And So All Israel Shall Be Saved

Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur

Image via Wikipedia

For some reason over the past couple years, people have found it incumbent upon them to ask what my views were on Israel. Yeah, right, as if you really wanted to know. * shakes head *

But evidently, they do. And they aren’t talking about my fascinating views on biblical government and Old Testament Israel (though there are a few nice people who listen to me ramble on about that), they want to know about what my views are on Israel as a nation in the current day scheme of things and in the future. * sigh *

This is one of the topics that I honestly avoid, actually, mainly because I haven’t found hardly anyone who agrees with me. πŸ˜› But then, if I don’t talk about it… how do I know? Right.

So here I am, prodded at last into posting my views on this gnarly subject.

Before I launch in, though, I would like to establish a bit of common ground…

We all believe that anyone can be saved, right? That to do so, we call on the name of God? (You know what I mean by that.) Whether or not you are Calvinist, you should be able to agree with that on some level, since the Bible says so.

So we would all agree that no one will be saved merely because they have a specific ancestry, right?

Good. πŸ™‚

(If you don’t, you probably won’t get much out of this article, but you can send me an email explaining why you think that if you want, though I might not answer with anything more than an β€œinteresting,” haha.)

There are tons of places in the Bible that deal with this issue, and I can’t go through them all. Far from it. I won’t even be able to scrutinize the ones I do bring up in any great depth. Simply too much there, and too little time.

I would like to start off by quoting three passages that have a common phrase:

Acts 15:8-9 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

Romans 3:22-24 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Romans 10:11-13 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

These are only representative samples of a crucial theme throughout the Bible, because this is the heart of what the New Testament is. The New Testament’s glory is in its all embracing invitation: God’s kingdom is no longer a nation on earth – it now transcends national borders and lineages.

But what is Israel right now?

Matthew 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

It isn’t necessarily that nation over in Palestine or even descendants of Abraham… at least not fleshly.

Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Now, there are two passages that are key to this subject, and they must be taken together. I would love to do a verse by verse commentary on them, but that will have to wait (I do actually plan on doing that someday, though). The first is Romans 10-11, and the other is Hebrews 8.

Romans 10:1-3 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Paul is talking about the Israel everyone thinks of: the Israel of his fleshly kinsmen. This is made obvious by the context: they aren’t saved.

And then Paul explains what they are missing: they have a false trust.

Romans 10:11-13 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

They are trusting in their own righteousness that they have in and of themselves as Jews, rather than the righteousness of God through faith.

Romans 10:17-21 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

They were told, they knew, it was made clear to them, but they rejected it, and now, have lost it. They are no longer the nation of God.

Now here we get into some fascinating stuff.

Romans 11:1a I say then, Hath God cast away his people?

Paul asks a natural question: does this mean that now Jews can’t be saved (as some believe)?

Romans 11:1b God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

Obviously God didn’t make it so that Jews can’t be saved… Paul is one!

Romans 11:2-5 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

There is a remnant of Jews who are saved… by grace through faith. Not just Paul. They are not a lost cause: they just need to change the object of their faith. Being a Jew doesn’t make them saved.

Romans 11:13-15 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles is actually also a ministry to the Jews: he hopes that by preaching to the Gentiles, he will provoke the Jews into listening to the Gospel. A Jew being saved is like life from the dead in a whole new way.

Romans 11:17-24 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.
20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

What is this tree? Well, obviously it isn’t the nation of the Jews, because we don’t become a part of the Jewish nation when we are saved… we become a part of Christ. And the Jews who aren’t saved don’t stop being a part of their lineage… they simply are not a part of God’s family.

John 15:1-2, 5 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

The tree here is the True Israel. The Kingdom of God, that is not of this world. We, being Gentiles, have become a part of it by faith, and those who were of it, who did not stand in faith, but instead stood on their lineage, were cast out (as a whole). They can still stand by faith, though, and become a part of the true Israel again.

Romans 11:26a And so all Israel shall be saved…

Ah, but some say in the future, the nation of of the Jews will turn en masse to God and be saved. And then in that future, God will work with them as a nation on Earth. They generally point to this phrase right here for their support of this idea.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), this is saying just the opposite.

Romans 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

What is this covenant? What covenant did God make with Israel in which He said He would take away their sins? Now we turn to Hebrews 8 for the answer:

Hebrews 8:6-13 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

I highlighted some key phrases there, but the whole thing is one cohesive whole that needs to be read over and over and over again. Powerful and amazing passage, that.

