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And So All Israel Will Be Saved: Romans 11 Considering William Tyndales Translation

By R Magnusson Davis, Founder & Editor of the New Matthew Bible Project

I share here what I have learned from William Tyndales New Testament. Romans 11:26 tells us how all Israel will be saved. But some say it tells us when this will happen, and many modern bibles have departed from the original Greek scriptures in order to impose such a meaning upon the passage. And, furthermore, Christians persist in putting a difference between Jew and Gentile that Paul told the Romans no longer exists, for there is no partiality with God. This paper discusses Romans 11:25-32 considering the translation of William Tyndale. It looks at such issues as: Who is all Israel? Who is the election, loved for the fathers sakes? If there is no partiality with God, what about Israel? Much of what is said here simply comes from the book of Romans. The New Mathew Bible draft of that epistle, and others as we complete them, are at our website: Go to Topics/Scripture Index/Romans.pdf. New Testament scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are from David Daniells modern-spelling edition of Tyndales 1534 version. Old Testament quotations are from the 1537/1549 Matthew Bible, with spelling and punctuation modernized; verse numbers are added so readers can compare versions and note the considerable differences in some places. (More information about the Matthew Bible is here: RMD, September, 2011. Further reading:
(1) G.A. Henty, For The Temple: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem, (Penn, USA, Preston Speed Publications). A memorable account of the devastation and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., when the Jews lost possession of Jerusalem, and when thousands lost their lives through starvation, crucifixion, and bloodshed. (2) A.W. Pink, A Study of Dispensationalism. Pink wrote this paper after years of bible study helped break down strongholds of dispensational teaching. Several websites have posted his study. Here is one: (3) The 1537 Matthew Bible, facsimile copy available through Hendrickson Publishers. It will take time and diligent application to learn to read the old English, and even then language issues will pose a barrier. But the rewards are worth the effort.

Romans 11:25: partly blindness is happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in
In chapter 11 of Pauls letter to the Romans, at verse 25, he observed that in Israel some of the people had experienced blindness. This repeats what he said earlier: that a remnant in Israel had obtained grace (11:5), but the rest were blinded (11:7). In William Tyndales 1534 New Testament1 verse 11:25 reads:
partly blindness is happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in

The KJV put here:

blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in

Commentators generally agree this verse means that only a part of Israel has the sight of faith, and is saved. For example, in his commentary Presbyterian minister Matthew Henry wrote:
There is a remnant [in Israel] that see the things which belong to their peace, though part, the far greater part, are in blindness.

But who is Israel? We must define what we are speaking of. Nowadays the term Israel is often used loosely in an ethnic or natural sense. Some say it means people who speak Hebrew. A better suggestion is that it means persons descended from Jacobs twelve sons whoever they may be and wherever they may live now. In this paper I use the term ethnic Israel meaning persons descended from historic Israel that nation of persons delivered from Egypt by God (Amos 3:1) by racial ties. But while many people still claim to be descended from Israel, and form identifiable communities, yet others have departed from Judaism, no longer speak Hebrew, and after 20 centuries of the Diaspora have mixed with other races such that they may be more French, more Irish, more American, than anything else. Even before the Diaspora the Jews were mixing with others, and had strangers among them. Therefore there were always practical problems of identification and definition, and these increase as time goes on. In the scriptures the term Israel is also used typologically; that is, as a type, shadow, figure or word-picture representing something else, which is called the antitype. Typology makes up much of the language of scripture. In such uses, problems of definition are not practical, but are spiritual: problems of understanding Gods word. In its typological senses, Israel teaches us about spiritual things. It may have several meanings or applications, but these do not become any more difficult to define as time goes on. In any case, it is generally accepted that at Romans 11:25 Paul was referring to ethnic Israel, and was explaining that part of that nation is spiritually blind. Indeed, this had ever been the case. It was so when Elijah lamented that he alone was left (see Ro 11:2,3; 1Ki 19:10), and obviously when Paul wrote in the 1st century. Verse 25 says such partial blindness will continue until all elect non-Jews have been saved; that is, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come into the kingdom of Christ.

William Tyndale, Tyndales New Testament, A modern-spelling edition of the 1534 translation with an introduction by David Daniell (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1989). Unless otherwise indicated, all New Testament quotations are from this version.

Verse 11:26(a): and so all Israel shall be saved.

There is disagreement, however, about what follows the coming in of all Gentiles, and about the thrust of Pauls teaching in chapter 11 concerning ethnic Israel. Confusion arises in various interpretations of 11:26(a), and so all Israel will be saved. Reverend Henry expresses the now popular understanding to the effect that this means that at some future time ethnic Israel will again become the object of special attention from the Lord:
The Jews shall continue in blindness, till God hath performed his whole work among 2 the Gentiles, and then their turn will come next to be remembered.

We know that Reverend Henry was referring to ethnic Israel here because he used the term the Jews. He was unwilling to be dogmatic about when their turn next to be remembered will come,3 but evidently believes that God still puts and will continue until the end of the age to put a difference between Jew and Gentile because a covenant with ethnic Israel subsists in some manner. On the other hand, another Presbyterian minister, G. I. Williamson, understands that no distinction persists between Jew and Gentile because the middle wall of partition between them has been abolished:
The long historical period in which Jews and Gentiles were (by Gods design) separated by what Paul called the middle wall of division (Eph 2:14) was ordained by Gods sovereign will. But so was the termination of that division that came in what this same Apostle calls the fullness of time (Gal 4:4). It came to an end just as God had planned from the beginning as a result of the sinless life, the substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. For as Paul said, He himself is our peace, who has made both one In all of this one thing is clear: the only hope of either Gentile or Jew is to be born again from above in order to see and enter the Kingdom There is no reason to think that there will ever be a time when all Jews 4 will become Christians (emphasis original)

According to Mr. Williamson, with whom I agree on this point, the covenant with Israel has been abolished, and all races and all flesh and all nations are as one in the eyes of God under the everlasting Abrahamic covenant:
It was always Gods intention to terminate the middle wall of partition, and to extend the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant to all nations. This is not something that was added later on. No, it was clearly implied in Gods promise to Abraham from the beginning. In other words it was always Gods intention to terminate the historical period in which the Jews, in a certain sense, had exclusive possession of the means 5 of grace.

Rev Henrys commentaries on the entire bible were published in the early 1700s. I quote from a 1983 edition revised and corrected. 3 Rev Henry suggests that the time might already be past, but his undermines his own explanation of verse 26(a), since Gods whole work among the Gentiles is obviously not yet performed. I was truly surprised by the level of incoherence and confusion in his commentary on this passage. 4 Williamson, G. I., A Study of Biblical Eschatology,, pp 1617. I like how Mr. Williamson clarifies matters concerning Gods covenant with Israel, but need to say that I do not agree with the eschatological views he goes on to explain in this lengthy paper. He has obviously put a great deal of thought and work into it, and is a good writer whose teaching I have appreciated on other matters, but for integritys sake I give this caveat. 5 Williamson, Eschatology, p 16.

