The end of Romans chapter 11 wraps up Paul's discussion of Israel and God's plan to restore and redeem His people.
In scripture a mystery is something that has been hidden until God reveals it. Here in Romans 11, God reveals this mystery and tells us that Israel's future is mysteriously connected to His plan for the Church.
"a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in."
Fortunately, this hardening is not complete, and it is not permanent.
Here is a video we watched discussing how the circumstances in the Middle East are aligning with the prophesies of scripture and how some Jews are feeling a kinship with Christians and are beginning to turn to Christ.
Click below to hear our full study.
God has set Israel aside for a specific time until He can complete His work in the Gentiles to establish His Church.
The Greek word used for the church (Ecclesia) really means assembly or to be grouped apart. God has called His people to be set apart from the world. First, he made a nation out of the descendants of Abraham and instituted laws and circumcision that were designed to set them apart from the nations (Lev. 20:26). In Acts 15:12-14, the leaders of the early church (who were Jews) recognized that God was calling non-Jews to make a people for his name out of Gentiles as well.
When this "fullness of the Gentiles," is achieved, that is the finite number of completeness of people who will receive salvation through believing in Jesus, it will trigger the next major event--the revelation of Jesus to the nation of Israel and the fullness of Israel to be saved.
Paul quotes from Isaiah that the deliverer will come from Zion, and he will "take away" the sins of Israel. As scripture tells us, only the blood of Jesus takes away sin. The historic sacrificial system of Israel was just a temporary covering. It also had to be repeated again and again. This promised deliverer is going to "take away" the sin of Israel as John the Baptist has declared when he saw Jesus approaching, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
Because of their spiritual blindness, God is going to do something extreme to wake Israel from its slumber. Scripture tells us that the unbelieving nations will continue to fight against Israel and at a point when all hope seems lost, The Lord will come and fight to protect Israel (Zechariah 14:3-4).
When Israel finally recognizes Jesus as their true messiah, and as the deliverer promised by scripture, they will cry out for mercy.
Zechariah 12:10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn."
Recognizing Jesus as Lord will not give Israel a sudden ability to follow the Law. Israel (nor anyone else) will never be righteous based on performance. God is permitting this time of disobedience so that he can forgive when they repent and cry for mercy.
For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
Having considered this divine mercy, Paul then breaks into worship praising God and confessing that His ways are beyond our understanding.
This mystery and intensity of God's love, mercy and grace is beyond our comprehension, but God has chosen to reveal a small bit to us through the Living Word of Jesus Christ and the holy word of scripture.
To Him be the glory forever. Amen.