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All Israel ... shall be saved

Query for the Month

of

April 2006

Next up-date: May 1st 2006 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
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Query:

Romans 10:1-27

Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.  For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes. 

Romans 11:26-27

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: for this is My covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins.”

What do these verses mean?  Will the Jews one day be re-established in Jerusalem?  

Answer:

All Israel . . . shall be saved

or

How Paul saw the church from which he was called

After his escape from Damascus (Acts 9:23-25), Paul went to Jerusalem, about three years having passed since his conversion. His chief object in making this visit, as he himself declared afterward, was "to see Peter." Galatians 1:18. Upon arriving in the city where he had once been well known as "Saul the persecutor," "he assayed [attempted] to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple." Acts 9:26. It was difficult for them to believe that so bigoted a Pharisee, and one who had done so much to destroy the new branch of the church, could become a sincere follower of Jesus. "But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how he had seen the LORD in the way, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus." Verse 27.

Upon hearing this, the disciples received him as one of their number. Soon they had abundant evidence as to the genuineness of his Christian experience. The future apostle to the Gentiles was now in the city where many of his former associates lived, and to these Jewish leaders he longed to make plain the prophecies concerning the Messiah, which had been fulfilled by the advent of the Saviour. Paul felt sure that these teachers in Israel, with whom he had once been so well acquainted, were as sincere and honest as he had been. But he had miscalculated the spirit of his Jewish brethren, and in the hope of their speedy conversion he was doomed to bitter disappointment. Although "he spoke boldly in the name of the LORD Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians," those who stood at the head of the Jewish church refused to believe, but "went about to slay him." Acts 9:29. Sorrow filled his heart. He would willingly have yielded up his life if by that means he might bring some to a knowledge of the truth. With shame he thought of the active part he had taken in the martyrdom of Stephen, and now in his anxiety to wipe out the stain resting upon one so falsely accused, he sought to vindicate the truth for which Stephen had given his life.

Burdened in behalf of those who refused to believe, Paul was praying in the temple, as he himself afterward testified, when he fell into a trance; whereupon a heavenly messenger appeared before him and said, "Make haste, and get you quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me." Acts 22:18.

Paul was inclined to remain at Jerusalem, where he could face the opposition. To him it seemed an act of cowardice to flee, if by remaining he might be able to convince some of the obstinate Jews of the truth of the gospel message, even if to remain should cost him his life. And so he answered, "LORD, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on You: and when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I was also standing by, and consenting to his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him." But it was not in harmony with the purpose of God that His servant should needlessly expose his life; and the heavenly messenger replied, "Depart: for I will send you far hence to the Gentiles." Acts 22:19-21.

Upon learning of this vision, the brethren hastened Paul's secret escape from Jerusalem, for fear of his assassination. "They brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus." The departure of Paul suspended for a time the violent opposition of the Jews, and the church had a period of rest, in which many were added to the number of believers."

Many years later, he wrote:

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Romans 9:

1 I [Paul] say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed [cut off] from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 4 who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 5 whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

6 Not as though the word of God has taken none effect. For they are not all [spiritual] Israel [princes of God], which are of [physical] Israel: 7 neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children [of God]: but [God’s word was], "In Isaac shall your seed be called." 8 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." [Genesis 21:12.]

9 For this is the word of promise, "At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son." [Genesis 18:10.] 10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calls;) 12 it was said to her, ‘The elder shall serve the younger’ [Genesis 25:23] 13 as it is written, ‘Jacob have I loved [because he will respond], but Esau have I hated [I won’t be able to help him because he will refuse Me]’." [See Malachi 1:2-3.]

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness [favouritism] with God? God forbid. 15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." [Exodus 33:19.] 16 So then it is not of him that wills [wants], nor of him that runs [works], but of God that shows mercy [where He is accepted]. 17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh, "Even for this same purpose have I raised you up, that I might show My power in you [by saving you], and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth." [Exodus 9:16. Alas, Pharaoh refused to be saved.] "And Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD [He’s not my boss], that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go’." Exodus 5:2.]

18 Therefore has He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardens. [This is the effect of continuous refusal of mercy.]

19 You will say then to me, "Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted [or can resist] His will?" [The one thing God cannot do is enforce His will on those to whom He has given free will. To be righteous He MUST allow them their choice.]

[He pleads, "Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed; and make [accept] you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, says the LORD GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live you." Ezekiel 18:31-32.]

20 Nay but, O man, who are you that replies [argues] against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, "Why have You made me thus?"

21 Has not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel to honour, and another to dishonour? [Consider the two apostles Peter and Judas and how they behaved on the night of Jesus’ trial – Peter repented and Judas committed suicide.] 22 What if God, willing to show His wrath [He helplessness in the face of our choice], and to make His [saving] power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath [rebellious people] fitted to destruction [who choose to die]: 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared to glory, 24 even us, whom He has called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? [Maybe God endures those who have chosen disobedience so that others may have an opportunity to choose obedience.]

