ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE SAVED – Answering an Objection #1
One of the most common objections to True Preterism is that in Romans 11:25-27 Paul spoke of the salvation of “all Israel” at the coming of the Lord: “Paul says in Romans 11:26f that Israel will be saved at the coming of the Lord. Israel was not saved in AD70, therefore Jesus did not come in AD70.”
Let me respond to this objection by making a view observations.
In 1982, I was preparing for my first formal public debate. Thinking that my dispensational opponent would focus on the salvation of Israel, I went to study with a highly respected church of Christ scholar. The man taught both Hebrew and Greek at the college level. A high level academic. When I asked about Romans 11:25f, he said, “Don, all I can say is that you need to pray that your opponent does not go to Romans 11!” I was stunned, yet his uncertainty on Romans 11 is typical among Amillennialists.
In fact, in a formal debate with Amillennialist Mac Deaver in 2008, I offered affirmative arguments on Romans 11. Deaver evaded dealing with my arguments, but when pressed, changed his position repeatedly during the course of the debate! (Deaver-V-Preston Debate, March, 2008, Carlsbad, N. M.. The debate is available on MP3 from me at JaDon Management Inc. 1405 4th Ave. N. W. #109, Ardmore, Ok. 73401. Price is $24.95 + $4.50 postage).
So, what does Romans 11 mean? Does it predict a national restoration of Israel at Christ’s Second Coming? Does it teach the salvation of “all Israel” i.e. every Jew living at the time of Christ’s coming, or, the salvation of every person of the physical line of Abraham who has ever lived? We clearly cannot answer every question on Romans 11. What we will do is provide some solid evidence to be able to confidently affirm that Romans 11:26f was fulfilled at Christ’s coming in AD70. (For a fuller discussion of the issues of Romans 11 see my seven lesson audio presentation, “All Israel Shall Be Saved.” Also, see my book, Elijah Has Come: A Solution for Romans 11:25-27. Available from this website).
To answer the objection above, we will examine Romans 11 in the light of three issues:
1.) The prophetic source of Romans11:25f. For brevity we will only examine two of the three prophecies from which Paul draws, Isaiah 27 and Isaiah 59.
2.) Romans 11:26f in light of Romans 11:7f.
3.) The salvation of “all Israel” and the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14.
THE PROPHETIC SOURCE OF ROMANS 11:26F
It is widely recognized that Romans 11:25f anticipated the fulfillment of Isaiah 27, 59 and Jeremiah 31. Here is what is mostly ignored about both of the Isaianic prophecies.
The salvation of Israel promised in Isaiah 27 would come at the Day of the Lord, when He judged the blood of the martyrs (Isaiah 26:21). Furthermore, this salvation would come, “When He makes all the stones of the altar like chalk stones that are beaten to dust…the fortified city will be desolate…Therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them, and He who formed them will show them no favor” (Isaiah 27:9-11).
Note that in Isaiah 25, the source of Paul’s doctrine of the resurrection at the salvation of Israel (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:55f–>Isaiah 25:8-9), it specifically posits that Day of Salvation as the time when the City would be desolated and the Temple turned over to foreigners (Isaiah 25:1-3).
The Day of the Lord is always a two-edged sword including salvation and judgment.
The prophecy of Isaiah 59 likewise foretold the salvation of Israel at the coming of the Lord in judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood (Isaiah 59:3-12). Three times YHVH accused Israel of shedding innocent blood, and said that her sin was mounting up to heaven. This is the filling of the measure of sin (Cf. Matthew 23:32f).
In verses 15f the prophet foretold the salvation of Israel at the coming of the Lord when He would bring salvation for the righteous, but vengeance on His enemies.
So, in both Isaiah 27 and Isaiah 59, the source for Romans 11:26, the prophet said Israel’s salvation would be when the Lord avenged the shed blood of the saints. In 2014, I debated prominent Millennialist and Zionist Dr. Michael Brown. Our topic was Romans 11:25f. When I pointed out the judgment context of Isaiah 27 and 59 that demands that Romans 11 would be fulfilled at the time of Israel’s judgment for shedding innocent blood, he was visibly shaken. He literally had no answer! As I write this, that YouTube video has been viewed almost 60,000 times. But, this background of the vindication of the martyrs- and the salvation of Israel at the Day of the Lord- cannot be denied. This a motif that is inextricably tied to the last days and the Day of the Lord.
In Matthew 23, Jesus undeniably posited the judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood, “all the blood of all the righteous shed on the earth” (Matthew 23:33f), at his coming in AD70. (In April of 2002, Ed Stevens and I debated two amillennialists. I presented a major affirmative on Romans 11 and the resurrection. The material visibly stunned our opponents and they literally said not one word in response. That debate is available from my me). This would be the fulfillment of the days of vengeance (Luke 21:22), which even millennialists agree was in AD70!
For instance, Thomas Ice says of the fall of Jerusalem in AD70: “Luke notes that God’s vengeance on His elect nation ‘is in order that all things that are written may be fulfilled.’ Jesus is telling the nation that God will fulfill all the curses of the Mosaic Covenant because of Israel’s disobedience. He will not relent and merely bring to pass a partial fulfillment of His vengeance.” (Thomas Ice and Kenneth Gentry, The Great Tribulation, Past or Present, A Written Debate, (Grand Rapids; Kregel, 1999), 98).
With this admission in mind, consider my argument:
The salvation of Israel in Romans 11:26f would be in fulfillment of Isaiah 27 and 59.
Isaiah 27 and 59 foretold the coming of Christ in judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood.
Christ came in judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood in AD70.
Therefore, Romans 11:26f was fulfilled at the coming of Christ in AD70.
So, what we have in Romans 11, in light of the prophetic source of Paul’s promise, is the undeniable reality that the prophetic source posited the last days salvation of Israel (the righteous remnant of Israel as we will discuss in part 2 – at the time of the judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood. And Jesus unequivocally said that would be in AD 70. Stay tuned for part 2! In the meantime, be sure to get a copy of my book, Elijah Has Come: A Solution to Romans 11:25-27. It is an incredibly powerful demonstration that “all Israel” was indeed saved at the Day of the Lord in AD 70