God’s plan for Israel
I say then, has God cast off His people? God forbid! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not cast off His people, whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah? How he pleads with God against Israel: 3 Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have destroyed Your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what was the answer of God to him? I have left for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed their knee to Baal. 5 Even so then, at this present time also, there is a remnant, according to the calling of grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no more of works. Otherwise grace is no more grace.
7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The chosen obtained it, but the rest were hardened. 8 According as it is written: God gave them a spirit of stupour, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, to this very day. 9 And David said: Let their table be made a snare and a trap and a stumblingblock and a recompense unto them. 10 Let their eyes be darkened that they may not see, and bend their back forever.
11 I say then, did they stumble that they might fall? God forbid! But by their fall, salvation came to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness?
13 But I speak to you who are Gentiles- inasmuch as I am an apostle of the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy them that are my flesh, and may save some of them. 15 For if the casting away of them is the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? 16 And if the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and did become partaker with them of the root of the fatness of the olive tree- 18 do not boast over the broken branches, for you are but branches too. For if you boast, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root supports you.
19 You will say then: Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in. 20 Well. Because of their unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by your faith. Be not highminded, but fear. 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, neither will He spare you. 22 Behold then the goodness and severity of God: Towards those that fell, severity; but toward you, God's goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also shall be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, shall be grafted in. For God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more appropriately shall these, who are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
The ultimate salvation of Israel
25 Brothers, I would not have you ignorant of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part has befallen Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles is made up. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved. Even as it is written: There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and he shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. 27 And this is My covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins. 28 As touching the gospel, they are enemies for your sake, but as touching their calling, they are beloved for the fathers' sake. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you in time past were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by their disobedience, 31 even so have these also now been disobedient, that by the mercy shown to you, they may also now obtain mercy. 32 For God has shut up all to disobedience, that He might have mercy upon all.
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past tracing out! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counsellor? 35 Or who has given a gift to Him, that he might be repaid? 36 For of Him and through Him and to Him, are all things. To Him be the glory for ever. Amen.
11:2 Against Israel- Elijah didn’t specifically ask God to destroy Israel. He simply told God of what he felt Israel had done to him. But God saw the real request and motive that was behind the words he prayed. God reads our prayers likewise- the Lord Jesus searches our minds and relays our spirit to God, as He intercedes for us in prayer (8:26,27). This is a comfort to those who feel they can’t find the right words in prayer; and a warning, that we can’t impress God with words, for He sees to the real feelings that are behind them, and understands these feelings as our prayer.
11:3 We also can feel alone; when in fact there are more true believers around than we might realize. Elijah felt he was alone because he considered himself better than those other 7000- he didn’t consider them as genuine believers when in fact they were. We can make the same mistake; spiritual elitism leads us to despair and isolation, because we cut ourselves off from the fellowship of others.
11:5 God has ‘elected’ or chosen some people and not others; and this feature of His working is because salvation has to be by His grace and not of our works.
11:22 ‘Once saved always saved’ is simply not taught in the Bible; we must remain faithful to the end (Mt. 10:22).
11:25 The fullness- The full number. There is, it seems, a specific number of Gentiles who must be converted; and then the Jews will respond to the Gospel, at the return of Christ (v. 26). When the Gospel has gone into all the world, then shall the end come (Mt. 24:14). In this sense we can hasten the return of Christ by spreading the Gospel worldwide and encouraging Israel to repent.
11:32 Upon all- Both Jew and Gentile believers.