Compilation on the Future, Special Conversion of the Jewish People to Christ
by Michael Forrest
Below is a compilation of statements made by various Fathers, Saints, Popes, scholars and respected Catholic commentators that support belief in the expectation of a future, special conversion of the Jewish people to Christ.
[Note: this list is not intended to be exhaustive.]
“For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery (lest you should be wise in your own conceits) that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in, and thus all Israel will be saved, as it is written….” ~ St. Paul
A) Against Celsus: book 6, cap. 80
To the Jews, however, especially those of ancient times, who employ none of these practices, he did not merely refuse the name of inspired, but declared that they would immediately perish. And this prediction he uttered respecting them, as being doubtless endued with prophetic power, not observing that the whole history of the Jews, and their ancient and venerable polity, were administered by God; and that it is by their fall that salvation has come to the Gentiles, and that “their fall is the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles,” until the fulness of the Gentiles come, that after that the whole of Israel, whom Celsus does not know, may be saved.
B) The Song of Songs Commentary and Homilies, Book III, Vol 26, pg 252:
For the Church was called between the two callings of Israel; that is to say, first Israel was called, and afterwards when Israel had stumbled and fallen, the Church of the Gentiles was called. But when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, then will all Israel, having been called again, be saved.
A) On Modesty, chapter 7:
Chapter VIII.—Of the Prodigal Son.
For they set down, as represented in the two sons, two peoples—the elder the Jewish, the younger the Christian: for they cannot in the sequel arrange for the Christian sinner, in the person of the younger son, to obtain pardon, unless in the person of the elder they first portray the Jewish…And accordingly the Jew at the present day, no less than the younger son, having squandered God’s substance, is a beggar in alien territory, serving even until now its princes, that is, the princes of this world. Seek, therefore, the Christians some other as their brother; for the Jew the parable does not admit. Much more aptly would they have matched the Christian with the elder, and the Jew with the younger son, “according to the analogy of faith,” if the order of each people as intimated from Rebecca’s womb permitted the inversion: only that (in that case) the concluding paragraph would oppose them; for it will be fitting for the Christian to rejoice, and not to grieve, at the restoration of Israel, if it be true, (as it is), that the whole of our hope is intimately united with the remaining expectation of Israel (Rom 11:25).
B) Contra Marcion, Ch. 9:
Christ is the proper and legitimate high priest of God. He is the Pontiff of the priesthood of the uncircumcision, constituted such, even then, for the Gentiles, by whom He was to be more fully received, although at His last coming He will favour with His acceptance and blessing the circumcision also, even the race of Abraham, which by and by is to acknowledge Him.”
St. Cyril of Alexandria:
A) Commentary on Genesis, Bk. 5
"Towards the end of time, Our Lord Jesus Christ will effect the reconciliation of His former persecutor Israel with Himself. Everybody who knows Holy Scripture is aware that, in the course of time, this people will return to the love of Christ by the submission of faith . . . Yes, one day, after the conversion of the Gentiles, Israel will be converted, and the Jews will be astonished at the treasure they will find in Christ."
(Note: Here St. Cyril states that this belief is common knowledge for Catholics, not merely his own personal view.)
B) Commentary on Romans (Bray, Romans 298-299)
“Although it was rejected, Israel will also be saved eventually, a hope which Paul confirms (Romans 11:26) by quoting this text of Scipture (Is. 59:21). For indeed, Israel will be saved in its own time and will be called at the end, after the calling of the Gentiles.”
St. John Chrysostom:
A) Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (NPNF, vol 11, p 493)
Ver.25. “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise your own conceits.”
Meaning by mystery here, that which is unknown and unutterable, and hath much of wonder and much of what one should not expect about it. As in another passage too he says, “Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” (1 Cor. xv. 51.) What then is the mystery?
“That blindness in part hath happened unto Israel.” Here again he levels a blow at the Jew, while seeming to take down the Gentile. But his meaning is nearly this, and he had said it before, that the unbelief is not universal, but only “in part.” As when he says, “But if any hath caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part” (2 Cor. ii. 5): And, so here too he says what he had said above, “God hath not cast off His people whom He foreknew” (Rom. xi. 2): and again, “What then? Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid” (ib. 11): This then he says here also; that it is not the whole people that is pulled up, but many have already believed, and more are likely to believe. Then as he had promised a great thing, he adduces the prophet in evidence, speaking as follows. Now it is not for the fact of a blindness having happened that he quotes the passage (for every one could see that), but that they shall believe and be saved, he brings Isaiah to witness, who crieth aloud and saith,
Ver.26. “There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” (Is. lix. 20.)
