Pastor David B. Curtis


A Deliverer from Zion

Romans 11:26-32

Delivered 06/10/2012

This morning we conclude our study of Paul's argument in Romans 9-11; next week we'll look at the doxology. As we look at verses 26-32 this morning please keep in mind that Romans 11:11-32 is one section. So let's back up and get the context:

I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Romans 11:11 NASB

The question is not, "Did they stumble and fall?" The answer to that question would be affirmative. The question is, "Did they stumble 'that' they should fall?" The word "that" is hina, which means: "in order that." Paul is not stressing the stumbling and the fact of the falling, but he's looking at the purpose. Have they stumbled that they should fall and that be all? May it never be! The stress rests on the purpose of Israel's fall.

The purpose of Israel's stumbling was that the Gentiles would be saved, and the Jews in seeing their blessing going to the Gentiles would be drawn by jealousy or envy; a desire to possess what the Gentiles possess in being blessed by God, and therefore, would come to salvation. So the unbelief of Israel is ordained to promote the salvation of the Gentiles, which in turn promotes Jewish jealousy, which leads to their salvation.

Paul then warns his Gentile audience of pride and then launches into the analogy of the olive tree. I said that I see the "root" of the tree as Abraham and the unilateral covenant that Yahweh made with him. And I see the olive tree as the people of Yahweh, which is made up of both Jews and Gentiles.

Through the analogy of the olive tree Paul shows that the Messianic promises were for one people of Yahweh composed of two separate and distinct national origins. The olive tree represents all believers; both Jews and Gentiles are in this tree, and together they make up the one people of Yahweh. From this analogy Paul writes:

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; Romans 11:25 NASB

The mystery very simply is that Jews and Gentiles are brought together now in one body by faith in Yeshua. They share an equal standing in Christ. Nationality no longer matters, all that matters is faith in Yeshua. This is what Paul just said in Romans 11:17-24 about the olive tree. Jews and Gentiles were grafted into the SAME tree, sharing the same root.

"That a partial hardening has happened to Israel"--"partial" here is adverbial and modifies "has happened," not hardening. It should read, "A hardening has happened in part to Israel." The hardening isn't partial, it is that it has happened to part of Israel. The remnant is not hardened.

"Until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in"--What does the word "until" mean? The Greek phrase used here is achri hos. This phrase means: "even unto a point." Thayer says, "It is used of things that actually occurred and up to the beginning of which something continued." It is a point of reference and not a point of cessation.

So we could read our text, "A hardening has happened to part of Israel 'even unto the point' where the fullness of the Gentiles has come in." So it is not saying that Israel's hardening stops when the fulness of the Gentiles happens. This is very important. Paul has already said:

What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; Romans 11:7 NASB

Paul says, "Those who were chosen obtained it," the chosen obtained covenant membership. But the "rest" would be those who were not chosen from eternity past. And since they were not chosen, they never will be chosen, they were hardened. This hardening is a permanent state which will bring judgment. So those of Israel who are hardened will always be that way; the fulness of the Gentiles will not change that. "The fullness of the Gentiles"--this word "fullness" is the Greek word pleroma, which means: "completeness." I think that "fullness" here is referring to the fullness of salvation that was to come in the age to come, at the Parousia of Christ.

and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." Romans 11:26 NASB

"And so all Israel will be saved"--I said last week that I see "all Israel" here as referring to the remnant of the house of Israel and the remnant of the house of Judah and all the believing Gentiles. "All Israel" is all of true Israel, all of spiritual Israel, all of those who are united to Christ by faith. It is all of those who are in the olive tree.

Many see "all Israel" as referring only to the remnant of the house of Israel and the house of Judah. But we have to ask, Was the uniting of the two houses, Israel and Judah, a mystery in the First Testament? NO, Ezekiel 37 talked about it, Jeremiah 31 talked about it. The mystery is that the Gentiles are brought in to Israel's' blessings. So I see "all Israel" as all of the elect encompassing both Jew and Gentile.

As I have said many times, modern Zionists and Dispensationalists who wish to see some form of restored physical Israel and temple use this text to support their view. They see Romans 11 as teaching a restoration of geo-political Israel, which shows you how the same text of Scripture can be seen in totally different, even opposing, ways.

Dispensationalist Bob Deffenbough writes, "Israel's full and final recovery has surely been implied in the preceding verses, but lest there be any doubt that God is going to restore Israel to a place of prominence and blessing in fulfillment of His covenants with the patriarchs, the final recovery of Israel is clearly established in verses 25-32."

He talks about this text supporting the fact of geo-political Israel being restored to "a place of prominence and blessing." But does it? I don't see it.

