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Israel's Future Salvation - Part 1

Tom Pennington • Romans 11:11-32

  • 2019-06-16 AM
  • Romans
  • Sermons


Well, I invite you to take your Bible and turn with me again to Romans, chapter 11, as we continue to work our way through this magnificent chapter. Now I need to make one caveat here; this is a challenging passage. And many of us didn't get our normal allotment of sleep last night, thanks to the reminder of God's greatness and the storms that came sweeping through, so you've got to stay with me. You've got to stay focused and I hope it will be worth it when we're done.

In the second half of Romans 11, the half that we come to today, Paul argues that Israel has, in fact, a glorious future before them. He defends the idea that God is not done with the physical descendants of Abraham. In fact, he will tell us that God has not rejected, in fact, cannot reject His people.

Unfortunately, there are some of our reformed brothers, whom we love, who teach that because of Israel's failure, God has permanently rejected her, and the New Testament Church has completely and permanently replaced Israel in God's great plan of redemption. I'm here to tell you this morning that that, in fact, cannot be true because you can't really understand Romans 11 and come to that conclusion. In fact, let me quote an agreement, a man who is not exactly where we were, he was a Presbyterian, James Montgomery Boice, but a man who was faithful to Scripture and listen to his statement about Romans 11 to his Reformed brothers. He says this,

In view of Paul's clear statements throughout Romans 11, I cannot see how so many reformed theologians of our day reject the idea of a future time of blessing for Israel. I know why they do it, they do not like the details of prophecy that some have worked out in which Israel seems to have a separate destiny from the Church, and they do not like the implied theology. To their way of thinking, any future blessing of Israel as a nation must be a backward step, a regression in God's plan. Spiritual realities in Christ have replaced the Jewish types that pointed to them. The Church has replaced Israel. In this view, the Church becomes the New Israel, and the old Israel is superseded forever. [Boice writes this] But how can they affirm that in view of Paul's teaching here? It was inconceivable to Paul that God would cast Israel off, because to do so would mean that God would be breaking His covenant promises, and He could not do that and remain a truth-keeping faithful God.

You know, as we get into this passage, you may be tempted to think, "Why or how is this relevant for me?" Well, first of all, that's the wrong question to ask because all of Scripture is for your good and instruction, and it is instructing and teaching you sometimes in ways you aren't even aware of. This passage will direct you to the faithfulness of God; it will humble you as you see how you, many of us as Gentile Christians, fit into the plan of God. God, the Holy Spirit, believed this was crucial for us to understand, and that should be enough. But you will find that it's crucial, in fact, because if God wasn't faithful and isn't faithful to His promises to His Old Testament chosen people, then what makes you think God is going to be faithful to His promises to you. The two go together, so this is a vitally important part of God's Word for us.

Now let me, before we look at the second half of Romans 11, let me give you its message. This is not an outline; I'll give the outline in a moment. This is a summary of the message that we're going to learn in the second half of Romans 11. There are four basic propositions that explain what has happened and yet what will happen to Israel. Again, not giving you the structure, but a summary of the message of the second half of Romans 11.

Number one, here's the first proposition, as a whole, Israel has rejected her Messiah and His gospel. As a people, there are exceptions, there is a remnant as we've just discovered; but as a whole, they have rejected their Messiah and the gospel. You find words in verses 11 and 12 like 'stumble,' 'transgression,' 'failure.' This is Israel as a whole.

Number two, the second proposition that we'll see unfold in the section is this; Israel's rejection of Jesus Christ has resulted in the salvation of the Gentiles. You're going to see that your salvation, if you're a Gentile Christian, is tied directly to God's passing by many of the Jewish people. Look at verse 11, in the middle of the verse, he says, "by their transgression [by the Jewish people's transgression] salvation has come to the Gentiles," salvation has come.

Thirdly, the third proposition that we're going to see unfolded in this second half of Romans 11 is this, the salvation of the Gentiles is currently leading to the salvation of a few from Israel. Paul refers to it as making them jealous in order to save some, verse 14, currently. But the salvation of Gentiles will eventually lead to the ultimate salvation of all Israel. Notice verse 26, "so all Israel will be saved."

Number four, here's the fourth proposition; the ultimate salvation of Israel will produce even greater blessing for the rest of us. The ultimate salvation of Israel will produce even greater blessing for the rest of us. Now, Chapter 11, second half of the chapter, is going to unfold in its message those four basic propositions. So, while I'm going to give you an outline and a structure we're going to follow, keep those propositions in the back of your mind because that's the message Paul is trying to drive home to us.

