Romans 11:25 “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
“I would not….be ignorant” – Paul uses this type of terminology in his letters when he is making an important point.
“mystery” = revelation of something previously unknown (It has always been a part of God’s plan, but He hasn’t revealed it to man before now.)
the mystery = “that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”
The blindness is obviously spiritual blindness. “The fullness of the Gentiles” is a reference to the completed body of believers composed mainly of the Gentiles, the church; just as the “fullness” referenced in verse 12 speaks of the whole of the nation of Israel turning back to God in faith.
“in part” – In other words, there are still Jewish people coming to faith in God through Jesus as part of the church, just as there will continue to be Gentile believers coming to faith once God’s focus returns to Israel. Turning to God in faith has always been an option for every man and woman born on planet earth.
“lest ye be wise in your own conceits” – The CJB puts it this way, “so that you won’t imagine you know more than you actually do.”
I found the following quote from Jack Kelley that was enlightening on the phrase “fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”
“The Greek word translated ‘full number’ is a nautical term and refers to the number of crewmen necessary for a ship to set sail. And the phrase ‘come in’ means to arrive at a destination. Once the required complement of soldiers and sailors was aboard, the ship could leave the harbor and set sail for its destination. So it is with the Church. Once the number required to make up its membership is reached the Church will depart for its destination in Heaven, and God will open the eyes and soften the hearts of His people Israel.”
Romans 11:26-27 “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”
Instead of being a nation composed both of men of faith and those who have rebelled against God, Israel will become a nation composed only of men of faith.
“as it is written” – Where? This appears to be a quote from Isaiah 59; it was the closest I could find by searching with different word combinations.
Isaiah 59:20 “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.”
In truth the Redeemer/Deliverer (Messiah Jesus) came out of Sion/Jerusalem (where He was crucified, buried and resurrected), and He is the one that will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. In Isaiah, the emphasis is on the Redeemer returning to Zion and to His people (Israel) who have turned to Him in repentance and faith.
The next verse in Isaiah connects with verse 27.
Isaiah 59:21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.”
This is the new covenant that God will establish with His people; it is unconditional once they have responded to Him in faith and He returns to Zion as the King. He will give them His Holy Spirit, just as He has believers in the church age. The power of the Spirit at work in their lives individually and the nation as a whole will secure their position of restoration and deliverance. God promises that from the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom, every descendant of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, every Jewish person will treasure the word of the Lord and the ministry of the Spirit in their midst----forever, time without end.
Romans 11:28 “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.”
The NLT wording is more easily understood. “Many of the Jews are now enemies of the Good News. But this has been to your benefit, for God has given His gifts to you Gentiles. Yet the Jews are still His chosen people because of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. “
In other words God doesn’t change His mind regarding the gifts He gives and the invitations He issues. Once you receive a gift from God, it is yours. Once an invitation is accepted, He won’t rescind the offer. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob accepted God’s call. (Note: Once Abraham responded to God’s call, His invitation to follow Him in faith, God’s commitment to Abraham was sure.) Their descendants ended up behaving wickedly, but God will not renege on His promise.
Based on the predominant culture today people, at least in America, have a hard time understanding this type of integrity. Our society is full of loopholes to contracts; divorce is a quickie process in many instances; a man’s word is certainly not the binding factor it once was. Man’s tendency is always to justify his actions and to view himself from the most favorable position possible. I wonder if this is part of the reason why certain sections of the “church” have twisted the scripture to support the idea of “replacement theology”—the belief that the church has replaced Israel, the Jewish people, in God’s economy permanently.