All Israel Will Be Saved, Part 1 (Romans Sermon 89 of 120)
December 11, 2005 | Andrew Davis
Covenant, God's Purpose for the World, End Times, Israel's Rejection of Jesus
We come in Romans 11:25-32, the climax of the argument that Paul has been making concerning the nation of Israel, the Jewish people. And as I've been meditating on Romans 11, it's really been amazing the effect on my own heart and my own life. And I felt that some as we were traveling to Romania and we were in the airport in Milan, Italy and it was remarkable, the numbers of groups of Jewish men that I saw in that airport as we were waiting for the connecting flight. Actually we were fogged in so we're waiting a long time and I saw in one place, a group of about 15 or 20 men wearing wide brimmed hats and characteristic ear locks and beards and they were walking together. There was one that seemed older than the others and then there were some younger boys that were walking. I thought he might be a rabbi with a group of students around him. Later on as we were sitting in an area having some coffee and just waiting, I saw another Jewish man with his family and he was wearing a Yamaka and he was wearing a prayer shawl. And at a certain point, he stood up and he faced a wall. I assumed he was facing Jerusalem and as the Jews do praying in front of the Wailing Wall, this man began to pray, oblivious to any around him, not concerned what any might think about him.
And as I sat there and observed him and as I was just thinking about the Jewish men that I had seen before that it was interesting the thoughts that were rising up inside me as I observed that. First I felt, and I'm ashamed to admit it, but I felt a kind of a spiritual pride saying, "They don't even know Christ. God can't hear their prayers." All these kind of things. "If only they knew what I knew" this kind of thing. And I was checked in that by Romans 11. I was humbled as I was working on that exact message and thinking about all the ways that God humbles Gentiles in Romans 11 and warns us not to be arrogant or to boast over the fallen branches but rather to pray for them and show concern. It changed my heart, but then I was considering the text we're looking at today, this incredible mystery that we would not know any other way except that God had told us through this apostle, "All Israel will be saved." and I thought, wouldn't it be an incredible thing if it happened now. Wouldn't it be an incredible thing if that group of Jewish men sat down to study the prophets and saw suddenly for the first time Christ where they'd never seen him before? Wouldn't it be something if that Jewish man would have an Evangelist, would have somebody explain to him the Gospel and rather than responding with hardness he would respond with faith and trust in Christ?
Well, I believe that's exactly what the Bible says will happen at some point. I don't know if it's our generation, but I believe that Paul is revealing to us here that at some time in the future, the nation of Israel, will in large number, in a huge number in a remarkable way turn to faith in Christ. That's what it's revealing here.
Now, let's try to understand the context. Paul has been dealing in Romans 9-11 with the question, the bitter question for him as a Jewish man: why are the Jews almost overwhelmingly rejecting the Gospel whereas the Gentiles are so in such a wide and marvelous way receiving the Gospel? What does it mean? Has God's word failed to the Jews? He's dealing with this question and it seems that God is finished with the Jewish nation, seemed that way to many gentile onlookers since they were almost universally rejecting the Gospel of Christ. Also he saw, Paul did, that the Gentiles might have been feeling tempted to feel spiritually superior to the Jews, that they were better than them in some way. And so he's writing here in Romans 11 to deal with this.
And if I could give a kind of a two part summary to the whole chapter, Romans 11. I think first and foremost, Paul is saying that the rejection of Israel is not total. He says I'm an Israelite myself and there is in every generation, a remnant chosen by grace, there's always going to be some physical descendants of Abraham who will embrace Christ and believe in him. That's the first part, the rejection of Israel is not total.
Secondly, we find here in verse 25, the rejection of Israel is not permanent, but rather at some time, mysteriously in the future, God is going to work. So what we've seen is a movement in Romans 11, and it's quite remarkable that the restoration of Israel is possible. He says there, God is able to graft them in again. God is able. So it is possible for the Jews to come back to Christ. Secondly, he goes up to the next level and says, "Actually, it's probable." because he says, "If you Gentiles are wild by nature and you were grafted into an olive tree that is cultivated and it's not naturally yours, how much more readily will these the natural olive branches be grafted into their own olive tree." It is actually probable then that the Jews could be grafted in, but now he moves to the final level. It's not just possible, it's not just probable, it is guaranteed that God will do this very thing, all Israel will be saved, he will graft them in again this is the astounding mystery.
