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Paul believed that his vision proved that Jesus lived in heaven, that Jesus was the Messiah and God’s Son, and that he would soon return. Moreover, Paul thought that the purpose of this revelation was his own appointment to preach among the Gentiles (Galatians 1:16). By the time of his last extant letter, Romans, he could clearly describe his own place in God’s plan. The Hebrew prophets, he wrote, had predicted that in “days to come” God would restore the tribes of Israel and that the Gentiles would then turn to worship the one true God. Paul maintained that his place in this scheme was to win the Gentiles, both Greeks and “barbarians”—the common term for non-Greeks at the time (Romans 1:14). “Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry in order to make my own people jealous, and thus save some of them” (Romans 11:13–14). In two other places in Romans 11—verses 25–26 (“the full number of the Gentiles [will] come in” and thus “all Israel will be saved”) and 30–31 (“by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy”)—Paul asserts that he would save some of Israel indirectly, through jealousy, and that Jews would be brought to Christ because of the successful Gentile mission. Thus, Paul’s view reversed the traditional understanding of God’s plan, according to which Israel would be restored before the Gentiles were converted. Whereas PeterJames, and John, the chief apostles to the circumcised (Galatians 2:6–10), had been relatively unsuccessful, God had led Paul through Asia Minor and Greece “in triumph” and had used him to spread “the fragrance that comes from knowing him [God]” (2 Corinthians 2:14). Since in Paul’s view God’s plan could not be frustrated, he concluded that it would work in reverse sequence—first the Gentiles, then the Jews.