|Romans 9||Romans 10||Romans 11|
Israel's Election by God
Israel's Rejection of God
|God's Ways Higher
God Not Rejecting Israel
Romans 11:25 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; (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: Ou gar thelo (1SPAS) humas agnoein, (PAN) adelphoi, to musterion touto, hina me ete (2PPAS) [par'] heautois phronimoi, hoti porosis apo merous to Israel gegonen (3SRAI) achris ou to pleroma ton ethnon eiselthe, (3SAAS)
Amplified: Lest you be self-opinionated (wise in your own conceits), I do not want you to miss this hidden truth and mystery, brethren: a hardening (insensibility) has [temporarily] befallen a part of Israel [to last] until the full number of the ingathering of the Gentiles has come in (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
ESV: Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (ESV)
ICB: I want you to understand this secret truth, brothers. This truth will help you understand that you do not know everything. The truth is this: Part of Israel has been made stubborn. But that will change when many non-Jews have come to God. (ICB: Nelson)
NIV: I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. (NIV - IBS)
NKJV: 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.
NLT: I want you to understand this mystery, dear friends, so that you will not feel proud and start bragging. Some of the Jews have hard hearts, but this will last only until the complete number of Gentiles comes to Christ. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Now I don't want you, my brothers, to start imagining things, and I must therefore share with you my knowledge of God's secret plan. It is this, that the partial insensibility which has come to Israel is only to last until the full number of the Gentiles has been called in. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: For I do not desire you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning this mystery, in order that you may not be wise in yourselves, that hardening in part has come to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: For I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, of this secret -- that ye may not be wise in your own conceits -- that hardness in part to Israel hath happened till the fulness of the nations may come in;
|Romans — 3:21-5:21||Romans — 6:1-8:39||Romans — 9:1-11:36||Romans — 12:1-16:27|
Jew and Gentile
|Demonstration of Salvation|
|Power Given||Promises Fulfilled||Paths Pursued|
Restored to Israel
|Slaves to Sin||Slaves to God||Slaves Serving God|
|Life by Faith||Service by Faith|
Modified from Irving L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's Survey of the NT"
Online Book by Dr John Walvoord - Israel in Prophecy
Online Articles by Arnold Fruchtenbaum related to Israel
Are you confused about God's plan for Israel? Then I highly recommend Tony Garland's 12 Hour Course on Romans 9-11 in which he addresses in depth the question of What Will Happen to Israel? (click) or see the individual lectures below)
Note that when you click the preceding links, each link will in turn give you several choices including an Mp3 message and brief transcript notes. The Mp3's are long (avg 70+ min) but are in depth and thoroughly Scriptural with many quotations from the Old Testament, which is often much less well understood than the NT by many in the church today. Garland takes a literal approach to Scripture, and his love for the Jews and passion to see them saved comes through very clearly in these 12 hours of teaching! Take your home Bible Study group through this series if you dare. Take notes on the tapes as the transcripts are a very abbreviated version of the audio messages. This course is highly recommended for all who love Israel! I think you will agree that Tony Garland, despite coming to faith after age 30 as an engineer, clearly has been given a special anointing by God to promulgate the truth concerning Israel and God's glorious future plan for the Jews. Garland has also produced more than 20 hours of superb audio teaching in his verse by verse commentary on the Revelation (in depth transcripts also available) which will unravel (in a way you did not think was possible considering the plethora of divergent interpretations) God's final message of the triumph and return of the our Lord Jesus Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords! Maranatha! (See Maranatha - In Depth Word Study)!
FOR I DO NOT WANT YOU, BRETHREN, TO BE UNINFORMED OF THIS MYSTERY: Ou gar thelo (1SPAS) humas agnoein (PAN), adelphoi, to musterion touto: (Psalms 107:43; Hosea 14:9; 1Corinthians 10:1; 12:1; 2Peter 3:8) (Ro 16:25; Ephesians 3:3,4,9; Revelation 10:7)
For (gar) is a conjunction which means because (see term of explanation). Whenever you see a verse begin with for, a good habit to develop is to ask yourself "Because of what?" "Why is this for at the beginning of the passage?" "What is Paul linking it with?" Observe that Paul has just asked "how much more shall these who are the natural branches (the Jews) be grafted into their own olive tree?" (see note Romans 11:24) Paul had just explained the olive tree which represents the promises given to the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) which were rooted in the Abrahamic covenant. He had stated that the olive tree was a cultivated olive tree, and that the Gentiles who are participating in it as branches grafted in are not the natural branches, which are Jews. In light of this truth, Paul wants the Gentiles to understand that there is greater potential (how much more) for unbelieving Israel to come to faith than there was for Gentiles who are saved by adopting that which has a Jewish "foundation". In other words, Christianity was founded on the OT Scriptures which were the privileged possession of the Jews and we Gentiles have come to believe in a Jewish Messiah. Paul's point is that we Gentiles need to think about this dynamic (for I do not want you brethren to be uniformed...). If we Gentiles who were unnatural branches came to believe in the Messiah as our Savior, how much more likely is it for God to turn unbelieving Jews of Israel to faith in Messiah. In other words, the Jews have a much greater affinity and natural connection then Gentiles. And yet we Gentiles (wild olive branches) did come to faith, even though we had less affinity for the natural olive tree. And since this has happened to you Gentiles, don't be surprised when Israel comes to faith in what is often incorrectly regarded as a "western religion" for in fact more accurately Christianity is in its origin a "middle eastern religion".
I do not want you - Not identifies (ou) the absolute negation. So Paul is saying in the strongest way possible he does not want his readers to be ignorant of what he is about to explain. Clearly the truth Paul is about to reveal must be very important.
Uninformed (50) (agnoeo from a = not + noéo = perceive, understand) means to not have information about, to not know, to be unaware of or to be ignorant of. The present tense speaks of being continually ignorant. Ignorance in this area is not bliss but leads to one becoming wise in their own mind. The ignorance can be as simple as the fact that one has never been taught the truth inherent in the mystery or that the preaching in one's church is shallow and tends to avoid non-seeker friendly "controversial" topics as in Romans 9-11. The most heinous reason for ignorance is not that one has not heard the truth, but having heard the revelation of this mystery makes a conscious choice to reject it! There is what I would interpret as a subtle form of "anti-Semitism" in the church today, in which some believers simply do not like the fact that God has a chosen nation called Israel and that He is not finished with them. Dearly beloved, how is your heart in this area?
Mystery (3466) (musterion from mustes = one initiated [as into the Greco-Roman religious "mystery" cults] from mueo = to close or shut) (Click for in depth study of musterion) as used in the NT speaks of some truth which is not discoverable apart from being revealed by God. Mystery in the NT is a truth previously unknown but now revealed. Thus Paul is not using "mystery" like we do in modern parlance as something "mysterious", something "unknown". Quite the opposite is true, for when mystery is used in the NT it refers not to a truth which is difficult to understand, but to a truth previously unrevealed (and therefore unknown) which is now revealed and publicly proclaimed.
