Paul worried that some Christians were already starting to have wrong opinions about the Jews (Israelís people). Without an accurate knowledge of Godís plans, we can develop ideas that are completely wrong.
Those Christians has seen how strongly many of the Jews opposed the gospel (Godís message about Christ). So, some Christians started to believe that Godís love for Israel had ended. However, their idea was wrong, as Romans 11:28 explains. They had not understood what God has promised to do for Israel in the future (Deuteronomy 30:1-10). They were thinking only about the present problems of the Jews, and not about Godís future plan for them (Zechariah 14:9-11; Malachi 3:1-4).
In the original language (Greek), Paul does not describe Israel in the same way that he described Pharaoh (Egyptís king) in Romans 9:17-18. Pharaoh became Ďhardí (completely unwilling to change), and the result was his punishment because of Godís anger against him (9:22).
However, the word that describes some of Israelís people as Ďhardí (11:7; 11:25) is a different word. It describes an illness that makes people blind: something hard has grown over their eyes (compare Romans 11:8-10). In other words, because of their unbelief, some of Israelís people could not longer see (know) the truth.
Paul had himself been physically blind for a temporary period (Acts 9:8-19). Perhaps that experience helped him to have great sympathy for Israelís people in their present difficulties. When God completes his work among the other nations, then Israelís troubles will also end. That work is to bring people from those nations into a right relationship with him. When that is complete, Israelís people too will return fully to God (Zechariah 12:10 to 13:1). Then Christís rule on earth will, at last, begin.
Next part: God will save all of Israel (Romans 11:26)
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© 2017, Keith Simons.