The Remnant of Israel: Romans 11:21-26-A Partial Hardness is Taking Place in Israel Until the Full Number of Gentiles Has Come Into Existence Lesson # 12
Next, the apostle teaches in Romans 11:21 that the reason why Gentile Christians should never think arrogantly toward Israel but rather reverence God is that God did not spare the natural branches, unsaved Jews because of their unbelief and He will not spare unsaved Gentiles either for their unbelief.
Romans 11:21 Because, if, and let us assume that it is true for the sake of argument that God the Father by no means spared some of the natural branches and of course, we agree that He didn’t, then, neither will He spare you. (Author’s translation)
In Romans 11:22, Paul commands his Gentile Christian readers in Rome to consider God’s kindness and uncompromising justice.
In this passage, he teaches that those Jews who rejected Christ experience God’s uncompromising justice but those Gentiles who had faith in Christ experience God’s kindness.
He also warns them that the Gentiles will continue to experience God’s kindness if they continue to respond to His kindness as expressed in the gospel by exercising faith in Christ but if they don’t, God will reject them just as He rejected those Jews who rejected Christ.
Romans 11:22 Therefore, I solemnly charge you now to consider God’s kindness and uncompromising justice! On the one hand towards those who fell into complete ruin-uncompromising justice while on the other hand towards you-God’s kindness, if you continue to respond to His kindness otherwise you too will be cut off. (Author’s translation)
“Will be cut off” is used in a figurative sense of God rejecting the Gentiles if they do not continue to respond to the gospel by exercising faith in Christ.
Paul is saying that if the Gentiles do not continue to respond to the gospel, then they too will be rejected by God just as He rejected those Jews who rejected the gospel.
He is not saying that Gentile believers can lose their salvation if they do not continue to walk by faith since Gentile Christians are engrafted onto the olive tree, which is a reference to the remnant of Israel, and this is the direct result of faith in Christ and a result they have eternal security.
The moment a Gentile exercises faith in Christ, they received as a gift through imputation the righteousness of God and as a result God declared them justified (Romans 3:21-30; 4:1-6).
Thus, Paul teaches in Romans 8:1 that there is never any condemnation whatsoever for those in Christ Jesus.
Nor, is he saying that Gentile unbelievers will be cut off the olive tree since Gentiles whose race is depicted in the analogy as a wild olive tree are not connected by race to the nation of Israel whose race is depicted by the olive tree.
The Jews on the other hand who were broken off the olive tree were on the olive tree from the beginning to denote the fact that unsaved Jews belong racially to saved Israel, which is depicted by the olive tree and cultivated olive tree.
However, the Gentiles were not, of course related to the nation of Israel by race as expressed in depicting the Gentiles as a wild olive tree.
Therefore, when Paul says in Romans 11:22 that the Gentiles were cut off he cannot possible mean that they are cut off the olive tree since Gentiles are not related by race to the nation of Israel and Gentile believers have eternal security.
Romans 11:23 However, if they also do not continue in the sphere of unbelief then they will be grafted in because God the Father is able to graft them in again. (Author’s translation)
In this passage, Paul presents a contrast between God rejecting the Gentiles for rejecting His Son Jesus Christ with His accepting Jews if they have faith in His Son.
Paul teaches his Gentile Christian readers that if the Jews do not continue in unbelief by having faith in Christ, then God will unite them with born-again Jews and Gentiles.
He also instructs them that God can do this because He is omnipotent.
Next, in Romans 11:24, the apostle Paul teaches his Gentile Christians readers in Rome that if they were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, then how much more will the natural branches will be grafted into their own olive tree.
This illustration emphasizes with Paul’s Gentile Christian readers in Rome that if God accepted Gentiles who had faith in His Son who did not belong to born-again Israel (olive tree) then He will certainly accept those Jews who were broken off the olive tree because of their unbelief if they have faith in Jesus Christ.
