Chapters 9, 10, and 11, if studied with an open, unbiased mind, reveals the ultimate fate of Israel
in greater detail than any other book of the Bible. Paul tells us what happened, how it happened,
and why. Here I present several points which may help as we study Romans.
1. From the time God established the nation, Israelites were not born sinners, as are Gentiles. They
were from birth the people of God, born into His Family. They were a special people to God.
2. They were the children of the ancients with whom God made certain
covenants containing marvellous promises of a great Kingdom.<
3. The generation of Israelites alive when the Lord Jesus Christ came
to earth was a special generation. It was to this generation that God
had planned to fulfill the promises. The Kingdom would have been set
up just for them, The temple would not have been destroyed, Israel
would have continued indefinitely as God's priesthood nation in a more
glorious way than ever before. Contrary to popular belief, the crucifixion of Christ was not in the original plan - not ostensibly - that is. Had Israel not broken the final covenant, then Temple worship, with animal sacrifices and all, would have continued. All nations of the world would have travelled to Jerusalem to worship God. Israel would have been sitting "at the head of the table" so to speak. That's the good news.
4. The bad news is that, if they hearkened not to the voice of their
God, the generation would receive the ultimate judgement promised to
a disobedient nation. It would bring about the demise of Israel.
5. In the fulness of the time, when the Messiah came to confirm the covenant with Israel, and deliver the Kingdom, Israel didn't listen, as we all know. The nation rebelled, and even crucified the Son of God.
6. The whole course of events took a new direction. We might say that
God put plan B into action (although plan B was made ready even before the foundation of the world).
7. First He took away the special status that Israelites enjoyed as
the children of God. He concluded all Israelites in unbelief, and made
them the same as Gentiles (Rom 11:32).
8. Whereas Israel had always worshipped the Father, now that was no
longer sufficient. Anyone who worships the Father, but rejects the
Son, has neither the Father nor the Son.
9. So all people in the world, Jews and Gentiles alike, were sinners. The Jew was as if he had never been a Jew. Spiritually speaking, he would have to start from the beginning. To be saved he must now come to the Father through faith in the Son, just as the Gentile. The Jew must be "born again."
10. A part of Israel was stubborn, and in spite of all the miracles which they saw Jesus do, refused to believe. This part of Israel was blinded. That blindness was fatal, and would last until the end of Israel in A.D.70.
11. God did not cast away His people. The great effort of the Apostolic Church was to get the Gospel out to every Jew in every nation of the world. This was done during the 35 years between Pentecost and the war of A.D.70
12. This was the war in which the temple, the city, and all the blinded, stubborn, unbelievers of Israel, were desolated. That was the event which we may refer to as the "holocaust." It was the time of Jacob's trouble. Those were the worst days that Israel had ever experienced. They were also her final days. She would never experience them again.
13. During those days a remnant of Israel was saved. Paul makes it clear that this remnant was saved according to the election of grace, not "by God's gracious choice," as in newer translations. In other words, if the Jew received the Gospel, and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, he was saved, and became part of the remnant of Israel.
"AND DECLARED TO BE THE SON OF GOD WITH POWER, ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT OF HOLINESS, BY THE RESURRECTION
FROM THE DEAD" (ROM. 1:3-4):
Some modern translators rewrite this verse to focus on the power God needed to declare Jesus the Son of
God, i.e., "And declared with power to be the Son of God..."
Too many Bible expositors, even those
who ostensibly interpret according the KJV, fall in line with the trivialized translation, often ignoring
completely the fact that at His resurrection, Jesus was declared to be the Son of God possessing
He had already been declared to be the Son of God - twice, in fact. Once when He was baptized, and again at the mount of Transfiguration, and in neither
case was power to declare Him Son of God stressed or even mentioned; it would have been a pointless redundancy. Any Christian who should have graduated beyond the first year of Bible milk and who has to be reminded again and again of the extent of God's power, is having serious problems with his beliefs. The writer of Hebrews says, Get past that, and get on with it! There is a great deal more in the Bible than milk and cookies. "For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe."
The Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead POSSESSING power. It was His
own prediction come true. Remember that just before the Transfiguration, Jesus told His disciples that not all of them would be dead before they saw Him in His kingdom. Some scholars say it was fulfilled at the Transfiguration, but that is not possible because the Transfiguration took place only about two weeks later, before any of the Apostles had died. It couldn't have come true after Jesus ascended into heaven, because He was not there to be seen.
