And so all Israel shall be saved - Shall be brought into the way of salvation, by acknowledging the Messiah; for the word certainly does not mean eternal glory; for no man can conceive that a time will ever come in which every Jew then living, shall be taken to the kingdom of glory. The term saved, as applied to the Israelites in different parts of the Scripture, signifies no more than their being gathered out of the nations of the world, separated to God, and possessed of the high privilege of being his peculiar people. And we know that this is the meaning of the term, by finding it applied to the body of the Israelites when this alone was the sum of their state. See the Preface, Part II.
As it is written - The apostle supports what he advances on this head by a quotation from Scripture, which, in the main, is taken from Isaiah 59:20; : The Deliverer shall come out of Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob. Now this cannot be understood of the manifestation of Christ among the Jews; or of the multitudes which were converted before, at, and for some time after, the day of pentecost; for these times were all past when the apostle wrote this epistle, which was probably about the 57th or 58th year of our Lord; and, as no remarkable conversion of that people has since taken place, therefore the fulfillment of this prophecy is yet to take place. In what manner Christ is to come out of Zion, and in what way or by what means he is to turn away transgression from Jacob, we cannot tell; and to attempt to conjecture, when the time, occasion, means, etc., are all in mystery, would be more than reprehensible.
And so - That is, in this manner; or when the great abundance of the Gentiles shall be converted, then all Israel shall be saved.
All Israel - All the Jews. It was a maxim among the Jews that “every Israelite should have part in the future age.” (Grotius.) The apostle applies that maxim to his own purpose; and declares the sense in which it would be true. He does not mean to say that every Jew of every age would be saved; for he had proved that a large portion of them would be, in his time, rejected and lost. But the time would come when, as a people, they would be recovered; when the nation would turn to God; and when it could be said of them that, as a nation, they were restored to the divine favor. It is not clear that he means that even then every individual of them would be saved, but the body of them; the great mass of the nation would be. Nor is it said when this would be. This is one of the things which “the Father hath put in his own power;” Acts 1:7. He has given us the assurance that it shall be done to encourage us in our efforts to save them; and he has concealed the time when it shall be, lest we should relax our efforts, or feel that no exertions were needed to accomplish what must take place at a fixed time.
Shall be saved - Shall be recovered from their rejection; be restored to the divine favor; become followers of the Messiah, and thus be saved as all other Christians are.
As it is written - Isaiah 59:20. The quotation is not literally made, but the sense of the passage is preserved. The Hebrew is, “There shall come to Zion a Redeemer, and for those who turn from ungodliness in Jacob.” There can be no doubt that Isaiah refers here to the times of the gospel.
Out of Zion - Zion was one of the bills of Jerusalem. On this was built the city of David. It came thus to denote, in general, the church, or people of God. And when it is said that the Redeemer should come out of Zion, it means that he should arise among that people, be descended from themselves, or should not be a foreigner. The Septuagint, however render it, “the Redeemer shall come on account of Zion.” So the Chaldee paraphrase, and the Latin Vulgate.
And shall turn away - The Hebrew is, “to those forsaking un godliness in Jacob.” The Septuagint has rendered it in the same manner as the apostle.
The prophet Isaiah, looking down through the centuries and witnessing the rejection of prophet after prophet and finally of the Son of God, was inspired to write concerning the acceptance of the Redeemer by those who had never before been numbered among the children of Israel. Referring to this prophecy, Paul declares: “Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me. But to Israel He saith, All day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” AA 375.1
Even though Israel rejected His Son, God did not reject them. Listen to Paul as he continues the argument: “I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the Scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” AA 375.2
Israel had stumbled and fallen, but this did not make it impossible for them to rise again. In answer to the question, “Have they stumbled that they should fall?” the apostle replies: “God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: if by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” AA 375.3Read in context »