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Galatians 5:16-23 teaches that at any moment we are either walking by the Holy Spirit or according to the sin nature. Walking by the Spirit, enjoying fellowship with God, walking in the light are virtually synonymous. During these times, the Holy Spirit is working in us to illuminate our minds to the truth of Scripture and to challenge us to apply what we learn. But when we sin, we begin to live based on the sin nature. Our works do not count for eternity. The only way to recover is to confess (admit, acknowledge) our sin to God the Father and we are instantly forgiven, cleansed, and recover our spiritual walk (1 John 1:9). Please make sure you are walking by the Spirit before you begin your Bible study, so it will be spiritually profitable.

Romans 11:15-27 by Robert Dean
God's thoughts are not our thoughts so no wonder we're full of questions. Listen to this lesson to learn answers from the Apostle Paul to two burning questions. Find out how God opened the floodgates of blessing to the world through the Gentiles and understand the illustrations of the lump of dough and the root of the olive tree. Hear how Christians and Jews were both involved in the Zionist movement to return the Jews to the land and rest in the knowledge that the gifts and the promises of God are irrevocable.
Series:Romans (2010)
Duration:59 mins 13 secs

The Lump of Dough and Olive Branches
Romans 11:15-27

Let's turn in our Bibles to Romans 11 where we're continuing in this tremendous chapter that deals with the future of Israel. Now we're looking at the lump of dough and the olive branches, two great illustrations of Israel and of God's grace and blessing. It's so important to understand these illustrations. As I've been reading in various commentaries and various other sources I have become aware of the fact that so many misidentify and they just don't deal with it textually. That is so important.

 This has always been a favorite passage of mine because I wrote a lengthy paper on this when I was in the doctoral program in Dallas Seminary. I was so pleased because one of my favorite professors told me to send it in and get it published. I did and it was published. I've always enjoyed this crucial chapter and it is really amazing how many people really do miss this because we, as evangelicals, are so focused on salvation that we want everything to be about people getting justified. I've kept emphasizing all the way through Romans 9 through 11 that these chapters are really not about every individual Jew getting saved, they're not about who's getting justified individually at all. It's about God's plan for Israel and the Jewish people and that He hasn't abrogated or broken His covenant with Abraham and discarded His plan for them. If you understand that that's what he's talking about and interpret everything within that structure then it makes more sense.

I'm going to point out that from the illustration that if he is talking about people getting saved then we can lose our salvation. That's all I have to say about it so far. If this is about getting justified then this passage is teaching that people can lose their justification, but it's not teaching that. It's not Scriptural so it can't be talking about getting justified. As I pointed out before, Romans 11 answers the question of whether God has permanently cast away His people. The answer is NO, not at all. God still has a plan for national, ethnic Israel. He hasn't replaced them.

That's the essence of what we studied at the beginning of this section on replacement theology. God hasn't replaced them in a permanent sense. We live in an age that some have called the great parenthesis. There is a pause in God's plan and purpose for Israel and He is doing something in this age in relation to the Gentiles as a corporate entity. He is treating the Gentiles as a group and the Jews as a group, as corporate entities. God is doing something in the Gentiles in the world. Then He's going to return to that focus on Israel and that happens right after the Rapture.

When the Rapture occurs the Church is taken out and immediately after that, God goes back to His plan for Israel. The Rapture doesn't begin the Tribulation period although a lot of people think it does. The Tribulation is defined as a seven-year period. In Daniel 9:24-27 Daniel gives a specific timetable for the Tribulation. It tells us what the event is that begins it. It tells us what happens in the middle and what happens at the end. At the beginning the Antichrist signs a peace treaty with Israel. That starts things going again.

