Thesis:The "salvation of all Israel" represents a significant step forward in the Large Plan.
Introduction:Last week we took some time to address the most direct complaint against Paul's doctrine that we are participants in the blessing of God by His action and not ours. With that behind us, we are now going to look into one of the greater anticipations of the apostle so that we may be as enthused about what he said as he was. This anticipation concerns the "salvation" of "all Israel".
I. The Roots of Paul's Enthusiasm.
A. According to 9:3, Paul's "love-system" was heavily invested in "the Israelites".
B. According to 10:1, Paul expressed this heavy investment in prayer to God for one objective: that they might be saved.
C. Clearly, if the investment was anywhere near the reality he claimed (and I do not doubt it), the idea that God has promised that "all Israel shall be saved" is a direct stimulant for Paul's enthusiasm.
II. The Nature of Paul's Enthusiasm.
A. In large measure, it was "impersonal".
1. The only two human beings to ever be recorded in the Bible as having reached this degree of love for Israel (Moses -- Exodus 32:32; and Paul) did so apart from any significant degree of personal involvement with Israel as individuals.
2. Because most people "love" in highly selected ways that are almost always relatively tied to personal involvement, this raises a significant question about Paul's "love".
a. It is Paul's "doctrine" that the majority of human beings, as well as a vast number of "Israelites", will never participate in the glories of God's salvation.
1) This doctrine is so exclusive that Paul even told Timothy that he did all that he did for the sake of the elect (2 Timothy 2:10), most of whom he did not know personally.
2) How did he "love" so intensely that he would offer himself as a redemptive sacrifice while simultaneously declaring that not only was his offer turned down, its impact was also denied?
b. How can he be so wrapped up in a "national" salvation that omits so many individuals?
3. The answers seem to lie in the interaction that exists between the Large Picture and the individual picture.
B. In large measure, it was focused upon the final realities, not the current ones.
1. The Final Reality is the goal.
2. The Final Reality is a combination of "Impersonal Nations" and "Highly Personal Individual Relationships".
a. Paul's enthusiasm for Israel's salvation was rooted in the impact that it would make upon every individual involved.
b. In other words, it was an enthusiasm for one of the latter steps in the long process because of what it means for the final step.
III. The Content of Paul's Enthusiasm.
A. A time is coming when "all Israel shall be saved".
1. This is neither a backward extending, nor a future reaching, statement.
a. Only one generation of Israel is involved.
b. None of those prior to this generation who died in unbelief will be retro-saved, and none who are of the future generations are "automatically" included.
2. This is an enormous hope because it signals the onset of Messiah's Kingdom rule on the earth.
B. The "salvation" of this generation of Israel is not presented as "complete".
1. Complete salvation is only a post-resurrection/transformation reality.
2. However, there will be two major "forward steps" that make the quality of the salvation a lot better than it is now.
a. Presently, "salvation" is an enormous struggle within and without.
b. The promised Kingdom will mark a significant drop in the level of intensity required for two reasons: the absence of the antagonist and the absence of his cosmic order.
1) The "Deliverer" will come out of Zion (heavenly: Hebrews 12:22) to Zion (earthly: Revelation 14:1).
2) There will be the execution of the covenant with Jacob that Jeremiah 31:33 promised.
a) He will "turn" ungodliness from Jacob.
b) He will "remove" their sins.
3) This will initiate the Kingdom with only believers on the earth.
C. This "salvation" of all Israel signals that every individual included in this Large Plan will experience a degree of "glory" and "Life" that, up until then, is only a dream.