Grafted in to Israel

Taking sides against Israel

Last week the annual “Christ at the Checkpoint” 2018 conference was held in the Bethlehem suburb of Beit Jala and once again the anti-Semitic pro-Palestinian agenda and the same ‘rhetoric’ were being propagated as in previous years. Today not only do we have the bulk of the media miss reporting and miss representing Israel but many in Christendom who are taking sides with the so called ‘Palestinian’ cause and condemning Israelis as occupiers and antagonists and an increasing number of evangelicals are ‘on side’ with them. At this conference Dr Michael Brown an apologist, evangelical theologian and supporter of Israel Biblically, offered a glimmer of hope and gave attendees a taste of the other side. He quoted the proverb, “The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17) Dr Brown explained that there are solid reasons behind the establishment of checkpoints and walls. Their purpose isn’t to oppress the Palestinians, but to protect the Israelis. He went on to explain that God is not done with the Jewish people, and that God still has a purpose and a future for them in the Land of Israel. He moved on to stress the dangers of Replacement Theology and the harm it caused the Jewish people throughout history.”

Two Key Factors

There are two key factors at work within Christendom today that are producing an increasing anti-Semitic, anti-Israel bias. Sadly a growing number of evangelicals are now ‘pro-Palestinian’ and some even going so far as to say that the Israelis are the occupiers and not entitled to the land. Of course they are ignoring almost 4,000 years of Israel’s history as a nation since the time of Abraham. The first key factor is that Satan wants to destroy Israel because he knows that the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus the anointed Messiah depends on God’s prophetic purposes and promises to Israel. Since the rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948 Satan recognizes that his time on earth is now short. No matter what opposition Satan raises against Israel he will lose big time in the end and Israel will “possess their possessions” and “possess the gates of their enemies.” (Obadiah 1:7) (Genesis 22:17) The second key factor is that Replacement Theology is growing like gangrene within Christendom and even many Bible believing evangelicals are now getting on this bandwagon. Undoubtedly replacement theology was high on the Agenda at the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference in Bethlehem this year.

A Potential Division

When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the believers at Rome he was addressing a tendency among the Gentile believers in the Assembly there to look down upon their Jewish brothers and sisters in the Messiah. It was potentially an early form of replacement theology that Paul was ‘nibbing in the bud’ before it got out of hand.  When Claudius was the Roman Emperor he expelled all of the Jews from Rome including the Messianic Jewish believers. This expelling of the Jews from Rome is mentioned in the Book of Acts. (Acts 18:2) Once the Jews had gone from the Assembly in Rome the Gentile believers started to entertain notions that somehow they were now spiritually ‘superior’ to their Jewish brothers and sisters. When the Roman Emperor Nero came to power he brought all the Jews back to Rome because he recognized that they were good for the economy. This situation of a potential division between the Jewish and Gentile believers in the Messiah, our Lord Jesus, forms the background to the whole letter of Paul written to the believers in the Assembly at Rome. He devotes three whole chapters to the Biblical relationship between Israel and the Church.

Paul’s theology

Specifically in Romans Chapter 11:11-24 Paul clearly defines how the Body of the Messiah, the faithful Church is related to Israel. Paul most certainly did not have an idea that God had abandoned Israel. His deep desire for them to be saved and to come back to their true spiritual roots was paramount in Paul’s mind and in his theology. (Romans 9:1-5; 10:1; 11:1-2) While Paul recognized that God had raised up Assemblies of believers in the Messiah from out of the Gentile nations to preach the gospel of the kingdom and to be recipients of His grace God did not do this because He had rejected Israel but to make His people Israel envious to have the spiritual blessings the Gentile believers had through the Lord Jesus the Anointed Messiah.

Romans 11:16-24

If you look at Romans Chapter 11:16-24, you have several things mentioned in these verses. Briefly then; you have the Olive Tree which is Israel. Then you have the cultivated and uncultivated olive branches. The cultivated olive branches are Jews who believe in the Messiah and they are already connected to the Olive Tree (Israel). Among them you also have grafted into the same Olive Tree the uncultivated olive branches that are now Gentile believers in the Messiah. They are all part of the Olive Tree (Israel) and partake of the same spiritual sap being the Holy Spirit. While connected to the Olive Tree they also produce spiritual fruit because they are spiritually nourished by the ‘divine sap’ of the Holy Spirit. Then you have natural branches that have been broken off because of their unbelief in the Messiah our Lord Jesus and these are individual Jews who do not believe in the Messiah but the Olive Tree (Israel) remains standing and intact.

The “Root”

Gentile assemblies have not replaced Israel as a nation, but by extension and inclusion, have been spiritually grafted into Israel and “share in the nourishing sap of the olive root (the Messiah).” Consequently they have become partakers of the blessings of the New Covenant the Lord Jesus cut with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah, not with the Church. (Jeremiah 31:31) Above all you have the “root” that supports the Olive Tree and the branches and that same root generating the divine sap of the Holy Spirit. This Root is the Lord Jesus Himself the True Vine and “the Root of Jesse.” (John 15:1-8) (Isaiah 11:10) Paul warns the Gentile believers at Rome that they only stand by faith and that if they fall into persistent unbelief then they, like the individual unbelieving Jews, will also be cut off from the Olive Tree (Israel) and from the Root Himself, being our Lord Jesus.

A true Jew

If God cut off Gentiles from their own uncultivated olive tree (Unbelieving Gentile nations) who had believed in the Lord Jesus and grafted them into the Cultivated Olive Tree being the commonwealth of Israel, then how much more will God graft back into their own Olive Tree (Israel) those Jews who, having been cut off, that repent and believe in the Messiah. For those Jews it will be “Life from the dead!” As Paul also writes; “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” (Romans 2:28-29)

“All Israel will be saved!”

In fact in Romans chapter eleven Paul also clearly annunciates that Israel as a nation have a partial hardness of heart towards the Lord Jesus the Messiah but not a complete hardness of heart. Once God’s purposes of salvation have been completed among the Gentiles He will turn His purposes of salvation back to the Jewish people and “all Israel will be saved.” When this happens, not one Jew left alive on the earth at that time will be lost but all Israel will be saved. As it is written; “The deliverer (The Lord Jesus the Messiah) will come from Zion; (the heavenly Zion) He will banish godlessness from Jacob and take away their sins” because the gifts and calling of God is irrevocable. (Romans 11:25-29) Quite frankly if God cannot be depended upon to keep His covenant promises to Israel, sworn in covenant blood, then how can He be depended upon to keep His promises to the Church? Has the Church been any more faithful than Israel to keep and obey the Word of God? Who has had more light, Israel or the Church? However, God remembers His covenants and this not only includes His promises to the faithful Body of the Messiah (the faithful Church) but also to Israel as a nation.

One New Man in the Messiah

To dismiss Israel as replacement theology does is to dismiss the promises and malign the purposes of God for Israel and by extension and inclusion the faithful Body of the Messiah. The New Testament Assemblies were an extension of the Assembly of Israel even as they are now in this day and age. The Lord Jesus the Anointed Messiah has removed the middle wall of partition that had divided Jew and Gentile and made them one new man in Him. This is the grand theme of Ephesians 2:11-22. The assembly of the Old Testament saints are made complete by the assembly of the New Testament saints. As it is written in the book of Hebrews concerning the great heroes of faith in the Old Testament “These are all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39) The Christian Church owes a great debt to Israel. As Paul writes; “Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised. Amen.” (Romans 9:4-5)

P.S. When you have the time you may like to look at the complete verse by verse commentary on Romans Chapters 9-11 on our website. Here is the link to the first study;