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They will go to hell.
12  … but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 8:12  NASBu

 

They will be saved.
26  and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,
‘The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.'

Romans 11:26  NASBu

 

SAB Contradiction 254

 

Serious questions
Does the New Testament teach that Jews are lost? All of them? Or does the New Testament teach that they will all be saved? Looking at the two texts above the conclusion seems to be that this is contradictory. Isn’t it?
Apart from the formulated contradiction, there is another point that attracts the attention: Isn’t Jesus too harsh to his own people in Matthew 8:12?

Indeed the critic confronts the Christian’s mind with serious questions. The best way is to look at each of the quoted texts separately and then to draw conclusions.

 

Matthew 8:11-12
11  I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;
12  but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The Roman centurion who addressed Jesus, had said to Jesus that he didn’t need to come into his house to heal his servant, as Jesus could give the healing command on the place where he was and that would be enough for his servant to become healthy again. Jesus had been listening to the centurion with increasing astonishment and before he gave the healing command he made the remark that many non-Jews would come from far to enter into the Kingdom and on the other hand sons of the patriarchs (Israelites) would be cast out of the Kingdom. The question is: did Jesus say – as the quotation suggests – that all the sons of the Kingdom, all the Jews, would be cast out? What about his twelve disciples? What about the wider circle of his followers who were nearly all Jews and what about the crowds who liked to hear him? All lost? Of course not.

 

Two views
Indeed there is difference of opinion concerning Matthew 8:12; some have explained here the rejection of the Jewish people (mediaeval view), while others maintain that only a small part of them are lost according to this passage. Oddly enough, those who hold the last view never gave an explanation for the expression “but the sons of the Kingdom will be cast out”, which seems to point to an entirety of the Jewish people. So we have to ask: Is this translation – of old – correct?  I reject it and propose a different one.

 

Better translation
“ 12 others, sons of the kingdom, will be cast out into the outer darkness; …”
The clause of verse 12 starts with the words ‘hoi de’ (Greek). The particle ‘de’ has many translation options, and it is possible to translate with the pretty loose expression ‘others’, or ‘some’ if there are different groups at stake (Matthew 8:11-12, there is mentioning of non-Jews entering into the kingdom and Jews leaving the kingdom).[1]

Example: “Then they [soldiers] spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others [hoi de] slapped Him, and said, “Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?” (Matthew 26:67-68 NASBu)  Many translations have here ‘some’ instead of ‘others’.
More examples of this construction: Matthew 28:17, Mark 10:32

Conclusion 1
The examples make clear that it is not possible to defend the translation and explanation that all the Jews are lost according to Matthew 8:12.

 

Romans 11:26 
26  and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,
‘The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.’

In Romans 11:26 Paul is speaking about ‘all Israel’ in a quite mysterious way. All the Jews form a unity, but are they also a unity spiritually? No, and it is invisible from the outside. Already in Jesus’ time there were many Jews who believed in Jesus as the Messiah, and remained hidden (John 12:42, 19:38), not willing or daring to confess their faith in public. Even leaders were among them.

Earlier Paul wrote in the Letter to the Romans:
“For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;” (9:6)
“… it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.” (9:8)
That means: Paul speaks in 11:26 of a spiritual Israel without trying to define the borders of it and calls that ‘all Israel’. They are all known by the Lord and that’s enough.

Conclusion 2
The critic makes a serious mistake suggesting that all the Jews will be saved, as being Paul’s view.

 

Final Conclusion
The suggested meanings by the critic of the two quoted texts (all go to hell / all will be saved) are two extremes: merciless and superficial, and in no way the biblical teaching. No Bible Contradiction.

 

Only your Word, oh Lord, is holy and perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] ‘Hoi de’ looks very much like a development out of ‘hoi mèn … hoi de’ (some … others) with the omission of  ‘hoi mèn’. Compare: Acts 17:32, the full expression.