Some Christian circles believe in a doctrine which contends that all descendants of Israel by paternal lineage — who are also genetically pure Adamites –- white people –- will be unconditionally saved. This “all Israel will be saved” doctrine is lifted verbatim from Romans 11:26,
…and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.’
That “saving” refers to an eternal salvation – eternal life — and those five words — “all Israel will be saved” — are applied to every single individual who makes up Israel by birth.
Those who adhere to this doctrine often use Isaiah 45:17 as a “second witness” which says,
Israel has been saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you will not be put to shame or humiliated to all eternity.
Again – merely as statement of fact — they have taken Israel’s collective everlasting salvation and applied it to every individual who makes up Israel.
We certainly should not disagree with Paul’s words in Romans 11:26 -– along with Isaiah 45:17 –- in the context in which they are given. “All Israel will be saved” does indeed have a context — but it is demonstrably not an unqualified statement.
Not only that, the “All Israel will be saved” doctrine — by its permissive and unqualified nature — is likely to fail to produce a holy people in its adherents which our Lord desires and — more importantly — what He deserves.
In addressing this doctrine, our hope is not simply to break it down, but to show the life that a true bride of Christ ought to live — along with the power Christ gives us with which to live it. Revelation 19:8 says of His bride,
It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
We can see that the bride is clothed with very specific clothing which speaks to her and her character. We can also see that without this clothing entry into the kingdom will not be allowed, as in Matthew 22:11-14 the Lord says,
11 But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Tie his hands and feet, and throw him into the outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in that place.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
In the above parable, we can conclude that having no wedding garment is grounds for exclusion from the wedding feast – eternal death. We should be very sure that the wedding garment we put on – or the one we assume we already have – is the correct one.
Before we proceed, we should clarify a crucial stipulation about the Bible for the purposes of this essay.
We should keep in mind that the ancient writers wrote the Old Testament for Israelites only — and the New Testament was written only for the Israelites and Genesis 10 nations. They wrote for an audience who — they assumed — knew that white people were the true descendants of Adam. This assumption was so implicit — and so obvious — that they would not have even thought they would need to make it explicit. To them, white people were “men” and Adamites — while non-whites simply were not. For this reason, the scope of the Scriptural teachings was to the benefit of Adamites — and did not need to include any explicit teachings on “race” — which is an anachronistic concept that really wasn’t created until the 1700s after Christian Europeans had begun to establish their Third World colonial empires.
That is not to say, however, that non-whites do not exist at all in the Scripture — or that the Scripture does not clearly teach us what our relationship must be with them — but suffice to say that its moral and spiritual teachings are written for its audience: Pure white Adamites.
The “all Israel will be saved” camp advocates a banal doctrine where the wedding garment is literally our white skin. Truly, our white skin is merely the nakedness of our flesh – literally and figuratively — and is no wedding garment at all. The Lord warns us in Revelation 16:15,
Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and people will not see his shame.
Revelation 3:18, however, provides us with an antidote for this warning,
I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to apply to your eyes so that you may see.
Our white skin is presumed in this conversation –- as Christ is addressing white people to begin with -– yet the Lord has advised us to buy from Him something which we do not inherently have. Verily, how could one buy white skin? If white skin – with which we are born – were all we needed for salvation, then why would we suppose there is need for faith in the Lord? His words in John 3:14-15 would then be in vain:
14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes will have eternal life in Him.
On the contrary, we need the white garments from Him — otherwise our nakedness will be revealed. We need to clothe ourselves in wedding garments made of white linen, bright and clean. It is our hope then in Christ to reveal the nature of these wedding clothes — and to show why “all Israel will be saved” is merely nakedness, which will be revealed for all to see.
In our hearts the words of Paul are manifest when he says in 2 Corinthians 11:2-3,
2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his trickery, your minds will be led astray from sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
By what trickery did the serpent deceive Eve? Adam and Eve had received the command in Genesis 3:16-17,
16 …From any tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for on the day that you eat from it you will certainly die.
Note how the serpent’s first deception was to call into question the command of God in Genesis 3:1,
Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?
But when Eve reiterates the command of God, the serpent reassures her,
You certainly will not die! (Genesis 3:4)
Notice how the serpent continually calls into question these plain commands of God, twisting them to be something other than what has been simply stated. Yet Eve readily accepts another command — contrary to what God had given — just as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:4 — continuing on from the verses quoted just earlier,
4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, this you tolerate very well!
Eve does exactly that — tolerates the command of the serpent, a command she hadn’t received from God — by allowing the serpent to twist it in her mind. Likewise, “all Israel will be saved” twists the gospel into something which it is not — preaching “another Jesus” not preached in the Scripture.
As Christians, it shouldn’t be difficult to understand how being “tricked” into believing that we will be saved simply by being born with white Adamic/Israelite skin could indeed easily lead us “astray from sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
As Christian Israel, we ought to know that certain knowledge is necessary to bring about that which we are called to, as Peter says in 2 Peter 1:3
…for His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
Peter says Christ called us by His own glory and excellence, and if He called in glory and excellence, then that is what His calling ought to produce in us, as 1 John 2:3-6 says,
3By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever follows His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says that he remains in Him ought, himself also, walk just as He walked.
