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 All Israel will be saved - Understanding Romans 9-11

by Kevin Daly

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

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

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

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

It is not as though God’s word had failed

“It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children” (Rom. 9:6-7).

The fault does not lie with God.

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

Despite their widespread unbelief and its tragic consequence, the perception that the Gospel fails to fulfil God’s word to Israel, is false. The false perception arises from a simplistic and thus erroneous definition of ‘Israel’. From the origins of the nation, Paul carefully explains why “not all who are descended of Israel (Jacob) are Israel” (Romans 9:6). The nation was founded on promise and election: Of Abraham’s eight sons, Isaac alone was born of the promise, thus Isaac’s offspring alone were counted as Abraham’s descendants.[10] Then in Isaac’s generation an election took place: Isaac’s sons were born of the same mother and father and had near identical DNA (being twins). Yet, Jacob was chosen and Esau not. “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated”.[11]

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

Two pots out of one lump of clay

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

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

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

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

Opposition creates the opportunity for God’s mighty acts to be displayed in the eyes of men. Just as Pharaoh’ resistance gave rise to the glorious deliverance from Egypt, so also the Jews’ hardening against God’s ultimate liberation plan, precipitated the Event that brought redemption to the world. On account of the hardened among Jacob's descendents, YHVH’s Most Glorious Salvation was accomplished on the cross, and became known in all the earth.

God’s elect

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

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

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

But the Torah contains a further promise of life, being: “the LORD is your life”.[16] On breaking the Law and Covenant, Israel was left with only one basis of assurance - being in God Himself, who is by nature grace, mercy, love and forgiveness (but who, in righteousness, does not 'leave sin unpunished').[17] It was this assurance that Moses sought in Exodus 33 and then obtained.

“Then Moses said, ‘I pray thee, show me thine glory’. And He said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy’” (Exodus 33:18-19).

While the whole nation could strive for God’s glory by obeying the Law, only those to whom He was gracious, and those on whom He chose to have mercy, would receive it by the revelation of His Person.[18]

This was especially true in Paul’s own time: Since Israel had shamefully and persistently transgressed the Law, the Law required Israel’s destruction, rather than its salvation.[18a] Not one could claim righteousness through the Law! Israel was wholly dependent on life from God – and this life was given by the revelation of God in Messiah.[19]

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

Nor would those chosen to see the essence of the God’s Being, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Messiah,[21] come from the narrow confines of what was regarded as ‘Israel’ in popular understanding. God had made further promises, to which He would also remain faithful.

Those to whom God had said, “you are not my people” (Romans 9:25) [22] were the ten northern tribes who had prostituted themselves in the days of Hosea the prophet, and were subsequently conquered by the Assyrians, and scattered among the nations in 730 BC. Yet God had promised, prophetically, “in the place in which it is said to them, ‘you are not my people’ it shall be said to them ‘sons of the living God’”.[23] As the gospel spread through the nations of the dispersion, many lost sons of Israel were made righteous by faith in Messiah and thus became – ‘sons of the living God’.

While a small number of the dispersed offspring of the northern tribes had maintained their distinct ethnicity, most had been wholly assimilated, and were not known to anyone except God as Jacob’s seed and the beneficiaries of Hosea’s prophecy. Many of the Gentiles receiving the righteousness of God, were in fact descendents of the ten northern tribes receiving their promised restoration. These, also, on account of God’s faithfulness were heirs to the sure mercies promised to David.

The remnant of grace

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

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

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

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

God’s faithful servant, the remnant of grace, was charged to fulfill this calling:

“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”[26]

In another of his letters, Paul explains: “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus …”.[27] The gospel age is the time in which “many nations will be joined with the LORD … and will become My people.” [28]

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

The mystery of salvation

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

The dual processes working concurrently in Paul’s time, namely the falling away of part of Israel, and the incorporation of faithful Gentiles, was not God’s final say on salvation.

God’s mercy extended even to those of Jacob’s descendents who were cut off because of unbelief. The enormity of this grace is beyond human understanding. Despite their enmity toward God, and their opposition to the Gospel, they could yet look to Him whom they had pierced, and receive mercy if they would repent and believe! And this because of God's love, on account of the patriarchs. Paul – once a violent opponent of God – counts himself a beneficiary of this 'remnant of grace'.

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

“They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols.I will make them jealous by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding …

See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand” (Deuteronomy 32: 21, 39)

The later prophets also alluded to Gentiles becoming God’s vehicle for the salvation of the Jews (see Isaiah 66:20 and Zephaniah 3:9-10).

Thus, Paul rightly asks:

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

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

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

This is the mystery of salvation.