Romans 11:24 Because if, and let us assume that it is true for the sake of argument that you were cut off from that which is by nature a wild olive tree and in addition were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree and of course, we agree that this is true then how much more will these which are natural be grafted into their own olive tree? (Author’s translation)
The apostle Paul in Romans 11:25 attempts to protect his Gentile Christian readers from arrogance by revealing to them the mystery that a partial hardening has occurred in Israel until the full number of Gentiles who will be saved has come to pass.
Romans 11:25 In fact, I by no means want each and every one of you spiritual brothers and sisters to be ignorant of this mystery in order that you will not be arrogant concerning yourselves, namely that a partial hardness is taking place in Israel until and during which time the full number of Gentiles has come into existence. (Author’s translation)
The expression “the fullness of the Gentiles” or “the full number of Gentiles” is not the same as the expression used by our Lord in Luke 21:24, namely, “the times of the Gentiles.”
“The times of the Gentiles” refers to an extended period of time when the Gentiles are the dominant world powers and Israel is subject to those powers and extends from the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar (586 B.C.) and continues through the Tribulation (Revelation 11:2).
This period of history includes the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and the church age and the Tribulation period.
“The times of the Gentiles” is prophesied in Daniel 2:31-45 and Daniel 7 and refers to an extended period of time when the Gentiles are the dominant world powers and Israel is subject to those powers and extends from the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar (586 B.C.) and continues through the Tribulation (Revelation 11:2).
So “the fullness of the Gentiles” in Romans 11:25 and the “times of the Gentiles” in Luke 21:24 both end with the Second Advent of Christ.
However, the former deals with the number of Gentiles who will be saved whereas as the latter is political dealing with the political control of Jerusalem.
The apostle Paul in Romans 11:26 cites Isaiah 59:20 to support his assertion that there will be a national regeneration of Israel and to teach that it will take place at Christ’s Second Advent.
Romans 11:26 And then, in the following way, all Israel will be delivered just as it stands written for all of eternity, “The Deliverer will arrive out from Zion. He will remove totally and completely the godless ones from Jacob.” (Author’s translation)
Romans 11:26 teaches that at the Second Advent of Christ and immediately after the full number of Gentiles that have been elected by the Father in eternity past have been saved there will be a national regeneration of Israel.
“All” is not referring to each and every citizen of the nation of Israel but rather it refers to nation as a whole.
It is used to denote a large and representative number from a group and refers to the majority of the citizens of the nation of Israel at the time of Christ’s Second Christ who will trust in Him as their Savior.
So it is referring to the national regeneration of Israel at the Second Advent of Christ in which at that time the majority of Jews in Israel will exercise faith in Christ so as to be saved.
This is in contrast to His First Advent when the majority of Jews rejected Him and only a remnant believed.
We know that some in Israel at that time will reject Christ since the Scriptures teach that the Lord will judge Israel immediately after His Second Advent and will have His elect angels remove every unbeliever from the nation (Ezekiel 20:37-38; Zechariah 13:8-9; Malachi 3:2-3, 5; Matthew 25:1-30).
So Paul is using pas, “all” here in Romans 11:26 much like we would say in America that “the whole country watched the events of 911 transpire on television!”
Of course not each and every person would have done so but the idea behind the statement is that a good majority in the country did watch the events of 911.
“Israel” refers to the nation of Israel as a corporate entity at the time of Christ’s Second Advent without reference to spiritual status whether saved or unsaved, which is denoted by the adjective pas, “all.”
“Will be delivered” is used with reference to those Jews in Israel at the time of Christ’s Second Advent who will trust in Jesus of Nazareth, the incarnate Son of God as Messiah.
It speaks of these Jews being delivered not only in a temporal sense from Satan, Antichrist and the Tribulational armies but more importantly being delivered in a spiritual sense from eternal condemnation as well as personal sin, the sin nature as well as Satan and his cosmic system.
It is used here with reference to the national regeneration of Israel that will take place at the Second Advent of Christ, which is indicated by the quotation that follows that is from Isaiah 59:20-21 and 27:9, which is a reference to the Second Advent.
This prophecy in Romans 11:26 that there will be a national regeneration of Israel at Christ’s Second Advent is taught throughout the Old Testament (cf. Zech. 12:10-14; 14:9-21; Ezekiel 37).