II. Astounding Mystery Revealed: “All Israel Will Be Saved”
Look at verses 25 and 26, he says, "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery brothers so that you may not be conceited. Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved." Now, the first question I want to ask is, why does God reveal this mystery to us? Why does he tell us this? What are his reasons? Now, in the ancient world there were things called mystery religions. Paul wrote about them in Colossians 2, the kind of thing where you had to have some specialized spiritual knowledge, there was a hierarchy of spirituality and if you had that special knowledge you could make progress spiritually in this mystery religion. But actually, ironically, Christianity is a mystery religion, not in that way, but the Bible is filled with mysteries. Jesus said to his own disciples, "The mysteries of the kingdom have been made known to you but not to them." Speaking of the parables, Matthew 13. And here in... I'm sorry, in 1st Corinthians 2:7 Paul calls the Gospel a mystery ordained from before the creation of the world. He says in 1 Corinthians 2:7, "We impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God which God decreed before the ages for our glory." So the gospel is the secret and hidden mystery now being imparted.
Paul speaks of this mystery again in Romans 16:25-27. He's going to end this incredible epistle to the Romans again by hitting on this theme of the mystery. Romans 16:25 and following a doxology says, "Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ," listen, "according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God to bring about the obedience of faith to the only God forever and ever be glory amen and amen." It's a mystery revealed. Christianity is a mystery religion and it's been revealed. Now, I want you to know it does not foster spiritual pride. Quite the opposite. All we have to do is humble ourselves and go to Jesus and say, "Please tell me what this means?" and God will not despise any honest and faith-filled request for wisdom, if we go to him and say, "Explain to me the scripture. Please let me know what this means." And you should do this. Romans 11 is filled with deep doctrine. There may be some things in it you don't understand. You just go humbly and simply to Christ and say, "Teach me through the Spirit what the Scripture means." That's what I did concerning verse 25. All of Christ's wisdom is available to the truly humble seeker, the one who really wants to know what Christ has to say.
Israel Has Experienced a Hardening in Part
And Jesus put it this way in Matthew 11:25, he said at that time, Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth for you have revealed these things to little children but hidden them from the wise and learned." God delights in doing that both in the revealing and the concealing. If you become like a little child you humble yourself he will reveal these secrets to you. Paul gives two reasons why God reveals this mystery right in his text verse 25 he says, "I do not want you to be ignorant to this mystery brothers so that you may not be conceited." So God reveals this through Paul to us, first, so that we will not be ignorant, and secondly, so that we will not be arrogant. He doesn't want us to be ignorant of what God is intending to do with the Jews, and he doesn't want us to be arrogant toward those Jews who have not yet come to faith in Christ. Well, that's the general setting at the table. Now, let's look at the mystery and try to unwrap it point by point.
It says in verse 25, "Israel has experienced a hardening in part." Now Israel, I believe as throughout this chapter, is referring to the nation of Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He's already addressed this issue of Israel's hardening, he's already talked about it in verse 7, look at Romans 11:7 it says, "What then what Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain but the elect did and the others were hardened." Now, the word hardening is 'porosis'. He's speaking of the hardening of their hearts. Simply put, I think the hardening of the Jews is their inability, their refusal to come to Christ when clearly confronted with the biblical evidence that Jesus is in fact the Messiah. Clearly confronted with the biblical evidence that he fulfills all these prophecies. There's a hardness that has come over them in part. It says, Jesus speaking to the Jews of his own day in John 5:39-40 he says to them, "You diligently study the Scriptures, because you think that by them you possess eternal life, these are the scriptures that testify about me. Yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life." That's the hardness, the 'porosis' that's come over their hearts.
