The Book of Romans
A Nation Restored
June 16, 2013
God is not finished dealing with the nation of Israel. Israel’s present rejection is neither total nor final. Israel’s rejection is not total because, even though the nation of Israel has rejected Christ, individual Israelites who believe in Christ are being saved. Also Israel’s rejection is not final because there is a time coming when Israel as a nation will accept Christ and be restored to God.
Chapter eleven presents five witnesses to prove that God is not through with national Israel. The witnesses are Paul himself, the prophet Elijah, the Gentiles, the patriarchs, and God Himself.
I. Paul’s Witness, V 1
- V 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. Has God ended His dealings with Israel? Is the glorious history of the nation of Israel over? Does God utterly and finally reject national Israel? Paul represent himself as proof that God will not reject individual Israelites if they will come by faith believing in Jesus Christ for salvation.
- Paul was a true Israelite of genuine stock. He was a descended of Abraham; he was from the tribe of Benjamin, he was a genuine Israelite. Acts chapter nine records Paul’s conversion and calling experience. Acts 9:13-16, Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. God called Paul to be a witness to the Gentiles, but God also called him to be a witness to those in authority, and to the Israelites. Since there is no difference between the Jew and Gentile, Paul’s message was for all people. Any individual who calls on the name of Jesus will be saved.
II. The Prophet Elijah, Vs, 2-10
- The example of the prophet Elijah is proof that God has had a remnant of believing Jews throughout the history of Israel. I Kings 19:14; 18, (V 14) (Elijah) And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. (V 17) (God’s response) Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
- V 5, Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. During Paul’s time there was a remnant of Jews who were saved. The “election of grace” has reference to the fact that a remnant of Jews was saved by grace and not the works of the law. Ephesians 2:5, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;). The Jews referred to as being blinded are in a blinded condition because of their rejection of the Gospel. They trusted in their religion more than in Christ.
- The existence of the believing Jewish remnant today, as in Elijah’s day, is evidence that God still has a plan for the His people the Jews.
III. The Gentiles, Vs, 11-15
- V 11, Does Israel’s fall or rejection mean the end of God’s program for the nation? Certainly not! Israel’s rejection brought salvation to the Gentiles and it will ultimately lead to the nation of Israel being restored..
- V 12, The Nation of Israel chosen by God to receive salvation, will be saved along with believing Gentiles, resulting in great blessing for everyone.
- There is a future for Israel. Today Israel is fallen spiritually, but when Christ returns, the nation will be restored. God will never break His covenant with His people and He has promised to restore them. Jeremiah 31:35-37, Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.
- V 15, The future restoring of the Nation of Israel by God will result in world blessing. If the nation of Israel’s unbelief brought salvation to the Gentiles, Israel’s future faith in Jesus Christ will greatly enrich the world. Isaiah 2:2-4, And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
June 23, 2013
IV. The Patriarchs, Vs, 16-24
- A. V 16, For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. The Patriarchs are a witness that God will restore the nation of Israel. The reference is to the Heave Offering (Numbers 15:17-21) and the Feast of Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:9-14). The Heave Offering was offered at the beginning of the harvest by the harvester to acknowledge that his produce was a gift of God. By holding up the first produce from a harvest or the first cake made from the first grain of the season, the worshiper thanked God as the giver of all good gifts. The first part of the dough was offered to God as a symbol; that the entire lump belonged to God. In the Feast of Firstfruits the priest offered a sheaf to the Lord as a token that the entire harvest belonged to God. The basic idea was that when God accepted the part He sanctifies the whole. God accepted Abraham as the founder of the nation of Israel. God also accepted the other patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob, in spite of their sin or failings. This means that God will accept the rest of the lump, the nation of Israel.
- V 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. Jeremiah 11:16-17, The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken. For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal. Hosea 14:4-6, I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. The natural olive tree is a symbol of the nation of Israel. God is not discussing the relationship of individual believers to God, but the place of Israel in the plan of God. The roots of the tree support the tree. The roots are a symbol of the patriarchs who founded the nation. God made His covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and God will keep His promises. Many of the Jewish people did not believe, therefore, the unbelieving Jews are pictured as branches broken off the natural olive tree. The wild olive tree being graffed in the natural olive tree represents the Gentiles. In verse twenty-four Paul described this grafting in as “contrary to nature. Usually the cultivated branch is grafted into a wild tree so that it can share its life without producing its poor fruit. But in this case, it was the wild branch (the Gentiles) that was grafted into the good tree. Salvation is of the Jews. John 4:22, Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
- The olive tree illustrates the relationship between Jews and Gentiles in God’s program of redemption. The breaking off of the branches represents the nation of Israel’s fall in verse 11, the diminishing in verse 12, and the casting away in verse 15.
