What is the Fullness of the Gentiles?

Paul makes a compelling observation—an affirmation he refers to as a mystery—that a blindness on the house of Jacob has happened until “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” The context helps us understand the meaning of the blindness and what is the fullness of the Gentiles. “For I, brethren, would not have you be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits: that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in,” Romans 11:25.

Could this times of the Gentiles spoken of in Luke 21:24 be also “the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”? If so, would this coincide with a time when God will call the Gentiles for redemption?

Romans 11

I ask then: Hath God cast away His people? God forbid! For I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. — I say then; was Paul infering from the language of Isaiah just quoted that God has cast away his people? Far from that. Paul was himself too closely identified with his countrymen to look upon it with anything but horror;

— I also; this appeals to his own descent from Abraham seems to be called forth by the Apostle’s patriotic sympathy with his people, and not merely by the thought that he would be included in their rejection. 

God hath not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Know ye not what the Scripture saith of Elijah, how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, — the word “foreknew” is expressive not merely of foreseeing a thing, but implies in this place a previous purpose or plan;

— he meant by the people God had not cast away, namely, which were “foreknown” by him; for all mankind are in a sense his people, being made, maintained, and supported in their beings by him, for he foresaw their faith, holiness and good works, and so chose them for himself; for the kingdom of Jacob is destined to be a kingdom of priest.

“Lord, they have killed Thy prophets and torn down Thine altars, and I am left alone and they seek my life”? — this is the account which Obadiah gave Elijah when he met him 1 Kings 18:13 seems to favor such a supposition; seek my life; that is, Ahab and Jezebel seek to kill me. This they did because he had overcome and slain the prophets of Baal;

But what saith the answer of God unto him? “I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” — there was a chosen remnant of believing elects, who had righteousness; these were kept according to the election of grace; while the Israelite nation were as in a deep sleep.

Even so then, at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. — as there was a remnant then, so also is there a remnant now; which could be the time of the Gentiles, that there should be due to some human merit on the part of those selection from among the nations.

And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it be by works, then it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. — this is to combat a favorite notion of the Jews, that we are justified by obedience to the Law; but God could see character through the hearts. 

What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded,

according as it is written: “God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this day.” — the state of Israel and the Jewish nation were in a deep sleep, without knowledge of their danger, or concern about it; having no sense of their need of further repentence;

— “Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see” Isaiah 42:18;

And David saith, “Let their table be made a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a recompense unto them. — their blessings upon the dining table shall be turned into curses, by reason of their depravity. The metaphors of a snare and a trap are taken from birds and beasts, which are allured into snares and traps to their destruction, by meat laid in their way.

10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their backs alway.” — the house of Israel and the Jews today, as in the past, has many blind shepherd: “His watchmen are blind; they are all ignorant; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark, sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” Isaiah 56:10.

11 I say then: Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid! But rather, through their fall salvation has come unto the Gentiles to provoke them to jealousy. — for to provoke them to jealousy; the reason why salvation had been extended to the Gentiles was to stir up the Israelites and Jews to emulation. Their privileges had made them negligent and apathetic. The sight of others stepping into those privileges was to rouse them from their apathy.

12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness? — if the Israelites have a designated 144,000 in their completeness, then perhaps the Gentiles would have a number, although we were never told how many for each of the other 69 nations or so in God’s list.

13 For I speak to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my office,

14 that by any means I may provoke to emulation those who are my flesh, and might save some of them. — I may provoke to emulation; may awaken up to zeal or to an earnest desire to obtain the like blessings. This was in accordance with the calling in of the Gentiles would excite their attention, and provoke them to deep feeling.

15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? — here he denies they were cast away; they were cast away, though neither totally nor finally, and it is of this partial and temporary rejection that Paul here speaks.

16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the whole lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches. — the lump is also holy; by lump, and branches, he means the people of the Jews that descended of these holy patriarchs, and spring from them, as branches from a root.

17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree, — if some of the branches be broken off; the unbelieving Jews;

— fatness of the olive tree, he means, all the promises and privileges, the graces and ordinances, the spiritual blessings and benefits, which belonged to Abraham and his seed.

18 boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

— MSG Behind and underneath all this there is a holy, God-planted, God-tended root. If the primary root of the tree is holy, there’s bound to be some holy fruit. Some of the tree’s branches were pruned and you wild olive shoots were grafted in. Yet the fact that you are now fed by that rich and holy root gives you no cause to gloat over the pruned branches. Remember, you aren’t feeding the root; the root is feeding you.

19 Thou wilt say then, “The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.” — the branches were broken off; the Jews were rejected in order that the gospel might be preached to the Gentiles and be grafted in.

20 Thou sayest well! Because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear;

— PHILLIPS But if some of the branches of the tree have been broken off, while you, like shoots of wild-olive, have been grafted in, and don’t share like a natural branch the rich nourishment of the root, don’t let yourself feel superior to those former branches. (If you feel inclined that way, remind yourself that you do not support the root, the root supports you.) You may make the natural retort, “But the branches were broken off to make room for my grafting!” It wasn’t quite like that. They lost their position because they failed to believe; you only maintain yours because you do believe. The situation does not call for conceit but for a certain wholesome fear. If God removed the natural branches for a good reason, take care that you don’t give him the same reason for removing you.

21 for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee. — if God proceeded with so much severity against his ancient people the Jews, you Gentiles may in reason expect as great severity, if you take not heed to yourselves, and to your standing.

22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness. Otherwise, thou also shalt be cut off. — behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell, severity (to be a warning to thee); 

— but toward thee, God’s goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they, if they abide not still in their unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. 

23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. — for God is able to graft them in again; as many of them were in the times of the apostles, and some since, for nothing is impossible with God; he can remove their unbelief, knock off the shackles and fetters in which they are held, and bring, them out of the prison of blindness.

24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more shall these, which are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? — grafted contrary to nature, as signifying contrary to the usual way of ingrafting; which is, not to insert a wild scion into a good stock, but a good scion into a wild stock.

25 For I, brethren, would not have you be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits: that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. — ignorant of this mystery; the word “mystery” means properly what is “concealed, hidden, or unknown”

— the fulness of the Gentiles, as above, the complete number; the full complement of the Gentiles; that is, that this blindness is to continue until great numbers of the Gentiles shall be converted, whose number, and the time of their conversion, is still concealed and hidden from us;

— perhaps this fullness of the Gentiles could be another 144,000; placing itself side by side with those 144,000 of the twelve tribes of Israel signifies by the two loaves of bread as firstfruits on the day of Pentecost? Leviticus 23:17; comparing Revelation 7 with 14;

— as to the timing for their redemption, its main harvest could be during the period of 190 years, described as a time of Jacob’s trouble, just before the Millenium; for more see Ezekiel 4 – 390/40 Years.

26 And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written: “There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. — —

27 For this is My covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins.” — —

28 Concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sake; but concerning the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. — —

29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. — —

30 For as in times past ye have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief, — —

31 even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. — —

32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all. — —

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements, and His ways past finding out! — —

34 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor?” — —

35 Or, “who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” — —

36 For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things, to whom be glory for ever. Amen. — —

~ by Joel Huan on July 10, 2022.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: