" . . . and that it is in this way that all Isra'el will be saved." Romans 11:26

All Israel will be saved

New page - subject to review - please keep reading, there is a twist in this tale.

Romans 11:26 says that ....... all Isra'el will be saved.

What does this mean?

Does it mean we don't have to worry about the salvation of the Jews?

What does "all" mean?

This is a verse that is very dear to Christian Zionists, but are we using the whole verse?

"all Isra'el will be saved." is preceded (in David Stern's translation) by "it is in this way"

The King James Version has "and so" and The Living Bible has " And then."
There is a tendency to translate and understand this salvation of Israel as something that will just happen one day.
But when this is better translated as "in this way" or "thus", it becomes clear that this statement is conditional on something that came before. In this case, what came before was ten chapters of Paul's letter, in which he develops systematically the way in which God brought salvation and justification to Jews and then Gentiles; through trusting, and then to the Jews. (Romans 11:30-31)

What does "all Israel" mean?

Can it really mean every single Jew alive at that time? (or every single Jew, ever)

This can hardly be the case, since Paul earlier spoke of not all Israel being Israel and about God keeping a remnant.

Could it be that, when all these things happen (Messiah coming / returning, tribulation, Armageddon, Rapture etc) God will create a rejuvenated Israel that is entirely saved?
This might sound like a bit of a cop-out: the Jews will all be saved - except those that aren't. But consider the Exodus. When we speak of Israel coming out of Egypt, we mean the Hebrews that marched out at Passover. According to the sages, many more Hebrews were not in that company, and they seem to have just disappeared from history.

When the Gospels speak of all the people coming out from Jerusalem to John the Baptist, we accept that it must mean very many or a significant majority, and not a mathematical 100%.
Consider the spectrum of Jews in Israel (in world Jewry?) at present. There are Messianic Jews, non Messianic Jews, Jews who are passionate about God, Jews who are observant, cultural Jews, Jews who just want to be like everybody else and outright atheists. Where would you draw the line between those likely to suddenly received enlightenment and those who will not?

What will this pivotal event be?

Consider the promise of Zechariah 12:10

"and I will pour out on the house of David and on those living in Yerushalayim a spirit of grace and prayer; and they will look to me, whom they pierced." They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son; they will be in bitterness on his behalf like the bitterness for a firstborn son."

This must represent the end of the condition Paul has been discussing Romans 11:25

"It is that stoniness, to a degree, has come upon Isra'el, until the Gentile world enters in its fullness;"
This condition of the Jews, that Paul explains has been to our (Gentile) advantage, is the one that God will miraculously reverse on that day.

We should also consider this stoniness that has "come upon Israel."
It is to our (Gentile) advantage, in God's plan, but Paul does not say God put this stoniness on them. Looking back at the end of the gospels and the book of Acts, we see how those who did not accept Yeshua as their Messiah (especially the religious leaders) took steps to harden the hearts of the nation against Yeshua and his message.

But consider this, if this stoniness is the condition that God will take away Ezekiel 11:9

" I will remove from their bodies the hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh;"
then their "present condition" (Romans 9:6) is of not being right with God. Therefore Dual Covenant theology cannot be true in holding that Christians are saved through Jesus and Jews through Moses.

In Ezekiel 20:33 we read another prophetic account of the time when God brings Israel to himself,

"As I live,' says the Lord , 'I swear that surely with a mighty hand, with a stretched-out arm and with poured-out fury I myself will be king over you.
I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you were scattered, with a mighty hand, with a stretched-out arm and with poured-out fury; then I will bring you into the desert of the peoples and judge you face to face.
Just as I judged your ancestors in the desert of the land of Egypt, so will I judge you,' says the Lord .
'I will make you pass under the crook and bring you into the obligations of the covenant.
I will rid you of the rebels who are in revolt against me - I will bring them out from the land where they are living, but they will not enter the land of Isra'el; then you will know that I am .'"

Notice that the Jews will be regathered to the Land before God deals with them. This should be a word to the Christians who object to modern Israel - the regathering of the Jews because they are still in unbelief.
Notice also that this process will include judging and excluding the rebels. So "all" clearly does not mean 100% of all the Jews around at that time.

Citizens of Israel

Presumably this text is referring to Jews (in Israel, or including those remaining in the Diaspora ?) and not to Gentiles who are living in Israel.
This prompts a question about the Arab Israelis, (those who are citizens, but are living to see the Jewish state destroyed)? Remember the 1948 war, when so many Arabs left Israel to wait for it to be destroyed, only to be disappointed and become political pawns as perpetual refugees.

There will be a decision that has to be made. Presumably this is why the location of the final confrontation is called the "Valley of Decision!" Joel 4:14 (see Armageddon)
Where will the replacement theology people stand in this valley - consider the Christ at the Checkpoint people.

These facts pose searching questions for us about our attitudes and actions towards the Jews. It is sad that so much of the church appears never to have read Paul's letter to the Romans as far as its pinnacle, where he speaks of when and how the "present condition" of the Jews is rectified.

Romans 11:26

"and that it is in this way that all Isra'el will be saved. As the Tanakh says, "Out of Tziyon will come the Redeemer; he will turn away ungodliness from Ya`akov and this will be my covenant with them, . . . when I take away their sins." With respect to the Good News they are hated for your sake. But with respect to being chosen they are loved for the Patriarchs' sake, for God's free gifts and his calling are irrevocable.
Just as you yourselves were disobedient to God before but have received mercy now because of Isra'el's disobedience; so also Isra'el has been disobedient now, so that by your showing them the same mercy that God has shown you, they too may now receive God's mercy.
For God has shut up all mankind together in disobedience, in order that he might show mercy to all.

So God's plan is that we Gentile Christians show mercy to the Jews like God showed us, and God will be enabled to show the Jews that same mercy.

Here is the twist

It is good to know that one day "all Israel will be saved" but what about those of Israel that will pass into eternity before all this takes place?

This has been an idea that the author has been wrestling with in prayer for a long time. Can one ask God to bring Jews into his kingdom ahead of the plan? But that was the wrong perspective on this verse. (or part of a verse)

We said at the top of this page that this verse should be translated not as "then" but as "in this way" or "thus" all Israel will be saved, so this verse does not mean "when." The argument above has been made from a "when" point of view, but what are the implications of this verse meaning not when these things happen but how?

As David Stern says of this verse, on p418 of the Jewish New Testament Commentary,

"...... the emphasis is on the manner in which all Israel will be saved, not the time when it will happen, for the time is 'now' " (He gives several references) The story is always the same: most of Israel rejects Yeshua, forcing the Gospel to be presented to the more responsive Gentiles. This goes on until their numbers and manifest godliness provokes more and more Jews to jealousy, whereupon the stoniness of their hearts breaks down, Israel receives Yeshua with a new 'heart of flesh' and God fulfils the promise of national salvation."

So, this salvation of Israel is not waiting on God, but on us!

Have the Jews seen this manifold godliness in us, the Gentile Christians?

We have not done very well in showing mercy down through History! Indeed, quite the opposite if we consider anti-Semitism.

Let's stop pointing the finger at the Jews and look to what we should have been doing.

All Israel could / should be being saved NOW!

 

Posted 30/09/17

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