“All Israel Will Be Saved”
“In this manner all Israel will be saved. Just as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come out of Zion and turn away ungodly practices from Jacob.’”—ROMANS 11:26.
1. (a) With regard to Romans 11:26, what questions are raised? (b) Why is the Republic of Israel not the Israel that would be “saved”?
WHAT nation is here meant? How is it saved? And how are all other nations affected by its salvation? Well, when the British mandate over Palestine expired in 1948, the Jews seized part of that territory and set up the Republic of Israel. By victory over Arab forces in the six-day war of 1967, the Israelis extended the boundaries of their republic. But since the establishment of the Republic of Israel, it has had to maintain its existence by force of arms. Whether modern-day Israel has nuclear bombs stockpiled for national preservation or not, it definitely is not relying upon any ‘deliverer out of Zion.’ Why, along with Gentile nations, this relatively young political entity is part of the United Nations! Clearly, this republic is not a theocracy, such as the nation of Israel became in the days of Moses, back in 1513 B.C.E.
2. How did the setting up of the Republic of Israel differ from the restoration of the Jews to their homeland in 537 B.C.E.?
2 The Austrian Israelite Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist World Organization in 1897, declared that the Jews were a nation and demanded that territory be set aside for the establishment of a Jewish state. But nothing in all the developments involving the Republic of Israel has any correspondency to the restoration of the Jews to their homeland in 537 B.C.E., the first year of the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great. That ancient restoration fulfilled the declared purpose of Israel’s God, Jehovah, as foretold at Isaiah 45:1-5. (2 Chronicles 36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1-4) But in the setting up of the Republic of Israel we saw no peaceful course taken with full faith in the God of ancient Israel. So this cannot be interpreted as a fulfillment of the Hebrew Scripture prophecies; nor is it evidence that the coming of the Jewish Messiah is at hand.
3. How was the salvation of “all Israel” once viewed by the International Bible Students, but what happened in this regard in 1932?
3 Down into the year 1929 the members of the International Bible Students Association thought that the natural Jews were still God’s chosen people, that they would be gathered back to Palestine in unbelief, that there they would be converted to Jesus Christ as the promised Seed of Abraham and that they then would become the earth’s leading nation for the blessing of all mankind. In 1932, however, this was proved to be a misunderstanding of Bible prophecy, including the words of Romans 11:26 about the saving of “all Israel.”—See Study VIII of the book Thy Kingdom Come, copyright 1891 by Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society.
Who Make Up “All Israel”?
4. What circumstances today indicate that the Republic of Israel is not “the Israel of God”?
4 What the Jewish writer of Romans 11:26 called “all Israel” he called “the Israel of God” at Galatians 6:16. But if the natural Jews in the Republic of Israel and around the globe do not make up “all Israel,” who are its members? This question is a vital one, as the natural Jews of today do not know to which of Israel’s 12 tribes they belong. They have rabbis but no priesthood, no high priest on earth, no temple at Jerusalem and no altar there on which to offer sacrifices according to the Law God gave to them through Moses. All of this has been lacking since the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 C.E. There also is no evidence that the God whose name they refuse to pronounce is with them any longer as a nation. Yet, Jehovah God does have an Israel on earth, even in this 20th century. So who are its members?
5, 6. How did Paul show that being “the Israel of God” does not depend upon natural, fleshly circumstances?
5 The natural Jew Saul of Tarsus, who was privileged to become the Christian apostle Paul, provides a satisfying answer. About the year 56 C.E. he addressed a long letter to “all those who are in Rome as God’s beloved ones, called to be holy ones.” (Romans 1:1, 7) In that letter, Paul identified those considered by God to be true Israelites—not Israelites as to the flesh but according to the spirit. Paul wrote:
6 “Not all who spring from Israel are really ‘Israel.’ Neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all children, but: ‘What will be called “your seed” will be through Isaac.’ That is, the children in the flesh are not really the children of God, but the children by the promise are counted as the seed. . . . Moreover, Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: ‘Although the number of the sons of Israel may be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved. For Jehovah will make an accounting on the earth, concluding it and cutting it short.’ Also, just as Isaiah had said aforetime: ‘Unless Jehovah of armies had left a seed to us, we should have become just like Sodom, and we should have been made just like Gomorrah.’”—Romans 9:6-9, 27-29.
