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Romans: Laying a Solid Foundation

Romans: Laying a Solid Foundation

The Bible Teacher's Commentary

Paul J. Bucknell

Romans 11:25-36 Commentary


The Bible Teaching Commentary

Paul J. Bucknell

Summary of Romans chapters 9-11

I. Clarifying the Identity of the True Israel (9:1-13)
II. The Means Jews and Gentiles become Part of True Israel (9:14-29)
III. The Jews’ Rejection of the Messiah & the Gentiles Acceptance (9:30-10:21)
IV. God has not Forgotten Israel (11:1-32)

Introduction Romans 1-3:20: Read |Audio mp3
Introduction Romans 3:21-8: Read | Audio mp3
Introduction Romans 09-16 : Read | Audio mp3

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The Olive Tree

One point of the Olive tree illustration is that many Jews were cut off from something that should have been theirs. They lost their benefit from knowing God's Word just like many of our churches today lose all benefit from their past and tradition because they do not believe in Christ. What we need to see is if the fulfillment of Israel is found in the discovery of her Messiah or other promises. We also need to see whether Israel has a future different from the partial hardening that she is now experiencing.

25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." 27 "AND THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS." 28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? 35 Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:25-36).

Romans 11:25

• Don't be ignorant (this had been a problem but doesn't need to be).
•Mystery (µusthpiov) Something which was hidden in OT but has now been revealed in NT. The mystery has been unlocked, and so there is no reason to be ignorant (Eph 2:20; I Pe 2:9).
• There is danger of pride just as mentioned in the previous verses (11:18).
• The mystery has two sides including both the partial hardening of Israel as well as the inclusion of the Gentiles or nations in the tree.
• A partial hardening could have two meanings or perhaps both. It can refer to the few numbers of Israelites believing today or in Paul's day himself included (Ro 11:1). It also could refer to a hardening which is more temporary than permanent. In other words, the partial hardening is in operation until the Gentiles are fulfilled, at which point, we assume there is total openness to the gospel as the later verses indicate. Sch. comes out on the first interpretation, "The closing of the Jewish world to the work of God is for that period during which those who belong to the nations are called."
• And from this, "thus", the fullness all of Israel will be saved. The thus is emphatic and seems to be completed by the first two stages (Cranfield). Morris sees the "thus" meaning 'in this way,'that is, first the Gentiles and then the fullness of the Israelites. Zech 12-13
• Until the times of the gentiles. Mt 23:32-39; Lu 21:24; Psa 110:1

Three views of Ro 11:25-26

"... that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and thus all Israel will be saved"

#1 Nation of Israel

'Partial hardening'refers to a limited time period of hardened hearts.
My brothers, don't get prideful. Don't you know the mystery of God which has been revealed?! A partial hardening has occurred to the nation Israel, so that the rest of the elect from among the nations will enter into the covenant. After this, the hardness of heart will dissipate, and you will see the nation of Israel coming to know her Lord.
[ Caution of pride is brought about by knowing that the Israelites will enter in full scale once God has accomplished what he purposed among the Gentile believers. The partial hardening is understood in the light that it was especially for the sake of the Gentiles. It would be foolish to be prideful]

#2 Israel is Gentile and Jew

The opening to the nations is but for a limited time.
My brothers, don't get prideful. Don't you see how the Lord is working. Before it was a mystery but now it has been revealed that the Israelites have been partially hardened so that all those elected from different nations enter into God's gracious kingdom. This process will continue until all of those from among the nations have entered into God's flock along with all of the Israelites which have believed, then all of Israel, the church of God, will be saved.
[ Caution of pride is brought about by being reminded that our salvation and election is from the Lord our Redeemer and not by ourselves. Furthermore, the salvation to the Gentiles is limited temporally and it will come to pass that there will be no more openness from the gentiles.}

#3 True remnant of Israel will be saved
My brothers, don't get prideful. Don't you see how the Lord is working. Before it was a mystery but now it has been revealed showing that the Israelites have been partially hardened until all those elected from different nations enter into God's gracious kingdom. But don't think God has forsaken the Israelite people. All the true Israelites will be saved even though it will not be the whole nation.
[ Caution of pride is brought about by knowing 2 things: 1) the Gentiles entrance is dependent upon the Israelite's hardening, and 2) all the physical Israelites part of the remnant will be saved.]

Calvin: "When the Gentiles shall come in, the Jews also shall return form their defection to the obedience of faith; and thus shall be completed the salvation of the whole Israel of God, which must be gathered from both; and yet in such a way that the Jews shall obtain the first place, being as it were the first-born in God's family."

Swindoll "God's plan is that once the elect Gentiles have been save, Israel will be established as a holy nation with Christ as her Ruler."

Verses 26-27 are the proof verses for the above statement. Actually, there are several OT quotes.

"And a Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob," declares the LORD. And as for Me this is My covenant with them," says the Lord:" "My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor form the mouth of your offspring's offspring, from now and forever." Is 59:20-21

"O that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores His captive people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad." Psalm 14:7.

"Therefore through this Jacob's iniquity will be forgiven; and this will be the full price of the pardoning of his sin." Is 27:9

".. and I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." Jer 3134

Several key points to these scriptures all describing the full salvation experience: 1) the deliverer, 2) Dealing with God's people, 3) Covenant where sin is forgiven.

Further explanation in verses 28-29.
The Gentiles are profited by the antagonism the Jews have toward the Lord, but God has not altogether forsaken the Jews. Both the gifts and the calling of God will not be retracted. The reference seems to be clearly marking off the physical Jews. In other words, the above verses must state two things: 1) the gentiles are profited by the Jews stubbornness (views #1,2,3), and 2) the jews are beloved and the promises to them of salvation will be fulfilled (views #1,3). View #2 seems to ignore the physical nation Israel, though in fact they are part of the whole church.

Verses 11:30-31
Again we see the same profit brought to the Gentiles through the stubbornness of the Jews and the expected blessings to the Jews through the blessings brought to the Gentiles. But we must be careful before running to view#1 which sees a revival of the Jews before Christ returns. This blessing might also be understood in the partial hardening rather than the total rejection we would expect to see under God's judgment. Even during judgment God has preserved a remnant and the remnant He will be sure to save so that at the end all of Israel will be saved.

In fact everyone is a debtor to God. We all need His salvation whether Jew or gentile. Christianity has become non-racist. God has loved the world. Why should He love the world under sin is the basic question. W must gain a better appreciation of His love. This thought of grace introduces the glorious set of verses in 11:33-36.

God is not only not to be questioned on His ways, but He is to be absolutely feared and served. Our questioning the Creator is an insult to His wisdom and a over estimation of our own knowledge. May He be glorified forever!

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Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted: (C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988

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