The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Romans 9-11


Yes, you explained that well.



I am a bit concerned in case I have been unfair in what I have said about Jan Bonda’s book (p141-143) from my possible misunderstandings. If anyone thinks I have been, please feel free to speak up in his defence and clarify what he has said. Thank you.


Hi Paidion,
It sounds like you don’t believe the scriptures teach anything regarding a future salvation of national Israel.
I have understood Robin Parry to teach this.
On p96 of The Evangelical Universalist he says that “All Israel” (in Rom 9:26) “means the nation of Israel as a whole”.
My understanding is that Bonda and Talbott also teach this.

Parry says on p95 that Calvin and N.T. Wright believe that “all Israel” refers to “the church as the spiritual Israel of God”. Your view sounds like this one - am I correct?

Thanks for the suggestion of Philip Mauro’s book.




This is a fantastic book. Like you Paidion, I do not subscribe to Mauro’s ‘millennium’ view, but he is such a captivating author, and worthy of reading. I have several of his books. I don’t believe in the “national restoration” of Israel either; although the future gospel (IMO) will be preached primarily by Israelites when the “time of the gentiles” are fulfilled. That is how “all Israel will be saved”. The ministry of the gospel started with, and will finish with, Israelites. This will be during the Great Tribulation. Most of the churches will be closed down during this time, as per Daniel chapter 11.


That sounds interesting, John. I’ve clicked on the link but not looked at it yet. Paul does write this way in at least 1 Corinthians, presumably quoting a letter (or letters) that he’s responding to, so it would fit his M.O.

Craig, it’s been a while since I read Bonda’s book, but I think you may be right. It seems to me he did have some all-encompassing ideas about Israel beyond only their national salvation. I hate to say more without searching through it, and I’m not sure where I put it. :blush: However if I’m remembering right, he may have put forth the idea that none of natural Israel will be left out of the special election. (Again, not talking about salvation, which is to all, but the special calling of the election.)

The way I personally (fwiw) understand it is this: As demonstrated by God’s choice of Isaac/not Ishmael, Jacob/not Essau, there are certain of the descendents of Abraham who are chosen for the election (that is, those who are spiritual Israel – who are part of the ones chosen to be a blessing to the nations) and physical Israel (which is to say, Abraham’s natural descendents). Spiritual Israel may at present day include anyone, whether Jew or Gentile, who has either remained in, been grafted in, or been grafted back in after having been pruned out of the Olive Tree. There IS an elect people: the Ekklesia – and a non-elect people (or at least not part of the election Paul is writing about) who are the rest of the world.

I hope this at least presents my own pov adequately. I’m not set in stone about this. It’s just the way I understand it.

Love, Cindy


Not quite. But those who believe the promises are to national Israel see us as believing that Israel was replaced by the Church.

What we believe is that the true Israel was there since the beginning of God chose Jacob and his offspring. Yet there was also a nation of Israel. But the Israel of God was an Israel within Israel the nation. It was the remnant which truly followed God. It was not a “spiritual Israel” in the sense of not being true Israel. All though history God preserved true Israel as His covenant people. But the rebels often died.

Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? (Heb.3:17)

The rebels kept getting cut off, one way or another. But true Israel never ceased to exist. It’s not that the Church has replaced Israel. Rather, the true Israel came to be pure, that is contained none but true Israelites, both Jews and Gentiles who followed the Jewish Messiah. So that today’s “true Israel” is tantamount to the true Assembly of Jesus Christ, consisting all of those who are disciples of the Anointed One, the Messiah of Israel.

We do not see the present nation of Israel as being a prophetic fulfillment of the purposes of God. Religious non-Christian Jews see Jesus not as the Messiah, but as an imposter. There are true Israelites of course within the present nation of Israel.


Hi Paidion,
How do you understand passages like Rom 9:4,5


So Craig I missed your reply.

Actually historic Israel did receive the promises, they were in fact the only ones along with any gentiles joined to Israel who did, but through constant disobedience they weren’t living in the FULL benefits of said promises as God’s light to the world. This however is what Jesus and the firstfruit saints rectified as true Israel aka Paul’s “Israel of God”.