Peter says that the Lord’s divine power has granted to us — the true Israel — the means with which to attain to true life and godliness, and that true knowledge of Him is a necessary step in the process, as 1 John 1:9 states,
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This is a two-step process — we must first be forgiven of our sins, and then we must be cleansed from all unrighteousness. In order to be forgiven our sins, we must first confess our sin rather than justifying ourselves like the adulterous woman in Proverbs 20:30:
This is the way of an adulterous woman: she eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wrong.’
Instead, we ought to humbly approach our Lord just as David did when he said in Psalm 51:10-11,
10 Create in me a clean heart, God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
And in Psalm 19:12-13,
12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. 13 Also keep Your servant back from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I will be innocent, and I will be blameless of great wrongdoing.
An Israelite and Christian ought to understand that one who has a heart after the Lord – as was David’s (1 Samuel 13:14) – is not even able to discern their own errors, and that they need our Lord’s help to be kept from presumptuous sins. Thanks be to our glorious Father that His Son — the Lord Jesus Christ — has the divine power with which to cleanse us. Where we struggle against our flesh and fail time and time again, Hebrews 4:14-16 assures us,
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let’s hold firmly to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need.
However, when David said, “Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me,” this is where a serious problem arises for the “All Israel will be saved” doctrine.
People who believe this “salvation by race” doctrine never consider that they may indeed be cast away, and that the Holy Spirit may be removed — contradicting what David himself said is possible. Furthermore, they fail to consider that the Holy Spirit might not even have been there in the first place.
Their prevailing view is that even if they have not lived a good life in this life, they will merely be relegated to a lower position of reward in the next life. Clearly, there are different positions of reward — as the Lord makes this much clear in such verses as Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:30, and Revelation 20:4 among many others. But we are told that even the lowest position will be occupied by men and women who were “zealous” for our Lord — rather than merely unrepentant Israelites (Revelation 3:19).
It’s easy to see how this laissez-faire doctrine would create an attitude in many where they simply resign themselves not to care overly much for God’s ways and become content with a lower position in the Kingdom — which they believe to be their birthright as Israelites.
Like a children’s race in which no one’s feelings are to be hurt, the child who comes last is content with their last place trophy — because they knew from the start that everyone gets a trophy regardless of effort or performance. But Paul cautions against this mindset in 1 Corinthians 9:24,
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
Paul — whose life stands out to us millennia later as a true servant of the Lord — even imagines himself to not necessarily have reached the prize in Philippians 3:12-16,
12 Not that I have already grasped it all or have already become perfect, but I press on if I may also take hold of that for which I was even taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore, all who are mature, let’s have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that to you as well.
Paul says that those “who are mature” ought to have this ever-reaching attitude, yet those who adhere to the “all Israel will be saved” doctrine have given themselves a safety net even if they have no desire or motivation to strive upwards in Christ. Therefore, it will utterly fail to bring about their spiritual maturity.
The Lord Himself confirms what this maturity is in His parables in Matthew 13:44-46,
44 The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells everything that he has, and buys that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold everything that he had and bought it.
The kingdom of heaven requires everything that we have — and an attitude which intends to run the race to win it — not to merely show up. One would think that the words of Deuteronomy 6:5 would be enough,
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Before continuing, something should be cleared up, lest the true gospel not find root in any of us because of affliction, persecution, or anxiety of the world (Matthew 13:21-22). Just like some are hardened to the truth that non-whites are not Adamites because they have non-whites in their families, those who uphold “all Israel will be saved” become hardened to truth of salvation because they fear for those fellow Israelites whom they love.
This is a very tragic situation, but the Lord addresses it in Luke 14:26-27, 33-35,
26 If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple 28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?…. 33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. 34 Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 35 It is useless either for the soil or the manure pile, so it is thrown out. The one who has ears to hear, let him hear.
We certainly do not advocate a literal hating of our family — though some certainly have taken this verse as a license to do so — but the point is, we cannot allow the spiritual lives of our family members — even our own spouses — to hinder our own. We cannot subconsciously fall by our families and friends simply because we cannot imagine that they will not attain to eternal life with us.
Even so, we have more hope for these situations when we acknowledge the truth of salvation. The Lord concludes in Luke 14, “…salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?” Therefore, if we do not have this attitude of “hating” those we love and our possessions, we’re not good for anything anyway — the situation is hopeless.
In what seems to be a paradox, we must “hate” them in order to love them — that we may be salt to them. The Lord says in Matthew 5:13-16
13 You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Then we should acknowledge the truth and set our light before those around us and pray for them so that there may be hope indeed for them. If we are afraid to lose them in our flesh, then we love them only in the flesh, but we hate them in the spirit.
Some may imagine themselves to have been wronged by those around them — and come to truly hate their family and their kindred in the flesh. In their own eyes, those around them become useless to their own flesh and their own ego, so they seek to discard them. This is not done out of love on a spiritual basis, but rather in the most carnal way possible.
Such people may think that just because they have come up with a doctrinal justification in their own minds that it is also a justification in God’s eyes. In reality, all that they have done is thought up a “reason” to hate their kindred — and pretend they have God’s blessing in doing so.
It should be stressed that these words are not easy, and these situations are indeed hard, as many of us perhaps have been through its trials — but the words of Paul should again manifest in our hearts, just as he says in 2 Corinthians 2:4:
For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not so that you would be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you.
