Can you imagine the feelings of the Jews, when suddenly they were cast aside as God’s Earthly Agency for the execution of His plan? (Compare Romans 9:21-25.) Israel had, for 2,000 years, enjoyed the privilege of “the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the service of God, and the promises” (Rom. 9:4). Israel had “boasted of the Law” and “of God” (Rom. 2:17, 23) and that “Salvation is of the Jews” (Jn. 4:22). Now, suddenly and mysteriously they are “broken off” from the plan of God (“the olive tree” of Rom. 11:17) and “blinded” for a time (“in part” – Rom. 11:25), and replaced by a New Agency. (A “wild olive tree grafted in for them” -Rom. 11:17).
ISRAEL TO REPRESENT GOD
God had chosen Israel in Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3, 7; 13:14-17; 15:18-20; 17:1-8). God called this an “election of grace” (Rom. 11:5) because it was a calling based on God’s love for them, not because of their merit, worthiness or greatness (Deut. 4:37; 7:6-8; 10:15). God chose them when they were poor and needy, and no one to help them (Isa. 41:17; 48:15-17; compare this with God’s gracious election in the Church Age (1 Cor. 1:26-31).
God had chosen Abraham and his progeny to be His representative agency here on earth (Isa. 41:8-9; 43:10-12; 44:1, 21).
In the Davidic and Palestinian Covenants (2 Sam. 7:12-16 and Deut. 30:1-8), God promised Israel both a King and an Eternal Kingdom for faithfully representing Him on earth. On the other hand, God had warned if they were unfaithful, He would severely discipline them and provoke them to jealously and anger with a “foolish nation” (Deut. 32:21; Rom. 10:19; 11:11, 14).
ISRAEL REJECTED BY GOD
Israel failed to believe God (Rom. 11:20), and to keep the conditional clauses of the Law and the Covenants (2 Kgs. 17:13-15; Isa. 6:9).
Over the years Israel had:
(1) Rejected the Word of God (Hos. 4:1-9);
(2) Rejected the Sabbatical Year (Ezek. 20:12-24);
(3) Depended upon man (Jer. 17:5-9);
(4) Fallen into Idolatry (Jer. 17:1-4);
(5) Had corrupt Ecclesiastical and Political leadership (Jer. 23:9- 40; Lam. 4:16); and
(6) Had a False scale of values (Jer. 17:13; Isa. 2:7), until at long last they rejected their King and Kingdom at the Cross (Lk. 19:14, 27).
This rejection was graciously overruled by Christ’s prayer in Luke 23:34 which provided a second opportunity to accept the King and Kingdom (Acts 3:19-21), which was subsequently rejected in Jerusalem (Acts 7:51, 59), Antioch (Acts 13:46), Corinth (Acts 18:6) and finally in the Gentile capital city of Rome (Acts 28:27-28).
God now rejects Israel, and casts them away (Rom. 11:15). As such, Israel is called “desolate” (Isa. 62:4; Mt. 23:38), “good for nothing” (Jer. 13:7; Mt. 5:13), “empty vine” (Hos. 10:1) and “not my people” (Hos. 1:9-10; Rom. 9:26).
A new agency, the Church which is the Body of Christ, is selected by God to continue to carry out His eternal purpose and to provoke Israel to jealousy.
In Romans 9:22, Israel is called “the vessel of wrath fitted to destruction.” The Body of Christ is one of “the vessels of mercy” (Rom. 9:23). This vessel was prepared “afore” (Eph. 1:4) and is made up of both Jews and Gentiles (Rom. 9:24; Eph. 3:6).
In Romans 9:25-27, God says this is like what Hosea said concerning the northern ten tribes, who had been declared “not my people” (Hos. 1:9-10) but will one day be called the “children of the living God.” This is not (Hos. 1 and 2) an Old Testament Prophecy of the Church, the Body of Christ; neither is Deuteronomy 32:21 or Matthew 8:11. Rather, what God is doing with the Gentiles is like what He has done in the past with the Wilderness Generation (Jonah and Nineveh) with Gentile dominion over the Jews militarily and politically and what He will yet do in the future when a remnant of saved Jews will provoke all Israel to salvation (Rom. 11:11, 25).
God is now provoking Israel to jealousy through the Gentiles, of which the Body of Christ is a part, who now have spiritual dominance over the Jews.
Israel has been replaced. The Gentiles have been brought “nigh” (Eph. 2:11-13), “grafted” into the place of privilege (Rom. 11:17). There is now “no difference” between the Jew and the Greek” (Rom. 10:12) and the Body of Christ has temporarily replaced Israel (Rom. 11:25-26).
Israel was replaced by a predominantly Gentile Church. Theirs was a suffering of replacement and rejection. Added to this suffering was the element of SURPRISE – A MYSTERY (Rom. 16:25-26; Eph. 3:1-9; Col. 1:25-26)! They were warned that the Gentiles would dominate them politically but never did they dream they would lose their spiritual privileges to a New Agency.
The Jew’s jealousy, confusion and hurt is seen in their opposition to Paul in his relationship to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21-22; 13:6-11,45; 1 Thess. 2:J5-16).
How thankful we ought to be for both the “goodness” and “severity” of God (Rom. 11:22); for as “concerning the Gospel, they [Israel] are enemies for your [believers] sakes:.. .in times past, have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [Israel] unbelief” (Rom. 11:28-30).
“0 the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Rom. 11:33).