Israel's Future Salvation - Part 4

Romans 11:11-32

Tom Pennington  •  July 7, 2019
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Romans, chapter 11, my plan is to finish Romans 11 this week and next week, short of the doxology; I'm going to save that for the fall. But after these next two weeks, I plan to take a few weeks here to cover some issues and topics I have been thinking about and planning toward; and then Lord willing, after Labor Day, we'll resume with the doxology at the end of Romans 11 and launch into chapter 12 and all of the practical day-to-day living that Paul wants to lay on us in light of the gospel that we have learned and studied together. But this morning, we're back in Romans, chapter 11.

The story is told that Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, once asked his court chaplain for clear proof of the inspiration of the Bible. The chaplain famously replied that he could get him all the proof he needed for the inspiration of the Bible in just one word, 'Israel.' They are, in fact, a remarkable people. Through much of their history, the Jews have faced a nearly constant threat of genocide. I won't walk you through the reams of history that I have read this week and sort of recounting what has happened and unfolded to them through the centuries. But let me just give you some of the low points, the worst times when they faced really extinction.

  • There's the time with the Assyrians in 722 B.C., when Assyria decimated the northern 10 tribes and killed or carried off almost all the population.

  • The Babylonians, in 586, laid siege to the city of Jerusalem and killed tens of thousands of the southern kingdom of Judah.

  • In 475 B.C., Haman attempted the genocide of the entire nation, but the nation was saved through the efforts of Esther and Mordecai.

  • In 70 A.D., the Roman General Titus marched on the city of Jerusalem and its environs and killed over 1 million Jewish people.

  • In 1146 A.D., the Muslims massacre 220,000 Jews.

  • The Cossacks, in the 1600's, massacred tens of thousands of Jews; and before that in the 1300's, the Turkish Mongol conqueror, Tamerlane, killed over 200,000 Jews.

  • Fast forward to the 20th century, and of course, you have Stalin, and it's believed that Stalin killed over 2 million Jews that inhabited the great lands of Russia.

  • And of course, the Holocaust of World War II still stands as what is the single greatest act of genocide. The figure that is most often used for that genocide is 6 million Jews. Do you know where that figure came from? It's actually a figure that was given to us by Adolf Eichmann, the SS official, and is his own estimate of how many Jews the Nazis had put to death.

Why do people hate the Jews? Or, let's get specific, why did Hitler hate the Jews? Why did he launch an effort to exterminate them from the face of the earth? Well, you don't have to wonder because he's told us. He wrote in his book, Mein Kampf, these words:

The struggle for world domination is between me and the Jews; all else is meaningless. The Jews have inflicted two wounds on the world: circumcision for the body and conscience for the soul. I come to free mankind from their shackles.

Herman Rauschning, in his book, Hitler Speaks, quotes Hitler as saying this:

The Ten Commandments have lost their validity. Conscience is a Jewish invention; it is a blemish like circumcision. (And then he adds this.) The personification of the devil, as the symbol of all evil, assumes the living shape of the Jew.

Now, how do you explain such anti-Semitism? Well, there are, of course, many reasons. Theologically, we can answer it this way, it's because hatred of God and hatred of others is endemic in the fallen human soul. Titus 3:3 says that unbelievers are "hateful, (and) hating one another." And it really doesn't matter who that hatred is launched at. But there are specific reasons for the hatred of the Jews. Sometimes anti-Semitism stems from issues such as economic jealousy, or their distinctive culture, or racial prejudice, or the common idea that the Jews are part of a conspiracy pursuing world domination. But in the end, there's really only one ultimate reason for the hatred of the Jews, and that is, Satan's own hatred of and opposition of the ethnic descendants of Abraham because they are the chosen people of God. After all, our Lord Himself said in John 8:44 that "the devil…was a murderer from the beginning." And all murder and all murderous thoughts, which is what really anti-Semitism is, ultimately stem from Satan himself.

But remarkably, in spite of all attempts down through the centuries to exterminate them, the Jews still survive! Why? Because, of the faithfulness of God. Because God has a plan for their future. That's what we're learning in Romans, chapter 11.

In Romans 11, Paul is explaining God's continuing faithfulness to the Jewish people, and he develops it in two sections. We're looking at the second section in verses 11 to 32, where he explains, "Israel's Future Spiritual Salvation." In verses 11 through 16, we saw, "The Certainty of Her Future Salvation;" she will be accepted by God; she will be reconciled, he says in that section. And then last week, we looked at the second part of this major section, verses 17 to 24, where Paul gives, "A Warning to Us Gentiles," in light of Israel's future salvation. A warning not to become cocky, not to become arrogant, and he uses the analogy of an olive tree as the true people of God into which we have been grafted.

