Home > amillennialism, Bible Prophecy, eschatology, Fred Zaspel, Israel, OurBlessedHope, quotes > Fred Zaspel: The Earthly Kingdom and the Land Promise (Romans 11)

Fred Zaspel: The Earthly Kingdom and the Land Promise (Romans 11)

From “Jews, Gentiles, and the Goal of Redemptive History.

It should be noted further that the ground on which Paul bases his hope of the future conversion of “all Israel” is nothing other than Israel’s ancient covenants. In 11:29 Paul says this directly, and in 11:26-27 he cites by way of support and explanation a composite of passages from the Old Testament (Psa.14:7; Gen.17:4; Isa.59:20-21; 27:9; Jer.31:33). The language is reminiscent of more passages, particularly from the prophets, in which the Davidic, Abrahamic, and new covenants are held in view for the people. Significantly, these same passages speak to a time when Israel, in her own land, will again enjoy her prominence among the nations.  Now clearly, no amillennialist will want to admit this; but then how are we to explain Paul’s appeal to these very passages? Are we to understand Paul as limiting their fulfillment to a soteric sense only? And if so, why? The Prophets certainly did not understand their word to be so restricted; they plainly held out a hope of salvation and restoration to the land and Israelite prominence among the nations. The hope of forgiveness which they offered the people was inseparably linked to and formed the basis of these other hopes, hence their equally vigorous heralding of them all. Nor does Paul indicate such a stripping away of the Prophets’ message. Indeed, at the very outset of his discussion he affirms that these covenants do indeed still belong to Israel (9:3-4). And at the conclusion he reaffirms the same (v.29). The question then is this: what exegetical warrant is there for allowing only a part of the covenants’ promises (i.e., the forgiveness of sins) and not the whole of them? In fact, if we would consider these covenants as still in force, the result would sound much like 11:15. And again, this fits very well with the premillennial scheme, but it is at this point the amillennialst must do some wiggling.

Nor is this an isolated argument. The prophets plainly and repeatedly spoke of the inviolability and unending certainty of Israel’s covenants. Paul alludes to and cites a sampling of these, noteworthy of which is his allusion in 11:8 to Deu.29:4. There Moses is promising the eventual realization of the land promise to Israel. He even explains that while this is conditioned on Israel’s faith, Israel will nonetheless enjoy the promise because God in grace will bring them back from their stubborn disobedience.

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