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    FAQ 369
    How Will All Israel Be Saved?

    Q. Who is the part of Israel that has been blinded and what does it mean that all Israel will be saved in Romans 11:25-26? "For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 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; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins'" (Rom.11:25-26, NKJV). (SW, Germany, 26 December 2014)

    A. Three broad interpretations have arisen out of this controversial passage which hinges on an understanding of who "Israel" is.

    To Paul, Israel was the Judean nation consisting of those of the Tribes of Judah (who even then were mixed together with the descendants of Esau forcibly converted under the Hasmoneans) and Benjamin (Paul's own tribe) and the ten tribes yet in diaspora (collectively known as 'Ephraim', 'Joseph' or northern 'Israel') whom Paul also addresses, indicating he knew of their whereabouts, or at least the whereabouts of some of them.

    But what does Paul means by "all Israel"? Is he referring only to those of Judea (then a Roman province) and the known diaspora throughout the Roman Empire and elsewhere at that point of time? Or is he referring to Israel past, present, and future?

    The first contention can be dismissed on the ground that he is looking forwards prophetically to a point in time when "the fullness of the gentiles" comes to pass. At that moment - when the full compliment of gentiles have been converted to the Besorah (Gospel) and have been grafted in to Israel as adopted sons and daughters of Israel (Rom.11:13-24), the full compliment of blood-descended Israelites will be saved too. But are these only those who are alive at this point of time or is the apostle looking at a far wider picture?

    Clearly not every Israelite present and future will be saved. We can assert that because not every Israelite in the past has been saved. Rather, both then and now, and logically also in the future, many will be lost. And according to Scripture, in the last days, only a remnant of blood Israel will be saved (e.g. Is.10:21). That is the way it has always been and always will be because human nature has been consistent and there is no evidence that it will suddenly change when the full compliment of gentiles are saved. Human behaviour will remain as it is until the judgment and resurrection.

    Modern theologians and scriptorians try to equate the "Israel" Paul speaks of with either the modern Israeli Republican state and its Jewish citizens or with worldwide Jewry. In the mind of most Protestants and other Western Christians, Israel equals Jews. As we have established previously elsewhere, modern Jewry is mostly gentile in origin with fewer than 10% having any legitimate claim to literal descent from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (see What is a Jew?). Therefore it is quite erroneous to interchange Paul's "Israel" with modern-day Jews, or the Old Testament religion with modern-day Judaism. That a remnant within Jewry is somehow a part of this promise of "all Israel" being saved, when they accept the Messiah and His Besorah (Gospel), is clear, together with those 'blood gentile Jews' who accept the Messiah, and who together may perhaps be said to be - in today's parlance - 'Messianic Jews'. But in general, the Church's equation of "Israel" with 'Jews' is without justification.

    Overarching all of this is the very clear witness of Scripture that, in spite of your racial origin (whether of literal Israelite descent or not), salvation and membership of New Covenant Israel is solely a function of two things:

    • 1. Accepting Yah'shua (Jesus) as Messiah and as King of Israel; and
    • 2. Obeying the laws of the Kingdom of Israel, which is New Covenant Torah.

    Further, there is a substantial difference between being a descendant of Jacob, the fleshy deceiver, (which will not guarantee you either salvation or membership in the Úlite club of the saved called 'Israel') and being Israel the spiritual overcomer. You can be either the former or the latter as far as salvation is concerned, and therefore (if the latter) own citizenship in Yahweh's literal Kingdom. You can be a blood descendant of Jacob and not be saved or be an Israelite because the only "Israel of Elohim (God)" (Gal.6:6, NKJV) as opposed to mere 'Israel of the flesh' or 'Israel of the world' ('Jacob') is that Israel which accepts the legitimate Heaven-appointed King (Yah'shua/Jesus). The true Israel does not - and never can - consist of Presidents and Prime Ministers elected by Messiah-rejecting heathen in states established by man as opposted to the Hand of Elohim (God) as the first Israel was under Moses and Joshua because the latter was under a Divine Covenant where as the former is not. No gathering of the Israel of Elohim (God) can be accomplished save under Covenant with signs accompanying. New Covenant Israel with its legitimate King, Yah'shua (Jesus), remains in diaspora - ungathered - in metaphorical Egypt still awaiting its call to return home.

