereas in the rest of the epistle he speaks of Jews, with the emphasis on what they are as individuals.  It is also noteworthy that there are some 30 quotes from the Old Testament in Romans chapters 1-8, and 12-16, whereas there are almost as many, 28, in chapters 9-11. In view of the fact that as a people Israel are disobedient and gainsaying, 10:21, what has God’s response been?  The apostle asks two main questions which by their construction demand a negative answer.  The first is in verse 1, the second in verse 11.  As he answers these questions, he is able to show that God has a purpose in the unbelief of Israel as a nation, and also intends to transform their attitude when Christ comes again to the earth.

THE STRUCTURE OF THE CHAPTER 1

Verses 1 to 10 God casting away Israel as a nation
Verses 11-15  Israel stumbling at Christ.
Verses 16-24 God breaking off branches from an olive tree.
Verses 25-32 Christ coming to Israel as deliverer.
Verses 33-36 Paul worshipping God for His wisdom and knowledge.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS CHAPTER 11, VERSES 1 TO 10:

11:1  I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

11:2  God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying,

11:3  Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

11:4  But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

11:5  Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

11:6  And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

11:7  What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

11:8  (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.

11:9  And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:

11:10  Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

SECTION 1    Verses 1-10    God casting Israel away as a nation

 

11:1  I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

I say then- this is an expression which expects an answer in the negative.
Hath God cast away His people?- that is, has God cast away His people so thoroughly that an individual Jew cannot be saved?
God forbid- a strong assertion that this is not the case, for two reasons which the apostle now gives; the first in verses 1-2(i), the second in verse 2(ii)-5.  See Leviticus 26:44,45.
For I also am an Israelite- if God has cast away every individual Jew, then He has cast away Paul.  Of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin- the apostle was able to trace his lineage back to Benjamin and Abraham.  This shows that he was not a proselyte from the Gentiles, who might be considered an exception to the rule that God has cast off Israel.

11:2  God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying,

God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew when the boundaries of the nations were set after the scattering because of Babel, then the sons of Adam were divided up in relation to the people of Israel, even though as a nation they were not yet formed,  They were in the mind of God, however, Deuteronomy 32:8,9.  When Christ rules as King of Israel, it will be a kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world, Matthew 25:34.  When God rested on the seventh day in Genesis 2:2, then that was an anticipation of His millenial rest, according to Hebrews 4:1-9.  He has not cast away the nation utterly, for they are destined for greatness according to His foreknowledge.  Note Leviticus 26:45, “Remember the covenant of their ancestors”.
Wot ye not?- that is, “know ye not?”
What the scripture saith of Elias- the situation in Elijah’s day provides an illustration of things current in the apostle’s day.  The incident is recorded in 1 Kings 19.  The literal rendering of the apostle’s words reads “The scripture saith in Elijah”, meaning the section which in the Jewish scriptures was headed “Elijah”; cf. Mark 12:26, “In (the section headed) The Bush”.  The Jews gave titles to paragraphs in the Old Testament which summed up the content.
How he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying- note that Elijah, a representative of the law, interceded against Israel, whereas Paul, a representative of grace, longed and prayed that Israel might be saved, Romans 10:1.

11:3  Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thy altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life- Elijah thought the situation was so desperate that he was the only believer left amongst a nation that had killed God’s servants and sought to do the same to him.

11:4  But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

But what saith the answer of God to him?- God’s response to him was based on His full knowledge of the situation, counteracting Elijah’s defective knowledge.
I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal- God’s purpose had not been frustrated by Ahab and Jezebel, but He had overruled to preserve for Himself a remnant.

11:5  Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Even so at this present time also- just as in Elijah’s day there was a remnant of faithful believers, even though Elijah thought he alone was loyal to God, so the situation is the same today.
There is a remnant according to the election of grace- there is a remnant of Jews who have believed the gospel and have come into the good of God’s grace.  Despite sins far worse than killing prophets, (for they had killed God’s Son), the grace of God was still available to them.  Note that there is “a remnant”, the Jews who had believed the gospel, and “the rest”,  verse 7, the majority who remained in unbelief.  Election is sometimes national, as with Israel, and sometimes individual, as here.  With Jacob and Esau, the election was one of purpose, and individual salvation was not in view, whereas here the salvation of individuals by the grace of God is in view. See 2 Thessalonians 2:13,14.  Note that it is the election of grace, not the election of sovereignty, for men come into the good of God’s electing purpose when they believe, as 2 Thessalonians 2:2 indicates with the words, “because God hath chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”.

