Commentators on Romans 11:26, “All Israel will be Saved”
Collected and analyzed by Eli Brayley
The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia
-“Conversion of the Jews: According to the interpretation of the Fathers, the conversion of the Jews towards the end of the world is foretold by St. Paul in the Epistle to the Romans (11:25-26): 'For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, . . . that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved as it is written: There shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.'” (Article on the "General Judgment")
-“That part of Israel (considered as having continuity of national existence) which is for a time hardened, shall ultimately come in, and so all Israel (nationally considered again, Israel as a nation) shall be saved. Thus the covenant of God with Israel, having been national, shall ultimately be fulfilled to them as a nation: not by the gathering in merely of individual Jews, or of all the Jews individually, into the Christian church,—but by the national restoration of the Jews, not in unbelief, but as a Christian believing nation, to all that can, under the gospel, represent their ancient pre-eminence, and to the fulness of those promises which have never yet in their plain sense been accomplished to them. A clear understanding of it underlies all intelligent appreciation of the argument of the chapter.” (Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary, Vol. 2, p. 96)
-“The context of Romans 9-11, the use of “Jacob” to refer to Israel, and the use of the term “Israel” in Rom 11:25-28, in Romans, and in the entire NT, all demonstrate that “all Israel” in verse 26 must refer to ethnic Israel. The evidence is so weighty that it is difficult to argue against it without appearing to be doing so out of theological necessity.” (Who Is All Israel in Romans 11:26?)
-[Commenting on Miriam’s leprosy]: “This murmuring refers to the type of the Synagogue, which is ignorant of the mystery of the Church gathered out of the nations, and murmurs with daily reproaches, and envies that people through whose faith itself also shall be delivered from the leprosy of its unbelief, according to what we read that: ‘blindness in part has happened unto Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved.’” (Letters, NPFN, 10:464-465)
-“However seriously the Jews may have sinned by rejecting the gift of God… nevertheless, because they are the children of good people, whose privileges and many benefits from God they have received, they will be received with joy when they return to the faith, because God’s love for them is stirred up by the memory of their ancestors.” (Commentary on Romans, Bray, Vol 6, p. 299)
-“The blindness of the Jews will endure until the fullness of the Gentiles have accepted the faith. And this is in accord with what the Apostle says below about the salvation of the Jews, namely, that after the fullness of the nations have entered, 'all Israel will be saved', not individually as at present, but universally.” (Commentary on Epistle to the Romans)
-“The priest who immolated and burned the cow, and he who burned, and he who gathered together the ashes, were unclean as also he that sprinkled the water: either because the Jews became unclean through putting Christ to death, whereby our sins are expiated; and this until the evening, i.e. until the end of the world, when the remnants of Israel will be converted.” (Summa Theologica I-II ae, Q. 102, a.5, reply to Obj. 5)
Clint E. Arnold
-“The nature of the relationship between the Kingdom of God and ethnic/national Israel remains a live issue for me. The evidence seems to suggest that God still has promises to fulfill to ethnic/national Israel. This is expressed most clearly for me in the apostle Paul’s explanation that “a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way [or, ‘thus/so’] all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:25-26). In spite of the interpretational difficulties of this passage, it seems clear enough that something big has yet to take place among the Jewish people.” (The Kingdom of God, A Multi-Scholar Interview conducted Justin Taylor on The Gospel Coalition website)
-“It is a familiar theme in the conversation and heart of the faithful, that in the last days before the judgment the Jews shall believe in the true Christ, that is, our Christ, by means of this great and admirable prophet Elias who shall expound the law to them.” (City of God, XX.29)
-“For in that day the Jews—those of them, at least, who shall receive the spirit of grace and mercy—when they see Him coming in His majesty, and recognize that it is He whom they, in the person of their parents, insulted when He came before in His humiliation, shall repent of insulting Him in His passion.” (City of God, XXX)
-“‘Who will give salvation to Israel out of Sion?’ (ver. 7). Who but He whose humiliation ye have despised? is understood. For He will come in glory to the judgment of the quick and the dead, and the kingdom of the just: that, forasmuch as in that humble coming “blindness hath happened in part unto Israel, that the fulness of the Gentiles might enter in,” in that other should happen what follows, “and so all Israel should be saved.”For the Apostle too takes that testimony of Isaiah, where it is said, “There shall come out of Sion He who shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” (On the Psalms, Psalm 14)
-“Miracles are done among the heathen, fullfilled is the faith of the heathen; burned are the arms of human presumption… And after this glorifying, doth He yet desert the people of the Jews? of which saith the Apostle, “I say unto you, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened unto Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”… And what thereafter? “And so all Israel shall be saved.” (On the Psalms, Psalm 46)
-[Commenting on the Jews]: “The time will come, the end of the world will come, and all Israel shall believe; not they who are now, but their children who shall then be.” (Sermons on the New Testament Lessons, Sermons 72, NPNF, 6:472)
Greg L. Bahnsen
-“By this declaration Paul must have meant by “Israel” what he has meant by the term throughout the chapter: namely, ethnic Jews (his brothers “according to the flesh”). To maintain, as some do, that Paul was simply stating that “all the elect among the Jews and Gentiles” (that is, “all true Israel”) will be saved is to overlook how irrelevant, obvious, unmysterious and anticlimatic Paul’s declaration would be made. Paul is showing the mysterious wisdom of God, how He marvelously uses the hardening of the Jews to save the mass of the Gentiles, which in turn provokes the Jews to save the mass of the Gentiles, which in turn provokes the Jews to seek in mass the salvation enjoyed by the Gentiles. This mutual interaction cannot be suppressed in interpreting Paul here.” (Gospel Prosperity and the Future of Israel, Calvinism Today – 4, Vol. III, No. 2)
John M.G. Barclay
-“At one moment, he [Paul] lashes out at Jews who hinder the spread of the gospel to the ‘nations,’ and pronounces the wrath of God upon them ‘at last’ (or even ‘completely’ [1 Thess 2:14-16]). At another, he insists that God’s gifts and God’s calling in relation to Israel are irrevocable, such that, despite her present ‘stumbling,’ ‘all Israel will be saved (Rom 11:11-32)… The most central text has become Romans 9-11, where Paul agonizes over the fate of Israel and reveals his hope that ‘all Israel will be saved’ (Rom 11:25-26).” (Paul, Judaism, and the Jewish People, in The Blackwell Companion to Paul, edited by Stephen Westerholm)
-“Paul sets out the paradox of the Jewish place in the plan of God. In order that the Gentiles might come in and that the universal purpose of the gospel might be fulfilled, the Jews had arrived at a situation where they were the enemies of God. The word that Paul uses is echthroi. It is difficult to translate, because it has both an active and a passive meaning. It can mean either hating or hated. It may well be that in this passage it has to be read in the two meanings at the one time. The Jews were hostile to God and had refused his offer, and therefore they were under his displeasure. That was the present fact about the Jews. But there was another fact about them. Nothing could alter the fact that they were God's chosen people and had a special place in his plan. No matter what they did, God could never go back upon his word. His promise had been made to the fathers, and it must be fulfilled. It was therefore clear to Paul, and he quotes Is. 59:20-21 to prove it, that God's rejection of the Jews could not be permanent; they, too, in the end must come in… Whatever else Rom 9-11 may sometimes read like, it is in the last analysis the story of the still uncompleted pursuit of love.” (Daily Study Bible)
-“Either these words of St. Paul in this eleventh chapter of Romans mean nothing or they mean what they say, that at some future time—how it will happen we know not—illumination will come to the hearts of the Jews, conviction to their minds, and the whole body of the Jews, so wonderfully preserved, will turn to Christ and enter the Catholic Church.” (Church Pulpit Commentary, edited by James Nisbet)
-“And so all Israel shall be saved. πᾶς ισραὴλ here must mean the whole nation; not, as Calvin explains [i.e. of the spiritual Israel, as in Galatians 6:16, i.e. with Jews and Gentiles], for "Israel" must surely be understood in the same sense as in the preceding verse, where it denotes the Jewish nation as opposed to the Gentiles. σωθήσεται, as seems required by the whole context, means coming into the Church (cf. Acts 2:47, ὁ δὲ κύριος προσετίθει τοὺς σωζομένους καθ ἡμέραν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ).” (Romans, The Pulpit Commentary)
-“All Israel - All the Jews. It was a maxim among the Jews that “every Israelite should have part in the future age.” (Grotius.) The apostle applies that maxim to his own purpose; and declares the sense in which it would be true. He does not mean to say that every Jew of every age would be saved; for he had proved that a large portion of them would be, in his time, rejected and lost. But the time would come when, as a people, they would be recovered; when the nation would turn to God; and when it could be said of them that, as a nation, they were restored to the divine favor. It is not clear that he means that even then every individual of them would be saved, but the body of them; the great mass of the nation would be. Nor is it said when this would be. This is one of the things which “the Father hath put in his own power;” Acts 1:7. He has given us the assurance that it shall be done to encourage us in our efforts to save them; and he has concealed the time when it shall be, lest we should relax our efforts, or feel that no exertions were needed to accomplish what must take place at a fixed time. Shall be saved - Shall be recovered from their rejection; be restored to the divine favor; become followers of the Messiah, and thus be saved as all other Christians are.” (Notes on the Bible)
-“But the fullness of the Gentiles—and this is the mystery of the divine decree—is to be the first to enter. That which, according to Rom. 1:16 naturally belongs ‘to the Jew first and also to the Greeks’ will and must actually accrue (apart from the remnant of Israel) to the Greek first and only then to the Jew. The first are to be the last and the last first (Mk. 10:31). The children of the household are to be thrust out and to be made to wait whilst strangers gathered from the four corners of the earth already sit down in the kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Lk. 13:28f.). And it corresponds to this on the political level that ‘Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled’ (Lk. 21:24).” (Church Dogmatics, II.2, p. 300)
-“And, since ‘Many are called, but few are chosen,’ he does not pronounce him blessed who is called, but him who is chosen. Blessed is he whom He chose. What is the cause of the pronouncement of blessedness? The expected inheritance of everlasting blessings. Or, does he, perhaps, according to the Apostle, since, when the full number of nations will have entered, then all Israel will be saved, first proclaim blessed, the full number of nations, then later, Israel, which is saved? Certainly, not just anyone will be saved, but only the remnant which is according to the election of grace. Therefore, he says: 'The people whom he hath chosen for his inheritance.” (Homily 15, Homily on Psalm 32, 7 quoted in The Fathers of the Church A New Translation: Saint Basil Exegetical Homilies, [The Catholic University of America, Press, 1963], p. 241).
-“If, with Ernst Kasemann, I read Romans 9-11 correctly, Paul means by the apocalyptic ‘mystery’ in 11:25-32 that all-Israel has been smitten with blindness by God so that they cannot recognize in Jesus the Christ of Israel ‘until the full number of the Gentiles has come in’. Then ‘all-Israel will be saved’. ‘As regards the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.’ Paul justifies his mission to the Gentiles, which he wanted to pursue to the ends of the earth, on the grounds of all-Israel’s rejection of the gospel: that is the starting point; while all-Israel’s acceptance and salvation through the One ‘who will come from Zion’, the Christ of the parousia, is the final goal.” (God Will Be All in All, p. 151)
-“The ‘mystery’ of the final salvation of all Israel is now unveiled. Alienated though they now are through disobedience, God still purposes to show them mercy, ‘for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.’… Even in unbelief and hostility they are still in God’s hands, and his purpose for mercy will in the end triumph over their present disobedience (vss. 25-32). And in this confidence that even the severity of God issues at last in the manifestation of his mercy, Paul bursts into a noble prayer of adoration and wonder (vss. 33-36).” (Romans, Letter to the, The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 4, p. 120)
Joseph Agar Beet
-“The contrast with in part in verse 25 suggests that Paul refers to all Israelites then living [at the coming of Christ], with exceptions so few as to be of no account.” (A Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, p. 308)
J. Christiaan Beker
-“Paul’s gospel is shaped by its encounter with Judaism. His struggle with his Jewish heritage penetrates all the aspects of his thought. Its affective-cognitive dimensions are nowhere more evident than in his reflections on Israel’s role in God’s plan of salvation, especially in his ‘great sorrow and unceasing anguish’ (Rom. 9:2) and in his ‘heart’s desire and prayer to God for them… that they may be saved’ (Rom. 10:1). His perplexity about Israel’s rejection of Christ, about its ‘being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God’ (Rom. 10:3) and about its present hardening (Rom. 11:7-10, 25; 9:18) is only relieved for him when he recalls God’s abiding election of Israel (Rom. 11:29) and knows that Israel will be saved at the eschatological hour (Rom. 11:26).” (Heirs of Paul: Paul’s Legacy in the New Testament and in the Church Today, p. 26)
Johann Albrecht Bengel
-“And so – He does not say and then, but more forcibly and so, in which then is included; namely, Israel’s blindness will be ended by the very coming in of the Gentiles. All Israel – Israel distinguished from the Gentiles, of whom verse 25 treats.” (Gnomon of the New Testament)
-“The apostle calls the rejection of the Jews for a time, and their restoration after the conversion of the Gentiles is completed, a mystery; because it was a matter of the greatest importance to mankind, and because it had hitherto been kept a secret… For a certain time, for Israel is neither totally nor finally rejected. And so all Israel shall be saved—Shall be brought to believe in Jesus as the true Messiah, and so shall be put into the way of obtaining salvation, being convinced of the truth by the coming in of the Gentiles… In consequence of the promises made to their fathers, they shall, as a people, in some future period, become the people of God, by believing the gospel.” (The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, with Critical, Explanatory and Practical Notes, p. 98-99)
-“We have to take these questions seriously, even as Paul himself returns time and again to the theme of Israel’s election in his epistles. ‘Has God rejected his people?’ he asks, and unhesitatingly replies: ‘By no means!... God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew’ (Rom. 11:1f.). Later in the same chapter he tells the Romans that the Jews are ‘enemies of God for your sake,’ but are ‘beloved for the sake of their forefathers’ (vs. 28). He explains this all by saying that ‘the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable’ (vs. 29). Paul’s emphasis on foreknowledge and irrevocability understandably gives rise to the question whether Israel’s history after the rejection of the Messiah can indeed be considered as finished and without further relevance. Is it not obviously self-evident from this irreversibility that there is still a real prospect for the Jewish people? Berkhof does not hesitate to draw this conclusion: that the New Testament answer to the question of Israel’s future is obvious—Israel’s salvation. ‘That nation for whom he primarily came, and which before any other is reserved for his glory and service… will find its way back to its calling… Here and nowhere else [God’s] faithfulness will prove to go beyond and overcome our unfaithfulness.’ Clearly, Berkhof’s choice of words ‘obvious’ and ‘must’ is founded on the idea of election and its irreversibility, on God’s not going back on His promises once given. It is not merely the one isolated text—‘and so all Israel will be saved’ (Rom. 11:26)—but the whole divine initiative of election that acts as a guarantee of the future. What Paul says only confirms this.” (The Return of Christ, Studies in Dogmatics, p. 327)
-“What Paul meant by ‘Israel,’ many have concluded, was not the nation of Israel, but the totality of those to be saved, both Jews and Gentiles, the believers, the true, spiritual Israel. A further reference is often made in this context to Galatians 6:16… In any case, Galatians 6:16 cannot be used to prove that Romans 11:25 is talking about the spiritual Israel. Doekes raises another serious objection to this spiritualizing interpretation: he points out that Romans 9-11 mentions Israel eleven times, of which ten are obvious references to Israel as a nation, so that there is no reason suddenly to interpret 11:26 as referring to the spiritual community. Thus Ridderbos, in opposition to Calvin, maintains the specific meaning of Israel; and H.M. Matter correctly observes that the ‘spiritual Israel’ interpretation cannot be harmonized with Paul’s train of thought. A final support for the literal interpretation is the argument that in verse 28—after talking about the salvation of all Israel—Paul speaks of the people of Israel again as ‘beloved for the sake of their forefathers.’ The discussion of Israel is not interrupted in verse 26… ‘Israel’ remained a compelling issue for Paul because of the irrevocable gifts and call of God. He sees the mercy that the Gentiles have received after their disobedience, and concludes that ‘so they [the Jews] have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you [the Gentiles] they also may receive mercy’ (vs. 31). Thus the point here is surely mercy for disobedient Israel.” (ibid., p. 345)
Bernard of Clairvaux
-“And so it is: dispersed [the Jews] are. Under Christian princes they endure a hard captivity, but "they only wait for the time of their deliverance." Finally we are told by the Apostle that when the time is ripe all Israel shall be saved. But those who die before will remain in death... If the Jews were utterly wiped out, what will become of our hope for their promised salvation, their eventual conversion?” (Letter to England to Summon the Second Crusade, 1146)
-“[The Jews] have been dispersed, cast down. They undergo a hard captivity under Christian princes. Yet they shall be converted at even time, and remembrance of them shall be made in due season. Finally, when the multitude of the Gentiles shall have entered in, then, "all Israel shall be saved," saith the apostle. Meanwhile he who dies remains in death… Moreover, if the Jews be utterly trampled down [i.e. annihilated], how shall the promised salvation or conversion profit them in the end?” (Letter to Eastern France and Bavaria Promoting the Second Crusade, 1146)
-“[The world will] be restored from death to life again, at the time when the Jews should also come, and be called to the profession of the Gospel.” (quoted in J.A. DeJong, As the Waters Cover the Sea: Millennial Expectations in the Rise of Anglo-America Missions, 1640–1810, p. 9)
-“This does not mean the great majority, nor does it mean all the true people of God, nor yet “all the elect Jews” (all that part of the nation which constitutes the remnant according to the election of grace); but it refers to the nation as a whole.” (The Millennium Bible, p. 425)
Craig A. Blaising
-“It is worth emphasizing here the key features of Paul’s argument. C. E. B. Cranfield expressed twenty-one years ago what is now broadly affirmed in NT studies when he wrote: “These three chapters [Rom. 9–11] emphatically forbid us to speak of the Church as having once and for all taken the place of the Jewish people.” The key hermeneutical points are the following: Paul states at the outset in Romans 9 that his concern is for his “brethren,” his “kinsmen according to the flesh,” “Israelites” (9:3–5). Israel has failed to obtain the righteousness that is by faith (9:30–32; 10:2– 21). They are enemies of the Gospel (11:28). Paul nevertheless prays for them that they might be saved (10:1). He claims that God’s Word concerning Israel will be fulfilled (9:6, 27–29; 11:1–5, 26–29), but in a twofold way. At the present time, God is fulfilling the word that promised the salvation of a remnant as opposed to the whole of Israel (9:27–29; 11:1–7, 25). And so, Paul notes that in his day, there is a remnant according to God’s gracious election which includes “Israelites” such as himself (11:1–2, 5). The hardening of the majority of Israel in the present time is the way God has chosen to extend the riches of salvation to the Gentiles (11:25). This is a mystery in that whereas one might have expected Israel to be blessed in full prior to blessing being extended to Gentiles, in actual fact God will bring in the fullness of the Gentiles first while Israel is for the most part hardened. So, the first part of the fulfillment of God’s word about Israel concerns the present time, and that is the fulfillment of the word that only a remnant would be saved (9:4, 6–12, 27–29; 11:5). But the second part of the fulfillment of God’s word concerning Israel is what those who knew the Scriptures rightly expected—the glorious blessing upon Israel nationally. Israel has stumbled (9:32b–33; 11:9–11), and in that state of stumbling God is fulfilling his word about saving a remnant. Yet, Paul says, they have not stumbled so as to fall (11:11). If their failure has meant riches for the Gentiles, how much more will the fullness of Israel bring riches of blessing upon the world (11:12)? The fullness here is contrasted to the part, the remnant, which is being saved in the present time (11:7–26). Whereas Israel’s rejection in the present time means the reconciliation of the Gentiles to God, their future acceptance will mean life from the dead (11:15). This is the language of reversal. Israel, which is now “an enemy of God as regards the gospel” (11:28), Israel of which now only a remnant is being saved (9:27–29; 11:5), Israel for whom Paul is praying and for whom he wishes himself to be accursed that they might be saved (9:1–3; 10:1), Israel which has missed the righteousness of God by stumbling over the stumbling stone (9:32b–33, 11:9), Israel is nevertheless beloved for the sake of the forefathers (11:28). The lump is holy because of the first bit of dough; the branches are holy because of the root (11:16), and even if God has broken them out, he is able and will in fact graft them in again (11:23–24). According to the word of the Lord, the redeemer will come from Zion and remove ungodliness from Jacob. He will fulfill his covenant with them and all Israel will be saved (11:26–27).” (The Future of Israel as a Theological Question, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, p. 437-8)
Donald G. Bloesch
-“When Paul confesses that "all Israel will be saved," he is indubitably thinking of the future restoration of ethnic Israel. Calvin erred when he interpreted "all Israel" to mean the sum total of the complete church, gentile Christians and the remnant of believing Jews. It was the Puritans
and Pietists who reclaimed the Pauline hope for Israel as a nation and through Israel hope for the world. This hope was shared by our Lord himself, for Jesus looked forward to that joyous day when his people would acclaim him as the Messiah of Israel and Lord and Savior of the world: "I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord'" (Matt. 23:37-39).” (‘All Israel Will Be Saved’, Supercessionism and the Biblical Witness, p. 134)
James Montgomery Boice
-“In view of Paul‘s clear statements here and throughout Romans 11, I cannot see how so many reformed theologians of our day reject the idea of a future time of blessing for Israel. I know why they do it. They do not like the details of prophecy that some have worked out, in which Israel seems to have a separate destiny from the church. And they do not like the implied theology. To their way of thinking, any future blessing of Israel as a nation must be a backward step, a regression in God‘s plan. Spiritual realities in Christ have replaced the Jewish types that pointed to them. The church has replaced Israel. In this view the church becomes the new Israel, and the old Israel is superseded forever. But how can they affirm that, in view of Paul‘s teaching here? Paul is not talking about spiritual Israel in these chapters. He is talking about the Jews as a nation. And when he asks the question, ―Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? His answer is as emphatic as when dealing with antinomianism or with the good purposes of God‘s law (Rom 6:2, 15; 7:13). ―Not at all! By no means! God forbid! It was inconceivable to Paul that God would cast Israel off, because to do so would mean that God would be breaking his covenant promises, and he could not do that and remain a truth-keeping, faithful God.” (Romans, Vol. 3, p. 1323; note: Boice, a Reformed theologian himself, was highlighting the dogmatic rather than exegetical basis for many theologians in his camp)
-“I am one of those who believe in Israel’s restoration and conversion; who receive it as a future certainty, that all Israel shall be gathered, and that all Israel shall be saved. As I believe in Israel’s present degradation, so do I believe in Israel’s coming glory and preeminence. I believe that God’s purpose regarding our world can only be understood by understanding God’s purpose as to Israel. I believe that all human calculations as to the earth’s future, whether political or scientific, or philosophical or religious, must be failures, if not taking for their data or basis God’s great purpose regarding the latter-day standing of Israel. I believe that it is not possible to enter God’s mind regarding the destiny of man, without taking as our key or our guide His mind regarding the ancient nation—that nation whose history, so far from being ended, or nearly ended, is only about to begin. And if any one may superciliously ask, What can the Jews have to do with the world’s history?—may we not correctly philosophize on that coming history, and take the bearing of the world’s course, leaving Israel out of the consideration altogether? We say, nay; but O man, who art thou that repliest against God?” (The Quarterly Journal of Prophecy, July, 1870, p. 209-11)
-“There is a day coming when there shall be a national conversion of the Jews or Israelites. The now blinded and rejected Jews shall at length be converted into the faith of Christ, and join themselves to the Christian church. There are many promises of this in the Old Testament, but I shall confirm it from Romans, chap. xi. where the apostle purposely insists upon it… The apostle expressly asserts it, verses 25, 26. In these he shews that the blindness of the Jews is only in part, and to last only a certain time, when there shall be a national conversion, and so all Israel shall be saved. This is not meant of the spiritual Israel, for their conversion could be no mystery as this is. But as the conversion of the Gentiles was a mystery to the Jews, and to Gentiles themselves under the Old Testament, Eph. iii. 3-6. So is that of the Jews, to the Gentiles and Jews themselves, under the New Testament. And as many Jews then would not believe the one, so many Christians now believe not the other.” (The Whole Works of the Late Reverend and Learned Mr. Thomas Boston, Volume 3, p. 357, 358; note: Boston goes on to give practical exhortation to pray for the conversion of the Jews)
Edward I. Bosworth
-“All Israel is sometimes said to designate all true believers whether Jew or Gentile, but decisively opposed to this interpretation is the fact that Gentiles and Jews are the subject of the whole discussion. Also in the quotation ‘Jacob’ clearly designates the Jewish nation, and the words ‘they’ and ‘you’ in verses 28-30 clearly contrast Jews and Gentiles. The quotation merges Is. 59:20 and 27:9, both of which refer to Jacob.” (Commentary on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, p. 221)
Manfred T. Brauch
-“The completion of the mission to the Gentiles will result in, or lead to, Israel’s ‘fullness’ or ‘completion’ (Rom. 11:12), her ‘acceptance’ (Rom. 11:15) These phrases anticipate the affirmation that ‘all Israel will be saved.’ The way from the anticipation of this conviction to this climactic expression is paved by the analogy of the olive tree (Rom. 11:17-24) and its astounding claim that God will indeed graft the broken-off branches of unbelieving Israel back into the olive tree to join the branches of ‘remnant Jews’ and believing Gentiles who have already been grafted to the olive tree… the ‘hardening [which] has come upon part of Israel’ (Rom. 11:25) is limited not only in extent, but also with regard to time: its rejection will last only ‘until the fullness of the Gentiles’ comes. This completion of God’s purpose among the Gentiles leads then to the completion of that same redemptive purpose for Israel, in that ‘all Israel will be saved’ (11:26). Commentators are agreed that ‘all Israel’ means Israel ‘as a whole,’ as a historical people who have a unique and particular identity, not necessarily including every individual Israelite… While in Romans 11:25-26 the present ‘part of Israel’ which is hardened is contrasted with ‘all Israel’ which will be saved in the future, it is clear that ‘all Israel’ denotes both the already-saved remnant and the yet-to-be-saved ‘others’ or ‘rest’ (Rom. 11:7). What is also clear from the whole thrust of the discussion in Romans 9-11 is that God’s purposes for the salvation of Israel will be realized in no other way and by no other means than through the preaching of the gospel and the response which will lead to ‘life from the dead’ (Rom. 11:15), clearly a reference to the eschatological event of the resurrection which will be preceded by the ‘completion of Israel’ (Rom. 11:26) as the last stage in the process initiated by the death and resurrection of Jesus.” (Hard Sayings of the Bible, p. 569-70)
Keith L. Brooks
-“The Jews, at present cast off because of unbelief, will in due time as a people be taken into God’s favor again, when the fullness of the Gentiles be come in and when the Deliverer (Christ) shall have appeared again. As a people they are for this age judicially blinded, although there is a remnant according to faith in Christ. The Gentiles grafted into the Church must not trample upon the Jews as a reprobate people, but remember that the law of faith excludes all boasting, either of ourselves or against others.” (Summarized Bible)
-“Not ‘all the spiritual Israel’, Jew and Gentile (as some), for throughout all this chapter, the apostle by ‘Israel’ means exclusively the natural seed of Abraham, whom he sharply distinguishes from the Gentiles; nor the whole believing remnant of the natural Israel (as others). Clearly the meaning here is, The Israelitish nation at large. To understand this great statement, as some still do, merely of such a gradual inbringing of individual Jews, that there shall at length none remain in unbelief, is to do manifest violence to it and to the context. It can only mean the ultimate ingathering of Israel as a nation, in contrast with the present remnant. (So Tholuck, Meyer, De Wette, Philippi, Alford, Hodge). Three confirmations of this now follow: two from the prophets, and a third from the Abrahamic covenant itself.” (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown, The Epistle to the Romans, p. 117)
Thomas R. Browning
-“That leads, of course, to the final phrase, “Israel”. What does Paul mean when he says, Israel.” Well the older commentators like Calvin would say that he means the elect of the Jews and Gentiles together. That’s Israel or another way to say it is, “That’s spiritual Israel.” But the newer commentators like Hodge, Boice and Sproul would say that he is talking about the nation of Israel, that is, ethnic Israel. So what I want to do this morning is take a moment and show you why they hold that view. To do that, I need you to look back to verse 25. Romans 11:25… “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.” Who’s he talking to here? Well, we know from verse 13 that he is talking to the Gentiles. Romans 11:13… “I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry…” What does he want them to avoid? Well, he wants them to avoid becoming
conceited or “puffed up.” Now what does he mean by “Israel” in verse 25? Well, since he contrasts “Israel” with the “the Gentiles,” Israel must refer to the ethnic Jews or national “Israel.” If that is the case, then Paul is saying something like this, “Look here you Gentiles, I don’t want you to be uninformed and I certainly don’t want you to become puffed up. The Jews have experienced a hardening but that is only until the whole number of the Gentiles have been
incorporated into the people of God.” And if that is the case, that Paul means the ethnic Jews when he refers to Israel in verse 25, then what does Israel mean in verse 26 when he says…
Romans 11:26… “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob."” Now I suppose he could have been talking about “ethnic Jews” in verse 25 and then switched to talk about “spiritual Israel” in verse 26. But the question is, really is, how likely would he have been to have done that. No, I don’t think it is likely at all. Now I freely admit that earlier in Romans Paul made the point that there is a spiritual Israel. Romans 2:28… “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.” Romans 9:6… “It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” But I think when he uses the term “Israel” to refer to ethnic Israel in verse 25 and then uses the same term in verse 26 without qualifying it one way or another, you almost have to accept that it will have the same meaning in both places. When you do that all you are doing is interpreting the passage letting the immediate context guide you. And that is the point of Sproul, Boice and Hodge. Now if you view the passage that way, what it says is something like this, “As it stands right now ethnic Israel is hardened and they are hardened until all of the Gentiles that make up God’s elect are brought in and then at that point that will bring about the salvation of a vast array of Jews.” Now I have to add that is not the way Father Calvin viewed the passage. Still, I am not torn here; I am with Hodge, Sproul and Boice on this one. I think they are right. To me the immediate context demands that Paul be speaking about Israel and it’s national revival or salvation.” (Paul’s Letter to the Romans: And So All Israel Will Be Saved, p. 15-18)
-“It is impossible to entertain an exegesis which understands ‘Israel’ here in a different sense from ‘Israel’ in verse 25 (‘a hardening has come upon part of ‘Israel’). The connecting words ‘and so’ (cf. 5:12) say more than ‘and then’: they imply that ‘in this way – by the operation of the divine purpose that the gospel should be received by the Gentile first, and then also by the Jew – the salvation of ‘all Israel’ will come about. ‘All Israel’ is a recurring expression in Jewish literature, where it need not mean ‘every Jew without a single exception’, but ‘Israel as a whole’. Thus ‘all Israel has a portion in the world to come’, says the Mishnah tractate Sanhedrin (10.1), and proceeds immediately to name certain Israelites who have no portion therein.” (The Letter of Paul to the Romans, TNTC, p. 209)
“But in Rom. 11:25-27 Paul is not quoting from Isa. 59 only. He has in mind a number of Old Testament passages, which have enough in common to indicate that they deal with the same theme, although each of them by itself deals only with a partial aspect of that theme. When all of them are taken together, however, the conclusion to which Paul is led by them is irresistible. In addition to Isa. 59, he has in mind the ‘new covenant’ oracle of Jer. 31:31-34, and the Greek version of Isa. 27:9 (‘and this is his [Jacob’s] blessing, when I take away his sin’), while the phrase ‘but out of Zion’ (in place of ‘to Zion’ of the Hebrew text of Isa. 59:20 or ‘for Zion’s sake’ of the Greek version) is apparently based on Psa. 14:7 (repeated in Psa. 53:6). A restoration of ‘all Israel’ is the natural implication of these passages, taken together.” (Answers to Questions, p. 87-88)
-“Even the temporary unbelief of the Jews is included in God’s plan of salvation. The Jews are not the expelled but the reinstated. In the last resort both Jews and Gentiles are equal before God. Both have at the beginning said No to God, and then by God’s mercy faith is nevertheless bestowed upon them. The Jews must wait until all this has happened to the Gentiles—and this having to wait is the punishment for their disobedience. But at last their turn comes, too.” (The Letter to the Romans, p. 98)
-“On this basis Paul declares (among other things) that ‘all Israel will be saved’ (11:26)—not thereby claiming that every single Jew will go to heaven, but certainly affirming his conviction that Israel as a whole, ethnic Israel, will find there is a place for her in the final salvation.” (Theological Interpretation of the New Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey, edited by Kevin Vanhoozer, Daniel J. Treier, and N.T. Wright, p. 94)
-“The mystery which Paul proclaims and the prophecy is that the blindness of Israel happened only in part, temporarily, until the destined and prescribed multitude of Gentiles enter into Christ, and thus all Israel will become saved. He speaks of the people of the Jews… They are now indeed blinded, but by a blindness which is temporary (i.e. ‘partial’), not to last forever. For when the fullness of the Gentiles has come to Christ, that is, the full number of the elect, all Israel also, that is, the entire nation, will be saved, and the kingdom of God will flourish publicly once again among them.” (Ennarrationes in Epistolam D. Pauli ad Romanos [Basil, 1562], p. 442)
-“Here the apostle fully proves, that the rejection of the Jews was neither total nor final; not total, because blindness in part only, happened unto Israel; that is, part of the Jews only are left in unbelief, and under the power of spiritual blindness. Nor is their rejection final, but for a time only; namely, till the fulness of the Gentiles be come in: that is, till the Gentile churches be advanced to an honourable state and fulness. And then all the Israel of God, the faithful seed of Abraham, and the main body of the Jews, shall make up the catholic church, and be saved from their unbelief; according to that gracious promise.” (Expository Notes with Practical Observations; note: 17th century scholar; notice how Burkitt interprets ‘Israel’ as the Church, but nevertheless cannot avoid Paul’s point that the Jewish people will be brought back in and saved. Calvin does the same thing.)
