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Friday, April 25, 2014

The Conversion of Israel

No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more. 
Jeremiah 31:34

And so all Israel will be saved,[g] 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.[h]
Romans 11:26 & 27

Most Christians believe that the above passage, from the apostle Paul's letter to the Church in Rome, indicates a future mass-conversion of the Jews. Some even go so far as saying that the former passage indicates that the New Covenant was for the Jews only!One might wonder, and this is apparently a valid matter for discussion in certain circles, if Scripture is at all applicable for us, particularly the Law!

The first question we might ask, in regards to the statement that 'all Israel will be saved' is, 'who is Israel ( in Paul's reference )?' Was Paul referring to his 'countrymen[a] according to the flesh' ( Romans 9:3 )? It would seem so, for the immediate context would seem to demand it! A closer look, however, might yield a different result upon further examination!

Taking a look at the first part of what we know as chapter 11, but keeping in mind Paul's disclaimer in Romans 9:6-8, we can see that his hope is not for all of Israel ( 'according to the flesh ' ), but rather that of 'a remnant according to the election of grace'. The apostle Paul 'sees' the latter Israel, and not the former being saved 'in toto'!

Present-day prognosticators, especially, look at evangelistic efforts and progress in the land that we now know as Israel, as 'signs of the times' ( Matthew 16:3 ), but this does not signal the Eschaton, nor fulfill Paul's prophesy in Romans 11! It does fulfill Scripture in that the nation/state of Israel is simply one of the nations that will be healed through the continuing ministry of the Anointed One! In that sense, and that sense alone, will the Jews be saved at some point in our future!

Israel, or 'the Israel of God', as the apostle called them ( Galatians 6:16 ) was 'born again' ( John 3:7 ), being reckoned 'sons of the resurrection' ( Luke 20:36 )! This conversion was inaugurated during the ministry of Jesus, but began in earnest with the giving of the Holy Spirit as recorded in Acts 2. It was fulfilled in The Marriage of Heaven & Earth, whereas our Heavenly Father made His abode, once more, and in finality, in the midst of His People!

The conversion of the nations is still taking place today, through His Continuing Ministry! It is through His People that His Knowledge & Glory is spread abroad, shining His Light into the darkest corners of the world! As we shine His Light into the darkest areas of our 'world', let us remember that though all Israel was saved, all of our Heavenly Fathers Children will eventually be converted and enter into a lasting Communion with Him!

Glory be, 
Charles Haddon Shank


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