11:6  And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace- if the blessing for Israel was on the ground of their works, they have clearly forfeited it, for their work was to crucify their Messiah! The whole principle of grace is destroyed if God’s grace blesses works.
But if it be of works, then is it no more of grace: otherwise work is no more work- the principle of grace and works are so diametrically opposed, that to mix them is to destroy them.

11:7  What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

What then?- what is the true situation, which preserves God’s grace, yet brings individual Jews into blessing?
Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for-
in 9:31,32, Israel is described as not finding what it sought by way of blessing from God, because it sought it not by faith.
But the election hath obtained it- those who are described as “a remnant according to the election of grace”, verse 5.
And the rest were blinded- the majority of the nation who rejected Christ as their Messiah have been judged by God in a way which matches their reaction to Him.  They closed their eyes, so God has ensured that they keep them closed.

11:8  (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.

(According as it is written)- not was written, but still stands written, a constant testimony from God as to what He said He would do, and which can now be seen as done.
God hath given them the spirit of slumber- the remainder of verse 8 is a quotation from Isaiah 6:9,10, but this phrase is taken from Isaiah 29:10.  The nation was as if asleep, with their eyes closed.  There may be the thought that just as a sleeper may awake and open his eyes, so Israel are not permanently blinded.
Eyes that they should not see- Isaiah, having seen the glory of Christ, (see John 12:41), was told to go to Israel and first describe them as hearing, but not understanding, and seeing and not perceiving; then “make their ears heavy”, and “shut their eyes”.  In other words make them this by describing them as this.  Isaiah had no power to blind them.  So in Christ’s day, when again His glory was seen, those things which Christ did by way of miracles were called signs, but they refused what they saw.  Hence God has blinded them nationally, ensuring that they will not see until they receive Christ with faith.
And ears that they should not hear- Christ’s teaching had fallen upon deaf ears, for they ignored Him when He said, “Let these sayings sink down into your ears”.  See Matthew 13:13-17.  The parable ministry of the Lord Jesus was as a result of the nation rejecting Him, see Matthew 13:10-17.  So also in John 12:40,42, where even from amongst a blinded nation there were those who believed, which shows that the blinding is national.
Unto this day- this may be Paul’s comment, for what the prophet had foretold had come to pass, and the judicial blindness was ongoing.  Or it may be a quotation from Deuteronomy 29:4, where similar things about not seeing and hearing were said by Moses, and the words “unto this day” are used.  This does not prevent individuals being saved, but it does prevent God’s purpose for them as His chosen nation from being fulfilled at the present time.

11:9  And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:

And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them- this is a quotation from Psalm 69:22,23, which gives the solemn words of a crucified Christ regarding the nation which rejected Him.  Those things which they had seen and heard from Him were like a banquet spread before them, but they refused the feast.  Christ had spread a banquet, and filled the cup of joy- they gave Him gall and vinegar in return.  In recompence, God ensures that the bitter things which they offered to Christ for His meat and drink on the cross, Psalm 69:21, become theirs.  In Jeremiah 9:15 God declares, “I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.  I will scatter them also among the heathen”. The stumblingblock, or “skandalon”, was the part of a trap to which bait was attached.  So the “snare” is the bait fixed, then the prey is herded towards the “trap”, the “stumblingblock” of the trap is sprung, and the “recompence” is known by the trapped victim.

11:10  Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see- instead of the light of Christ’s person illuminating them, by its very brightness it has blinded their eyes.  Paul had experience of the light of Christ’s glory blinding him, but he had said “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do”.
And bow down their back alway- they were not only blinded to see and hear what Christ did and said on earth, but they were bowed down as a nation so that they could not see Him in His heavenly glory.  These words come from Psalm 69, a traitor psalm, (see Psalm 69:25 and Acts 1:20), but the nation as a whole had become the betrayer of Christ, Acts 7:52.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS CHAPTER 11, VERSES 11 TO 15:

11:11  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.

