Jack Kelley on “the fullness of the Gentiles”
Jack Kelley posted his comments on the meaning of Paul’s expression “the fullness of the Gentiles” in Romans 11:25 here. The following is a discussion.
The fullness of the Gentiles is from Romans 11:25, part of a passage by Paul about the end times redemption of Israel. It says. “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” It’s only one verse but it contains several important components.
Paul introduced the figure of a good olive tree, in the previous verse, that represents the true Israel, those who are in Christ, and also the figure of a wild olive, to represent Gentiles. He wrote, referring to believers who were Gentiles after the flesh, “For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?” To be “grafted in” meant that those believers were branches cut off from the wild olive, and grafted in to the good olive. So in this figure, all believers, whether Jew or Gentile after the flesh, were part of the same tree, having the same root and trunk, the root representing the promises to Abraham, and all the promises inherited by Christ.
The partial hardening of Israel is also called blindness and refers to a diminished capacity for mental discernment, or a dulled perception. This is the condition Jesus pronounced upon Israel when they failed to recognize Him as their Messiah (Luke 19:41-44).
The verses cited read, “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”
The verses clearly apply to the destruction of the earthly city, that occurred in 70 AD. But Jesus spoke of things pertaining to Jerusalem that were “hid from thine eyes.” Isaiah said that Jerusalem and mount Zion would be established “in the top of the mountains.” [Isa. 2:2] This prophecy came to pass when Jesus ascended to heaven; Jerusalem then became a heavenly city. After that, all the prophecies and promises pertaining to Jerusalem apply to the heavenly city, truth that has been hid from the eyes of dispensationalists.
The phrase full number (or fullness) refers to a specific number of gentiles who will “come in” before the partial hardening of Israel is removed. To “come in” means to arrive at a scheduled destination, as in “what time does your flight come in?”
IMO Jack Kelley obscures the meaning Paul intended, in his comment about Gentiles who “come in.” It is made crystal clear in Isaiah’s prophecy: “The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” [Isa. 2:1-2] This explains the meaning of Gentiles “coming in,” as Paul meant it in Rom. 11:25. Paul was not referring to airplane flight schedules or anything of the kind; that idea is utterly ridiculous.
The removal of this blindness begins when the people in Israel officially renew their Old Testament relationship with God and need a Temple again.
This statement is a “darbyism,” that alludes to one of the false doctrines of John N. Darby and his theory of dispensationalism, that claims ethnic Jews will rebuild a literal temple and reestablish the Levitical system of sacrifices. If they ever attempt such a thing, it would have but little significance from the point of view of prophecy. Paul said the Lord does not dwell in temples made with hands, [Acts 17:24] so it would not be a temple of God. The doctrine claiming such a “temple” is to be build may well have its origin in seducing spirits such as those that Paul refers to in his first epistle to Timothy. He wrote, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” [1 Tim. 4:1-3]
This will mark the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week and according to Paul will happen after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. I think the battle foretold in Ezekiel 38-39 will prompt this. Ezekiel 39:22 tells us, “From that day forward the House of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God.”
John interprets the prophecy of Ezekiel 39-39 as an attack upon the church, the “camp of the saints” and “the beloved city,” by people from all parts of the earth, who are deceived by Satan. [Rev. 20:9] Paul said, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The attacks on the church and on the scriptures and their true meaning are spiritual, not flesh and blood. Those promoting false teachings are no doubt part of the deceived hordes of Gog and Magog.
That tells us the phrase fullness (full number) of the Gentiles doesn’t mean each and every Gentile, but only those who are part of a group that will arrive at its scheduled destination before the blindness is lifted. This is a reference to the rapture of the Church, which will contain a specific number of members.
This seems to be yet another “darbyism;” Jack Kelley is clearly one of Darby’s “sucklings.” The apostle Paul did not teach or endorse Darby’s “rapture” doctrine. Darby and his followers IMO are among those who “give suck,” and embrace false theories and seducing spirits.
