Monday, 17 July 2017

Paul and Israel's Salvation

I'm not convinced that Paul, in Romans 11, was forecasting that literally all Israelis shall be saved (after some future 'Great Tribulation', nor during some future 'Millennium' - both terms not found in the Bible even if the idea is). I think Paul was mainly explaining a first-century reality.

He didn't say "...and then all Israel shall be saved..." He said "...and so all Israel..."

So, not then. Manner, not sequence. 

Then he immediately followed it up by quoting some Old Testament verses - verses which had in fact already been fulfilled.

(The Deliverer has already come; Jesus had already confirmed His covenant with Israel, already made a new covenant with them; Jews were already experiencing their sins being taken away; etc).

If that's all still future, then no-one yet has been saved - not even Gentiles. Not even Paul himself!

Paul was mainly explaining the scheme of the Gospel, it seems to me - not so much issuing an end-time prediction. He was confronting the mis-notion that God had finished with Jewish individuals. 

God hasn't closed the door to a Jew, Paul said. Many were blind - but not all of them. Many had believed! And even those who were blind, could still be grafted in, by turning from unbelief. Paul himself was an example of that very thing happening. God was even using Gentiles to provoke more Jews to faith. When a Jew did come to the Lord, it was as natural as a previously broken-off branch being grafted on again. Therefore Gentile members of the church at Rome ought to feel sympathy towards Jews, rather than think God was finished with a Jew. 

If Paul was really instead saying that one day literally every Israeli will be a Christian, that would have him saying something which no prophet not even Jesus ever said. It would be a very different picture of the end-times than any other godly man and prophet ever spoke. 

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