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Romans 11:15-21


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Heavenly Father,


I wanted to take a moment to thank You for the blessing You bestowed on me this week. There are some agricultural programs available that assist people in achieving some projects on a farm, that I applied for last year. I got a call this week that out of 5 counties and a limited amount of monies, I had been awarded that assistance. This will help me so much around here Father, as You well know, getting some fencing and irrigation projects implemented. I have been doing so much of the work around here without the proper tools or setup which has been a physically, mentally and emotionally draining thing, but inspite of that, Your grace has somehow supported and held me up as I press towards the goals that You've laid on my heart. So, this assistance that will provide some relief and help in getting things better set up around here, is very much appreciated in my heart, and You know that. I'm still kind of stunned that I made it through the cuts...through countless other people over 5 counties, that have applied too. And as surprising as this sounds, I guess I'm a little stunned and surprised by Your provision in this area. Perhaps I've strived to accept 'status quo' with hopes down the line, which isn't a bad thing, and I think I've been learning to not count on anything or anyone else until it happens, all the while knowing that I can always and in all ways, count on You. So yes, this touches my heart because You know how hard I've worked, how willing I've been, to walk out this journey You called me to several years ago. So, I ask that You continue to bless and protect the different things I'm doing around here. I pray that You would bring the people that will do a job that honors You to do this work. Also Father, there is another program that I've applied for, that will make their final decisions in the next couple of weeks that offers even more assistance. I'm grateful for what You've provided so far, and if it is within Your will for my life, I ask that You somehow pave the way so that I can be awarded the benefits from this other program.


Other than that, I'm still struggling with building fires lol. I have been blessed with so many people offering tips and suggestions and I've honestly been trying them all, so I'm not sure where I'm going wrong, unless I'm missing some important detail, or if my wood is just not seasoned enough. So Father God, I ask that You would bless my fire building! lol I ask that my attempts would be augmented by Your mercy and grace so that I can keep this house warm as we wind down these winter months. And while I'm talking about that, I also ask Father that You would shorten this cold winter season we've all experienced this year. I pray Father that You would cause the temperatures to rise so that the plants and trees would begin to bloom, so that I can begin to do some much needed outside work. And while I'm thinking about that, I pray, starting now, and ask that You bless the garden that I, and all of us will be planting this spring. There are so much news that causes my heart to sink a little as I listen to issues different areas of the country have been dealing with agriculturally. I think You've grown us to a point where we're willing to work hard to produce as much of our foods as we can, but even then, our work alone, will not be enough. Your hand, Your blessing, Your provision, Your grace flowing over the rows of produce we plant, is ultimately what we need. So bless our efforts and labors this spring Father, and cause us all to remember as the harvests come in, exactly Who is ultimately responsible for the blessing of that provision.


Bless todays study Father. Every time I do one of the Romans study, I leave feeling very humble, but also very full and satisfied. It's as if studying Your Word is like eating a complete meal. More importantly, each time I finish another study, I feel closer to You too, which is what I treasure above all things.


I love You Father, I love You Jesus and I love You too Holy Spirit...I'm just starting to learn more about You, Who lives inside my heart, helping me, guiding me, teaching me, filling me with His holy, holy peace.


In Jesus Name I pray,



15. For if the casting away of them is the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?


16. And if the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump: and if the root is holy, so are the branches.


17. But if some of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive, wast grafted in among them, and didst become partaker with them of the root of the fatness of the olive tree:


18. Glory not over the branches: But if thou gloriest, it is not thou that bearest the root, but the root thee.


19. Thou wilt say then, Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.


20. Well: by their unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by thy faith. Be not high-minded, but fear:


21. For if God spared not the natural branches, neither will He spare thee.


In verse 15, the rvbv writes, "The casting away of them...the reconciling of the world - as long as God held fellowship with Israel on the ground of the old legal covenant, Gentiles were out of His direct favor, unless they became Jewish proselytes. Upon Israel's rejection of their Messiah and not until then (for Christ came first to Israel, - as see Matt. 10:5) could God "reconcile" the world to Himself. See II Corinthians 5:19: "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself."


The casting away of them - reconciling the world; receiving of them - life from the dead! - Paul speaks God's words; and God never exaggerates! Therefore, in understanding (so far as we may) these great words, we have only to compare our wretched Gentile state before the blessed reconciliation news, with our present Gentile blessing under the gospel, - as the fruit of the "casting away" of the Israelites; and then judge what blessing will come when God "receives" them! It will indeed be "life from the dead"! For this world has never seen what shall then be seen: "The earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11:9). Not even in Eden, before man's sin, was that seen! And all of this waits the "receiving" of God's earthly people, elect Israel! God must have them back in their land, to become "a joy to the whole earth." When Jehovah finally speaks everlasting comfort to His people Israel and to Jerusalem, it is written, "And the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isa. 40:1-5). (It must ever be remembered that the calling of the Church, the Body of Christ, is a heavenly one; as Israel's is not. Though by God's grace partakers of an ineffably higher place - members of Christ Himself, yet we, more than any, should regard Israel's coming blessing: for we have, as they will have, mercy: the sweetest conferment of God on sinners!)"