-“[Equating ‘all Israel’ with] the totality of believers, Jewish and Christian… is generally rejected today in favor of a reference to the whole of ethnic Israel.” (Romans, Sacra Pagina, p. 354; note: Byrne is a Roman Catholic scholar)
-“Many understand this of the Jewish people, as though Paul had said, that religion would again be restored among them as before: but I extend the word Israel to all the people of God, according to this meaning, — ‘When the Gentiles shall come in, the Jews also shall return from their defection to the obedience of faith; and thus shall be completed the salvation of the whole Israel of God, which must be gathered from both; and yet in such a way that the Jews shall obtain the first place, being as it were the first-born in God’s family.’ This interpretation seems to me the most suitable, because Paul intended here to set forth the completion of the kingdom of Christ, which is by no means to be confined to the Jews, but is to include the whole world. The same manner of speaking we find in Galatians 6:16. The Israel of God is what he calls the Church, gathered alike from Jews and Gentiles; and he sets the people, thus collected from their dispersion, in opposition to the carnal children of Abraham, who had departed from his faith.” (Commentary on Romans; see Calvin’s further comments on 11:27-29; note: even Calvin could not deny Paul’s point that the Jews will be converted, though he interprets ‘Israel’ spiritually. Calvin’s idea—that the Church is Israel—is not false, but is that Paul’s meaning in Rom. 11:26? Dan Shute comments: “This is not Calvin’s finest hour as exegete—his most ingenious maybe, but not his finest. I have found no other Christian exegete before Calvin’s time who interpreted Romans 9, 10, and 11 in such a way that a future conversion of the Jews was excluded.” [And All Israel Will Be Saved, in Peter Martyr Vermigli And The European Reformations: Semper Reformanda, p. 166], edited by Frank James)
-“Paul quotes this passage, (Rom. xi. 26,) in order to shew that there is still some remaining hope among the Jews; although from their unconquerable obstinacy it might be inferred that they were altogether cast off and doomed to eternal death. But because God is continually mindful of his covenant, and "his gifts and calling are without repentance," (Rom. xi. 29,) Paul justly concludes that it is impossible that there shall not at length be some remnant that come to Christ, and obtain that salvation which he has procured. Thus the Jews must at length be collected along with the Gentiles that out of both "there may be one fold" under Christ. (John x. 16). . . . Hence we have said that Paul infers that he [Christ] could not be the redeemer of the world, without belonging to some Jews, whose fathers he had chosen, and to whom this promise was directly addressed.” (Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah; note: again we see that Calvin could not escape the conclusion that Paul had the Jews in mind in Romans 11:26, even though he softens the significance of the prophecy.)
-“While it is too much to see this sequence of events surrounding the salvation of the Gentiles as having no part in the cause of the salvation of Israel, it is likely that Paul meant to point forward (I meant hear syntactically, not temporally) to the coming of the redeemer as the means of the salvation of all Israel… The pairing of ούτος with καθώς γέγραπται tends to throw the meaning forward. The paraphrase might be ‘In this way (the way that it is written), all Israel will be saved.’ Against this suggestion, Hvalvik argues that Paul ‘never uses ούτος correlatively to καθώς γέγραπται.’ Hvalvik is correct as to καθώς γέγραπται, but, as Wagner points out, Paul did use ούτος with καθώς in Philippians 3:17, where ούτος more clearly points forward to the clause introduced by καθώς. The fact that γέγραπται is missing should not harm the argument. The way that Israel will be saved, then, is the redeemer who will remove ungodliness from Jacob… I side with the majority view among present scholarship that in 11:25-27 Paul refers to ethnic Israel.” (Christ is God Over All: Romans 9:5 in the Context of Romans 9-11, p. 173)
D.A. Carson & Douglas Moo
-“The gospel and Israel (9:1-11:36). A key motif throughout Romans 1-8 is the question of the relationship between law and gospel, Jew and Gentile, God’s old-covenant people and his new-covenant people. This is the theme of the third major section of the letter. Does the transfer of covenant privileges from Israel to the church mean that God has spurned his promises to Israel (9:1-6a)? Not at all, Paul answers. First, God’s promises were never intended to guarantee salvation to every Israelite by birth (9:6b-29). Second, the people of Israel themselves are to blame for failing to embrace God’s righteousness in Christ, despite God’s clear word to them (9:30-10:21). Furthermore, some Israelites, like Paul, are being saved, and in them God’s promises are being fulfilled (11:1-10). Finally, in the climax to his argument, Paul counters the arrogant boasting of some Gentile Christians by reminding them that it is only through Israel that salvation has come to them and that there awaits a day when God’s promise to Israel will come to full realization and ‘all Israel will be saved’ (11:12-36).” (An Introduction to the New Testament, p. 392)
-[Commenting on Psalm 103:9]: “‘He will not always be angry, nor will He be wroth forever’: This verse can be applied also to the Jewish people, who we know are to be converted at the world’s end. On this Paul says: Blindness in part has happened in Israel, that the fullness of the Gentiles should come in, and so all Israel should be saved.” (Explanation of the Psalms, Ancient Christian Writers, ed. W.J. Burghardt and T.C. Lawler, 53:22-23)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
-“The ‘full inclusion’ of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation, in the wake of ‘the full number of Gentiles’, (Rom 11:12, Luke 21:24) will enable the People of God to achieve ‘the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ in which ‘God may be all in all.’” (CCC 674)
The Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture
-“The time will come when the present problem of Israel's exclusion from the salvation of the Messias will cease to exist because of her conversion, which will follow the conversion of the Gentiles.” (The Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, edited by Bernard Orchard)
-“The Jews are still in a special relationship with God; they are ‘loved on account of the patriarchs’ (Romans 11:28-29). Jews who reject Jesus as Messiah forfeit the blessings of the covenant because of unbelief; they are ‘broken off because of unbelief’ (11:20). But the blessings of the covenant are still open to them (Romans 9:1-5). This means that God has not finished with the Jewish people. ‘Did God reject his people?’ asks Paul; and his answer is ‘By no means!’ (Romans 11:1). ‘God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable’ (Romans 11:29). There is something better to look forward to for them: ‘and so all Israel will be saved’ (11:26). But the only source of salvation for them, as for every other human being, is in Christ. When Jews believe in Jesus as Messiah, in Paul’s picture of the olive tree, they are ‘grafted back into their own olive tree’ (Romans 11:23-24)… ‘Israel’ in this verse [11:26] probably does mean ‘the Jewish people’ and not ‘the Church’. In all the other thirteen instances in these chapters where he uses ‘Israel’, he clearly means ‘the Jewish people’ (9:4, 6, 27, 31; 10:1, 16, 19, 21; 11:1,2, 7, 11, 25). If Paul here understands ‘Israel’ as ‘the Church’, he is using the word in two consecutive sentences with two very different meanings.” (Whose Promised Land?, p. 223, 227)
-“The unbelief is not universal, but only “in part.”… And, so here too [Romans 11:25-26] he says what he had said above, “God hath not cast off His people whom He foreknew” (Rom. xi. 2): and again, “What then? Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid” (ib. 11): This then he says here also; that it is not the whole people that is pulled up, but many have already believed, and more are likely to believe. Then as he had promised a great thing, he adduces the prophet in evidence, speaking as follows. Now it is not for the fact of a blindness having happened that he quotes the passage (for every one could see that), but that they shall believe and be saved, he brings Isaiah to witness, who crieth aloud and saith, ‘There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.’ (Isaiah 59:20.)… If then this has been promised, but has never yet happened in their case, nor have they ever enjoyed the remission of sins by baptism, certainly it will come to pass… but [God] waiteth for all the Gentiles that are to believe to come in, and then they (the Jews) also shall come.” (Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, NPNF, Vol. 11, p. 493; note: in many other homilies Chrysostom speaks of the final conversion of the Jews)
Gordon H. Clark
-“When this fullness occurs, then the great majority of the Jews shall be saved also. This ultimate conversion of the Jews was prophesied in the Old Testament.” (The Biblical Expositor, Vol. 3, p. 254)
-“The restoration of the Jewish commonwealth, in a higher degree than seems to be yet accomplished, is, as we have before observed, frequently spoken of in the prophetic writings.” (Commentary on the Whole Bible; note: Coke was John Wesley’s right-hand man.)
John William Colenso
-“It may be that here… St. Paul imagines that the Deliverer would come, and iniquity be turned away from Jacob, by the Jews, as a nation, embracing the Gospel, and all Israel, the whole believing Family, whether originally Jews or Heathens, ‘be saved’ from the wrath revealed against all willful sin and disobedience.” (St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, p. 216; notice, Colenso does the same thing as Calvin: interprets ‘Israel’ the whole Church, but accepts the salvation of the Jews. This idea is not false, but the question is whether it is Paul’s point in 11:25-26.)
-“"All Israel" means Israel as a whole in contrast to the relatively small believing remnant of Jews. The context makes this clear. This conclusion does not require that every individual Israelite living will be saved. It only requires the salvation of the bulk of the nation (cf. Zechariah 12-13).” (Expository Notes)
-“But exactly what is meant by ‘all Israel’? There are three major views: (1) ‘all Israel’ means ethnic Israel as a whole; (2) it means the whole of spiritual Israel, including both believing Jews and believing Gentiles; and (3) it means the remnant portion of ethnic Israel. In my judgment this last view is correct.
This third (correct) approach says that ‘all Israel’ means all believing Jews in all generations. Thus in v. 26 the term ‘Israel’ is taken in a slightly different sense as compared with v. 25 and elsewhere. I.e., it may be true that the mass of Israel has been hardened (v. 25), but all of true Israel will be saved (v. 26). They will be saved not in a single mass conversion but in the normal process of evangelism, being brought to faith in Christ and added to his church over the whole course of church history.
What reasons can we give in support of this interpretation of ‘all Israel’? The first argument is that (contrary to the claims of some) it is consistent with the way Paul uses the term ‘Israel’ in 9-11. To say that Paul uses this term elsewhere in this section only for ethnic Jews may be true; but that does not affect our view, which agrees that v. 26a refers to ethnic Jews. The only issue is whether Paul uses the term only in the sense of the nation as a whole, and 9:6 shows that he does not. In 9:6 Paul uses the term ‘Israel’ twice, first referring to the nation as a whole and then referring only to spiritual Israel, the remnant. In the Greek text of 9:6 these two uses are almost consecutive, being separated by only one Greek word. Thus 9:6 is more than enough justification for regarding ‘Israel’ in 11:26a as referring to spiritual Israel, even though the same term in 11:25 refers to Israel as a whole.
The second argument for this position is that it is totally consistent with the context in general. Some say that v. 26a must be talking about the nation as a whole, because the status of the nation as a whole is exactly what 9-11 is all about: How can we reconcile Israel’s lostness with God’s faithfulness? But this is not the whole picture. It is true that in 9-11 the unbelief of Israel in general is the problem, but it is also true that the existence of a remnant who believe is part of the answer to the problem. Hence the remnant concept is a prominent theme in the context as a whole. See especially 9:6, 23-29; 11:1-7a.
Third, this view is also consistent with the line of thought Paul is developing in ch. 11 specifically. Has God rejected his people? No. Though most are hardened, he has a remnant. But is there any hope for those who are hardened? Yes. Especially now that salvation has come to the Gentiles, all hardened Jews may believe in Jesus and become a part of the remnant. Paul has just declared that God can and will graft the broken-off branches back into the olive tree, conditioned upon their abandoning their unbelief (v. 23). In v. 24 Paul assures us that God will graft these natural branches back into the tree, but the condition of faith is obviously meant to be carried over from v. 23. The same is undoubtedly true in v. 26. When Paul says, ‘All Israel will be saved,’ in view of v. 23 we must understand it as ‘all Israelites who believe in Jesus Christ—i.e. the remnant—will be saved.’ This shows the importance of translating houtos as ‘thus, in this way.’ When Paul says ‘in this way’ all Israel will be saved, he is referring not just to the summary statement in v. 25, but to the more complete explanation in vv. 11-24, including the emphasis on conditionality in vv. 23-24.
A fourth argument for our position is that it does justice to the word ‘all’ in ‘all Israel.’ One of the most serious flaws of other interpretations is that they really do not take the word ‘all’ seriously. Often it is said that the only Jews who are saved are those who happen to be living at and possibly after a point of time still in the future, and for many it is only that final generation of Jews who are saved. Most individual Jews in the scores of generations before that time are actually not saved. How can this be evidence of the faithfulness of God toward ‘all Israel,’ if only the last generation of Jews will actually be saved? But if ‘all Israel’ means ‘the entire remnant of Jews,’ then this refers to every believing Israelite in every generation. All who meet the condition of v. 23 will be saved.
A fifth argument for our understanding is that it is consistent with Paul’s teaching in the following verses that ‘all Israel’ is being saved now. As we shall soon see, the OT texts cited as confirmation of v. 26a refer to the first coming of Jesus and to the present salvation from sin by God’s grace. They do not refer to the Second Coming and to some future national restoration (Hendriksen, 2:380). Especially, in v. 31 Paul says it is God’s plan that the Jews ‘may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you [Gentiles]’.” (Romans, p. 436-8; note: Cottrell’s interpretation is chock full of hermeneutical errors and failure to understand key concepts. He does not do justice to Paul’s train of thought, and fails entirely to understand the concept of Israel as a corporate entity.)
-“The most likely explanation of ‘all Israel’ is that it means the nation of Israel as a whole, though not necessarily including every individual member. We understand ‘shall be saved’ to refer to a restoration of the nation of Israel to God at the end of history, an eschatological event in the strict sense.” (Romans: A Shorter Commentary, p. 282)
-“It is only where the Church persists in refusing to learn this message, where it secretly—perhaps quite unconsciously—believes that its own existence is based on human achievement, and so fails to understand God's mercy to itself, that it is unable to believe in God's mercy for still unbelieving Israel, and so entertains the ugly and unscriptural notion that God has cast off His people Israel and simply replaced it by the Christian Church. These three chapters [Rom. 9-11] emphatically forbid us to speak of the Church as having once and for all taken the place of the Jewish people.” (A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, ICC, Vol. 2, p. 448)
St. Cyril of Alexandria
-“Towards the end of time, Our Lord Jesus Christ will effect the reconciliation of His former persecutor Israel with Himself. Everybody who knows Holy Scripture is aware that, in the course of time, this people will return to the love of Christ by the submission of faith… Yes, one day, after the conversion of the Gentiles, Israel will be converted, and the Jews will be astonished at the treasure they will find in Christ.” (Commentary on Genesis, Bk. 5)
-“Although it was rejected, Israel will also be saved eventually, a hope which Paul confirms (Romans 11:26) by quoting this text of Scripture (Is. 59:21). For indeed, Israel will be saved in its own time and will be called at the end, after the calling of the Gentiles.” (Commentary on Romans, Bray, Romans, p. 298-299)
Robert L. Dabney
-“Before this second advent, the following events must have occurred… The general and national return of the Jews to the Christian Church. (Rom. 11:25, 26).” (Systematic Theology, ch. 44; note: Dabney doesn’t locate the conversion of the Jews at the second coming of Christ, yet he nonetheless affirms that Romans 11:25-26 teach the conversion of the Jewish nation.)
A. Andrew Das
-“[Francis] Watson contended that Paul’s ‘sole aim’ is to ‘maintain and defend’ the ‘separation of his Gentile Christian churches from the Jewish community.’ Watson’s Paul wanted the Jewish Christian congregation to ‘abandon their belief in the vital importance of observing the law of Moses’ and adopt ‘an attitude of sectarian separation from non-Christian fellow-Jews.’ They need to make a ‘final break.’ James Dunn found these assertions ‘astonishing.’ The apostle pointedly reminds the gentiles in Rom 11:11-32 that they have been grafted on as wild olive shoots to Israel’s tree and heritage. The gentiles do not form their own separate tree but are dependent upon Israel. Paul even looks forward to a day when ‘all Israel will be saved.’ Far from urging his audience to sever all ties with the Jews, the apostle holds out hope for his people and wants the gentile Romans to think similarly. He never asks the ‘weak’ to abandon their Jewish practices in 14:1 but calls instead for mutual acceptance (15:7). The Roman gentiles represent the fulfillment of the promises to ‘all’ Abraham’s seed (4:16). Abraham is the Jews’ and gentiles’ mutual ‘father’ in 4:12. Such logic is incomprehensible if, with Watson, Paul is urging a break from the synagogues.” (Solving the Romans Debate, p. 50-51)
-“The Christian eschatology is, not surprisingly, a little bit different. But, indeed, only ‘a little bit,’ because Christian eschatology is formed by Jewish eschatology. In the New Testament there is no doubt that ‘salvation is from the Jews’ (John 4:22), and that in the end ‘all Israel will be saved (Rom. 11:26), because it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion.’ What Christians can find in Paul and the Gospel of John, Jews will find in the Mishnah, where it is stated, ‘All Israel has a share in the world to come’ (Sanhedrin 10:1).” (Opening Remarks to the First Deichmann Annual Lecture Series, found in Larry Hurtado’s, How on Earth Did Jesus Become God? Historical Questions about Earliest Devotion to Jesus, p. 214)
-[Commenting on Is. 59:20]: “In Romans 11:26 the apostle quotes this word of God, which is sealed with “Thus saith Jehovah,” as a proof of the final restoration of all Israel.” (Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament)
-“For πάς Ισραήλ see 1 Kings 12:1, 2 Chron. 12:1. It means Israel as a whole. Paul is thinking of the historical people, as the contrast with Gentiles shows, but he is not thinking of them one by one. Israel a Christian nation, Israel as a nation a part of the Messianic kingdom, is the content of his thought. To make πάςʾ Ισραήλ refer to a ‘spiritual’ Israel, or to the elect, is to miss the mark: it foretells a ‘conversion of the Jews so universal that the separation into an elect remnant and the rest who were hardened shall disappear (Gifford).’” (Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Vol. 2, p. 683)
Ronald E. Diprose
-“So far as the meaning of Israel in verse 26 is concerned, the interpreter is obliged to attribute to it the same meaning it bears in verse 25. As there is no doubt that the reference in verse 25 is to ethnic Israel, we may conclude that Paul is speaking about the salvation of ethnic Israel in verse 26. The use of the proper name Jacob in verse 26 also provides further confirmation of this.” (Israel and the Church: The Origins and Effects of Replacement Theology, p.64)
-“O that the blessed time were come when all Israel shall be saved; when the Deliverer, who is long since come out of Zion, shall turn away iniquity from Jacob; and the fullness of the Gentiles be come in; so that from the rising to the going down of the sun, the Lord shall be one, and his name one! Our faith waits the glorious event, but it shall be seen, for the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.” (quoted in Henry and Scott, Commentary Upon the Holy Bible, Vol. 6, p. 80)
Dennis C. Duling
-“[Paul] concludes that as soon as the full number of ethnē come in, all Israel will be saved. As God has shown mercy to the non-Israelite ethnē, so he will show mercy to Israel.” (Understanding the Social World of the New Testament, editied by Dietmar Neufeld and Richard E. DeMaris, p. 87)
-“All Israel i.e. the Jewish race will enter the Christian Church.” (The One Volume Bible Commentary, p. 883)
-“Very briefly we touch on this department of the message of Romans, mainly to point out that the problem of Israel's unbelief nowhere else in Paul appears as so heavy a load on his heart, and that on the other hand we nowhere else have anything like the light he claims to throw (Romans 11) on Israel's future. Here, if anywhere, he appears as the predictive prophet, charged with the statement of a “mystery,” and with the announcement of its issues. The promises to Israel have never failed, nor are they canceled. At the worst, they have always been inherited by a chosen remnant, Israel within Israel. And a time is coming when, in a profound connection with Messianic blessing on the Gentiles, “all Israel shall be saved,” with a salvation which shall in turn be new life to the world outside Israel. Throughout the passage Paul speaks, not as one who “will not give up a hope,” but as having had revealed to him a vast and definite prospect, in the divine purpose.” (Romans, The Epistle to, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
James D.G. Dunn
-“Here at last the identity of Israel and its correlation with the elect of God are resolved. Parallel to the triple distinction of 11:7 (Israel, the elect, the rest) we now how ‘Israel partially hardened,’ ‘the full number of the Gentiles,’ and ‘all Israel.’ The first phrase indicates the whole people suffering from a partial blindness. The second deliberately parallels the final full acceptance of Israel (their pleroma—11:12) with the ‘full number (pleroma) of the Gentiles.’ And the third extends the scope as widely as possible—‘all Israel.’ There can be little doubt that by ‘Israel’ here Paul means the historic people of that name. 11:28-29 puts the issue beyond reasonable doubt. But it is now Israel defined primarily by God’s ‘election’ and ‘call’ (11:28, 29); the echo of 9:11-12 and 24 is equally clear. In other words, the split in the ‘I’ of Israel will be healed. The division between historic Israel and those called of God will disappear in the ‘full number’ of Israel and Gentiles. Paul continues to use ‘Israel’ for historic Israel, but no longer in an excluding way. When ‘all Israel’ is saved, then the split in the people of God will be healed, the eschatological tension resolved, and the Israel of God made whole.” (The Theology of Paul the Apostle, p. 527)
-“‘All Israel’… clearly functions in contrast to λείμμα [‘remnant’] (11:5), and τινές [‘some’] (11:17; Schlier) and indeed από μέρους [‘in part’] (11:25), as parallel to πλήρωμα [‘fullness’] (11:12).” (Romans 9-16, 681)
“Whatever may be doubted of their [the Jews] restoring to their land, yet they shall be brought to a visible Church-state. Not only in particular persons here and there in congregations; but that multitudes, yea, the whole body of them shall be brought, in a common way with the Gentiles, to profess Christ, which cannot be denied, as Romans 11 is clear and that will be enough to satisfy us.” (A Learned and Complete Commentary Upon the Book of Revelation, Lecture IV, Ch. XVI, p. 634; note: 18th century scholar)
-“Without doubt, they [the Jews] will return to their own land; because when their unbelief ceases, their dispersion, the dreadful and signal punishment of their unbelief will cease too. As they have continued hitherto, with one consent, to dishonor Christ by rejecting the gospel, so shall they meet together to honor him, by openly professing of it with one mouth, and practice it with one heart and one soul, together lamenting their obstinacy, as it is said they shall (Zech. 12:11-12), and together praising God for his grace in enlightening them. And as they have hitherto continued a distinct nation, that they might continue a visible monument of his displeasure, for their rejecting and crucifying their Messiah, so after their conversion will they still be a distinct nation, that they may be a visible monument of God’s wonderful grace and power in their calling and conversion. . . . But yet, we are not to imagine that the old walls of separation will be set up again. . . . For they shall look upon all the world to be their brethren, as much as the Christians in Boston and the Christians in other parts of New England look on each other as brethren.” (Works, Yale, V, p. 135; footnote: “Iain Murray indicates that many English Puritans were of this same opinion concerning the national conversion and restoration of Israel. The Puritan Hope, pp. 175-8; “This same belief concerning the future of the Jews is to be found very widely in seventeenth-century Puritan literature. It appears in the works of such well-known Puritans as John Owen, Thomas Manton and John Flavel. … It is also handled in a rich array of commentaries, both folios and quartos – David Dickson on the Psalms, George Hutcheson on the Minor Prophets, Jeremiah Burroughs on Hosea, William Greenhill on Ezekiel, Elnathan Parr on Romans and James Durham on Revelation: a list which could be greatly extended.” (The Puritan Hope, 43)
-“Jewish infidelity shall be overthrown… The Jews in all their dispersions shall cast away their old infidelity and shall have their hearts wonderfully changed, and abhor themselves for their past unbelief and obstinacy. They shall flow together to the blessed Jesus, penitently, humbly and joyfully owning Him as their glorious King and only Savior, and shall with all their hearts, as one heart and voice, declare His praises unto other nations. Nothing is more certainly foretold than this national conversion of the Jews in Romans 11. Besides the prophecies of the calling of the Jews, we have a remarkable providential seal of the fulfillment of this great event by a kind of continual miracle, viz. their being preserved a distinct nation… The world affords nothing else like it. There is undoubtedly a remarkable hand of providence in it. When they shall be called, that ancient people, who alone were God’s people for so long a time, shall be His people, never to be rejected more. They shall be gathered together into one fold, together with the Gentiles.”
(The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 1, Banner of Truth Trust, reprint, 1976, p. 607.
Mateen A. Elass
-“After having highlighted God's sovereign, electing freedom in Romans 9 with regard to His promises toward Israel, and describing graphically in chapter 10 the consequences of the divine hardening for present-day Israel, Paul is poised to address in a final way the question of God's faithfulness to Israel. Hence, 11.1 picks up this central theme once again with the leading question, 'Has God then really rejected His people?' The remainder of this chapter forms a series of arguments by which Paul demonstrates his conviction that Israel's rejection is neither total nor permanent. In verses 1-10 the apostle essentially reviews ground already covered by appealing to a divine election of the remnant and a hardening of the rest of Israel. Verses 11 -24 see Paul shifting his vision back and forth between contemporary, hardened Israel and future, redeemed
Israel. Here Paul makes clear that in spite of Israel's present condition, God views the nation in terms of His promises to the patriarchs and thus her positive destiny is assured. Though this brings no assurance that the present mass of unbelieving Israel will be saved, it leads Paul to the disclosure of a mystery: Israel's hardening will continue until the Gentile mission is fulfilled, and then all Israel will be saved. In verses 25-32, Paul unfolds the elements of this revelation, cites supporting witnesses from the prophets, appeals to the continuity of Israel's election for the sake of the patriarchs and because of the faithful nature of God, and finally concludes that God's purposes for both Jews and Gentiles are shaped by mercy: the people of God are hardened in disobedience so that they may have no means of escape except through God's mercy. By means of this climactic conclusion, Paul substantiates beyond doubt his opening claim in 9.6a that the word of God has not failed - God remains true to His purposes, which include the exercise of saving mercy toward ethnic Israel in the future. And this sovereign plan and ultimate mercy of God toward His people leads Paul to burst forth in a final paean of praise over the wisdom and glory of God (verses 33-36).” (Paul’s Understanding and Use of the Concept of Election in Romans 9-11, p. 189-90)
-“But even more damaging to both these modal interpretations is the fact they fail to support the central theme which Paul has been working toward since verse 11, the fact that all Israel will one day be saved. To this point, Paul has not directly stated his conviction that God will in the end show mercy to the hardened children of Abraham. Would it not be an abrupt leap of logic for Paul to argue the manner in which all Israel will be saved before he has overtly established its certain eventuality? Verse 26a provides the climax to the argument he began in 9.6b concerning the faithfulness of God toward Israel. The apostle's principal interest lies not in the manner by which Israel will be saved, but in the more fundamental issue of whether God has ultimately abandoned her or not. The modal interpretation of καί ούτως fails to do justice to Paul's argument by drawing attention away from the fact of Israel's future return to the mode by which it will happen. This in turn fails to support Paul's stated purpose of deflating Gentile Christian pride—for their contention was not over the manner in which Israel would be saved, but more fundamentally whether Israel would be saved at all.” (ibid., p. 244)
Charles J. Ellicott
-“When this ingathering of the Gentiles is complete, then the turn of Israel will come round again, and the prophecies of their conversion will be fulfilled.” (A New Testament Commentary for English Readers, Romans)
-“Paul deals with Israel’s election in Romans 9-11, lamenting Israel’s rejection of Messiah (Rom. 9:1-3; 10:1-5). Israel had great privileges but scorned them (Rom. 9:4-5), yet since God has sovereignly elected Israel, He will not fail in His purpose for the nation. The fact that God has not abandoned His people (Rom. 11:1) is evident by the fact that there is a remnant of believing Jews, of which Paul was one (Rom. 11:1-5). However, while Israel has been blinded, it is temporary. Paul envisions a future day when Israel’s blindness will be lifted and ‘all Israel will be saved’ (Rom. 11:26). There will be a future national turning to Christ in faith. Paul relates that event to the return of Messiah: ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob’ (Rom. 11:26). (The Moody Handbook of Theology, p. 113)
-“Romans 11:26 states, ‘and thus all Israel shall be saved’—a reference to national Israel. From this statement it is clear there is a future for national Israel.” (ibid. p. 387)
-“Truly, in the eleventh chapter of Romans Paul gives us the fair hope that they [the Jews] shall someday convert and with us confess the true Messiah, and there shall be one shepherd and one flock. It is in this hope that we permit them to preserve themselves.” (quoted in Shimon Markish’s Erasmus and the Jews, p. 99)
-“This ‘all Israel’ or sum total of the believing nation is called in a previous message ‘their fulness’ and the argument is that when Israel is converted the whole Gentile world also will be converted.”