However, acknowledging the truth has brought about fruit of righteousness around us, as we strive to sanctify our wives, families and friends in meekness and true love, of which Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7,
4 Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. 5 It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, 6 it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 it keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
In this context we ought also to remember the words of the Lord in Matthew 12:50,
For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother, and sister, and mother.
We have a true family — an eternal family — with whom in years uncountable, we will be by one another’s side in love and unity. In that time when we are together, we will be consoled with one another in the love of our Lord Jesus — pain and tears in times past having faded into insignificance. We should press forward toward that family, that we may even begin our fellowship in this life.
That said, we will begin with Matthew 7:21-23:
21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
Those in the “all Israel will be saved” camp maintain that when the Lord says, “I never knew you,” that He is not, in fact, referring to Israelites at all. They further claim that “I never knew you” fundamentally cannot refer to Israelites because God has known only Israelites — quoting Amos 3:2 as a witness,
You only have I known among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your wrongdoing.
This is a convenient connection to be made — at face value it seems to confirm the view — but the flaw is that Amos 3:2 is very obviously referring to corporate Israel — while Matthew 7:23 is referring to individual Israelites. Paul makes a clear distinction between the prophecies which apply to corporate Israel, and to those that apply to individuals who make up Israel, when he says in Romans 9:6,
For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.
Some may inevitably deny that Paul is referring to genetic Israelites here — and propose that he might be saying that all who are in Israel are not genetic Israelites.
Romans 9 is a wonderful piece of writing, where Paul’s case is so strong that even those who deny the writings of Paul would struggle to deny it. Romans 9 is written with such fantastic persuasion that one need not even accept it as divinely inspired in order to accept its truth.
Nevertheless, many still assume that we need “extra context” in order to understand Paul’s simple argument — and that Paul “needed help” to bring his idea across — perhaps because his language wasn’t explicitly “racist” enough for their liking.
Romans 9 can — and should be — best understood with the simple explanation which Paul himself provides.
In his preface to Romans 9:1-5 Paul establishes that he is not talking about those who are not genetically pure Israelites — clearly, he is talking only about Israelites. There is no reason to believe that when talking about Israel that he is referring to anything other than pure Israelites. Because Paul has established his own context, we do not need extra context — unless we want to make Paul say something other than what his plain words state:
1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying; my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my countrymen, my kinsmen according to the flesh 4 who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and daughters, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the temple service, and the promises; 5 whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Paul refers here to his own kinsmen according to the flesh — to whom pertain the promises of the Israelites. But if the Lord has made specific promises of salvation with all his kinsman according to the flesh, then why does Paul express great sorrow and grief in his heart over them?
Paul then says in Romans 9:6
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.
“The word of God” here refers to the promises God has made to Israel — his kinsmen according to the flesh. Romans 9:1-5 provides a very concise summation of the law and the prophets – the word of God – concerning Israel. Why would he say this unless — in some way — it had seemed that the promises made to Israel in the law and the prophets were failing? Paul even further clarifies this grief when he says in Romans 10:1-2,
1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation 2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.
The Lord also says in John 17:3,
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
In Philippians 3:4-6, Paul even laments his pursuing of “righteousness which is in the Law” –- not according with knowledge, when he concludes in verse 7-8
7 But whatever things were gain to me, these things I have counted as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them mere rubbish, so that I may gain Christ.
In Romans 10:3-8 Paul explains how the righteousness of faith is greater than the righteousness of the law — and concludes that the righteousness of faith is a belief in the Lord Jesus in Romans 10:9-10:
…9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
Paul asserts that a belief in Jesus as Lord will necessarily result in righteousness — and it will result in salvation. And by this we can also infer that belief in a “Jesus” which does not result in righteousness is a belief in “another Jesus”.
Paul flatly asserts that his kinsman according to the flesh did not attain to that righteousness — and so they could not have attained to salvation. His “desire for their salvation” clearly implies that their salvation is not guaranteed.
Bear in mind that eternal life and eternal salvation are promised to Israel many times in the prophets — and even in the law — as Hebrews 4 makes clear.
Because many Israelites are failing to attain to eternal salvation, Paul is concerned that we may therefore erroneously conclude that the word of God and His promises toward Israelites are failing
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.
Paul gives a very important clarification in Romans 9:8,
That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.
Paul explicitly states here that the flesh — even Israelite flesh — is useless in order to inherit the promises of God. Remember, he said, “my kinsmen according to the flesh” — with “flesh” here something different and distinct from the “promise”. His “kinsmen according to the flesh” have already satisfied the condition of the flesh for those promises, which is to be pure Israelites.
Even though Abraham had many children — and Ishmael was even his first born — it was Isaac whom God chose as the heir of the covenant. Ishmael was technically the first in line to be an inheritor of the promises — at least according to the flesh.
Abraham himself even desired Ishmael to be an inheritor where he says to God in Genesis 17:18,
Oh that Ishmael might live before You!
Immoveable in His choice, God replies in verse 19,
No, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.
To reiterate for emphasis: Ishmael was a legitimate heir according to the flesh — and the promise God made to Abraham was to his progeny.
However, Paul quotes Genesis 18:10 and Genesis 21:12 as prophecies which predestined the realization of the promise in Isaac. Of all of the legitimate heirs of Abraham according to the flesh, Isaac was the only inheritor. Isaac was a child of the promise.
