Lesson Eight – All Israel Will be Saved

All Israel Will Be Saved

Lesson Aim:  To identify the true Israel of God and show how the present Jerusalem and Israel of the flesh relate to God’s kingdom.


It has come to pass in our day a people who are known as the Jews have possessed the land area God gave to Abraham.  Once again Jerusalem is a thriving city with visitors coming from all over the world.  In this, the Jewish people take great pride.  If indeed, the people who occupy Palestine today can trace their genealogies back to the twelve sons of Jacob, then we have a nation whose citizens are from the same people about which we have been studying in our previous lessons.  They are the children of the people who instigated the crucifixion of the Messiah.  They are not the people who killed Jesus and we, surely, do not hold them accountable for Jesus’ death.

Evidently, there are no leaders among the Jews today zealous enough to fully follow the Law of Moses and restore the Levitical priesthood.  The temple has not been rebuilt.  Animal sacrifice is not a public practice on a national level.  This would leave Israel “according to the flesh” without a sacrifice for sin.  The people who occupy the same land God gave to Abraham, now known as the nation of Israel, do appear to be in an awkward position at this time.  If they become zealous for the first covenant of God, in exclusion of the second, they would need to rebuild the temple where Solomon’s temple stood. The problem is, they would need to remove a mosque, a mosque very sacred to the Muslims, from the designated building site of God’s Old Testament temple.  The Levitical priesthood from the family of Zadok would need to be re-established and the Law of Moses once again enforced.  Of course, their dilemma could be eliminated if they became zealous for the new covenant (II Cor. 3:5, 6; Heb. 8:7-13).

We are happy to know some of the Jews who cried out for the crucifixion of Jesus did repent and were baptized for the remission of their sins.  They became Christians (Acts 2:38, 47).  Most of the Jews did not accept Jesus as the Son of God.  Their offspring who take the same stand today are still looking for the Coming One.  They need to carefully study the prophecies on our “check list” from Lesson Four.  They can still know how those prophecies were fulfilled, because God did not let it happen in a corner, or be put in a corner.  The Bible is available for all.

We can understand why the Jews have a keen interest in Palestine and the present Jerusalem; however, there is another group of people that appears to have almost as much interest as the Jewish people.  They is a religious group who identify with the premillennialism Christian movement.  They believe Jesus Christ will return to earth and once again establish His kingdom with physical Israel.  Some think His reign will continue one thousand years, based upon their interpretation of Revelation chapter twenty.  They see the establishment of an Israelite government over Jerusalem as a signal for the final count-down of time and the return of Jesus Christ.  They need to understand what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.”  Rom. 9:6.

In this lesson we will understand the Biblical teachings about the relationship of God’s eternal kingdom to Israel according to the flesh and the “Israel of promise.”


The Apostle Paul presented the churches in Galatia an allegory with a dualistic concept of Jerusalem and the people of Israel.  In this allegory Paul used a literal story about two mothers of two sons of Abraham.  They were Sarah and Hagar, the mothers of Isaac and Ishmael, respectively.  In the allegory these women represent two different covenants between God and His people.  Please read Gal. 4:21-31.  Hagar represents the covenant God made with Israel according to the flesh.  She corresponds to Mount Sinai.  This means she represents the Law God gave to Moses.  Since that which was ordained by God on Mount Sinai was transferred to the physical city of Jerusalem, the Law of Moses and Israel “according to the flesh” all belong together with this city.  Hagar corresponds to the present physical Jerusalem.  Her children are in slavery to the Law of Moses.  This was true at the time Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia which was several years after the Lord’s church was established.  It is still applicable today and it always will be.  Any time Christians turn back to the Law; that is, to physical Jerusalem and to Israel according to the flesh, they lose their freedom Jesus has offered (Gal. 5:4).

In Paul’s allegory Sarah represents the covenants God made through Abraham.  They were based on the law of faith and not on the law of works like the Law covenant (Gal. 2:16).  This covenant comes through Christ and from the heavenly Jerusalem.  These Christians who received Paul’s letter were the true children of Abraham because they had put on Christ in baptism (Gal. 3:26-29).  Paul, as well as all born again Christians of all time, stand exactly where these Galatians stood (Rom. 11:1-5; Acts 22:16).  We are free from the Law of Moses, Israel according to the flesh and the present Jerusalem.