Here in Romans 11:25 the mystery revealed is that Israel's blindness or hardening is (1) partial (not complete - see notes below and study of the Jewish believing remnant through the ages) and (2) temporary (it will last only until the time when all the Gentiles whom God will save have in fact been saved [have "come in"]).
Mystery refers to the activity of God in salvation history, once hidden (Romans 16:25), but now made known to His people by revelation. The content of this mystery embraces Israel's present hardening--which is partial because the believing Jewish remnant constitutes an exception and because the hardening is limited in duration, lasting only "until (up to the point in time) the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
SO THAT YOU BE WISE IN YOUR OWN ESTIMATION: hina me ete (2PPAS) (par) heautois phronimoi: (Ro 12:16; Proverbs 3:5, 6, 7; 26:12,16; Isaiah 5:21)
So that (hina) means in order that and is a term of purpose or result (always pause to ponder this strategic term) The application is clear. If believers today remain uniformed about God's plan for the Jews (the mystery revealed here by Paul) in the End Times, the result is that they will become wise in their own estimation. And sadly this is what has occurred in much of the church over the centuries and to a large extent in our own day.
Lest you be wise in your own estimation - Paul was concerned that some Gentile believers would be wise in their own estimation and would assume that racial distinctions (Jew and Gentile) no longer exist. And so Paul explains that God
Several Bible paraphrases bring out the idea nicely...
Estimation (5429) (phronimos from phronéo = think, have a mindset from phren = mind) means wise, prudent, having the capacity to understand, often in the daily things of life and implies a cautious character.
Phronimos describes one who is thoughtful, sagacious or discreet. It describes the quality of one's thinking which is the result of insight and stands in opposition to moros which means foolish. The idea is that there is understanding combined with wisdom and insight. Phronimos implies a cautious, sensible, prudent character and in Mt 10:16 refers to one as "shrewd" as a serpent. One who is shrewd has clever discerning awareness, acute perception and sharp powers of judgment. Phronimos also includes the ideas of one who is prudent, sensible and practically wise in relationships with others. There is a type of phronimos that is desirable (eg, here in Mt 7:24, 10:16, et al) and a type that is not desirable (Ro 11:26, 12:16) this latter describing the person who relies on their own innate wisdom.
Paul's point is that when Christians become conceited it is because they think they have understanding but sadly the mystery revealed here in Romans 11:25 is still mysterious to them! God’s sovereign plan to put Israel aside temporarily in order to show grace to Gentiles is no basis for conceit on the part of the Gentiles but is designed to display further the glory of God. Remember Paul has said if God can save Gentiles (unnatural branches) how much more will He be able to save all of Israel (natural branches) in His perfect timing!
THAT A PARTIAL HARDENING HAS HAPPENED TO ISRAEL: hoti porosis apo merous to Israel gegonen (3SRAI):
What does Paul mean by partial? Is he saying that all of the Jews are "partially blind."? Or does he mean that complete blindness applies to part of the Jews? From the context (see verses discussed below - Ro 9:6-7, 11:1, 11:2-4, 11:5 - all allude to a remnant or part of the whole nation) the latter interpretation is the more accurate interpretation
Marvin Vincent a Greek scholar agrees writing "Not partial hardening, but hardening extending over a part."
Paul had alluded to this partial hardening in Romans 9 writing "it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7 neither are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED." (See notes Romans 9:6; 9:7)
Underline partial. Don't forget this truth. Only some of the branches were broken off (see note Romans 11:17). Certainly God is saving Jews in our own time and in fact He has always had a Jewish remnant (see study) of men and women who believed in Yeshua, their Messiah as their personal Redeemer. Thus not only was the unbelief partial but it will also be temporary as indicated by the time phrase until as discussed more below. Notice that Paul himself a Jew now believing in Messiah is evidence that the blindness or hardening was only partial. In fact, Paul opened Romans 11 with the truth that God has always preserved a remnant of believing Jews. For example, in Romans 11:1 [note] Paul presents himself as an example of that the hardening is partial, and in Romans 11:2, 3, 4 (notes Ro 11:2, 3, 4) he draws an illustration from the OT in the Divine response to Elijah that God had preserved a remnant of 7000. Then based on these examples, Paul emphasizes that...
Paul doubly emphasizes that this remnant was in no way based on merit but on grace writing...
And so we see that Paul is returning to the subject with which he had begun Roman 11 to explain how God would work out His plan for His people whom He had not rejected. Beloved, the church needs to remember that God is not finished with Israel. Anyone who teaches that is conceited and lacks understanding of the mystery in this passage! Replacement theology (see excellent summary) is such an aberrant conceited understanding, in which the basic premise is propounded that God is finished with Israel because the Church is now the Israel of God (notes)!
Hardening (KJV = "Blindness") (4457) (porosis related to poroo [see note above] = to harden or petrify from poros = small piece of stone broken off from a larger one) means to made hard like a stone, and so callous or insensitive to touch.
When referring to the joints of the body, the verb poroo signified the stiffening of one's joints. Applied to the eyes, poroo meant blindness and this latter secular use led the translators of the KJV to render porosis as "blindness".
Barclay remarks that porosis was used as a "medical word, and it meant a callus (on skin this a thickened, hard area). It was specially used for the callus which forms round the fracture when a bone is broken, the hard bone formation which helps to mend the break. When a callus grows on any part of the body that part loses feeling. It becomes insensitive. The minds of the mass of the people have become insensitive; they can no longer hear and feel the appeal of God."
There are only 2 other NT uses of porosis...
All 3 NT uses of porosis are figurative two specifying the heart as the "organ" that was hardened. Arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries of the heart will take a person to the grave, but spiritual hardening of the heart will take them to hell (unless God grants deliverance as in Romans 11:26) Porosis is thus a callousness or dullness to spiritual matters.
William Barclay has another note writing that...
In short, Paul paints the picture of hearts of a portion of Israel attaining to such a state in which a figurative callus had grown over their spiritual heart, making them insensitive and incapable of receiving the teaching regarding the Messiah. And so the first part of the mystery that is revealed is that there is partial hardening but of those affected, the hardening is complete.
Has happened - This verb is in the perfect tense which indicates that the hardening has occurred at a point in time in the past and is still in effect at the time of Paul's writing. And if anyone could understand this spiritual hardness and insensitivity, it would be Paul, who was violently opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even assenting to the stoning of Stephen in Acts 8:1 Luke recording that "Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death."
The Geneva Study Bible notes are not a bad interpretation of this hardness (blindness) explaining that "The blindness of the Jews is neither so universal that the Lord has no elect in that nation, neither will it be continual: for there will be a time in which they also (as the prophets have foretold) will effectually embrace that which they now so stubbornly for the most part reject and refuse."
