All Israel Shall Be Saved

The Apostle Paul lamented the situation with regard to his physical Kinsmen not being afforded Salvation in this age.  You would think they’d be THE Prime Candidates for Salvation, though History has proven otherwise!

© Rich Traver,  81520-1411,  12-12-05    [ 77 ]

Perhaps one of the most perplexing situations in all of religion throughout the last twenty centuries is the obvious fact that those peoples who we would rate most likely to become converted in the Church Era are not!  Nor is it likely that they will be any time soon.  Considering Israel’s vast history and long relationship with their God, it would seem that these peoples would be perfect candidates for salvation, once it became fully available.  Yet, that isn’t the case.  We see the Jewish peoples of the first century and onward, for the most part, rejecting their Messiah and True Paschal Sacrifice.  No more than a very few, referred to in the New Testament and Old as only a ‘remnant’, are recipients of this Covenant of Promise, and based not on ethnicity, which we might have expected, but rather on the election and foreknowledge of God.

The Apostle Paul says much regarding this matter pointedly addressing it in three chapters of the Book of Romans:  Those being chapters 9 thru 11.

We have to ask: “What is God doing?”  Why isn’t there a better response rate from among the Jewish peoples?  What’s the problem here?

The Apostle Paul entertained the same questions.  He saw the situation and lamented in chapter 9 verses 1 to 5:  “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not,  my conscious also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.  For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;  Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came,…”  These people, who had the most going for them, are unexplainedly not responding to God’s salvation!  This seems illogical!

Paul states emphatically, even considering becoming accursed for them, that he’d sacrifice his own salvation if it’d make any difference, but knew it wouldn’t!  Do we understand what has happened?

Salvation to Israel?

God promised Israel a Messiah.  He stated very plainly that He would bring salvation to the nation. Yet, when we flip through the pages of history, we find no such thing.  He came as a Messiah that did not exactly match their conceptions.  They rejected Him as such.  But further, the promise of national reunification and salvation is also absent from their experience so far.

More than that, we find the nation being blinded!  Not saved, (except for a very few) but deliberately set aside!  It has been Israel’s experience this far that the major salvation promised is yet unrealized. 

Now, when we realize that the Lord God of the New Testament is the same Being who we read of in the Mosaic writings and in the prophets, (Luke 24:27) it becomes an even more perplexing situation.  Their God, the One who was the instrument of God in confirming the Covenant with Abraham, (Gal. 3:17) the one who led them in the wilderness, (1st Cor. 10:4) the One who gave them the Commandments and made the Sabbath, He being the One who rested, seems now rather cool toward His people, choosing now to blind them rather than save them en masse!  That’s what Paul here says, and for that matter, we find Christ’s words to the same effect! (Mt. 13:15)

When Will This BE?

A religious scholar on TBN recently predicted that we would see a vast number from the Jewish Community ‘come to Christ’ in the weeks and months before the Great Tribulation.  It may even be in response to ‘the rapture’ he speculated.  Such an occurrence would satisfy to his mind the scripture that says all Israel shall be saved.  (Romans 11:26 interpreting Isaiah 59:20 and 60:21)  But does this satisfy the stated intent of scripture?  That might to some degree provide access for a relative few living now to ‘the promises’, but it would leave the vast majority of Israelites who ever lived never having had such advantage.  They’re in their graves, unaware, (or are they in the flames of eternal hell, as some insist is the certain condition of all who’ve died unconverted)?

Another major consideration is the term ‘all Israel’.  Modern christian theology has dedicated itself to not knowing the identities of the peoples of Israel.  They concoct prophetic fulfillment scenarios with no apparent consciousness of the identities of the nations and peoples of Israel, alleging that the Jews are all of Israel.  Ignoring the well documented divided monarchy and the formation of two separate nations after the reign of Solomon, ignoring their separate national histories thereafter, they speak as though these peoples don’t exist.  They refer to and visualize only the Jews when Israel is mentioned in the Bible.

The Jews represent only a remnant of the smaller southern kingdom of Judah, that nation taken captive by Babylon a century and a quarter later than their compatriots to the north.  The larger nation, Israel, at least those few who didn’t flee, was deported to the north toward Caucasia by Assyria in the eighth century BC and never returned to their land as did the Judahites under Cyrus of Persia.

Who IS Israel?

When we read verses such as “blindness in part is happened to Israel”, we tend to think of just the Jewish nation, largely as a result of our religious conditioning.  But the same is true of the rest of Israel.  And it’s this fact that may help explain the deliberate rejection of any consideration of the subject of the identities of the peoples of greater Israel, the so called “Lost 10 Tribes”, that affects nearly all of the professing christian world.

