Sat | Mar 2, 2024

Will all modern Israel be saved, regardless?

Published:Sunday | March 26, 2023 | 12:23 AM
Rev Clinton Chisholm
Rev Clinton Chisholm
Crowd of Jewish worshippers in the area of the Western Wall.
Crowd of Jewish worshippers in the area of the Western Wall.

There is an old popular, but unbiblical belief within Evangelical circles that all modern Israelites will be saved before our Lord’s return. Ask anyone who holds this view and you will likely hear a quotation of Romans 11:26 “And so all Israel shall be saved … .” (KJV)

I have asked a few who hold the view I am countering ‘so will modern Israelites get a special way to God’s salvation without accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour?’ They fumble and stutter a bit, eventually admitting ignorance of how this will happen, but still maintain the view that it will happen.

They need to know and take seriously my R.O.A.D principles of interpretation (check Particularly the ‘R’ principle which deals with reading in context. As well as the ‘D’ principle, going deeper by knowledge of Greek then they would get clarity on the verse in the context and language of Paul’s argument in chapter 11.

In Rom. 11:11-19 Paul checks the temptation on the part of Gentiles to boast, spiritually, by reminding Gentiles that we were simply grafted in, albeit by means of the deliberate act of God in breaking off some of the branches of the olive tree.

Pay close attention to the idea from v. 20 onwards. The crucial concepts are the opposites unbelief/faith. V. 20 “they were broken off because of unbelief, you stand (=are in place, positionally) by faith.”

The line of argument continues and peaks, in a sense, in v.23 “and if they do not continue in unbelief they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again”.

Verses 24 and 25 are best read as a summary of the main argument advanced re the cruciality of faith as the means of being right with God whether one is a Jew or a Gentile.

Then comes v.26 which has been terribly handled because folks do not pause to explore the Greek text. Perhaps, because of the time expression in 25 “… until the full number …” many think the first words of v. 26 “and so” are terms suggesting time. But they are not!

The troublesome word in the English is ‘so’ which in the Greek is houtōs (sound = who toes). This word is an adverb of manner (= how) meaning ‘in this way/manner’, not an adverb of time (=when).

V. 26 should read “And in this manner, [that is, by faith] all Israel will be saved.”

A critical point to ponder is this, if Israelis or ethnic descendants of the ancient Israelites are to be specially blessed with salvation in a way different from all other humans, then how would we answer the following questions.

1. What promise has God made to the biblical Israelites that a) God has not kept; b) the said Israelites have not forfeited by disobedience and; c) that has not been superseded/abrogated by the New Covenant at Calvary?

2. What in context would/could Paul mean by “the Israel of God” in Galatians 6:16, in a book where he consistently argues about the radical superiority of faith in Jesus above works of the law?

3. What in context could Paul (an ethnic Jew) possibly mean in Rom. 2:28-29?

Ponder as well, the declaration of Paul (the converted Jew) in Gal 3.27-29. This has nothing at all to do with the ill-named/erroneous ‘replacement theology’!

So then, there will be no special salvation of any Jew or Israeli (wherever located globally) except by faith in the finished work of Jesus at Calvary. This I hear is the prayerful mission of messianic believers in modern Israel.

This means that Evangelicals who are using trends in modern Israel as end-time signs are actually reading a dead-end or detour sign. Modern Israel is not equal to or a spiritual extension of biblical Israel and let it be remembered that even biblical Israel was repeatedly disobedient and punished by God!!

It should be instructive too that God allowed (caused?) the Temple and Jerusalem to be destroyed in AD 70!