Paul raises and answers questions about how both Israel and the Gentiles fit into God's plan of salvation, following Israel's national rejection of Jesus as her Messiah.
The Old Testament prophets portray the Messiah as the one who will reveal God's glory to the world through his deliverance of Israel (e.g. Ezekiel 36:23, Isaiah 66:18-19). Although his salvation extends to Gentiles (e.g. Isaiah 49:6), he is primarily the saviour of the twelve tribes of Israel (e.g. Isaiah 11:10-16). He is the one who will fulfil the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 12, 15, 17). He is the fulfilment of the Mosaic covenant (Deuteronomy 18:15). And he is the fulfilment of the Davidic covenant (1 Chronicles 17:7-14). He is the one who will reign forever on David's throne.

Given Messiah's promised role in saving Israel, the rejection of Jesus by most first century Jews raised all sorts of questions for those Jews like Paul who did come to believe in him. In Romans 9-11 Paul attempts to answer some of these questions. These questions and their answers are important if we wish to understand God's end-time plan. They are also essential for answering those who promote replacement theology, or dual-covenant theology.

1) Have God's promises to Abraham failed? (9:6-27)
No, God is still committed to the Abrahamic covenant, but the true descendants of Abraham are the remnant of Israel who believe by faith like Abraham did. These are the ones God has chosen to be the recipients of his promises. He has even chosen to include Gentiles among the recipients (also see Matthew 3:9).

2) Is God just if he chooses some and not others? (9:14-26)
Yes, God has been patient with those whom he has rejected, and it is by his mercy that he has revealed himself to Jews and Gentiles who were not seeking him.

3) Are the unbelieving Jews to blame for their rejection? (9:30-10:4)
Yes, because they pursued righteousness as though it were attainable through the law, when they should have pursued it by faith. In the process, they failed to submit to God's righteousness that comes through Jesus. He is the fulfilment of the law (10:4).

4) Did God anticipate that Israel would reject Jesus? (9:33)
Yes, the Old Testament prophesied that God would lay a stone in Zion that would cause people to stumble and fall, but those who trust in him would not be put to shame (Romans 9:33, Isaiah 8:14-15, 28:16, Psalm 118:22, Matthew 21:42, Luke 2:34). Jesus is this stumbling stone.

5) How do Gentiles fit into God's salvation plan? (10:11-12)
Jesus is the Cornerstone. Whoever trusts in him will not be put to shame (Isaiah 28:16). And God promised that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Joel 2:32). These promises are good for the remnant of Israel, but also for Gentiles who trust him and call out to him.

6) How can Israel be saved? (10:13-21)
In exactly the same way as the Gentiles are saved. The Gospel needs to be preached to them and they need to respond to it. But while they stubbornly reject it, God will save the Gentiles to make the Jews jealous of their salvation. There is no dual-covenant allowing the Jews to be saved apart from Jesus.

7) Why does God use the Gentiles to make Israel jealous? (10:19, 11:11-14)
In verse 19, Paul quotes from verse 21 of the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:1-43). Moses prophesied that Israel would make God jealous by worshipping false gods they had not known, so in response God would make Israel jealous by reaching out to nations they did not recognise.

8) Has God rejected Israel? (11:1-10)
Not completely. God has kept a chosen remnant of Israel who have believed in Jesus (11:4-5). By about the 4th century AD, Jewish Christians had largely assimilated, and the Church had lost most of its Jewish identity. But to God, this Jewish remnant has existed within the Church throughout its history.

9) Is God's rejection of Israel as a nation permanent? (11:11-15)
No. As long as the nation of Israel rejects Jesus, the Gentiles receive God's riches in order to make Israel jealous (11:11). But Israel will be restored, reconciled and accepted, bringing life from the dead (11:12-15). In an end-time context, this expression 'life from the dead' surely points to the 'resurrection at the last day' (John 11:24). But in the end times, there are only two resurrections. The first resurrection precedes the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), and the second resurrection occurs at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:4-5). Consequently, Romans 11:15 is an important clue that Israel's restoration must begin before the rapture takes place. Jesus will not claim his bride without his bride including the twelve tribes of Israel. This is seen in Revelation 7:1-8 in that God reveals himself to the 144,000 Israelites, 12,000 from each tribe, after the sixth seal. This is well before the rapture occurs at the seventh and last trumpet. It is my assumption that the 144,000 will be included in the rapture, as part of the Church. Also, Paul's statements (10:19, 11:11-14) from the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:1-43) that God is using the Gentiles to make Israel jealous, assumes the eventual vindication and restoration of Israel which comes at the end of the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:39-43). Although God's restoration of all Israel begins in this age, Isaiah 11 portrays its completion during the Millennium.

10) Hasn't God replaced Israel with the Gentiles? (11:16-32)
Only some of Israel's branches have been broken off. And yes, for the time being God has replaced those Israelite branches by grafting Gentile branches in their place. But Israel's broken branches will one day be grafted back in to their own root.

11) What will happen to the Gentile branches when Israel is restored? (11:16-32)
When God has brought in the full number of Gentiles, he will remove ungodliness from Israel. God desires to show mercy to all. It seems there is room for the root to support both Israelite and Gentile branches. Meanwhile, the Gentile branches should beware, and should recognise their dependence upon the root of Israel. Should they boast, some Gentile branches could be cut off, just as some Israelite branches were cut off. In John 15:1-2, Jesus likened God the Father to the gardener who prunes the vine and cuts off every branch that does not bear fruit. God has been pruning and tending the vine throughout history.

