Has God Cast Away His People?

Has God Cast Away His People?

Has God Cast Away His People? 

God Forbid!

Pr Edi Giudetti


Well, it’s one of the biggest questions in theology, Has God cast away his people Israel? It’s not questioned because there is any lack of clarity on the answer, the answer is presented with ALL clarity even in the very next two words in the text, “God forbid…”.  It is a big question because the preference of many church denominations is that Israel had been done away with and the blessings conferred upon them by God in the Old Testament should now pass onto the Church, but this is not the biblical case.  Satan, and all others who HATE Gods people Israel, desire them done away with, they hate whom God loves and have denied the very plain statement that “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” (Rom 11:2).

Israel is a thorn in the side of all nations, “a cup of trembling unto all the people” says the scriptures (Zech 12:2). But hating who God loves will have a cost! 

This is the last chapter that deals specifically with the nation of Israel and their respective Salvation. Chapter 9 began the topic with Paul having a great burden and sorrow for his brethren, his kinsmen according to the flesh. 

Chapter 10 began with his petition to the Lord that they might be saved, remembering that they had a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. Chapter 11 now begins with the summarising question together with its answer.

As with both chapters 9 and 10, though each chapter is dealing with the nation of Israel, we recall that Paul is writing this to the gentile Romans, and naturally, there has been much that we, as gentiles, have been able to glean so far from it. This chapter will be no different.

Romans 11:1-5

Evidence God Cannot Cast Away His People

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 

It may be considered acceptable to think that God had cast away his people, particularly for their rejection of their messiah;

 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (Jn 1:11)

It may be considered a thought-provoking argument and perhaps well grounded. 

It may be considered as deserving and well earned, indeed even wages against them who have cast off their own Saviour. 

They had lied to one another concerning him, false witnesses were prepared to witness against him;

It might be considered just to cast them off when they were even willing to delude their own selves concerning him;

Do not the scriptures say “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy”? (Jonah 2:8)

In crucifying Christ, Israel indeed forsook their own mercy, so too do ALL PEOPLE that observe lying vanities! They have certainly not all obeyed the Gospel

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? It would seem that today is not the first time the question has been asked. Today is not the first time the question itself would be seen as reasonable to ask. It’s an incredibly important question to ask because the question itself does not ONLY related to ‘his people’ Israel.

What are you saying Pastor, clearly the question relates to Israel, the text does specifically say “hath God cast away his people” and it refers to Israel in the passage”…

Well done, I am glad you picked that up, it is evident that you are learning to keep things in their immediate context. But there is something else that is needful to know: The Bible is like the most tightly woven tapestry in the world, a single thread undone will pull the entire Bible apart. 

If God had promised to preserve his people and had now cast them off for their iniquity, where do his promise to preserve you and I stand? What confidence would you have never to be cast off for your own iniquity? I speak to those of you that are saved, this does not apply to those lost in sin, they stand condemned by the Law are yet to repent and turn to Christ.

Beloved the question regarding Israel being cast off after all that is promised them, becomes naturally a question for us also. 

I say then, Hath God cast away his people?

We have seen all that the nation had done against the Lord. From the beginning, even Moses said to the people;

“Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you” (Deut 9:24)

And every time we read in the scriptures, account after account of their rebellion against the Lord and ask ourselves, “HOW IS IT THAT HE BEARS WITH THEM?” And we also ask ourselves “How is it he bears with me….?”

I see me in the Old Testament beloved.

I see me unfaithfully denying the Lord with my actions as he tabernacled with me in the wilderness wanderings.

I see me when I rebelled against him

I see me when I did that which was right in my own eyes

I see me taking again and again of the accursed thing

Beloved, when I see Israel, I see me!

I am no different from them. If God forsakes them for their sin and rebellion, what about me? It is here that the NET of context needs to be cast much wider because the implication cannot be escaped. If God had promised to preserve his people, and now had forsaken them then, what is the guarantee he would not forsake me for all I have done?

Turn to 

1 Sam 12:20

And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; 21 And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. 22 For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.

But what if they sin and forsake his Law and break his statutes will he not then cast away his people?

Ps 89:30-37

30 If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; 31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; 32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. 33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. 34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. 35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. 36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. 37 It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.

Why will he not cast them away?

  • for his great name’s sake1 Sam 12:22
  • he will not suffer my faithfulness to fail. Ps 89
  • My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. 35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David Ps 89

But shouldn’t the Lord cast off the seed of Israel for ALL THAT THEY HAVE DONE?

Turn to Jeremiah 31:35

35 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: 36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. 37 Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.

Would God be justified to cast his people off for all they have done?