Also 2nd Corinthians 3:14-15 speaks of it. Speaking of the Jews Paul writes, "Their minds were dull for to this day, the same veil remains when the old covenant is read it has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts." They can't see Christ in the Old Testament, that's the nature of the 'porosis'. We've also learned very mysteriously and very difficulty for some to accept that this hardening has come from God himself, it's actually God that has brought this hardening on their hearts. Look at verse 8, "as it is written, God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see, ears so that they could not hear, to this very day." And we talked about that at that point. Jesus... John put it this way in John 12:39 and following, "For this reason they," speaking of the Jews, "For this reason they could not believe because as Isaiah says elsewhere, 'he has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts so that they can neither see with their eyes nor understand with their hearts nor turn and I would heal them.' Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him." Isaiah spoke about Jesus but the Jews couldn't see it because of this blindness, because hardness that's come over.
Now we see at last, the joyful ramifications of that difficult doctrine that it is God that brought the spirit of stupor. What do I mean? God himself gave the hardening and therefore God himself has the power to take it away. He gave it and he can take it away any time he chooses and that's exactly what Paul says he's going to do. He's going to take away that hardness so that all Israel can be saved. Now you might think, Why would God do that? Well, he explains that throughout the chapter but there's a beautiful illustration of this, I think, in the Book of Daniel. You remember the story about Daniel and his interactions with the potentate of the Babylonian empire, King Nebuchadnezzar, what an incredible tyrant this man was. What a force of will and domination that forced the Babylonians into a worldwide, world conquering empire. And at one point, he's boasting in his arrogance over the city of Babylon, that he's built.
And so God sends him a warning in a dream, and in the dream this is what the warning is. In Daniel 4:16-17 the angel says concerning Nebuchadnezzar, "Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal till seven times pass by for him. The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men." That's the lesson, God rules. And you have your kingdom because I gave it to you. And so he decreed seven years of mental insanity for this man. Seven years in which he thought he was an animal. How humbling is that? He's out eating grass like an animal for seven years. At the end of the seven years, Nebuchadnezzar was permitted to come to his senses only because God removed the insanity that clouded his normal reason. The seven years were mandated by God, the time was set by God's wisdom and power. It was announced four times, twice in the dream, once in Daniel's interpretation, and then once by the angel who brought the judgment finally. The seven years of insanity were fixed and not before that time elapsed did God permit Nebuchadnezzar to come to his senses and repent from his sin.
I see a similar situation here with the hardening of the Jews. God has set it. There's a certain amount of time. And at some point my friends, at some point he's going to remove it just like he did in Nebuchadnezzar's case. And what is that time? Well, he doesn't give days, months, years, decades, centuries. It's not a time in that sense. He doesn't tell us how long it's going to be but he does tell us what's going to happen. And then the hardness will be removed. It says, "Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in." This gives the time extent of the hardening. God has measured out how long he will wait to remove Israel's hardening. He measures it not in calendar time here but in prophetic event time. This is the next thing that must happen and then the hardening will be removed. Now, I believe what this is talking about is the fullness of the Gentiles, the mass or the greater part or the great number of the Gentiles turning to Christ. I think some people get mathematically accurate saying the last single solitary gentile would be converted and then all of the Jews will be converted, etcetera. That may well be but the word just means fullness, the fullness of the Gentiles is going to come in and then you're going to get the fullness of the Jews coming in.
Until the Full Number of the Gentiles Comes In
So that still I think allows the possibility of some development even after this happens. It doesn't mean every single solitary person who's going to be saved gentile and then every single solitary person Jew and then the end comes. It may be that way, but it doesn't have to be that way. The word simply means fullness. And so what does it mean? Well, God has chosen people, he has his elect, and they're in every tribe, and language, and people, and nation and Jesus has said, "This Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come." It says in the book of Acts, the Apostle Paul says that God has determined the time set for the nations and the exact places where they should live. And so he's got his elect people among the gentile, scattered all over the world, and he's sending out missionaries with beautiful feet and they're going to the ends of the Earth and they're bringing the gospel to unreached people groups. That's what Lottie Moon helps pay for. Oh, be generous, pray and be generous because we want to see the Gospel speed to the ends of the earth to the places where people have never heard the name of Christ.