Today, we come to the third part of Paul's teaching about, "The Future Salvation of Israel;" and in this final paragraph, he provides for us an explanation, really a detailed explanation of her future salvation. That's the point of verses 25 to 32. Let's read it together. You follow along, Romans, chapter 11, verse 25. Paul writes this:

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; just as it is written,

"THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION,

HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB."

"THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM,

WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience so that he may show mercy to all.

Now notice, first of all, that this paragraph begins with the little word, "for." In other words, what he's giving us here is the reason for the hope that he has expressed in the earlier verses that Israel will one day be restored, that Israel will one day be saved. There is solid foundation for that hope.

Now the theme of this paragraph is very clearly stated at the beginning of verse 26. If you'll just note that expression, here's the theme of this paragraph, "All Israel will be saved." That's the point he's making here. As the verses around that statement unfold, we learn exactly what Paul means, so let's sort of follow Paul's logic here and watch as he unpacks this truth and see if we can understand all the Spirit intends to teach us about that simple statement, "All Israel will be saved."

Paul begins here by revealing to us the mystery of God's plan. As he explains Israel's future salvation, he lays out the mystery of God's plan. That's the message of verses 25 to 27, and that's what we're going to look at together this morning.

Now, before we learn the contents of this mystery, we discover who needs to know the mystery, who needs to know it? And the answer, in verse 25, is all Gentile Christians. Notice, these words, this paragraph, is addressed to, verse 25, "the brethren," which of course includes all Christians, but Paul is being more specific than that. Go back to verse 13; he says, "I am speaking to you who are Gentiles." So this section, this paragraph, about the Jews is not written to the Jews. It's written to you if you're a Gentile in origin. The Holy Spirit said, "You need to know this, you need to understand this, all Gentile Christians."

There's a second question as we work through this mystery that we need to answer and that is, "Why do we need to know?" Why is it important for you, sitting here in 21st-century North Texas, and you're trying to work through life and deal with the issues of life and be encouraged in your Christian faith, why does this matter? Well, there are three reasons Paul gives us here as to why you need to know this.

Number one, because it's a very important issue. Verse 25, notice what he says, "I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed." Now, that's a figure of speech. It's a litotes; and a litotes is an ironic understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative. Let me give you an example from everyday life. If you want someone to do something, you might say this to them (him or her), "You won't be sorry if you do it." Now, what do you mean when you say, "You won't be sorry?" What you mean is you'll be glad, but you put it in the negative form. That's what Paul has done here. When Paul says, "I don't want you to be uninformed," he means, "It's really important for you to understand this."

And by the way, ultimately that wasn't Paul's call; that was the Holy Spirit's call. So as you sit there this morning, thinking about, "Why do I need to listen to a message about Israel and the Gentiles?" Understand, if you're Christian, the Holy Spirit says, "You need to know this." Okay? He considered it important.

There's a second reason why we need to know this and that's to create humility, to create personal humility, and he expresses this explicitly in verse 25, "I (don't) want you…to be uninformed of this (mystery)--so that (for this reason) you will not be wise in your own estimation." What does he mean, "…wise in your own estimation?" Well, he's simply restating in different words what he's already warned us of. Go back to verse 18, "…do not be arrogant (Gentile Christians) toward the branches; (That is toward the Jewish people who have been broken off from the true people of God because they're not believers.)." Don't be arrogant toward them; don't look at unbelieving Jews and kind of grab your lapels and say, "Look at me, look how wonderful I am, I believe and they didn't; look at the place I occupy in the plan of God." Don't think you're better than the Jews, that's what he's saying. Look at the end of verse 20, he says it a second time, "Do not be conceited, but fear." Don't be conceited; don't think you're really good. And Paul now says in verse 25, it's for this very same reason, to produce humility in us, that he's going to reveal this mystery to us.

And there's a third reason why we need to know, and that is to show us how we fit into God's plan of redemption, and that's going to become clear as we work through the rest of this paragraph.

Now there's a third question that we need to ask. We've looked at who needs to know--all Gentile Christians. Why do we need to know--for those reasons. Thirdly, how do we know this mystery? And the short answer is, "God revealed it to us." Look at verse 25, he calls it "this mystery." Now, the English word 'mystery' is actually a transliteration of this Greek word. The Greek word is musterion; we simply carried that Greek word over into English.