Now let me remind you of the structure of the flow of Paul's argument. In chapters 9 through 11, Paul is defending the gospel that he preached against this objection; if Jesus of Nazareth was in fact the Jewish Messiah, and if He brought the true gospel, then why did so few Jewish people believe, then and now? We're considering Paul's third answer to that question; its Chapter 11, verses 1 to 32, and it's the answer of God's faithfulness. What he really says in this section is, "Don't judge the end of the story when you haven't read the end of the story." What you're seeing now is not the finished part of the story. Although as a whole, the Jewish people did not recognize their Messiah, have not embraced His gospel, God is still faithful to His promises to them. He will continue to treat the physical descendants of Abraham as a whole as His special people; and within that group of physical descendants, He will, as He did in Elijah's time, preserve a believing remnant of true believers in Him. And in the future, as we saw in verse 26, all Israel will be saved. That's the message of Romans 11.

Now, Paul develops this idea of God's faithfulness to the Jewish people in two sections. Last week, we finished our study of the first section. Verses 1 to 10 instruct us about "Israel's Current Spiritual Condition." Now, I want you to notice how that section begins because it's going to become important in just a moment. Notice verse 1, "I say then, [and Paul starts with a question] God has not rejected His people, has He?" And then he makes a denial, "May it never be!" and then he explains.

Now, he explains Israel's current spiritual condition under two headings we discovered. In verses 1 through 6, there is a remnant of the Jewish people, a small number who are being saved by grace. It was true in Paul's day; it's true in our day. Verses 7 through 10, we saw last week the rest of Israel are being hardened by sin. God hardens them in their sin, their own choices as we saw last time.

Now today, we begin the second major section of chapter 11. And here, Paul asks whether that situation, the situation in which a small number are saved, and the rest are hardened, is that situation permanent, is it always going to be like that? And Paul says it's not; it's only the first step in a process that will end with Israel's future spiritual salvation. That's the message of verses 11 through 32, "Israel's Future Spiritual Salvation."

Now notice that this second section begins just like the first one did, that I just pointed out to you, with a question and a denial. Look at verse 11, "I say then, [or I say therefore, just like he said in verse 1] they did not stumble so as to fall, did they?" There's your question and here's your denial, "May it never be!" In fact, what he's going to explain in the verses that follow is that the day is coming when all Israel will be saved. We'll talk about what 'all Israel' means in the coming weeks, but that's what he says, "All Israel will be saved."

Now he develops this concept of Israel's future spiritual salvation in three subsections here in this major section. Let me give them to you, and I'm not going to put them on the screen, but you can jot them down if you want. But here's a kind of roadmap for the second half of Romans 11.

As he develops the spiritual salvation of Israel in the future, he begins in verses 11 through 16 with "The Certainty of Her Future Salvation," the certainty of her future salvation. And then in verses 17 through 24 there is "A Warning to Us Gentiles" in light of Israel's future salvation. And then in verses 25 to 32, we have "An Explanation of Israel's Future Salvation." He tells us when it's going to happen; he tells us how it's going to happen. So, in all three of these paragraphs then that fit into the second half of Romans 11, Paul is addressing Gentile Christians. Look at verse 13, "I am speaking to you who are Gentiles."

If you're here this morning and as far as you know you're not of Jewish descent, this passage was inspired by the Holy Spirit of God for you. The Holy Spirit is essentially saying, "Listen up, you need to understand something about how you fit in the eternal plan of redemption." He's going to come back in verses 17 to 24, he's going to use the second person singular pronoun; he's going to talk to us as individuals. He's going to say, "You and you and you and you, let me tell you how you ought to think and how you ought not to think about the Jewish people." And then beginning in verse 25 down through verse 32, he switches to the second person plural, and he speaks again to all of us, all of us who are Gentile Christians because there's something we need to learn.

Now what is it? What's the basic concern Paul has here? In addition to defending the gospel he preached against the accusation we talked about, there's something else he's trying to do. Paul is confronting a common temptation among Gentile Christians in every age and that is to boast about their position over the unbelieving Jewish people. Sadly this has been a blight on Christianity throughout its history; we'll talk about that a little more next week, Lord willing.

