Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. But if it is by grace, it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. What then? that which Israel seeketh for, that he obtained not; but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened: according as it is written, God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this very day.
Okay, let's look at something in the Greek grammar first:
The passage says that, at this present time, there is a remnant according to God's election. Paul goes on in verse 7 to say that the rest were hardened. The Greek tense for "were hardened" points to an action that occurred in the past, not still going on. Thus, in verse 8, what "God gave them...unto this very day" refers to what He did with them in that past time when they were hardened. In other words, Paul says that a remnant exists at this present time; He is not saying that the rest are being hardened at this present time. If you try and make "unto this very day" refer to the time of Paul's writing, then it will defeat the grammar regarding their hardening in past time.
Romans 11:5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant
according to the election of grace.
Romans 11:8 Just as it is written:
“God has given them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes that they should not see
And ears that they should not hear,To this very day
The mere fact that Paul said "at this present time there is a remnant
" strongly indicates the present situation, at least at that time. A remnant speaks well of a few chosen remaining from among the rest of a whole. And with Paul speaking of such a remnant of Israel at that present time, tells us, in relation to the context, that the rest remains in the hardened state. That is, while that scriptures, which Paul quoted from the Old testament scriptures, may have begun some time, many years, from the past, Paul intimates here that the rest of Israel then alive at the present time, still is in such a condition ~ Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear. The proof of that was very much obvious (even after Christ was crucified), since Paul so tells us his great desire of wanting for them to accept Jesus Christ and be saved. We can see how Paul expressed his great sorrow and unceasing anguish in his heart, wishing even that he were cursed and cut off from Christ for their sake, in Rom. 9.
However, if you find no credibility or convincing with the grammar, then let me appeal to what is being said in the context in English:
The purpose of the hardening was to bring the Gentiles to salvation (Romans 11:11-12). They came to salvation through first century gospel preaching by the apostles. Why should the hardening go beyond that if it's purpose was accomplished? Along that same line, the salvation of the Gentile was to spur the Jew with jealousy unto his salvation (11:11-15). Well, the Gentile has been enjoying God's grace and mercy for the last two thousand plus years. Wouldn't the purpose of their salvation, with regard to the Jew, have been accomplished already...a very long time ago? If the Jew is still being hardened, then that would be saying that two thousand years of Gentile salvation has failed to serve its purpose in this regard.
45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it
, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles
. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us:
‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”
48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed
to eternal life believed.
This passage tells us that it was at this time that Paul had pronounced basically Israel's rejection of Jesus Christ, and that salvation has come to the Gentiles, as a result. This could be said as the purpose of Israel's hardening. But this could not be said as the whole purpose. The equally significant other purpose of the hardening was to provoke them to jealousy ~ the end of which is their salvation. Paul intimated this in v. 14, and I quote "if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them". So while it can be said that the purpose of bringing salvation to the Gentiles had, at the time in Acts 13 had been accomplished, the other purpose of bringing the Israelites to jealousy unto their salvation apparently had not yet taken place. For until to this day even, Israel, taken as a whole, continue in the rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
Also, if the hardening ends with "all Israel shall be saved" (11:26), and if that phrase means their being saved at the end of history upon the return of Christ, then you have two problems. First, right after Paul speaks of this salvation being offered/given to Israel, he goes on and writes "There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer; He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: And this is my covenant unto them, When I shall take away their sins." This seems to me to be how God is going to fulfill His promise to save Israel.
Therefore, that promise of a Deliverer who will turn away ungodliness from Jacob and take away their sin is to take place after the hardening is over. Well, who is that Deliverer and how does He turn away ungodliness from anybody and how does He take away anybody's sins? More importantly, when do those things take place, or when did they begin?
I have to submit that Jesus is that Deliverer and His work of turning people away from ungodliness and taking away their sins began on the cross and continues on afterward. It is all during this time that God is reaching out to all, including the Jew, with His grace unto the salvation of any and all who believe.
The second problem you should have, if this hardening is supposed to still be going on and the saving of Israel is supposed to take place in the end, is this: what of all those who were hardened by God between the first century and now who were apparently kept from believing? Were they never subjects of God's promise to save Israel? Did God make that promise only to the last generation of Jews and the rest were delegated to automatic condemnation? Do the words of 11:26-27 not apply to any of the Jews but for those at the end?
Regarding what you say is the first problem:
You said "It is all during this time that God is reaching out to all, including the Jew, with His grace unto the salvation of any and all who believe." See my post above regarding Acts 13:45-47. There, Paul speak of the necessity that the word of God should be spoken to Israel first. Why is that? For obvious reason. Their (Israel as a whole) rejection of Jesus Christ was a necessary sign, even, a necessary event, that Paul, then turns to the Gentiles, bringing the salvation of God to them.
Regarding the second problem:
You asked "what of all those who were hardened by God between the first century and now who were apparently kept from believing?" Perhaps, you might also want to include also those who were hardened by God between the time of Moses and Jesus, since God had begun such hardening perhaps even at that time. You see, as I have pointed out about those who were hardened in one of my post in the other thread, that their having been hardened, not that they were not blind or hard as they were. But that, God had bound them in the sin that they have chosen for themselves. So, it is wrong to say that they were kept from believing because they were hardened. No sir. They were hard as they were and so will not believe. This renders your other questions as also addressed by that. God said this situation of Israel will come to an end. Paul says concerning this "until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in". Paul said, "in this way all Israel will be saved". "All Israel" means Israel as a whole, in contrast to the relatively small believing remnant of Jews. The context makes this clear.