Paul having shown, in the end of the foregoing chapter, that the Jews would be rejected, and the Gentiles called, begins this chapter by answering a great and popular objection. Some gainsayer might be ready to say, “If this be so, then God has cast away His covenant people, violated His covenant promise, forgot the seed of Abraham His friend.” Paul answers by his accustomed form of denial,  “God forbid”: and then proceeds to show that the rejection of the Jews was not total: God did not reject them all, only the unbelieving part of them. And this he proves by producing himself as an instance in the case; for he says,  “I myself am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” 
         As if he had said, “I am myself a Jew by nature and nation; not a proselyte converted to the Jewish faith, but a Jew by lineal descent, of the seed of Abraham, according to the flesh; yet am not I cast off by God; therefore I am proof God has not cast away all His people.”
         We see that God does have a future purpose with Israel.  In Chapter 9 we saw God’s Past Dealings with Israel.  In Chapter 10, we saw God’s Present Dealings with Israel. Two questions naturally arise:  (1) Has God permanently rejected Israel?  (2) Are all the promises of the O.T. nullified by the rejection of Israel?  The answer to both questions is a resounding NO!  All the promises of the O.T. will have a literal fulfillment.  Paul will make that clear!

VERSES 1-6:  Remnant of Israel Finding Salvation
This chapter is quite prophetic.  It was by the Spirit of Prophecy that Paul foresaw the rejection of the Jews, of which he referred in the two preceding chapters.   When Paul wrote this epistle the Jews were not totally rejected, seeing their polity and nation were then standing.  But in about ten or eleven years, after the writing of this letter, the temple was destroyed, the Jewish nation was overthrown, and the Jews expelled out of the Promised Land, which they have never wholly been able to recover to this present day.

“I say then, ‘Did God cast away His people?’  God forbid!  For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.”

         “I say then”–The word, “then” introduces the fact that this is an inference from the discussion of the previous verses.

         “hath God cast away His people”
         Literally: “Did not God thrust away His people?”A negative answer is required—“Surely God hast not, has He?”

         This expression is to be regarded as conveying the sense of an objection. Paul, in the previous chapters, had declared the doctrine that all the Jews were to be rejected. To this a Jew might naturally reply,” Is it to be believed, that God would cast off his people whom He had once chosen; to whom pertained the adoption, and the promises, and the covenant, and the numerous blessings conferred on a favorite people?”  It was natural for a Jew to make such objections. And it was important for Paul to show that his doctrine was consistent with all the promises which God had made to His people. The objection, as will be seen by the answer which Paul makes, is formed on the supposition that God had rejected all His people, or cast them off entirely.

            CAST AWAY(Grk.–apōsato)–The verb means literally, “to trust,” or “to shove.”  Has God utterly and finally rejected them?  Has He thrust them off, and driven them eternally from Him?

Has God really cast off Israel as a people, so as to break His covenant with them?  The answer is a resounding NO!  He has cast off the unbelieving part of them, and saved the believing remnant.  Paul now proceeds to show, by quotations from the Jews own Scriptures, that God has always worked this way.

 “God forbid”
Literally:  “Let this not be.”  Here is that expression, “May it not be so,” used again by Paul.

          GOD FORBID: (Grk.–mē genoito)–“By no means;” or, “May it not be so,”  a common phrase used by Paul.  We have run into this same expression several times in this epistle.  Paul refers to the promise in the O.T. made three times: I Samuel 12:22; Psa. 94:4, 4. This   rejection is neither universal nor final.

         As in former times of great declension, God had reserved a remnant. Paul now proceeds to show that the rejection of the Jews was not a total rejection.  God did not reject them all, just the unbelieving part of them only. And this Paul proves by producing himself as an instance in the case.
         Jesus said that “the kingdom of God should be taken from Israel” (Matt. 21:41); and when asked by the Eleven, after His resurrection, if He would at that time “restore the kingdom to Israel.” Paul’s reply is an admission that Israel was in some sense already out of covenant (Acts 1:9). Yet here Paul teaches that, in two respects, Israel was not “cast away;” at least not totally; not finally. Israel is not wholly cast away. 

         “for I also am an Israelite”And as such, an example of the "remnant according to the election of grace," (v.:5).

This objection Paul answers by showing that God had saved him, a Jew, and therefore that he could not mean that God had east off all Jews.  As if he had said, “I am myself a Jew by nature and nation; not a proselyte converted to the Jewish faith, but a Jew by lineal descent.” (see Phil. 3:5).

