For I would not, brothers, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits…
I. TO WHAT MYSTERY DOES THE APOSTLE REFER?
1. "That blindness has happened to Israel" This "blindness" —
(1) Is national blindness (1 Corinthians 3:14).
(2) Is in no wise a contradiction to God s dealings — for God foresaw it, and predicted it (Isaiah 29:10-14; cf. Romans 11:7-10).
(3) Is but partial (ver. 5).
2. This blindness is temporary.
(1) What led to it (see ver. 20; cf. Deuteronomy 28:15, 29; John 8:24).
(2) What followed (ver. 11, 15)? Blessings came from the fall of the Jew, but still greater blessings would come from his restoration.
(3) Now we readily gather from this, that God is not unfaithful (ver. 29).
(4) But furthermore. This blindness is only until the "fulness of the Gentile shall come in."In Luke 21:24. the same truth is laid down. Now to see exactly what this "time" is, refer to Acts 15:13, etc. The Lord is acting with the whole Gentile world in this manner: sending His gospel for a witness. Then men come out of the world and are a people elect — the true Church. And when this work shall have been accomplished, then the Lord will restore Israel. Therefore, from comparing these Scriptures together, we may draw this conclusion, that the time will come when the Jews shall be restored (vers. 11, 23; Jeremiah 32:37, etc.). Nor is there anything improbable in this. At the present moment there are materials which have only to be put together to form cites which will hold ten, or twenty, or thirty thousand inhabitants. And moreover, the thorns and briars as protecting them from decay and injury.
II. WHAT IS SAID OF "THIS MYSTERY." The day is gone by when it was considered absurd to speak of these things; but still there are numbers who think that this is an unnecessary or unimportant study. But the apostle, writing to the Gentiles, says, "I would not that ye should be ignorant of it." Why?
1. Because he "would not, that you should be ignorant" of the Bible; for many passages of Scripture convey no idea whatever till we understand that Jerusalem means Jerusalem, and Israel Israel.
2. But independently of this. If God has mercy in store for these people, may not we also look forward to God's mercy, backsliders and sinners as some of us are? And where do we find this warranted but in God's own Word.
III. THE GROUND OF HIS ANXIETY. "Lest ye should be wise in your own conceits." This Epistle was addressed to the Church of Rome? Now, note one or two of the leading features of this Church.
1. They keep the Scriptures back from the people. And what is the consequence of that? Many of them remain in perfect blindness as regards the truth. They keep the traditions of men, and therefore believe what is told them of Rome's power, and of no one but those connected with Rome being safe for heaven; whereas, if they had only the Scriptures before them, they would see what a place Rome will hold in the last great day.
2. Rome upholds a formal religion. How many externals had the Jew! and what did the externals profit him?
3. Rome is completely eaten up, as it were, with its own conceit (Revelation 18:7). And therefore the apostle says, "'I would not... lest ye should be wise in your own conceits'; for you may indeed speak of your greatness, but you shall fall, while Jerusalem shall stand in that day." Conclusion:
1. Beware —
(1) Of trusting to external privileges.
(2) Of giving countenance to any unbelief whatever. It was unbelief which led to the fall of Israel.
2. Encourage yourselves with the remembrance that the time is very short for your sojourning in this world.
3. Help forward this blessed work.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: For I don't desire you to be ignorant, brothers, of this mystery, so that you won't be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in,