All Israel will be saved – Understanding Romans 9-11

Introduction 

In chapters nine to eleven of his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul deals with the questions: “Did God reject His people? Had God’s promises to Israel failed?”

“Yes,” might be a natural, but unenlightened conclusion in view of Paul’s teaching of the first eight chapters – namely that the Gospel is the only means to salvation for Jew and Gentile alike,[1] and this through faith in Messiah;[2] that those who receive the Spirit are God’s children and heirs,[3] while those who do not have the Spirit of Christ “are none of His.”[4]

Jews who reject the Gospel are excluded by their unbelief from the glorious promises that God made their fathers – cut off from their people and disinherited.[5] It is the severity of this consequence that causes Paul such “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” and fuels his missionary zeal. Paul would even forfeit his own salvation, if only that should reverse their fate: “I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race.” But this could not be. God refused Moses, when he made a similar offer (“Whoever has sinned against Me I will blot out of my book.”[6])  In Paul’s case, it is those who do not believe that Jesus is the one, who ‘will die in their sins.’[7]  I.e. whoever “does not love the Lord” – on him the curse will fall. [8]

How do we reconcile God’s glorious promises to Israel with its tragic apostasy? Paul gives a thorough and systematic answer to this question.

It is not as though God’s word had failed 

“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 all Abraham’s children” (Rom. 9:6-7).

The fault does not lie with God.

If only Paul could find an unequivocal basis in Scripture for holding God to the universal salvation of his people!  But he could not. The meaning of the prophecies ‘Israel will be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation’ (Isaiah 45:17) and ‘in the LORD all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous’ (Isaiah 45:25), was not what many Jews had naively understood.[9]

The key to their misplaced hope is in a simplistic and erroneous definition of ‘Israel’.

Paul explains from the origins of the nation why “not all who are descended of Israel (Jacob) are Israel” (Romans 9:6). The nation was founded on promise and election. Of Abraham’s eight sons, Isaac alone was born of the promise, thus Isaac’s offspring alone were counted as Abraham’s descendants.[10] Then in Isaac’s generation an election took place: Isaac’s sons were born of the same mother and father and had near identical DNA (being twins). Yet, Jacob was chosen and Esau not. “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated”.[11]

These precedents continue to apply through-out the nation’s history. The true Israel is always the faithful part and never the unfaithful part, the elected part and not the rejected part. Simple ethnicity does not define the people of God.

Two pots out of one lump of clay 

“Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honourable use and another for dishonourable use?” (Romans 9:21)

The descendents of Jacob (the one lump of clay) would all be God’s witnesses, but in two very different ways – as illustrated in the potter allegory taken from chapters 18 and 19 of Jeremiah. Jeremiah saw that the potter intended one type of vessel with the clay, but ended up forming another when the clay buckled in His hands. Jeremiah was then told to purchase the hardened vessel from the potter and symbolically shatter it at the valley of Ben Hinnom. “Then … say to them: ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I will smash this nation and this city just as the potter’s jar is smashed and cannot be repaired.’”[12]  Clearly this prophecy could not and did not apply to the whole nation.

The hardened jar in Jeremiah’s prophecy corresponds with those of Jacob’s descendents reserved for dishonourable use, i.e. “the objects of God’s wrath – prepared for destruction” (Romans 9:22).

The hardening was deliberate (though not arbitrary) and for a purpose, as illustrated in God’s dealings with Pharaoh. “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’” (Romans 9:17; cf. Exodus 9:16)

Opposition to God creates the opportunity for His might to be displayed in the eyes of men. Pharaoh’ stubborn resistance led to the spectucular deliverance from Egypt, and now in Paul’s lifetime a portion of the Jews performed this ignoble task. By resisting God’s ultimate salvation plan, they precipated the death and resurrection of Messiah which brought redemption to the world. On account of their own hardening, God’s renown has spread through the whole earth.