And so we're sending out missionaries. Southern Baptist Churches all over the country are sending out missionaries. There are people all over the world involved in the great commission work to bring the fullness of the Gentiles in and so we know from every tribe, and language, and people, and nation they will come. It says in Revelation 7:9, "After this, I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation and tribe and people and language standing before the throne and in front of the lamb. They were wearing white robes and they were holding palm branches in their hands and they were saying, Salvation belongs to the Lord and to the lamb." That is the fullness of the Gentiles, friends. And Israel has experienced the hardening in part until that comes in, until that harvest is brought in.
Now, God has measured this out. He knows how long it's going to be. Now, he's not told us in years or exactly the date that it will happen but he's told us that it is going to happen and friends we're seeing it going on right in front of our eyes, it's a marvelous thing. And isn't it amazing that for the second time in redemptive history, God is making the Jews wait until something happens with the gentiles and when that thing happens with the Gentiles then the Jews get their inheritance. It happened concerning the promised land, do you remember God told Abraham that the promised land would be his in Genesis 15, but not yet. Not yet, he couldn't get it yet. Why not? Well, it says in Genesis 15:16, "In the fourth generation, your descendants will come back here for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure." The fullness of the Amorites sin isn't complete. When that fullness of sin is complete, then I will bring Joshua with the sword and they will clear out the promised land and in come the Jews to take the promised land. Isn't that a marvelous thing? Now for the second time, God is waiting for something to happen among the Gentiles for the Jews then to get their promised inheritance. The first time it was the sin of the Amorites. Now it's the salvation of the gentiles. The fullness of the Gentiles will come in and then it will happen. All Israel be saved.
And So All Israel Will Be Saved
Now comes this mystery. What does it mean, "All Israel will be saved"? Dear friends, this is a mystery so deep that you would not have gained it by observation. Maybe some of you enjoy reading mystery Sherlock Homes or something like that. I remember a number of years ago there was a movie out called 'Clue'. Do you know the game 'Clue'? And so, they had Professor Plum and all these kind of things and what they told us was that there are actually different endings to the movie in different geographical regions. Well, finally one critic looked at it and said, "There's a fundamental flaw in the movie. If there are different endings, that means nothing up to that point leads in any definite direction, and so you can be watching one way and not figure it out. But one of the joys of a mystery is to try to look at the clues and see where it ends and who did it." That's what you're always trying to work out. See if you can figure it out.
Well you couldn't with that movie, because there were six different endings. And so why waste your time? Because all of them could fit to each one. Well, that's the nature of a mystery, and that's what the mystery writer does, he's assembling clues that point in a certain direction. Friends, you could not have figured this out by observation. If you had gone around and just observed how it is with the Jews and the Gospel all around the world, if you had done research looking back in history, you would not have come to this conclusion, that all Israel would be saved. Actually you'd come to the opposite conclusion. This is a mystery that we would not know if God had not revealed it to us.
A simple and mathematical question comes to us, "What are the odds, friends, what are the odds that the overwhelming majority of Jews in a single generation, if not every single solitary Jew, maybe, but the overwhelming majority would suddenly and amazingly convert to Christianity in one generation?" If you don't know the answer, go talk to a Jewish friend, go talk to a Jewish rabbi, ask him that question. What's he going to tell you? Zero. No chance, it will not happen. But God said it will, and friends, it will. Isn't that wonderful? God doesn't play mathematical probability games, it all has to do with what His will is, and He has told us what His will is, and this is going to happen.
Now, notice how He introduces it, "Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved." What are those words "And so," mean? Well, there was a strong link to the fullness of the Gentiles coming in, and Israel getting saved. How does it work? Well, the word "And so" in the Greek means "In this way, or in this manner." This is how God's going to do it. When God gets finished with His massive work among the Gentiles, when this revival or whatever it is that happens in every tribe, and language, and people, and nation happens, then the Romans 11 jealousy is going to kick in among the Jews. They're going to say, "Wait a minute, we're left out. We're left out. They're sitting at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven, and we're left out." And there's a spirit of jealousy that God's going to kindle inside of them. And so in this way, all Israel will be saved.
