Romans 11:1-15

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

May 26, 1999


Paul has been talking about how salvation comes to those who believe (Rom.10:9-11).

He’s talked about how not all of Israel has chosen to believe in the gospel (Rom.10:16).

He’s talked about how God had predicted that the Jews would be stubborn and rebellious (Rom. 10:21).

Now the question comes up, "Is God finished with the Jews then?"

:1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

cast awayapotheomai – to thrust away, push away, repel; to thrust away from one's self, to drive away from one's self

God forbid – or, "may it never be"

Some might raise the question that God may have possibly given up on His chosen people, Israel.

Paul’s answer is that he is an Israelite. How could he be saved if God has cast away His chosen people.

Benjamin – was supposedly one of the ten "lost tribes", according to some goofy teachers, yet here is Paul claiming to be from the tribe of Benjamin.

There is quite a fundamental Biblical truth in this chapter.

There are some who teach that when Israel was destroyed in 70 AD, that God was finished with them, and now God’s "chosen people" are in the church, and all of God’s promises in the Old Testament that were given to Israel are now properties of the church.

When you begin to hold to this view, it will affect the way you see the end times. You will not be looking at an actual nation of Israel being on center stage, but it’s the church. They take all the promises to Israel, and since Israel isn’t Israel, they have to spiritualize and symbolize them. Almost without exception, those who hold to these views will teach that the church will have to go through the Great Tribulation.

I believe this is one of the root issues between those who hold a premillenial, pretribulational view of end times, and those who don’t.

The problem is, God isn’t finished with Israel.

:2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

wot – "know"

maketh intercessionentugchano – to light upon a person or a thing, fall in with, hit upon, a person or a thing; to go to or meet a person, esp. for the purpose of conversation, consultation, or supplication; to pray, entreat; make intercession for any one

:3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

digged downkataskapto – to dig under, dig down, demolish, destroy

am lefthupoleipo – to leave behind; to be left behind, left remaining; of a survivor

:4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

reservedkataleipo – to leave behind; to depart from, leave; to be abandoned, forsaken

Almost the same word that Elijah used. Elijah wasn’t the only one God had abandoned, God had "abandoned" 7,000!

bowedkampto – to bend, bow, the knee (the knees); in honour of one; used of worshippers

Elijah’s Bad Day

Elijah had just come off the great victory on Mount Carmel where he stood against the prophets of Baal and had called fire down from heaven. After that, he had ordered the prophets of Baal to all be killed.

(1 Ki 19:1-18 KJV) And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. {2} Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. {3} And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.

Here was the great, fearless prophet Elijah. Afraid of a woman’s threat, running for his life. James calls Elijah a man of "like passions" as we are. We have scary days too.

{4} But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. {5} And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. {6} And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. {7} And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

It sounds kind of trivial, but if you don’t take care of your physical body, you ain’t gonna make it.


The saintly young Scottish minister Robert Murray McCheyne lay on his deathbed when only twenty-nine, completely worn out by his unremitting labors. To the friend sitting at his bedside, McCheyne said, "The Lord gave me a horse to ride and a message to deliver. Alas, I have killed the horse and I cannot deliver the message!"

- J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Discipleship, pg.110.

Take care of your physical body. Don’t kill the horse.

{8} And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. {9} And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? {10} And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

Elijah was feeling like he was the only true follower of the Lord left. He was feeling like nobody served the Lord as good as he did.

{11} And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: {12} And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. {13} And it was so, when Elijah heard it that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? {14} And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

I wonder if it isn’t possible that the times when we get into our pity parties about serving the Lord, that perhaps it’s because we haven’t been spending enough time listening to the "still, small voice".

It’s when we get away from the close, intimate communion with the Lord, that we are running on our own strength. It’s when we are running on our own strength that we burn out.

Take time to be quiet before God. Take time to be refreshed by Him.

{15} And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: {16} And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. {17} And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. {18} Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

God had quite a few more servants than just Elijah. It might be that they weren’t all doing the same thing that Elijah was doing, but God still had MANY servants.

Be careful about becoming burned out and embittered against God’s saints. Just because others may not be burning out like you, doesn’t mean that they aren’t serving God. It’s possible that they could even be a little bit closer to Him that you are.


Avoiding burn out.

Take care of your physical body.

Take time with God.

Appreciate the saints.

:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

remnantleimma – a remnant; from leipo (the root of hupoleipo and kataleipo) to leave, leave behind, forsake, to be left behind

electionekloge – the act of picking out, choosing

Even as there were a "remnant" in Elijah’s day, Paul is saying that there is a remnant today, those that have been chosen by God for receiving His grace.

There are Jews who are going to heaven. They are the ones trusting in Jesus.

:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

(Rom 11:6 NASB) But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

Grace is a gift. An undeserving gift. Works result in something that is earned, a wage. Salvation is a gift, not a wage.

