The Fullness of the Gentiles– Numeric or Relational A Response to “Israel Only” #6
Now, the IO (Salvation was for Israel Only– no Gentiles; nothing for you and me today) position demands that in Romans 11:25 Paul was concerned with numbers: the full number of Gentiles to ever be saved were saved in AD 70 at Christ’s coming. Without that, they are lost. But, as we have seen that is not supported in any way. For them, the fullness of the Gentiles is the full number all Gentiles who would ever be saved.
What is so amazing– and revealing – is that not one of the leading IO advocates has attempted an exegetical, textual or contextual refutation of my articles. Instead post after post has engaged in sarcasm, expletive laced language, blatant misrepresentations of both scholarship and my own videos, and widely diversionary questions and claims. But, as I have noted before, ridicule is not refutation.
With all of this said, let me summarize what I have presented in this series.
The lexicons do not support “numeric fullness” as in any way an inherent element of pleroma. The word pleroma is the word for the “fullness” of the Gentiles. Likewise, the concept of numbers is not found in the antonym of pleroma, hettema, as we have shown. I have repeatedly challenged IO spokesman to prove that the lexicons support- demand– the numeric meaning, but, they have not even tried.
The translations do not support the numeric application of either hettema or pleroma. While there are a some translations that offer us “number” the majority do not– especially is this true of hettema, where only ONE single translations renders it as diminished number.
(I would observe again that Sam Frost, who abandoned the truth of Covenant Eschatology, often ridicules me for being “selective” in the sources that I cite. Well, in a huge ironic twist, in order to support his futurist and Calvinistic view of the election and in Romans 11, he cited one translation to support his claim on hettema, Romans 11:12. The translation that he cited is THE ONLY TRANSLATION I HAVE FOUND TO SUPPORT THAT RENDERING! Thus, to say that Frost has been “selective” in his citations of the sources, is a huge understatement)!
Paul’s use of pleroma in all other passages where he uses pleroma never indicates a numeric fullness. Instead, when Paul discussed the fullness of the Gentiles in all other occurrences of pleroma, he was invariably concerned with their acceptance, by the Christian Jews, as equal participants of the blessings of the Gospel. He uses pleroma to speak of a status, a standing, not numbers. He is never focused on numbes. Again, I have challenged the IO camp to show where Paul ever uses pleroma of numeric fullness, but not one of them has tried.
The context of Romans 11 deals with the status of the Gentiles being grafted into the “one root” of the Abrahamic promises – along with Israel. Bring grafted in, with Israel, into that one root, implied, very forcefully, that the “fullness” was not numeric, but had to do with Gentile equality with Israel in that one root. No one has touched this.
When Paul discussed the equal reception of the charismatic gifts on the part of Jews and Gentiles alike, he emphatically tells us that the goal of that equal distribution was that “we all,” the entire body, collectively and corporately, might arrive at the One New Man, “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
The evidence then, is fully and powerfully stacked against the IO position that Romans 11 was predicting the final salvation of all Gentiles that would ever be saved. That is an eisegetic, presuppositional, unwarranted claim that is not supported in any way. It is fatally flawed.
Now, the only “escape” from this evidence is for it to be argued that while “numeric fullness” is not, after all, the focus of Romans 11:25, that does not mean that the fullness of the Gentiles did not come to an end in AD 70. But, that is an equally untenable position, for it suggests that at the very time that Jew and Gentile equality was fully manifested, that it came to an end, because God removed the church from the earth. (I will simply say here that there is no such thing as a “rapture” of the church in AD 70. That is a ludicrous claim with no merit).
Paul was clear that it was to be the on-going mission of the church “in the ages to come” for the church – that is the collective body of Jew and Gentile as one body – might manifest the manifold wisdom of God who, he said that God:
raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6-7).