But here's what happens. We get excited about and we rightly boast about the fact that we have, with the Jews, become the people of God. But if we're not careful, that boasting suddenly becomes boasting that we have replaced the Jews as God's people. That's why you have the warning in verse 18, look at it, "Do not be arrogant toward the branches." The branches are the Jewish people. He says Gentile believers, "Don't you dare become arrogant toward the Jewish people, even those who have not believed and have been broken off." So, here's what Douglas Moo writes:

Paul, therefore, warns us as he warned the first century Gentile Christians in Rome. [Listen carefully to this.] Don't assume that the Gentile majority in the church means that God has abandoned His people, Israel. God has brought salvation to the Gentiles without violating any of His promises to Israel and without retracting His election of Israel as a corporate whole; and election, like all of God's gifts, is [listen to this] irrevocable.

In fact, that's exactly what Paul says; look at verse 29. This is where he's driving, "the gifts and the calling of God are [what?] irrevocable." unchangeable. God doesn't change His mind, and He hasn't changed His mind about the physical descendants of Abraham. So, in light of that, as we think about Israel's future salvation, let's consider with Paul, first of all, in verses 11 through 16, "The Certainty of Her Future Salvation," the certainty of her future salvation. Let's read it together; you follow along in your copy of the Scripture, Romans 11:11, this is what the Holy Spirit says through the apostle Paul:

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. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! But I'm speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.

Now the message of this paragraph is this: In spite of her sin, Israel, as a people, has not permanently fallen from God's redemptive plan and purpose; and when Christ returns in the Second Coming, all Israel will be saved. Notice the expressions he uses. Verse 12, their "fulfillment" which is coming, or in verse 15, their "acceptance" by God, that's coming. So, he's talking about the certainty of her future salvation.

Now Paul begins to defend the certainty of that salvation with an obvious question; it's a question that was asked in the first century with so few Jewish people believing. The question is this, "Has Israel permanently fallen?" Notice verse 11, "I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they?" Now again, remember that Paul in this entire section is talking about Israel as a whole. This is obvious even in verse 12; it was Israel's transgression collectively, their failure collectively, so he's talking about the nation. Throughout this section, Paul's concern is not with individual Jews or Gentiles but Jews and Gentiles corporately, and so look again at verse 11, he says, "I say then, they [that is Israel as a whole] did not stumble so as to fall, did they?"

Now what is this stumbling, what does he mean by that? Well he's referring back to a passage he has already cited from the Old Testament. Go back to Romans 9:31, he tells us that "Israel, [was] pursuing . . . righteousness" by means of the law, but they didn't arrive at that righteousness, that supposedly the law was going to give them. Why? Verse 32, "Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works." They misunderstood the gospel, and the reason they misunderstood the gospel is they didn't understand the Messiah and His work. Look at the second half of verse 32, "They stumbled over the stumbling stone." What's the stumbling stone? It's the Messiah, the foundation stone, the cornerstone that God laid in the nation.

Notice verse 33, "just as it is written, 'BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE.'" He's talking about the Messiah. Notice he makes this clear in the end of the verse, verse 33, "AND HE WHO BELIEVES [notice what he says] IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." This stumbling stone was supposed to be the foundation stone of their lives, but instead they stumbled over it. We're talking about Him, the Messiah, the One God sent.

So, in other words, Israel stumbled over, that is they rejected their Messiah and the righteousness that God offered through Him. In fact, notice chapter 10, verse 3; here's how they missed the idea of how to get righteousness, "Not knowing about God's [gift of] righteousness [in His Son] and seeking to establish their own [righteousness], they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God."

Can I just say, if you're here this morning and your confidence and hope is still in something you have done, or are doing, or will do and that's what you think is going to make you right with God, then you're just like Israel. You've stumbled over the Messiah; you've missed the gospel. Your only hope is to put your faith and confidence in Jesus Christ as the foundation of your life, in His perfect life lived in your place, in His death-died as your substitute, satisfying the justice of God, and in His resurrection in which God accepted that sacrifice. That's your only hope; otherwise just like the Jewish people, you're stumbling over what should be the rock and foundation of your life.

Israel stumbled over her Messiah. But Paul asks in verse 11, when they, that is Israel as a whole, stumbled, "they did not stumble with the result as to fall, did they?" Now falling in this sense in verse 11 is to fall in such a devastating way that you never get up. The old commercial, you know, "I've fallen, and I can't get up." That's, sorry that was bad, but the idea here, that's the idea. It's not able to rise again. Isaiah 24:20, describes this kind of falling:

The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard

And it totters like a shack,

For its transgression is heavy upon it,

And it will [and he uses the same Greek word in the Septuagint] fall, never to rise again.

That's the kind of falling we're talking about here. Did Israel fall so as to be permanently destroyed? Has Israel fallen permanently, irretrievably, irrecoverably never to rise again? Is God done with Israel?

