Have you ever heard someone say, The Jews rejected Christ, so God has rejected the Jews?” That statement contradicts the teaching of Scripture. In our studies of Romans 11, starting with verse one, the Apostle Paul gives a 7-fold rebuttal of this “rejection idea” when he writes, “…Has God rejected away his people? God forbid…”
1.The Covenantal Argument. Rom 11:1 Paul refers to Israel as still being God’s people. There remains a special covenantal relationship between God and Israel, even though Israel as a nation did not recognize her Messiah. God’s promises do not fail. In Jeremiah 31:35-37 God promises that as long as the sun, moon, and stars continue to exist, the seed of Israel will remain a special nation before him.
2. The Biographical Argument. Paul writes further in Rom. 11:1 that his own encounter as a Jew with the living Christ, and his calling to preach the gospel are evidence that the Jews are still God’s people.
3. The Theological Argument in Rom. 11:2 is based on the foreknowledge of God, should be no surprise to the Almighty that all Israel did not accept his Messiah. In fact, it was predicted in the Old Testament. Isaiah wrote, “He is despised and rejected…he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (53:3). God knew that this would happen, and Israel’s rejection of the Messiah was part of his universal plan.
4. The Historical Argument is from Rom. 11:2-10. There has always been just a minority within Israel (called the remnant) that has been faithful to God.
5. The Argument of Origins in Rom. 11:16 is a logical argument that good beginnings result in good endings: the Jewish people and the promises and covenants to the fathers were good; they will eventually result in a good conclusion.
6. The Botanical Argument in Rom.11:17-24 Paul says that it is natural for the natural branch (the Jews) to be grafted back into the original olive tree. If God can graft a wild olive branch (the Gentiles) into a cultivated olive tree, it’s easy to expect him to graft back the natural branches.
7. The Prophetic Argument is found in Rom. 11:25-27. Here Paul (undoubtedly from his knowledge of Hebrew Scripture) argues that Israel’s hardening is only partial and temporary, for there is coming a time when God will once again resume his dealing with Israel—when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and all Israel will be saved (see Zechariah 12:10). Who is the Israel of verse 26? It is the same Israel of verse 25 which has been partially blinded.
From these seven arguments in Romans11, we can see that Israel is still God’s earthly people, Paul, a Jew, was called and used mightily of God. We also see Israel’s general unbelief was in God’s foreknowledge and part of his universal plan of salvation. And there has always been just a faithful minority within Israel, a “remnant” who truly experience God’s grace.
Finally, we can expect Israel, the natural branch, will be grafted back into the olive tree and eventually will be saved by turning to her Savior.