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The Fullness of Sin: Part I

Updated: Mar 21

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob, For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins” (Romans 11:25-27).

The ‘coming in’ of the fullness of the Gentiles mentioned in Romans 11:25, should not be confused with the fulfillment of the times of the Gentiles spoken of in Luke 21:24. “They (Israel) will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” The former is in reference to the coming of Jesus in the clouds at the Rapture while the latter refers to the 2nd Coming of Jesus to the earth.

Most of the Jewish people in Jesus’ time, under the guidance of their religious leaders, did not accept Jesus as their Christ. They believed the lies of the religious elites instead of Jesus’ healings and miracles. In other words, they hardened their hearts and became blind to his true identity, their long-awaited Messiah. During Jesus’ trial, Pilate shouted out to the Jewish people, “What will you then that I shall do unto him (Jesus) whom you call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him. Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil has he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him” (Mark 15:12-14). Jesus was then scourged and crucified according to the wishes of the people.

This partial blindness (or hardening of the heart in some translations) of Romans 11:25 continues to this day, as many Jews in Israel and throughout the world have turned away from the gospel of Jesus Christ. This blindness will continue until God’s purpose in His church is fulfilled.

Many Bible scholars believe the ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ mentioned in verse 25 refers to the Rapture. They conclude that when a certain number of believers in Jesus Christ has been reached then the Rapture will occur. Nobody knows what that number is except God.

Here’s how the late Bible teacher Jack Kelley interprets this verse: “The phase 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 it’s scheduled destination before the blindness is lifted. It’s a nautical term meaning when a ship has a full crew, then, and only then, it will set sail. This is a reference to the rapture of the Church, which will contain a specific number of members. 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.” {1}

Likewise, John F. Walvoord, who served as a faculty member, president, and chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary for more than half a century wrote this regarding these verses in Roman: “The outworking of God’s present calling out both Jew and Gentile on an equal basis to form the body of Christ was not anticipated in the Old Testament. Its major features were mysteries, that is, truths that were not revealed in the Old Testament but are revealed in the New Testament.

“The background of this is the New Testament doctrine of the rapture of the church. When the church is taken out of the world in fulfillment of God’s purpose for the church, Israel’s present experience of hardening (blindness) will also be removed and revival will come to Israel. Their early conversion to the gospel will help spread the gospel throughout the world after the rapture of the church as there are Israelites in every major nation who already know the languages and the people. The fulfillment predicted in Romans 25-27 is in keeping with the Abrahamic covenant, which promises that Israel will endure as a nation forever and that the Israelites ultimately will be restored spiritually and to their land politically.” {2}

Regarding ‘all Israel will be saved’ in verse 26, I believe this is not referring to every individual Israelite but to members of all twelve tribes of Israel who come to the saving grace of Jesus Christ before the end of the Great Tribulation; thus all Israel will be represented in the Millennium. Hosea depicted this in the Old Testament. “I will go and return to My place until they acknowledge their offense, and seek My face, in their affliction they will seek me early” (Hosea 5:15).  The Deliverer is Jesus who will come out of Zion (Jerusalem) and He will turn ungodliness from Jacob (Israel) during His Millennium reign. This will be the Lord’s new covenant with the children of Israel.

There is another ‘fullness’, however, that is referred to in both the Old and New Testaments. It is the fullness of sin. It appears that when sin reaches it’s zenith (fullness) in different civilizations, God’s judgment soon follows. Before judgment descends, God will send his word as a warning to the ungodly citizens. This word/warning usually comes in the form of a prophet of God, but sometimes it comes in the way of a rapture (translation) or resurrection. The word rapture comes from the Greek word ‘harpazo’, which means to ‘carry off’, or ‘snatch up quickly’.

There have been many examples of this ‘fullness of sin’ and ensuing judgment in mankind’s history as recorded in the Bible. The Antediluvian people were all descended from one man – Adam. They were neither Jew nor Gentile, as there were no organized nations at this time, only cities and families. The Antediluvians were so sinful and wicked, God had to destroy all but eight people of the earth with a great flood.

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them” (Genesis 6:5-7). God also said the earth was filled with violence and all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God said Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations, and he walked with God.

God had warned the Antediluvians of His upcoming judgment in two ways. The first warning was when Noah’s great grandfather Enoch was raptured 669 years before the flood. Enoch walked with God for three hundred years (Genesis 5:22). “And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). The great flood of Noah’s time started in the year 1656 AM (anno mundi -year after creation). Enoch’s rapture would have occurred in the year 987 AM. {3}

This is what the author of the book of Hebrews has to say about Enoch and his remarkable rapture. “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5).

The second warning God gave the Antediluvians came through Noah himself. God had warned Noah 120 years before the flood began according to Genesis 6:3. It is presumed Noah preached this message of impending judgment to the people as he was building the ark (2 Peter 2:5). The flood destroyed all flesh on the earth except the inhabitants of the ark, thus the fullness of sin of the Antediluvians (neither Jew nor Gentile) was completed.

The next example of the ” fullness of sin” occurred in the time of Abraham and his nephew Lot. Abraham was the original patriarch of the Jewish people. “Abram (Abraham) dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord” (Genesis 13:12-13). The Lord told Abraham that because the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were so great He would destroy the people that resided there (Genesis 18:20-21). “Abraham came near the Lord and said, ‘Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” (Genesis 18:23)

Abraham then proceeded to bargain with the Lord (theophany of Jesus Christ) asking Him if there were fifty righteous people found in the city would He still destroy it, thus killing the righteous with the wicked. The Lord told Abraham He would spare the place for the sake of the righteous living there. Abraham bargained with the Lord several more times until he came to ten righteous people. The Lord responded with the same answer every time. He would not destroy the righteous with the wicked.

Unfortunately, there were not found ten righteous people in these wicked cities. The only one found that was considered righteous was Lot. The Lord sent two angels (in the appearance of men) to Sodom to rescue Lot and his family before the city was totally annihilated. “Then the Lord (pre-incarnate Jesus) rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord (God the Father) out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground” (Genesis 19:24-25). This occurred when Abraham was 99 years old (Genesis 17-21) in the year 2108 AM (year from creation). {4}

Lot was considered righteous before the Lord as he was miraculously rescued from Sodom and Gomorrah’s fate. “God delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)” (2 Peter 2:7-8). This was the first example of the fullness of sin of the Gentiles. God, at this time in history, had divided the peoples of the earth into two distinct groups: Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob (kingdom of Israel), and the rest of the world (Gentile kingdoms).

In part 2 of The Fullness of Sin, we will look at the events surrounding God’s judgment of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, as well as the future time of the Tribulation.

Randy Nettles


{2} Every Prophecy of the Bible by John F. Walvoord – published by David C. Cook pgs. 440-443

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