In verse 16, Watchman Nee comments on a couple of words:


"firstfruit" and "root": "The three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, referred to in v. 28 as "the fathers," are the firstfruits of the dough, which were offered to God for His satisfaction. They are also the root that supports the branches of God's cultivated olive tree, Israel."


The rvbv writes, And if the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump: and if the root is holy, so are the branches - the firstfruit here seems to me to be the believing Israel of the old days, as in Jeremiah 2:2,3: "Thou wentest after Me in the wilderness,...Israel was holiness unto Jehovah, the firstfruits of his increase:; and the lump to be the whole "Israel of God," of Galatians Six; that is, Israel, in God's sight as an always beloved nation, though now the saved "Remnant according to the election of grace" comes out of that nation into a risen, heavenly Christ, into a higher calling, where there is neither Jew nor Gentile. And, as has been said, the Gentile "is placed upon the root," not upon the trunk nor upon the branches. He became neither a Jew, nor of Israel. Blessing, however, had been promised through Abraham to "all the families of the earth."


Now it is important to see that the root is Abraham, the depositary of the promises. The tree of Divine blessing grows up by these promises to Abraham, and His Seed, which is Christ. The natural branches, that is, those who first partook of the tree's root and fatness, were Jews. You cannot say that the tree is the Jewish nation, but rather that it is those partaking of the Divine blessing from Abraham through Christ. The most of the Jews were thus, because of unbelief, broken off. Those Jews who believed, as we know (the election of grace), came to partake of the heavenly calling in the Church "the assembly of God." Again, when that assembly is taken away to heaven, and God grafts back the remnant of the Jewish people, into their former ("their own") olive tree, Divine blessing on earth will have the earthly character it had before Church days: Israel will be the land, Jerusalem the city, and the temple-worship the form (See Ezek. 40-48)."


In verse 17, Watchman Nee comments on 2 words, "grafted" and "olive tree" and writes:


"grafted" - "Grafting produces an organic union. It is not the exchanging of a poor life for a better life. Rather, it is the uniting of two lives as one so that they may share one mingled life and one living. Such a mingling of life takes place when two similar yet different lives pass through death (cutting) and resurrection (growth). This depicts our union with Christ."


"olive tree" - "According to the word in Matt. 2:15, "Out of Egypt I called My Son," a quotation from Hosea 11:1, Christ and the real Israel are one entity. When the Gentile believers are grafted into Christ, they are grafted into Israel, the cultivated olive tree, to become fellow partakers of the fatness (Christ) of the root (the patriarchs — v. 16), the unsearchable riches of God in Christ (Eph. 3:8). They and Israel have become the branches of Christ, the true vine (John 15:1, 5), and with Him the two have become the organism that expresses the Triune God."


The rvbv writes, "Some of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive, wast grafted in. This simply means that we, as Gentiles, have been set in the place of blessing from Abraham. It does not mean that all Gentiles are in the Body of Christ, - for it is not of that Body as such that Paul is here speaking: but of Gentiles as having been put into that place of Divine blessing where Israel once stood. Nor do the words some of the branches mean that any whole tribe of Israel will be wholly lost; for all twelve tribes appear in Ezekiel, in the millennial kingdom. The word thou is generic, of Gentiles: but of course is addressed to individuals - those of the Gentiles who would hear. "The warnings here are addressed not to brethern in Christ, but as being 'of the Gentiles'."


Verse 18: It is not thou that bearest the root, but the root thee - How few of us Gentile believers understand and bear in mind that we are beneficiaries of those promises which God lodged in Abraham as a root of promise, - all the promises we inherit in Christ! This is illustrated by Galatians 3:7: "They that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham"; and even the gift of the Holy Spirit is "the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus" coming upon the Gentiles (Gal. 3:14).


There is a very great danger, as Paul shows in Romans 11:18, that we Gentiles glory over the Jewish branches, and forget it is not though that bearest the root, but the root thee. Abraham was the root, the vessel of promise, and we (if we are in Christ) are his children.