Not you nor I would blame him. Would God be justified to cast me off for all I have done even though Christ died for me. Not you nor I would blame him.

Psalm 94:14 says “For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.”

That Israel DESERVE TO BE CAST AWAY, is not what is in question. UNDOUBTEDLY, not only Israel but also you and I for all that we have done.

Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

It is evident that Paul being of the very seed of Abraham and of the tribe of Benjamin, that God cannot cast away his people; for after making promise after promise to preserve them, in casting away his people he also casts away his own righteousness.


Evidence God Has Not Cast Away His People

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, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 

Such a blessing it would be to Israel if Romans 11 would just be taken simply respecting the nation of Israel. It is the simple rejection of what is plainly taught in the Bible that has foolish men, who lead large bodies of biblically illiterate people, to claim that God has cast away his people;

God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.

God CANNOT Cast away his people, and God HAS NOT cast away his people.

Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 

Paul here gives the evidence to support what it is that he is answering. He refers back to an astounding passage in the Bible where Elijah makes intercession to God AGAINST ISRAEL. Beloved we have seen time and again Godly men interceding on behalf of Israel for their sin against the Lord. 

Moses himself coming before the Lord even after he received of God the ten commandments, went down from the mount and the people could not even keep themselves pure for a mere 40 days. No doubt bringing truth to the cliché that “if the Cats away the mice will play!”

But he returns to the Lord willing even to have himself cut off from God for the sake of Israel, “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. 32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written” (Exo 32:31-32)

Time and again have the prophets and even kings pleaded and interceded for Israel that the Lord would forgive their sin….BUT NOT ELIJAH!

Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 

Israel had so forsaken the Lord that there was one prophet left able to deal with the nation and show them their sin. Turn first to 1 Kings 18:17-24

We won’t read the entire account but you will get the point in this passage;

17 And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? 18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. 19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table. 20 So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. 

21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. 22 Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23 Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: 24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

Well we know the rest of the account given; the prophets of Baal did all they could to entice their god who is not a god at all, and to no avail. 

Elijah was pleased to give himself a handicap to ensure the people knew for certain that the Lord was God. He doused the offering with water, not once, not twice but three times, until the water filled the trench the wood was sitting in and spilt over. 

He called on the Lord who consumed the offering with fire and licked up all the water with the flame.

The people then acknowledging that The LORD is the God, Elijah commanded that all the prophets that led the people astray, be slain. (It should be a warning to all the false prophets that abound today. But there is no fear of God before their eyes. ) One of the greatest successes in the Bible of a single Prophet of the Lord against so many false prophets.

But then the threat of Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab, came upon him and he fled to a Cave in Horeb, the mount of God and this is where Paul lifts the passage that he uses to defend the truth that God hath not cast away his people

1 Kings 19 and we take our text up again midway through verse 13 with the Lords question “What doest thou here, Elijah? 14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

This is the state of the nation, this is how Elijah feels and intercedes AGAINST his nation, testifying to the Lord their sin and their forsaking of the Lord. He believes there are no true people of God left, and those that might be left desire to take his life. There are plenty of other sermons that can be preached from this passage alone. Suffice to say this;

Even with all the evident forsaking of the Nation of Israel, from the King to the lowest of the people, God hath not cast away his people. Why he tolerates it? We are told only that it is for HIS NAMES SAKE and for HIS OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS. We cant justify Israel, we cant even justify ourselves; BUT His Glory he will not give to another, and he will fulfill his promises to his people and to you and I.

Christ dies for our sins, we have believed it by faith, and the scriptures plainly say “thou shalt be saved”. It is not up to us to keep it, it is up to the Lord. Paul writes to Timothy for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2 Tim 1:12)

Evidence God Will Not Cast Away His People

But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 

I love that word “Reserved” in the passage; I have reserved to myself seven thousand men

The immediate impression you get is that God had not suffered all his people to turn away. 

What we have here is an understanding that the lord simply let all the others go the way they had desired to go. He “gave them over” to their own sin, he permitted them to go the way their lusts desired.

What we have is a picture of God simply lifting any restraints and letting them go.

Turn to Romans 1:21

See if you can see evidence of God giving people over, or letting them go to fulfil their own desires in these verses;

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Could you see it?

When my children were little they loved going on slides, the fastest of the slides were the steel ones. 

But when they were really little, under two years of age, I knew that if they went down without anything restricting their fall, their end might not be good. 

Interesting, it would be their own weight that would work against them, their own weight would help to hasten their fall down the slide. 

So, my job was to restrict them. Now, if my child decides to bite my hand and not want any of my help, I might just let them go.

