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Israel's Election by God
Israel's Rejection of God
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God Not Rejecting Israel
Romans 11:9-11 Commentary
|Greek: skotisthetosan (3PAPM) oi ophthalmoi auton tou me blepein, (PAN) kai ton noton auton dia pantosv sugkampson. (2SAMM)
Amplified: Let their eyes be darkened (dimmed) so that they cannot see, and make them bend their back [stooping beneath their burden] forever.(4)
ESV: let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever."
ICB: Let their eyes be closed so they cannot see. Let their backs be forever weak from troubles." Psalm 69: 22-23
NIV: May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever."
NKJV: Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, and bow down their back always."
NLT: Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and let their backs grow weaker and weaker."
Phillips: let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back always'.
In the providence of God disaster has been turned to good account
Wuest: Let their eyes be darkened in order that they may not see and in order that they may always bow down their back.
Young's Literal: let their eyes be darkened -- not to behold, and their back do Thou always bow down.'
|LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT: skotisthetsan (3PAPM) hoi ophthalmoi auton tou me blepein (PAN): (Ro 11:8; 1:21; Psalms 69:23; Zechariah 11:17; Ephesians 4:18; 2Peter 2:4,17; Jude 1:6,13)
Let… be darkened (4654) (skotizo from skótos = darkness) means literally to be or become dark, to be unable to give light and figuratively to obscure. Aorist imperative (passive voice) calls for action that comes from without the one who is darkened (spiritually speaking) This is a terrible imprecation (uttering in a sense a curse upon another). Because Israel refused to see the Lord Jesus as Messiah and Savior, they lost the power to see Him. Because they steadfastly, stubbornly refused to hear the pleading voice of God, now they were smitten with spiritual deafness. That terrible judgment continues to this very day.
Paul describes a similar darkening of all men who have suppressed the truth about God in unrighteousness…
This clearly ties in with the “spirit of stupor” in Ro 11:8 and the hardening in Ro 11:7, and indicates that Israel as a whole was blinded toward the truth of the gospel. As she continued to reject God, Israel became progressively more spiritually blind—so blind that she could not recognize her own Messiah and Savior. Just as David had prayed in righteous indignation against the sins of his own people, Israel’s eyes were darkened to see not. Because Israel refused to see the things of God, God judicially ratified her willing blindness.
See (991)(blepo) basically means to have sight, to see, to look at, then to observe, to discern, to perceive with the eye, and frequently implies special contemplation (e.g., often in the sense of “keep your eyes open,” or “beware”).
AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER: kai ton noton auton dia pantos sugkampson (2SAMM): (Deuteronomy 28:64-68; Isaiah 51:23; 65:12)
Bend (4781) (sugkampto from sún = together + kámpto = to bend, bow) means to bend together, to bow down low. It pictures bend together as of captives whose backs were bent under burdens. This is written in the form of a command (aorist imperative) This picture suggests the hunched over position in which blind people sometimes walk as they grope their way on a path they cannot see that leads to a destination they do not seek.
Forever (1275) (diapantos from diá = through + pantós = all) literally means through all and describes continuous unbroken permanence of a characteristic habit. This means through all time and so constantly or continually. It does not mean “without end,” but is more accurately rendered “constantly” or “continuously". That is, as long as it lasts, may there be no relief.
It is difficult to tell exactly what calamity this is supposed to represent. It may be a figure for the hard labor of slavery, the heaviness of a burden, a state of weakness, or the overwhelming effects of grief or fear. Any of these could apply to first-century Judaism. Paul may be saying,
Or he may be referring to
In summary, Paul says all in Israel not included in the remnant chosen to salvation by sovereign grace were hardened. He explains this hardening in that God gave them a spirit of slumber, an insensibility of heart that made them insensible to the gospel, sightless spiritual eyes, and deaf ears. How are we to understand this? Moses records the fact that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but not until Pharaoh had first hardened his own heart. The original hardening came from his totally depraved nature. Then God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by forcing him to an issue which he did not want to meet. The more God demanded that he let Israel go, the more Pharaoh rebelled. The more he rebelled, the harder his heart became. So with Israel. Israel rejected God and His Word, and the more it did so the harder its heart became. Light rejected, blinds. In addition to this natural hardening of the heart, there was God’s judicial action of hardening as a just judgment upon its sin of rejection.
|Greek: Lego (1SPAI) oun, me eptaisan (3PAAI) hina pesosin? (3PAAS) me genoito; (3SAMO) alla to auton paraptomati e soteria tois ethnesin, eis to parazslosai (AAN) autoua.