[He says, "He that sins against Me wrongs his own soul: all they that hate [reject] Me love [desire] death [separation from Me]." Proverbs 8:36.]

25 As He says also in Hosea, "I will call them My people, which were not My people; and her beloved, which was not beloved." 26 "And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people; there shall they be called the children of the living God’." [Hosea 2:23 and 1:10.]

27 Isaiah also cries concerning Israel, "Though the number of the [rebellious] children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: 28 for He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the LORD make upon the earth [when He is responded to fully]." [Isaiah 10:22.]

29 And as Isaiah said before, "Except the LORD of Sabaoth [the LORD of hosts] had left us a seed, we had been as Sodom, and been made like to Gomorrah." [Isaiah 1:9.]

["Isaiah cries concerning Israel, If the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant who will be saved;" World English Bible.]

30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.

32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. ["For to us [in the New Testament times] was the gospel preached, as well as to them [of Old Testament times]: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." Hebrews 4:2.]  For they stumbled at that Stumblingstone; 33 as it is written, "Behold, I lay in Sion a Stumblingstone and Rock of offence: and whosoever believes on Him [as a Saviour] shall not be ashamed." [See Isaiah 8:14.]

Chapter 10:

1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might [all] 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 to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law [the completeness of it] for righteousness to every one that believes. 5 For Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law, "That the man which does those things shall live by them." [See Leviticus 18:5.] 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaks on this wise, "Say not in your heart, ‘Who shall ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7 or, ‘Who shall descend into the deep?’ (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)" 8 But what says it? "The word is nigh you, even in your mouth, and in your heart:" [see Deuteronomy 30:11-16] that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

9 that "if you shall confess with your mouth the LORD Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." 10 For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. 11 For the scripture says, "Whosoever believes on Him [as a Saviour] shall not be ashamed." [See Psalm 34:5.] 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same LORD over all is rich to all that call upon Him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" [Isaiah 52:7.]

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "LORD, who has believed our report?" [Isaiah 53:1.]

17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

18 But I say, "Have they [the people of the world] not heard?" Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.

["The heavens declare the glory of God [that He is the creator]; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them has He set a tabernacle for the sun . . ." Psalm 19:1-4.]

19 But I say, "Did not Israel know? [were they ignorant of this?]"

[I have two witnesses] First Moses says, "I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people [those that are not My representatives], and by a foolish nation [a "fool" is a rejecter of God] I will anger you." [Deuteronomy 32:21.]

20 But Isaiah is very bold [clear], and says, "I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest to them that asked not after Me [the publicans and sinners of the world, Matthew 21:31-32]." 21 But to Israel He says, "All day long I have stretched forth My hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people." [See Isaiah 65:1-2.]

Chapter 11:

1 I say then, Has God cast away [all] His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away [those of] His people which He foreknew [who have responded to His call]. Wot you not [do you remember] what the scripture says of Elijah? How he makes intercession to God against Israel, saying, 3 "LORD, they have killed Your prophets, and dug down Your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life." 4 But what says the answer of God to him? "I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal [the god of force and punishment]." [1 Kings 19:10,18.] 5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace [mercy].

6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

7 What then? Israel has not obtained that which he seeks for; but the election [the obedient group] has obtained it, and the rest were blinded 8 (according as it is written, "God has given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;)" to this day. [Isaiah 6:10.] 9 And David says, "Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling-block, and a recompense to them: 10 let their eyes be darkened that they may not see and [they] bow down their back always [submit to God’s way]."

[In the original it is written, "Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap [their eating habits and diet will cut them off from the truth]. Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake." Psalm 69:22-23. In another place God says, "I also will choose [give them] their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spoke, they did not hear: but they did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not." Isaiah 66:4. Another prophet says that this is fair. "O LORD, are not Your eyes upon the truth? You have stricken them, but they have not grieved; You have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return. Therefore I said, ‘Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not [refuse to know] the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God’." Jeremiah 5:3-4.]

11 I say then, Have they [all] stumbled that they should fall [forever]? God forbid: but rather through their fall [their choice] salvation is come to the Gentiles, for to provoke them [Israel] to jealousy [to raise up a desire to be saved].

12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as [even though] I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office [I would increase my work load]: 14 if by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh [get them to want to copy me], 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?

[This principle applies here: "And you has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience." Ephesians 2:1-2.]

16 For if the Firstfruit be holy [1 Corinthians 15:23], the lump [the rest of the harvest] is also holy: and if the Root be holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and you, being [from] a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partake of the Root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 boast not against the [broken] branches. But if you boast, [remember] you bear not the Root, but the Root you.

19 You will say then, "The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in." 20 Well [that’s true]; because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Be not highminded [proud], but fear: 21 for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not you.

22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity [strict justice] of God: on them which fell [by rejecting Him], severity [justice]; but toward you, goodness [mercy], if you continue in His goodness: otherwise you also shall be cut off.