UNTIL THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES HAS COME IN: achri ou to pleroma ton ethnon eiselthe (3SAAS): (Psalms 22:27; 72:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,17; 127:1; Isaiah 2:1-8; 60:1-22; 66:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; Micah 4:1,2; Zechariah 8:20, 21, 22, 23; 14:9-21; Revelation 7:9; 11:15; 20:2, 3, 4)
The second aspect of the mystery revealed is that the hardening has a definite lifespan and will end as identified by the conjunction until. The prerequisite condition for the hardness to depart is also specified as when the fulness of the Gentiles has come in.
Regarding the conjunction until, Robertson refers to this as "a temporal clause...until which time". (Word Pictures)
Until - This word is frequently a strategically placed expression of time, especially in prophetic writings and therefore it behooves the diligent student of the Word of Truth to pause and ponder this time phrase, at least asking what happens next, etc.
Until (891) (achri) in this context is an adverb of time (it can also be used of place but that is not the present context). Here achri is a conjunction expressing time up to a point. Up to what point is the question then? Or when is Until? When is this partial hardening no longer partial but in fact lifted by God? Paul answers this declaring that it is when the fulness of the Gentiles has come in, at which time all Israel will be saved (Ro 11:26) which in turn is associated with the Deliverer's return or Messiah's Second Coming (Mt 24:31, Zec 12:10, 13:9), which will occur at the end of Daniel's Seventieth Week.
Fullness (4138) (pleroma from pleroo = make full, fill, fill up) describes fullness, a full measure, an abundance or a completion. Pleroma can describe a time period when all that is intended to be done during that period is accomplished. Pleroma is that which has been filled and thus refers to that which is to a sum total, to a complete amount, or a full number, in this case the "full number" of Gentiles who will come to belief in Messiah. The NET Bible conveys the meaning clearly rendering it "A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in." (NET Bible)
When all the Gentiles whom God has chosen for salvation during the present age of Israel’s rejection have experienced salvation, God will carry out the events and effects described in Romans 11:26-note.
The fulness of the Gentiles does not necessarily equate with the removal of the church (as stated by C I Scofield) because we know that after the removal of the church there will be a great harvest of souls some of which appear to be Gentiles, John recording that "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands...These are the ones who (continually) come out of the Great Tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Re 7:9; 7:14See notes Re 7:9; 14)
These Gentiles are saved out of the Great Tribulation. Are these the last Gentiles to be saved? Although some associate the "fullness of the Gentiles" with the end of the Great Tribulation others feel the time phrase is more vague.
Morris for example states that "When the full number (known only to God) has been reached...God will begin again to deal with Israel as His elect nation." (Defenders Study Bible)
Is the fulness of the Gentiles the same as the times of the Gentiles? They certainly sound similar but notice that fulness is not a synonym of times, so there is some distinction between these terms. Luke introduces the term the fulness of the Gentiles is in chapter 21 teaching that "Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)
What characterizes these times? Is Luke speaking of the salvation of the Gentiles? Clearly, Luke is not referring to the salvation of Gentiles in this passage but to their exercise of political power and/or dominion over the city of Jerusalem by the Gentiles. In marked contrast, Paul speaks of the fulness which does refer to salvation of the Gentiles and not to their dominion over Jerusalem. Although both these descriptions occur over a period of time and that time undoubtedly overlaps significantly, we need to be accurate in our handling of these terms and retain the distinction intended by Luke and Paul. The times of the Gentiles began with the first sacking of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586BC (Note: that some commentators feel these times begin with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD). In either case these times extend to the Second Coming of Christ, for at that time the Gentile dominion will be removed as Messiah returns, defeats the Gentile powers gather to destroy Israel and sets up His Millennial Kingdom. on earth. At that time God will fulfill His promises to the redeemed nation of Israel, including the promise of "the Land" (see Ge )
Some commentators merge the two statements about the Gentiles. For example Henry Morris writes that "God is now "[visiting] the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name" (Acts 15:14). When the full number (known only to God) has been reached, then the times of the Gentiles (Ed note: More accurately "the fullness of the Gentiles") will end (Luke 21:24), and God will begin again to deal with Israel as His elect nation. (Defenders Study Bible)
Dr Walvoord explains that "When the two concepts, the times of the Gentiles and the fullness of the Gentiles are compared, it becomes evident that the times of the Gentiles is primarily a political term and has to do with the political overlordship of Jerusalem. By contrast, the term the fullness of the Gentiles refers to the present age in which Gentiles predominate in the church and far exceed Israel in present spiritual blessing. It becomes clear, therefore, that, while the two concepts may be contemporaneous at least for much of their fulfillment, the termini of the two periods are somewhat different. The times of the Gentiles will end only when Israel will permanently gain political control of Jerusalem at the second advent of Christ, whereas the fullness of the Gentiles will be completed when God’s present task of winning Jew and Gentile to Christ is completed. ("The Times of the Gentiles". Bibl Sac Vol 125. Issue 497. Page 9, 1968) (See Walvoord's article The Times of the Gentiles)
Understanding God’s Prophetic Revelation
I spent the summer of 1969 with some other seminary students in a work/study/mentoring situation with Bill Counts and Hal Lindsey at the “Jesus Christ Light & Power House” in West Los Angeles. Hal was busy writing his book on prophecy, The Late Great Planet Earth. He would come to our meetings and beg us to go to Christian bookstores and ask them to order that book. He was afraid that it wouldn’t sell. As it turned out, it sold over 15 million copies and was the best selling book of the decade!
If you want to write a best seller, write it on prophecy! If you want to pack out a church, put on a prophecy conference. For some strange reason that I haven’t quite figured out, Christians and non-Christians alike are drawn to the subject of biblical prophecy. Will Christians go through the tribulation? Who is the anti-Christ? What will trigger Armageddon? Does Israel have a divine right to the land? Will they tear down the Dome of the Rock Mosque and rebuild the Temple? What about the Palestinians? Just this week the Israeli Prime Minister met with our President to discuss whether Israel should launch an attack on Iran before Iran perfects a nuclear weapon that could annihilate Israel.
While these issues are fascinating to speculate about, they usually end up with people walking away no different than they were before. But by way of contrast,
Paul writes “so that you will not be wise in your own estimation” (Ro 11:25).
As we have seen, in Romans 11:1-10, Paul shows that God’s rejection of Israel was partial, not total. There was a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. In Ro 11:11-32, he shows that God’s rejection of Israel was temporary, not permanent. God will again restore the Jews as a nation and pour out His covenant blessings on them.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Romans: To God’s Glory [Banner of Truth], pp. 161-162) observes that Paul gives five arguments (in Ro 11:1-24) that God is not finished with the Jews. First, in Ro 11:1, Paul says that he himself is proof: He is a Jew whom God has saved. Second (Ro 11:2-6), Paul shows that God has preserved a remnant of saved Jews. Third (11:16), he uses two parallel illustrations to show that because of God’s promises to the patriarchs, He will bless their descendants. Fourth (Ro 11:23), he argues that God is able to graft the Jews back into the olive tree. Fifth (11:24), he argues that what God has done with the Gentiles proves that He is able to do it in the case of the Jews. I would add a sixth argument from Ro 11:12, 15: If Israel’s failure led to the outpouring of blessing on the Gentiles, how much greater blessing will result from their salvation that God has promised?