Paul is looking back at a promise that God made with the Jews in the Old Testament. He said that the Jews would reject the covenant that they had, and that God would replace it with a new one… with a whole new system. In this system, the Kingdom of God is no longer based on lineage, but on faith. Everyone in the Kingdom of God, in the New Israel, will be righteous, made righteous by God himself, not by sacrifices and lineage.

And so… all Israel will be saved. Is saved, actually, because he is talking about now. He is talking about the New Testament. This is the New Covenant!

Romans 11:30-32 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

The Jews as a nation rejected God and His covenant, as prophesied. And because of that unbelief, God brought in the New Testament, bringing mercy upon the Gentiles. Upon us. He rejected lineage as a criteria for His kingdom, so that He could have mercy on everyone.

Romans 11:33-36 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.


27 Responses

  1. I agree with you. πŸ˜€

  2. Completely agree with that. Thanks for posting about it.

  3. Well now, didn’t expect that. * grins * Haha. πŸ˜€

    Thanks! πŸ™‚

  4. Great job expositing all that; I completely agree. πŸ™‚

  5. Haha!

    I think you’re just so used to people *not* agreeing with you, and you’ve come to enjoy the debate (and hence, discussion) that comes from it. So when people *do* agree with you, you don’t know what to do with yourself! πŸ˜‰

    Well, you know what to do with yourself, but… you know.

  6. *laughs* Well, I agree too… but I think you were already expecting my agreement… πŸ˜› πŸ˜€

  7. Well, I’ll be the one to agree and disagree.

    While there is a New Covenant, aspects of the Old are still in place. The New Covenant is a fulfillment of the Old, not merely a replacement or another one. In other words, we didn’t get an apple in place of an orange but a glass of milk that had been half-full which was then fully filled. I say this because Christ was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Consider too that while we are not beholden to the law because of grace, we still follow the law – thou shalt not murder.

    God has not ended any covenant per se. And I say this because we know that the Bible and the Jews who wrote it spoke with multiple meanings. Prophecies and normal passages were meant to be taken literally and spiritually and/or allegorically. They were understood in immediate contexts, near future and far future contexts. The whole onion thing.

    Yes, we are Israel now spiritually, but God surely was also speaking to Abraham and Jacob about their physical, genetic lineage. Furthermore, when we take the Bible as a whole and compare passages it is evident that not only would the Jewish people persist, but that they would re-form as a nation at some point in the future.

    The problem that occurs is that many Christians begin falling into camps of (a) or (b) without seeing the holistic, overall aspects of the Bible. Israel as a real, genetic people still play a role in the Bible today, and, according to the belief of many from interpretation, a nation would be reborn prior to Christ’s return. Some people believe that Christians are Israel now completely and that the Jewish people are irrelevant and the new nation is too.

    But how do we reconcile all of the eschatological passages of the Old and New Testament that mesh together? There are still prophecies in the Old Testament that are unfulfilled. If we believe that Christ literally and physically fulfilled prophecies by his birth and death, then how hard is it for us to believe that those passages which talk about the end times won’t literally and physically happen too?

    Therefore, if Old Testament prophecies talk of the end times about a literal nation of people in a specific geographical area, then we are talking about more than just the Old Covenant being replaced by the New, we are talking about a new covenant yes, but aspects of the Old which have yet to be fulfilled/finished. To that end the Jewish people are still God’s first chosen people and he has not ended his covenant he promised to Abraham.

    Am I making sense? I hope I’m not just rambling, though a lot of this is just streaming thought/response.

    Consider Ez. 38/39. The Battle of Gog and Magog. Is Gog attacking Christians? Is this passage to be taken purely allegorically? Was this passage fulfilled some time in the past? This passage talks about the Jewish people – Israel. Yet, if we say that this Israel is actually all saved people, Christians, the whole passage really makes no sense.

    This passage talks about a people who turn to God following their deliverance and follow Him fully thereafter. Again, we cannot take this passage to be allegorically talking about Christians in general or some Gentiles that would become Christians, but Jewish people becoming Christians. And frankly, from my belief/perspective, a comparison of this Battle to the Battle of Armageddon shows that they are the same battle, not two different ones. Chap 38 and 39 of Ez. make a whole lot more sense if you read the Gog/Magog war as Armageddon.

