House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to
When Shall These Things Be?
The Eschatological Madness of Mathison or How Can These Things Be?
Part 11 – All Israel Will be Saved Romans 11:26
Michael J. Sullivan
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All Israel will be Saved
Mathison argues: In Romans 11:25–26, Paul seems to be saying that ethnic
Israel as a people will be saved. This has not happened yet (199–200).
There is a great debate between Amillennialists and Postmillennialists
on the salvation of “all Israel” in Romans 11:25–26, as can be
seen in the opposing views of Gentry and Strimple. Postmillennialists
such as Gentry and Mathison argue that “all Israel” being saved
refers to a mass conversion of ethnic Jews before Christ comes in our
future. Amillennialists understand “all Israel” being saved to refer to
the salvation of the church as the new Israel of God.
As for the view that “all Israel” refers to ethnic Jews in our future,
we can immediately know that this view is incorrect. With the
passing of the old covenant in AD 70, there is no covenantal Israel
other than the united Jew-Gentile church. The things of the old order
passed away. So the covenant promises in Romans 11 cannot
refer to the modern nation of Israel or to the modern Jewish race
or community. The only “Israel” in the New Testament that was to
be cleansed from sin is the Jew-Gentile church, the body of Israel’s
Messiah. This is the “Israel” (“all” of it) that entered into the Holiest
of Holies in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8). Let us briefly summarize Paul’s argu-
ment in Romans 11.
Even though God’s old covenant people in their last generation
were being hardened and excluded from the coming inheritance, that
did not mean that God had rejected old covenant Israel (Rom. 11:1–
2). Although it may have looked like Israel was being utterly cut off in
her last generation, the truth was that old covenant Israel was being
saved in her last days. God was actually saving “all Israel”—fulfilling His
promises to “the fathers”—partly by means of the hardening of its last
generation. Here’s how:
1. By means of old covenant Israel’s transgression/failure and rejection
in her last days, riches and reconciliation (through the
gospel) were coming to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:18).
As Paul said, “They are enemies for your sakes.” (Rom. 11:28)
2. The salvation of the Gentiles was making last days Israel “jealous,”
so that a remnant was becoming zealous for righteousness
and being saved. (Rom. 11:2–10,11,13,14)
3. The hardening, or reprobation, of old covenant Israel in her
last generation was to continue until the fullness of the Gentiles
came in, i.e., came into Israel. (Rom. 11:25)
4. In this manner, or by this process, all of the saints of historic,
old covenant Israel were going to be saved (resurrected) along
with the last days remnant, and with the believing Gentiles
who had been grafted into historic Israel. The consummation
of this process took place in the Parousia of Christ in AD 70,
according to the promises made to the fathers. (Rom. 11:26)
That is when Israel died, and was raised up a new, transformed Israel.
That is when all of the elect (the Old Testament saints, the last days
Jewish remnant, and the believing Gentiles) were consummately united
in Christ and became the fulfilled “Israel of God.” It was thus that all
Israel was saved.
Mathison neglects to interact with other partial preterists such as
DeMar and Jordan who teach that “all Israel” was saved by AD 70 and
that covenantally, there no longer remain “ethnic” Jews after AD 70.
Why was not the view of DeMar and Jordan one of the many “possible
interpretations” within Mathison’s eschatology of uncertainty?
It has now been 4 years since I have responded to Keith A. Mathison’s chapter “The Eschatological Time Texts in the NT” in our book House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be? For me Mathison’s excuse for not responding (“I have been too busy”) has expired.
Partial Preterist Mr. Gary North, has said that if one side of the debate ceases to respond to the others arguments then the one who has responded last (thus silencing the other) in essence has won the debate (my paraphrase). He has also written of dispensational scholars and their inability to keep up with postmillennial works and critiques, “Like a former athlete who dies of a heart attack at age 52 from obesity and lack of exercise, so did dispensational theology depart from this earthly veil of tears. Dispensational theologians got out of shape, and were totally unprepared for the killer marathon of 1988.” (Greg L. Bahnsen, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., HOUSE DIVIDED THE BREAK-UPOF DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), Publishers Foreword, xx.). In the same book DeMar claims that “Any theological position divided against itself is laid waste” and “shall not stand” and is guilty of “Theological Schizophrenia” (Ibid. 349-350). Apparently Mr. Mathison was not prepared for the killer marathon of 2009 and since that time has been too busy engorging himself from the profits P&R provided him and is simply too scared and out of shape to open our book let alone read and respond to my critique and response to him? And we document the “House Divided” “Theological Schizophrenia” and contradictory approach Reformed eschatology has sought to use against us let alone the contradictions (and yet at the same time progressive views moving towards Full Preterism) that are within Mathison’s writings alone.
Therefore, I have decided to post my chapter response to his online (in small parts) in hopes that both the Futurist and the Full Preterist communities will contact him for an official response. If no response continues to come, then I will allow him to be judged by the same standard that his own postmillennial partial preterist colleagues have set up, and accept that he is unable to respond and has lost our debate.
 Kenneth Gentry, Robert Strimple, Ed. Craig Blaising, Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999), 112–118, 133–142.
 Gary DeMar, All Israel will be saved: Notes on Romans 11:26, American Vision http://americanvision.org/1234/all-israel-will-be-saved-notes-on-romans/#.UG3auVGJr3A James B. Jordan, The Future of Israel Re-examined, July 1991. BIBLICAL Horizons, No. 27 July, 1991