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Romans. Rom 11:25-27 March 25, 2012. Rom 11:25 the “mystery” English idea of “mystery” (Webster’s) 1. anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown: the mysteries of nature .

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slide1

Romans

Rom 11:25-27

March 25, 2012

slide2

Rom 11:25 the “mystery”

  • English idea of “mystery” (Webster’s)
      • 1. anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown: the mysteries of nature.
      • 2. any affair, thing, or person that presents features or qualities so obscure as to arouse curiosity or speculation: The masked guest is an absolute mystery to everyone.
      • 3. a novel, short story, play, or film whose plot involves a crime or other event that remains puzzlingly unsettled until the very end: a mystery by Agatha Christie.
      • 4. obscure, puzzling, or mysterious quality or character: the mystery of Mona Lisa's smile.
      • 5. any truth that is unknowable except by divine revelation.
slide3

Paul’s use of “mystery”

    • (2) in the NT;
      • (a) as what can be known only through revelation mediated from God what was not known before (1 Cor 4:1);
      • (b) as a supreme redemptive revelation of God through the gospel of Christ mystery (Rom 16:25; Eph 3:9);
      • (c) as the hidden meaning of a symbol with metaphorical significance mystery (Eph 5:32).
  • Friberg
    • “the content of that which has not been known before but which has been revealed . . . There is a serious problem involved in translating musterion by a word which is equivalent to the English expression 'mystery,' for this term in English refers to a secret which people have tried to uncover but which they have failed to understand.” Louw-Nida
    • “too profound for human ingenuity”BAG
slide4

Paul’s use of “mystery”

In the context of Rom 11:25, a few considerations:

1. Chp 9-11 thus far Paul has been describing how the majority of Jews do not believe, citing the OT idea of “remnant” and its counter part “hardening.”

2. Paul’s use of the term “mystery” here would most likely include the idea of “what can be known only through revelation mediated from God” (Friberg)

3. Paul’s (and some OT) use of “mystery” occasionally (with definition above) pertains to the future – e.g. 1 Cor 15:51-52. See also Dan 2:17-18, 27-28 (example of “apocalyptic” OT lit.).

4. “Paul came to understand this mystery through study of the OT in light of the gospel. But the apocalyptic flavor of the word ‘mystery’ point to the involvement of a special divine revelation as well” Moo

slide5

Before we dive into the content of the ‘mystery’ we need to see the purpose behind Paul’s statement.

  • V.25 “so that” . . . What?
    • Clearly Paul refers to the ‘mystery’ in order to suppress Gentile pride (continues & supports idea from Rom 11:18 “do not be arrogant,” and v.20 “do not be conceited.”)
    • “The purpose of this revelation is not to arouse the interest of the church or to satisfy their curiosity about future events. The mystery is disclosed so that the Gentiles will not fall prey to pride.” Schreiner
  • Keep in mind that the context of v.25 makes a clear distinction between ethic Jews and Gentiles.
slide6

Overview of the Mystery in v.25-26a, main ideas:

    • 1. that a “partial” hardening has happened.
    • 2. it will only last “until” . . . that is, the hardening is temporary.
    • 3. “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in,” that is, the salvation of Gentiles will precede the salvation of the Jews.
    • 4. “all Israel will be saved,” that is, at a future date.
  • In light of OT expectations, it would not be a ‘mystery’ that Israel would be saved when her Messiah came.
  • What especially stands out is that when Messiah did come, Israel was hardened, and the Gentiles started to out number the number of Jews who were being saved.
  • So the ‘mystery’ is the temporary hardening of Israel while Gentiles are being saved.
slide7

Details of the Mystery.

  • We will need to examine the following particular details:
    • 1. who is “Israel”?
    • 2. who is “all” Israel?
    • 3. how will “all Israel” be saved?
    • 4. when will all Israel be saved?
slide8

Details of the Mystery.

  • 1. Who is “Israel”? It may seem odd to even have to ask the question, but various explanations have historically been promoted and still continue to influence the church today.
  • Two major lines of interpretation:
  • 1) “Israel” is all the elect, both Jews & Gentiles.
    • “I extend the word Israel to all the people of God, according to this meaning, — “When the Gentiles shall come in, the Jews also shall return from their defection to the obedience of faith; and thus shall be completed the salvation of the whole Israel of God, which must be gathered from both”John Calvin, Commentary on Romans ad loc
  • This view was / is very popular among certain groups, particularly theologians who tend to NOT understand prophecy in a futuristic sense.
slide9

Details of the Mystery – who is “Israel”?

