God’s Plan for Israel’s Future

Sermon Study Sheets

Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

October 20, 2002

God’s Plan for Israel’s Future

Romans 11:25-36


This morning we come to a very important theological truth. God keeps His
promises. He has not cast away the nation of Israel. He still has a plan for
that nation’s future. Obviously, this is very important to those who are
Jewish. To those of us who are Gentiles, that may not seem very important, yet
it is. Why? Because God’s faithfulness to the nation of Israel is a
demonstration of His trustworthiness. If God keeps His promises to Israel, then
we can also trust Him for the promises that He has made to us as followers of
Jesus Christ. If God will not keep His promises to Israel, then we cannot trust
Him to keep His promises to us. Being able to trust God is a very important

There is also another important point that comes from this theological truth,
and that is our response to both the individual Jew and to the nation of Israel.
If God has rejected them, then we would have a basis for rejecting them too. If
God has not rejected them, then neither can we who profess Jesus as our savior.

We have seen in our study of Romans 9, 10 and 11 that it is clear that God
has not rejected His people (11:1). God has broken off some of the branches of
Israel from the root (11:17), but He has not broken off all the branches. There
always has been and still is a remnant of Jews that are faithful to God
(11:2-5). In addition, Paul states plainly that even those branches that have
been cut off can be grafted back in again (11:24).

The tragedy is that there are many Christian groups that have failed to
recognize the truths of these chapters. They believe that Israel has been cast
away and that the Church has replaced Israel. The church has not replaced
Israel. We have been grafted into the rootstock of faith even as we saw in our
study of Romans 11 last week, but we have not replaced the nation of Israel.

Some groups, such as those holding to "British Israelism," even go
so far as to claim to be the so called "lost 10 tribes of Israel" that
were carried into captivity by Assyria. While the destruction of all the records
may make it impossible for a Jew to prove his lineage, many of them still know
which tribe they belong too. And even those who do not themselves know what
tribe they belong to, God does know. Other groups may not carry the claim of the
Church replacing Israel to that extreme, but they do claim all of Israel’s
promised blessings. Now a curious thing to me is that consistently, these groups
that claim God’s promised blessings to Israel, never also claim God’s curses
on them for disobedience. Some groups even include the land that belongs to
Israel as part of their claim. That was a reason for the crusades in the middle
ages. They were going to reclaim Jerusalem for the Church from not only the
Muslim, but also the Jew. The crusaders slaughtered Jews across Europe as they
made their way to the Holy Land, and then they slaughtered more Jews when the
got there.

You see, tragically the rejection of the Jews has often turned into outright
persecution and slaughter. It did in the middle ages. It did in the many pogroms
in Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries. It did in Europe
in the 20th century culminating the Holocaust during and after WW II.
It continues today in the world’s enmity toward that tiny nation. The world
wants the blessing that God promised to them including the land, but God has
promised it to Israel and to no one else. If a Gentile wants God’s blessing,
then it only comes through being grafted into the rootstock of faith through
salvation in Jesus Christ. It does not come by trying to replace Israel with

A Partial Hardening (vs. 25)

In the first part of Romans 11, Paul has given three reasons that God has not
rejected Israel. First, Paul was a Jew who was saved and therefore was living
proof that God had not rejected Israel (11:1). Second, God keeps His promises
and has not rejected the people whom He foreknew. God always keeps a remnant
(11:2-6). Third, God would not be disciplining Israel, as He was currently
doing, if He had rejected them (11:7-10). Then in verses 11-24, Paul warns the
Gentiles about becoming conceited lest they also be broken off. This is the
introduction to verses 25-32 in which Paul reveals the fourth reason God has nor
rejected Israel. God still has a specific plan for the nation’s future. There
is a partial hardening at present, but there is future salvation for all the

25 "For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery,
lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened
to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and thus all Israel
will be saved; just as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob." 27 "And this is My covenant
with them, When I take away their sins."

Springing off of what he said in the previous verses, Paul states directly
that the reason for his revealing what had been a mystery to this point was so
that they would not become wise in their own estimation. That is a constant
problem with people. We gain a little knowledge and then tend to think of
ourselves as better than other people. Perhaps the classic case of this is the
High School or college student that think they know more than their parents
because of their education. Usually by the time they have put a few years into
supporting themselves in the real world they realize how smart mom and dad
really are.

The same thing is true in the religious realm. These Christians were in
danger of setting up their own standard and declare themselves to be wise by
that standard. They had learned wonderful truths and had come to Christ for
salvation. If they considered the lost state of most Jews, they could have
concluded that they were better or smarter since they had learned some wonderful
truths and come to Christ for salvation. The same thing still occurs today. But
there is no basis for pride. Many of those who seek to replace Israel with the
Church do so out of intellectual pride. They ignore the plain reading of the
text in order to come up with an interpretation that will match what they think
is a superior theology. There is a mystery that they overlook. It is only a
partial hardening that has occurred to Israel, and that will continue only until
the fulness of the Gentiles has come in.