God’s elect 

“What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened.” (Romans 11:7)

To demonstrate that His sovereign choice is not based on works (mitzvoth or legal observances), God elected Jacob and rejected Esau before their birth, i.e. before either of them “had done anything good or bad”.[13]

To those Jews who hoped for salvation through the Law – i.e. who relied on the promise in Leviticus 18:5 that “he who does these things will live by them” – Paul responded that all had “sinned and fallen short of God’s glory”.[14]  Consequently, “no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the Law”.[15]

But the Torah contains a further promise of life, being: “the LORD is your life”.[16]  On breaking the Law and Covenant, Israel was left with only one basis of assurance – being in God Himself, who is by nature grace, mercy, love and forgiveness (but who, in righteousness, does not ‘leave sin unpunished’).[17]  It was this assurance that Moses sought in Exodus 33 and then obtained: “Then Moses said, ‘I pray thee, show me thine glory’. And He said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy’” (Exodus 33:18-19).

While all the descendants of Jacob could strive to obtain life by obeying the Law, only those to whom He was gracious, and those on whom He chose to have mercy, would receive it by the revelation of His Person.[18] This was especially true in Paul’s own time. Since Israel had shamefully and persistently transgressed the Law, the Law required Israel’s destruction, rather than its salvation.[18a]  Not one could claim righteousness (life) through the Law! Israel was wholly dependent on life from God – and this life was given as an act of grace by the revelation of God in Messiah.[19]

It is thus “in the Lord” – not in the Law – that all the descendents of Israel would be found righteous (Isaiah 45:25).[20]  I.e. the prophecy applies to those who are found in Him, who obtain righteousness in Him, those upon whom He has compassion, and to whom He grants mercy.

Nor would they who saw the essence of the God’s Being, “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Messiah,” [21] be limited to the ‘Israel’ of common understanding. God had made other promises, to which He would also remain faithful.

Those to whom God had said, “you are not my people” (Rom. 9:25) [22] were the ten northern tribes who had prostituted themselves in the days of Hosea the prophet, who were subsequently conquered by the Assyrians, and scattered among the nations in 630 BC. Yet God had promised, prophetically, “in the place in which it is said to them, ‘you are not my people’ it shall be said to them ‘sons of the living God’”.[23]  This prophecy was being fulfilled in the gospel, even as Paul wrote his letter. For as the gospel spread through the nations to which the northern tribes has been dispersed, many lost sons of Israel were being made righteous by faith in Messiah and so became – ‘sons of the living God’.

While some among the offspring of the northern tribes may have maintained their ethnic identity, most had been wholly assimilated, and were not known to anyone except God as Jacob’s seed and the beneficiaries of Hosea’s prophecy. Many of the Gentiles receiving the righteousness of God, were in fact descendants of the ten northern tribes receiving their promised restoration. These, also, on account of God’s faithfulness were heirs to the sure mercies promised to David.

The remnant of grace 

The notion of a remnant originates in the Law of Moses: “I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely”.[24]

God’s righteous judgment would never be so severe, as to render the fulfillment of His promises impossible. I.e. God’s faithfulness necessitates His mercy.

“If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown himself.” (2 Timothy 2:23)

God’s ‘noble purpose’ for Israel would certainly be accomplished, even if the bulk of that nation fell under pride and came under His judgment. “For Gods’ gifts and His call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). God’s faithfulness concerned not only the blessing toAbraham, but also the blessing through Abraham: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing … and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”.[25]

God’s faithful servant, the remnant of grace, was charged to fulfill this calling: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”[26]

In another of his letters, Paul explains: “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus …”.[27]  The gospel age is the time in which “many nations will be joined with the LORD … and will become My people.” [28]  In this manner Israel fulfils its prophetic calling, and it endures for this purpose until“the full number of the Gentiles has come in”.

“I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge Me, Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush, and will say, `This one was born in Zion.’ Indeed, of Zion it will be said, ‘This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.’ The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: ‘This one was born in Zion.’” (Psalm 87:4-6)

The mystery of salvation 

“Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.” (Romans 11:30-31)

The dual processes working concurrently in Paul’s time, namely the falling away of part of the natural seed, and the incorporation of faithful Gentiles, was not God’s final say on salvation. God’s mercy extended even to those of Jacob’s descendants who were cut off because of unbelief. The enormity of this grace is beyond human understanding. Despite their enmity toward God, and their opposition to the Gospel, they could yet look to Him whom they had pierced, and receive mercy if they repented of their unbelief! Paul attributes this to God’s love on account of the patriarchs. Paul, who was once a violent opponent of God, counts himself a beneficiary and part of this ‘remnant of grace’.