Millard J. Erickson
-“There is, however, a future for national Israel. They are still the special people of God. Having declared that Israel's rejection has meant the reconciliation of the world, Paul asks, "What will their [Israel's] acceptance be but life from the dead?" (Rom. 11:15). The future is bright: "And so all Israel will be saved" (v.26). Yet Israel will be saved by entering the church just as to the Gentiles. There is no statement anywhere in the New Testament that there is any other basis of salvation.” (Christian Theology, p. 1053)
ESV Global Study Bible
-“It seems most likely that this salvation of the Jewish people is in the future. This interpretation fits with the promises of God’s future work in vv. 12 and 15, and the future salvation of ethnic Israel at the end of history agrees with the character of this passage. God is faithful to fulfill his saving promises to his people (9:6).” (edited by J.I. Packer, Wayne Grudem, Ajith Fernando)
Andrew R. Fausset
-“The casting away of the Jew, though most sad, is neither universal now (for there is a remnant according to the election of grace, and God's foreordaining is to be accepted not criticized by finite man), nor final, for "all Israel shall be saved" in the coming age, and their being received will be as life from the dead to the Gentile world (Romans 9; Romans 11).” (Romans, The Epistle to the, Fausset’s Bible Dictionary)
-“As some, reserved of God through the election of grace, owned Christ as Lord in the days of Paul, so when the fulness of the Gentiles shall have been brought in, the great majority of the Israelitish people are to be called, through the gospel, to the God of their salvation, and shall profess and own Jesus Christ, whom, formerly, that is, during the time of hardening, they denied.... This interpretation of the passage is most pertinent to the scope of the present discussion; but because that recall of the Israelites is not yet witnessed in respect to the majority, most interpreters explain the passage differently, and understand what the apostle here says "all Israel shall be saved", of Israel in spirit, and also of all Israelites according to the flesh, who at any time have believed, whether in times of apostasy, as were those of Ahab and Paul, or of open profession, as that of David, or of reformation, as those of Hezekiah and Josiah. In this way the meaning will be "that the Gentiles having been added, through the gospel, to the people of God, that is, to the Israelites, who are Israelites in spirit, as well as according to the flesh, "all Israel´, viz. Israel in the spirit, consisting of the elect from among Jews and Gentiles, "shall be saved´ at the second coming of Christ.” (note: 16th century commentator; Ferme states his opinion that the first interpretation is truest to the text, then explains why, despite this, other commentators see it otherwise: not for textual, but for historical, reasons.)
Robert Verrell Foster
-“And so. Referring to the coming in of the Gentiles as the condition upon which will follow the salvation of Israel. All Israel shall be saved. An explicit and important prophecy. Some commentators, as Bengel, Olshausen, and others, limit the worlds ‘all Israel’ to the totality of the believing remnant. Of every generation of Jewish history there will be some who accept Christ as the true Messiah and Savior, and all these shall be saved. Others, as Luther, Calvin, and Grotius, limit the words to the spiritual Israel, whether composed of Jews or Gentiles or both. Others, as Fritzsche and Tholuck, make the words, ‘all Israel,’ mean comparatively all, the greater number. None of these views, however, meets the requirements of the context or the demands of the explicit form of the statement which Paul here makes. The words mean the whole nation of Israel; there shall come a time when there shall no longer be a rejected, unbelieving portion, but the entire Israel shall accept Christ. This is, in substance, the view of Stuart, Hodge, Meyer, Godet, and many others... There shall no longer be any distinction recognized between saved and unsaved Israel; no longer any such things as Judaism in the present sense of the term, but only a Christianity.” (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, p. 325-326)
-“‘It is almost incredible,’ says Godet, ‘that our Reformers should have held out so obstinately, as they have done, against a thought so clearly expressed’—the future salvation of the Jewish people as predicted in the above passage; though it is not necessary to understand the Apostle Paul here as committing himself to any view concerning the ‘millennium.’ Olshausen on this verse quotes some remarkable words of Luther, as follows: ‘A Jewish heart is so stock-stone-devil-iron-hard, that in no wise can it be moved; they are young devils; damned to hell; to convert these devil’s brats [as some fondly ween out of the Epistle to the Romans] is impossible.’ And adds: ‘From this, as from other expressions, it is manifest that the knowledge of the last events of the world’s history was a province closed against the great Reformer’—as it was indeed against all the Reformers, as they devoted but little attention to the study of eschatology. The Gentile Church, however, is more and more clearly recognizing its indebtedness to the Jews, and is more and more earnestly repaying it. Luther and the other Reformers, if they were living now, would write and act in a very different manner in respect to this cast off people.” (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, p. 325)
Arno C. Gaebelein
-“All Israel, that is, the all Israel living in the day will be saved, when the Deliverer comes out of Zion (Is. 59:20; Ps. 14:7). It is the second, visible, personal and glorious coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
James Leo Garrett
-“Various exegetes such as R.C.H. Lenski, William Hendriksen, and Dale Moody have reckoned ‘all Israel’ to refer to ‘the elect remnant of the Jews,’ or ‘all the believing Israelitees,’ who are being gathered to the Messiah throughout the era between the Messiah’s two advents. [This] interpretation seems to be most viable, partly because it interprets Rom. 11:26a in the light of Rom. 9:6b and takes houtos in a modal sense. Hence all Jewish people who have been, are, and will yet be yielding in faith to Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God are the beneficiaries of God’s electing grace and members of the people of the New Covenant.” (Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, p. 480-1; note: Garrett’s view is simplistic. He completely fails to follow Paul’s train of thought, and he also fails to appreciate how other views accommodate Rom. 9:6, and the use of houtos in 11:26.)
-“All Israel. This does not mean every individual Israelite, but Israel as a whole; not the spiritual Israel (the Christian Church), or the elect remnant, but the historical nation (taken in its totality without any emphasis on the members of it). Paul here is taking a broad general view of the Jewish nation and the Gentile nations. As regards the eternal destiny of individuals, he here says absolutely nothing.” (Romans, The Century Bible, p. 250)
Geneva Bible Notes
-“He [Paul] speaks of the whole nation, not of any one part. The blindness of the Jews is neither so universal that the Lord has no elect in that nation, neither will it be continual: for there will be a time in which they also (as the prophets have foretold) will effectually embrace that which they now so stubbornly for the most part reject and refuse.”
-“He [Paul] sheweth that the time shall come that the whole nation of the Jewes, though not every one particularly, shall be joined to the Church of Christ.”
-“And so all Israel shall be saved, Meaning not the mystical spiritual Israel of God, consisting both of Jews and Gentiles, who shall appear to be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation, when all God's elect among the latter are gathered in, which is the sense many give into; but the people of the Jews, the generality of them, the body of that nation, called "the fulness" of them, Rom. 11:12, and relates to the latter day, when a nation of them shall be born again at once; when, their number being as the sand of the sea, they shall come up out of the lands where they are dispersed, and appoint them one head, Christ, and great shall be the day of Jezreel; when they as a body, even the far greater part of them that shall be in being, shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their King; shall acknowledge Jesus to be the true Messiah, and shall look to him, believe on him, and be saved by him from wrath to come. There is a common saying among them, כל ישראל יש להם חלק לעולם הבא, "all Israel shall have a part", or "portion in the world to come"; and in support of this they usually produce the passage in Isa. 60:21, "thy people also shall be all righteous."” (John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)
-“We have already said that there can be no question here of applying the term Israel to the spiritual Israel in the sense of Gal. 6:16. It is no less impossible to limit its application, with Bengel and Olshausen, to the elect portion of Israel, which would lead to a tautology with the verb shall be saved… And what would there be worthy of the term mystery (v. 25) in the idea of the salvation of all the elect Israelites!” (Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, p. 411)
Ezra P. Gould
-“The stock of God’s people is still the Jews, and the Gentiles have been grafted into that stock. That is, they have inherited the Jewish Scriptures and the Jewish Messiah. And God’s purpose in regard to Israel remains unchanged. When once the gathering of the Gentiles is complete, God means to stir up the Jews to jealousy, and ultimately to bring in all Israel.” (The Biblical Theology of the New Testament, p. 72)
Leslie M. Grant
-“When the full number of Gentiles is saved, God will open Israel's eyes. "And so all Israel shall be saved." But how is this to come about? By the instrumentality of the Gentile Church preaching the gospel to Jews? Not at all. It is not to be by faith in an absent Christ, but in One whom they shall see visibly, coming out of Sion, to turn away ungodliness from Jacob. When they see they will believe.” (Commentary on the Bible)
-“Chapter 11 shows that the setting aside of the nation has not been perpetual. In the first place, there was a remnant of the faithful even at the present time, of whom the apostle was one (vv. 1-6). Indeed, there always had been such a remnant. There was one in Elijah's day (cf. vv. 2-7 with 1 Kings 19:18). There was one in Isaiah's day (Isa. 1:9). During the captivity there was such a remnant, and at the end of the 70 years a remnant returned to the land. Look at Luke 2:38 for one at the period of the first advent of Christ. There are believing Jews in our day who constitute such a class, and we have seen in our Old Testament studies that the prophecies focus on the deliverance of the remnant during the tribulation (Rev. 7:3-8). It is of the hopes and fears of this last-named that the Millennial psalms treat.
In the second place this chapter indicates that the national blindness of the Jews had been foretold (vv. 7-10). But in the providence of God it gave an opportunity to the Gentiles (vv. 11, 12), which the latter are warned to profit by (vv. 13-22). throughout this warning there are several intimations of the restoration of Israel as a nation (vv. 12, 15, 16). This is what is meant by "their fullness," "the receiving of them," etc. The "first-fruit" and the "root" are Abraham, and the "lump" and the "branches" the offspring that came from him.
Finally, it is definitely stated that the nation shall be restored (vv. 23-36), by which is meant the faithful remnant at the end of the age. The "fullness of the Gentiles" (v. 25) means the completion of God's purpose in them at that time, i.e., the whole body of Christ, the Church, will have been called out from among them, and caught up to meet Him in the air (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Observe the reference to Christ's second coming in verse 26, and to the fulfillment of God's original promise to Abraham in verse 29. "Without repentance" means without a change of mind on His part.” (Christian Worker’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Romans)
Pope Gregory the Great
-“We know, my friends, that at the end of the world even Judea will be brought to faith in the Redeemer. Paul testifies to this by saying: “Until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, and thus all Israel is saved.” (Forty Gospel Homilies, Homily 22)
-“I affirm the conviction that Rom. 9-11 teaches a future large-scale conversion of the Jewish people.” (Systematic Theology, p. 861)
Robert H. Gundry
-“‘All Israel’ means all biological Israelites… Paul assumes, then, that his audience will understand all Israel to be saved by believing in Jesus. Paul’s concern relates here to the time when this salvation will occur, not with its means. So after identifying the time as when ‘the fullness of the Gentiles has come in,’ he uses Old Testament scripture to pinpoint the time at the second coming of Jesus, to which the prophecy, ‘The rescuer will come out of Zion,’ refers in Paul’s interpretation. ‘The rescuer’ is Jesus, and his ‘com[ing] out of Zion’ is his exiting heaven (the Zion above [compare Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 14:1-3]) for a descent to earth. It’s on this occasion that all biological Israel will be saved by Jesus’ turning ungodliness away from them (‘Jacob’) and by the Lord’s fulfilling his covenant with Israel by taking away their sins (see Isaiah 59:20-21); Jeremiah 31:33-34 for ‘covenant’). That only a remnant of Israel are being saved during the present period of massive Gentile salvation means that all Israel who’ll be saved at the second coming will consist only, but massively, of Israelites living at that time.” (Commentary on Romans)
-“In spite of previous adverse statements there are mitigating circumstances for the rejection has never been total. There has always been a remnant chosen by grace and it is with this remnant that the hope of the future lies. In any case the fall of Israel has prompted the conversion of the Gentiles, through whose agency they will themselves be restored. This is illustrated by the olive-tree allegory. But there is no place for Gentile boasting for God intends the full restoration of Israel. Such thoughts as these call forth in the apostle’s mind an expression of amazement at the inscrutable wisdom of God.” (New Testament Introduction, p. 418)
-“All Israel will be saved: This all Israel is not spiritual Israel. It isn’t “spiritual Israel” in Romans 11:25, because that Israel is spiritually blind. Therefore, we shouldn’t regard it as spiritual Israel in Romans 11:26… Another proof that this is not spiritual Israel is because Paul says this is a mystery - and it is no mystery that spiritual Israel will be saved.”
-“The point of the parallel to Elijah is not that Elijah or Paul or the small remnant of the Jews that are currently being saved (cf. 9:27-29) are all alone. The point is the promise to Elijah and to the remnant of Paul's day that their experience points forward to the salvation of a greater number. Rather than judgment on all the rest, the significance of the small, persecuted remnant is that their experience is a symbol of hope for the future of the people.” (The Salvation of Israel in Romans 11:25-32, p. 49)
-“It is one thing to posit a future salvation of Israel that will fulfill God's word, but it is quite another to show how God is being faithful now to his promises to Israel in spite of the fact that most of those who belong to Paul's “kinsmen according to the flesh (9:3) have rejected the Messiah. In regard to the trustworthiness of God's character, faithfulness in the future is worthless without faithfulness in the present.” (ibid., p. 44)
-“‘All Israel’ relates to the Israelite people of actual history, who are now despising their salvation… The offer of salvation will again be made to Israel, which will again be faced with a decision about belief, and as a believing Israel will attain salvation… But if in the case of that first decision about belief it was only a small fraction that accepted the message, it will at some future time be the ‘fullness’ of the Jews (cf. Romans 11:12) who will acknowledge their Lord.” (Mission in the New Testament, p. 106-107)
-“In the foregoing verse he had declared that blindness had come upon Israel—that blindness which he before shown was inflicted on part of the Jewish nation by the judgment of God, verse 8-10, which would continue till a certain period was accomplished. He now declares that at that period all Israel shall be saved. The rejection of Israel has been general, but at no period universal. This rejection is to continue till the fullness of the Gentiles shall come in. Then the people of Israel, as a body, shall be brought to the faith of the Gospel. Such expressions as that “all Israel shall be saved,” are no doubt, in certain situations, capable of limitation; but as no Scripture demands any limitation of this expression, and as the opposition here stated is between a part and all, there is no warrant to make any exception, and with God this, like all other things, is possible.” (Commentary on Romans, p. 549)
Henry H. Halley
-“Israel’s Rejection of Christ is temporary. The days will come when all Israel shall be Saved (26). When or how that will be is not here stated. Nor is it stated whether it will be in connection with their Return to Palestine, but merely the bare fact that it will be. One of the darkest spots in the panorama of human history is the age-long Suffering of this Sorrowful, Disobedient people. But one day it will end. Israel shall turn in penitence to the Lord. And all creation shall give thanks to God for the Unsearchable Wisdom of His Providence.” (Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 590)
Douglas R.A. Hare
-“While Matthew’s negative theology concerning Israel is historically understandable in view of the unhappy experience of Jewish-Christian missionaries, his presentation of God’s deselection of Israel must be placed within the broader context of Paul’s reflection on this question. Paul contended that Israel’s negative response to the gospel can by no means deter a faithful God from pursuing his plan for Israel, ‘for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable’ (Rom. 11:29). The ‘hardening’ that has come upon Israel provides the opportunity for taking the gospel to the Gentiles; when the full number of the Gentiles has entered the church, ‘all Israel will be saved’ (Rom. 11:26). At that point, Matthew’s polemic will have been superseded.” (Matthew, p. 272-3)
-“According to Paul, God’s covenant with Israel has not been revoked (Rom 11:29), and in the end he expects that ‘all Israel will be saved’ (Rom. 11:26).” (Historical Dictionary of Jesus, p. 40)
Stephen L. Harris
-“In Chapters 9-11, Paul discusses Israel’s continuing role as God’s chosen people, even though most have not accepted Jesus as the national messiah. Paul suggests that his fellow Jews misunderstand God’s purpose in Christ because they seek salvation through Torah obedience, allegedly depending on their own efforts to earn divine approval. True ‘children of Abraham,’ however, recognize the necessity of placing faith in Christ. Jews withhold their faith, but the Gentiles benefit from this refusal. In a famous analogy, Paul compares Gentile believers to branches from a wild olive tree that have been grafted onto the cultivated olive trunk, which is Israel. Paul also assumes that Israel’s unbelief is only temporary. After the Gentiles have been attached to the main trunk, then the natural branches will be regrafted onto God’s olive tree and ‘the whole of Israel will be saved’ (11:16-27).” (Understanding the Bible, p. 490; note: Harris, a non-evangelical scholar, seems to say that ‘all Israel’ includes both Gentiles and Jews, and yet still sees Paul as teaching that the Jewish nation will be saved.)
-“I stay not to make observations upon what is so abundantly plain as to need no observation, that, what the Apostle hath said, respecting the rejection of the Jew, and the calling of the Gentile, refers to the several ministrations in the Church, in the different ages, and under the different dispensations of it. Christ's Church is but one. And that Church hath been set up, with her glorious Head, and Husband, from everlasting. Their names all given, and numbered. And hence, all Israel that is, all the true Israel of God, given by the Father to the Son, and redeemed from the Adam nature of the fall by the Son, shall be saved; and in the effectual call of God the Spirit, shall be brought to the knowledge of the truth. And these blessed events are included in what is said, and as the Prophet foretold, of the Deliverer coming out of Zion, to turn away ungodliness from Jacob, Isaiah 59:20.” (The Poor Man’s Commentary; note: although Hawker says that his observations are abundantly plain, he gives no exegetical proof of them. The majority of commentators disagree with him.)
Fr. Leo Haydock
-“The nation of the Jews is not absolutely and without remedy cast off forever; but in part only and for a time: which fall of theirs God has been pleased to turn to the good of the Gentiles. “How much more the fullness of them (Jews)”: As if he should say, if the obstinacy of so many Jews seem to be an occasion upon which God …hath bestowed the riches of his grace on other nations; and while the glory of the Jews, the elect people of God, has been diminished, the Gentiles have been made happy: how much more glorious will be the fullness of them? That is, according to the common interpretation, will be the re-establishment and conversion of the Jews hereafter, before the end of the world?... Then the receiving of them into the Church, and their conversion to Christ, shall be like life from the dead, when the Jewish people in general, shall rise from the death of sin…to the life of grace… and then all Israel should be saved, when they shall submit to the faith of Christ.” (New Testament Comprehensive Catholic Commentary, Romans 11:12-15, 25-26)
-“ This approach of the Jews to the true faith, after the vocation of the Gentiles, is spoken of by St. Paul in Romans 11:25. Blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved. St. Chysostom, homily 1xvi---As it is written, “there shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. And this is to them my covenant”. This prophecy of Isaias (lxi20) St. Paul applies to the conversion of the Jews, and thus both Jew and Gentile are to take up our Saviour’s yoke, which is certainly sweet and his burden light.” (New Testament Comprehensive Catholic Commentary, Matthew 21:2)
-“The nation at large has not embraced the worship of idols since the former period. But it will not be perfectly converted, until the fullness of the Gentiles come in….And so all Israel be saved. (Rom XI 25). C. – St. Paul terms their present state a blindness in part, because, though few have embraced the revelation of God, made to all by his only Son, the far greater part have obstinately shut their eyes…they seem to have a veil on them. But, after, they shall have been the sport of their passions and errors till the latter time, when the man of sin shall be fully revealed, they will see how wretchedly they have been deluded, and, the grace of God touching their hearts, they will remember the covenant, and embrace Christ, the end of all the law. Happy those who do not defer their conversion till that awful period!” (On Deuteronomy 4:30)
-“‘And will turn away iniquity from Jacob.’ St. Paul hence proves that the Jews will at last be converted. Romans 11:26. (On Isaiah 59:20)
Richard B. Hays
-“Consequently, to read Paul’s citation of Isa. 52:5 as unqualified condemnation of Israel is bad reading, or, more precisely, it is an interpretation possible only on a first reading of the letter. The letter’s rhetorical structure lures the reader into expecting Israel’s final condemnation, but the later chapters undercut such an expectation, requiring the reader in subsequent encounters with the text to understand the Isaiah quotation more deeply in relation to its original prophetic context. Paul depicts God scolding Israel, like a parent chiding a child who has brought dishonor to the family, only because Israel’s covenant relation with God remains intact, as many other passages both in Isaiah and in Romans will insist. In Romans 2 the citation of Isaiah functions as a word of judgment; however, the judgment carries with it the same implicit promise that sustained Israel in captivity. Thus, even in the portion of Paul’s argument that seems to the threaten Jewish identity most radically, the scriptural quotation evokes, metaleptically, echoes of the promise that God, in vindicating his name, will also redeem Israel.” (Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, p. 46)
-“Another thing that qualified this doctrine of the Jews' rejection is that, though for the present they are cast off, yet the rejection is not final; but, when the fulness of time is come, they will be taken in again. They are not cast off for ever, but mercy is remembered in the midst of wrath. Let us observe,
1. How this conversion of the Jews is here described. (1.) It is said to be their fulness (Rom_11:12), that is, the addition of them to the church, the filling up again of that place which became vacant by their rejection. This would be the enriching of the world (that is, the church in the world) with a great deal of light and strength and beauty. (2.) It is called the receiving of them. The conversion of a soul is the receiving of that soul, so the conversion of a nation. They shall be received into favour, into the church, into the love of Christ, whose arms are stretched out for the receiving of all those that will come to him. And this will be as life from the dead - so strange and surprising, and yet withal so welcome and acceptable. The conversion of the Jews will bring great joy to the church. See Luk_15:32, He was dead, and is alive; and therefore it was meet we should make merry and be glad. (3.) It is called the grafting of them in again (Rom_11:23), into the church, from which they had been broken off. That which is grafted in receives sap and virtue from the root; so does a soul that is truly grafted into the church receive life, and strength, and grace from Christ the quickening root. They shall be grafted into their own olive-tree (Rom_11:24); that is, into the church of which they had formerly been the most eminent and conspicuous members, to retrieve those privileges of visible church-membership which they had so long enjoyed, but have now sinned away and forfeited by their unbelief. (4.) It is called the saving of all Israel, Rom_11:26. True conversion may well be called salvation; it is salvation begun. See Act_2:47. The adding of them to the church is the saving of them… The Jews are in a sense a holy nation (Exo_19:6), being descended from holy parents. Now it cannot be imagined that such a holy nation should be totally and finally cast off.” (Commentary on the Whole Bible)
-“Another thing that qualifies this doctrine of the Jews rejection is that though for the present they are cast off, yet the rejection is NOT final; but, when the fullness of time is come, they will be taken in again. They are not cast off for ever, but mercy is remembered in the midst of wrath… The Jews shall continue in blindness, till God hath performed his whole work among the Gentiles, and then their turn will come next to be remembered. This was the purpose and ordination of God, for wise and holy ends; things should not be ripe for the Jews’ conversion till the church was replenished with the Gentiles, that it might appear that God’s taking them again was not because he had need of them, but of his own free grace.”
-“The restoration of the Jews is, in the course of things, far less improbable than the call of the Gentiles to be the children of Abraham; and though others now possess these privileges, it will not hinder their being admitted again. By rejecting the gospel, and by their indignation at its being preached to the Gentiles, the Jews were become enemies to God; yet they are still to be favoured for the sake of their pious fathers. Though at present they are enemies to the gospel, for their hatred to the Gentiles; yet, when God's time is come, that will no longer exist, and God's love to their fathers will be remembered. True grace seeks not to confine God's favour. Those who find mercy themselves, should endeavour that through their mercy others also may obtain mercy. Not that the Jews will be restored to have their priesthood, and temple, and ceremonies again; an end is put to all these; but they are to be brought to believe in Christ, the true become one sheep-fold with the Gentiles, under Christ the Great Shepherd. The captivities of Israel, their dispersion, and their being shut out from the church, are emblems of the believer's corrections for doing wrong; and the continued care of the Lord towards that people, and the final mercy and blessed restoration intended for them, show the patience and love of God.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
-“The words all Israel (πάς Ισραήλ) present yet another difficulty. At least four different interpretations have been advanced in an attempt to exegete this phrase. First, it is affirmed that all Israel refers to the elect of all time; from both Jew and Gentile (Calvin, 255). This is quite untenable given the distinction between Israel and Gentiles throughout this whole section (9-11; cf. Murray, 97). Second, some say all Israel refers to the elect within the nation, but this makes the "shall be saved" superfluous and redundant. It is quite obvious that all elect Jews will be saved (Cranfield, 577). Third, some say that all Israel refers to the nation as a whole including every Israelite at the time. However, the phrase all Israel was common in Jewish rabbinical writings (which Paul uses) to refer to the nation as a whole, but not necessarily every individual in it (Ezek. 20:34-38; Bruce, 222; Harrison,123). Fourth, all Israel refers to the nation as a whole, excepting some individuals and the remnant spoken of in 9:27 is only a reference to a "stage in Israel's salvation history on this earth" (Black,160). This view seems most agreeable with the context and the extra-biblical use of the phrase all Israel.” (Israel's Present Hardening and Future Salvation: An Exegesis of Romans 11:25-32)
Archibald Alexander Hodge
-“Show that the future general conversion of the Jews is taught in Scripture? This Paul, in Romans 11:15–29, both asserts and proves from Old Testament prophecies, e.g., Isaiah 59:20; Jeremiah 31. See also Zechariah 12:10; 1 Corinthians 3:15, 16.” (The Second Advent and General Judgment)
-“Israel, here, from the context must mean the Jewish people, and all Israel, the whole nation. The Jews, as a people, are now rejected; as a people they, they are to be restored. As their rejection, although national, did not include the rejection of every individual; so their restoration, although in like manner national, need not be assumed to include the salvation of every individual Jew. Πάςʾ Ισραήλ is not therefore to be here understood to mean, all the true people of God, as Augustin, Calvin, and many others explain it; nor all the elect Jews, i.e., all that part of the nation which constitute ‘the remnant according to the election of grace;’ but the whole nation, as a nation.” (Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, p. 589)
-“The second great event, which, according to the common faith of the Church, is to precede the second advent of Christ, is the national conversion of the Jews…. The restoration of the Jews to the privileges of God’s people is included in the ancient predictions and promises made respecting them….The future restoration of the Jews is, in itself, a more probable event than the introduction of the Gentiles into the church of God.” (Systematic Theology, Vol. III)
Harold W. Hoehner
-“The context speaks of Israel’s rejection of Messiah and her hardening which was to continue until the time when the fullness of the Gentiles should come in. Then, in sharp contrast, at a particular moment in history, ‘all Israel’ will experience salvation.” (Israel: The Land and the People, Israel in Romans 9-11, p. 156)
-“How, now, must the expression ‘and so all Israel will be saved’ be interpreted? Calvin, as we saw, thought these words referred to the salvation of the total number of the elect throughout history, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles. The difficulty with this interpretation, however, is this: in Romans 9-11 the term Israel occurs eleven times; in each of the ten instances other than 11:26 where the term is used, it points unmistakably to the Jews in distinction from the Gentiles. What reason is there for accepting a different meaning of the term here? Why should Paul suddenly shift from the natural meaning of the term Israel to a wider, figurative meaning? Is not the very point of Romans 11:25-26a to say something about both Jews and Gentiles?
The more common interpretation, as we also saw, understands this passage as pointing to a large-scale conversion of the nation of Israel either just before or at the time of Christ’s return, after the ingathering of the fullness of the Gentiles. There are, it seems to me, two rather weighty objections to interpreting ‘and so all Israel will be saved’ in this way:
(1) The thought that the salvation of the people of Israel as here described occurs only at the end-time does not do justice to the word all in ‘all Israel.’ Does ‘all Israel’ mean just the last generation of Israelites? This last generation will be just a fragment of the total number of Jews who have lived on this earth. How can such a fragment properly be called ‘all Israel’?
(2) The text does not say, ‘And then all Israel will be saved.’ If Paul had wished to convey this thought, he could have used a word which means then (like tote or epeita). But he used the word houtos, which describes not temporal succession but manner, and which means thus, so, or in this way. In other words, Paul is not saying, ‘Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and then (after this has happened) all Israel will be saved.’ But he is saying, ‘Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved.’
