Friday, March 23, 2007

All Israel Will be Saved

Sir Jason submits this highly intriguing mystery to the Round Table for consideration and prayer...

Romans 9:18-33

Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he says in Hosea:

"I will call them 'my people' who are not my people;
and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one,"
and,
"It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them,
'You are not my people,'
they will be called 'sons of the living God.' "

Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:
"Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality."

It is just as Isaiah said previously:
"Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants,we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah."

What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." As it is written:
"See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."


Romans 10

Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will live by them." But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down) "or 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?" Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:
"Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."

Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,
"I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding." And Isaiah boldly says,
"I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me." But concerning Israel he says,
"All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people."


Romans 11

I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don't you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: "Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me"? And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal." So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written:
"God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day." And David says:
"May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever."

Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!

I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
"The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."

As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you. For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

"Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"

"Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?"

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

To him be the glory forever! Amen.


Question 1

Why is it necessary for "Israel's heart to be
hardened" for the gentiles to be saved?

Question 2

What does "all Israel will be saved mean" if in fact
about thirty generations of Jews have died in error?

Sir Jason

14 comments:

  1. I'll suggest a possibility for your second question, Sir Jason. Hints...

    Romans 9:6b ...For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.

    10:11 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."


    Perhaps The Apostle is drawing this distinction as a prelude to 11:26. And by saying "All Israel" he is referring to "everyone who calls [or called] on the name of the Lord". Therefore, the thirty generations prior to the appearance of Christ would be part of Israel and saved simply if they had believed in the Lord and called on His Name, whether it was Jehovah, God, Lord, etc.

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  2. Perhaps The Apostle is drawing this distinction as a prelude to 11:26. And by saying "All Israel" he is referring to "everyone who calls [or called] on the name of the Lord".
    ___________________________
    That is "Christ's Church". Why say "all Israel"?

    Sir Jason

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  3. Question 1

    Why is it necessary for "Israel's heart to be
    hardened" for the gentiles to be saved?

    This is a difficult question. I am not sure it can be answered with the degree of wisdom we have on this earth. This quote from the New Living Translation might be of some help, though I can't be certain.

    Romans 11:11 Did God's people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! His purpose was to make his salvation available to the Gentiles, and then the Jews would be jealous and want it for themselves. 12 Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the Jews turned down God's offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when the Jews finally accept it.

    On the other hand, I believe the whole issue of predestination and free will is at a level of understanding that is beyond us. I believe that a wise person has a certain "intellectual humility" in simply drawing a line and saying "I understand this far, but not beyond." The explanations I have seen tend to either make God appear unjust, a grave error, or to limit the power of God, an equally grave error.

    How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

    Question 2

    What does "all Israel will be saved mean" if in fact
    about thirty generations of Jews have died in error?

    I think the answer this one is in the use of the Greek word:

    All = pas {pas}. Apparent the " all" is not as inclusive as our use of the word.

    1) individually
    a) each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything
    2) collectively
    a) some of all types
    ++++
    ... "the whole world has gone after him" Did all the world go after Christ? "then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan." Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem, baptized in Jordan? "Ye are of God, little children", and the whole world lieth in the wicked one". Does the whole world there mean everybody? The words "world" and "all" are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture, and it is very rarely the "all" means all persons, taken individually. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts -- some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile ...
    C.H. Spurgeon from a sermon on Particular Redemption

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/cgi-bin/words.pl?book=Rom&chapter=11&verse=26&strongs=3956&page=

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  4. That is "Christ's Church". Why say "all Israel"?

    Perhaps so as to not exclude those righteous of faith who preceded "the Christ"? Hard to classify David as of "Christ's church", but he was a man after God's heart. So of those 30 generations who preceded Christ, those who were men of women of God's heart, were clearly "of Israel", but not as clearly of "Christ's church" (even though in fact, they were...)

    Sir C

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  5. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts -- some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile ...

    circumstance certainly seems to have restricted it to Gentile

    Sir Jason the Vexed

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  6. circumstance certainly seems to have restricted it to Gentile

    Not sure I follow...how so?

    Sir C

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  7. circumstance certainly seems to have restricted it to Gentile

    Not sure I follow...how so?
    ____________________________

    They've fought 2000 years to survive. They don't see Christ for our ancestors did the devil the favor of obscureing Him. What they see is that they are being asked to betray their family, kin, and country and become a lackey of The Bully.

    Sir Jason

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  8. They've fought 2000 years to survive. They don't see Christ for our ancestors did the devil the favor of obscureing Him. What they see is that they are being asked to betray their family, kin, and country and become a lackey of The Bully.

    Sir Jason
    ___________________________
    And I do know that not merely because of what I read but identification. I have long felt the odd man out. I am an intellectual in a lower-middle class church, and an Elder Brother
    in a church of Prodigal Sons. I am also a Victorian in a nation ruled by hippies and yuppies. They survived by their intense tribalism -without becoming degraded or barbaric(like so many oppressed people do). It is a pity if the same thing is their doom. The Grand Inquisitor has a lot to answer for.

    Sir Jason the Vexed

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  9. I am also a Victorian in a nation ruled by hippies

    Hey, don't talk about your mom and dad like that! :-)

    Sir C

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  10. They've fought 2000 years to survive. They don't see Christ for our ancestors did the devil the favor of obscureing Him. What they see is that they are being asked to betray their family, kin, and country and become a lackey of The Bully.

    This observation, I think, goes back to your initial question, on why their hearts must be (have been) hardened to the Word of Christ.

    My thoughts lead back to Paul's analogy of the ingrafted branches. That whole analogy tells us that God's way to make room on the main vine was to cut off branches of unbelief. Can't graft without cutting. But then (and I think this the most intriguing mystery) He can (and apparently will) turn their hearts back to Him, and re-graft them to the Vine.

    And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

    So, apparently, when the Vine is small, God needs to make room (faster than the Vine is growing). Maybe that is these last 2,000 years. At some point, the rate of growth of the Vine allows both new, wild branches and the old branches that have been renewed to be grafted back in. That should come near the end of our time, because when the "all Israel", including those faithful to G_d (but deniers of Christ) are shown and see Christ through the truth of righteousness, then "all Israel" (true believers) will be saved.

    Satan will be knocked out of the way, and fears of betrayal of religion will not stand in the Light of Christ's presence.

    Having said all that, I have to agree with Sir John that some things are beyond us...and that last day will probably hold some surprises for us all.

    So much the better; what fun would faith be without a little mystery?

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  11. I have long felt the odd man out.

    Sir Jason, consider a slight change of perspective. Consider yourself the odd man in...:-)

    Your brother in Christ...

    Sir Chuck

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  12. For the matter of that it is arguable
    that it was Jesus' generation that consciously "rejected Jesus". That the following simply rejected the Church and not the Church the Bride of Christ, but the Church the Earthly institution. More important God works on men's hearts as appropriate to them and one who is willing would be saved even at the last momment.
    Hope is Israel's song and the uncanny thought arises that it means more then the writer intended.

    Sir Jason

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  13. Chuck do you know what the association of the "shield of faith" would be to the Corinthians? The rim
    of a large Greek shield(perhaps less for Roman's) belonged to the comrade on the warriors left. Thank you for covering me Chuck.

    Sir Jason

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  14. Hope is Israel's song and the uncanny thought arises that it means more then the writer intended.

    Uncanny thought, indeed.

    Thank you for covering me Chuck.

    Honored to have thy flank, kind Sir. And to have thee on mine.

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