A mystery is simply something that had not been fully revealed prior to that
time. The nature of the kingdom of God was a mystery that Jesus revealed to His
disciples, but everyone else only got parables (Mark 4:11). There was the
mystery of the gospel message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ that
was proclaimed by the apostles (Col. 4:3). The mystery of the husband-wife
relationship being a picture of the relationship of Christ to His church (Eph.
5:32). There is the mystery of the rapture and being instantly changed and
caught up with Christ at His coming (1 Cor. 15:52). Here Paul is speaking of the
mystery of God’s dealing with Israel in the present time. There is only a
partial hardening that has occurred to Israel, and that will continue only until
the fulness of the Gentiles has come in.

The idea of hardening here is the same as what Paul has been saying
throughout this section. This is God hardening the hearts of those who have
already rejected Him just as He had done with Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus.
God has graciously chosen a remnant of the nation that will not be hardened, but
are sovereignly called to walk by faith with God.

The idea of the "fulness of the Gentiles comes in" is a reference
to that point in time when the complete number of the Gentiles that will be
saved will have come to faith in Jesus Christ. The word for "come in"
here (eijsevlqh/ / from eiserchomai) is
consistently used to describe entering into the kingdom of heaven or into
eternal life. When will this occur? It will be at the end of the Tribulation
period just prior to the Lord’s return as conquering king. Until that point,
there will be Gentiles that will be saved. This also corresponds to the end of
the "time of the Gentiles" in which they continue to have control over
Jerusalem (see Luke 21:24). Even in the present time, the nation of Israel
continues to bow under the pressure of the Gentile nations. That is why the
Mosque, The Dome of the Rock, sits on the Temple Mount instead of a
Jewish Temple.

Future Salvation (vs. 26-27)

At whatever point the "fulness of the Gentiles has come in"
a great change will occur in Israel. "All Israel will be saved." The
ungodly and unrighteous among them will be separated out by God’s judgement
during the Tribulation period and all those left of the nation will be saved.
There is no room in the text here for a limitation placed upon it by
Amillennialists that the "all" is only a part of the whole, a
"remnant" saved and joined to the Church in the present age. Robert
Haldane comments on this verse, "but as no Scripture demands any
limitation of this expression, and as the opposition here stated is between a
all, there is no warrant to make any exception, and with God this,
like all other things, is possible."

Paul goes on to give a free quote from Isaiah 59:20,21 to support this claim
that "all Israel will be saved."

"The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from
Jacob." 27 "And this is My covenant with them, When I take away their

There are actually quite a few Old Testament passages that refer to this
happening. Jeremiah 31:31-34 records the "New Covenant" that God was
going to make with His people, Israel.

31 "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will
make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not
like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the
hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke,
although I was a husband to them, "declares the Lord. 33 "But this is
the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,"
declares the Lord, "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I
will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34
"And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his
brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of
them to the greatest of them," declares the Lord, "for I will forgive
their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

Jeremiah 32:36-42 adds this, 36 "Now therefore thus says the Lord God
of Israel concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is given into the hand of
the king of Babylon by sword, by famine, and by pestilence.’ 37 "Behold, I
will gather them out of all the lands to which I have driven them in My anger,
in My wrath, and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place
and make them dwell in safety. 38 "And they shall be My people, and I will
be their God; 39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear
Me always, for their own good, and for [the good of] their children after them.
40 "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn
away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts
so that they will not turn away from Me. 41 "And I will rejoice over them
to do them good, and I will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart
and with all My soul. 42 "For thus says the Lord, ‘Just as I brought all
this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good
that I am promising them."

Isaiah 54 speaks of God’s eternal compassion toward Israel saying, 6
"For the Lord has called you, Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Even like a wife of [one’s] youth when she is rejected," Says your God. 7
"For a brief moment I forsook you, But with great compassion I will gather
you. 8 "In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment; But
with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you," Says the
Lord your Redeemer. 9 "For this is like the days of Noah to Me; When I
swore that the waters of Noah Should not flood the earth again, So I have sworn
that I will not be angry with you, Nor will I rebuke you. 10 "For the
mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not
be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,"Says the
Lord who has compassion on you."

Many of the branches of Israel are currently broken off and most of the
people are hardened, but God still has a plan for them. Most of Israel is still
scattered around the world, but Isaiah 11:12 speaks of God’s actions towards
them saying, "And He will lift up a standard for the nations, And will
assemble the banished ones of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth."
This has actually been occurring
in our own time. The modern nation of Israel was established in 1948, and Jews
from around the world have been immigrating there ever since.

