Let’s read that portion. Romans 11:11-16 says, “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.”

In this letter, Paul is addressing the Roman Christians. He is speaking to them of how the nation of Israel had rejected the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah. It is important to see that although Israel has rejected the Lord, the Lord has not rejected Israel. We read in Romans 11:1, “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid.” Because of their rejection, we read in verse 8, “(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.”

When Christ came into the world, He came to “save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). “His people” was the Jews. While upon the earth, His ministry was mainly to His earthly people. He instructed His disciples in Matthew 10:5-6, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” As much as He loved His people and desired their salvation, we are told in John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Israel, as a nation, rejected Him. Their ultimate rejection was shown in their insistence that He be crucified. Although the Jews hated the Romans and Caesar, their hatred for Christ was so strong that they shouted out, “Crucify him, crucify him.” (John 19:6) They even preferred Caesar over Christ. They further cried out in John 19:15, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.”

Even after Christ’s crucifixion, the Lord still appealed to Israel to repent and receive Him as their Messiah. The Apostle Peter encouraged the Jewish crowd on the day of Pentecost, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38). Yet, they still rejected the Lord, so the Gospel went out to the Gentiles. After preaching the Gospel to a group of Jewish people (and being rejected), we read in Acts 13:46-47, “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, WE TURN TO THE GENTILES. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” Because the Jews rejected the salvation that comes through faith in Christ, the Gospel went out to the Gentiles. As we read in Romans 11:11, “through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles.”

This is the good that has come from the Jews rejecting the Lord. They were ‘set aside’ as a nation, and the Gospel went out to the world. This certainly was no surprise to the Lord. We read the words of the Lord Jesus in John 10:15-16, “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And OTHER SHEEP (Gentiles) I HAVE, which are not of this fold (Jews): them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” We also have many references in the Old Testament of the Lord bringing in the Gentiles.

Speaking generally to the Gentiles, we read in Romans 11:20-21, “Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.” This has nothing to do with individual salvation, but with the Lord speaking to the Gentiles as a whole. In a future day, the ‘times of the Gentiles’ will be over and the Lord will once again deal with Israel as His people. Luke 21:24 says, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” So much more could be said about this, but I trust this has been enough to show how the Gentiles benefitted from Israel’s rejection of the Lord. (305.4)