How the hardening and resistance of “Israel in part” would cause the spread of God’s renown – in the example of Pharaoh – and lead to the salvation of the Gentiles, was only half of Paul’s mystery. The second half was how the salvation of the Gentiles would then lead to a further harvest from among the cut off members of Israel. This mystery originates in the song of Moses:

“They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them jealous by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding … See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life [i.e. “life from the dead”], I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand” (Deuteronomy 32: 21, 39)

The later prophets also alluded to Gentiles becoming God’s vehicle for the salvation of the Jews (see Isaiah 66:20 and Zephaniah 3:9-10). In Isaiah 49, the nations are depicted as carrying the lost sons and daughters of Israel on their arms and shoulders – a vision that finds its fulfilment in the process that Paul is describing.

Paul rightly asks: “Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, ‘I will make you jealous by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.’ And Isaiah boldly says, ‘I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.’ But concerning Israel He says, ‘All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.’” (Romans 10:21)

Using Jeremiah’s analogy of Israel as an olive tree,[29] Paul explains the cutting off of unfaithful branches of natural stock and the grafting into Israel of those ‘formerly excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise’ [30] who had now received the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ, and stand in faith! The grafting-in of Gentiles would in turn provoke some of the cut off branches to jealousy, so that those would repent of their unbelief and be grafted back into Israel, receiving “life from the dead”.[31]

It is for this critical reason that Gentile converts should not become arrogant over cut off branches of natural stock, whose very salvation depends on the faithful witness of Gentile believers. These cut off branches are sanctified by God and may yet receive mercy “as a result of God’s mercy to you”.

This is the mystery of salvation.

And so all Israel will be saved 

Paul concludes his discourse with a final assurance that God’s purposes in redemption will be accomplished.

“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved …” (Romans 11:25-26)

Two things will persist until Israel has fully accomplished her prophetic mission (i.e. to be the source of blessing to all nations): (i) the hardness in part of the natural stock, and (ii) God’s mercy to those cut off branches who repent. [31a]

Paul adapts a prophecy of Isaiah to confirm this: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob” (Romans 11:26). While Isaiah prophesied that ‘the Redeemer shall come to Zion,’[32] Paul now speaks of the continuing outward spreading of salvation from Zion. While at his coming, the Redeemer was received by ‘those in Jacob who repent of their sins,’ [32a] the Gospel will henceforth become the cause of the repentance (i.e. “will turn godlessness away from Jacob”).

“And so … ” (οὕτω in the Greek), meaning ‘in this manner’ and not ‘at that time’, “all Israel will be saved.”  I.e. as the result of the processes that Paul has so carefully described, and not subsequent to them, all those destined for salvation will be brought in. [32b]

“All Israel” is simply the sum and product of the various processes described in relation to the Olive Tree, namely (i) those natural branches that remained faithful, (ii) Gentiles grafted into the covenant nation and (iii) cut off branches that were provoked to jealousy and grafted back in again. This includes faithful men and women of all generations to whom the Gospel is preached.

While we rejoice at the hope of an extensive re-grafting of natural stock as we near the end, this cannot come except as the result of a faithful witness to the Jews at the present time. We cannot bank on any special salvation for those who fail to obey the Gospel and come to the Cross before the Lord returns in glory. This is clear from Paul’s warning to the Thessalonians: “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed.” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)

Israel’s righteousness or God’s?

The nation Israel was destined to show forth God’s righteousness. Thus when God said, on account of Israel’s unfaithfulness, ‘I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins,’ Israel demonstrated God’s righteousness by suffering that fate. Conversely, where God makes a way for repentance and restoration, Israel vindicates God by accepting that way. E.g. Daniel, at the end of the Babylonian exile fulfilled God’s conditions for restoration, as contained in Leviticus 26:40 and Jeremiah 29:13. (See Daniel 9:1-19.)