But now Paul ends his arguments and makes a prophetic revelation. God has revealed something to Paul regarding the future of the Gentiles and Jews and he wants us to understand it so that we will grow in humility:
Understanding God’s prophetic revelation of salvation history should curb our pride as we realize His sovereign plan and power.
Paul’s opening phrase, “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed,” is one that he uses frequently (Ro 1:13; 1 Cor. 10:1; 12:1; 2 Cor. 1:8; 1 Thess. 4:13) to introduce something that his readers may not know, but which Paul regards as important (Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans [Eerdmans/Apollos], pp. 61-62). “For” tells us that Paul is explaining what he has said earlier with regard to Israel’s rejection not being permanent. He calls this information a mystery. This teaches us that…
1. The matters we are dealing with here are prophetic revelation, not theological speculation.
“Mystery” does not refer to some puzzle where we have to use our reason to piece together the clues to figure out what’s going on. And contrary to the “mystery religions” of Paul’s day (or the Freemasons of our day), it does not refer to secret knowledge that only the initiated inner circle can know. Rather, it means something that has been concealed and is unknowable by human reason, but which God has now revealed. Paul uses the word elsewhere to refer to various aspects of the Christian faith, but especially to the gospel and its inclusion of the Gentiles (Eph. 3:4-9; 6:19). Certainly the gospel of justification by faith alone was revealed in the Old Testament (e.g., Gen. 15:6; cf. Ro 4:3) and the fact that the Gentiles would be included was stated there (e.g., Isa. 11:10; 19:19-25; 42:1-4; cf. Matt. 12:18-21; Ro 15:9-12). But these truths could not be seen with clarity until Christ brought them into focus.
Thomas Schreiner (Romans [Baker], p. 614) outlines three elements of the mystery in Romans 11:25: (1) Part of Israel is hardened for a limited period of time; (2) the salvation of the Gentiles will precede the salvation of Israel; and (3) all Israel will eventually be saved. Paul may have understood these truths through meditating on the Old Testament in light of the gospel. But the word mystery indicates that God imparted special revelation to Paul on these matters, especially on the truth that Israel would go through a time of judicial hardening while the Gentiles came to salvation. Then the hardening would be lifted and “all Israel will be saved” (Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans [Eerdmans], p. 715-717).
The point is that we cannot arrive at some of these profound biblical truths through human reason alone, and therefore we cannot boast in our knowledge of them. God had to reveal these truths to Paul, who conveyed them to us. Otherwise we could not have understood them. And sometimes, as in the next point that we’re going to consider, we have to set aside our logical objections to the truth and recognize that God has spoken. We can either proudly argue with His revelation or humbly submit to it.
2. The prophetic revelation concerns God’s sovereign, powerful working in salvation history.
As we have seen, Romans 9 emphasizes God’s sovereignty in showing mercy to whom He wills and hardening whom He wills. Romans 10 emphasizes human responsibility. “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Ro 10:13), but Israel stubbornly refused to believe (Ro 10:21). In Romans 11:20-23a, the emphasis is on human responsibility to believe in Christ and to persevere. But from Ro 11:23b-29, the emphasis is on God’s sovereignty. He is able to graft Israel in again (Ro 11:23-24). He has hardened Israel for a time during which He is bringing the full number of Gentiles to salvation (Ro 11:25). But after that time, He will lift the hardening on Israel and bring their full number to salvation. He will do this by sending the Deliverer, removing ungodliness from Jacob, and fulfilling His covenant to take away their sins (Ro 11:26-27). While the Jews were currently God’s enemies so that the Gentiles could come to salvation, at the same time God loved them because of His choice and His promise to the fathers (Ro 11:28). You can count on this because God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable (Ro 11:29).
So while affirming human responsibility to repent and believe, Paul at the same time shows that God is in charge of salvation history, hardening some nations for a period of time while He works with others, and then reversing the process. These are God’s unsearchable judgments and unfathomable ways that cause Paul to burst out in praise (Ro 11:33). But let’s unpack this in more detail:
A. GOD IS POWERFUL TO HARDEN NATIONS AND TO LIFT THAT HARDENING, ACCORDING TO HIS SOVEREIGN PURPOSES.
Paul says (Ro 11:25), “that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” We saw this in Ro 11:7-10. Paul also refers to it in 2 Corinthians 3:14-15, where Paul says in reference to the Jews, “But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart.” Jesus referred to the same spiritual hardening or blindness in Matthew 13:13-16 with reference to His parables. It was a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 6:10), “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed.” It was God’s sovereign judicial hardening of people in their disobedience and unbelief.
This is hard truth! God has the right to show mercy to whom He desires and to harden whom He desires (Ro 9:18). If we cry, “That’s not fair!” we are contending with the Divine Potter, who has the right to make vessels for honorable or common use as He determines (Ro 9:20-21). If God were fair, everyone would be condemned because all are guilty before Him. God is not required to show mercy to all. We can either rail against God for what we think is unfair or we can submit to God as the sovereign who has the power to harden or to show mercy. You will not understand the doctrine of election until you bow before God and yield all of your rights to Him, recognizing that if He dealt with you on the basis of fairness, you would be eternally condemned.
The staggering thing about what Paul says here is that for about 2,000 years now, the Jews have for the most part been hardened against the gospel because their ancestors cried out (Matt. 27:25), “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” Not all were hardened, in that there has always been a remnant of saved Jews according to God’s gracious choice (Rom. 11:5). And the hardening is “partial” in that eventually, it will be lifted. But be careful! If you say, “It’s not fair that a Jewish boy or girl living hundreds of years after Christ should be hardened because of the sins of their distant ancestors,” you have just charged God with unfairness! Those who make such a charge do not understand God’s sovereign right to be God or the utter sinfulness of all people in His holy presence.
That’s the negative side of God’s sovereign, powerful working in salvation history. But, thankfully, there is a positive side:
B. THE FUTURE SALVATION OF ISRAEL IS NOT JUST A POSSIBILITY, BUT A CERTAINTY, BECAUSE GOD HAS DECREED IT.
Paul is not expressing a holy wish, “I hope that someday all Israel will be saved,” but rather a prophetic certainty: “All Israel will be saved.” But there is a lot of controversy over the meaning of the text here that we need to sort out.
First, the Greek phrase translated “and so” can be interpreted in several ways. Without going through all of them, the most likely meaning is, “in this manner.” The idea is, “In the same manner that God has hardened Israel while He brought the Gentiles to salvation (described in Ro 11:11-24), so once the full number of Gentiles has been saved, God will use that to provoke the Jews to jealousy so that they will be saved” (Moo, p. 720). As God sovereignly orchestrates the fullness of the Gentiles, so He will do with the Jews (see Ro 11:12, 15).
