Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Does Romans 11 Teach a Future Salvation for National Israel?

Dispensationalists believe that Romans 11:25-27 teaches a future salvation for national Israel:
    Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

    "The Deliverer will come from Zion,
    he will banish ungodliness from Jacob";
    "and this will be my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins."
Once all the Gentiles are saved, God will once again turn his attention to the Jews and see to it that they come to Christ. Seems pretty straightforward, doesn't it? Perhaps -- at least until you get to verses 30-32:
    For just as you [Gentiles] were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
Contrary to what dispensationalists teach, Paul was speaking of salvation for the Jews in the present tense. How could the word "now" be interpreted any other way? Paul was, after all, a Jew who came to Christ.

Indeed, salvation was and is a present reality for both Jew and Gentile. In fact, Paul goes so far as to erase the distinction between the two in Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

So, no, Romans 11 does not teach a future salvation for national Israel. There was, is, and always will be one chosen people: the true Israel, the seed of Abraham, the elect, the bride of Christ.


Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Wow, what a timely post! I have always wondered about eschatology. I am presently non-committal between dispensationalist and covenant theology because of the hermeneutical difficulties between Israel and the Church. Typology and abuses of typology have always confounded me.

Grammatical-historical hermeneutic, inerrancy, typology, etc... all combined to make me non-committal on the eschatology issue.

P.D. Nelson said...

While I will agree with you that many dispensationalists teach this some Reformed ministers have also taught this. See this link:

Not to say that this is right but just saying that it isn't just dispensationalists who have held to this view.

Quintin said...

1 Timothy 2:12 "I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet."

Surely the interpretation of Galatians 3:28 should be that of a spiritual nature, not a physical one? Otherwise the above verse actually means nothing. Am I barking up the wrong tree?

I could not call myself pre-mill, I lean towards partial preterism, but I am currently studying out my eschatology. I firmly believe that eschatology should not be an issue that divides Christian fellowship.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"I firmly believe that eschatology should not be an issue that divides Christian fellowship."

Sounds good to me. What do you think of complementarian vs. egalitarian as an issue? Do you think it divides Christian fellowship?

Lee Shelton said...

P.D., you're right, and that's true even today. John MacArthur is one of the most prominent Reformed/Calvinist dispensationalists.

Lee Shelton said...

Quintin, I think Galatians 3:28 is actually more physical than spiritual. I just don't see how words like "slave" or "free" would fit into a spiritual context. But the point Paul is making in Galatians has to do with our position in Christ. He does not distinguish along racial, national, or ethnic lines.

Paul is dealing with a different issue in 1 Timothy. That has to do with our unique roles in the church, not our position in Christ.

I certainly would agree with you that eschatology shouldn't be an issue of division -- unless, of course, it is clearly unbiblical. For example, full or hyper preterism (in which one believes there will be no literal second coming of Christ) would make it difficult for fellowship. And I would classify John Hagee's brand of dispensationalism (in which one believes we shouldn't evangelize the Jews because God has a separate plan of salvation for them) is heretical.

For the record, I'm an amillennial orthodox (or partial) preterist. I may get into that in a later post, but eschatology is one of those issues where I know more about what I don't believe than what I do believe. :)

James said...

"Does God plan a future for Israel?"