But before he rose from the dead, one of the disciples, Judas Iscariat, had committed suicide. In Matthew chapter 28 Jesus anounced to His eleven disciples after His resurrection, "All power is given unto me..." and in Ephesians 1:19-23 we find again this message: that the power given to Him at His resurrection is great, it is above all other powers on earth and in heaven, and exercised against world powers in favor of His own, who believe. If Jesus exercises power to us who believe, in proportion to how much we believe, then it may be risky to dabble in theories which tend to obfuscate that belief.
"FOR I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: FOR IT IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH; TO THE JEW FIRST, AND ALSO TO THE GREEK" (ROM. 1:16).
It is very important to understand that the Gospel went to the Jew first. And this took place in the first century, A.D., up to the time of the war in the year A.D.70. First the covenant which God the Father had made with the ancients of Israel was confirmed to the Jews, beginning with the anointing of Jesus Christ as the Messiah at His baptism, and continuing for seven years thereafter. Daniel prophesied that the covenant would be confirmed for one week of years. After Israel rejected Christ, the Gospel, which before was the preaching of the glorious promised Kingdom of heaven, now took on a slightly different aspect, that of defining a new Kingdom. It was not preached to the Jews only, but to the Gentiles also. However, for a time it was preached to the Jews first.
At one point Paul became disgusted with the stubborn unbelief of some of the Jews: "Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles"
(Acts 13:46). This may have marked the end of the seventh year - the one week - after Christ's baptism. After the rejection and crucifixion of Christ, he exact end of the seven weeks became unimportant. Israel itself had nullified the covenant, and had lost the old kingdom which was promised to them, and which Christ was going to spend seven years confirming to them.
"FOR HE IS NOT A JEW, WHICH IS ONE OUTWARDLY; NEITHER IS THAT CIRCUMCISION, WHICH IS OUTWARD IN THE FLESH: BUT HE IS A JEW, WHICH IS ONE INWARDLY; AND CIRCUMCISION IS THAT OF THE HEART, IN THE SPIRIT, AND NOT IN THE LETTER; WHOSE PRAISE IS NOT OF MEN, BUT OF GOD" (ROM. 2:28-29).
This is an important passage. It identifies the real Jews in Paul's
day. They were not only the natural born descendants of Abraham, but
the faithful remnant who were faithful to God the Father and also believed on Christ. After the time of Christ, it was no longer of any benefit to be a Jew outwardly if one was not a Jew inwardly (of course, it was never of any benefit to be a Jew if one was not faithful to God the Father). One of a number of verses which attest to that is John 5:23: "That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him."
In general, Jews today do not believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and Saviour of mankind. Christians, particularly Bible scholars of the futurist persuasion, in their confusion, somehow see them as "God's faithful remnant," or "God's protected and cherished remnant," or "the apple of His eye," or something like that. That is contrary to Scripture. If they do not believe on His only begotten Son, they are none of His. If they do believe, then they are not Jews, but Chri
stians. Biblically speaking, there are no Jews today.
"WHAT ADVANTAGE THEN HATH THE JEW? OR WHAT PROFIT IS THERE OF CIRCUMCISION? MUCH EVERY WAY: CHIEFLY, BECAUSE THAT UNTO THEM WERE COMMITTED THE ORACLES OF GOD." (ROM. 3:1-2)?
This passage should not be construed to mean that it is speaking of
our day, and that the Jew today still has the advantage, being of the
race to whom were committed the oracles of God. Paul was speaking of
day, not ours. The Jews in his day had many advantages. Although God had virtually "disowned" them by concluding them all in unbelief, (Rom. 11:32), yet He did not cast them away. The effort to bring them back into the fold, the good Olive Tree (not old Isreal, but the family of God) through the preaching of the Gospel was without equal. It was "to the Jew first."
FOR WHAT IF SOME DID NOT BELIEVE? SHALL THEIR UNBELIEF MAKE THE FAITH OF GOD WITHOUT EFFECT" (ROM. 3:3)?
Somehow, Bible scholars have turned the situation around, and have made the unbelieving part of Israel manipulators of God's intentions. They teach that, because of the unbelief of Israel, God had to "pack up His bags and leave, waiting for a future day when He can come back and again offer them the Kingdom. In this verse Paul reveals that the unbelief of some didn't change God's plan one bit.
Those who believe that God loves Israel, and still has a future planned for them as a priesthood nation in the end time would be hard pressed to explain why He is letting millions and millions of Jews die in unbelief during the days of the Church, while reserving a small "remnant" of Jews for the "Great Tribulation" and "guaranteed salvation," and then the 1000 year "Millennium." after the Rapture of the Church. There is no logical consistency here. But did you know that God's greatest desire would put a serious crimp in this plan?