In what way? In the way Paul has been describing in the earlier part of the chapter: (a) through the unbelief of many Israelites salvation is coming to the Gentiles, and (b) by the salvation of the Gentiles Israelites are being moved to jealousy. This has been happening in the past, is happening now, and will continue to happen.
I interpret the passage, then, as meaning that God fulfills his promises to Israel in the following way: Though Israel has been hardened in its unbelief, this hardening has always been and will continue to be only a partial hardening, never a total hardening. In other words, Israel will continue to turn to the Lord until the Parousia, while at the same time the fullness of the Gentiles is being gathered in. And in this way all Israel will be saved: not just the last generation of Israelites, but all true Israelites—all those who are not just of Israel but are Israel, to use the language of Romans 9:6. Another way of putting this would be: all Israel in Romans 11:26 means the totality of the elect among Israel. The salvation of all Israel, therefore, does not take place exclusively at the end-time, but takes place throughout the era between Christ’s first and second coming—in fact, from the time of the call of Abraham. All Israel, therefore, differs from the elect remnant spoken of in 11:5, but only as the sum total of all the remnants throughout history.” (The Bible and the Future, p. 144-5; note: Hoekema’s two objections fall short because 1) he fails to understand the Biblical concept of Israel as a corporate entity; Paul has in mind the nation as the nation, not every individual Jew that has ever lived; and 2) he fails to see how the traditional view is compatible with the word houtos. He also underestimates the weight of the argument regarding the contextual usage of the word Israel.)
-“There is no doubt that πάς Ισραήλ at Rom. 11:26a refers only to Jews. The clause ‘all Israel shall be saved’, which foretells a future event, is clearly antithetical to the statement in v. 25b that God caused a partial hardening to fall upon Israel at the present, so that now only a few receive salvation, namely, the elect ‘remnant’ of 11:5, 7a. ‘All Israel’ thus means all Israel which at the present time does not (yet) believe in Christ and thus does not yet participate in salvation.” ("All Israel Will be Saved": Divine Salvation and Israel's Deliverance in Romans 9-11, The Princeton Seminary Bulletin, p. 35)
-“The apostle very plainly predicts Israel’s blindness is only going to last until the fulness of the Gentiles is come in. Then their eyes will be opened, and Israel as a whole will be saved.” (Romans)
Charles M. Horne
-“The context will not support the view that Israel means the Church. If it is argued that the phrase ‘and then all Israel shall be saved’ should be rendered ‘and so all Israel shall be saved’—meaning that the ingathering of the full number of Gentiles is in itself the salvation of all Israel—then it should be noted that a well-attested use of the Greek houtos, ‘so,’ ‘thus,’ is that of a temporal sense. Actually the context demands that we understand Israel to mean ethnic Israel. This is seen first when we consider what is meant by ‘their fulness’ (v. 12). Second, it is required when we note the subject of ‘if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in’ (v. 23). Third, it is supported by the parallel instituted between Jews and Gentiles in verses 30-33. Fourth, it is evident from the phrase ‘that he might show mercy to all’ (v. 32). Finally, in Romans 9-11 the term ‘Israel’ indisputably refers to ethnic Israel in each of its occurrences, the only possible exception being 11:26. What compelling reason can there be, therefore, to accept another meaning here?” (The Meaning of the Phrase ‘And Thus All Israel Will Be Saved’, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, p. 331-332; note: Horne does not believe the meaning refers to the nation of Israel, but to elect ethnic Jews only. He acknowledges as a great strength that the national Israel view is accepted by scholars of every school: premillennial, amillennial, postmillennial, dispensationalist and non-dispensationalists, etc.)
-“The meaning of πάς Ισραήλ, is the key here. The context of v. 25 where “Israel” must refer to the nation as a whole is decisive, as is the consistent use in the other 9 instances in Romans 9-11 that never refer to Gentiles. The “all” incorporates the implied “remnant” and the “unbelieving remainder” of v. 25. Thus Murray comments, “that it is exegetically impossible to give to ‘Israel’ in this verse any other denotation than that which belongs to the term throughout this chapter.” The remnant has not been explicitly mentioned since vs. 5, 7. Again in vs. 24-25, the regrafting is portrayed as climactic in the future, and not periodic throughout the church age. The suggestion that Israel here is the accumulation of the remnant over the centuries, according to Bavinck, Hoekema, Hendriksen, Palmer Robertson, is, according to Schreiner, “stunningly anticlimactic,” Romans, p. 617. Reymond betrays this weakness in stating: “This view still allows enough [emphasis added!] Jewish conversions to Christianity throughout this age to meet the demand of the ‘riches’ (ploutos, 11:12) and ‘life from the dead’ (11:15) which Paul envisions ‘all Israel’s’ salvation will bring to the world.” If only the remnant was in mind here with regard to this age, the present tense would be more appropriate. Rather, “Israel will be saved [future tense]” parallels “will be engrafted [future tense]” in v. 24.” (The Epistle to the Romans, p. 335)
-“In the latter part of Romans, Paul wrote that ‘all Israel will be saved’ (11:26). A bit earlier he wrote that only ‘a remnant chosen by grace’ (11:5) will be saved out of Israel. He then proceeds to show us that ‘all Israel will be saved’ via an elect remnant.” (Putting Amazing Back into Grace, p. 106; note: Horton offers no proof of this claim. Paul says no such thing in chapter 11. He does not say that ‘all Israel will be saved via the remnant of grace’ but he contrasts the elect remnant in his day with ‘all Israel’ in the future: that is, at this time there is a remnant according to the election of grace [Rom. 11:5], but the mystery is that when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in ‘all’ Israel will be saved.)
Robert Hughes & J. Carl Laney
-“The promise of future restoration shows God’s equal mercy to Israel (11:25-32; also note 11:25-26, 29)... A divine ‘mystery’ (11:25) is something hidden in the counsels of God, not accessible except as God is pleased to make it known. In Romans 11:26-27 Paul quoted from Isaiah 59:20-21 and perhaps Isaiah 27:9 to show that Israel would one day be saved and enjoy the benefits of the new covenant.” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, p. 538)
-“‘The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins’ (59:20). The apostle Paul cites this scripture in his treatise on the future of ethnic Israel in Romans 11. In answer to the question, has God finished with the Jews? he suggests an answer in two parts. First there is always a remnant of which he Paul was a representative. Second there is a larger gathering yet to be a fullness which will bring blessing as life from the dead (Rom 11:12,15, 25-36).” (The Amazing Eschatological Dimensions of Isaiah)
Arland J. Hultgren
-“The covenant with Abraham is treated by Paul as particularly important soteriologically. At the end of his long discourse on the salvation of Israel in Romans 9 through 11, Paul concludes that ‘all Israel will be saved’ (11:26). That salvation will not come about by Israel’s righteousness under the law of Moses (i.e., keeping the Mosaic covenant) but purely by the grace of God, whose covenantal act will ‘banish ungodliness from Jacob’ (= Israel) and ‘take away their sins’ (11:26-27, perhaps recalling Jer. 31:34). All this will be due to God’s remaining faithfulness to his covenant with the patriarchs (11:28), particularly the covenant with Abraham.” (Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Commentary, p. 357)
-“These words of the Apostle are not received in a uniform sense by expositors. Some understand, by the name of Israel, not the Jewish people, but all believers without distinction. There are others who think that, by this mystery, the Apostle wants to indicate that, before the day of judgment, a great multitude of Jews will be converted to the Christian faith. While neither interpretation is impious, yet when the entire context of the Apostle is more carefully examined, the latter explanation, I think, is more in harmony with the words and present purpose of Paul. For since what immediately precedes treats expressly of the Jewish people, and the Apostle himself so comprises this mystery concerning the salvation of Israel, as in what follows he clearly shows he is speaking of the Jews, the intermediate words seem also such as should be interpreted of the Jews. This is seen, besides, from the fact the Apostle calls it a mystery. But if the sense had been that all believers of every nation would be saved, this certainly was already known to the Roman Christians, and was not a new mystery. Furthermore, it is certain that these words are connected by the causal conjunction with those which are before, and depend on them, and are the reason or cause of the preceding assertion why the Jews could be inserted anew into their own olive tree.” (Thesaurus Apostolicus, complectens Commentarios in omnes Novi Testamenti Epistolas; note: 16th century Lutheran commentator)
-“Here is held forth the future conversion and repentance of Israel, the full accomplishment whereof was not that which we read of in primitive times in Acts, but is yet to be accomplished when all their families concur in this work… The conversion of the Jews or Israel unto the Messiah is not to be of some few only, but national of the body of the people, and there will be real repentance among them for all the land shall mourn and all the families that remain, men and their wives.” (A Brief Exposition of the Prophecies of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi)
-“As to the meaning of ‘all Israel,’ there is today almost general agreement that ‘Israel’ here
refers to the Jewish people.” (A “Sonderweg” for Israel: A Critical Examination of a Current Interpretation of Romans 11:25-27, p. 100)
Henry Eyster Jacobs
-“The entire context (verses 12, 23, 30, 32) forbids us to interpret this as the spiritual Israel, or even the comparatively small number of Israelites who, from time to time, will be converted to Christ. This argument of Paul loses all point in that way. It means that the Jewish nation will become a Christian nation, like others among whom the Gospel of Christ is externally revered and brings forth saving fruit in individual lives of a large multitude. This, then, does not necessarily mean that, at the time in prospect, every Jew will be brought to Christ; but the hostility of the race to Christ will cease, and large numbers of them become Christians both in profession and at heart. There seems to be no obscurity whatever about the prophecy.” (The Lutheran Commentary, Vol. VII, p. 239-240; note: see his excellent discussion of the interpretation of this verse in the Lutheran tradition)
-“Yet God rejected not all His people, but was still fulfilling His promises on many thousand natural descendants of Abraham, who believed in the Messiah, and at a future period would fulfill them upon more, since all Israel would be converted.” (The Comprehensive Commentary on the Holy Bible, p. 103)
-“Their sins occasioned the salvation of the Gentiles and again the incredulity of the Gentiles will occasion the conversion of Israel. You will find both in the Apostle (St. Paul).” (Commentary to the Song of Songs, Homily 1)
-“Because when the Jews receive the faith at the end of the world, they will find themselves in dazzling light, as if Our Lord were returning to them from Egypt.” (Commentary on St. Matthew, Ch. 2)
-“Behold, a ruler approached and was worshipping him, saying: ‘My daughter has just now died, but come, place your hand upon her, and she will live.’ And Jesus arose and followed him, and so did his disciples. This is the eighth sign, in which a ruler asks that his daughter be raised. He is unwilling to be excluded from the mystery of circumcision [note: Since circumcision took place on the eighth day, and since Paul had taught that true circumcision takes place in baptism, the Fathers viewed the number eight as containing a Christological mystery]. But a woman flowing with blood enters by stealth, and is healed in the eighth place. Thus the ruler’s daughter, who was excluded from this number, comes to the ninth. This accords with what is said in the Psalms: ‘Ethiopia will hasten [to stretch forth] her hand to God’; and ‘when the fullness of the Gentiles enters in, then all Israel will be saved.’” (Commentary on Matthew, The Fathers of the Church, Volume 117, p. 110)
Alan F. Johnson
-“Paul’s entire usage of the word Israel in this section of the book (chapters 9-11), especially in chapter 11, and even the preceding verse, make it virtually certain that he is denoting the ethnic Israel or Jewish people, which could not include Gentiles. This more limited use becomes clear by also noting the subject of the following phrase: ‘their fulfillment’ (v. 12); ‘they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in’ (v. 23); ‘their disobedience… these also now have been disobedient… they also may now be shown mercy’ (vv. 30-31); and, ‘all in disobedience, that He might show mercy to all’ (v. 32). ‘All’ Israel, then, must refer to the forgiveness of the whole Jewish people or nation, the whole ethnic group in contrast to the saved remnant of Jews in Paul’s day and ours... The ‘partial’ hardness will be removed.” (Everyman’s Bible Commentary, Romans, p.75)
-“So all Israel shall be saved. After the fulness of the Gentiles has come in, the Jews, as a people, shall be saved. That is, of the Jews then living, the great part shall be converted. The nation shall turn to the Lord.” (The People’s New Testament)
Galen K. Johnson
-“The consensus that modern scholars have in fact achieved over some aspects of the Israelfrage—“all Israel” refers to historic Israel, not the church.” (Quodlibet Journal: Volume 6 Number 1, January - March 2004)
Edwin A. Judge
-“Nevertheless Israel may hope for restoration.” (Romans, The New Bible Dictionary, p. 1101)
Walter C. Kaiser
-“However, God has not forgotten his ancient promise to Israel about the land and about the gospel. Paul’s prayer was that Israel still might come to repentance and faith (10:1). In the meantime, ‘a hardening in part’ (11:25) has come over Israel, but when the ‘full number of the Gentiles’ (11:12, 25) has been reached, Israel will be saved (11:26) and grafted back as separate branches into the olive tree from which they had been taken.” (The Promise-Plan of God, p. 283)
-“According to the plan and by the permission of God, ‘Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in’ (Rom. 11:25). But when the task of evangelizing the pagan, non-Jewish world has been completed and the ‘full number’ of Gentiles have come to believe in Christ, then the time will come for the Jews to experience their ‘fullness’ in God’s gracious offer of salvation (Rom. 11:12). The same timetable can be seen in Jesus’ prediction that ‘Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled’ (Luke 21:24). Unfortunately, this timetable is not a matter of evangelical consensus. Some object in the strongest possible terms to interpreting the first clause in Romans 11:26 in a temporal sense—‘And then all Israel will be saved.’ They prefer to interpret it, ‘And thus [so, in this manner] all Israel will be saved.’ Verses 25-26a would then read, ‘Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved.’ The most important point that needs to be raised here is that Romans 11:26b-27 consists of quotations from Isaiah 59:20-21 and Jeremiah 31:33-34. In their Old Testament setting, these verses applied to God’s new covenant and to his restoration of Israel. Moreover, in Romans 11:28 (‘As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs’) Israel’s future and the extension of salvation to the church are tied in with the ancient promise-plan of God offered first to the patriarchs. Even though the first clause of Romans 11:26 (‘And so all Israel will be saved’) may not be directly temporal, it is sequential and consequential in thought in that the promises made in the Abrahamic—Davidic—new covenant are tied to the coming in of the full number of Israel and Gentiles.” (Back Toward the Future, p. 113-14)
Joe W. Kelley
-“A second major question from verse 26 that must be answered, which we have just partially attempted, is what does “all Israel” mean? As already noted, one view says it means the elect believing remnant of the Jews throughout the inter-advent age. That view was found wanting. Another popular view is that Israel in this context refers to the Christian church which is composed of both believing Jews and Gentiles. Such is the interpretation of John Calvin. He wrote: “I extend the word Israel to include all the people of God…When the Gentiles have come in, the Jews will at the same time return from their defection to the obedience of faith. The salvation of the whole Israel of God, which must be drawn from both, will thus be completed…In the same way, in Gal. 6:16, he calls the Church, which was composed equally of Jews and Gentiles, the Israel of God, setting the people, thus collected from the dispersion, in opposition to the carnal children of Abraham who had fallen away from faith.” In this writers’ opinion, Calvin’s view is not easily dismissed for several reasons: first, in 9:25-26 the promises of Hosea 2:23 and 1:10 made to ethnic Israel, calling the nation “my people,” is applied to the Gentiles—hence, the Christian Church. It is clear that Paul sees the Gentiles being grafted into the people of God (11:17-21) so that the Church can inherit the promises and even the terminology that in the OT belong only to Israel. Second, although contested by some notable scholars, the expression “Israel of God” in Gal 6:16 more than likely is a reference to the Christian Church. Third, the analogy of faith, whereby the meaning of a passage that is unclear in one text is read in the light of the meaning found in a parallel clear text is a legitimate method of interpretation. However, though these arguments are true in themselves, in the opinion of this writer, they cannot be sustained in Romans 11:26 for the following reasons: first, concerning the analogy of faith, Romans 11:26 need not be read in the light of Galatians 6:16 (any more than Galatians 6:16 needs to be read in the light of Romans) for the context makes it clear who “all Israel” is. There is a sustained contrast between Israel and the believing Gentiles throughout chapter 11 (11:11, 12, 13, 17, 24, 25, 28, 30-31). The term is clear in Romans 11—Israel always
refers to ethnic Jews, never Jews plus the Gentiles. Second, how could Israel be the ethnic nation in 11:25 (which is what this position says), and suddenly, with no forewarning, mean something totally different—the Church—in the very next verse? Third, the book of Galatians and the book of Romans have different purposes. Galatians, the first book Paul wrote, was written in the heat of the Judaizer conflict when the Church was being torn apart over admitting Gentiles into the community without the requirements of circumcision and the obligations of keeping the Mosaic Law (Acts 15). In Galatians, Paul is arguing for the full acceptance of the Gentiles into the family of Abraham apart from any works of the Law. His application to the Church of the OT
terms, “seed of Abraham” (Gal 3:29) and its synonym, “Israel of God” (Gal 6:16) is clearly appropriate in the light of the purpose of Galatians. However, Romans was written with a very different purpose in mind—namely, to resolve the Jew/Gentile conflict in order to unify the Christian Church for the mission of the Gospel. In Romans, Paul is warning Gentile Christians against their proclivity for arrogance and prejudice against the Jewish people (11:18). He warns against their tendency to look upon themselves as the replacement for the Jewish people in the plan of God (11:19). He even rebukes their misguided efforts in attempting to force the believing Jews in the church at Rome to give up those practices which Jewish believers feel duty bound by the Law to follow (14:4-7, 10, 13, 20-23). Thus in Romans, it would be contrary to the background and purpose of the book to apply the term Israel to the Church. In this Epistle of Paul, Israel always means ethnic Israel.” (‘And So All Israel Will Be Saved’—Romans 11:26, p. 13-14; note: see also his excellent discussion of “and so” in the same article)
Max R. King
-“There has been much discussion about the meaning of “all Israel” in this verse. But the context shows that Paul uses ‘Israel’ here the same way he uses it throughout chapters 9-11, as a reference to Jacob’s physical lineage. Changing here to a ‘spiritual’ usage to include Gentile believers (as some hold) would counter the point Paul makes. Paul was not replacing Israel with the church. He was not attempting to prove the supposed ‘spiritual identities’ of Jew and Gentile in 11:26. Instead, he was establishing for his Gentile audience that God had not cast away Israel and that “all Israel” will be saved.” (And So All Israel Will Be Saved)
-“The Israel of "All Believers" will only be fully realized when the fullness of both Jewish and Gentile believers comes and ethnic Israel is restored to faith. In order for God to be glorified the Messiah must be exalted. In order for Messiah to be exalted, His Body, All Believers, the Church, is being blessed and is prospering. In order for the church to fully prosper, the Jewish people must be restored to faith and join in the missionary enterprise (Romans 11:12). In order for them to be restored, they must, of course, be preserved. I would argue that in order for the Jewish people to be preserved, the Nation of Israel needed to be created and needs to exist. We must stand for the continued existence of the state of Israel and for a just expression of that existence. The fate of ethnic Israel and Spiritual Israel, the Church, are bound up together. The church is to make Jewish evangelism a priority and must stand by the Jewish people for the glory of God. We must look with hope and expectation for the glorious day when the natural branches are grafted in and "all Israel will be saved." In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and the place of his rest will be glorious (Isaiah 11:10).” (Toward a Reformed Israelology)
-“The apostle had already discussed the question of a distinction within the Jewish nation, of an election who had attained justification, and of the mass who were blinded to its true character and means of attainment. From verse 11 he directs the attention of the Gentiles to the objects of the consequent rejection of this mass, and to the ultimate glory of the nation, at large, when they shall have been disciplined and prepared for it, and when the veil shall have been removed from their eyes. In the present verse, he adduces another argument to maintain a proper humility in the Gentile converts, and to give them a correct estimate of the relative position in which they, and the Jewish nation at large, stood in the designs of God. This he introduces as a mystery, or a thing not hitherto made known, and all the internal and mutual arrangements, influences, manner of operation and ultimate success of which are still unknown; but this much of it the apostle unfolds, to restrain the tendency to an overweening estimate of their own position, to which total ignorance upon the subject would expose the Gentiles, namely, that this blindness which rested upon the mass of the Jewish nation, was not total, but partial, not perpetual, but temporary, and permitted to a certain extent, and for a certain time, in order to promote God’s designs of mercy to the Gentiles. When a certain state of things had by this means been brought round, then this veil or partial blindness should be removed. That it is of the body of the nation that the apostle is speaking, and of their state, seems evident from the preceding and succeeding context. The Gentiles were in danger of an overweening estimate of themselves, from the supposition, that the blindess spoken of attached to the whole Jewish nation; for the apostle had all along spoken of it in terms which precluded such an imagination. The quarter from which he evidently apprehended peril to their humility and faith, was a comparison of their own state with that of the Jews at large, i.e. that is to say, the Gentiles, were, as a body, to supply in future the place of the Jewish nation, and that the blindness of the latter was total and perpetual. This danger he guards against by discovering to them, what otherwise he might not have revealed, that this blindness was but partial and temporary, and that the body of the nation, πάς ό Ισραήλ, should yet be restored to their original relation to God. And thus, that is, in connexion with the completion of the fulness of the Gentiles, all Israel, the body or mass of the nation, shall be saved, or the whole nation shall professedly embrace the gospel salvation.” (A Critical Commentary on the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans, p. 516-517)
Andreas Kostenberger & Peter T. O’Brien
-“For some, the expression ‘all Israel’ signifies the community of the elect, Jews and Gentiles who have believed in Jesus the Messiah. But this does not fit with Paul’s use of the term ‘Israel’ throughout the rest of chapter 11. Accordingly, most exegetes think that the expression signifies the nation of Israel as a whole, though not referring to every Jew without exception.” (Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission, p. 189; note: the authors unfortunately go on to limit the meaning to the elect of Jews within ethnic Israel, missing Paul’s contrast between the remnant and the whole nation.)
-“Here it is not stated simply that individual, special favored members of the Old Testament Israel will again live from the root of election and in the holy tree; the promise is that when God’s invitation to join the new people of God has gone out to all nations, then ‘Israel as a whole’ will once again be grafted into the holy olive tree. ‘For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable’ (Rom. 11:29). God will bring the work which he began in Abraham to a wonderful conclusion, and by this act he will reveal himself as the sovereign Lord of all the life of man in history.” (The People of God in the Old Testament, p. 91)
-“There is here no basis for the millennial dream of the final conversion of all Jews, but the apostle speaks of Israel in the same sense that he has employed almost exclusively in the entire letter. Paul had stated that the total hardening would not take place in the case of all the members of the Jewish race, but that there is a possibility of the conversion of some of them throughout the entire New Testament era. But in connection herewith the apostle intends to impart to his brethren, the members of the congregation at Rome, which was composed largely of Gentile Christians, a secret: I do not want you to remain in ignorance of this mystery, this secret, in order that you be not wise within yourselves. The secret of which Paul speaks is this: That obduration, blindness, in part has happened to Israel, until the full number of the heathen be come in, and thus all Israel will be saved. In order that the Roman Christians might not form their own opinion in regard to the matter, might not follow the drift of their own thoughts, he feels that it is best to tell them this at once. The blinding or hardening that he had been speaking of did not affect every member of the nation, but affected them only in part, namely, in so far as some of them had been finally rejected; but of the rest it was true that some of them were continually and gradually being converted and saved. While the fullness of the heathen is being gathered for Christ, while the number of those out of the Gentiles that will finally make up the body of those that are destined for salvation is being called through the Gospel, souls will also be gained from the midst of the Jews. Until the day of the revelation of Jesus Christ in His glory, therefore, there will always be some from the midst of the self-hardened Israelites that will come to the knowledge of the Savior. And thus the final result will be that all Israel will be saved, all those that are in deed and truth the children of Abraham, not according to the flesh only, but according to the spirit. These are the ones, from every nation under the sun, whom the Lord has chosen as His own and whom His saving call will reach sooner or later.” (The Popular Commentary; notice how Kretzmann ignores the immediate context and instead appeals to the context of the letter at large. By doing so the verse loses all “mystery” and become “stunningly anticlimactic” [T. Schreiner]; see Barry Horner above.)
Colin G. Kruse
-“Integral to the mystery Paul wants the Gentiles in his audience to understand is that ‘Israel has experienced a hardening in part’. The expression translated here as ‘in part’ is used later by Paul to mean both ‘in part’ (15:15: ‘I have written you quite boldly not some points [lit. ‘in part’]’) and ‘for a while’ (15:24: ‘I plan to do so when I go to Spain… after I have enjoyed your company for a while’; cf. 2 Cor. 1:14). It may be better to translate it here in 11:25 as ‘for a while’, that is, Paul is saying that Israel’s hardening is temporary rather than partial. This would be consistent with the fact that Paul says straightaway that this hardening will persist ‘until the full number of the Gentiles has come in’.” (Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Pillar Commentary, p. 442)
-“Bell, The Irrevocable Call of God, 259-60, notes four different ways in which kai houtos has been interpreted, concluding that only two deserve serious consideration: (i) kai houtos has been understood as modal, referring to that which precedes, i.e., referring back to the first two lines of the mysterion in 11:25b. Thus kai houtos is translated as ‘and in this way’ or ‘and in such a way’; (ii) it is possible that kai houtos could be understood ‘in a logical sense following on from achri hou to pleroma ton ethnon eiselthe. Although kai houtos is here understood as logical, it will also inevitably carry a temporal sense. This use of kai houtos is attested in the ‘intertestamental literature’. It is generally agreed that houtos never means ‘at that time’ or ‘then’, and so to construe 11:25-26 as to mean that once the full number of the Gentiles has come in, then God will act so that all Israel will be saved is not tenable. However, Peter W. van der Horst, ‘Only Then Will All Israel Be Saved: A Short Note on the Meaning of kai houtos in Romans 11:26’, JBL 119 (2000) 521-25, has shown there are instances where kai houtos is used with a temporal sense by classical writers (e.g., Theophrastus, Characters 18), postclassical writers (e.g., Epictetus 2.15.8), in Judeo-Greek literature (e.g., Life of Jeremiah 6), elsewhere in the NT (e.g., Acts 7:8; 1 Thess 4:16-17), and in early Christian literature (e.g., Irenaeus, Haer. 1.30.14). He states that the purpose of his essay is not ‘to exclude the possibility that Paul used kai houtos in the modal sense in Romans 11:26. What I do want to exclude, however, is the use of the false argument that it is impossible to take houtos in the temporal sense because this is ‘not found otherwise in Greek’ (Fitzmeyer)’ (524-25).” (ibid., p. 443, footnote 222)
George E. Ladd
-“Another event Paul expects to occur in connection with the consummation is the salvation of Israel. This truth Paul expounds in Romans 9-11. The rejection of Christ by Israel and its subsequent fall was not a mere accident of history but a factor in God’s redemptive purpose—an event in Heilsgeschichte. Even in the rejection of Israel, God has a purpose: that by Israel’s fall, salvation might come to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:11). Then Paul makes a key statement: “Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness?” (11:12)
In this statement is embodied Paul’s theology of the future salvation of Israel. If the fall of Israel has brought salvation to the Gentiles, in how much larger measure will salvation come to the Gentile world if the “fullness,” i.e. the full salvation of Israel, comes? Israel was God’s chosen instrument to bring salvation to the world. This was the heart of the promise given to Abraham. He was to be the father of many nations, and in him would all the families of the earth be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3; 17:6). This is why Christ came into the world as an Israelite. Israel’s rejection of her Messiah and her subsequent fall were the means used by God to bring salvation to the Gentiles. But this is not the last chapter of the story. The church age as we know it is not the end. Two things must yet happen: the fullness of literal Israel must come in, and by her salvation greater riches be brought to the Gentile world.