A right understanding of verse 26, and who is intended by the term all Israel, is crucial to understanding Gods dealings with all mankind. Truly, much flows from this. Verse 26 needs, of course, to be read and understood in context. Below are the original verses from Tyndales 1534 New Testament, taken from David Daniells modern spelling edition. I also provide the KJVs more familiar rendering:

Romans 11:25-32:
William Tyndale, 1534. I would not that this secret should be hid from you my brethren (lest ye should be wise in your own conceits) that partly blindness is happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in: and so all Israel shall be saved. As it is written: There shall come out of Sion he that doth deliver, and shall turn away the ungodliness of Jacob. And this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are loved for the fathers' sakes. For verily the gifts and calling of God are such, that it cannot repent him of them: for look*, as ye in time passed have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief, even so now have they not believed the mercy which is happened unto you, that they also may obtain mercy. God hath wrapped all nations in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all. *Daniell had like, a typographical error. The King James Version, 1611 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. 26And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. 28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers sakes. 29For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31 even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

So is an adverb of manner, not time. It tells us how.

I begin with brief comments on grammar, because rules of grammar influence how we understand things in ways we are often not aware of. In verse 26, so is an adverb translating the Greek houto(s). James Strong defines houto(s) in his Greek dictionary as meaning in this way, referring to what precedes or what follows.6 In other words, it denotes how something is done by referring us backwards or forwards in the context to words that give more information. The English so also meant in this way, and it also referred us backward or forward in the context. Thus it was a faithful and accurate translation. However as positioned here, it is
See Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the work of lawyer James Strong, first published in 1890, under the relevant entry: #3779 in the Greek dictionary.

now grammatically obsolete. In older English the adverb so was often put in initial position in a clause or sentence, but now English speakers usually reserve the initial position for the conjunction so.7 Note the different nuances of meaning that arise from different placements: (1) And Israel will so be saved (= yes she will!); (2) And Israel will be saved so (= will be saved in this way); (3) And so Israel will be saved (= And therefore Israel will be saved). If so is at the beginning of a clause, we usually take it to mean therefore, as in The rain is falling hard, and so the river may flood its banks. Nowadays it is the 2nd placement that best reflects the sense at verse 26, though it would be more natural to use different words (eg: And this way all Israel will be saved). The KJV followed Tyndale, putting so in clause-initial position. But this needs updating. Some recent versions have updated: Todays English Version 1971

New World Translation 1984

Beck 1976

NASB 1973

26 and in this manner And this is how all all Israel will be Israel will be saved. saved.

And in this way all 26And thus all Israel Israel will be saved will be saved

The NIV (1973) and New King James Version (1988) did not update Romans 11:26, but retain the old grammar with and so all Israel will be saved. However in my view the result is that modern English speakers stumble here, because the natural reading does not make sense: And therefore all Israel will be saved is a non-sequitur in this context. But the NIV did update in other verses where houto(s) occurred. See the difference it makes: Romans 5:12:
KJV: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so (houtos) death passed upon all men NIV: and in this way death came to all men

In the above example, houto(s)/so refers back to the description of how sin entered the world (by one man) and tells us that in the same way (by one man) death passed upon all. 1 Corinthians 9:24:
KJV: So (houtos) run, that ye may obtain. NIV: Run in such a way as to obtain the prize.

In the example from 1st Corinthians, the adverb houto(s)/so refers forward to the description of how we should run; that is, to obtain the prize.
There are exceptions to this rule, such as when so is used co-relatively, but I dont want to be tedious with grammar. Also, both houto(s) and so may in some contexts, or in conjunction with other words, suggest consequence, and thus be appropriate in an initial position. An example is Romans 11:5: Even so at this time is there a remnant left through the election of grace. Also, in Partly blindness has happened, the adverb partly is positioned in a grammatically obsolete way, such that we would now take it as a sentence adverb, not limited to modifying the verb. Therefore it also needs to be repositioned (eg: Blindness has partly happened ).

So then at Romans 11:26 we may also ask, is there anything in the immediate context that houto(s)/so could be referring to?

In 11:26(a), what does so refer to that tells us how all Israel will be saved?
Here again is Tyndales translation:
I would not that this secret should be hid from you my brethren (lest ye should be wise in your own conceits) that partly blindness is happened in Israel, until the 26 fullness of the Gentiles be come in: and so all Israel shall be saved. As it is written: There shall come out of Sion he that doth deliver, and shall turn away the ungodliness of Jacob.

It is possible to take houto(s)/so as referring both backwards and forwards in this passage, though the connections are not as clear as in other examples above. It can be understood to refer back to the statement that part of Israel will remain blind while the Gentiles are coming in.8 If only part of Israel continues blind, it is evident that there will also be another part not blind. These are the elect Jews, who will continue to be saved until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in to join them, and in that way all Israel will be saved. Obviously in this application I understand all Israel to mean the elect from all nations spiritual Israel. I note that in Tyndales 1534 version, as rendered by Daniell, verses 25 and 26(a) form one sentence, suggesting perhaps, though not necessarily, that 26(a) refers back to 25.9 It is also possible that so refers forward to As it is written: There shall come out of Sion he that doth deliver, and shall turn away the ungodliness of Jacob. The Deliverer (the Messiah, of course) will turn away the ungodliness of repentant Jews, here figured under the type Jacob, and they will be saved along with the elect Gentiles and thus all spiritual, or true, Israel will be saved. Perhaps the KJV authors favoured this interpretation, because they made verses 26 and 27 into one sentence.

The Greek achri, Strongs #891, also means while. Someone may well ask, what was the punctuation in the original Greek epistle? This we cannot say since, of course, no original exists for us to check. It seems probable it contained no punctuation. According to M. B. Parkes, in ancient times authors works and letters were dictated, not written, and their scribes or amanuenses confined themselves to reproducing as faithfully as possible what had been transmitted to them without further interpretation; hence they did not supply punctuation to a text. (M.B. Parkes, Pause and Effect: Punctuation in the West (Ashgate Publishing, Hampshire, England, 1992), p. 9.) We do know Paul dictated his letters. In any case, now we have only various compilations of various copied and edited manuscripts to work with, which have been variously punctuated by various persons down the centuries. Tyndale worked rd th with Erasmus 3 version of his compilation (Received Text). However in the 16 century, it was often the printers who determined how a test would be pointed (punctuated), and it is impossible to know how much input Tyndale had. I have compared Daniells 1534 edition with a facsimile of Tyndales 1526 New Testament, and they are inconsistent; in fact, there is an error in the 1526 edition that leaves us wondering if verse 26 was meant to stand alone or be incorporated in verse 27 as the KJV has it. In any case, at the end of the day it may any combination of a compilers, translators, scribes, editors, and printers readings of a text that go to determine how it is pointed. And this will be more or less in accordance with the custom of the time and/or of the individual pointer, which things vary. And there are always errors and oversights to compound difficulties.

Israel the Jews, or Israel Jews and Gentiles?