    The Israel that Paul speaks of to the Roman believers can only be referring to spiritual Israel - not the 'church' (which is lawless or Torahless) - but to those talmidim (disciples) trusting in Messiah who are living as much of the Torah that is possible while dispersed (in diaspora) in the nations. And though a tiny handfull are in the Promised Land, the land is not yet sanctified and King Messiah does not rule there under His Covenant. Therefore the 'Israeli Republic' is just like all the other nations. If one takes "all Israel" literally then it can only refer to true believers in Messiah who are Torah-obedient - past, present and future.

    That said and that being indisputably true, there is one other sense that must be understood if we are to paint a full and clear picture of what Paul is saying. If we are to look at this passage as referring to literal blood Israel, as it can be (and which is why there is so much confusion), then we must understand that "all Israel" can be represented by either a single Israelite person or a group of Israelite persons representationally. This is no better illustrated than in an incident from Israel's history during the time of the insurrection of King David's son, Absalom, who had seized power in Jerusalem and captured part of his father's family:

      "Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, 'Give counsel as to what we should do.' And Ahithophel said to Absalom, 'Go in to your father's concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; and all Israel [A] will hear that you are abhorred by your father. Then the hands of all who are with you will be strong.' So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the top of the house, and Absalom went in to his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel [B]. Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of Elohim (God). So was all the advice of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom" (2 Sam 16:20-23, NKJV).

    This act of multiple adultery by the rebel Absalom when he slept with his father's concubines would at length be known by "all Israel" [A] once the news had got around the nation. In this instance [A] every single Israelite would hear of Absalom's abhorrent act. The text then goes on to say that this treasonous and adulterous action was done "in the sight of all Israel" [B] which obviously cannot be understood to be literal since every citizen was not a physical witness of this action. Indeed, it can be argued, that unless Absalom actually had witnesses in the tent watching what he did, no one in Israel was an eye witness, so very clearly "all Israel" cannot have been a party to this directly. There would have been those on the street and court officials who witnessed the concibines taken to the tent, who witnessed Absalom go in, and perhaps even heard something, who could testify that the dastardly action took place and who then became representational witnesses for "all Israel". Remember also that during this wicked action, new Israelites would have been born and old Israelites would have died somewhere in the nation.

    The point is, "all Israel" does not have to be every single Israelite alive at any one point in historical time as this contextual use of the Hebrew language clearly demonstrates. Applying this to Paul's words as pertaining to blood Israelites in the time of the completion of "the fullness of the gentiles" which we are still waiting for (it has nothing to do with the capture of East Jerusalem by the Israelis in the 1967 war, incidentally [1]), we can readily understand that a representative remnant of blood Israelites accepting Yah'shua (Jesus) as both Messiah and the King of Israel could fulfil the criterion of being "all Israel", even though they are only a small fraction of the sum total of Jacob's physical seed.

    Combining both strands of the Pauline prophecy - the literal representational strand and the overarching spiritual strand - we can not only understand how "all Israel" will indeed be saved (a representative portion of the descendants of Jacob who accept Yah'shua/Jesus and Torah, together with grafted in, adopted gentiles who accept the same) but we can also understand why "blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles", and particularly as it relates to the harrassment of the tribe of Judah not only of Ephraim (the Ten Tribes - Is.11:13) but of the gentiles too who are so totally accepted and adopted as Israelites by Yahweh and are fruitful in the Kingdom whereas, they are not accepted by the unsaved. A time will come when the blinkers will come off their eyes and they will no longer be able to deny that Yahweh has blessed and exalted both Ephraim and the gentiles, to Judah's exclusion, caused by the blindness and murderousness of Zionism and the paganism of Moloch-worshipping Judaism. But first the full compliment of Ephraim and the gentiles must be completed before they will finally see the emet (truth).

    Two final points. The first is that the majority of Messianic Jews are almost certainly not saved Judahites but Edomites, Khazars and others, so they do not play a part in the realisation or fulfilment of this prophecy. Jews are not a race per se but members of a multi-racial religion and/or culture called 'Judaism' even though they like to think of themselves as one and have man-made rules about matrilineage [2]. Yahweh views them like everyone else coming to Messiah - it's a level playing field.