  • There are problems with this interpretation (= all elect Jews & Gentiles)
  • 1. The context of Rom 9-11.
    • “The central and decisive objection to this interpretation is the context of Rom 9-11, especially the immediate context in chp 11. The failure of ethnic Jews to obtain salvation is what provoked chps 9-11 in the first place. Moreover, the preceding verses in chp 11 preserve a distinction between Gentiles and ethnic Jews.” Schreiner
  • 2. “Israel” has two meanings, in v.25 and in v.26.
    • “It is obvious in verse 25 that the term ‘Israel’ refers to ethnic Israel in contradistinction to the Gentiles. Thus it is extremely unlikely that the term “Israel” would have a different meaning in verse 26 than it did in verse 25.” Schreiner
slide10

Details of the Mystery – who is “Israel”?

  • There are problems with this interpretation (= all elect Jews & Gentiles)
  • 1. The context of Rom 9-11.
  • 2. “Israel” has two meanings, in v.25 and in v.26.
  • 3. The purpose of Rom 11.
    • It is true in certain contexts Paul does refer to Gentiles as “Abraham’s seed,” included among the “true circumcision” and within the “Israel of God” (Rom 4:13-18; Phil 3:3; Gal 6:16).
    • However, such contexts refer to the Gentiles’ inclusion in God’s people.
    • “Gentiles, as Gentiles, can become recipients of the blessings promised to Abraham and full members of the people of God. Paul’s application to Gentiles of OT people-of-God language is perfectly appropriate in such contexts.” (continued on next slide)
slide11

Details of the Mystery – Who is “Israel”?

  • There are problems with this interpretation (= all elect Jews & Gentiles)
  • 1. The context of Rom 9-11.
  • 2. “Israel” has two meanings, in v.25 and in v.26.
  • 3. The purpose of Rom 11.
    • “But Paul’s purpose in Rom. 11 is almost the opposite. Here, he counters a tendency for Gentiles to appropriate for themselves exclusively the rights and titles of “God’s people.” For Paul in this context to call the church “Israel” would be to fuel the fire of the Gentiles’ arrogance by giving them grounds to brag that “we are the true Israel’.”
  • The interpretation that “Israel” in Rom 11:26 refers to “all the people of God” both Jews and Gentiles, does not fix the context of Rom 11.
slide12

Details of the Mystery. Who is “Israel”?

1. Who is “Israel”?

Two major lines of interpretation:

1) “Israel” is all the elect, both Jews & Gentiles. Doesn’t fit context.

2) “Israel” refers to Jews, the ethnic descendants of Abraham. This is the only interpretation which does justice to the context of Rom 9-11

slide13

Details of the Mystery.

  • We will need to examine the following particular details:
    • 1. who is “Israel”?
    • 2. who is “all” Israel?
    • Again, two main lines of thought may be found.
  • 1) “All Israel” = the collective whole of the remnant of Jews who have been (or will be) saved throughout the course of history.
    • “The term ‘all Israel’ means the total number of elect Jews, the sum of all Israel’s remnants. ‘All Israel’ parallels ‘the fullness of the Gentiles.’” (author’s emphasis)Hendrikesen
slide14

Details of the Mystery. “All Israel” = the collective whole of the remnant.

  • However, there are problems with taking “all Israel” in a restrictive sense to mean the collective whole of the elect.
  • 1) Again, the meaning of “Israel” changes from v.25 to v.26a
    • V.25 partial hardening to “Israel” – the whole nation
    • V.26a “all Israel” will be saved – the remnant within the nation.
  • 2) If “all Israel” (will be saved) refers to the elect, the collective whole of the remnant, there would hardly seem to be any “mystery” revealed; this would be a self-evident fact (a truism).
  • 3) If “all Israel” restrictive to the elect remnant, it is difficult to see how their “fulfillment” and “acceptance” is anything more spectacular than what is currently going on among Jews; “the mystery revealed is stunningly anticlimactic” (Schreiner). Yet Rom 11:12, 15 seem to point to something will occur which will exceed the current status quo.
  • Another interpretation of “all” seems to be in order.
slide15

Details of the Mystery. “All Israel”