God created Israel according to His purpose, which was to create a pattern of life towards God that Israel could not keep, but was commanded to do so under penalty of ‘cursing or blessing’ to show the future coming of the Messiah. All that patterned plan of God, the life style, their lifestyle toward God was to point like an arrow straight to Christ, so that at the coming of Jesus Christ, we who were to come after could be quickened to have faith to believe what was written in the past about He who was to and has come.
The Law was created to show those elect of God in the future, that by works of the Law no man would see God because no man could keep the Law accept the Son of God Jesus Christ. That is why Israel was told to keep the Law or die, cursing or blessing, so that the pattern would be recorded for the future elect of God in Christ Jesus, not that they could keep Law, they could not, it was for us to see and by God’s grace, be given life to see and understand and believe.
Jerusalem, the city of God, was not to be Israel’s future, but was to be the future of Jesus Christ and His body, His bride, the elect who had been ‘chosen by God before the foundation of the world.’ The individual Israelite will be saved only if God chose that person to be saved, Israelite or Gentile. Their future if saved by God will be with all believers in Jesus Christ, or destiny is the same, to be IN Jesus Christ. We are His body, His city, His bride, His Temple.
In John 2: 9-10 Jesus said, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up’, He was speaking of His body.’
In 1 Cor 3:16, God says, ‘Don’t you realize, know, that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?’ Isaiah 66: 1-2 We are also the body of Christ. 1Cor 12:27
The elect, the chosen of God are His body, we are His bride 2 Cor 11:2. In Rev 19: 7-8 ‘Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”
Heb 11 states that those whom God gave the faith to believe in God are the accepted. Heb 11: 39-40 says, ‘And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us (the believing by faith Jew), so that apart from us (the elect who believes by faith) they would not be made perfect (In Christ).’
In Rev 21: 9-10 Shows that the Elect of God, is the bride of Christ, the Holy City of the New Jerusalem, the temple of God, the body of Christ.
The true believers as the body of Christ are sitting IN Christ in the heavenly realms IN Christ Jesus, present tense. Eph 2:6 It is a mystery and it is wonderful. That is why no one can separate us from the love of God IN Christ Jesus, nor can anyone snatch us from the His hand, not even we ourselves can remove ourselves from God’s presence.
Rev 21: 22 “I saw no temple in it (the New Jerusalem) for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” 1Cor 3:16; Rom 16:20; Jn 2:9-10
Israel is the same as the unbelieving Gentile, without being quickened by God and given the faith to believe Israel is as lost as any unbelieving Gentile.
Israel’s only hope will be for God to quicken their beings, minds and understanding, then they be saved to eternal life with God by God and God alone, through the Lord Jesus Christ. That is Israel’s only hope as it is with all the peoples of the world. It comes down to who God the Father chose before the foundation of the world, to quicken to life, to have faith to believe. God chose us in Him, through Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world.

Lee Shelton said...

Well-stated, AWJ.

Kevin Williams said...

I recently gave a sermon on Jer 29:11 Christian, You Are Israel & God Only Has Thoughts of Love & Peace Towards You, which I think may be useful here as quite near the start (I think it's about 10-15 min in), we start page turning and looking at the weight of Scripture clearly teaching that all Christians are of Israel.

"In this sermon we look at how Scripture clearly teaches that all Christians are of Israel. And all of the promises to Israel apply to the believer. We look at the amazing lengths God goes to in His providential care and love for His Elect, His Chosen People."

Quintin said...


Thanks, I would agree that these are two separate issues but that Galatians 3 is a physical manifestation. Thanks for the clarification.

"eschatology is one of those issues where I know more about what I don't believe than what I do believe."

Amen, I know what you are talking about. My Pastor is a Post-Millennial partial preterist. But I know he doesn't take the thousand years as one thousand years... I used to think the lines were clear... He did explain, but I need to review the position.
Truth Unites...And Divides,
I think Lee said it well when he said "eschatology shouldn't be an issue of division -- unless, of course, it is clearly unbiblical"
Division occurs when incompatible beliefs are held dogmatically by members. As a complementarian, how can I belong to a church that is unashamedly egalitarian? They primarily use culture as their hermeneutic, the problem is not that they want a female pastor, it's that they do not wish to interpret the bible properly.

Now before there is a HUGE debate - just because beliefs are incompatible does not mean they cannot co-exist. But beliefs lead to actions, and it is the actions resulting from these beliefs that will cause division.

I have many friends that are pre-mill - their actions are very rarely based on their eschatology (they are just waiting). But if I believe it is wrong for a man to be under the pastoral authority of a woman, how can there not be division when a female pastor takes the pulpit? In my view I am partaking in sin.

Kevin Williams said...

One way division does occur over this, is the liberal Messianic Jew movement that started in the 70's, with ethnically Jewish believers worshiping in different churches.

Gordan said...

Good post, sir.