Again, the scriptures make abundant use of types or shadows which may be capable of multiple applications. Israel is one such. In one of the most obvious applications, her temporal salvation from Egypt and miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, with powerful Pharaoh in pursuit, typifies the salvation of the elect from bondage to the world, the flesh, and the power of Satan. And so ethnic Israel, chosen for deliverance from Egypt, stands as a type of those chosen for spiritual salvation in Christ Jesus, who are logically referred to as spiritual Israel. See Pauls reference to Israel that walks carnally, or after the flesh, at 1 Corinthians 10:18. This presupposes and is in contradistinction to the Israel that walks spiritually. When reading the bible it is always necessary to distinguish between immediate and typological references to Israel. In the Old Testament the prophets spoke immediately (though not solely, since there were strangers among them) to ethnic Israel. But they were also speaking typologically, and their words, warnings, and prophecies have been preserved in the scriptures for us. Paul explained that what happened to and with and in Israel happened by way of example for us we upon whom the ends of the ages have come (1 Cor 10:11). We are to learn about ourselves, and about spiritual things, by studying and understanding what happened with Israel. In reading Paul it becomes clear that references to Israel, and similar references such as to the Jews, Abrahams seed, etc., must often be understood typologically. Sometimes they include both Gentiles and Jews. See how Paul mixes types and figures, in some instances including the Gentiles as a Jew, Abrahams seed, and Israelites:
Romans 2:28: For he is not a Jew, which is a Jew outward But he is a Jew which is hid within. Galatians 3:26-29: Now there is no Jew neither Gentile: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither man nor woman: but ye are all one thing in Christ Jesus. If ye be Christs, then are ye Abrahams seed. Romans 9:6-8: For they are not all Israelites which came of Israel: neither are they all children straightway, because they are the seed of Abraham. But in Isaac shall thy seed be called: that is to say, they which are the children of the flesh, are not the children of God. But the children of promise are counted the seed.

The NIV put at Romans 9:6 Not all who descend from Israel are Israel, which makes it clear. What Paul is saying is that not all ethnic Israelites make up the Israel of God; that is, not all natural descendents are spiritual Israel. The heirs are not counted by race, but promise. Consider also 1 Corinthians 12:2 where Paul tells the Corinthians that they were once Gentiles. Of course, after the flesh they remained Gentiles. He meant that spiritually they had become Jews: in them, promises of mercy to Israel had been spiritually fulfilled. After coming to faith, non-Jews therefore join Israel in the biblical sense. So then, sometimes the words Israel and Israelites mean something other than natural Jewish people. Saint Augustine showed how scripture used Israelite typology meaning the Gentiles alone, as a separate group.10 Israel may also refer to any people group that
St. Augustine wrote concerning typological prophecy that the sons of Israel may in context mean the Gentiles alone. I must give the passage at length for it to be appreciated: Hosea

receives the word of God thus any nation, or all who live in a land. As the word goes forth to the whole world, the whole world then becomes an antitype. In some applications Israel also prefigures the greater Church, including its spiritual and carnal members. For the Church has received Gods word and, as a community that professes allegiance and fidelity to it before angels and before the world, has an especial responsibility to it. But, like Israel, she also has her share of false prophets and repeatedly falls away from it for there is no difference, Jew or Gentile (Ro 3:22, 10:12). Or, are we better than they (3:9)? However there remains within the Church the spiritual remnant, as in Israel, which has obtained what the rest sought but could not obtain (Ro 11:7). And as Tyndale said, As it went under the Old [Covenant], so will it go under the New.11 It is worthy of repeating that typological references to Israel never become more difficult of definition. They never change their meaning, and never lose their significance. They continue to teach us about ourselves and about the course of Gods word in the hands of men. As a matter of fact, as time passes the lessons become clearer. It is clearer now than it ever was that there is no difference, Jew or Gentile, for we have the benefit of centuries of hindsight under the New Covenant. We look at the history of Israel, and we look at the history of the Church, and we see the same course taken and repeated: truth given, apostasy, an increase of sin, fresh revelation of truth (as in the Reformation), and a further turning away. We are all Jacob. I ask the reader to consider if it is not part of Gods great design that while the truth about who we are becomes more clear, who the ethnic Israelites are becomes less so? It is now difficult, if not impossible, to accurately identify the Israel that was the beneficiary of the Old Covenant. This makes sense if God terminated the Old Covenant an event that was marked by the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and by the fulfilment of so many dire Old Testament prophecies that were made immediately to ethnic Israel. I trust that in the end some will agree that at Romans 11:26 all Israel means the gathering of the elect. If so, then we need to understand that when Paul used Israel to mean both ethnic and spiritual Israel in the same sentence, he was mixing type and antitype. This may be a source of confusion if we read with unspiritual eyes, but it is valuable for learning if God by his Spirit opens our understanding. Types and shadows illuminate Gods deeper mysteries with great effect and economy.

certainly has profound things to say, but his message is difficult of penetration in proportion to its profundity. But we must select some part of his work And it will happen, he says, that in the place where they were told: You are not my people, they, even they, will be called sons of the living God. The apostles also understood this as a prophetic testimony to the calling of the people of the Gentile nations, who did not previously belong to God. And because the people of the Gentile nations themselves are spiritually among the children of Abraham and for that reason are correctly called Israel, he therefore goes on to say, And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be assembled in the same place, and they will appoint for themselves one head and they shall ascend from the earth. If we were to attempt to explain this saying here and now, the flavour of its prophetic eloquence would be diluted. Nevertheless, let us call to mind that cornerstone and the two walks, one made up of Jews, the other of Gentiles; and let us recognize them as ascending form the earth, the former under the name of sons of Judah the latter [that is, the Gentiles] under that of sons of Israel St. Augustine, Concerning the City of God, A New Translation by Henry st Bettenson, (Penguin Books, London, 1 published 1467, Bettensons translation 1972), p. 795. 11 See his note at 1 Corinthians, chapter 10, in Daniells version of Tyndales 1534 New Testament.

The New Matthew Bible vs. the Living Bible

How then could these important verses in chapter 11 of Pauls letter to the Romans be expressed? Following is our draft of verses 11:25-32 for the New Matthew Bible.12 Beside is the paraphrase of the Living Bible. See what the Living Bible, whose authors put a carnal interpretation on Israel, did with houto(s) at verse 26: New Matthew Bible, October 2012 draft I would not want this secret to be hid from you my brethren (lest you should be wise in your own opinions), that blindness has partly happened in Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, 26and in this way all Israel* will be saved.

The Living Bible 1971


I want you to know about this truth from God, dear brothers, so that you will not feel proud and start bragging. Yes, it is true that some of the Jews have set themselves against the gospel now, but this will last only until all of you Gentiles have come to Christ those of you who will. 26And then As it is written: There will come out of all Israel will be saved. Zion he who delivers, and who will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27and: This Do you remember what the prophets said is my covenant to them, when I take away about this? There shall come out of Zion a their sins. 28Concerning the gospel they are Deliverer, and he shall turn the Jews from enemies for your sakes; but as for the all ungodliness. 27At that time I will take chosen ones, these are loved for the away their sins, just as I promised. fathers sakes. 29For indeed the gifts and 28 Now many of the Jews are enemies of the calling of God are such that he cannot gospel. They hate it. But this has been a change his mind about them. benefit to you, for it has resulted in Gods 30 For look, just as you in time past did giving his gifts to you Gentiles. Yet the not believe God and yet have now obtained Jews are still beloved of God because of mercy through their unbelief, 31in the same his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. way now they have not believed the mercy 29For Gods gifts and his call can never be that has come to you, so that they also may withdrawn; he will never go back on his obtain mercy. 32God has wrapped all promises. 30Once you were rebels against nations in unbelief in order that he may God, but when the Jews refused his gifts have mercy on all. God was merciful to you in stead. 31And now the Jews are the rebels, but some day they, too, will share in Gods mercy upon you. 32For God has given them all up to sin so that he could have mercy upon all alike.