Now, what does it mean "All Israel"? And I've already told you what I believe about the word 'Israel'. I think it's talking about the ethnic Jews, I think it's talking about the physical descendants of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. That's what I think it means. Now, what does it mean? I don't think it can mean every single solitary physical descendant of Abraham who has ever lived will end up in Heaven. Or conversely that there will be no Jews in Hell. I don't think that's what it's saying. Friends, if that's what it's saying, if that's what it's saying, then why does Paul introduced this whole topic in Romans 9-11 with these words, "I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart"? Romans 9, "For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people." Generations of Jews have heard and rejected the Gospel and have died. And Jesus said, "You will die in your sins, for if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins."
And He said in Matthew 23 to the Scribes and Pharisees, He said, "You snakes, you brood of vipers, how long will you escape being condemned to Hell?" It cannot mean that there will be no Jews condemned, it doesn't mean that. Other people like John Calvin, and some reform theologians, believe that all it's saying is that all the elect will be saved, and that Israel equals elect. But I don't think that's what it means, with all due respect to John Calvin. I appreciate his scholarship, it takes a lot of courage to go against him, but I think we have to do that here. I don't think that he's saying that, he's revealing a mystery here, something we wouldn't have known any other way. And it doesn't fit with the context. Look what it says, "Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in." Israel, Gentiles. They're the Jews, friends. And they've experienced the hardening, and so therefore, that's the Israel that's going to be saved. We're talking about the Jews, not about the elect.
Other people think it means the elect among the Jews. But friends, we already knew that. We already knew back in verse 7. It said, that what Israel sought to obtain, it did not. The elect obtained it, the others were hardened, we already learned that. No, he's talking about something so big, he's talking about a big cymbal crash crescendo at the end of redemptive history. Something so huge that it's like life from the dead. Look what he says in verse 15, "If their," referring to the Jews, "If their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be, but life from the dead." Like that, it's so exciting. It's going to be something so dramatic, it'd be like going to a funeral and seeing a dead person sit up, and you're like, "Wow." It's terrifying, it's shocking, you would never imagine. It's going to be like life from the dead, it's going to be something noteworthy, something really quite shocking and amazing.
So I don't think it's saying that just the elect among the Jews will continue to trickle in, that's not what it's saying. I think what it's saying is that God is going to work in a single generation of Jews such a mighty thing, that they're going to turn to Christ. And it's what it says, "will be saved." We're not learning a new way to be saved now. They're going to be saved the way everybody gets saved. "I'm not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." He doesn't have a different Gospel for the Jews, it's the same Gospel for all of us. And so they're going to be saved the same way we get saved, by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Isn't that marvelous? And so in an incredible way this Jewish nation is going to turn and embrace Christ.
"Saved" must mean what it has meant throughout Romans. Romans 5:9, it says, "Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him." Can there be a saving from the wrath of God apart from the blood of Christ? No, there is nothing. There's nothing can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus. And that's true for Jews as well, they're going to be saved by repentance of faith. We also learned in Romans 10:9-10, it says, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with the heart you believe and are justified, and it is with the mouth that you confess and are saved." That's the same for the Jews as it will be for us, as it has been for us, no difference. So what is it teaching? That Jews are going to do that, they're going to believe in their heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, they're going to confess that Jesus is Lord. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
This is an astonishing truth. Picture it my friends, picture that group of Jews in the Milan airport, characteristically dressed. There's a picture of Jews on the cover of your bulletin, go ahead and look there, look at the picture. Can you imagine the Jewish men and women turning to Christ, repenting of their sin, listening to those with the beautiful feet that bring the Gospel of salvation, standing there at the Wailing Wall, clinging to Judaism, and then suddenly they see Christ? What an incredible thing. None of them will be saved apart from the preaching of the Gospel. But suddenly the same Gospel which has been being preached for 2,000 years, hundreds of thousands of times, will now miraculously bear fruit. Isn't that incredible? All Israel will be saved.
