The partial hardening of the Jews will end.
It affirms that the Jews will one day response to the gospel and then He will return soon.
Summaries of Romans chapters 9-11 as relevant background information.
After outlining the gospel in Romans chapter 1-8, Paul proceeds to explain in chapter 9-11 a problematic issue, namely why are the converts mostly gentiles? The argument for chapter 9-10 will first be given briefly. In chapter 9 Paul acknowledges that God has chosen the gentiles (9:15-17) but this is His sovereign right (9:18) and mere man doesn’t have the right to judge God’s action, just as clay has no right to question the work of the potter (9:21). Then chapter 10 insists that the Jews have heard the gospel (10:18) but they have willfully rejected it (10:21). Yet God remains faithful with a plan for the salvation of the Jews. This is the theme for chapter 11 and the argument begins in 11:1-6 affirming that God has kept a Jewish remnant but the rest of Israel is hardened to the gospel (11:7-10). But 11:11-15 explains that the massive conversions of gentiles are really for the sake of Jews, namely to provoke them into jealously so that they will return to God. Gentile believers in 11:16-20 must not be arrogant against them for the Jewish Nation is started by God and so in v16, the “first piece” or the “root” is holy. Unbelieving Jews are broken off so that faithful gentiles can be grafted in. In 11:21-24, He can similarly cut off gentile branches for unbelief and if the Jews return to believe, God will graft them in again.
Explaining the Passage: Romans 11:25-27
It is revealing a mystery in v25, meaning that this is something new. So it’s not the partial hardening for it is already revealed (e.g. 11:5-7) or the salvation of all Israel for there are many promises given, as Isa. 59:19-20 quoted in v26-27. The mystery is the end of partial hardening when the fullness of the gentiles has come in. But how will this be manifested? Gentiles without partial hardening convert in good numbers in a stepwise manner. Thus when we see this occurring with the Jews, it must be an indicator. But v26 states that “so all Israel will be saved”. In Greek “so” is “outos” meaning “in this way” (as translated in ESV & NIV) and the passage merely states that in the above way, all Israel will be saved. It is not stating that all Israel must convert when partial hardening ends. Evangelism is a process, as in 10:11-15 and Israel’s conversion cannot occur the moment hardening ends.
Linkage to other passage: This is Lu. 21:24 for Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles “until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled”. It’s quite similar to “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” in Rom. 11:25 but the differences can be explained in the Greek text. In Luke, fulfill is a verb (plerothosin) and so it tells how a noun (the times – kairoi) is enacted. In Romans, fulfill is a noun (pleroma) and so its enactment is now by the verb “come in” (eiselthe). Otherwise the two phrases are similar. Some translations as NIV in Rom. 11:25 add “number” but it’s not in the text and so fullness is more for “the times”.
Evidence for fulfillment: When Israel retakes Jerusalem in 1967, it fits with the times of the gentiles being fulfilled. Amazingly after that is the emergence of the Messianic Jews and as promised they are grafted in again (Rom. 11:23). Some says that partial hardening only ends when Christ returns but this is not in the text. Also with His return, Jews are resurrected or a rebirth and it’s not a re-grafting. The evidence is to take the Messianic Jews as fulfillment of this passage and if this is so, Christ will be returning soon. PTL!!
The two phrases in Greek transliterate:
ἄχρι οὗ τὸ πλήρωμα τῶν ἐθνῶν εἰσέλθῃ
(achri) (ou) (to) (pleroma) (ton) (ethono) (eiselthe)
until which the fullness the gentiles comes_in
Luke 21: 24
ἄχρι οὗ πληρωθῶσιν καιροὶ ἐθνῶν.
(achri) (ou) (plerothosin) (chairoi) (ethnon)
until which fulfilled times gentiles
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