The Remnant of Israel: Romans 11:10-15-Though Israel Rejected Jesus Christ During His First Advent, They Will Accept Him at His Second Advent Lesson # 10
In Romans 11:10, Paul quotes from Psalm 69:23 to further support his contention that Israel was hardened because of their rejection of Jesus Christ.
Romans 11:10 “May their eyes be darkened so that they never see. Also, bend their back forever.” (Author’s translation)
“May their eyes be darkened so that they never see” is used of unregenerate Israel in the sense of preventing unsaved Israel to have the capacity to understand spiritual truth as a result of their rejection of the truth, Jesus Christ and it thus speaks of judgment from God for rejection of Christ.
“Bend their back forever” is presenting a picture of one who is carrying a heavy load, which is an accurate picture of the unsaved Jew in Paul’s day who sought to be justified by keeping the Law, which demanded perfection and was thus was impossible for the Jew to accomplish.
It paints a picture in our context of the unsaved Jew under the burden of the Law, which demanded perfection and the Jew was unable to meet its demands.
Romans 11:11 begins the third paragraph in the chapter and in this passage Paul argues that Israel’s fall as a nation is by no means final but was to save the Gentiles so as to make them jealous.
Romans 11:11 Therefore, I ask, did they stumble so as to fall down in complete in ruin? Absolutely not! On the contrary because of their transgression salvation is experienced by the Gentiles in order to provoke them to jealousy. (Author’s translation)
The rhetorical question in Romans 11:11 is the result of an inference that could be implied from Paul’s teaching in Romans 11:8-10, namely that Israel’s rejection of Christ as a nation is the end of her as a national entity.
“By their transgression” refers to the majority of Jews in Israel who rejected Christ.
The Father’s intention for saving those Gentiles who trusted in His Son as Savior was so that Israel might respond in faith as well to the gospel.
God saved the Gentile so that He might save the Jew.
Thus, God had not rejected the Jews altogether but still had them in mind by turning to the Gentiles.
By God turning from the Jews for their rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ and turning to the Gentiles and offering salvation to them indicates that Israel did in fact understand the gospel since the Gentiles who the Jews thought they were superior to, understood the gospel and obeyed it!
Also, just as God used other Gentile nations as His instruments to execute judgment upon Israel so He also uses Gentile nations as His instruments to provoke Israel to jealousy so that they would turn to Christ and have faith in Him so as to be saved.
Romans 11:12 But, if, and let us assume that it is true for the sake of argument that their transgression, does mean infinite wealth possessed by the world’s inhabitants. Specifically, their failure does mean infinite wealth possessed by the Gentiles. And of course, we agree that this is a fact of history! Then how much more will their full restoration bring? (Author’s translation)
In Romans 11:12, Paul is contrasting the infinite spiritual benefits that the Gentiles received through Israel’s rejection of Christ with that of the infinite spiritual benefits they will receive in the future when the nation of Israel is fully restored at the Second Advent of Christ and His subsequent millennial reign.
The question “Then how much more will their full restoration bring?” emphasizes that Israel’s full restoration at Christ’s Second Advent and subsequent millennial reign will bring even greater blessings to the Gentiles than when Israel rejected Christ.
It emphasizes the certainty that if Israel’s rejection of Christ meant infinite spiritual wealth possessed by the Gentiles, how much more will blessing will come to the Gentile when Israel is fully restored in the future at Christ’s Second Advent and subsequent millennial reign.
Therefore, Paul’s statement in Romans 11:15 explains his statement in Romans 11:12 in that it provides additional information with regards to the latter.
His statement in Romans 11:12 that Israel’s transgression in rejecting Christ meant infinite wealth (unmerited blessings) for the Gentiles is explained in Romans 11:15 as God rejecting Israel.
Now, in Romans 11:13, Paul addresses his Gentile Christian readers in Rome specifically and expresses the fact that he takes great pride in his ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.
Romans 11:13 Now, I am at this particular time speaking to and for the benefit of all of you Gentiles. Contrary to what you might be inclined to conclude, to the very extent that I myself am sent to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry. (Author’s translation)
Romans 11:13-14 forms a parenthesis that explains how Paul’s ministry indirectly impacted the nation of Israel.
In this parenthesis, Paul corrects any possible misunderstanding among his Gentile Christian readers regarding the implications for Israel when he is an apostle to the Gentiles.
He doesn’t want his readers to erroneously conclude that because his ministry is mainly directed towards the Gentiles that he himself is through with the Jews.
Paul teaches his Gentile Christian readers in verses 13-14 that even though I am indeed an apostle to the Gentiles and serve them by proclaiming the gospel to them, I perform this service in the hopes that this ministry to you might provoke my fellow Jewish countrymen to jealousy so as to save some of them.
All of this was to protect his Gentile Christian readers from racial prejudice towards the Jews.
He wants them to have the same attitude that he and God Himself has towards the Jews, namely a desire to see Jews saved.
In Romans 11:14, Paul completes the thought that he began in Romans 11:13 by relating to his Gentile Christian readers in Rome that he takes great pride in this ministry to the Gentiles because he hopes that it would perhaps provoke his fellow Jews to jealousy so as to save some of them.
Romans 11:14 If, and let us assume that it is true for the sake of argument that I take pride in my ministry and of course I do because I already told you that, then perhaps (by this ministry) I will provoke to jealousy my nation and thus deliver some from among them. (Author’s translation)
In Romans 11:15, Paul employed a first class conditional statement that explains his statements in Romans 11:12-14.
Romans 11:15 For you see, if, and let us assume that it is true for the sake of argument that their rejection reconciled the world’s inhabitants and of course, we agree that this is a fact of history, then what will their acceptance bring about but life out from the spiritually dead ones. (Author’s translation)
Paul’s statement in Romans 11:15 explains his statement in Romans 11:12 in the sense that Israel’s transgression in rejecting Christ meant infinite wealth for the Gentiles is explained as God rejecting Israel and the infinite wealth for the Gentiles is explained as the Gentiles being reconciled to God.
“Their rejection” does not refer to Israel’s rejection of Christ but rather it refers to God’s rejection of unsaved Israel as a result of their rejection of His Son Jesus Christ.
This is indicated by the context in that this phrase stands in direct antithesis the term “acceptance,” which refers to God accepting Israel for accepting His Son at His Second Advent.
Furthermore, in Romans 11:16-24, Paul issues a warning to the Gentiles to learn from Israel’s failure since they too can be rejected by God like Israel by failing to exercise faith in Christ as Savior.
“Reconciled” is a reference to those Gentiles who exercised faith in Christ and experienced reconciliation with God since the statement “their rejection is the reconciliation of the world” parallels the statement in Romans 11:12 that “their transgression is riches for the Gentiles.”
“Their acceptance” is referring to God accepting Israel when she trusts in Jesus Christ at His Second Advent since it stands in antithesis to “their rejection,” which refers to God rejecting Israel for rejecting His Son Jesus Christ.
Therefore, Paul is teaching that if God rejected the nation of Israel for rejecting His Son Jesus Christ during His First Advent, there will certainly be a national regeneration of the nation of Israel when they have faith in Christ at His Second Advent.