Romans 11:26 And What “All Israel Will Be Saved” Means

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved…

Romans 11:25-26 (NASB)

I hold a minority opinion in terms of understanding what “all Israel” means in this context. I think that, based on the New Covenant promises (Jer. 31, Ezek. 36) God intends to save all Israel, that is, all of the Jewish people. But if you’re a Christian, this doesn’t seem quite right. Shouldn’t I mean “all of the Jewish people who confess Jesus as Lord and Savior?”

That could be interpreted as meaning “all Israel” is all those Jews who have abandoned their Jewish identity, abandoned their Jewish heritage, abandoned all of the covenants God made with Israel, who have converted to (Gentile) Christianity and live like the goyim.

But that doesn’t seem right either, because this flies in the face of the language in the aforementioned New Covenant, which promises a return of the Temple, the Levitical priesthood, and the sacrifices. If the “law were nailed on the cross with Jesus,” then all of those covenants, including the New Covenant, and the attached promises don’t make sense.

In fact, I could argue that a Jew who converts to Christianity, a Hebrew Christian, might not be considered “Israel” at all if they have been taught (by well-meaning but misguided Gentile Christians) to abandon the very covenants that define the Jewish people and Israel. There’s a lot more to being a covenant people than just your DNA.

Fortunately, I came across a comment made by reader “ProclaimLiberty” (PL) on the Rosh Pina Project blog post Messianic Jews Must be Consistent in Our Reverence of Scripture:

Insofar as I can interpret Rav Shaul’s phrase “all Israel shall be saved” (or, “πᾶς Ἰσραὴλ σωθήσεται”) in Rom 11:26, it includes everyone. The term “πᾶς” may be rendered: “1) individually 1a) each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything 2) collectively”. Hence, “all Israel” seems to refer to each and every individual in the collective of Israel.

And the term “σωθήσεται” may be rendered (from “σῴζω”, verb, {sode’-zo}):
“1) to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction
1a) one (from injury or peril)
1a1) to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health 1b1) to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue
1b) to save in the technical biblical sense
1b1) negatively:
1b1a) to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment
1b1b) to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the Messianic deliverance”.
It seems to me to be a consequence of HaShem’s unwavering faithfulness to keep His covenanted promises. Certainly the record of the Tenakh shows that it cannot be the result of 100% faithfulness by 100% of Jews throughout our millennia of history as a people. I can only infer that this was Rav Shaul’s intended meaning, based on his understanding of the prophecies cited (viz: Is.59:20-21; Is.27:9; Jer.31:33-34). None of it appears to be conditioned by the individual or collective state of any Jew, thus one must infer that HaShem has some plan by which to accomplish the redemption of the unworthy Jewish souls who will nonetheless benefit, and none will be left out. Personally, I envision a massive crash-course in Jewish messianism for a whole host of Jews swept up together into a special state outside of the time-stream immediately after their deaths; but, hey, it’s not my job to second-guess HaShem.

This is helpful since my knowledge of ancient Greek is non-existent, and it does establish that there is some justification for my beliefs and my hope that indeed, all Israel, every individual Jewish person, will be redeemed by God, just as He promised.

The promises of God are real and wholly reliable. We just need to make sure our theology and doctrine map to this Biblical truth.


47 thoughts on “Romans 11:26 And What “All Israel Will Be Saved” Means”

  1. Yes…all who do not follow the Man of Sin when he comes, which since some will consider the Man of Sin to be Messiah ben David, makes keeping the commandments very crucial, to Jew and Gentile alike.

    Yeshua warned of the Abomination of Desolation, just as Daniel did, and as Revelation describes in detail. Yeshua also stated in Matthew 25 that those who gave even a cup of water to one of his brothers would enter the Kingdom. Yeshua has brothers in the flesh as well as in the spirit, those of the true vie, and those grafted in, and it is a rare Jew these days that does not help one another, as well as seek to heal the world.

    I would I could say as much of most Christians, for they may help one another, and yet ignore Yeshua’s kindred of the flesh, even as they ignore the commandments given by G-d.

    It is a puzzlement.

  2. Jim,

    This came to mind. It had to do with the centurion, his servant and faith/trust. It seems to indicate a different view.

    “When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.””
    (Matthew 8:10–12 ESV)



  3. I have to admit, there are some parts of the Bible that seemingly contradict others. How can the New Covenant promises and Romans 11:26 be true if Matthew 8:10-12 is also true? I’m having this conversation at the Rosh Pina Project blog post I referenced above. It seems like trust in Hashem is the key to being able to sit at the banquet in the Kingdom of Heaven/Messianic Kingdom. So if you’re thrown out into the darkness, what is that darkness, does it cancel all of the covenant promises, and is it permanent?

    I really do believe that God will fulfill His promises to Israel, and in the end, I believe God will lead Israel to accept the revelation of Rav Yeshua as Messiah (though he won’t appear in the highly “Gentilized” guise created by the Church and his focus will be far more aimed at Israel than “the Church”).

    The question is, if that’s true, what advantage does a Jew have for accepting the aforementioned revelation now rather than later?

  4. Having a conversation on two different blog posts is going to get confusing, but since this was spawned elsewhere, you probably want to know what’s being said.

    At the Rosh Pina Project (RPP), Dudi wrote:

    This is my problem… if all Israel is saved without Jesus then pretty soon there’s no purpose to Jesus’ death in terms of atonement or forgiveness of sin. Over-willingness not to exclude any Jews from a future paradise in the World To Come ends up with Universalism.

    To which PL replied:

    @Dudi — I believe I already answered your question about the function of atonement in the eternally-available symbolic sacrifice demonstrated in Rav Yeshua’s martyrdom. But your question seems to be pitched toward those who are unable, for one reason or another, to recognize and appropriate that benefit for themselves. I already mentioned that I think HaShem has a plan for dealing with Jews who pursue in accordance with Torah the repentance that is inherent in traditional Jewish praxis but from whom atonement via the symbolic sacrifice is hidden — but that I hesitate to second-guess how He might accomplish it.