Faithful Jews always understood this purpose. The faithful Jew, in the spirit of the Old Testament prophet, would always seek to show forth God’s righteousness, even at the expense of his people. When Moses prayed for mercy, it was to preserve the integrity of God’s Name.[33]

The unbelieving Jew, however, seeks to establish his own righteousness, expecting God’s acknowledgement and reward. From his perspective, it is not Israel’s purpose to vindicate God, but God’s duty to vindicate Israel. The prophet Isaiah spoke of this when he said: ‘You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!’[34]

It is in light of this that so many of Jacob’s descendants forfeited salvation: ‘Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness’ (Romans 10:3).

The Cross was the ultimate vindication of God, showing forth His mercy without compromising His justice. Even in the judgment that came on Israel forty years later, God is vindicated. Both the Law and Prophets required it. If God had not fulfilled it, He would have been unfaithful to His word.

Jesus divides the descendants of Jacob on this criterion. Those who uphold God’s righteousness will believe in Jesus. Those who seek their own, will reject him. Concerning this divide, God revealed ahead of time: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and  rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” [35]

Ironically, it is those who choose to vindicate God who are then made right by Him. This righteousness comes by faith for all who believe.

In a further irony the same ‘stumbling stone’ is now tripping up Gentile believers who profess a salvation of the Jews independent of their coming to the Cross, and thus seek a vindication of the Jews at the expense of God’s righteousness.

Just as God’s judgment will never render His promises impossible, so too His faithfulness will never compromise His righteousness. Only at the Cross are all God’s attributes in perfect harmony, and only at the Cross does Israel vindicate God.

Doxology

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or has been His counsellor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.To Him be the glory forever! Amen.”  (Romans 11:33-36)

POSTSCRIPT – Not that God’s Word has failed!

I am increasingly convinced that the apostle Paul has a particular “word” in mind when he asserts so forcefully “it is not that the word of God has failed,” namely the word of prophecy from Isaiah 45, where God says: “Israel will be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting” (verse 17) and “in the LORD all the seed of Israel will be found righteous and will exult” (verse 25). This text is very well known among religious Jews and forms the basis for a widespread belief in the universal salvation of all their people. The Talmudic maxim “all Israel have a share in the world to come” is based on this prophecy.

It is this particular prophetic ‘word’, i.e. Isaiah 45, that poses an apparent problem in view of the earlier part of Paul’s letter. For in Romans 1 to 8 he claims without any qualification that faith in Jesus is the one and only means to salvation, and that all Jews who do not believe are cut off and disinherited. In other words, that Israel’s ‘everlasting salvation’ is found in Messiah, and in him alone.

Consequently, has God’s word failed? If not, how do we reconcile His promise of ‘everlasting salvation’ to ‘all Israel’ with the widespread unbelief and consequent disinheritance of a major portion of the Jewish people? It is for this reason that Paul writes chapters 9 through 11.

How then does Paul reconcile the two? If God’s word concerning Israel has not failed – despite the implications of Romans 1 to 8 – is it because the promise is yet to be fulfilled in the future? Or has God’s word “not failed” because “not all Israel is Israel”? These are two entirely different propositions.

In the remainder of Romans 9 Paul continues to prove that “all Israel” is not what many had naively understood: “It is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel …” (Rom 9:6).

‘All Israel’ must be correctly defined. The beneficiaries of Isaiah 45 are not simply the sum of those who might readily be identified as Jacob’s progeny. “In the LORD all the seed of Israel will be found righteous and will exalt”.

“IN the Lord” is for Paul the operative phrase. Paul like the Hebrew prophets insists on faithfulness. Consequently it is those of Jacob’s descendents who are in the Lord, i.e. who are “found in Him” who receive “everlasting salvation”, who are elsewhere described as “the Israel of God,” [36].

While some Jews were thus excluded by their unbelief and consequently not among those who were found in the Lord, God also spoke other ‘words’ concerning Israel.