III. Support from Prophecy: The Deliverer Will Come from Zion
And then he supports it mysteriously from prophecy. There is so much in this that I couldn't handle it today, this morning. So, I'm going to share more thoughts about why Paul rearranges the quote from Isaiah. I will do that tonight. There's just too much. And he does rearrange it, he actually reverses it, exactly the opposite of what Isaiah says. Look what it says in verse 26-27, "So all Israel will be saved, as it is written, 'The deliverer will come from Zion, he will turn godlessness away from Jacob, and this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.'" He reverses Isaiah 59:20. Now listen to what Isaiah 59:20 says. "And a redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn away from transgression." Both of those are opposite. Why does he change it? Come tonight, listen, okay? But I'll say this, I believe he changes the quote. The Jews for Judaism website were all over Paul for this, saying he's twisting Scripture, he's supporting this thing with a verse that isn't even in the Old Testament, he reversed it. Why did he do it? Come tonight, I'm not going to say it now, but I will say the reason that he does it is to emphasize God's sovereignty in the Jew's salvation, to emphasize God's sovereignty.
Zion has changed, it's heavenly now, and the redeemer is going to come from Zion to the earthly Zion, to the Jews. And he's not going to come to Jews who repent of their sins, and then He comes as a reward. But rather he is going to do the turning away from sin. He's emphasizing the sovereignty of God. Paul knew the Old Testament better than any of his modern day detractors, I can assure you, he knew exactly what he was doing. We'll talk about it tonight.
But it says He's going to turn godlessness away from Jacob. Now, what do we mean by this? I believe there's two different kinds of Jewish godlessness, there is religious godlessness, and then there is atheistic or secular godlessness. Christ can handle both of them. Christ has the power to turn both of them away from the hearts of the Jews. What is religious godlessness? Well, it's thinking you can come to God the Father without God the Son. It's thinking that you don't need Jesus, but through your own obedience to the law of Moses by establishing your own righteousness, you can work out a righteousness sufficient for Judgment Day, that is religious godlessness. And Jesus said, "He who has the Son has life, He who does not have the Son of God does not have life." If you don't have the Son, you don't have the Father. You can't brush aside the Son and try to embrace the Father, He will not have it.
Psalm 2 says, He will... He said to His son, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a foot stool for your feet." Nobody can brush aside Jesus. And so, there is religious godlessness in those that think they can be saved apart from the work of Christ, it can't be done. But then there's secular or atheistic godlessness, and that's just people that aren't religious at all, they have no real interest in the law of Moses or any of that, they are seeking to make a living, to be powerful, successful, prosperous in whatever way they choose, and they have therefore become idolaters because they're focused on earthly things, just like Esau did, selling everything for a bowl a soup. They are living for this world, and power and prestige in this world, it is godlessness. Jesus has the power to come from Heaven by the power of the Holy Spirit, and turn both forms of godlessness away from the Jews.
Hallelujah. He can do it in our hearts too. We're focused here on the Jews, and he is going to do that, he's going to turn godlessness away from Jacob. And verse 27, "This is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins." Matthew 1:21, the first time anyone ever heard the name Jesus, we'll talk about it, God willing, next week. But it was Joseph who was told by the angel, "you are togive Him the name Jesus, because," He will what? "He will save His people from their sins." Isn't that beautiful? Jesus has that kind of power. This is the covenant, this is the covenant that's not been fulfilled, and that is to save the Jews from their sins.
The new covenant, Jeremiah 31 says this, "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." Did you hear that? "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Judah and with the house of Israel." Those are the Jews, friends, He's going to make a new covenant with the Jews. We're just grafted into that new covenant, friends, we're grafted into the Jewish new covenant. It was made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. "It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers, when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke My covenant, though I was a husband to them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord, I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people." That's the new covenant, He's going to take away their sin, and everything sin has done to them. We get grafted into that, Book of Hebrews Chapter 8 and Chapter 10, we get the new covenant, and we are drinking from that fountain, full forgiveness of sins.
But it was meant and made for the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Oh, there's all kinds of support for this. Paul didn't have to reach for an obscure passage in Isaiah and twist it around to get it to say, there is word all over the Old Testament prophets of the restoration of the Jews. And I think the ultimate restoration is not just that they would come back 40,000 strong or some trickle amount back in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, and take up servitude dwelling places under Gentile overlords in the promised land. That's not the restoration, that's not what's spoken of in Isaiah 60, when it says of Zion, "Arise and shine, for your light has come." That's the restoration, it is spiritual restoration, restored to God Almighty through the work of Jesus Christ. And there's all kinds of prophecies that predicted, one I printed right in your bulletin, look at it.
