One of the most difficult set of verses in the Bible to understand is found in Romans 11:25-26a:
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved….(ESV).
There is a lot going on in these verses, so in this post I would like to focus on the meaning of two words, found in verse 26: “all Israel.” This is a crucial part of the Bible as this passage comes near the end of Romans 9-11, where Paul is making an extensive argument, trying to explain why so few Jews in his day were accepting Jesus as their Messiah. Paul is demonstrating that God has indeed kept his promises to Israel, and in these key verses, he is drawing his argument to a conclusion.
However, there are very different views as to who is meant by this “all Israel.” What does Paul mean by this? Let us examine the views and see if some sense can be made about this question.