Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 11

Israel's return to God: life from death

Romans 11:15

Paul has just described (verse 12) the wonderful effect that Israelís return to God will have upon the rest of the world. After Israelís people return to God (Zechariah 12:10 to 13:1), the whole world will turn to God (Zechariah 14:10 and 14:16). That will be when Christís rule on earth begins (Revelation 20:4-6).

In Romans 11:15, Paul repeats that lesson, but he adds a bold and exciting description to it. Israelís return to God will mean 'life from death', he says. He seems to be describing not just the effect on Israelís people, but upon the whole world.

We ask why Paul chose to use that description, 'life from death'. As in Revelation 20:4-6, he may be describing the actual events of Christís return to earth. However, perhaps he is referring to the wonderful things that God showed Ezekiel, in Ezekiel 37:1-14. In that passage, Israel appeared as a nation of dead people. However, when Godís Spirit came upon them, they became alive again. They stood up as a vast army, and God gave them back their own land.

However, Paul has himself used this description of life from death previously (4:17-19). There, he was describing how the nation called Israel began, with Abrahamís belief in God. Abrahamís essential belief was that God causes dead people to become alive. That almost happened at the birth of Isaac. Abraham and his wife were so old that they considered themselves almost dead. However, Abraham continued to believe Godís promises to him.

God had promised Abraham in Genesis 12:3, that all nations would know Godís kindness because of him. That can only happen fully when the whole world turns to God. It will happen after the return to God of the nation that comes from Abrahamís family, Israel. That is when the whole world will know the true God, Abrahamís God. They will know him as the God who brings life to our dying world (compare Romans 6:23).

Next part: If part is holy, all is holy (Romans 11:16)

 

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© 2017, Keith Simons.