ROMANS: HOW WILL ALL ISRAEL BE SAVED?!
Recently, a national radio talk show host wanted to debate me regarding my view of the end times. As we discussed what exactly we would be talking about, it became clear that his main area of disagreement was not specifically with Preterism, but more so with my stance on Israel.
As I explained to him, my view of Israel rests on top of my Preterist view and I will not debate Preterism vs Zionism, because they are not mutually exclusive. (sorry if I have confused some of you, just keep reading, no worries).
My 2nd edition of Raptureless is 390 pages and only 7 pages are about Romans 9-11, which was the one passage that he wanted to have me on the air to argue about. Once he heard that, he graciously agreed that I might not be the one that he is looking for to debate.
Still, I felt that I should at least for the sake of my readers, explain my perspective on Romans 9-11.
Many popular end-time preachers like to start in Romans 11:26, “And so in this way, all Israel will be saved.”
From here they declare that a future revival of the Jewish people will bring the entire nation of Israel to Jesus. Regardless of whether this passage means that or not, I agree with their heart’s desire, I also want to see this happen in Israel and every other nation on the face of the earth!
Notice that in Romans 11:26, it begins with: “And so in this way…” Paul is about to conclude a thought that he has been developing. Most of Paul’s thought has been developed between chapters 9-11, but actually the thought is threaded throughout the whole book of Romans.
In Romans, Paul is showing that God is no longer focused on racial barriers. "No longer is race of any consequence, but faith is the distinguishing mark of God’s true people. Thus God shows no favoritism" (Rom. 2:11).
According to Paul, “A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.” (Rom 2:28-29)
Paul goes on to claim that Abraham is not the father of just the Jewish people, but that he is the father of those that walk in faith: “Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: I have made you a father of many nations.” (Rom 4:16-17)
The strongest stance from Paul on this comes early in Romans chapter nine. “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they al Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” (Rom 9:6-8)
So far, Paul has stated that (1) God doesn’t show racial favor, (2) those that are of faith (no matter Jew or Gentile) are Abraham’s true descendants and (3) that those that are Abraham’s descendants in the natural (the Jews) aren’t considered to be Israel in the eyes of God automatically, only those that are holding to faith in Jesus are considered Israel.
Paul restates his argument in Romans 10:12: “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him”
This is the background which leads the reader to the context for Paul’s summary conclusion in Romans 11:26, “And so in this way…” In what way Paul? Paul’s conclusion is that God only regards people of faith in Jesus as the true Israel. Thus in that way, all Israel will be saved!
Try as we might to rebuild the wall of racial division, Jesus came to tear that wall down and he made Jew and Gentile into one new man. That is a past-tense accomplished fact, not a promise for the future.
I hope this helps.