In the Living Bible the adverb then denotes a time when all Israel is going to be saved, which is not in accordance with the Greek. It might be possible to construe then

More information about the New Matthew Bible, our work to update the precious 1549 Matthew Bible, is at The Matthew Bible, which formed the basis of the King James Bible, was the work of three men: William Tyndale, Miles Coverdale, and John Rogers. Tyndale and Rogers gave their lives for this work: both were burned at the stake by religious authorities.


consequently here, in the sense and then all Israel will have been saved, which is true enough. But verse 31 in the Living Bible shows that this was not the revisers intent.

And then all Israel will be saved?

In the original Greek, in verses 11:25-32 the word Israel occurs two times, and Tyndale duly used it two times. But the Living Bible only puts Israel once, at verse 26, after changing it to the Jews at verse 25. The original actually makes no reference to the Jews at all, but the Living Bible inserted the Jews gratuitously four more times; this obviously reinforces a carnal understanding of who Israel is. In addition, the original referred to Jacob at verse 26, which Tyndale faithfully repeated, but which the Living Bible changed to the Jews. In doing these things the Living Bible translators have killed any opportunity of teaching by typology indeed, the language of the Spirit is laid low. This is no Living Bible; it is, in this sense at least, a Dead Bible. The Living Bible changes the word of God to reflect a teaching that is popular in many branches of Christendom, where it is believed that a covenant with ethnic Israel subsists. John F. MacArthur, though seemingly orthodox in other areas, explains:
Scripture indicates that during Daniels seventieth week, national Israel, not the church, will be the focus of Gods earthly program. The whole Tribulation period is a prelude to the national redemption spoken of in Romans 11:26, when all Israel will be saved, as it is written: the Deliverer will come out of Zion, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. The Rapture the removal of the Church signifies that the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (v. 25). And the onset of the Tribulation marks the start of the painful process by which national Israel will be grafted back 13 into the olive tree. (cf.v.24)

This doctrine, or I should say collection of doctrines, has been propagated by translators who are not in fact translating, but are changing scripture to reflect their beliefs. Some of the most insidious change are at verse 26. Compare the following examples (it deserves to be noted that the New Jerusalem Bible corrected the former corruption): NEB 1970 And when that has happened, the whole of Israel will be saved Jerusalem Bible 1968 Phillips 1972 Moffat 1954

Once this has happened, all This done, all Israel will be Israel will be saved saved

New Jerusalem 1985

The Message 1994 (?)

And then after this the And this is how all Israel will Before its all over, there will rest of Israel will be saved be saved be a full house. as well But if verse 26 is not saying when all Israel will be saved and it is not, despite what these people did with it what is it saying?


John F. MacArthur, The Second Coming: Signs of Christs Return and the End of the Age (Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1999), p 87.


Exposition of Romans 11:25-32

I offer fuller comments for the readers judgment, considering Tyndales translation: Tyndales version I would not that this secret should be hid from you my brethren (lest ye should be wise in your own conceits)

My comments I agree with the majority that Paul was discouraging ethnic pride or prejudice. (Conceits means thoughts or opinions, an obsolete sense of the word.) All men are by nature spiritually blind. So how did blindness happen in Israel? These words must be spoken here of ethnic Israel, who had been given Gods truth and word, but apostatized. To receive the light of the word and then fall away is worse than to never have received it (Mt 12:43-45; Lu 11:24-27; 2Pe 2:20-22). Ethnic Israel had been delivered from Egypt, but was unfaithful to the God who delivered her. He led her with cords of friendship (Ho 11:4), but she departed from him. He defended her, but she turned away. He sent the promised Messiah, but she crucified him. All this shows blindness of a different nature than that of people who have never received such favour or light in the first place: it is the blindness of apostasy. Blindness had therefore happened in the nation of Israel in a way that it had not yet happened in other people groups. Here all Israel, as discussed above, means spiritual Israel: the company of all saints both Jew and Gentile, the Jews hid within (Ro 2:29). Here Paul loosely paraphrases the prophecy at Isaiah 59:20,21 (given more fully below). I understand him to be applying it here to ethnic Israel. The Deliverer will turn away the ungodliness of the elect in apostate Israel.

that partly blindness is happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in:


and so all Israel shall be saved. As it is written: There shall come out of Sion he that doth deliver, and shall turn away the ungodliness of Jacob. And this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.



As concerning the gospel they are enemies, for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are loved for the fathers' sakes.

The Jews enmity to the gospel was for the Romans sakes because it was necessary for Christ to suffer, die at the hands of sinners, and rise again for their salvation. As for the chosen Jews, they are loved for the fathers sakes. (Further discussed below) The chosen people were named before the world was made (Eph 1:4, etc.). God will not turn from any that he foreknew, Jew or Gentile.


For verily the gifts and calling of God are such, that it cannot repent him of them:



for look, as ye in time passed The Romans previously walked in unbelief, not believing have not believed God, yet God. But through the misdeeds of unbelieving Jews, have now obtained mercy salvation came to them. through their unbelief, even so now have they not believed the mercy which is happened unto you, that they also may obtain mercy. God hath wrapped all nations in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all.
32 31


The Jews now walk not believing the mercy that has come to others. But they also may obtain mercy from their unbelief even from apostasy. God desires to show mercy to all, that is, to the elect of all nations, by saving them from their unbelief.

Verses 26(b) 27: As it is written: There shall come out of Sion he that doth deliver, and shall turn away the ungodliness of Jacob. And this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
The prophecy paraphrased by Paul is from Isaiah 59:20-21. He loosely gives its sense; it is not a precise quotation. Here are the actual Old Testament verses, with context, from the Matthew Bible:
Behold, the Lords hand is not so shortened that it cannot help, neither is his ear so stopped that it may not hear. But your misdeeds have separated you from your God, and your sins hide his face from you, that he hears you not But unto Sion there shall come a redeemer, and unto them in Jacob that turn from wickedness, saith the Lord. I will make this covenant with them (saith the Lord): My spirit is come upon thee, and the words which I have put in thy mouth, shall never go out of thy mouth, nor out the mouth of thy childrens children, from the time forth forevermore.

This promise is for them in Jacob that turn from wickedness. Paul must be applying this to ethnic Israel because in the next verse he uses they in such a way that she is the logical antecedent, since her members were the enemies of the gospel.

Verse 28: (a)As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: (b)but as touching the election, they are loved for the fathers' sakes.
Confusion arises from the repetition of the pronoun they at 28 (a) and (b). Some say both pronouns refer to ethnic Israel. However as I read it, only the 1st could do so. A pronoun must (except in certain special uses) refer to a noun or substantive that it is replacing. Grammarians call this noun or substantive the antecedent. For example Matthew 20:24 reads, And when the ten heard this, they disdained at the two brethren. Here they refers back to the ten. Therefore the noun phrase the ten is the antecedent for they. Using a pronoun avoids repeating the noun (And when the ten heard this, the ten disdained at the two brethren). Therefore when we see a pronoun we should ask, what noun or substantive does it replace? What does it refer to? In clear writing, the answer will be obvious. But sometimes difficulty results from a proliferation of antecedents14, or from some other factor that obscures the antecedent. This has


This is often the case in scripture. An example is 1 Cor 15:24-28, requiring careful reading.


happened at verse 28(b), where they refers to an antecedent which, due to changes in the language, is not immediately apparent: the noun election:
28(b): but as touching the election, they are loved for the fathers' sakes.

