Art Toombs Ministries

Online Bible Commentary

This Mystery
Romans 11:25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins." 28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?" 35 "Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?" 36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (NKJV)






The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Rome during a three month visit to the church in Corinth, Greece in late 56 and early 57 A.D. The letter is heavy with Christian Doctrine, Christian teaching.

Chapter 9 marked the beginning of a new topic from the Apostle Paul. He launched into the problem of Israel’s unbelief. Chapters 9-11 discuss this topic.

In the preceding passage Paul wrote that Israel’s future has not yet been decided. So far, most have fallen and rejected Jesus. But the story is not finished. There is still time for the nation of Israel to acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Messiah.

We all like a good mystery. Paul tells of a mystery in this passage.

Paul writes of how the fallen Israel will come back from their fall and acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah. He refers to it as “this mystery” of which Christians should not “be ignorant”. He wants this so that Christians will be “wise” of this knowledge. (v. 25a).

In the previous passage, Paul wrote of how the continual rejection of Christ by Israel has caused them to be hardened, blinded by God, until a certain time in history. That time will be “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (v. 25b).

The term “the fullness of Gentiles” is a reference to the time in history that the Gentiles (non-Jews) are the majority of those who are becoming Christians. This period in history will end with the Rapture.

At the Rapture, all living Christians, will be taken, in an instant, a blink of an eye, from this world to join Jesus. Until that day, Gentiles will be the ones, for the most part, who become Christians.

The Rapture will open the eyes of the Jews, the scales will be lifted off their eyes by God. They will truly realize what they have missed. They have missed their long-awaited Messiah, who came in the person of Jesus Christ.

Many, but not all, Jews will become Christians after the Rapture. They will become Christians during the seven year Tribulation period followed by the thousand year Millenium period.

Thus the period of Israel’s unbelief will come to an end. Their fallen state was not permanent. God’s promise, His covenant, to Abraham will be fulfilled.

Paul writes “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins." (vv. 26-27).

The term “all Israel” means all who follow the righteousness of Israel, the prophet who had previously been known as Jacob. Israel, like his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac, possessed the righteousness of God through his faith in the God of the Bible.

The “Deliverer” is Jesus Christ. He takes away the sin of all who believe in him.

The sins of Christians are forgiven and forgotten by God. In this way, unholy people can enter a holy place, Heaven.

Paul writes “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake” (v. 28a). The Israelites had been enemies of the Gospel, unbelievers.

Unbelievers, because of their unbelief, make themselves enemies of God. It is no wonder that they have a hard life.

In this case, the unbelief of the Israelites gave them a hard life that will continue until the Rapture. But the unbelief of the Israelites benefitted the Gentiles. The Israelites’ rejection allowed the Gospel to be taken to the Gentiles.

Paul continues as he writes “but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.” (v. 28b). Because of their “fathers” (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) the Israelites who believed as their “fathers” became part of the elect, those called by God, Christians.

“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (v. 29). God made a promise to Abraham that He would make a great nation of him, and God’s “gifts” and “calling” are irrevocable. God’s gift and calling of salvation is irrevocable. Once saved, always saved.

Next, Paul turns to the Gentile Christians reading this letter. He writes “For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.” (vv. 30-31). Just as the previously unbelieving Gentiles received God’s mercy, so shall the previously unbelieving Jews.

“For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.” (v. 32). All unbelievers, both Jews and Gentiles, were spiritually blinded by God so that He may now show His mercy upon them all.

God displays His mercy upon the unbelieving by lifting the scales off their eyes. They are able to believe again, if they so choose. God never gives up on us.

Paul concludes this chapter, and his teaching concerning Israel’s unbelief, with a prayer. “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (vv. 33-36).

Paul praises God for who He is. He is all knowing. It is impossible for mortal man to possess the knowledge of God. None can understand the mind of God. None can give counsel to God for God is the Great Counselor. None can make a debtor of God because God owns everything. For all the Glory is God’s, forever.