Isaac also had two sons — Jacob and Esau. Both sons were also each legitimate heirs of the covenants of Abraham, seeing as how the promise was to be called in Isaac. Yet even though Isaac had two sons — with Esau being the first born — Paul observes in Romans 9:11
…for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand.
Again, the covenants were not realized through all of Isaac’s descendants — but only in Jacob — and Paul quotes Genesis 25:23 as proof that only Jacob was the child of the promise. All of Isaac’s children were legitimate heirs according to the flesh, but only one of them was chosen. Jacob was a child of the promise.
The argument which Paul is clearly making here is that being an Israelite child according to the flesh is only a necessary precondition for being a child according to the promise — but it does not guarantee being a child of the promise. In order for the promise to stand — and for the Lord to be trustworthy — there must be at least one child of the promise.
Paul has also made sure that in order not to confuse the reader about Ishmael’s deeds — and the deeds of Abraham’s other sons, Jacob and Esau — he has given us two examples of choice according to promise. In other words, the common denominator in all of their lives is that they were legitimate heirs according to the flesh, but not according to the promise. There’s no need to go any further than that according to Paul’s argument.
Knowing that Esau was a godless man, Paul was even more sure to draw our attention away from Esau’s deeds, which is why he emphasizes the fact that the promise was made before Esau and Jacob had done anything good or bad.
Paul is saying that living a righteous life is a result of having been chosen – it is by grace and God’s choice that we are purified – which is why Jacob lived the good life that he did. Paul clarifies in Romans 11:5-6,
5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, since otherwise grace is no longer grace.
Despite all these Scriptural examples Paul provides for us to clarify why God made this choice, those defending “all Israel will be saved” have no recourse but to simply ignore them — and doggedly proceed to make Paul’s argument about the deeds of Esau — often as an alleged race mixer — even though Paul has already proven that it wasn’t about anything he did. They make it appear as if God chose Jacob because of his own works relative to Esau’s, in spite of the fact that God announced the promise in Isaac before he was born.
In verses 14-23 Paul morally defends the argument which he has made, implying that all children of Abraham and Isaac who are not Isaac and Jacob are simply objects of wrath, while Isaac and Jacob are objects of mercy. He makes this defense specifically because those objects of wrath were genetically pure and legitimate heirs of those covenants according to the flesh.
There would be no reason for Paul to morally defend this argument if the objects of wrath were not legitimate heirs according to the flesh — or if they had done anything right or wrong to deserve their fate.
After having provided the basis for that logic, and having morally defended that logic, he gives the conclusion in Romans 9:27,
27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, ‘Though the number of the sons of Israel may be like the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved; 28 for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.’
Paul has concluded that just because genetic Israelites are technically heirs of the promises made to Israel, it does not necessarily mean that all of those Israelites will inherit those promises. He concludes that only the Israelites who are according to God’s choice – the objects of mercy – the children of the promise – will inherit those promises. Just earlier in Romans 8:29-30 he said,
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
His entire methodical discourse from Romans 9 to Romans 11 proves this fact. With the above in mind — contrary to all reason — many still stubbornly conclude that when Paul says, “all Israel will be saved” in Romans 11:26, he is referring to every individual who makes up Israel — as if he did not just earlier make the qualifying statement, “only the remnant will be saved.”
To make this interpretation of Paul’s argument even more sure, let’s look at another example of a genetic promise which was realized only in the child of the promise. It is clearly attested that the high priests of the time of Christ were true high priests. Being in that office, they had it confirmed by unwittingly prophesying in John 11:51,
Now he [Caiaphas] did not say this on his own, but as he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation.
Also in Acts 4:5-6, the true lineage of the high priests are attested to:
5 On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6 and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent.
Where it says “descent” here, it is from the Greek “genos” (Strong’s G1085). In Acts 5:6 it is given in genitive masculine singular, where in that same form, it is referred to by the same writer in Acts 13:26:
Brothers, sons of Abraham’s family [G1085]…
Clearly this could be – and is even likely to be – referring to a familial descent, which was literally the requirement for the office of high priest, as it says in Numbers 18:7,
But you [Aaron] and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything that concerns the altar and inside the veil, and you are to perform service. I am giving you the priesthood as a service that is a gift, and the unauthorized person who comes near shall be put to death.
Luke states that these men were legitimate high priests — and there is no reason to question it. If we try to make Luke say something other than what he is saying, we are discarding his witness, because he has spoken his words plainly. If we question or cast doubt on his plain words, we are arrogantly asserting that we know better than Luke did.
The promise was made to Aaron and his descendants to be servants of God, as Exodus 29:9 and 44 make clear:
9 And you shall wrap their waists with sashes, Aaron and his sons, and fit caps on them, and they shall have the priesthood by a permanent statute. So you shall ordain Aaron and his sons….
44 I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve as priests to Me.
Malachi 2:1, 4-8 once again confirms this promise – even while lamenting its supposed failure – and reveals more detail about it:
1 And now, this commandment is for you, the priests….4 ‘Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, so that My covenant may continue with Levi,’ says the Lord of armies. 5 ‘My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and was in awe of My name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and injustice was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and justice, and he turned many back from wrongdoing. 7 For the lips of a priest should maintain knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of armies. 8 But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have ruined the covenant of Levi,’ says the Lord of armies.