When that full number has been reached, we’ll be taken from earth to our place in “my Father’s house” to be with the Lord (John 14:1-3).
The “place prepared by God” for the saints is called a “wilderness” in Rev. 12:6 and Rev. 12:14. The wilderness represents the spiritual status and condition that believers occupy in the present age, being in the world, but not of the world. They are pilgrims and strangers, who seek a “better country.” [Heb. 11:16] This better country represents their spiritual, eternal inheritance. The land of Canaan is a shadow and a type of it. The mount Zion of the better land cannot be touched, as it is spiritual. “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, … But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.” [Heb. 12:18, 22-24]
After the Church is gone, Israel’s spiritual eyes will begin to open, at first only so far as to bring them back into their Old Covenant relationship. That’s why they’ll need a Temple. Then toward the end of Daniel’s 70th Week the Lord will pour out His Spirit of grace and supplication and they’ll finally recognize their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10).
The verse says, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” [Zech. 12:10]
The letter of Zech. 12:10 seems to refer to the individuals who actually put Christ to death. But Isaiah says, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” [Isa. 53:5] Peter, alluding to this verse, wrote of Jesus, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” [1 Pet. 2:24] In the gospel, “they that pierced him” includes every human. It does not mean Jews; it does not mean any person who lived in the first century. The soldiers who drove the nails into his hands and feet were likely Romans, but they are not in view in Zech. 12:10.
Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary says on this verse:
(1.) It is a mourning grounded upon a sight of Christ: They shall look on me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for him. Here, [1.] It is foretold that Christ should be pierced, and this scripture is quoted as that which was fulfilled when Christ’s side was pierced upon the cross; see Jn. 19:37. [2.] He is spoken of as one whom we have pierced; it is spoken primarily of the Jews, who persecuted him to death (and we find that those who pierced him are distinguished from the other kindreds of the earth that shall wail because of him, Rev. 1:7); yet it is true of us all as sinners, we have pierced Christ, inasmuch as our sins were the cause of his death, for he was wounded for our transgressions, and they are the grief of his soul; he is broken with the whorish heart of sinners, who therefore are said to crucify him afresh and put him to open shame. [3.] Those that truly repent of sin look upon Christ as one whom they have pierced, who was pierced for their sins and is pierced by them; and this engages them to look unto him, as those that are deeply concerned for him. [4.] This is the effect of their looking to Christ; it makes them mourn. This was particularly fulfilled in those to whom Peter preached Christ crucified; when they heard it those who had had a hand in piercing him were pricked to the heart, and cried out, What shall we do? It is fulfilled in all those who sorrow for sin after a godly sort; they look to Christ, and mourn for him, not so much for his sufferings as for their own sins that procured them. Note, The genuine sorrows of a penitent soul flow from the believing sight of a pierced Saviour. Looking by faith upon the cross of Christ will set us a mourning for sin after a godly sort.
For Kelley, the flawed doctrines and interpretations of John N. Darby reign supreme, but not the Lord Jesus Christ. No doubt Darby and other dispensationalists appear to him as “angels of light.” But the variety of dispensationalism embraced by Kelley denies Jesus now reigns upon the throne of David.
In Acts 15:13-18 we see the same sequence of events. First the Lord will take (carry away) from the Gentiles a people for Himself (the Church). Then David’s fallen tabernacle (the Temple) will be rebuilt. Then the remnant of men, both Jew and Gentile, will have one last chance to seek Him.
That is not what Acts 15:13-18 says. James refers to the tabernacle of David, which has been broken down, and is to be rebuilt. He identified the house or tabernacle of David with the church, as those who are in Christ are his brethren, and are of the household of God by faith. Thus, in a spiritual sense, those who are in Christ are Jews, as Jesus was Jewish; they have been “made nigh” to the covenants of promise, and the commonwealth of Israel by the blood of Christ. [Eph. 2:12] They are the “children of the promise.” Paul said, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.” [Gal. 4:28]