And so all Israel will be saved

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

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

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

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

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

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

While we rejoice at the hope of an extensive re-grafting of natural stock as we near the end, this cannot come except as the result of a faithful witness to the Jews at the present time. We cannot bank on any special salvation for those who fail to obey the Gospel and come to the Cross before the Lord returns in glory. This is clear from Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonians:

“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)

Israel’s righteousness or God’s?

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

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

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

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

The Cross was the ultimate vindication of God, showing forth His mercy without compromising His justice. (Even in the judgment that came on Israel forty years later, God is vindicated. Both the Law and Prophets required it, and in not fulfilling it, God is rendered unfaithful to His word.)

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

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

In a further irony the same ‘stumbling stone’ is now tripping up Gentile believers who hold that the Cross is unnecessary for Jewish salvation, and thus seek a vindication of the Jews at the expense of God’s righteousness.

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


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

(Romans 11:33-36)


[1] Romans 1:16.

[2] Romans 3:24.

[3] Romans 8:16-17.

[4] Romans 8:9.

[5] Matthew 8:10-12; Acts 3:23.

[6] Exodus 32:33.

[7] John 8:24.

[8] 1 Corinthians 16:22.

[9] Isaiah 45:17,25.

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

[11] Malachi 1:2; Romans 9:13.

[12] Jeremiah 19:11

[13] Genesis 25:23; Romans 9:11.

[14] Romans 3:23.

[15] Romans 3:20.

[16] Deuteronomy 30:20.

[17] Exodus 34:6-7.

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

[18a] Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28.

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

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

[21] 2 Corinthians 4:6.

[22] Hosea 1:9; Romans 9:25.

[23] Hosea 1:10; Romans 9:26.

[24] Leviticus 26:24.

[25] Genesis 12:2-3.

[26] Isaiah 49:6; cf. Acts 13:47.

[27] Galatians 3:14.

[28] Zechariah 12:11.

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

[30] Ephesians 2:12

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

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

[32] Isaiah 59:20.

[32a] ibid.

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

[33] Numbers 14:13-16.

[34] Isaiah 29:16.

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

 2011/5/17 2:11

 I love Happy Endings!

When He Returns - at the battle of Armeggedon - 'after' and involving the AntiChrist's reign -

Zec 12:8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.
Zec 12:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Zec 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Zec 12:11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the "valley of Megiddon".
Zec 12:12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
And on to chpt 13 & 14 .... to the Happy Ending.

Rev 1:7 Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.

Mustn't forget those of Rev 7:3-8 neither.

 2011/5/17 2:51

 Re: All Israel will be saved - Understanding Romans 9-11

I thought this was a good article.

Some thoughts on the import of the cross of Christ for the salvation of Jews.

The whole Church is entirely dependent upon the RESURRECTED Christ, who by the Holy Spirit is made real to all believers.

Paul said: Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more. 2 Corinthians 5:16.

The temptation is to assume this is a reference to 'Israel after the flesh', because we think of 'flesh' as 'natural'.

But is this really what we experience?

Are we IN Christ - the natural man walking on earth?

No. A natural relationship to Jesus won't save us either.

This is why Paul warned Timothy against 'endless genealogies' - because they didn't prove that a Jew was saved. They only proved that he'd been related to Jesus Christ 'after the flesh'.

Titus 3:9 But avoid FOOLISH questions, and GENEALOGIES, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are UNPROFITABLE AND VAIN.

In several places in the gospels, the fact that people knew Joseph and Mary His mother, seemed to throw them off believing that He could be the Christ, but after His resurrection, when he'd explained the scriptures to the disciples in the light of His victory, they understood. Luke 24:46.

Peter refers to David in his sermon on the day of Pentecost, opening up scripture in a remarkable way to the understanding of a huge crowd, affirming Jesus' credentials as the Messiah, and showing how David had prophesied about THE RESURRECTION of his descendant, Christ, of which they (the hundred and twenty) were all witnesses.

In John 12:20 - 31, we read:
And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: the same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.

And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will [my] Father honour.

Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, [saying], I have both glorified [it], and will glorify [it] again.

The people therefore, that stood by, and heard [it], said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.'

We see above, that Jesus associated His forthcoming death with 'a corn of wheat' falling into the ground that 'MUST DIE' if it is to bring forth the kind of life which bears 'much fruit'. He repeats His promises about 'much fruit' to His disciples in John 15, possible ONLY if they ABIDE IN Him, having NO LIFE OF THEIR OWN.

Paul returns to pictures of resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 and if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

20 But NOW IS CHRIST RISEN FROM THE DEAD, [and] BECOME THE FIRSTFRUITS OF THEM THAT SLEPT. 21 For since by man [came] death, [Romans 5:12] by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead. [John 20:8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.]