Paul further develops this truth in the following verses. Israel is still the chosen people. She is still the special object of God’s care and will yet be the instrument of salvation. This is asserted in Romans 11:15-16. The firstfruits of Israel (the patriarchs) were holy, i.e. the objects of God’s election and care; and the entire lump (Israel as a people) is also holy. If the root of the tree is holy, so is the entire tree. The people of Israel continues to be a “holy” people—a people who God has designated for his redemptive purpose in the world. This future purpose is indicated in the following words: “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?” (v. 15)
Here is a two-fold contrast: the present rejection of Israel because of unbelief is contrasted with a future receiving of Israel in belief. The other contrast is even more significant. The present rejection of unbelieving Israel means that the message of reconciliation has gone out to all the world; Israel’s future restoration will mean much more than this—a state of blessedness that Paul describes by the phrase “life from the dead.” The balanced structure of the sentence shows that this is a blessing that comes upon the Gentile world. The balance of the sentence is the key to its interpretation… Israel’s future salvation will issue in a new order of blessedness and happiness for the Gentile world that is likened to the emergence of life from the dead. There remains in the future for the world an enjoyment of the reality of the life in Christ extending beyond anything we have now experienced; and this will be accomplished through the instrumentality of Israel’s conversion…
Paul sums up the entire matter in verses 25-27. Israel is now hardened. The Gentiles are now being brought in. Finally, “all Israel shall be saved.” “All Israel” does not need to mean every single Israelite but the people as a whole…
It is impossible that Israel should be saved in any way but by faith in Jesus as Israel’s Messiah. Saul of Tarsus was brought to faith by a special vision of the glorified Christ; yet he was saved by faith like any believer and was brought into the church. Literal Israel, temporarily rejected, is yet to come to faith and be grafted back into the olive tree—the true people of God (Rom. 11:23). Otto Piper has suggested that in God’s plan of redemptive history, converted Israel may become for the first time in history a truly Christian nation.” (A Theology of the New Testament, p. 607-608)
“Many interpreters understand this passage spiritually and apply the words ‘all Israel’ to the gentile church. This view makes Paul merely assert that God’s entire people will be saved—that spiritual Israel will be complete. This interpretation does not suit the context. There is a movement throughout Romans 9-11 from literal Israel to the gentile church, and in its context, ‘all Israel’ must refer to an entire generation of living Jews. God has not finally cast off his people; when the full number of the gentiles have been saved, God will turn again to Israel, and they too will experience a nationwide salvation.” (A Commentary on the Revelation of John, p. 113)
-“[Commenting on Romans 11:26:] It is difficult to escape the conclusion that this means literal Israel.” (The Meaning of the Millennium, edited by Robert G. Clouse, p. 27)
-“As the reprobation of the Jews was the occasion of the reconciliation of the world, their conversion will be as it were, the signal for the consummation of the world and the advent of a new one.” (Epitre aux Romains, p. 278)
Moses E. Lard
-“Here the future salvation of the great body of the Jews, who shall then be alive, is distinctly asserted. This is the clearest Scripture we have yet had on this point; and it is quite clear. Israel is yet to be born of water and of the Spirit, and so to enter the kingdom of God. Their unbelief and hardness are to die out. Their heart of flesh is to return, the vail is to drop from their eyes; and they are yet to see in him whom they pierced, their true and only Messiah.” (Commentary on Paul’s Letter to Romans, p. 370)
-“But undoubtedly, that people of the Jews shall once more be commanded to arise and shine, and their return shall be the riches of the Gentiles; and that shall be a more glorious time than ever the Church of God did yet behold… They forget a main point of the Church’s glory, who pray not daily for the conversion of the Jews.” (The Whole Works of the Most Reverend Father in God, Robert Leighton, D.D., Vol. 3, p. 125-6)
-“But Paul is certain both that God’s promise of salvation for Israel remains unchanged, and that hence Israel’s election remains in force and unchanged, although the majority of the people of God does not recognise God’s acts in Christ. Paul sees this as "unbelief" (11:23); but he also speaks of how God can and will "engraft" the "cut off" branches again at the end of time (11:24).” (Church and Israel, A Contribution from the Reformation Churches in Europe to the Relationship between Christians and Jews)
Gordon R. Lewis & Bruce Demarest
-“As used by the rabbis of Paul’s day, the phrase ‘all Israel’ meant Israel as a whole, without comprehending every individual within the group. Thus Paul envisaged God’s elective purpose issuing in the future salvation of a multitude of Jews who will trust Christ as Messiah and Savior.” (Integrative Theology)
Henry P. Liddon
-“The context requires the literal Israel.” (Explanatory Analysis)
-“The contrast of the words "partial Israel," "all Israel" and "the Gentiles" in verses 25-26 rule out the possibility that Paul is referencing the ethnically diverse Jew-Gentile Church. He is intentionally making the contrasts… Paul draws a distinction between Israel “of the ﬂesh” and Israel “of the promise” in Romans 9:6-8. This distinction is used to differentiate between national ethnic Israel in their state of unbelief and the “remnant according to the election of grace” (11:6) who with converted Gentiles comprise “the Church.” This distinction is essential to understanding Romans 11. Repeatedly in Romans 11 Paul refers not to “Israel of the promise” but to “Israel of the ﬂesh” who have “stumbled” and “transgressed” and been “cast away” and “hardened” in “disobedience” and “unbelief.” This rebellious “Israel” is the “Israel” Paul speaks about in Romans 11:26 that will be “saved.” Paul’s quotation of Isaiah and Jeremiah in verse 27 which includes the reference to “Zion” (Jerusalem) and “Jacob,” along with statements “enemies of the Gospel” and “beloved for the sake of the forefathers” in verse 28 are clearly about ethnic Jews who have rejected the Gospel. The idea that Paul would speak of the Church in verse 26 and then ethnic Jews in verse 28 bears no legitimacy.” (The Meaning of “All Israel Will Be Saved” in Romans 11:25-27, p. 1-2)
-“What does Paul say here (Romans 9-11) about the future salvation of unbelieving Israel? This is probably the clearest passage in the New Testament dealing with Jewry and eschatology. The critical verses are Romans 11:25-26… There follow immediately two Old Testament quotations which Paul uses to clinch the argument in his last statement… Note carefully the expression ‘the fullness of the Gentiles’ and the meaning of the word Israel here… It is clear that there is no reason to say, as some do, that Israel here means the Church. That would mean that Paul had made a semantic switch unnatural to the whole passage… ‘All Israel will be saved,’ that is, Jews will turn en masse to Christ at that time.” (Last Things, p. 50, 51, 53)
-“I am equally impressed by Romans 11 which speaks of a great spiritual return among the Jews before the end time.” (Carl F.H. Henry, “Martyn Lloyd-Jones: From Buckingham to Westminster,” Christianity Today, Feb. 8, 1980)
-“There are some, and I am among them, who believe that Paul does teach in this chapter that before the end there will be large numbers of conversions among the Jews. It will be astonishing and it will rejoice the hearts of believers then alive. It will be like life from the dead.” (The Church and the Last Things, Vol. 3, p. 113)
Christoph Ernst Luthardt
-“A survey of the entire line of argument shows incontrovertibly that here the discourse is concerning Israel only in the national and proper, and not in the figurative sense; for, throughout, the contrast between Israel and the Gentile world is maintained.” (Die Lehre von dem letzten Dingen, p. 113)
-“From this passage it is generally concluded that the Jews at the end of the world will be converted to faith in Christ. However, it is true that this passage is so obscure that hardly anyone will be persuaded with absolute clarity, unless he follows the verdict of the Fathers who interpret the Apostle in this sense. The meaning, then, is: The Jews who are now fallen, will be converted and saved, after the heathen according to fullness of the elect are come in. They will not remain outside forever, but in their own time they will be converted… To understand the Apostle rightly, we must bear in mind that his statement extends to the whole lump of the Jewish people.” (Commentary on Romans, p. 161-162; note: Luther later changed his view when he wrote “Against the Jews and Their Lies”. See comment by Robert Verrell Foster above and Hermann Olshausen below.)
-“It is a holy secret why the Jews fell, a secret which no man knows, namely, that the Jews who are now fallen shall return and be saved.” (Luther’s Works, 25.429. Cf. 429-430)
-“All Israel must be taken to mean just that—the entire nation that survives God’s judgment during the Great Tribulation. The common amillennial view that all Israel refers only to a remnant redeemed during the church age does injustice to the text. Paul’s declaration about all Israel is set in clear contrast to what he has already said about the believing Jewish remnant which the Lord has always preserved for Himself. The fact, for instance, that only some of the branches (unbelieving Jews) were broken off (v. 17), plainly indicates that a remnant of believing Jews—those not broken off—will continually exist while the fulness of the Gentiles is being completed. These are Jews being redeemed who are not part of the spiritual hardening that has come upon Israel because of her rejection of her Messiah (v. 25).” (Romans, p. 127)
-“So, what [Paul, in Romans 9] is saying is, Israel was set aside, yes, temporarily and partially. And in their setting aside, the riches was turned to the Gentiles. After the Gentiles fullness has come in, after the church is complete (that's what that means) God will go back and redeem Israel. Zechariah tells us exactly how. He says, “They will look on Him whom they have pierced and they will mourn for Him as an only son.” That is an indication that their salvation comes about directly as a relationship of their focus on Jesus Christ. At that point, they will be saved. And, then He will fulfill His covenant, verse 27, He will take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, now, they have become enemies for your sake. In other words, their setting aside affected the salvation of the Gentiles. But, as touching the election, in other words, in God’s eternal purpose, they are the beloved for the Father’s sake, for God cannot change His covenant. His gifts and callings are without repentance, and so, He will bring them back. There is no question that He will bring them back. But, the bringing back has to be around the truth of the Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Bible Questions and Answers, Part 19)
-“And what the people of the Jews shall say and do, when they see Him coming in glory, has been thus predicted by Zechariah the prophet: ‘I will command the four winds to father the scattered children; I will command the north wind to bring them, and the south wind, that it keep not back. And then in Jerusalem there shall be great lamentation, not the lamentation of mouths or of lips, but the lamentation of the heart; and they shall rend not their garments, but their hearts. Tribe by tribe they shall mourn, and then they shall look on Him whom they have pierced; and they shall say, Why, O Lord, hast Thou made us to err from Thy way? The glory which our fathers blessed, has for us been turned into shame.’” (First Apology, ch. 52)
-“The sum of this chapter’s teaching can be briefly reviewed in the following way: the Jews have not so perished without exception that no hope remains for their salvation. To this day remnants are preserved who are saved, now to be sure a small number (even so they are the salt of the earth), but one day they will become a mighty band in full view.” (In Epistolam S. Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos, 3d ed. [Basil, 1586], p. 488)
Frank J. Matera
-“Thus far, Paul’s argument has proceeded in this way. In 9:1-29 he defended the constancy and integrity of God’s word by showing that God has always worked on Israel’s behalf through a process of divine election/selection. Then in 9:30-10:21 he turned his attention to Israel to show that it is not God’s word that has failed but Israel that has failed to be obedient to that word. Now in 11:1-36 Paul comes to the crucial step in his argument that the word of God has not failed (9:6). Focusing his attention on God once more, he affirms that God has not rejected his people (11:1), that Israel has not stumbled so as to fall (11:11), and that all Israel will be saved (11:26), for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable (11:29).” (Romans, p. 256; note: this is an excellent summary of Romans 9-11.)
-“Although the meaning of ‘all Israel’ has been contested (see Cranfield 1979, 576-77; and Reasoner 2005, 121-28 for a fuller discussion), the argument of this chapter indicates that Paul is speaking of ethnic Israel, which includes not only the remnant that has believed but also the vast majority that has not. Historical Israel (past, present, and future) will be the beneficiary of God’s salvation.” (ibid., p. 273)
-“All Israel shall be saved… I know not any Scripture containing a more pregnant and illustrious testimony and demonstration of the Israelites’ future vocation, it being a main scope of the Apostle in this chapter to make known this Mystery unto the Gentiles.” (The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation Explained and Applied)
-“What is meant by all Israel? Answ. There are divers interpretations which have been given thereof.
1. Some think, that by all Israel is meant some Few of all Israel. But that cannot be the meaning of the words, for the note of universality, All Israel, will not bear such a particular restrained interpretation… Besides, the Apostle opposeth that salvation of all Israel, which he predicts as future in the words of my Text, unto the salvation of a remnant, which at that present time when he wrote this Epistle to the Romans was accomplished, v. 5.
2. Others think, that by all Israel, is meant all the elect of God. But though it be a truth, that all the elect of God shall be saved, no link of that golden chain of salvation which beginneth in election, and endeth in eternal glory, can ever be broken, Rom. 8.29, 30; And although it be likewise true, that Israel is sometimes used in Scripture for the elect of God, Gal. 6.16… yet that is not the true meaning of all Israel in my Text, for the Apostle in this Chapter discourseth of natural Israel. There is carnal or natural Israel, i.e. those that are by generation of the seed of Jacob, who was afterwards called Israel. Hence we read of Israel after the flesh, as well as Israel after the spirit, 1 Cor. 10.18. Rom. 9.4, 5. Gal. 4.23. Now of this Israel doth the Apostle here speak, as you may see, Rom. 11.14. Nor indeed had he declared such a mystery as he speaketh of, verse 25, if only he had said that the elect should be saved. Doubtless the Romans knew that before, whereas this salvation of Israel was a mystery that they little thought of, and thence behaved themselves too arrogantly and contemptuously towards the, at present, forlorn and rejected Israelites, which error of theirs our Apostle laboureth to correct, by informing them, that there would a time come when Jews should be saved as well as Gentiles.
3. Others there are, that by all Israel understand, all and every one of the natural posterity of Jacob. As if the Apostle's meaning were, that every particular person amongst the children of Israel should partake of this salvation; but in that there is a mistake also. For when this salvation shall take place, which is here spoken of, there will be divers particular persons amongst the Israelites that will stand it out against the call of God, for which they shall be destroyed, according to that Text, Act. 3.23. We may suppose, that some of the Jews will adhere obstinately to their old antiquated Ceremonies, for which the Lord will be dreadfully provoked to cut them off. So some interpret, Isa. 66.3, 4. Consider also, Eze. 20.37, 38…
4. Others think, that by all Israel, is meant the body of the Israelitish Nation. And that seemeth to be the genuine interpretation of the words; for in other Scriptures, all is used to signify many, Mat. 3.5. It is said, That all Judea was baptized by John, confessing their sins. Doubtless there were some in Judea, that neither confessed their sins, nor were baptized by John, therefore all noteth a multitudinous number: And so is All to be taken, Isa. 66.23. Joel 2.28. 1 Cor. 15.22. and in many other Scriptures. So when it is said, All Israel shall be saved, i.e. very many Israelites shall be saved. Yea, all here noteth, not only many, but most; it signifieth not only a Majority, but a very full and large Generality. Hence the same thing is called their fulness, Rom. 11.12. Now as when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in, that must not be extended to every particular person, nor yet to a few only, but to the body of Gentile Nations, whom that prophecy doth concern; so may we say concerning this fulness of Israel. Moreover, such as was Israel’s rejection, such must their re-assumption into divine favour be, Rom. 11.15. But their rejection was not of every particular person, nor yet of a few only, but of the body of the Nation; so shall their salvation be National.” (ibid.)
-“That there shall be a general conversion of the tribes of Israel, is a truth which in some measure hath been known and believed in all ages of the church of God, since the Apostles’ days… only in these late days these things have obtained credit much more universally than heretofore.” (ibid.)
-“All this being understood, it yet remains that the passage in Romans 11:25 leaves room for, even if it does not imply, a time to come during this gospel era when the supernatural blindness, imposed as a punishment upon the Jews as a nation, will be removed, or at least abated, so that the gospel message will have a far greater effect among them than during the time the vail was upon their hearts, and that many of them may be saved. Paul's heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel was "that they might be saved"; and it is reasonable to assume that, in so praying, he was "praying in the Holy Ghost." This lends support to the expectation that there will yet be a mighty working of the Spirit and the word of God amongst the Jewish people, something analogous to "the latter rain" - in which, of course, Gentiles too will participate.” (The Hope of Israel: What is It?; note: Mauro was strongly opposed to Dispensationalism, Premillennialism, and generally any view that sees a special place for Israel, yet even here, within his book in which he attacks a future restoration for Israel, not even Mauro could escape the clear point of Paul in Romans 11!)
Robert Murray M’Cheyne
-“But you say God has cast them off. Hath God cast away His people which He foreknew? God forbid! The whole Bible contradicts such an idea. "Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still. Therefore My bowels are troubled for him, I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord."—Jer. xxxi. 20. "I will plant them again in their own land assuredly, with My whole heart and with My whole soul." "Zion saith, the Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee."—Isa. xlix. 14. "And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." Now the simple question for each of you is, and for our beloved Church, Should we not share with God His peculiar affection for Israel? If we are filled with the Spirit of God, should we not love as He loves? Should we not grave Israel upon the palms of our hands, and resolve that through our mercy they also may obtain mercy?” (Our Duty to Israel)
-“I have often thought that a reflective traveller, passing through the countries of this world, and observing the race of Israel in every land, might be led to guess, merely from the light of his natural reason, that a singular people are preserved for some great purpose in the world.” (ibid.)
-“Saved Israel will give life to the dead world... ‘And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.’ (Micah 5:7) Just as we have found, among the parched hills of Judah, that the evening dew, coming silently down, gave life to every plant, making the grass to spring and the flowers to put forth their sweetest fragrance, so shall saved Israel be when they come as dew upon a dead, dry world.” (ibid.)
-“The Hebrew nation will be grafted in to serve the divine program in the last stages of human history. They are still beloved for their fathers’ sake, and the day is coming when all their sins will be forgiven and taken away.” (Through the Bible Day by Day: A Devotional Commentary)
Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer
-“The modal character of the ούτω therefore lies in the sucession of time conditioning the emergence of the fact (compare 1 Cor. 11:28), as it also in the classics, in the sense of so then, embraces what has been previously said... This notion, so definitely expressed, of the totality of the people is in no way to be limited; the whole of those are intended, who, at the time that the fulness of the Gentiles shall have come in, will compose Israel. All Israelites who up to that time shall be still unconverted, will then be converted to salvation, so that at that term entire Israel will obtain the saving deliverance... Limitations from other interests than that of exegesis have been suggested: such as that the spiritual Israel, Gal. 6:16, is meant (Augustine, Theodoret, Luther, Calvin, Grotius, and others, including Krummacher); or only the select portion of the Jews (Calovius, Bengel, and several others, including Olshausen...; or that πάς is to be taken comparatively only of the greater number, of the bulk (Occumenius, Wetstein, Ruckert Fritzsche, Tholuck)... πάς Ισραήλ is in fact, not ‘Israel as a whole,’ but rather the entire Israel, as is also meant in 2 Chron. 12:1 and in all the O.T. passages, in contrast to ‘in part’, verse 25... Will be saved, unto Messianic salvation, by their conversion to Christ.” (Critical and Exegetical Hand-Book to the Epistle to the Romans, p. 448-449)
-“It is self-evident that thus all the elements which form the points properly so called of this interpretation [of Calvin and other Reformers] are forced upon the text, and the result is an historical process recognizable by any one, concerning which it is not easy to see how Paul could introduce it as a mystery.” (Critical and Exegetical Hand-Book to the Epistle to the Romans, p. 449)
Jason C. Meyer
-“‘All Israel’ should be understood as an ethnic reference. This inference makes better sense of the preceding verses and the subsequent verses in which Paul maintains a strict dichotomy in language between ‘you’ (Gentiles) and the Jews. Paul distinguishes the Gentiles and the Israelites as two ethnic groups in 11:11-25 in the olive-branch analogy that comes before v. 26. Paul also divides Jew and Gentile into two separate ethnic camps when he traces the pattern of redemptive history in the passage immediately following v. 26 (i.e., 11:28-32). God’s salvific activity began with Israel, went to the Gentiles, and then concludes with Israel once again. The ‘all’ in v. 32 makes better sense as the summing up of both Jew and Gentile, not ‘all people without exception,’ but ‘all people without ethnic distinction.’ Furthermore, nothing in 11:26 demands a shift in meaning of the word ‘Israel’ from its consistent reference to ethnic Israelites.” (The End of the Law, p. 193)
A. Berkeley Mickelson
-“All Israel. National Israel. Compare the parallel from Jacob in the next quotation. All. Not necessarily every individual, but enough individuals to make the believers in Christ representative of the nation.” (Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p. 1218)
-“We utterly deny a prospective in-sweeping of the Israelites. And if anyone begs us for an immediate reason, we answer, Because Christ puts us on our immediate guard lest the Judgment surprise us at any moment. How can that be true, and all these other things? We believe there is no prophecy in the New Testament Scriptures. And if anyone is shocked at this, we beg him to begin back at the original idea. If any moment may usher the Redeemer in the clouds, and the dead, small and great, may be judged, what mockery to stuff the time with events. We believe there is no Millennium. We believe there is no personal reign. We believe there is no solidarity for the Jew, or geographic trifling about the rocks of Palestine. And we beg any one who testifies his disgust, simply to answer a question,--How can I be listening for the trumpet, or waiting for my Lord in ‘the air’, or supposing in my short life that the dead may be raised, when there are shoals of unfinished events, and the ‘seals’ and the ‘viols’ and millennial splendor of the church and the restoration of the tribes and terracing of Palestine, are all to be interpolated before my rising? If I had to be hanged, and it might be instantly, and the knock at my cell be at any moment, it would have a queer influence to know that a new jail had to be built, and no end of events happen before I or anyone else could ascend the scaffold… ‘Blindness in part.’ That is, the Jews, like everyone else, are some of them saved and some of them lost… ‘And so all Israel shall be saved.’ Jews are to be gathered ‘while’ Gentiles are being gathered; and so ‘all Israel,’ not in the ‘Restoration’ sense, but in the widest sense, Jews and Gentiles, are to be converted and gathered in. ‘The children of the flesh, those same are not the children of God’ (9:8). ‘They are not all Israel that are of Israel’ (9:6). ‘He is not a Jew who is one outwardly’ (2:28). And, therefore, Paul has given us abundant scope to look for such passages as this. ‘All Israel (will have been) saved’ when Jews have been going in ‘while’ Gentiles were going in, and all Jews ‘inwardly’ (2:29), whether Greeks or Israelites, shall have accepted each his place in the everlasting Kingdom.” (Commentary on Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, p. 319-321; notice the weakness of Miller’s position; it is dogmatic, not exegetical.)
-“The way in which we interpret this verse will largely determine how we see Israel in relation to the future. The important words are: ‘all Israel will be saved.’ At first sight this phrase read within its immediate context, Romans 11:24-32, appears to assert not only the continuation of the nation of Israel within God’s purposes but in fact a future act of mercy on God’s part by which the entire nation will be restored to God… The difficulties of understanding ‘Israel’ in a sense other than ‘the nation as a whole’ however are real on a careful reading of the passage… In the light of Romans 11:26, however, it may be that we should hope for a significant future turning to the Lord Jesus Christ on the part of many Jewish people, with resulting blessing for the world-wide church.” (What the Bible Teaches About the End of the World, p. 71, 76-77; note: after listing four possible views and struggling considerably with them, Milne comes to this conclusion cautiously)
Paul Sevier Minear
-“Did not Paul himself insist that the gospel and salvation must come first to the Jew and only then to the Gentile? Did he not recognize the continued importance of biological descent when he spoke of unbelieving Jews as beloved ‘for the sake of their forefathers’ (Rom. 11:28)? Does not this awareness of biological fact lie behind his own sense of kinship with Israel and his own confidence that in the end ‘all Israel will be saved’ (v. 26)? To all these questions an affirmative answer must be given.” (Images of the Church in the New Testament, p. 83)
-“There can be no question of God's having finally rejected the people of his choice-he would then have to reject his own election (11.29)… Israel's promises remain Israel's promises. They have not been transferred to the church. Nor does the church push Israel out of its place in the divine history. In the perspective of the gospel, Israel has by no means become 'like all the nations.'” (The Way of Jesus Christ: Christology in Messianic Dimensions, p. 35)
“In its hope for the nation the church also preserves the ‘surplus of promise’ in Israel’s prophets, and therefore waits for the fulfillment of Israel’s hopes too. In the very fact of turning wholly to the Gentile nations with the gospel, it confirms and strengthens Israel’s hope: all Israel will be saved when the fullness of the Gentiles arrives at salvation (Rom. 11:25f). The common focus of Jewish and Christian hopes is the coming of the Messiah to his messianic kingdom. Only the Christ of the parousia will save ‘all Israel’ (Rom. 11:26). The acceptance of all Israel will be ‘life from the dead’ (Rom. 11:15f).” (The Coming of God: Christian Eschatology, p. 198)
-“In both Galatians and Rom. 4 Paul is arguing that Gentiles, as Gentiles, can become recipients of the blessings promised to Abraham and full members of the people of God… But Paul's purpose in Rom. 11 is almost the opposite. Here, he counters a tendency for Gentiles to appropriate for themselves exclusively the rights and titles of 'God's people.' For Paul in this context to call the church 'Israel' would be to fuel the fire of the Gentiles' arrogance by giving them grounds to brag that 'we are the true Israel.'” (The Epistle to the Romans, NICNT, p. 721)
“The reference in both verses [Rom. 9:6 & Rom. 11:26] is to ethnic Israel.” (Galatians, BECNT, p. 402)
-“Paul has described Israel’s ‘hardening’ (porosis) earlier (11:7; cf. 9:18). As the existence of a remnant has already implied, this hardening is only ‘in part’ that is, it affects only part of Israel. But not only is the hardening partial, it is also temporary. It lasts, Paul implies, only ‘until the full number of Gentiles has come in.’ The object we must supply for ‘come in’ is clearly the ‘kingdom’ or some such concept (see Matt. 7:13; Luke 13:24; 23:13). ‘Full number’ (pleroma), as most commentators recognize, has a numerical reference… In other words, God has determined the number of Gentiles to be saved. Once that number is reached, Israel’s hardening comes to an end (see Luke 21:23-24 for a partial parallel).
The first clause of verse 26 is the storm center in the interpretation of Romans 9-11 and of the New Testament teaching about Israel in general…
(1) What does the transitional phrase kai houtos at the beginning of the verse mean? The NIV translates ‘and so,’ suggesting the idea of consequence or conclusion. Others think the word may link up with the Old Testament quotation at the end of the verse: ‘It is in this way that all Israel will be saved, namely, just as it is written…’ Some interpreters and many casual readers of Romans take the phrase as temporal: ‘and then all Israel will be saved.’ But the normal nuance of houtos is to express manner, and this works well here: ‘and in this manner all Israel will be saved.’ Nevertheless, the temporal idea comes sneaking in the back door, for the manner in which all Israel is saved involves a process that unfolds in temporal stages.
(2) What does Paul mean by ‘all Israel’? The heat of the debate over this verse has resulted in many options, but three stand out as worthy of consideration. (a) An interpretation popular among many of the Reformers and revived by several scholars recently is to take ‘all Israel’ as referring to the entire church. As we have argued, there is precedent in Paul for using ‘Israel’ to refer to the church (Gal. 6:16), and the addition of ‘all’ may suggest that Paul is now speaking not of national Israel or a part of Israel but of ‘the whole’ of spiritual Israel. It is through the removal of the hardening on Israel and the coming in of Gentiles that all the elect of God, the entire Israel, will be saved.
This option is attractive in many ways, but it founders on two points. First, Paul has used ‘Israel’ ten times in Romans 9-11 so far, each one referring to ethnic Israel. There is no hint here of a shift to a religious category. Moreover, Paul’s purpose throughout this section is to stifle Gentile pride. For him suddenly to include Gentiles in ‘Israel’ would fuel their pride by encouraging them to assume that they have ‘replaced’ Israel.
(b) Another possibility is that ‘all Israel’ refers to ‘spiritual’ Israel, the elect of Jews from within national Israel. Some interpreters who understand the phrase this way argue that Paul is referring to the way that all the elect Jews will come to salvation over the course of salvation history. There is precedent for this meaning of ‘Israel’ in Romans 9-11, since 9:6 speaks of the ‘Israel within Israel.’ But this is not the way Paul has used the word in the immediate context, and it is something of a truism to say that the elect will be saved.
(c) Therefore, in agreement with most commentators, we think ‘all Israel’ refers to the totality of national Israel. This does not mean that every single Jew will be saved. The phrase ‘all Israel’ occurs over a hundred times in the Old Testament, with a range of meanings. But often it refers to some Israelites as representative whole. Note, for instance, 2 Samuel 16:22: “So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he lay with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.’ Furthermore, the phrase almost always refers to Israelites living at a certain point in time rather than to Israelites in every generation of the nation’s history.
(3) The third exegetical issue has already been decided by our conclusion about ‘all Israel’. If the reference is to a single generation of Israel, Paul can hardly mean anything but the Israel as it exists in the end times. This conclusion is borne out by 11:15, where, we argued, Paul connects Israel’s ‘acceptance’ by God to the resurrection of the dead. The Old Testament quotation that follows in the present passage (11:26b-27) points in the same direction, for ‘the deliverer’ is almost certainly Christ, and his coming refers to his second coming in glory. We conclude, then, that Paul here predicts the salvation of a significant number of Jews at the time of Christ’s return in glory. The present ‘remnant’ of Israel will be expanded to include a much larger number of Jews who will enter the eternal kingdom along with converted Gentiles.” (Romans, The NIV Application Commentary)
-“But what seems decisive is the fact that ‘Israel’ in v. 25 plainly means the nation (it is physical Israel, not spiritual Israel, that is hardened in part), and it is not easy to understand why in the next line it should have a different meaning (Hodge has a strong argument for this position). A further strong argument is that Paul has just said that this is a ‘mystery’. Now it is no ‘mystery’ that all the elect, Jews as well as Gentiles, will be saved. Nor is the conversion of a few Jews in each generation such as has happened until now the kind of thing that needs to be the subject of a special revelation. That looks for a very different kind of happening. It may also be argued that Paul is looking for the restoration of the Jews in the sense in which they had been rejected, that is, the nation generally. Paul then is affirming that the nation of Israel as a whole will ultimately have its place in God’s salvation.” (The Epistle to the Romans, p. 421)
-“Thus far St. Paul has rather reasoned than predicted. He has shown his Gentile friends the naturalness, so to speak, of a restoration of Israel to Christ, and the manifest certainty that such a restoration will bring blessing to the world. Now he advances to the direct assertion, made with a Prophet’s full authority, that so it shall be. ‘How much rather shall they be grafted into their own Olive?’ The question implies the assertion; nothing remains but to open it in full.
‘All Israel shall be saved.’ It has been held by some interpreters that this points to the Israel of God, the spiritual sons of Abraham. If so, it would be fairly paraphrased as a promise that when the Gentile conversions are complete, and the ‘spiritual failure of perception’ gone from the Jewish heart, the family of faith shall be complete. But surely it puts violence on the words, and on thought, to explain ‘Israel’ in this whole passage mystically. Interpretation becomes an arbitrary work if we may suddenly do so here, where the antithesis of Israel and ‘the Gentiles’ is the very theme of the message. No; we have here the nation, chosen with a choice never cancelled, however abeyant. A blessing is in view for the nation; a blessing spiritual, divine, all of grace, quite individual in its action on each member of the nation, but national in the scale of its results… A transition, relatively swift and wonderful, shall show the world a nation penitent, faithful, holy, given to God.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The Epistle to the Romans, p. 311-312)
-“[These words] may refer (A) to the natural Israel, the Jews; or (B) to the ‘Israel of God,’ the true Church of Christ… Of these… possibilities we prefer on the whole (A) as the most in accord with the context, and with the analogy of Scripture. The explanation (B) is in itself entirely true: the final glory and triumph of the Gospel will surely be, not specifically the salvation of the Jews, but that of the Universal Church—the immortal Bride of the King Eternal. And it is extremely important to remember the full recognition in Scripture of all its true members as the ‘seed of Abraham’ (Gal. 3:29). But this is not the truth exactly in point here, where St Paul is dealing with the special prospect of a time when ‘blindness in part’ will no longer characterize Jews as Jews. And the ‘Israel’ of verse 25 is probably the Israel of verse 26, as no distinction is suggested in the interval.” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, p. 199)
Robert H. Mounce
-“This is the crucial statement. ‘All Israel’ refers to the nation of Israel as a whole but not necessarily to every individual. Thus Paul is saying, God’s plan for the salvation of man involves three stages: (1) the believing remnant, (2) the Gentiles, (3) Israel as a whole. Most of the standard commentaries on Romans hold that Paul is here teaching the salvation of Israel as an eschatological event.” (Themes from Romans, p. 120)
-“If only individual Israelites are to be saved, then in spite of everything there would be a breach in God’s promise. Therefore in chapter 11 Paul describes the divine guidance of the peoples which finally must lead to the salvation of Israel as a people (11:26).” (Zuvorersehung, p. 12)
-“I now proceed to consider briefly some of the events which will take place then… 2. The conversion and restoration of Israel nationally. In Scripture the glory and resurrection of the Church of the firstborn ones is always connected with the time when Israel (who will have returned to their own land in unbelief) ‘shall know the Lord.’” (The Second Coming of Christ, p. 61, 63)
-“This same belief concerning the future of the Jews is to be found very widely in seventeenth-century Puritan literature. It appears in the works of such well-known Puritans as John Owen, Thomas Manton and John Flavel. … It is also handled in a rich array of commentaries, both folios and quartos – David Dickson on the Psalms, George Hutcheson on the Minor Prophets, Jeremiah Burroughs on Hosea, William Greenhill on Ezekiel, Elnathan Parr on Romans and James Durham on Revelation: a list which could be greatly extended. (The Puritan Hope, 43)
-“‘And so’ with which verse 26 begins indicates that the proposition about to be stated is either one parallel to or one that flows from the revelation enunciated in the preceding verse. It means ‘and accordingly’, continuing the thought of what precedes or drawing out its implications. ‘All Israel shall be saved’ is the proposition thus involved. It should be apparent from both the proximate and less proximate contexts in this portion of the epistle that it is exegetically impossible to give to ‘Israel’ in this verse any other denotation than that which belongs to the term throughout this chapter. There is the sustained contrast between Israel and the Gentiles, as has been demonstrated in the exposition preceding. What other denotation could be given to Israel in the preceding verse? It is of ethnic Israel Paul is speaking and Israel could not possibly include Gentiles. In that event the preceding verse would be reduced to absurdity and since verse 26 is a parallel or correlative statement the denotation of ‘Israel’ must be same as in verse 25.” (The Epistle to the Romans, Vol. 2, p. 96; see all of John Murray’s extremely insightful and important comments and footnotes, pp. 96-98!)