In addition, if you'll examine that text closely, there is not a point at which it is stated that the "partial hardening" on Israel would ever be "lifted" or removed.

That is another idea that is often placed into the text by Dispensationalists especially, who imagine a nationwide Revival/repentance at some later date.

And, may God deliver you from preterism, my brother. =)

The Militant Pacifist said...

My pastor authored an excellent book that addresses this issue (and others). I think you would find it insightful. See this link:


Unknown said...


For the record, I'm an amillennial orthodox (or partial) preterist. I may get into that in a later post, but eschatology is one of those issues where I know more about what I don't believe than what I do believe. :)

Hence...amillenial? :D

For what it’s worth, I grew up in the Hal Lindsey era and kept resetting my calendar for the return of Christ every few years. Somewhere I read that if a prophet’s prophecy doesn’t come to pass they should be stoned. Even so, I cooled on eschatology.

Recently, I have been wrestling with the issue again and exploring the 3/4 positions on this. MacArthur is certainly one I greatly respect as an expository preacher. But, dispensationalism strikes me as reading a lot into the Text. I have not rejected it outright, but it just doesn’t gel with my attempts to objectively approach the Text.

However, I am not familiar enough with the other positions to really land on another squarely. A while back, Monergism books was giving away free sermons on Revelation by Arturo Azurdia.

I have found them very helpful in exploring another take on eschatology, especially as a way to view Revelation. I would recommend that series to anyone wanting to look at Revelation from a non-dispensationalist view.

Sarah L. said...

I am still 'choking" on the concept that Israel and the Church are synonimous. Why does Paul still put distinctions on the two?

"All ISRAEL shall be saved" Rom 11:26

“ …the Jews refuse to accept the Good News, so they are God’s enemies. This has happened to help you who are not Jews. But the Jews are still God’s chosen people, and he loves them very much because of the promises he made to their ancestors. God never changes his mind about the people he calls and the things he gives them.” Rom 11:28-29 NCV

"So I ask: Did God throw out his people? No! I myself am an Israelite from the family of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God chose the Israelites to be his people before they wre born, and he has not thrown his people out...There are a few people that God has chosen by his grace. And if he chose them by grace. It is not for the things they have done. If they could be made God's people by what they did, God's gift of grace would not really be a gift..." Rom 11:1-6 (NCV)

"For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in;" Rom 11:25

And many other verses. Why doesn't he just say, the Church, or God's people? Instead of making racial differences between the two?

I agree, in Christ there is no difference between Jews, Gentiles, male, female etc. But does this nullify God's covenant to Abraham? To Abraham’s decendants? Not the Mosaic covenant, but the Abrahamic covenant. It isn’t that God can’t choose certain national groups. He chose Israel in the Old Testament and they were not saved by works. It isn't wrong for God to choose people of a certain nationality. Just as with Jacob and Esau, doesn't He have the right to choose national Israel regardless of what people think? As with Salvation, not because of what they have done but because of His choosing. They will not be saved by their ethnicity, but because of God's choosing them, as a people, of His own free will.

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, when the age to come has arrived, the Son of Man will sit on his great throne. All of you who followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matt 19:28

Isn't that still future? I don't remember that happening.

And what about Jeremiah 31? Especially verses 35-37:

The Lord makes the sun shine in the day and the moon and the stars to shine at night. He stirs up the sea so that its waves crash on the shore. The LORD All-Powerful is his name. This is what the Lord says: "Only if these laws should ever fail." says the LORD, "will Israel's descendants ever stop being a nation before me." This is what the Lord says: Only if people can measure the sky above and learn the secrets of the earth below, will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of what they have done," says the Lord.

I don't think that those laws ever failed.

Where is Israel not significant before God anymore?

Excuse me if I seem harsh... I am just don't understand exactly how one can come to the viewpoint, using Scripture, that God is totally done with Israel as a nation. I don't see the proof.

Thanks for 'hearing' me out :)

Lee Shelton said...

Sarah, I can sum up my position in three words: context, context, context. Don't separate what you read in Romans 11 from the rest of the book -- especially chapters 9 and 10.

