Is Paul referring to particular people when he speaks of elect Jews who are nonetheless enemies of the gospel?

KJV Rom 11:25  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.  Rom 11:26  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:  Rom 11:27  For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.  Rom 11:28  As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.  Rom 11:29  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.  Rom 11:30  For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:  Rom 11:31  Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. Rom 11:32  For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.  Rom 11:33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!  Rom 11:34  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?  Rom 11:35  Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?  Rom 11:36  For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Who are "they"?

Part of the background of this question is the strong messages in the gospels that God does not respect persons:

KJV Mat 3:7  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Mat 3:8  Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:  Mat 3:9  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.  Mat 3:10  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Mat 3:11  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:  Mat 3:12  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Paul seems to suggest that parentage counts while John seems to discount it.


I think simply they are enemies at present (not following Jesus) for your sake (so that the gospel would go to 'you' as a gentile) but they are beloved (chosen before God before the foundation of the world Ephesians 1:3) and will be called back to him (partial hardening upon Israel).

So Jewish non believers who will believe in time.


Instead of breaking the book into divided portions, the letters in Romans were possibly written by Paul to a small community of recently persecuted Jews likely living somewhat in hiding out in the desert or in hiding at least. Also the structure of Hall's conversation towards this Community suggests that they had also heard about the Good News/ Gospel. Therefore, what can be misunderstood as double-talk coming from Paul is instead a more clever literary device or play on words. The Jewish nation is comprised of the people however the individual is a separate entity from the nation. Both are Jew but separate in this case, Following this train of thought, Paul's commentary targets the individuals themselves as well as the entire nation of which each of the individuals are also a part. God continues to use this divine inspiration spoken through Paul to ultimately be a final message to the elect during the time of Sorrows. It is to those Jews who have yet but will ultimately repent and accept Jesus as their lord and savior. The Messiah has already come once, and was rejected, not by all of the Jewish people but by the nation as a whole. So many times throughout the Old Testament God has provided his chosen people to have a nother chance followed by another chance, albeit with long suffering in between. The ultimate point is to drive home to each individual Jew as a person that this time when Jesus the Messiah returns there are no more chances left so individually the each had better get it right this time.

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    1. Please use separate paragraphs for each point of your argument (not just a 'wall of text'.) 2. Please add citations to supportive references, otherwise the whole of your answer is just opinion and not established and substantiated evidence. Welcome to BH. – Nigel J Jun 29 '18 at 13:34

As for Romans 11, the explicitly mentions who 'they' are (v. 25, 30):

... blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in ... For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief.

In Matthew 3 (Cf. Jn 15), John the Baptis is banishing any notion of 'genetic exemption from living righteously' (v. 8-10):

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father ... the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

It's not contradictory because God's love of the children on account of their forefathers is not necessarily salvific. If anything, it make their rejection of the Saviour all the more tragic: "He came unto his own and his own recieved him not" (Jn 1:11).

  • Would you say then that the gifts and calling that are without repentance are for Israel as a whole and not for individuals? – Ruminator Apr 14 '18 at 14:50
  • I think 'in part' refers to the large portion of (physical) Israel who rejected Christ, and obviously not the believing Israel (Rom 11:7). Since Paul teaches that those in Christ, the Seed of Abraham(Gal 3:16), are the Israel of God, not just physical descendants of Abraham (Cf. Rom 9:6-7; 11:17,20-21; Gal 3:29 etc). 'The gifts of God are without repetnance' I think refers to what Paul says before about them being loved for the sake of their forefathers: "for." i.e. the gifts are being given to the true Israel, their true descendants; Jews and Gentiles in Christ. – Sola Gratia Apr 14 '18 at 15:05
  • So by "they" he means "we/us"? I don't at all buy that he has gentiles in mind at all. – Ruminator Apr 14 '18 at 15:12
  • No, he means the portion of physical Israel who rejected the Christ. For obvious reasons, he doesn't include himself among such. – Sola Gratia Apr 14 '18 at 15:14
  • Well I know this is controversial but it seems to me he is distinguishing between the branches that were cut off and will be regrafted from the ones who are elect, not cut off but not partakers of the gospel. IE: faithful Jews. It is easier to understand what I'm saying with a picture. Perhaps I'll draw one. – Ruminator Apr 14 '18 at 15:20

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