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What is the meaning of "all" in Isaiah 45:25

In the LORD all the descendants of Israel Shall be justified, and shall glory.

Is this an example of Isaiah hyperbole?

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  • Does verse 20 (and others like it, from the same chapter) not already provide an answer ?
    – Lucian
    Jun 21 '20 at 2:02
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The Puzzle implied in this question about "descendants of Israel will be justified" (Isa 45:25) is only such if one makes the assumption that "descendants of Israel" means biological descendants. This is untrue now and always was in the Biblical sense. Note the following examples of people who were NOT biological descendants but were considered and treated as part of Israel:

  • When Jacob entered Egypt, his family numbered 75 people (Acts 7:14, Ex 1:5). Some of these were not direct descendants of Abraham such as the wives of the 12 patriarchs, notably Joseph’s own wife. 215 years and four generations later at the exodus, Israel’s army had over 600,000 men, excluding women and children, (Ex 12:37, Num 1:46, etc) suggesting a total population of several million people, requiring many additions. This included a significant mixed multitude (Ex 12:38) showing that Israel obviously consisted of many non-biological Jews had joined. (Note that it is biologically impossible for Israelite numbers to have grown from 75 to several million biologically without many outside additions.)
  • Moses married a Midianite (Ex 2:16-21) also known as a Cushite. Miriam and aaron were severely reprimanded and punished for displaying racism (Num 12:1, 2)
  • Caleb, who represented and led the tribe of Judah was a Kennizite (Num 32:12).
  • Rahab was a Canaanite (Josh 2:1, 2, Matt 1:5)
  • Ruth was Moabite (Ruth 1:4 16, 17, Matt 1:5) – these last two make King David descended from foreigners (Ruth 4:13-16).
  • Uriah was a Hittite (2 Sam 11:3)
  • King David’s elite personal regiment was Gittite, Philistines (1 Chron 18:17)
  • The Rechabites were Kenites (Jer 35:1-19)
  • Many other foreigners lived in Israel (1 Chron 22:2, 17, 2 Chron 30:25)
  • In Esther’s time “many of the people of the land became Jews” (Esther 8:17, 9:27)
  • Even in NT times, many Jewish synagogues were attended by godly gentiles converted to Judaism (Acts 13:16, 26, 16:14, 17:17)
  • Many Jewish proselytes came to worship in Jerusalem (John 20:20, Acts 2:9-11)
  • Jesus quotes Isa 56:7, “My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations”, Mark 11:17.
  • Further, biological Israelites could opt out of the covenant and be cut-off (Ex 30:33, 38, 31:14, Lev 7:20, 21, 25, 27).
  • Paul makes an almost identical point, twice by saying, "all Israel will be saved" (Rom 11:26) but only after making the very strident point that "… For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are Abraham’s descendants are they all his children … So it is not the children of the flesh who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as offspring." (Rom 9:6-8)

… and so forth. Thus, it is abundantly clear that membership of Israel was always open to all and voluntary. The real "Israel" is the "Israel of God" (Gal 6:16), which the NT in other places calls the Body of Christ (Eph 4:12, Rom 7:4, 12:5, Col 2:17, 1 Cor 6:16, 10:16, 12:12, 27, etc) who are part of the "New Covenant" (Jer 31:31, Matt 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 2 Cor 3:6, Heb 8:6, 10, 13, 9:15, 10:16, 12:24, etc).

Thus, when Isa 45:25 talks about all Israel being saved or justified, it clearly discussing those who are "In the Lord" as the context makes clear (earlier part of the same verse) and the previous few verses:

Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By Myself I have sworn; truth has gone out from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow before Me, every tongue will swear allegiance. Surely they will say of Me, ‘In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength.’” All who rage against Him will come to Him and be put to shame. In the LORD all descendants of Israel will be justified and will exult. Isa 45:22-25

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    +1 TY. Also made very clear in Gal. 3:26-29 that all who r in Christ r counted for the seed of Abraham, ergo all who r in Christ r THE Israel of God. The true definition of those whom God considered His people was always those who did the will of the Father just as Abraham did. The faithful.
    – Gina
    Jun 20 '20 at 11:10
  • Thanks, @Gina - completely agree.
    – Dottard
    Jun 20 '20 at 11:11
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There's a couple God called and justified, Abram (and Sarai) who became Abraham and Sara, to reproduce a nation for God to have a family and the best setting (Israel) to join the human race. Why? So that God Himself then could have a kingdom and family, forever, composed of all who take Him in.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, yet those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name. John 1.