Then to give the mark that fixes its sense to salvation, to prevent any one from drawing it aside and attaching it to times gone by, he says,
Ver. 27. “For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”
Not when they are circumcised, not when they sacrifice, not when they do the other deeds of the Law, but when they attain to the forgiveness of sins. If then this hath been promised, but has never yet happened in their case, nor have they ever enjoyed the remission of sins by baptism, certainly it will come to pass. Hence he proceeds,
Ver.29. “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”
And even this is not all he says to solace them, for he uses what had already come about. And what came in of consequence, that he states as chiefly intended, putting it in these words,
Ver. 28. “As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.”
That the Gentile then might not be puffed up, and say, “I am standing, do not tell me of what would have been, but what has been,” he uses this consideration to bring him down, and says, “As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes.” For when you were called they became more captious. Nevertheless God hath not even now cut short the calling of you, but He waiteth for all the Gentiles that are to believe to come in, and then they (the Jews) also shall come.
B) Homilies on Matthew (LXVI)
But He did these things, as I said, signifying beforehand the things to come. For here the church is signified by the colt, and the new people, which was once unclean, but which, after Jesus sat on them, became clean. And see the image preserved throughout. I mean that the disciples loose the asses. For by the apostles, both they and we were called; by the apostles were we brought near. But because our acceptance provoked them also to emulation,therefore the ass appears following the colt. For after Christ hath sat on the Gentiles, then shall they also come moving us to emulation. And Paul declaring this, said, “That blindnesss in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved.” For that it was a prophecy is evident from what is said. For neither would the prophet have cared to express with such great exactness the age of the ass, unless this had been so.
C) Homilies on Romans (XIX)
But let us see if the fall is of such kind as to be incurable, and quite preclude their being set up again. But of such kind it is not. You see how he is attacking them again, and under the expectation of some allayment he proves them guilty of confessed sins. But let us see what even by way of allayment he does devise for them. Now what is the allayment? “When the fulness of the Gentiles,” he says, “shall have come in, then shall all Israel be saved,” at the time of his second coming, and the end of the world. …
D) Homily XIX on Rom. 11, Ver 15 (NPNF Vol 11, page 490): "'For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead?' ....But see also even in his favors to them, how he solaces them in words only. 'For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world,' (and what is this to the Jews?) 'what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead?' Yet even this was no boon to them, unless they had been received. But what he means is to this effect: If in anger with them He gave other men so great gifts, when He is reconciled to them what will He not give?'" (Note that he says not “if” but “when” God is reconciled to the Jews.)
E) Homily XIX on Rom. 11 ver. 27: “For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins”. Not when they are circumcised….but when they attain to the forgiveness of sins. If then this hath been promised, but has never yet happened in their case, nor have they ever enjoyed the remission of sins by baptism, certainly it will come to pass.
F) NPNF Vol 11, page 489, ver. 12:
"Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness?...' For if when they stumbled, he says, so many enjoyed salvation, and when they were case out so many were called, just consider what will be the case when they return. ....Now, he does not say, 'how much more their'return, or their altering, or their well-doing, but 'how much more their fulness', that is, when they are all about coming in."
G) Homily on Ep. to the Rom, chap 11:
"Seeing the Gentiles abusing little by little their grace, God will recall a second time the Jews."
Note: These supportive quotes from St. John Chrysostom on the conversion of the Jews are of particular import in that he is widely views as having taken a significantly more critical view of Jews than the average Church Father.
F) Homilies on Matthew, Homily LVII:
Wherefore He too, guiding them on to that remembrance, said, “And he shall restore all things”, that is, shall correct the unbelief of the Jews that are then in being. Hence the extreme accuracy of his expression, in that he did not say, “He will restore the heart of the son to the father”, but, “of the father to the son.” For the Jews being fathers of the apostles, His meaning is that he will restore to the doctrines of their sons, that is, the apostles, the hearts of the fathers, that is, the Jewish people’s mind.
A) City of God, XX chapter 29
Of the Coming of Elias Before the Judgment, that the Jews May Be Converted to Christ by His Preaching and Explanation of Scripture…. 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
Note: Here Augustine indicates that the idea of the conversion of the Jews is “a familiar theme” among “the faithful”, once again indicating that this belief was not his own speculation but that it was well-known.
B) City of God, chapter 30
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: and their parents themselves, who were the perpetrators of this huge impiety, shall see Him when they rise; but this will be only for their punishment, and not for their correction. It is not of them we are to understand the words, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and mercy, and they shall look upon me because they have insulted me;”  (Note: also reference to “looking on him whom they pierced” as beyond only applying to the actual crucifixion and into a future prophecy as well.)