    CS Lewis was also at times accused of Universalism, and he was operating within a gentile thought framework rather than a covenantal Jewish one. Think, for example of his Narnian Chronicle “The Last Battle”, in which a young foreign soldier who believed all his life that he was seeking his god “Tash” was accounted by Aslan to have been serving him and his values rather than those of the false god all along. It seems to me that Lewis was on a track similar to mine, to perceive a difference between what someone thinks they are accepting or rejecting and how HaShem evaluates it. However, I think that both of us are describing something other than mere Universalism, though you *might* try to apply the term loosely to the Rom 11:26 notion that “all Israel will be saved”.

    Following up with what Tom asked above, I said:

    Let me ask a rather pointed question. If, in the end, all of Israel is redeemed and brought into the Kingdom of God/Messianic Kingdom as the New Covenant promises, what advantage does a Jewish person have for accepting the revelation of Rav Yeshua as Messiah now rather than later? That one has always bugged me a little.

    To which PL replied:

    @James — I’d say that is a perfectly fine pointy question, but the answer takes us into unknown realms. Nonetheless I think I can offer a partial answer from a known perspective, which is that the sooner one becomes able to take advantage of the symbolic sacrifice and its atonement, the sooner one begins to benefit from the fullest possible relationship with HaShem and the immediacy of the kingdom-of-heaven. Delaying that certainly deprives one of those benefits during one’s lifetime. Counting the cost to a Jew of further delay beyond the bounds of physical life may be imponderable, but certainly some opportunity has been missed. One may not receive the choicest of assignments during the process of establishing the messianic kingdom if one has been delayed by having to attend make-up classes in Jewish messianism before one can begin properly to serve the king.

    Dudi’s concerned that by following “unknown paths,” Yeshua’s sacrificial death becomes meaningless, at least for the Jewish people. PL believes these are “known paths” and a “little extrapolation into uncertain possibilities is not entirely pointless, merely unverifiable.”

    I have a couple of problems. First, nothing in the New Covenant language we read (Jer. 31, Ezek. 36) says anything about belief in or worship of the Messiah as being a pre-requisite for Israel’s receiving the blessings of the New Covenant promises. To the best of my knowledge, that concept doesn’t enter the picture until the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament).

    I can sort of see why non-Messianic Jews are dubious of the Apostolic Scriptures since, the New Covenant seems very clear in the Tanakh (Old Testament), but how it’s described in the Gospels and Epistles makes everything look different and even contradictory. This is probably the primary issue for those Christians to turn to Noahidism or who convert to Judaism, or who simply leave the faith and become atheists.

    The Apostolic Scriptures add a requirement that regardless of God’s promises to Israel, they abruptly all become contingent upon faith and trust specifically in Yeshua as Messiah, even though the Tanakh doesn’t specify (at least too terribly clearly) that the Messiah would come, do some but not all the stuff he’s supposed to do, die, is resurrected, ascends to Heaven, and then at some undetermined future date, will come again to finish what he started.

    As I previously mentioned, the Tanakh also doesn’t say that the Messiah is an absolute requirement for the New Covenant promises to become a reality for Israel. At best, and we see plenty of this in scripture, what is required is faith and trust in God (the Father), that is, Hashem.

    At one point, PL stated that perhaps religious Jews who are not followers of Yeshua but who are totally devoted to Hashem and the Torah, and have a belief in the coming Messiah as they understand him, are indeed still part of the New Covenant promises and will come to accept Yeshua when the time comes.

    Maybe, the issue isn’t so much who accepts now as who will accept Yeshua when he comes again. When he arrives (and I’ve mentioned this in the past), I suspect because he’ll be “too Jewish,” will be devoted to Israel and not the Church (as such), will rebuild the Temple, re-establish the Levitical priesthood, and re-establish the sacrifices, that many Christians will reject him while still looking for Jesus Christ who supposedly did away with all of that stuff permanently.

    What if, even when the Jewish Messiah King returns, because his name is Yeshua (Jesus) and he confirms that it was he who died, was resurrected, and ascended in the matter described in the New Testament, that some Jews will still reject him because they believe he is a false (Christian) Messiah?

    That still doesn’t solve the problem of “all Israel” being saved, unless, based on this, it’s possible for a Jew to somehow do something that results in them leaving “Israel” altogether:

    Historically, any Jewish group which denied the basic principles of Jewish tradition – Torah and mitzvah-observance – ultimately ceased to be part of the Jewish people. The Sadducees and the Karites, for instance, refused to accept certain parts of the Oral Law, and soon after broke away completely as part of the Jewish People. The Hellenists, secularists during the Second Temple period, also soon became regarded as no longer “Jewish.” Eventually, these groups vanished completely.

    So far, at least for me, we have a bit of a mystery.

    According to something written by New Testament scholar Mark Nanos, which I reviewed here, the Jewish people, or most of them, have hearts that are currently “calloused,” until the time of the Gentiles is complete. Once that time arrives, those “callouses” will be softened, allowing Jewish acceptance of the revelation of Yeshua as Messiah.

    The exact mechanism for this is yet unknown. Maybe after those callouses are softened, those Jews who still refuse to acknowledge Yeshua will be the ones spoken of as “weeping and gnashing their teeth in the outer darkness,” (Matt. 8:12) which could mean at that point, since they’re rejecting Hashem’s redemptive plan, they are exiting Israel and thus reject and do not receive the New Covenant promises, or, perhaps, they sojourn in the “outer darkness” (we have always assumed this is Hell, but it’s not defined by Yeshua as such) until they do come around.

    I admit, my speculations are highly controversial and I have no way of supporting them, but we either need to find a way to make the Tanakh and the Apostolic Scriptures work together in harmony or we have a problem (and the Church doesn’t really make them work together).

    If we find such glaring contradictions, either our interpretation of scripture is wrong (and the Church has been wrong about Israel before) or there’s something wrong with scripture. If the latter is true, then either the Jewish people or the Church have a problem with their faith. This is probably why some Jews convert to Christianity, some Christians convert to Judaism, and some Jews and Christians reject both religious streams and become atheists.

    Dudi said something about what is “clearly written in scripture.” If everything was that clear, we wouldn’t be having these discussions.

