The term "fulness of the Gentiles be come in" can be positively identified when we seek to (biblically) determine the time of the end of Israel's blindness. From there we will be able to accurately determine the meaning of "Israel blinded in part" (Rom. 11:25). Also in this study we shall discover what Paul meant by "and so all Israel shall be saved" (Rom. 11:26). It isn't what scholars have been telling us.

Scofield defines the fulness of the Gentiles as "the completion of the purpose of God in this age - that is - the outcalling from among the Gentiles of a people for Christ's name, 'the church which is his body.'". Some modern Bibles (though not all) translate this as "full number of the Gentiles has come in" (NIV, NRSV). Although he stated it differently, this is what Scofield means: prophetically, when the full number of Gentiles has come into the Church, the blindness of Israel will be removed, the church will be raptured, the antichrist will be revealed, and the "Great Tribulation" begins.

A careful reading of the Bible, however, will find this schedule of events difficult to be maintained. While "fulness" might sometimes mean "full number," or "maximum capacity," most often it refers to such things as full power, or full authority, things to which "full number" has no relevance.

"In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits: every hand of the wicked shall come upon him" (Job 20:22).

Sometimes it means Maximum joy:

"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Psalms 16:11).

"Fulness" in the verse below can hardly be translated full number:

"And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace" (John 1:16).

Is there such a thing as full number of the blessing of the Gospel?

"And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ" (Rom. 15:29).

Compare also the following verses: (Gal. 4:4); (Eph. 1:10); (Eph. 1:23); (Eph. 3:19); (Eph. 4:13); (Col. 1:19); (Col. 2:9).

Also, "be come in" speaks rather of a beginning, as when one "be come into a house," or be come into riches, whereas "full number of the Church having been brought in" speaks of the completion, or end, of an era. Where removal of the blindness of Israel is concerned, this is impossible.

The "fulness of the Gentiles be come in" can be correctly defined after we correctly determine the time when the blindness of Israel is taken away.

It is almost universally taught that the nation Israel is a continually blinded nation, that the Jews are still blinded by God and will remain blinded until the Church is raptured. Whether or not that is true depends on several things. Among these is the question of why Israel was blinded in the first place. That is answered in 2 Thessalonians: "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thes. 2:10-12). Notice that they were not blinded for crucifying Christ; that was forgiven all that repented and called on the name of Christ. They were blinded because they steadfastly refused to believe the truth. This is seen in the Gospel of John:

"But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him" (John 12:37-41).

They were blinded because they SAW the miracles Jesus did before them, yet they refused to believe. It's very important to keep this fact in mind; they SAW His miracles, yet they would not believe. If we miss this very important point, we will have the erroneous belief that Jews are still blinded, even though no Jew today saw first hand Jesus doing miracles. The Jews who were blinded SAW Jesus do the miracles, yet believed not. That was the epitome of unbelief. Since that time there has never been a sin of unbelief more damning than that. In those days persistent unbelief could continue until there was a point of no return, after which the guilty Jews were blinded and damned. This cannot be repeated often enough: after the time of Christ, neither Jew nor Gentile has ever seen, first hand, Christ do the miracles and good works He did 2000 years ago. Is there, then, any reason why a Jew should still be judiciously blinded? If we carefully consider ALL of Scripture, we find the answer to be a definite No!

Paul says that "their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away..." "Until this day" does not mean that Jews are blinded until our day. It is important to take into account the time and place that Paul wrote this Epistle. When Paul says, "until this day," it should be obvious that he was referring to his own day, not ours. That day was sometime between the day of Pentecost, and A.D.70.

There is unmistakable evidence in the Old Testament that the blindness of Israel was taken away nearly 2000 years ago, in A.D.70. Isaiah foretells of the blinding of Israel: "And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed" (Isa. 6:9-10).

Isaiah wanted to know how long the blindness would last: "Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land" (Isa. 6:11-12).

