God's Far Reaching Plan
vv. 1-10 are God's faithful remnant people.
vv. 11-36 is God's far reaching plan.
The Jews' fall has enabled God through His providence to open the gates of salvation wide to the Gentiles. The Jew will see the reality of salvation of the Gentiles, that they are experiencing the blessings of God which the Jew thought could come only to him. This should move him to emulation, not 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. 11:12].
Now since their setting aside has brought the grace of God to Gentiles, what about the grace of God toward the Gentiles after the Jews are received again? It will be multiplied.
Did you know that the greatest “revival” took place on this earth before the church got here. A man by the name of Jonah went into the city of Nineveh and saw the entire city turn to God. It is true that there was a great turning to God on the Day of Pentecost (which marks the beginning of the church), but what was the percentage? Pentecost was a feast in Jerusalem to which all male Israelites were required to go—there must have been several hundred thousand Jews in the area of Jerusalem. How many were saved? Well, judging from the record, there were probably about ten thousand who were saved after the first few days of preaching. That is actually a small percentage. [EE – TAOW]
And I believe that the greatest revival will take place after the church leaves this earth. Actually, the church has not done too well. I believe that after the church has been raptured, multitudes of Gentiles will turn to God—not only in the Great Tribulation period, but in the Millennium. Gentile nations will enter the Millennium, and many of them are going to like the rule of Christ, and they will turn to God during that period.
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 [Rom. 11:13-14].
In other words, Paul says, in effect, “I am an apostle to the Gentiles, and I rejoice in that. But as I preach to the Gentiles, I hope it will move many of my own people to turn to Christ also.” Paul, you remember, wrote to the Corinthians, “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law” (1Cor. 9:20).
This is the reason Paul went to Jerusalem with his head shaven—he was trying to win his people to Christ. Should he have done this since he lived under grace? Living under grace means that he could do it if he wanted to. In his letter to the Corinthians he continued, “To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law” (1Cor. 9:21). In other words, he was obeying Christ. Then Paul says, “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1Cor. 9:22). He was first of all fulfilling his office as an apostle to the Gentiles, and in so doing, he was trying to move his Jewish brethren to turn to Christ. Some turned to Christ—only a few—but some. In all of this Paul was fulfilling his ministry, and God was accomplishing His purpose in this age with both Jew and Gentile.
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? [Rom. 11:15].
It is wonderful to anticipate the future. I think the greatest days are ahead of us. From man’s point of view, the future is dark. Man has gotten his world in a mess. But my God is on the throne, and He is going to straighten it out. The greatest days are yet in the future. Oh, the glorious future a child of God has. If I were not a dignified preacher, I would say Hallelujah!
For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches [Rom. 11:16].
You may recall that in the Book of Numbers, God said, “Of the first of your dough ye shall give unto the Lord an heave offering in your generations” (Num. 15:21). “Dough,” of course, is bread dough! A part of the dough was offered to God as a token that all of it was acceptable.
The “firstfruit” evidently refers to the origin of the nation: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Now if the firstfruit, or the first dough—that little bit of dough—was set apart for God, what about the whole harvest? Since Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were set apart for God, what about the nation? It all belongs to God, you see. God is not through with the nation Israel.
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].
You and I benefit because of the nation Israel. That is the reason I could never be anti-Semitic. I owe too much to them as a nation.
Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in [Rom. 11:18-19].
The “olive tree” is a picture of the nation Israel, and the “wild olive” is the church. Everything you and I have is rooted in the fact that God called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and that out of the nation Israel He brought Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Lord.
Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear [Rom. 11:20].
Now Paul gives a word of warning.
For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee [Rom. 11:21].
Since God did not spare the nation Israel when they apostatized, the argument is that He will not spare an apostate church. I am more and more convinced that most of the churches today will go into the Great Tribulation. “Some churches will meet on the Sunday morning after the Rapture, and they won’t miss a member.” [George Gill speaking about Laodicea]
In contrast to this, He says to the church of Philadelphia, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation [that is, the Tribulation], which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10).
Now we will see that the restoration of the nation Israel will bring the greatest blessing.
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. 11:22].
These are stern words. Paul calls upon the Gentiles to behold two examples. Rejected Israel reveals the severity of God, but to the Gentiles who have turned to God, the benevolent goodness of God is revealed. These two sides of God need to be revealed today: the judgment of God against the rejection of Christ against sin, and the grace of God to those that will trust Christ.
And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again [Rom. 11:23].
Since God accepted Gentiles who had no merit, surely God can restore Israel who likewise has no merit.
“Again” is the key word. God will again restore Israel. The Old Testament makes it very clear that Israel is going to turn to God again. As an example, read Jeremiah 23:3-8, which is one of the many remarkable prophecies of the restoration of Israel. Zechariah speaks of this: “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zech. 12:10). This will be the great Day of Atonement. They will turn to God in repentance, and God will save them just as He saves us—by His marvelous, infinite mercy and grace.
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. 11:24].
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].
“The fulness of the Gentiles” began with the calling out of the church. “God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15:14). It will continue until the rapture of the church.
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].
When Paul says “all Israel shall be saved,” he does not mean every individual Israelite will be saved. It is the nation he has before us in this chapter. In every age, only a remnant is saved. The quotation Paul uses is from Isaiah 59:20 in the Old Testament: “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.” The message to the individual is that he will have to “turn from transgression” to the Lord. There will be a remnant that will turn to Him. All of them will be saved. He speaks of the saved remnant as the nation Israel.
There is always only a remnant that is saved. There was a remnant in Elijah’s day; there was a remnant in David’s day; there was a remnant in Paul’s day; there is a remnant in our day; and there will be a remnant during the Great Tribulation period.
For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy [Rom. 11:30-31].
Just as God showed mercy to the Gentiles, He will show mercy to the nation Israel.
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all [Rom. 11:32].
What is the reason that the nation Israel will be restored? The answer is locked away in the wisdom of God. We're not gonna figure this one out completely in this life.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! [Rom. 11:33].
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? [Rom. 11:34-35].
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen [Rom. 11:36].
“Of Him” means God is the all-sufficient cause and source of everything.
“Through Him” means God is the mighty sustainer and worker.
“Unto Him” means God must call every creature to account to Him. All things flow toward God.
“To whom be glory”—the glory belongs to Him in all ages.
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