God hit the pause button when the Jews rejected the Messiah on the Day of Pentecost when the Church began. He hits the play button at the instant of the Rapture but there's a transition period between the Rapture and when the Antichrist signs the peace treaty. I've gone through this before, talking about different transition periods. It's sort of like Christ is the end of the Law on the cross but remember the cross is at Passover and the Church doesn't start for fifty days until the day of Pentecost, meaning fifty days. So you've got a seven-week period there that's not Church age and technically, it's not the Age of the Law. It's still sort of under the umbrella of Israel though because the Church doesn't begin until Pentecost. So it's a transition period that's not fully one dispensation or the other. It's sort of a hinge or transition period.

Now as a result of this new emphasis on the Gentiles the question is raised in the early church, which is probably 50/50 Jewish and Gentile believers at this time. It might even have a higher percentage of Jewish Christians than Gentile Christians. Paul wrote Romans during His third missionary journey so that's still fairly early, around A.D. 55 or 56. The Temple is still standing in Jerusalem. He's still going to the synagogues first. He is still starting churches with a large Jewish component at the beginning but there's also a huge response from Gentiles.

We know there are four Jewish-focused epistles in the New Testament. I bet you can't name them. Hebrews is written to a group that is primarily Jewish and that's coming out of a priestly background and they had become believers. Then there are two other books that are written to Jews that have almost the same name: First and Second Peter. Peter is writing to those in the dispersion, the diaspora. He uses that technical term. At the end of 1 Peter he gives a greeting to all those in Babylon, which was the second largest Jewish community, the largest outside of Israel itself. Then the fourth one is James. Those are four that are specifically addressed to Jewish believers.

So the early church had a very strong Jewish component and a lot of these Jewish background believers are asking the question of what exactly God is doing. This is one of the reasons we're studying Matthew. He wrote his gospel to explain that Jesus was the Messiah and He came offering the Kingdom and now there's no Kingdom. Jesus is gone back to heaven. What happened to the Kingdom? That's Matthew's focus.

These are important issues and themes in the New Testament and so in Romans 11 Paul is describing that yes, indeed, God has a future plan. God is always faithful to His promises. He's not faithful to His promises always in the way we think he should be faithful to those promises. God's thinking is not our thinking. God's ways are not our ways. He knows everything and He's accomplishing certain purposes that are beyond our comprehension. This is what Paul is explaining in Romans 11.

We got down to about verse 15 or 16 last time. I want to go back and pick up the context. In verse 11 Paul draws a conclusion from what he's said before. He's asking if they have stumbled so they should fall. This is a repetition of the first question they asked. This whole chapter revolves around these two rhetorical questions. The first one in verse one asks if God has cast away His people in the sense of permanent. Paul answers that with a resounding no.

The next question is whether they have stumbled that they should fall. In other words, is this a permanent stumbling? Stumbled here means just a tripping. It's not the same word we have for stumbling as in Romans 9:32. This is a totally different word. The word here ptaio means just tripped up a little bit. Did they stumble that they should fall down, pipto, and again he responds with a certainly not, not at all. He says that through their fall paraptoma, which means through their transgression. They sinned. Transgression is one of several key words for sin. There's sin, iniquity, and transgression. These are the three primary words used to describe sin. Each indicates something different so this one is a violation of a commandment, which is a commandment to accept the Messiah.

I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation {has come} to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. "If somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them." I want you to think about something because most everyone in here is a Gentile. The reason that God has brought salvation to Gentiles is to make Jews jealous of the blessing God has given to the Gentiles. It doesn't seem like that's working real well right now in the Church Age but it's amazing when I go back and read periods of history where there have been large amounts of genuine conversions within segments of the Jewish community.

What's happening in chapter 11 is that Paul is beginning to shift from what happens to today and the fulfillment which will happen in the future during the Tribulation period. That's when this really comes to its fruition. In verse 12, he says, "Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!" What does he mean by "their fall"? The "their" indicates it's corporate. It's not talking about individual Jews rejecting Jesus as the Messiah. It's talking about the nation rejects Jesus as the Messiah so God removes the nation Israel from being the primary source of blessing in the Church Age. That's what their fall is. It's their being removed from being the primary source of blessing.

