All Israel Will Be Saved – Part 2
ROMANS 11:7 AND ROMANS 11:26
Be sure to read the first installment of this study. In this second installment of our (brief) examination of Romans 11:25-27, I want to look at Romans 11:25-27 in light of Romans 11:7. Romans 11:7 is one of the most ignored verses in discussions concerning Israel’s kingdom hope: “Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Paul emphatically says that the elect, the righteous remnant, was, when he wrote, obtaining that for which Israel sought! Do you catch the power of that?
Paul’s affirmation cannot be over emphasized, or mitigated. However you define the hope of Israel, Paul said the remnant was receiving it in the first century! (See my We Shall Meet Him In the Air: The Marriage of the King of kings, in which I extensively catalogue the hope of Israel under several headings).
Millennialists seek to deflect the power of this argument by saying Paul was speaking of the spiritual promises made to Abraham, not the nationalistic promises. We can’t address this fully, but let me address one central tenet of Millennialism.
Millennialists claim that the church was not predicted anywhere in the Old Testament. This means that the church was not what Israel sought for. The Millennialists argue that the hope of Israel was the kingdom. This means that Romans 11 destroys the millennial doctrine! Notice the argument:
The church was not the hope of Israel (Millennialism).
The Messianic kingdom was the hope of Israel.
Paul said the remnant was receiving the hope of Israel.
Therefore the remnant was receiving the Messianic Kingdom, the hope of Israel.
Paul said he preached nothing but the hope of Israel found in Moses and the prophets (Acts 24:14f; 26:6f; v. 21f). What he preached was what Israel was looking for. Paul said the remnant was receiving the hope of Israel in the first century! (This means that the millennial contention that the Messianic kingdom offer was postponed is falsified). Let’s tie these concepts together.
That for which Israel sought in Romans 11:7 is the salvation promised in Romans 11:26f.
The remnant was already entering into that salvation when Paul wrote (Romans 11:7).
The salvation promised in Romans 11:26f would be completed (consummated) at Christ’s coming in fulfillment of Isaiah 27 and Isaiah 59.
But, Isaiah 27 and Isaiah 59 would be fulfilled in the AD70 judgment of Israel for shedding the blood of the martyrs (Matthew 23).
Therefore, that for which Israel sought, the kingdom and salvation, was completed, (consummated) at Christ’s AD70 coming in the judgment of Israel for shedding the blood of the martyrs.
So, in Romans 11:7 we find powerful and unequivocal proof that Israel’s kingdom hope, Israel’s eschatological hope was being fulfilled in the first century. This means that the fulfillment of Romans 11:25f, being part of that hope, was not in some far distant future. Here is the reason why.
In Romans 9:26-29 as Paul discussed the salvation of Israel – specifically the righteous remnant of Israel – he said this:
Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:
“Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved.
For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.”
And as Isaiah said before:
“Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”
Just as Isaiah (and Hosea) had foretold the salvation of a righteous remnant of Israel, Paul said that the righteous remnant was being saved in his day. After all, he was part of that remnant, and he was helping to gather the remnant.
A couple of things stand out here. First is the fact that just as in Isaiah and Hosea, the original promise of the salvation of the remnant was given in the context of impending judgment! It was not some generic statement or timeless promise. If the Lord was only going to save a remnant, what was He saving them from? That original promise was given in face of the impending destruction at the hands of the Assyrians. Judgment was near, but, the Lord would save a remnant!
Likewise, in the first century, Paul knew that judgment was coming. In fact, that judgment – the judgment on Israel – was going to be so severe that “unless those days be shortened, even the elect would perish” (Matthew 24: ).
It was in the face of that coming judgment that Paul could cite Isaiah and Hosea as God’s promise to save the righteous remnant. To overlook the judgment context of the salvation of the remnant is to ignore a key hermeneutical element of Paul’s discussion.
The next thing to notice is that Paul promised that the work of the salvation of the remnant would not be a long drawn out, protracted (or postponed!) process: “A short work will the Lord make on the earth”; He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness.” This “cutting short” is from suntemnon.