All evangelicals preach and believe this: that mankind of all time and in all the world should believe on Christ Jesus. That is God's ideal that good evangelical Christians strive for and it would make the whole world Christian. But when the time of the "Great Tribulation" came, which God designed especially for the Jews, there would be no Jew available to go into it, Dispensationalism, then, is confronted with a serious problem. It cannot allow all Jews to respond favorably, neither to God's covenant, nor to the Gospel, else prophecy could not be fulfilled; Without Jews for the Tribulaiton, there could be no Tribulation, and the Millennial Kingdom would be minus all the "Tribulation saints." Worst of all, there would be no time to rewrite millions of futuristic prophecy and "left behind" books.
Perhaps the greatest disaster spawned by this kind of confused teaching is that some Christians are trying to make sense of it on their own, with the help of modern experts, and are failing miserably. About twenty or so organizations have by now concluded that it is pointless and unnecessary to witness Christ to Jews, because they are saved anyway; that they have their own special covenant with God. Biblically, of course, this is the epitome of false teaching, and so who knows how many Jews will be dropped by the wayside during this Church Age, who might have been saved except for screwball prophecy beliefs.
MOREOVER THE LAW ENTERED, THAT THE OFFENCE MIGHT ABOUND. BUT WHERE SIN ABOUNDED, GRACE DID MUCH MORE ABOUND: (ROMANS 5:20)
While this verse is not directly concerned with prophecy, yet the way some modern translations render it causes some expositors to teach things which are totally at odds with Scripture and the character of God. The NASV: "And the Law came in that the transgression might increase..."
Hal Lindsey then, following this lead, writes, "...the Law was given to make man sin more...now I realize that it sounds almost blasphemous to say that God gave something to man that would actually make him sin more. But that is exactly what the Scriptures say" (The Road To Holocaust, p 151).
Embracing the new and the sophisticated does not always lead man to any greater or truer revelation. God NEVER gave man anything that would make him sin more. The NASV translators couldn't have understood the nature of God when they produced this piece of nonsense, and Mr. Lindsey was extremely careless in accepting it without question. The KJV's "That the offense might abound" is not at all the same as "that the transgression might increase." The KJV can be paraphrased somewhat like this, which may not be perfect, but close enough: "the Law came in to make better known to the sinner the offensive nature of the sin committed." Mr. Lindsey is right in one respect. To say that God would give something to man to make him sin more is indeed blasphemy. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:"
"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." (ROM. 9:6-7).
If we take note of this passage, we will find that Paul defines "all
Israel" as that part of Israel which was of faith. In the old times
"all Israel" descended from Abraham through Isaac, because these had
faith in God. Now, in Paul's day, an Israelite, if he was to be part
of "all Israel," must also have faith in the Son of God. "Who is a
liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist,
that denieth the Father and the Son"
(1 John 2:22). These were the
apostate, unregenerate, blinded Jews. It is important to remember that
being a descendant of Abraham didn't make one a Jew. So, when
we find Scriptures which say that, "All Israel shall be saved," we must consider the biblical definition of "all Israel"
as given to us by Paul. This definition seems to evade some commentators, who somehow see "all
Israel" as a future generation of Jews saved in the "tribulation."
"EVEN US, WHOM HE HATH CALLED, NOT OF THE JEWS ONLY, BUT ALSO OF
THE GENTILES? AS HE SAITH ALSO IN OSEE, I WILL CALL THEM MY
PEOPLE, WHICH WERE NOT MY PEOPLE; AND HER BELOVED, WHICH WAS NOT
BELOVED. AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT IN THE PLACE WHERE IT
WAS SAID UNTO THEM, YE ARE NOT MY PEOPLE; THERE SHALL THEY BE
CALLED THE CHILDREN OF THE LIVING GOD. ESAIAS ALSO CRIETH
CONCERNING ISRAEL, THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL BE
AS THE SAND OF THE SEA, A REMNANT SHALL BE SAVED" (ROM. 9:24-27):
"Osee" is the Greek name of the prophet, Hosea, and this quote is
taken from Hosea 1:10. Here we see Jews and Gentiles lumped into
one as people who "were not my people." After God concluded all
Israel in unbelief, neither Jews nor Gentiles were His people. But
God would call them His people again, after they came to Him
through faith in His beloved Son. Out of all the people of
Israel, only a remnant was saved.
"FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE JEW AND THE GREEK: FOR
THE SAME LORD OVER ALL IS RICH UNTO ALL THAT CALL UPON HIM" (ROM.
Commentators often fail to point out the fact that the difference
between Jew and Gentile vanished when God concluded all Israel
in unbelief. It is nonsense that Jews lose their Jewish identity only
when they accept Christ and become Christian. They lost their identity
long before. And today they have no identity, except that of a Gentile. I
If people, particularly Christian scholars, ever recognized that, there
would no doubt be much less anti-semetism in the world. How could anyone
be anti-semitic toward a fellow-Gentile?
"BUT I SAY, HAVE THEY NOT HEARD? YES VERILY, THEIR SOUND WENT INTO ALL
THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS UNTO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD" (ROM. 10:18).
Often we hear that one of the signs of the end being near is that by
radio, and television, and other modern means of communication the
Gospel will soon be heard in all the world. But Paul here reveals that
the words of the Gospel have already gone out to the ends of the
earth. The Church of Paul's day was not concerned about North or South
America, or Australia, or Africa. That Church was chiefly concerned
with bringing the Gospel to every Jew in the thehn known world.
Along the way, of course, many Gentiles received the Gospel and
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; (Colossians 1:23)
"BUT I SAY, DID NOT ISRAEL KNOW? FIRST MOSES SAITH, I WILL PROVOKE YOU
TO JEALOUSY BY THEM THAT ARE NO PEOPLE, AND BY A FOOLISH NATION I WILL
ANGER YOU" (ROM. 10:19).
That foolish nation was the nation of Jews and Gentiles to whom the
Kingdom was given after it was taken away from the Jews (Matt. 21:43).
The fact that God called them a "foolish nation" was that orthodox Jews
considered all others as beneath them (they still do).
"I SAY THEN, HATH GOD CAST AWAY HIS PEOPLE? GOD FORBID. FOR I ALSO AM
AN ISRAELITE, OF THE SEED OF ABRAHAM, OF THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN. GOD
HATH NOT CAST AWAY HIS PEOPLE WHICH HE FOREKNEW. WOT YE NOT WHAT THE SCRIPTURE SAITH OF ELIAS? HOW HE MAKETH INTERCESSION TO GOD AGAINST ISRAEL, SAYING, LORD, THEY HAVE KILLED THY PROPHETS, AND DIGGED DOWN THINE ALTARS; AND I AM LEFT ALONE, AND THEY SEEK MY LIFE. BUT WHAT SAITH THE ANSWER OF GOD UNTO HIM? I HAVE RESERVED TO MYSELF SEVEN THOUSAND MEN, WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO THE IMAGE OF BAAL. EVEN SO THEN AT THIS PRESENT TIME ALSO THERE IS A REMNANT ACCORDING TO THE ELECTION OF GRACE" (ROM. 11:1-5).
Bible teachers seem to have great difficulty with the concept of just
who are "His people." Hal Lindsay believes that they are the mass
of Israelites who in this present age think that they believe in God the Father while, in complete ignorance, reject Christ. (The Road To Holocaust, page 166). But one of the many problems with that is that no one who didn't believe in Christ since the time of Christ has ever been included among His people. The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that anyone who worships the Father and at the same time rejects the Son is none of His. "That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him" (John 5:23). "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also " (1 John 2:23). "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son" (2 Jo 1:9). We notice that Paul considered himself part of "His people."
Who are the people which God foreknew? Paul says that they were His
people. Obviously they were the people who would believe in the Son of
God. God knew who they would be. They were the remnant that Paul was
speaking of. Paul, himself, was part of that remnant. As long as there was an Israel, there was always a remnant of Israel, people of faith, even in its darkest days of apostacy. So, likewise, in Paul's day there was a remnant of faithful Jews. There was only one difference: this was a remnant according to the election of grace. A WORD OF CAUTION! New translations such as the NASV confuses the truth with, "In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice." This in reality eliminates salvation by grace, and instead, would have God "graciously choosing" a group of Israelites to become a remnant. Modern translators seem to be cooperating with Dispensationalism in promoting the idea that in the future God will give Israel a "guaranteed converted heart," so that He will have a "remnant" available to go into the "Millennial Kingdom." This is a horrible perversion of the truth, and perpetuates confusion in the Church. It is c
ommon biblical knowledge that God never forces salvation upon anyone. It is not true that the remnant in Paul's day believed because God made them a remnant. God made them a remnant because they believed.