But there is also controversy over the phrase “all Israel.” Many early church fathers and later the Reformers and their followers argued that “all Israel” refers to all of God’s elect throughout history, both Jews and Gentiles. But in Romans 9-11 Paul uses “Israel” ten times and every use refers to ethnic Israel (Moo, p. 721). The context of these chapters deals with the question of why the Jews were not coming to Christ while the Gentiles were. And clearly “Israel” in Ro 11:25 and “they” in Ro 11:28 both refer to the Jews in contrast to the Gentiles. So it is unlikely that Paul would change his meaning in Ro 11:26.
Another view is that “all Israel” refers to the elect within Israel (as in Ro 9:6). The meaning would then be that eventually the full number of the elect Jews will come to salvation. But this is stating the obvious. And, this would require a shift in meaning between Ro 11:25, where “Israel” refers to the nation generally, to a more narrow meaning in Ro 11:26. Also, it is hard to understand how the completion of the number of elect Jews will be seen as a dramatic event referred to as “life from the dead” (Ro 11:15). And so the best meaning is that “all Israel” means the nation in general.
But what does “all” mean? Most commentators agree that it does not mean every single Jew who has ever lived, nor every Jew living in the end times when the hardness is lifted. The phrase “all Israel” is used often in the Old Testament to refer to most of the nation, but not to every single Jew in the nation (Josh. 7:25; 1Sa 7:5; 2Sa. 16:22; 1Ki 12:1; 2Chr 12:1; Da 9:11; see Moo, p. 722, note 55). So Paul’s meaning for “all Israel will be saved” is that after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, God will lift the judicial hardening and the great majority of Jews living at that time will turn to Christ with saving faith.
And the point is that it is not that God looked down through time and saw that the Jews would believe of their own free will, and so He told Paul how things would turn out. Rather, things will turn out this way because God decreed that they will turn out this way. He is sovereignly, powerfully working in salvation history for His own purposes and glory.
C. THE FUTURE SALVATION OF ISRAEL INCLUDES THE COMING OF THE DELIVERER, THE REMOVAL OF UNGODLINESS, AND THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS, IN ACCORD WITH GOD’S COVENANT.
Briefly note five things:
But, as I said, God doesn’t give us prophetic revelation so that we can draw up nifty charts of the end times. There is always a practical aspect to it:
3. Prophetic revelation is given to curb our pride and to deepen our burden for the lost, not to stoke curiosity about the future.
Paul gives us this information “so that you will not be wise in your own estimation” (Ro 11:25). The Gentiles were prone to think that they were hot stuff because they were saved and to look down on the unbelieving Jews because they had rejected Christ. We’re all prone to think that God saved us because somehow we’re a notch above others and He saw something worth saving in us that others lack. But that is to deny God’s grace. And, if we look down on other sinners and think that they deserve judgment (forgetting that we deserve it just as much as they do), we will not reach out to them with the gospel. One way to hasten the conversion of the Jews is to finish the task of evangelizing the Gentiles, because when the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, God will lift the partial hardening on the Jews and bring them to salvation en masse.
Conclusion - So test your understanding of God’s prophetic revelation of salvation history by this: Does this truth humble you as you realize that except for the grace of God, you could have been born at a time when the Gentiles were “separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12-note)? But as Paul goes on to say (Eph. 2:13-note), “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” God’s sovereign working in salvation history should produce humble gratitude in our hearts. Also, does this truth burden your heart for those who are outside of Christ, whether Jew or Gentile? While God is sovereign over salvation history, as we saw (Ro 10:14-15-note), He uses those whom He has saved to proclaim the good news to those who need to hear it in order to believe. Understanding God’s prophetic revelation should motivate us to proclaim to all that “the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him” (Ro 10:12-note). (Understanding God’s Prophetic Revelation)
Amplified: And so all Israel will be saved. As it is written, The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
ESV: And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob"; (ESV)
ICB: And that is how all Israel will be saved. It is written in the Scriptures: "The Savior will come from Jerusalem; he will take away all evil from the family of Jacob. (ICB: Nelson)
NIV: And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. (NIV - IBS)
NKJV: 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;
NLT: And so all Israel will be saved. Do you remember what the prophets said about this? "A Deliverer will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel from all ungodliness. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Once this has happened, all Israel will be saved, as the scripture says: 'The deliverer will come out of Zion, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob, (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: And thus all Israel shall be saved, even as it stands written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn ungodliness from Jacob. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and so all Israel shall be saved, according as it hath been written, 'There shall come forth out of Sion he who is delivering, and he shall turn away impiety from Jacob,
|AND SO ALL ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED: kai houtôs pas Israel sothesetai (3SFPI): (Isa 11:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16; 45:17; 54:6, 7, 8, 9, 10; Jer 3:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; 30:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22; 31:31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37; Jer 32:37, 38, 39, 40, 41; 33:24, 25, 26; Ezek 34:22, 23, 24, 25,2 6, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31; 37:21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28; 39:25, 26, 27, 28, 29; Ezek 40:1-48; Hos 3:5; Joel 3:16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21; Amos 9:14,15; Mic 7:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20; Zeph 3:12, 13, 14,15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20; Zech 10:6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) (Ps 14:7; 106:47; Isa 59:20)
And so - In this way, so -The thus seems to correlate with with the until of verse 25, thereby acquiring temporal force, such as "when that has happened."
And so - Important marker of continuation of Paul's argument.
All Israel - This phrase has been interpreted primarily in one of three ways (and only one can be correct). The "candidate" interpretations are that all Israel is...
All Israel will be saved - Notice first, Paul does not say "might be saved" but "will be saved"! This is not just a possibility but is an absolute certainty! And it is to transpire in the future.
Note also that literally the text says all Israel and the plain reading would take this as indicating all of the nation of Israel. In fact, if you are a new Christian who is reading this text and you have not been biased by someone's teaching on this verse, you are probably wondering why give such a lengthy discussion to a topic that seems so obvious on simple reading. In other words, in your reading of the text you probably read Israel and that is what you interpreted it as - Israel.