Thayers says of suntemnon (p. 606)– “To cut short, briefly, execute or finish quickly…to bring a prophecy or decree speedily to accomplishment, Romans 9:28).”
A check of 36 translations reveals that it is translated “with speed”, “without hesitation or delay”, “swiftly” “with speed,” “short” (twelve times), quickly (nine times), “soon.”
So, suntemnon, means without delay, quickly, soon, short, without hesitation, “to bring to accomplishment speedily.”
This means that if the salvation of “all Israel” in Romans 11 is the consummation of the process of saving the remnant of chapter 9-10, that no matter what our concept of “all Israel” might be, it was not to be a long drawn out process. Paul’s promise all Israel will be saved, must be interpreted within the confines of that “He will cut it short.”
This nullifies the view of those who claim that the salvation of “all Israel” refers to the salvation of “spiritual Jews” (with no connection to the righteous remnant of Old Covenant Israel) that takes place throughout the entirety of the Christian age until the so-called end of time.
In preparation for our public debate of 2016, Dr. David Hester said that Romans 11:25f referred to the salvation of people that will be converted until the end of time. Hester’s problem was that he initially said that Romans 11 has nothing to do with Christ’s “Second Coming.” But, after I demonstrated that it is directly related to that, he changed his argument, in mid-debate- and said that Romans 11 is about the conversion of individuals throughout the Christian age and until the end of time. When I pointed out that this demands that Romans 11 is, after all, about the Second Coming, he refused to discuss Romans 11 again. (A book of our debate, entitled: The Resurrection of the Just and the Unjust is available from Amazon and Kindle).
This idea that Romans 11 and Paul’s discussion of the salvation of “all Israel” referring to the conversion of individuals throughout the Christian age is likewise the view of N. T. Wright who expressed his views:
“The high probability then seems to be that whenever one or more Jews become ‘jealous’ and turn in faith to the God who has now revealed his covenant plan and purpose in the Messiah (10:1f) that event ought to be understood by the church, particularly its gentile members, not as a peculiar or even unwelcome event, but as another bit of ‘resurrection,’ to be celebrated as such.” (N. T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, (Minneapolis; Fortress, 2013, Vol. II),1200- His emphasis).
This view is not tenable in light of Romans 9:28. The span of 2000 years since Paul promised that the consummation of the salvation of the remnant would not be a long, drawn out work cannot be harmonized with these views. Two thousand years is not a “short work.” It is not a work that is “cut short.” Wright does not try to harmonize Romans 9:28 with Romans 11:25f. As is his usual tendency, he avoids any in-depth discussion of the first century imminence of the parousia.
So, when Paul wrote of the coming salvation of “all Israel” in Romans 11:25f we must consider that historically, YHVH had always only saved a remnant and had always only promised to save a remnant in the last days at the Day of the Lord. Thus “all Israel” is the totality of the righteous remnant. They would be delivered from the impending judgment, the judgment foretold by the prophecies that Paul cited, Isaiah 27 and Isaiah 59, as well as entering fully into the realization of the “hope of Israel” the “salvation of your soul” (1 Peter 1:9-10).
What all of this means is that as we pointed out in the first article, the prophetic background and source of Romans 11 falsifies any application of that text to a future coming of Christ. It was fulfilled in the AD 70 coming of Christ in judgment of the Jews for shedding innocent blood.
This fits perfectly with Paul’s affirmation that the salvation of the remnant was taking place in the first century.
The promise of the salvation of the remnant carried with it the implicit threat of impending judgment.
Paul promised that the process of the salvation of the remnant would not be a long process. The Lord would cut short that work and bring it to its consummation.
Thus, when we tie these pieces together, it is a violation of proper hermeneutic and exegesis to prolong the fulfillment of Romans 11:25-27 into our future, to be fulfilled at a proposed “end of time” coming of the Lord. Paul’s promise: “All Israel will be saved” is fulfilled!
In our next and final article in response to the Objection, we will take a look at the book of Revelation and how John’s promise of the coming salvation of the 144,000 is the same as Paul’s promise of the salvation of “all Israel.” And that article will further confirm our analysis that shows that the salvation of Israel would be at the time of the judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood- which took place in AD 70. Stay tuned!