The phrase “my covenant with him was one of life and peace” refers even to Phinehas, son of Eleazar — son of Aaron — with whom God made the following covenant in Numbers 25:12-13,
12 Therefore say, ‘Behold, I am giving him My covenant of peace; 13 and it shall be for him and for his descendants after him, a covenant of a permanent priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel.’
The purpose of a priest was to turn many back from wrongdoing and to maintain knowledge — which is exactly what Phinehas did.
Aaron and his sons were to serve as priests to God, but there were those of Aaron’s sons who clearly did not attain this promise – all throughout their generations, in spite of being children according to the flesh and legitimate heirs. There are Nadab and Abihu — the first generation from Aaron — his literal sons — who were killed by the Lord Himself for offering “strange fire” before the Lord in Leviticus 10 — killed and cut off without descendants — and so, being fleshly heirs, they were not heirs according to the promise.
Consider Eli, Hophni and Phinehas who — during the time of Samuel — were killed by God, not serving God and maintaining knowledge. Instead, Hophni and Phinehas would steal meat from the sacrifices and lie with women who came to the tabernacle. Eli, being partial to his family, did not discipline them as necessary and so died along with them.
Should we be surprised that the high priests of the time of Christ — such as Caiaphas and Annas — would also fail to be children of the promise when so many had also failed before them? Is it as though the word of God had failed? God forbid!
The father of John the Baptist was also a priest of high priestly descent who served as a priest during his life, as Luke 1:5 describes,
In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah…
Zechariah was, according to the division of Abijah, one of the twenty-four high-priestly divisions stated in 1 Chronicles 24. Clearly, they must have had some detailed genealogy –- even in that time –- in order to know this. Zechariah was literally performing the office of high priest because he was offering incense “according to the custom of the priestly office” (Luke 1:9) – see Exodus 33.
We can conclude then that John the Baptist was of high-priestly descent as well. Furthermore, given that John and his father were according to the division of Abijah, we can conclude that they were also descendants of Phinehas.
Abijah was the eighth priest to be mentioned in the list given in 1 Chronicles 24:7-18. The first sixteen of the twenty-four were descendants of Eleazar (1 Chronicles 24:4), the father of Phinehas who was Eleazar’s only son — by which we can conclude that all sixteen priests who were descendants of Eleazar were descendants of Phinehas as well. Therefore, John the Baptist was a legitimate heir according to the flesh of the covenants with Aaron and Phinehas simultaneously.
This is further confirmed because John the Baptist is the solution to the supposed failings of the promises to Aaron and Phinehas lamented in Malachi 2:1-8, as he is referred to in Malachi 3:1:
Behold, I am sending My messenger, and he will clear a way before Me.
The same is said of him in Isaiah 40:3,
The voice of one calling out, ‘Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’
These same words are spoken over John by his father in Luke 1:76:
And you, child, also will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways
Although he wasn’t recognized as such in the temple, he was the child of the promise, as John in Luke 1:16 states,
And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God.
This is a confirmation of John the Baptist’s calling as a high priest of God — a confirmation that he was a child of the promise, which would realize the promises made in his flesh through Aaron and Phinehas. It is crucial to understand that this confirmation of John’s status was made before he was even born — just as was the case with Isaac and Jacob.
And so John the Baptist was truly a child of the promise who consecrated the new High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek — and who would be High Priest forever from then on.
Here we have confirmation then that even within more exclusive promises and covenants within Israel itself, there are children of the flesh who are not children of the promise. If it was this way for priests, how much more for each individual Israelite?
Moving back to Amos 3:2, we have confirmation that the prophecy of Amos 3 cannot be used to interpret what makes up the true Israel at the end of time — but rather to know only whom God had known at that time. Of course, no one would argue against the fact that it was only “the entire family which He brought up from the land of Egypt” (Amos 3:1) whom He had known in the context of Amos 3:2. Despite that, Paul says in Acts 14:16-17,
16 In past generations He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; 17 yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.
This is a reference to the law in Deuteronomy 4:19,
19 And be careful not to raise your eyes to heaven and look at the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the heavenly lights, and allow yourself to be drawn away and worship them and serve them, things which the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.
Even though God knew only Israel at that time, He was sure to leave for Himself a witness to the nations — as they too were to be brought into the promises of Abraham. We can conclude that this refers to all the Genesis 10 nations – pure Adamic descendants who had received rain and fruitful seasons – which is to say all of them. The verse must refer to all nations over and above Israel — not to merely Israel scattered among the nations — otherwise those nations would not have survived because they would not have been provided for. Those same nations were also to be known by God at some point later, in spite of being left to their devices then — and God left them witness to this fact.
“You only have I known” applied to Israel at that time of Amos 3 — and it also applies to the prophetic fate of corporate Israel unto the end of the age. This also is the conclusion of Paul’s discourse as he clearly explains the relationship between Israel and the nations — and the prophetic fate of each by the time Romans 11 concludes.
Now that we understand what Paul meant by “they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel,” there is yet another significant problem that faces those who insist on the literal “all Israel will be saved” doctrine. Because it has such a great focus on “race”, its adherents either miss or ignore by necessity obvious qualifying statements in what the Lord says.