Amplified: So I ask, Have they stumbled so as to fall [to their utter spiritual ruin, irretrievably]? By no means! But through their false step and transgression salvation [has come] to the Gentiles, so as to arouse Israel [to see and feel what they forfeited] and so to make them jealous.
ESV: So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.
ICB: So I ask: When the Jews fell, did that fall destroy them? No! But their mistake brought salvation to the non-Jews. This took place to cause the Jews to be jealous.
NIV: Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.
NKJV: 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.
NLT: Did God's people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! His purpose was to make his salvation available to the Gentiles, and then the Jews would be jealous and want it for themselves.
Phillips: Now I ask myself, "Was this fall of theirs an utter disaster? It was not! For through their failure the benefit of salvation has passed to the Gentiles with the result that Israel is made to see and feel what is has missed.
Wuest: I say then, Surely, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? Away with the thought. But through the instrumentality of their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles with a view to provoking them [Israel] to jealousy.
Young's Literal: I say, then, Did they stumble that they might fall? let it not be! but by their fall the salvation is to the nations, to arouse them to jealousy;
|I SAY THEN, THEY DID NOT STUMBLE SO AS TO FALL, DID THEY: Lego (1SPAI) oun, me eptaisan (3PAAI) hina pesosin (3PAAS): (Ezekiel 18:23,32; 33:11)
Amplified Version - So I ask, Have they stumbled so as to fall [to their utter spiritual ruin, irretrievably]? By no means! But through their false step and transgression salvation [has come] to the Gentiles, so as to arouse Israel [to see and feel what they forfeited] and so to make them jealous.
They refers to “the others” (v7), the majority of the people of Israel, excluding the “remnant chosen by grace” (v5). Paul’s question is preceded by the negative particle me which expects a negative answer, “They did not stumble that they should fall, did they?” The contrast here between stumbling and falling shows that by the latter is meant an irremediable fall from which there is no rising.
Israel has not stumbled and fallen beyond recovery. This is thus a rhetorical question, not calling for an answer but proving a point. The Jews stumbled over Christ, but not so as to fall irretrievably. The idea conveyed by falling is here suggestive of what is impossible of recovery.
God’s temporarily setting Israel aside was not an afterthought or an outburst of emotional anger but had a definite purpose. Again (11:1) Paul introduces his point by asking a rhetorical question and then giving the strongest negative answer possible. God has not allowed His chosen people Israel to fall into such unbelief and disobedience that they are unsalvageable. He has indeed given them “a spirit of stupor,” and He “let their eyes be darkened to see not” (v8, 10). For a divinely appointed time, He has let them wander about in spiritual blindness and darkness. Yet their blindness is not irreversible, and their darkness was never to be permanent.
MAY IT NEVER BE: me genoito (3SAM0):
Once again the question in Greek was worded to elicit the strongest negative answer Paul could offer. This is the 10th and last time in Romans, Paul responded, me genoito [Romans 3:4, 6, 31 6:2,15 7:7,13 9:14 11:1]
BUT BY THEIR TRANSGRESSION SALVATION HAS COME TO THE GENTILES: alla to auton paraptomati e soteria tois ethnesin: (Ro 11:12,31)
But - always pause to ponder this term of contrast.
Transgression (trespass) (3900) paraptoma -see word study from para = aside + pipto = fall) is literally a falling aside or beside to stumble on something (so as to loose footing) and in its figurative ethical usage (all uses in the NT) it describes a "false step", a violation of moral standards or a deviation from living according to what has been revealed as the right way to live. Paraptoma is a false step out of the appointed way, a trespass on forbidden ground, a stepping out of line of true conduct, a deviation from truth and uprightness. Paraptoma describes what a person has done in transgressing the will and law of God by some false step or failure.
Salvation (4991) soteria (see word study from soter = Savior in turn from sozo = save, rescue, deliver) describes the rescue or deliverance from danger, destruction and peril. Salvation is a broader term in Greek than we often think of in English. Other concepts that are inherent in soteria include restoration to a state of safety, soundness, health and well being as well as preservation from danger of destruction.
Jesus had instructed Paul to turn to the Gentiles, Luke recording Paul's testimony that…
Luke records the fulfillment (3 times) of our Lord's prophetic charge to Paul, a charge to change direction from the Jews to the Gentiles…
In turning to the Gentiles Paul was fulfilling these purposes of God. Paul followed this procedure all through his missionary labors, first going to the Jews, and when they rejected the gospel, to the Gentiles, until finally in his first Roman imprisonment, he abandoned Israel entirely and turned to the Gentiles.