That "all Israel will be saved" does not mean that they will
escape God’s judgement for their unbelief. Ezekiel and Zechariah reveal that
they will go through great hardship and the ungodly among

them will be purged out before all Israel is saved.

Ezekiel 20:33-38 states, 33 "As I live," declares the Lord God,
"surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath
poured out, I shall be king over you. 34 "And I shall bring you out from
the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty
hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; 35 and I shall
bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I shall enter into
judgment with you face to face. 36 "As I entered into judgment with your
fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment
with you," declares the Lord God. 37 "And I shall make you pass
under the rod, and I shall bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38 and I
shall purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me
; I shall
bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land
of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the Lord. 39 "As for you, O house
of Israel," thus says the Lord God, "Go, serve everyone his idols; but
later, you will surely listen to Me, and My holy name you will profane no longer
with your gifts and with your idols. 40 "For on My holy mountain, on the
high mountain of Israel," declares the Lord God, "there the whole
house of Israel, all of them, will serve Me in the land; there I shall accept
them, and there I shall seek your contributions and the choicest of your gifts,
with all your holy things. 41 "As a soothing aroma I shall accept you, when
I bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are
scattered; and I shall prove Myself holy among you in the sight of the nations.
42 "And you will know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of
Israel, into the land which I swore to give to your forefathers.

Zechariah 13:8,9 gives more description to this purging. 8 "And it
will come about in all the land," Declares the Lord, "That two parts
in it will be cut off [and] perish; But the third will be left in it. 9
"And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is
refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will
answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The Lord is
my God.’"

Zechariah goes on to give more detail of these events which will take place
during the Tribulation period after the church is raptured (taken to Heaven to
be with Christ). The world gathers against Israel and massacres two thirds of
the Jews as the means by which He purges Israel. The Lord then intervenes and
brings salvation to the Jews and judgment to all who rose up against her. This
is then followed by Him setting up His Millennial kingdom on David’s throne in

If the Church is raptured, how will the Jews hear the gospel? Revelation
tells that God sets aside 144,000 Jewish people, 12,000 from each tribe to
declare it (7:1-8; 14:1-5), there are other converts (7:9), He sends the two
witnesses (11:3-13) and then an angel who pronounces it (14:6).

Beloved of God (28,29)

Why does God do all this? Because He keeps His promises, and Israel is
beloved. 28 ‘From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your
sake, but from the standpoint of [God’s] choice they are beloved for the sake of
the fathers; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."

There are several important points here. First, most of the Jews at that time
rejected the gospel and were its enemies. Paul had many first hand experiences
with their opposition to the gospel and had been such an enemy of it himself
when he was Saul the Pharisee. Yet, as Paul has already explained (10:12-15),
that was for the benefit of the Gentiles because it was the basis for the gospel
going to them.

Second, from the perspective of God’s sovereign choice, Israel was still
His beloved for the sake of the fathers. God extended His love to them, not on
the basis of what they were doing, but because of the promises that God had made
to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Third, Israel would continue to be God’s beloved because "the gifts
and the calling of God are irrevocable."
God keeps His promises. The
"gifts and the calling" refers to what Paul had said back in 9:4,5 "to
whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving
of the Law and the [temple] service and the promises, 5 whose are the fathers,
and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed
." These are the things that God gave to Israel because He
sovereignly choose to bless Abraham and his descendants, Isaac and Jacob, with
certain promises and through them to bless the world. God promise and choice are
irrevocable. They cannot be alerted, rejected or fail for any reason.

Disobedience and Mercy (30-32)

In verses 30-32, Paul declares that all of what both the Jews and Gentiles
have experienced, is due to nothing other than God’s mercy. Everyone should be
very glad that God’s gifts and calling cannot be revoked. That makes His mercy

30 "For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been
shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been
disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now
be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show
mercy to all."

Again, remember that Paul is specifically addressing the Gentiles in this
section (11:13). He reminds them again that they were once disobedient to the
gospel and God, yet God extended to them His mercy because the Jews had become
disobedient. The Jews were now disobedient and so the nation has been partially
hardened and broken off because of their unbelief. But this same mercy that God
has shown to the Gentiles in their disobedience, God would also show to these
disobedient Jews. They have a hope for the future.

In verse 32 Paul gives us a glimpse into the purpose that God has allowed His
creatures to rebel against Him. We do not have a full explanation for God’s
current tolerance for the existence of evil, but this is a partial explanation.
The disobedience of His creatures allows God to demonstrate His mercy. All the
world, Jew and Gentile, is disobedient to God and therefore guilty before Him.
Yet, God extends to the world mercy. He extends it in both His current patient
endurance of an ungodly and unrighteous world instead of wiping it out
instantaneously. God also extends it in His compassion that extends to the world
the means by which their need for forgiveness can be met through Jesus Christ
paying the penalty for them and offering His righteousness to those that would
believe upon Him. Everyone is in need of God’s mercy.