  5. I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
    But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel…

    I’m not sure why Paul would wish that he were accursed from Christ for his brethren (Israel) if the complete salvation of Israel was guaranteed solely by the fact of being born within that particular people.

    But Paul himself gave the answer earlier in Romans, just as he indicates in the last phrase of the above quote.

    For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter…

    While some have applied that statement to justify replacement theology, it is clear from the context that Paul was speaking of a REFINEMENT of what it means to be a Jew – speaking of a “subsection” of those naturally descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and not speaking of a redefinition of Jewishness (as replacement theologians would insist).

    Also many of the prophets including Amos, Isaiah Jeremiah and Ezekiel support the idea of that kind of refinement when they refer to the “latter days” sifting of Israel and the surviving remnant who will be returned the land, never to leave it again.

  6. “As I previously mentioned, the Tanakh also doesn’t say that the Messiah is an absolute requirement for the New Covenant promises to become a reality for Israel.”

    Without Him there is NO new covenant. Messiah established it and is the Mediator of it.

  7. Refinement is a fine idea. But the things you have said, Onesimus, could all still make sense in a different way. [Nevertheless, there is also (so, we could pick either too or instead) a way to combine what James just said, in a post in the comments, with what you said. Maybe we will get to that later.] What if we say circumcision isn’t enough to make a person a Jew, and then we think of Herod? He wasn’t “born” a Jew, right? So, the “subsection” can be taken from those amongst Israel (and maybe “considered” Israel — not necessarily by God). At the Time, it seems to me, it would have been excruciating for there to be “Jews” in Israel (the Land) proper who were complete frauds (like Herod) — keeping Israel in a state of exile though in Israel. Now, it could follow, as well, that Herod’s son’s would not be Jews even if circumcised.

  8. Can we agree, Tom Mercer, that Herod and his sons will be cast into the outer darkness? Was Herod king of a kingdom? Of Israel?

  9. I’ll respond to the more recent comments later today. In the meantime, PL added something at RPP that expands on his previous comments:

    As I think about it some more, James, both you and Dudi have asked the same question about what advantage is there for Jews to embrace Rav Yeshua if the covenant already guarantees them a place in the world to come. After all, if they don’t need “fire insurance” against the archetypical tent-evangelist’s image of the threat of hell-fire, what do they need, or what benefit is offered? So far, I’ve suggested answers to the effect that there are better and worse outcomes even in the world to come, some paradisiacal and others not so much; and I’ve suggested that the more one delays, the more one misses out on opportunities to “grow in grace” (to use a phrase that might be recognizable in non-Jewish contexts) and to enjoy the interaction with HaShem that the “kingdom of heaven” mindset offers. I’ve even speculated that one may miss out on rewarding assignments in the messianic kingdom if one is kept busy making up for lost prior opportunities.

    But one aspect that I neglected to mention is often reflected in the answer to a question many Jews ask after the High Holy Days, particularly at the end of Yom haKippurim: “Did G-d hear our prayers this year?”. Many Jews are left with a very uncertain: “We don’t know”, or “We can only hope so”. After all, it has been a long time since we could watch a scarlet cord turn white or send a scapegoat off into the desert whence it would not return to haunt us. On the other hand, Jews who have the assurance of atonement via Rav Yeshua’s symbolic sacrifice are not left with such uncertainty, at least on the individual level. Yom haKippurim, of course, represents the quest for atonement and redemption of the *entire* Jewish community — and that is always a work in progress, even within the messianic community where Rav Yeshua’s atonement is already at work. But it is on the individual level where that benefit is felt most, as work progresses to write the Torah onto individual Jewish hearts that they may call out “Abba” and rejoice in His response.

  10. @Onesimus: It is puzzling that Paul wished himself accursed for the sake of his unbelieving brethren if he also believed that all Israel would be saved. Maybe my latest quote from PL has something to do with it or at least you comments about refinement.

    I agree that Yeshua is the mediator of the New Covenant, so he plays a pivotal role, but Hashem established the New Covenant (and all the other covenants), so don’t be too quick to count Him out.

    @Everyone: I’ve been pondering this matter a lot over the past day or two. I believe that the non-Jewish disciples broke with their Jewish mentors fairly early on in history and “reinvented” how to interpret scripture, creating a meaning that was highly pro-Gentile and anti-Jewish as well as anti-Israel, and thus supporting the Gentile Christian Church.

    Today, most Christians accept that reinterpretation and bias so completely, that to question it in any sense is the same to them as questioning the validity of the God of the Bible.

    For those who regularly read this blog, you are probably aware of some of the “issues” I have with traditional Christian exegesis, but what if our fundamental understanding of “salvation,” particularly as it relates to national Israel and the Jewish people, still needs clarification? What if we’re still suffering from the “blinders” placed on us by years of traditional Christian teaching and thinking?

    I keep coming across these contradictions between the New Covenant language in Jer. 31 and Ezek. 36 and what we read (and how we interpret) in the Apostolic Writings. There has never been a very good mapping between the New Covenant promises in the Tanakh and how the Apostolic Scriptures describe that Covenant, and I still think we are suffering from some interpretive impediment that’s preventing us from correctly understanding how these two competing areas of the Bible are supposed to work together.

    Maybe it’s time to temporarily let go of our preconceptions about how the Apostolic Scriptures are traditionally understood, and to make some attempt to view them in more pro-Jewish people and pro-Israel ways, I mean even more so than we already do.

  11. “I still think we are suffering from some interpretive impediment that’s preventing us from correctly understanding how these two competing areas of the Bible are supposed to work together.”

    James, but what if the problems you see with the NT apparently not “jiving” with the TaNaKh were not merely “interpretive” in nature, but rather caused by the actual problems with the NT text itself, specifically with many of the key innovative ideas expressed therein being contrary to the Hebrew Bible? What if the two texts are actually not “supposed to work together” because they put forth two very different theological systems?

    1. I had a feeling that would be your opinion if you chose to comment here, Gene. I think I said elsewhere that it’s matters such as this one that have resulted in some Christians converting to Judaism, becoming Noahides, or becoming atheists. On the other hand, I don’t mind “wrestling with the text” to see if I can overcome my own “bias blinders” and forge some new connections.