Upon careful analysis, there can be no doubt that they refers here to the election, and the meaning is:
as touching the election, the election are loved for the fathers' sakes.

Election translates the Greek noun ekloge, defined by Strong as meaning (divine) selection, abstract or concrete.15 Note the distinction abstract/concrete. It is important. It is the key to unlock the meaning of verse 28(b). For in an abstract sense, ekloge denotes the action of choosing. But in a concrete sense it means the chosen specifically, the chosen people of God.16 Now this provides us with a logical antecedent for the 2nd they. And it is consistent with the English: our noun election used to take the same concrete sense, a sense that the Oxford English Dictionary gives as now obsolete:
Election: Concrete: The body of the elect.

Verse 28 is not the only occurrence of election in the concrete sense meaning chosen people. At Romans 11:7 Paul put the election hath obtained it (= Gods chosen ones have obtained it). The difficulty, therefore, lies in that election retains only its abstract sense. It has lost its concrete sense. As a result, we understand it only as referring to the action of choosing. The average reader would not naturally think it referred to a group of people. Thus it has become a faux friend as used in Romans: we think we know what it means, but we dont, because we understand it the abstract sense.

Election: a faux friend

So then, if we construe the election in the modern sense, it cannot be an antecedent for they because it cannot mean people. This leaves us with only one, misleading possibility: they at verse 28(b) must be referring to ethnic Israel, the people portrayed as Jacob earlier:
Verses 26(b)-28: As it is written: There shall come out of Sion he that doth deliver, and shall turn away the ungodliness of Jacob. And this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are loved for the fathers' sakes.

But this ought to confuse anyone. For, how can this be? It cannot be. We cannot do such violence to the scriptures as to say the Pharisees, scribes, and elders who plotted and arranged Jesus death, and whom he said were a generation of serpents and vipers who would not escape the damnation of hell (Matthew 23:33), but would in fact receive the

Strongs # 1589 in the Greek concordance. Tyndale also translated ekloge with the more familiar, though still highly specialized, term elect, which can mean either (1) chosen, or (2) of the chosen people as at 1 Thessalonians 1:4: we know brethren beloved of God, how that ye are elect. My 1936 OED shows the 2nd sense as obsolete, but my impression is that good bible students understand it. 17 The OED shows the last written use of election in the concrete sense as occurring in the 1611 King James Bible.



greater damnation (Mt 23:14), and whom he identified as the children of hell (Mt 23:15) and sons of the devil (John 8:44), were loved for the fathers sakes. Nor may we suggest that those who repent are enemies of the gospel. We cannot say both of these things about the same people. The only sensible way to understand verse 28 is that it is referring to two different groups of people: on one hand, the enemies of the gospel, and on the other, the body of elect Jews who will turn from their wickedness and are loved for the fathers sakes. They are the beneficiaries of the covenant of mercy. Here are the verses again with a clear antecedent for the second they:
As it is written: There shall come out of Sion he that doth deliver, and shall turn away the ungodliness of Jacob. And this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the chosen ones, they are loved for the fathers' sakes.

This makes sense, and the text now flows. Given the difficulties and the distorted teaching that have developed around this verse, which smother its meaning contrary to all good sense, we are justified in supplying new language to bring clarity. We propose for the New Matthew Bible:
Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sakes; but as for the chosen ones, these are loved for the fathers' sakes.

Verse 28 in modern versions

It seems that later revisers construed our faux friend incorrectly.18 But even if they say the Greek was intended in an abstract sense, they may have a problem: the Greek included the definite article the, which they have dropped. Compare: Tyndale and the KJV As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are loved (KJV beloved) for the fathers' sakes. RSV 1971 As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. NIV 1973 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs.

Providing the definite article in this context at least allowed the reader to understand election as a concrete noun, which is not possible without it. Admittedly, the use of articles is governed by rules that are unique to each language. Therefore it is not necessarily correct to translate an article exactly as it appears in the source language; in

I realize that this comment implies the translators worked from an English bible. After years of comparing bible versions this often seems the case: bible revisers looked more to, say, the KJV, commentaries, popular doctrine, and maybe Strongs brief definitions, than to the Greek, to produce their paraphrases. For example, they copied English bibles, not the Greek, when they translated martys by martyr (See ) My few studies here also show how they turned away from the Greek. Has blindness happened in Israel?



fact, it might be a mistake. However here Tyndale did so, and it was not a mistake. In fact, it was crucial to a right understanding. How significant even one little article can be. How have modern commentators attempted to explain what election means here? John MacArthur again, from his study bible (my edition is actually based on the NKJV which said the election, but he construes it abstractly):
From the perspective of Gods eternal choice, Israel will always be his covenant people.

The context shows that MacArthur is has in mind ethnic Israel, not spiritual Israel. He is saying that God will always distinguish Jew from Gentile: it is an eternal choice. But is that what Paul keeps saying in the book of Romans? That there is no difference Jew or Gentile and the Jews will always be his covenant people? God is not partial and he has chosen ethnic Jews?? This is blatant contradiction. No, the interpretation given by Pastor MacArthur arises from misunderstanding the typological language of the scriptures. It is, in fact, exactly the error that Paul labours so greatly to warn us against. It is a carnal interpretation of Old Testament prophecies. For the real Jew, the real beneficiary of Gods eternal choice, is not the ethnic Jew, but is the Jew hid within (Ro 2:28,29). The fact is that modern teaching has so obscured the real meaning of the scriptures that we are robbed of a right understanding. Biblical truth is suppressed. And see how the Zondervan NIV commentary perpetuates the error:
Even though the condition of the Israelites is presently considered by God as those who are enemies for the sake of the Gentiles, yet all the time, when viewed from the standpoint of their national election, they are loved by God for the sake of the 19 fathers.

Among other problems, these commentators fail to put the needed difference between the enemies of the gospel in Israel and Gods elect, lumping them all in the same group that is supposedly loved for the fathers sakes. But Isaiah makes clear how God considers his enemies; they are not, as we are told in the Zondervan commentary, all the time, when viewed from the standpoint of their national electionloved. Can such sentiment be taken from these words of Isaiah?
Come hither therefore ye charmers children, ye sons of the adulterer and the whore: wherein take ye your pleasure? Upon whom gape ye with your mouth, and blear out your tongue? Are ye not children of adultery, and a seed of dissimulation? Ye take your pleasure under the oaks, and under all green trees, the child being slain in the valleys and dens of stone. Thy part shall be with the stony rocks by the river: yea, even these shall be thy part (Isa 57:3-6,spelling updated).

However, Isaiah distinguishes the elect remnant:

Nevertheless, they that put their trust in me, shall inherit the land, and have my holy hill in possession (Isa 57:13).

The distinction here is between the reprobate and the elect. And this is how we should divide all men, Jew or Gentile. Therefore reprobate Jews are not loved for the fathers sakes, but only those whose ungodliness is turned away.
Kenneth L. Barker and John R. Kohlenberger III, Consulting Editors, Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary, Volume 2: New Testament (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1994), p.581.


Other modern versions corrupt v. 28, though the New Jerusalem again makes correction: NEB 1970 In the spreading of the gospel, they are treated as Gods enemies for your sake; but Gods choice stands, and they are his friends for the sake of the patriarchs. Phillips 1972 As far as the gospel goes, they are at present Gods enemies which is to your advantage. But as far as Gods purpose in choosing is concerned, they are still beloved for their fathers sakes. New Jerusalem 1985 As regards the gospel, they are enemies, but for your sake; but as regards those who are Gods choice, they are still well loved for the sake of their ancestors. Moffat 1954 So far as the gospel goes, they are enemies of God which is to your advantage; but so far as election goes, they are beloved for their fathers sake.