Yes. Thanks Davo. I think you and Stefcul are saying the same thing and I think I am agreeing with you when I said


Yes I’m thinking probably close enough. :slight_smile:


Rom 11:25-31



Thanks Paidion. This seems to agree with Davo and Stefcul and it seems the best way to understand it to me now also. Thankyou.

Next question. :slight_smile:

We agree that Paul is distinguishing between those who are truly Israel and those who are merely physical descendants of Abraham. This would seem to me to be a difference between those who are truly children of God and thus saved, and those who are not saved (at least while they remain merely physical descendants). Yet many commentaries say that Paul is not dealing with issues of salvation in these verses - I think this is to avoid Calvinistic implications. I don’t understand how people say that Paul is not dealing with issues about salvation here. Do we all agree that Paul is speaking of salvation issues in Rom 9?


I think Paul’s main theme in Rom. 9 is twofold:

  1. There is a remnant within biological Israel, who are the true Israel.
  2. There are people outside of biological Israel, that is Gentiles, who also part of the true Israel.

This theme continues throughout chapters 10 and 11.

I’m not sure what you mean by “salvation issues.” I suppose one could say that since the true Israel of which he speaks are the people of God, the saved people, that this theme addresses “salvation issues.”


I think chapters 1-8 were written so that Paul could write ch 9-11. 1-8 do not form a ‘standalone’ unit; like 1-8 are all about personal salvation, which is the “important stuff” and then 9-11 are another topic. Rather, the whole theme seems to be “the righteousness of God” and by that Paul most often means God’s faithfulness to his covenant promises.
So I think ch 9-11 are the central part of the whole letter. Two big concerns are addressed - what about unbelieving Israel, and what about God’s faithfulness? Gentile christians in Rome may have been saying that God had cast aside Israel, and therefore been unfaithful to them. Paul goes through a lot of pains, re-capping God’s work thru Israel, then to the gentiles, all leading up to the messiah, the whole point of the show.

I think Paul showed in ch 11 that He intended all along to save ethnic Jews along with the gentiles.

For an extended treatment you might really enjoy this:


I agree

I agree

I agree

Sorry if I wasn’t clear what I meant about “salvation issues”.
A few days ago Dondi wrote

I have heard others say that this passage is not speaking of personal salvation but corporate election of Israel. This seems to be how many Arminians deal with the passage.
I asked this question

Another way of asking the question is whether Isaac and Jacob and the remnant were selected to be part of the true Israel, and thus selected to be saved, and if so how does that relate to the issue of Calvinism and Universalism. I have come from a Calvinist background and am trying to sort out my thinking.

One Universalist response that I have heard is that yes, Isaac, Jacob and the remnant were chosen for salvation, but they are the first fruits with the purpose of reaching others with the gospel.

In all of this I am just thinking and questioning out loud and looking for input from others who may have thought through these issues a lot more than I have. Thanks :slight_smile:


Thanks Dave for the N.T Wright reference. I have Tom Wright’s commentary on Romans and have found it quite interesting. You have given a good summary from what I remember.

I think I agree with you. How do you understand “all Israel” in 11:26?


Just the first half of that verse has caused books to be written! Entire eschatologies proliferated!
At the least - the only part I’m sure of - the verse is part of the pointed argument that if Israel (whether by that you mean ethnic Israel or the subsection of ‘believing’ Israel) is to be saved, they will be saved like everyone else.
What shred of wisdom I have is telling me to stop there!! :smiley:


Craig, I would like to share my thoughts on the matter.

Unfortunately, some translations read, “And so all Israel will be saved” as if this were thrown in as an after-thought.
But the word “ουτος” does not mean “so”. It means “thus” or as most translations have it “in this way”:

“And in this way all Israel will be saved…”(ESV) In what way is that? When God purifies Israel (depicted by an olive tree) when He breaks off the branches that do not belong and grafts in those from the “wild olive tree” (Gentiles who are disciples of the Messiah).

Indeed, if we read the rest of the verse and the following verse we will see that Paul himself explains it:

… as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob; and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”(ESV)

That is, when the Deliverer purifies Israel by removing those who are not disciples of the Messiah whom God had sent to them, and adds even Gentiles when they become disciples, then ALL Israel, all those who are true Israelites, disciples of God’s Messiah, will be saved.