The Mormon Church apparently is teaching now that they are saved by grace, but it’s a little different than what the Bible teaches. They teach that you have to work hard to earn your way to heaven, then however short you fall at the end, God will make it up with enough grace to carry you over. The problem is, that is salvation by works, not grace. It’s either all by grace, or it’s none by grace.

:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

seekethepizeteo – to enquire for, seek for, search for, seek diligently

obtainedepitugchano – to light or hit upon any person or thing; to attain to, obtain

blindedporoo – to cover with a thick skin, to harden by covering with a callus; to grow hard, callous, become dull, lose the power of understanding

The nation of Israel as a whole has not been saved yet. But those who have been chosen, the "elect", have chosen to believe and receive salvation. The rest of the Jews are for now "blinded".


Don’t say no.

The more you say "no" to the Lord, the harder your heart becomes. The more you say "no" to Him, the more your heart becomes covered in a spiritual kind of callus.

:8 (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.

slumberkatanuxis – a pricking, piercing; severe sorrow, extreme grief; insensibility or torpor of mind, such as extreme grief easily produces, hence a "spirit of stupor", which renders their souls torpid so insensible that they are not affected at all by the offer made them of salvation through the Messiah

This is a quote from:

(Isa 29:10 KJV) For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.

They have chosen not to believe, and so God has responded by making them "sleepy".

:9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them:

tabletrapeza – a table; a table on which food is placed, an eating place; the table or stand of a money changer, where he sits, exchanging different kinds of money for a fee (agio), and paying back with interest loans or deposits

recompenseantapodoma – the thing paid back, requital

Warren Wiersbe:

Their "table to become a snare" means that their blessings turn into burdens and judgments. This is what happened to Israel: their spiritual blessings should have led them to Christ, but instead they became a snare that kept them from Christ. Their very religious practices and observances became substitutes for the real experience of salvation. Sad to say, this same mistake is made today when people depend on religious rituals and practices instead of trusting in the Christ who is pictured in these activities.


Don’t settle for anything less than Jesus.

I’ve been hearing a lot about "religion" lately. There are lots of groups and churches out there that will feed the need that people have for "religion". People have a sense that something is missing. They have a sense that God is missing from their lives. And so they go to some of these places that use religious phrases, even sing religious songs, but never talk about Jesus.

What happens is that they think they’re getting their "dose of religion", when they’re actually swallowing poison.

:10 Let their eyes be darkened that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

darkenedskotizo – to cover with darkness, to darken

bow downsugkampto – to bend together, to bend completely; metaph. to subject one to error and hardness of heart, a figure taken from bowing the back by captives compelled to pass under the yoke

A quote from:

(Psa 69:22-23 KJV) Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. {23} Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.

:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid:

stumbledptaio – to cause one to stumble or fall; to stumble; to err, make a mistake, to sin

should fallpipto – to descend from a higher place to a lower; to fall (either from or upon)

The idea is: "Have the Jews fallen in a way that they can never recover from?" The answer is an emphatic "NO!"


God is not done with Israel.

There are some who believe that God is finished with the Jews and that now we, as the church, are the ones who inherit the promises God made to Israel.

God is NOT finished with Israel. There is more to come.

:11 but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

their fallparaptoma – to fall beside or near something; a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness. "trangression"

provoke to jealousyparazeloo – to provoke to; to provoke to jealously or rivalry; to provoke to anger

: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?

fallparaptoma – to fall beside or near something; a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness

diminishinghettema – a diminution, decrease: i.e. defeat

fulnesspleroma – that which is (has been) filled; that which fills or with which a thing is filled; fulness, abundance

If the falling away of the Jews has brought such a great thing to the world as salvation, just think what will happen when they come back to the Lord?

:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

officediakonia – service, ministering, esp. of those who execute the commands of others

:14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

provoke to emulationparazeloo – to provoke to; to provoke to jealously or rivalry; to provoke to anger

might save – subjunctive mood – the possibility of some being saved.

Paul is making a big deal about his ministry to the Gentiles in the hopes of provoking some of the Jews to jealousy. This is again based on the Scripture he has already quoted in Romans 10:19:

(Rom 10:19 KJV) But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

:15 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?

casting awayapobole – rejection, repudiation; to throw away from one's self, cast off, repudiate

reconcilingkatallage – exchange; adjustment of a difference, reconciliation, restoration to favour; in the NT of the restoration of the favour of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ

receivingproslepsis – a receiving: into the kingdom of God

When Israel, as a nation, rejected Jesus as their Messiah, it opened the door for the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles, us. At this time, the Jews lost their place as God’s "most favored nation". But it is only temporary.

When the Jews come back to Jesus, they will truly be as a nation returning from the dead.

When the Jews come back to Jesus, it will be the thing that ushers in the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth.

(Zec 12:10 KJV) And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.