Now that has become riches for the world because what God did when he removes Israel from being in that primary place of blessing, God then brings the Gentiles in and pours out His blessing through the Gentiles. The Gentiles then become the primary source of blessing. Now answer a question for me. When God says that He's going to bless the world through the Gentiles, is He going to bless the world through every single Gentile? No. Does that mean that most Gentiles are going to get saved? No. That's another indication that the focus here is not on individuals. It's on this collective corporate unity. So if the corporate rejection of Christ means that God is going to open the floodgates of blessing to go through the Gentiles.

Paul then says, "How much more will their fulfillment [fullness] be?" I pointed out last time that to understand this word for fullness, pleroma, we have to understand it in contrast with the word "failure". The word failure here is a word that indicates a corporate loss and a removal from the place of blessing. The word here that is used for failure hettema is a word that refers to a military loss. It means a defeat of an army, not every individual in the army. The corporate entity lost the battle. So as a result of that defeat by rejecting the Messiah they're moved out of a place of blessing but when they're restores to blessing then there will be even more blessing for the world.

Then I pointed out last time there's a parentheses that occurs between verses 12 and 15. Verses 13 and 14 are parenthetical asides. Paul is making a point here. The word at the beginning of verse 15 "for if" is not explaining verse 14, it's going back to explain verse 12 which says, that if their fall is riches for the world and their failure how much more their riches. Then verse 15 says, "For if their rejection [their being cast away] is the reconciliation of the world, what will {their} acceptance be but life from the dead? Verse 15 continues and explains more of the thought of verse 12, not verses 13 and 14.

Verse 15 is talking about the fact that although they're cast away, they're not cast away permanently. The illustrations coming will help in understanding that. They're just removed from being in this place of blessing. So the concept of failure there is the idea of defeat and being removed from that place of blessing and then they're brought back. The word is only used one other time in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 6:7 which also refers to a military defeat.

What Paul wants us to understand here in terms of the role of the Gentiles is that he tells them that he's speaking an aside to the Gentiles in the Romans church. He tells them that as much as he's an apostle to the Gentiles "I magnify my ministry if by any means I might provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save or deliver some of them." What he means by that in verse 14 that this is an objective for every evangelist. Whenever you're witnessing to someone there's another purpose besides helping them to understand the gospel so that they can go to heaven. The other purpose is so that with every Gentile who gets saved it's to create a jealousy among the Jews.

So that's a secondary purpose according to what Paul is saying that God showing grace to the Gentiles will eventually makes Jews become jealous and want to return to that place of blessing. So verse 15 says, "For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will {their} acceptance be but life from the dead?" This is talking about their corporate position. We covered all of this last time.

 Now let's get to our illustration. Two illustrations that are important to understand. Both illustrations deal with an entire entity and then a part of that entity. The first illustration has to do with a lump of dough and the second has to do with a tree. The tree is composed of roots and branches. So in the first illustration Paul says, "For if the firstfruits…" This is the first part of the grain offering. I was reading several commentaries that referred to this as a cereal offering. I always have trouble when I read something like this where someone calls the grain offering a cereal offering. I just can't quite get a vision of God sitting up in heaven eating Cheerios. So it's the grain offering which is at the beginning of the harvest and the first part is then offered to God. It's taken and made into dough and that bread is baked and then that's made into an offering to God.

That first fruit is like the first born son that's dedicated. It's set apart to God. That doesn't mean that in the case of the first born son that that son is necessarily saved. It's a way of identifying a value in a family and setting apart the first born as a recognition of the significance the first born plays and the first fruit plays as a dedication to God in the service of God. It's set apart and holy as an idea of being set apart to the service of God.