- Vs 18-21, Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, the branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. The Gentiles, being grafted into the Abrahamic covenant become recipients of God’s blessing of salvation. The Gentiles entered into God’s plan because of faith, and not because of anything they had done. Paul was warning the Gentiles not to be arrogant and to remember that they are accountable to God no less than the Jews were. Paul was discussing the Gentiles collectively and not the individual experience of one believer. Israel was broken off as a nation because of unbelief.
- Vs 22-24, 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. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 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 the Gentiles continue in God’s goodness, they will not be cut off, and if the Jews turn to God in faith, they will be grafted in again. This is not a reference to individual salvation but to God’s program for the Jews and Gentiles. No matter how far Israel may stray from the truth of God, the roots are still good. God is still the God of Abraham Isaac, and Jacob. God will keep His promises to these patriarchs. This means that the olive tree (Israel) will flourish again.
- The covenant of blessing for all peoples of the earth was made to Abraham. Genesis 12:3, And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Abraham foretold the universal nature of the covenant blessing. Galatians 3:8, And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. The covenant blessing was promised to Abraham, but the channel of the blessing was through Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:13-18, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. The promise having been made through Christ for all people, therefore Christ died on the cross for the human race that the promise might be sure to all.
June 30, 2013
V. God Himself, Vs 25-36
- V 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. The mystery is “ That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” Ephesians 3:6. In eternity God predestined that the Gentiles should have the benefits of the gospel along with the Jews. Therefore, both Jews and Gentiles were foreordained by the Lord to be saved. This is not saying that individuals were predestined to be saved, but that Jews and Gentiles, being the two major categories of the human race, should have the gospel preached to them. The eternal predestination election plan of God is that believers shall be saved by faith in Christ. Ephesians 2:16-20, And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.
- The “fulness of the Gentiles” began with the calling out of the Lord’s church and will continue until the rapture of the Lord’s church. The blindness of the Nation of Israel will continue as long the Lord’s church is in the world. Acts 15:14-18, Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
- Vs 26-29, And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. God has promised to save His people, and He will keep His promise. “All Israel shall be saved” does not mean that every Jew who has ever lived will be saved, but that the Nation of Israel will be saved. Revelation 7:2-4, And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. God will keep His promise to restore Israel. Isaiah 59:20, And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever. Today the Nation of Israel are “enemies” to the believing Gentiles because of their hostile attitude toward the gospel. But to God, the Jewish people are “beloved for the father’s sake.” God will not break His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
- Vs 30-32. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. God chose the Jews so that the Gentiles might be saved. The tragedy was that Israel became exclusive and failed to share the truth with the Gentiles. They thought that the Gentiles had to become Jews in order to be saved. But God has declared both Jews and Gentiles to be lost and condemned so that He could have mercy on all because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
- Vs, 33-36, 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! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. Having shared God great plan of salvation for the Jews and Gentiles, Paul’s theology becomes doxology (praise). Only a God as wise as our God could take the fall of Israel and turn it into salvation for the whole world. His plan will not be aborted. No human being can fully know the mind of the Lord, and the more we study His way, the more we offer Him praise.
God is not finished dealing with the nation of Israel. Israel’s present rejection is neither total nor final. Israel’s rejection is not total because, even though the nation of Israel has rejected Christ, individual Israelites who believe in Christ are being saved. Also Israel’s rejection is not final because there is a time coming when Israel as a nation will accept Christ and be restored to God. The five witnesses all agree; there is a future for National Israel. When Jesus Christ returns and sits on David’s throne to reign over His kingdom, then National Israel will be reconciled.
“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”
Created and Researched by Pastor Dennis Baker
Zion Baptist Church
3485 New Baumgartner Rd. - St. Louis, MO 63129 - Phone: 314-846-1867