They find themselves forced into disagreeing with the context and clarification the Lord Himself provides, while they instead seek to establish their own preferred context. In that pursuit, there are obvious qualifying Scriptures which they have no choice but to entirely ignore. For example, in Matthew 7:23, the Lord says,
I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.
Christ seems to be quoting Psalm 6:8, where David speaks of the lawless/sinning Israelites, according to the flesh, who persecuted him:
Leave me, all you who practice injustice, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
Christ could very well also be quoting Psalm 139:19, again a saying of David, who was persecuted by Israelites:
If only You would put the wicked to death, God; leave me, you men of bloodshed.
And He may even be quoting Psalm 119:115:
Leave me, you evildoers, so that I may comply with the commandments of my God.
While Psalm 119 is not attributed to any specific person, but given the themes and similarities with David’s writings evident above, it is nevertheless likely one of David’s. Ultimately, though, the Lord may very likely have been quoting or echoing all three — as we will see going forward.
If His plain words were not obvious enough — with the reference to the Psalms — we can see that Israelites are — at the very least — definitely not excluded from this statement. Given the hyper focus on “race” in the “all Israel will be saved” camp, many do not even consider these Psalms in that context.
Luke captures the same words differently in Luke 6:46-47:
46 Now why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like…
These verses are immediately followed by the parable of the building on the sand and rock in Luke 6:48-49 — just as Matthew 7:23 is followed by that same parable in Matthew 7:24-27. These two accounts are obviously the same teaching given in different ways for the following reasons:
They both have people approaching Christ calling Him “Lord, Lord”.
The saying in Luke 6 is succeeded by “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them…” (v47), and in Matthew 7 it is succeeded by “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them…” (v24)
Each is further succeeded by the parable of the building on the sand and the rock.
Of all the common denominators between these two accounts, the phrase “I never knew you” is not one of them. But that is not to suggest that “I never knew you” is not useful to the interpretation –- on the contrary.
However, we can safely conclude that “not ever having being known” to Christ is a consequence of the teaching — not a pre-requisite of the teaching. That is to say, the teaching shows who will be known and who will not be known — by certain criteria.
In both instances the Lord has given commands, but there are those who act on them and those who do not. This account in Luke shows emphatically that He is referring to those who claim to know Him. He is saying that He does not know those who claim to know Him because they do not keep His commands.
In both accounts they have come to Him saying, “Lord, Lord” as if they are His servants. They have even cited works they have done in the Matthew 7 account. And they have claimed to “know” Him, but in response He has said, “I never knew you.”
At this point we should consider what His commands actually were. John 13:34 says,
I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
John 15:12 says,
This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
1 John 3:23 says,
This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
2 John 5 says,
Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.
Matthew 5:44 says,
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
1 Thessalonians 4:9 says,
Now as to the love of the brothers and sisters, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another
Hebrews 13:1 says,
Let love of the brothers continue.
1 Peter 1:22 says,
Since you have purified your souls in obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brothers and sisters, fervently love one another from the heart
It should be obvious then that His commands are for us to love one another — and this is what He means when He says,
‘Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them’ (Luke 6:47) / and ‘everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them’ (Matthew 7:24).
Even this command is a command from the law in Leviticus 19:18,
You shall not take vengeance, nor hold any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.
The Lord confirms this even in Matthew 7:12 when He says,
In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Paul confirms this again in Galatians 5:14,
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
And again, in Romans 13:10,
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.
Although there is one other law which is greater than these, as it says in Matthew 22:36-40,
36 ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ 37 And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 Upon these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets.
We cannot pretend as if we are keeping the law of love if we live in sin — or allow the sin of others to hinder us — as love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness” (1 Corinthians 13:6). Love cannot be achieved through sin because the law is all about loving others. Therefore, if we sin in some way contrary to the law, then by definition we are acting in sin — and not love. Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:8-11
8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and worldly, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, homosexuals, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.
Paul says that the law is made for “those who are lawless and rebellious….according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God” — and not being lawless and rebellious is a crucial part of the gospel.
If indeed we are truly righteous — living in true love — then we are keepers of the law — especially the laws “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
We should not, however, see the laws and commands written in the Old and New Testaments merely as checkboxes to tick off so that we may justify ourselves. Certainly, in our lives we should not contradict that which the Scripture commands, but all pathways to sin are not necessarily codified in the Scriptures, especially given how society has changed over time.
Genesis 6:1 says that it was only when mankind began to multiply on the earth that there was this opportunity for sin. How much more, when there are so many of us, and so much added technology? Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:7,
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work…
He says in 1 Timothy 4:1,
…the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith…
He says in 2 Timothy 3:1,
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
The Lord confirms when He says in Matthew 24:12-13,
12 And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved.
It is interesting how here again the Lord has pointed out a causal relationship between lawlessness and love. Therefore, we should expect that forms of sin and lawlessness will increase in unprecedented ways, just as society has changed in unprecedented ways. The Lord even says that an increase in lawlessness necessarily causes love to become cold. Hebrews 5:14 says,
But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to distinguish between good and evil.
Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:7,
…train yourself for the purpose of godliness
Psalm 119:10-11 says,
10 With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your commandments. 11 I have treasured Your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against You.
We should be all the more awake then, not justifying ourselves. We ought to train ourselves that we may distinguish between good and evil. When commanded to keep the law of love, we ought to be careful of what that means and how it applies in our lives.
