Romans 11:25-28

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Dr. Walter, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. Dr. Walter

    Dr. Walter
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    Rom. 11:25 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.

    1. Paul is addressing "brethren" at Rome which is predominantly a GENTILE congregation as the words that immediately follow prove - "ye should be wise in your own conceits" and that the preceding pronouns prove:

    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?

    In verses 21-24 the contrast is between "thee" defined as GENTILES versus "them" who in context had been "cut off" and thus are the ethnic nation of Israel.

    2. He is addressing what he calls a "mystery" or something previously hidden but now made manifest. The mystery is that ETHNIC ISRAEL has entered into PARTIAL blindness. Partial in regard to time and quantity. In regard to time, it is a PRESENT state of Israel or during the "until the fullness of the GENTILES be come in." In regard to quantity, it is not ALL Israel that are blind but only the majority of Israel as a nation, that which has been "cut off" rather than the "remnant" of Israel.

    3. This is ethnic "Israel" because they are placed in contrast to Gentiles in the preceding context above (vv. 22-24 "thee" versus "them") and in this text they are also placed in contrast with "Gentiles" or "ye."

    4. The purpose for their present PARTIAL blindness is clearly stated. They will remain in blindness "Until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" - meaning until all the promised seed among the Gentile nations be saved. This interpretation is born out in the preceding context by the following words:


    11 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.

    Paul is explicitly denying they should fall completely but rather this is a mere time of "stumbling" for a stated purpose - the very same stated purpose given in verse 25 - that the elect among the gentile nations should be saved. However, that stated purpose has a TIME LIMITATION in the words "UNTIL the FULLNESS of the Gentiles be come in."

    Moreover, the ISRAEL that has stumbled in verse 11 is the same Israel that "should not fall" utterly but has suffered only TEMPORARY blindness in verse 25. They "should not fall" completely and permenantly because after God's stated purpose for cutting them off is completed then "all Israel shall be saved" that is all Israel that stumbled, all Israel that suffered partial blindness, all Israel as a nation.
     
  2. Andre

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    I agree with everything you post here except for the very last sentence.

    I do not think that Paul is in any sense predicting any large-scale "salvation" of ethnic Israel at some point in the future.

    The arguments for this are complicated, but the following verse, all by itself, casts into strong doubt the notion that Paul is predicting a future salvation for the nation of Israel:

    And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again

    Paul is acutely aware of the possiblity that the nation of Israel will, in fact, continue in unbelief.

    He therefore cannot be understood as predicting, with any kind of certainty, some future return of the nation of Israel to her God.

    For reasons I will defend in subsequent posts, I believe that the "all Israel" that "will be saved" is actually a reference to the church, not to the nation of Israel.

    Lest readers object - there is clear Biblical precedent, not least in Romans 9, for Paul using the category "Israel" to actually refer to the Jew + Gentile church, and not to the nation of Israel.
     
  3. Andre

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    The following argument is related to the question of settling the matter of who the member of the "Israel" that will be saved from Romans 11 really are. More specifically, I will argue below that we have precedent for Paul using the term "Israel" to refer to the church. And this then opens the possibility that the "Israel" that will be saved (Romans 11) is not "ethnic Israel, but is rather the church.

    Paul maintains two “Israel” categories – the Israel that we normally think of as the genetic descendents of Abraham (via Jacob) and a “true” Israel category that is used to denote the church, whose members may be either Jew or Gentile. I presently defend this claim based on material from early in Romans 9.

    Here is a section of Romans 9 from the NASB:

    But it is not as though the word of God has failed For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "(T)THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED." 8That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.

    I have underlined the first Israel and italicized the second Israel (from verse 6). This is simply a device to make it clear “which Israel” I am referring to in what follows.

    The expression “those who are descended from Israel” clearly refers to ethnic Jews – the descendents of Jacob (who was given the name “Israel”). Now clearly Paul also has an Israel category in mind and, importantly, it is a category distinct from the category of “those who are descended from Israel”. But who are the members of Israel?

    They are clearly the Jew + Gentile family of faith. Some will assert that Israel is a sub-set of “those who are descended from Israel”, but this is highly implausible given the content of Paul’s statements in verse 7 and 8. Note the general shape of the argument. Paul is arguing against the prevailing view that the “real” or “true” Israel is marked out by matters of genetics – as his readers would think. He sets the whole thing up in terms of the question of who Abraham’s “true” descendents are, with Israel and “those who are descended from Israel” as the two candidates to be slotted in as these “true” descendents. And he clearly suggests that is not “those who are descended from Israel” who are this true Israel, but rather that Israel is this true Israel.

    Structurally, we really forced into concluding that “the children of the promise” (verse 8) are the members of Israel, the descendents of Abraham in the sense that is really important. This is because Paul introduces these 2 “Israel” categories in verse 6, and then continues to analyze two categories. He has told us that not “those who are descended from Israel” are the not the descendents of Abraham in the sense that matters, so the members of Israel – the only other category on the table, must be those descendents.

