Friday, 25 October 2013
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;… Romans 11:26
Care and context need to be taken when considering Romans 11:26; care in interpretation of the word “all” in particular, and context as derived from the preceding verses. Without this, many have gone ahead making unfounded assumptions and claims. Paul has just revealed a mystery; a point which was not known until it was disclosed by him. That mystery was “that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”
This is known to us now because Paul revealed it. Because we know this, and because we have 2000 years of church history behind us, we can make unfounded assumptions such as inserting the church, or a sect of the church, into this verse. But the context demands that Paul is speaking about the broken off branches which are Israel; the Jewish people.
Secondly, “all” does not always mean “all” in the ultimate sense. One of countless such examples is found in Mark 1:5 –
“Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.”
Twice in this verse, it says “all.” All from Judea and Jerusalem went out and were baptized by John the Baptist. Just imagine the lines! But in Luke 7:30 it says this –
“But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.”
So,,, not “all” were really baptized by John the Baptist. “All” meant something other than “every single person.” Instead, it was intended as hyperbole. It was given to show the magnificent number of people who heard and responded; the lines were long, but not everyone was in them. This type of wording is to be found throughout the Bible and on numerous occasions. Even with such words as “all” and “every” there must be a consideration of intent and of context.
Therefore, when Paul says, “And so all Israel will be saved…” it must be taken in such a light. He has already shown that “branches were broken off.” This state has continued for 2000 years. None of the broken off branches are saved. Nor are any which remain separated from the holy root at this time. Nor will those branches be saved which haven’t been re-grafted in during the tribulation period. “All Israel” is speaking of a specific time in the future. And Paul shows us when this will be in his citing of Isaiah 59:20 –
“‘The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,’ Says the Lord.”
After the time of the “fullness of the Gentiles” and upon completion of the “times of the Gentiles” Jesus will return to Israel and deliver them. Zechariah 12 details this and it is only speaking of Israel the people in Israel the land. The church was still a mystery at the time of Zechariah’s writings; a mystery not fully understood even at the time of the ascension of Christ. At that momentous event, we see the following discourse between the apostles and Jesus –
“Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.'” Acts 1:6, 7
Even after their forty days of instruction from the Lord, the apostles were still thinking of and expecting the Kingdom Age when Christ would rule from Zion. This is a specific time which is detailed throughout the Old Testament, but is highlighted, for example, in passages such as Isaiah 2:2-4 –
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the Lord’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.”
Jesus didn’t tell the apostles that they had misinterpreted those verses. Nor did He tell them that the church now assumed this role. They expected Israel to be the head of the nations and the law to go forth from her and Jesus didn’t correct them on this; it remained an unchanged tenet of their belief system. Instead of correcting them, Jesus merely told them to get about the business of spreading the gospel and leave times and dates to the Father.
The New Covenant, promised to Israel in Jeremiah 31:31, will be realized on a national scale at some point in the future, but there are still seven years allocated to Israel (see Daniel 9:24-27) before this occurs where they will live under law. All Israel will be saved in the sense that the nation will be delivered at Christ’s second coming. They will triumph over their enemies and the world will enter a new age and a new dispensation (see Revelation 19 for the exciting details).
Life application: When reading the Bible, context and intent must be considered. Proper application of these and other principles will ensure a right understanding of what God is doing in human history. Running ahead without such care can only lead to confusion and even heresy.
Lord God, what You speak stems from Your very being. There is no confusion between the two and there is nothing less important about what Your word says concerning You than there is about who You are. May my doctrine be pure and may I never fail to handle Your word with the minutest care and the awesome fear that it deserves. Thank You for Your word. Amen.