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Sermon #3286

The Mystery of Israel's Future Revealed

A Sermon on Romans 11:25-27


Romans 11:23-24 ESV KJV
And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how …

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Sermon Description

God’s sovereignty and humanity’s responsibility can be difficult to reconcile, especially when reading different passages in the Bible that seem to be contradictory. In this sermon on Romans 11:25–27 titled “The Mystery Revealed,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones leads through a phrase-by-phrase analysis of one such passage. The word blindness here, he says, is actually better translated as “hardened.” What does Paul mean by saying that Israel has been hardened? Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides reasons and evidence as to why this most likely refers to the majority of the Israelite nation as a whole, not every individual Israelite, since some of the Jews were indeed saved and thus were shown not to be hardened. As the rest of this passage states, this blindness was only temporary— God established it and God took it off at the fullness of the Gentiles. To better understand this oft-confused phrase, Dr. Lloyd-Jones presents the various views and why it makes sense that Paul is making another broad reference, this time indicating a majority of Gentiles. The passage ends by saying that “all Israel will be saved.” This meaning, too, has been hotly debated throughout church history. Dr. Lloyd-Jones demonstrates his reasoning as to why he believes it is not referencing all the elect Jews as a whole, nor the elect Jews and Gentiles combined, but a different group altogether. Listen as he methodically steps through this difficult passage to help the listener better understand its meaning and application for their lives.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul does not want the Romans to be ignorant of the mystery that blindness has happened temporarily to Israel.
  2. The word 'blindness' refers to hardness, obtuseness and insensibility that leads to blindness. This hardness and blindness was the reason for Israel's unbelief and rejection of the Messiah.
  3. 'In part' refers to the duration and not intensity of the blindness. It means the blindness is temporary and not permanent.
  4. 'Is happened' means the blindness was inflicted upon Israel judicially by God. It was not something Israel produced themselves. God hardened them like He did with Pharaoh.
  5. 'To Israel' refers to the nation as a whole and not just individuals.
  6. 'Until' links with the temporary blindness. The blindness will continue until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in.
  7. The 'fullness of the Gentiles' means the great majority of Gentiles and not every single Gentile. It refers to the Gentiles as a whole.
  8. 'Become in' is a technical term meaning to be introduced or engrafted into the kingdom and divine life. It suggests God's plan to bring in a number from the Gentiles.
  9. 'And so' means after the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, then all Israel will be saved. It refers to both time and method.
  10. The meaning of 'all Israel' is the bulk of the Jewish nation and not every single Jew. It is the same as 'fullness' in verse 12.
  11. The total number of elect Jews interpretation fails to account for the mystery and contrast between 'now' and 'then'. It does not allow for the phenomenal event of 'life from the dead'.
  12. The total number of elect Jews and Gentiles interpretation makes 'Israel' have a different meaning in verse 26 and goes against the whole argument of the chapter.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.