In the book of Romans, Paul clarifies several core concepts of the Christian faith. And in chapters 9, 10 and 11, Paul discusses Israel’s past promises of God, their current rejection of the gospel, and their future salvation. In chapter 11, verses 25, 26 and 27, God records this through His apostle:
While there are many, many different topics of discussion regarding these chapters and even these verses, and a plethora of opinions and viewpoints related to this part of the Bible, I want to focus on one point. And that is the meaning behind all Israel will be saved.
Here Paul is quoting Isaiah 59:20-21 which says:
I had wondered about all of Israel being saved for some time. I’d considered these three chapters and these verses, read commentaries and heard preaching related to it. And of course I’d prayed about understanding it. Finally I read J. Vernon McGee’s commentary related to all of Israel being saved, and I believe my prayers were answered. It follows:
When Paul says “all Israel shall be saved,” he does not mean every individual Israelite will be saved. It is the nation he has before us in this chapter. In every age, only a remnant is saved. The quotation Paul uses is from Isaiah 59:20 in the Old Testament: “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.” The message to the individual is that he or she will have to “turn from transgression” to the Lord. There will be a remnant that will turn to Him. All of them will be saved. He speaks of the saved remnant as the nation Israel.
There is always only a remnant that is saved. There was a remnant in Elijah’s day; there was a remnant in David’s day; there was a remnant in Paul’s day; there is a remnant in our day; and there will be a remnant during the Great Tribulation period.J. Vernon McGee
This makes the most sense to me on the meaning of all Israel will be saved. The promises spoken through Isaiah the prophet stand on either side of the cross. These promises to Israel in the Old Testament are not negated as God speaks to individual salvation through Christ in the New Testament; the promises of old are retained. Elsewhere in the Bible, Paul says clearly that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile under the new covenant in Christ (see Romans 10:12, Galatians 3:28 and Colossians 3:11). And of course, Jesus came to save everyone that would come to Him in faith and love.
All of Israel will be saved as God promised thousands of years ago; it is the saved remnant that is the nation of individuals who trust in Him and turn from their transgressions. And today, this trusting in Him occurs through God’s Son, Jesus, as individuals turn from their transgressions.