This passage in Isaiah, if interpreted according to the futurist's view, presents serious difficulty. If the standard doctrine of the Rapture of the Church, followed by the "Great Tribulation," then the sudden rescue of Israel in the thick of the Tribulation, and immediately after that the inauguration of the Millennial Kingdom is true, then the description of events of this holocaust given by Isaiah do not fit the overall picture. According to the doctrine, when the antichrist is about to destroy Israel in the "Great Tribulation," Jesus returns, rescues Israel, and destroys the antichrist and his armies. So Israel is saved, Jerusalem is saved, the people are saved, and all is well. The Millennial Kingdom is set up, and life begins anew in the holy land. Accordingly, the cities aren't wasted without inhabitant, the houses aren't without occupants, and the Lord has not removed men far away. There will not be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But that is not how Isaiah tells it, so he must be speaking of another time.

Isaiah, a prophet of God, described the scene. That future "Great Tribulation," cannot be the event Isaiah was talking about in chapter 6. Futurists have overlooked the obvious. The King James Commentary, published in 1999 by Nelson, offers this as God's reply to Isaiah's question of how long: "...that he would continue to preach this message until the cities were desolate and only a remnant survived, indicated that the message would be pertinent to Israel up until the time of the Babylonian captivity" (page 779).

But according to the Bible, this event has nothing to do with the Babylonian captivity. This was about the blindness of Israel in Christ's day, as we see in the Gospel of John. Isaiah (Esaias) said nothing about Babylon. We repeat the passage:

"But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him" (John 12:37-41).

Scripture tells us that this prophecy is not about the Babylonian captivity, and it is not about that future "Great Tribulation." The only other time when Israel was devastated as described by Isaiah was after the war between Israel and Rome in A.D.70. That is the only event that fits.

God says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him" (Ezek 18:20). The generation that refused to believe Christ even though they saw all the miracles He did, and rejected and crucified Him was blinded, judged, and destroyed in the holocaust of A.D.70. Why would God continue to keep "Jews," who are innocent of that sin, blinded generation after generation? We Gentile Christians expect God to be just and merciful to us, why not the "Jews" also? "Jews" today, like us Gentiles, are not "innocent." We are all born in sin. When I say innocent, I mean they are innocent of the same terrible crime of unbelief that their forefathers were guilty of 2000 yeara ago.

Fortunately, the Bible gives us the answer. God, who IS a just and merciful God, is not keeping anyone blinded today.

Israel SAW Jesus do many miracles in their presence, yet they rejected Him. This continued until God blinded them. What happened to those who were blinded? "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thes 2:11-12).

But what happens to people who are damned? They are doomed. They perish. We often hear it said that Jews are God's special people, and that He cherishes and protects them. But if that were true, then He could not, at the same time, keep them blinded and doomed.

Again, this truth cannot be repeated often enough. Jews who were blinded were destroyed in A.D.70, and since that time no "Jew" has ever been "judiciously blinded by God." There are no Jews blinded today.

So Israel was blinded because they loved not the truth. In spite of the miracles the Lord Jesus did in their presence, they refused to believe Those who were blinded were doomed to destruction. They were destroyed in the holocause of AD70. Many were killed, many were carried away as slaves by the Romans. Those who believed in Christ escaped this judgment. The blindness of Israel ended, therefore, because there were no Israelites.

The Bible says. "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in"(Rom. 11:25). "Blindness in part" sounds very much as though Israelites were only partially blinded. The NASV renders it, "partial hardening"; obviously following the mistaken lead that all of Israel was only "partially blinded."

The Scriptures, however, make it clear that part of Israel was blinded, part was not. The part that was blinded did not escape. "What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded" (Rom. 11:7). Verses do not get simpler and clearer than this. Israel was not partially blinded. Instead, part of Israel was blinded, part was not. The election - those Jews who believed in Jesus Christ - obtained salvation and escaped. The rest were blinded.

The teaching that Israel is still guilty of crucifying Christ comes from questionable interpretations which say that the forgiveness of Israel's sins is yet future. To quote Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost: "It has been agreed that the time of the new covenant was future; It was always viewed as future when reference was made to it in the Old Testament prophecies. Hosea; Isaiah; Ezekiel; all spoke of it as future. It must be viewed as yet future..." (Things To Come, p 120). This, as we have already noted, is an error.