  • 1) “All Israel” = the collective whole of the remnant
  • 2) Few (if any) are willing to state that “all Israel” means every single Jew ever born – which would be a direct contradiction to Paul’s previous statements regarding those who were/are “hardened,” “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” (9:18, 22).
  • 3) Context strongly favors “all Israel” as referring to Israel as a people (though not every single one), who will be saved in mass, which is described as their “fullness” v.12.
    • “‘All Israel,’ as the OT and Jewish source demonstrate, has a corporate significance, referring to the nation as a whole and not to every single individual who is a part of that nation.”
slide16

Details of the Mystery. “All Israel”

    • “We conclude that Paul is probably using the phrase ‘all Israel’ to denote the corporate entity of the nation of Israel as it exists at a particular point in time.” Moo
slide17

Details of the Mystery.

  • We will need to examine the following particular details:
    • 1. who is “Israel”?
    • 2. who is “all” Israel?
    • 3. how will “all Israel” be saved?
      • “Romans 11 cannot be wrenched from the context of Rom 9-11 as a whole. What troubles Paul is that Israel is separated from Christ (9:3). He indicts Israel at length for failing to believe in him (9:31-10:8) and proceeds to argue that salvation for both Jews and Gentiles comes only through believing in Christ (10:9-13). . . Paul never envisioned a salvation for Israel apart from trusting in Jesus as Messiah.” Schreiner
slide18

Details of the Mystery.

  • We will need to examine the following particular details:
    • 1. who is “Israel”?
    • 2. who is “all” Israel?
    • 3. how will “all Israel” be saved?
    • 4. when will all Israel be saved?
  • Vv.25-27 indicates:
    • 1) “until the fullness of Gentiles has come in”
      • “until implies that the hardening of the majority of Israel will be lifted after the full number of Gentiles are saved.” Schreiner
      • Cf. Luke 21:23-24
slide19

Details of the Mystery. When will all Israel be saved?

    • 2) “the Deliverer will come from Zion . . .”
  • Paul quotes Isa 59:20 and Jer 31:33.
    • “In each instance the salvation promised to Israel occurs after the nation has suffered indignity because of its sin. . . The salvation of Israel will come after they have been plunged in sin and experienced judgment. In the OT ‘the deliverer’ is certainly Yahweh, but for Paul it is almost certainly Jesus Christ, and the reference is to his second coming as in 1 Thess 1:10.” Schreiner
    • “Nor is it possible to be precise about the exact timing of the conversion of Israel in comparison with other events of the end times, although the fact that it will take place only after the salvation of all elect Gentiles suggests that it will be closely associated with the return of Christ in glory.” Moo
slide20

Details of the Mystery. SUMMARY

    • “God has designed salvation history in such a way that the extension of his saving grace surprises those who are its recipients. Gentiles were elected to salvation when the Jews were expecting to be the special objects of his favor, and the Jews will be grafted in again at a time in which Gentiles will be tempted to believe that they are superior the ethnic Israel.
    • By contrasting history in such a way God makes it evident that he deserves the praise for the inclusion of any into his saving promises. Indeed, this theme matches beautifully with chapter 9, for there Paul argues similarly that God’s election inverts human expectations. He chose Isaac, not Ishmael; Jacob, not Esau; the Gentiles, not the Jews.
slide21

Details of the Mystery. SUMMARY

    • “Similarly, at the end of salvation history, when the Gentiles are in danger of becoming self-assured, confident that they are the special objects of God’s love, he will surprise them again by reinstating the people of his covenant promises.
    • Nor does the promise of salvation of ‘all Israel’ contradict Rom. 9, which promises salvation to only a remnant of Israel. For Rom. 11 does not promise salvation to all Israel throughout history but to ‘all Israel’ at the end of history.”
    • Schreiner
slide23

“Romans’ Road”

  • A simplified method of presenting the Gospel based entirely on verses from the book of Romans has been called Romans’ Road.
  • This approach follows how Paul presented the Gospel in Romans:
    • 1. Man’s Sin.
    • 2. God’s Provision.
    • 3. Man’ Response.
slide24

“Romans’ Road”

  • 1. Man’s Sin
    • Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    • Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death,but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Use “but the free gift . . .” as a transition to 2. God’s provision.
slide25

“Romans’ Road”

  • 2. God’s Provision.
    • Rom 6:23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    • Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
  • Transition: What do you need to do?
slide26

“Romans’ Road”

  • 3. Man’s Response.
    • Rom 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
    • Rom 10:13 for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."
  • Offer to lead in prayer.