    Yes, we are Israel, spiritually, but we are not Israel physically. Israel phyiscally never ceased to exist as a people – a nation yes. Furthermore, there is prophecy which states that the nation of Israel would be re-formed. Looking at the Bible as an onion, we Christians are the re-forming of Israel in one aspect, and the refounding of the nation of Israel may well indeed be another aspect.

    Also, this doesn’t mean that this new nation is perfect. Many people don’t want to look “kindly” on Israel because they don’t agree/like how the Israeli Jews have acted towards their neighbors and the world.

    God continued the line of David so that Jesus could come through it, even though David’s line did many dispicable things. Many Christians and Jews think that the modern nation of Israel has zero right to exist and should no longer exist and they refuse to believe that the current nation is a fulfillment of prophecy. Frankly, I think that says a lot spiritually/scripturally.

    I’m not saying that Israelis/Jews are automatically saved because of their genetics/genealogy. I believe John Hagee preaches this abberation. I am however saying that the current nation of Israel is a valid nation as are its people and that God is still working in them and through them to fulfill his prophecies and covenant that he laid out to them so very long ago.

    To that end, when Christ comes again, all Israel shall be saved, both physically, literally and spiritually/allegorical, on every layer of the interpretive onion. I do believe that every Jew that is alive when Christ returns either will have become a Christian or will become a Christian at that moment (via our standard, doctrinal understanding of salvation). And all Israel will be brought together that day. And the nation that has recently existed will be reborn yet again to be truly what it was meant to be according to God, not what it has been so far for the last sixty years even though it is a prophetic fulfillment (I believe).

    Maybe I jumped the gun? Maybe I’m making too much of what you’ve said. Maybe I thoroughly agree with your whole argument and I’m going beyond your argument.

    I will however disagree with you on one peeve point of mine – Palestine.

    I refuse to call the region Palestine. Palestine was what the Romans called the region after 70AD. Palestine was what the Europeans decided to call it from then on. To my knowledge, those in the Middle East never called the region that name. Instead, once the Muslims controlled the region it was considered “Southern Syria”. I do not believe that the Ottomans called the region Palestine (we must not look at European maps of the Ottoman Empire for its name).

    European Zionist Jews called themselves Palestinian Jews when they emigrated there but the Muslims who already lived there just considered themselves Arabs or Syrians to my understanding. In 1948, when Israel became a nation again, the Jewish people dropped the name Palestinian and immediately called themselves Israelis. It was not until Yasser Arafat came onto the scene in 1964 that the Arabs in the region began calling themselves Palestinians (consider that Arafat was born in Egypt and more Arabs moved into the Holy Land after the Jews began immigrating into the land). Palestine is more an ideology than a real name or people. It is a name by choice and the only ones who kept perpetuating it were Europeans, not the ones who actually lived in the land!!! Thus, I refuse to call the land of Israel Palestine and believe it to be a misnomer perpetuated in ignorance by generations of Europeans. This isn’t to say that I’m not going to say there is a literal named PLO/A, etc. You get the gist.

    Okay… hope I make sense.


    • * chuckles * Finally. Yep, that was what I was talking about, in the sense that I was disagreeing with it.

      I disagree with practically all conventional views of eschatology, and I honestly don’t want to get into a discussion on it. Suffice it to say that I don’t believe there is a conflict with the prophecies and my view of Israel.

      I subscribe to the end of things where the true Israel never will be an earthly nation again. At least not so far as God is concerned. Nations come and go, but don’t often change their names (Spain was mentioned in the Bible, but it is a completely different nation in God’s eyes now, from what it was then).

      As far as covenants… I honestly don’t see how you can reconcile your view with Hebrews, Galatians, and Romans. Their whole purpose is to teach the opposite of what you are saying, unless I grossly misunderstood you.

      I don’t really want to debate it, though. I don’t have the energy right now, or the motivation. I’ll probably eventually get it all written out somewhere. Haha.

      Thanks for your long comment! I had never heard of that view of Palestine. I was just running out of names to call it by. Because of the topic, using the word Israel would have been ambiguous. πŸ˜€

  8. Heheh, yeah… in some respects I think we’re probably looking at opposite sides of the same statue – which is what I think most true Christians wind up doing (denominationalism) [compared to sects and cults which wind up looking at a different statue or a statue thru glasses, etc.]

    Anyhow, yeah, I don’t have the energy to debate either.