Our passage in Romans 1 demonstrates God allowing the natural weight of sinful man to take its natural course. The passage in Romans 11 sees a restriction upon some.

I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 

The will of God is NOT to cast away his people.

Beloved this is a trifecta of truth presented in this short passage in Romans 11 that is so clear we could only wonder how it is that so many within the Christian community have come to the conclusion that God has cast away his people.

  1. God CANNOT Cast way his people as it would deny his own promises of preservation of them. Casting them away would contradict his very Character.
  2. God HAS NOT cast away his people as is evidenced by both Paul’s existence as a Christian, but also Gods refusal of Elijah’s own intercession against them.
  3. God WILL NOT cast away his people as is witnessed by his reservation of them to himself.

None of this means that all the people of the nation of Israel is preserved and reserved, for not all Israel is of Israel (Rom 9). The wicked are yet cast away, there are many scriptures that speak to the wicked and their judgment, even some in the wilderness wanderings who went down quick into the pit (Num 16:30), and quick into hell (Ps 55:15). 

But God will not suffer the entire nation to fall. 

I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 

We can certainly draw parallels with Israel and the Church, but those parallels have their limitations. God has a distinct plan for Israel, and it differs from that of the Church. There was never a transition between one and the other, there is a different plan.  YET, if Gods promise of preservation for his people could EVER be broken, the church could then NEVER rely on God’s preservation of them!

His People Are Preserved By Choice

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

at this present that is, at the very time Paul was writing to the Roman Church and addressed a primary question of the Gentiles, “has God cast away his people”? It is a question obvious to Paul and answered by him from the ninth chapter to, and including, this eleventh Chapter.

The answer simply is NO! God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew

Now stating the Choice God had sovereignly made respecting them;

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

We will go a little further into the doctrine of Election next time, and you are free to read ahead. Verse seven specifically touches it and gives the contrast saying;

“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded”

Does God make a choice respecting Israel? The answer simply is YES! The doctrine of the sovereign election of God is unapologetic in the Bible. God does choose, he elects and it is referred to in our passage as ‘the election of grace’.

The doctrine of election might likely either leave you with some very serious questions OR make you feel quite a bit uncomfortable,  If that is the case, rejoice, it means your mind is working and so is your heart. Your questions will relate to everything that Gods election affects. Things related to personal choice and free will. You recognise that because your mind is working!

The reason it makes you also uncomfortable relates also to personal choice and freewill, but mostly related to the lost and blinded. Verse seven stated that the rest were blinded and that is disconcerting, and it is if the Bible left it here. 

I have dealt already with the Doctrine of the Sovereignty of God in chapter nine, and I will be pleased to deal with it again from a different angle here in chapter 11 and will do so next week.

I will show you that the Bible certainly teaches that God is perfectly sovereign, but I will also show you, even in our passage, that man is perfectly accountable and has a free will. Both are presented as true in the Bible and it is inescapable.

I say this now because I do not want you to think I will skip this vitally important truth as we consider first the answer to this incredibly important question related to Israel.

Consider again the entire portion of our text from verse 1

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 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, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

From verse 1 to verse 5 demonstrates to us the IMPOSSIBILITY that God has cast away his people.

  • The first show he CANNOT cast them away for the promises he had made to them.
  • The second shows that he HAS not cast them away for the very present salvation of even Paul
  • The third shows that he WILL not cast them away because he has determined to RESERVE them for himself

And this LAST point shows with clarity that it is not due to their faithfulness in the works of the law or the keeping of his commandments, but simply due to the election of grace.

Why is that important to you and I?

The context is Israel, yet you are I are involved in this same doctrine both by implication and SPECIFICALLY.

Turn to Ephesians 1:3-14

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

In those twelve verses, there are no less than thirteen phrases that speak so clearly of the sovereignty of God in Choosing, predesignating, adopting and electing you and I to obtain an inheritance as the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Why is it so important to know that God has not cast away his people?

Because if all the promises, power and sovereign choice of God that applies to BOTH Israel and OURSELVES can be so easily thrown away, you and I could have no confidence heaven will be our home.

Now, there are some challenging passages ahead of us that we will deal with when the time comes, but we will find our trust in God to stand sure because HE IS FAITHFUL that promised.

The Lord is true to his word, he is faithful, just, and glorious. 

The Lord Jesus is our wonderful redeemer, 

he is the one who calls and saves ALL who CALL UPON HIS NAME, have you done so?

I can’t trust myself to keep a promise, but I do trust God keeps his. 

He promises “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom 10:13)

Has God Cast Away His People? God Forbid!


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