“of the seed of Abraham,”
Literally:  “Out of Abraham’s seed.”–Of the lineage of Abraham, according to the flesh (of pure descent from the father of the faithful), yet am not I cast off by God; therefore, God has not cast away all His people.  

Descended from Abraham. Paul mentions this to show that he himself was a Jew in every respect; that he had a title to all the privileges of a Jew, and must be exposed to all their liabilities and dangers. If the seed of Abraham must of necessity be cut off, he must be himself rejected. The Jews valued themselves much on having been descended from so illustrious an ancestor as Abraham, (Matthew 3:9) and Paul shows them that he was entitled to all the privileges of such a descent. (Comp. Philippians 3:4-5).

“of the tribe of Benjamin”
Literally:  “of {the} tribe of Benjamin.”–I myself am proof; an Israelite; not a proselyte either, but of the seed of Abraham, and a Benjamite—not one of the ten tribes which separated from Judah.

         Of that tribe which, on the revolt of the ten tribes, stayed with Judah, the one faithful kingdom of God (I Kings 12:21), and after the captivity was, along with Judah, the kernel of the Jewish nation (Ezra 4:1; 10:9).  Moses even referred to Benjamin as, “the beloved of the LORD” (Deut. 3:12). In fact, Benjamin was the only son of Jacob’s that had actually been born in the Promised Land; that is, in the land of Israel.
          This tribe was one that was originally located near Jerusalem. The temple was built on the line that divided the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. It is not improbable that it was regarded as a peculiar honor to have belonged to one of those tribes. Paul mentions it here in accordance with their custom; for they regarded it as of great importance to preserve their genealogy, and to be able to state not only that they were Jews, but to designate the tribe and family to which they belonged.

“God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,”

         “God hath not cast away His people”
         Literally:  “God did not thrust away His people.”  That is, not wholly cast them away. This is an explicit denial of the objection.

This Chapter 11 of Romans should once and forever turn us away from the presumptuous assertions of those who teach that God is through with national Israel.  Lt every Christian reject this idea with horror.

“which He foreknew”
Literally:  “whom He foreknew”– The word foreknew is not merely expressive of foreseeing a thing, but it also implies in this place a previous purpose or plan. God is not changeable–“For I am the LORD I change not…(Malachi 3:6); and He would not reject those whom He had purposed should be His people. When God chose the descendants of Abraham as His peculiar people, He knew what would be  their fortunes—how they would sin; how they would suffer; how few of them at times would prove true to their calling.

            FOREKNEW (Grk.-proegnō)-This Greek word is used 5 times in the N.T. (here; 8:29; Acts 26:5; I Peter 1:20; II Peter 3:17))

         To foreknow is an act of foreknowledge, or knowing something before it occurs.  It is not the same as predestinate, which means, “to decree something beforehand.  We only know of the past, but God foresees the future even as He also sees the past. The word foreknew is not merely expressive of foreseeing a thing, but implies in this place a previous purpose or plan.
         The meaning of the passage is simply that God has not cast off those whom He had before purposed or designed to be His people. Though the mass of the nation, therefore, should be cast off, yet it would not follow that God had violated any promise or compact; or that He had rejected any whom He had foreknown as His true people. God has not finally and irrecoverably rejected a people whom He has loved (or approved) so long,
         This two verses together, destroy that current heresy of so-called “Replacement Theology. ” This heresy is teaching that God is completely through with Israel and so then the promises given to Israel have all been taken over by the Church, if only in some spiritual way. The nation of Israel was God's chosen people and so all the individuals in it could not be cast off

“wot ye not”
Literally: “Do you not know?”–Or as we might say in our vernacular: “Don’t you know?” or, “Don’t you understand?”  So why keep the old English "wot"?

“what the Scripture saith of Elias”
Literally: “What the Scripture said in Elijah?”–Don’t you know what the Scripture has to say?  The reference is to 1 Kings 19:10, 14.

Paul’s answer to the objecting Jew is to the following effect: God has not universally thrust away His people, for whom in the promise to Abraham He intended, and to whom decreed to grant His special favor and blessing; but the case is now much as it was in the days of Elijah: that prophet, in his addresses to God, made his complaint against Israel.

“he maketh intercession to God against Israel”
Literally: “How he pleaded with God against Israel.”  It implies one whose business it is to manage the state against a criminal.  Here it means that Elijah accuses, or arraigns, Israel before God.

“Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thy altars; I am left alone, and they seek my life.”

         “Lord, they have killed Thy prophets”
         Literally: “Lord, they killed Your prophets.”   This is taken from I Kings 19:10. The quotation is not literally made, but the sense is preserved.

         This was a charge which Elijah brought against the whole nation; and the act of killing the prophets he regarded as expressive of the character of the people, or that they were universally given to wickedness. The fact was true that they had killed the prophets, etc., (I Kings 18:4, 13) but the inference which Elijah seems to have drawn from it is that there were no faithful men in the nation, was not well founded.
         They will not permit any person to speak unto them in Your Name; and they murder those who are faithful to the commission which they have received from You.  It is significant that Paul gives these first two clauses (“killed Thy prophets” and “digged down Thy altars”) in reverse order from the way they are written in both the LXX and Hebrew texts.

“and digged down Thy altars”
Literally:  “And they dug down Your altars.”–Altars, according to the Law of Moses, were required to be made of earth or unhewn stones, (Ex. 20:24-25). Hence the expression, “to dig them down,” means completely to demolish or destroy them.

There was one great altar in the front of the tabernacle and the temple, on which the daily sacrifices of the Jews were to be made. But they were not forbidden to make altars also elsewhere, (Ex. 20:25).  And hence they are mentioned as existing in other places, (I Sam. 7:17; 16:2,3; I Kings 18:30, 32). These were the altars of which Elijah complained as having been thrown down by the Jews; an act which was regarded as expressive of signal impiety. They are dissolute and profane beyond example, and do not retain the slightest form of religion.

         “I am left alone”
         Literally: “I only am left.”–I am the only prophet left alive.

We are told that when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, Obadiah took a hundred of them and hid them in a cave (I Kings 18:4). But it is not improbable that they had been discovered and put to death by Ahab. The account which Obadiah gave Elijah when he met him, (I Kings 18:13) seems to favor such a supposition. There is no prophet besides myself left.

         “they seek my life.”–-They seek to kill me.  That is, Ahab and Jezebel seek to    kill me.

         This they did because he had overcome and slain the prophets of Baal, (I Kings 19:1-2). There could scarcely be conceived a time of greater distress and declension in religion than this. The prophets of God were slain; but one lonely man appeared to have zeal for true religion.  The nation was running to idolatry; the civil rulers were criminally wicked, and were the leaders in the universal apostasy; and all the influences of wealth and power were setting in against the true religion to destroy it. It was natural that the solitary man of God should feel disheartened and lonely in this universal guilt; and should realize that he had no power to resist this tide of crime and calamities. Elijah's mood was that of utter dejection in his flight from Jezebel

“And what saith the answer of God unto Him?  ‘I have reserved unto Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.’”

         “And what saith the answer of God”
        Literally: “But what does the Divine answer say to him?”

            ANSWER:  (Grk.–chrematismos)—The Greek word for “answer” is used nowhere else in the N.T.  It means, an oracle, a divine response; an authoritative answer from God.  It does not indicate the manner in which it was done, but implies only that it was an oracle, or answer made to his complaint by God.

Such an answer, at such a time, would be full of comfort, and silence every murmur. The way in which this answer was in fact given, was not in a storm, or an earth- quake, but in a still, small voice, (I Kings 19:11,12).

         “I have reserved to Myself”
         Literally: “I reserved to Myself.”  The Hebrew is, “I have caused to remain,” or to be reserved. 

This shows that it was of God that this was done. Amidst the general corruption and idolatry He had restrained a part, though it was a remnant. The honor of having done it He claims for Himself, and does not trace it to any goodness or virtue in them. So in the case of all those who are saved from sin and pain, the honor belongs to God, not to man.

“seven thousand men”–Seven is often used in the Scriptures to denote an indefinite or round number. Perhaps it may be so used here, to intimate that there was a considerable number remaining.

         This should lead us to hope that, even in the darkest times in the church, there may be many more friends of God than we suppose. Elijah supposed he was alone; and yet at that moment there were thousands who were the true friends of God: a small number, indeed, compared with the multitude of idolaters; but large when compared with what was supposed to be remaining by the dejected and disheartened prophet.
         These had continued faithful to
God; but, because of Jezebel's persecution, they were obliged to conceal their attachment to the true religion; and God, in His providence, preserved them from her sanguinary rage.