Christians are children of promise; therefore, we stand where Isaac stood.  We can understand by studying the following scriptures that Isaac’s relationship with God did not depend upon the Law of Moses, physical Jerusalem or Israel according to the flesh.  He was a child of promise, “In order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls.”  Rom. 9:11.

But it is not as though the word of God has failed.  For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: through Isaac your descendants will be named.  That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.  Rom. 9:6-8

It is very important for us to differentiate between Paul’s kinsmen “according to the flesh,” and Israel who are “children of promise.”  Rom. 9:3, 8.  The Israel of promise is the same as God’s people whom He foreknew (Rom. 11:2).  Truly it can be said, “They are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.”  Paul asked, “God has not rejected His people has he?”  Rom. 11:1.  No indeed for “There has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.”  Rom. 11:5.  Who are these people?  They are the circumcised of the heart.”  They are the true Jew (Rom. 2:26-29).  They are Christians; therefore, we are the true Israel of God (Gal. 6:16).  Since Sarah represents the covenant, “not from Mount Sinai, but from heaven,” Christians belong to the Jerusalem not physical Jerusalem, but from above.  On the other hand, Paul’s kinsmen according to the flesh were Israel according to the flesh.  He hoped some could be saved (Rom. 11:14).

God’s word makes no special promise or concession for those who stand with Hagar in Paul’s allegory.  Christians do not look to the present physical Jerusalem, only to the heavenly Jerusalem.  The heavenly and spiritual Jerusalem is where God dwells and it is adorned like a bride for the true Israel of God when Jesus returns.

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.  Rev. 21:2

It will be helpful to keep before us a few facts as we seek to clarify the relationship between Israel of the flesh” and God’s future plan for mankind.  First, God’s promises to Abraham either have been fulfilled, or they are now being honored by God.  God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations and all nations would be blessed through him (Rom. 4:13-17; Acts 3:19-26).  All of these promises are being fulfilled through Christ, who is the seed of Abraham according to the flesh (Gal. 3:15-18).  God’s people on earth, the church of God in Christ, are the children of Abraham.  It happened because we put on Christ in baptism (Gal. 3:26).  Paul explained how God is now honoring the remainder of His promises to Abraham through Christ:  “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s off-spring, heirs according to promise.”       Gal. 3:29

The second fact is that all Israel will be saved.  This is stated in the following scripture, and it is true because of the foregoing conclusion about Abraham’s seed and the church.

And thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.  And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”  Rom. 11:25, 26

In this scripture Jacob represents the church that was purchased by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28).  The only mature people who have a hope of salvation are the children of Abraham, or Jacob, as the foregoing scripture implies.  Jacob was the grandson of Abraham and the covenants God made with Abraham were confirmed through him (Gen. 35: 9-13).  All Israel will be saved, but to be a part of the Israel God foreknew, we must be children of promise.  Children of promise learn of God’s promises and then take hold of them by faith.  God offers His new covenant.  All Christians accept it in the process of our new birth.  Of course, we must “be faithful until death” in order to inherit eternal salvation (Rev. 2:10).

It is possible to be “broken off.”  If there is no faith in us we cannot be “children of promise.”  Many Israelites were broken off – some still stand.  Many Gentiles have been added, but we, like the Israelites, stand only by our faith.  When faith is missing so is the concept of a child of promise.  (Rom. 11:11-27).  Here then is the portion of scripture that can easily be incorrectly interpreted and often is: “And thus all Israel will be saved.”  We must find the correct answer to the question, “Who is Israel?”  In the context of being saved from hell, it is the children of Abraham who Jesus will find faithful on Judgment Day.

The third fact we need to keep before us as we seek to clarify Israel’s relationship to God’s kingdom is how Jerusalem, the city of Zion, is important to God.  Some questions must be answered concerning the identity and location of the true Jerusalem before we can ascertain the presence of God.  We found the answer to these questions in our study of the allegory Paul gave to the Galatians.  It is the same city Abraham was in search of and he knew it was not on earth.  Please read Hebrews 11:9, 10 and 16.