V 9 is a truly remarkable admission by John, because Jesus had told them. I found seven separate references between Matthew, Mark and Luke.

1 Corinthians 15:35 But some [man] will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

36 [Thou] fool, THAT WHICH THOU SOWEST IS NOT QUICKENED EXCEPT IT DIE: 37 and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other [grain]: 38 but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

42 So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body... 50 Now this I say, brethren, that FLESH AND BLOOK CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.'

I think we all have to admit that if we could be saved without having to give up sinful impulses, we would try to be. In His goodness, God makes that IMPOSSIBLE.

True, we don't have a resurrection body yet, but we CAN have spiritual victory over sin and death.

That's why Peter and Paul teach about dealing with the flesh, as Jesus did, saying, Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. John 8:34

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, SHOULD LIVE UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS: by whose stripes ye were healed

1 Peter 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but TO THE WILL OF GOD.

Romans 6:12, 13 - Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, AS THOSE THAT ARE ALIVE FROM THE DEAD, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.

The use of trees in scripture first to speak of life and death, and then to depict individuals, kings, nations and cultures, was well established before they were used by Jesus in His earthly ministry.

Before everything Paul says about the olive tree, he brings up again that unbelieving Israel is as the prodigal son, from the Father's point of view.

Luke 15:24
he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Luke 15:32
It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad:
and was lost, and is found.

Romans 11:15 For if the casting away of them [be] the reconciling of the world, what [shall] the receiving [of them be], but LIFE FROM THE DEAD?

In Exodus 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel [is] my son, [even] my firstborn:

In going to the grave for Israel, Jesus Christ the firstborn, wrought their redemption eternally. No-one can escape that a spiritual death (death to sin) must be negotiated before we can be accepted, or accounted righteous in Christ.

The 'natural branches' are presently enjoying the pleasures of sin (Egypt). Those of Israel who come to themself, recognising their need of the Saviour from sin, recognising their deadness, can indeed be grafted back into their 'own olive tree', through faith in Christ who is alive.

16 For if the firstfruit [be] holy, the lump [is] also [holy]: and if the root [be] holy, so [are] the branches.

JOhn 4:22 Ye [Samaritans] worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: FOR SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.

1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 if so be ye have tasted that the Lord [is] gracious. 4 To whom coming, [as unto] a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, [and] precious, 5 ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe [he is] precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Zechariah 6:12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name [is] The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of HIS place, and HE SHALL BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD:

Psalm 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh [but] in vain.

Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

 2011/5/17 16:22

Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4803

 Re: All Israel will be saved - Understanding Romans 9-11

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

This author does a good work explaining that in every generation there were those who did "submit to God's righteousness." Those who "forfeited salvation" did not submit.

So what is the difference between these two groups?

Jeff Marshalek

 2011/5/18 10:38Profile

 Faith in Christ in the Old Testament

Here is an excellent debate about “Faith in Christ in the Old Testament” by Dr. Paul Blackham vs Dr. Graeme Goldsworthy

Very well done and extremely enlightening.

Dr Blackham starts off.

Dr. Goldsworthy response:

Maybe, after you have read it, we can discuss it together.


 2011/5/18 13:21

 Re: Faith in Christ in the Old Testament

Here are some quotes from Goldsworthy that I thought were noteworthy. :-)

Forth Point
The fourth point is just to raise a number of questions which come up as I hear you talk and as I read the stuff that you’ve written that I would want to put to you and say, “Well OK, that’s fine, I can understand the logic of what you’re saying but I would really want to hear you out on some of these. So I have numbered these A-G.

a) When was this full revelation of Christ first given? Who got it first? You seem to mention Adam and Eve. If it is Adam and Eve, what is the point of what is then revealed in terms of the history of Israel and so on?

b) If the OT saints knew the full gospel truth about Jesus Christ and salvation, why don’t they say so? It just isn’t there. Exegetically it simply isn’t there. What you do find is all the stuff about the Law and about the promises to Abraham and about the promised land and the temple and Davidic kingship and so on. It just is not true to say that Christ is there in the same way as he is there in the NT revelation. Or to put it another way, I would suggest that no-one could have written the Apostle’s Creed or constructed a full-blown Christian theology using the OT alone. Which leads me on to...

c) Why does Paul Blackham need to use the NT to arrive at his position if it is explicit, because it seems to me that’s what he is doing. One of the articles that I have is making the very strong point that you’re simply taking the NT approach to the OT. So my question is why do you need to use the NT to arrive at this position if it’s so explicit in the OT? Why don’t you just dump the NT?