Zechariah 12:10. So vital, because here is the remedy to the spirit of stupor of Romans 11:8. God gave them a spirit of stupor. And in Zechariah 12:10, God takes it away, He takes away the spirit of stupor and gives them a different spirit instead. Look what it says in Zechariah 12:10, "I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on Me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son, and they will grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son." Christ will remove the spirit of stupor, and a spiritual blindness, instead He'll pour on the Jews a spirit of grace and supplication, and as a people, they will look to Christ for salvation, and they will cry out to Him and they will mourn for Him. The one they themselves pierced on the cross, and they will cry for Him, and mourn for Him, and love Him, and embrace Him, and believe in Him.
They will weep and wail for the wasted generations of Jews that rejected their greatest son. They will weep and wail because of their sins, and they will yearn for Christ, and they will find in Christ a warm salvation, a welcome back like the father and the prodigal son. And Christ will save them, He will not turn aside any that come to Him in repentance of faith, He will embrace them, and forgive them, and justify them, and friends, graft them back into their own olive tree. This is what the prophets say.
IV. "Enemies" and "Beloved": The Two Ways God Views the Jewish Nation
Now, there are two different ways, therefore, that God views the Jewish nation now. They are in one sense enemies, and they are in another sense beloved. Verse 28 and 29, it says, "As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account. But as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and His call are irrevocable." The Jews opposed Paul every step of the way. They were Gospel enemies in Paul's day. They fought him that he would not preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, they abused him, they opposed him. It's continued on for generations, even to this present day. There are some Jews that use their positions of power and influence, even in America, to make it difficult to evangelize. It is true, they are Gospel enemies. As far as the Gospel is concerned, he says, they are enemies. But as far as election is concerned, they're beloved on account of the patriarchs.
There are two different ways of looking at their situation, they are Gospel enemies, but they're beloved. Friends, the conversion of Saul of Tarsus should prove one thing, the Gospel has the power to turn enemies into friends. He can transform a bitter entrenched Gospel enemy to a friend just like that. What God can do for one person on the road to Damascus, He can do to a whole nation, He can do that, He has that power. And so God's gifts and His calling are irrevocable, He's not taking them back. And so that brings us back, friends, to the original question that Paul was wrestling with in Romans 9, concerning the Jews has God's word failed? Answer, no. He is right on top of it, He knows exactly what He's doing. There's a purpose in everything He's doing. God's word has not failed, His gifts and His calling are irrevocable, and He will accomplish His ends and His purposes in the end.
V. How God’s Salvation Plan Humbles All Humanity
Now, what are His ends and purposes? And with this we finish. What is God's final end? What is His ultimate purpose in all of this? Well, His ultimate goal, friends, is His own glory in human salvation, that He would be glorified in the salvation of sinners from every tribe, and language, and people, and nation, both Jew and Gentile, that He would be glorified. Look what He says in verse 30-32, "Just as you, who were at one time disobedient to God, have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience. So they too have now become disobedient, in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you. For God has bound all men over to disobedience, so that He may have mercy on them all."
Oh, what a glorious and deep concept that is. To God be the glory, great things He had done, that is the end of the Gospel. That God has worked in history in such a way that both Gentiles and Jews have stopped mouths and can say nothing other than, "To God be the glory. He had mercy on me, the sinner. I was saved by grace." God intents full glory in their salvation for Himself. And so He has worked in such a way that there's nothing left but for us to boast in Christ. As it says in 1 Corinthians 1, "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of the world, and the despised things, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are. So that no one may boast before Him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God, that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, 'Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.'"