So it is in the first fruit offering which is mentioned in Numbers 15:19-20, "Then it shall be, that when you eat of the food of the land, you shall lift up an offering to the LORD of the first of your dough and you shall lift up a cake as an offering; as the offering of the threshing floor, so you shall lift it up." Phurama indicates the dough. Both of those terms are used in Romans 11:16. Let's just think a little bit about this imagery here. The imagery isn't talking about salvation. The imagery is talking about an entity, the dough, and you're going to take the first part of it which represents the first initial part of the harvest and this is going to be set apart to the Lord. So the emphasis here is that the whole of the dough is set apart on the basis of this first little small part. So because the first part is set apart it sanctifies the whole. So if the first part is set apart as holy, the lump is also holy. That's all we have of that imagery. The part that is set apart to God has an impact on the rest.

Now we shift gears. We begin the focus on the tree. It says if the root of the tree is set apart to God, the root is not referring to salvation because that would mean all the branches would automatically get saved. We have another problem. If you identify the root as salvation in the illustration and then Paul says branches are going to be broken off. Now if these branches were automatically saved, does that mean they lose their salvation when they're broken off? Then he warns that at some time in the future God may remove the wild olive branches, which are Gentiles. If we're focused on individuals then that's the problem. It falls apart.

What we're talking about is the root and what happens in this figure of the root which is sanctified and it sets apart something larger, the root is used metaphorically in Scripture to refer to the origin or ancestry of something. For example, it talks about the root of Jesse, Jesse being the father of David, David being the head of the Davidic line that culminates in the line of Christ. The root refers to the forefathers. The root represents the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

What sets them apart is that God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham and confirmed it again with Isaac and confirmed it again with Jacob. So God is true to His promises. He sets the nation apart because of what He did with the fathers. Now in Romans 11 skim down your page and look at verse 28, "From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of {God's} choice [election of Israel as a nation] they are beloved for the sake of the fathers." Here we have a confirmation in the text that the root of the tree is related to the patriarchs or the fathers.

So if the root is set apart so are the branches because the branches come from the root. (Here, Pastor Dean shows a picture of red flowered cherry branches that have been grafted into white-flowered cherry branches to show what grafting looks like.] All the branches feed off the same root systems. It is through one single root system that blesses both Jews and Gentiles. Paul talks about the removal of Israel for a time and replacing them temporarily with wild olive branches and so they became a partaker of the root and the fatness of the olive tree. They both become beneficiaries of the root of the olive tree.

God is removing Israel from the place of blessing and bringing in the Gentiles. Then when the times of the Gentiles end, then Israel is grafted back in. Romans 11:17 says, "But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree…" We see that the root equals the patriarchs, broken off here is merely removed from the place of blessings, and grafted in is being put back in a place of blessing.

Gentiles are told not to look over and think they're somehow superior to Jews. Don't get sucked in to some sort of Christian anti-Semitism which sadly characterized too much of church history. Don't think that somehow you're better than the Jews because you figured out that Jesus was the Messiah and they didn't. Well, a lot of Gentiles haven't figured out that Jesus is the Messiah either. There were a tremendous number of Jews during the life of Christ and during the early Church in Israel that did accept Jesus as the Messiah. And there were a lot that didn't. The leadership and the majority didn't but just because the majority didn't doesn't mean that the minority was a small percentage.

So Paul reminds the Gentiles that they don't support the root. We are in our position of blessing because of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We're supported by that root which is the Abrahamic covenant which is the promise of God to bring blessing to the Gentiles through the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So in verse 19 he says, "You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." I must be better than you.

In 11:20 Paul recognizes that while there may be some truth there because Gentiles did respond to the gospel more than Jews did but the Jewish nation was broken off because of unbelief, not because of inherent superiority among the Gentiles. Verse 20, "Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith." So he brings it back to the issue of faith, non-meritorious faith. It's not something the Gentiles can boast about because it's not something in you. It's the object of faith, Jesus Christ. So don't be haughty. Don't get into arrogance but rather give into fear that is submission to God's authority.

