We read in Romans 11:26, “So all Israel shall be saved…..”. Does that mean that every person that was born of the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be raised for resurrection life, whether or not they believed in the One true God, whether or not they worshipped idols? I believe the answer to the question posed in the title of this paper is no, not all Israel will be saved. We will examine the following topics in relation to this question:
A Study of the Context.
Will the New Covenant Save Israel?
A Study of the Context
As we consider the context of Rom. 11:26 the reader is asked to keep in mind that chapter 11 comes in the dispensational portion of Romans. That is to say, chapter 11 has to do with the dispensational blessings of Israel, not with salvation, as such. What is Paul’s basic message in this portion of Romans? It is that Gentile believers are grafted into Israel and may therefore, partake of the dispensational blessings promised to Israel. Note for example verse 17, “And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree….”.
We learn in verse 20 that some of the natural “branches” (i.e. Israelites) were broken off because of unbelief. That is to say, those of Israel who did not accept by faith the message concerning their risen Messiah, will be “broken off” from their own nation and from Her dispensational blessings. But Paul goes on to say in verse 23 that if Israelites do come to belief, they will then be grafted in. “And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief shall be graffed in, for God is able to graff them in again”.
To sum up; we learn in this passage that the unbelievers of Israel will be cut off from their nation and will not be allowed to partake in the dispensational blessings promised to Israel. What are those dispensational blessings? They include entrance into the Land of Israel for the millennial reign of Christ. Entrance into the Land for the millennium is crucial in our consideration of all Israel being saved, because immortality is given to only thosewho are allowed entrance into the Land. Let us consider the teachings of several passages that, when taken together, prove that only believers will enter the land and that only those in the land will “put on immortality”, i.e.will be saved from death.
Matthew 13:41-43, “The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity: and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”. This verse tell us that only the righteous will be in the kingdom, the unrighteous will be cast out of it. (For Scriptural proof that the kingdom is the Land of Israel in the millennium, see the paper on this web-site, The Kingdom Of Heaven.)
Ps. 37:9, “For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lordwill inherit the land”. This verse contrasts evil men, i.e. unbelievers, with those who hope in the Lord, i.e. believers. The former will be cut off, i.e. they will not not inherit the Land, the latter will inherit the Land.
Rev. 20:14 tells us that when the 1,000 years have finished (verse 7) “death and hell” will be “cast into the lake of fire”. So death will continue to claim the lives of some in the millennial reign.
We learn from Ps. 37 that believers, i.e. “those who hope in the Lord” will “inherit the Land”. We learn from Matthew 13 that there will be no unbelievers in the Land, i.e. “his kingdom”. And we learn from Rev. 20 that there will be death during the 1,000 year of Christ’s reign on earth. We must conclude that it is not the righteous in the Land that are subject to death, it is the unrighteous outside the Land that are subject to death.
In short, to be allowed entrance into the Land of Israel for the millennial reign of Christ is to be saved from death. To be denied entrance into the Land is to be denied salvation. We learn from this that not all the natural seed of Israel will be saved unto resurrection life.
There are several passages in the Old Testament that tell us that not all Israel will be allowed entrance into the Land of Israel for the millennial reign. Those who are not allowed entrance, will not be not saved from death.
Ezek. 20:35-38. “I will bring you into the desert of the nations and there, face to face I will execute judgment upon you. …..I will take note of you as you pass under my staff, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel….”.
(A word of clarification of Ezek. 20:40 is in order, lest some be led astray. The NIV has, “…..the entire house of Israel will serve me there”. That would suggest that all Israel, including unbelievers will be allowed into the land. But the Hebrew-English Interlinear has, “The entire house of Israel, all of them in the land will serve me there”. This is consistent with all the other scriptures that concern the gathering of Israel for the millennial blessings, i.e. only believers are allowed into the land and therefore, only believers will serve Him there.)
Let us now consider Ezek. 37 which tells us of the resurrection of Israel. Ezek. 37:12, “Therefore prophecy and say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O My People, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel”. It is important to keep in mind that those whom the Lord will bring up out of the graves will enter the Land of Israel. As we have seen in Ezek. 20 (quoted above) unbelievers will not be allowed into the Land for the millennial reign. Therefore, those who will be resurrected areall believers, because they will all enter the Land and only believers will enter the Land. Because only believers are resurrected, obviously, unbelievers will not be resurrected, i.e. saved. So, not all the physical seed of Abraham will be saved unto resurrection life.
These facts again prove that not all of the natural seed of Israel will be saved unto resurrection life. But let us continue in our study.
Will The New Covenant Save Israel?
In order to understand whether Israel will be saved by the New Covenant, we must understand who will come under the bond of the New Covenant, that is, who will be blessed by it.
Ezek. 36 speaks of the gathering of Israel and of the New Covenant. Ezek. 36:24-27, “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; …..I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. …..and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws,You will live in the land I gave your forefathers, you will be my people and I will be your God”.
To whom are the promises of Ezek. 36 given? They are not given to unbelieving Israel. How do we know that? We know that because in Ezek. 36 we read that they will be brought back to their land. “I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land”. And, “You will live in the land I gave your forefathers”. Unbelievers who are alive at the time of our Lord’s return are brought out from where they had been scattered, but they are not allowed entrance into the land.
Therefore, we must conclude that the promises of Ezek. 36 are given to those in the land, i.e. believing Israel. What are those promises that are given only to the believers of Israel? They will be brought back to their land (verse 24). They will be sprinkled with clean water and will be made clean (verse 25). They will be given a new heart and a new spirit (verse 26). They will be given a spirit from God so that they will be careful to follow His laws (verse 27). They will be God’s people (verse 28). They will be blessed with great prosperity (verse 30). It is clear that verses 26 and 27 explain the New Covenant (compare Jer. 31:33). Because the promise of the New Covenant is not given to the unbelievers of Israel, but only to those in the land, unbelievers will not be saved by the New Covenant.
Returning once again to Ezekiel 20, we read in verses 37-38, “I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.(the New Covenant) I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel….”. Israel will be purged of those “who revolt”, of “rebels”, etc..
It is purged Israel that will be allowed entrance into the land to enjoy the blessings of the millennium, and it is purged Israel that will be brought into the bond of the New Covenant. Again, the New Covenant is for Israel, purged of unbelievers. Therefore, the New Covenant is not God’s promise to save unbelieving Israel, it is the blessing by which He will allow believing Israel to keep His law from the heart. So, the New Covenant has nothing to do with salvation.
This paper was written by Joyce Pollard. If you would like to respond to the thoughts presented in this paper, please e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org