23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in [again]: for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were 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? 25 For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery [a hitherto unexplained truth], lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [When all the world has to make a permanent choice some of the Jews will wake up too.]

26 And so all [spiritual] 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 [promise] to them, when I shall [be able to] take away their sins." [See Psalm 14:7; Isaiah 59:20-21.] 28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies [of God] for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes [Abraham, Isaac and Jacob]. 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance [without change]. 30 For as you 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 has concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all. 33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! [How wonderfully He works!] How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! 34 For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has been His counsellor [given Him advice]? 35 Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? 36 For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

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The past:

At the time of the Saviour's advent there were faithful men and women who had received with gladness the message of John the Baptist, and had thus been led to study anew the prophecies concerning the Messiah. When the new branch of the Christian church was founded, it was composed of these faithful Jews who recognized Jesus of Nazareth as the one for whose advent they had been longing. It is to this remnant that Paul refers when he writes, "If the First Fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the Root be holy, so are the branches."

The present:

At the time when Jerusalem was destroyed and the temple laid in ruins in 70AD, many thousands of the Jews were sold to serve as slaves in heathen lands. Like wrecks on a desert shore they were scattered among the nations. For nineteen hundred years the Jews wandered from land to land throughout the world, and in no place were they given the privilege of regaining their ancient/ prestige as a nation. Maligned, hated, persecuted, from century to century theirs has been a heritage of suffering. Not until 1948 were they able to re-establish themselves as a nation in Canaan.

Notwithstanding the awful doom pronounced upon the Jews as a group at the time of their rejection of Jesus of Nazareth, there have lived from age to age many noble, God-fearing Jewish men and women who have suffered in silence. God has comforted their hearts in affliction and has beheld with pity their terrible situation. He has heard the agonizing prayers of those who have sought Him with all the heart for a right understanding of His word. Some have learned to see in the lowly Nazarene whom their forefathers rejected and crucified, the true Messiah of Israel. As their minds have grasped the significance of the familiar prophecies so long obscured by tradition and misinterpretation, their hearts have been filled with gratitude to God for the unspeakable gift He bestows upon every human being who chooses to accept Christ as a personal Saviour. It is to this class that Isaiah referred in his prophecy, "A remnant shall be saved." Isaiah 10:22.

From Paul's day to the present time, God by His Holy Spirit has been calling after the Jew as well as the Gentile. "There is no respect of persons with God," declared Paul. Romans 2:11. The apostle regarded himself as "debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians," Romans 1:14, as well as to the Jews; but he never lost sight of the decided advantages possessed by the Jews over others, "chiefly, because that to them were committed the oracles of God [the Old Testament]." Romans 3:2. "The gospel," he declared, "is the power of God to salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’." Romans 1:16-17. It is of this gospel of Christ, equally efficacious for Jew and Gentile, that Paul in his epistle to the Romans declared he was not ashamed.

The future:

When this gospel shall be presented in its fullness to the Jews, many will accept Christ as the Messiah. Among Christian ministers there are only a few who feel called upon to labour for the Jewish people; but to those who have been often passed by, as well as to all others, the message of mercy and hope in Christ is to come.

In the closing proclamation of the gospel, when special work is to be done for classes of people hitherto neglected, God expects His messengers to take particular interest in the Jewish people whom they find in all parts of the earth. As the Old Testament Scriptures are blended with the New in an explanation of the LORD God's eternal purpose, this will be to many of the Jews as the dawn of a new creation, the resurrection of the soul. As they see the Christ of the gospel dispensation portrayed in the pages of the Old Testament Scriptures, and perceive how clearly the New Testament explains the Old, their slumbering faculties will be aroused, and they will recognize Christ as the Saviour of the world. Many will by faith receive Christ as their Redeemer. To them will be fulfilled the words, "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." John 1:12.

Among the Jews are some who, like Saul of Tarsus, are mighty in the Scriptures, and these will proclaim with wonderful power the immutability of the law of God. The God of Israel will bring this to pass in our day. His arm is not shortened that it cannot save. As His servants labour in faith for those who have long been neglected and despised, His salvation will be revealed.

"Thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify My name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine." Isaiah 29:22-24.

oooOooo

Conclusion:

So we can see from these verses that no matter how many Jews there are in the modern land of Israel, Old Jerusalem can never be built up as God’s city. Not until all spiritual Israel are gathered together in the NEW Jerusalem can the promises given to Abraham be fulfilled,


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
Next query. To be discussed from May 1st, 2006.

Acts 15:

13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, hearken to me: 14 Simeon has declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16  “After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 that the residue of men might seek after the LORD, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My name is called, says the LORD, who does all these things.”

 18 Known to God are all His works from the beginning of the world. 19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20  but that we write to them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 

 Who is this James?  and why is he pronouncing the decision of the council?


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