Paul responds with an emphatic denial, "Never!" Look at verse 11, "I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be!" This is one of Paul's favorite expressions; it's an unequivocal denial. It means 'absolutely not!' In fact, the very idea is repulsive, the idea behind this word. Although not all of the descendants of Abraham are being saved, they continue to be God's chosen people as a whole, as a whole set apart unto God. Israel has not permanently, irretrievably fallen to its own spiritual destruction out of the plan of God for the future.

This is the testimony of the Old Testament. Turn back to Deuteronomy 4:31. As Moses recounts the faithfulness of God, the sin of the people, he says in Deuteronomy 4:31, "For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you [and then notice this] nor forget the covenant with your fathers which he swore to them." You see, God's faithfulness to Israel is about the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, those He chose. That's the issue, it's His faithfulness to those covenant promises.

Go over to chapter 9, verse 27, as Moses recounts his prayer on behalf of the people, this was his prayer, verse 27, to God. He says, "[God] Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look at the stubbornness of this people or at their wickedness or their sin." He says, "Look beyond the sin of this people at the promises you made to their forefathers."

Turn over to 1 Samuel, chapter 12; Samuel makes this crystal clear. 1 Samuel 12:22, "For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, [here's why He won't abandon them] because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself." This is the promise that God has made. Isaiah 43:21, "The people whom I formed for Myself [speaking of Israel] Will declare My praise." "I formed them for Myself, and I will be faithful to them in spite of their sin for the sake of My name," God says.

Now in Romans, chapter 11, Paul assures us the same thing; God has not rejected His people. Chapter 11, verse 1, "God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be!" and then again in verse 11. Why? Why has God not rejected His people after all of their sin? Why does He still see them as His chosen people? Well, here in Romans, Paul provides us with, "The Divine Reasons," the divine reasons. We learned from the previous section that God has chosen to pass by many of the Jewish people and has hardened them in their sin. Unfortunately, many when they hear that, they think it's totally capricious on God's part, almost as if God has no purpose at all, as if He's merely toying with man because He can. That's not our God! The Scriptures tell us God finds no delight in the death of the wicked; He desires that all men should heed the warnings of judgment, the commands of the gospel, repent, and believe, but man will not because of his sin. And so, God, to save anyone, must intervene. He intervenes in sovereign election in order to save some.

But the question is, "Why has God chosen to pass by the majority of the Jewish people?" Why is that? If they're His chosen people, why didn't He save the majority of them and only have a remnant that aren't saved? Well, God doesn't tell us all His reasons, but He does tell us three reasons that He has accomplished salvation in this way.

The first one is back in chapter 9; it's to display His glory, to display His glory, chapter 9, verses 22 and 23. In verse 22, Paul tells us that God had reasons, a reason for passing by some and it was to display His glory. Look at verse 22, "What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?"

Now I don't have time to go back through this verse; if you weren't here and you're curious about what this is fully teaching, go back and listen online. But let me just give you the short version here. He's saying, "God chose to pass by some and not save them in order to display His glory, and specifically, the glory of His wrath, the glory of His power, and the glory of His patience." And then in verse 23, he says, "God's reason for choosing others for salvation was also to display His glory, in this case the glory of His mercy." Look at verse 23:

And he did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among the Gentiles.

So, God has acted, what Romans 9 is telling us, God has acted in passing by many and choosing others to display His glory.

Now come back to chapter 11, because here in verse 11, we learn two more reasons that God saves only a remnant and passes by so many of the Jews.

Number two, to bring salvation to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the Gentiles. Notice verse 11, "But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles." Now you'll notice the word 'transgression' is singular; it's used in a collective sense of Israel's sin of unbelief; that's their transgression. Notice verse 20, "they were broken off [for what?] for their unbelief." Verse 23, "they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in." So, their transgression was their unbelief in their Messiah. They refused to believe in their Messiah; that was their transgression. And notice because of that transgression, that is of Israel as a whole, salvation has come to the Gentiles.

Now, this wasn't an accident; this was part of God's redemptive plan. Back when God called Abraham in Genesis 12 and He gave him that initial set of promises, you know one promise He made to him in Genesis 12:3. It was this, "[Abraham,] in you all the families [all the peoples] of the earth be blessed." God never intended just to save Abraham and his descendants; it was much broader than that, and so this was the plan from the beginning. But it also involved some of the Jewish people not responding to their Redeemer. This is explicitly prophesied in Isaiah. Turn to Isaiah 49. Seven hundred years before Christ, Isaiah said there are going to be Jewish people who don't respond to the Messiah, and that's going to lead God to extend salvation to the nations. Look at Isaiah 49; this is one of the Servant Songs of Isaiah - the second of four that focus on the Messiah - so this is about Jesus our Lord. I wish I had time to work through it all in detail, but pickup with me in verse 4. Here's our Lord, the Messiah talking, "I have toiled in vain, [and] I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity."