Firstly, the ten northern tribes had been dispersed after the Assyrian conquest in about 620BC and subsequently assimilated into the surrounding heathen nations. The LORD spoke through Hosea and other prophets, that these would be restored.[37] Secondly, God would reveal Himself to the Gentiles and many of these would become His people.[38]

Paul’s ‘all Israel’ is properly defined by excluding some of its ostensible members, on the one hand, and including some less expected, on the other. That there was yet hope for those who had actively and even violently resisted God’s Messiah is perhaps the most unexpected of all. God’s love on account of the patriarchs has made provision even for that inordinate grace of which Paul himself was a beneficiary.

“And so all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). With this, Paul states the consequence and outcome of the various processes of salvation, restoration and ‘grafting in’ by which Israel is completed – which Paul illustrates in relation to the Olive Tree. That this is the intended fulfilment of Isaiah 45, is clearly implied.

The idea that Romans 11:26 is a future promise for the universal salvation of ethnic Jews, at the time that “the full number of the Gentiles has come in” i.e. as if to say “and then all Israel will be saved,” is difficult to sustain.

Firstly it requires that we revert to the simplistic, ethno-centric Israel, and thereby ignore Paul’s efforts to bring us to the proper scriptural definition.

Secondly it means that Paul has not offered any conclusive proof that God’s word “has not failed,” for the most that can be said if the fulfilment is yet future, is that God’s word “will not fail”.

Thirdly it fails to recognize that the salvation of the cut off branches was current and ongoing in Paul’s own time: “Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.” (Romans 11:30-31)

If salvation did indeed come to the Jew first (Rom 1:16, 2:20), beginning in Jerusalem and then spreading out to the world, it is also natural that a hardening in part will endure until the full number of the Gentiles have come in, i.e. until Israel’s prophetic destiny has been fulfilled.

The purpose of this statement is then to warn that at no time in the gospel age will the totality of Jacob’s natural seed be converted to faithfulness. This does not mean that a subsequent age must follow in which this will indeed be the case.

More on the designation “Israel”

If Israel is made up of the natural and ingrafted branches of the Olive tree, and corresponds with the body of Messiah or ‘the Church’, why does Paul continually refer to cut off branches as ‘Israel’?

Paul’s frequent use of the designation ‘Israel’ to refer to non believers among Jacob’s offspring poses a real obstacle for many in the acceptance of the interpretations advocated above. But there is a simple explanation.

Through-out the history of Israel’s apostasy the true Israel has been comprised of the faithful remnant. In 1 Kings 19:18, the LORD speaks to Elijah: “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” Israel at that moment was thus constituted of a faithful remnant of seven thousand, while their compatriots had (temporarily) fallen away. Concerning those that had fallen away, they were not however without hope. For God would remain faithful despite their unfaithfulness, and part of Elijah’s mission – as with the other prophets – was to bring those who had fallen away back in again. It is thus not out of place to continue to speak of those who had fallen away from Israel as “Israel” – for God ‘had not finished with them yet’ and they remained on account of God’s covenant with their fathers, and through God’s especial efforts, to be restored into the nation.

This principle was firmly established through generations of God’s dealings with the descendants of Jacob. When Paul refers to this history in Romans 11 it affirms that indeed “nothing has changed”. For even in his own time, Paul points out, there was a remnant saved by grace, of which he himself was a part. The rest of Paul’s brothers according to the flesh had fallen away – but not beyond recovery – for they could be grafted back in again. Paul in fact ‘makes much of his ministry’ – in the fashion of Elijah – to accomplish this very purpose, i.e. the restoration of those who had fallen away. That Paul should thus continue to speak of those who had fallen away as ‘Israel’, is quite understandable in view of God’s faithfulness and His dealings with this people in history.

 


 

[1]  Romans 1:16.

[2]  Romans 3:24.

[3]  Romans 8:16-17.

[4]  Romans 8:9.

[5]  Matthew 8:10-12; Acts 3:23.

[6]  Exodus 32:33.

[7]  John 8:24.

[8]  1 Corinthians 16:22.

[9]  Isaiah 45:17,25.

