The Salvation of Israel - Romans 11

The Salvation of Israel

Romans 11:1-36

The nation of Israel has been through a lot.  They suffered captivities at the barbaric hands of the Assyrians and Babylonians.  When Paul wrote to the Romans, Roman soldiers occupied the land of Israel.  Then in 70 AD the Roman general, Titus, leveled the city of Jerusalem.  Throughout the years the dispersed Jewish people have continued to suffer persecution throughout the world.  Even today the nation of Israel is continually threatened and attacked by Arab neighbors, who would love to drive them into the sea.

In the 11th chapter of Romans the apostle Paul addresses the future of Israel.  He asks four questions, and in typical Pauline writing style, he answers each one.

"I say then, has God cast away His people?"  The answer: "Certainly not!"  Undoubtedly many Jews felt very much alone in the world, especially after all that they had been through.  Paul mentions Elijah, a great Old Testament prophet, who pleaded with God against Israel in the dark days of Ahab and Jezebel.  He cried, "Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life."  Romans 11:1-4.  But Elijah was wrong.  God answered, "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal."  God always has a remnant.  Paul, himself a Jew, had not been cast away.

The second question: "Have they stumbled that they should fall?"  The answer: "Certainly not!"  Because of their trespasses, "salvation has come to the Gentiles."  Romans 11:11.  A turning point in the ministry of Paul is found in Acts 13:46, when he declared, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles."  But Paul reasons, "Now if their fall (or trespass) is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!"  Romans 11:12.

He continues, "For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?"  Romans 11:15.  Paul sees a bright day in Israel's future, and explains by using a cultivated olive tree as an example.  The tree is holy---root and branches.  It represents Israel.  Some branches were broken off "because of unbelief."  Romans 11:20.  Branches from a wild olive tree were grafter into the tree, and they became partakers of its root and riches.  These branches were the Gentiles.

This brings us to the fourth and final question, which is directed at the Gentile Romans: "For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?"  Romans 11:24.  The natural branches, Israel, will be grafted back into the cultivated olive tree.  "Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in."  This is a "mystery."  Romans 11:25.

The conclusion: "And so all Israel will be saved (or delivered), as it is written: 'The Deliverer will come out of Zion and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.'"  See Isaiah 59:20, 21.  The Deliverer who will come out of Zion is our Lord Jesus Christ.  "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced....  In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness."  Zechariah 12:10; 13:1.  The crucified Jesus is Israel's Messiah, and He will come again in glory.  He alone is the hope of Israel.

 

Heavenly Father, there is so much that we don't understand.  Today we pray for Israel and peace in Jerusalem.  Prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

Settling the Score - Romans 12

 
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