So God had a plan for that, and the Scripture here says that God bound us all into disobedience. It's a strange expression, but the same word is used of the disciples when they're fishing, and their nets were bursting full of fish in Luke 5:6. It says, "When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish and their nets began to break." God has enclosed the whole human race into disobedience, into sin. Now, how did He do that without enticing us to sin, as James says He doesn't do? Well, I know He does it, I don't know how to put it all together, but I know this, He has enclosed us in such a way that what is truly in our hearts, our own rebellion, our own sin, will get revealed and displayed, so that when we get saved we will be praising and glorifying God alone for His mercy to us.
And so, therefore, Gentiles are bound up into disobedience through their terrible idolatries, and their orgies, and their selfishness, and their materialism, and all of the stuff that the pagan gods and goddesses, and all the stuff that Gentiles did. He bound them up into that, so that we are silenced, saved by mercy. And then He bound up the Jews in generations of hardening, so they can't see their own Messiah, but instead think they can earn their salvation through their own law keeping. He bound them into disobedience so that He can have mercy on them all. This incredible plan of God.
And when we get to Heaven, friends, when we're saved, when it's all said and done, when it's finished, we will be done with the wretched theme of ourselves. We won't be thinking about ourselves anymore. God isn't bringing you to Heaven, as John Piper put it, to make much of you. He's rather bringing you to Heaven and freeing you from self-focus, so at last you can eternally make much of Him, and you will, if you're saved. And so will the Jews make much of Him, for God has bound all of them over to disobedience, so that He can have mercy on them all. Saved by mercy.
And notice the symbiotic relationship, Jews and Gentiles alike had to do it. The Jews' disobedience enabled Christ to be crucified, releasing a Gospel for the Gentiles, so that they could be saved. Now, God's mercy to the Gentiles makes them jealous so that they are in the end, going to be saved too. Jews and Gentiles together alike necessary for God's incredibly deep redemptive plan. Just as you who were at one time disobedient have now received mercy as a result of the Jews' disobedience, so they then now have become disobedient, so that they can receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you.
Take it home, read it, look over it. It's complex, but what He's saying is that the Jews' and Gentiles' disobedience alike is essential to God's salvation plan. So that in the end, we will stand up in Heaven, and we'll say, "To God, and to God alone be the glory. How great is your mercy to me, how great is your mercy that you overlooked my sin, that you covered me by the grace and the blood of Christ, how great is your mercy that you saved me." We said while we had time on earth, while there was time, we said, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner," and He had mercy on you, didn't He? And so that will be your theme in glory, for God has bound all men over to disobedience, so that He may have mercy on them all.
And He says in another place, Romans 9:15-16, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God, the one who has mercy."
What application can we take from this? Just humble yourself before God, realize that if you're saved, you're saved because of grace and mercy, because Jesus was merciful to you, and did not treat you as your sins deserved. Therefore, can I urge you to exalt His mercy to you personally? Talk a lot about it. Say, "God doesn't treat me as my sins deserve, He's not giving me what I deserve. I'm here by grace and by mercy alone. Only by His grace by the blood of Jesus do I even stand alive today." It really drives out a spirit of bitterness and complaining if you do that. Exalt His mercy to you personally.
Thirdly, accept the mysteries of God's saving plan for the Jews. Just believe this is true. Start thinking about a world in which huge numbers of Jews will someday come to Christ. Just think about that, it's going to happen. So, orient yourself to that, accept it, anticipate the glories of Christ's kingdom in which Jews and Gentiles alike are going to be praising Jesus for dying on the cross for them. Never doubt for a moment God's power to bring great joy out of terrible providences and circumstances. God is right on top of history. Nothing happens apart from His marvelous plan. And so you may be going through death, suffering, bereavement, pain of all kinds, financial difficulties, physical problems, and you may be wondering about the goodness and power of God. Never wonder, God knows exactly what He's doing, He is powerful and strong. And therefore trust God in whatever circumstance you're in.
And finally, be active in evangelism. I hope as a result of our study now in Romans 9-11, if you're witnessing, sharing the Gospel, and someone says, "Oh, I'm Jewish," like that should end the discussion, oh no, that begins the discussion. "Oh good, you're Jewish. Good, let's talk about the prophets. Let's talk about the Gospel." Don't think, "Oh, that ends it, there's no chance." Of course there's a chance. God has promised someday all Israel will be saved. Close with me in prayer.