Note this statement in Romans 11:28:
“As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes”
Then note what follows:
“ 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!”
As we develop the truth concerning “the salvation of Gentiles”, because of Israel’s unbelief, and the coming salvation of Israel “for the fathers’ sake,” we too shall cry out: “ 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!”
First let us see God’s description of the unsaved Gentiles at the time the risen Christ sent Paul to them.
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind. “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” Ephesians 4:17 and 18.
“Because that, when they knew God they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” Romans 1:21 and 28.
What hope could there be for such people? They were “by nature the children of wrath:” Ephesians 2:3. They were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, in the world having no hope. Ephesians 2:12. In Romans 10:19 they were called “a foolish nation;” “no people.” Christ on earth said to a Gentile, “it is not meet to give the children’s bread to dogs.” Matthew 15:25 to 27. Think of them; “no people;” “dogs.”
Now let us see what God did to Israel because Israel would not receive Paul’s message to them.
“(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.” “Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.” Romans 11:8 and 10.
Now some interesting facts:
Way back, about 1900 BC, when the Gentiles were blinded and God gave them up, He called a man by the name of Abram, to leave his country, family and home. Genesis 12:1 to 5. Note God’s Word: “I will make of thee a great nation.” Abram’s wife was Sarah. Note Hebrews 11:11 and 12.
“Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful Who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” The child of Abraham and Sarah was Isaac. From this promised son came Jacob and the nation Israel.
Now note God’s declaration concerning Israel:”
“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” “For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: For I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by My name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Isaiah 43:1 and 3 to 7.
“Thus saith the Lord, If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:37.
“Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for MINE HOLY NAME’S SAKE, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.” “Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.” Ezekiel 36:22 and 32.
Israel is going to be preserved for God’s holy name’s sake. They are beloved for the fathers’ sake. The fathers were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Note in Ezekiel 36:22 to 32 what God is going to do for and with Israel for His own holy name’s sake
“For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:24 to 26.
We might read more than 500 verses from the pens of Israel’s prophets as to Israel’s glorious future.
God made a covenant with Abraham concerning Israel and Canaan. Genesis 17:8. God confirmed that covenant with His oath when Abraham had placed Isaac on the altar. Genesis 22:16 to 19. The gifts and the calling of God are without repentance. Romans 11:29, Therefore for the fathers’ sake Israel shall be saved after God’s present reign of grace for Gentiles. And they are going to be saved for the Father’s sake. Ezekiel 36:22.
In this connection note Romans 11:11, 15, and 30:
“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.” “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?” “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief.” Romans 11:11, 15 and 30.
So once again, “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!” Romans 11:33.
Let us go back to the statement concerning Israel in John 12:37 to 41:
“But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart: that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” John 12:37 to 41.
“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!”
When the Gentiles were blinded and in universal idolatry and adultery, alienated from the life of God, the Lord chose Abraham and created Israel for His own glory. God began a new movement on the earth with the nation Israel. By the covenant of circumcision God cut off the rest of the human race. Genesis 17:12 to 16. Acts 7:6 to 12. Israel was selected to reveal God to the heathen.
They miserably failed. God finally set Israel aside. But they will be saved.
“And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.” Ezekiel 37:21 and 22.
In Ezekiel 36, God tells how Israel profaned His name among the heathen. In other Scriptures He tells how Israel rejected and killed God’s prophets.
“But last of all He sent unto them His Son, saying, They will reverence My Son.” “And they caught Him and cast Him out of the vineyard, and slew Him.” Matthew 21:37 and 39.
That Son was their Messiah and King. What did that Son say to them?
“Ye fools and blind.” “Ye blind guides which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.” “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, ye shall not see Me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matthew 23:17, 24, 33, 38 and 39.
They were truly blind. They rejected their Messiah. He was delivered according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders, and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Acts 2:22 and 23.
“And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” Acts 3:17.
Then note Acts 3:25 and 26:
“Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” Acts 3:25 and 26.
The rest of the story is told in I Thessalonians 2:14 and 16:
“For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews.” “Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost”
God again sent blindness upon Israel. Romans 11:8. They have been spiritually blind since then, scattered all over the earth. Then note God’s revealed secret
“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. 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.” Romans 11:25 and 26.
Israel’s blindness and unbelief meant reconciliation, salvation, grace and mercy for Gentiles. Romans 11:15, 11 and 30.
We have learned that when the Gentiles were blinded and God gave them up, Israel was given the place of honor and privilege. And then when Israel was blinded and set aside (temporarily) God’s reign of grace for Gentiles was inaugurated. For about 1900 years we have been receiving Divine mercy. In the first chapter of Romans we learn of the rejection of the Gentiles. In the eleventh chapter we learn of the rejection of Israel.
Note Ephesians 4:32:
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God FOR CHRIST’S SAKE hath forgiven you.”
Why are Gentiles forgiven all their sins? FOR CHRIST’S SAKE. Why will Israel yet be forgiven, saved and blessed? For Jehovah’s sake. Ezekiel 36:22 and 32. And also for the fathers’ sake. Romans 11:28. Why were the. rulers of Israel enemies of the gospel when Paul preached to them? For the Gentiles’ sake. Romans 11:28.
The disobedience, unbelief, and blindness of Israel is told in the story of Barjesus, Paulus, and Barnabas in Acts 13:6 to 12: Let us read this interesting story
“And when they had gone through the isle into Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the Word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul), filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.” Acts 13:6 to 12.
Barjesus means “the child of Jehovah the Saviour.” Israel was God’s “Barjesus.” Barjesus sought to turn the Gentile away from faith in Israel’s Messiah. Israel was chosen to turn Gentiles to Israel’s Messiah. For Barjesus’ disobedience God’s judgment fell upon him, “blindness for a season.” This Divine judgment caused Paulus to believe and be saved. “Saul” became .”Paul” to declare the truth of Romans 11:25 and 26. A blindness in part to Israel until God ends His dealings with the Gentiles.
The Jews are scattered among all the nations of the earth in spiritual blindness “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Luke 21:24.
The times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled. The fulness of the Gentiles will come in. And let all Gentiles remember Romans 11:21.
Many, many so-called Christian preachers today are as blind as Israel. Even the great majority of the saved ones are not only ignorant of Romans 11:25 and 26 but wholly ignorant of God’s eternal purpose, under the dispensation of grace, during this parenthetical period while the Messianic kingdom is in abeyance. Ephesians 3:1 to 11.
Then think of the modernists in evangelical denominations who are given the right hand of fellowship by modernist rabbis who say; “now that you believe that Jesus was only a good man and a religious reformer, but not conceived by the Holy Spirit, we can enjoy fellowship with you. “
As Barjesus sought to turn the Gentiles away from the faith so many of the leaders in the so-called Christian churches are turning Jewish leaders away from the faith and all of them together are headed for the same ditch
“Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:14.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.