“I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say, “The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness. And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins.””
Romans 11:25-27 NLT
Paul writes that there will be a time of salvation for the Jews. We don’t know when that will be but we do know that one day it will happen. Paul loosely quoted two verses from the Old Testament Scriptures, ““The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,” says the Lord. “And this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Isaiah 59:20-21). We have to visit this section of Scripture to determine the context. These verses in Isaiah are at the end of a chapter where the prophet provides warnings about sin and wickedness. And the Redeemer is none other than Jesus Himself. Of course, we know that He died just outside the city walls at Jerusalem for the redemption of all sins, an act with eternal consequences, and Isaiah continues to reveal that the Lord’s Spirit will remain forever, never leaving His redeemed people.
But Paul was perhaps also writing about a day when the people of Israel finally turn to their Redeemer. Their hearts will soften from the current hardness, and “all Israel will be saved”. If the Jews rejected their Redeemer when He came to this earth, what would make them change their collective minds? We mustn’t forget that Jesus has an appointment, marked in His Heavenly calendar, to return to earth a second time. We read in Acts 1:9-11, “After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”” We don’t know when “someday” will be of course, but we know that it will happen, as the angels foretold. We also know where He will return to, because He ascended from the Mount of Olives, as we read in Acts 1:12, “Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile.” We also know what the weather will be like on the day He returns because it will be cloudy. But even though we know something about how Jesus will return, we don’t know when, other than Paul’s assertion that first, the “full number” of Gentiles must convert to believing in Christ.
We also know from other Scriptures that Jesus will not return as a baby child, but very visibly with great power and glory. “For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes. … And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:27,30). Perhaps this will be the time when the Jews will finally be saved. Matthew 24:31, “And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.”
But whatever we pilgrims believe, God’s plans for His human creation will come together one day. All will make sense then, in case we are puzzled about how it is all going to happen. God has the eternity view. Time is no problem to Him. Unlike us, He is not constrained by calendars and human events. God gave a prophetic message of the salvation of the Jews through Paul’s pen, and one day there will be a huge crowd of Jews and Gentiles in Heaven, united in praise and worship to our wonderful Heavenly Father.
Dear Father. We look forward to that day when You will be worshipped by all Your people. What can we say, other than echo that phrase from the last chapter of Revelation – “Come Lord Jesus”. Amen.