C) On the Psalms (Psalm 14)
“Who will give salvation to Israel out of Sion?” (ver. 7). Who but He whose humiliation ye have despised? is understood. For He will come in glory to the judgment of the quick and the dead, and the kingdom of the just: that, forasmuch as in that humble coming “blindness hath happened in part unto Israel, that the fulness of the Gentiles might enter in,” in that other should happen what follows, “and so all Israel should be saved.”For the Apostle too takes that testimony of Isaiah, where it is said, “There shall come out of Sion He who shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”
D) On the Psalms (Psalm XLVI)
Miracles are done among the heathen, full filled is the faith of the heathen; burned are the arms of human presumption. Still are they, in tranquillity of heart, to acknowledge God the Author of all their gifts. And after this glorifying, doth He yet desert the people of the Jews? of which saith the Apostle, “I say unto you, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened unto Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” That is, until the mountains be carried hither, the clouds rain here, the Lord here bows the kingdoms with His thunder, “until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” And what thereafter? “And so all Israel shall be saved.” Therefore, here too observing the same order, “I will be exalted” (saith He) “among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth;” that is, both in the sea, and in the earth, that now might all say what followeth: “the God of Jacob is our taker up.”
E) On the Psalms (Psalm LXXIV)
(Citing the account of Moses' hand turning white with leprosy and then being restored to health as a sign of the restoration of Israel after its initial rejection of the Messiah). “Wherefore dost Thou turn away Thine hand, and Thy right hand from the midst of Thy bosom unto the end?” (ver. 11). Again, another sign which was given to Moses. For in like manner as above from the rod was a sign, so also from the right hand now. For when that thing had been done concerning the rod, God gave a second sign: “thrust,” He saith, “thine hand into thy bosom, and he thrust it: draw it forth, and he drew it forth: and it was found white,” that is, unclean. For whiteness on the skin is leprosy, not fairness of complexion. For the heritage of God itself, that is, His people, being cast out became unclean. But what saith He to him? Draw it back into thy bosom. He drew it back, and it was restored to its own colour. When doest Thou this, saith this Asaph? How long dost Thou alienate Thy right hand from Thy bosom, so that being without unclean it remaineth? Draw it back, let it return to its colour, let it acknowledge the Saviour. “Wherefore dost thou turn away Thine hand, and Thy right hand from the midst of Thy bosom unto the end?” These words he crieth, being blind, not understanding, and God doeth what He doeth. For wherefore came Christ? “Blindness in part happened unto Israel, in order that the fulness of the Gentiles might enter in, and so all Israel might be saved.” Therefore now, O Asaph, acknowledge that which hath gone before, in order that thou mayest at least follow, if thou wast not able to go before. For not in vain came Christ, or in vain was Christ slain, or in vain did the corn fall into the ground; but it fell that it might rise manifold.
F) Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament LXXII
5. 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. For these present walking in their own ways, will go to their own place, will pass on to everlasting damnation.
A) Letter CXXIII
At their birth was broken down that middle wall of partition which typified the division existing between the two peoples; while the binding of Zarah’s hand with the scarlet thread even then marked the conscience of the Jews with the stain of Christ’s blood. And how shall I speak of the whore married by the prophet who is a figure either of the church as gathered in from the Gentiles or—an interpretation which better suits the passage—of the synagogue? First adopted from among the idolaters by Abraham and Moses, this has now denied the Saviour and proved unfaithful to Him. Therefore it has long been deprived of its altar, priests, and prophets and has to abide many days for its first husband. For when the fulness of the Gentiles shall have come in, all Israel shall be saved.
B) Comm. to the Song of Songs, Homily 1:
"Their sins occasioned the salvation of the Gentiles and again the incredulity of the Gentiles will occasion the conversion of Israel. You will find both in the Apostle (St. Paul)."
C) Commentary on St. Matthew, Ch. 2:
". .. because when the Jews receive the faith at the end of the world, they will find themselves in dazzling light, as if Our Lord were returning to them from Egypt."
D) Commentary on Romans, 11:20-22
(See Trial, Tribulation and Triumph by Desmond Birch, p 417-418)
“If for the crimes of the Jews (crimes of unbelief), the salvation passed to the Gentiles; by the incredulity of the Gentiles it will pass to the Jews.”
St. Prosper of Aquitaine
A) The Call of All Nations book 1, Cap 21, Ancient Christian Writers series, vol 14, pp 69:
He delayed for centuries while he was educating Israel, to enlighten the countless peoples of infidels; and now he allows that same Israel to go blind till the universality of the Gentiles enter the fold. He allows so many thousands of this people to be born and die and to be lost when only those whom the end of the world will find alive will attain salvation.
