Romans 11. God will end Israel’s temporary rejection with Israel’s regathering and salvation.

Summary

Paul concludes his comments about his beloved Israel. Though Israel is now under God’s discipline he has not rejected her. Even now God has a remnant of believers, while he hardens those who do not believe him and allows them to go their own way. Meanwhile God is working with Gentiles and many are being saved. The olive tree illustration teaches that Israel, the cultivated tree, had branches broken off and branches from the wild olive tree (Gentiles) were grafted in. The reason was unbelief by Israel and faith by the Gentiles. But the Gentiles must not become arrogant because of their blessings. When Israel believes God’s promise of righteousness through Christ, she will be grafted back into the olive tree. Meanwhile God continues his partial hardening of Israel until he has completed his work with the Gentiles. At that time all Israel, the believing remnant, will be saved. They are God’s choice beloved people. God wants to show mercy. Paul concludes with an exclamation of God’s wisdom, knowledge, and judgments. All glory is God’s glory.

Amplified outline

God will regather Israel’s grace remnant for blessing

Israel’s temporary rejection, foreknown by God, will end with regathering and salvation

  1. Romans 11:1-10. God always preserves a grace remnant of Israel, a small number of people who understand grace and accept salvation through faith. Paul, an Israelite, is proof of that. His generation was like the days of Elijah, when only a portion of Israel believed the Lord. The Israel of Paul’s day were seeking God’s blessing by works, not faith, and so were hardened against the truth. Even so, God has not rejected Israel as his choice people.
  2. Romans 11:11-16. Israel stumbled over Messiah Jesus by unbelief, but her stumble was not a permanent fall. God used her stumble to focus his attention on Gentiles—Gentile’s salvation and their part (the church) in his kingdom, and by that to provoke Israel to the faith relationship to God. Eventually Israel will be brought back to life. Israel began holy with Abraham (the first piece and the root) and will remain holy (the lump and the branches).
  3. Romans 11.17-24. The olive tree illustration shows Israel to be the natural branches, some of which were broken off for unbelief, and Gentiles to be the wild branches which were grafted in for their faith. The wild branches share in the benefits that come from the root, but they must not be conceited because God can discipline them for unbelief. If the natural branches, Israel, believe God’s message he will graft them back and restore Israel to prominence after He completes His plan with the Gentiles.
  4. Romans 11.25-32. Paul has demonstrated that God can restore Israel. Now he says that God will restore Israel to prominence after He completes His plan with the Gentiles. The present hardening of Israel is partial and temporary. When God has completed the fullness of the Gentiles, Messiah will return to Jerusalem, save Israel spiritually and physically, fulfill his covenants to her, and bless her. They are God’s choice people (his priest nation) and he will not revoke his call of them. He will show mercy to Israel just as he has shown mercy to Gentiles.
  5. Romans 11:33-36. God’s wisdom, knowledge, judgments, and ways are rich with blessing and beyond our understanding. We cannot advise God nor deserve anything from him. God is infinitely wonderful and all glory belongs to him.

Chapter 11 Exposition

God will regather Israel’s grace remnant for blessing

Israel’s temporary rejection, foreknown by God,

will end with regathering and salvation.