Verse 19: Alas to say, voices the general consciousness and the consequent conduct of Christendom through the so-called "Christian centuries": Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in! The despising of the Jews, and the horrid persecuting of them by Christendom, is one of the three great scandals of history. (The first scandal was the persecution of their own prophets by the Jews, God's own nation; the second was the hatred unto death against the witnesses and truth of the gospel by papal Rome (the professed church of God!) with its Inquisition tortures and stake; the third I have named above, the hatred of the Jews by professing Christians, - by those who professed faith in a Savior who is Himself "an Israelite after the flesh."


I do not here mention pagan persecutions, either of Jews or of Christians, for such were to be expected. Dean Milman, in his History of the Jews (and such a book could be read with great profit in these days of rising anti-semitism), calls the persectuion of the Jews during the middle ages "A most hideous chronicle of human cruelty (as far as my researches have gone, fearfully true). Perhaps it is the most hideous," he goes on, "because the most continuous to be found among nations above the state of savages. Alas! that it should be among nations called Christian, though occasionally the Mohammedan persecutor vied with the Christian in barbarity...Kingdom after kingdom, and people after people, followed the dreadful example, [of hatred and persecution of the Israelites], and strove to peal the knell of the descendants of Israel; till at length what we bush to call Christianity, with the Inquisition in its train, cleared the fair and smiling provinces of Spain of this industrious part of its population, and self-inflicted a curse of barrenness upon the benighted land."


We may remark that the present fratricidal slaughter in Spain is simply a fulfillment of God's words to Abraham and his seed "Him that curseth thee will I curse." In its persecutions both of Jews and of Christians, Spain sowed the wind: it is now reaping the whirlwind!).


Verses 20,21: The only wise attitude for Gentiles, is now prescribed by our apostle - Well, by their unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by thy faith. Be not high-minded, but fear; (Some, who deny the eternal safety of the saints, apply the warning of verses 20,21, as if it were a personal, instead of a generic one, - a warning to individual believers, instead of to Gentiledom as such. But this is not only bad theology, but a missing of Paul's whole point here. It is bad theology, for our Lord says of His sheep, that they "shall never perish" and when Paul warns believers of being "high-minded" (compare 1 Tim. 6:17 with Rom. 11:20) it is not to threaten doom to them, but to counsel them how to walk. Then, it is bad interpretation: for the whole passage in Rom. 11:19-24, deals not with the Church, (where there is no distinction between Jew and Greek!) but with Jew-position and Gentile-position in God's affairs on earth. Israel, unbelieving, was cut off for awhile from his place of Divine favor and blessing. Gentiledom comes into favor instead of Israel, for a while; and "the Church came into the administration of the promises in the character of Gentiles, in contrast with Jews." It is to a characteristic Gentile, that Paul speaks in Rom. 11:19: "Thou wilt say, Branches were boken off, that I might be grafted in." He speaks generically, to this characteristic Gentile, when he warns, in verse 22: "Toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue in His goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be [as was Israel before Gentiledom] cut off." Now we know, from God's prophetic Word, that Gentiledom will, indeed, be cut off, as was Israel, and Israel be restored to his former place, as the sphere and channel of God's blessing to earth.


So that, when Paul says, "I speak to you that are Gentiles," he is talking, not to God's saints as such, much less to the Chruch which is the Body of Christ; but to Gentiledom, which has been given to be, in God's "goodness," the place of His blessing, while Israel is for the time set aside.


Another proof of this is in the very admonition itself: "Be not highminded, but fear." If this (as some claim) is merely a warning to individual saints to avoid pride, why should it be addressed to Gentile saints only? Had Jewish believers no danger of pride?


No; it is not of the Church at all, nor of His real saints, that God speaks here: but of Gentiledom.)


In other words, it was not the Gentiles' importance over that of the Jews, but the Jews' unbelief, that caused some - for the present all but a "remnant" - to be broken off: and the Gentile "stands" by his faith, - not by his superiority to the Jews! "High mindedness" is the contrary of the "fear" here enjoined (the root of which is humility, - consciousness of unworthiness). And why fear? Verse 21 tells plainly: God spared not the natural branches [the Jews], neither will He spare thee [Gentiledom]; if Gentiledom walks in forgetfulness of its sinnerhood, and of God's "goodness," - in self-importance, pride, and high-mindedness."



Heavenly Father,


What does one say to all that?


Your Word is Truth and Truth is light. Open all our spiritual eyes and heart that we might see these things the way You intend.


Bless this day Father, and all that read todays study. They've taken the time to read Your Word here, so bless them with Your fulness, because of their willingness.


Help me Father, to make some progress with things that I need to do today. Some of my family is coming for Easter and it will be the first time in 3 years, that they've even come here. This is important to me, as You well know...You know how much it means to my heart, so help me to get some things done so that I can present this call You placed on my heart to move here, with all the beauty that You intended.


In Jesus Name I pray,




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