But that's the only resemblance between the Greek word and the English word; because in English, when we use the word 'mystery', we typically use it in two ways. We use it to describe something that can never be known. What do you say when you're completely dumbfounded and you have no idea? You say, "It's a, it's a mystery to me. I don't know and I'm never going to know, don't ask me." The other way we use this English word; we use it if it's something that I can discover if I'm a clever enough detective. You know, some of you read mystery novels, and there's always this clever person, man or woman, who can sort of work out the murder plot or whatever it was, and discover who the villain is because he's clever, or she's clever. That's how we use this word. We kind of think, Hercule Poirot.

But when it comes to how we use this word in the New Testament, you've got to get all of that English stuff out of your mind because that has nothing to do with how this word is used in the New Testament. In fact, Paul defines this word for us essentially over in chapter 16. Look at Romans 16, verse 25:

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, (Now watch this.) according to the revelation of the mystery (Now watch how Paul defines 'mystery.') which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, …according to the commandment of the eternal God.

Now, that's the Greek use of the word 'mystery'.

In fact, in the New Testament, this word for 'mystery' is used when three conditions are met. Number one, there's something that was not previously known. Number two, it's something that no one would have ever discovered by searching. And thirdly, God has revealed it. That's a mystery in New Testament terms. It wasn't known; nobody would have ever come up with it on their own; and God has now revealed it. That's the mystery.

So, when Paul says this is a mystery, he's saying this, "The only way we know this is because God has revealed it to him for our sakes." And what follows is one of the most amazing prophecies in the entire New Testament. It is a prophecy; make no mistake. What we are about to read is a prophecy just like a prophecy from Jeremiah, or Ezekiel, or any of the Old Testament prophets, from the Apostle Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ.

That brings us then to the fourth question we need to ask and that is, "What is the mystery? What is this mystery?" Well, look at verse 25:

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery." And then skip what's between the dashes; we already covered that. "I (don't) want you…to be uninformed of this mystery…that (And what follows the word 'that' is the content of the mystery.) …a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved.

This is the mystery. In the largest sense, this mystery is a revelation of the details of the divine drama of redemption, a drama in which we've seen throughout chapter 11 in which the Jews and Gentiles keep changing roles and occupying center stage. First, it was the Jews, now it's the Gentiles, and someday it's going to be the Jews again. That's what we're learning; this is the mystery.

But this mystery has been revealed for us here in three specific parts. Let's look at the parts of this mystery. Part number one, verse 25, "…a partial hardening has happened to Israel, a partial hardening has happened to Israel." By 'partial,' he simply means not all Israel has been hardened. God is still saving a remnant of Jewish people today; they are true believers; some of you are here in this auditorium who have come to faith from a Jewish background and believe in your Messiah. So it's partial in that it's not every Jewish person. In fact, we learned this back in verse 7, look at chapter 11, verse 7, "What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, (That is righteousness, a right standing before God. The elect obtained it from Israel.) and the rest (the rest of Israel) were hardened;" as God gave them over to their sin and allowed them to be hardened in their sin.

So, in verses 7 through 10, we learn a remnant of Jewish people are being saved today; they're becoming true believers, but the rest of Israel today are being hardened. God is allowing them to be hardened in their sin; He is hardening them by giving them over to their sin. And the hardening of the rest of Israel, Paul says, it's part of God's plan to accomplish the next two parts of the mystery.

So let's look at part two. Part two of the mystery is this, verse 25, "…until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in." Now, this clause establishes the time when all Israel will be saved. Notice the partial hardening only lasts until this occurs, and then something new is going to happen. So he says, through time right now, through history as it is right now, there's this partial hardening; a remnant is being saved; most are being hardened, and that's going to last until (Until what?). Well, he calls it the "fullness of the Gentiles," the fullness of the Gentiles.

Now, you'll remember back in chapter 11, verse 12, we met a very similar expression used of the Jews. Look back at verse 12, "…if their transgression (speaking of the Jewish people)…if their transgression (has become spiritual) riches for the (rest of) the world." We've gotten the gospel and believed it "and their failure (has become) riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their (That is the Jewish people's.) fulfillment be!"

The word 'fulfillment' is the same Greek word as 'fullness,' the fullness of the Jews, in verse 12. The full number of Jews that God has determined to save, when they are saved, how much greater will that be for us! But in verse 25, he's talking about the "fullness of the Gentiles;" it's used exactly the same way. It means this; the full number of Gentiles God has determined to save, that's the fullness of the Gentiles, the full number of Gentiles God has determined to save.