Why is he saying that? Because of how few of the Jewish people responded to His ministry. I mean, think about this, after the resurrection, how many committed believers of Jesus Christ from the land of Israel gathered together on the mountain in Galilee? How many were there? Five hundred! Five hundred! There may have been some more who weren't able to come for whatever reason, but there you have the bulk, the core of those committed to Christ. Most of the nation rejected Him, and so you have Jesus here saying:

I have toiled in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity; [and] Yet surely the [I know God is going to do, verse 4, He's going to do what's right.] justice due to Me is with the LORD, And My reward is with My God. [He's still going to make this happen.] And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him so that Israel might be gathered to Him."

There's the frustration, there's what He came to do and yet, so few believed. And then verse 6, this is now God the Father speaking to Jesus the Messiah.

He says, "It is too small a thing that You should be my Servant,

To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; [He says, 'You're going to do that; but in their rejection of You, I have a bigger plan.']

I will also make You a light of the nations

So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth."

This was prophesied 700 years before Christ that it would fall out just like that. Jesus said the same thing. He predicted the same thing in Matthew 8:11, in Matthew 21:43, and practically, this is how it worked out in the early church. Go over the book of Acts. Look at how this unfolds in the ministry of the Apostle Paul. Acts 13, he's on his first missionary journey in Pisidian, Antioch, and I don't have time to work through this in detail; I just want you to see the key here. Acts 13, and notice verse 44:

The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews…were filled with jealousy…began contradicting…blaspheming.

Verse 46, "Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, 'It was necessary that the Word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.'" And notice what he quotes, verse 47, the passage we just saw in Isaiah.

Now go over to chapter 18; now we're on the second missionary journey in Corinth and notice verse 4, "he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks." Verse 6, "[but the Jews] resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, 'Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.'"

Third missionary journey, chapter 19, this is in Ephesus, chapter 19, verse 8:

And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way…he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus [and he did this for two years].

Do you see the pattern? The book of Acts ends this way. Look at Acts, chapter 28. Paul has finally arrived in Rome and he gathers around him some of the Jewish people and he taught them, verse 23, from the Old Testament "from morning till evening." Wouldn't you have loved to have been there for that? And some were believing but some were not. And then he confronted them, verses 26 and 27, with the Old Testament and said this is exactly what Isaiah said would happen. And notice verse 28, "Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen."

Here's what I want you to see. This was predicted in the Old Testament; it happened in the New Testament and here's what Paul is saying, "One of the reasons God allowed the majority of the Jewish people to stumble over their Messiah and not to believe in Him, are you ready for this, was so that you could hear the gospel and be saved." So, don't you dare look down on the Jewish people who haven't believed; this is in God's purpose, in His sovereign purpose, to extend His grace to us - primarily Gentiles gathered in this room this morning. It was His grace to us that caused Him to pass them by. This should be humbling; it should give you a grateful heart for God's goodness and grace.

There's a third reason; it's to bring salvation to the Jewish remnant, to bring salvation to the Jewish remnant. Look at verse 11, "But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous." God passed over many of the descendants of Abraham and saved Gentiles instead in order to make some of the Jews jealous so as to lead to their salvation.

In Romans 11:14, Paul says the same thing. He says even in my ministry, "I might [want to] move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them." What does Paul mean, "move them to jealousy?" This isn't a negative thing; this is actually a positive thing. He's saying this, as some of the Jewish people see Gentiles enjoying the blessings that come from being attached to Israel's Messiah, promises that were first made to them, they will desire those blessings for themselves. And that's exactly what has happened. In fact, I have spoken with Jewish people in our church who came to Christ in exactly this way. They got to know Gentile Christians, and they saw the blessings in their lives as a result of their having embraced the Jewish Messiah; and as a result, they were made envious, jealous of that; they desired that for themselves. They are in Christ today because of the attractive faith of Gentile Christians. That's what Paul is saying.

Now, as we learn the certainty of Israel's future salvation, we've seen the obvious question; we've seen Paul's emphatic denial - no, they haven't fallen so as to be permanently disqualified - and we've seen the divine reasons.