By the time we get to chapter 11, Paul has just finished explaining who the true Israelites are. They are not the physical descendants of Abraham (Romans 9:6-13), but the spiritual descendants, those who believe in Christ (Galatians 3:29).

This is typified in Isaac and Ishmael. Both are the physical offspring of Abraham, but only one was the heir according to God's promise (Romans 9:7). Paul is clarifying in Romans 9 and 10 that the focus should not be on the physical, but on the spiritual. This is simply a continuation of his argument in Romans 2:29 that "a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter."

The Abrahamic covenant finds its fulfillment in Christ. So, when Paul says that "all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11:26), he means exactly what he says. He means the true descendants of Abraham, the elect of God, both Jew and Gentile.

Actually, if we want to be precise, Christ is the true Israel of God (Hosea 11:1, Matthew 2:15). There always has been and always will be one Israel.

Sarah L. said...

Sorry I keep deleting my posts... The 'thing' didn't give me the option to have follow up comments emailed to me... So I tried again and now it's working... :)

So in Hosea Israel is Christ? When was Christ ever unfaithful? Reading Hosea 11: “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
The more [the prophets] called them, the more they went from them: they sacrificed unto the Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.”
Contextually this sounds like National Israel.

But the New Testament nowhere states that Christ is Israel…. At best He is a type of Israel. If Christ truly is Israel then why doesn’t the Bible just come out and say it? That would have cleared up a lot of confusion….

“For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved: even as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer; He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
And this is my covenant unto them, When I shall take away their sins.
As touching the gospel, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sake. For the gifts and the calling of God are not repented of.”
Romans 11:25-29

In the context Paul seems to be talking of national, ethnical Israel. What would be the ‘hardness in part’ as applied to Israel being Christ, or spiritual descendants of Abraham? Or what would, “until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” mean? Paul is clearly making a distinction here. And, again context, “…a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved…” There is a clear distinction here. Israel and the Gentiles. At that time a hardening in part was on Israel demonstrated by the tense and “until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” a hardening in part does not seem to be “all Israel”(vs.26), spiritual or not, being saved.

And here is an excerpt from John Macarthur’s Message (Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Pre-Millenialist) which you have probably heard of… …. I like how Mr. Macarthur gets his points across :)

“…It also strikes a strange dichotomy since all the curses promised to Israel came to Israel, right? Literally, and they’re still coming. If you wondered whether the curses in the Old Testament were literal, they are going on right now. Israel right now is not under divine protection. They are under the promise of God that they will be perpetuated as an ethnic people, but this current—this current group of Jews that live in the world today and in the nation Israel are not now under divine protection. They are apostate. They have rejected their Messiah. They are under divine chastening, but they are still a people and will be to the end. What a staggering apologetic that is for the truthfulness of Scripture. You can’t abandon that without a huge loss of competence in Scripture. All the curses promised to Israel for disobedience to God came true literally on Israel, and now all of a sudden we are supposed to split all those passages that give blessing and cursing and say all the blessings that were promised to Israel aren’t coming to Israel; they are coming to the Church instead? Where is the textual justification for such a split interpretation? And wouldn’t you think that whatever way the curses were fulfilled would set the standard for whatever way the blessings would be fulfilled?...”

