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All Israel

editor - 3 June 2020

“And so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.’” Romans 11:26

It is written here in plain terms: all Israel will be saved. Not a single translation or explanation can avoid it. it is possible to translate: ‘then, all Israel will be saved, as it is written…’, but ‘all Israel’ is all Israel. Or is it not?

Then the questions arise. Does Paul mean all Israel in his own time, or in the end time (as a matter of fact, Paul experienced his own time as the end time), or throughout the ages? And there are still expositors who say: “Not all that is Israel, really belongs to Israel (Romans 9:6). All Israel is the church, existing of believers from Jewish and gentile origin.” They call that a ‘spiritual Israel’. I believe that the key to understanding this verse lies indeed in Romans 9:6. But the question is: how do you read that verse? Contrary to most translations, in its context, it appears most logic to read verse 6b as a question: “Are not all those Israel, who are descended from Israel?” Then Paul goes on to say: “But it is not so that all descendants of Abraham are children (vs. whom God had promised and with whom He would continue His covenant with Abraham).”

And then everything falls in its place. Look at the prophecies Paul is quoting in his argument in Romans 9, 10 and 11. They are all about the restoration of the ten (‘lost’) tribes. In my opinion, even the “fullness of the gentiles” (verse 25) refers to this restoration (Genesis 48:19). The ten tribes will be united with the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin under the Messianic King in the land of Israel. Note that Paul in these chapters consistently speaks of ‘Israel’, and not of ‘the Jews’. He is not concerned with just one tribe, but with all Israel, that is, the entire nation, existing of the twelve tribes. The Deliverer is taking up the broken-off branches, cleansing them, and planting them back into the land. So, all Israel will be saved.

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