    Second, just as there is rampant confusion between understanding what a 'Jew' and 'Judahite' are, there is as much confusion as to what a 'gentile' is. In today's Judaism, whose racial definitions have been been swallowed hook, line and sinker, by the Western Church, the biblical distinction of Judahite-Gentile/Ephraimite has been transmuted and confused into a false dichotomy of Jew-Goy (Gentile), made all the more confusing by English Bible translations. However, just as 'Judahite' (Yehudi) and modern Jew are not equivalent, neither are the Gentile/Ephraimite and the modern Goy/Gentile. Indeed, the irony of the confusion is that in the same way that, as we have seen in Romans 11:25-26, spiritual Israel bears heavier weight than the representative remnant of blood Israel, so in scripture "the term 'Gentile' bears heavier weight regarding a spiritual state (heathen) rather than one's birth lineage" and "there is no such thing as as a 'Gentile' in the Kingdom of Elohim" [3].

    There are two types of 'Gentile' in the Bible:

    • 1. A non-Israelite (Old or New Covenant); and
    • 2. A separated Ephraimite (10 tribes, Northern Kingdom of Israel).

    Today a 'gentile' is defined as a 'non-Jew' [4] but this is a Jewish definition rather than a biblical one, made confusing by the use of the word 'Jew' in English Bible versions in place of either a 'Judean' (citizen of the Roman Province of Judea) or a 'Judahite' (Yehudi - a blood descendant of the Tribe of Judah) [5].

    Avi ben Mordechai [6] makes a convincing case in identifying one category of gentile as "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt.10:6, NKJV), that is to say, the non-Judahite Israelite tribes of the diaspora (dispersion) living outside the Promised Land and originally as captives in Assyria but since dispersed far and wide [7]. They are 'gentile' not in terms of blood but because they have become spiritually heathen. Thus a 'gentile' may either be defined relative to blood (not a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) or one who is not of the Covenant, that is so say, not of the true faith. Thus, ironically, because of their claims, this would make unsaved Jews 'gentiles', turning their own definition on its head.

    So who are those afflicted by "blindness in part"? Those Israelites of all the tribes, Judahite as well as Ephraimite, who still don't know who they are still, and won't until the "fullness of the Gentiles" has arrived. Whether this point in time is before Messiah returns, or when He returns, is not as important as the fact that what matters is that everybody, Israelite and non-Israelite by descent, accepts Yah'shua (Jesus) and becomes Messianic Israelites because of their lineage or become adopted into Messianic Israel. Either way, they are equal citizens in the Kingdom, and it all boils down to obedience and faithfulness, not blood, because the essence of what it is to be an Israelite is, like Jacob at Peniel, to be an overcomer. We are made distinct or separate not because of our DNA but because of our obedient emunah (faith) in the One who has done all the saving for us, "lest anyone should boast" (Eph.2:9, NKJV). Thus "all Israel", the overcomers, will truly be saved.

    Endnotes

    [1] The thinking in this false Zionist theology is that the "fullness of the gentiles" was somehow linked to Jerusalem coming under Jewish (read 'Israelite') control and fulfulling prophecy, which it did not.
    [2] It is one of those anomalies of Judaism that claims matrilineal descend whilst the Torah is patrilineal, an illustration of the complete separation and polarisation of the former Old Covenant emunah (faith) of biblical Israel and the modern Jewish counterfeit - see the series, Jacob's Trouble for the complete story.
    [3] Gabriel Roth, Aramaic English New Testament (Netsari Press, USA: 2012), p.836
    [4] This is why Jews who become Messianics and call themselves 'Messianic Jews' are no longer, for the most part, regarded by the Jewish community as 'Jews' even though Messianic Jews continue to regard themselves as Jews and is why they retain the name. Two Messianic Jewish Bible translations (David Stern's Jewish New Testament or Complete Jewish Bible and Philip Goble's Orthodox Jewish Bible) underline this belief by cosmetically renaming, without warranty, the Epistle to the Hebrews (Ivrim in Hebrew) as 'Messianic Jews', in order to emphasise their cultural and religious affiliation and distinction. There is, strictly speaking, no such thing as a 'Messianic Jew', only 'Messianic Israelites' and later, as and when the tribes are truly identified and gathered, Messianic Ephraimites, Messianic Judahites, etc.. The terms 'Messianic Judaism' and 'Messianic Jews' are therefore misnomers and unbiblical.
    [5] See What is a Jew?
    [6] Avi ben Mordechai, Galatians: A Torah-Based Commentary in First-Century Hebraic Context (Millennium 7000 Communications Publication, Jerusalem: 2005), p.119
    [7] See the many articles in the Israel section

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    This page was created on 27 December 2014
    Last updated on 27 December 2014

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