They often quote this Bible passaage: "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins (Rom. 11:26-27)" (IBID p. 120).

Of course it was always viewed as future by the Old Testament prophets. To them it WAS future. All these things were prophesied hundreds of years before Christ came and took away the sins of Israel. But it is a grave mistake to view it as yet future to our time, which would be saying that Christ accomplished nothing on the cross 2000 years ago as far as Israel was concerned. It is so well known, and there are so many Scriptures revealing that Christ took away the sins of the whole world (including Israel) when He died on the cross that repeating those Scriptures here would be pointless. One wonders if many scholars would understand them anyway, and average alert Christians have no need of such reminders.

"Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference" (Rom. 3:22): To say that Israel was excluded from the righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ, and held for thousands of years in reserve to be saved another time is to ignore a great deal of plain Scripture.

Paul defines "all Israel."
"Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed" (Rom. 9:6-8). He is simply saying that the natural descendants of Abraham were Israel only if they believed both God and Jesus Christ.

At a point in time God concluded all Israel in unbelief, meaning that He took away their special status, that covenant relationship with God that Jews had enjoyed right from birth since the nation of Israel was set up. He converted all Jews into Gentiles. Romans 11:32 (this verse, by the way, is the basis for my theory that, biblically speaking, there are no Jews today, and no Israel. But that is another story which, if published, might provoke Dispensationalists and others to launch World War III)

Paul writes to Gentile believers in Rome. He is writing about Israelites: "For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief" (Rom. 11:30):

"Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy" (Rom. 11:31).

"For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all" (Rom. 11:32).

God did not "bound all men over to disobedience, that He may have mercy on all," as we see in the NIV. I, for one, fail to see the logic in this. What actually does it mean to "bound all men over to disobedience?" Did God actually cause all men to be disobedient, just so He could have mercy on them all? Aside from the fact that God causes no one to sin, there would have been no need of that; all men are disobedient anyway. "They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Psalms. 14:3). God would have no trouble finding disobedient men to have mercy upon.

The context of the passage reveals that the first "all" in Romans 11:32 were Jews. God concluded THEM all in unbelief, meaning that He took away their "preferred" status as His natural born children, and made them just like the Gentiles. In a sense He disowned all Jews.

The second "all" in Romans 11:32 is everyone, Jew and Gentile. After this everyone was equal, spiritually speaking. God could then have mercy on everyone, but with one peculiar hitch; Jews, now being down at the same level as Gentiles, could come back to the Father, but only through faith in Jesus Christ. The old way no longer sufficed. Any Jew that refused was, like the unbelieving Gentile, lost. Even the Apostles, all Jews, fully recognized this: "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Gal. 2:16). Paul considered himself part of the remnant, saved according to the election of grace.

So then Jews, who once were the people of God, were no people, and after they believed in Christ became the people of God again. Unlike Gentiles, who had never been born (spiritually) in the first place, Jews had to be "born again." That's what the expression, "born again" refers to, even though Gentiles who have come to Christ have universally adopted it. (no harm done)

You see this throughout the New Testament in verses such as 1 Peter 1:3: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us AGAIN unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Pet. 1:3),

If they were begotten again, that means they must have been "begotten" before, and then were "unbegotten."

"Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God" (Hos. 1:10). The fulfillment of this is found in the New Testament: "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:10-13). "His own" were Jews. To believe on His name is to be born of the Spirit. The "place" that Hosea was speaking of was Sion, or Zion. There God "disowned" His people so that they were not His people, and in that same place He offered them a way back to Himself, through Christ.

One important note. Even though God "disowned His people, He did not cast them away. In the days between Pentecost and the holocaust, no effort was spared to get the Gospel of salvation out to every Jew in the world. "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister" (Col. 1:23); "Every creature under heaven" covers them all. Those who were truly His people had no problem accepting Christ. They became the "elect," the "remnant."

So, in conclusion: