“…and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’ ” Rom. 11:26-27
Here’s yet another quote from the Messianic prophet of the Old Testament, Isaiah, utilized by the Holy Spirit to instruct and encourage the Roman brethren.
This citation by the inspired apostle Paul emanates from Isaiah chapter fifty-nine, verse twenty and twenty-one: “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” declares the LORD. “And as for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from now and forever.” (NAS) This passage is one of several in the Roman letter that has been confused and misunderstood by religious folks when it’s lifted out context (both the immediate and the full letter’s context) and interpreted in light of an erroneous pretext. “Evangelicals” and main line denominations, whom are predominately pre-millennial and thus see things from an earthly and physically perspective in their view of Christ’s return, have understood this section of the letter to the Romans to mean that those who are physical descendents of Abraham, the “Jews”, will turn to Christ in the “end times.” Let’s first consider a few verses in the book of Romans. Way back in chapter two the Spirit moves Paul to decree, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” (Rom. 2:28-29 NAS). That’s our first “teaching moment.” Later on in chapter nine The Spirit affirms through Paul again “They are not all Israel who are descended from Israel..” (Rom. 9:6) Since Christ’s offering of Himself on the cross and His resurrection and ascension to the throne in heaven, God’s revelation to man has demonstrated a change from things physical to things spiritual. With the destruction of the Temple and all the associated genealogical records, no one who claims to be a Jew in the flesh today can prove that He or she is truly a Jew since they can no longer prove their genealogy from the Temple records which was required under the Jewish system. (see example provided in the book of Ezra, chapter 2:59-63) The only position that fits scripturally is that Paul was talking about the turning of the Jews yet to come before the destruction of the Temple in 70AD. Paul was exhorting the Gentile brethren (they were Paul’s ministry) to understand there were yet among those hardened, jealous Jews some who would yet come to Christ. Paul himself was the great example. After the destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70 AD there were but two groups of people in God’s eyes. The church, the people and nation of God, the true Jews (indwelt by the Spirit); and the nations (gentiles). Notice that Isaiah says the “Redeemer will come to Zion.” Indeed, Christ Jesus did come to physical Zion in Jerusalem. He was recognized as the Redeemer by some faithful among the physical remnant of Jacob, like those who asked what they must do and were told to repent (turn from transgression). What you may not have considered is that Jesus came to true heavenly Zion as well in His ascension. There through the offering of His (spiritual) blood He established the covenant that would offer redemption to all those who would “turn from transgression.” The Spirit moves Paul to speak that “The Deliverer will come from (lit. ‘out of’) Zion” Here’s a perspective that is worth considering. The Redeemer, the Deliverer, comes from Zion by means of the proclamation of the gospel through His agents, the church, who also have come to Mt. Zion in heavenly Jerusalem and to Him, Christ Jesus, according to New Testament teaching! (Heb. 12:22-24) The Holy Spirit through Paul sought to communicate that was the ultimate purpose for the Roman church. Preach (and remember) the New Covenant mediated through the Redeemer Jesus who takes away sins when someone obeys the gospel. The church’s purpose is still unchanged. Each generation gets the opportunity to perpetuate those words. Never, ever let that purpose depart from you!