B) Ibid, Book 2 Cap 9, Vol 14, pp 103:
The great parsimony in bestowing grace which in past ages befell all other nations, is now the lot of the Jewish people. Yet, when the fullness of the Gentiles shall 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?
St. Ambrose (Epistle LXIII)
57. Miriam the prophetess herself, who with her brothers had crossed the straits of the sea on foot, because, being still ignorant of the mystery of the Ethiopian woman, she had murmured against her brother Moses, broke out with leprous spots, so that she would scarcely have been freed from so great a plague, unless Moses had prayed for her. Although this murmuring refers to the type of the Synagogue, which is ignorant of the mystery of that Ethiopian woman, that is 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.”
Ambrosiaster (commentary on Romans: Bray, Vol 6, Romans pp. 299):
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.
Cassiodorus in Explanation of the Psalms, Vol 3, Psalm 102 in Ancient Christian Writers series, Vol 52, pp 22-23:
He will not always be angry, nor will He be wroth forever…- this verse can be applied also to the Jewish people who we know are to be converted at the world’s end. On this Paul says: Blindness in part has happened in Israel, that the fullness of the Gentiles should come in, and so all Israel should be saved.
Note: Notice again here how Cassiodorus treats this as common knowledge among Catholics.
St. Anselm in Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, Chap. II
St. Thomas Aquinas:
A) Commentary on the epistle to the Rom. 11:15
In examining a number of alternative interpretations of the phrase "resurrection of the dead" (Rom 11), he settles on the following: "What, I say, will such an admission effectuate, if not that it bring the Gentiles back to life? The Gentiles would be the believers whose faith has grown cold, or even that the totality, deceived by the Antichrist, fall and are restored to their pristine fervor by the admission of the Jews."
B) Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans:
"The blindness of the Jews will endure until the fullness of the gentiles have accepted the faith. And this is in accord with what the Apostle says below about the salvation of the Jews, namely, that after the fullness of the nations have entered, 'all Israel will be saved', not individually as at present, but universally." ...
C) Summa Theologica I-II ae, Q. 102, a.5, reply to Obj. 5
“The priest who immolated and burned the cow, and he who burned, and he who gathered together the ashes, were unclean as also he that sprinkled the water: either because the Jews became unclean through putting Christ to death, whereby our sins are expiated; and this until the evening, i.e. until the end of the world, when the remnants of Israel will be converted.”
St. John Damascene: De Fide Orthodoxa
“But Enoch and Elias the Thesbite shall be sent and shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, that is, the synagogue to our Lord Jesus Christ and the preaching of the apostles….”
The 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia: has this to say: "(B) Universal and Cosmic Eschatology.- 6) Notwithstanding Christ's express refusal to specify the time of the end (Mrak xiii, 32, Acts i, 6 sq) it was a common belief among early Christians that the end of the world was near. This seemed to have some support in certain sayings of Christ in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, which are set down in the Gospels side by side with the prophecies relating to the end (Matt 24, Luke 21), and in certain passages of the Apostolic writings, which might, not unnaturally, have been so understood (but see II Thes, ii, s2 sqq) where St. Paul corrects this impression.) On the other hand, Christ had clearly stated that the Gospel was to be preached to all the nations before the end (Matt 24:14) and St. Paul looked forward to the ultimate conversion of the Jewish people as a remote event to be preceded by the conversion of the Gentiles (Rom xi, 25 sqq).
The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia (article on the "General Judgment"):
"Conversion of the Jews: According to the interpretation of the Fathers, the conversion of the Jews towards the end of the world is foretold by St. Paul in the Epistle to the Romans (11:25-26): 'For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, . . . that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved as it is written: There shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.'"
Pope St. Gregory the Great: (Homily 22 from Forty Gospel Homilies): “Peter and John, the ones who loved more than the rest, ran more swiftly than the rest (to the sepulchre). The two ran together but John outran Peter and came first to the sepulcher; but did not presume to enter it. Peter came after him and went in….What does John signify then, if not the synagogue, and Peter, if not the Church?
The synagogue came first to the sepulchre, but did not enter, because although it received the commandments of the law and listened to prophecies of the incarnation and passion, it was unwilling to believe in the one who had died. John saw the linen cloths lying there, but even so he did not enter, because the synagogue know the mysteries of the holy scriptures, yet put off entering by putting its faith in the Lord’s passion.
Then follows: Therefore that disciple who had come first to the sepulcher then entered also. After Peter entered, John also went in. He who had come first entered second. We know, my friends, that at the end of the world even Judea will be brought to faith in the Redeemer. Paul testifies to this by saying: “Until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, and thus all Israel is saved.”