Notice that Paul said that the exaltation into the heavenly spaces of the early saints was so that “in the ages to come,” God’s wisdom and grace, His kindness might be manifested. How is that wisdom, that grace, that kindness to be shown if the church is not among men who can witness that wisdom, grace and kindness? (It should also be carefully noted that Paul was not writing to believers that had been “raptured” off the earth. And yet, he said that they had been raised to sit with Christ in the heavenly places! They were already sitting “with him.” )
When we couple that with Ephesians 3, it becomes even more apparent – to those with open eyes and minds – that the church, where all are considered equal – is to be a shining message to all men of the power of God to break down barriers. Look at what Paul said to the Ephesians:
When you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 3:3-9).
Pay particular attention to the fact that the equality in the church would be to make “all men” (not just those in Christ, but all men to witness that equality) the unsearchable riches of Christ. The “One Church” the “One Body,” reaching the status of the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ would (and should!!) shine forth to all men manifesting the power of God to break down all barriers between men. The church is to boldly show that
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”; “where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor un-circumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”
(Paul’s language of “neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor un-circumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free,” is an extremely powerful expression of the “universality” of the invitation of Christ. All men, all women, all ethnics, all nations, all people are invited into Christ. It does not mean that all accept that invitation, but, it proves that “whosoever will may come”).
This is illustrated beautifully in the book of Revelation.
In Revelation 10:7 we find this:
But in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.
So, the mystery of God would be perfected / finished (from ἐτελέσθη, etelesthē, Strong’s #5055; this word essentially means to reach the goal) under the 7th Trumpet. That demands that unless we have two “mysteries of God foretold by the prophets,” that Revelation 10:7 is referent to the finishing of Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles. (I discuss this extensively in my book, Who Is This Babylon?
We can express this truth in this way:
The mystery of God foretold by the prophets would be completed at the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 10:7).
The mystery of God foretold by the prophets was Jew and Gentile equality in Christ (Romans 16:25-26 / Ephesians 3:3-8).
It was Paul’s personal, distinctive, divinely appointed stewardship to fulfill (pleroma) the mystery of God (Colossians 1:24-27).
Therefore, the sounding of the seventh Trumpet was confined to the finishing of Paul’s personal, distinctive, divinely appointed stewardship.
(Needless to say, this has a profound impact on our understanding of the dating and application of Revelation).
Feeling the force of our arguments, as I have noted, some IO proponents claimed on YouTube and FaceBook that Jews and Gentiles were already equal before Paul wrote Romans 11, and claimed that this totally refutes my argument. The problem is, Revelation 10 refutes them, utterly, totally, irrefutably.
The mystery of God would be fulfilled (etelesthē, ἐτελέσθη, Strong’s #5055) at the sounding of the seventh trumpet. (The Greek word means essentially to reach the desired goal. It does not denote a termination, but a “goal reached.”)
Therefore, the mystery of God foretold by the prophets was Jew / Gentile equality in Christ – Ephesians 3 / Colossians 1:24f).
Therefore, the prophesied equality of Jew / Gentile would be achieved at the sounding of the seventh Trumpet.
Now, since the seventh trumpet would sound at the resurrection and the full establishment of the everlasting (not temporary) kingdom, at the judgment of the city “where the Lord was crucified” it is prima facie false to say, as the IO camp does, that the mystery was completed before the fall of Jerusalem.
Also, as we have proven, Paul’s distinctive mission and ministry falsifies that claim. Note the following:
Paul said it was his personal, distinctive mission to “fulfill the word of God, the mystery.”
The mystery was Jew and Gentile oneness and equality in Christ.
Therefore, since it was Paul’s mission and stewardship to bring that fullness to a reality, it is patently false to say that the fullness existed before the finishing of Paul’s ministry.
But such is the desperation of the IO camp that they are willing to simply deny or distort these truths.
This completion of the mystery of God in Revelation 10 is the time of Ephesians 4, the arrival to the state of, “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. This is the time of the fullness of the Gentiles. That was patently not at some imagined end of time. It was in fact in AD 70, falsifying by the way, Sam Frost’s own desperate attempt to impose numbers into Romans 11. And falsifying the IO position as well. More to come, so stay tuned.