Unlimited: The Mystery of Israel
Jun 7, 2023 376
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25).
When Paul refers to something as a mystery, he usually doesn’t mean something that is hidden, but instead, something that has actually been revealed! It is only humanity’s imperfect understanding that makes God’s revelation difficult to understand, and so it is called a “mystery.”
The mystery to which Paul points here is found in the culmination of the next sentence:
…in this way all Israel will be saved (11:26a)
God had a much more profound view of Israel in mind: a spiritual Israel that included both Jews and Gentiles, all saved through faith.
The mystery is precisely the surprising way in which God would fulfil his promise to save all Israel. This was in the context of the fact that Israel had “experienced a hardening,” but it is important to note that this “hardening” was “in part” and not total. Some people from among the Jews would be converted and recognise Jesus as the Messiah.
The way in which the Jewish people in the time of Paul and Jesus believe that Israel would be saved was completely different to how God did it. This was the reason for the mystery, which God had now revealed through Jesus Christ.
They believed in the salvation of literal, national Israel, just as some believers still believe that today. However, God had a much more profound view of Israel in mind: a spiritual Israel that included both Jews and Gentiles, all saved through faith.
Paul refers to the Gospel as a “mystery,” by which he means something conceived in the mind of God and revealed directly by God. While we can understand the “what” we cannot always understand every aspect of the “how.” In what ways do you find the Gospel a “mystery”?