7, 8. Why did the natural Israelites fail to fill all the places as branches of the symbolic olive tree described in Romans chapter 11?
7 Later, in Romans chapter 11, Paul likened the nation of Israel to an olive tree that is linked to “Jehovah’s friend,” the patriarch Abraham. (James 2:23) After that “friend” displayed his obedience, God told him: “By means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves due to the fact that you have listened to my voice.” (Genesis 22:18) Because the majority of the natural Jews did not display the faith of their forefather Abraham and obey God, those unbelieving Israelites were lopped off the symbolic olive tree that was rooted in the Greater Abraham, Jehovah God. Their places were taken by believing Gentiles, or non-Jews, so that the symbolic tree might have its full number of branches. Those taking the places of the natural Israelites became “Abraham’s seed” as proselytes, or Israelites by adoption on the part of God, the One greater than Abraham. (Galatians 3:26-29) They became Israelites in a spiritual sense, that is, spiritual Israelites. That is why Paul went on to say:
8 “I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in; 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: and this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”—Romans 11:25-27, American Standard Version.
9. Although “the appointed times of the nations” ran out in 1914, what is the position of the Republic of Israel toward the Mediator of the new covenant?
9 We note that Paul does not say, ‘until the times of the Gentiles have been fulfilled.’ Rather, he says, “until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in,” or, “until the full number of people of the nations has come in.” The Gentile Times, or “the appointed times of the nations,” ran out in 1914, the year when World War I broke out. (Luke 21:24, Authorized Version) Nevertheless, today, 70 years later, the Republic of Israel and the natural Jews all over the earth do not claim to be in the new covenant that Jehovah said he would establish with the house of Israel. (Jeremiah 31:31-34) More than 19 centuries ago, on Nisan 14, 33 C.E., on the night of the Jewish Passover, the prospective Mediator of that covenant presented a cup of wine to his faithful apostles and made this comment: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf.” (Luke 22:20) But after all this time the Republic of Israel does not recognize Jesus Christ as the Mediator of the covenant foretold in Jeremiah’s prophecy.
10. The believing natural Jews formed how much of Abraham’s “seed” for the blessing of all mankind, and with what consequence?
10 According to the Israelis, “the deliverer” has not yet come out of Zion. (Isaiah 59:20; Romans 11:26) But on the day of Pentecost of 33 C.E., a remnant of ancient Israel did accept Jesus as the Messiah. That remnant then began to receive the promised holy spirit and to be brought into the foretold new covenant. Yet, a remnant was not sufficient to make up the full membership of the spiritual “bride” of Christ, which is 144,000 strong. (Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-3; 21:9) Thus not enough natural Israelites became part of the symbolic olive tree rooted in the Greater Abraham, who promised that the ancient patriarch’s “seed” would bring blessings to all the earth’s families, Jewish and non-Jewish.
11, 12. “All Israel” refers to what Israel, and how can this be proved Scripturally?
11 How, then, was “all Israel” to be “saved” by means of the promised “deliverer”? Please note that Paul wrote his letter to the Romans about 56 C.E., after he had written to the Galatians (about 50-52 C.E.). Hence, Romans 11:25-27 was penned after his words at Galatians 6:16 about “the Israel of God.” That Israel is the one with which the new covenant was made by means of Jesus Christ, not the prophet Moses. Jesus was the Mediator for a Christian Israel, a spiritual Israel, that was born as a nation on the day of Pentecost, 33 C.E., when the holy spirit was poured out upon the Jews who accepted Jesus Christ as Mediator of the new covenant.
12 Present on that occasion was the Jewish apostle Peter. Later, he wrote to “the ones chosen according to the foreknowledge of God” and said: “You are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession’ . . . you were once not a people, but are now God’s people.” (1 Peter 1:1, 2; 2:9, 10) This confirms the fact that the Israel “all” of which is to be “saved” is not the present-day republic of the Israelis or the scattered natural Israelites all around the globe. “All Israel” that was to be “saved” was the spiritual Israel brought to birth at Pentecost of 33 C.E. by then being begotten with God’s reproductive spirit. It was to this “Israel of God” that the promised Deliverer was to come.
13. (a) How and when did the promised Deliverer come out of Zion? (b) In time, “the Israel of God” included whom in its membership?
