Summary: What is God’s Plan for Israel? – Romans 11:11-26
What is God’s Plan for Israel? – Romans 11:11-26
The Jewish people have a marvelous history and heritage, but everyone needs to be aware of the Bible’s teaching on God’s future plan for Israel. In this passage Paul teaches us about how Israel’s unbelief have led to the hardening of their hearts toward Jesus Christ and the blessed gospel of peace. Since most Jews have rejected Christ, God has rejected them. They have missed the way, the truth and the life found in Jesus Christ. Yet, we learn in chapter eleven of Romans that God has special plans for their regathering, restoration, and redemption. (Rom. 11:26) When Israel rejected Jesus Christ, the nation lost her favored position before God, and the gospel was then preached to the Gentiles. God allowed this so that the Jews would hopefully become jealous and turn back to God and be saved. God plans to graft Israel back into the olive tree as a demonstration of the fulfillment of His Abrahamic covenant. Let us examine several aspects of God’s plan for Israel in the days to come.
1. God plans to restore Israel for the world’s salvation. Ray Steadman, the former Pastor of the Penisula Bible Church in California gives us some outstanding insights from his teaching on the future of Israel when he writes:
“Scripture refers to only one archangel. His name is Michael. He appears a number of times in the Bible and always in connection with the people of Israel. One of the places where he is mentioned is in the twelfth chapter of Daniel, the same prophet to which Jesus referred concerning the desolating sacrilege. In verse 1 Daniel is told:
"At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people [Daniel’s people, the Jews]. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time [unquestionably, the Great Tribulation]; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book."
It is strongly suggested here that Michael, the great archangel, is responsible for opening the eyes of certain Jews living in Judea at the time of the departure of the church, and that they will then recognize the Lord Jesus as their true Messiah and become believers in him.
We may link this passage with one in Revelation chapter 7:2-4, where there is a description of an event that seems to be remarkably similar, if it is not exactly the same. There the apostle John says:
"Then I saw another angel [Here is a great angel who undertakes a special task connected with Israel. He is not called an archangel, though he well might be Michael] ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, ’Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, out of every tribe of the sons of Israel."
These 144,000 will clearly be Jews, for the passage goes on to list the twelve tribes of Israel and to declare that 12,000 are chosen from each of the tribes. Further information is given us concerning this special group in Revelation 14:1,3-5:
"Then I looked, and lo, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, [Jesus] and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are chaste; it is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes; these have been redeemed from mankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are spotless."
The same chapter goes on to describe the Great Tribulation as "the hour of his [God’s] judgment." Before that hour arrives, these 144,000 from the tribes of Israel will be seen with the Lamb on Mount Zion. This is a specific location within the city limits of Jerusalem. This account confirms the fact that Jesus Christ will be on earth during this time, and will reveal himself from time to time these Jewish disciples, just as he appeared from time to time to his followers during those remarkable forty days following his resurrection.
Evidently these 144,000 Jews are to be turned from unbelief to belief much in the same dramatic way as was the apostle Paul. He was converted on the road to Damascus by the sudden appearance of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Paul speaks of himself, in 1 Corinthians 15, as "one untimely born," very likely thinking of himself as properly belonging to this special band of Jewish believers, but who, by the grace of God, was born ahead of time and given the privilege of belonging to the church.