Paul's position on “All" Israel began as early as chapter 2. The question of ALL Israel involves the Southern and Northern Kingdoms.
For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter, whose praise is not from men but of God. (Rom. 2:28-29)
Further on who is Israel, he writes in chapter 9. “But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not ALL Israel who are of Israel. Therefore, how can the “ALL" Israel of Romans 11:26, be “ALL fleshly Israel" since Paul says “ALL fleshly Israel is not ALL Israel?
The apostle goes on to say: “Nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called. "
That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. (Rom. 9:6-8)
Can one logically affirm God saves those who are not his children without their doing something [i. e. obeying the gospel] to become his children? Why was the gospel to the JEW FIRST!?! (Rom. 1:16)
Further, Paul wrote again in Romans: 4:13, “For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise [to Abraham, v. 12] is made of no effect. "
Paul made the case, that the children of the promise ARE Abraham's seed, i. e. those baptized into Christ, v. 26-29).
Concerning his feelings about his past “fleshly status as an Israelite, Paul counted it as loss for Christ, (Phil. 3:3-8)
Now if the Jew's who refused to be baptized of John rejected the counsel of God against themselves, how much more those who rejected the baptism of Christ? Remember, Paul said fleshly Israel are not Israel/children of God?
The reason Paul says God has not cast away his people is because he was an Israelite who had submitted to the gospel of Christ, thus renouncing his “blood only" relationship to Abraham, for an obedient faith in Christ that he might obtain the promise of Abraham.
In that sense, God did not cast away his people, rather he saves them through “giving them" the promise of Abraham through faith.
"That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we [Israelites] might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith, (Gal. 3:14).
Now that we have demonstrated why and how Israel is saved, let's focus on why “blindness happened to them, until the fullness of the Gentiles came in. "
The ten northern tribes were cast out of God's sight, due to idolatry and no longer called God's people, Hos. 1:9, 10, 2:23; 2 Kings 17:20-23, tearing them from the house of David, and carrying them off to Assyria.
After that, the king of Assyria repopulated the cities of Samaria with Gentiles, 2 Ki. 17:24. Thus the 10 northern tribes were dispersed and swallowed up among the Gentiles.
Hosea wrote of Ephraim, the 10 northern tribes thusly: “Israel is swallowed up; Now they are among the Gentiles Like a vessel in which is no pleasure. For they have gone up to Assyria. . . . "(Hos. 8:8-10).
Their regathering was the subject of the end time vision of Ezekiel 37:15-28, i. e. the vision of the 2 sticks, clearly an eschatological time frame, that could not be fulfilled at any time prior to or after the first century apostolic age.
Paul quotes Ezk. 37, being fulfilled, and the regathering of Israel in Rom. 9:25, 26, 15:10-12; 2 Cor. 6:16-18; Eph. 2:11-22)
Now, if God had not called the Gentiles to share in the promise of Abraham, Israel would have been swallowed up and cast off forever.
However, God asked, “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? He couldn't, so he had mercy on the Gentiles in order to save Israel!, (Hos. 8:8). Quite a mystery wouldn't you say?
Yet, Peter says, all would be saved in the same manner.
"But we believe that through the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they. " (Acts 15:11)
Now how were the Gentiles saved? Through the gospel apart from the Law. Hence, the same for Israel. That is what constitutes ALL Israel, -Jews and Gentiles saved by faith.
God no more saves Jews apart from faith in Christ than he does Gentiles. That's why the unbelieving Jews, i. e. the “natural branches" were “cut off" in unbelief, but if they accepted Christ, (like Paul and Peter did), they would be “grafted into" true Israel again.
And so, “All Israel would be saved. When the fullness of the Gentiles had come in, bringing in all of the Diaspora of that day, who chose Christ as their Savior, is the manner in which Christ saved all Jews and Gentiles who obeyed the gospel.
See 1 Peter 1:1; 2:9, 10, a direct quote from Hos. 1:10, 11; 2:23)
This happened when he returned out of Zion and turned ungodliness from Jacob. For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins. (Rom. 11:26-27).
God has judged fleshly Israel in A. D. 70 with the judgment upon the unbelieving nation, Luke 21:20-22; Matthew 24. True Israel is not separate and distinct from the church, but IS the church, (Eph. 3:6; Gal. 6:16).
Copyright (c) 2008 by William Bell, Jr.
William Bell is the author of The Re-Examination, a study of Christ's first century return in glory. Find more articles on the endtime at http://www.allthingsfulfilled.com