He explains that even more. "For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either." If you become self-satisfied and you reject God's plan and you become arrogant, then God will bring judgment upon you as Gentiles and remove you from that place of priority. Therefore he says, "Behold then [consider] the kindness and severity of God…" Now the word "severity" is a Greek word which indicates rigor or consistency. It's not that God is a harsh judge and a mean disciplinarian. The emphasis is that God is consistent with His righteousness. He's going to be the righteous judge. So we need to recognize that if God in His righteousness brought judgment on the people that He loved, the people that He brought into existence through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the people he calls the "apple of His eye" in the Old Testament, if He brought discipline and judgment upon them then the implication is why wouldn't He bring it upon Gentiles?

So God is good and He is consistent with His righteousness on "those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness." The implication there is that judgment will come if you reject God's grace. "Then; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off." He's talking to them as a group, not to you as an individual but in terms of the corporate entity of the Church. The implication there is almost a warning that at one point the church will apostatize and there will be judgment upon the Church, upon Gentiles, and God will shift the plan back to Israel.

Now, verse 23, "And they also, if they [the Jewish nation] do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again." He's not talking about the remnant of Jews who responded to the gospel. So now he's talking about corporate Israel that has rejected the gospel. They will be grafted in and brought back into the place of blessing. Verse 24, "For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural {branches} be grafted into their own olive tree?" This is a great verse for it shows that God's plan for Israel is that He hasn't permanently rejected them. There is a plan for their future restoration.

One of the great things that happened in history after the Protestant Reformation was a rise in Britain that has come to be called British Restorationism. That is really a term that we might refer to as proto or early Zionism. Often today we think of Zionism as simply the product of Theodor Herzl who's considered to be the father of modern Zionism but that's from a Jewish perspective. Actually there were many forerunners that set the stage for Theodor Herzl, one of whom was an American businessman from up in Michigan whose name was William Blackstone. He had a petition written that was signed by a huge number of leaders and politicians in America to petition for Benjamin Harrison, president in 1888, that the United States should support the return of the Jews to their historic homeland.

Theodor Herzl doesn't hold the first Zionist Congress until 1897. He doesn't write his book, Der Judenstaat, until 1896 which is a benchmark for the beginning of Jewish Zionism. In fact, one of the early supporters was a Supreme Court judge named Lewis Brandeis. He was a very strong Zionist and advocate for Israel and very well known, for whom Brandeis University is named. Brandeis said in a speech that Theodor Herzl did not found Zionism. That honor goes to William Blackstone, who was a Christian and his love for Israel is because he read and understood what was going on in Romans, chapter 11.

So you have this great movement which really began in Britain but it had different parts in different areas of Europe. There were some Lutherans in Sweden and Germany, some others that after the Reformation Anabaptists groups came along also. The more consistently they interpreted the Scripture the more they began to realize that the term Israel meant Israel and the Jewish people and that it didn't mean the church. They saw the Church wasn't a code name for spiritual Israel from the Old Testament, that Israel really meant Israel. They began to interpret passages like this as indicating that God was going to restore the Jewish people to their historic homeland. Then they read and began to develop their understanding of prophecy and began to realize that God would restore Israel to their land and give them a Kingdom and that the end times of the return of Jesus would coincide with this restoration of the Jewish people to their land.

But it wasn't just Christians that were coming to understand this. There were some Jews who came to understand this as well. Often today in the arguments and discussions that go on and sort of the fear factor that comes out of the Jewish community toward Christians is that they think the only reason Christians want to get Jews back in to the land is because they think if they get us all back in the land Jesus will come back and Jesus will kill all the Jews. No Christian has ever believed that. Christians believe that when Jesus returns there's going to be a restoration of the Jewish people to the land. The restoration of the Jewish people to the land does not cause the return of Jesus. There're connected events but not a cause/effect event.

