TEXT: Romans 11:8-16
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.
9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompence unto them:
10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
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.
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?
13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
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?
16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
Israel in the End Times (Part 6)
In our last message in this series, we talked about how that by the Gentiles getting saved, the Jews will be ‘provoked to jealousy,’ and will desire salvation through Jesus Christ themselves. Paul also informs us that since “salvation is of the Jews” and the Gentiles benefit greatly from that salvation, when the Jews come around to accepting Christ, they will benefit all the more.
As we pick up where we left off, in verses 13 and 14, Paul says, “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” By calling himself the “apostle of the Gentiles,” Paul emphasizes his special calling to take the Gospel to those who are not Jews. The Greek word for “magnify” means to make glorious, to clothe in splendour, to honour, to extol, or celebrate. Paul takes pride in his calling to minister to the Gentiles, and one of the reasons why is because he knows he can “provoke to emulation” his own people — the Jews. He wants the Jews to “emulate” or imitate the Gentiles in their acceptance of Jesus Christ.
Ben Witherington and Darlene Hyatt state, “Paul honors and glories in this ministry because it is an honor to lead people to Christ, and he hopes it will even have some good effect on his Jewish kin. Paul sees his mission to Gentiles as indirectly a mission to Jews as well. Even the Apostle to the Gentiles took seriously the gospel priority of ‘to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile,’ though his focus was on Gentiles.”
In the book of Acts, we see that some of the fiercest opponents of the Gospel message, as it was spread across the Mediterranean area, were the Jews. (And we must remember that, before his conversion, Paul was one of them.) It was the Jews who stoned Stephen. It was the Jews who arrested Peter and John after they preached in the Temple and healed a lame man at the Temple gate. After that, the Jews plotted to kill several of the apostles. Paul said that he faced dangers from his own countrymen. Twice in Acts, we see Paul driven out of town by Jews after having preached the Gospel in their synagogue. Jews had Paul arrested and taken to the Roman governor Felix and to King Agrippa. Agrippa told Paul, “Jews appealed to me, both at Jerusalem and here, loudly declaring that he ought not to live any longer.”
Even though the majority of the Jews of Paul’s day had rejected the Gospel, Paul still desired for them to be saved. And that is part of the reason why he was so dedicated to spreading the Gospel among the Gentiles.
Paul continues in verse 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?” This is an additional argument that Paul makes regarding the ultimate salvation of the Jewish people. By “casting away” or abandoning the Jews temporarily, God has opened the door for the whole world to be reconciled to Himself. But Paul says that, if this is the case, there will be an even greater reception of the Jews into the kingdom of God. In his words, it will be as though the Jewish people are raised to life from the dead. Scholars believe that, by this statement, Paul shows that he “does not envision a gradual progressive conversion of the Jews, but a large or mass change at the end of history which will usher in the resurrection of the dead and the messianic or millennial age.”
This lines up with what many end times scholars believe will happen by the end of the seven-year Tribulation period. Dr. Thomas Ice states, “The Bible teaches that one day the nation of Israel will return to the Lord their God. This will occur by the end of the tribulation and is the purpose for the time of Jacob’s trouble. Hosea 6:1-2 is one of the most interesting passages on the future conversion of the nation of Israel. ‘Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him.'”
Finally, Paul says in verse 16: “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.” Who is the firstfruit referring to? Well, the firstfruit being holy refers to the time when the Jews first inhabited the Promised Land. In Numbers, they were told that when they first ate a meal in the Promised Land, they were to lift up a portion of the food as an offering to the Lord. By lifting up a portion of the food, the whole meal was sanctified in God’s sight.
So, who is the firstfruits referring to in this passage? Some say that the firstfruits refer to the patriarchs; others say that it refers to the first Jewish believers. Either way, the firstfruits are something that is accepted by God as a token which represents the whole. Charles Ellicott writes that this is “the strongest reason for believing in the reconversion of the Jews. Their forefathers were the first recipients of the promise, and [seeing] what they were it is only natural to hope that their descendants will be.” The same principle applies for Paul’s example using a tree: “If the root is holy, so are the branches.”
The Jews who have accepted Christ and who are accepting Christ today are an encouraging sign that the Gospel is indeed taking root in the hearts of Jewish people around the world. Statistics show that there are approximately 300,000 Jewish Christians around the world and there are up to 20,000 in Israel. Jewish Christians are also gaining more acceptance in Israel where there are now over 150 Messianic Jewish congregations. These believers are a glimpse of the even greater harvest among the Jews that is to come.
Lord willing, we will continue our study of this passage in our next message.
If you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you how you can trust Him for salvation so that you can be ready for His return.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University School of Divinity. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.