-“We pose the question: In what sense here is "all Israel" used? Perhaps simply as it is in the Septuagint? That is not the case. For here there is very clearly a tension between the attributes "all (Israel)" and "part" (apomerous) from the preceding verse: a "hardening" (toward the Christ and the gospel) for a specifically limited time or on a specifically limited portion has come upon Israel, the Jewish people, from God. It lasts "until the full number of the Gentiles (specified by God) come in." The "remnant, chosen by grace" had at that time accepted the gospel – Paul was thinking of the Jewish-Christians of his time--"but the rest were hardened (by God)" (11:5 – 8), but not for all eternity, but rather only "until the full number of the Gentiles come in."
Who, therefore, is meant by "all Israel" in Rom. 11:26? The attributive "all" before "Israel" both of itself and on the basis of the diachronic linguistic usage does not here permit a limitation of the term "Israel" in the sense of Rom. 9:6, that is, a limitation to that Israel which has accepted the gospel, or indeed to the Church as the (alleged) true Israel. Rather, "all Israel" consists of the "remnant" who by the grace of God have accepted the gospel and the "rest" who were hardened (by God)--cf. 11:5 – 7. A reference to the entirety of Israel also turns up in 10:16 when the apostle there formulates: "But they have not all [of Israel] heeded the gospel." "Not all" means a portion of Israel, namely, those who remained "hardened." One must therefore describe the formula "all Israel" as the sum of an addition; in this sense Paul modified the handed-on formula.
From the perspective of this insight the much-disputed "and thus" (kai houtos) at the beginning of 11:26 can also be explained. It is often incorrectly understood as an anticipation of the "how" (kathôs) in verse 26b, in the sense: All Israel will "thus," that is, in this manner, be saved "as it is written" in Isa. 59:20f. "And thus--as" is understood as a parallel relationship. However, had Paul such a parallel in mind, then he would have placed the "thus" in verse 26a in another position in the sentence and would have begun it without the particle "and" (kai): All Israel will thus, that is, in this manner, be saved as it is written in Isaiah. Rather, Paul proclaims: "The remnant" of Israel, that part which had accepted the gospel, God had already saved, as corresponds to the prophetic statement of Rom. 9:27 (Isa. 10:20: "The remnant will be saved") But also the rest whom God for incomprehensible reasons "hardened," will be saved by him, namely, when the "full number of the Gentiles comes in." "And thus" in the end--the apostle states this prophetically--"all Israel will be saved. The emphasis lies on the attributive "all" (pas): All Israel will be saved, not just a part of it, for example, that portion which has accepted the gospel. Incidentally, that the "hardened" part of Israel which was not able to obey the gospel will be saved by God is stated by Paul with the help of the Isaiah citation not for the first time in ll:26b; he had announced this earlier with all possible clarity in verse 24: "For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree." This is an indicative statement and prediction without limitation: God will re-engraft them.” (‘All Israel Will Be Saved’ [Romans 11:26], Tractate on the Jews)
Navarre Bible Commentary
-“The conversion of the Jews is a secret—a mystery, the text says (v. 25)—hidden in the future… This conversion will follow that of the Gentiles, which will be as it were a prelude to it. Jesus has foretold that “Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled”, which in some way suggests that the Jews will be converted at the end of time.” (NBC, Romans 11:25)
-“And (to follow the subject one step further, in fact to its conclusion) so [thus]—ie. Under these circumstances, after the conversion of the Gentiles (and by means of it)—all Israel shall be saved—ie. Shall be restored, as a nation, to God’s favor, and enjoy the complete fulfillment of all their prophesied blessings.” (The Expositor’s Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, p. 369)
-“But Israel’s blindness is only for a time. God had not discarded his ancient people, and in the end the Jews too will be gathered into the Christian Church.” (Harper’s Bible Commentary, p. 453)
-“Some nonmillenarians believe God will do something special for Israel at the end of time that will compel them to accept Jesus as their Messiah. They base this view on Romans 11, in which the Apostle Paul said, ‘all Israel will be saved.’ (Coming Again, p. 242)
-“And so all Israel shall be saved—This is the real, elect, spared nation of the future,—“those written unto life” (Dan. 12:1; Isa. 4:3, margin). The mystery comprehends this fact (as we have said above, and as the apostle amplifies in verse 31) for the salvation of national Israel was impossible, except on purely grace lines. God had given them the Law: that was necessary to reveal sin. But they utterly failed. Now comes in the fulness of the Gentiles—by grace: and so, after that, and on the same grace line as were the Gentiles, all Israel shall be saved! Most of that earthly nation will perish under Divine judgments, and the Antichrist: but the Remnant will be “accounted as a generation.”… See Psalm 22:30; 102:18. Jehovah at last “arises, and has pity on her,—for the set time has come!” So we read the Psalmist’s words: ‘This shall be written for the generation to come; And a people which shall be created shall praise Jehovah.’” (Romans Verse-by-Verse)
-“We have what may be called a standing miracle continually before our eyes; I mean the state of the Jews, who, though dispersed far and wide among many nations, are every where preserved a distinct and separate people. The history of the world affords no other instance of the like kind. The great monarchies, by which they were successively conquered and scattered, have successively perished. Only the names of them remain. But the people whom they despised, and endeavored to exterminate, subsist to this day; and, though sifted like corn over the earth, and apparently forsaken of God, are still preserved by his wonderful providence, unaffected by the changes and customs around them; still tenacious of the law of Moses, though the observance of it is rendered impracticable. Many days, many ages they have lived as the prophets foretold they should, without a temple, without sacrifice or priest. (Hos. 3:4-5) As yet, many Heathen nations are permitted to walk in their own ways. But at length "the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, and all Israel shall be saved." (Rom. 11:25-26) The revolutions and commotions in kingdoms and nations, which astonish and perplex politicians, are all bringing forward this great event.” (Works of John Newton, Volume IV, Sermon XXXII)
-“The content of the secret is that hardening has come upon part of Israel for the present, and it will continue till the full number of the Gentiles come in. But when that has taken place, the turn will come to Israel as a people. Then it will no longer be a ‘remnant’ but Israel’s ‘fulness’, ‘all Israel,’ will enter into the kingdom of God. All Israel will be saved.” (Commentary on Romans, p. 404)
-“That this remarkable passage contains a prophecy, properly so called, respecting the people of Israel, is acknowledged by the great majority of expositors, both ancient and modern; and the context so positively requires us to understand Israelites after the flesh, that a different interpretation of the passage will never be able to gain a permanent foothold. It was only from a mistaken opposition to the Jews, and from apprehensions of fanatical abuse of the passage, that Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Jerome long ago, and in later days the reformers especially, were led to explain the Apostle’s words as relating to spiritual Israel. The correct application, however, was again established as early as Beza in the reformed/Calvinistic Church, and in the Lutheran by Calixtus and Spener. How forced the sense of the words is, according to that interpretation which refers them to the spiritual Israel, is apparent from the translation of the passage to which this leads: ‘Israel has been in part affected with hardness, throughout the whole time that the fulness of the Gentiles is entering the kingdom of God, i.e. while the Gentiles are entering into a body, individual Jews only will become Christians; there is no help to be expected for the Jewish people as a whole.) But then, (viz., when all the Gentiles shall have entered), will the whole spiritual Israel, made up of Jews and Gentiles, be blessed.’ The utter irrelevancy of this last sentence must be apparent to every one; it is only when applied to the fleshly Israel that it acquires a meaning.” (Biblical Commentary on the New Testament, Romans, p. 373-374)
-“But when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, then will all Israel, having been called again, be saved.” (The Song of Songs Commentary and Homilies, Book III, Vol 26, p. 252)
-“Yet, after this, Jael, the Church, ‘went out to meet’ also the first people [Barak], who were pursuing Sisera. For Israel pursued ‘the law of righteousness, but did not arrive at the law.’ Therefore, the Church ‘goes out to meet’ even that one [Barak/the Jews (the first people)] and ‘shows’ him her work; she shows him the accomplished victory and invites him into alliance for having overthrown the enemies. For this true what the Apostle says will happen ‘at the end time’: ‘when the full number of the gentiles has entered in, then all Israel will be saved.’ Therefore, ‘primacy’ is indeed brought about ‘at the hand of’ a foreign ‘woman’; nevertheless, even Barak is not excluded from a participation in glory, he who indeed had begun as the first but arrived at the end as the last. On the contrary, until he arrives, Jael, the foreign woman, snatches a victory in a certain manner while escaping notice.” (Homily Five, Homilies on Judges)
Grant R. Osborne
-“At that time all Israel will be saved. And so means that by bringing the Gentiles to himself, ‘in this manner’ God would reach the Jewish people. This in fact is the process outlined in verses 11-14… The conversion of the Gentiles would arouse the Jews to envy and bring them to Christ. All Israel refers not to the Jewish people down through the ages but to the nation at the end of history who will be saved. The text clearly does not detail how this will come about but rather promises the event itself, with the Isaianic quote in verses 26-27 indicating that it will be connected to the parousia of Christ… The promise of Israel’s future salvation has developed throughout the section (11:1-24). At present there is a remnant who have come to Christ, but the majority in Israel have been hardened (vv. 1-10). Yet the purpose of this hardening has unleashed a powerful act of God whereby he first has brought the Gentiles to himself and grafted them into the olive tree. But even this act has been purposed to make the Jewish people jealous and cause them to want to regain their covenant relationship with God (vv. 11-24). The result is that after the Gentile mission is complete (v. 25), Israel will experience a national revival and come to Christ.” (Romans, p. 305-6)
-“The primary debate here is the meaning of all Israel, seen as (1) all the elect, comprising Jews and Gentiles alike… (2) the elect from Israel… or (3) the nation of Israel… The first is unlikely since the context is discussing Jews and Gentiles separately, and in verse 25 ‘Israel’ refers to the Jewish people. The second is possible but would be tautologous since by definition the elect will be saved. The third is most likely, but the question is whether this would lead to universalism, that every Jewish person will be saved (so Barth). But as Moo says, all Israel does not mean ‘every Israelite’ but is rather a corporate designation.” (ibid. footnote on p. 305-6)
-[Owen, commenting on Calvin’s interpretation of Romans 11:26]: “The explanation [Calvin gives] of this verse is by no means satisfactory. It does not correspond at all with what the Apostle has already declared in verses 11, 12, and 15; where the restoration of the Jews to the faith is most clearly set forth. Besides, by making Israel, in the next verse, to mean generally the people of God, the contrast, observable through the whole argument, is completely destroyed… Hammond tells us, that many of the Fathers wholly denied the future restoration of the Jews; and we are told by Pareus, who mentions some of the same Fathers, that they maintained it. But it appears from the quotations made by the first, that the restoration disallowed was that to their own land, and that the restoration referred to by the latter was restoration to the faith; two things wholly distinct. That ‘Israel’ means exclusively the Jewish nation, was almost the unanimous opinion of the Fathers, according to Estius; and their future restoration to the faith as here foretold was the sentiment held by Beza, Willet, Mede, and others, and is generally held by modern divines.” (Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Romans, ed. John Owen (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1848), 436-37, n. 1)
-“[The bringing in of the kingdom of Christ awaits] The bringing home of his ancient people to be one fold with the fullness of the Gentiles, raising up the tabernacle of David, and building it as in days of old, in the accomplishment of innumerable promises, and in answer to millions of prayers put up at the throne of grace for this very glory, in all generations.” (The Sermons of John Owen)
-“[Paul] is showing that, just as the Gentiles were first of all shut up in sin and shut out of God’s covenant fellowship and then were saved by grace out of sin, so the Jews are going to be saved out of sin, the sin of unbelief.” (Engaging the Written Word of God, p. 200)
Earl F. Palmer
-“There is no escaping Paul’s own dramatic setting for the mystery that he is privileged to share with the church. God is not finished with Israel even though his people are rebellious. He will win them to faith.” (Salvation by Surprise: A Commentary on the Book of Romans, p. 134)
-“Though still quite popular in some circles, the idea that “Israel,” in Romans 11:26, refers to the church at large has little if any exegetical warrant. While it is true that elsewhere Paul seems to allude to what is customarily referred to as “the spiritual Israel” (Rom. 2:28, 29; Gal. 3:6–9, 26–29; 6:16; Eph. 2:14), the decisive argument against reading this concept into this passage is the context of Romans 9–11. Here the term Israel indisputably refers to ethnic Israel in each of its occurrences, especially the immediate context in chapter 11, which clearly distinguishes Gentiles from Israel (v. 25). First of all, the failure of ethnic Israel to obtain salvation is what was called for in chapters 9–11. Moreover, earlier in chapter 11, Gentiles are explicitly distinguished from ethnic Jews: Gentiles are being grafted onto the olive tree while the Jews, as the natural branches, are being broken off. Indeed, to argue that Israel, in verse 26, includes believing Gentiles, requires Paul to jump to a new meaning for the term Israel, for, in verse 25, he says that a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of believing Gentiles is reached. It seems obvious, then, that, in verse 26, “Israel” refers to ethnic Israel as distinguished from Gentiles. This is confirmed by verse 28 where the distinction between ethnic Jews and Gentiles is still present.” (The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation: A Study of Romans 11:26)
-“That all the elect shall be saved? Who ever doubted that? But of the calling of the Jews there is doubt. He calls their salvation a secret or mystery but there is nothing mysterious about all the elect being saved. He shows that there is an unbroken reference to Israel/Jacob, that is, ethnic Israel. Before the end of the world the Jews in regard to their multitude will be called.” (A plaine exposition vpon the whole 8. 9. 10. 11. chapters of the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans)
-“Hence I gather that the nation of the Jews shall be called, and converted to the participation of this blessing: when, and how, God knows: but that it shall be done before the end of the world we know.” (Works, Vol. 2, p. 231)
Friedrich Adolph Philippi
-“‘All Israel,’ in contrast with ‘in part’ of verse 25, can be understood of nothing else than the entire sum of the people of Israel. It’s application to the spiritual Israel (Gal. 6:16) is just as arbitrary as its application to the believing elect portion of the Jews. Such explanations merely show to what violent exegetical shifts interpreters can be led by preconceived opinions.” (Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, p. 220)
-“Not: all Israel may be saved, but: all Israel will be saved. Not everyone agrees that “all Israel” refers to the nation as a whole alive in some future generation. Some take “all Israel” to refer to the true spiritual Israel including Jews and Gentiles. Others take it to refer to the remnant of believing ethnic Israel that is being saved all along through faith in Christ. Both of these views deny what I have been arguing for—that there will be a great and stupendous national conversion of Israel some day.
Five Reasons Why I Believe Romans 11:26 Refers to the Nation of Israel as a Whole:
So let me draw out several reasons again why I believe verse 26 (“And in this way all Israel will be saved”) means that someday the nation as a whole (not necessarily every individual; see 1 Kings 12:1; 2 Chronicles 12:1) will be converted to Christ and join the Christian church and be saved. And then we will conclude with some implications.
1. I think the term “Israel” in verse 25 and 26 most naturally refer to the same thing.
Verse 25: “Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel. . . .” That must refer to the nation as a whole from generation to generation. He continues, “. . . until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved.” I don't think the meaning of Israel changes between verse 25 and 26. The hardened Israel (the nation as a whole) will be the saved Israel (the nation as a whole).
2. The reference in verse 26 to banishing ungodliness from Jacob fits with the national view of “all Israel.”
Verse 26: “And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.'” This seems most naturally to be a picture of Christ's return at the second coming, and banishing ungodliness from Jacob refers most naturally to the removal of the hardening referred to in verse 25. “Jacob” is not a natural or typical reference to the elect remnant of Israel. The hardening lasts until the full number of the Gentiles comes in (the climax of world missions), and then Christ comes and lifts the veil and removes the hardening—he banishes ungodliness from Jacob, from “all Israel.”
3. The parallel between the two halves of verse 28 point to all Israel as the nation as a whole.
Verse 28: “As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake.” Now that half of the verse surely refers to the nation as a whole—they are enemies of God. So the second half of the verse surely refers to the nation as a whole as well: “But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.” The point of this verse is to show that even though Israel now is a covenant-breaking, unbelieving nation, that is going to change. The nation that are enemies now, will be converted later because of election and love.
4. The parallels in verse 12 point in the same direction.
Verse 12: “Now if their [the Jewish nation's] trespass means riches for the world [salvation for the Gentiles], and if their [the Jewish nation's] failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion!” Here “their full inclusion” most naturally refers to the same nation as “their trespass” and “their failure.” So “their full inclusion” refers to the salvation of “all Israel” and is national.
5. The same thing is true about the parallels in verse 15.
“For if their [Jewish nation's] rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their [Jewish nation's] acceptance mean but life from the dead?” The nation now rejected will be accepted. So the “acceptance” of the Jewish nation most naturally refers to the salvation of “all Israel”—the salvation of the nation as a whole some day.” (All Israel Will Be Saved)
-“The point there [Rom. 9:6] is this: the privileges given to Israel can never be construed to guarantee the salvation of any individual Jew or synagogue of Jews, and therefore the unbelief of Paul’s kinsmen cannot immediately be construed to mean that God’s word of promise has fallen. But in no way does 9:6b exclude the possibility that God’s intention may someday be to save ‘all Israel’ (11:26). And therefore 9:6b does not give us a warrant to construe the privileges of 9:4,5 (against the wording of the text) as the privileges of eschatological Israel (= the Church) to the exclusion of empirical-historical Israel. Why should Dinkler prefer to see a contradiction between Rom. 9:1-13 and Rom. 11:1-32 than to allow God’s intention for Israel’s future in 11:1-32 to help him see that Rom. 9:6b should not be construed to rule out a future for ethnic Israel?” (The Justification of God, p. 24)
“But, someone may say, if he saves the whole end-time generation, an Israelite will be able to boast legitimately: I was saved because I am a descendant of Abraham and so had a sufficient merit in God’s eyes! There are two responses to this objection: 1) the banishing of ungodliness from Israel (Rom. 11:26) will mean the elimination of precisely that attitude; 2) if anyone does manifest that attitude he will not be saved, since salvation is always on the same basis for Jew and Gentile.” (ibid. p. 27)
William S. Plumer
-“Paul was proving that the dark cloud which was hanging over the Jewish people should, in God’s own time, be dispersed, and that all Israel should be saved… There is a difference as to the meaning of ‘all Israel.’ Calvin extends it to all the people of God. If this be the correct view, we may understand the ‘all’ in an absolute sense. Then ‘all Israel’ in this verse embraces all believers, whatever their lineage and nationality may be and that to the end of time. ‘All are not Israel, which are of Israel.’ ‘He is a Jew, which is one inwardly.’ The other view makes ‘all Israel’ to mean the mass of the Jewish nation. In that case the word all must be taken in no absolute sense, as it simply designates the great body of Jacob’s descendants, who shall be living when the Jews shall turn to the Lord and accept their Messiah. This is pretty certainly the correct view of the passage.” (Commentary on Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, p. 552-553)
-“By Israel is not meant the whole church of God, consisting of Jews and Gentiles; so that word is used, Gal. 6:16, and elsewhere; for then, what he spake would have been no mystery at all: but by Israel here (as in the precedent verse) you must understand, the nation and people of the Jews. And by all Israel is not meant every individual Israelite, but many, or (it may be) the greatest part of them…. These prophecies and promises [from Isaiah 27:9; 59:20 and Jer. 31:33], though they were in part fulfilled when Christ came in the flesh, (see Acts 3:26,) yet there will be a more full and complete accomplishment thereof upon the Jewish nation and people towards the end of the world.” (Commentary on the Whole Bible)
St. Prosper of Aquitaine
-“He delayed for centuries while he was educating Israel, to enlighten the countless peoples of infidels; and now he allows that same Israel to go blind till the universality of the Gentiles enter the fold. He allows so many thousands of this people to be born and die and to be lost when only those whom the end of the world will find alive will attain salvation.” (The Call of All Nations, Book 1, Cap. 21)
-“The great parsimony in bestowing grace which in past ages befell all other nations, is now the lot of the Jewish people. Yet, when the fullness of the Gentiles shall have come in, then a flood of the same waters of grace is promised for their dry hearts…When the Apostle Paul stopped in his knowledge and discussion of this problem and gave way to utter astonishment, who would be so presumptuous as to believe that he could try and explain it rather than admire it in silence?” (The Call of All Nations, Book 2, Cap. 9)
-“All Israel shall be saved; the Jews, as a nation, shall be converted to the Christian faith—shall acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah, and thus be restored to the favor of God.” (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, p. 77)
-“The consensus of Methodist commentators was that there would be a future conversion of Israel. This hope was based on Romans 11:25-26.” (The Hope of a Christian World: Wesleyan Eschatology and Cultural Transformation, The Arminian Magazine, Issue 1 Spring 2007 Volume 25 Page 1-4)
Reformation Study Bible
“He is showing how God will, in the future, bring such widespread salvation to the Jewish people that, in an obvious general sense, it can be said that “all Israel will be saved” (v. 26) … some form of this last view seems most likely for the following reasons. First, hints of it seem to appear already in vv. 11, 12, 15, 16, 24. Second, v. 25 suggests that an end to the partial hardening of Israel is in view. Third, “Israel” in v. 26 is not naturally interpreted as signifying a different entity from the Israel in view in vv. 1–24 and vv. 28–31, where national Israel (not spiritual Israel) is in view. Fourth, “mystery” in v. 25 would seem inappropriate and exaggerated if Paul’s teaching were simply that all elect Jews will be saved. Finally, this view accords well with the quotations in vv. 26, 27 from Is. 59:20, 21; 27:9; Jer. 31:33, 34, which appear to speak of a comprehensive banishment of that sin that has been the cause of Israel’s alienation from God.”
William E. Riddell
-““And so that,” or “and in this way,” or “and thus” all of Israel shall be saved. This expression, “and so that” is frequently used to imply a manner and result. In this case, the manner/method is “a partial hardening until the end of the Gentiles” and the result is “all of Israel shall be saved.” We see a similar usage in Acts 27:44, where Paul was stranded in a shipwreck. Men floated on planks and pieces of ship and “in this way” they were all brought to shore. In other words, a “partial blindness” has happened to Israel so that or in this way all of Israel might be saved. The reason this is going to happen is because of Old Testament promises regarding Jacob. But more than that, the astounding conclusion that Paul is about to reveal is that the saving of the Gentiles is not for their sake, but for the sake of the Jews!—that all of Israel might be saved.
Many have argued that Paul’s use of “Israel” in this verse means spiritual Israel. They say that Paul really means the remnant of saved Jews and Gentiles. It is true that Paul frequently speaks of spiritual Israel, but in this case, the most obvious reading of “all Israel shall be saved” (11:26a) is that he must be thinking about hardened or blinded Israel (11:25b), which is ethnic Israel. First, verse 25 is speaking about an end-time event that is centered in his discussion about the hardened Jews, who are his kinsmen. Second, this is what he is calling the “mystery.” This mystery is a different sort than the mystery of the Christ and the church, which was a mystery to the Jews. This is now a mystery to the Gentiles. Paul’s main idea, at this point, is that this mystery is that the hardening of Israel will be lifted after the fullness of the Gentiles. Paul grounds this idea in a quotation of the scriptures found in Isaiah 59:20-21 and 27:9. If Israel is only spiritual or elect Israel, why apply Isaiah’s salvation to an already saved group? It must be ethnic Israel who has rejected the gospel. The entire point, going all the back to Romans 9:1, has been about hardened Israel. This is further clarified in the verses to follow: “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:28-29) In these verses, Paul expands his main idea. Israel is the enemy of the gospel. These are “enemies” for your sakes, but are still beloved for the sake of their fathers. In other words, these are the enemies of the gospel so you Gentiles can be saved, but even so, they are still beloved of God.” (Does Israel Have a Future?)
-“‘Full number’ stands over against Israel’s present ‘reduction.’ In an antithetical sense it also corresponds with ‘remnant’ (pleroma over against leimma) in verse 5… The entire argument of Romans 11:15-32 is intended to throw light not only on the possibility, but also on the certainty of this ‘acceptance’ and ‘fulness’ of Israel.” (Paul: An Outline of His Theology, p. 357-58)
-“There is therefore no contradiction between the definition of the essence of the New Testament church as the people of God and holding to Israel as the object of God's irrevocable gift of grace and calling.” (ibid., p. 360)
-“There were four men sent by the Church of Scotland: Andrew Bonar, Robert M’Cheyne, Dr Alexander Black and Dr Alexander Keith. The purpose of the mission was to enquire into the state of the Jewish people in what had once been their homeland but which for many centuries now had been more or less occupied by other nations – or rather left desolate. What lay in the minds of these men and of those who were responsible for sending them was the belief which we refer to as the ‘Puritan hope’. That is to say the belief that one day in the future God will revive the Jewish people and graft them into the Church once more. The classic passages which refer to this prophecy are these. First Paul says: ‘There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer and shall turn ungodliness from Jacob’ (Romans 11:26).” (2010 Evangelical Library Lecture)
-“All Israel (pās Israēl). What does Paul mean? The immediate context (use of pās in contrast with apo merous, plērōma here in contrast with plērōma in Rom. 11:12) argues for the Jewish people “as a whole.” But the spiritual Israel (both Jews and Gentiles) may be his idea in accord with Rom. 9:6 (Gal. 6:16) as the climax of the argument. At any rate we should strive for and pray for the conversion of Jews as a whole.” (Word Pictures in the New Testament)
-“O to see the sight, next to Christ's Coming in the clouds, the most joyful! our elder brethren the Jews and Christ fall upon one another's necks and kiss each other! They have been long asunder; they will be kind to one another when they meet. O day! O longed-for and lovely day-dawn! O sweet Jesus, let me see that sight which will be as life from the dead, Thee and Thy ancient people in mutual embraces.” (Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Banner of Truth, Letter 50, p. 122-3)
-“So how do these references to the remnant of Israel provide evidence that God is faithful to His Word? It is because the remnant, the true Israel, is designed to be the earnest that God has given that one day God will fulfill His promise that ‘all Israel will be saved’ (Rom. 11:26-27). Arguing that today, Israel’s rejection of the Messiah Jesus is only partial (‘a partial hardening has come to Israel’) and temporary (‘until the full number of the Gentiles has come in’). But, in the future, when the Liberator comes from Zion, the entire nation will believe and then all Israel will know the Lord.” (The People, the Land, and the Future of Israel, edited by Darrell Bock and Mitch Glaser, p. 264)
-“[The Jews] are kept separate that they may finally be saved, converted and restored to their own land. They are reserved and preserved, in order that God may show in them as on a platform, to angels and men, how greatly he hates sin, and yet how greatly he can forgive, and how greatly he can convert. Never will that be realized as it will in that day when ‘all Israel shall be saved.’” (Are You Ready for the End of Time?, p. 137-138)
-“The future salvation of Israel as a people, their return to Palestine, and their national conversion to God appear as clearly and plainly revealed as any prophecy in God’s Word.”
-“Throw aside all prejudice, and view the subject with calm and dispassionate thought. Take up anew the prophetical Scriptures, and pray that you may not err in interpreting their meaning. Read them in the light of those two great pole-stars, the first and second advents of Jesus Christ. Bind up with the first advent the rejection of the Jews, the calling of the Gentiles, the preaching of the gospel as a witness to the world, and the gathering out of the election of grace. Bind up with the second advent the restoration of the Jews, the pouring out of the judgments on unbelieving Gentiles, the conversion of the world, and the establishment of Christ’s kingdom upon earth. Do this, and you will see a meaning and fullness in prophecy which perhaps you have never yet discovered. It is high time for Christians to interpret unfulfilled prophecy by the light of prophecies already fulfilled. The curses on the Jews were brought to pass literally:--so always will be the blessings. The scattering was literal:--so also will be the gathering. The pulling down of Zion was literal:--so also will be the building up. The rejection of Israel was literal:--so also will be the restoration.” (The Second Coming of Christ, p. 38)
-“In the discussion in chapter 11 Paul returns to the original question, ‘Has God cast away His people?’ answering it with an emphatic no. This answer is confirmed by two considerations: (1) the extent of Israel’s rejection is only partial (vv. 1-10), and (2) the duration of it is only temporary (vv. 25-32)… The partial nature of the rejection is illustrated by Paul’s own case… The gracious action of God in preserving to Himself a remnant is further proof that God has not cast away His people… God can easily graft in again the natural branches. Thus Paul makes it clear that the future restoration of the Jews is more probable than the salvation of Gentiles has been. Not only is that restoration highly probable but it is certain, for Israel’s rejection is not permanent (vv. 25-32). It is temporary because it is only ‘until’ a certain event. Since there is no other possible way to understand ‘until’ (v. 25), it is clear that the rejection must end eventually... Thus Israel’s future rests secure on the promises and nature of God.” (Biblical Theology of the New Testament, p. 214-15)
William Sanday & Arthur Headlam
-“πάς Ισραήλ. In what sense are these words used? (1) The whole context shows clearly that it is the actual Israel of history that is referred to. This is quite clear from the contrast with ‘the fullness of the Gentiles’ in verse 25, the use of the term Israel in the same verse, and the drift of the argument in verses 17-24. It cannot be interpreted either of the spiritual Israel, as by Calvin, or the remnant according to the election of grace, or such Jews as believe, or all who to the end of the world shall turn to the Lord. (2) πάς must be taken in the proper meaning of the word: ‘Israel as whole, Israel as a nation,’ and not as necessarily including every Israelite.” (A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, p. 335)
-“It is God who hardened part of Israel, it is God whose word will not fail (Rom. 9:6), and it is God who will see to it that all Israel is saved, though this does not happen apart from Christ.” (Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People, p. 194; note: Sanders is referring here to ethnic Israel.)