The term "Israel" or "Israelite" is used 13 times in 11 verses in Romans, and it is only used in chapters 9-11. Nowhere in these verses is it even hinted at that there will be a national geo-political restoration of physical Israel. This is important, so let's look at them. It's first use is in:

who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, Romans 9:4 NASB

I would say that "Israelites" here and in 11:1 is used of the citizens of national Israel; those people who are members of the nation Israel.

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; Romans 9:6 NASB

Are either of these "Israel's" used on national or geo-political Israel? One of these "Israel's" is ethnic Israel, those descended from Jacob's sons. But who is the other Israel? It is true or spiritual Israel. So we have physical Israel and true Israel.

Paul is saying that God's promises haven't failed, because God never promised covenant blessings unconditionally to each offspring of Abraham. God never intended that all of the nation Israel would be redeemed. Within national Israel is "true Israel" or "spiritual Israel." So one could be an Israelite without truly being an Israelite. The promises were to "true Israel," not national Israel. Understanding this verse is crucial to understanding these three chapters and "all Israel."


"Sons of Israel"--is again, as in 9:6, those descended from Jacob's sons, ethnic Israel. And out of ethnic Israel a remnant will be saved. Just as in 9:6 a remnant, true Israel, will be saved out of ethnic Israel.

Notice what is promised to the remnant here. It is not national restoration, nothing about a place of prominence, it is salvation that they are promised. The Greek verb sozo--save, and the noun soteria--salvation, have a wide range of possible meanings. They can be referring to physical healing, rescue from danger, spiritual deliverance of various kinds, and to preservation from the wrath of Yahweh. We must determine its meaning from its usage in the context. But none of its meaning is to restore to national prominence. In 10:1 Paul is praying for their salvation, not their national dominance. His prayer is not political, it is soteralogical.

but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Romans 9:31 NASB

This speaks of corporate Israel's failure to attain covenant membership.

But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, "I WILL MAKE YOU JEALOUS BY THAT WHICH IS NOT A NATION, BY A NATION WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING WILL I ANGER YOU." Romans 10:19 NASB

This is not geo-political, but corporate Israel.


Again, this is corporate Israel.

I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. Romans 11:1 NASB

Paul affirms that Yahweh is saving some from corporate Israel, he is proof of that.

God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? Romans 11:2 NASB

Elijah prayed against corporate Israel.

What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; Romans 11:7 NASB

Corporate Israel has not obtained what it was seeking, only a chosen remnant obtained it, and the rest, which would be most of corporate Israel, were hardened. It doesn't say they were nationally restored to a place of prominence or even that they were saved, they were hardened. They were not chosen, and they never will be.

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; Romans 11:25 NASB

This is telling us the same thing that we saw in 11:7. Israel, other than the remnant, were hardened, not chosen from the foundation of the world.

and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." Romans 11:26 NASB

"All Israel" here is not all corporate Israel, most of them were hardened, not chosen. And the Israel talked about here is to be "saved," delivered from the wrath of Yahweh. In 11:26 Dispensationalists want to make "all Israel" be all who descended from Israel, which Paul said were not Israel. How is "all Israel will be saved" national or political? Paul was praying for their salvation. And here Israel is saved. And in 10:13 whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Nothing political here.

Dispensationalists like to focus on geo-political Israel and the land of Palistine and the rebuilding of the temple. But none of that is in this text.

What we must understand is : National, ethnic Israel was a type. Understanding this is crucial. Dispensationalism misses this very important point and thus tries to keep separate the type and anti-type. The people of Israel themselves were a type. The nation itself, as God's special people, was typical of the true people of God. It was "physical Israel," but Paul describes Christian believers as "spiritual Israel." National Israel was divinely ordained to resemble spiritual Israel. The physical seed of Abraham typified the spiritual seed of Abraham, and some of the promises made to his seed were not fulfilled at all to his physical seed, but, as Paul teaches in Romans 4, only to his spiritual children. Physical Israel as a type of spiritual Israel is constantly set forth by Paul in the Roman and Galatian letters.

Let me give you a couple interpretive principles that we need to keep in mind as we talk about types:

1. It must be recognized that types are grounded in real history; the people, places, events, etc. were deliberately chosen by God to prepare for the coming of the Christian system.

2. There is a graduation from type to antitype, of the lesser to the greater, from the material to the spiritual, the earthly to the heavenly.

So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45 NASB

Here Paul is talking about Adam, who he calls a type:

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. Romans 5:14 NASB

Then speaking of Adam and Christ Paul says:

However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 1 Corinthians 15:46 NASB

So the type is natural, earthly, material; and the anti-type is spiritual, heavenly, and the fulfillment or reality. And understanding that the nation of Israel was a type, we won't be surprised to find that Israel's sacrifices, priesthood, temple, and land also had typical significance.

