Israel: Forgotten or chosen?

Sub title, “Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ezk. 37:3);

Romans 11, verse by verse, by the mercy and grace God.

This is written in response to a doctrine that holds that the church has wholly replaced Israel as the inheritor of ALL the promises that were made to Old Testament Israel. While there are other sections of Scripture that militate against this doctrine, this study examines Romans 11 which systematically refutes the doctrine that there is no future specific gathering or restoration of “Israel after the flesh” to faith. While i cannot answer how much Hebrew blood one must have to belong to “Israel after the flesh”, the fact remains that the Lord identified a people called Israel who are the “natural branch, as distinct from the redeemed “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16). The former Israel is that to whom God promised He would remove their blindness when the fullness of the Gentiles be entered in (just as He once judicially imposed blindness, while the Gentiles were grafted in), in remembrance of His Covenant with their original physical Father Abraham. Which means that the Lord would make manifest a distinct national seed, and i think it is according to that plan that Israel was born a nation is 1948, and has hence become “a burdensome stone for all people” (Zech. 12:3), around which entity end time events are much indicated. And though they presently continue to reject Christ – and suffer for it – the LORD, who is long-suffering, will yet work in a way that a remnant (what is left of Israel after further worthy chastisement) will turn their heart to Him once again. “And so all Israel shall be saved.” Praise ye the Lord!

Has God utterly cast away his people, or replaced them, which He foreknew?

11:1 I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

“His people” are abundantly identified as Israel in Scripture (Ps. 14:7; 29:11; 50:4). That the LORD had not utterly cast them all away, forever locked up in spiritual blindness, is first manifest in the fact that the apostle himself was Jewish by race.

2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

The fact that in times of past apostasy, the LORD preserved a remnant is further proof that He had not and will not utterly cast them all away. He did not destroy the nation and make a new one as He offered to do for Moses (Ex. 32:10), but preserved a seed, out of which the nation, as a distinct people, would be preserved.

3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

In continuance of the doctrine laid down in Romans, that man is not justified on the basis of merit by works, nor can man find the Lord unless the He draws and grants him repentance and faith, the election of the remnant is declared to be entirely by God's Sovereign grace. “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:13, while the rest were judicially, Sovereignly blinded.

6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

Their “table” – that which was a blessing from God – became a trap (Ps. 69:22) and a cause of departure from grace, as Israel fell into idolatry, resulting in Gods just judgment against them. So also the blessings graciously bestowed upon America through a faithful remnant of God, have become a trap for those who have entered into their men's labors, but choose to worship and serve “the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever” (Rm. 1:25).

Beginning in verse 7, we see that there is a distinct people called Israel, that is “Israel after the flesh,” and who are the prime subject (“them,” “their”, etc.), as opposed to the church, into which they shall be grafted back in again.

On one hand this Israel has the devil as their father (Jn. 8:44), just as we did in our unregenerate state, being “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3), and have no claim to the spiritual blessings of Abraham which come by obedient, Abrahamic – type faith (Gal. 3:6-14). But on the other hand the LORD recognizes His covenant with Abraham as pertaining to the nation, and has and will preserve a distinct people Israel, which though now lost, in the fullness of time shall be turned to the Lord, as this chapter will make progressively clear.

8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them:

10 Let their eyes be darkened that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

This 4th question of the chapter is part of the response to the 1st question. God has not utterly cast away the people in question (them, Israel after the flesh), but for a time, or dispensation, they are blinded, while those outside the Israel at subject enter in. And if this be the result of their fall, how much more blessed it is, and will be, when they turn to the Lord in faith?

12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

As expressed in Romans 9:1-5ff, Paul “could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” The Israel there and here is identified as them which are my flesh, not a believing Jewish remnant.

14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

What is intimated here (v. 15), and verse 25 will reveal, is that the apostle is not simply referring to a few Jewish souls coming to faith in Christ in Paul's time, nor a remnant of them coming to faith down through the ages, but a time when the LORD shall remove the blindness of Israel, when He shall remember His covenant with them, just as He collectively imposed it, (see vs.20-28).

