Romans 11 is a rich chapter in the Bible, written by Apostle Paul to Christ followers in Rome. There is much to glean from this chapter, as it explains some of the events we are witnessing today in Israel and the Church, and you get to choose how you will respond to Paul’s declaration that Israel will be restored.
A Brief History of the Church in Rome During Paul’s Day
The letter written to the Church in Rome was one of the last and longest letters ever written by Paul during his missionary journeys. Acts 18:1-2 give us a glimpse into what Rome was like during Paul’s day.
The community of Christ followers in Rome, both Jews and Gentiles, had been meeting for some time. During Claudius’ rule over the Roman Empire, he expelled all the Jews (both those who were Christ followers and those who were not) from Rome. This took place sometime between 41 AD and 53 AD.
Approximately 5 years later, they were allowed to return. In just 5 years, the Church that the Jewish followers of Christ had known before they were expelled had undergone some changes—changes that no longer reflected what had once been the foundation of their beliefs and practices.
Differences divided, and arguments ensued.
Paul’s Letter to the Romans
The purpose of Paul’s letter to the Believers in Rome was to bring unification, clarification, and restoration to the community members after they had been reunited.
As a result, the book of Romans is one of the fullest explanations of God’s plan of salvation and restoration—from beginning to end—and the roles that both the Jews and Gentiles have in it.
It was as if Paul was encouraging all of those in Christ to get back to the roots of their faith—which was salvation through Christ. While at the same time, helping them understand the significance of God’s established laws, manifested through Israel, that pointed to Jesus.
- “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”—John 15:5
The Book of Romans…
- Reveals God’s Righteousness
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.”—Romans 3:21-22 (emphasis added)
- Reiterates the Unification Process of the One New Man (Ephesians 2)
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”—Romans 6:3-6 (emphasis added)
- Reestablishes the Truth of God’s Covenant Promises to Israel
“I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew...”—Romans 11:1-2
You Must Understand the Influence of the Remnant | What Does Romans 11 Mean for Israel?
Paul speaks of a faithful remnant in Romans 11…
“Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”—Romans 11:5 (emphasis added)
To the Gentile Believers in Rome…
In Romans 11, Paul wrote to the Gentiles who had been influenced by the Greek culture that surrounded them during the Jewish expulsion. They seemed to have forgotten the Jewish culture they were grafted into through Christ.
He wanted them to refocus on the covenant relationship fully revealed in Christ with the Hebraic roots, giving a deeper meaning to the significance of it. Paul encouraged them to allow that relationship to shape their word and deed, not thinking rules and laws should be what shaped their actions.
To the Jewish Believers in Rome…
He was also addressing Jewish Believers, reminding them of God’s faithfulness and that He cannot—and will not—reject His chosen people.
To the Remnant…
When we think of a remnant, we tend to think of a small, insignificant “leftover.” Yet, we forget that God called out Abraham and his family, the smallest of all the nations, to be His representatives to the world.
- “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples.”—Deuteronomy 7:7
- “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I, the Lord, will hasten it in its time.”—Isaiah 60:22
The Lord was speaking of Israel in the verses listed above. Paul was reminding the Christ followers in Rome of God’s promise to His people.
The Lord often works in ways that do not make sense to our Adamic mindset. What seems impossible is made possible with God. God did, and continues to, use the remnant Paul was referring to in extraordinary ways.
The remnant is helping to rebuild and restore Israel (see Amos 9)—fulfilling God’s plan and bringing us closer to the return of Christ (see Acts 3:19-21).
What Does Romans 11 Mean for the Church?
Paul made it very clear that Israel had stumbled, but not fallen. He told the Gentiles that only because of Israel’s brokenness had they been able to be grafted into God’s family. He warned them to “not boast against the branches” (see Romans 11:18).
“For if God did not spare the natural branches [Israel], He may not spare you [Gentiles] either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.”—Romans 11:21-22
He also encouraged them to reflect on the truth that they were a “wild olive tree” and had been blessed; therefore, “… how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?” (see Romans 11:24)
As the Church, we must not forget that we do not own God, but God owns us. We were bought at a price. We are His Bride, and we are to submit to His will. His will is for the Church to align with Israel, share the Gospel, and be a part of Israel’s spiritual and physical restoration.
What Does Romans 11 Mean for You?
As an individual, you can take an active role in Israel’s restoration—from praying for the peace of Jerusalem (see Psalm 122:6) and blessing the nation (see Genesis 12:3), to simply understanding that you are a part of the Bride that is to “provoke Israel to jealousy” (see Romans 11:11).
How you respond to Israel, how you love the nation and its people, and how you stand with Israel during these last days all speaks to how your heart is toward God and His Word.
If you choose to be complacent, then we encourage you to closely read Romans 11 and ask God what He wants your role to be.
If you choose to be loving, show kindness, and meet their needs, won’t you be edifying them and showing them the love of Yeshua? Isn’t this what Believers are called to do?
So, you have a choice. Will you stand with Israel, or will you turn your head? Though Paul’s words say, “God gave them a spirit of stupor,” the same could be said of the Church. If we choose to turn our head, we are becoming a stumbling block for their restoration and God’s plan of salvation.
To learn more about why Israel’s restoration is crucial to the times we live in, download the 2nd edition of the 3 Reasons to Invest in Israel guide today! You will be surprised by the connection between Israel’s spiritual, political, and economic restoration and yours.