THE BLINDING OF ISRAEL
"WHAT THEN? ISRAEL HATH NOT OBTAINED THAT WHICH HE SEEKETH FOR; BUT THE ELECTION HATH OBTAINED IT, AND THE REST WERE BLINDED (ACCORDING AS IT IS WRITTEN, GOD HATH GIVEN THEM THE SPIRIT OF SLUMBER, EYES THAT THEY SHOULD NOT SEE, AND EARS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT HEAR;) UNTO THIS DAY" (ROM. 11:7-8).
This passage puts to rest the standard scholarly noise that all Israel was "partially blinded," It refutes the usual misinterpretation of Romans 11:25
"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."
When Paul says, "in
part," he does not mean that Israel is partially blinded, he
means that part of Israel was blinded. Here Paul divides Israel
into two segments: Those who believed, and became the election;
and those who refused to believe, and became blinded. Verse 7 is
quite clear on that. The elect obtained salvation, "the rest were
blinded." Some are font of yet another illogical conclusion, that Israel is "partially blinded" but not so fully blinded that they cannot be saved. It is just that this blindness makes them harder to win over to Christ.
This is the height of scholarly foolishness, and it makes them seem even more stupid when, at other times, they piously preach that God wants all men to be saved. Why on earth would He place a stumbling block in the path of anyone who could be saved?
No Jew was blinded, "partially" or otherwise, who had not steadfastly refused to believe in Chirst to the very end. And that blindness wasn't "partial," it was total and terminal.
According to II Thes. 2:11-12, all that were blinded were damned: "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."
UNTO THIS DAY
Careless reading of the Bible has prompted many to assume that Jews
are still blinded because Paul uses the phrase, "unto this day."
Nothing can be farther from the truth. When Paul wrote the Epistle to
the Romans, the Jews were blinded, and those were the days Paul was
making reference to. By "unto this day," he was speaking of that
day - his day and time, not ours. That generation of Jews, guilty of
rejecting the Messiah, and crucifying Him, was blinded, and later
destroyed in the holocaust of A.D.70. Jews today are not judicially
blinded. The truth is, there are no Jews today. When God concluded all
Israel in unbelief, He turned all Jews back into Gentiles, from which
they came (Abraham, the father of all Jews, was a Gentile), and now
there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. The Bible never says
that the Jewish nationality would ever resume again. The whole world
is composed of only two classes of people, spiritually speaking,
Christians and Gentiles.
THE END OF THE BLINDNESS
saiah prophesied of this blindness, and even predicted when it would
end: "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. 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. 6:9-12).
The Dispensational story of how and when the blindness is to
be lifted off Israel is considerably different than Isaiah's. They
say that when the full number of the Gentiles has come into the
Church (this from a modern translation), so that there are no
more Gentiles in the world to be saved, then the Church is
raptured, the Antichrist is revealed, and the Great Tribulation
begins. One of the glaring contradictions in this view is that,
when the Tribulation begins, the 144000 from the 12 tribes of
Israel begin witnessing all over the world, and win countless
billions of souls to Christ, more than the Church had been able
to win during its entire existence. But if all the Gentiles of
the world had already "come into the Church," before the
Tribulation started, where are the 144000 Israelites going to
find all those countless billions of Gentiles to witness to?
I'd like to hear a Dispensationalist's answer to that one!
That's the story we hear today But either Isaiah was
wrong, or else Dispensationalists have missed the mark.
When Isaiah wanted to know how long Israel would remain blinded,
he was told, "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 cannot be the start
of the Great Tribulation as defined by Dispensationalists,
because the beginning of their Great Tribulation is supposed to
be relatively peaceful and quiet. The Antichrist supposedly makes
a "firm covenant" with Israel to allow them to hold temple
worship, with animal sacrifices and all. The cities are not
wasted, and the Lord had not removed men far away. As a matter of
fact, at no time during the Dispensational Great Tribulation are the
cities wasted without inhabitant, and men carried far away. The
only time in the history of Israel when that could have possibly
happened was in A.D.70. It was by the end of that war that the
blindness of Israel was removed - the blinded and unbelieving
Jews were destroyed or carried far away by the Romans as
prisoners of war, and Israel itself became non-existent.