Jerusalem Bible 1968 The Jews are enemies of God only with regard to the Good News, and enemies only for your sake; but as the chosen people, they are still loved by God, loved for the sake of their ancestors.

The Message 1994 From your point of view as you hear and embrace the good news of the Message, it looks like the Jews are Gods enemies. But looked at from the long-range perspective of Gods overall purpose, they remain Gods oldest friends.

Rightly dividing the world of men

Phillips and Moffat, in their versions, changed verse 28 to speak of the Jews enmity to the gospel as an advantage to the Romans rather than as being for their sakes as Tyndale and the KJV had it. Now what do they mean? They mean that because the Israelites rejected the gospel, God has turned from them to the Gentiles. This is considered an advantage for the Gentiles. But, they say, God will later return to show special favour to the Jews in distinction from the Gentiles. But Paul considered that he had proven from the scriptures that the Jews and Gentiles were alike (3:10). God does not favour one race over another, but, as Paul endeavours to explain in his letter to the Romans, favours the chosen people over the reprobate. If this is so, how can commentators, even those who profess to accept the doctrine of election, not perceive the distinction the bible makes between the elect and the non-elect, but persist rather in dividing the world into Jews and Gentiles? Paul said:
Now is there no Jew neither Gentile: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither man nor woman: but ye are all one thing in Christ Jesus. If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs by promise (Galatians 3:28,29).

Gods promise of mercy is to the seed of the covenant in all nations, to all races and all tongues without distinction:
From the very beginning of Gods prophetic revelation he made it clear that great things were going to happen for the benefit of the whole human race. It may well be that many perhaps even most of the people of Israel tended to forget this. It may


also be that they concocted their own ideas of just how this great future would come about. It seems clear from the New Testament that the very Apostles themselves still clung, to a great extent, to wrong ideas about the future. Even after Jesus had risen from the dead, and had commanded them to go into all the world to make disciples of all the nations, they still asked, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6). This sounds very much as if they were still thinking that fulfillment of Gods promise to Abraham had to be a kind of triumphant political supremacy for the Jewish nation Yet we know from the parables of our Lord that this sort of thing was a mistaken expectation. Did our Lord not say, himself, my Kingdom is not of this 20 world? (John 18:36).

The fact is that modern interpretations of prophecy heralding a future salvation of ethnic Israel startlingly echo the same carnal error that was widespread in Jesus time. People then looked for the Messiah to come to ethnic Israel in a worldly fulfilment of prophecy. And now, twenty centuries later, people are still looking for salvation for ethnic Israel. Whats more, the events occasioned by the Jews enmity to the gospel the suffering and death of the lamb of God at Calvary were and are far more and far greater than an advantage to non-Jews. Whoever says this is teaching a racially-based and distorted gospel. The truth is that the Jews enmity to the gospel brought salvation, not advantage, and brought it for all people and races and nations, without partiality. So then, the real and everlasting division the scriptures put between people is spiritual. It is between the repentant and the unrepentant, the righteous sinner and the unrighteous sinner, the elect and the reprobate. It is not between Jew or Gentile, man or woman, slave or free. In the Old Testament this teaching was heavily typological,21 but the mystery has been unveiled and made clear by revelation from the apostles as recorded in the New Testament, and in the straightforward explanations given therein. Paul explained to the Corinthians: For in one spirit we are all baptised to make one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles (I Co 12:12).

The enmity of Israel

A word on the enmity of Israel in Pauls day, which must be rightly understood or we again run the risk of putting a false distinction between the Jews and us, as if there is a particular enmity to the gospel that is Jewish by nature. The generation of Jews that Jesus came to preach to in about 30 AD had an ingrained, long-enduring hostility, or enmity, to Gods word and truth which had grown, or increased, until their cup of apostasy was full. To that generation came the Messiah, with a full cup of mercy. The law been given and sin had increased, but in the face of the same there would be more generosity of grace, by the death of the Lamb. Paul explained:

Williamson, Eschatology, p 14. This topic is worthy of greater exploration. Consider the distinction the Lord put between the Levites and Israel: how many times did he say the inheritance of the Levites was the Lord, and their inheritance was not with Israel? This tells us the covenant with Israel was not everlasting one and that Israels inheritance was not with the Lord. What could be a clearer type of the remnant of the elect in Israel? The Levites, who were few in number, stand evidently as types of the chosen ones who know the Lord among the majority who dont. They received no land allotment, which signifies an inheritance that is not of this world.



the lawentered in, that sin should increase. Neverthelater where abundance of sin was, there was more plenteousness [generosity] of grace. That as sin had reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by the help of Jesus Christ (Ro 5:20-21).

Thus the enmity of that generation in Israel was what we might call a realized enmity, the enmity of apostates. It had developed over the centuries that the Jews had the law. It should be distinguished from the potential enmity that is natural to us all. Tyndale explains in part how people who turn from truth they have received wax worse and worse (a thing also true for nations as a whole):
Hereto pertaineth the parable of the talents (Matt. 25). The Lord commandeth the talent to be taken away from the evil and slothful servant and to bind him hand and foot and to cast him into utter darkness, and to give the talent unto him that had ten, saying: to all that have, more shall be given. But from him that hath not, that he hath shall be taken from him. That is to say, he that hath a good heart toward the word of God, and a set purpose to fashion his deeds thereafter and to garnish it with godly living and to testify it to other, the same shall increase more and more daily in the grace of Christ. But he that loveth it not, to live thereafter and to edify other, the same shall lose the grace of true knowledge and be blinded again and every day wax worse and worse and blinder and blinder, till he be an utter enemy of the word of God, and 22 his heart so hardened, that it shall be impossible to convert him.

The enmity that was in ethnic Israel when Paul was writing was therefore a full measure, for this was the generation that crucified Messiah. But it was not a uniquely Jewish measure of enmity, or apostasy. These things happened to them by way of example, so that from them we could learn about ourselves; and so that we may be warned, as Paul told the Corinthians (1Cor 10:11). We have no less potential for such evil (Ro 3). Indeed, it is now the Gentiles turn to fill full their own cup of apostasy. For we have been given the gospel of mercy and the last word of God, and we turn from it, and our sin increases. Thus we see in ethnic Israel the example of what the course of Gods word will be among the Gentiles and in all the world. Israels story stands to the end of the age as a warning to those who turn away from, and teach falsely, and even persecute, the truth that they have been given. Indeed, seeing we have now not only what the Jews had together with their example, but also a fuller revelation in the New Testament and the covenant of grace poured out and expounded, and Jesus crucified for all to see, are we not all the more evidently unbelievers and apostates when we turn away?

What about the promises to Israel in the Old Testament?

First, a commentary on the Hebrew that is contained in the Matthew Bible is important to bear in mind when considering forever promises to Israel. Note (b) to Genesis 13:15 explains that forever in the Hebrew language may mean not only a time without end, but, also, a long season without his end appointed. Thus the word needs to be understood according to context and application. It may in some cases denote simply a long time in the future, with no end in sight. This explanation clears up many apparent contradictions between the promises to ethnic Israel and what eventually befell her, and it enables promises to Israel and others to be understood as either everlasting or of long duration, as the context or application may require.

