‘ALL ISRAEL’ MEANS EVERY SINGLE ELECT CHILD OF GOD THROUGH THE AGES!
One has to be always be cautious with those who place an undue importance on the Jewish people, and preach as though God has a special ‘soft-corner’ for the physical Jew as opposed to the gentiles.
Most of these people who have a passion for the physical Jews will by and by tell you that God has a special plan for National Israel and after the ‘Rapture’ our Lord will turn around and work with Israel as a nation. Now how true is all this? The Word of God has much to say about it.
‘National Israel’! The question being: does God have a plan to work with Israel as a nation in the future and save ‘every single one of them’?!
From the days of our Lord to this day, the problem in understanding prophecy has always been to look for a LITERAL and PHYSICAL fulfillment of it. While for the most part prophecy or the promises of God are being fulfilled in a spiritual way or a way not foreseen by natural man.
When our Lord came as messiah to the Jews, His own disciples were hoping that now He would destroy the Romans and set Himself as king on a literal throne in Israel. And the Lord’s reproof to them was –
“O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” [Luke 24:25]
In a similar manner many are looking for a literal fulfillment of promises made to a literal physical Israel. And this in spite of the Scriptures affirming time and again that –
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For THEY ARE NOT ALL ISRAEL, WHICH ARE OF ISRAEL:
Neither, BECAUSE THEY ARE THE SEED OF ABRAHAM, ARE THEY ALL CHILDREN: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
That is, THEY WHICH ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE FLESH, THESE ARE NOT THE CHILDREN OF GOD: BUT THE CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE ARE COUNTED FOR THE SEED. [Romans 9:6-8]
And if ye be CHRIST’S, THEN ARE YE ABRAHAM’S SEED, and heirs according to the promise. [Gal 3:29]
For he is not a Jew, which is one Outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
But HE IS A JEW, WHICH IS ONE INWARDLY; AND CIRCUMCISION IS THAT OF THE HEART, IN THE SPIRIT, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. [Romans 2:28,29]
Now God has declared in plain English or rather Aramaic –
“The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof”. [Matt 21:43]
The above scriptures alone must be sufficient to convince the sincere student that GOD IS FINISHED WITH DEALING WITH ISRAEL AS A NATION. But not so! Many still fancy that the Lord will once again SOMETIME IN THE NEAR FUTURE come back to save Israel as a nation.
And one of the favorite verses which he often quotes is –
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins”. [Romans 11:25-27]
Do the verses above teach a future salvation for national Israel? Sadly No! In fact a closer examination teach the VERY OPPOSITE!
Note first that the Apostle speaks of a ‘blindness’. And because of this blindness, Israel has always been divided into two sections. The blinded ones which comprise the MAJORITY and those who believed, i.e. the remnant.
“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them” [Rom 11:7-9]
The one part, which consists of the elect, is a VERY SMALL PART of the nation. Rom. 11:5 speaks of the elect as a remnant: “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”
In Elijah’s day, this remnant was included in the “seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal” (Rom. 11:4). It also included the Apostle Paul (verse 1) in his day. The other part of national Israel consisted of those who were blinded, which included the major part of national Israel at any time in its history. Today, we see the division of national Israel into these same two parts. While there is a very small number of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ among the blood descendants of Abraham, sadly, the vast majority remain in unbelief.
God again makes reference to the part of Israel who remain in unbelief when He tells us HOW LONG this condition of blindness will prevail in national Israel in Rom. 11:25. There we read, “that blindness in part is happened to Israel, UNTIL THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES BE COME IN.” This statement not only tells us how long this blindness will continue on the one part of Israel but it also implies that during the same period a REMNANT from national Israel will be saved.
How long will this blindness continue? Verse 25 declares, “UNTIL THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES BE COME IN.” The phrase “fullness of the Gentiles” would have to include EVERY GENTILE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD CHOSEN BY GOD TO BE SAVED. If the fullness of the Gentiles had come in, that would mean that nowhere in the world could there be even one more person who, as one of God’s elect, must still be saved. God’s salvation program for the world would have come to an end. Thus, this verse teaches that as long as there remains even one Gentile in the world to be saved, we can expect that the greater part of national Israel will remain in blindness.