“There’s a third covenant, the New Covenant, and this one I do want to draw to your attention. Jeremiah 31, there can be no fulfillment of the promises God gave to Abraham or David apart from salvation, apart from salvation. Through history there has always been an Israel of God, there has always been a remnant, there have always been those who did not bow the knee to Baal. God always has had a people; there have always been His chosen. Not all Israel is Israel; that is to say, not all Israel is the true Israel of God, true believers. But God has always had a remnant, always had a people, always, as Isaiah 6 says, a “stump,” a “holy seed,” throughout history. But in the future there will be a salvation of ethnic Israel on a national level, and that’s the message of Jeremiah 31. Here is the New Covenant; it is given to Israel. We like to talk about the New Covenant because we participate in the salvation provision of the New Covenant ratified in the death of Christ, but the application of the New Covenant is in a special way given to a future generation of Jews. Listen to this, verse 31, “‘Behold days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.’” That is unmistakable. “‘…not like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt….’” Not like that Mosaic covenant; that was not a saving covenant. “’My covenant, which they broke although I was a husband to them,’ declares the Lord, ‘But this is the covenant which I will make again with the house of Israel.’” What warrant is there to say that does not mean Israel? Why? It does mean Israel. “I will.” I will.” I will.” I will.” I will make the covenant with the house of Israel. “ I will put My law within them and on their heart. I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” End of verse 34, “…I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Did you ever see so many “I will’s”? All over the place. Unconditional, unilateral, sovereign, gracious, irrevocable. You say, “Well maybe God changed His mind.” Go to verse 35, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Who gives the sun for light by day And a fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: If this fixed order departs from before Me,’ declares the Lord, ‘Then the offspring of Israel also shall cease.’” I haven’t noticed that that’s happened, have you? Anybody noticed that? There isn’t any other way to understand that. If it doesn’t mean what it just said, it is incomprehensible. And the New Covenant promises the salvation that then includes the reception of all the promises in the Abrahamic covenant, Davidic covenant and all the extended promises throughout the whole Old Testament. And what is the key feature of this? “I will put My Law within them. On their heart I will write it. I will be their God. I will forgive their iniquity.” You see how sovereign that is? “I will do it, I will do it in my time.” Look at Ezekiel 36 because this is a parallel. It’s familiar, I know, to you, but I think it’s good to just be reminded. Ezekiel 36:24, “For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My spirit within you….” It’s overwhelming, isn’t it? “…cause you to walk in My statutes, you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” How could anybody walk in His statutes and obey and observe His ordinances? Only if He caused you to do it. And “You will live in the land that I gave your forefathers; so you will be My people and I will be your God.” And then verse 32--just a good reminder, “I am not doing this for your sake.” Huh! I’m not doing this for your sake? “…let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel!” I am not doing this for your sake.” Wow, you say, for whose sake is He doing it? His own. His own sake. Go to the end of verse 38, “When I do this, then they will know.” What? “I am the Lord.” You can read the 37th. Same thing. So when God gave unilateral, unconditional, as primary cause, sovereign, gracious promises to an elect people guaranteed by divine faithfulness to be fulfilled like all His salvation work by divine power, and when God says such covenant promises are irrevocable, we cannot without impunity and guilt for any seemingly convenient idea or assumption say these are void. Why? You say, well, what about Israel’s apostasy? Doesn’t that cancel the promises? Doesn’t Israel’s apostasy cancel the promises? Do you understand that the New Covenant promises given in Jeremiah and Ezekiel were given to Israel at the time when they were under divine judgment for apostasy? They weren’t given to them when all was well and they were living and flourishing in obedience to God. They were so apostate they were out of their land, and then the covenant was given to them and God was saying, “Don’t get the idea that what’s going on by way of apostasy changes my promises.”

A number of things are working to spark my interest in this subject…. For one, of course, Macarthur’s message… we downloaded it last Spring… I think. And my dad, a pastor, has spoken on Romans (It took him about four years to ‘preach through’ the whole book :)) and we are going through it again on Wednesday (or whatever night we end up doing it) nights. And we have recently hit Romans 9-11 again…I am also reading a new book by Barry E. Horner called “Future Israel”. We saw some months ago that Macarthur recommends the book, so we ‘had’ to buy it :D. So I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately.

Lee Shelton said...

Again, I would draw your attention to the clear distinction drawn between the physical descendants of Abraham (represented by Ishmael) and the spiritual descendants of Abraham (represented by Isaac, through whose line Christ came). "Not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but 'Through Isaac shall your offspring be named'" (Romans 9:7).

Who perfectly fulfilled the law? Who remained faithful? Who lived up to all of the covenant requirements concerning Israel? Through whom is the promise of Abraham fulfilled? The answer is Jesus Christ.

You ask why the Bible doesn't just come out and say that Jesus is the true Israel. Well, I believe it does. I don't know how much clearer it could be. All the covenants, all the promises, all the prophecies, indeed all the scriptures center around Christ.