By the way, I say that because of the rest of the sentence. That Greek verb translated "has come in" often refers in the New Testament, particularly in the Gospels, to entering into spiritual salvation. So he's talking about the salvation of the Gentiles when all the Gentiles God intends to save have been saved. So let me explain it this way. He's saying, by this expression, "…until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in," he means this, when the fixed number of Gentiles that God intends to save have all come to genuine faith in Christ, then all Israel will be saved.

What does that mean about when this is going to happen? Well, we don't have a specific moment in time, but we have a timeframe, right? If it's when all the Gentiles God intends to save have been saved, it has to come when? At the end; it has to come at the end of human history.

In fact, our Lord, in Luke 21, verse 24, talks about the fact that, after the destruction of Jerusalem, that there would be this period of time when Jerusalem would be trampled down by the Gentiles, and He says, "…until the times of the Gentiles are (complete)." In other words, Jesus was saying there would be a time in human history when the Gentiles would be the predominant influence; and of course, that's exactly what we've seen since, some would say, since the Israelites were carried off captive into Babylon in 586 B.C.; others would say from the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. But regardless, the Gentiles, they're on center stage, right? I mean, we see that our news feeds all the time, that's the reality. So, this is the timeframe; when the fixed number of Gentiles God intends to save, come to faith, then all Israel will be saved.

You say, "Can we get more specific?" Well, actually we can, and we can from the writings of the prophet Zechariah, second to the last book in the Old Testament. Look at Zechariah and turn to chapter 12. The Prophet Zechariah has much to say about the future restoration of Israel. Now, that is really important; let me tell you why that's important that it's Zechariah. Because, those who reject, some of our brothers in Christ who reject that there's a future for Israel, will say something like this, "Listen, all of those Old Testament passages, promising a restoration, those were fulfilled when Israel came back from Babylon 500 years before Christ."

Well, there's a serious problem with that because that can't be what Zechariah is talking about because Zechariah wrote after the people returned from Babylon, and he still writes of a future time of restoration and of salvation. Nothing like Zechariah describes here, you're going to see it a minute, nothing like this has happened since Zechariah wrote 500 years before Christ, and so it has to mean that the future the restoration salvation of Israel is still in the future.

Now, from Zechariah, this is what I want you to see, from Zechariah, we're going to learn more specifically when Israel's salvation will happen. It will happen in connection with the final Battle of Armageddon at the end of the seven years of Tribulation, and in conjunction with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in glory.

So, let me give you context here, Zechariah 12 through 14, uses an expression "on that day," sixteen times, "on that day." And the events, that he describes as happening on that day, can only refer to the future, and I think that'll be obvious to you as we look at them. I wish I had time to walk you through all of these chapters; let me just hit some highlights for you.

In chapter 12, beginning in verse 1, Zechariah says Jerusalem is going to be under siege, Jerusalem is good to be attacked, and he's describing, as we'll see in a moment, events that transpired just before the coming of Christ. So he's talking about what Revelation 19 calls "The Battle of Armageddon."

Now watch how he describes what's going to happen. Look at Zechariah 12, verse 10, let's go back to verse 9, "…in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. (So again, he's talking about that great battle, the conflagration we call The Battle of Armageddon; the battle for the nation). Now watch verse 10, in that day:

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, (So, on the royalty, that's the house of David and on the normal 'Joe Blow,' every day inhabitants of Jerusalem)" I'm going to "pour out on (them)…the Spirit (that is My Spirit who will bring) grace and of supplication, (That is, they will be repentant and they will cry out to me) so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced (By the way, that reminds us that Jesus is divine. Here's God talking, and He says they'll) "look on Me whom they've pierced." (And then he changes pronouns.) And they will mourn for Him (Here's a hint of the Trinity, by the way.) …they will look on Me whom (they've) pierced; …they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

And then it describes the mourning that's going to happen, the repentance that's going to happen.

Look at chapter 13, verse 1, "In that day a fountain (that's a symbolic expression) a fountain will be opened again for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity." And God's going to cleanse them and goes on to describe that spiritual cleansing in the verses that follow. Go down to chapter 14, verse 1, "Behold, a day is coming (and now he takes us back to that battle) Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you." In other words, the people attacking you will be so victorious that they'll just spread and divvy up the spoil while they're standing there because there's nothing to threaten them. And verse 2:

…I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. Then, the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on the day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; (And there'll be a huge topographical change in the landscape that's described. The people will flee and be saved, and look at the end of verse 5.) Then the LORD, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!" (And what will be the result of His coming and His victory of this battle? Verse 9,) And the LORD will be king over all the earth. (There is the establishment of the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ) In that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.

