And so all Israel will be saved.
Such a simple statement by the Apostle Paul, yet one that has caused much controversy and debate through the centuries. In Romans, perhaps my favorite book of the Bible, Paul lays out God's redemptive plan for mankind; and how, in His sovereignty, He allowed the Jews to be blinded so that the Gentiles could receive the Gospel Message. However, in Chapter 11, Paul wants it clearly understood that once the fullness of the Gentiles has been realized, that God's Chosen People would once again operate in their full power and character, and enter into their full purpose as ordained by God ... and so all Israel will be saved.
As the Gentile Church, we have struggled with just what that looks like. For those who reject this possibility, and who believe in Replacement Theology (that "the Church" has replaced Israel/the Jews as God's Chosen People), they refuse to even consider the meaning of Paul's statement. For those of us Christians who revere the Jews as a people through whom the Messiah of the World has come. and will return, we see a couple of possible meanings.
First, is Paul saying that "ALL" means every person in the nation of Israel will be saved at Christ's return? Or is it possible that "ALL" refers to all believing Jews; those who accept Yeshua as their Savior? No one can say for sure.
But let me add another voice into this conversation. I am blessed to be involved with an organization of Messianic Jews in the nation of Israel, whose purpose is to spread the Gospel among the myriad of groups that reside in Israel ... they serve the secular, the Orthodox, Arab Christians, and anyone who will hear their message of Yeshua's love. They have pointed out to me that this particular verse of Scripture has an entirely different perspective to Israelis. Let me explain...
You are probably familiar with the concept that the name of Yeshua -- Jesus -- bears the meaning of the word Y'shuah, or salvation. The concept of salvation in Scriptures has a two-fold meaning: one military, the other spiritual. Both are true. The Hebrew prophets tended to emphasize the military, national, intervention of God to save the nation from destruction. And on the other hand, the early Messianic apostles of Yeshua tended to emphasize the eternal, spiritual, forgiveness of God to save us from sin and death.
But we Western Christians need to understand that the number of Israelis who believe in Yeshua as the Messiah and their Savior is a very small number. When you try to dialogue with a secular Israeli or an Orthodox member of the Jewish faith, the question "Are you saved?" has virtually no meaning in Hebrew. The national military aspects of salvation have become more relevant in recent generations as Israel finds itself back in the Land and threatened with destruction by Jihadist groups on all sides.
In addition, there has been a gradual change in the meaning of Passover since Israel has become a nation. During all the years of exile, it was primarily a religious ceremony, with symbolic remembrance of the past. Now Passover is a national holiday, celebrated by religious and non-religious at the same time. Some see the holiday as national, some as religious, some as both.
It should be remembered that God established the holiday of Passover as an "appointed time". It is to remember the death and resurrection of Yeshua that also occurred during Passover. As the years go by, people are asking more and more questions about the symbolism, nationalism and messianism connected with Passover, and there is -- little by little -- more interest in trying to understand Messianic Jews by Israeli society as a whole. In addition, as worldwide Islamic Jihad and anti-Israel sentiments grow, the meaning of the Passover as God's military intervention to save the people of Israel will also take on greater significance.
So, can you see the two different aspects of "salvation" coming together in these last days before the coming of Yeshua? Can you picture the knowledge of Yeshua growing, and the urgency of a divine military intervention for Israel growing, as well? All of the prophecies concerning the Second Coming of Yeshua point to both a spiritual revival and a military intervention. "All Israel will be saved" has meanings in both the spiritual and military contexts.
As my Messianic friends in Israel point out, a spiritual revival in the Land will go hand in hand with crying out to the Lord for deliverance from military destruction. Yeshua and the angels in heaven will descend to save Israel from military attack at the same time that He will bring eternal spiritual salvation. The attack of the nations, the revival in Israel, and the divine "military" intervention will all come to a climax at the same time. As always, Scripture is the fullness of God's Word. Blessed is the Lord!