Jesus isn't a type of Israel. Rather, Israel is presented on numerous occasions as a type of Christ. Israel offered up animal sacrifices. This typified the only sacrifice sufficient to take away sin: Christ on the cross (Hebrews 10:12). Israel was the light to the nations. This pointed to the true light that is Christ (Ephesians 5:14). Israel brought God's judgment upon the wicked. This typified the judgment that will come upon those found outside of Christ (2 Timothy 4:1).

Israel was also presented as a bride in the book of Hosea. In the NT, we learn that the church is the bride (Revelation 19:7). This is neither a replacement nor a divorce and remarriage. And God is certainly not a bigamist. As I pointed out earlier, there always has been and always will be one chosen people, one bride, the elect from both Jews and Gentiles.

I love John MacArthur. He's a great teacher. I even agree with what he says about God saving a remnant. But he gets it wrong when he says that God still has a plan for ethnic Israel. Such a plan makes no sense. According to dispensationalists, Christ will return and establish a physical millennial kingdom and animal sacrifices will once again be reintroduced. How does that align with scripture, namely Hebrews 10:12? It doesn't. Neither does the dispensational teaching about a rebuilding of the temple that was destroyed in 70 A.D.

The promises of land were fulfilled when the Israelites crossed into the promised land: "Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass" (Joshua 21:43-45). It's kind of hard to argue with such clear statements.

But the real blessing is that instead of a temporary physical kingdom, we now have the promise of an eternal heavenly kingdom. God exceeded all earthly expectations by fulfilling his promises through in Christ.

I'm hoping to post something on Revelation soon. Eschatology is one of those issues I'm still working out, and about the only thing I'm sure of is that I'll probably never fully understand it. :)

Sarah L. said...

In Romans 9, Paul starts out with Israel. National ethnical Israel. (vs.1-5) And I don’t think that Paul stopped speaking about the physical descendants of Abraham at any point in the chapter when referring to Israel. I maintain that whenever God speaks of Israel in this chapter that He always means ethnic Israel. “It is not that God failed to keep his promise to them. But only some of the people of Israel are truly God’s people, and only some of Abraham’s descendants are true children of Abraham. But God said to Abraham: “The descendants I promised you will be from Isaac. This means that not all of Abraham’s descendants are God’s true children. Abraham’s true children are those (those physical descendants of Abraham) who become God’s children because of the promise God made to Abraham.” (vs 6-8) Not all of the descendants of Abraham are Israel, the chosen people. He did not choose every single descendant of Abraham. God goes on to demonstrate His right to choose whatever Israelite He wants to save. Was God unfair not to save all of Israel? Absolutely not! He will have mercy on whoever He wants to show mercy. And later on, the passage says that He also shows mercy to the Gentiles, of His own free will.(vs 24). But I still say that God was speaking about Israel in vs. 1-13

I don’t think that Paul would change which Israel he is talking about in a passage. I think that he would clarify it if he did. When he says Israel, he doesn’t switch from ethnical Israel to the Church. I still say that Romans 11:25-29 is talking about ethnical Israel. Spiritual ethnic Israel and non-Spiritual ethnic Israel. But always ethnic Israel. “I want you to understand this secret brothers and sisters, so you will understand that you do not know everything: Part of Israel (ethnic) has been made stubborn, but that will change when many who are not Jews have come to God. And that is how all Israel will be saved. It is written in Scriptures: ‘The Savior will come from Jerusalem; he will take away all evil from the family of Jacob (ethnic family). And I will make this agreement with those people when I take away their sins.” The Jews refuse to accept the Good News, so they are God’s enemies. This has happened to help you who are not Jews. But the Jews are still God’s chosen people, and he loves them very much because of the promises he made to their ancestors. God never changes his mind about the people he calls, and the things he gives them.” (NCV)
How can Paul start of with “Part of Israel has been made stubborn” and that be ethnic Israel and then switch to the church and say “All Israel will be saved” and it no longer means ethnic Israel but the Church? If Israel means the church in one part of the passage, then wouldn’t it still mean Israel at the end? “Part of the church(Jews andGentiles) has been made stubborn, but that will change when many who are not Jews (Gentiles) have come to God.” What does that mean? It’s confusing. Shouldn’t it say something like: “Part of Israel has been made stubborn, but that will change when many who are not Jews have come to God. And that is how all of the Church will be saved.” Still doesn’t make sense…