So understand then that the salvation of all Israel when they "look on (Him) whom they have pierced; …mourn for Him, as …an only son… (a fountain of cleansing is open for them)." that will happen at the end of the Seven-Year Tribulation in conjunction with the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming when our Lord will place His feet on the Mount of Olives.

So this three-part mystery, number one—"a partial hardening has happened to Israel"; number two—"until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in" which happens at the very end of human history just before the Second Coming. The third part of the mystery is, "…and so (verse 26) all Israel will be saved." Here's the last act in the great drama of redemption, and it will be a great display of the faithfulness of God to His promises and to His people. God's plan of redemption will reach its climax in the salvation of Israel.

Now let's look at this promise, verse 26, this prophecy. Notice it begins "…and so." Those words imply that the timing of this will be after the fullness of the Gentiles has come, after all the Gentiles God intends to save have been saved. It also implies how God's going to do it. Just like he said throughout this chapter, you know how God's going to work the salvation of Israel? In part, it will be through making them jealous over the Gentiles.

Go back to verse 11, Romans, chapter 11, verse 11, "I say then, (Israel) did not stumble so as to fall, (like permanently fall) did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles." We are now saved; and notice in part, that is to make Israel jealous. What does that mean? It means they see our faith; they see our love for their Messiah; they see the benefits and blessings of following their Messiah, and it makes it attractive to them. The gospel becomes attractive to them. That's, in part, what God will use to bring them to salvation.

Now, look at verse 26 again because we need to be very careful in defining the next five keywords. Notice what they are, "all Israel will be saved." Now you look at those words and you go, "Tom, what's to be careful with, I mean, that seems pretty obvious?" Well, it's a lot more complex than you realize, let me walk through it with you. Let's take a word at a time. Let's start with the word 'Israel.' You say, "Really! Somebody's confused about that?" Yes! It may seem obvious what that means, but there are several options that have been debated and are still debated all around us. Let me give you the options for what 'Israel" means.

First of all, some say, "Well, Israel here is talking about the church; it's talking about all believers, Jew and Gentile." This was the view of Augustine; this was the view John Calvin; this was the view of Martin Luther. And I hate to do it, but I have to disagree with all three of them as many others have because of the context. This can't be what Paul means here because he has used this word 'Israel' ten times already in chapters 9 through 11; and every single time, he's meant ethnic Israel. So he can't mean the church, Jew and Gentile, as well.

So that leaves us then with two other options. Some say, "Well, when he says 'Israel' here, he means true Israel; he means the elect within the nation of Israel, and they've been being saved through the centuries; that's all he's talking about." Okay, well, Paul does use this word 'Israel' one time in these chapters to refer to 'elect Israel' in chapter 9, verse 6. "They are not all truly spiritual Israel who are the ethnic descendants of Abraham." So, he does use it that way. But it doesn't work here because remember this is a mystery. So you tell me, what's mysterious about Jewish people gradually coming to faith through the church age? There's nothing mysterious about that; that doesn't fit, it doesn't fit the rest of what he's said here.

So, we're left with then the nation of Israel. How do we know though that's what Paul means, the nation as a whole? How do we know that's what he means? Well, it's clear here in the context. Notice in verse 25, he says, "…a partial hardening has happened (To whom?) to Israel." Whom does he mean? He means the physical descendants of Abraham; he means the nation of Israel. Then he begins verse 26, just a few words later with, "all Israel will be saved." Are you really telling me that he changed definitions within a handful of words? There's no indication here of his changing definitions whatsoever. So Israel, then, means the physical descendants of Abraham.

Now, let's consider the word 'all.' Again, you might be tempted to say, "Really! Someone's troubled by the word 'all'?" Well, let me say it can't mean all in the ultimate sense. Almost all scholars would agree, and I would absolutely affirm what they have written, that all does not mean that, at the end of human history, God is going to look back over every single Jewish person retroactively who's ever lived and save them all. Why would we say that that's not true? Because, there's too much that Paul has written earlier in Romans that would contradict. He's written about all of the Jewish people who haven't believed and even their destiny, you remember in chapter 9, he talked about not all of them being elect, but there were those who were destined to destruction? So this doesn't fit; it can't mean 'all' in the sense of God at the end of human history says, "I'm going to save every single physical descendent of Abraham who's ever lived all through history." The consensus, based on the context, is that Paul is talking here about people who live, when the full number of Gentiles have come to faith, at the end, or at the time of the Second Coming. So we're talking about 'all Israel' in the sense of that one timeframe, the Second Coming.

