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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Romans 11

 

 

Verses 1-36

Israel’s Restoration.

CHAPTER 11

(“The Jewish Question”, by A. C. G., gives a complete exposition of this great chapter.)

1. God Hath not Cast Away His People. (Romans 11:1.)

2. Israel’s Apostasy not Complete; a Remnant Saved. (Romans 11:2-6.)

3. Israel’s Blindness for a Season. (Romans 11:7-10.)

4. To Provoke Them to Jealousy. (Romans 11:11.)

5. Their Fulness and Reception Life from the Dead. (Romans 11:12-15.)

6. The Parable of the Two Olive Trees. (Romans 11:16-24.)

7. A Mystery Made Known. All Israel Saved. (Romans 11:25-32. )

8. The Doxology. (Romans 11:33-36.)

Romans 11:1

In view of the preceding chapter on Israel’s rejection, the question is asked “Hath God cast away His People?” Is there nothing more in store for national Israel? God forbid. If it were so, God’s gifts and calling would be subject to repentance and He would not be the faithful, covenant-keeping God. He foreknew His people Israel and that foreknowledge embraced all their sad history of failure and apostasy. The Apostle Paul speaks of himself as an Israelite of the seed of Abraham. He demonstrates in his own experience the fact that God hath not cast away His people. Hating Christ, having zeal for God without knowledge, a persecutor of the church, he had obtained mercy that in him Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him (1 Timothy 1:16). His unique conversion must be looked upon as a prophetic type of the conversion of the remnant of Israel, when the Lord comes. As Saul of Tarsus saw Him in the glory-light, so the Israel living in the day of the second Coming of Christ will behold Him (Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7). This vision will result in their national conversion.

Romans 11:2-6

The time of Elias was one of the darkest Periods of their history. it seemed as if the whole nation had apostatized from God. Elias had this conception when he complained in his despondency. “They have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.” The Lord told him then that there were seven thousand men who had not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. The apostasy of Israel was not a complete apostasy. The Lord had preserved a faithful remnant. Even so at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. In the beginning of this present age there was in existence a distinctive Jewish remnant. This Jewish-Christian remnant in the beginning of the dispensation was an evidence that God had not cast away His people. A similar remnant of believing Jews will be called for a definite work and testimony during the end of the age. And throughout this Christian dispensation it has been abundantly demonstrated that God has not cast away His ancient people, for thousands of them have been saved by grace and have become members of the body of Christ.

Romans 11:7-10

When the apostle speaks here of the election he has in view the believing part of the nation at all times, the remnant past, the future remnant and all those who believe in Christ now. When he speaks of the rest being blinded he means the unbelieving part of the nation. Judicial blindness has come upon them for their unbelief. Three quotations are given from the Old Testament showing that the Lord foreknew their unbelief and predicted the judgment which was to come upon the nation (Deuteronomy 29:4; Isaiah 29:10 and Psalms 69:22-24). A careful study of these chapters will show that the threatened judgments and the judicial blindness are not permanent. All the Prophets and many of the prophetic Psalms reveal the fact that the judgments which have come upon the people are for a season only and that there is glory and blessing in store for them. The curses pronounced upon them have found their literal fulfillment; the unfulfilled promises of blessing and glory will also be literally fulfilled and Israel will be saved and restored to their land.

Romans 11:11

The setting aside of Israel is not final; their present blindness is not their permanent condition. But have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid. They stumbled over Him in whom they saw no beauty and whom they did not desire. They received Him not, who had come to His own. But this did not result in their complete fall. God in His infinite wisdom and all-wise purpose brought by their fall salvation to the Gentiles to provoke them to jealousy. In this statement we see again that God has not cast away His people Israel. If He had cast them away, why should He wish to provoke them to jealousy? And this provoking to jealousy is with the intent that some of them might be saved (Romans 11:14).

