Israel, the Church, and the Nations – Part 6

Norbert Lieth

God uses the whole of Israel’s history for the salvation of all believers: both those from Israel and those from the world of nations. Though there are twisted paths through a tangle of events, the Lord weaves a wonderful heavenly picture from them. A redemptive-historical and prophetic interpretation of Romans 9—11.

The coming events follow the completion of the Church Age. Then, something more will happen:

2. All Israel Shall Be Saved. – “And 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: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Rom 11:26-27).

It’s likely that this statement is based on Isaiah 59:20-21: “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.”

The order of events is:

1. The believing portion of the Jews from the time of Pentecost onward is a remnant in the current time.

2. Paul was called, and the nations will be grafted into the cultivated olive tree.

3. After the full number of Gentiles has been brought in, Israel will be saved at Jesus’ return. Then the Lord comes back to Zion. We should mention three Bible verses that are representative of this:

“And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Rev 14:1). This verse is about the firstfruits of the total remnant from the Great Tribulation (v. 4).

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, and from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt 24:30-31).

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Dan 12:1). The part of Israel that will be saved at Jesus’ return is therefore the whole of Israel. Now the following is fulfilled:

3. The New Covenant. “For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Rom 11:27). Pay attention to the exact statement: “For this is my covenant unto them.” According to verses 25-26, this means:

• A partial hardening of Israel occurs

• until the full number from the nations has been brought to salvation.

• Then Jesus returns to Zion

• and Israel receives forgiveness and is renewed.

The Church—made up of Jews and Gentiles—has already been introduced into this New Covenant today (Heb 8). It was instituted at the Last Supper and realized at Pentecost. The nations joined later. Unbelieving Israel stood outside of this covenant because of its stubbornness. After the Church Age, the Savior returns, renews Israel, and makes Israel His people once again. Then the New Covenant will also come into effect for the remnant of the Jewish people: “For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

That is the covenant described in Jeremiah 31:31-37: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.” 

This revelation is telling us that Israel’s future salvation is an established fact ordained by God, and has not been canceled. Which leads us to the fourth point:

4. God Remains Faithful. – “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance [irrevocable]” (Rom 11:28-29).

This underscores Jeremiah’s statement about the order of creation compared to Israel’s permanent election.

With regard to the Gospel and Jesus, their Redeemer, they are enemies because they have always been hostile to this salvation. Yet God in His wisdom used this hostility for our salvation. But in light of the promises that God made to the Patriarchs, they remain beloved. God cannot break His Word because His promises are based on His unchanging nature.

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Num 23:19). God doesn’t give tit for tat. He practices love for His enemies, and demands the same of us. God’s love doesn’t give up.

5. God’s Great Victory. – “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Rom 11:30-32).

His great divine victory consists of finding a way to have mercy on all. Apparent defeat becomes the greatest triumph.

God uses the whole of Israel’s history for the salvation of all believers: both those from Israel and those from the world of nations. Though there are twisted paths through a tangle of events, the Lord weaves a wonderful heavenly picture from them. He, the Almighty and All-Knowing, can incorporate all decisions, all human freedoms, all of humanity’s incomprehensible ways, all obedience and disobedience, and even all hatred, into His eternal plan to prepare salvation for all. History shows us that He’s done it. One man (Abraham) became a people. One people became a blessing to all people. Israel’s enmity against the Gospel turned the Gospel into a message of salvation for the nations. At the end, it becomes clear that it is the purest grace that both groups—Jews and Gentiles—are redeemed. Nobody deserves it. Both disobeyed, both disbelieved, and both received mercy.

Based on what the Scofield Bible states about Romans 11:1, we can say:

1. Paul’s salvation proves that there is still a remnant in Israel (v. 1).

2. The Old Testament doctrine of the remnant also proves that Israel still has a future (vv. 2-6; chap. 9:27).

3. Scripture foresaw Israel’s present unbelief (vv. 7-10).

4. Israel’s unbelief is the great opportunity of the nations (vv. 11-25).

5. Israel was legitimately broken off from the cultivated olive tree, Christ (vv. 17-22).

6. God’s people will be grafted in again (vv. 23-24).

7. The promised Messiah will come from Zion, not from outside God’s people, and Israel will be saved (vv. 25-29).

The believer comes from Abraham’s spiritual descendants (Gen 15:5-6; Gal 3:29) and shares in the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen 12:2). But Israel as a nation still retains its own place in history, and is still heading toward the greatest exaltation as God’s earthly people…

Paul can only worship when he considers these truths of salvation and this complete counsel of God regarding Israel and the nations. It’s amazing how God used Israel’s failure to reach the most distant Gentile world and draw it to Himself.

August Fuhr remarks: “God reveals Himself differently for each household in His great plan of salvation, according to the corresponding house rules of salvation. Each house rule corresponds to the goal the Lord wants to achieve with this household.” In the past with Israel. In the present with the Church of Jews and Gentiles. And in the coming Messianic Kingdom with the remainder: the peoples and yet-unconverted Israel.

What inexplicable wisdom, native only to God, has led Him to make one out of two (Israel and the Church) in order to achieve a special goal and, after the Church Age, also to achieve His plans for the rest of Israel and the rest of the world of nations! August Fuhr expressed it this way in a poem:

His truth in His warning,
His zeal in His scattering,
His power that can do anything.
His truth will prevail,
As will His miraculous preservation.
Let us humbly worship.

And so the Apostle exclaims: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom 11:33-36; cf. Col 1:16; Heb 1:2; Jude 25; Rev 4:11).

News from Israel - 06/2022

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety