"Israel, in part, has become calloused until the complement of the nations may be entering." - Rom. 11:25.
While this passage gives no dates, it comes nearer than any other, to telling us the duration of Israel's callousness. It is to last until the complement of the nations has entered. Only a part of Israel was calloused. Paul, himself, was an Israelite, and was not calloused. He was a member of a group known as "a remnant according to the choice of grace," (Rom. 11:5). All except this remnant were calloused, and the callousness will continue unto the complement of the nations enter.
Callousness means more than blindness, the word used by the King James Translators. It means without feeling. This expresses the condition of Israel. Christ may be preached to them, but they do not FEEL the power of the evangel.
The Roman epistle was written to the Saints in Rome, (1:7), and the purpose of Paul's ministry is declared to be for faith obedience among the nations, (1:5). These saints were people of the nations, (gentiles), and the apostle declares that they are God's chosen ones (8:33). So the complement of the nations, in no less degree than the remnant of Israel are according to the choice of grace.
A complement is that which fills, and while this is not fully taught in Romans, we learn in the Ephesian epistle that this complement of the nations is the ecclesia which is the body of Christ, and is the complement which is completing the entire universe, (1:22,23). The last clause does not enter into this discussion. I merely referred to it in order to identify the complement of the nations as being the ecclesia which is the body of Christ.
This ecclesia is composed of the remnant of Israel according the choice of grace, and the complement of the nations. The latter greatly predominate. These two groups lose their distinctiveness by being baptized in one spirit, into one body, (1 Cor. 12:13).
The ecclesia which is His body could not be built until Israel became calloused. It was no accident that they became thus. It was not something unforeseen; nor was it a situation that came about in defiance of God's plan. He foretold this callousness by the prophet of old. In John 12:38-41 we are told why Israel did not believe. "They believed not into Him, that the word of the prophet, Isaiah, may be fulfilled which he said, 'Lord, who believes our tidings? And to whom was the arm of the Lord revealed?' Therefore they could not be believing, seeing that Isaiah said again, 'He has blinded their eyes and calloused their heart, lest they may be perceiving with their eyes, and should be apprehending with their heart, and turn about, and I should be healing them.' These things Isaiah said, seeing that he perceived His glory, and speaks concerning Him." In other words, Israel disbelieves because they cannot do otherwise. The reason why they cannot do otherwise is because God planned and brought about their unbelief.
John said that Isaiah spoke these words as he perceived the glory of God. Men think the callousness of Israel detracts from God's glory. Not so. It provides for His Glory. He had planned the ecclesia which is the body of Christ, and He must bring about the callousness of Israel, in order to carry out this plan. And no other group, this side of the consummation of the eons, shall bring as much glory to God than the ecclesia. We are His poiema - His poem. We are His achievement - His masterpiece. (See Eph. 2:10). While Israel carries on the sovereignty of the earth, we shall administer grace among the celestials. We are saved, not only BY grace, (Rom. 3:24), but also FOR grace, (Eph. 2:8).
The spirit has created a unity. Denominations and "churches" are no part of this unity. They constitute divisions. But they have their uses, chief of which is to provide synagogues which shall become synagogues of Satan after we are taken away from the earth, (Un. 2:9). Many members of Christ's body are in the "churches," and so are many who have no grace. The latter shall be left here when we are snatched away for a meeting in the air. Until then, some members of the body of Christ will continue to be in the "churches," not as an aid to themselves in a spiritual way, (although this is their aim), but to keep the synagogues from becoming synagogues of Satan before God's time.
This unity is seven-fold: One body, one spirit, one expectation, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one Father. There are not two of either of these. Are there two bodies, one of Israel and another of the nations? If so, there must also be two expectations - the saints of the nations expecting to be taken to the celestial realm, and the saints of Israel expecting to be given the earthly kingdom. And if we disregard Paul's words in Eph. 4:4-6, in regard to the one body, we might as well disregard everything he says here, and say we have two spirits, two Lords, two faiths, two baptisms, and two Fathers!
In view of the fact that Paul says in my text that Israel, in part, has become calloused UNTIL THE COMPLEMENT OF THE NATIONS MAY BE ENTERING, what warrant has anyone for saying there are two bodies What proof is there, that God is now calling some Israelites who shall have a home in the earthly kingdom, when Paul plainly tells us that this callousness of Israel will continue until the complement of the nations may be entering? If the language does not mean that God will not begin preparing Israel for the kingdom until He gets through with His present job - calling His elect among the nations, to form the complement - what does it mean?
God will take care of Israel in due time. This is plainly and abundantly told in the very chapter where my text is found. But He is doing something else, now.
We are to be snatched away for a meeting with the Lord in the air before the day of the Lord begins, (1 Thess. 5:1-10), and we do not see any ecclesias of Israel on earth in the future until after the day of the Lord begins, (Un. 1:10,and chapters 2 and 3).
There is only one body now.