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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
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"Did God Reject His People?" -- Romans 11:1-15

The Twenty-Eighth in Series of Sermons on Paul's Epistle to the Romans

When the apostle Paul stated in Romans 10:1 that it was his heart’s desire and prayer to God for his fellow citizens of Israel to be saved, the question of Israel’s place in the future course of redemptive history was clearly on his mind.  Paul’s poignant question which opens Romans 11, “did God reject his people?” clearly indicates the apostle’s anguish regarding the future of his people, the Jews.  Recall that Paul is answering a series of questions raised by the fact that the gospel went first to the Jew and then the Gentile.  Since Israel rejected the gospel, Paul must answer the question as to whether or not God rejected his people.  Why has Israel come under God’s curse?  Will there be a distinct role for national Israel in the future?  And if so, what is the nature of that role?  Does a future role for ethic Israel mean that there will be a future earthly millennial age upon the earth in which will Israel figure prominently?

We now begin a what amounts to a two-part sermon as we work our way through Romans 11.  As I mentioned last time, the difficultly in preaching through Romans 9-11 is that these three chapters are one extended argument.  To preach on it in small segments as we must do because of time constraints makes it difficult to see the big picture Paul is setting forth.  In this sermon we will tackle the first 15 verses of Romans 11, and Lord willing, we will pick up where we left off in the next sermon and complete our survey of this very interesting section of Romans.

The question of Israel’s role in the present age (the messianic age) also raises the question about the possibility of a future millennial age.  The vast majority of premillennarians and postmillennarians contend that in this passage Paul teaches that not only is there a role for national Israel in God’s future redemptive purposes, but that this role for Israel entails a future earthly millennium.  According to amillennarians, however, Paul does not specifically address the subject of a millennium in Romans 11.  But Paul does speak directly to the subject of the future role of Israel in God’s redemptive purposes, the only place in Scripture where he explicitly does so.  Although Paul does not tell us when the things mentioned in this passage will come to pass, he clearly links them to Israel’s eschatological fullness and to the end of the age.  Although amillennarians disagree among themselves about whether or not Israel does have a future place in redemptive history–some say Israel does have a role (Geerhardus Vos, David Holwerda and Cornelis Venema), while some say there is no distinctive future role for ethnic Israel (Calvin, William Hendricksen, Anthony Hoekema and Bob Strimple)–neither camp sees this issue as determinative of one’s millennial view.  While some post-holocaust Jewish writers, as well as certain evangelicals, have argued that denying a place for a distinct future for ethnic Israel and equating the church with Israel is at the root of contemporary anti-Semitism, it must be pointed out that even those Reformed amillennarians who do not see a distinct future for ethnic Israel, have held out the likelihood of the conversion of large numbers of ethnic Jews to Christianity before the return of Christ.

To read the rest of this sermon, click here

Reader Comments (6)

Do you think Zecharaiah 12:10-14 supports the interpretation of a near end time large conversion?
October 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterreg
That has been fullfilled:

Joh 19:36-38 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken." (37) And again another Scripture says, "They will look on him whom they have pierced." (38) After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body.
October 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIsaac
While the verses you cite show a past fullfillment, the text points to an end time fullfillment as well. I always read this passage as a mass turning to Jesus of ethnic Israel around the time of his second coming when they realize that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and that they had not recognized him.

10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13 the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14 and all the rest of the clans and their wives.
October 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterreg
So, what you are saying is that the main "sign" of Christ's second coming is the vast amounts of conversions of ethnic Jews? That seems like a pretty obvious hint to me. Amillenialists will then have their radars out on how many ethnic Jews are getting converted each year. This is really no different than watching current events in light of biblical prophecies is it? I have never deeply indulged in the second coming issue or taken a close look at the millennium question but almost feel compelled to do so now. I have always avoided it because it never seemed like the reformers put much stock or time in the issue.
October 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Yeazel
Even though it seems like a big hint it is no bigger than the hint of what the Messiah was going to be like in the Old Testament prophecies and many of the Jews completely missed it. He who has ears to hear let him hear- only by the grace of God.
October 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Yeazel
Given that there are now more than 300 congregations of Jewish believers in Jesus IN ISRAEL, I'd say there is most definately a turning taking place and you may want to adjust your eschatology. :)

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTony W

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