Sunday, October 22, 2006

Count on it. There will come a time in the eschaton, when every single Jewish person will be saved - they will trust in Jesus Christ (Y'shua), their promised Messiah. When will this be? In the future, after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Rom 11:25).

As I was studying Romans 11 yesterday, I was overwhelmed with the future of God for ethnic, national Israel. Not the church, no replacement theology, not the "spiritual Israel" but national, ethnic Israel (an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, the tribe of Benjamin; cf. Rom 11:1).

It is clear from the book of Romans at large, that one of Paul's overarching themes is God's plan for both Jew and Gentile (cf. 1:13-14, 16-17). In Romans 11 Paul speaks of a metaphor that everyone in the first century would understand clearly. The metaphor was that of an olive tree and some wild branches that were grafted in to this olive tree. The point is simple. Israel is this olive tree. Yet, out of God's free and sovereign grace, he allowed some wild branches to be grafted in (i.e. the Gentiles). In the overall context of Romans and in the immediate context of Romans 9-11 (and especially 11:1), the terms Jew and Gentile are referring to nationalities. Those who are from the physical seed and line of Abraham and those who are not.

Then in verse 25 Paul declares the mystery of this - if there are any who still do not get the point: "a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in." In other words, God is working with the Gentiles now - the church. Then in v.26, the Greek particle houtos is used in a way that denotes result. It could be, "and thus [as a result of this] then All Israel will be saved" (v.26).

Here is the clincher that Paul is speaking of national, ethnic Israel all being saved in the eschaton. In v.26, Paul seals the argument by quoting Is 59:20 - "The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob." He then cites Is 59:21 - "This is my covenant with them (i.e. ethnic Israel - not the church), when I take away their sins."

After reading these marvelous verses on God's Sovereign plan of both Jew and Gentile, Paul concludes with this magnificent doxology which is also an apt conclusion to this post: Romans 11:33-36 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

2 comments:

Ruler of the Elves said...

Hey Geoff...you have a blog! On this particular entry, maybe you could further explain what "ethnic Israel" will look like at that time though. Israel as it stands today is not the group that He is refering to...there will be much weeding out first.

geoffrey kirkland said...

Aubz,

When I speak of national, ethnic Israel, I am not particularly referring to the modern-day country and nation of Israel - though they are included. I am speaking - more specifically - of all Jewish descendants by blood from the line of Abraham (Gen 12, 15, 17, etc).

I believe this will be in the eschaton. You're right. The nation of Israel THEN will be different the the nation of Israel is RIGHT NOW. I do understand that.

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