Summary: The restoration of Israel has always been part of God's plan. For the word of God's promise must be fulfilled. The new covenant will not be complete until it fully embraces the people of the old covenant.
ROMANS 11: 25-32
THE FUTURE SALVATION OF ISRAEL
The crowning outcome of the discussion in chapters 9-11 is "THE FUTURE SALVATION OF ISRAEL." The culminating point is that God has promised to save Israel. For the same mercy that has overtaken the Gentiles who were once disobedient toward God will finally overtake disobedient Israel. This revelation disclosed the mystery of God's purpose for Israel.
Israel's harden heartedness has not been total and now we learn that it will it be permanent. Israel's rejection of God did not force God to reject them. For out of Israel has come a believing remnant and this remnant is the first fruits of the salvation of Israel as a whole.
The restoration of Israel has always been part of God's plan. This final restoration is not just for a faithful remnant but for all Israel. It is a plan of mystery and mercy. For the word of God's promise [revealed in Isaiah 59:20-21 & Jeremiah 31:33] must be fulfilled. The new covenant will not be complete until it fully embraces the people of the old covenant (CIT).
Let's use the following outline to guide us through our study:
I. A COVENANT MYSTERY, 25-27.
II. AN IRREVOCABLE CALLING, 28-29.
III. A MYSTERIOUS MERCY, 30-32.
A mystery which can not be gained by insight or by understanding is revealed 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 has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;"
Israel's corporate stumbling, which is temporary, not permanent, is called a mystery. In Scripture a mystery is not a truth difficult to understand, but a truth previously unrevealed (and therefore unknown) which is now revealed and publicly proclaimed (Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:26; Mt. 13:10-16). Mystery relates to things once hidden but now made known or revealed by God (16:25; Mk. 4:11; Eph. 1:9). Paul wanted to make sure his readers knew about the mystery of God's plan concerning Israel. God purpose for revealing this mystery is "so that you may not be conceited" (Lit., "wise in yourselves"). The salvation of anyone is a matter of God's grace, not of their own merits and it will be the same for Israel. The salvation of anyone is because of God's grace and is not a basis for personal boasting [but for a display of His glory].
In Romans 11:25 are two specific facts about Israel's hardening (vv.7-8): (a) it is partial or "in part" (because there were-are Jews being saved, v. 5), and (b) it is temporary [because it will end when the time of the of Gentiles is fulfilled]. ["Hardening" is prsis ("hardening, dulling"); it differs from the verb sklrynei ("hardens") used of Pharaoh (9:18) and the noun sklrotta ("stubbornness," lit., "hardening," 2:5). The first noun (prsis) refers to dullness, the second suggests stubbornness.]
When God turned His gospel toward the all the nations of the world many would believe it and receive the righteousness provided by grace. In order to achieve this goal Israel's relationship as God's Chosen People was rescinded for a time because of Israel's partial hardening. Israel's condition is partial in that there are genuine believers and it is temporary in that there will be a restoration of the fortunes of the people of Israel. When will Israel's temporary hardness end? Israel's hardness will end when "the full number (plrma, "fullness") of the Gentiles has come in." The fullness of the Gentiles refers to the time when the full complement of non-Jews will have believed and come into the kingdom.
Now the fullness of the Gentiles is different from the times of the Gentiles. The times of the Gentiles (Luke 21) deals with the recovering of Jerusalem. In Luke 21, Jesus said Jerusalem would be trodden down until the "times of the Gentiles" are fulfilled. [In 1967 Jerusalem was recaptured by Israel. It could very well be that the "times of the Gentiles" were fulfilled in 1967. We are simply in overtime right now, due to God's goodness and patience. If you got saved after 1967, aren't you glad He took us into overtime as God prepares His people for their upcoming salvation.]
But the fullness of the Gentiles is a different issue. What is the fullness of the Gentiles? Again, it's when the full number of Gentiles are saved. In other words, there is a Gentile somewhere on the earth who will be the last one saved before the rapture. When that person acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord, the fullness of the Gentiles will be complete, and at that moment, we'll be raptured. So if you're not yet saved—get saved. You could do us all a great favor because you might be the last one!