This means that ISRAEL AS A NATION WILL NEVER TURN TO THE LORD because Matt. 24:14 teaches: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
Sadly many theologians envision an eschatological program in which at some time in the future national Israel is supposed to evangelize the world. Rom. 11:25 definitely teaches the incorrectness of such an eschatological scheme. God declares emphatically and specifically that we must recognize, sorrowfully, that as long as one Gentile anywhere in the world remains to be saved, the greatest part of national Israel will remain in spiritual blindness.
But does not scripture say ‘ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE SAVED’?
Indeed, it does. But who is “all Israel”? Israel has existed as a people for about 4,000 years. All blood descendants of Abraham are part of national Israel. Surely no one who lived in previous generations and died in unbelief can be saved, and yet they are just as much a part of Israel as the blood descendants of Abraham who are living today. Therefore, if all Israel is to be saved and yet a vast part of national Israel lived and died without becoming saved, then we have to look for a meaning of the term “all Israel” other than that which includes every blood descendant of Abraham.
In scripture the word “ALL” for the most part is not used like we use it in an all inclusive sense! But when the Bible uses the word “all,” the meaning is conditioned by the context in which it is found. For example, in Acts 2:17, God declares that He will pour out His Spirit on all flesh. Does this mean that every person in the entire world will experience the pouring out of the Spirit? No, it does not. We know from other parts of the Bible that only those who become believers in Christ experience the pouring out of the Spirit. God is effectively teaching in Acts 2:17 that He will pour out His Spirit on all flesh whom God intends to save. Only God’s elect will experience this wonderful event, at the time of salvation. In this verse the word ‘all’ does not mean the whole human race, rather, it includes ALL IN THE HUMAN RACE WHOM GOD PLANNED TO SAVE.
Rom. 11:26, where God declares, “all Israel shall be saved.” We know from verse 25, that at any time in the history of Israel, right up to the time when even one Gentile in the entire world remains to be saved, most of Israel will remain in unbelief. Therefore, “all Israel” must refer to ALL ISRAEL WHO ARE TO BE SAVED. That is, even as “all flesh” of Acts 2:17, refers to the totality of God’s elect who are to be saved, so in Rom. 11:26 the term “all Israel” must refer to the totality of God’s elect who are to be saved from within national Israel. We should, therefore, read this verse this way: “And so all Israel [who are the remnant of the election of grace] shall be saved.”
But are we not missing something? Does not Rom. 11:26 teach that AFTER THE FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES COMES IN THEN “ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE SAVED”? Cannot “all Israel” refer to all who are national Israel living at the time the fullness of the Gentiles will have come in? COULD THERE NOT BE A MASSIVE TURNING OF NATIONAL ISRAEL TO CHRIST AFTER THE LAST OF THE GENTILES WHO ARE TO BE SAVED HAVE BECOME SAVED?
Sadly many theologians change the word “so” in Rom. 11:26 to the word “then” or the word “after.” You can check any number of books that teach the Pre-millennial view and find that this is the case.
The word “so” which in its Greek form is found more than 150 times in the Bible is never translated “then” or “after.” In a few places it is translated “in this manner,” but it is never translated to indicate chronological events. Rom. 11:26 in no way suggests that after the fullness of the Gentiles comes in THEN all Israel will be saved. Rather, IT TEACHES THAT BLINDNESS WILL CONTINUE ON THE MAJOR PART OF NATIONAL ISRAEL RIGHT TO THE END. This means that there will always be that other part of national Israel: the remnant according to the election of grace. As long as one Gentile remains to be saved, there is the remnant, the trickle of God’s elect, in national Israel who will be saved. AND SO, THAT IS, IN THIS MANNER, ALL ISRAEL WHO ARE TO BE SAVED WILL BE SAVED.
