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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 15

Verse 15. For if the casting away of them. If their rejection as the peculiar people of God—their exclusion from their national privileges, on account of their unbelief. It is the same as "the fall of them," Ro 11:12.

Be the reconciling of the world. The word reconciliation (katallagh) denotes, commonly, a pacification of contending parties; a removing the occasion of difference, so as again to be united. 1 Co 7:11, "Let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband." It is commonly applied to the reconciliation, or pacification, produced between man and God by the gospel. They are brought to union, to friendship, to peace, by the intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ, Ro 5:10; 2 Co 5:18,19, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself." Hence the ministry is called the "ministry of reconciliation," 2 Co 5:18. And hence this word is used to express the atonement. Ro 5:11, "By whom we have now received the atonement," (the reconciliation.) In this place it means, that many of the Gentiles—the world —had become reconciled to God as the result of the casting off of the Jews. By their unbelief, the way had been opened to preach the gospel to the Gentiles; it was the occasion by which God sent it to the nations of the earth. Comp. Ac 13:46.

The receiving of them. The same as was denoted (Ro 11:12) by their fulness. If the casting them off—an event so little likely, apparently, to produce any good effect—was nevertheless overruled so as to produce important benefits in the spread of the gospel, how much more may we expect will be accomplished by their conversion and return—an event fitted in itself to produce an important influence on mankind. One would have supposed that their rejection of the Messiah would have been an important obstacle in the way of the gospel. It was overruled, however, to promote its increase. Their return will have a direct tendency to spread it. How much more, therefore, may we expect to be accomplished by that?

But life from the dead. This is an instance of the peculiar, glowing, and vigorous manner of the apostle Paul. His mind catches at the thought of what may be produced by the recovery of the Jews, and no ordinary language would convey his idea. He had already exhausted the usual forms of speech by saying that even their rejection had reconciled the world, and that it was the riches of the Gentiles. To say that their recovery—a striking and momentous event; an event so much better fitted to produce important results —would be attended by the conversion of the world, would be insipid and tame. He uses, therefore, a most bold and striking figure. The resurrection of the dead was an image of the most vast and wonderful event that could take place. This image, therefore, in the apostle's mind, was a striking illustration of the great change and reformation which should take place when the Jews should be restored, and the effect should be felt in the conversion also of the Gentile world. Some have supposed that the apostle here refers to a literal resurrection of the dead, as the conversion of the Jews. But there is not the slightest evidence of this. He refers to the recovery of the nations from the death of sin, which shall take place when the Jews shah be converted to the Christian faith. The prophet Ezekiel (Eze 37:1-14) has also used the same image of the resurrection of the dead to denote a great moral change among a people. It is clear here, that the apostle fixed his eye on a future conversion of the Yews to the gospel, and expected that their conversion would precede the universal conversion of the Gentiles to the Christian faith. There could be no event that would make so immediate and decided an impression on the pagan world as the conversion of the Jews. They are scattered everywhere; they have access to all people; they understand all languages; and their conversion would be like kindling up thousands of lights at once in the darkness of the pagan world.

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