      As in our past conversations, I know we could go on and on debating one point of view vs. another endlessly, and while Peter may tolerate lengthy “verbal knife fights” on his blog, I’m less tolerant of such behavior. Just a friendly reminder. Thanks.

  12. ….Herod? He wasn’t “born” a Jew, right? [He was, it’s generally understood, Idumean. I’m pointing this out because we never know when we have new readers. Calling himself a Jew (and being circumcised for the outer appearance, despite his behavior… at complete odds with a conforming heart) made him eligible to rule an area — by authority of Caesar.] So, the “subsection” can be taken from those amongst Israel (and maybe “considered” Israel — not necessarily by God). When communication is happening, in real time, terminology is used to get across to the people what they understand.

    They would have understood the kingdom (and Israel) to be the establishment. But then the kingdom of heaven is differentiated from that. The kingdom of heaven is not what you (what those living at that time saw) see here called Israel (with these leaders).

    At the Time, it seems to me, it would have been excruciating for there to be “Jews” in Israel (the Land) proper who were complete frauds (like Herod) — keeping Israel in a state of exile though in Israel. Now, it could follow, as well, that Herod’s sons [corrected to be what I actually typed, no apostrophe] would not be Jews even if circumcised. [And, I mean, not even if born after Herod was called Jewish.]

    Herod isn’t the only example; I’m referring to him because it’s helpful in being obvious. “John” the “Baptist” was ultimately killed because of Herod’s indulgences. And “Jesus” wasn’t accepted because of a lack of relationship, on the part of the establishment, with Torah. These are the same reason(s). (A big difference is that we don’t consider John as sinless [just very good], while Jesus was without spot/sin.)

  13. I received the following via email quoting some of the written work of D. Thomas Lancaster who was comparing Matthew 8:12 and Romans 11:26. Thought I’d pass it along.

    “In the Jewish context of the story, however, no replacement theology is implied. The Master’s words make room for Gentiles of faith at the table of Israel, but they do not exclude the Jewish people. Yeshua does not mean that Israel will be rejected. The Jewishness of Matthew’s story makes it clear that he does not have in mind the exclusion of the whole category of natural heirs. Nor does he imply replacement by a new religion or nation. Instead, the banquet-prophecy is close to Paul’s olive tree-analogy in Romans 11. In that passage, the owner of the olive tree breaks off natural branches in order to graft in wild branches; so too, with the messianic banquet. The Messiah will send unworthy elements of Israel from the table, but Gentiles of faith will find seating. Rabbi Yeshua’s words about Gentiles at the table must have shocked some. The messianic banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob takes a prominent place in Jewish eschatology, but in that eschatology, Israel sits at the table with the patriarchs while the Gentiles suffer outside, hungry and in torment. In the master’s version of the teaching, the criterion for sitting at the table is faith, not being Jewish. Regarding those sent from the table, Paul reminds us, “If they do not continue in their unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again” (Romans 11:23).

    In the endnotes it says that Luke’s version (Luke 13:28-30) is almost an identical teaching in a different context.. but Luke’s version makes no mention of Gentiles and should be held in tension with Matthew’s version.

    And in another section he says that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, but that generation refused the invitation to enter. Each one stayed busy with his own distractions and forfeited the opportunity to usher in the Messianic age.

  14. And the generation when the Messianic Age is inaugurated is when and who all of Israel will be saved…

    …[first] those who are still living. (From a Thessalonian letter, right?) That’s how I see it.

    Note: I’m not saying the Thessalonians were or would be or will be part of “all Israel” (in the sense of the definitional requirements that all Israel be saved) — just that there is indication people alive are pivotal and differentiated [as from Israel over all the generations].

  15. “And the generation when the Messianic Age is inaugurated is when and who all of Israel will be saved…”

    Marleen, that is exactly how I see it. The prophets reveal that prior to that inauguration there will be a sifting or refining of Israel among the nations, that many won’t survive.

    For surely I will command,
    And will sift the house of Israel among all nations,
    As grain is sifted in a sieve;
    Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground.
    All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword,
    Who say, ‘The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us…

    The survivors (the remnant) are the ones that go on to enter the Messianic kingdom and literally enter the promised land –

    …I will plant them in their land,
    And no longer shall they be pulled up
    From the land I have given them,”
    Says the Lord your God


  16. This is difficult to reconcile, given what has historically happened to Jews. And we’re not struggling to make sense of the Apostolic Writings at this point. It’s certainly not only “sinners” who die by the sword.

    1. Marleen said: “This is difficult to reconcile…”

      Not so difficult to reconcile when you consider (1) God’s definition of a sinner, and (2) when you consider the terms of the covenant God made with Israel.

      1) ALL have sinned (both Jew and gentile).

      2) Israel was given a special place among the nations – a position that came (with Israel’s agreement) specific obligations with benefits and penalties.

  17. Those that do not take up a discussion like this, and tear their hearts out to look at them, and see what needs changing in themselves can never really know the curious certainty that such trauma causes…along with the terror one faces in seeking G-d without sufficient direction or certainty as a Gentile must. Still, we were told to work out our salvation in phobias and traumas. The more we search, the more it seems the same…the out-reaching of the Jews to the Gentiles, and the in-reaching of the Gentiles to the Jews; the Tanakh and the Brit Chadashah, and the curious lack of necessity to be exactly correct in all that you think, say and do, because if you trust G-d enough, He who knows and loves you so completely, surely He will speak to tell you what to do…if you seek to know Him and seek to delight in Him?

    I have been accused of being Jewish of late, as if my knowledge of the Covenant Promises to Israel…Physical Israel…causes me to be Jewish myself since I press the actual promises of the Mosaic Covenant, and the New Covenant, which does not overturn the Mosaic Covenant. The New Covenant only creates the Mosaic Covenant within our flesh and instinct, our mind, and our hearts beginning now, and finishing in a glorified body when Mashiach comes. Evidently my pressing the claims of the Mosaic and New Covenants as they are written automatically makes me of Jewish blood and birth, and thus denying the supremacy of Grace over the constant struggle to be righteous in one’s own strength.