Pope St. Gregory the Great: Moralia in Iob (Preface, X, 20):
"After the loss of Job's possessions, after all his bereavements, after all the suffering of his wounds, after all his angry debates, it is good that he is consoled by twofold repayment. In just this way does the holy church, while it is still in this world, receive twofold reward for the trials it sustains, when all the gentile nations have been brought into its midst, at the end of time, and the church converts even the hearts of the Jews to its cause. Thus it is written, 'Until the fulness of nations enters and so all Israel is saved.'"
Blessed Pope Pius XI: Histoire Complete de l’Idee Messianique, Feb. 14, 1877
“Because, according to the prophecy of Osee, the sons of Israel have remained for a long time without king and without prince, without sacrifice and without altar, may that other word of the same prophet soon begin to be accomplished: And after this the children of Israel shall return and shall seek the Lord their God and David their king!”
(Note: this is also significant as Pius XI’s reference here is to Hosea 3:5. The Pope saw it in reference to the return of Israel to Christ.)
Pope Innocent III in Regi Francorum :
“not displeasing to the Lord, but rather, acceptable to Him that the Dispersion of the Jews should live and do service under Catholic Kings and Christian princes – the remnants of which then will finally be saved, since in those days Judah will be saved (Jeremiah 33:6-26) and Israel will dwell in mutual trust.”
Pope Martin V in Declaration on the Protection of the Jews, 1419:
“Whereas the Jews are made to the image of God, and a remnant of them will one day be saved, and whereas they have sought our protection: following in the footsteps of our predecessors We command that they be not molested in their synagogues; that their laws, rights and customs be not assailed; that they be not baptized by force, constrained to observe Christian festivals, nor to wear new badges, and that they be not hindered in their business relations with Christians.”
Theodoret of Cyrus in Interpretation of the Letter to the Romans:
Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Bray, Volume VI, page 298
"Paul insists that only a part of Israel has been hardened, for many of them believe. He thus encourages them not to despair that others will be saved as well. After the Gentiles accepted the gospel, the Jews would believe, when the great Elijah would come to them and bring them the doctrine of the faith. The Lord himself said as much: 'Elijah will come and will restore all things.'"
St. Robert Bellarmine in De Summo Pontifice (I, 3) :
"the coming of Enoch and Elias, who live even now and shall live until they come to oppose Antichrist himself, and to preserve the elect in the faith of Christ, and in the end shall convert the Jews, and it is certain that this is not yet fulfilled."
(This quote may also be found in Trial, Tribulation and Triumph by Desmond Birch, p. 474-475)
St. Peter Damian in Sermon #66:
“This obstinately unbelieving people, who now refuse to believe, will come back to the faith and will occupy the lowest place in the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is to say, that their conversion will take place in the last days of Holy Church, towards the end of the world.”
The Glossa Ordinaria, (the primary medieval source book for Scriptural interpretation reflecting the consensus of Western Church Fathers) says of Romans 11:27:
“This is the prediction that in the end Elias and Enoch will convert the Jews, as Malachi says, ‘I will send you Elias the Tishbite who will convert the hearts of the father to the sons and the sons to the father, (Mal. IV)”
The renowned Catholic exegete Cornelius a Lapide:
A) From The Great Commmentary of Cornelius Lapide, Volume II, p 266 Matthew 17:11-12
("Elijah does come, and he is to restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of man will suffer at their hands.") states that Elias will: "Restore all things: that is, convert the Jews to Christ as the Messiah promised to themselves and their forefathers." B) Regarding Matthew 23:37-39 (Volume III, page 54,55 of the same series listed above):
("O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"): "It is possible that this passage may be understood of the Jews, who about the end of the world shall be converted to Christ by the preaching of Elias, and who, when He shall presently come to judgment, will acknowledge Him to be the Messiah, the Blessed of the Lord."
The Venerable Bede:
A) In his Explanation of the Apocalypse,
"it is well believed that the wicked Jews will be deceived as well as deceive, but that others will understand the law spiritually through the instruction of the great prophet Elijah, and will be incorporated among the members of the Church, and bravely overcome the enemy." B) In a letter to Abbot Eusebius regarding his “Explanatio”:
"He has foretold that the Jews are to be made subject to the Church, and that there is to be a trial of the world at large, and that He Himself will come quickly."
The Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, edited by Dom Bernard Orchard (1953) writes (re: Romans 11:25-32):
"From the present, (verses) 1-24, St. Paul turns his attention to the future. The time will come when the present problem of Israel's exclusion from the salvation of the Messias will cease to exist because of her conversion, which will follow the conversion of the Gentiles. The final conversion of Israel could not be known to St. Paul from any natural source."
