All Israel Shall be Saved

All Israel Shall be Saved
By
James Scott Trimm

Paul writes:

16 And if the first is Set-Apart, the lump of dough is also: and if the root is Set-Apart, the branches [are] also.
17 And if some branches were broken off, and you who are a wild olive [tree], were grafted into their place and became partakers of the root and of the oil of the olive [tree],
18 Do not boast against the [natural] branches. But if you boast, you are not bearing the root, but the root bears you!
19 And perhaps you should say of the branches that were broken off, I will be grafted in their place.
20 These [matters] are beautiful. They were broken off because they did not have trust, but you stand, by trust. Do not be exalted in your mind, but fear:
21 For if Eloah did not spare the natural branches, perhaps He will also not spare you.
22 See then the gentleness and the harshness of Eloah: upon those who fell, harshness, but upon you, gentleness, if, you remain in the gentleness. And if not, you will also be broken off.
23 And those, if they do not remain in their lack of trust, also will be grafted in: for Eloah is able to graft them in again.
24 For if you, who are from the olive [tree] that was wild by your nature, were cut off and were grafted–contrary to your nature–into the good olive [tree], how much more then, those, if they be grafted in their natural olive [tree]?
25 For I want you to know this mystery, my brothers, so that you will not be wise in the thought of your nefesh: that blindness of the heart, in part, has happened to Yisra’el until the fullness of the Goyim should come,
26 And then all Yisra’el will have Life. Thus it is written, From Tziyon a Deliverer will come, and turn iniquity from Ya’akov.
27 And then they will have the covenant that is from Me, when I forgive them their sins. (Isaiah 59:20-21; 27:9)
(Romans 11:16-27)

Notice Paul’s comment “And then all Yisra’el will have Life” (9:26) or as we read in the Greek “And all Israel shall be saved”.  This comment has become the subject of much debate, but I find it especially interesting.  This statement is actually a reference to the Mishnah statement:

All Israelites have a share in the world to come…
And these are the ones who have no part in the World to Come:
(m.Sanhedrin 10:1)

While the Mishna was not codified until around 250 CE, it was based on much older oral material.  In another article I have written about how Paul makes use of the Gemara to this very precept of Mishna when he defended himself before the Sanhedrin in Acts 23:6 (See “Paul Argues Talmud Before the Sanhedrin” http://nazarenespace.com/page/paul-argues-talmud-before-the ).

The point of this portion of the Mishnah is to determine who is to be regarded as part of the people of Israel and who is not.  For example:

All Israelites have a share in the world to come…
And these are the ones who have no part in the World to Come:
He who says, the resurrection of the dead is a teaching which is not
derived from the Torah…
(m.San. 10:1)

The point here is that Sadducees are not to be regarded as truly part of the people of Israel.

After dealing with several other questions of “who has a portion in the world to come” and is therefore part of the people of Israel (since “all Israel had a part in the world to come”) and who does not have a portion in the world to come (and therefore is not part of the people of Israel).  The Mishnah says:

The ten tribes are not destined to return,
since it is said, “And he cast them into another land,
as on this day” (Deut. 29:28).  
Just as the day passes and does not return,
so they have gone their way and will not return,”
the words of Rabbi Akiva.
Rabbi Eliezer says,
“Just as this day is dark and then grows light,
so the ten tribes for whom it is now dark–
thus in the future it is destined to grow light for them.”
(m.San. 10:3)

Here the Mishnah is recording a debate between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer os to whether the Ten Lost Tribes would return, and therefore have a part in the World to Come or not. The Gemara to this section of Mishnah resolves the conflict:

Our Rabbis taught: The ten tribes have no portion in the world to come, as it says, And the Lord rooted them out of
their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation: And the Lord rooted them out of their land, refers to this
world; and cast them into another land — to the world to come: this is R. Akiba’s view. R. Simeon b. Judah, of the Kefar of Acco, said on R. Simeon’s authority: If their deeds are as this day’s, they will not return; otherwise they shall.
Rabbi said: They will enter the future world, as it is said, [And it shall come to pass] in that day, that the great
trumpet  shall be blown, [and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of  Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount of Jerusalem]. (Is. 27:13)
(b.San. 110b)

It must be understood here that the “World to Come” here refers to the Messianic Kingdom.  In the Gemara we see that Rabbi Y’hudah, the Nasi of the Sanhedrin ruled in favor of Rabbi Eliezer’s view, that the Ten Tribes would in fact return and have a part in the World to Come. (Whenever the Talmud refers to “Rabbi” without a name, it is a reference to Rabbi Y’hudah the Nasi)

I another ruling Rabbi Y’hudah (Rabbi Judah) also indicated that the Lost Ten Tribes had lost their identity and become mingled among the nations, but would have their identity revealed in the future:

Rab Judah said in the name of R. Assi: If at the present time a heathen betroths [a daughter in Israel], note must be
taken of such betrothal since it may be that he is of the ten tribes.
(b.Yev. 16b)

Clearly the Talmud here indicates that the Lost Tribes scattered among the nations, though they have lost their identity and are thought of as “heathen”, will later be revealed and therefore to be counted as part of the People of Israel.

It actually makes perfect sense for Paul to cite this Mishnah in Romans 1:26 as he wraps up his parable of the two olive trees.  In a recent article I showed that this alagory refers to the grafting in of persons from the Lost Ten Tribes  into Judah. (See “The Call of Yizre’el and the Olive Tree” http://nazarenespace.com/profiles/blogs/the-call-of-yizre-el-and-th… )

In Romans 11, Paul is intentionally giving his halachic view concluding that the Lost Tribes are part of the people of Israel (being grafted back into the cultivated tree) and “all Israel shall have life (be saved)” or “all Israel shall have a part in the World to Come”.  (Although Paul came before Eliezer and Akiva, the issue was clearly existed earlier, and these Rabbis had championed the opposing views).

 

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