Dispensationalism puts great emphasis on a rebuilt temple and priesthood because they fail to see these as types. Physical Israel was a type and so was the tabernacle:

who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, "SEE," He says, "THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN." Hebrews 8:5 NASB

The tabernacle was a type. What is the anti-type? Jesus is the anti-type:

Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." John 2:19 NASB

Jesus replaces the temple itself. Yeshua is the anti-type of the temple. The temple represented the presence of God among His children in the early days, so Christ is described in:

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NASB

The word "dwelt" here is skenoo, which means: "a tent." Jesus came and pitched His tent or tabernacled among us. Notice what Peter says to the Jewish leaders:

let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead-- by this name this man stands here before you in good health. Acts 4:10 NASB

Now notice what Peter says of Christ:


Yeshua is the cornerstone upon which the spiritual house of God was built:

"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 NASB

If you don't build on the cornerstone, Yeshua, you don't have salvation. Who's Savior was Yeshua?

"From the offspring of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, Acts 13:23 NASB

Yeshua is Israel's Savior! So if the Church and Israel are different, who is the Church's Savior? Israel's Savior is our Savior, because we are Israel.

The land was also a type: some Christians still believe that the Jews must live in the literal land. They insist that prophecy is being fulfilled by the Jews entering the land of Palestine. This is not biblical! The physical land promise given to Abraham is already fulfilled. It was fulfilled when the children of Israel took possession of the promised land, according to Joshua:

So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand. Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass. Joshua 21:43-45 NASB

This couldn't be much clearer! The physical land promise made to Abraham was fulfilled. There is no physical land promise yet to be fulfilled. Cannan was a type, a picture of the "rest" of the New Covenant age.

Dispensationalists make the land the ultimate goal; when the heavenly country and heavenly city were the ultimate and true "land." (Hebrews 11:13-16)

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:16 NASB

This city of promise was the kingdom, the heavenly Jerusalem, fulfilled in the first century according to the prophecies of Jesus and the apostles.


Paul quotes here from Isaiah 27:9 and following, Isaiah 59:20 and following, and Jeremiah 31:29-31. Please keep in mind that all New Testament eschatology is Israel's eschatology. The Church has no last days, no eschatology. Paul was saying that Israel's salvation will be fulfilled when these prophecies are fulfilled at the Second Coming.

Isaiah 27 is part of the context known as "the little apocalypse" that runs from Isaiah 24 thru 29. This text starts like this:

Behold, the LORD lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants. Isaiah 24:1 NASB

This sounds like the destruction of planet earth, but drop down to verse 5:

The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. Isaiah 24:5 NASB

What is this "everlasting covenant" that brings such destruction if broken? Is it the Gospel of Yeshua? No, where does the Gospel state such stipulation? It doesn't! But in Deuteronomy 32 Yahweh says that because of Israel's violation of Torah, He would:

'They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation, For a fire is kindled in My anger, And burns to the lowest part of Sheol, And consumes the earth with its yield, And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains. Deuteronomy 32:21-22 NASB

That sounds like Isaiah 24:1. The Old Covenant made provisions for the destruction of the earth for violating that covenant. So Isaiah 24 is talking about a destruction of earth that comes because of Israel's sin. This is not a physical destruction of planet earth, but the destruction of Israel's world:

Desolation is left in the city And the gate is battered to ruins. For thus it will be in the midst of the earth among the peoples, As the shaking of an olive tree, As the gleanings when the grape harvest is over. Isaiah 24:12-13 NASB

This destruction of earth is speaking of Old Covenant Israel, Yahweh's olive tree. Notice that it says in "the city" and "the peoples"--this is Old Covenant Israel:

The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard And it totters like a shack, For its transgression is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again. So it will happen in that day, That the LORD will punish the host of heaven on high, And the kings of the earth on earth. They will be gathered together Like prisoners in the dungeon, And will be confined in prison; And after many days they will be punished. Isaiah 24:20-22 NASB

Remember this is speaking of the destruction of Old Covenant Israel, and it says, "It will fall, never to rise again." This is apocalyptic language for the destruction of Old Covenant Israel. Its fall, like its hardening, is permanent. Then after its destruction, it says:

Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, For the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, And His glory will be before His elders. Isaiah 24:23 NASB

So after Israel's destruction, Yahweh reigns in Zion. Now look at what happens when Yahweh reigns in Zion after Israel's destruction:

The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, And refined, aged wine. Isaiah 25:6 NASB

There is a lavish banquet for all peoples; and watch what happens:

He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 25:8 NASB

Death is swallowed up, and tears are wiped away. Does that sound familiar?