11:12  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?

11:13  For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

11:14  If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

11:15  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?

SECTION 2    Verses 11-15    ISRAEL STUMBLING AT CHRIST

11:11  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.

I say then- as with the same expression in verse 1, this phrase expects the answer “No”.
Have they stumbled that they should fall?- has Israel stumbled to fall never to rise again?
God forbid- the answer again is in the negative, but now the reason lies in the purpose of God to bless Gentiles as a result of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah.  The way still lies open for their recovery as a nation, for the apostle speaks in verse 12 of “their fulness” in contrast to their “fall” or defection from the path of faithfulness to God.  In verse 12 he speaks of them being received nationally, and in verse 15 of some being saved individually.
But rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles- note the two words for fall.  The verb fall, “have they stumbled that they should fall”, means to fall aside, to defect, whereas the noun fall, “through their fall”, is the general word for fall.  So whereas it is true they have fallen, in the sense of “fall by the wayside”, yet that fall is not irreversible.  God delays their recovery however, because during the time when He breaks off dealings with Israel as a nation, He turns to the Gentiles to call out of them a people for His name, Acts 15:14.
For to provoke them to jealousy- the apostle has already quoted the words of Deuteronomy 32:21 in Romans 10:19.  By turning to the Gentiles, God would ensure that Israel would be startled into a reassessment of their position.  When they saw Gentiles being blessed with blessings superior to those promised to them, they would be envious in the right sort of way.  Peter, when writing to the “Sojourners of the Dispersion”, refers to “exceeding great and precious promises”, 2 Peter 1:4.  Israel had great and precious promises, believers of this present age have exceedingly better ones.

11:12  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?

Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world- their temporary falling aside from a position of advantage means that God’s rich blessing flows out potentially to the whole world.
And the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles- they are now restricted, for their national unbelief has resulted in only a small proportion of them being believers.  This means, however, that those who were formerly not blessed, can be.
How much more their fulness- if gospel blessings flow out to the whole world through their being restricted, what will be the result of their enlargement as the nation of God’s choice?  Worldwide blessing will flow out to the Gentiles in the Kingdom Age, otherwise known as the Millennium.

11:13  For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

For I speak to you Gentiles, (inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my office)- Paul now addresses the Gentile world, and his qualification for doing this is that he was especially commissioned to take the gospel to the Gentiles.  He magnifies his office in a good cause- he does not magnify himself.

It is important to realize that Paul is not addressing saints as such in verses 13-24.  In verse 25 he reverts to addressing believers.

11:14  If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh- emulation is jealousy.  The writing of the apostle is designed to provoke Jews to think.  The fact that Paul is apostle to the Gentiles does not mean he is indifferent to his kinsmen in Israel.
And might save some of them- thus they would anticipate the national salvation that awaits them at the end-time, and meanwhile enter into the better and heavenly blessings given to church believers.

11:15  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?

For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world- “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself”, 2 Corinthians 5:19, not limiting His dealings to Israel now.  Christ was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Matthew 15:24, although He did bless individual Gentiles.
What shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?- The “for” at the beginning of the verse shows this is the consequence of the desire of Paul for the salvation of “some” in Israel.  As the apostle to Gentiles, the apostle was responsible for the process whereby some in Israel would be provoked to trust Christ when they realized they had forfeited national blessings.  Hence this life from the dead is individual salvation, as some in Israel believe in a Crucified and Risen Messiah.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS CHAPTER 11, VERSES 16 TO 24:

11:16  For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

11:17  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;

11:18  Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

11:19  Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.

11:20  Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

11:21  For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee.

11:22  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.

11:23  And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

11:24  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?

SECTION 3     Verses 16-24    GOD BREAKING BRANCHES FROM AN OLIVE TREE

It is important to remember when we read of branches being broken off in this section, that Paul is speaking generally of Gentiles and Jews as groups, not as individuals.  The branches represent classes of people, not individuals.  This is proved by the fact that the branches broken off in verse 17, (which represents the unbelieving part of Israel being rejected nationally since they crucified Christ), are re-instated in verse 23.  This will be done in a time that is still future, when Israel is converted as a nation.  Clearly individuals are not in view if 2000 years separates the two events.  In any case, the branches broken off were unbelievers, who showed their unbelief by rejecting Christ.  We have the definite word of the Lord Jesus that neither He nor His Father will allow His sheep to be lost, John 10:27-30.