In the 19th century there were a lot of the British Restorationists were either post-millennial or a-millennial. It didn't necessarily come out of a pre-millennial view, even though there were a lot of pre-millennial at the time. It wasn't necessarily related to any kind of view of prophecy is the point I'm making. They weren't motivated by the same prophetic timetable. In fact they had more of a historicist view of pre-millennialism than a futurist view. A futurist view is that we would interpret all of the prophecies of Scripture as being future and all of Revelation as being future. Historicists would look at Revelation 7 and say that was in the Middle Ages. They might say Revelation 8 is at a later time. They think we're about in Revelation 12:3 today. They try to find where we are today in terms of the signs of the times and that sort of thing.

Most Christian Zionists were that kind of pre-millennialists. They weren't dispensational futurists. In fact, that's why the historicist pre-mils were a lot more active in trying to set the stage for Jews to go back to the land because in some sense those groups did feel like the Jews needed to be back there and that would set the stage and Jesus would come back. So they wanted to help it along. So even though they tried to help it along for many times it didn't happen until God was ready to start allowing different things to take place that moved the timetable along.

What we see is that when God is ready, He starts the movement in history. It actually started in the mid-1600 when you had a Jewish rabbi by the name of Manasseh Ben Israel who believed that Daniel said that the Messiah couldn't come until the Jews get back in the land. He got that also from Deuteronomy and Isaiah. He's not thinking in terms of Christianity but he was saying the same thing that some of the Christians were saying so they were able to mutually support one another in bringing the Puritan government under Cromwell to a realization that they needed to allow Jews back into England.

Under Edward II they had been expelled from England and even though there were a few of the Murano Jews from Spain, that is Jews who had made a superficial conversion to Christianity but still practiced Judaism in secret. You didn't have very many Jews in England at all. It was due to the pressure of Puritans who were coming to the realization that God had a future plan for His people, Israel, and Manasseh Ben Israel that put pressure to let the Jews return. In fact, Cromwell invited Manasseh Ben Israel to come to spend time with him and he addressed some of the Puritan leaders from the Parliament. This put pressure on the leaders of England. They didn't have an official policy to let the Jews back in because there was another problem with that. If you let the Jews in and you're going to tolerate them then how were they going to tolerate the other heretics? They didn't want to tolerate Christian heretics but they knew they needed to let the Jews back in because they were God's people. So they sort of had a backdoor reversal policy. They said, "You know, let's sort of rewrite history a little bit. We're going to call Edward II's law an executive action and that only applied then and it doesn't apply now." So as you see they just kind of winked at it and let the Jews come back in. Within another twenty years there were open synagogues in London and from there the Jewish community really flowered and grew within England. That laid the foundation for what became known as full bore British Restorationism by the late 1700s and 1800s.

God is able to graft them in again, Paul states. He then goes on the explain this in verse 24, "For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural {branches} be grafted into their own olive tree?" He uses what's called an a fortiori argument or an argument from strength. He's saying that if God is going to restore Israel, that's the natural way, so if natural branches are grated into their own olive tree certainly they'll take hold and produce fruit.

He goes on to say in verse 25, "For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—

that a partial hardening [blindness] has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in As we know the word "mystery" does not refer to a whodunit, not some riddle you have to figure out, but the word "mystery" describes previously unknown revelation. In the Old Testament God did not let it be known that tin the future Israel would reject the Messiah and there would be a time of blessing, a parentheses there, between the first and second coming. If God had told them they were going to reject the Messiah they wouldn't have really had a freewill choice when the Messiah came. They would say God said they would do it so they did. But they had no idea what was going to happen. They had a true choice.

God knew what would happen and that they would reject Christ so He said this is the mystery that was not revealed in the Old Testament that Israel would be removed from the place of blessing and then restored to the place of blessing. So he says that blindness in part would occur until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Now this is an interesting little Greek word here, achri. It doesn't mean "I'm going to work until 5:00 and then stop and everything stops." It has an implication that it doesn't just look at the end time but it looks at the fact that when that end time comes things are going to change. There's going to be a transformation of things. It's looking at what happens after that terminal point.