The severe stumbling of which Paul speaks is, of course, Israel’s rejection of her Messiah, Jesus Christ. But Israel’s rejection of God’s own Son and His kingdom did not thwart God’s plan. On the contrary (but), the Lord used that terrible transgression of His people to accomplish His own divine objective.
The very people for whom the kingdom was intended and to whom the kingdom was offered will be shut out of the kingdom. Individual Jews who reject their Messiah will be banned and sent permanently “into the outer darkness,” (Mt8:12) but the unbelieving nation shall one day believe and be restored. In the meanwhile, because of their rejection of the kingdom, God has offered the kingdom, and the salvation it represents, to a people called out from among the Gentiles.
Although the widespread salvation of Gentiles came about because Israel as a nation refused her Savior, that extension of grace was not an afterthought with God. From His first calling of Abraham, it was God’s intent that His chosen people should be the instruments of bringing salvation to the Gentiles. “In you,” the Lord told Abraham, “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Ge12:3). In the covenant at Sinai God called Israel to be His witnesses, His spiritual ambassadors to the world as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex19:6). Like their Messiah, “the tribes of Jacob, and … the preserved ones of Israel” were to be “a light of the nations so that [God’s] salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isa49:6 Paul applied this to himself in Ac13:47).
TO MAKE THEM JEALOUS: eis to parazelosai (AAN) autous:
Make… Jealous (3863) (parazeloo from pará = to the point of, unto, implying movement toward a certain point + zeloo [word study[ = to desire, be zealous) means to stimulate alongside and thus to excite to rivalry or to provoke to emulation and so to make jealous. The idea is that then the Jews would be jealous and want it for themselves. Parazeloo is a Greek infinitive with a preposition (eis = unto, toward) and carries the idea of purpose.
God’s purpose for this hardening is to use it as a means of converting many Gentiles, which in turn will be a means of converting many of the hardened Jews themselves. Thus paradoxically the ultimate goal and result of the hardening is the salvation of those who are hardened! The sequence of events is as follows: the bulk of the Jews reject the gospel; they are hardened; as a consequence Gentiles are saved; as a consequence of this, many of the hardened Jews are made jealous and are saved; and as a consequence of this, even more Gentiles are saved!
Although jealousy is essentially a negative term, God’s intention was for Israel’s jealousy of Gentiles to be a positive stimulus to draw His people back to Himself. But Jews had long disdained Gentiles ("dogs"), whom they considered to be outside the boundaries of God’s grace. To be told they had lost their special relationship to God was distressing enough, but to be told that God offered that forfeited relationship to Gentiles was a bitter pill indeed.
But God’s ultimate purpose in setting Israel aside was not to drive His people further away but to bring them back to Himself. He wanted to make them face their own sin and its consequences, to sense their alienation from Jehovah and to recognize their need for the salvation that He now offered the Gentiles. As Jews see the Lord pour out the kind of blessings on the Gentile church that once were reserved for Israel, some of them desire that blessing for themselves and come to Jesus Christ, their spurned Messiah, in repentance and faith. That happens with individual Jews throughout this age, and at the end of the Great Tribulation will happen to the whole nation (i.e., to the one third who are refined and purified and turn to their Messiah for salvation by faith)
One of the great ironies of history is the relationship of God’s "chosen people" (the Jews) to the rest of humanity (the Gentiles). Anti–Semitism by Gentiles has often been paralleled by, and sometimes precipitated by, the anti-Gentile sentiments of Jews. It therefore was-and no doubt still is for many Jews-an enormous leap from a negative contempt of Gentiles to a positive jealousy of them. Yet that is precisely the leap the Lord intends for them to make as a first step in bringing them back to Him.
What is the practical application of this truth to our lives today? It should be the desire of every Christian to manifest the spiritual realities of a transformed life that would draw unbelieving Jews to belief in our Lord and their Messiah, a witness that would tap their divinely inspired jealousy of Gentiles and be used to turn it to a divinely desired faith in His Son.
Unfortunately, the Christianity that Jews see in many professed, and even some genuine, Christians reflects little of the love and righteousness of Christ and of the salvation He brings. When they see Gentile Christians who are dishonest and immoral, and especially those who are anti-Semitic (yes, there is anti-Semitism in the church!) in the name of Christ (who was the supremely perfect Jew), they are deeply and understandably offended and repulsed. They are anything but jealous of such Gentiles, and they distance themselves still further from the Lord instead of drawing closer to Him.