But even then there are a couple of options as to how to understand this word 'all.' Some would say, "Well, all Israel means all those who were elect in Israel." Well, of course, God's not going to save the non-elect. Right? I mean that doesn't fit with what we've read in the rest of Romans 9 through 11. But that doesn't really answer the question because the real question is, "How many elect are implied by the word 'all?"

And that leaves us two options. Some say 'all Israel' means every full-blooded or nearly full-blooded Jewish person, every one of them who lives at the Second Coming, who survives through the Tribulation at the second coming--every single one of them.

The other perspective is the one I take and I'll explain why in a moment. It's that the vast majority of Israel who live at the time of second coming but not necessarily every Jewish person without exception. Why would I say that when it says 'all Israel?' Because, of how that expression 'all Israel,' is used in the Old Testament. 'All Israel,' that expression occurs 136 times in the Septuagint, in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. I didn't count them all; I'm taking somebody else's word for it, okay? But you can count them if you want, 136 times, 'all Israel,' rarely in the Old Testament does it mean every single Israelite. Usually it's used in a corporate sense like we say in English, "The whole nation was outraged by that." We don't mean every single person, we mean collectively almost everyone in the nation. That's how it's used. For example, in 2 Chronicles 12, verse 1, we read, "Rehoboam (That's Solomon's son) …and all Israel with him forsook the law of the LORD."

Does that mean every single Israelite abandoned God at that point? Of course not! God always has a remnant, right? So he's not meaning every person without exception. In Daniel, chapter 9, verse 11, Daniel writes, "…all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice." And of course in one sense, that's true because we are all sinners, but Daniel and his three friends are called righteous people who followed the Lord. So 'all' doesn't mean 'all' in the sense of every person. So clearly 'all' has to include the elect because God doesn't save the non-elect, but 'all' may mean every Jewish person alive at the Second Coming, or it may mean the vast majority of those alive without meaning everyone without exception.

Now finally, look at the words "will be saved," "will be saved". Clearly 'will be' implies that when Paul wrote, this is still future. But what does he mean, 'saved?' Well, this has to mean what you and I typically mean when we use the word 'saved.' It has to mean spiritual rescue from the guilt and penalty of sin. Why? Because, of the context, look at it. Verse 11, he talks about the salvation of the Gentiles. He's talking about spiritual salvation, reconciliation with God. In verse 15, he talks about their "acceptance" by God. Verse 24, God is able to graft them back in to the true people of God, and verse 27, seals it, "WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS." That's spiritual salvation.

So, let's put it all together, okay? Listen carefully; if I've lost you, I'm sorry, but let me put together, you're not going to miss it this time. Paul is prophesying under the inspiration of the Spirit here, that in the future, at the end of the Tribulation and in connection with the Second Coming, there will be a massive conversion of the physical descendants of Abraham. Remarkably, that will happen because of the salvation of Gentiles. We are the means, in part, that God will use in that day to bring them to Himself. That's the mystery God revealed to us through Paul.

Now back in Chapter 11, there's one more question that we need to answer, and that is, "Is this prophecy of Paul's we've just studied, is it consistent with the Old Testament?" And beginning in the middle of verse 26 and through verse 27, Paul says, "Absolutely!" Now, why does this matter? Why does it matter if it's consistent with the Old Testament? Well, I'm not going to take you back there, but all the way back in Deuteronomy 13, Moses laid down one of the standards for a true prophet, and one of those standards was, if you're going to speak as a prophet, everything you say has to be in complete agreement with what's been revealed previously, because God doesn't contradict Himself. That's the problem with most of today's prophets; they should have been stoned by Old Testament standards; and if they had lived then, they would be (have been). It had to be in agreement with previous revelation.

So, Paul's concerned about that; he says, "Listen, this is a mystery. This is a revelation from God to me as a prophet and apostle, and I want you to know that this is perfectly consistent with what the Old Testament taught." And so under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul weaves together a couple of Old Testament passages, two of them from Isaiah, Isaiah 59, verses 20 and 21, along with Isaiah 29, verse 7.

