(continued from last month)
When Will The Prophesied Deliverance Occur
The Amillennial viewpoint of Romans 11:25, 26 among other things does manifest injustice to the chronology of the passage. Whether the view of traditional Amillennialism be followed, or the recent view of Professor Hendriksen that ‘all Israel’ refers to elect Israel in all ages, the interpretation contradicts the order of events indicated in Romans 11. The point of the entire chapter is that the present age is one of blessing to Gentiles and that this follows Israel’s fall. During this age some in Israel come to Christ and are saved, but the nation as a whole goes on in hardness or blindness and unbelief. According to Romans 11:25, 26, the present situation is going to change when the fullness of the Gentiles, i.e., the present period of Gentile blessing, comes to its close. The terminus of Gentile blessing is the point in time when Israel’s blindness is lifted.
When Israel’s blindness is lifted, the way is opened for the work of the Deliverer who will bring spiritual restoration as well as physical. The order of events is therefore: (1) Israel’s all; (2) entire fullness of blessing; (3) Israel’s blindness lifted; (4) Israel’s Deliverer comes out of Zion; (5) Israel is turned away from ungodliness and her covenants are fulfilled. Now, manifestly, Israel fell as a nation. The reference is not to believing Israel or true Israel. Likewise, Israel is blind as a nation. Believing Israel is not blinded even in this age. So also “all Israel” refers not to believers in this age or in any previous age, but to the entire group which enters the Millennium. To make “all Israel” “all Believers” as Dr. Allis does, or “all Jewish believers,” as Professor Hendriksen does, is to blur the distinctions which are so carefully maintained in the entire passage. A study of the entire passage or chapter including Verses 28-32 reveals that the antithesis of “ye” and “they,” i.e., present believers as in contrast to “all Israel,” is carefully preserved throughout.
The deliverance of “all Israel” is not a process but an event. The time of the event is clearly when the Deliverer comes out of Zion, an event following the return of Christ in His second coming. The prophesied deliverance is, therefore, a future event and a single event. The great prophetic passages of the Old Testament upon which this prophecy is based do not have any harmony with the present undertaking of God. It is evident that it is not true today that everyone knows the Lord, that it is no longer necessary to teach our neighbors. This is not true for Gentiles and it is certainly not true for Israel. The future revelation of Christ to Israel will fulfill these predictions and bring the prophesied time of blessing for God’s ancient people.
What are the Concomitant Events?
The predictions of Romans 11:25, involve important doctrinal considerations beyond the revelation explicitly made. This explains why its interpretation has been characterized rather sharply by the school of interpretation represented. The Pre-millennial interpretation has as its background important considerations. The restoration of Israel as a nation involves the Davidic Covenant. It involves Israel’s continuance as a nation and possession of the land. It involves the separation of the purposes of God for the Church, believers in this age, and for Israel. The themes of Scripture bearing on the time of great tribulation for Israel, the consummation of Gentile power, the second coming of Christ, the judgment of the Gentiles, the resurrection of Israel and her judgment, the judgment of Israel still in the flesh, and many other important doctrines are directly or indirectly related. It is not claimed that Romans eleven in itself settles all the problems or that it alone establishes the main premises of premillennialism. What is claimed is the a literal interpretation of Romans eleven is in full harmony with prophecy which has been and is being fulfilled and that it fits perfectly the general scheme of the premillennial interpretation of Scriptures. If the statements of this chapter are taken in their ordinary meaning without recourse to allegorical or spiritual interpretation of the key words, the inevitable conclusion is that we have here in broad outline God’s program: present blessing for Gentiles, future restoration and blessing for Israel as a nation. We say with Paul in the sense we believe he meant: “Did God cast off His people? God forbid.”
As Benjamin Wills Newton pointed out concerning the safe rule to guide us, “I adhere to the ancient canon, that where a literal interpretation can be adopted, the furthest from the literal is commonly the worst: and that the literal may be adopted where no proved absurdity or impossibility follows its adoption. Secondly, I enquire whether a different principle of interpretation could be adopted consistently throughout the whole passage; so as for no clause to be dropped out or set aside on pretence of poetic exaggeration. Thirdly, I ask which interpretation would best agree with the testimony of the rest of Scripture, especially those parts which definitely apply to the same period.”
With these rules to guide us the writer is whole-heartedly in agreement; These would be my chief criteria.