Isaiah, furthermore, tells us that the fulness of the Gentiles
came in by the time that war ended in A.D.70. So the fulness of
the Gentiles be come in is the same as the beginning of the day
of the Gentile, or times of the Gentles. The times of the
Gentiles did not begin back in the days of Babylonian dominance
of Israel. Those were still the days of Israel. Ever since God
established the nation, Israel continued in its day, unabated,
and those days never ran concurrently with the times of the
Gentiles. But when God decided to conclude all Israelites in
unbelief, and put an end to Israel, and that was finalized in
A.D.70, then the day of the Gentiles began, and the day of Israel
It must be tremembered at all times that the blindness of the unbelieving
part of Israel, then, ended with the destruction of that generation of
Jews in A.D.70. All the rest of the Jews - those not blinded and
destroyed - were in the Church of Christ, ergo, no more Israel,
and no more Jews.
"I SAY THEN, HAVE THEY STUMBLED THAT THEY SHOULD FALL? GOD FORBID: BUT
RATHER THROUGH THEIR FALL SALVATION IS COME UNTO THE GENTILES, FOR TO
PROVOKE THEM TO JEALOUSY. NOW IF THE FALL OF THEM BE THE RICHES OF THE
WORLD, AND THE DIMINISHING OF THEM THE RICHES OF THE GENTILES; HOW MUCH
MORE THEIR FULNESS" (ROM. 11:11-12)?
Those who powerfully adhere to Dispensational teaching see in these two
verses a future restoration of the whole nation of Israel, Jews in large
number, coming to Christ in the "Great Tribulation" period. "Fulness" to
some of them means, their "full number," and that is false. The NASV gives
us "their fulfillment," and who knows what that means; I doubt if Jews in
general have been fulfilled in the last 2000 years. The NRSV offers "their
full inclusion," and that, in a round-about way, is correct - those who
accepted Christ were "included" into the Family of God - except that,
judging from some of their other silliness, we might wonder whether these
modern translators really had any idea that they were right, or that they
knew what they were doing.
A Jew who has been disowned by God, then repents and comes back to God through faith in Jesus Christ, has reached his fulness, you betcha! So "fulness" here simply means salvation of the Jew, regardless of number. Naturally, the more the merrier.
The "fall of them," and the "diminishing of them" are roughly the same thing. The fall of them refers to the national disobedience, the diminishing of them means that God disowned them as His people (Rom. 11:32). But what would their "full number" have to do with anything? The Dispensational forced interpretation says that the nation of Israel
has been set aside, but that after it is received again---we suppose that
means their fulness, or full number---a greater revival will take
place than ever in history. The problem is that no where in the Bible
does it say that the nation will be received again, nor is anything
said about any future revival.
Their "fulness" means the salvation of a remnant of Jews between Pentecost and the holocaust. Paul spoke of the remnant, and Isaiah prophesied that the nation would be destroyed, but a small portion of the nation would return. "But yet in it shall be a tenth,
and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof" (Isa. 6:13). Whether the remnant was comprised of exactly one tenth of the nation is not
important; the Bible often uses round numbers when precisely exact figuress would be meaningless. It is not so much that they didn't return to
Jerusalem, or to Israel, as that they returned to the Lord. After they were
concluded in unbelief, they returned, they were born again. The highly
figurative language, "shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak,
whose substance in in them, when they cast their leaves" probably
speaks of them shedding the Old ways, that Law, and receiving a new
Substance, that Substance being the Holy Seed---that is---Christ. Over
a million Jews were destroyed or carried away in the war of A.D.70. A remnant, maybe a tenth, maybe more or less, was saved.
"FOR I SPEAK TO YOU GENTILES, INASMUCH AS I AM THE APOSTLE OF THE
GENTILES, I MAGNIFY MINE OFFICE: IF BY ANY MEANS I MAY PROVOKE TO
EMULATION THEM WHICH ARE MY FLESH, AND MIGHT SAVE SOME OF THEM. FOR IF THE CASTING AWAY OF THEM BE THE RECONCILING OF THE WORLD, WHAT SHALL THE RECEIVING OF THEM BE, BUT LIFE FROM THE DEAD? FOR IF THE FIRSTFRUIT BE HOLY, THE LUMP IS ALSO HOLY: AND IF THE ROOT BE HOLY, SO ARE THE BRANCHES" (ROM. 11:13-16).