-“On the meaning of ‘all Israel,’ most contemporary scholars reject the first interpretation—that the phrase is a reference to the elect Jews and Gentiles of all ages—and they do so because of the context. In chapter 9-11, Paul uses the term ‘Israel’ no less than eleven times. The preceding ten indisputably denote the Jews as opposed to the Gentiles, and there is no compelling evidence to view the last use differently. Moreover, the close connection in thought between verses 25 and 26 demands ethnic Israel.” (The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism, p. 254)
-“The Word of God is explicit still about the future. In Romans 11:25 it is made clear that the blindness which now in part is happened to Israel is not forever, but "until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in". And then what is to come to pass? The 26th verse tells us that "all Israel" shall then be saved when the Deliverer "will turn away ungodliness from Jacob". The 29th verse is one that Christians love and use for ourselves, "For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable." We may apply it to ourselves because God never breaks any promise but let us notice that the primary application in this place is to the Jew. God has promised great things for Israel as a nation, and the Word here tells us that he will bring them to pass. If he does not bring them to pass, then "the gifts and calling of God" are not "irrevocable". Clearly, again, in Zechariah 12:10 it is stated that the day will come when the Jews, "will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son." In the day when Israel shall be saved they shall look upon Jesus and know that in His first coming he was their true Messiah. Again, it is not only the Old Testament, which promises that the land of Palestine will once more belong to the Jews. In the New Testament, also, in Luke 21:24, we are told that, "Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled". The Word tells us that the day will come when "all Israel will be saved", that the Jews will "look upon" Jesus as their true Messiah and that the Promised Land will be theirs once more. It is not only for the past, not only for the present, but also for the future, that we who are now Christ’s should love the Jew.” (The Bible-Believing Christian and the Jewish People)
Philip Schaff & Matthew B. Riddle
-“All Israel shall be saved. This statement has been narrowed in many ways, and on the other hand the obvious sense has been loaded down with notions to which Paul does not allude, here or elsewhere. The view now generally adopted is: that the ancient people of God (so marvellously preserved in their distinctive life, as if in earnest of this) shall be restored, as a nation, to God’s favor. As in Rom. 11:25, it is not implied that every individual Jew will be converted; but probably the proportion will be greater than in the case of the Gentiles, since ‘all’ is more definite. We must also place in connection with this statement, the argument of Rom. 11:12; Rom. 11:15. But respecting the details of this restoration of the Jews as a body little has been revealed. The picture is everywhere drawn, only in broad outline. The attempt to fill it out has always produced a reaction, which has opposed even the obvious literal sense of the clause. Luther, Calvin, and others of the reformers denied the reference to the Jewish nation, mainly on dogmatic grounds. Whether Paul expected this to occur sooner or later does not affect the points revealed; chronological and prophetical nearness are not necessarily identical. The lengthening term of Israel’s unbelief presents cumulative evidence that Israel’s preservation is to the end that ‘all Israel shall be saved.’” (A Popular Commentary on the New Testament)
-[Against “all Israel” referring to the church, Thomas Schreiner, in his commentary on Romans, calls this argument decisive:] “The central and decisive objection to this interpretation is the context of Rom. 9-11, especially the immediate context of chapter 11. The failure of ethnic Jews to obtain salvation is what provoked chapters 9-11 in the first place. Moreover, the preceding verses in chapter 11 preserve a distinction between Gentiles and ethnic Jews: the Gentiles are being grafted onto the olive tree while the Jews–as the natural branches–are being removed.” (Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary)
-“Romans 9–11 has increasingly been recognized by scholars to be a central part of the letter to the Romans. Moo concurs with this judgment and argues that it is an integral part of the Pauline gospel. Paul argues in this section that God’s promises to Israel have not been rescinded and that they will indeed be fulfilled. Some scholars have claimed that Paul’s argument in this section is internally contradictory, but Moo defends well the coherence of Paul’s thought. Other scholars have suggested that Israel will be saved without faith in Christ. This theory, though attractive, is shown to be wishful thinking through Moo’s careful exegesis of the text. What does Paul mean when he say that ‘all Israel shall be saved’ (Romans 11:26)? The idea that the reference is to both Jews and Gentiles is rightly rejected, for the Jews are distinguished from the Gentiles in chaps. 9-11. Moo argues that the reference is to ethnic Israel and that Paul predicts the salvation of a great number of Israelites near the second coming of Christ. In my opinion, this is the most satisfying interpretation of a controversial text.” (Reading Romans Theologically: A Review Article, JETS, p. 649-650)
James M. Scott
-“The inclusive interpretation is improbable not only in light of the established usage of ‘all Israel,’ but also in view of Paul’s argument in context, where he explicitly contrasts ‘Israel’ and ‘the nations’ (cf. Rom. 11:1ff.). Thus, for example, the apostle states that ‘a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the nations has come in’ (v. 25). Then, immediately after stating that ‘all Israel will be saved’ (v. 26), he supports this assertion with a citation of Isa 59:20-1 + 27:9, where ‘Jacob’ must refer to ‘Israel’ in the literal sense of all twelve tribes. In Rom 11:18, the apostle makes it abundantly clear that the ‘all Israel’ of v. 26 must be ethnic Israel, since it is obviously ethnic Israelites who are now ‘enemies for the sake of the nations’ and who ‘are beloved because of the fathers according to election.’” (Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish and Christian Perspectives, edited by James M. Scott, p. 517)
Thomas Scott & Matthew Henry
-“The continued care of the Lord towards that people, and the final mercy and blessed restoration which appear intended for them, show the preserving patience and victorious love of God, to those whom he has chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, and who he finally will save for his sake.” (A Commentary Upon the Holy Bible, Vol. 6, p. 80)
-“The last word of Christ and the apostle concerning this wonderful people—which, like the burning bush, are never consumed—is a word of promise and hope that their blindness will be removed, and that after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, ‘all Israel will be saved.’ Rom. 11:26.” (Hebrews, A Dictionary of the Bible, ed. Philip Schaff, p. 370)
-“By the same token, Paul too inquired as to how, despite all else, it should happen that by the Word the Spirit of God would have a more powerful impact on the Gentiles than on the Jews. This observation, moreover, he expressed to all intents and purposes teleologically in this way: ‘a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved.’ This statement, despite all else, means nothing other than that in comparison with the Jews it was precisely the Gentiles who were sick whereas it was the Jews who were well, and that on the whole, once the Jews would have come to be entirely surrounded by the greater health that the Gentiles had attained through the Gospel, they too would come to a feeling of their sickness.” (On the Doctrine of Election, p. 74; note: this is an interesting interpretation, nevertheless even Schleiermacher sees that Paul is talking about ethnic Israel.)
Mark A. Seifrid
-“The ‘mystery,’ Paul explains, is that a hardening, in part, has come upon Israel. This ‘hardening in part’ also has a limited time: ‘until the fullness of the Gentiles has entered in’ (11:25c-d). This statement is most naturally understood as an expression of Paul’s argument thus far in chapter 11. The ‘hardening in part’ is something of a litotes that describes the divine judgment on the nation that preserves a not inconsiderable ‘remnant’ as a sign of the coming salvation of Israel as a whole (11:1-9, 14). Paul has already made it clear that Israel’s ‘fall’ is not final, that God will finally accept them again (11:11-16). He now makes clear that they will be ingrafted again into ‘their own olive tree’—that is, into the community of faith that proceeds from Abraham (11:23-24)… ‘the fullness’ of Israel signifies the eschatological salvation of the nation as a whole… the Gentiles’ time will come to an end, and when it does, the ‘hardening’ of Israel will end as well… Paul does not cast aside his affirmation of the priority of Israel: salvation remains ‘for the Jew first, and also for the Greek.’
…Paul’s point here is not that every last member of Israel in all of time will be saved; if that were the case, his deep lament, with his willingness to suffer his own condemnation for Israel’s sake, would be pointless. ‘All Israel’ does not signify every descendent of Abraham for all time; rather, as an allusion to Scripture, it speaks of Israel as a corporate reality (e.g. Deut. 1:1; 5:1; 29:2; 31:11; Josh. 3:7; 1 Sam. 7:5). Paul is concerned instead about Israel as a nation, as a people with a history, as an ethnic reality. Christ alone remains the way of salvation, but Israel’s way to Christ will differ from that of the nations that hear the gospel: Israel will see and believe in him as the coming Redeemer, as Paul himself did. The final act in the drama of redemption is not the formation of a church that consists largely of Gentiles, but the creation of salvation for the people of Israel. The gospel of Christ does not stand at odds with his coming as Redeemer, but rather announces it. Before that coming, then, Paul hopes to save ‘some’ of his people. As the larger dynamic of the passage makes clear, the surprising turns in the path of God’s purposes are by no means arbitrary. God’s untraceable ways reassert his right over us as our Creator, who acts in the freedom of mercy.
…Of course, there have long been different readings of Rom. 11, interpreting ‘Israel’ as referring to the church or the remnant of Israel throughout the ages (see Hoekema 1994). It is beyond the scope of the present work to engage in detailed debate with such readings, but two observations are appropriate. First, such a reinterpretation of ‘Israel’ can hardly be reconciled with the apostle’s opening lament for his people in 9:1-29, which is echoed in the prophet Isaiah. Biblical lament arises only in the face of unanswered promise. Likewise, Paul’s sorrow over the nation is hardly answered by a redefinition of the term. Second, and more importantly, such readings remove us from recognizing our limited time and place as Gentiles (as most of us are), which is precisely what the apostle is trying to prevent.” (Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, edited by G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson, p. 672-3, 678; note: see Seifrid’s entire comments, which are excellent.)
-“Theological continuities between the Isaianic and the Romans contexts are very clear. Just as the prophet introduced in his oracle the notion of divine unsearchable power and wisdom to assure his audience that Yahweh’s plan of delivering and restoring Israel would surely be achieved, so also the apostle stresses God’s unsearchable power and wisdom in his concluding ‘praise-hymn’ so as to affirm that Israel will one day be re-accepted by her God.” (Paul’s Use of Isaiah in Romans: A Comparative Study of Paul’s Letter to the Romans, p. 246)
-“The Jews are not yet come in under Christ’s banner; but God hath persuaded Japhet to come into the tents of Shem, will persuade Shem to come into the tents of Japhet, Gen. ix. 29. The ‘fulness of the Gentiles is not yet come in,’ Rom. xi.25, but Christ, that hath the ‘uttermost parts of the earth given him for his possession, Ps. ii. 8, will gather all the sheep his Father hath given him into one fold… The faithful Jews rejoiced to think of the calling of the Gentiles; and why should not we joy to think of the calling of the Jews?” (The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, 1:99)
-“In Romans 11:26, Paul says that eventually all Israel will be saved. This proves that God still has a future for Israel. To say that this verse is referring to Christians as the true Israel is to reject the context of this verse which is clearly separating Jews from Gentiles (see all of chapter 11).” (Dispensationalism and Eschatology, p. 6)
-“It is surprising, how indifferent even pious Christians are on the subject of the future restoration of the Jews. Though the Scriptures speak so much of it, the generality are contented to be altogether ignorant of God’s designs respecting them… ‘All Israel shall be saved.’ Hitherto, even in the best ages, there have been but few that truly feared God: the great mass of the people have been ungodly; and the saints have been but as a remnant of them. But in that day ‘a spirit of grace and of supplication will be poured out upon them in a more abundant measure; and they will look on Him whom they have pierced, and mourn, even as one mourneth for his only son:’ and ‘they will all fear the Lord, from the least of them even unto the greatest of them:’ yea, so universal shall be the prevalence of real piety amongst them, that ‘every vessel in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness to the Lord; and there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of Hosts.’” (Horae Homileticae, Vol. 15, Romans, p. 442-443)
-“The Jews despised this King Christ and therefore they were blinded. Yet they shall return and come to Christ, their King David, as Paul testifies, saying: Blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written: There shall come out of Zion a deliverer, and shall turn away the ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins. Is. 59:20. Since Israel is yet to be converted unto Christ, it follows incontrovertibly that the King David, who Israel shall seek, can be none other than Christ.” (The Complete Works of Menno Simons, p. 38)
Philipp Jacob Spener
-“In the first place, we have the glorious prophecy of St. Paul and the mystery revealed by him in Romans 11:25-26, that after the full number of the Gentiles comes in, all Israel will be saved. So if not all, at least a perceptibly large number of Jews who have hitherto hardened their hearts will be converted to the Lord… In order for the Jews to be converted, the true church must be in a holier state than now if its holy life is to be a means for that conversion, or at least the impediments to such a conversion (which, as we have seen above, have hitherto consisted of offenses) are to be removed. On the other hand, if the Jews are converted by God’s power in a manner which it is impossible for us to foresee, it is unthinkable that the example of this newly converted people (who would undoubtedly have a zeal like that of the early heathen who were converte to Christianity) would not be followed by a remarkable change and improvement in our church.” (Pia Desideria, p. 76-77)
-“And so all Israel will be saved. The context indicates that Paul must be speaking of the Jewish people. He does not mean every Jew that ever lived, but the nation of Israel. Now why do I say that ‘Israel’ in this phrase refers to the Jews? All through his discussion Paul is talking about Israel in part: part of Israel has been blinded, part of Israel has been cut away, part of Israel has been stubborn, part of Israel has been excluded from the kingdom of God and its blessings. The Jews as a people are presently under judgment. But as there was a national judgment, so there will be a national restoration. Their rejection, even though it was a national rejection, did not include the rejection of every individual. So the restoration doesn’t necessarily mean that every individual Jew will be saved, but the nation as a nation will be restored to God.” (The Gospel of God, p. 236-237)
-“So all Israel will be saved. If Paul is referring to spiritual Israel, he is departing from the way he uses term Israel here and in the preceding three chapters. Since chapter 8 Paul has been talking about ethnic Israel.” (Romans, St. Andrews Expositional Commentary, p. 387)
-“Though blindness has happened to Israel in part, yet not to all Israel. The Lord knoweth them that are his, and he will save them by his grace. Better times are, however, coming even for Israel after the flesh, for in the latter days they shall be converted to the Saviour.” (Expositions of the Bible)
-“I think we do not attach sufficient importance to the restoration of the Jews. We do not think enough of it. But certainly, if there is anything promised in the Bible it is this. I imagine that you cannot read the Bible without seeing clearly that there is to be an actual restoration of the children of Israel. ‘Thither they shall go up; they shall come with weeping unto Zion, and with supplications unto Jerusalem.’ May that happy day soon come! For when the Jews are restored, then the fullness of the Gentiles shall be gathered in; and as soon as they return, the Jesus will come up Mount Zion to reign with his ancients gloriously, and the halcyon days of the Millennium shall then dawn; we shall then know every man to be brother and a friend; Christ shall rule with universal sway.” (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, I, no. 28, 1855, 382)
“The day shall yet come when the Jews, who were the first Apostles to the Gentiles, the first missionaries to us, who were far off, shall be gathered in again. Until that shall be, the fullness of the Churches’ glory can never come. Matchless benefits to the world are bound up with the restoration of Israel; their gathering in shall be as life from the dead.” (Spurgeon’s Sermons, Vol. 17, p. 703-4)
James M. Stifler
-“The illogical notion that ‘Israel’ here is the spiritual Israel is no longer held. It is the fallen, rejected, natural Israel, the only nation in this age that has the promise of salvation as a whole. It will not merely be Christianized, but Christian... The word ‘Jacob’… found in the quotation, gives the meaning of the word ‘Israel’.” (The Epistle to the Romans, p. 196’ note: Stifler exaggerates the truth by saying that commentators no longer hold the ‘spiritual Israel’ view. It is true, however, that most commentators do not hold the ‘spiritual Israel’ view)
Kenneth M. Stiles
-“There is simply no compelling reason to not understand Romans 11:26 as teaching a
future salvation of national, ethnic Israel. Not only is it possible, even probable, that God will save the hardened majority of national, ethnic Israel at some point, but Paul argues definitively in verses 25–27 that God will save the hardened majority of national, ethnic Israel… There is a remnant of chosen ethnic Jews in the world right now, the rest are hardened. It is not the remnant that needs to be saved, or grafted back in, in Paul‘s argument here. It is the hardened majority. Paul argues that there is coming a time when all of the hardened majority of national, ethnic Israel will be saved. That time is pinpointed as when ‘the fullness of the Gentiles comes in.’” (‘All Israel Will Be Saved’: The Nature and Circumstances of the Salvation Mentioned in Romans 11:25-27, p. 9, 12-13)
-“ View (5) is that “all Israel” means the total number of elect ethnic Jews, the sum total of all Israel’s remnants throughout the present, inter-advent age. “All Israel” thus parallels the fullness of the Gentiles (v. 25). “And if ‘All Israel’ indicates, as it does, that not a single elect Israelite will be lacking ‘when the roll is called up yonder,’ then ‘the fullness of the Gentiles’ similarly shows that when the attendance is checked every elect Gentile will answer ‘Present’” (Hendricksen, Romans, 381).
Several objections have been raised against this interpretation by advocates of the FR [Future Restoration] view. Most of these have already been answered earlier in this chapter. Let me here respond to two others. Often one hears that Paul must be referring to a future restoration of Jews in vv. 25-26, for he has used the future tense repeatedly in this chapter whenever describing salvation. But surely this is no reason for accepting the FR view, for how else could Paul possibly have spoken? If someone in the first century is writing about the salvation of others that has yet to occur, it is only normal that he should employ the future tense. In other words, if Paul is describing in his day (obviously) the manner in which all elect Israelites will come to faith up to the end of the age, how else could he have stated it if not with the future tense? May I also remind the reader of the repeated emphasis Paul makes on the present as well (cf. 11:1-2,5,31).
Another objection goes something like this: “If all Paul meant to say is that all elect Israel will be saved, the climactic element in v. 26 is lost. Of course all the elect of Israel will be saved! How utterly prosaic!” But this objection fails to realize what that so-called climactic element in v. 26 really is. Paul is not simply asserting that all elect Israel will be saved but is describing the mysterious manner in which it will occur. That is, it is not so much the fact as it is the fashion in which they will be saved. It is by means of nothing less than the incredible scenario of Jewish unbelief > Gentile salvation > Jewish jealousy and salvation > Gentile blessing. This is the way in which all elect Israel will eventually and progressively come to saving faith. Furthermore, in a context in which the question has been raised whether any Israelites will be saved (cf. 11:1-5), it is even less prosaic, indeed, it is profoundly important!
Is it compatible with what we read in the New Testament to suggest that God will in the future obligate himself to save all (or at least most) of a particular group of people based on an external, which is to say, non-spiritual characteristic? Part of the word of the cross is that by his death Jesus Christ has abolished the distinction between Jews and Gentiles as far as spiritual privilege is concerned. Jews are still Jews and Gentiles are still Gentiles, but neither has any advantage over the other simply because he is a Jew or Gentile (Galatians 3:28). It is spiritual circumcision of the heart, not physical circumcision of the flesh that avails before God (Romans 2:25-29; Philippians 3:2-3). It is not Abraham’s blood but his faith that gains entrance into the olive tree (Galatians 3:16-29). But if the FR view is correct, a different state of affairs shall obtain when Christ returns, in which one’s ethnicity alone either guarantees or at least greatly increases the probability of being saved.” (Romans 11 and the Future of Israel, Part II; note: Storms misses Paul’s point. He is wrong to say that the question in Romans 11 is whether any Israelite will be saved. The real question is whether God has rejected His people [11:1]. Storms is wrong to say that Paul’s main point is the manner of Israel’s salvation. The real point is the fact of Israel’s salvation, which, as just mentioned, is the great question of the entire section. Finally, Storms fails to distinguish between God’s election of Israel as a nation and the truth that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek.)
-“In this passage in Romans, however, the mystery seems to be what he is about to tell them. It consists of three consecutive truths. The first is that Israel has experienced a hardening in part (25b). This fact is now new, since Paul has already stated it in verse 7. As we have already seen, it is God who ‘hardens’ (9:18), although this is a judicial process by which he hands people over to their own stubbornness. The ‘hardening’ takes the form of spiritual insensitivity. In the case of Israel it is the same as the ‘veil’ which Paul elsewhere says lies over their hearts and minds.
But now the apostle stresses that it is only partial (in part), since not all Israelites have experienced it (i.e. not the believing remnant), and only temporary (until…), since it will last only until the second stage of God’s unfolding plan. This Paul now states: until the full number of the Gentiles has come in (25c). While Israel remains hardened, and continues to reject Christ, the gospel will be preached throughout the world, and more and more Gentiles will hear and respond to it. And this process will continue until the full number or full complement (plēroma, the same word having been used of Israel in verse 12) of the Gentiles has been made up.
This will bring about the third stage: And so all Israel will be saved (26a). The three main words in this statement, namely, ‘all’, ‘Israel’ and ‘saved’, need some investigation.
First, what is the identity of Israel which is to be saved? Calvin believed it was a reference to the church. ‘I extend the word Israel’, he wrote, ‘to include all the people of God’, so that, when the Gentiles have come in and the Jews have returned, ‘the salvation of the whole Israel of God, which must be drawn from both, will thus be completed.’ It is of course true that Paul referred to the church as ‘the Israel of God’ in Galatians 6:16, but throughout Romans ‘Israel’ means ethnic or national Israel, in contrast to the Gentile nations. This is plainly so in verse 25 of this context; so the word could hardly take on a different meaning in the very next verse (26). The natural interpretation of the ‘mystery’ is that Israel as a people is hardened until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and then at that point (it is implied) Israel’s hardening will be over and ‘all Israel will be saved’. I do not think John Murray was putting it too strongly when he wrote: ‘It is exegetically impossible to give to ‘Israel’ in this verse any other denotation than that which belongs to the term throughout this chapter.’
Secondly, there is the word all. Whom does Paul intend to include in ‘all Israel’? At present Israel is hardened except for a believing remnant, and will remain so until the Gentiles have come in. Then ‘all Israel’ must mean the great mass of the Jewish people, comprising both the previously hardened majority and the believing minority. It need not mean literally every single Israelite. This is in keeping with contemporary usage. ‘“All Israel”’ is a recurring expression in Jewish literature,’ writes F.F. Bruce, ‘where it need not mean “every Jew without a single exception”, but “Israel as a whole.”’
The third word is saved. What kind of salvation is in view? The scriptural foundation, which Paul now supplies, will help us to answer the question. It is a potpourri of three texts about the salvation of God’s people.
‘The deliver will come from Zion;
He will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
And this is my covenant with them
When I take away their sins.’
These verses together make three affirmations. First, the deliverer will come from Zion. This was, in Isaiah’s original, a reference to Christ’s first coming. Secondly, what he would do when he came was described in moral terms: he would ‘turn godlessness away from Jacob’. This seems to be an allusion to Isaiah 27:9, where Jacob’s guilt would be atoned for and removed. Thirdly, the deliverer would establish God’s covenant, which promised the forgiveness of sins. Putting these truths together, the deliverer would come to bring his people to repentance and so to forgiveness, according to God’s covenant promise. It is clear from this that the ‘salvation’ of Israel for which Paul has prayed (10:1), to which he will lead his own people by arousing their envy (11:14), which has also come to the Gentiles (11:11; cf. 1:16), and which one day ‘all Israel’ will experience (11:26), is salvation from sin through faith in Christ. (Romans, p. 302-304; note: although Stott writes here of the salvation of the people of Israel as a whole, he rejects the conclusion that they will inherit the land of Israel as a part of their salvation)
-“The Jews are the chosen, special people of God, the descendants of the noble patriarchs with whom the covenant was made, and to whom the promises were given. So then, in relation to election, and for the sake of the patriarchs (because God is faithful to his covenant and promises), he loves them and is determined to bring them to salvation. For the fact is that God never goes back on his gifts or call (29). Both are irrevocable. His gifts are the privileges he bestowed on Israel, which are listed in 9:4-5. As for his call, ‘God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?’ It is because of God’s steadfast faithfulness that we can have confidence in Israel’s restoration.” (Romans, p. 306)
-“There is going to be a wide spread turning of Jews to Jesus. The hardening that is taking place now that makes them blind to their own Messiah is only temporary. The veil is going to be lifted. They are going to see and believe – maybe hundreds of thousands, maybe more – someday in the history are [sic] going to believe and to be grafted back in.” (The Place of Israel; note: in this particular sermon, contrary to his above commentary, Stott, like Calvin, interpreted ‘all Israel’ as ‘all the elect’, but nevertheless could still not avoid the thrust of Paul’s point in Romans 11)
-“When the fullness of the Gentiles shall have been joined to the Lord, then his ancient covenant people shall also be reclaimed… πάς here means all, in opposition to the ‘in part’ of the preceding verse. But whether this means strictly every individual, it would be difficult indeed to determine.” (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, p. 490)
-“That which the apostle now imparts to the Romans he calls a ‘mystery.’ A ‘mystery’ is an event which has been prepared by God and hidden from the world and its wisdom, but disclosed, as a matter of grace, to the apostle. In turn, now the apostle not only may, but also should share it with his fellow Christians (cf. similarly, 1 Cor. 2:7). And the first part of the mystery is this: The hardening, which Paul spoke of in 10:2f. and 11:8-10, is ordained to remain over the majority of Israel only until the ‘full number’ of the Gentiles who have been destined to salvation through the gospel (Mk. 13:10) have ‘entered in.’… Although this means that the Gentiles may still enter into the community of salvation before the large part of Israel and rejoice in the presence of God and his Son, their incorporation nevertheless becomes a signal for the salvation of ‘all Israel.’ For this is the second part of the mystery announced by Paul. As already indicated in the (Hebrew) text of Is. 59:20 (cf., moreover, Is. 45:17, 25), and anticipated in the early Jewish literature (T. Benj. 10:11; m. Sanh. 10:1), the people of God as a whole (and not merely the small remnant of 11:5, who have already now been chosen to believe in Christ) will participate in salvation. God remains faithful to his elective promise and will not bring it to fulfillment only partially, but fully. But the Scripture not only says that all Israel will be saved, it also indicates in what way this will take place. As declared in (Ps. 50:2 and) Is. 59:20f., the redeemer will appear from Zion, the mountain of God, and remove ungodliness from Jacob (= Israel). On the basis of 1 Thess. 1:10 (cf. with Rom. 5:9), there is no doubt that the redeemer in view is Christ. The messiah, Jesus Christ, sent by God and descended as a man from the people of God (1:3f.; 9:5), will redeem the people of God from their sin at his arrival in glory, the so-called parousia from Zion (cf. 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 1 Cor. 15:23 with Mtt. 24:3, 27, 37-39). After the acceptance of the Gentiles, his atoning death also comes to benefit the very people of God who have opposed Jesus and the gospel in an unknowing delusion (cf. 1 Cor. 2:8 with Rom. 10:3; 11:8-10). But now they will recognize that Jesus was and is not only the savior and Lord of the Gentiles, but also, and above all, was and is the shoot of the root of Jesse sent by God as a confirmation of his promises to the people of God (Is. 11:10), that is, that Jesus is the promised messiah (cf. Rom. 15:8, 12). He is the one who frees Israel from the guilt of its sin! For God promised to the Fathers of Israel, beginning with Abraham (9:4f.; Gal. 3:15-18), and repeatedly confirmed through the prophets Isaiah (cf. Is. 59:21) and Jeremiah (Jer. 31:31ff.), who according to Sir. 48:22ff. and 49:7 likewise belong to the Fathers of Israel, that the final valid covenant arrangement to proceed from God will be composed of the fact that Israel’s guilt will be forgiven (cf. Is. 27:9 with Jer. 31:34), and that the Spirit of God will enable God’s people to come to a genuine knowledge of God (cf. Is. 59:21 with Jer. 31:33f.).
