Eschatology in Romans Related to Israel and the Church, Part 5
As we continue in our study of Eschatology in Romans, we need to investigate further into the Romans 9 – 11 section because it is by far, Paul’s largest treatise on the subject. In it, he shows the following:
- God is not finished with Israel as a nation
- God still saves Jewish individuals
- The promises of God will not be negated
- God has not given up on Israel and transferred remaining promises to the Church
In order to grasp the truth of what Paul is teaching, it must be understood that Paul follows a through line of development in which he specifically draws that through line from Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob and then the patriarchs of Israel. In the process, several individuals (and their ancestral lineage), are omitted: Hagar, Ishmael, and Esau specifically. This proves not only God’s sovereignty but also His own peculiar free will that allows him to choose or bypass individuals.
In each case only one is the line of promise. Verses 14 – 27 argue that God is free to save on the basis of mercy and grace and is not obligated to save due to works of the Law. The statement in verse 24 that God has called not only those out of the Jews but also out of the Gentiles does not imply that Israel’s promises have been taken from it and given in a spiritual form to the church. The term Israel is not used. The only fact stated is that Gentiles have been called as vessels of mercy destined for glory as well as Jews. There is nothing regarding Israel’s national promises. If this did refer to Israel’s promises, it would indicate that Gentiles would share in Israel’s national promises of a messianic kingdom.
Paul ends chapter 9 by stating that the Gentiles have obtained righteousness by faith but Israel rather than obtaining righteousness has stumbled due to unbelief in Jesus Christ (9:30-33). 
This is really all very clear when Scripture is allowed to interpret itself. The problem arises when individuals read into the text something that it does not say. In this section, Paul is carefully crafting his argument that God is not finished with Israel as a nation. God has not abandoned Israel nor has He transferred His promises to another entity, the Church. This would, in fact, make God a liar, something He is most definitely not.
Chapter 10 of Romans again notes that God provided everything necessary for Israel’s (the nation) salvation. However, due to unbelief, they refused the Gospel message in Jesus. This has caused them to be lost and just like every Gentile who refuses to believe in Jesus, every Jew who also refuses to believe in His atoning work and dies in that unbelief is eternally lost. This, however, is far different from stating that God is done with Israel.
Just because there are plenty of people – both Jews and Gentiles – who continue to reject God’s atoning sacrifice in His Son, it does not mean that God is done with the Church either. People continue to come into the Kingdom of God through Christ our Lord and Savior.
Romans 11 places the capstone on Paul’s argument. It is fascinating though how some can read this entire section of Romans and come away with a completely different opinion of what Paul meant. Yet, when their arguments are studied closely, it becomes clear that major sections of this text are either ignored or allegorized to mean something they do not mean.
The present situation of Israel is summarized in [Romans 11] verse 7. The remnant obtained righteousness by faith, but Israel as a whole (the “rest”) did not and are hardened. Thus far, Paul has shown that Israel’s present condition is lost…The remainder of chapter 11 describes how this situation fits in God’s overall plan. In answering the question of 11:11, Paul outlines God’s plan for the world and for Israel.
By Israel’s offence (their present situation) God has brought salvation to the Gentiles. This, however, is designed to provoke Israel to jealousy (cf. 10:19) resulting in their salvation. This is not the goal, but when Israel is restored (its “fullness,” v. 12) this will result in even greater blessing for the world at large. God’s purpose for Israel is that it be a testimony, a means of reaching the world. Throughout this section only national Israel can be meant by the term Israel since the plan of God can hardly be to stumble an individual Jew to reach an individual Gentile…
Since it is clear from Paul that individual Jews can and are being saved (he used himself as an example), then the only clear meaning here is that Israel as a nation has stumbled due to hardness. Again, this applies to national Israel as individual Jews continue to gain eternal life through belief in God the Son.
In essence, this entire portion of Romans 9 – 11 is where Paul reveals two completely different periods of God’s dealings with national Israel. They are 1) the current period of loss through unbelief, and 2) the future period of fullness when God will have taken the final remnant from among Jews during the coming Tribulation. Those Jews who survive that terrible time of God’s wrath (“the time of Jacob’s trouble,” cf. Jeremiah 30:7), without dying will be ushered into the Millennial Kingdom over which Jesus Himself will reign immediately following the Tribulation.
It will be during this 1,000 year reign by Jesus that national Israel will become the arm of blessing for the entire world, thus fulfilling their original national purpose. We will deal with the Millennial Kingdom in an upcoming series to learn how this will be so.
We’ll cover the remaining sections of Romans that deal with the future of Israel and/or the Premillennial view of the Rapture; Romans 13:11 and Romans 16:25-27. Then, we’ll move onto a new series. Join us then!
 Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (1996 Kregel), Thomas R. Edgar, pp. 381-382
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