With passages such as these we begin to get the feeling that the Jews who turned to Christ in those days were special people, even though God had made them just like Gentiles. I believe they, being His own, and holding on to their new faith until the end (A.D.70), were a notch above all others. The New Testament seems to repeat the phrase, "...the Jew first, then the Gentile." Their punishment for unbelief and disobedience was greater, but their rewards for receiving Christ just might be greater also. Check out anything written in the Bible about the New Jerusalem. To hear Dispensationalists talk, you would think that it was built especially for them, but it has 12 foundations, with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 gates with the names of the twelve Apostles - all Jews. There is not the name of a single Dispensationalist written on it anywhere, not even Scofield's, the chief promulgator of Dispensationalism
"AND IF SOME OF THE BRANCHES BE BROKEN OFF, AND THOU, BEING A WILD OLIVE TREE, WERT GRAFTED IN AMONG THEM, AND WITH THEM PARTAKEST OF THE ROOT AND FATNESS OF THE OLIVE TREE" (ROM. 11:17);
Some Dispensationalists see the "olive tree" as the nation Israel, and the "wild olive tree" as the Church, and all of this happening in the future. But even in Dispensational theology, the Church does not become part of the nation of Israel, now or in the future. The branches being broken off speaks of God disowning part of Israel for unbelief. The wild olive tree the Gentiles. Now, being grafted in among them means that the family of God, or Kingdom of Christ---the root and fatness of the olive tree---though originally established for the nation of Israel, now accepts both Jews and Gentiles who come to the Father through faith in Christ. The "olive tree" formerly represented Israel, but only because Israel was part of the family of God. Today it is still representative of the Family of God. In it are believing Gentiles, and believing former Israelites, but no Israel. We all enjoy all the things that being in the Family of God has to offer (root and fatness).
"BOAST NOT AGAINST THE BRANCHES. BUT IF THOU BOAST, THOU BEAREST NOT THE ROOT, BUT THE ROOT THEE. WELL; BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF THEY WERE BROKEN OFF, AND THOU STANDEST BY FAITH. BE NOT HIGHMINDED, BUT FEAR: FOR IF GOD SPARED NOT THE NATURAL BRANCHES, TAKE HEED LEST HE ALSO SPARE NOT THEE. "BEHOLD THEREFORE THE GOODNESS AND SEVERITY OF GOD: ON THEM WHICH FELL, SEVERITY; BUT TOWARD THEE, GOODNESS, IF THOU CONTINUE IN HIS GOODNESS: OTHERWISE THOU ALSO SHALT BE CUT OFF" (ROM. 11:18-22).
If you want to see a good example of a non-Jew boasting against the branches, read almost any commentary produced by a Dispensationalist scholar. They all have two things in common: Jews are still guilty of crucifying Christ, and the "virgin bride." the Church, is heavenly while Jews are earthly, i.e., in the future, Jews will be digging the soil and planting and plowing for their sustenance in thieir land of Palestine, while we will be in the heavenly New Jerusalem ruling with Christ over them. I, for one, will not be holding my breath til that comes true. In earthly terms, Christ was Jewish, not Gentile. He came unto His own. His own were Jews. And I definitely would never accuse any of today's Jews of crucifying Christ.
"AND THEY ALSO, IF THEY ABIDE NOT STILL IN UNBELIEF, SHALL BE GRAFTED
IN: FOR GOD IS ABLE TO GRAFT THEM IN AGAIN. FOR IF THOU WERT CUT OUT
OF THE OLIVE TREE WHICH IS WILD BY NATURE, AND WERT GRAFTED CONTRARY TO NATURE INTO A GOOD OLIVE TREE: HOW MUCH MORE SHALL THESE, WHICH BE THE NATURAL BRANCHES , BE GRAFTED INTO THEIR OWN OLIVE TREE" (ROM. 11:23-24)?
It is important to notice that "God is able to graft them in again...if they remain not still in unbelief..." This tells us that they were in the good olive tree before. They couldn't be grafted in again unless they were out of the good olive tree. How did they fall out? The answer is Romans 11:32, which says that God concluded them all in unbelief. They were in, now they were out, and in unbelief. But if they didn't stay in unbelief, God was able to graft them in again. The rest of this passage tells us that there was something special about these Jews who remained not still in unbelief, and were grafted back into their own olive tree. These, I think, are the permanent occupants of the New Jerusalem.
"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).
It is regrettable that Christian scholars do not always consider all
of Scripture when interpreting certain passages. "Blindness in part"
may seem to be speaking of a "partial blindness" of Israel, but
verse 7 reveals that only a part of Israel was blinded, and II
Thessalonians reveals that this blindness was not partial, but
complete and fatal.
