New Defender's Study Bible Notes
11:1 an Israelite. It is interesting that Paul here called himself an Israelite (see also II Corinthians 11:22), an Hebrew (Philippians 3:5), and a Jew (a term derived from Judah), even though he was of the tribe of Benjamin rather than Judah (Acts 21:39; 22:3).
11:2 foreknew. God’s “foreknowledge,” as is evident from His calling of Israel long before Israel was a nation, involves not just pre-knowledge but pre-planning.
11:2 Wot. An archaic word meaning “know.”
11:2 scripture saith. Romans 11:2-4 give Paul’s application of Elijah’s experience (I Kings 19:8-18) to the doctrine of Israel’s remnant of believers during the age of the church. They constitute the true Israel, even while Jewish and Gentile Christians serve together in the church.
11:8 as it is written. This is a rather free translation and paraphrase of Isaiah 29:10,13, and Deuteronomy 29:3-4, noting that Israel as a nation (apart from the elect nation-in-a-nation, the true Israel in this age) has been judicially blinded and deafened as a result of its volitional refusal to see or hear the true revelation and will of God.
11:9 David saith. Quoting from Psalm 69:22, which is a Messianic psalm, the context indicates the implication of the Jews in the sufferings of Christ.
11:12 much more their fulness. The setting aside of Israel while the Gentiles are receiving divine favor is not final, as some theologians allege, but is only for the present age. After “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25), then the “fulness” of restored Israel will be even more rich. Note also Romans 11:15. Only “some of the branches” have been “broken off,” not all of them (Romans 11:17), even in this age.
11:15 life from the dead. The reconciling of Israel back to God is, indeed, associated with the resurrection of Israel as a nation (e.g., Ezekiel 37:11-14), and also with the bodily resurrection of all who have died in faith (Isaiah 26:19; Hosea 6:1-3; Revelation 20:4-6).
11:21 God spared not. Note that God “spared not the angels that sinned” (II Peter 2:4), He “spared not the old world” of the antediluvians (II Peter 2:5), and He “spared not the natural branches” (that is, Israel) when they rejected Him. This verse warns us that He will “also spare not thee” if we do the same. In contrast, however, He “spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all” (Romans 8:32).
11:25 blindness in part. Israel has been judicially blinded (Romans 11:7-8) but only “in part.” Only “some of the branches be broken off” (Romans 11:17). Through every year in this age of the church, there has been “a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5). Many Christian leaders, beginning with the apostles, have been Jews.
11:25 fulness of the Gentiles. God is now “[visiting] the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name” (Acts 15:14). When the full number (known only to God) has been reached, then “the times of the Gentiles” will end (Luke 21:24), and God will begin again to deal with Israel as His elect nation.
11:26 Israel shall be saved. The complete restoration of Israel will climax the purging trials of “the day of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Paul refers here to Isaiah 59:20. This will take place when Christ returns to earth to establish His millennial kingdom centered in Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:8-10; 13:1; 14:9), following the great tribulation period (Matthew 24:29-31). The surviving and resurrected Jews will all acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Savior in that day.
11:33 wisdom and knowledge. All the treasures of both wisdom and knowledge are found in Christ (Colossians 2:3), for He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things (Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:3). In fact, “the fear of the Lord is the [very] beginning” (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10) of both knowledge (awareness and comprehension of facts) and wisdom (correlation and application of facts).
11:33 past finding out. God is not accessible to scientific research. “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” (Job 11:7). The negative answer to this rhetorical question is confirmed by Paul in many references (e.g., I Corinthians 1:21: “the world by wisdom knew not God”).
11:34 who hath known. This phrase is quoted from Isaiah 40:13, which is also quoted in I Corinthians 2:16. Though we cannot know the mind of the Lord by human wisdom, Paul says “we have the mind of Christ.” See also Philippians 2:5.
11:35 recompensed. All of God’s gifts are by grace, not for recompense. He needs nothing from us, but gives us all things in Christ (Romans 8:32).
11:36 all things. Compare Colossians 1:16-20. Christ created all things, sustains all things and reconciles all things. Also note Hebrews 1:2-3. God’s Son “made the worlds” in the past, is “upholding all things by the word of His power” in the present, and will be “heir of all things” in the future. Jesus Christ is “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13), “the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).