Getting back to Matthew 7:23, and the main argument, the Lord says,
I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.
Not keeping the Lord’s commands is the same thing as practicing lawlessness — because His command is to love one another, which is the summation of the law. Therefore, Matthew 7 and Luke 6 agree that this is all about not keeping His commands. If we do not keep His commands, then we are lawless — and He never knew us — which makes sense in the context of Psalm 6:8 because those who are lawless practice injustice.
This also makes sense in the context of Psalm 139:19 because those who are lawless are wont to bring about bloodshed. Also, the teaching has to do with those who will be excluded from eternal life, as the wicked of Israel will be put to death eternally. This also makes sense in the context of Psalm 119:115 because the lawless are evildoers, who interfere with fellow Israelites keeping the commandments of God.
The Scripture elaborates even more on what it means “to be known,” as the Lord says in John 14:21-24,
21 The one who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him. 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, ‘Lord, what has happened that You are going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?’ 23 Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will follow My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him. 24 The one who does not love Me does not follow My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.’
Therefore, if we do not keep His word, neither He nor His Father will make their dwelling in us. John is saying that if we do not keep His commands, He and His Father will never have been in us. If He says that He will never have been in us if we have not kept His commands, then this easily –- along with the rest of the evidence –- explains that this is what He means by “not having known us” — that He was never in us. Why? Because we did not keep His commands!
We find further witness of this in 1 Corinthians 8:4,
…but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.
Then again in 2 Timothy 2:19,
Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His;’ and, ‘Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to keep away from wickedness.’
That firm foundation is one and the same of which the Lord teaches in Matthew 7 and Luke 6. When we stand on that foundation, we are known by Him — and He knows who are His. Those who know Him — and who love Him — are those who keep away from wickedness.
2 Timothy 2:19 states that these are those who have His seal, of which Revelation 7:3-4 says,
3…’Do not harm the earth, or the sea, or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.’ 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel
What is the only seal with which the servants of God are to have on their foreheads? It says plainly in Deuteronomy 6:5-6 and 8,
5… you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart….8 You shall also tie them as a sign to your hand, and they shall be as frontlets on your forehead.
It is sure then that having the seal of God — and the foundation of God — and to be known by Him and to love Him is to not be lawless, as is witnessed again of those 144,000 in Revelation 14:4-5:
4 These are the ones who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are celibate. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from mankind as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And no lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
It is worth deviating slightly from the main argument here in order to reveal how naturally this interpretation flows with the rest of the Scripture — and that all of the Scripture agrees without having to add to it. The Lord says in John 10:26-29,
26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. 27 My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
The Lord came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but not all Israel are sheep!
He says of His sheep that He knows them, and they follow Him. They follow Him because they keep his commands, which is what it means to follow Him. Just as the 144,000 “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” because they have the seal of God on their heads.
Sheep are children of the promise. Those who are not sheep are children of the flesh who are not children of the promise. Those who are not children of the flesh -– not pure Adamites — are not even part of the scope of the parable.
Does the constant nit-picking of the “all Israel will be saved” doctrine –- with its constant explaining why the context given in Scripture is insufficient –- not seem banal and ugly in comparison?
Back onto the main argument — to take this yet further, in the Lord’s explanation of the parable of the wheat and the tares -– which we can all agree refers to eternal salvation and eternal death — Christ says in Matthew 13:41-42,
41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Those to whom this parable refers is clear — it explicitly states that those who commit lawlessness will be cast out. Surely then we must be found to not be committing lawlessness. At this point, there are multiple cross-references from this interpretation into Luke 13:23-28 which says
23 And someone said to Him, ‘Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?’ And He said to them, 24 ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin standing outside and knocking on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ and He then will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ 26 Then you will begin saying, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets!’ 27 And yet He will say, ‘I do not know where you are from; leave Me, all you evildoers.’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out.
In the above passage we can see that when the Lord says, “I do not know where you are from” –- which is similar to “I never knew you”— it is a response to Israelites who claim to have known Him — “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets!”
Once again, the Lord has quoted those same Psalms, and He has given the same clarifying statement — “leave Me, all you evildoers.” He has made it very clear that this is about those who practice evil — about those whom “He did not know” because they were lawless.
However, the “all Israel will be saved” doctrine would like to convince you that this is about something other than Israel doing evil. By completely disregarding its plain language, it would have you believe that this is instead about “race” — even though no such thing is said.
Just like the Emperor’s New Clothes— even though the clothes are not visible – and the doctrine does not exist in the Scripture — you are told to believe that the clothes and doctrine are actually clear for all to see. And just like the emperor, those who uphold this doctrine are naked without realizing it because –- being together in the delusion -– they all affirm to one another that they are in fact all wearing clothes.
We see again — cross-referencing Matthew 13:42 and Luke 13:28 — that they were cast out, weeping and gnashing their teeth — because they were lawless. Once again, He says to the lawless, “I do not know where you are from; leave Me, all you evildoers.”
