Him and through Him and for Him is all", Romans 11:36.
All scripture passages should be considered in the light of their
contexts, otherwise we may go far astray in our interpretation of them.
The one quoted here is no exception, Let us consider Romans 11---the
God does not thrust away His people whom He foreknew. Israel is under
consideration. That God did thrust away the nation of Israel is evident.
They are His national people. But among them are a people whom He
foreknew. These He does not thrust away.
It is in chapter 8 that Paul speaks of this foreknowledge. Those whom He
foreknew as believers are to be a company of brethren among whom Christ
is Firstborn. This is the church which Paul calls "the church which is
His body". Paul was an Israelite of Abraham's seed. He was not thrust
In the days of Elijah, when the prophet thought himself the only one who
had not been discarded, God assured him that there were seven thousand
who were in the same class. So, in Paul's day there was a remnant
according tot he choice of grace. It must be very displeasing to God, to
so interpret the text that we think that God does bad things to those of
His own choice. Those who were thrust away did not belong to the class
that Paul says are according to the choice of grace.
What Israel as a nation sought, she did not encounter. The nation was
seeking salvation by works. The chosen ones encountered it --- the
others did not. They were calloused. Notice that none of the believers
were calloused, for God does not do bad things to believers. God had put
the unbelieving part of the nation into a state of stupor, according to
the words of David. "Let their table become a trap and a mesh, and a
snare and a repayment to them; darkened by their eyes, not to be
observing, and their backs bow together always". Is it not evident that
the unpleasant things that were to happen, were to happen to
unbelievers? Yet I have observed that in many cases when one says, "All
is of God", he thinks immediately of some unpleasant thing that God will
bring on believers.
It is the nation of Israel that has tripped. But even the nation has not
fallen. Her offense results in the enriching of other nations called
Gentiles. But the nation of Israel is to be recovered, and yet be a
greater blessing to the nations. Think not that this applies to those
individuals who were blinded in Paul's day. It refers to the
nation---Israel shall yet be a praise to God and her faithfulness shall
be so grand that it will be as if the nation had risen from the dead.
The tripping of the nation is a repayment David says so. It is not
arbitrary act on the part of God. Usually when we say that all is of God
it is thought by some that God sets cruelly without regard to the acts
of people. Their tripping was of God, but it was not without a cause on
the part of Israel. Their recovery will not be without a cause, either,
as we shall see later.
Paul was the apostle---not merely to the church, but --- to the nations.
When this words, "nations," is used, it refers to non-Israelites. We
call them Gentiles.
Israel is the olive tree. Part of Israel was broken out, because of
unbelief. The nations are a wild olive tree. They were grafted into the
root, which was Israel. Olive oil was for lighting. The nations became
the light bearers, and are so yet. It is among the nations that
evangelism is carried on, while Israel is in a state of stupor. It is
not true that merely the church among the nation is grafted into the
root of the olive tree. The nations as such are grafted in. This is not
without a cause. There is a national faith which Israel has lost, and
the nations have acquired. The grafting in of the nation is of God, and
yet it is based on national faith. There is a threat that if the nations
do not remain in this faith, they will be taken out. We have seen this
occur in some instances. There are nations today that bear no light for
God and Christ. If all the nations are ever out of the olive tree, it
will not be an arbitrary act on the part of God, yet the cutting out is
of God. The phrase, "All is of God", does not mean that He acts without
regard to human behavior.
Israel will not be grafted back into the olive tree without respect to
their attitude. Notice this statement: "And they, also, if they should
not be persisting is unbelief, shall be grafted in", verse 23. When
Israel is grafted in again, it will be of God, yet it will be based on
the fact that Israel turned again to the faith.
Callousness, in part, on the part of Israel, has come, until the
complement of the nations may be entering. "And in this matter all
Israel shall be saved, according as it was written. "The Rescuer shall
be arriving out of Zion. He will be turning irreverence away from Jacob,
and this is my covenant with them whenever I should be eliminating their
sins", verse 26, 27. The Rescuer, Christ shall come to Israel after he
has been seated in Zion in Jerusalem, and it is then that He shall
"convert" the nation. This conversion shall be of God. If the nations
are cut out of the olive tree, not a single believer among them shall be
cut off. Try to get rid of the idea that, in carrying out His schedule,
God must set unkindly, and without regard to what people think and do.
"All is of God". What all? The things mentioned in the context. We have
not found that in any of it, God is doing something bad to His believing
There is another passage in which we are told that all is of God, and
yet not a thing is said except of those who are in the new creation: "If
anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; the primitive passed by.
Lo! it has become new"; yet all is of God, Who conciliates us to Himself
through Christ," II Cor. 5:17, 18.
Is there any mention of suffering and afflictions and privations for
those who are in the new creation? No; there is mention of the glorious
things that God does for us. All is of God. What all? making us a new
creation, and conciliating us to God.
When the context shows that God is talking about absolutely all, we have
the right to interpret it so. In Colossians 1, Paul says that in the
heavens and that all on the earth is created in, through, and for
Christ, and that all in the heavens and on earth are reconciled to God
through the blood of the cross. We are justified in saying that
reconciliation is universal. But the word, "all", is not universal where
the context does not justify us in saying it is.
The attitude of God toward His children is shown by the fact that, to
them. He is not merely God, but their Father. He does not arbitrarily
lead them into wrong doing, nor does He do other things to them, that
are not becoming to a father to do. The "all" things that He does as
mentioned in Romans 11, are not done as Father. They are done as God ---
But in I John 2:16, we have a picture of Him as Father. Let us see how
He treats His children; "For everything that is in the world, the desire
of the flesh, and the desire of the eyes, and the ostentation of living.
IS NOT OF THE FATHER, but of the world". Ostentation is "pretentious
parade, display dictated by vanity". Let us suppose that a believer has
a desire for fleshly things, and is influence and guided by the desire
of the eyes, and is making a pretentious display and parade of his
living, dictated by vanity. Shall we say that this is of the Father?
Does God lead His children so? Is He the One Who dictates to them this
course? It is NOT He Who does this. These things are of the world. The
things mentioned include all sinfulness. Is God the "Cause" of sin in
the acts and attitude of His children? John says that He certainly is
not. He is the Father of His children, and no Father would so treat His
We often accuse God of inconsistencies when we read "To whom He will He
is merciful, yet Whom He will He is hardening", and try to interpret it.
But let us consider that He hardens Pharaoh, the unbeliever --- not
Moses, the believer. No child of God is hard hearted because God has
made Him so. As John says, it is of the world.
Suppose one of His children is bound by some disease, so that he or she
is not free to go and serve God, and be useful and happy and at ease.
Are we to conclude that the expression, "Of Him and through Him and for
Him in all" means that God has bound him or her, and rendered the
sufferer unable to serve Him? Christ met such a case, and HE said that
adversary had bound the patient, Luke 13:16. He did not accuse God of