Is this rejection itself one manifestation of that blindness?  Considering it from another angle, why would religious people not want to know who the peoples of Israel are?  Especially when considering that their identities are key to understanding many prophetic scenarios!  Well, there is at least one reason and it has to do with the Law. But to pursue that aversion here would divert us from the basic question that is the subject of this article.  Let’s let this suffice to at least point out the fact that the Jews comprise only a small portion of the peoples of Israel, and when we read of them in Bible prophecy, we should not lose sight of the fact that the greater portion of them are ‘blinded’ to certain things, even their own ethnic origin.  God knows who they are even if the religious don’t care to.  We should keep in mind the prophecy of Ezekiel 37, where in their resurrection God is going to reunite the two national houses:  Israel and Judah.[1]  But then, this detail also raises ‘issues’ among end-time prophecy devotees.  Not all can accommodate a resurrection, let alone a physical resurrection, into their ‘going-to-heaven (or hell) theology’.  Despite being Biblical, this also will not do in typical religianity!

Blindness to What?

When we understand who, we can better understand the dynamics of this condition.  Identifying the Jews only as being Israel brings us to the issues that exist among Judaic persuasions.  But once we understand that Israel is a greater ethnicity than just the Jewish peoples, we can better comprehend the full dimensions of the condition.

The descendants of the Kingdom of Judah tend to embrace Judaism, but the descendants of the Kingdom of Israel tend toward Christian persuasions.  The point of this observation is to ask, Could the statement of ‘the conclusion of blindness’ affect both houses similarly?  This may provide a second subliminal reason why the christian community doesn’t want to pursue knowing the identities of the peoples of Israel.  While most of what is called christianity distances itself from obligation to keep the Law, especially the more evangelical, yet they will acknowledge the Jews’ obligation to keep it.  When the matter of the rest of the peoples of Israel comes into the discussion, a very obvious question emerges.  A question typically ‘cut off at the pass’!  So long as we don’t allow ourselves to know the identities of the peoples of the northern house, we can avoid asking that.  At least for the present!

Hand-in-glove with that is the other question.  If greater Israel is non-Jewish, then is it similarly ‘blinded’, and if so, in what areas?  Well, could this identity issue be one of those areas?  If something IS true, and people refuse to consider it, what do we call that, enlightenment?

The Truth is a network of interdependent components.  When one area becomes distorted or deficient, it can skew other doctrinal areas.  It was a perceptual anomaly regarding the true Nature of God that impacted the Jew’s from being able to fully accept their Messiah.  This pre-established ‘blindness’ contributed much to their being non-receptive. [2]  A distorted view as to the effectiveness of the Law in attaining a state of righteousness was another.  Paul addresses that issue also in these three chapters of Romans referenced earlier.

So we see two or three important issues already.  Israel (the Jews at least) is blinded in their conception of the identity of their GOD, their view as to the efficacy of the Law in attaining a state of righteousness and the identities of their own peoples.  As it turns out, their Israelite brothers to the north have problems in these same areas, but in different ways:  The Nature of God, the place and purpose for the Law and ignorance of their ethnic identities, (which furthers misconceptions with regard to the need for Law in the Christian life).

Hardened Hearts?

We all know the story of Pharaoh of the Exodus whose heart was hardened to further God’s purpose.  But in Romans 9:17-20, Paul uses that same situation to address the issue of hardened hearts among us.  By ‘shadow-arguing’ with an imaginary opponent, who argues that it isn’t a person’s individual fault if he’s not converted, because God removes his choice!  Paul’s counter is that though the major segment of humanity isn’t called, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to not make effort.  Yes, only a certain few are ‘called’, and the rest are blinded, but NOT to negate personal choice.  But fault is an appropriate topic of discussion.  We shouldn’t fault the overwhelming majority who are not being called, but we also shouldn’t use the matter of God hardening peoples’ hearts as an excuse for non-response.  It’s the old double-bind!  Someone with enough awareness to pose that defense is sufficiently aware to not have that excuse.