    It was an unknowing and almost involuntary accusation at that, and made from an unaware supersessionist…I do not think my accuser knew what was meant, or that it is an accusation to call a non-Jew Jewish, and thus a denier of a Covenant cut only with one family group because G-d wanted to make a Name for Himself…to be known by all the world as I Am…and I Am Salvation…YHVH and Yehoshua. I would submit gladly to the Covenant and the Promises it guarantees were someone to give me a way to prove such a thing. How grateful I would be for the proof…of being called into the Covenant by birth…of having a family and a destiny to claim…of knowing what my path in this world was supposed to be, since Gentiles are told next to nothing about how to be good Gentile Disciples of Yeshua by the Christian Church. Yet without command and without proof, it is better that I stay in my own confused state, and attempt to be a good Talmidei Yeshua. I would not relinquish Yeshua merely to be Jewish, any more than the Apostles and 1st century Jewish Nazarenes abandoned their Jewishness, but became rather more zealous for Torah in their conviction of who Yeshua was and is.

    Romans 2:28-29 (CJB)
    28 For the real Jew is not merely Jewish outwardly: true circumcision is not only external and physical.
    29 On the contrary, the real Jew is one inwardly; and true circumcision is of the heart, spiritual not literal; so that his praise comes not from other people but from God.

    I find myself searching, not to see if there is a way out of acting Covenantly rather than acting Jewishly…nor seeking a way to avoid any Covenant duty, but the reason to change one’s identity and nation unless YHVH tells you to do so. And I keep asking Abba what else I am to do that I don’t try to do now, seeing that I can’t get it to go anyway…not without His grace and favor. I do not see very much sinful behavior in my life, but merely a great deal of human folly and human failing, caused mostly by who I was trained to be, and how broken I have become because of it. There is no breaking of commandments that apply to me as a Gentile on a regular basis…merely a great deal of failure at being very much like Yeshua.

    If Abba does not change me, or give me grace, I can do very little differently…age and disability are getting in the way, as is location and circumstance. I ask Abba what I am to do, and keep hearing and keep being shown only how much deceit is going to affect the world as the time nears, and how that deceit will be accomplished, yet without any command to announce what I am being shown. That time seems very near from a prophetic point of view, yet I can see G-d stretching it out another generation without disturbing the world to any great degree, except for those that will say “Where is the promise of his coming?” I continually read that the Rabbinical Jews wish to make the world into the Kingdom in their own power, and only wish to be left alone to make the Kingdom come about in Israel. It would be very comforting to be able to believe that anything I can do would actually cause Mashiach to come sooner than Abba wants him to.

    I feel that I have come too late to the battle with too few years, and not enough strength…with no training to do battle for the souls of others other than to cry out with my fingertips while having the knowledge that using my fingertips is what I was commanded to do.

    So, for me it comes down to just how is anyone to discern a true Mashiach from a false? The Adversary can dress himself in any guise, and call out for followers, and guarantee peace as he does so…given sufficient power and time by G-d…but that is not what the prophecies say will happen, and that is key in both Old and New Scriptures…the New Scriptures merely have more detail of how it will occur, and even that is not enough to discern from this day what will happen when the Man of Sin appears…except physical suffering, persecution, and death for those that disagree with him, while what will happen when Yeshua returns is a mourning of lost opportunities, and for those Jews and those of the Nations that are still alive when he returns, the chance to live under Mashiach as King for however long the ‘1000’ years is before the general judgement occurs, and any of us sits down to eat with Mashiach.

    Each of us must work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and figure out how to live in and for that salvation when there is no proof…only faith. Which is exactly what Yeshua wondered about, when he spoke about his coming again, and whether he would find faith when he returned. And if you noticed, he did not say faith in him…only faith.

  18. Been away from the computer all day (with the grandkids) so I’m behind on the comments. I’ll catch up by the by, but PL had this to say about Paul wishing himself “accursed” for the sake of his unbelieving brethren:

    Perhaps we should read that statement in the same manner that we read Moshe’s demand to HaShem to be blotted out of HaShem’s book of life if He would not have mercy upon the people He had redeemed from Egypt and given His Torah, and continue to accompany them on their journey to the land that was promised to these descendants of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yacov. The focus was on Moshe’s demand for mercy, not on his desire to be blotted out. Similarly, Rav Shaul’s focus was on mercy that was not conditioned by physical origin, and not on a desire to be cursed and cut off. As with Moshe, such an expression is not the essence of the text’s intention, but is almost incidental coloration to emphasize the intensity of its purpose. Would it have done anyone any good for Moshe to be blotted out? No — therefore his expression is hyperbolic. So also with Rav Shaul. Could anyone benefit if he were cut off or cursed? Again, no — so we need to see his expression also as hyperbolic, and not as the topic of the passage.

    1. Yes, Paul’s statement was hyperbolic, there was no chance of Him being cursed and cut off to benefit his people – but that does not nullify the REASON for his hyperbole. Why did he feel the need to express himself in that way if every person born of Israel was going to benefit, unconditionally from God’s promise of salvation?

      Was God’s promise to Israel unconditional?

      No, (Deut 28)

  19. To focus in on prophecy for “the end” though, do you doubt “sifting” and/or “dying” (a one-time event, it seems) has happened?

    It appears exile can happen any number of times or in waves and such, but the ending single event is different, doesn’t it seem?

  20. I would be interested in anyone’s answer(s) to that question, but further… The idea or fact that all have sinned doesn’t quite address the perplexity, for at least a couple reasons. For one, because Jesus died by the sword. And, two, because a randomness (or simple lack of consistency is possibly more accurate) of better and worse people dying by the sword — or murder or law enforcement (it’s not clear which, and either is grizzly, and the latter doesn’t make sense except in the same kind of way as how Jesus was murdered, not in justice).