We see that Rom. 11:25-26 teaches exactly THE OPPOSITE OF THAT WHICH IS TAUGHT BY MANY PEOPLE. Not only is it not teaching a future glory for national Israel, but in fact the passage teaches the sad fact that there will not be a future glory for national Israel.
To the question, “then has God cast away His people whom He foreknew”, or “is our God a covenant breaking God”, Paul answers – “Hath God cast away His people? GOD FORBID. For I ALSO AM AN ISRAELITE, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. [Rom 11:1,2]
In other words IF God had cast away His people, then I WOULD NOT BE SAVED seeing that I AM AN ISRAELITE.
In closing let us comment on the last half of verse 26 and all of verse 27, where we read:
“As it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins”.
Whether they realize it or not, those who teach that Rom. 11:25-26 are proof texts that there will come a time when all of national Israel will become saved are effectively teaching TWO SALVATION PROGRAMS. The first is that which has been in effect until the present time, wherein believers come one by one into the kingdom of God; and the second is a program wherein a WHOLE NATION WILL COME IN. According to their understanding of Rom. 11, the whole nation cannot come in until the deliverer shall come out of Zion who shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob and shall take away their sins. Some even believe that the deliverance of Rom. 11:27 is a political deliverance. Of course this idea is also altogether without possibility in view of the phrase “when I SHALL TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”
In other words, according to the understanding of some theologians, the Savior must STILL COME TO SAVE NATIONAL ISRAEL. Apparently, the fact that Christ has already come as Savior was not sufficient for them. THIS TEACHING IN A REAL SENSE DENIES THE ATONEMENT!
Why is this so?
Does the Bible in any way teach TWO SALVATION PROGRAMS: one for all believers throughout time, including the remnant chosen by grace from national Israel who have lived any time during the last 4,000 years, and the other for the whole nation of Israel that might exist at some future time?
SURELY THE BIBLE DOES NOT TEACH TWO SALVATION PROGRAMS.
When Jesus came as the Savior, to WHOM DID HE COME? Did He come to the Chinese? To the Egyptians? To the North American Indians? Indeed not. HE CAME TO NATIONAL ISRAEL. “He came unto HIS OWN” [John 1:11] Jesus was a Jew. He was born in a Jewish city, Bethlehem. He grew up in a Jewish city, Nazareth. He was baptized by a Jewish prophet, John the Baptist, in the River Jordan which flowed through the land of the Jews. He preached for more than three years in Jewish cities such as Capernaum, Jericho, Bethany, and Jerusalem. All of His disciples were Jews as were His personal friends, such as Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
INDEED, JESUS HAS ALREADY COME AS THE DELIVERER FROM ZION TO TAKE AWAY THE SINS OF THOSE HE CAME TO SAVE OUT OF NATIONAL ISRAEL.
Because He came as the deliverer to take away sins, we rejoice that it is possible that individuals out of national Israel, as well as out of every other political nation of the world, can be saved. To suggest that Jesus MUST STILL COME TO SAVE NATIONAL ISRAEL IS TO DENY ALL THAT THE BIBLE TEACHES CONCERNING THE FIRST COMING OF CHRIST. Moreover, to teach that God has a different plan of salvation for a future generation of national Israel, whereby they as a whole body will be saved, is to deny a fundamental principle wherein God declares He is not a respecter of persons.
We read in Acts 10:34 39: Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree”. These verses are quoted to show that not only is Christ not a respecter of persons, but also TO EMPHASIZE THAT JESUS CAME TO ISRAEL AS THE REDEEMER!
Furthermore in Acts 5:31, the Apostle says: “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for TO GIVE REPENTANCE TO ISRAEL, AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS”. This verse beautifully and clearly reinforces the concept we have been discussing: Jesus DID COME TO ISRAEL TO BE THEIR SAVIOR. The idea of a future salvation for national Israel as a corporate body is not supported in any way by Romans 11 or any other scripture in the Bible.