All Israel Will Be Saved

 (Romans 11:25-27)

I love these verses, and Israel has been such a fond nation in the minds of Christians, especially you read the Old Testament. Israel also occupies a special place in the teachings of many evangelical churches especially the charismatic churches, and from growing up in it, I have a sense of closeness to it. I mean who won’t be, after reading Psalms daily in my personal morning devotion, Zion, Jerusalem, pops up almost every other sentence, and definitely every chapter. My most beloved book of the Bible is Psalms, and love it.

Romans 11: 25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27      “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

Now the struggle going through reading Romans 11:25-27, it is really astonishing. Now that I am also living in a part of New York city with many Jews, my eyes are bewildered by these 2 simple verses, in fact, Paul calls it as “mystery” in v25…. 25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.—There is a mystery!

What’s the Mystery?

A partial hardening has come upon Israel. Hardening of hearts in believing Christ as their Messiah. I wish that all my Jewish friends would read this article, though it will be one heck of a debate, which I am very consciously aware that no intellectual debate has ever won a soul to Christ, though such debate and provocative theology does pave the way for pondering and the Holy Spirit’s work in God’s sovereignty. Never underestimate what God can do.

The mystery is in v25-6 a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27 “and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

Partial hardening of Israel towards faith in Christ. Why? It’s not mentioned here, but from the pattern in Romans like God gave them over to their lust in Romans 1, the Jews have started to disbelieve in Christ, as you can see in the Gospels, though some 3000 Jews accepted Christ on the day of Pentecost, but that’s a very small number after what Christ has done like feeding the 5000, raising the dead, casting out demons, and healing all the blinds, crippled, deaf, and leprous etc. Okay that hardening actually paved the way, interestingly for the Gentiles to be added into the kingdom of God, because it says “until the fullness of gentiles has come in.” So there is clearly a predetermined fullness by the predestination of God, and then thereafter all Israel shall be saved. That’s the mystery.

ALL Israel Will be Saved

Many reformed theologians think its all of God’s people (including Calvin) will be saved, but enough commentaries agree with me that it refers to the nation of Israel, not the body of Christ, as v25 talks about the hardening of Israel, then v26 says all Israel will be saved, that’s the same “Israel” as in v25. So it’s definitely the nation of Israel. So let’s dig out some big names on this mystery:

Ridderbos commentary: How it’s the relationship between Israel and the gentiles in salvation. The full number of Israel will come to the kingdom of Jesus through grace after the gentiles has reached its fullness. [1]

Douglas Moo wrote:   “Full number” (pleroma), as most commentators recognize, has a numerical reference (see comments on 11:12). In other words, God has determined the number of Gentiles to be saved. Once that number is reached, Israel’s hardening comes to an end (see Luke 21:23–24 for a partial parallel).[2] Therefore, in agreement with most commentators, we think “all Israel” refers to the totality of national Israel. This does not mean that every single Jew will be saved. The phrase “all Israel” occurs over a hundred times in the Old Testament, with a range of meanings.[3] We conclude, then, that Paul here predicts the salvation of a significant number of Jews at the time of Christ’s return in glory. The present “remnant” of Israel will be expanded to include a much larger number of Jews who will enter the eternal kingdom along with converted Gentiles.[4]

Love this most! RC Sproul wrote something most pertinent and potent here:

I don’t know whether this restoration is going to be sudden or gradual, or even if it is going to follow the return of the Jews to their own land. There is still quite a bit of debate about that. I remember sitting on my porch in Boston in 1967, and watching on television the Jewish soldiers coming into Jerusalem, dropping their weapons and rushing to the Wailing Wall, and weeping and weeping. Immediately I telephoned one of my dear friends, a professor of Old Testament theology, who does not believe that modern day Israel has any significance whatsoever. I asked him, ‘What do you think now? From 70 AD until 1967, almost 1900 years, Jerusalem has been under the domination and control of Gentiles, and now the Jews have recaptured the city of Jerusalem. Jesus said that Jerusalem will be trodden under foot by the Gentiles, until the fullness of the Gentiles be fulfilled. What’s the significance of that?’ He replied, ‘I am going to have to rethink this situation.’ It was indeed startling.

I will tell you this: we should be watching very carefully. It is a remarkable event in history that the city of Jerusalem is now back in Jewish hands, under Jewish control. As Jesus said, Jerusalem will be trodden under foot until the fullness of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:24). And Paul says that after the fullness of the Gentiles have come in, there will be a restoration of the Jewish nation. All of these things are put in context by Jesus when he tells his followers to watch and pray, for their salvation is drawing near.[5]

Jerusalem will be trodden under foot until the fullness of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:24).

Did you read this line from RC Sproul? In 1967, and watching on television the Jewish soldiers coming into Jerusalem, dropping their weapons and rushing to the Wailing Wall, and weeping and weeping.

What’s this? The return of Jerusalem back to Israel in 1967, soldiers dropping their weapons and rushed to the Wailing Wall, and weeping and weeping. What’s this scaredness of the wall?

I don’t know about you, I know that there are divergent views on “All Israel shall be saved” from Romans 11:25-27, but it is of such significance, that we should embrace it fully what the Word of God says. Since I joined Reformed theology in RTS, I have noticed that reformed theology pretty much washes down the importance or significance of Israel as a nation to just another nation, case in point, if that illustrates better, like Singapore, or Thailand or USA. No difference at all. This sounds like you just wiped away 2000 years of breath taking history of Israel, and all that taken place in the world. For a nation of such tiny size, it could be the center of world attention in the Middle eastern wars? For decades? Why?

Jerusalem has returned to Israel. From AD 70 to 1967, almost 1900 years, Jerusalem has been under the control of Gentiles, and now the Jews have captured the city!

Jesus said that Jerusalem will be trodden under foot by the Gentiles, until the fullness of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

What’s the significance of that?’

Does this make you think as Christians? Israel shall return to God in full. What does that mean to us?

I would say most importantly it brings OT to life, making God more real in our life, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. He just suddenly becomes more tangible in our modern daily memory and life, that we should start looking to the return of Christ, and before that the return of all Israel to Christ, the revival to bring in the harvest of both gentiles and Jews in this end time.

God has always been real, but to take Israel off the spiritual antenna, is missing a huge point of the connection of the old testament to the New testament. There is a reason. Why Gentiles make Israel jealous, they are the natural branches, we are the drafted in branches, but in Christ, we are all one, no Jews or Greek.

Galatians 3: 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The Mystery of God. We shall march on with greater excitement and longing for the Yahweh of OT, and the Christ of the NT, and in fact, father Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinitarian God to be present in our lives as we face the end time looking forward to the return of Christ.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

Psalm 122:6–9 (ESV)
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
7 Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
8 For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.

Amen.


[1] Herman Ridderbos, Paul An Outline of His Theology (P. 358),William B Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan

[2] Moo, D. J. (2000). Romans (p. 377). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[3] Ibid p. 379

[4] Ibid

[5] Sproul, R. C. (1994). The Gospel of God: An Exposition of Romans. Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications.

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