Matthew 8:12 says,
12 but the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 13:42 says that they will be thrown into the furnace of fire, and Matthew 13:50 connects these concepts of gnashing of teeth and the furnace of fire to mean the same thing:
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; 48 and when it was filled, they pulled it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age: the angels will come forth and remove the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Once again — in the same context — it is about removing the wicked from the righteous. At this point, the inter-connectedness of the true interpretation is surely so obvious that it does not even require much exposition. We do not “need” these parables to prove “race” — and unnecessarily insisting that they must be about “race” utterly soils the true meaning of the Scripture.
In the context of doing good and evil — and being burned in fire — we have the narrative in Revelation 20:12-15,
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them; and they were judged, each one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Once again, this shows clearly that we will be judged according to our deeds — not according to our flesh — and if we are found to be evildoers and lawless, we will be destroyed eternally despite our Israelite flesh.
That same lake of fire — which is the second death — the furnace of fire and the place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth — is where we will be destroyed. If this were not clear enough already, Exodus 32:32-33 should remove any doubt:
32 But now, if You will forgive their sin, very well; but if not, please wipe me out from Your book which You have written! 33 However, the Lord said to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against Me, I will wipe him out of My book.
Does anything even need to be said? Is it not obvious yet? Sinners — even Israelites — will be removed from the book! Consider also Revelation 3:4-5,
4 But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who overcomes will be clothed the same way, in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
Those who are dressed in white are worthy because they have not soiled their garments — and their names have not been erased from the book of life — because they are not evildoers. Yes, there is a sacrifice for sin in our Lord Jesus, but if we do not seek to please Him — and do not supplicate to Him to remove our sins as we ought to — Hebrews 10:26 explains what awaits us,
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
But He is ready and willing and has the power with which to cleanse our lives — if only we will have the faith in Him to do so along with the humility with which to acknowledge our sin.
Does it not make one stop and think when reading Romans 11:26-27?
26 …and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.’ 27 ‘This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.’
Those Israelites who do not have their ungodliness removed — and do not have their sin taken away — are children of the flesh and objects of wrath. They are not a part of the true Israel according to the promise — in spite of being a part of the true Israel according to the flesh!
Isaiah 4:3-4 and Romans 11:26-27 refer to the same thing:
3 And it will come about that the one who is left in Zion and remains behind in Jerusalem will be called holy — everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem. 4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning
Those who are left behind in Jerusalem are those who are recorded for life in the Lord’s book — the ones who have had their clothes washed from the filth of sin — and they walk in white with the Lord, following Him as sheep wherever He goes.
We can conclude then that every individual who makes up Israel according to the flesh will not be saved — and we should thank our Lord for that because those who commit lawlessness will not be in the kingdom.
Isn’t it odd how the gospel repeatedly affirms that we must conform ourselves to the image of the Son, yet the “all Israel will be saved” doctrine does not fundamentally bring about the desire to do so? It seems to always be something which happens in the future — without any effort on our own part.
“All Israel shall be saved” doctrine is all about Abraham’s faith in us — rather than about our faith in the Lord Jesus. James says in James 2:26
…faith without works is dead.
If we do not even care to have works which attest to the faith in our lives, then our faith is dead. It is a tacit admission to the deadness of our faith, even though Hebrews 11:6 warns,
And without faith it is impossible to please Him…
If we have no faith — and we do not seek to be a holy people — quite simply we do not love our Lord Jesus. He deserves a people who are holy and eager for good deeds. He has made the way narrow so that those Israelites who do not care about Him will not be able to enter.
When we sit with our Lord at the end of days, we will know that it was only those who truly cared about Him in this life who were given eternal life. Our eternal family will be united in true love — and in love of our Lord and Savior. We ought then to praise God — that all Israel will not be saved.
All this having been lain out, let us consider again where Revelation 19:8 says of the bride,
It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Our wedding garment is comprised then of acts we must do — not merely of our white Israelite skin.
Consider then Matthew 22:11-14 once again:
11 But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Tie his hands and feet, and throw him into the outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in that place.’ 14 For many are called [children of the flesh], but few are chosen [children of the promise].’
Revelation 17:14 says likewise,
He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are the called [children of the flesh] and chosen [children of the promise] and faithful.
Therefore, let those of the children of the flesh – the called ones – show who are chosen indeed — and put on garments which are white and clean in humility and faith in the Lord Jesus. He is the Lord of lords and King of kings, and with His divine power, He will make us clean.
He will do so because He has promised it to those who have faith in Him, as He Himself…
…is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)
He is indeed faithful and true and trustworthy.
As a parting thought, consider the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 2:20-22, especially in light of his words in Romans 9:21-23:
20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver implements, but also implements of wood and of earthenware, and some are for honor while others are for dishonor. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be an implement for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
Now consider Peter’s words in 2 Peter 1:10,
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling [children of the flesh] and choice [children of the promise] of you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
Does this not show the “all Israel will be saved” doctrine for the nakedness which it is?
Finally, in acknowledgement of our God’s unassailable wisdom, loving grace, and the incomprehensible gifts which He seeks to bestow upon us — Israel — it is only fitting then to end off with the beautiful words of Paul in Romans 11:33-36:
33 Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him, that it would be paid back to him? 36 For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
[Note: We, of course, welcome comments on this essay, but we request that if you have any objections to anything written here that you confine your comments to the specific parts or verses you wish to discuss. Our experience has shown us that these discussions can easily get sidetracked on non-essential issues.
We will not post comments that make vague generalities without specifics or scriptural proof so as not to waste everyone’s time.]