Romans 11:7-10, Israel failed and was hardened
Romans 11:11-16, Israel’s failure is the Gentiles’ salvation
Romans 11:17-24, Israel is the natural branch
Romans 11:25-32, Israel has a partial hardening upon them
Romans 11:33-36, God’s ways are unfathomable
I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
God has not rejected His people
Jesus told the Jews, in a parable, that they would reject the Messiah.
Matt. 21:33–41, “But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 “But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 “They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 “Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?”
Though Israel failed to recognize the Messiah, God has not rejected Israel, at least not totally.
Paul uses himself as evidence that God has not rejected the nation.
Phil. 3:4-5, “although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee.”
The tribe of Benjamin
“…of the tribe of Benjamin (Phil. 3:5)—that tribe which, on the revolt of the ten tribes, constituted, with Judah, the one faithful kingdom of God (1 Ki. 12:21), and after the captivity was, along with Judah, the kernel of the Jewish nation (Ezra 4:1; 10:9)” (Brown, David, A. R. Fausset, and Robert Jamieson. A Commentary, Critical, Experimental, and Practical, on the Old and New Testaments: Acts–Revelation. Vol. VI. London; Glasgow: William Collins, Sons, & Company, Limited, n.d.)
God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?”
God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.
“foreknow” is προγινώσκω proginṓskō. It occurs five times in the New Testament. Acts 26:5; Romans 8:29; 11:2; 1 Peter 1:20; 2 Peter 3:17.
Acts 26:5, “since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion.”
Rom.8:29, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”
1 Peter 1:20, “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.”
2 Peter 3:17, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness.”
“Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.”
1 Kings 19:10, “He [Elijah] said, ‘I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. ‘”
But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
1 Kings 19:18, “Yet I [YHWH] will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
This demonstrates the sovereignty of God. He keeps people for Himself.
Remember, He grants belief (Phil. 1:29) and repentance (2 Tim. 2:24).
In the same way, then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.
We tend to move away from the truth of God and toward apostasy. This is why we need constant examination of God’s word in Bible study and listening to preaching.
Paul brings up the issue of Elijah regarding how God is not dependent on Israel. Likewise, it was the same in the time of Paul. God was keeping a remnant for Himself. After all, many Jews came to believe in Christ as the Messiah.
The election of God is of both the Jews and of the Gentiles.
The word “remnant” is λεῖμμα leímma, and only occurs here in the entire New Testament.
The sovereign right of God dealing with election.
‘Choice’ is ἐκλογή eklogḗ. It occurs seven times in the New Testament.
Acts 9:15, “…he is a chosen instrument of Mine…”
Rom. 9:11, “…so that God’s purpose according to his choice would stand…”
Rom. 11:5… here
Rom. 11:7, “… But those who were chosen obtained it…”
1Rom. 1:28, “… But from the standpoint of God’s choice there beloved…”
1 Thess. 1:4, “knowing, brethren beloved by God, his choice of you.”
2 Pet. 1:10, “…be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you…”
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise, grace is no longer grace.”
By grace, it is no longer on the basis of works
The proof of God’s sovereign election and work of grace that comes from Him is found in verses 4-7. Paul tells us that God’s remnant for Himself is by grace. The implication is that without that grace, none would believe in Him.
Rom. 3:28, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
Rom. 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,”
Gal. 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
There are two means of salvation: grace and works. There is not a combination of grace and works as false religions teach.
Gal. 5:2–4, “Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
Rom. 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”
What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened.
What Israel is seeking
Israel was seeking righteousness with God.
Rom. 9:31, “but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.”
The remnant found the righteousness with God, the righteousness that is by faith.
Rom. 9:32, “Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.”
Those who were chosen obtained it
Chosen is ἐκλογή eklogḗ. It occurs seven times in the NT.
Paul is a chosen instrument of Jesus (Acts 9:15).
God chose Jacob, (Rom. 9:11)
A remnant according to God’s choice (Rom. 11:5)
Israel was by God’s choice (Rom. 11:28)
God chose people of the church of Thessalonica (1 Thess. 1:4)
The brethren are to make sure about God’s choosing them (2 Pet. 1:10)
just as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day.”
God opens hearts and closes minds according to the sovereign counsel of His will.
Acts 16:14, “A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”
Luke 24:45, “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”
2 Thess. 2:11, “For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false.”
John 12:39–40, “For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 ‘HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.’”
And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, and a stumbling block and a retribution to them.”
Psalm 69:22, “May their table before them become a snare; And when they are in peace, may it become a trap.”
Let their eyes be darkened to see not, And bend their backs forever.
Psalm 69:23, “May their eyes grow dim so that they cannot see, And make their loins shake continually.”
I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.“
Their stumbling is their rejection of Jesus.
Salvation has come to the Gentiles.
Acts 28:28, “Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”
Gen. 12:3, “And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Gal. 3:8, “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.’”
The word ‘jealous’ is παραζηλόω parazēlóō and occurs in Rom. 10:19; 11:11, 14; and 1 Cor. 10:22. It means “To make jealous, provoke to jealousy or emulation.” (Zodhiates, Spiros. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000.)
Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!”
Because Israel rejected the Messiah, the riches of righteousness are now for the Gentiles.
Paul points out that if Israel failed to produce such great good, how much more will the fulfillment of the duty of Israel mean to the world?
Rom. 11:25–27, “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery – so that you will not be wise in your own estimation – that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB. 27 THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.’”
Luke 21:24, “and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
John 10:16, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.”
But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry.
We can see from this verse that Paul is addressing his epistle to both the Jews and the Gentiles.
Rom. 2:17, “But if you bear the name ‘Jew’ and rely upon the Law and boast in God.”
if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.
We know that Paul loved his countrymen. Remember, he would have given up his own salvation for them.
Rom. 9:3, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
That is a kind of love that is godly.
Would any of us give up our salvation so others could go to heaven?
For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”
Repeats the sentiment of verse 12 above.
Israel was, so to speak, castaway though not totally nor finally. Paul is speaking of the temporary and partial rejection by God for failing to recognize the Messiah.
When Israel finally repents and comes to full knowledge of who Jesus was and is, and considering the prophecy of Revelation concerning the 144,000, it would be monumental. It will have a worldwide effect.
Just as Jesus’ resurrection from the dead sent shockwaves throughout the world, so too Israel’s “resurrection from the dead” would do the same thing.
If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.
The first piece of dough…the root
The root would appear to be the nation of Israel from which the first fruit comes forth; namely, the apostles and other godly Jews who were first converted to Christ.
“The Israelites were required to offer to God the first-fruits of the earth—both in their raw state, in a sheaf of newly reaped grain (Lev. 23:10, 11), and in their prepared state, made into cakes of dough (Num. 15:19–21), by which the whole produce for that season was regarded as hallowed. It is probably the latter of these offerings that is here intended, as to it the word “lump” best applies..” (Brown, David, A. R. Fausset, and Robert Jamieson. A Commentary, Critical, Experimental, and Practical, on the Old and New Testaments: Acts–Revelation. Vol. VI. London; Glasgow: William Collins, Sons, & Company, Limited, n.d.)