Unfortunately some commentators spiritualize (see related topics [i.] Art and Science of Interpretation; [ii.] The Rise of Allegorical Interpretation; [iii.] Understanding Symbols and Figures) this phrase all Israel and distort it to mean "spiritual Israel" or what they interpret to be the "church". In my opinion this interpretation has a faulty foundation for they usually base it on a misinterpretation of the phrase Israel of God in Galatians 6:16 (See  notes Israel of God;  Table on Israel & Church  excellent audio lecture - Is the Church Israel?), where the Church is said to be the spiritual Israel! Without going into the technical arguments (the interested reader is encouraged to review the studies just noted) all through the NT Israel is literally the nation of Israel. (See offsite study on The Use of the Term "Israel" in the NT) To make all Israel anything but literal Israel in this chapter is poor hermeneutics (science of Interpretation). Why do I say that? Remember that context is king in regard to accurate Interpretation. Context and usage of a term by the author (in this case Paul's use of Israel especially in Romans 9-11) are critical in establishing the meaning of a text. We are not free to interpret terms in any way we would like. What is the immediate context of Romans 11:26? What has Paul clearly been discussing for 3 chapters (Romans 9, 10, 11)? Eleven times (counting Romans 11:25) Paul uses the specific name Israel (Ro 9:6; 27; 31;10:19; 10:21; 11:2; 7; 25; 26-see notes Ro 9:6; 27; 31;10:19; 10:21; 11:2; 7; 25; 26). Take a moment and read each of his uses. How many of them refer to the literal nation of Israel? I think if you take the plain sense of the text as your rule, you will agree that every use prior to Romans 11:26 refers to the literal nation of Israel. Why would Paul try to "fool" us or confuse us by all of a sudden introducing a new, non-literal meaning for the name Israel? That makes no sense whatsoever. The clear, logical conclusion is that Paul intends Romans 11:26 to also indicate the nation of Israel and not the church! Paul in fact has just warned Gentile believers not to be arrogant (twice - see Romans 11:18-note), conceited (Romans 11:20-note) or wise in your own estimation (note Romans 11:25-note)! A number of Gentile commentators seem to have conveniently disregarded the practical application of Paul's warnings! (E.g., see the offsite analysis of Covenant Theology)
Here is an example from John Calvin a highly respected commentator (and rightly so) who interprets this passage in a non-literal sense writing that
Do you see what Calvin has done with Romans 11:26? He is saying that Israel in this passage is not just the Jews but is all the people of God, both Gentile and Jew. Now think about the logic of Calvin's interpretation -- Why would Paul have to clarify a mystery if all those who are of the household of faith, both Jew and Gentile, who are going to come to faith, will eventually come to faith?! That is hardly a mystery to say that all those who will be saved, will in fact be saved!
It is interesting to read the interpretation by Charles Hodge who is a covenant theologian and therefore one who we would expect would spiritualize all Israel, but he does not writing that...
David Brown in Jamieson, Fausset and Brown although an older commentary has an excellent comment writing that "To understand this great statement, as some still do, merely of such a gradual inbringing of individual Jews, that there shall at length remain none in unbelief, is to do manifest violence both to it and to the whole context. It can only mean the ultimate ingathering of Israel as a nation, in contrast with the present “remnant.” (So Tholuck, Meyer, De Wette, Philippi, Alford, Hodge). Some of these critics would seem to advocate the inbringing of every individual Israelite; others, only of 'the mass' or 'majority;' but if they mean simply, 'the nation at large,' as opposed to 'a remnant,' they have brought out, as it appears to us, the precise idea of the apostle. (Commentary on Romans 11:26)
John Piper agrees observing that "In the context of Ro 11:12 (note "their fulfillment"), Ro 11:15 (note "their acceptance...life from the dead"), it is unwarranted to interpret all Israel here to mean anything other than corporate, ethnic Israel. So one of my guiding principles in reading Old Testament prophecy about Israel is that there is a glorious future ahead, when Israel will repent, turn to Christ, and be saved. (Read his full sermon There Shall Be A Fountain Opened) (Amen!)
In summary, all Israel in Romans 11:26 means all Israel. (See Master's Thesis paper by Matthew Waymeyer (Pdf) - Romans 11:26 The Identity of "All Israel"
The next question is when will all Israel be saved? What is the nearest time phrase? Clearly Paul has given us a clue for he has just stated that this will not occur until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. The terminus of this event as discussed is difficult to state with absolute dogmatism. The juxtaposition with another event however that can be accurately "timed" gives us a strong clue. In other words, in this same verse Paul describes the return of Israel's Messiah. Therefore one can reasonably associate the time in which all Israel will be saved with the time of the return of Christ, which we know from other passages occurs at the end of the Great Tribulation.
All Israel will be saved. This will take place when Christ returns to earth to establish His millennial kingdom centered in Jerusalem (Zec 12:8, 9, 10, 13:1,14:9), following the Great Tribulation period (Mt 24:15, 21) (see Daniel's Seventieth Week)
Will be saved (4982) (sozo) (Click in depth study on sozo) has the basic meaning of rescuing one from great peril and here refers to salvation in a spiritual sense (God granting repentance and regeneration). Additional nuances of sozo include to protect, keep alive, preserve life, heal, make whole.
The complete restoration of Israel will climax the purging trials of "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer 30:7), which corresponds to the time Jesus referred to as "the Great Tribulation" (Mt 24:21)
How will God bring about the fulfillment of all Israel will be saved? Let's look first at a passage in Zechariah that is clearly prophetic and has no identifiable fulfillment in history so that it must be yet future. The prophet records...
John MacArthur explains that all Israel refers to "All the elect Jewish people alive at the end of the Tribulation, not the believing remnant of Jews within the church during this church age. Before all Israel is saved, its unbelieving, ungodly members will be separated out by God’s inerrant hand of judgment. Ezekiel makes that truth vividly clear (Ezekiel 20:33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, cf. Da 12:10; Zech 13:8, 9) (MacArthur Study Bible)
In Daniel's great prophecy that begins in Daniel 10 and runs unbroken through Daniel 12 (it is all one subject), Daniel relates God's prophecy concerning His dealings with Israel, many of these prophecies having already been fulfilled in history (especially the section of Daniel 11:34), but from Daniel 11:35-12:13 is future prophecy regarding Israel. In this section Daniel has passages that parallel Zechariah 13:7, 8, 9 and speak of God's final purging of Israel which result in the saved remnant of one third...
The Bible Knowledge Commentary notes that "All Israel will be saved does not mean that every Jew living at Christ’s return will be regenerated. Many of them will not be saved, as seen by the fact that the judgment of Israel, to follow soon after the Lord’s return, will include the removal of Jewish rebels (Ezekiel 20:34, 35, 36, 37, 38). Following this judgment God will then remove godlessness and sins from the nation as He establishes His New Covenant with regenerate Israel (cf. Jer. 31:33-34). (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor )
Ezekiel 20 is mentioned in both of the preceding comments and describes the time when Christ will enter into judgment with those Jews who have survived the Great Tribulation. As described below He will determine who is saved and only the Jews He brings into the Covenant (the text does not state it, but undoubtedly those Jews who are saved at this time will be saved by grace through faith) will enter into His Millennial Kingdom. Ezekiel records
JUST AS IT IS WRITTEN "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION": kathos gegraptai (3SRPI) hexei (3SFAI) ek Sion ho rhuomenos (PMPMSN): (Matthew 1:21; Acts 3:26; Titus 2:14)
As it is written - This is a "formula" that speaks of an Old Testament reference.
Written (1125) (grapho) is in the perfect tense which emphasizes the lasting and binding authority of that which was written. It has been written at some point in time in the past and it "stands" written.