    As for Israel, I just call it the Holy Land.

    But yes, we focus on Christ and Him crucified and that He shall return, and the rest is “minor”

    • Yes, I agree there. Everything else kind of pales when in the light of the ‘basics’ doesn’t it?

      * chuckles * Yeah, thought of that. Except my premise was that it isn’t holy any more. Haha.

      Thanks again!

  9. I agree with that, and yes, I’m a Calvinist. πŸ˜‰

  10. This was a very interesting read, Emeth. I’d never really thought about it before. However I do agree with what you are saying; I don’t believe anyone can be saved purely by their lineage.

    However I think I missed something: Where does God’s promise to Abraham about making him a great nation fit in? Was God also speaking of the New Testament gentiles, as in adopted descendants? Or did the technicalities of the promise change after the arrival of the new covenant?

    (sorry for asking again if you already addressed this… I am a little thick.)

  11. […] And So All Israel Shall Be Saved ( […]

  12. I do agree with you, that’s what the Bible says. And I also answer a great deal of life with, “Interesting.” :()

  13. Hahahahaha!!! I’d never thought of it that way…and Jesus was interested. I mean He did have to be interested enough to notice that people were hurting before He could stop & heal them, and healing them is also an indication of interest – a caring interest into every detail. :() Ahhhh! You blessed me today, thanks!

  14. In every example from Old Testament to New, God made it very clear that the promise of Israel’s salvation could not be achieved in the realm of the flesh but in that of the Spirit. For this reason, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were sojourner’s in the land and looked for a “heavenly country (land) built by God, (Heb. 11:7-16).

    Even God said he was a sojourner in the land, (Lev. 25:23).

    Abraham ordered Sarah to “cast out” Ishmael, the son born according to the flesh, which in the allegorical interpretation in Galatians 4:21-31) meant that he would not inherit with Isaac who was born of the promise.

    However, Isaac too was a fleshly son of Abraham, so God ordered Abraham to “kill him” which in a figurative sense he did (Gen. 22, Heb. 11:17-19). Thus symbolically Isaac died to the flesh and rose in the Spirit. It is through Isaac who was raised that the promised would be fulfilled.

    In that he was a type of Christ, who himself died to the Old Covenant world of flesh, because the inheritance could not be received in it. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise of no effect, (Rom. 4:13-14).

    Again, for if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise, but God gave it to Abraham by promise, (Gal. 3:18). The meaning is he did not give it to Abraham through the law.

    Therefore, fulfillment of the promise occurs in the realm of the Spirit, hence, not the flesh. Christ died to the realm of flesh, and henceforth cannot be known in that realm, (Rom. 1:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:16). The promise of God is fulfilled in Christ who is raised from the dead in the realm of the Spirit, (1 Pet. 3:18-19), and that left every fleshly Jew who does not accept Christ, “naked” and without a covering.

    Hence, all israel (Jew and Gentile) were saved through reconciliation in the body of Christ when the deliverer came out of Zion, turned ungodliness from Jacob and took away their sins, according to the New Covenant. The original blog post is “spot on” target.

  15. Good job, Jay, and while I would have to go over and read it again before I would say “I agree wholeheartedly” my first reading certainly leads me that way. When you said you had found “hardly anyone” who agreed with you I felt sure you were about to go off the deep end with something really wacky. I was almost disappointed when you put it pretty much right down the middle of where I stand. πŸ˜›

    That said, and this is just throwing out a thought, Biblical passages such as Exodus 4:22-23 do give me pause and make me wonder if and how Israel remains the “firstborn” of God’s children.

    • Thanks, Mark! I keep finding that whenever I say something like “I’m the only one who thinks this way,” I get loads of people saying, “hey! I agree!” πŸ˜› πŸ˜€ I don’t complain. πŸ˜‰

      * nods * Israel is indeed the firstborn of God’s children in many ways. Though… it would take another post to fully explain how and why. It has to do with dispensations (not, not Darby dispensationalism, haha). God chose them to have a particular dispensation unique to them and in advance of the rest of the world (the rest of the world remained in Abraham’s dispensation pretty much, unless they became Jews, which also happened), in order for God to give them the oracles and promises to prepare for the New Testament dispensation. So yes, they were a very unique, and special nation, the firstborn out of the world to be called God’s chosen People (even if it wasn’t really connected with salvation). Does that make sense, or did I just supply a teaser? πŸ˜€

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