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 Vol. 6, No. 11 

November 2004

~ Page 12 ~

The Fullness of the Gentiles

By D. Gene West

Image One of the most amazing things about Premillennial Dispensationalists is the way they read the Bible. Not only do they ignore all history that is connected with it, but even those who are counted as "scholars" among them pay little or no attention to parts of speech such as prepositions, adverbs, verbs and their tenses, and sentence structure. Not only so, but they almost always totally ignore the context in which a passage is found when using it as a "proof text." Someone has rightly said, "A text without a context is a pretext often used as a proof text." This is common with these folk.

A case in point is found in Romans 11:25-28, which reads,"For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins. Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers" (Romans 11:25-28 NKJV). This passage is regularly used by Dispensationalists to prove that at some future time the entire Jewish race will be saved forever. When they are reconstituted into an earthly nation, God will see to it that they are saved as a nation. This is to happen, the Dispensationalists aver, before the Second Coming of Christ and the establishment of his millennial kingdom on this earth over which Christ is to rule with a rod of iron from his physical throne in earthly Jerusalem. So, the question is: Does the above passage of Scripture teach such a doctrine? In order to answer the question we must ascertain three important things regarding these verses. (1) Who is described by the words all Israel? (2) How are they to be saved? (3) When are they to be saved?

Before we deal with these questions we must first give attention to the word so in the 26th verse. Dispensationalists universally interpret this passage as if the word so, which is an adverb of manner, were "then" an adverb of time. They would have the passage read, "And then all Israel will be saved..." One may ask why this is important. Because so, the adverb of manner, answers the question how Israel will be saved, but says nothing whatsoever about when that event will transpire. Furthermore, the word so is found in the concluding part of the passage and must therefore, refer to the verses preceding it, in which the apostle Paul, after explaining who makes up God's Israel, illustrates by the allegory of the olive tree, just how "all Israel" will be saved. The passage speaks of the manner in which "all Israel" will be saved, and not when!

Who then, is "all Israel"? The faithful servants of God who had come to believe in and accept Jesus Christ as Savior. In context it can refer to no one else. How, then is "all Israel" to be saved? By being grafted into God's olive tree, the kingdom of Jesus Christ. When will "all Israel" be saved? When they become the spiritual children of Abraham by accepting the promised One as Savior and King. Paul is not even discussing Israel as a nation here, but is using the word metaphorically to refer to the Christians who are God's spiritual Israel rather than the Jews who were God's fleshly Israel. Spiritual Israel was/is made up of both Jews and Gentiles who have accepted, by faith, Jesus as the Messiah and have placed their obedient trust in him for the salvation of their souls. Paul speaks not of the literal nation of Israel. He had a great desire for them to be saved but their zeal was not according to the will of God. This nation made up the branches broken from the olive tree, and who could be saved only by coming to Christ as Messiah and Redeemer. They could be saved that way then, and they can be saved that way now.Image

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