In many of my previous articles I’ve made it clear that I firmly believe St. Paul’s statement in Romans 11 that, after the fullness of the Gentile nations have converted, “all Israel shall be saved,” applies to the physical descendants of Abraham, i.e. the Jewish people. I’ve also made it clear that I don’t think this belief is accidental to the biblical narrative, but rather has been woven in since the very beginning. As Seraphim Hamilton demonstrates, the story of Jesus is ultimately the story of Patriarch Joseph. Like Joseph, Jesus’ brothers (the Jews, who were called that because they lived in Judea, which is a take on the name of Joseph’s brother who sold him into slavery, Judah) rejected Him and left Him for dead, however in and through that rejection, Jesus has been exalted to reign over the Gentile nations, just as Joseph was. Yet, the story doesn’t end there. After conquering the nations with bread, Joseph was reconciled to his brothers, and it was after that point that the majority of his reign took place! Likewise I believe that, after conquering the Gentile nations, Jesus will be reconciled to His brothers the Jews, after which point the majority of His reign on earth will take place.

With that said, the purpose of this article is to show that I’m not just making this interpretation up, rather the future salvation of the Jews has always been a fundamental tenet of the Christian faith. While the Church firmly believes herself to be the “replacement” of Israel in a sense (as the twelve tribes have been reconstituted around the twelve apostles and their successors the bishops), Israel according to the flesh is still intimately bound up with salvation history. The patristic quotes below that demonstrate this point are all taken from Michael J. Vlach’s “Rejection Then Hope: The Church’s Doctrine of Israel in the Patristic Era.”

St. Justin Martyr:

And what the people of the Jews shall say and do, when they see Him coming in glory, has been thus predicted by Zechariah the prophet: “I will command the four winds to gather the scattered children; I will command the north wind to bring them, and the south wind, that it keep not back. And then in Jerusalem there shall be great lamentation, not the lamentation of mouths or of lips, but the lamentation of the heart; and they shall rend not their garments, but their hearts. Tribe by tribe they shall mourn, and then they shall look on Him whom they have pierced; and they shall say, Why, O Lord, hast Thou made us to err from Thy way? The glory which our fathers blessed, has for us been turned into shame. (First Apology)

St. John Chrysostom:

To show therefore that [Elijah] the Tishbite comes before that other [second] advent . . . He said this. . . . And what is this reason? That when He is come, He may persuade the Jews to believe in Christ, and that they may not all utterly perish at His coming. Wherefore He too, guiding them on to that remembrance, saith, “And he shall restore all things;” that is, shall correct the unbelief of the Jews that are then in being. (Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew)

“For this is my covenant with them, when I will take away their sins” [Romans 11:27], If then this hath been promised, but has never yet happened in their [the Jews’] case, nor have they ever enjoyed the remission of sins by baptism, certainly it will come to pass. (Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans)

St. Augustine:

It is a familiar theme in the conversation and heart of the faithful, that in the last days before the judgment the Jews shall believe in the true Christ, that is, our Christ, by means of this great and admirable prophet Elias who shall expound the law to them… When, therefore, he is come, he shall give a spiritual explanation of the law which the Jews at present understand carnally, and shall thus “turn the heart of the father to the son,” that is, the heart of the fathers to the children… For in that day the Jews—those of them, at least, who shall receive the spirit of grace and mercy—when they see Him coming in His majesty, and recognize that it is He whom they, in the person of their parents, insulted when He came before in His humiliation, shall repent of insulting Him in His passion. (City of God)

Forasmuch as in that humble coming [first advent] ‘blindness hath happened in part unto Israel, that the fullness of the Gentiles might enter in’ [Rom. 11:25], in that other should happen what follows, ‘and so all Israel should be saved’ [Rom. 11:26]… [F]or the Jews, as it is here, ‘Who shall give salvation to Israel out of Sion?’ ‘When the Lord shall turn away the captivity of His people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.’ (Commentary on the Psalms)

What! Have we supplanted the Jews? No, but we are said to be their supplanters, for that for our sakes they were supplanted. If they had not been blinded, Christ would not have been crucified; His precious Blood would not be shed; if that Blood had not been shed, the world would not have been redeemed. Because then their blindness hath profited us, therefore hath the elder brother been supplanted by the younger, and the younger is called the Supplanter. But how long shall this be? The time will come, the end of the world will come, and all Israel shall believe; not they who now are, but their children who shall then be. (Sermons on New-Testament Lessons)

St. Prosper of Aquitaine:

But He has shown His mercy for all men in a far more extraordinary manner when the Son of God became the Son of man… Since then the glory of the race of Israel shines not in one people only… The promised heritage falls no longer to the sons of the flesh, but to the sons of the promise. The great parsimony in bestowing grace which in the past ages befell all other nations, is now the lot of the Jewish people. Yet, when the fulness of the Gentiles will have come in, then a flood of the same waters of grace is promised for their dry hearts… When the Apostle Paul stopped in his knowledge and discussion of this problem and gave way to utter astonishment, who would be so presumptuous as to believe that he could try and explain it rather than admire it in silence? (The Call of All Nations)

St. Ambrose of Milan:

[T]his murmuring refers to the type of the Synagogue, which is ignorant of the mystery of… the Church gathered out of the nations, and murmurs with daily reproaches, and envies that people through whose faith itself also shall be delivered from the leprosy of its unbelief, according to what we read that: “blindness in part has happened unto Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved.” (Letters 63 and 57)

Blessed Theodoret of Cyrus:

And he [Paul] urges them not to despair of the salvation of the other Jews; for when the Gentiles have received the message, even they, the Jews, will believe, when the excellent Elijah comes, bringing to them the doctrine of faith. For even the Lord said this in the sacred gospels: ‘Elijah is coming, and he will restore all things. (Commentaries on the Epistles of Saint Paul)

St. Cyril of Alexandria:

At the end of time our Lord Jesus Christ will be reconciled with Israel, his ancient persecutor, just as Jacob kissed Esau after his return from Haran. No one who listens to the words of holy Scripture can actually doubt that with the passing of time Israel also will have to be received again into the love of Christ through faith… While Christ, the Savior of us all, gathers believers from the nations, Israel is deserted, since it has no law to elect its leaders, and it cannot offer to the divine altar the sacrifices prescribed by the laws. It therefore awaits Christ’s return from his action of converting the nations, so that he may receive it as well and unite it with the law of his love to the others. See how Jacob, who rejoiced in the generation of his children and in his numerous herds of sheep, came back from Haran and received again Esau into his friendship. In time Israel itself will be converted after the calling of the nations and will admire these riches in Christ. (Commentary on Genesis)

“Those in the south” signifies the area where the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem led by Nebuchadnezzar. The entire province of Judea was laid waste, sinking back into miser so that it was reduced to absolute silence and appeared entirely deserted. However, when God will enter into the misery of the captives, he will return them to the land of their ancestors after his wrath has subsided. In their return from Babylon the entire multitude of Israel will possess the region of the nations that is equal to Edom. This is a sign of blessing from God… At this place in the text, the migration of Israel back to the land is mentioned, more specifically from those Jews taken away into Babylon. . . . Perhaps here he is saying that everything that is to the south and to the north and to the east and to the west will be fully occupied by Israel as they will easily possess the whole region around them. And people will ascend, gathered on top of Zion, which sums up the goal of the prophecy. For the inhabitants of Zion, he says, are saved by God, who will burst through their chains of servitude. (Commentary on Obadiah)

Ambrosiaster:

However seriously the Jews may have sinned by rejecting the gift of God… nevertheless, because they are the children of good people, whose privileges and many benefits from God they have received, they will be received with joy when they return to the faith, because God’s love for them is stirred up by the memory of their ancestors. (Commentary on Paul’s Epistles)

St. Jerome:

For those who believe, salvation is in Mount Zion and Jerusalem. In the latter days, the Lord will gather the called remnant from the people of Judah, who with the apostles and through the apostles believed. He will return the captives of Judah to Jerusalem. (Commentary on the Prophet Joel)