2:16wrath has come upon them at last. See text note. These last two words may also be translated “the end” (Matt. 10:22; 1 Cor. 1:8; 15:24). This may be a prophecy of the catastrophe which overtook Jerusalem in a.d. 70, within twenty years of Paul’s writing, or it may refer to the sequence of calamities that had already begun and were to reach their culmination in that momentous disaster. Or it may refer to the punitive hardening of a large segment of Israel in their culpable rejection of Christ, a hardening that Jesus saw as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s dire prophecy (Is. 6:9, 10; Matt. 13:14, 15). Compare a similar outworking of God’s wrath upon Gentiles outlined in Rom. 1:18–32. As Paul would later write (Rom. 11:25), a “partial hardening” has befallen Israel and will remain until the full number of Gentiles are brought in (i.e., until the end). The part of Israel not subject to hardening is the remnant (Is. 6:13) that in the gospel era continues as the object of God’s mercy, finding salvation in Jesus the Messiah.
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