But, here’s the odd thing.  After stating that Salvation is of the Jews, [3] and after forming and representing Israel as His model nation from the time of Abraham, and after coming to His own people, to whom He gave the Promises and the Law, and with whom He made the Covenant, yet He allowed (or caused?) that nation to become sufficiently blinded to where they could not accept Him and His Salvation!  Then He calls out a few also from the Gentiles to provoke them to jealousy! [4] God promised them Salvation, but seemingly denied them it for all time.  They’re dead, most of them, and beyond hope, as Ezekiel 37:11 cites them as saying.  Cut off from not only their national (reunification) hope, but any individual personal hope!  (At least, we’d have to conclude that they have no hope, unless there is a resurrection allowing them an opportunity to respond!  This is a serious theological ‘problem area’ under some religious persuasions!)

In Romans 9:18 we read,  “Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.”  Later in 11:7, “What then? Israel has not obtained that which he seeks for; but the election has obtained it, and the rest were blinded (As it is written, God has given them a spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.”  And in 11:25, “For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery,..that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”  Then verses 26 & 32, “And so all Israel shall be saved:... For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.”

Now, Paul calls this a ‘mystery’!  And from the perspective of typical religion, it remains an unexplainable one.  You see, in order for all Israel to become ‘saved’, though having been blinded, there must be a restoration to life for the vast majority of Israel who is long deceased!  Not only a resurrection to sentencing, which could be accomplished relatively quickly, but to opportunity to become converted, to accept God’s Truth and live out a life in and by His Spirit, which takes time.  To ‘unlock’ this mystery, many prominent and ‘accepted’ religions will need to revise their theology!

It Wasn’t the Plan!

Despite what people think, God never intended to call the majority from every age right at the beginning.  His intent was to call a few, according to His mercy and Grace, and to leave the rest clueless.  Now He says that the result of this approach would be to ultimately see a vastly greater number saved.  Being ignorant of God’s Truth in sufficient degree, protects the casual or disinterested individual from rejecting, and therefore losing, their opportunity. “…for God has concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all Leaving people in the ‘unaware, unconverted’ state effectively protects them from risk of losing it in this age. “…and so all Israel shall be saved” is the final outcome.

Does this resolve the mystery?  It doesn’t if you don’t believe in the resurrection, especially that one that provides opportunity, in the flesh, for the blinded ones to become enlightened and receive the call to truly follow God’s Way of Life, the life He personally demonstrated for us, and which He is presently living in those who have been called and chosen and who He is presently justifying, toward ultimate ‘glorification’!  (Romans 8:30)

Has God cast off His people?  In Romans 11:1 Paul asks the question. Even now, He has a few reserved for salvation, though the majority are blinded. 

But, behind Israel, we have all the nations that are not blessed with the opportunity for understanding that physical Israel had.  Resurrected and reunified Israel will see what God’s grace and Spirit can do even with Gentiles, and will be provoked into responding more fervently than they ever would have otherwise. [5]  Following the lead of the Spirit Born Saints of God (His firstfruits), Israel will become that model nation they were originally created to be, showing the rest of the world God’s Truth and the Right Way.  “And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: For out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:3) This isn’t today!

We shouldn’t be perplexed as to why God isn’t calling everyone in this age, especially not that nation to whom He first promised.  The Plan in motion is designed to ultimately produce a vastly greater result than otherwise would be.  God is mercifully deferring the majority of peoples’ personal calling into the millennial age and the post-millennial resurrection period, when Satan and his destructive societal environment are absent.  When the actual results of God’s Salvation are plainly evident in the persons of the Saints of the Most High, made Spirit at this point in time, co-ruling with Christ on His Throne over all the Earth.[6]  The religious system now in effect will be gone, as will the political and educational systems as we know them.  The Cults of man will be discontinued, and the halls of ‘higher learning’ will be revamped and restructured to levels of Truth unattainable in this blinded society!  Only the ‘right people’ will occupy the seats of power.

This is the world condition in which “all Israel shall be saved.”  Not just the Jewish peoples but also the descendents of the ten tribes. “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 fullness? (Rom. 11:12) 

We’re all familiar with the oft-quoted passage that accentuates God’s characteristic: “ unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out.”  In fact, that verse is the conclusion of this very subject, found in Romans 11:33.  Understanding the answer to this matter involves identifying correctly who God is, who all of Israel is, the place for the various resurrections, the millennial rule of Christ and His Saints, and the role that God’s Law plays in His gracious master plan.                       


[1]  Ezekiel 37:23-24  “And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: …And David my servant shall be king over them;…”

[2]  See the articles: “Who IS the God of the Old Testament” and “The Deadly Revelation of Psalm 110”

[3]  John 4:22 citing Isaiah 2:3 and Romans 3:1-2

[4]  Romans 11:11

[5]  Romans 10:19-21 “…I will provoke you to jealousy…”

[6]  Revelation 5:10