“who have not bowed the knee to the image of  Baal”
Literally: “Who did not bow a knee to Baal.”–To bow or bend the knee is an expression denoting worship (Phil. 2:10; Eph. 3:14; Isa. 45:23).  The phrase, “to the image of” is not  in the original Greek text.  Notice that in the KJV these words are in italics; this means that   they were added by the English translators.

          In Hebrew the word Baal means lord, or master. This was the name of an idol of the Phoenicians and Canaanites, and was worshipped also by the Assyrians and Babylonians under the name of Bel.   This god was represented under the image of a bull, or a calf; the one denoting the sun, the other the moon. The prevalent worship in the time of Elijah was that of this idol.
         Baal was the principal deity of the Phoenicians, and Jezebel, the queen of Ahab, was a Phoenician, and she sought to supplant the worship of Jehovah with the worship of Baal. Though it seemed as though she had succeeded, there were several thousands of faithful Israelites who had not acknowledged this idol, and did not partake in the idolatrous worship (I Kings 19:18).
        This brings us to a pet grievance of mine.  What has these 7000 been doing all this time that
God’s man was standing alone against the false prophets of BaalWhen Elijah withstood the hundreds of prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, where were these 7000? If even one of these 7000 had just walked by and perhaps even just whispered to him, “Elijah, I’m praying for you,” I’m sure it would have gone a long way in “bucking up” God’s prophet.

         Far too many times a man of God has been broken and defeated because God’s people in the pews did not speak up and encourage him.  I know, for I have been there myself.  I resigned a pastorate in total defeat because I was standing alone. I was shunned by everyone, even other pastor “friends” of mine.  Just a  postcard would have gone a long way, or a hand on the shoulder, or a phone call; but I have yet to hear from these “friends.”        

         In the Regular Baptist Press's Sunday School paper, several years past, there appeared an article by Ethel H. McCauly that was entitled, “Where Were You?”  I believe that this article well goes along with what I have been trying to say.



        Where were you when I needed you so much?  I thought you were my dear friend.  I thought you loved me.

        You knew.  I was careful to send word to you.  I thought you want to be told.  I thought, like the Samaritan of old, you would bind up my wounds.  It would have taken little effort on your part.  You need not have sent flowers to prove your love.  If telephone calls were too costly, you could have mailed a letter.  If you did not know what to say, just two words, “I Care”, would have sufficed.

        Perhaps you said a few words, but I am sure you did not really pray for me.  Had you prayed, I know God would have led you to reach out to me in some apparent way.

        You were busy, I know.  You were going to church.  You were teaching Sunday School classes.  You were in the choir.  You were sending money to missionaries.  You were very busy.   When my world suddenly crumbled about me like a castle in the sand, how could you sense I needed you?  Surely you did not realize how hurt and shocked and confused I was.

        You did not feel the throbbing pain in my head.  You comprehended nothing of the heaviness I carried in my breast for days.  You were not aware that there were times I feared my Heavenly Father had forsaken me.  It was difficult to pray because I thought, in my confusion, that God must be punishing me for something.

       You did not understand how terribly dark it was, especially in the night when I could not sleep.

     You were not conscious of the countless times I went to my mailbox looking for word from you only to find it empty.

        Perhaps I have been guilt and careless in the past.  I never will be again.  I know what it is to cry out for help and receive only muffled black silence in return.

     I'm better now.  I can lift my head again.  The secret tears do not fall as often.  I go about my daily tasks as usual.  There are scars in my heart, but the world does not see them.

        If I met you today, I would shake your hand, I would even smile.  But, down deep, I no longer consider you my close friend.

        When I needed you most, you were not there.

         Oh, how much truth is contained in this article!  This old sinful world is surely no friend to the child of God.  If we do not help and encourage each other, then who will?  Will the unsaved crowd that hates our Lord (and therefore hates us), encourage us in our working for Him OF COURSE THEY WON'T!   We must help our own and encourage each other!  If any of these 7000 had given any encouragement at all to him, Elijah would not have said, as he did in v. 2, “I am left alone.”
         I once heard someone say that if we were truly the “Mighty Army of God,” then we are an army that shoots its wounded.  Sad words, but an even sadder fact.  Unfortunately, they are so true.  Remember the words of the David in Psalm 142:4—“I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.”   The more I study this passage, the more I come to realize just how David and Elijah must have felt.