    Anyway, getting back to Paul, he could have been saying not that he would die like Jesus died (sinless) but as one of the sinners who will die before all Israel is saved. After all, he wrote these letters. So one might be consistent with another. The “all Israel” being saved couldn’t happen (according to him, if this is what he was saying) until the sinners die. So, he was wishing it could all happen immediately. No one is experiencing the fulfillment until this happens — no one was experiencing the fulfillment. This is another answer as to why the hyperbole.

    And didn’t he call himself chief of sinners?

  21. @Onesimus: Deut. 28 is indeed a lengthy list of the consequences for disobedience, but Deut. 30:1-14 is God’s promise of ultimate restoration, so we don’t see a final and complete abandonment of Israel by God because Israel “went too far.”

    1. James said:

      “…so we don’t see a final and complete abandonment of Israel by God because Israel “went too far.”

      Of course we don’t see a final and complete abandonment of Israel. Surely what I’ve already said has made that clear.

      But neither do we see a final and complete exoneration (and salvation) of every single person descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

      Paul’s statement about all Israel being saved needs to be qualified within the context of everything else he said about the identity of Israel within the letter to the Romans (a context I addressed in my earlier comments).

  22. Makes me wonder if Paul hatched the plot to arrest Jesus, or handed Judas the thirty pieces of silver [before later doing an about face].

  23. “Makes me wonder if Paul hatched the plot to arrest Jesus, or handed Judas the thirty pieces of silver [before later doing an about face].”

    Marleen, a number of commentators have noted that Acts oddly portrays Paul (a “Pharisee of Pharisees”) as being in the service of the Sadducees (the Temple Priests), in the Temple police, under the “authority and commission” of chief of Sadducees, the High Priest. (Acts 26:10 and Acts 26:12). Which is quite strange, if you think about it, since we know that the relationship between Pharisees and Sadducees wasn’t exactly cordial. In fact, it was downright adversarial, since the two groups disagreed on just about everything, as even the NT showcases. NT also shows that many times Pharisees had defended Jesus against Sadduceean authorities, but then we find out that Paul, the “Pharisee”, is Jesus’ chief persecutor working for his direct opponents. Quite odd…

  24. I’m not sure why the whole of my previous comment is displayed as a quote. The quote should have been from “so we don’t” through to “went to went too far”

  25. I think the definition of “all Israel” as a fulfillment of prophecy has to do with people at a certain point (not a church age or age of grace or span of successive exile) in time… rather all at one time… as a fulfillment of prophecy (faithful children of the covenants at that time who are alive at that time). I think that can be a separate consideration from complete fulfillment of all promise.

    It seems Paul wanted the all Israel being saved picture (as in any of Israel being saved in the ultimate sense of the Kingdom… ) to start right away. Hypothetically speaking, those whom HaShem would raise up after that (point) could be additional descendants (and additional non-descendants or non-Israel per se). As we know, there are many parts to promises being fulfilled.

    I don’t take the terminology of all Israel being saved as code or stand-in for all the rest — the water running through Jerusalem, the trees, the absence of a need for a sun, heavenly Jerusalem coming from the sky — but as distinct. I’m giving these examples to try and illustrate how I currently am thinking about it all. And, for instance, Abraham and Isaac themselves are not alive now.

    That is, they aren’t on the earth right now and won’t be at any time, whenever this “all Israel” sign and fulfillment of a prophecy happens. But then they will be after. They will be raised after those living (at the precise time) are changed.

    I could be wrong about something, but I find it valuable to open up my thought processes and consider possible definitions of terms and intent(s) of writers conveying what they want others to hear. Beyond a sense of heavenly connection, the heavenly Kingdom is to come.

    When I think of how the various parts “add up” I have to think of the implications. It doesn’t (as I was attempting to show earlier) make sense to me that the nations properly punish Israel for not living up to God’s standards; the other nations don’t have that job.

    In other nations, there are the laws of each nation or political body. It would not be fitting for my United States to enforce the instructions of Deuteronomy against non-observant Jews… or to try to in some jimmy-rigged way. I know you know that, I’m just trying to be clear.

  26. @Onesimus: A parallel conversation is going on, primarily between PL and Merrill at RPP and they are having the same debate. Does “all Israel” mean every single Jew who has ever lived since Abraham, or does it mean a subset or remnant? If a remnant, then who is in that subset, just Yeshua-believing Jews (which leaves out all Jews who lived before Yeshua) or any Jew who was faithful to the covenants as they were understood during their lifetime?

    What about now? Does a Jew who adheres to the Sinai covenant and arguably the New Covenant as it is commonly understood in normative Judaism merit a place in the world to come, or only Jesus-believing Christian Jews? Is there a qualitative difference between Hebrew Christians and Messianic Jews since the former have abandoned the Sinai covenant and the Torah mitzvot, and the later have faith in Yeshua and observe the mitzvot?

    I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a vested interest in asking the questions since my wife and three children are Jewish and none are Yeshua-believers. If Hashem makes some allowances for Torah-observant Jews who are not Yeshua-believers but nevertheless, devoted to the covenants as they understand them, then, as PL suggested, was Paul being rhetorical when he wished himself to be cursed.

    As I continue to maintain, there are competing parts of scripture that, on the surface, don’t seem to add up. I know Gene’s answer would be to simply throw out the Apostolic Scriptures, Yeshua-belief, and twenty centuries of (mainly) Gentile faith in a Messiah who never existed, making that faith in vain. I’m not willing to do that.

    On the other hand, I’m not willing to say that 3,500 years of Jewish faith in Hashem and devotion to the Torah was in vain, either.

    It is difficult to understand the mind of God.

    Oh, I fixed the broken “blockquote” closing tag.

    @Marleen: I’ve read more than once that it is thought Paul believed Yeshua’s “second coming” would happen within a few decades, perhaps even within Paul’s lifetime, so that understanding my color our perception of the Apostle. If he thought time was short, he may have felt a certain desperation about inspiring Jewish devotion of Moshiach prior to his return and judgment.

    Yet, if Paul believed that literally “all Israel” would be saved, and we choose to believe that too, then our understanding of “saved” may be the part of the puzzle we still don’t comprehend. How can all Israel be saved and yet some be knocked off the root and thrown out into the darkness to gnash their teeth? Christians think that means eternal damnation in Hell, but what if it’s not?