Tyndales notice to readers in his 1534 New Testament, Daniells edition, pp 5,6.


In the Old Testament we see time and again prophecies of destruction for Israel followed by promises of mercy to Israel. But these are complicated by interspersions of threats, promises, and prophecies for others: Jacob, Judah, Zion, Jerusalem, etc., or for virgin Israel, the house of Israel, the remnant of Joseph, the children of Isaac, the mother, and others. There are also prophecies regarding Edom, Moab, Esau, etc. Perhaps this plethora illustrates how references may be typological, or may be variously fulfilled or applied. Consider these verses randomly selected from Amos:
Thus saith the Lord: for three and four wickednesses of Judah I will not spare him Hear and bear record in the house of Jacob The virgin Israel shall fall and never rise up again Then said the Lord: Behold, I will lay the trowel among my people Israel, and will no more oversee them; but the high chapels of Isaac must be laid waste, and the churches of Israel be made desolate The Lord hath sworn against the pride of Jacob; these works of theirs will I never forget (Am 2:4; 3:13; 5:2; 7:8,9; 8:7;) Hate the evil and love the good, set up right again in the port, and no doubt the Lord God of hosts shall be merciful unto the remnant of Joseph Nevertheless I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob I will build again the tabernacle of David and they may possess the remnant of Edom, yea, and all such people as call upon my name with them, saith the Lord which does these things (5:14,5; 9:8,11,12).

How do we explain the dual prophecies of destruction and of mercy for Israel, which are so frequent and often seem contradictory? God cannot contradict himself. There must be a way to explain them that is consistent with his veracity. There are two possible approaches we can take to these scriptures: (1) Assume that they are given immediately to ethnic Israel. Therefore they must be destined to be fulfilled at different times in that same group, and the promises of mercy will be fulfilled last of all. (2) Assume that they are given both immediately and/or typologically. The Old Testament scriptures thus mix immediate and typological references just like Paul did in his New Testament epistles. Some prophecies and promises will indeed be fulfilled in ethnic Israel, but also in other peoples. There may be other natural or spiritual applications. Promises of mercy have fulfillment in every age in a spiritual people from all nations. The first option, though widely believed, must be rejected for the simple reason that biblical prophesies of the destruction of Israel do not permit it. They are too final and absolute. All the people will certainly not be destroyed, because promises subsist for a remnant, as in other nations. But Israel as a kingdom nation, as a preferred people group, will be cut off. A small selection of prophecies that I randomly chose from Hosea (literally the first page I opened my bible to) shows this surprisingly well. First, it shows the finality of prophecies of destruction. Yet they are straightaway followed by a promise of mercy that could not rationally be understood to be for the same people:
Destruction (Hosea 1:4-5), prophecy given on the birth of a son: Call his name Jezreel, for I will shortly avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will bring the kingdom of the house of Israel to an end. Then will I break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel. Destruction (1:6), prophecy given on the birth of a daughter: Call her name LoRuhamah (that is) not obtaining mercy, for I will have no pity upon the house of Israel, but forget them and put them clean out of remembrance.


Mercy (1:7): Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and will save them even through the Lord their God. But I will not deliver them through any bow, sword, battle, horses, or horsemen.

The prophecies are that the kingdom of the house of Israel will be brought to an end. Need I say that an end is not an interim thing, but a final thing? Further, to put them clean out of remembrance absolutely precludes national remembrance at some future time as Reverend Henry said (above, page 3). It appears therefore that prophecies of destruction given immediately to ethnic Israel were fulfilled when Jerusalem was demolished, thousands of Jews lost their lives, and the remnant were dispersed in 70 AD. This event horribly and unmistakably marked the end of Old Covenant the promise of the worldly kingdom for the nation of the Jews. Indeed, twenty centuries later their temple still lies waste underneath an Islamic holy site.23 But if not ethnic Israel, who then is the Judah who receives the promise of mercy at Hosea 1:7? Perhaps the shift to Judah from Israel is to alert us to a shift to typological reference. In any case, this could not be a reference to ethnic Judah, whose loss of favour and casting away is foretold elsewhere (eg Amos 2:4,5). Note that the deliverance, or salvation, of the Judah of Hosea 1:7 is not by bow, sword, or battle; in other words, it is not of this world. It is different than the Old Covenant with ethnic Israel, which promised conquest by bow and battle which covenant has now been put to an end, and the bow of Israel broken as promised. This promise to Judah thus takes a spiritual fulfilment, and is of course the covenant of a spiritual kingdom to be given to spiritual Judah. Some promises to Israel refer to the latter days (eg, Hosea 3:5). This has been interpreted by some as meaning later in this age. But the latter days are here and now, since Pentecost; we are now in the time the scriptures call the ends of the ages (1 Cor 10:11). It would not surprise me if more Jews have been saved since Pentecost than ever were under the Old Covenant, so that in this way promises to Israelites regarding the latter days are being fulfilled in the remnant. How many were among the 3,000 who were saved in one day alone, pricked to the heart when Peter preached of the crucified Messiah (Acts 2)? So great, therefore, is the Lords mercy to Jacob! I note that Paul also discusses Hoseas prophecy of mercy at 2:23 typologically at Romans 9:23-26. He explains that this promise is for chosen vessels of mercy from the Jews and the Gentiles that is, it is spiritually fulfilled and then he goes on to lament the fate of most in ethnic Israel. I refer the reader to the 9th chapter of Romans. (The New Matthew Bible draft is available at )

The everlasting covenant

The Abrahamic Covenant is the covenant that makes one people of many, and is the everlasting covenant of mercy. God promised Abraham that he would be the father to a people of faith from all nations. Paul explains this at Romans chapter 4:

Perhaps Daniel 9:27 (quite a different prophecy in the Matthew Bible) confirms that this wasting will endure till the end of days, thus denying any carnal hope for a rebuilding of the temple: And in the temple there shall be an abominable desolation, until it have destroyed all. And it is concluded, that this wasting shall continue unto the end (Daniel 9:27).



For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not given to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness which comes by faith. 14 For if those who are of the law are the heirs, then faith is but vain and the promise 15 of no effect, because the law causes wrath. But where there is no law, there is no 16 transgression. Therefore it is by faith that the inheritance is given, so that it can come by favour and so the promise can be sure to all the seed not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the 17 father of us all. As it is written: I have made you a father to many nations, before God whom you have believed who gives life to the dead, and calls those things which are not as if they were (Ro 4:13-17, New Matthew Bible).


Gods workings have always been with all nations, though Israel for a while had preferred possession of the word and means of grace. G.I. Williamson notes the following undeniable facts as proving that the covenant with the elect was never based on mere fleshly descent:
(1) When Abraham was given circumcision as the sign and seal of the covenant it was also given to several hundred men (Gen. 14:14) in his household none of them being descendants of Abraham according to the flesh except for one, Ishmael, who turned out to be an unbeliever (Gen. 17:23). (2) Throughout Old Testament history there were some Gentiles who were assimilated into the Jewish nation, in other words they became Jews (think of Rahab, Ruth, and the Rechabites (also note Ex. 12:43-49). (3) Old Testament history also shows that significant numbers of those who were born Jews (even ten of the twelve tribes) were cut out of the covenant nation (2 Chr. 11:13-17, 2 Kings 17:6). From the beginning having Abrahamic blood in ones veins was not required for full membership with the covenant people [see Ex. 12:43-49], nor was it a guarantee of 24 continuance in it.