[10]  Gen. 25:1; Gen. 21:12 – through Isaac your seed will be reckoned.  Isaac stands in the typology of Messiah, in whom are the children of promise (Gal. 4:28), those ‘found in him’ (Phil. 3:9) being the ‘Israel of God’ (Gal. 6:16). 

[11]  Malachi 1:2; Romans 9:13.

[12]  Jeremiah 19:11

[13]  Genesis 25:23; Romans 9:11.

[14]  Romans 3:23.

[15]  Romans 3:20.

[16]  Deuteronomy 30:20.

[17]  Exodus 34:6-7.

[18]  John Gill  explains it as follows: “notwithstanding the children of Israel had sinned against Him in such a manner as they had, yet He should show favour, grace, and mercy to them, in pardoning their sins; and it should be distributed, not according to any merits of theirs, but according to His sovereign will and pleasure, and not to all, but to whomsoever He thought fit; and in this would be seen His glory: and so it is with respect to grace and mercy, as displayed in Christ to sinful men; it is not in proportion to their deserts, but according to the purpose and good will of God, and that not unto all, but unto some whom He has appointed …” (Gill on Exodus 33:19).

[18a] Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28.

[19]  Who was the image of the invisible God and the exact representation of His Being.

[20]  See this verse in context: “Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess. He says, Only in the LORD do I have righteousness and strength; even to Him he comes … In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”

[21]  2 Corinthians 4:6.

[22]  Hosea 1:9; Romans 9:25.

[23]  Hosea 1:10; Romans 9:26.

[24]  Leviticus 26:24.

[25]  Genesis 12:2-3.

[26]  Isaiah 49:6; cf. Acts 13:47.

[27]  Galatians 3:14.

[28]  Zechariah 12:11.

[29]  “The LORD called you a thriving olive tree with fruit beautiful in form. But with the roar of a mighty storm he will set it on fire, and its branches will be broken. The LORD Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you, because the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done evil and provoked me to anger by burning incense to Baal. (Jeremiah 11:16-17)

[30]  Ephesians 2:12

[31]  “If we overlook the obvious truth that unbelieving Israel are cut off and spiritually dead in their transgressions and sins, we can in no way identify with Paul’s anguish and his unceasing burden for those of his own race. Unless we perceive the tragic consequences of the falling of Israel we will not be inspired to preach the gospel in the face of fierce opposition and stubborn resistance.” (Peter Cohen, The Mystery of the Olive Tree). Cf. Deuteronomy 32:29.

[31a]  The [Greek] phrase rendered ‘until’ (archis hou) is essentially terminative … Too often ‘until’ [in the context of Romans 11:25] has been understood as marking the beginning of a new state of things with regard to Israel. It has hardly been considered that ‘until’ more naturally should be interpreted as reaching an eschatological termination point. The phrase implies not a new beginning after a termination, but the continuation of a circumstance [the hardening of a part of Israel] until the end …” (O. Palmer Robertson, The Israel of God, P&R Publishing, New Jersey, 2000, pp. 179 – 180).

[32] Isaiah 59:20.

[32a] ibid.

[32b]  Of the approximately 205 times in which the word houtos occurs in the New Testament, not once does it have a temporal significance. Paul easily enough coulf have said kai tote, ‘and then.’  But instead he says quite specifically kai houtos, ‘and in this manner.’  See Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 602. Outside of the verse under consideration, Paul himself uses the term approximately seventy times. All of these uses are nontemporal, including the four cases in Romans 9 to 11. Several passages may be cited in an effort to establish a temporal meaning for kai houtos. The leading ones include John 4:6; Acts 17:33; 20:11; 28:14. But in each of these cases a nontemporal meaning provides a better rendering (O. Palmer Roberston, op. cit., pp. 181-182 and footnote 7).

[33]  Numbers 14:13-16.

[34]  Isaiah 29:16.

[35]  Romans 9:33, citing Isaiah 8:14, 28:16.

[36] Galatians 6 – seemingly a paraphrase of Isaiah’s “in God, all Israel …”.

[37] Hosea 1:10, 2:23.

[38] Deuteronomy 32:21, Zechariah 2:11.