The Dual Status Of Israel In Romans 11:28 -- By: Matt Waymeyer

Journal: Masters Seminary Journal
Volume: TMSJ 16:1 (Spring 2005)
Article: The Dual Status Of Israel In Romans 11:28
Author: Matt Waymeyer

The Dual Status Of Israel In Romans 11:28

Matt Waymeyera

Three major views of the identity of “all Israel” in Rom 11:26 have concluded that “all Israel” refers to the church, to the elect remnant of believing Jews during the present age, and to the ethnic nation of Israel. Romans 11:28 is an often neglected verse that helps in determining which of the views is correct, because the pronoun “they” in v. 28 refers to the same people as the “all Israel” of v. 26. Since context requires that the pronoun “you” in v. 28 refers to Gentiles, the “enemies” and the “they” of v. 28 must be ethnic Jews, thereby eliminating the possibility of “all Israel” being the church. The two clauses in v. 28 describe what is true of ethnic Israel at the same time, not one condition prior to Israel’s salvation and another subsequent to that salvation. That eliminates the view that “all Israel” depicts an elect remnant of believing Jews, because they could hardly be enemies according to the gospel after becoming believers. The view that “all Israel” is the ethnic nation of Israel has v. 28 speaking of Israel’s dual status: simultaneously they are enemies according to the gospel and beloved because of the fathers. In her current rejection of Christ, the nation still enjoys the irrevocable corporate election by God. That identification of “all Israel” is therefore correct.

* * * * *

The role of the nation Israel in the redemptive plan of God is a significant issue, and one that has received much attention through the years. A fundamental question in the discussion involves the future of Israel and whether or not she has a future. According to Herman Ridderbos, “The church … as the people of the New Covenant has taken the place of Israel, and national Israel is nothing other than the empty shell from which the pearl has been removed and which has lost its function in the history of redemption.”1 In similar fashion, Bruce K. Waltke asserts that “national Israel and its law have been permanently replaced by the church and the

New Covenant.”2

Is this true? Did Israel permanently forfeit her privileged status by rejecting the Messiah and the gospel...

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