13 This Deliverer did come on the day of Pentecost of 33 C.E. How? By the pouring out of Jehovah’s holy spirit upon about 120 disciples in the upper room at the national capital of Jerusalem. Thus those disciples became the initial segment of “the Israel of God” begotten to spiritual life and having the hope of eternal life in the spirit realm above. This spiritual Israel eventually came to include the non-Jewish believers in the promised Deliverer. When was this? At the conversion of Samaritans—and later of outright Gentiles at the conversion of the Roman centurion Cornelius and his family and friends in 36 C.E.—Jehovah, the Greater Abraham, adopted all these non-Jewish believers into his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the symbolic trunk of the figurative olive tree. Thus these non-Jews could take the places of the faithless Jews that were broken off from that olive tree having 144,000 “branches.”—Acts, chapter 10; Ac 15:14-21.
Work of Grafting In Now Accomplished
14. By now there is good evidence to show what regarding “all Israel”?
14 Nineteen hundred and forty-eight years have passed since that momentous event of 36 C.E. Logically, then, by now Almighty God’s work of saving “all Israel” has been grandly accomplished. That was a period of time much longer than the Jewish age of exclusive divine favor from 1513 B.C.E., in Moses’ day, to 36 C.E., at the first conversion of uncircumcised non-Israelites, or Gentiles. Doubtless, this extended period allowed enough time to save “all Israel,” as far as providing sufficient members for it is concerned. There is now good evidence to this effect.
15. In Jesus’ prophecy concerning the “sign” of “the conclusion of the system of things,” how did he say the “chosen ones” would be gathered?
15 Jesus Christ referred to that time period when he gave a prophecy on his invisible spirit “presence” and “the conclusion of the system of things” and said: “The sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.” (Matthew 24:3, 30, 31) When did that “presence” of Jesus Christ begin?
16, 17. When did Jesus Christ’s “presence” begin, and what notable events followed with respect to the gathered “chosen ones”?
16 Jesus’ “presence” started at the termination of the “seven times” of the Gentiles in the fall of 1914. (Daniel 4:23-36) At that time the glorified Jesus Christ turned his attention to the exercise of his power toward the war-stricken earth. The facts of history prove that in the postwar year of 1919 the reigning King Jesus Christ sent forth his heavenly angels to gather together “chosen ones” from all parts of the earth. Under the supervision of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, they were brought together into worldwide unity, to combine their efforts thenceforth in carrying out Jesus’ prophetic direction recorded at Matthew 24:14: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”
17 At the general convention of God’s people in 1931, they unanimously adopted the new name, so as to be known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. This was followed later by the publication of the Society’s book Jehovah, featuring the name of God that they were so happy to bear. Gratefully, Jehovah’s Witnesses received that new book in the year 1934, when the Nazi Führer, Adolf Hitler, was setting out to exterminate the Witnesses in central Europe.
18. In due time, what development indicated that the full number of the “chosen ones” had been gathered?
18 What followed indicated that the gathering of the dedicated, baptized “chosen ones” for the heavenly Kingdom had been accomplished. How so? Because in the year 1935 the attention and efforts of those “chosen ones” were directed to the “great multitude” forevisioned in Revelation 7:9-17. (AV) Of whom was this “great multitude,” or “great crowd,” to be made up? Of people who would ascribe glory and honor to Jehovah God and Jesus Christ and who would be rewarded with everlasting life on a paradise earth into which they would pass without dying despite the greatest “tribulation” of all human history. These favored ones were identified as the earthly “other sheep” of the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Joyfully, they were to be made “one flock” with the remnant of “all Israel” yet alive on earth.—John 10:16.
What Is Your Reply?
□ Why is the Republic of Israel not the Israel meant at Romans 11:26?
□ Why did the natural Israelites fail to fill all the places as branches of the symbolic olive tree?
□ Who is the promised Deliverer, and when and how did he come out of Zion?
□ Who make up “all Israel,” and by when was their full number gathered?
[Blurb on page 14]
In 1935 the “other sheep” associating with the remnant of “all Israel” were identified as the “great crowd”
[Picture on page 12]
When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal, what did the “cup” mean?
[Picture on page 14]
Overflow audience at 1935 convention in Washington, D.C.