“In this way”… in what way? This is an important question because this is the way in which “all Israel will be saved,” and that is really important to me!
This comes from Romans 11:26, a well-known verse to anyone in Jewish ministry. It is the climax of Paul’s discourse on the connection between natural Israel and the Gentile believers in Romans 11. This is where he is informing and teaching the Roman church about God’s plan for Israel. The church in Rome seemed to have embraced an unbiblical, anti-Israel theology—that God was finished with her (Israel) and had, indeed, rejected her.
No! May it never be!
He explains that God has not rejected Israel (v. 1, 11) saying literally in the Greek, no, may it never be. He expounds on the beauty of God’s plan, that the enlightened Gentiles will make Israel jealous. Israel’s future acceptance of Yeshua will lead to a “greater riches” revival (v. 12) that could be characterized by the phrase, “life from the dead.” (v. 15)
But then Paul makes a dark statement, warning that, while born again Gentiles are grafted into the household of God/olive tree, they can be cut off if they judge Israel, God’s firstborn (v. 17—23). Why? Because it will take the embracing of their backslidden older brothers, not rejection, to bring about God’s plan—the “in this way.”
Paul then illuminates his readers to the mystery of God’s plan for Israel and the nations. And caps it off with one of the most exciting statements in the New Covenant, as we say in Hebrew, col yisrael yivasha—all Israel will be saved.
Don’t be Ignorant!
Well, he gives us a clue in those few words before: In this way. So, our question must be: What way?In order to understand that, let’s go back one verse.
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25)
Let’s break it down:
- Paul is concerned that the Romans had become arrogant.
- They became arrogant because of ignorance.
- They were ignorant of something that was not obvious—he calls it a mystery.
- If they remain in arrogance, they could be cut off.
- Thus, Paul seeks to reveal this great mystery.
Whenever Paul uses the word mystery, he is mostly referring to Jew/Gentile relationship in light of the New Covenant. In Ephesians, he uses this word seven times and, in chapter three, he uses it four times, in verses 3, 4, 6 and 9, to explain the mystery of the ecclesia, the one new man, made up of Jew and Gentile.
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Messiah Jesus. (v. 6)
So let’s go back to Romans 11:25. Paul is concerned that the Romans had missed this mystery, that God has an awesome plan for natural Israel, in the end times, which will release revival in the nations. And missing this mystery led the Romans to become conceited or proud against Israel. He is worried, because he loves the Roman congregation and wants to see them prosper. But he is also prophesying to the future global Church, begging them to not turn against the “natural branches,” Israel.
He knows that this anti-Israel attitude could bring judgement upon generations. As he said earlier:
Do not be arrogant (against Israel), but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches (unbelieving Israel), he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness (to Israel). Otherwise, you also will be cut off. (Romans 11:20-22)
God’s Plan is Important to Him
This is a terrifying passage. This is the value God places on his plan. And the church missed it violently. They ignored God’s plan and, sadly, there is a massive 1,900-year break here. It is as if through disobedience, the pause button was hit on Gods plan. The Church, now nearly completely non-Jewish, did not listen to Paul’s prophetic warning and instead became the greatest persecutor of the Jewish people. Yes, even Hitler quoted Martin Luther to justify his actions!
But, thank God that in our lifetime we are seeing a reversal of this attitude towards Israel. It has been brewing ever since the Guttenberg press shattered the shackles that the Catholic church had placed on every believer, forbidding them to read the scriptures for themselves. However, even once the Bible began to be massed produced, replacement theology was so ingrained that only a small pocket of believers rejected it.
China, Africa, India!
Now, we are seeing revival in traditionally non-evangelical regions such as China, India and Africa. These people are reading the Bible without 1,900 years of European anti-Israel (and in many cases anti-Semitic) theology and are able to grasp God’s heart for Israel—His firstborn. Now, we are back on track to the “in this way” path to Israel’s full spiritual restoration—even world redemption (Tikkun Haolam).
It has already begun! There are more Jewish believers than ever before. And, unlike in centuries past, most continue to identify as Jews. This Jewish acceptance is releasing revival in many nations of the world (Romans 11:12, 15).
God used Israel to bring the Gospel to the nations and now God will use believers from the nations to provoke Israel to jealousy (v.11) and bring her to Yeshua. This plan was stymied by Christian anti-Semitism for 1900 years! But now God is opening up the eyes of the believing Gentiles to this truth and Jewish people are embracing Yeshua like never before! The act of Gentile believers loving Jews is completely connected to Jewish people finding Yeshua.
So, let’s go back to our original question. What does Paul mean, “In this way”?
- Israel receives the gospel.
- The majority of Jews and the leadership reject the gospel.
- The gospel then goes to the nations.
- Breaking from God’s plan, the church of the nations turns against Israel for roughly 1,900 years.
- But getting back on track, the nations then seek to “provoke Israel to jealousy.” (v. 11)
- Israel’s acceptance of Yeshua in the end-times, leads to a greater richesrevival in the nations.
- This leads to the final move of God amongst the Jews, so great that people could say: All Israel has been saved.
- And Yeshua returns on a white horse (Rev. 19:11) to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem (Zech. 14:3-4) and becomes King of all the earth!
So yeah, in this way, all Israel will be saved.
This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, January 11, 2019, and reposted with permission.