Normally, I put the verses in the text, but chapter 11 is quite long, so in the body of the lesson I will simply place the texts we are looking at. But I encourage you to please take the time to read Romans 9 – 11.
In the past few lessons on God and His relationship to Israel, I have focused on the Old Testament. Today, we will look at a New Testament passage. The Apostle Paul is writing here. He, a Jew whose main mission field is the Gentiles, asks a simple but very pertinent question “… has God cast away His people?” Remember, he was a part of the Pharisees who had led Israel to reject Jesus; he had overseen the murder of Stephen in Acts 7 and, for a time, persecuted the newly born church in Jerusalem before he met Jesus and was converted.
In Romans 11:1-6, we find this promise from God to Israel; the actual story of this is found in 1 Kings 19:18, but here are the verses in Romans:
“I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, ‘Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life’? But what does the divine response say to him? ‘I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ Even so then, at this present time, there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise, grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise, work is no longer work.”
God promises that even though it seems that there is a total rejection of God from Israel, He has a remnant that truly believes. One of them was Paul the Apostle. The early church folks were all Jews, and Jesus is a Jew of the tribe of Judah. Even now, there are true Jewish believers, and as we get closer and closer to the return of Jesus, that will intensify even more. Once we are fully into the Tribulation period, the primary focus will be on evangelizing the Jews from all over the planet. They will be saved by grace, just like you and I, according to Romans 11:5-6.
In the next text, we will see that the Jews are currently blind for the sake of the Gentiles, you and I. Their temporary blindness has given us Gentiles the opportunity to be saved and added to the Family of God as children of Abraham. According to Romans 4, Abraham is the ‘father of all who believe.’ Here in Romans 11:11-12, we see this temporary blindness is for our sake, but one day, it will be a blessing for the Jews:
“I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!”
One day, all Israel will be saved; Romans 11:25-27 tells us this. Not all of Israel that has ever existed from Abraham, but all of Israel who is alive at the time of the return of Jesus in Revelation 19. Here is what it says in Romans:
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”
One day, the Jews will see Jesus and accept Him as their Messiah and Lord. They will believe, and Jesus will heal their hearts, open their minds, unstop their ears, and be worshipped by them. That day is not that far off. The players involved in the end are in place. Nothing needs to happen as far as the Rapture is concerned that is an imminent event, but the Tribulation has very clear events that require certain things to be in place, and those pieces are coming together like a puzzle.
God promises Israel that He will take away their sins, and He says that as a covenant. God, as we learned last week, makes covenants that He has to uphold since man cannot in his own power ever uphold a covenant with God. Time and time again, we can see that God is not done with Israel. He has preserved them in and amongst the nations of the world. He is bringing them back; right now, because of the attack by Hamas, there is a return of military-aged young men who are prepared to defend Israel to the death. Israel will be, according to Daniel, the central focus of the end. There will be treaties or at least one treaty signed with Israel at the beginning of the end to bring about ‘peace and safety,’ Daniel 9:27:
“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week, He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”
This is Daniel telling us about the end and how Israel is involved. The ‘many’ is Israel, the one week refers to 7 years, and this alludes to the rebuilding of the Temple and the restarting of the sacrifices. But there is trouble in this treaty and a harsh reality that forces Israel to look for the real Messiah. They will, He will come, and they will believe.
Be wary of those who say God is done with Israel. No way!! He cannot and will not break the covenant He has made with her. He cannot and will not break the covenant He has made with you and me in Jesus.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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