d) If the laws and ceremonies ceased because of the incarnation (and I’ve always said that the health laws and dietary laws in the OT which are sometimes read as health laws passed away and ceased to have any function not because of the invention of the refrigerator but because of the coming of Christ in the flesh) why were they there at all if the significance of the incarnation was known at the start? Why cloud the issue with all that stuff if the revelation is not progressive?

e) I worry about this flat approach and what it will do to the historicity of the gospel. Please hear me, I’m not suggesting in any way that you are going to one day catapult yourselves into docetic Catholicism. But as one myself who stands on the shoulders of the Ante-Nicene fathers in many respects, I recognize that many of them got lost in Nestorianism. In other words, the implications of what we’re saying can lead us towards a position which is less than biblical, and I worry about what seems to me to be a very flat approach to the historicity of the gospel. If it’s all there at the beginning what is the point of this whole process of salvation history which you have expressed great acceptance of? I would want to discuss that with you.

f) I worry about the way this seems to downplay the significance of the incarnation as God’s final revelation.

To get the full import, I would advise reading Paul Blackham's stance and Goldworthy's rebuttal.

 2011/5/18 17:38

Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4803


I read both articles concerning Christ in the OT. And again it is good to see that there are those who recognize in a more fuller sense the work of Christ throughout the entirety of Scripture. With that said, what is missing from their discussion is the means by which the good news or salvation is accomplished in those who live by faith.

Back to the original does someone "forfeit salvation"?

And the reverse of that does someone "submit to God's righteousness?"

Jeff Marshalek

 2011/5/19 6:51Profile


This is all cleared up once one realizes that Jesus is Jehovah.

Read your OT (KJV), and look for LORD and GOD in all caps, in nearly every reference it is clearly the Son of God referred to. There are only a few cases where one could consider it ambiguous.

Abraham looked forward to the first coming of Christ (just as we look forward to the second), and we look backward to the first coming of Christ. Neither of us have seen the day, but our 2000 year looks in either direction to the work of Christ is what saved us both.


 2011/5/19 8:23


Another way to see it. Considering John 1:18, who did Abraham see in Gen 17:1? Who can/has been seen, who cannot/has not been seen? God the Father or God the Son?

Probably better add John 5:37 and John 6:46 as witnesses to John 1:18.


 2011/5/19 8:28

 Re: All Israel will be saved - Understanding Romans 9-11

Hi Joe,

Not sure where you're going with 'Jehovah', so am quoting from an old post of mine for quickness. I've included the other names which were in that post, as they add clarity.

'Here are the extracts from Newberry. I am not quoting each section in full, just the parts pertaining to the Hebrew words, and where there is a tense connected which adds to the meaning. I hope you find them as illuminating as I did.

God singular, from Ahlah, to worship, to adore, presents God as the one supreme object of worship, the Adorable One.

ELAH, or Elahah
corresponds to Eloah in Chaldee
(Ezra, Daniel, and one verse in Jeremiah).

God, plural of Eloah, occurs about 2500 times first in Gen 1:1. Here it is joined to a verb in the singluar "God (Elohim, plural) created" (singular) - showing Trinity acting in unity.

[i]Note from me: Elohim is not limited to three. I believe the Hebrew indicates more than two, and, there is a name which indicates only two - not sure which. See the seven spirits of God in Revelation, and the stone with seven eyes in Zechariah. There's more, but I can't expound it.) Anyone, if I'm mistaken, please challenge with a correction. Thanks.[/i]

The Lord. The title Jehovah occurs about 7600 times but it is generally rendered 'the Lord', and only occasionally 'Jehovah'. [i]I can give you references for these occurences if you want them.[/i]

It first occurs, in connection with Elohim, in Gen 2:4. and alone, Gen 4:1, 3.

The signification is - He that always was, that always is, and that ever is to come. (Rev 1:4).

It is a combination in marvellous perfection of the three periods of existence in one word, the future, the present and the past.

First Yehi "he will be", long tense
Second Hove "being", participle,
Third Hahyah "he was", short tense.

YEH(i)(h)OV(a)(hahy)AH. Yehovah or Jehovah.

EHYEH ASHER AHYEH - I am that I am
Leterally "I will be that I will be". But as the so-called future or long tense expresses not simply the [i]future,[/i] but also and especially [i]continuance[/i], the force is, "I continue to be, and will be, what I continue to be, and will be"

God Almighty, or God All-Sufficient. El, God singular, Shadday, plural, either from Shaddid, almighty, strong or from SHADDAY, the breasts.

This title combines the singular title El, with the plural title Shadday.'

 2011/5/19 10:30

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