The mystery of revelation which Paul made known in Rome thus runs as follows: When the full number of the Gentiles have entered into the city of God and have been led into the community of salvation, the partial hardening of Israel will be taken away. In accordance with the biblical promise, Israel too, in its entirety, will thus be redeemed from its sins through the Christ who appears from Zion and likewise be led into the community of salvation. It is primarily this salvation of all Israel from the hardening of unbelief that is the goal of salvation history, and not the fact that the Gentiles are already obtaining salvation. This understanding of the goal of redemptive history, which Paul here announces as special knowledge gained from revelation, God had imparted to him before through Scripture, since Paul hears and reads them in the Spirit of faith as the word of the living God (cf. the constant reference to the speaking and acting of God as ‘I’ in 9:9, 13, 15, 17, 25, 33; 10:19-21; 11:27). The Pauline prophecy concerning history thus corresponds to his spiritual interpretation of Scripture.” (Paul’s Letter to the Romans, A Commentary, p. 171-3)
-“This great prophet, this doctor taught in the third heaven, clearly foresaw that the Jews would remain in unbelief, until Christian missionaries should have succeeded in largely converting the gentiles of every name and nation, and in disseminating the holy scriptures in every language. He foresaw that the veil would then be taken away by the lucid comments which providence would give to prophecy. He saw that the Jews, struck with this work of heaven in causing the stumbling-stone, the rock cut out of the mountain without hands and filling the whole earth, would read their prophets with new eyes; would study their ancient targums or paraphrases with divine light, and perceive that their elder rabbins were in effect all Christians. What then shall the receiving them back be, but life from the dead? David Kimchi speaks to the same effect. “When Rome shall be laid waste, then salvation shall come to Israel.” Now as the Jews, estimated at seven millions of people, wander in all countries, and speak all languages, heaven has reserved them in store as a world of missionaries, to look on Him whom their fathers have pierced, and glory only in the cross of the great Redeemer. The first Christians, after they came into power, retaliated on the jews the blood of Christ, and the persecution of their two thousand brethren, Acts 8:4 : but now they nowhere find friends like the true believers in Christ. Let us continue that kindness towards them, till the full accomplishment of our Redeemer’s promise of one fold, and one shepherd. John 10:16.” (A Commentary on the Old and New Testament; note: an 18th century Wesleyan commentator; Sutcliffe, although a postmillennial, affirms the salvation of the Jews at the end of the age)
-[Commenting on the relationship between Christians and Jews]: “For it will be fitting for the Christian to rejoice, and not to grieve, at the restoration of Israel, if it be true, (as it is), that the whole of our hope is intimately united with the remaining expectation of Israel (Rom 11:25).” (On Modesty, Ch. 7)
-“Christ is the proper and legitimate high priest of God. He is the Pontiff of the priesthood of the uncircumcision, constituted such, even then, for the Gentiles, by whom He was to be more fully received, although at His last coming He will favour with His acceptance and blessing the circumcision also, even the race of Abraham, which by and by is to acknowledge Him.” (Contra Marcion, Ch. 9)
Theodore of Mopsuestia
-“[The Jews] will not always remain outsiders to true religion: there will be a time when they will also know the truth, as soon as people everywhere may receive knowledge of true religion.” (Theodore of Mopsuestia’s Commentary on Romans: An Annotated Translation, ed. And trans. Charles David Gregory, p. 109)
Theodoret of Cyrus
-“Paul insists that only a part of Israel has been hardened, for in fact many of them believe. He thus encourages them not to despair that others will be saved as well. After the Gentiles accepted the gospel, the Jews would believe.” (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Bray, Volume VI, p. 298)
-“Paul claims in Romans 11:7-32 that although it may not appear that way, God still plans to be faithful to his people Israel and that one day all Israel will be saved through faith in Christ. Contrary to expectations, God has planned to do this by bringing such large numbers of Gentiles into the company of his people that they will outnumber the Jews. This does not mean, however, that the Jews will be excluded. Rather, the Gentiles will provoke them to jealousy for the promises that God gave to them in their Scriptures, and this in turn will lead them to embrace the gospel.” (Theology of the New Testament: A Canonical and Synthetic Approach, p. 39)
Samuel H. Turner
-“St. Paul is addressing himself principally to the Gentiles converts. In order to prevent them from cherishing feelings of superiority over the Jewish nation, he informs them of what they did not know before, namely, that the unhappy spiritual condition of the Jews was only partial and transitory. ‘In part’ is better connected with Israel than with blindness. The meaning is not, ‘blindness in some respects has affected them,’ but, ‘it has taken place on a part of them.’ This phrase is in evident contrast with ‘all Israel’ in the next verse. The expression is like the modified language of v. 17, ‘some of the branches are broken off,’ and doubtless was prompted by the same motive. The next point shows this state to be temporary: ‘until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.’… ‘All Israel:’ That is, the whole nation which shall then subsist. Such expressions are often used in a general sense.—‘Shall be saved:’ In other words, converted to the Gospel and partake of its blessings. Compare 10:1.” (The Epistle to the Romans in Greek and English, p. 206-207)
Merrill F. Unger
-“Restoration of the Nation Certain, 25-36. It is assured by special revelation, 25… This truth is that of Israel’s partial blindness during this age, which is to last till ‘the fullness of the Gentiles’ is effected, 25. This means the completion of God’s purpose in calling out a people from the Gentiles in this age (Acts 15:14). The restoration of the nation is the subject of prophecy. The kingdom is to be restored to Israel, 26 (Acts 1:6; 15:15-17). All Jews living at the second advent will be saved when Christ the Deliverer shall come out of Zion, 26, as Isaiah predicted (Isa 59:20-21). The new covenant with converted Israel, 27, was foretold by Isaiah (27:9) and Jeremiah (31:31-37; cf. Heb 8:8; 10:16). The restoration of the nation is according to the divine plan, 28, and the divine principle, 29. Although she is temporarily hostile to the gospel, the election of Israel as a nation is irrevocable. God has not changed His mind about the covenants and promises made to the nation. The restoration of the people will constitute a fulfillment of God’s purpose, 30-32, and redound to God’s glory, 33-36.” (Unger’s Bible Handbook, p. 621-622)
Juan de Valdes
-“By the words ‘all Israel,’ it appears that he means all the Israelites who shall then, at that time, be found living.” (Commentary Upon St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, p. 217; note: Valdes, 16th century Reformer, was uncertain about the meaning, and only here writes what to him “appears” to be Paul’s meaning)
-“This grafting in again seems to import that the Jews shall be a flourishing nation again, professing Christianity in the land of promise, for that is to be reinstated again in the promise made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob… In the prophets there are very plain intimations of it.” (quoted in Henry and Scott, A Commentary Upon the Holy Bible, Vol. 6, p. 79)
J. Van Den Berg
-“For virtually all Dutch theologians of the seventeenth century, 'the whole of Israel' indicated the fullness of the people of Israel 'according to the flesh': in other words, the fullness of the Jewish people. This meant that there was a basis for an expectation of a future conversion of the Jews—an expectation which was shared by a large majority of Dutch theologians.” (Eschatological Expectations Concerning the Conversion of the Jews in the Netherlands During the Seventeenth Century, Puritan Eschatology: 1600 To 1660, ed. Peter Toon [Cambridge: James Clarke, 1970],p. 140.)
P.H.R. van Houwelingen
-“At the heart of this exegetical discussion we find the Greek words καί ούτως (v. 26). It is questionable, however, whether the weight often attached to these words is justified. Regardless of how this expression is understood, it must be acknowledged that there is something conditional about it: the text presents a contrast between a part of Israel and all Israel. A part of Israel is hardened, but when the condition-the coming in of the Gentiles-is satisfied, all Israel will be saved.”
The phrase καί ούτως has three possible meanings: temporal (after that all Israel will be saved); modal (in this manner all Israel will be saved); or, logical (in the same way, all Israel will be saved). Currently, the temporal interpretation is gaining favor and rightly so, for the temporal meaning of καί ούτως has been shown to exist in postclassical Greek, and Paul uses it this way elsewhere. It is also clear that the apostle is thinking of a progression in time because "until" (άχρι ού) also indicates the passage of time (cf. the "then-now" scheme in vv. 30-31). The majority of the church fathers follow this line of interpretation using "then" or "after that." The point is that, not how, all Israel will be saved.
The expression "all Israel" (πάς Ισραήλ) occurs only once in the New Testament but is found in the Septuagint… This expression can be understood as the New Testament church consisting of Jews and Gentiles. However, in Romans 9-11, the name "Israel" is consistently used in an ethnic sense, meaning the Jewish people. Where a narrowing within this group is possible (see Rom. 9:6: Not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.), an extension to others outside the group is not. Moreover, the significant use of' "Jacob" in the immediately following quotation can only be a reference to the twelve tribes of Israel. The phrase can also be understood as the faithful remnant of Israel, representing the entire people. This, however, would not fit with Paul's earlier hopeful speech about the full number and acceptance of Israel (Rom. 9:11, 15). Paul's question revolves around the fate of a people who have hardened themselves in disobedience (Rom. 11:1): Does a disobedient Israel still have a future? In Paul's chain of thought, the chosen part of Israel (εκλογή; Rom. 11:7) is simply Israel in a nutshell; "Israel" is in apposition to "the others" who were hardened. It is also argued that the phrase refers to every single Israelite. However, πάς Ισραήλ is not the same as πάντες οί Ισραηλίται. Furthermore, in Romans 9:3, Paul says that he would be willing to be cut off from Christ, to sacrifice himself and take the place of his countrymen who live without Christ, for apart from Israel's Messiah there is no salvation. The contrast between faith and unbelief is central to Romans 11. Not to be hardened in unbelief is an indispensable condition for being received again (Rom. 11:23). Finally, the phrase can refer to Israel as a whole. This reading may be comparing "the fullness of Israel" and its counterpart, "the full number of the Gentiles." An often-quoted statement from the Jewish Mishnah says: "all Israel has a share in the world to come." Then, immediately following that phrase, we find a long list of people who, because of their sins, have no share in the world to come. After all, Israel is not a sum of individual persons but a collective entity of twelve tribes; after his conversion, Paul still considered himself to be a Jew, of the tribe of Benjamin (Rom. 11:1b; Phil. 3:5). In the visions in Revelation, we also encounter the twelve tribes of Israel, first as a messianic army of 144,000 warriors from all the tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:1-9), and then in the names inscribed on the gates of the new Jerusalem, the abode of all the tribes of Israel (Rev. 21:12). Hence, all Israel refers to the whole of Israel—its twelve tribes together.” (The Redemptive-Historical Dynamics of the Salvation of ‘All Israel’ [Rom. 11:26a], Calvin Theological Journal 46, p. 305-7)
-“Paul’s third crucial statement concerning Israel was that the rejection of Israel is not final. There is a day coming when ‘all Israel will be saved’ (11:26). Paul talks about ‘their full inclusion’ (11:12), ‘their acceptance’ (11:15), and their being ‘grafted back’ (11:23,24). It is only ‘until the full number of the Gentiles come in’ (11:25) that the present state of affairs will continue.” (Paul and Romans, p. 82)
Cornelis P. Venema
-“`Israel' in this phrase must refer to the special people of God, not all the elect, whether Jew or Gentile, gathered throughout the entirety of redemptive history. This is because the term is used no less than eleven times in Romans 9-11, and in every instance it refers to the people of Israel. It is hard to see why Romans 11:26 should be an exception.
To take 'all Israel' as a reference to the total number of the elect among the people of Israel throughout all of the history of redemption would be anti-climactic and largely irrelevant to the Apostle Paul's interest in Romans 9-11. In these chapters, as we have seen, the apostle is dealing with the mystery of God's will for the salvation of the people of Israel, a people who have mostly disbelieved the gospel but whom God has not forsaken nor cast off irrevocably. Were the reference only to all the elect of Israel, the entirety of the remnant according to God's purpose of election, it would not answer to the argument that the Apostle Paul specifically develops in this in this passage.
The argument of this passage is that the hardening of the people of Israel will eventually come to an end, and this will occur after the people of Israel have been provoked to jealousy by the conversion and riches of the fullness of the Gentiles. Through their being provoked to jealousy, the fullness of Israel (11:12) will come to salvation. This fullness is the equivalent in Romans 11 of what is variously described as the acceptance of Israel (11:15), the grafting in of Israel (11:23-24), or the 'all Israel' of this phrase (11:26).
Though the expression 'and so' that is used in Romans 11:26 refers primarily to the manner in which all Israel will be saved — that is, as Israel is provoked to jealousy by the conversion of the Gentiles — its temporal aspect cannot be suppressed. In Romans 9-11 the Apostle Paul is describing an obvious sequence of events in the history of redemption: the unbelief of the people of Israel leads to the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles; the faith and conversion of the Gentiles thereupon leads to the jealousy and subsequent conversion of the fullness of Israel. Within this sequence of events, the phrase 'and so all Israel shall be saved' most naturally seems to mean that after the fullness of the Gentiles is ingrafted, the time will come when the people of Israel, provoked to jealousy, will be converted and God's purposes of redemption be accomplished in them.
Finally, the main point of Romans 11:25 seems to be that the hardening of Israel will come to an end and thereupon Israel will be restored. This point would actually be undermined, were we to understand the 'all Israel' of Romans 11:26 to be a reference only to the total number of the elect
people of Israel, who make up only a remnant throughout the history of redemption.
Though these considerations could be elaborated upon and various objections answered further, this should be enough to show that the most likely reading of this passage is one that takes it to teach the future ingathering and conversion of the totality of the people of Israel. This does not mean necessarily that every individual member of the people of Israel will ultimately be saved, or that all members of this people will be converted at some future time. The fullness of Israel need not mean the salvation of every member of this people any more than the fullness of the Gentiles means the salvation of every Gentile. However, it does suggest that the Apostle Paul taught that through the preaching of the gospel to the nations the time will come in which a fullness of Israel will be converted, an ingrafting again of Israel as a people, a restoration of this special people of God to gospel favour and blessing.” (The Promise of the Future, p. 136-8)
Michael J. Vlach
-“In sum, the early church adopted a moderate form of supercessionism in regard to Israel and the church. The church believed that the nation of Israel had been rejected by God because of its disobedience and rejection of Christ. This rejection appeared to be confirmed by the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and 135. The early church held that the church was now the new Israel and that the Scriptures, covenants, and promises given to Israel were now primarily the possession of the Christian church. Yet there was a consensus among the theologians of this era that the nation of Israel would be converted in the last days in connection with the promises of the OT prophets and Paul’s words in Romans 11. According to some, this salvation was to be accompanied by a repossession of Israel’s land by the tribes of Israel. Thus, the early church’s doctrine of Israel included the element of hope. Thus, while we rightly note the early church’s adoption of moderate supercessionism, we must not neglect the fact that it also believed in a future salvation of Israel based on OT and NT passages.” (Has the Church Replaced Israel? A Theological Evaluation, p. 49-50)
-“The problem begins with the two seemingly innocuous little words And so. They could be interpreted in one of two ways: (a) The reference could be to the manner in which Israel is saved.
This is explained by the previous verse. They are hardened in part, but there will come a time when that hardening is lifted: "And so all Israel will be saved." Paul's thought would then pick
up from the idea of partial hardening in v. 25. This is how the majority of English translations render the expression. (b) The reference could be to the time when Israel is saved. Paul's
thought would then pick up from the last clause in the previous verse: "until the full number of the Gentiles has come in". A minority of English translations and paraphrases take the
expression in this temporal sense. Although some interpreters firmly insist that the underlying Greek expression (Kat ouTWS) never has a temporal meaning, it is difficult to make a choice between these two alternatives. It is not impossible that the word ouTws in this instance doubles as both an adverb of manner (so, thus) and an adverb of time (then). Within the context of Paul's immediate argument it is clear that he is asking two questions. First he asks, How will all Israel be saved? His answer is in v. 25: By the removal of the partial hardening it has been experiencing. His second question is, When will all Israel be saved? Again his answer is in v. 25: When the fulness of the Gentiles has come in. At the beginning of v. 26 Paul is therefore picking up both these strands of thought from v. 25. He is addressing both the manner and the time of
the salvation of all Israel. While the emphasis may be on the manner of Israel's salvation, the time element cannot be excluded. Hvalvik perceptively embraces both meanings in what he calls the "logical" sense of the expression. His conclusion tersely captures the essence of Paul's thought at this point: "This means that the salvation of the Gentiles - according to God's plan - is a presupposition and condition for the salvation of 'all Israel'."
All Israel shall be saved: From the earlier discussion of the literary context to this expression, it has become clear that, within the broad framework of Paul's argument in Romans 9-11, Israel is used consistently in an ethnic sense. He is speaking of those who are Jews by race and children of Abraham by descent. In his discussion he refers to Israel no less than 11x (9:6 [his], 27 [his], 31; 10:19, 21; 11:2, 7, 25, 26). Even though he makes a distinction in 9:6, it is not between Jews and Gentiles. Rather he is referring to an Israel within Israel ("Not all who are [descended] from Israel are Israel"). Most telling for our exegesis is the fact that Israel has been explicitly
distinguished from the Gentiles as recently as v. 25. It is difficult to believe that without warning Paul would change the meaning of such a key term within the space of a single sentence.” (Rethinking Israel: An Exposition of Romans 11:25-27, p. 37-38)
-“With respect to national privilege, while temporarily abolished now that its purpose has been fulfilled, there still remains reserved for the future a certain fulfillment of the national elective promise. Israel in its racial capacity will again in the future be visited by the saving grace of God [Rom. 11.2, 12, 25].” (Biblical Theology, Old and New Testaments, p. 79)
-“To the events preceding the parousia belongs, according to the uniform teaching of Jesus, Peter, and Paul, the conversion of Israel (Matt. 23:39; Luke 13:35; Acts 1:6,7; 3:19, 21; where the arrival of "seasons of refreshing" and "times of restoration of all things" is made dependent on the [eschatological] sending of the Christ to Israel), and this again is said to depend upon the repentance and conversion and the blotting out of the sins of Israel; Romans 11, where the problem of unbelief of Israel is solved by the twofold proposition: (1) that there is even now among Israel an election according to grace; (2) that in the future there will be a comprehensive conversion of Israel (vss. 5, 25-32).” (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
-“A study of the context bears out the fact that the word Israel as used in this passage is in contrast to Gentile. This is clear in Romans 11:1, where Paul identifies himself as an Israelite because of his connection with the tribe of Benjamin—a racial and national relation rather than spiritual. The contrast is made further in Romans 11:11ff. The use of “ye,” i.e., the Gentiles, is opposed to “they,” i.e., the Jews. In other words, the entire chapter carefully preserves the distinction between two classes—Jews and Gentiles. Further, the Gentiles are in most cases those who have believed in Christ and members of the church. The contrast is not, therefore, between believing Israel and unbelieving Gentiles, but rather the two groups are treated racially. There is no ground whatever in this passage for the idea that Israel is a reference to all believers as such—the interpretation advanced by Origen, furthered by Calvin, and embraced by most amillennialists. This interpretation would nullify the very theme of the chapter.” (Eschatological Problems IX: Israel’s Restoration)
-“ The antecedent of the supplied “they” in v. 28 is “them” in v. 27, which refers back to “Jacob” in v. 26b, which in turn refers back to “all Israel” in v. 26a. This is significant because it indicates that the group of individuals described in v. 28 is the same group designated by the term “all Israel” in v. 26. Put another way, Paul’s words in v. 28 describe the “all Israel” of v. 26 and help to establish its identity… The description of “all Israel” in Rom 11:28, then, not only indicates that the unbelieving nation as a whole is in view, but also points to the fact that that nation will one day be restored. God made specific promises to the nation of Israel, and her refusal to embrace Christ and the gospel did not mean that the gospel had failed or that God would fail to fulfill those promises. In the words of Bloesch: “His rejection of his people is not final but only provisional. In the No of God’s rejection is hidden the Yes of his election.” All Israel will be saved… It is clear that only the interpretation of view 3 [that ‘all Israel’ in v. 26 is ethnic Israel] corresponds to the dual status of “all Israel” as portrayed in Rom 11:28, for only this interpretation envisions a scenario in which both clauses of the verse are simultaneously and presently true of the entity “all Israel.” On the one hand the unbelieving nation of Israel is an enemy of God, but on the other she is beloved by Him. When the partial hardening of Israel is removed at the end of the present age (Rom 11:25), her present “transgression” will give way to her “fulfillment” (Rom 11:12); her present “rejection” will give way to her “acceptance” (Rom 11:15); and the natural branches will be grafted back in (Rom 11:23-24). And in this manner, all Israel will be saved in accordance with God’s covenantal love and in fulfillment of His promises (Rom. 11:26-27). God has not, and will not, forsake His chosen nation.” (The Master’s Seminary Journal, The Dual Status of Israel in Romans 11:28, p. 61-62, 71; note: see whole article)
-“Then there is Romans 11, where Paul is concluding a long discussion of the Jews’ unbelief and failure to come into the Church. He sees them as under God’s wrath at present, hence their hard hearts (cf. 9:22); but he says: ‘a hardening has come on part of Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved’ (11:25). This is intriguingly similar to Luke 21, where Jesus talks about wrath on the Jewish nation and about Jerusalem being ‘trampled under foot by Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled’ (v. 24). The ideas are not identical—in Romans there is no reference to Jerusalem being invaded or trampled on—but there is a broad parallel between the passages, which could point to Paul’s familiarity with the relevant teaching of Jesus.” (Paul and Jesus: The True Story, p. 105-6)
-“"All Israel will be saved," so Romans 11.26 says. But who are "all Israel"? Some see them as "the elect" of Romans 9.6, i.e., all true Christians; others see them as exclusively Jews… Romans 11.25 says that "blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the gentiles should come in." Now if, as most Christians do, we accept that the blindness affects physical Israel then in the next verse the 'all Israel' must still be physical Israel. The 'Israel of God' is Israel's remnant of true believers, the ever-preserved seed, never entirely cut off, unless God be deemed unfaithful to His word. If for no other reason than that of Ezekiel 36.22, God will go on restoring Israel for His name's sake and because of His promise to Israel's forefathers, a promise that stretches to 'thousands' of generations (Deuteronomy 7.9).” (Who is ‘Israel’ and What is Her Future?)
-“Set up the attracting sign
And summon whom Thou dost approve
For messengers divine.
From Abraham’s favoured seed
Thy new apostles choose
In isles and continents to spread
The dead-reviving news.
Them snatched out of the flame
Through every nation send
The true Messias to proclaim
The universal Friend.
That all the God unknown
May learn of Jews to adore
And see Thy glory in Thy Son
Till time shall be no more.
O that the chosen band
Might now their brethren bring
And gathered out of every land
Present to Sion’s King.
Of all the ancient race
Not one be left behind
But each impelled by secret grace
His way to Canaan find!
We know it must be done
For God hath spoke the word
All Israel shall their Saviour own
To their first state restored.
Rebuilt by His command
Jerusalem shall rise
Her temple on Moriah stand
Again, and touch the skies.
Send then Thy servants forth
To call the Hebrews home
From west and east, and south, and north
Let all the wanderers come.
Where’er in lands unknown
Thy fugitives remain
Bid every creature help them on
Thy holy mount to gain.
An offering to their God
There let them all be seen
Sprinkled with water and with blood
In soul and body clean.
With Israel’s myriads sealed
Let all the nations meet
And show Thy mystery fulfilled
The family complete.” (Almighty God of Love, Short Hymns on Select Passages of the Holy Scriptures, published in 1762)
-“Father of faithful Abraham, hear
Our earnest suit for Abraham’s seed;
Justly they claim the softest prayer
From us, adopted in their stead,
Who mercy through their fall obtain,
And Christ by their rejection gain.
But hast Thou finally forsook,
Forever cast Thy own away?
Wilt Thou not bid the outcasts look
On Him they pierced, and weep, and pray?
Yes, gracious Lord, Thy Word is past;
All Israel shall be saved at last.
Come, then, Thou great Deliverer, come!
The veil from Jacob’s heart remove;
Receive Thy ancient people home,
That, quickened by Thy dying love,
The world may their reception find
Life from the dead for all mankind.” (Father of Faithful Abraham, Hymns of Intercession, 1758.)
-“And so all Israel shall be saved - Being convinced by the coming of the gentiles. But there will be a still larger harvest among the gentiles, when all Israel is come in.” (John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible)
Daniel D. Whedon
-“All Israel—The apostle is speaking of the Israel existing at the time of the blessed plenitude of the Gentiles.” (Commentary on the New Testament, Intended for Popular Use, Acts-Romans, p. 374)
-“Hence the Second Argument for a general Conversion of the Jews runs thus: If that part of the Jews to which blindness hath happened, shall be delivered from that heavy Judgment, if there shall come to them out of Zion a Deliverer to turn away their iniquity, if God will accomplish his Covenant hereafter with them, by taking away their sins, then they who are thus blinded, shall be converted to the Christian faith. Where note, That this Promise is made to that part of the Jews to which blindness had happened, v. 15, and so the Promise of Salvation to this Israel, cannot be interpreted of all the true Children of Abraham, Jews and Gentiles both.” (A Paraphrase and Commentary on the New Testament, p. 65; note: 17th century commentator)
-“To strengthen the Arguments which I have offered from this Chapter for the Conversion of the Jewish Nation to the Christian Faith, let it be noted, That this hath been the constant Doctrine of the Church of Christ, owned by the Greek and Latin Fathers, and by all Commentators I have met with on this Place.” (A Paraphrase and Commentary on the New Testament, Appendix to Chap. XI, p. 89)
-“Moreover, As this Doctrine hath the suffrage of all the Ancient Fathers, and Commentators do thus generally agree in Exposition of this Chapter, so is it easy to confirm it by showing the absurdity of other Expositions, and the plain inconsistence of them both with truth, and with the words of the Apostle. (See his arguments, A Paraphrase and Commentary on the New Testament, Appendix to Chap. XI, p. 91-101)
-“Paul saved his best witness for the last. He proved that the very character and work of God were involved in the future of Israel. Men may dispute about prophecy and differ in their interpretations, but let every man realize that he is dealing with God’s people, Israel.
God’s timing. What has happened to Israel is all a part of God’s plan, and He knows what He is doing. The blinding (or hardening, Rom. 11:7) of Israel as a nation is neither total nor final: it is partial and temporary. How long will it last? ‘Until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in’ (Rom. 11:25). There is a ‘fullness’ for Israel (Rom. 11:12) and for the Gentiles… Romans 11:25 is one of several ‘until verses’ in the Bible, all of which are important. Read Matthew 23:32-39; Luke 21:24; and Psalm 110:1 for other references. It is reassuring that God knows what time it is and that He is never late in fulfilling His will.
God’s promise. There reference here is Isaiah 59:20-21; and you ought to read Isaiah 60 to complete the picture. God has promised to save His people, and He will keep the promise. There are those who interpret this as meaning salvation to individuals through the Gospel, but it is my conviction that the prophet has national conversion in mind. ‘All Israel shall be saved’ does not mean that every Jew who has ever lived will be converted, but that the Jews living when the Redeemer returns will see Him, receive Him, and be saved. Zechariah 12-13 give the details. It seems to me that there are too many details in these Old Testament prophecies of national restoration for Israel for us to spiritualize them and apply them to the church today.” (The Bible Exposition Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 552-3)
Marvin R. Wilson
-“The New Testament seems to affirm a future for ethnic Israel… In Romans 11, Paul is emphatic that despite Israel’s unbelief God has not rejected his people (v. 1). Israel still belongs to God and is called a ‘holy’ people (v. 16) and ‘loved on account of the patriarchs’ (v. 28). Israel’s historically unique preservation lends added support that it still has a vital role to play in the history of redemption (cf. v. 15). This divinely willed coexistence of God’s ancient covenant people and the Church throughout the present age is, to Paul, a great ‘mystery’ (v. 25). He is convinced, however, that God ‘does not change his mind about whom he chooses and blesses’ (v. 29, TEV). Paul’s argument reaches its denouement when he refers to the future salvation of Israel, a time when ‘the deliverer will come from Zion’ (vv. 26-27). The Old Testament context for Paul’s composite quotation here is the salvation of Israel through the appearing of its divine Redeemer (cf. Isa. 59:20-21; 27:9). Thus ‘all Israel’ (i.e., Israel as a whole) will be saved (v. 26)… It would seem from the other letters of Paul that he may have in mind the second coming of Jesus.” (Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith, p. 267-8)
-“When the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in, all Israel will be saved: That is, as our Dutch commentators well observe, not a few, but a very great number, and in a manner the whole Jewish nation, in a full body...They depart from the apostle’s meaning, who, by ‘all Israel,’ understand the ‘mystical Israel,’ or the people of God, consisting both of Jews and Gentiles, without admitting the salvation of the whole Jewish nation, in the sense we have mentioned.” (The Economy of the Covenants, Vol. 2, ch. 15, p. 414; note: see all of Witsius’s excellent discussion on the conversion of the Jews.)
-“But though God has the right to reject His people, and though the Jews are themselves responsible for their refusal to accept the gospel, yet St. Paul cannot believe that it is final. Even now a remnant has been saved by grace; and the present rejection of Israel must have been intended to save the Gentiles. What larger blessing will not God bestow when He restores His people? The Gentiles must see in the fall of Israel the goodness of God towards themselves, and the possibilities of mercy for the Jews. This is enforced by the illustration of the wild olive and the natural branches (11:17-24). The Jews are enemies now, in order that God may bless the Gentiles. But they are still beloved, for the sake of the fathers. No, God has not deserted His people. If they are at present under a cloud, it is God’s mercy and not His anger that has willed it so. And the same unsearchable mercy will one day restore them to His favor (11:25-36).” (Romans, The Epistle to the, in Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible, p. 804)
-“Paul actually began the whole section (9:6) with … a programmatic distinction of two "Israels", and throughout the letter (e.g. 2:25-9) as well as elsewhere (e.g. Philippians 3:2-11) he has systematically transferred the privileges and attributes of "Israel" to the Messiah and his people. It is therefore greatly preferable to take "all Israel" in v.26 as a typically Pauline
polemical redeﬁnition, as in Galatians 6:16 ..and in line also with Philippians 3:2ff., where the church is described as "the circumcision.” (The Climax of the Covenant, p. 250; notice how Wright appeals to the larger context and not the immediate context; why doesn’t he do that in verse 25?)
Robert M. Wright
-“In Romans Paul uses the term Israel in a way which consistently excludes Gentiles. Why does Paul describe Israelites as kindred according to the flesh in Rom 9:4-5 if in Rom 11:26a Ἰσραὴλ has to do only with faith? Whence Paul's anguish over Ἰσραηλῖται in Rom 9:4 if Ἰσραὴλ in Rom 11:26a simply means the people of God who believe in Christ? If Ἰσραὴλ in Rom 11:26a does not mean ethnic Israel then the rest of Paul's discussion in Romans 11 makes little sense. No, Paul consistently distinguishes between Gentiles and ethnic Israel throughout Romans 9-11, and it is unlikely Gentiles are includes in the Ἰσραὴλ of Rom 11:26a.” (All Israel Will Be Saved: An Attempt to Survey and Synthesize Different Approaches To Romans 11:26a, p. 3)
-“All Israel will be saved means all ethnic Israel will saved--because of the faithful remnant, and because of the surprising and unexpected mercy of God.” (ibid., p. 9)
-“They indeed are enemies of God for your sakes who believe the gospel: but as regards election, they are those whom God elected from eternity, and he loved them more than others: thus for the sake of the fathers they are elect until now… The fact that they are indeed the people of God for the sake of the fathers is plain. Nor does God repent of his promise. He called Israel to be his people: therefore that people will not be damned but will return to faith and will be saved, even though they have been rejected for a time.” (In Epistolam ad Romanos Annotationes)