FULNESS OF THE GENTILES BE COME IN
Another serious mistake Dispensational scholars have made was to
assume that "fulness of the Gentiles" began with the calling out of
the Church. Dr. Walvoord believes that "times of the Gentiles" has
reference to political domination by Gentiles, and in this he is
correct. But on the other hand he believes that "fulness of the
Gentiles" has reference to Gentile blessing an opportunity in this
age, so that the "fulness of the Gentiles" will come in just before
the times of the Gentiles run out, that is, just before the rapture of
the Church. That idea is not scriptural, is nothing short of a wild
guess, and totally misses the mark. The "fulness of the Gentiles be
come in" marks the beginning of the times of the Gentiles, rather than
the end. In A.D.70, the house of Israel was left desolate. The times
of Israel came to an abrupt end. Now, with the times of Israel ended,
the times of the Gentiles began. The times of Israel and the times of
the Gentiles never ran concurrently. When one ended, the other began,
and vice versa. Bible scholars believe that the times of the Gentiles
began with Gentile political dominance sometime in the days of Old
Babylon. Not so. When God established the priesthood nation of Israel,
it continued unbroken throughout all its history, even at times when in
captivity to Gentile nations. There was always Israel, and they were
always God's people, even when there was only a remnant. When the Lord
Jesus Christ visited Israel they were in their day (Luke 19:42).
The "fulness of the Gentiles be come in" means exactly what it seems
to mean: it was the time when the fulness of the power and stature of
the Gentiles came to be, as contrasted to the power of the holy
people, the Israelites, which now was scattered. We needn't guess when
that happened; the Scriptures pinpoint the time for us in Isaiah 6, verses 11, and 12.
The blindness ended with the nation. After that there was no Israel,
no Jews, and no judicial blindness.
"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 UNTO THEM, WHEN I SHALL TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS" (ROM. 11:26-27).
Dispensationalists understand that not every Israelite will be saved.
But some think that "all Israel" means the nation as a whole. Quite
the opposite. The nation perished, and only a remnant was saved. But a
far worse error is the belief that some day in the future the
Deliverer shall come out of Sion and shall turn away ungodliness from
Jacob. That concept belittles the fact that the Deliverer had
already come out of Sion, suffered and died on the cross, took away
their sins, and turned away ungodliness from Jacob. That was 2000
years ago. Paul writes, "It is written..." and it shouldn't be
difficult to see that if it was written, then to him that originally
wrote it, the event was to be future, thus it was proper to say that
the Deliverer SHALL do such and such. But if Christ hadn't taken away
the sins from Jacob 2000 years ago, then He must return, and be
crucified all over again. This is near to blasphemy.
"FOR GOD HATH CONCLUDED THEM ALL IN UNBELIEF, THAT HE MIGHT HAVE MERCY UPON ALL" (ROM. 11:32).
It is important to understand that God concluded only all Israel in
unbelief, so that He might have mercy upon all. He did not, as some
Bible expositors believe, "shut up all men in disobedience, so that He could
show mercy to all." I have no idea what that means.
The first "ALL" in this verse are the Jews, of which Paul was writing about in the previous context verses. God concluded them all in unbelief, in other words, He made them, spiritually, just like Gentiles. He did not conclude Gentiles in unbelief, Gentiles are born that way to begin with.
Not so the Jews. Jews were born into the family of God, they were natural children of God. Paul hints at this: "We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the
Gentiles, 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. 2:15-16). He says, "even we [even we Jews] have
believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of
Christ, and not by the works of the law..."
If there remains the question as to who are the children of the
promise, Paul gives the answer: "But the Scripture hath CONCLUDED ALL
UNDER SIN, THAT THE PROMISE BY FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST MIGHT BE GIVEN TO THEM THAT BELIEVE. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed,
and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:22,29). This truth is
repeated here in verse 32. "For God hath concluded them all in
unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all" It is not as the NASV
renders it, "But the Scripture shut up all men under sin..." (Gal.
3:22), or "For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show
mercy to all" (Rom 11:32). These translators apparently copied the
"shut up" from the A.V. in Gal. 3:23, and used it where ever they
thought to change the wording of the A.V., even when they apparently
didn't understand the meaning. It would be totally absurd to "shut up all men
under sin" in order to show them mercy, or, in other words, make everyone sin in order to show them mercy. The meaning of Paul's statement is clear when all relevant Scriptures are considered: Because of the persistent unbelief of Israel, and because God had made up His mind to do away with the nation and erase the special inborn
status of the Jews, He concluded all Jews in unbelief, so that He
might have mercy on all, Jew and Gentile alike, through faith in Jesus
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