In Psalm 14:7 David cries out in prayer...
Note that at the Second Coming Christ's feet touch the the Mount of Olives (the very place of His Ascension - cp Acts 1:9, 10, 11) which splits from north to south (see Zech 14:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). Here in Romans 11:26 Christ fulfills the prediction that “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION.” In the frequent mention of Christ in His Second Coming in relation to Zion as revealed in the Old Testament, the prophets predict both that Christ will come to Zion (cp Zech 14:1-9) and that thereafter He will come out of Zion as indicated by the following passages
To reiterate, here in Romans 11:26 we encounter God's answer to David's prayer. Sometimes God's answers are delayed for a while! This is an interesting principle to keep in mind when we don't receive or perceive God has answered our cries to Him. And another reason to keep praying without ceasing! Don't grow weary. You have not seen the end of the story.
Paul now substantiates the declaration concerning the future of Israel by appealing to the witness of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah citing his words from Isaiah 59:20, 21 and Isaiah 60:1, Isaiah 27:9...
Compare Isaiah 60:1 to the following passage...
Deliverer (4506) (rhuomai from rhúo = to draw, drag along the ground) (Click for in depth study of rhuomai) means to draw or snatch to oneself and invariably refers to a snatching from danger, evil or an enemy. This basic idea of rescuing from danger is pictured by the use describing a soldier’s going to a wounded comrade on the battlefield and carrying him to safety (he runs to the cry of his comrade to rescue him from the hands of the enemy).
Rhuomai emphasizes the greatness of the peril from which deliverance is given by a mighty act of power. Rhuomai is more the idea of rescue or draw to oneself whereas sozo is more the idea of preserve from.
HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB: apostrepsei (3SFAI) asebeias apo Iakob: (Matthew 1:21; Acts 3:26; Titus 2:14)
He will remove (654) (apostrepho from apo = away from, a marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association and indicates separation, departure, cessation, reversal + strepho = turn quite around, twist, reverse, turn oneself about) means literally to turn back or away
In the present context apostrepho means to remove anything from anyone, in this case to remove ungodliness. See the discussion of Ezekiel 20:33-38 in the preceding section where God states that He will purge the rebels and they will not enter into the the land of Israel (Millennial Kingdom)
Ungodliness (763) (asebeia from asebes = impious, ungodly, wicked from a = w/o + sébomai = worship, venerate) means want or lack of reverence or piety toward God (which speaks of one's heart attitude) and thus living without regard for God and in a way that denies His existence and right as Supreme Ruler and Authority (which speaks of one's actions emanating from one's attitude). This word suggests an utter disregard for the existence of God and leads naturally to a lack of reverence or awe for God. Such a person will live in a way that denies God's existence and His right as Supreme Ruler and Authority.
BDAG adds that in general asebeia "is understood vertically as a lack of reverence for deity and hallowed institutions as displayed in sacrilegious words and deeds: impiety; its corollary adikia refers horizontally to violation of human rights." ( A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature)
Asebeia suggests a disregard of the existence of God, a refusal to retain Him in knowledge and a habit of mind leads to open rebellion. It is a general reference to all that is "anti-God". Ungodliness is the attitude and action that describes every sinner who has not trusted the Lord Jesus for salvation.
Hiebert adds that ungodliness is "suggestive of the whole inner and outer life of the one who lives without God and in opposition to His law."
From Jacob (Dictionary Articles) - Jacob in this context is not individuals per se but stands for Israel, specifically all those in Israel who will repent and place their faith in Yeshua their Messiah. Note that the name Jacob is never used to refer to the church, another piece of evidence that undercuts the interpretation of those who would try to equate the Church with Israel in the phrase all Israel will be saved.
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Our Heavenly Father - As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. --Psalm 103:13 (Spurgeon's note)
In a moment of exasperation, a father told me that if his son continued in his rebellious ways he was going to disinherit him and try to forget him. But I knew that father well. Although he was angry, hurt, and disappointed, I was sure he would never quit loving his son and longing for his conversion.
Good parents cannot forget how they cared for their children as infants, how they helped them take their first steps, and how they shared with them in both happy and painful growing-up experiences. But when children choose a sinful lifestyle, even good parents, after repeated pleas and warnings, may have no choice but to let them go their own way. Parents will do so with broken hearts and with the undying hope that their prodigal will one day return.
In Hosea 11, God is portrayed as Israel's Father. Because the nation had disobeyed, He had pleaded with them and chastened them time and time again. Yet they refused to change their ways. Finally, God withdrew from them and let them learn the hard way. Yet even then, He could not and would not completely abandon them. One day He will draw them back to Himself (Romans 11:26-27).
God loves His children today with that same kind of tough love. What a wonderful heavenly Father! —Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
At times we spurn our Father's love
|Romans 11:27 THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS. (NASB: Lockman)|
Amplified: And this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
ESV: "and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins." (ESV)
ICB: And I will make this agreement with those people when I take away their sins." Isaiah 59:20-21; 27:9 (ICB: Nelson)
NIV: And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." (NIV - IBS)
NKJV: For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins."
NLT: And then I will keep my covenant with them and take away their sins." (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: for this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins'. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: And this to them is the covenant from me when I shall take away their sins. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and this to them is the covenant from Me, when I may take away their sins.'
|AND THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS: kai aute autois e par emou diatheke, hotan aphelomai (1SAMS) tas hamartias auton: (Isaiah 55:3; 59:21; Jeremiah 31:31, 32, 33, 34; 32:38, 39, 40; He 8:8, 9-notes, He 8:10-note, He 8:12-note; He 10:16-note) (Isaiah 27:9; Hosea 14:2; John 1:29)
Related Resources on Covenant...
My covenant with them - With who? Who is "them?" In context of Romans 11 (Paul has been speaking of his people, the ethnic Jews), this clearly is Jehovah's immutable covenant with Israel. He is not speaking of the church in this specific context.
Covenant (1242) (diatheke from diatithemi = set out in order, dispose in a certain order <> from dia = two + tithemi = to place pictures that which is placed between two Thus, a covenant is something placed between two = thus an arrangement between two parties) literally conveys the idea of a testament, as in one's last will and testament.
A covenant is an agreement between two parties that binds them together and conveys the associated ideas of very close fellowship (even oneness and identity as for example in the marriage covenant where two mystically become one flesh).
Cleon Rogers describes covenant in the ancient world as...
The 3 major meanings of diatheke in the NT can be summarized as...
Diatheke was commonly used in the Greco-Roman world to define a legal transaction in settling an inheritance (used in this sense in Hebrews 9:16; 17- notes) which we often refer to as one's last will and testament. In this sense it referred to the disposition which a person made of his property in prospect of death.
Vine comments that...
NIDNTT adds that in classical Greek usage diatheke...