Fr. Leo Haydock: In his highly esteemed New Testament Comprehensive Catholic Commentary:
A) On Romans 11:12-15:
The nation of the Jews is not absolutely and without remedy cast off forever; but in part only and for a time: which fall of theirs God has been pleased to turn to the good of the Gentiles. “How much more the fullness of them (Jews)”: As if he should say, if the obstinacy of so many Jews seem to be an occasion upon which God …hath bestowed the riches of his grace on other nations; and while the glory of the Jews, the elect people of God, has been diminished, the Gentiles have been made happy: how much more glorious will be the fullness of them? That is, according to the common interpretation, will be the re-establishment and conversion of the Jews hereafter, before the end of the world? (Notes: 1) Here Haydock references several father, including St. Chrysostom, St. Hilary of Poitiers, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine. 2) It is significant that he says this is “the common interpretation”) ….Then the receiving of them into the Church, and their conversion to Christ, shall be like life from the dead, when the Jewish people in general, shall rise from the death of sin…to the life of grace.
B) On Romans 11: 25-26:
I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, this, hidden truth of God’s justice and mercy, that blindness in part hath happened in Israel, or to part of them, until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in, by the conversion of all nations: and then all Israel should be saved, when they shall submit to the faith of Christ.
C) On Luke 21:24:
Till the times of the nations be fulfilled. According to the common exposition of this, and some other places, the Jews from the time of the destruction of their temple and city, under Titus Vespasian, and especially from their utter destruction under the emperor Adrian, in punishment of the obstinate blindness, shall remain dispersed through the world under miseries and oppressions, till the gospel hath been preached to all nations; then, not long before the end of the world, the Jews shall be converted and acknowledge Jesus to be their true Messias.
D) On Matthew 21:2: Of Jesus sitting on both the ass and the colt, he writes:
Both Jews and Gentiles, figured by the ass and the colt, are to be loosed and conducted by the hands of the apostles of Christ to their Redeemer. The Gentiles, represented by the colt, though heretofore unclean, no sooner receive Jesus resting upon them, than they are freed from every stain and rendered perfectly clean. The zeal of the Gentiles stirred up the emulation of the Jews; therefore did the ass follow after its colt. This approach of the Jews to the true faith, after the vocation of the Gentiles, is spoken of by St. Paul in Romans 11:25. Blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved. St. Chysostom, homily 1xvi---As it is written, “there shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. And this is to them my covenant”. This prophecy of Isaias (lxi20) St. Paul applies to the conversion of the Jews, and thus both Jew and Gentile are to take up our Saviour’s yoke, which is certainly sweet and his burden light.
E) On Matthew 23:39/Luke 13:35:
“Till you say ‘blessed is he that cometh’” …It may be understood of the Jews, who are to be converted to the faith of Jesus Christ towards the end of the world (St. Chrysostom, hom 1xxv).
F) On Hosea 3:5:
“Verse 5: ‘David their king’ . That is, Christ, who is of the house of David. Ch. - After the captivity, the Jews submitted to Zorobabel. Yet this only foreshewed a more sincere conversion to Jesus Christ. In fact, the house of David never regained the throne, (C.) and it is not clear that Zorobabel had any authority over the people. H.- Christ is the literal object of this prediction.”
G) On Deuteronomy 4:30:
“Voice, after the captivity of Babylon, or rather at the end of the world. The nation at large has not embraced the worship of idols since the former period. But it will not be perfectly converted, until the fullness of the Gentiles come in….And so all Israel be saved. (Rom XI 25). C. – St. Paul terms their present state a blindness in part, because, though few have embraced the revelation of God, made to all by his only Son, the far greater part have obstinately shut their eyes…they seem to have a veil on them. But, after, they shall have been the sport of their passions and errors till the latter time, when the man of sin shall be fully revealed, they will see how wretchedly they have been deluded, and, the grace of God touching their hearts, they will remember the covenant, and embrace Christ, the end of all the law. Happy those who do not defer their conversion till that awful period!”
H) On Isaiah 59:20:
“To Sion. Sept. “from Sion, and will turn away iniquity from Jacob. (21) And this,: H. – St. Paul hence proves that the Jews will at last be converted. Romans 11:26. The return of the captives prefigured this event.”
I) On Jeremiah 31:1-2:
Ver. 1 Israel: The ten tribes returned as well as Judah. C.- They were more ready to receive Christ than the other two tribes. (Here Fr. Haydock sees Jeremiah’s reference to God being “the God of all the families of Israel and they shall be my people” as referring to Israel’s eventual acceptance of Christ.)
