PT.2 Replacing what God has not
Romans 9:6 says that not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Being born a Jew - in the flesh is not enough for salvation (as Nicodemus and others thought; John 3) - you must come into a relationship with God to fully partake in your heritage as a Jew, and be part of true Israel, one that walks in faith. Paul continually builds up to the topic of Israel and the church, then the Apostle Paul, known as the Apostle to the Gentiles says in Romans 11:1 “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.”
In verse 1 he establishes his own Jewish heritage; Paul refers to himself as an Israelite who is part of a physical nation of Israel. Paul explains his connection to the tribe of Benjamin, who in the Old Testament were know for some terrible crimes, but they are not cast off. Paul’s salvation is proof that God has not cast off the Israelites. Paul who says, “…I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:13) found mercy and was accepted.
Paul states in verse 2 that God has NOT cast away (or rejected) His people permanently. He uses the extreme example in the time of apostasy in Israel where they rejected the prophets and even killed them. There is still a remnant of the physical nation that are faithful to the true God- Paul is proof.
Elijah the prophet thought he was alone, but there was still a remnant among them. Paul quotes from that portion of the Bible. So he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”(1 Kings 19:10).
Paul continues to explain that at the time of this writing in Israel among the Jews there is still a “remnant” left. v.5 “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”
There was a remnant in Israel before Christ and there is a remnant after Christ came. This “remnant” are those who truly believe that there is One True God and Jesus is the Messiah. The beginning of the church was all believing Jews until the gospel went to the Gentiles. The remnant of Israel today are those Jews who believe by faith in God through the Messiah and are willing to obey what He asks. Sometime in the future we see the nation Israel become more religious and begin sacrifices again as they rebuild their temple. Of course God will not accept their sacrifices but a good probability it will be these religious men that become believers in the Messiah and become part of the 144,000 Jews chosen by God to evangelize in the tribulation period.
Paul then explains the difference between “grace” and “works” between the old covenant operating by works and the new covenant that operates by grace.
“Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (Romans 4:16). Because of this grace that came through the new covenant both the seed of Abraham and of Jacob are saved.
Paul teaches some of Jews were blinded –some who are religious still have that same veil over their hearts although the glory of the Law had ceased (2 Cor.2). He said that veil was still over their hearts in reading the Old Testament which VEIL IS DONE AWAY IN MESSIAH. To understand whom the Messiah is- God has to open ones eyes, ears, and especially their heart.
Isaiah 29:10: “For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.” Because of the leadership being unwilling to learn instruction and do what they were called to do they were blinded, and being blinded the sheep were not fed. As Jesus said “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. (Matt 15:14) The leadership in Israel became intentionally blind to Jesus though He did all the miracles and healing in front of them they refused to recognize who He said He was.
This is why Jesus incorporated his parabolic teachings because of their unwillingness to listen and believe.
Paul continues his Epistle describing the failure of the Jews... Romans 11:11-12: “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!”
God in His divine foreknowledge knew that Israel would fail, and incorporated the Gentiles into the covenant He made with Israel. It was to the Gentiles benefit that this occurred. Saving the Gentiles has a purpose, “… to provoke them (the Jews) to jealousy.” One of the main purposes of Gentiles being saved was to provoke Israel to become jealous, (Gr.-parazelao- para- zelos; meaning to come alongside and make one burn) so that they would someday return to the One True God who led them together as a nation. A Jew who is religious gets disturbed when a non- Jew says he knows their God and Messiah and has a relationship with him outside the Mosaic or Jewish system. Rabbis often become argumentative when one claims this.
Israel's falling would be one of the riches for the world. Prior to this Paul stated about the Jews having the law and were to be a light to the Gentiles but failed in their call. Romans 3:1-4 “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged.” But as Paul states God is faithful even when we are faithless, and Israel’s faithfulness does not disturb or change the plans and covenant God has already made.
God’s intention was for Israel to be the light of the world, but because of unbelief they forfeited their ministry as a nation, now the Church (Christian's- both Jews and Gentiles) are the light. The Gentiles reap the benefits of the election, by being able to participate in the grace of God. However there is a time when God turns his eyes toward Israel and Israel turns back to God.
In the meantime the world reaps from Israel’s lack of faith for the time being, as Paul explains: “Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness” In other words when Israel turns back it will be even more productive. So Paul makes it clear there will be a restoration that can only take place with Israel, not the church. The number of Gentiles saved will one day be completed and God will turn his favor toward Israel to complete his program. It is then that the later part of the verse “Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness” will take place as Israel as converted. The success of Gentiles being saved brings us that much closer to God’s eye being turned toward the Jews in whom He will bring about the last of his end time work.
Paul explains his ministries purpose is to teach the Gentile believers hoping to “provoke” those of his flesh (Israel) to accept Jesus for who He truly is...the Messiah. Even at this time when the apostles was specifically sent out to the non Jewish world he did not say God has forsaken them all but only diminished his outreach to them.