From John and other history we sadly know that not all Israel (the seed of Abraham's grandson Jacob--Isaiah 45:4) accepted the Christ. But God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11; Isaiah 45:23.

The answer to "What is the meaning of 'all' in [In the LORD all the descendants of Israel Shall be justified...] Isaiah 45:25?"--"those who are in Jehovah"--isn't bad. In Jehovah all those who are in Jehovah shall be justified and shall glory. For the answer that in Jehovah, all the children of promise shall be justified, one may still ask why the word "all"?

The word "all" appears several times in Isaiah 45. That'd be a "micro"-view. On first glance, the chapter prophesies Cyrus' future restoration of Israel the nation from their captivity to Babylon. By virtue of being anointed, positively, the Gentile king Cyrus is a type of Christ, which means "anointed." God's creation is referenced in the chapter. Prayer is referenced. Paul quotes a verse. The theme centrally seems to be that Israel and all the world should believe in and seek God. What I receive from reading this portion to its climax 45:25, as well as reading the surrounding chapters, is that "all the seed of Israel" here refers to the nation of Israel restored to their homeland during the Persian Empire, for the sake of all Israelites (45:11, 13, 17); and ultimately refers to all surviving biological Israel who accept Jesus when they see Him physically return to earth (Romans 11:23-32; Isaiah 59:19-20; Zechariah 12--14; Revelation 1:7; 7:1-8; 16:16).

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The apostle Paul wrote, “Not all those who are of Israel are Israel.”1 Meaning, not all those who are physically descended from the patriarch Israel, those who are “Israel according to the flesh,”2 are “the Israel of God,”3 those who are Israel according to the spirit.4 Indeed, he also wrote, “Although the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.”5 Evidently, not all those who are physically descended from Israel will be saved.

Footnotes

        1 Rom. 9:6: οὐ...πάντες οἱ ἐξ Ἰσραήλ οὗτοι Ἰσραήλ
        2 1 Cor. 10:18
        3 Gal. 6:16
        4 If, in 1 Cor. 10:18, the apostle Paul deemed it insufficient to write “Israel” alone, but modified it by “according to the flesh,” then this logically implies the existence of an antithetical Israel according to the spirit. Compare Meyer, p. 282: “Israel according to a purely human essence means the born Israelites, the Jews, in dinstinction from ἰσρ. κατὰ πνεῦμα [Israel according to the spirit] (Rom. 2:28 f.; Gal. 4:29 cf. Gal. 6:16), which the Christians are, in virtue of their fellowship of life with Christ, the promised σπέρμα [seed] of Abraham.” cf. Rom. 1:3–4.
        5 Rom. 9:27 cf. Isa. 10:22

The Israel of God is the body of Christ, the Church, for just as the Lord Jesus Christ is “David,”6 he too is “Israel.”7 Accordingly, all those who are “in him” (i.e., Christians), body parts of his body,8 are also Israel (the Israel of God).

Footnotes

        6 Eze. 34:23; Jer. 30:9
        7 Isa. 49:3; Matt. 2:15 cf. Hos. 11:1
        8 Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12, 12:20, 12:27

Hence, when Isaiah prophesies that “all the seed of Israel shall be justified and shall glory,”9 and yet, only “a remnant shall be saved,” the only possible way to reconcile the supposed contradiction is to recognize that “all the seed” in the prophesy “all the seed of Israel shall be justified” refers to “the children of promise [who] are counted for the seed.”10

Footnotes

        9 Isa. 45:25
        10 Rom. 9:8


References

Meyer, Heinrich August Wilhelm. Kritisch exegetischer Kommentar über das Neue Testament, Fünfte Abtheilung, Kritisch exegetisches Handbuch über den Ersten Brief an die Korinther. 5th ed. Vol. 5. Göttingen: Vandenboeck and Ruprecht, 1870.

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