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Romans 11:12

Spiritual Wealth

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?

By the use of this purely rhetorical question, Paul now seems to be warning the Gentile readers not to think that their salvation was only a tool, which was being used to restore Israel to God's favor. The salvation of the Jews would not diminish in any way the blessings of the Gentiles.

"Now if the fall of them..." The literal meaning of the Greek word paraptoma is, "a side-slip; an unintentional error; or a willful transgression or trespass." It is usually interpreted to mean an offence or a trespass. The offence that is referred to by this verse is the unbelief of the people of Israel.

" the riches of the world." By "the riches" Paul meant the gospel and all of the blessings that come with it. The promise of eternal life, the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation and peace with God, the adoption as sons and the accompanying inheritance of the kingdom of heaven are certainly all very great riches. The unbelief of the Jews caused the riches of the gospel to be delivered to the people of the world, to everyone who was not a Jew.

"...and the diminishing of them..." This phrase has had many interpretations. Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament says, "Diminishing [ηττημα] . The literal translation. Rev. renders loss. Referring apparently to the diminution in numbers of the Jewish people. Other explanations are defeat, impoverishment, injury, minority." It seems like the diminished numbers of the Jews who were to be considered the true Israel is what Paul means here (See 9:8).

If their loss has resulted in such an overflowing abundance of spiritual wealth for the Gentiles, how much more wealth would their fulness bring. By "fulness," Paul means their repletion, their complete restoration.

Let us look at the circumstances of Israel today. They are scattered throughout the world. We do not know where the ten lost tribes of Israel are, but between them and the Jews, they must be in every country on earth. They also have the cumulative knowledge of every language in the world. They are the most stubborn, most resistant and most closed minded to the gospel of all the earth's people. Now, imagine that the Holy Spirit began to work among them, opening their eyes to see and their ears to hear. A great awakening among the people of Israel occurs and they begin spreading the gospel in every language, in every nation, and among every ethnic group on earth. What a testimony they would have! What a great wealth of blessings they could bring to all the peoples of the world!

It is in that context that Paul is asking the question, "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?" There are preachers among us who have actually said that Christians should not try to convert the Jews. Their reasoning comes from some distorted eschatological beliefs that the Jews will be saved by some other method and in some other dispensation than the rest of the world. A good friend of mine would use the Greek word for this kind of thinking, "Hogwash!"

Paul looked forward to the nation of Israel being fully restored to the kingdom of God, but he knew that it could only be done one way... by the preaching of the gospel. Let's do it!

Before The Throne:

Have your thoughts toward the Jews been judgmental? Beg the Lord's forgiveness. They are ripe for the preaching of the gospel, ripe for the harvest, and ready for restoration to their former place in God's family. How can you help that happen? Pray asbout it. meanwhile, continue to spread the riches of God's truth to everyone you meet. Pray that God will give them eyes to see and ears to hear before you speak to them.

For Further Study:

** the world. Rom 9:23; Eph 3:8; Col 1:27; ** diminishing. Isa 11:11-16; Isa 12:1-6; Isa 60:1-22; Isa 66:8-20; Mic 4:1-2; Mic 5:7; Zech 2:11; Zech 8:20-23; Rev 11:15-19;


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