16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

The “them” is the branches that were of the “firstfruit,” the “root,” but were broken off while the Gentiles, a “wild olive tree,” were grafted in and enjoy the heritage of those (the Israelites), to whom was originally given the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen” (Rm. 9:4, 5).

18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

Seeing we have “moved into their house” so to speak, we are not be proud or arrogant, but contrariwise, realize that we are not independent from the source, from the root which we are grafted into, by faith, and that just as the natural branches were broken off through unbelief, so no Gentile can presume upon the grace of God, by falling into unbelief, forsaking the faith and fellowship (such as by yielding to “another gospel,” or by practicing immorality), and walking in disobedience to God's Word, thereby falling from grace, and making Christ of none effect (Gal. 5:1-4; Heb. 10:25 - 39).

And while Israel can be justly reproved, it also is to be loved, and prayed for as for as a long lost brother, and supported when right.

19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.

20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

Conversely, it is assured that the natural branches can be grafted back into their own olive tree. Notice that there is no replacement of Israel as an distinct entity, though it truly consisted only of men of Abrahamic faith, rather Gentile believers in Y'shua are “blessed with faithful Abraham” (Gal. 3:9), and become partakers of “the fatness of the olive tree;”(Rm. 11:17), and suffer no racial inequalities (cf. Gal. 3:28). Bless the Lord!

24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

Here it is clearly stated that the distinct people called Israel were blinded until a future condition is met (just as Zacharias, because of unbelief, could not speak UNTIL John was born: Lk,.1:20) . Just as they, the natural branches, were broken off and the Gentiles grafted in, so when the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, the Lord shall come and “shall turn unGodliness from Jacob.” And so all Israel (what is left of it) shall believe and be saved.

26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

27 For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

This statement is confirmatory to the above, as it clearly states that the LORD yet has a covenant with THEM, the people Paul has kept before us all this time, the natural branches, the people upon whom blindness came, until...

28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.

Here again it is confirmed that there is an Israel who are dealt with as a distinct people, and as such (along with others) persecuted the believers and thus were enemies of the gospel (and suffered for it: 1Thes. 2:14-16), yet this same Israel is beloved for the Father's sake – though individually, until they repent, they are lost

The warnings and promises in this chapter, both to Israel and Gentiles, deal with people groups (though applicable to individuals), and what shall happen in the the fullness of time. Just as the promise of a great turning of Gentiles to trust in Christ, “a:root of Jesse” (Is. 11:10; Mt. 12:21; Rm. 15:13) pertained to a future time while in the meantime individuals still needed salvation, so the promise here of Israel turning to the Lord is in the future. while in the meantime multitudes will die in their sins unless they turn to Christ their Messiah.

29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Inseparably linked to the above, it reveals that those to whom God gifted, “to whom pertaineth the adoption,and the glory, and the covenants..”, and were called out by God to be My people (Lv. 26:12), were not utterly cast away, nor replaced by the church, who is grafted into Israel, but that the Lord will yet “turn away ungodliness from Jacob”, in remembrance of His covenant. Though their hard hearts (as a whole) are blinded, “Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away” (2Cor. 3:16).

It should be clear to the honest truth – seeker that the “they” throughout this chapter who are yet enemies of the gospel are also (amazingly!) beloved for their Father's sake and will one day be turned from blindness to light, from darkness to sight, and see “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2Cor. 4:6), to the glory of the only wise God!

30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

Ps. 11:6:5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.

The Lord was entirely just in recompensing Israel with blindness in response to their hardness of heart (cf. Lk. 7:30; Mt. 21:43; Acts 13:46; 22:21; 26:17), and entirely gracious and merciful in opening the hearts of the Gentiles. But when the fullness of the latter be entered in, then those of the natural branch will once more obtain salvific mercy and be grated in again, to the glory of the just yet merciful and only wise God!

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

35 Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

36 For of him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: TO WHOM BE GLORY FOR EVER. Amen.

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Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,

2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.

3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.

5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:

6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.

8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.

12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,

14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.