Eschatological Problems VIII: Israel’s Blindness -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 102:407 (Jul 1945)
Article: Eschatological Problems VIII: Israel’s Blindness
Author: John F. Walvoord


Eschatological Problems VIII: Israel’s Blindness

John F. Walvoord

Almost every aspect of the predicted future for Israel constitutes a decisive factor in the structure of prophetic interpretation. The construction that is placed upon passages in Scripture dealing with the future of Israel inevitably determines the whole scope of eschatology. One of the obvious facts which all systems must face is that Israel is just as surely in the New Testament as in the Old, and the phenomena of the preservation of Israel as a distinct people through centuries of dispersion have called for some adequate explanation.

Among those who take Scripture seriously, two attitudes have emerged. Some have denied any future to Israel, attempting to find all of Israel’s future included in the Christian church, i.e., whatever future is assigned to them is identical with that of Gentile believers. Others have held that there is a future day of blessing for Israel as a distinct people. The former view is held by those who follow an amillennial interpretation of prophecy, while the latter view is held by the postmillennial and premillennial systems of interpretation. With the current disrepute of postmillennielism, it has remained for the premillennial and amillennial systems to uphold their respective interpretations. The issue is rather clearly drawn, though too often the premises assumed settle the argument before it begins. It is the thesis of this discussion that the amillennial viewpoint involves a distortion of numerous passages of Scripture and an oversimplification of eschatology which is not warranted by the prophetic Word. The issue of Israel’s future should be settled by investigation into the plain statements of Scripture regarding it. To this end, the present article deals with a crucial and important doctrine in the eschatology of Israel, viz., the subject of Israel’s spiritual blindness. It is predicted in Scripture that the present blindness of Israel will in the

future be removed and that certain important results will follow. The nature and importance of this doctrine will be evident in its effect on the structure of eschatology.

Four Interpretations

The key passage to the doctrine of Israel’s blindness or “hardening” is found in Romans 11:25—”For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits—, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” The passage seems to reveal that a blindness or hardening has befallen Israel at the present time, that this blindness will terminate at the time designated as the “fuln...

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