Messianic Bible Study #1: God’s Righteousness & The Theology of Israel (Romans 9-11)

Rom 11:25-29

 25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The deliverer will come from Zion, he will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” 27 “This is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” 28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.  (NASB)

Israel today is largely a population in a state of unbelief. This may seem strange to some since God made certain promises to Israel in the Old Testament. These included, among other things, their national salvation and worldwide restoration. In light of this, one wonders what God is doing with Israel today. In Romans 9-11 Paul explains the program for the Remnant of Israel in the present age and how the remnant relates to both Israel and the Church.[1]

In the first eight chapters of the Book of Romans, Paul deals with the theology of the righteousness of God by emphasizing that everyone has fallen short of God’s righteous standards (chs. 1-3). Paul’s conclusion in Romans 3:19‑31 is that all have sinned, both Jew and non-Jew alike, and have come short of the righteousness of God. Because of this, Paul describes how God has provided righteousness for people through salvation in Yeshua the Messiah. Salvation in Paul’s letter includes justification (chs. 4-5), sanctification (6:1‑8:18), and glorification (8:19‑39) for believers. At the end of chapter 8, he emphasizes that there is absolutely nothing that can separate believers from the love of God.

Before proceeding to treat the “practice” of God’s righteousness in chapters 12-16, however, Paul inserts three important chapters (9-11) that deal with God’s righteousness in his relationship to Israel. After all, by the end of chapter 8 one might wonder what, if anything, was to become of Israel’s promises from God. It does not seem that God’s promises to Israel had been kept in Paul’s day, much less 2000 years later, in our day. If this was/is true of Israel, how can anyone really believe that there is nothing that can separate them from the love of God (Rom 8:38-39)?

Asked differently, if what Paul wrote in Romans 1:16 is true—that the gospel is to the Jew first—why are there so few Jews being saved? What’s more, how do the Gentiles know they can trust God when his promises to Israel have not been fulfilled?

First, despite Paul’s expressed love and sorrow for his kinsmen according to the flesh, Israel (9:1-5), her rejection of Yeshua’s Messiahship was not a failure of God’s promises (9:6‑13) or justice (9:14‑29); it was Israel’s rejection of the righteousness of God (9:30‑10:21). However, inasmuch as this was true, it was all according to the divine plan God; his plan had never at any point been thwarted. Rather, God had elected a remnant (i.e. Jewish believers, 9:27; 11:1‑10) and accepted Gentiles (11:11‑32; Isaiah 49:1‑13) in the present age. Finally, Paul contends that all Israel will believe and be restored in the future (11:23‑32) as evidence of the wisdom and the glory of God (11:33‑36).

Second, Israel’s failure is related to spiritual pride and self‑sufficiency; it is not a fault with God. Further, Israel’s rejection is neither complete, total, nor final. There were Jewish believers in Yeshua’s day and there will be a time when Israel as a nation will receive him as Messiah.

[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.

7 thoughts on “Messianic Bible Study #1: God’s Righteousness & The Theology of Israel (Romans 9-11)

  1. Wonderful how God brings His truth to people even in high places! Praise Him.

    Re. Sept. 11 blog: Please correct the spelling of vs. 29 for those who are not familiar with the passage; s/b “are” in place of “bare.”

    Thank you.

  2. Re. Tony Blair listing Fruchtenbaum’s book as one of his favorites: Wonderful how God brings His truth to people even in high places! Praise Him.

    Re. Sept. 11 blog: Please correct the spelling of vs. 29 for those who are not familiar with the passage; s/b “are” in place of “bare.”

    Thank you.

  3. Dear Brother Arnold,
    I have enjoyed your manuscripts and your generosity of sharing this lesson. Our hope is in the truth of the Word of God (Yeshua for salvation has come for the Jews and Gentiles). Thank you for preparing good soil with your diligent studies and access through the web. You have a long chain of believers who have come to a mature faith. My brothers and I are a few among the chain who is not the last link.
    Brother Joshua

  4. Tony Blair has come to the wrong conclusion in regards to Israel. If he has really read Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s books, and understood them, how could he choose Roman Catholicism? Rome does not belive that Israel is in God’s plans anymore.

    Maybe he was just saying he enjoyed them, not agreed with them.


    • I don’t know what Tony Blair thinks – but I do know that many people in the Catholic Church have strongly differing views of their faith than is taught in church doctrine, so it is hard to know. If he was a member of most of the large Protestant denominations we could have the same basic concerns.

  5. Glory to GOD! Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum is a very good mentor to all Jews and Gentiles. His teachings and lessons makes us more mature and growing more in the true knowledge of GOD’s principles. The internet is also a very good tool in sharing & reaching out the message. It is also a part of GOD’s provision, all for the establishment of HIS Glory!

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