  1. Romans 11:1-10. God always preserves a grace remnant of Israel, a small number of people who understand grace and accept salvation through faith. Paul, an Israelite, is proof of that. His generation was like the days of Elijah, when only a portion of Israel believed the Lord. The Jews of Paul’s day were seeking God’s blessing by works, not faith, and so were hardened against the truth. Even so, God has not rejected Israel as his choice people.
    1. Romans 11:1. Paul, who is an Israelite and a believer, shows that God has not permanently rejected Israel.
    2. Romans 11:2-4. God, by his omniscience, knew of Israel’s continuing unbelief, yet he always preserves a remnant who believe him just as he did for the remnant of believers in Elijah’s time.
    3. Romans 11: 5-6. God chose the nation Israel based solely upon his grace, not by any works Israel has done or not done. Israel receives this special grace because Abraham believed God, and God credited that faith to him as righteousness and chose to make Israel his "lighthouse" nation, his priest nation.
    4. Romans 11:7-10. Israel was seeking righteousness (Romans 10:3-6) by works and not by grace. Only those believing God’s promise were the chosen ones. The rest were hardened against God. Paul illustrates the continuing hardness of Israel against obedience to God, even to Paul’s own day, by quoting the historical precedents found in Isaiah 29:10 and Psalm 69:22-23. God hardened Israel in its unbelief, an unbelief that, as David puts it about his own enemies, “will trap them,” but which Paul applies to the modern Israelite
  2. Romans 11:11-16. Israel stumbled over Messiah Jesus by unbelief, but her stumble was not a permanent fall. God used her stumble to focus his attention on Gentiles—Gentile’s salvation and their part (the church) in his kingdom, and by that to provoke Israel to the faith relationship to God. Eventually Israel will be brought back to life. Israel began holy with Abraham (the first piece and the root) and will remain holy (the lump and the branches).
    1. Romans 11:11. Israel’s stumbling (patio, πταιω stumble, trip) will not result in total failure. God used their transgression (parapto̅ma, παραπτωμα), which was rejection of Messiah, to enlarge his work with Gentiles and by that to make Israel jealous enough to turn to Messiah.
    2. Romans 11:12. Not only does Israel’s partial failure—its transgression and failure or loss (its transgression, paraptoma παραπτωμα; its loss, hettema `ηττημα) result in blessing for Gentiles, it will also result in greater blessing for Israel. A remnant will turn to Messiah in the future (Romans 11:26).
    3. Romans 11:13-14. Paul is directing these comments to Gentile believers in Rome since God has called him to be an apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 15:15-16), and by his ministry to them he hopes that some of Israel will gain righteousness by faith in Messiah.
    4. Romans 11:15. Israel’s rejection of reconciliation brought reconciliation to the world, but when Israel accepts Messiah she will gain individual and national life and blessing.
    5. Romans 11:16. Paul introduces two illustrations representing Israel: dough and a root. The beginning of leavening of the dough (first piece, firstfruit, aparche̅, απαρχη) affects the rest. The root of the tree refers to Israel beginning with Abraham. Paul is introducing the idea that Israel is still God’s holy people and though she is in unbelief while Gentiles believe, she will not be replaced from her holy position.
  3. Romans 11.17-24. The olive tree illustration shows Israel to be the natural branches, some of which were broken off for unbelief, and Gentiles to be the wild branches which were grafted in for their faith. The wild branches share in the benefits that come from the root, but they must not be conceited because God can discipline them for unbelief. If the natural branches, Israel, believe God’s message he will graft them back and restore Israel to prominence after He completes His plan with the Gentiles.
    1. Verse 17-Israel is the cultivated olive tree. Gentiles are from the wild olive tree. Some branches of the cultivated tree were broken off because of unbelief. Some wild branches were grafted into the cultivated tree because of faith and became partakers (partners, sharers, sugkoinonos, συγκοινωνος) of the spiritual blessings from Abraham.
    2. Romans 11:18-20. Paul warns the Gentile believers not to become arrogant. The root, Israel from Abraham, is the basis for blessing. Verse 19. Gentiles might be led to brag as a result saying that branches [unbelieving Israelites] were broken off the cultivated olive tree [temporarily set aside as a nation by God] so they [Gentiles] might be grafted in. Verse 20. But Israel was broken off because they did not believe in Messiah. Gentiles have opportunity for relationship and blessings from God when they believe God about his Messiah.
    3. Romans 11:21. Therefore Gentiles, do not think too highly of yourselves because just as has happened to the Jews in being broken off, so you too as a group can also be broken off from opportunity for blessing if you do not believe in Messiah.
