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All Israel Will Be Saved April 23, 2011

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Romans 11:25-32.

Summary: In this passage, Paul wants his Gentile Christian readers to be particularly mindful of the following important divine revelation: Israel will be insensible to the Gospel message until God’s chosen subset of the Gentiles has been saved; then the Jews, as a people, will be restored to God’s favor. Paul supports this assertion by quoting from Isaiah and Jeremiah, where it is stated that God will save the Jews and remove their sins from them. Currently the Jews are enemies of God as they have rejected the Gospel message – which allowed it to be effectively preached to the Gentiles – yet they retain a special relationship with Him due to the covenant that He had made with their forefathers. Since God had selected the Jews as His special people back in Genesis, He would never forsake them even though they rejected His method for them to obtain righteousness. To drive home this point, Paul draws an interesting link between the situations of the Gentiles and the Jews: before the coming of Christ, the Gentiles refused to believe in God, yet they received His Gospel message as a result of the Jews’ sinful actions. Now the Jews refuse to believe in God, yet they too will receive His Gospel message as a result of God’s righteous actions towards the Gentiles. Paul concludes by noting that in fact, God has allowed both the Gentiles and the Jews to reveal their inherent sinfulness, which more fully illustrates the mercy that He shows to the Gentiles – and the mercy that He will show to the Jews.

Thoughts: I have always been intrigued by this passage, especially with verses 25-27. Indeed, what does it mean that “all Israel will be saved?” Hodge offers some insights on this issue:

2. The second general view supposes that, on the contrary, the apostle predicted a great and general conversion of the Jewish people, which would take place when the full number of the Gentiles had been brought in, and that then, and not until then, those prophecies would be completely fulfilled which speak about the salvation of Israel.

Hodge then presents several well-reasoned arguments in support of this viewpoint, which stands alongside the viewpoint that “all Israel” merely refers to the true church that includes both Gentiles and Jews. Now this brings to mind the following questions: when will “the full number of the Gentiles” be saved? How many Gentiles will be saved, and who are the individuals who comprise this group? Will we witness mass conversions to Christianity in the modern-day state of Israel, and if so, will these conversions signify that the return of the Messiah is imminent? Should missions organizations be directing more of their time/resources to spreading the Gospel to those of the Jewish faith?

Gentile Christian readers of this passage are reminded that they should not entertain arrogant feelings towards the Jews who are temporarily rejected by God. In his commentary on verse 32, Hodge notes:

The apostle also intends to show that God had dealt with Gentile and Jew in the same way. They stood on the same ground. Both were dependent on sovereign mercy. Both had sunk into a state from which the grace of God alone could save them. As all were equally miserable and helpless, God determined to have mercy on everyone and to bring everyone, Jews as well as Gentiles, into Christ’s fold.

In this sense, Paul returns to the argument that he has presented in the bulk of chapters 1-3, which states that all men have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. This also highlights God’s sovereignty in election; neither Gentiles nor Jews inherently possess any qualities which make them worthy of salvation, and so He elects people based solely on His purposes. Moreover, there is nothing inherent to Israel that prevents Him from ensuring that the Jews, as a people, will be saved by the time of the return of the Messiah.

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1. Sowing Generously « Ringing In - February 3, 2012

[…] me of his doxology in Romans 11:33-36, which does flow naturally from his comforting point that all Israel will be saved. Indeed, I am glad to say that I know several believers who are so full of the Holy Spirit that […]


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