    Who are these children of promise, these “true” descendents of Abraham? Are they some sub-set within “those who are descended from Israel”?

    No they are not. From Romans 4:

    For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. 16For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is (the father of us all, …

    Remembering that “those who are of the Law” are Jews, we can be assured that Paul sees that the “children of the promise” are comprised of both Jew and Gentile.

    Returning to Romans 9, we have now determined that Israel denotes the Jew + Gentile family of faith, that is the church.

    So it is clear that Paul’s Israel category is not limited to ethnic Jews.
     
  4. Dr. Walter

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    The pronouns make your conclusion impossible. The very same ones who have been blinded, rejected, cut off, stumbled are the very same ones that Paul reasons very carefully that such a condition is PARTIAL in regard both to TIME and to EXTENT of the nation.

    1. TIME: The past and present are not conclusive of the future but the future is going to be different and the change comes precisely in the future "until the fullness of the Gentiles be COME IN" then the very same Israel (v. 26) that is spoken of in verse 25 which has been previously defined contextually by all the previous pronouns "them" and "they" and "their" in verses 7-24 will be saved.

    2. EXTENT: it is partial as there is a "remnant" being saved in every generation even presently (v. 5) but in the FUTURE there will be a "fullness" that exceeds the "remnant" idea when "all Israel" will be saved as promised "the fathers" (v. 28) according to election.




    The argument presented by Paul is not complicated but a very clear and developed argument.

    1. Don't think God has cast away the nation Israel because of rebellion against God as that is the same mistake Elijah made (vv. 1-3).

    2. The fact that God always saves a "remnant" then and now proves God has not utterly cast away Israel (vv. 4-5).

    3. The fact that election is by grace without works and it is elective grace that always obtains God's purpose for Israel and therefore their rebellion against God in the past and present is not permenant - (vv. 5-10).

    4. Their present stumbling is not to be understood as a permenant fall - v. 11

    5. Their present stumbling is in keeping with God's overall plan of redemption to temporarily turn from ETHNIC ISRAEL as the sphere of his primary redemptive work unto the sphere of the Gentiles - vv. 12-25

    6. However, Gentiles should not boast over Ethnic Israel because the Gentiles are really recipients of blessings through Israel and if the present stumbling has brought such blessings then think what their restoration to FULLNESS will bring when God grafts them in "again" and God is able to do that if they will turn from unbelief to belief and God will do that because God will turn them from unbelief to belief at the precise time of God's purpose covenant to "the fathers" will occur at His second coming - vv. 22-28.




    Contextually IMPOSSIBLE!

    1. Israel in verse 25 is placed in direct contrast with SAVED "gentiles" or gentiles who do "come in" rather than INCLUSIVE of them.

    2. The same "Israel" in verse 26 is identified as "Jacob" in verse 27 a term NEVER used for Gentiles or for the saved but for REBELLIOUS ethnic Israel as a nation (Mal. 3:6).

    3. The same "Israel" in verse 26 is identified in present tense as "enemies of the gospel" and thus enemies of Gentile believers in verse 28 - the pronouns in verses 26-28 prove this.

    4. The same "Israel" in verse 26 that is NOW "enemies of the gospel" for the sake of SAVED GENTILES is also presently now in regard to election "beloved of God" for the sake of "THE FATHER'S" which has reference to the covenant in verse 26-27.

    5. Verses 25-28 places Israel in CONTRAST to saved Gentiles rather than INCLUSIVE of saved gentiles

    a. "Israel" contrasted to Gentiles that "come in" - v. 25
    b. "Israel" that "shall be saved" in verse 26 presently "enemies of the gospel" and in contrast with saved gentiles - vv. 26-28
     
  5. Andre

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    How do the pronouns make my conclusion impossible?

    As per post 3, we have clear precedent for Paul using the term "Israel" to denote the church, not ethnic Israel.
     
  6. Dr. Walter

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    I have gone to great lengths to prove by the preceding and following context of Romans 9:8 that the two Israel's of the context is between:

    1. ONCE BORN ethnic Israel "according to the flesh"
    2. TWICE BORN ethnic Israel "according to the promise"

    This is proven by verses 1-5 and in particularly verses 3-5 as these verses use terms that prove Paul is talking ONLY about ETHNIC Israel and explicitly says that all these listed blessings "pertaineth" to ETHNIC Israel and it is ETHNIC Israel by repeated descriptions.


    For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
    4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
    5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.


    These repeated descriptions limit Paul's immediate application to ETHNIC Israel.

    This is proven by verses 9-13 as the ONLY examples for the promised children are ETHNIC JEWISH examples and not a single GENTILE (Isaac, Jacob, Esau, Rebecca, Isaac).




    The argument by Paul is that the true Israel of promises in verses 3-5 is ETHNIC Israel but not ONCE BORN ethnic Israel but TWICE born Ethnic Israel or Jews who have a supernatural birth like as unto Isaac and like as unto Jacob. In both births there were something in ADDITION to the physical but the supernatural work of God in both wherein NEITHER Isaac or Jacob were responsible or involved in their birth and neither were their PARENTS in control of their birth.