11:16  For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy- the apostle is showing that that which God approves of must always be consistently in line with His character as the Holy One.  He cannot allow a mixture of holiness and unholiness to co-exist permanently, since He hates compromise.  See Matthew 12:33.  The lump referred to here is a lump of dough.  It is a reference to Numbers 15:20, where God required that He be offered the first of their dough as an offering.  If what is offered to Him is holy, then the lump from which it was taken is holy too, for a lump of moist dough cannot be separated out, it is one whole uniform thing.
And if the root be holy, so are the branches-
this is a statement of the ideal situation, since it is clear that some of the branches of the olive tree were not holy, being unbelievers.  God acts in the ways detailed in the following verses so that this ideal situation may be reached.  The olive tree represents blessing through association with Abraham.  Just as the branch of a tree draws its nourishment (fatness) from the roots, so association with all that God promised through Abraham, guarantees spiritual prosperity if the one associating is a true believer.  God’s promise to Abraham was, “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed”, Genesis 12:3.  The illustration of the lump of dough tells us that there is consistency between the firstfruits and the lump, whereas the illustration of the olive tree shows how God achieves this consistency.  Not only was the firstfruit of the dough to be offered, but also the firstfruit of the olive tree, Deuteronomy 18:4.

11:17  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;

And if some of the branches be broken off- some of the branches of this olive tree, (described in verse 24 as “a good olive tree”), were only children of Abraham in the physical sense, not as believers.  They represent that part of the nation of Israel which rejected Christ, (the “rest” of verse 7), and were rejected by God as a result. The branches that remain represent that remnant of Israel, (the “remnant” of verse 5) which believed in Christ.  Many in Israel made the mistake of thinking that because they were physically descended from Abraham, and had been circumcised, then they were the children of God.  The seed of Abraham does sometimes include those who are merely descended from him, (see, for example, Genesis 15:5), but the Lord Jesus reminded those of His day that although Ishmael was descended from Abraham, yet he was a slave and not a son. See John 8:30-47, Genesis 21:13.  In other senses the seed of Abraham is either Isaac, Christ, Galatians 3:16, or believers, Galatians 3:29, 4:28-31. And thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them- usually shoots from a cultivated tree are grafted onto the stock of a wild tree.  There are references in the writings of those times to the practice of doing the reverse, however.  The Gentiles, sunk in sin and idolatry, were those who were wild and uncultivated, but are now given the opportunity of association with the things of God.  Note only some of the branches are broken off, and the Gentile branches are grafted among the branches that remain, for the remnant of the election of grace remain in the tree, whilst the unbelieving majority forfeit the right to bl;essing and are cut off from the blessing.
And with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree- the root is that which gives a tree stability, and also draws necessary resources to pass on to the rest of the tree.  Such was Abraham, with whom God made a firm and everlasting covenant, and through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed, Genesis 12:3.  The fatness of the olive tree would be the rich nutrients carried up from the roots, representing the rich blessing of God which association with God as a child of Abraham brings.  “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith”, Galatians 3:14.  The apostle is showing that the enjoyment of these things is not a national right, but as a result of the goodness of God.

11:18  Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

Boast not against the branches- the Gentiles should not boast of this privilege, for they have the opportunity of blessing only because of association with what God promised to Abraham.  They have no merit of their own.  Even though it is true that others have been removed to make room for them, this does not mean they have ground for boasting.
But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee- if they are tempted to boast, (and the apostle shows in verse 20 they are likely to be high-minded and therefore boastful), they should remember that they are not the source of their stability and welfare, (they do not bear the root, as if they supported the whole of the tree), but the root supports them, as is normal with trees.

11:19  Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.

Thou wilt say then, “The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in”- if they lapse into a boastful state they will be filled with self-importance, hence the word “I” is emphasized.