But I want to briefly notice fourthly, God's future plans in verses 12 to 16, God's future plans. I'm just going to touch on this. The first part of God's future plan is this: Israel will become a greater blessing to the Gentiles in the future to come. Notice verse 12, "Now if their transgression is riches for the world." Their unbelief, that's their transgression, has become riches; the word is most often used of the riches of God's grace and His mercy in these contexts; the word 'world' is 'cosmos,' meaning everything that isn't Jewish, the unconverted Gentile world. So, here's what he's saying, "Because of Israel's unbelief, the unconverted Gentile world has come to enjoy the riches of God's mercy and grace." And then he adds in verse 12, "and their failure is riches for the Gentiles." The word for 'failure' describes a complete or total loss or defeat in battle. Her total spiritual loss or defeat has become spiritual riches for the Gentiles.

And then he adds in light of that, "how much more will their fulfillment be!"

Literally, the Greek text reads this way, "How much more rather the fullness of them," the fullness of them. This word 'fullness' here likely refers to the full number just as it does over in verse 25. In verse 25, you have "the fullness of the Gentiles." Most take that to mean when the full number of elect Gentiles have been saved. That's what he's saying here about the Jewish people. He's saying, "When the Jewish number of the redeemed is full," when it's filled out, Israel will, in the future, reach a full number of redeemed; all the Jewish people alive, at that time or certainly the vast majority of them, will be saved.

Now look at verse 12 again; follow Paul's logic. If Israel's unbelief and failure has brought the wealth of salvation to us who are Gentiles, "how much more will their fullness [bring]!" When all Israel is saved at the Second Coming, when she reaches her full number of redeemed, how much greater blessing will she then bring to us?

Now, you're sitting here and you're thinking, "You know, I'm not Jewish. What is all this about?" Well, this wasn't written to the Jewish people primarily, this was written to us who are Gentile Christians. Here's what the Holy Spirit wanted us to get. He wanted us, in a predominantly Gentile church, to understand the incredible riches that are ours because God passed by the majority of the Jews so that we could get the gospel. And He wants us to understand the incredible riches that will become ours, when Israel is one day restored to full and complete favor. When Israel reaches the full number of redeemed, when Christ returns at the Second Coming, when she is completely restored to God's favor, then we as Gentiles will enjoy the great blessing of her restoration.

What is that blessing? "Jesus shall reign where're the sun doth its successive journeys run." In other words, Jesus Christ will establish His Millennial Kingdom and will reign from David's throne in Jerusalem. We will live on this planet, this very planet, renewed and restored for a thousand years, and we will reign with Him. We will see this planet the way it was meant to be, and we will live here with Jesus Christ as King, reigning, the Scripture tells us, from Jerusalem. That's the greater thing to come; that's the greater blessing that is ours.

And you know, when we take the Lord's Table, we anticipate that. Listen to Mark 14:24:

He said to them [This is Jesus talking to His disciples when He instituted the Lord's Table. He says,] "This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

You see, as we take the Lord's Table, we're reminded that someday we're not going to be eating tiny little pieces of bread and drinking a little thimbleful of grape juice, as if we're having a meal with Christ, which is what it represents. But someday, that'll be real, and He will reign as King, and we will gather with Him for a great feast as His people. That's the blessing that comes when God completes His plan for His chosen people, Israel.

Let's pray together. Take a moment and prepare your heart as the men come to serve us the Lord's Table.

Our Father, we are truly overwhelmed by Your mercy and grace, Lord, to think that You would pass by the majority of Your chosen people so that we, Gentiles, could hear and believe the gospel and become Your own. Father, what grace, what mercy, what wisdom, what goodness! Lord, we worship You today in the way that You've given to us, through the study of Your Word, through singing, through prayer, and now through the Lord's Table. Receive our worship.

Father, we have already prayed for forgiveness of our sins in the prayer of confession as we even used Psalm 51. Lord, cleanse us, prepare us, may each of us take of the Lord's Table with clean hands and a pure heart.

Father, thank You for this reminder not only of our Lord's incarnation; that He had a body and blood that He was just like us and still is just like us except for sin. Not only His substitution that He offered Himself as our sacrifice, Father, thank You that this points forward to the great consummation when we will eat and drink with our Lord in His presence when He returns and establishes His Kingdom on this planet and we will reign with Him for a thousand years and this world will be the way it was supposed to be. Father, we long for that day; help us to anticipate that even in the Lord's Table today. Receive our worship, we pray in Jesus's name, Amen.