    In contrast, the birth of Ishmael was purely humanisitic in its planning and carrying out. Not so with the SPIRITUAL ETHNIC ISRAEL within ETHNIC ISRAEL.


    You commit the same major mistake as all who take your position. You forget that Abraham was promised both a "NATION" singular from his own loins and in addition promised to be a father of "NATIONS" plural who were not from his own ethnic loins.

    Here Paul deals with the the promise as it applies to the singular "NATION" from his own loins through Isaac and defines it as the SPIRITUAL ETHNIC ISRAEL in contrast to ETHNIC ISRAEL. However, after establishing the true "Israel" of promise he makes sure his GENTILE readers understand they are also "children of promise" in regard to the promise made to Israel in regard to the PLURAL "nations" and both Spirtiual ethnic Israel and Gentile elect are all EQUALLY "children of promise" BY FAITH and not BY WORKS according to God's purpose of election (Rom. 9:22-24; Rom. 4:16; etc.).


    For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. 16For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is (the father of us all, …


    No, this is simply pure eisgesis and proof texting out of context. Paul has merely proven that not all ETHNIC ISRAEL are children of God but only SPIRITUAL ETHNIC ISRAEL or those TWICE BORN Jews - supernatural born Jews.

    Gentile children of promise have NOTHING to do with the promise to Abraham concerning promised children of his OWN LOINS and of the singular "NATION" but with those not born of his own loins but those of the plural "NATIONS".

    What they have in common is that both SPIRITUAL ETHNIC JEWS and SPIRITUAL GENTILES are children of promise by election of grace through faith and not by works and SUPERNATURAL BIRTH by God.
     
  7. Dr. Walter

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    The pronouns in verses 10-11 prove that it is the SAME ISRAEL in verses 7-10 that is referred to in verse 10-25. Hence, he is not referring to the "remnant" by these pronouns but to ETHNIC ISRAEL as a nation. What has stumbled shall not utterly fall, what has been broken off is what is grafted in "again" (v. 22). What is now temporarily forsaken by God (not the remnant) for the present sake of the gentiles will not be forever forsaken by God but only "UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles be COME IN" (v. 25). Hence, the "Israel" of verse 25 is the Israel of the preceding pronouns in verses 7-24.

    Secondly, the pronouns of verses 25-28 prove that "Israel" does not include Gentile believers. In verse 25 the "Israel" is placed in CONTRAST to Gentiles who "come in." In verses 26-27 the same "Israel" is defined as "Jacob" a term NEVER used of Gentiles and only of ethnic Israel IN REBELLION against God (Mal. 3:10). The pronouns in verses 26-28 prove that the Israel that is PRESENTLY "enemies of the Gospel" is the same "Israel" that "shall" be saved in verse 26 at a FUTURE date and this "Israel" is placed in CONTRAST with SAVED Gentiles in verse 28 rather than INCLUSIVE of those Gentiles. That same "Israel" in verse 28 is presently "elect" and "beloved" in CONNECTION with "the fathers" rather than in connection with the NATIONS or GENTILES.

    I have dealt with that post in detail and proved contextually that your "precedent" does not exist but is something READ INTO the text.
     
  8. Dr. Walter

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    7 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.
    11 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.


    Paul had just previously proven that God has never forsaken Israel because He has always had a "remnant" in the past (vv. 2-4) and now in the present (v. 5) and this remnant is the product of election of grace (vv. 5, 7). As long as there is a "remnant" of elect among ETHNIC ISRAEL this is proof that God has not utterly forsaken Israel. However, the question in verses 1 and 11 is not has God forsaken the "remnant" but has God forsaken ETHNIC ISRAEL as a nation due to their PAST and PRESENT rebellion against God and "enemies of the Gospel"? It is this Israel that is NOW in a STUMBLED condition that is the subject of verses 10-24. The "remnant" Israel is PRESENT PROOF that God has not utterly forsaken "STUMBLED" Israel but has God utterly forsaken "STUMBLED" Israel? Paul resoundingly says "God forbid" to this question in verse 11 as He did in verse 1.

    It is this rebellious ETHNIC ISRAEL described in verses 7-10 that is the subject of Paul in verses 11-28 and the pronouns in verses 10-11 prove this. It is the same Israel that has "stumbled" in verse 7-10 (v. 11) [remnant is put in contrast to the Israel that stumbled in verses 7-10] that God will not allow in the future to utterly "fall" (v. 11).

    The present "fall" is temporary not permenant and it is in keeping with God's purpose of grace to bring in his promised children from among the Gentiles nations (vv. 12-25) and the cutting off is temporary "until the fullness of the gentiles be come in" (v. 25) and then what has been cut off will be grafted in "again." The "remnant" is not what has been cut off.

    Hence, verses 7-11 contrast the "remnant" with Israel as a ETHNIC NATION but it is ETHNIC ISRAEL as a nation and the reason for its present stumbling, being cut off that is the subject of verses 11-28 and the pronouns prove it.
     
    #8 Dr. Walter, Aug 19, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2011

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