J) On Micheas 2: 12:
Ver 12: Assemble…W.- At least the Jews shall be converted (S. Jerome, Eusebius Dem ii. 50.)
K) On Malachi 4: 5-6:
Ver 6: By bringing over the Jews to the faith of Christ, he (Elias) shall reconcile them to their father, viz, the patriarchs and prophets, whose hearts for many ages have been turned away from them, because of their refusing to believe in Christ. Ch- The antipathy of Jews and Gentiles shall cease. Both shall enter the Church of Christ. Is 11:13. The Baptist strove to ameliorate the manners of the people, and to bring all to Christ, who reconciles all seeming contradictions in the Scriptures…..H- Christ will convert the Jews at last who have not yet opened their eyes.
Ludwig Ott: from Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, cites “The Conversion of the Jews” as an expected sign of the second coming of Christ (p. 486):
2) Signs of the Second Coming
a) The preaching of the Gospel to the whole world.
b) The Conversion of the Jews:
In Romans 11, 25-32, St. Paul reveals “the mystery”: When the fullness, that is the number ordained by God, of the Gentiles has entered the kingdom of God “all Israel” will be converted and saved. There is question of a morally universal conversion of the Jews.
Note: Ott lists “The Conversion of the Jews” as a “sign” of the second coming. See note #3 below, under “Catechism of the Catholic Church”.
Catechism of the Catholic Church:
In this section, the CCC details the events leading up to the second coming of Christ. In regard to the Jews, we have the following:
CCC 674: The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by “all Israel”, for “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” in their “unbelief” toward Jesus. (Note: the CCC references both Romans 11:20-26 and Matt 23:39 here). This is significant especially to establish the legitimate nature of seeing Matt 23:39 as referring to Israel’s acceptance of the Messiah). St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.” (Acts 3:19-31) St. Paul echoes him: “For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” (Rom 11:15) The “full inclusion” of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation, in the wake of “the full number of Gentiles”, (Rom 11:12, Luke 21:24) will enable the People of God to achieve “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” in which “god may be all in all.”
1) Significant references again, Luke 21:24 especially establishing the connection between the conversion of Jews to Christ and the time at which “the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”.
2) The CCC sees the conversion of the Jews “in the wake of” the full number of the gentiles. Thus, the CCC conveys Jewish conversion following after the gentiles have reached their own point of “fullness”.
3) The first footnote to the following sentence, “The “full inclusion” of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation, in the wake of “the full number of Gentiles”, (Rom 11:12, Luke 21:24)” is Romans 11:12. Romans 11:12 is as follows: “Now if the offence of them be the riches of the world and the diminution of them the riches of the Gentiles: how much more the fullness of them?” This is significant because it establishes that the CCC asserts a link between the concept of “the full inclusion of the Jews…in the wake of the full number of Gentiles” and Romans 11:12 which speaks of the idea that the “fullness” of Jewish entry into the Church as a great blessing, as opposed to their “diminution.” In this, the CCC echoes the exegesis of the great Scripture scholar, Fr. Leo Haydock. (See “A” under “Father Leo Haydock, above).
4) Again, as with Ott’s Fundamentals of the Catholic Dogma, this section of the CCC details signs leading up to the second coming of Christ, including the coming of Antichrist.
Romans 11:11: “ ‘That they should fall.’ The nation of the Jews is not absolutely and without remedy cast off for ever; but in part only (many thousands of them having been first converted) and for a time; which fall of theirs, God has been pleased to turn to the good of the Gentiles.”
Note: The Douay-Rheims Bible expresses that this passage means that the Jews, as a nation have been cast off only “for a time”. I believe the plain implication of “for a time” is that this time of being cast off as a nation or people is temporary, that a new circumstance will emerge.
Navarre Bible Commentary:
A) Romans 11:25:
We all yearn for the fulfillment of these words- threatening yet consoling- which Christ addressed to the scribes and Pharisees: “For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” “Together with the prophets and the Apostle, the Church awaits the day, known to God alone, when all peoples will call on God with one voice and ‘serve him with one accord’ (Zeph 3:9) (Vatican II Nostra Aetate, 4) The conversion of the Jews is a secret- a mystery, the text says (v. 25) – hidden in the future, which will come about when the Incarnation of the Word achieves its ultimate purpose.
This conversion will follow that of the Gentiles, which will be as it were a prelude to it. Jesus has foretold that “Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”, which in some way suggests that the Jews will be converted at the end of time.
B) Luke 21: 24:
The “times of the Gentiles” means the period in which the Gentiles, who do not belong to the Jewish people, will become members of the new people of God, the Church, until the Jews themselves are converted at the end of the world.