Covenant has profound implications and is the most solemn, binding, intimate contract known in the Bible. Covenant was considered a binding agreement among the ancients, and so was not entered into lightly. After pieces of the sacrificial animal were laid opposite one another, the individuals who were cutting covenant would walk between the flesh. This walk represented the so-called walk into death indicating their commitment to die to independent living and to ever after live for their covenant partner and to fulfill the stipulations of their covenant (See this practice in Jer 34:8ff, esp Jer 34:18-19). Furthermore, this walk into death was a testimony by each covenant partner that if either broke the covenant God would take their life, even as had been done to the sacrificial animal. In short, we see the gravity of entering into and then breaking covenant. Covenant was a pledge to death. A pledge cut in blood. In covenant the shedding of blood demonstrated as nothing else could the intensity of the commitment. By cutting covenant the two parties were bound for life. Thus the shedding of blood in the cutting of covenant established the gravity and binding nature of this transaction. Both the Old and the New Covenants were inaugurated with blood. The practice of cutting covenant is found throughout history with traces or remnants of covenant truth in every quarter of the globe. (See Introduction to Covenant and Summary of Major Biblical Covenants)
As noted, most of the NT uses of diatheke refer to God's declaration of His will concerning His self-commitment, promises, and conditions by which he entered into relationship with man.
Diatheke denotes an irrevocable decision, which cannot be cancelled by anyone. A prerequisite of its effectiveness before the law is the death of the disposer and thus diatheke was like a "final will and testament".
In reference to the divine covenants, such as the Abrahamic covenant, diatheke is not a covenant in the sense that God came to agreement or compromise with fallen man as if signing a contract. Rather, it involves declaration of God’s unconditional promise to make Abraham and his seed the recipients of certain blessings.
All covenants are based on promises. Sometimes the promises are by only one party, sometimes by both. Sometimes the promises are conditional, sometimes they are not. But promises are always involved. As far as God’s covenants are concerned, it is always His promises that are significant. Men break their promises, God does not. The benefits and the power are always from God’s side, and therefore the significant promises are always from His side. Consequently, it is God’s promises in the New Covenant that here are called “better.”
Here are some general aspects of covenant as recorded in Scripture
In our modern society and even in the evangelical church, we have for the most part forgotten the profound significance of covenant in Scripture. Yes, we can recite the covenants but few understand the symbolism and seriousness of Biblical covenants which were the closest, most indissoluble union two parties could make. Today we make "covenants" with fine print that allows one to "get out" of the agreement with relative ease. Take for example the sacred marriage covenant, which has all but lost its holy character in society in general (some are even talking of doing away with this covenant, and many are living together without marrying which in effect is an abolition of this covenant. See Covenant: As It Relates to Marriage) and tragically even in the evangelical church where surveys show divorce rates as high as among non-believers!
Andrew Murray, the gifted nineteen century writer emphasizes the importance of more than a superficial understanding of covenant writing...:
The covenant between Jonathan and David in 1 Samuel 18 highlights the seriousness of covenant as it was understood by the ancients (see discussion of Covenant - Solemn and Binding and A Walk Into Death). When covenant was cut, there was a surrender of rights and a merger of individual natures, so that the two became one, signifying a oneness and identity with the other party. As a result of this oneness and identity each party became the other party's covenant defender. For more background on these profound concepts see Covenant -The Exchange of Robes and Exchange of Armor and Belts. The idea of two becoming one (cp the mystical union of marriage in Genesis 2:24) has several aspects including the co-mingling of blood, the sharing of a common life, the exchange of names, the sharing of a meal, the idea of friendship and the establishment of a memorial (eg, wedding rings, Lord's Supper "Do this in remembrance of Me"!). For a more thorough discussion the reader is encouraged to study the topics Part 6 The Oneness of Covenant and Covenant: Oneness Notes. Finally, we would be remiss if we did not emphasize that covenant conveyed responsibilities (see Covenant: Withholding Nothing from God). Finally, Scripture says "let the redeemed of the Lord say so" and my personal testimony is that as I began to study covenant, God used these profound truths to literally (and supernaturally) save my marriage covenant of 25 years (and 15 years as a believer). I firmly believe that if the truths of covenant were understood in churches across America, divorce rates would be drastically, supernaturally reduced as these truths transformed husbands and wives. (see Covenant: As It Relates to Marriage).
Without question the best way to truly understand covenant in the way I have attempted to summarize it, is to study these Biblical truths for one's self. And the best course available is the 11 week course of Covenant (click to download 20 page Pdf of Lesson 1 - the overview) produced by Precept Ministries International. This study will transform your life, your marriage, and your ministry. As one of my old medical school professors used to say "you can't not know" these truth about covenant. They are too important. Consider the fact for example that the Greek titles of the Scriptures are the “Old Covenant” and the “New Covenant” and our English word “Testament” is taken from the titles prefixed to the Latin versions. Covenant is what the entire Bible is about beloved. You can't not know!
Diatheke is used over 330 times in Septuagint (LXX) most often (some 270 times) to translate the Hebrew word Beriyth (01285). See the excellent ISBE article Covenant In The Old Testament. As discussed elsewhere, the ordinary Greek word for a compact was syntheke but this term was avoided by the Septuagint translators because it suggested the equal rank of the two parties, whereas the OT Beriyth is used for "a relationship between God and man graciously created by God, and only accepted by man".
In the NT, OT and LXX diatheke refers to a declaration of the will of God concerning His self-commitment, promises, and conditions by which he entered into relationship with man and with the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
In Isaiah God invited Israel to...
This is My covenant - What covenant? This refers to the New Covenant, which is in a sense a continuation of the Abrahamic Covenant, which was also an unconditional covenant, based on God's grace (i.e., not one's merit), initiated by God and entered into by personal faith.
In Jeremiah God makes a covenant promise to Israel that He will surely keep because He is a covenant keeping God.
When I take away their sin - What time is when? Many feel that this promise will be fulfilled by Messiah upon His return at the end of the Seven Year "Tribulation" or at the end of Daniel's Seventieth Week.
In the Olivet Discourse Messiah explained that...
To reiterate, neither Jesus nor Paul is saying that every Jew who has ever lived will be saved but only those who are among the elect or the chosen (the remnant) who are alive when Messiah returns. The elect will be those who place their faith in Messiah and be saved.
Jehovah had promised deliverance through His prophet Zechariah who recorded that...
In the previous chapter Zechariah recorded Jehovah's gift of grace on the elect remnant of Jews...
Take away (cut off) (851) (aphaireo from apó = from + hairéo = take) means to put or take something away from its normal location, to put out of the way or to remove. It means to cause to cease. In the present context, aphaireo means to take away their sins and to procure the forgiveness of sin. Praise God He is able to take away the sins of both Jew and Gentile.
The prophet Isaiah alludes to this taking away of Israel's sins...
Peter exhorts his unregenerate Jewish audience in Acts 3 to...
The prophet Micah asks...
The psalmist testifies that...
Jeremiah explains how completely Messiah will take away their sins writing that...
In Ezekiel God reiterates that at the end of this age...