12) How much of Israel will be saved? (11:25-32)
Paul says that 'all Israel will be saved' (11:26). This does not mean that every individual Jew will be saved. Rather, it means that the whole nation of Israel will be saved, including all twelve tribes. In verses 26 to 27, Paul's quote is not of a single verse but rather is a combination of Isaiah 27:9, 59:20, 60:21, and Jeremiah 31:33. These are all promises that speak of God's salvation for those who repent from the nation as a whole.

Essentially, these chapters mean that God's Old Testament promises to Israel still stand. By opening the doors of salvation to include Gentiles, God has created 'one new man' that we call the Church (Ephesians 2:15). And although the Church has historically lost most of its Jewish identity, that identity will be restored when God saves all twelve tribes of Israel.
Symbols: Vine, Branches
Tags: Abrahamic covenant, Israel rejects Jesus, Consequences of Israel rejecting Jesus, God welcomes Gentiles, All Israel saved, Restoration of Israel and Judah, Rapture, Song of Moses, Abyss
Israel’s Rejection Considered
9 I am telling the truth in Christ (I am not lying!), for my conscience assures me in the Holy Spirit –
2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed – cut off from Christ – for the sake of my people, my fellow countrymen,
4 who are Israelites. To them belong the adoption as sons, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple worship, and the promises.
5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from them, by human descent, came the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever! Amen.
6 It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel,
7 nor are all the children Abraham’s true descendants; rather “through Isaac will your descendants be counted.”
8 This means it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God; rather, the children of promise are counted as descendants.
9 For this is what the promise declared: “About a year from now I will return and Sarah will have a son.”
10 Not only that, but when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our ancestor Isaac –
11 even before they were born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose in election would stand, not by works but by his calling) –
12 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger,”
13 just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not!
15 For he says to Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
16 So then, it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God who shows mercy.
17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh: “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”
18 So then, God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted his will?”
20 But who indeed are you – a mere human being – to talk back to God? Does what is molded say to the molder, Why have you made me like this?
21 Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use?
22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction?
23 And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for glory –
24 even us, whom he has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
25 As he also says in Hosea:
I will call those who were not my people, My people, and I will call her who was unloved,My beloved.’”
26And in the very place where it was said to them, You are not my people,
there they will be calledsons of the living God.’”
27 And Isaiah cries out on behalf of Israel, “Though the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved,
28 for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth completely and quickly.”
29 Just as Isaiah predicted,
“If the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had not left us descendants,
we would have become like Sodom,
and we would have resembled Gomorrah.”

Israel’s Rejection Culpable
30 What shall we say then? – that the Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness obtained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith,
31 but Israel even though pursuing a law of righteousness did not attain it.
32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but (as if it were possible) by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone,
33 just as it is written,
Look, I am laying in Zion a stone that will cause people to stumble
and a rock that will make them fall,
yet the one who believes in him will not be put to shame.
10 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God on behalf of my fellow Israelites is for their salvation.
2 For I can testify that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not in line with the truth.
3 For ignoring the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
4 For Christ is the end of the law, with the result that there is righteousness for everyone who believes.
5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is by the law: “The one who does these things will live by them.”
6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down)
7 or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we preach),
9 because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation.
11 For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
12 For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him.
13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
14 How are they to call on one they have not believed in? And how are they to believe in one they have not heard of? And how are they to hear without someone preaching to them?
15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How timely is the arrival of those who proclaim the good news.”
16 But not all have obeyed the good news, for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”
17 Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ.
18 But I ask, have they not heard? Yes, they have: Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.
19 But again I ask, didn’t Israel understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous by those who are not a nation; with a senseless nation I will provoke you to anger.”
20 And Isaiah is even bold enough to say, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I became well known to those who did not ask for me.”
21 But about Israel he says, “All day long I held out my hands to this disobedient and stubborn people!
Israel’s Rejection not Complete nor Final
11 So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.
2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew! Do you not know what the scripture says about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?
3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left and they are seeking my life!
4 But what was the divine response to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand people who have not bent the knee to Baal.”
5 So in the same way at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.
6 And if it is by grace, it is no longer by works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was diligently seeking, but the elect obtained it. The rest were hardened,
8 as it is written,
God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear,
to this very day.
9 And David says,
Let their table become a snare and trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
10 let their eyes be darkened so that they may not see,
and make their backs bend continually.
11 I ask then, they did not stumble into an irrevocable fall, did they? Absolutely not! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make Israel jealous.
12 Now if their transgression means riches for the world and their defeat means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full restoration bring?
13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Seeing that I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,
14 if somehow I could provoke my people to jealousy and save some of them.
15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
16 If the first portion of the dough offered is holy, then the whole batch is holy, and if the root is holy, so too are the branches.
17 Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them and participated in the richness of the olive root,
18 do not boast over the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
19 Then you will say, “The branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.”
20 Granted! They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but fear!
21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you.
22 Notice therefore the kindness and harshness of God – harshness toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.
23 And even they – if they do not continue in their unbelief – will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree?
25 For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
The Deliverer will come out of Zion;
he will remove ungodliness from Jacob.
27 And this is my covenant with them,
when I take away their sins.
28 In regard to the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but in regard to election they are dearly loved for the sake of the fathers.
29 For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.
30 Just as you were formerly disobedient to God, but have now received mercy due to their disobedience,
31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy.
32 For God has consigned all people to disobedience so that he may show mercy to them all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how unfathomable his ways!
34 For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?
35 Or who has first given to God,
that God needs to repay him?
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.