If there is no partiality with God, how do we explain his choice of Israel?

Paul explains that Gods work with Israel was (among other things) to teach us by example. He speaks of these things in the past, with no hint of future restoration:
Brethren, I would not want you to be ignorant of this: that our fathers were all under a 2 cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized under Moses in the 3 4 cloud and in the sea, and did all eat of one spiritual food, and did all drink of one manner of spiritual drink. And they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, 5 which rock was Christ. But in many of them, God had no delight. For they were overthrown in the wilderness. These are examples for us, so that we would not set our desires on evil things 11 like they did All these things happened upon them for examples, and were written to put us in remembrance we whom the ends of the world have come upon. (1Cor 10:1-5,6,11, New Matthew Bible, emphasis added)

One of the lessons we can take from the example of Israel is about apostasy. For we too drink of one spiritual food and drink, and of that rock that follows us, which rock is Christ. But we too are at risk of setting our hearts on evil things.


Williamson, Eschatology, pp 9,10.


Other lessons we may take from Gods choice of ethnic Israel include what the people of spiritual Israel may look like: few, weak, and little regarded in the world (Deut 7:7; 1 Cor 1:26-29); and also how great the kingdom of what William Wilberforce called cultural Christianity would become (Mt 13:31,32). Indeed, many, and varied, and deep, are the lessons to be had from the choice and example of Israel and Gods working with her.

Tyndales teaching
What is notable in Tyndales discussion of Romans 11, in his prologue to that book, is the absence of any reference to a final hour of salvation for ethnic Israel. He simply considers this chapter to be teaching of predestination, together with the two preceding chapters:
In the 9 , 10 , and 11 chapters [Paul] treateth of Gods predestination, whence it cometh altogether whether we will believe or not believe, be released from sin or not be released. By such predestination our justifying and salvation are clean taken out 25 of our hands, and put in the hands of God only, which thing is most necessary of all.
th th th

Therefore we need to study Romans to learn about election, and that the beneficiaries of grace, Jew or Gentile, owe their salvation utterly to God. We do not to try to glean from what Paul wrote that there remains a distinction between Jew and Gentile, but quite the reverse. Salvation and the favour of God depend not on kindred or race, but upon Gods choice and predestination. Tyndale acknowledges this is a hard teaching, and encourages us to be patient as we grow in Christ, until we come to better understand it:
For every learning hath her time, measure, and age, and in Christ there is a certain childhood, in which a man must be content with milk for a season, until he wax strong 26 and grow up unto a perfect man in Christ, and be able to eat of more strong meat.

On the relation between ethnic Israel and the Abrahamic covenant, Tyndale expounds Pauls teaching:
Gods mercy in promising and truth in fulfilling his promises saveth us, and not we ourselves. And therefore all laud, praise and glory is to be given to Godand not to us for our merits and deservings. After that, Paul extends and relates his example to all other good works of the law, and concludeth that the Jews cannot be Abrahams heirs because of blood and kindred only, and much less by the works of the law, but 27 must inherit Abrahams faith, if they will be the right heirs of Abraham

It is faith, then, that earns the favour of God, not race or ethnicity; and faith is, of course, the gift of God. And those who are of faith, regardless of race or kindred, tongue or nationality, partake of the promises of the Abrahamic covenant and are his true children. Conclusion: When the fullness of the Gentiles has come in When the fullness of the Gentiles has come into the kingdom, great things will be at hand Christs return, the general resurrection, Judgment Day, the eternal kingdom. But no man knows when these things will be (Acts 1:7, Mt 24:36ff, I Tim 5:1). In the meantime there is no unique plan for any race or nation, for there is no partiality with God:

25 26

Tyndales New Testament, Daniell, Prologue to the Romans, p. 221. Ibid. 27 Ibid, p. 216. Somewhat updated.


unto them that are rebellious and disobey the truth, yet follow iniquity, shall come indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon the soul of every man that doth evil: of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile. To every man that doth good, shall come praise, honour, and peace, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:8-11)

No partiality with God, no difference Jew or Gentile (Ro 2:11, 3:22, 10:12). For he is not a Jew who is a Jew outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh, but he is a Jew who is hid within (2:28,29). And: Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, even of the Gentiles also (3:29). And not all who descend from Israel are Israel, nor are they all children just because they are the seed of Abraham, but in Isaac the seed are called (9:6,7). Again, the children of the flesh are not the children of God, but the children of promise are counted the seed (9:8). Behold, to the Galatians Paul wrote, Now there is no Jew neither Gentilebut ye are all one thing in Christ Jesus. If ye be Christs then are ye Abrahams seed, and heirs by promise. (Galatians 3:28-29). And so if my understanding is correct, the coming in of the fullness of the Gentiles will mark not the beginning of salvation for ethnic Israel, but the opposite: the end of the Jews or of any persons coming into the kingdom of the Lord, because all Israel will have been saved. But though ethnic Israelites are no longer Gods special people, yet upon the Mount Zion, a remnant shall escape; these shall be holy (Obadiah 17). These, together with a remnant of holy ones from other nations, are being gathered from all corners of the earth, and brought into the promised land of the New Covenant through faith in the Lord who bought them by his holy blood. These are heirs of the kingdom that is not of this world, and are the true Israelites: inhabiters of the heavenly Jerusalem that will never be destroyed. ~~~ SCRIPTURES to ponder, from the Matthew Bible, 1549 Malachi 3:18, on the right difference to put between men: Turn you therefore, and consider what difference is betwixt the righteous and ungodly: betwixt him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not. Malachi 2:3-5, to the priests of Israel, and of the separate covenant with Levi to be understood in the typological language of the Holy Spirit: I shall corrupt your seed, and cast dung in your faces: even the dung of your solemn feasts, and it shall cleave fast upon you. And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment to you: that my covenant which I made with Levi might stand, saith the Lord of hosts. I made a covenant of life and peace with him: this I gave him, that he might stand in awe of me: and so he did fear me, and had my name in reverence. Deuteronomy 10:8,9 , on the typological covenant with Levi: And the same season the Lord separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the appointment of the Lord and to stand before the Lord, and to minister unto him and to


bless in his name unto this day. Wherefore the Levites have no part nor inheritance with their brethren. The Lord, he is their inheritance, as the Lord thy God hath promised them. Deuteronomy 18:1,2: It is repeated here that tiny tribe of Levi has the Lord for its inheritance. Its inheritance is not with Israel: The priests the Levites, all the tribe of Levi shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel. The offerings of the Lord and his inheritance they shall eat, but shall have no inheritance among their brethren: the Lord, he is their inheritance, as he has said unto them.

To reinforce this image for us, the tribe of Levi received no land when Israel went out to conquer with might and bow, for theirs is not a worldly inheritance with Israel that walks carnally:
Joshua 13:14: Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance, for the offering of the Lord God of Israel is their inheritance, as he said unto them.

The Levites were separated out: a type of believers in greater Christendom that is, a type of spiritual Israel within the greater body?:
Numbers 8:14: And thou shalt separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, that they be mine. R Magnusson Davis, First posted September 2011. Minimally revised, and updated with revised draft scriptures, October 2012. Minor revisions again, December 2012.