The implication here is that after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in the blindness will disappear from Israel and they will receive sight. I'll show you some other places where this is used in the same way. Look at Luke 1:20. The angel is telling Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, that because he questioned the angel's announcement that Elizabeth was going to give birth he was going to be struck speechless until John the Baptist was born. "And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time." The implication is that he was going to be able to speak after that. See the emphasis isn't on just the end point but that things are then going to change back to the way things were before.

Matthew 24:38 Jesus is talking about using the flood as an illustration of the normative life in the tribulation period, "For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark." What happened then? Then they quit getting married, they quit eating and having parties. Why? Because they were dead. Everything changed.

1 Corinthians 11:26 says, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes." We celebrate the Lord's death until He comes but once He comes we don't do that anymore. There's a change in circumstances and there'll be a new set of circumstances, a reversal of those conditions after that point in time.

Paul says, "All Israel will be saved." There's going to be a change of circumstances. What's interesting is this word "and so". It's the same word we have in John 3:16 which everyone here knows. "For God so loved the world." That's the word "so". Some people want to translate that, "God loved the world so much." That isn't what it says. This word houtos means "in such a way". Now sometimes it can refer to something in the previous verse but most of the time it refers to "in this manner I am about to tell you." Or as we say in Texas, "in this way I'm fixing to tell you." So it's saying this is how it's going to take place.

In Romans 11:26 Paul is saying "in this manner all Israel will be saved." It's not talking about justification because the point described here doesn't go back to the Cross, it looks forward to the Second coming. The word saved as we've seen doesn't refer to individual justification in Romans; it refers to Phase 3 ultimate deliverance or physical deliverance. Sometimes it refers to the spiritual life. So what we read in Romans 11:26 is that we're talking about how corporate Israel is not in the place of blessing but they're going to be brought back into that place.

Well, how's that going to happen? He says "This is how it's going to happen. The deliverer will come out of Zion." This is a Second Coming passage. The Messiah will come out of Zion and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. Verse 27, "THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS." That's not talking about the cross. That's talking about when God establishes His covenant with them.

What covenant is that? It's the New Covenant. This is seen because the language that's used here comes out of three verses in the Old Testament, Isaiah 59:20 and 21 and Isaiah 27:9. Isaiah 59:20-21 says, "A Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob," declares the LORD." He's coming to deliver them. Then the next verse says, "As for Me, this is My covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring's offspring," says the LORD, "from now and forever." This is when God in the New Covenant pours out His Spirit on Israel at the Second Coming.

Isaiah 27:9 says, "Therefore through this Jacob's iniquity will be forgiven; And this will be the full price of the pardoning of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones like pulverized chalk stones; {When} Asherim and incense altars will not stand." This is talking about the national deliverance and salvation of Israel, not individual Jews getting saved but the corporate or national deliverance will come when the nation accepts Christ nationally. They rejected Him nationally back in A.D. 33. It doesn't mean every single Jew was unsaved but as a nation they had a national sin. That national sin has to be dealt with. This national sin is dealt with when they repent and they call upon the name of the Lord and then the Lord comes to deliver them in the Second Coming.

Then we come to Romans 11:28 and 29 which say, "From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of {God's} choice [election] they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." You've heard that verse applied so many times, usually about spiritual gifts. There may be an implication there but He's talking here about God's call of Israel and God's covenant with Israel is irrevocable. God's not going to go back on it. This whole thing is tied up with the fact that when God makes promises to you and to me in His Word to take care of us, to sustain us, to strengthen us, to help us, God does not go back on His promises. They are ours irrevocably.

We'll come back next time and look at verse 30 and following to get into the rest of this chapter. The closing part is a tremendous praise to God and focus upon the wisdom and knowledge of God's plan. That also brings us to the end of this section of Romans 9-11 and it also brings us to an end to the instructional part of Romans. Starting in Romans 12 Paul shifts to something that is the application of what he's taught in Romans 1 – 11 so we'll get to that next time.