Romans 11:12-15

And now the Apostle of the Gentiles addresses us Gentiles. “I speak to you Gentiles.” It is a message of much importance. The fall of Israel was the riches of the world, the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles (Romans 11:13); the casting away was the reconciling of the world. Thus blessing, great blessing came to the Gentiles by Israel’s unbelief and fall. But this is not all. All this is far from accomplishing the promise made to the father of the nation, when God said to Abraham “In thy seed all the nations of the earth shall be blest.” Israel’s fall, the means in God’s purpose to bring salvation to the Gentiles, is not the final thing, and the blessings the Gentiles received by their fall is not the fullest blessing which God has in store for the world. Much more is in store for the world in blessing through Israel’s restoration. To Israel is promised in the Old Testament a time of fulness, a time when they shall be taken back. Their time of fulness comes when Christ returns in power and in glory. If then God brought blessing to the Gentiles by their fall, how far greater will be the blessings for the world, when their time of fulness has come. It will be life from the dead. Israel is now nationally and spiritually dead. They will be nationally and spiritually made alive (see Ezekiel 37:1-17; Ezekiel 39:25-29; Hosea 5:15; Hosea 6:1-5). And the whole world comes in for blessing then. The nations will be converted and the kingdom will be set up on earth (see Zechariah 2:10-13).

Romans 11:16-24

The parable of the two olive trees illustrates great dispensational facts and contains solemn warnings for Christendom. The good olive tree typifies Israel in covenant relation with God in the Abrahamic covenant. The olive tree is evergreen; and so is the covenant, unchangeable. Israel’s faithlessness and disobedience cannot annul it. The root is Abraham, who was holy, separated unto God. On account of unbelief some of the branches were broken off. They are now separated from the good olive tree and are withered. The wild olive tree is a picture of the Gentiles. The branches of this wild olive tree are grafted among the branches of the good olive tree to partake of the root and fatness of the good olive tree. The wild olive tree branches grafted upon the good olive tree do not represent the true church. The Gentiles are meant by it, who are, after Israel’s unbelief, put upon the ground of responsibility which Israel had, to partake now of the promised covenant blessings. The grafted in branches represent the Christian profession, Christendom, as we call it. The grafted in branches are solemnly warned. They are not to boast, not to be high-minded; they must abide in goodness. If the warning is unheeded they will not be spared but cut off. And when that happens God will graft in again the natural branches into their own olive tree if they no longer abide in unbelief. God is able to do this. He can and will put back Israel into their former relation. It is prophetic. Christendom is exactly that which is here warned against--boasting, high-minded, not abiding in goodness, in one word, apostate. The unbelief and failure of professing Christendom is as great, if not greater than the unbelief and failure of Israel. The time will come when God will not spare, but execute judgment upon Christendom. He will spew Laodicea out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). Then the hour of Israel’s restoration has come.

Romans 11:25-32

A mystery is made known. Blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. The fulness of the Gentiles means, the full number of the saved, gathered out from among the Gentiles, who constitute the church, the body of Christ. And when the body is joined to the Head in glory, the time of the coming of the Lord for His Saints (1 Thessalonians 4:17), the Lord will turn again to Israel. All Israel, that is, the all Israel living in the day will be saved, when the Deliverer comes out of Zion (Isaiah 59:20; Psalms 14:7). It is the second, visible, personal and glorious coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob and take away their sins. Between the coming of the Lord for the Saints, who will meet Him in the air, and His coming in great power and glory, are the days of Jacob’s trouble, when the nation will have to pass through the fires of tribulation and the wicked among Israel will be cut off. And after He has come and has taken away their sins, all the great prophecies of Israel’s earthly glory will be fulfilled. Romans 11:33-36.--A doxology closes this dispensational section of the epistle. What depths of riches, both of wisdom and knowledge of God, in His merciful dealings with the Gentiles and the Jews! How unsearchable His judgments! How untraceable His ways! For of Him, and through Him and to Him are all things to whom be glory forever. Amen.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Romans 11:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/romans-11.html. 1913-1922.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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