The Character of God (33-36)

As Paul considers this, he reflects on the character and nature of God
Himself and breaks into a doxology to finish the chapter.

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How
unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known
the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to
Him that it might be paid back to him again? 36 For from Him and through Him and
to Him are all things. To Him [be] the glory forever. Amen.

God is an infinite being that is incomprehensible to our finite minds. Paul,
and we, can only stand in awe of God. The picture here is of a deep sea that is
full of the riches of God’s wisdom and knowledge, but we have no means by
which to search out the depths of God’s judgements or even follow the
footprints of His ways. (The word "unfathomable" is from ajnexicnivasto"
/ anexichniastos meaning non-trackable, or untraceable). God is beyond us. His
ways and thoughts are higher than our own (Isa. 55:9), or as David put it in
Psalm 139:6, "such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I
cannot attain it."

Though the Christian has been given the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), and
therefore have discernment of spiritual things unknown to the non-Christian, we
do not know the fullness of God’s mind. We can only know what He has revealed
to us, but that is more than sufficient to understand the gospel and how He
wants us to live our lives (2 Peter 1:3). Paul’s quote in verse 34 from Isaiah
40:13 is a common theme in the Old Testament used to humble men before the
mighty God (see Job 36:2; Jer. 23:18). No one, not even the most mature
Christian understands everything about God or can in anyway give counsel to God.
God is omniscient. There is nothing He does not already know in its fulness.

Paul’s quote in verse 35 is a paraphrase of Job 41:11. There is nothing
that a man can offer to God. God is not only sovereign, but also
self-sufficient. He has no need for anything outside Himself. He has no
obligation to anyone or anything except what He has placed upon Himself. As Job
35:7 puts it, even "If you are righteous, what do you give to Him? Or
what does He receive from your hand?"

All things come from God, for He is the creator of all things (Genesis 1;
Col. 1:16). All things exist through God, for He is the one that sustains and
holds together all things (Acts 17:28; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3). All things belong
to God, for all things were created for His own purposes (1 Cor. 15:14-28). The
twenty-four elders in Revelation 4:11 fall down before the Lord saying, "Worthy
art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou
didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were

Our salvation is wrapped up in this. It is not about us. It is about God’s
glory. When we consider all of who God is, what He is like and what He has done
for us in Jesus Christ. Could there be any more fitting conclusion that what
Paul says here in verse 26. To Him be the glory forever. Amen



Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s
lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something
you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older
Children –
Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times
"Israel" is said).  2) Discuss with your parents God future plan
for that nation and any effect that has on you.


Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Why does Paul
include chapters 9,10 & 11 in Romans? Why do some Christian groups insist
that God has replaced Israel with the Church? Why is that not true? What have
been some of the consequences of this false belief? What is the current state
Israel (vs. 25)? What "mystery" has Paul revealed? What is the "fulness
of the Gentiles" and when does it occur? Does "all" in the phrase
"all Israel be saved," mean every Israeli or just a select part?
Defend your answer. What do Old Testament passages such as Jeremiah 31:31-34;
32:36-42; Isaiah 54:6-10, 11:12; Ezekiel 20:33-42, Zechariah 13:8,9 and
Zechariah 14 say about the future of the nation of Israel? Are the promises made
in them conditional or unconditional? When have/will those promises been/be
fulfilled? State your reasoning. What other Scriptures support your beliefs?
What makes Israel "beloved" of God? Why are God’s gifts and calling
irrevokable? On what basis has God dealt with disobedient Gentiles? Jews? Why
does God allow evil to exist? What characteristics of God does Paul reveal in
verses 33-36? What does it mean that God’s ways are "unfathomable"?
What is your own understanding of God? What is your response to Him?


Sermon Study Sheets

God’s Plan for Israel’s Future – Romans 11:25-36



A Partial Hardening (vs. 25)

Do not be wise in your own estimation

A Mystery

Fullness of the Gentiles comes in

Future Salvation (vs. 26-27)

All Israel will be Saved

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Jeremiah 32:36-42

Isaiah 54:6-10

Isaiah 11:12

Ezekiel 20:33-42

Zechariah 13:8,9 & chapter 14

Beloved of God (28,29)




Disobedience and Mercy (30-32)

The Character of God (33-36)

Incomprehensible (Isaiah 55:9; Psalm 139:6)

Isaiah 40:13 (Job 36:2; Jeremiah 32:18)

Job 41:11 (Job 35:7)

All things from God (Geneses 1; Colossians 1:16)

All things exist through God (Acts. 17:28; Colossians 1:17;
Hebrews 4:11)

All things belong to God (1 Corinthians 15:14-28; Revelation