    Christian theology and doctrine have proven to be in error before. Maybe the notion of “salvation”needs a lot more attention.

  27. Me: “It seems Paul wanted the all Israel being saved picture (as in any of Israel being saved in the ultimate sense of the Kingdom… ) to start right away. Hypothetically speaking, those whom HaShem would raise up after that (point) could be additional descendants (and additional non-descendants or non-Israel per se). As we know, there are many parts to promises being fulfilled.

    “I don’t take the terminology of all Israel being saved as code or stand-in for all the rest — the water running through Jerusalem, the trees, the absence of a need for a sun, heavenly Jerusalem coming from the sky — but as distinct.

    ….Beyond a sense of heavenly connection, the heavenly Kingdom is to come.”

    I’m going to try again to add some clarity to what I’m saying.

  28. “I know Gene’s answer would be to simply throw out the Apostolic Scriptures, Yeshua-belief, and twenty centuries of (mainly) Gentile faith in a Messiah who never existed, making that faith in vain.”

    James, I propose that this is not just my answer, but that I see the process of “throwing out” as a natural outcome of the fact that the nations will eventually come to the realization that they have inherited “nothing buy lies” from their fathers. It fits well with what prophet Jeremiah predicted:

    “To you (Hashem) shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: “Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit. Do people make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!” (Jeremiah 16:19-20)”

    Don’t worry, I am not goading you into arguing with me.

  29. Marleen said:

    It seems Paul wanted the all Israel being saved picture (as in any of Israel being saved in the ultimate sense of the Kingdom… ) to start right away.

    As I’ve said, it is believed by some scholars that Paul thought Yeshua’s return would occur very soon, so I don’t doubt he may have felt a sense of desperation regarding his Jewish peers relative to the revelation of Messiah.

    But that also implies that he didn’t have a “plan B” for the Messiah’s return being delayed, especially over two-thousand years or so. Maybe our attempts to read that “plan B” into Paul’s writing is what causes us so much confusion.

    @Gene: No worries. I know your perspective fairly well. I’m married to a Jewish woman who believes pretty much the same thing.

  30. First of all, I hadn’t yet seen your 7:48AM, James, when I last posted. I agree “salvation” and “saved” could be so heavily shaded by centuries (beyond centuries) of Christian doctrine that we are having trouble seeing how the pieces fit together [as well as thinking “not saved” means burning in hell… and forever]. I can always think again about different or additional aspects of all the dimensions, but I’m thinking Paul had a temporal sense for all Israel being saved, that he was looking at the present situation and thinking it couldn’t* go on. When I say the present situation, I again don’t necessarily mean what Christians tend or tended to think of as emblematic of “the problem” (Jews).

    The problem is that the people (meaning, as seen in the gospels and in Acts, Jews — or members of the tribes — in the areas governed as Israel under Rome) were in bondage. This can be taken as a kind of exile even living in Israel. It’s not desirable, it’s not good. We have to see that tied right into it was corruption of the very halls that were supposed to be Israeli leadership (such as this Herod I talked a little about who was not in fact a Jew, but was* in some way).

    * …couldn’t… as in shouldn’t as in,
    [with excruciating tone]
    This can’t go on!

    *(2) Similarly (or sort of equal and opposite), to try and grasp this, it appears the Pharisees in Judea or specifically Jerusalem were called Jews (in the Bible — the “NT” part — and officially at the time) while the priests were not referred to as Jews (although, of course, they were of the tribes, or what we usually mean as Jews, except where also infiltrated)… and the people (Jews too) were often not referred to as Jews. [It is known from other ancient sources that the people were often thought of as “people of the land” and unlearned (unimportant).

    Now, to elucidate what I quoted of myself at 8AM, I think Paul wanted the whole situation to be redeemed — as in set right. Think of redeemed and saved without ANY Christian or religious meaning. These words do have meaning before Christianity. And then, after that, consider that Paul was saying this saving or delivering from the situation at hand would also be the final time and the induction of the messianic era. He was wrong. But okay, that’s what he wanted to say.

    So he thought all the Israeli people in his lifetime would be delivered. And no thanks to Herod or Caesar (who portrayed themselves as saviors of the masses). While some people were believing this ahead of time [consider this a heavenly “connection” in my quote], the Kingdom [beyond believing] would in fact come [consider this the “ultimate sense” to which I referred]. So, this does indicate the rest or the trees and water and so forth. But there is a specific step first. Distinctly, all persons of Israel will be in a state to accept the Messiah.

    My characterization of Paul’s “all Israel being saved picture (as in any of Israel being saved in the ultimate sense of the Kingdom… )” was not to be a rehashing of the common Christian satisfaction that all means some. Rather, I was saying it will be all or none

    … to start.

    … other than the fact those who are alive will be changed and THEN those in the grave will rise.

    So, I think I have three things going in here:
    ~ It’s a sign or communal definition of timing (as to Jews/tribes).
    ~ It’s a reference to the fullness of the temporal nation being delivered.
    ~ The previous generations, as God will know and we don’t, have any number of people from them who will be in a condition to accept Yeshua/Messiah when raised. Yeshua said that accepting Torah would mean accepting him too. [For non-Jews, I don’t know if there’s a way, if there’s something like an honest heart that accepts the God of Israel once it learns. Maybe there’s time in the Millennium.]

  31. Yes! I think you’re right there, that we try (have tried) to read in a “plan b” that is not in the text and wasn’t in Paul’s mind. Additionally, there’s so much disconnection from the real time history.

  32. Gene,
    As I read through Acts 26 again, I thought there was probably actually something Paul’s accusers could have lodged formally against him (that they knew) of which he would be guilty and could have been found guilty and for which he would deserve to die. But they wouldn’t do it because it would implicate themselves as well (the witnesses were themselves because they were in on it). So they tried to get law enforcement to believe other things instead, things they weren’t guilty of themselves but by which they made themselves false witnesses (which wouldn’t matter as there’d be no punishment to themselves). When they saw that Paul was no longer against Jesus, they were likely afraid he would no longer keep the secret of what they’d done together. Or they were afraid of people thinking he told the truth. We do see in Acts that they try to besmirch his words by making up things he’d “done.” Clearly, he’d done plenty bad. And it is strange he and some “Jews” (leading Pharisees) and Sadducees (or priests) had been in cahoots.

