Romans 11:15


Hi friends

I came across this verse the other day and wondered why I hadn’t seen it mentioned with the standard universalist texts. Am I…

a) missing something
b) blind
c) unable to successfully search the forums to find previous posts on this
d) the (fifty seven thousandth) discoverer of a wonderful verse for christian universalists?

It seems to me we have a clear case of Paul stating that in context of God’s dealing with Israel, his assumption is that the world will be reconciled to God.

15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

Young’s Literal
15for if the casting away of them [is] a reconciliation of the world, what the reception – if not life out of the dead?

15For if their rejection is the (A)reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but (B)life from the dead?

15For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?


I’ve considered it a universalist text. You’re not missing anything. :sunglasses: I’m not sure why it hasn’t been in the lists you’ve looked at. It amazes me that people can read Romans 11 and not at least come to the conclusion that all of Israel will be saved.

I entertained that as a strong possibility long before I ever considered that God would save all the Gentiles too. The only thing that kept me from being entirely certain on that score was that I couldn’t make it mesh with the idea that it was necessary to make a “personal decision to follow Christ” in this lifetime. I’m not sure why that idea was such an unquestionable presumption.

But I was completely blinded to any suggestion that every person would be saved. And “blinded” is the only was I can explain it, because Paul states it straight out in Romans 11 – several times. :smiley:



I think the ECT response to that would be a long the lines of (as Carson said a couple weeks ago in the Gospel Coalition talk on “universalism”):

“The word for ‘world’ in this passage does not mean ‘all people,’ but the ‘world system.’ That is, all aspects of the cosmos that were tainted by sin will be reconciled to God. So this does not mean that the whole population of the world will be reconciled to God in a saving way, but that everything in the world system which is capable of being redeemed will be reconciled to God.”

Or something like that. Of course, I’m on your side, rline, especially liking vv 25-26: “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26And so all Israel will be saved…” The FULL NUMBER of the Gentiles will come in, then ALL ISRAEL will be saved!



I guess I myself would have agreed with such an interpretation not too long ago. The reason I think it fails is this: In verse 11, Paul says “by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles”, so he’s clearly talking about people there. And clarifies it by saying it was to make Israel jealous. Now surely Israel wouldn’t be jealous of “all aspects capable of redemption” being reconciled. It seems to me that what would make them really jealous would be all the gentiles entering the kingdom before them. Further, Paul, when he says “by their transgression”, is talking about “all Israel”, which is clear from verse 26, when he reveals the mystery that “all Israel” will be saved. And so the natural contrast in all these verses is “all Israel” contrasted with “all the Gentiles”.

Anyway, I know I’m replying to the converted here.


Romans 11 has been mentioned about 302 times on the forum, but not specifically just verse 15. Into Google I typed: "Romans 11" :nerd:

I see it as supporting EU too :sunglasses:


Of the Gentile centaurian, Jesus said this:

*"… Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

But **the children of the kingdom *shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." - Matthew 8:10-12



I’m sure it’s my hazy mind at present, but I’m not seeing why you posted that. Can you possibly expand?


Well, Jesus was comparing the fath of the Gentile Centurian with that of Israel, and found Israel’s faith lacking. He expanding this deficiency by explaining that those Gentiles that come from the west and the east will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the children of the kingdom will be shut out. Romans 11 explains that this is the current state. Israel is in spiritual blindness (outer darkness), since they rejected their Messiah, and provoked to jealousy (weeping and gnashing of teeth), as wild olive branches that are broken off from the root. And they shall remian that way UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles are come in. Meanwhile, Gentiles are enjoying the salvation of the Lord, sitting in the heavenlies with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.


Oh OK. Right. I saw that. I just thought it had something extra to do with the original thought which was about the verse being a universalist verse.

Thanks for expanding.


On the other hand, upon closer inspection of the verse in question, I saw something extraordinary about this verse. Taken step by step, let’s examine this:

“For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world…”

It is because of Israel’s fall that salvation is come to the rest of the world. This part is fairly easy to understand.

"…what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

This receiving process, I’m assuming that it is speaking of being received by God, whereby He accepts Israel back into the fold once the times of the gentiles are come in. But what is peculiar is the phrase “but life from the dead?” Whose life from the dead? Israel’s? Or is this a general statement to include everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike?

If one remembers that Israel is the firstfruits of the Lord,

“Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase…” - Jeremiah 2:3

then also remember what Pauls says about salvation (Romans 1:18), the Jew first, and also to the Greek, then life from the dead comes to the Jews first. That possibly it is the Jews that are resurrected first (Rev 20:4, those in the first resurrection are martyred Jews. c.f. Rev 14:1-4).

Then that phrase “but life from the dead” takes significant meaning as the Jews are resurrected as the firstfruits, then everyone else will follow.

NOTE: One correction in my previous post. I refered to Israel as wild olive branches, which is incorrect. They are the natural branches. Gentiles are the wild olive branches. An important distinction.