Fr. Dennis Fahey
From The Kingship of Christ and the Conversion of the Jewish Nation:
A) “The conversion of the Jewish people to the True Supernatural Messias is, therefore, certain…Their conversion will be a glorious triumph for the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
B) When the Fathers Lémann were petitioning the Bishops, assembled in Rome for the Vatican Council, for their signatures to the Postulatum Pro Hebræis, many of their Lordships smilingly put the objection that “to work for the conversion of the Jews was to bring on the end of the world.” The two Fathers gave several answers to this objection, and their arguments seem to go far towards proving that there will be a considerable lapse of time between the conversion of the Jewish nation and the Last Judgment. Two things are certain. The first is that, however short the time, the newly-converted Jews will not remain idle. The second is that if the Jews as a body sincerely accepted the true Messias and put all that restless energy and unshakeable tenacity into the furtherance of the Kingship of Christ, which they now display against His rule, the conversion of the world would be rapidly advanced. Just picture for a moment, Jewish influence in the Press of the world directed towards featuring the truth about Lourdes and Fatima and the horror of the rejection of God and our divine Lord in Russia! Just think of Jewish influence on the Cinema, instead of being directed towards the elimination of the Supernatural life by the production of irksomeness with all moral restraints, being canalised into showing the solution of human unrest by the loving acceptance of membership of Jesus!
Note 1: These citations are particularly interesting as Fahey is perceived by many to have had strong negative leanings in regard to Jews. Yet even he believed that it was “certain”, that the Jewish people would eventually undergo an unusual conversion to Christ in the future.
Note 2: “B” is of special import for the reference to the fathers of Vatican I, many of whom reportedly expressed a reluctance to sign Postulatum Pro Hebræis precisely because “to work for the conversion of the Jews was to bring on the end of the world.” As such, clearly, the idea of an unusual conversion of the Jews in the future was well known to them as well as the eschatological implications of it.
Suarez in Disputat. LVI, Sect. I:
“the conversion of the Jews will take place at the approach of the Last Judgment and at the height of the persecution which Antichrist will inflict on the Church.”
Père Lagrange, O.P in Epitre aux Romains, p. 278
As the reprobation of the Jews was the occasion of the reconciliation of the world, their conversion will be as it were, the signal for the consummation of the world and the advent of a new one. It must, however, be admitted that the expressions employed are not very precise and that one could not establish a definite relation of time between the conversion of the Jews and the General Resurrection from the dead, in other words, affirm that the Last Judgment will follow closely on the conversion of the Jews.
A) Luke 13:35/ Matt 23:39:
I tell you (speaking to the inhabitants of Jerusalem), you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'blessings be on him who comes in the name of the Lord.'”
B) Luke 21:24.....
"Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."
C) Matthew 21: 1-7:
“Go ye into the village that is over against you and immediate you shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them and bring them to me….Now all this was done that what was spoken by the prophet might be fulfilled, saying: “Tell ye the daughter of Sion: Behold, thy king cometh to thee, meek and sitting upon an ass and a colt, the foal of her that is used to the yoke….And they brought the ass and the colt: and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon.” (Read the Fr. Haydock commentary above to understand the import of this passage as well as that of St. John Chysostom).
D) Romans 11:12 and 15:
“Now if the offense of them be the riches of the world and the diminution of them the riches of the Gentiles: how much more the fullness of them?.....”
“For if the loss of them be the reconciliation of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”
E) Romans 11:25:
“For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery (lest you should be wise in your own conceits) that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in, and thus all Israel will be saved, as it is written….”
F) Hosea 3:5:
“Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.” (Note: this passage was cited by Blessed Pope Pius IX as referring to the conversion of the Jews to Christ. Fr. Leo Haydock also expresses that this ultimately refers to belief in Christ as well).
G) Deuteronomy 4:30:
“After all the things aforesaid shall find thee: in the latter time thou shalt return to the Lord thy God and shalt hear His voice.”
H) Isaiah 59:20:
“And there shall come a redeemer to Sion and to them that return from iniquity in Jacob, saith the Lord.”
I) Jeremiah 31:1-2:
“At that time, saith the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel: and they shall be my people. Thus saith the Lord: The people that were left and escaped from the sword found grace in the desert: Israel shall go to his rest.”
J) Micheas 2:12:
“I will assemble and gather together all of thee, O Jacob: I will bring together the remnant of Israel. I will put them together as a flock in the fold, as the sheep in the midst of the sheepcotes: they shall make a tumult by reason of the multitude of men.”
K) On Malachi 4: 5-6:
“Behold, I will send you Elias the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers: lest I come and strike the earth with anathema.”