¶ 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.
.2 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,
3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
.4 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.
.5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
- Remnant Just as in the story of Elijah, it looked like
Israel had fallen but a remnant were faithful.
6 - No more of works The people in general had been taught that salvation would come from following the system. Those who accepted Christ did so against the word of the leaders, thus leaving their works behind. The remnant were "elect" by grace. This did not leave them to be disobedient. Works is the evidence of salvation by grace through faith ja0218.
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the
election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
8 (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.
.9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:
10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
|7 - Blinded Also 2th0211.|
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.
.12 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?
.13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
15 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?
16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
- Through their fall salvation ... Gentiles It was persecution
of the infant Christian church and the stoning of Sephen that launched
the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles.
12 - Fullness A strong reception of the Messiah by the Jews would have been a strength for ministry to the Gentiles. "Fullness," playroma, in a spiritual setting would be completeness. In the grafting-in metaphor v17, this means being completely or perfectly united with the tree trunk.
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive
tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and
fatness of the olive tree;
18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
.20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, [Do not be conceited, NASB] but fear: See ro1304.
21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
22 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.
23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
- Branches broken off Reference again to the apostasy of
the Jewish nation. Grafting is into the good olive tree v24. The olive
tree metaphor comes from Isaiah 17 is1704-7.
The passage shows the unfaithfulness of Israel (as Jacob) and the results.
17 - Olive tree We need to notice our perspective here. Paul is clarifying that Israel's failure as a nation does not mean that they are hopelessly lost. Is the tree Israel? Yes and no. In the previous chapter (and elsewhere) Paul clarified that there is no distinction between Jews and Greeks. (Greeks were the main group of Gentiles in Paul's world) ro1012. They are the same to Christ. Paul is here addressing people who were thinking in terms of their ethnic distinctions and wants to avoid either group from feeling that they now have or have lost God's favor. In the immediate context the tree is Israel, but God never intended that Israel should be saved in any way different from anyone else. Their distinction was that they had been given truth and were to convert the world is6001. Thus the tree is the body of Christ (His followers), as Israel was to have been ep0306. Also remember that the infant church was principally ethnic Jews who accepted their Messiah ac1314, ac1401, ac0108.
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.
.26 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:
27. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
- Blindness until The Hebrew for "blindness" is porosis
is better translated "hardness." Refusing light, the Jews were less receptive
to truth. Individuals, of course, could be and were grafted into the olive
25 - Fullness of the Gentiles This verse has been the seed for interpretations not supported by Scripture. What does the verse mean? See note below.
26 - All Israel Paul does not teach universal salvation (See note below), so what does he mean here? "Israel" is God's people, those who follow the Messiah of Israel ro1013, 1co0121, ro0229, mt1128, ro1009. Being a blood descendant of Abraham is not (and never was) a criteria for salvation ga0329. Spiritual Israel here are the finally saved ones. The concept of all Israel being saved is in the OT and included the Gentiles. See the bottom of this page.
26 - As it is written Compare the text in Isaiah is5920,1.
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching
the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.
.29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
.30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
.32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
- Enemies ... beloved In Christ they were one.
29 - Gifts From charismata. "gifts of free grace." ro0515, ro0623.
32 - Concluded Or "committed" or "consigned." If this meant that some could not be saved, there would be no reason for "mercy upon all." We are all natural sinners without hope ro0323. Here God recognizes that.
¶ 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!
34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
.36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
|33 - Depth of the riches And yet He loves us personally! ps14503. Following from the context, His ability to save us and still be just are "ways past finding out." Praise His holy name.|
What do we know from Paul's teaching elsewhere?
He does not teach universal salvation 1co0118, ro0132.
He teaches that, in Christ, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile ro1012, col0311.
By exploring the meaning of the olive tree we see that it is the body of Christ. Follow links for the texts in this chapter. v17.
The fullness of the Gentiles comes with the fullness of the Jews. There is no spiritual distinction. The saved as "Israel" are the faithful ones at the end of time re0704a. You and I may choose to be part of that fully grafted company who is ready for the coming of our Lord and Saviour.
A concept of Israel
from the sanctuary
Paul did not quote the idea of all Israel being saved, but it is from a basic understanding of the Sanctuary services. The Day of Atonement was the next-to-last special day on the Sanctuary calendar le2327-31. The final day was the feast of tabernacles le2334 which represents the rejoicing in the promised land after crossing the Jordan. In turn that rejoicing points forward to our home in heaven after Jesus comes. The Day of Atonement was the time when the high priest was in the most holy place ministering for the people le16. This special day therefore represents a judgment time. We see this because Christ comes with His reward based on behavior re2211,4. All the people, who would have included those from the mixed multitude who were Egyptians who had accepted Israel's God ex1238, were to humble their hearts all during that day le1629,0. Salvation was only in the God of Israel. Those who were not ethnic Hebrews (later called Jews) were thus part of Israel. Those who did not do so would be cut off from the camp. At the end of that day Israel was only those who had been obedient and trusted the ministry of the high priest (representing Christ). Of course, the next year the whole plan of salvation in the sanctuary system would be played out again beginning with Passover – coming out from slavery to sin.