What about Israel according to the flesh?  We can ask the same question about the people of any nation.  The answer is the same for the Israelites as it is for anyone else.  They must accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  Jesus’ commission He gave to His disciples is for all.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.  Mark 16:15, 16

Other than the fact that they were given the opportunity to hear the gospel first, there is no special program revealed in God’s word for Israel of the flesh today (Rom. 1:16).  They completed their role as a nation during the first century.  For the Jews who do accept the Messiah, Paul wrote:  “And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief will be grafted in; God is able to graft them in again.”         Rom. 11:23

John the Baptist did not give any special importance to physical Israel in his message about God’s kingdom with Jesus as king (Matt. 3:1-12).  Jesus made it very clear to Israel of the flesh that the kingdom would be taken from them.  Their house would be left desolate to them (Matt. 21:43; 23:38, 39).  The temple where the Jews worshipped in Jerusalem did not hold any special interest to Jesus (Matt. 24:2).  The message preached by the apostles did not show any special dependence on Israel of the flesh or the city of Jerusalem (Acts 13:16-41).  Paul made it very clear that he did not want the gospel he preached to be credited to anyone in Jerusalem (Gal. 1:15- 17).

God’s choice to attain His purpose in creation is still working through Abraham; therefore, the Israel of God are the citizens of God’s kingdom.  Jesus was born of the seed of Abraham but He also came through the seed of David (Rom. 1:3).  This should tell all discerning people Jesus is not coming back to set up a kingdom because He now reigns as king over God’s kingdom (II Sam. 7:16; Luke 1:30-32; Acts 2:29-36).  Why should anyone today connect God’s eternal kingdom to Israel or Jerusalem in a physical sense?  We have seen in Parts Three and Four of this series how God struggled with those people to accomplish His goal.  Who would want to go back to the days when the glory of God’s kingdom on earth could be repressed by physical Israel again?

God will attain His purposes according to His choice for all nations (Rom. 9:11).  Jesus will not return to reign as king in Jerusalem or anywhere else.  He will return to receive His kingdom for judgment which is the church of God in Christ (Heb. 9:27, 28; Matt. 25:31-33; I Thess. 2:14).  The kingdom Jesus will turn back to God, the Father, will be Christ’s church after we are  judged and rewarded.  It will no longer be identified as the church but simply the kingdom of God.  Please read I Corinthians 15:22-28; II Corinthians 5:10 and Matthew 13:40, 41.

In Part Six, the last part of this series of lessons on the Kingdom of God, we will study about our own physical death and the things we can expect to happen thereafter.  We will study Biblical eschatology, but first, we will study about the Christian period of time.  In Part Five, we will investigate the wonderful environment “in Christ” because all spiritual blessing are bestowed upon those of us who have been transferred to Christ’s kingdom (Eph. 1:3; Col. 1:13).

Question for Discussion

  1. What is unique about the present time in relation to Israel of the flesh as a nation?
  2. If the people who presently live in Israel reject Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, and if they take the Law of Moses and the prophets seriously, what should they be practicing?
  3. What has presently put physical Israel in an awkward position?
  4. Name group of people, other than the Jews, who have a keen interest in Israel once again functioning as a nation.
  5. List three facts we should keep in mind as we consider the position of Israel, “according to the flesh,” in relation to God’s eternal kingdom.
  6. How does Paul’s allegory establish a dualistic theory for Israel and Jerusalem?
  7. Hagar and Sarah are presented as the two covenants in Paul’s allegory. Explain each covenant.
  8. Who is the “Israel of God” today?
  9. What makes a “child of promise?”
  10. Today, what is God’s salvation plan for Israel “according to the flesh?”
  11. List some teachers and preachers who did not give any special importance to physical Israel or Jerusalem.
  12. Why are we better off today as citizens of God’s kingdom than they were when the man-dimension of God’s kingdom was with physical Israel?
  13. When was physical Israel’s role as a nation fulfilled in relation to God’s kingdom?
  14. How does the fact that Jesus is David’s offspring prove Israel of the flesh has no more importance to God than any other nation today?

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply