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Romans 11:11

The Divine Plan

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 question was asked as an objection to the facts that Paul had just stated. "Have they stumbled that they should fall?" The question concerns the finality of their fall. Is there no remedy?

"The context sharpens the meanings of the words: ἔπταισαν (stumble) and πέσωσι (fall) thus contrasted = stumbled to their final ruin, though the two words are much more nearly synonymous in common use; ἔπταισαν (stumble) is also defined by the use of παράπτωμα (fall), a slip aside, a trespass, as it is suggested by σκάνδαλον (stumblingblock, in v.9)" (R. St. John Perry; The Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges, Vol. 7; The Word Bible Study Software.)

Is there then no hope for Israel? Paul's answer is, "God forbid!" (The Greek text says, "May it not be!") Their "fall" has a very broad meaning in this verse. It refers to their unbelief, their rejection of Christ, the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, their loss of their national status, the end of their sacrifices and other ceremonial rites and their dispersion among the other nations. All of this may have made any outside observer believe that there was no longer any hope for Israel. Paul wants to permanently dispel that idea. God will preserve a remnant for Himself but He has a purpose for what happened to Israel.

The complete and eternal loss of Israel was not God's intention. Instead, He used their fall to bring salvation to the nations (Gentiles). By that Paul does not mean that all Gentiles were saved but that the gospel was preached to them. The barrier between Israel and the nations was now broken down, and all had the opportunity to be adopted into the family of God by faith. This was accomplished by several factors.

When Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch in Pisidia, he warned the Jews there saying, "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles." (Acts 13:46) And when Paul was a prisoner in Rome, he summoned the Jewish leaders and told them, "Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it." (Acts 28:28) So we see that the hostility of the Jews toward the gospel compelled the apostles to focus their attention on the salvation of other nationalities.

Also, when the dispersion took place, the Jews, both the unbelievers and the Christians among them, were scattered among all the nations of the earth. Many Gentiles came to believe as a result of the testimony of those Jewish Christians.

The results of winning the Gentiles to Christ had as its purpose to provoke the Jews to jealousy so that they would once again desire to be part of God's chosen people. The whole of God's plan from the very beginning is not to replace the nation of Israel with the Gentiles but to be all inclusive, using one to accomplish the salvation of the other. "21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation." (Deuteronomy 32:21)

Isn't it wonderful how God has used the whole world as His stage to manipulate the history of nations and to gain for Himself a people that would be to His glory? What a show He has put on, and the best is yet to come!

Before The Throne:

Pray that God's name would be glorified among all the nations of the world and that His will might be done on earth as it is in heaven. Consider you own place in His plan. While He controls all the nations of the world, He still knows the number of hairs on your head. You are an important part of His plan. Pray about that and determine what changes He wants you to make in your life and ministry.

For Further Study:

(v.11)
** Have they stumbled. Ezek 18:23, 32; Ezek 33:11; ** but rather. Acts 13:42, 46-48; Acts 18:6; Acts 22:18-21; Acts 28:24-28; ** for. Rom 10:19;

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