May 18, 2003
IGNORANT OF THIS MYSTERY
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (Romans 11:15). Ignorance of God's secret is precisely what Paul did not want. God had revealed many secrets to Paul and here to the Romans he wrote of the secret of Israel 's blindness which would last until the fulness of the Gentiles would be accomplished. God made it clear that He would never permanently cast off Israel . But through the several captivities in Old Testament times God had warned and shown that He would set them aside for a time. Moses had warned; Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Hosea had all written of just such impending punishment if Israel continued their refusal. To the already scattered and dispersed nation, God would add an even more tragic captivity!
In the future, "all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins" (Rom. 11:26-27). God's plan to bless Israel with this New Covenant is as unalterable as words can be. But for the present Paul wrote, "As concerning the gospel, they [Israel] are enemies for your [Gentiles'] sakes:" and yet "as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (11:28-29). God will not repent or change His mind!
"For as ye [Gentiles] in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [Israel's] unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy, for God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all" (11:30-32). God was then extending mercy to the Gentiles following their period of unbelief. Even so God will extend a future mercy to Israel following their present period of unbelief, thus, mercy upon all! Gentiles now and Israel future! From sorrow to song, Paul breaks forth: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counselor...For of him, and thru him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
Ivan L. Burgener