Chapter # 11 Paragraph # 6 Study # 3
November 10, 2009
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, [they are
] enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, [they are
] beloved for the fathers' sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God [are
] without repentance.
30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
1901 ASV Translation
26 and so all Israel shall be saved: even as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer; He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 And this is my covenant unto them, When I shall take away their sins.
28 As touching the gospel, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sake.
29 For the gifts and the calling of God are not repented of.
30 For as ye in time past were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by their disobedience,
31 even so have these also now been disobedient, that by the mercy shown to you they also may now obtain mercy.
32 For God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.
- I. Israel's Future.
- A. Paul's claim is that a day is coming when "all Israel shall be saved".
- 1. He has biblical evidence of this part of God's plan to which he appeals: Isaiah 59:20-21.
- a. This evidence is a blend of Isaiah 59:20-21 and a phrase out of Isaiah 27:9. Romans 11:26-27a is almost a direct quote from Isaiah 59:20-21 and Romans 11:27b is almost a direct quote from a phrase in Isaiah 27:9 (both "quotes" are from the Septuagint).
- 1) The "Deliverer" shall come out of Zion. This term has a prejudicial prior use in chapter seven that is instructive. The problem there is Paul's conflicted reality of being enslaved by a "law" in his members that brings him under the dominion of the "law" of sin. In 7:24 he asks "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?". Thus, "The Deliverer" is not only identified in terms of His "task", but also in terms of His "name": Jesus Christ our Lord.
- 2) There is, however, a question regarding the degree of "deliverance" that is granted, given the reality of Paul's concept of the residual impact of Sin upon a person as long as he/she exists in a pre-resurrection, mortal state. Deliverance is not complete until it encompasses that mortal body; i.e., resurrection or instantaneous transformation.
- b. The "promise" is in the form of a "covenant" and its focus is upon the removal of "sin"; not just the judicial aspect of justification, but also at least some of the performance aspects of sanctification. God has never had "justification" as a primary goal; it has always been His objective to alter the behavior of the "justified" so as to "improve" it. In the details of the "covenant", as it is expressed in Jeremiah 31:33, we find the commitment by God to actually alter the "heart" so that the people will actually act in a godly manner. However, Paul taught the Corinthians that they were participants in this "covenant" and we know from his letters to them that the degree of actual alteration that occurs as long as we are in these mortal bodies is not as great as we might like. The possibilities of deliverance are enormous, but the actualities seldom live up to the billing of "an enormous deliverance". Actual change is a life-long slog where "rest" is both fleeting and seductive. Thus Paul regularly calls for heavy engagement in the conflict (be a good soldier, endure hardness, fight the fight, never give up).
- c. The period involved in Paul's declaration is after the judgments of the "time of Jacob's trouble" and before the resurrection of this generation of "Israel" (a period of a thousand years' duration). Thus, this "Israel" is yet in this mortal flesh, a condition unfruitful to absolute sanctification.
- 2. It is his enthusiasm for this truth that needs our consideration.
- a. Since "all Israel" is restricted to the "Israel" that is actually physically alive on the earth at the time of the fulfillment of this aspect of The Plan, none of Paul's contemporaries will be included.
- b. Is it not a bit strange that he would be so enthusiastic for a declaration about an "all Israel" that includes no one that he knows? The tension here is between the "large" boundaries of The Plan and the "small" particles that make up the body of those boundaries. In other words, the "large" boundaries involve the salvation of a nation, whereas the "small" particles are the individuals within it.
- c. As we have already asked, how is it that Paul is so enthused about the salvation of a "nation" that contains no one he knows? Does this mean that the individuals are unimportant except as "stocking stuffers" for the sock? Realistically, the "nation" that comes to "salvation" could be made of only a few individuals ("few" is definitely a relative term), but it seems that Paul would be just as enthused about the salvation of that nation as he would be if it contained a billion people. In other words, it seems that it is the salvation of "all Israel" that has caught Paul's attention, not the "people" who are Israelites that will enjoy that salvation. There is a hint of this type of thought in 9:27 where the large numbers are dismissed and a focus is put upon only a "remnant". This runs across the grain of the normal American viewpoint. Our focus is upon the value of the individual (at least, that is what we say). However, we will, at the drop of a hat, send thousands of individuals into combat and death in order to preserve "the nation". What does all of this mean?
- 1) That the "individual" can/will be sacrificed for the "whole" (even Jesus), it seems that the "whole" is of greater value than the "individual". That an individual will grasp this, and act upon it, is called "love" by the Bible. When a soldier casts himself upon a grenade so as to "save" his platoon, he is called "brave" and "self-sacrificing" and "filled with love for his brothers". When Jesus submitted Himself to the Cross for the "salvation" of the brethren, it is called the highest illustration of "love". In each of these cases, it is the "individual" that is sacrificed for what we call "the greater good". When Moses and Paul offered themselves to God as "redemptive sacrifices" for their "brethren", the vast majority of those "brethren" were personally unknown to either Moses or Paul. One can only have a certain number of intimates, so the willingness to be the sacrifice for "the nation" is a sacrifice, not for those one "knows", but for the larger, and impersonal, "nation".
- 2) So, should we dismiss the value of the individual and focus upon the value of the larger and more impersonal "group"? No. Rather, we should understand that the value of the larger group is only of value because of its impact upon the individuals within it. It is singularly critical that the "Kingdom of God" be given all of our energy, but it is only worthy of that commitment because it will be the "setting" where all of the individuals who made it their object of service can enjoy the life that sparks and dances within it. The "numbers" of the individuals are not the issue, but the quality of the contribution of each individual to the others within is.
- d. The contextual contribution is this: Paul is addressing the "Large Plan" as a producer of genuine humility. This means that his focus is upon the "Large Plan" and not the alternative issue of the individuals within it. However, it is precisely because of the impact that Plan has on the individuals that it is Paul's focus of attention. My point is this: Paul has the individuals in mind, as to their best interests, even though his words are all about the Plan in its large scope. If it were not for the impact that hubris has upon individuals, he would not have brought up the fact that it is the Large Plan's inclusion of them that makes them participants rather than their own "qualifications". So, the Plan serves the individual's interests and excites Paul as an individual.
- B. Paul's claim simply rounds out what God has revealed about the future as it pertains to the inclusion of the Gentiles. Just as God has always had "Gentiles" in mind in spite of His deliberate turn to Abraham and Israel, He also has always had "Israel" in mind in spite of His deliberate turn to the Gentiles at Pentecost in the year of the death of His Son.