Now let me say something about how Paul uses the Old Testament because some of you may be bothered by this. When Paul quotes the Old Testament, he doesn't always quote it exactly as it appears in the Old Testament. Now, what do you think's going on there? Let me tell you what's not going on. That's not because Paul is careless with the Old Testament text. Before Paul was converted, what was he? He was a Pharisee; the Pharisees were meticulous about the scripture. He would've memorized, verbatim, large portions of the Old Testament. So it's not that he's careless, nor is it that Paul is just too lazy to look up the reference and so he just quoted it loosely from memory like you and I are tempted to do, right? That's not what's happening here.

What's happening here, remember every word of Scripture is breathed out by God; it is the product of God's breath just like my words right now are the product of my breath; every word of God is the product of the breath of God. That means it's all right and true and perfect; and so as Paul writes, what he writes is right and true and perfect; and so under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul tweaks the Old Testament quotes providing us (Are you ready for this?) with an inspired interpretation of that Old Testament text.

So look at what he says in verse 26, "…and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,

The (Redeemer) WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." Now this is from Isaiah 59:20. In its Old Testament context, Paul is saying this is a reference to the Second Coming, that's what he's saying.

Now notice what he says, "THE DELIVERER (I mean, in Isaiah, it's clearly a divine person; it's the Lord, and here he makes it clear it's the Lord Jesus Christ.) THE DELIVERER WILL COME (notice, out of) ZION. Now either he means from the Jewish people, he's from that lineage; or he means from Jerusalem, which doesn't really fit; more likely he means, and this is how most interpreters take it, from the heavenly Zion, from heaven. It's used this way, the word 'Zion' is used this way in Hebrew in several passages, but Hebrews 12:22 where it speaks of "the heavenly Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem." So THE DELIVERER (The Lord Jesus Christ) will come out of heaven." And notice what he will do, "HE WILL REMOVE (Literally, he will turn away, the Greek word is he will turn away by causing a change.) HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB. (That is from Israel.)"

Paul says, "Listen, you want to know if the Old Testament is consistent with what I'm telling you, 'That all Israel will be saved'" The Old Testament says, "When the Redeemer comes, HE WILL REMOVE (all) UNGODLINESS FROM (Israel)." And then he adds in verse 27, "THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

Now the first line of verse 27 is from Isaiah 59, verse 21. The second line of verse 27 is from Isaiah 29, verse 7. He's talking here about the Covenant, and the Covenant he probably is referring to is what we call the New Covenant, promised in Jeremiah 31. In Jeremiah 31:34, God promises, "I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." The writer of Hebrews says, "You and I, as New Testament believers, participate in those New Covenant promises." So Paul here is capturing the heart of the New Covenant promises, verse 27, "THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, (And here's the heart of it.) WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

Did you realize that if you're a believer, you are a partaker of the New Covenant, and one of the promises, one of the legal guarantees God has made to you, believer, is that He will not remember your sins again forever? This is also the promise He made to Israel that when the Deliverer comes, when he comes out of Zion, when he comes out of the heavenly Zion, out of heaven, "HE WILL REMOVE (their) UNGODLINESS, and He will forgive their sin, (just like Zechariah said), …a fountain will be opened for their sin and impurity; …they will look on (Him) whom they pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as…an only son," and that fountain of cleansing will be opened. All Israel will be saved! Folks, God is sovereign over human history, and God has a plan for redemptive history; and part of that plan is the ultimate salvation of the descendants of Abraham.

How will it happen? You know, there, unfortunately, are dispensationalists who teach that they're going to be saved a different way than you and I are saved. Nothing could be farther from the truth. No one is ever saved but the same way that you and I are saved; and let me tell you, when all Israel is saved at the end, it'll be just like you have been saved. In fact, in this Isaiah, Zechariah, and Paul in Romans 11, are all in full agreement. Let me give it to you real briefly.

Isaiah says, "The deliverer will come, and he will remove their sin." You say, "Well, how is that going to work out?" You want to know what happens? Read Isaiah 53. Isaiah 53 is actually the response of the Jews when all Israel is saved and they look at Him and they say, "We thought He was smitten by God, but it was for us." They're going to look on the Redeemer, and they're going to be saved by faith in Jesus Christ just like you have been.

Zechariah says the same thing, Zechariah 12:10, "…they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as…for an only son," and then that fountain of cleansing will be opened. They're going to look at Jesus Christ, and it's all going to click; they're going to realize He was the Messiah, and they're going to come to faith just like you have.