And it will be said in that day, "Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation." Isaiah 25:9 NASB

Death is removed, and Yahweh brings salvation. Our text in Romans 11:26 says, "And so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION" The Deliverer comes with salvation when Old Covenant Israel is destroyed:

Come, my people, enter into your rooms And close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while Until indignation runs its course. For behold, the LORD is about to come out from His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; And the earth will reveal her bloodshed And will no longer cover her slain. Isaiah 26:20-21 NASB

The Lord comes out of Zion to punish Old Covenant Israel for her sin, He destroys death and brings salvation. It goes on to say:

Therefore through this Jacob's iniquity will be forgiven; And this will be the full price of the pardoning of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones like pulverized chalk stones; When Asherim and incense altars will not stand. Isaiah 27:9 NASB

This is the verse Paul quotes in our text in Romans 11:26. Israel's sin is forgiven when her city is destroyed. The salvation of the remnant happens at Old Covenant Israel's destruction:

It will come about also in that day that a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the LORD in the holy mountain at Jerusalem. Isaiah 27:13 NASB

Jesus quotes this verse in Matthew 24:13 and says:

"And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Matthew 24:31 NASB

Here is the gathering of the elect remnant at the sounding of the judgment trumpet. So the context of the verse that Paul quotes is in the context of the destruction of Jerusalem and the salvation of the remnant. All Israel will be saved when Old Covenant Israel is destroyed, and this happened in A.D. 70.

In Romans 11:26 Paul is also quoting:

"A Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob," declares the LORD. Isaiah 59:20 NASB

In verse 1-8 Yahweh accuses Israel of shedding innocent blood. They were people of violence who were killing Yahweh's prophets because they didn't like their message. So in the last days of Israel Yahweh sends His Messiah for salvation and judgment. And Messiah would repay according to their deeds. To those who trusted Messiah He gave salvation, and to those who did not He brought judgment upon them for their murder of His saints. Paul combining all these texts tells us that they all have the same meaning.

and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 NASB

The word "rescues" here is the same Greek word as "deliverer" in Romans 11:26. Yeshua is the Deliverer who comes form Zion at the end of the age.


Paul quotes here from Jeremiah 31:33. This is, of course, a promise regarding the New Covenant. Israel was a body of death under the Old Covenant. The promise of a New Covenant was a promise to remove sin, but the sin was not removed until the Deliverer came from Zion. At the return of Christ sins were taken away, and they were granted entrance into the presence of Yahweh.

From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; Romans 11:28 NASB

Who are enemies for your sake? This refers to the remnant that have not yet believed the Gospel. They are the branches that can be grafted in again. From God's choice they are beloved. So they must be part of the remnant:

for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 NASB

Paul talks about this gift of salvation in Romans 6:23, "the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." All who Yahweh has called will come to His salvation. God's promises were passed on to Abraham's believing children. Many of the physical promises were types and were fulfilled by the anti-type.

All of national Israel were never called by Yahweh, it was a remnant that He called:

For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, Romans 11:30 NASB

You (Gentiles) have been shown mercy because of their (Israel's) sin. This is the same thing that Paul said in 11:11-16, Israel's transgression has brought mercy to the Gentiles:

so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. Romans 11:31 NASB

"These" is the elect remnant that have not yet come to faith in Yeshua, but they will be shown mercy. Because of the Gentiles coming to Christ, the Jews were made jealous and they also are coming to Christ.

For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all. Romans 11:32 NASB

Look at how the KJV puts this verse:

For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. Romans 11:32 KJV

Dispensationalists will use this translation to try to support their point. They say that the "them" is referring exclusively to the Jews, and that He is therefore going to have mercy on them all.

The word "them" is not in the Greek texts. The Greek word for "all" here does not carry any personal pronoun, but rather a definite article. So the emphasis upon "all Jews" as special objects of God's mercy evaporates when you understand the text itself.

"That he might have mercy upon all"--this is NOT talking about Universalism. Please, how could he be talking about everybody being saved when for three chapters he was talking about the remnant only being saved? He will show mercy to all without distinction, not all without exception: The promise is only for those who believe. For a commentary on verse 32 look at:

But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Galatians 3:22 NASB

All have been disobedient, Jew and Gentile, and Yahweh shows mercy to all who trust in His Son Yeshua. There is one family of Yahweh, made up of Jews and Gentiles, who share complete equality in the body of Christ. This is the "all Israel" that is saved.

The Word of God has not failed. Yahweh's covenant faithfulness has been unveiled in the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah. All who believe in Yeshua inherit all the promises that God made to Abraham. We all partake of the rich root of the olive tree. Believers, all believers, only believers, are the true Israel of Yahweh.

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