11:20  Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

Well- The statement of verse 19 is a fair assessment of the situation, “Well said”, or “Fair comment”, but the Gentiles should remember that they only have a permanent place in the olive tree if they are believers; mere profession is not enough.  Being amongst the olive branches represents a test of reality.  Those who prove themselves to have no spiritual life, are eventually removed. 
Because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith-
the only reason that association with the good olive tree can be continued is through genuine faith.  Mere religious association with the things of God is not enough.
Be not high-minded, but fear- it is tragically true that one of the leading features of Christendom is its arrogant disregard for God and His word.  Men should tremble at His word, but the Christian profession is not marked by this, generally speaking.

11:21  For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee.

For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee- if God did not hesitate to remove the Jewish branches because of their unbelief, then why should He hesitate to remove Gentiles who likewise only profess?  The natural branches had more claim on the olive tree than the graffed-in branches did.

11:22  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.

Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God- the goodness of God does not override His holiness and righteousness.  He will not hesitate to be severe if His goodness is despised.
On them which fell, severity- the removal of Jewish branches is evidence of the severe judgement of God on the nation which rejected His Son.
But toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off- His grafting of Gentiles into the tree is evidence of His goodness.  Let them continue in His goodness, and thereby show themselves genuine.  Otherwise they will experience the same severity.  Those who, being true believers, continue in His goodness, will not be broken off.

11:23  And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again- if Israel repents as a nation, as it will do in the future, see Zechariah 12:10-14, Revelation 1:7, they will be re-instated into the olive tree of blessing on a permanent basis.  The remnant of Israel that will believe in God during the time of the Great Tribulation, are of the same sort as those who believe amongst Israel now.  What is spoken of here is national restoration.  Those who believe as individual Jews now, are represented by branches that have never been broken off.

11:24  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?

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?- if God is able to do the thing which is contrary to nature, (graft wild branches onto a cultivated olive), He is able to graft a cultivated branch back in too.  Especially since the tree they are re-instated in is “their own olive tree”, the tree they were associated with originally because of God’s dealings with them as a nation.  Let us notice again that this breaking off and grafting back in are events centuries apart- they have not to do with individuals being lost after they were saved.  Such an idea is completely foreign to Scripture.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS CHAPTER 11, VERSES 25 TO 32:

11:25  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.

11:26  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:

11:27  For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

11:28  As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.

11:29  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

11:30  For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

11:31  Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

11:32  For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.

SECTION 4    Verses 25-32    CHRIST COMING TO ISRAEL AS A DELIVERER

The apostle now describes how the nation will be brought back into blessing again.  It will not be by the gradual spread of the gospel, but by the return of Christ.

11:25  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.

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery- note the apostle now reverts to calling them brethren, whereas in verse 13 he was speaking to the Gentiles in general, believers or not.  A mystery in the New Testament is a secret which is now disclosed to those who have the Spirit of God, and who are therefore able to understand it.  The dealings of God in the way spoken of in this passage are a mystery unknown in Old Testament times.  The prophets did not know of a casting off for Israel to allow the Gentiles opportunity for blessing, for they always spoke in terms of Gentiles being blessed though Israel.  Nor did they envisage that there would be such a long period of opportunity for the Gentiles.
Lest you should be wise in your own conceits- lest you think, with worldly wisdom, that the Gentiles are in some way superior to the Jews, and that this is why the latter have been broken off.  They have not been broken off as a compliment to Gentiles, but as a judgement to Jews.
That blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in- the blindness referred to in verses 7 and 8 as experienced by Israel is only partial at present, in that it does not involve the whole of the nation, for some are Christians.  It is not partial blindness for all, but total blindness for part of the nation.  When the full number of Gentile believers has been reached, then God will resume His dealings with Israel as a nation.  Just as the removal of the natural branches was provoked by the rejection of Christ by the nation of Israel, so the removal of the Gentiles will be provoked by their siding with Antichrist.  The fulness of the Gentiles is the sum total of Gentiles blessed as individuals during the time of Israel’s national rejection.