    4. Romans 11:22. God will be severe [to discipline] to those who do not believe him and kind to those who believe him. Remember the context is Israel as a group on one hand and Gentiles as a group on the other hand. I do not think he is speaking about individuals here.
    5. Romans 11:23. They [Israel] will be grafted back in to the cultivated olive tree when they believe God.
    6. Romans 11:24. If you Gentiles were grafted into the cultivated tree, surely the branches of the cultivated olive tree will certainly be grafted back into its own tree (when they believe in Messiah.
  4. Romans 11.25-32. Paul has demonstrated that God can restore Israel. Now he says that God will restore Israel to prominence after He completes His plan with the Gentiles. The present hardening of Israel is partial and temporary. When God has completed the fullness of the Gentiles, Messiah will return to Jerusalem, save Israel spiritually and physically, fulfill his covenants to her, and bless her. They are God’s choice people (his priest nation) and he will not revoke his call of them. He will show mercy to Israel just as he has shown mercy to Gentiles.
    1. Romans 11:25. This partial hardening of Israel will last until the fulness of the Gentiles arrives. This fulness is when God has completed his work with Gentiles as a people separate from Israel (Zechariah 12-13; Romans 11.12; Luke 21:23–24; Acts 15:14).
    2. Romans 11:26-27. National Israel will be regathered, saved, and restored to her place of prominence in God’s plan [because the nation will turn in faith to Messiah]. Paul refers to Isaiah 59:20-21 and Jeremiah 31:33-34 to support what he has said. Those prophecies say that God will send his Redeemer to deliver Israel and fulfill God’s covenants with Israel. In the context of Isaiah and Jeremiah this refers to the time Messiah will return to earth at his second coming. This is the time when the cultivated branches will be grafted back into the tree.
    3. Romans 11:28-29. Israel remains to our own day God’s choice people because he has promised that honor to her patriarchs; and right now though they seem to be God’s enemies because he has temporarily set them aside to bless the Gentiles, God will not revoke his calling of Israel.
    4. Romans 11:30. Gentiles as a group in the past were disobedient (apeitheia απειθεια) and not the direct object of God’s plan but now God shows them mercy (eleeo̅, ελεεω, have mercy, compassion, pity) while Israel is disobedient in unbelief.
    5. Romans 11:31. God will show mercy to disobedient Israel just as he now shows mercy to the Gentiles.
    6. Romans 11:32. God shut up (sugkleio̅, συγκλειω, to enclose, confine, shut) all Israel and Gentiles under condemnation because of their disobedience (apeitheia, απειθεια) so that he may show mercy to all [by declaring them righteous through their faith].
  5. Romans 11:33-36. God’s wisdom, knowledge, judgments, and ways are rich with blessing and beyond our understanding. We cannot advise God nor deserve anything from him. God is infinitely wonderful and all glory belongs to him.
    1. Romans 11:33. God and His wisdom, knowledge, judgments, and ways are infinitely wonderful and above mankind.
    2. Romans 11:34-35. No one instructs God or is in his debt, and all [good] comes from him.
    3. Romans 11:36. Because everything in creation [except sin] is from God, operates through God’s order, and exists for God, all glory is therefore his.
  6. Select key words and doctrines from Romans 11.
    1. Abraham (Romans 11:1). Tf219, 467
    2. Foreknow (Romans 11:2).tf319-320
    3. Israel, Israelite (Romans 11:1, 2, 7, 25, 26). f357-360
    4. Remnant (Romans 11:5). tf436
    5. Reject Israel (Romans 11.2,15).
    6. National resurrection (Romans 11.15).
    7. Faith, unbelief (Romans 11:20, 23).tf310
    8. Choice, chosen (Romans 11:5, 7, 28).
    9. Hardened, hardening (Romans 11:7, 25). tf410
    10. Save (Romans 11.14, 26).tf459-461
    11. Reconciliation (Romans 11:15).tf21,430-432
    12. First part-lump, root-branches, Olive tree and branches (Romans 11:16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 24).
    13. Fullness of the Gentiles (Romans 11.25). tf8
    14. Covenants, New Covenant (Romans 11:27). tf7
    15. Gifts and calling (Romans 11.29). sp gifts in Romans 12. Romans 8.28-28, tf449-450
    16. Mercy (Romans 11:30, 31, 32).
    17. God’s nature (Romans 11:33, 34).tf9-11
    18. Glory (Romans 11.36). tf6
  7. Main Points to Remember.
    1. The Israelites are still God’s choice nation and though they are under God’s discipline and hardening due to their unbelief, there is always a remnant of Israeli believers, and in the future after the fullness of the Gentiles Israel will be believe in Messiah, be restored, and blessed by God.
    2. Meanwhile, God is working through all who believe in Messiah, and these are mainly Gentiles. They are grafted into God’s believing kingdom, and make up a new body, the church, which Paul names in Romans 16.1,5,23 and many of his letters.
    3. God is infinitely wonderful and all glory belongs to him. We cannot advise God nor deserve anything from him. Yet he works through and blesses all who believe him.