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Will All Jews Be Saved?

Have you concluded, as I have, that all the children of Israel belong to God? That is, in the language of Christianity, “All the Jews will be saved.” How did I come to this conclusion, and what biblical evidence can I offer?

Let’s start with the other side of the argument that claims that only those who believe in Yeshua the Messiah will be saved. The ones who hold this position often point to the verse where Jesus declares, “No one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). Paul also exclaims, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). Many have concluded from these verses that Jews, who do not believe in Yeshua the Messiah, will not be saved. This understanding would include most Jews both before Yeshua’s coming and after. Here is my response. If that is what God’s Word says, then that is what God means. However… this simple conclusion denies many other aspects and portions of Scripture.

First, we must consider the aspect of time. Jesus told His disciples, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority” (Act 1:7). My recent work on the Book of Revelation, and my driving interest in the future role of the remnant, has led me to conclude that much will happen between the end of the Millennial Kingdom and the Great White Throne Judgment. This will be a time, I suggest, when all God’s children will be made righteous in order to come into His presence. That is, all of God’s children will be “saved,” and the Jews are God’s children as are all those Gentiles with faith in God’s son.

Second, Paul’s declaration in Romans 10:9-10, where we read that we must confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead in order to be saved, is an exquisite composition that employs chiasm, artistry of parallel relationships, and a sophisticated understanding of salvation. That is, there is more to Paul’s words in this passage than the surface meaning conveys. I explain Paul’s linguistic artistry in “The Mystery of Salvation in Romans 10:9-10”, which you can find on the BibleInteract website.

blemished cowThird is what the Hebrew Scriptures tell us. In Exodus 4:22, for example, God declares, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.” The text then verifies that “My son, My firstborn” means all the children of Israel because in subsequent passages we hear, “Let My people go so they may worship Me” (Ex 7:16; 8:1, 20; 9:1, 13; italics add for emphasis). Son is parallel with people and conveys an equality of meaning. Thus, God’s firstborn son, Israel, refers to “My people,” who are all the children of Israel. We must therefore acknowledge that, IF God could dismiss the Jews who are His sons, then what prevents God from dismissing believers in Christ who are also called “sons of God”? The answer is this: God is not a man who lies. If He says that the children of Israel are His sons, then that is what He means. Thus, the Jews belong to Him. They may misbehave from time to time as all children do, but they will always be the sons of God, and so will Gentile believers in Christ always be the sons of God.

There is another key passage in the Hebrew Scriptures that helps us understand that the children of Israel belong to God. In Deuteronomy 32:6 God refers to Himself as the Father of Israel. They are His sons; He is their Father.

Do you thus repay the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is not He your Father who has bought you? He has made you and established you. Dt 32:6

This is a rhetorical question where everyone knows the answer. The adamant response is “Yes! He is your Father!”

I was recently working on Deuteronomy 32:1-6 with a class of Hebrew students. (Note: “Learning to Read Biblical Hebrew” is a course that will be offered again this year). The Hebrew language in this passage is powerful, and conveys God’s increasing emotional desire to instill something very important to His people. God begins by calling the heavens to be His witness. “Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak; and let the earth hear the words of my mouth” (Dt 32:1). “Let me speak” is expressed in Hebrew with intense emphasis, and the entire earth is going to hear God’s words.

God is directing His speech to His children, Israel, who have been behaving contrary to the Law that God gave them at Mount Sinai. Thus, His people need correction, which comes in two forms. First, God confronts them with their ungodly behavior.

They have acted corruptly toward Him. They are not His children, because of their defect; but are a perverse and crooked generation. Dt 32:5

The phrase, “not His children,” expresses correction, not rejection. God’s children must confront their ungodly behavior, which is described with three Hebrew words that convey vivid imagery. The word translated “defect” means blemished, which is the exact opposite of the unblemished animal that was an acceptable sacrificial gift to God. God’s people are like the sick cow in the picture. They are not worthy to be a gift to God. “Perverse” is the opposite of a straight path of righteousness, a path that is winding and aimless. The word translated “crooked” is the most interesting of all. The Hebrew word פְּתַלְתֹּל is not found anywhere else in Scripture. However, in other ancient texts it is used to convey a twisted body that occurs when wrestling. Thus, one way God corrects His children is to confront them with their ungodly behavior.

God’s second form of correction is to reassure them that He is their Father, and to convey loving words to convince them that they belong to Him. I think the following words are the culmination and focal point of the passage. They are what God has been preparing us to hear. We have already heard these words, but let us listen again.

Do you thus repay the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is not He your Father who has bought you? He has made you and established you. Dt 32:6

By the way, if you would like to learn to read biblical Hebrew and to penetrate an exquisite Hebraic sense of meaning, BibleInteract offers several opportunities. You can learn the Hebrew alphabet, which allows you to use a concordance with Hebrew words, not English translations. There are also seven video teachings entitled, “Introduction to Biblical Hebrew,” that will give you an overview of grammatical patterns and Hebrew words. A workbook accompanies these seven teachings so you can practice what you have learned. Finally, consider taking the 2-semester online course with an instructor –  “Learning to Read Biblical Hebrew.”

I have now shared with you some of the reasons that have led me to conclude that the Jews, the children of Israel, belong to God just as Gentile believers in Christ belong to God. “To be saved” implies that God’s children will someday be able to come into the presence of God in a completely righteous condition. When and how God will accomplish this is still a mystery. After all, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority”. But one thing we do know. God is faithful and God is a loving Father. He is drawing His children to Him – all of His children, both Jews and Gentiles.