11:26  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:

And so all Israel shall be saved- it is clear that the majority in Israel, (the “many” of Daniel 9:27), will accept the protection of the Antichrist, and will make a covenant with him, so that they may continue with their temple-rituals.  These, however, shall perish in the final stages of God’s wrath at the end of the Tribulation, having received the mark of the beast, see Revelation 14:9-11.  Others, however, will be under the protection of God, Revelation 12:6,14.  Still others will travel worldwide to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, Revelation 7:1-8, (with the results of their ministry in verses 9-17), Matthew 24:14.  Those who give help to these will be rewarded when the King comes, for they will show by their kindness to the Jews that they are true believers, just as Rahab did, Matthew 25:34-40, Hebrews 11:31, James 2:25,26.  All Israel clearly does not include either apostates or unbelieving Jews of Old Testament times, so is not an absolute statement. “All Israel” stands in contrast to a remnant of Israel, as now.  All twelve tribes of Israel, in contrast to the two-tribed portion of the nation, (which formed the majority of those who came back from Babylon and were in the land when Paul was writing), will be brought into blessing. There will no longer be a division between a remnant who believe and the rest, the majority, who do not.  Those who enter Christ’s Messianic kingdom will all be saved persons.
As it is written- despite being a mystery, the truth set out here by the apostle is supported by Old Testament prophecies.  It is what happens in the interval between Christ’s first and second comings that is a mystery.
There shall come out of Zion the deliverer- when Judah was taken into captivity into Babylon, the Times of the Gentiles began, and God began to be known as the God of Heaven- He was no longer the God of the Land of Israel, for the royal tribe was in exile.  The centre of government moved to the heavenly Zion, and out from this place the Deliverer of the nation of Israel will come.  John saw Him as the Lion of the tribe of Judah in heaven, not in the land of Israel, Revelation 5:5.
And shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob- this is a quotation from Isaiah 59:20.  In the previous verses of that chapter, the prophet has described the feelings of the oppressed nation of Israel, and their hopes for deliverance.  Those who resist worshipping the beast will at last be delivered from their trials, and the sight of Christ coming in glory will be the means of their salvation.  Isaiah wrote “They that turn from transgression in Jacob”, which highlights their responsibility to turn in repentance from transgression, but that which stimulates them to do so is the coming of Christ.  So both statements are true, for Jacob will turn, yet the thing that turns them is the appearance of Christ.  Just as Saul of Tarsus was converted by the sight of Jesus of Nazareth in heaven, so these will see that same Jesus of Nazareth coming in the clouds of heaven, and they who pierced Him will weep for what they did, Revelation 1:7, Zechariah 12:10,11.  Paul describes himself as a “pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting”, 1 Timothy 1:16, and this includes Israelites who believe, whether now or at the end of the Tribulation period.

11:27  For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins- Israel will then enter into the good of the New Covenant, which promises the forgiveness of sins, see Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:8-12; Hebrews 10:15-18.  Literally the words are “This is My covenant from Me to them”, indicating that the initiative is entirely God’s.  Hebrews 8:9 expressly says that this covenant is not like the covenant of the law, which depended on Israel’s obedience.  This covenant is unconditional and everlasting, Hebrews 13:20, and is guaranteed by Christ Himself, Hebrews 7:22.  They will come into the good of the sacrifice of Christ accomplished so long before.

11:28  As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.

As concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sakes- at the present time Israel maintains enmity with God and this attitude has become the means the blessing for Gentiles.  The apostle is not saying that the Gentiles should treat them as their enemies.  The enmity is on their part, and toward God.
But as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes- when the nation is saved, they will enter into what God had in mind when He chose them, and promised blessing to the fathers of the nation like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He reaffirmed to Moses that He was still the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, even though they had died, so the promises He made to them would not lapse, but they would rise from the dead to receive them. See Exodus 3:6 and Matthew 22:23-33.

11:29  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance- God will never change His mind after He has promised to bless and to call.  His calling of them as a nation in the person of Abraham, and His individual gifts of salvation and privilege, will never be revoked.  It goes without saying that this verse does not mean that God blesses men apart from them repenting, for it is clear that He does not.  It is God that does not repent, not men, in this context.

11:30  For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief- in Old Testament times the Gentiles were generally unbelieving, yet have come into blessing because Israel rejected their Messiah.  The words “believed” and “unbelief” both have the idea of disobedience in them, in contrast to the obedience of faith, Romans 1:5, 16:26.

11:31  Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

Even so, have these also now not believed- they refused nationally to obey Christ.  His words were of equal authority to the words of the law uttered at Sinai, yet they refused to obey, Matthew 5:21,27,33,43.  See Deuteronomy 30:8-10 and Acts 3:22,23.
That through your mercy- by means of the fact that mercy has been shown to the Gentiles without that blessing coming via the nation of Israel.  Many Gentiles have embraced that mercy and made it their own.
They also may obtain mercy- so the Gentiles come into mercy through the unbelief of Israel, and this is also the means whereby the nation is eventually brought back. The restoration of Israel does not depend upon the Gentiles, but the coming of Christ.

11:32  For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.

For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all- all individuals, Jew and Gentile alike, have been concluded (put in the same category) in unbelief, or disobedience, so they may all have opportunity to know God’s mercy.  All must be reduced to an absolute dependence on the mercy of God.  None may gain a standing before God either on individual or collective merit.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS CHAPTER 11, VERSES 33 TO 36:

11:33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!

11:34  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor?

11:35  Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

11:36  For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

SECTION 5    Verses 33-36    PAUL’S EXPRESSION OF PRAISE

Each of the three major sections of the epistle ends on a note of praise and triumph, see 8:38,39; 16:25-27. This particular doxology (praise to God) is based on a quotation from Isaiah 40:13,14, which reads, “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counsellor hath taught Him?”  The implied answer to Isaiah’s question is “No-one”.

11:33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!- the wisdom and knowledge of God are infinite, therefore they must be deep, far beyond our ability to plumb their depths.  Yet there is a hint in the word riches that He has made His wisdom (insight into the true nature of things) and knowledge known in a measure, as in 10:12, “The same Lord is rich unto all that call upon Him”.  This is confirmed when we read the same quotation from Isaiah 40:13 in 1 Corinthians 2:16, which is there followed by “But we have the mind of Christ”.  In other words the wisdom and knowledge of God are beyond the unaided mind of man to grasp, but by the Spirit believers are able to begin to grasp things as Christ (who knows them fully), reveals them.
How unsearchable are His judgements-
God’s judgements, or decisions, (such as to break off branches and graft in branches), are based upon His infinite wisdom and knowledge.
And His ways past finding out- His ways, which are the outworking of His decisions, are likewise mysterious.  Hence the apostle describes the unfolding of the partial knowledge of these things in this chapter as the telling of a mystery, verse 25.  In Old Testament times God’s purpose to bless Gentiles in the ways detailed in the New Testament, were past finding out, even by prophets.

11:34  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor?

For “Who hath known the mind of the Lord?  Or who hath been His counsellor?- beginning with “for” as it does, this verse gives the reason why the things of God are beyond us.  No-one can fully know the workings of the Divine mind, nor can they draw alongside as a fellow-counsellor and offer Him advice, as those who have equal or superior wisdom.  Only as God is pleased to reveal His mind can we know it.

11:35  Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again?- who has gone before God offering Him knowledge and wisdom He did not have before, so that He is placed under an obligation to give him a reward for his help?  For Him to bless under such circumstances would simply be recompence, the discharge of a debt.  This is impossible with God, hence the next verse begins with “for”, giving an explanation as to why it is impossible.

11:36  For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

For of Him- God is the source of all things, whether as the Creator of all things, seen or unseen, the Proprietor of the earth and its unfolding ages, or the Grantor of spiritual blessings.
And through Him- God is the one through whose agency all things are carried out.  (Note incidentally that God being the means of things being accomplished does not imply that He is not God. So also, when the Lord Jesus is said to be the one “By whom” all things were made, John 1:3, this does not mean He is inferior to God.  He and God the Father are both agents in creation.)
And to Him, are all things- God is Himself the purpose for all His actings.  The supreme goal of all God’s purpose is His own glory.

In the light of the words of this doxology, and the whole of the doctrine of the preceding eleven chapters, we might well join with the apostle as he says-

TO WHOM BE GLORY FOR EVER.  AMEN.