  33. Second paragraph, 10:04 — “We have to see that tied right into [it] was corruption of the very halls…”

    Correction: “We have to see that tied right into what was…”

  34. “Clearly, he’d done plenty bad.”

    But, Marleen, doesn’t Paul describe Himself as “blameless” when it comes to “righteousness based on Law” (Philippians 3:6)?

    If he was actually a thug going around disregarding the basic laws of the Torah (which deal not just with ritual matter, but with basic morality and treatment of fellow human beings, due process, violence, theft, bribery, etc), doing really “bad” things which someone could later hold over his head to incriminate him, how could he later describe himself as above reproach? Again, I read so many statements by Paul that he made about himself and compare them with things about him as told in Acts, and I get a very conflicting picture of the man.

  35. I will say two things first in response to your good point, Gene.

    1) I don’t remember off the top of my head, but there are books/letters in the “NT” that have been attributed to Paul — but which lately have been discerned not to be by Paul. The book of Hebrews is one that is obvious. I’m not sure about Philippians. However, the scholars I’m referring to are along the lines of Mark Nanos. And I’m pretty sure he attributes Philippians to Paul.

    2) I also said,
    “So they tried to get law enforcement to believe other things instead, things they weren’t guilty of themselves but by which they made themselves false witnesses (which wouldn’t matter as there’d be no punishment to themselves).”

    The law of Israel wasn’t really being enforced.

    Was he saying he’d fit in with what was expected?

    Doesn’t sound pretty, it’s like, “I’ve never been arrested.”

  36. “Doesn’t sound pretty, it’s like, “I’ve never been arrested.””


    “I don’t remember off the top of my head, but there are books/letters in the “NT” that have been attributed to Paul — but which lately have been discerned not to be by Paul. ”

    Yeah, there are books in the NT attributed to Paul which scholars say are unlikely to have been authored by him. On the other hand, we know for sure that Acts (a much later work) wasn’t penned by Paul, so who knows how accurately it really reflects the actual events and character of Paul. Perhaps this is the reason why Paul’s own words and the text of Acts are hard to reconcile. I think, and this is an opinion gleaned from others smarter than I, that Acts was a romanticized version of events (and indeed, it composed in an “adventure” format popular in the day) which took a lot of creative license and describes events, person and whole speeches as the author (far removed from that time by then) imagined them to be.

  37. It does make sense to me that it was written in adventure form.

    Small fix to my 11:17 — “Was he saying he’d fit in with what was expected?” [I mean “[that] he had” (not “he would” future).]

    {I’ve noticed a couple other typos, throughout, but oh well.}

  38. By the way, there’s an excellent article by Mark Nanos from years ago where he shows (hypothesizes) Paul used a classical style for part of one of his Corinthian letters, to make a point. The paper is long and involved and worth it.

    It is also the case that people back then often thought it was okay to write as if you were someone else if you were carrying on what you thought they stood for — even though that’s obviously questionable (as to getting things right).

    It is possible that since he was educated in such things and knew how to apply it figuratively and chose to do so, someone thought it was a good idea (even though not as if in the name of Paul) to do something that seemed classical.

  39. I have to correct myself, Onesimus. Yeshua didn’t die by the sword even if the motions happened. He had already died (on the cross he bore) when the soldiers ran a sword into him in the afternoon in a hurry (no time to wait). PL reminded me of this. Thank you, PL.

  40. I don’t know whether anyone answered you, directly, Onesimus, but I absolutely don’t think you were trying to convey that you “see a final and complete abandonment of Israel.” “Surely…”

    What I do think is the prophecies are more likely fulfilled in ways that are clear or make sense to us at least after the fact (and maybe before), but not in ways that require reading the Bible backward or that don’t quite seem like what happened and will happen are what was said.

    When having a conversation about these things, it’s okay to admit things don’t seem clear or that current understanding seems to involve contradiction. Or, of course, we can recall what some thoughts or conclusions have led to in our recalled experience. Surely, God wants us to look. I know it is important to you that people see what is.

  41. When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
    (Matthew 8:10–12 ESV)

    What I’m wanting to point out about this coordinates with what I said earlier, but it’s a subtle difference in a way to look at these particular sentences than is usually assumed. Jesus was always in Israel. But not every Jew was in Israel. So, he wasn’t specifically talking about Jews (or all Jews) in this response concerning the centurion.

    It was not as if the word of God had failed. What was in Israel had, that kingdom (what was called Israel by Rome).

    There is a small city near where I once lived. I heard a story that when they were trying to name their town when it was new, and they had to submit names (to the county seat or the state government or someplace like that), they tried several times. The names they submitted were turned down (not sure the reason(s), maybe because those names already existed in the state). Finally, they wrote a note that they were trying to come up with a peculiar name (maybe partly because they thought they were special). Then the governing authority just assigned to them… Peculiar. Now, the Bible says those who believe are a peculiar people. But does that mean those who live in that place?

    With this illustration, I’m not trying to separate Israel the people from Israel the Land. I’m saying the separation had happened, while some who were Israel or Jews [and, as I’ve shown, the term Jews didn’t mean then what we take it to mean] did live there. [I think the term Israel* was also being used in a way that doesn’t align with assumptions or an idealized sense (at best, or, its derided sense).]

    * There are the senses of the Land and the people (to Rome, it was more like “the land” — and as I’ve shared, the “people” were rabble). Israel was an elite, the kingdom or a kingdom within a kingdom. [There were elites in other provinces as well, those of power installed.] So, there were confusions (or distortions) of what anything meant in those immediate days. (And there are other confusions now.)

  42. [I should add, it’s been postulated that Jesus traveled the world before his few years of ministry; maybe he went back (where he had been a short time in infancy) to Egypt for a while or went to India. I don’t believe that — but the point being, anyway, he hadn’t seen all Jews. And that (or anything like it) is not what he meant in any case.]

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