And Paul says the same thing in the book of Romans. In Romans, chapter 3, and verse 22, he says the right standing before God comes how? "Through faith in Jesus Christ!" Romans 3:26, God is "the justifier (Of whom? Whom does God declare right with Him?) of the one who has faith in Jesus." And just like it's true for you today, it will be true for them at the end; "…they will look on (Him) whom they pierced; and they will (say), 'He was slain for us, by His stripes we are healed.'" It pleased God to crush Him, to put Him to grief; He has borne our sins, our iniquities.

Let me plead with you; if you are here this morning and you're not in Christ, this is the only way for anyone to ever be right with God. It is through the Redeemer who is Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can forgive your sin; He's the only one who can put you right with God; He's the only one appointed. "There is one mediator," Paul writes, "between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." You want to get to God; it goes through Jesus Christ. I plead with you to run to Him today for the forgiveness that He offers. Repent of your sin, turn from your ungodliness, and put your faith in Him.

Now, very quickly, what are the timeless lessons for us? I'm just going to give you the list; you can think about this. What are the timeless lessons for us in this passage? Number one: Don't ever take for granted that God has revealed His plans to us. Do you realize God didn't have to tell us one thing about the future, not one thing, but look at all He has told us? Why? Well, Jesus answers that question in John 15, verse 14, He says:

You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, (Listen to this.) for the slave does not know what his Master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

Because, Christian, you are a friend of God, because you are a friend of Jesus Christ, He has told you what He's doing; He's told you what's coming. Don't take that for granted. I know some of you aren't like huge prophecy buffs; it's okay, some prophecy buffs are kind of off the wagon. But don't hate prophecy; God, the eternal God, as your friend has told you what He is going to do.

Number two: Don't ever forget that Christ is the only Savior. He is, Old Testament and New Testament, in the future at the Second Coming, Gentiles, all Israel; it doesn't matter; He's the only way to God. I John 4:14, "We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world." He's the only Savior. He Himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; (if anyone would come) to the Father, (it must be by) Me.

Number three: Don't ever be arrogant about your position in God's kingdom compared to that of the Jews. That's the whole point of this passage; don't you imagine, for a moment, that you hold the privilege place that the Jews hold in God's eternal plan. Don't look down on them; don't be, verse 18, don't "be arrogant toward the branches."

Number four: Don't ever stop thanking God for His faithfulness. A. W. Pink writes this:

Unfaithfulness (Unfaithfulness) is one of the most outstanding sins of these evil days. In the business world, a man's word is with rare exceptions no longer his bond; in the social world, marital infidelity abounds on every hand. The sacred bonds of wedlock are broken with as little regard as discarding an old garment. In the ecclesiastical realm, thousands, who have solemnly covenanted to preach the truth, have no scruples about attacking and denying it; nor can reader (The reader would be us; writer would be him, that is Pink himself.) claim complete immunity from this fearful sin. How many ways have we been unfaithful to Christ and to the light and privileges which God has entrusted to us? (And then he concludes this way.) How refreshing then and how blessed to lift our eyes above the scene of ruin and behold one who is faithful, faithful in all things, faithful at all times.

That's our God! Because God is completely faithful to His promises to the Jewish people and His relationship with them, we, Christians, can be assured that He will be unrelentingly faithful to us, to the promises He's made us in the gospel and to the relationship He's entered into with us through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And, if I had to add one more point, it would be this: Don't ever forget that Jesus Christ the Redeemer is coming again.

Let's pray together. Father, thank you for the truth that we've studied this morning; thank you for revealing it to us; Lord, you didn't have to do that. You are so good and so gracious and so generous. Lord, thank you that you've given us the end of the story and you win! Thank you that we don't have to worry about the outcome. Thank you that Christ will return, that He will defeat His enemies, that He will save all Israel to display your faithfulness. And, Lord, thank you for the confidence that gives us that you will be faithful to us who are not Jewish just as you have been faithful to them.

Father, I pray for those here this morning who may not be in Jesus Christ; help them to see there's only one Redeemer, and He will come, and they will either have already bowed before Him in humble submission, recognizing His Lordship in faith and repentance, and receiving the forgiveness that only He can offer; or they will bow before Him as Lord, and they will hear Him condemn them to eternal hell. Father, I pray that today they would turn to the Redeemer and find Him able to forgive their sin and to remove their ungodliness. We pray it would be today. In Jesus's name, Amen.