And how do all of the prophecies center around Christ? So even the prophecies about judgement center around Him? But, the blessings only come to Christ, ethnic Israel gets all of the curses…? If the prophecies center around Christ then why were the curses placed on ethnic Israel? Apparently the prophecies must be centered on Christ and ethnic Israel…. Which doesn’t exactly center on Christ. And how would the land promises center on Christ?

As to Israel being a type of Christ… what? I don’t think so. If God had used them as a type of Christ I think that He would have kept them more consistent in Obedience to Him, and in their focus on Him. Other wise, He made a pretty confusing picture of Christ. I don’t think that ethnic Israel was a type of Christ… the sacrifices that were offered by the Priests were a symbol of Christ... but not Israel.

Yes, Israel is compared to a wife, but what about Judah? Judah is in Hosea as well… What is her status? It seems as though Israel is being compared to an unfaithful wife as a picture, as Jerusalem was compared to a prostitute in Ezekiel.

I think that I am, with Macarthur, a “leaky Dispensationalist”. I am sure that I don’t agree with everything that typical dispenstionalists believe. I actually am only just finding out what some dispensationalists believe… for instance, the seven churches in Revelation being seven ages or something like that. But I don’t see that, because that would mean that Christ couldn’t come at any time… he would have to wait until the church ages have finished.

As to the future Sacrifices (Ezekiel right?) I really don’t know. But I don’t throw away what other scriptures say just because this one is confusing.

By the way, I am curious how you all (you reformed people :) ) handle those passages in Ezekiel about the sacrifices being offered. I would be interested to hear your position on that.

The land was part of the Abrahamic covenant. As Macarthur pointed out, God made the agreement… He ‘cut the covenant’ alone. So they were going to get the land regardless of their behavior. And I think that the land is still theirs because it was not part of the Mosaic covenant.

Earlier today I read in Horner’s book a quote by Horatius Bonar:

“Take the prophecies regarding the incarnation of Christ. Before that event took place, there might be a controversy as to whether they were to be literally fulfilled or not. A Jew might have argued with much apparent force against a literal meaning, What! Is God to take upon Himself the form of a man? Is Jehovah to become an infant of days, nay, to be born of a creature, to be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, to die and be buried as men die and are buried? Impossible! The very idea is carnal beyond endurance. These prophecies cannot be interepreted in their literal sense; they must have sume figurative, some spiritual meaning. So might a Jew have argued before Messiah came….(However the) fact, the glorious but stupendous fact, made known in the fullness of time, proved not only that the literal was the true sense of these prophecies regarding Messiah’s first coming, but also established this truth, that the literal interpretation and fulfillment may be the more truly spiritual of the two.”

I am interested to see what your posts on Revelation will be… If I am bugging you at all, just let me know :) As I said before, this topic has been on my mind… so when I saw your post, I jumped at the chance to discuss it. I like discussing these things because it makes me think through my own stance more fully than I probably ever would have.

James said...

Sarah: did you read to understand the all the scriptures Lee told you about?

Lee Shelton said...

By definition, types are imperfect representations of the real thing. There are countless examples in the OT of Christ-types being use. Moses was one, delivering his people from bondage. There were also lesser types, such as the bronze serpent (Numbers 21:9), the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:21-22), and the ram that replaced Isaac as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:13). It's not that they embodied Christ's qualities, but they all pointed to the One who was to come.

Sarah L. said...

Hello Mr. Wilbur!

I think that I read to understand the veres Mr. Shelton mentioned... did I miss some? Or something?

Sarah L. said...

I'm sorry... "I think that I read to understand the verSes..."

Sarah L. said...

I should have said, "scriptures" instead of verses...

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