Paul is not speaking of physical death here, but is referring to Spiritual resurrection. So when Israel returns to her maker as is certainly incorporated in God’s plan, they will be given new life. Ephesians 2:1... “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” This was always God’s plan as it is stated in the Old Testament - Deuteronomy 32:21: “They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; they have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.” Paul quotes this verse in Rom 10:19.
This group that is called is made up of many from all nations. As Paul affirms, “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith” (Romans 9:30)
Romans 11:16: “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.” Anything that is attached to the tree receives the same sap flowing through it; life is given to all equally that are attached to the covenant. Paul’s point is that Israel who partook is holy. The tree represents the covenant, the promises and hopes of Israel (Eph. 2:12), all the blessings of God are rooted in the covenant and fed by the sap, which is the Holy Spirit, giving life to the Jews (the “natural branches”) and Gentiles alike. The first fruits can also be used in relationship with the beginning of the church. Jesus was holy, and so whatever is attached to the root would receive the same life giving sap and be holy.
The Olive Tree
Paul, speaking of the Jewish people (branches broken off) teaches those who do not have faith in the Messiah are “removed from the covenant.” God himself “broke branches off the olive tree for unbelief.” A Gentile, a wild olive branch is then grafted into Israel's Olive Tree (Salvation) and becomes a partaker with the natural branches still grafted in, not replacing them. Those Jews who have faith in the Messiah are “Jews inwardly” and are spiritually circumcised and continue to receive the life from the tree.
The olive tree is NOT the Church, the Gentiles are not the natural branches that grew from the root, they are grafted into the covenant to Israel; this was God’s plan that preceded 2,000 years. The basis of the blessing is from Abraham as the Gentiles partake of the spiritual blessings by faith
Galatians 3:14: “that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” This is the Spiritual blessing they partake of, the life giving Spirit.
The covenant of promise would be the Olive tree they are now grafted into. God made the church, an Assembly of both Jews and Gentiles, something that was unheard of in the Old Testament.
Paul firm warning to the Gentiles- “DO NOT BOAST” (be arrogant) toward the Jewish branches, however arrogant, is certainly the result of Replacement Theology. When they claim God has completely forsaken the nation and people of Israel and the church is the new Israel. Gentile believers have been grafted into the House of Israel, they are told to remember that the olive tree holds them up and NOT be arrogant against some of the “natural branches” that are temporarily severed because they can be grafted in again. It’s like biting the hand that feeds them.
The Gentiles do not become Jews, they are not called Jews- the Gentiles become spiritual converts adopting the faith. Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit never says Gentiles are Jews but continues to keep them separate. There are not two Israel’s, but this would have to be the conclusion if one claims the church is Israel who are cut off from the olive tree.
If the Gentiles are now the Jews then Paul could not state in Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Notice that he makes the distinction of two groups, the Jews who were religious and the Greeks that represented the Gentiles. But there is more to this, Paul is stating the gospel is to go to those who rejected the Messiah first (also referred to in Romans 11:13-14). There is Israel the nation and those who are the elect of Israel that believe, they are the Israel of God
If God was willing to “cut off” Israel because of a lack of faith, what makes you think that He would not cut you off? Paul says to fear, in other words, respect what God has said and do not change it. Psalm 25:14: The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.” If you do not believe what God has said about his people and his covenant you have no fear.
The “new covenant” was actually made to the house of Israel and Judah without conditions (Jeremiah 31:31).
The new covenant is found in Isaiah 59:21; 61:8-9; Jeremiah 32:40; Ezekiel 16:60, 34:25-32; it includes both houses of Israel. It promises the eventual regeneration of the whole nation (Jeremiah 31:34; Isaiah 61:9). Isaiah 10:20-23 qualifies by explaining that only the remnant of Israel will be saved.
It is the Gentiles that are grafted into the covenant made with Israel, not the reverse. If this is made to Israel then Israel cannot be replaced because she is the root. God has been actively keeping his promise to Israel throughout history. It is for this reason they still exist. If they existed then they must exist today for the promises to be fulfilled. If we say Israel is finished then we can have no confidence as unnatural branches grafted in. How could a Gentile trust God if He has not kept his promise to Israel? They would have no confidence for him to keep the promise to them either.
Furthermore they would have nothing to be grafted into because the covenant is made to Israel. The Gentiles could not be saved today if Israel as a people no longer exist or are no longer relevant. If God cast Israel off then Paul and the apostles could not have been saved.
This is pretty plain language. Don't be a broken branch! Broken branches DO NOT receive food to maintain its life and dries up, and the same could happen to anyone who boasts of their salvation and puts down Israel. It is God who deals with Israel as a nation and people as he did in the past.
Notice he says Israel is to be grafted in when they believe, he is speaking of a nation as a whole not as individuals since he as an individual was already grafted in. Paul continues to state plainly just as they being cut off resulted in goodness toward the Gentiles the same can take place to the Gentiles who do not continue in faith, they will be grafted in again. Those who do not continue in faith and receive from the covenant you will be cut off, but if they (Israel) DO believe they will be grafted.
It was God who did the cultivating of the tree; it is God's responsibility to do the grafting. Otherwise, we would place the wrong branch on the wrong tree. The unnatural or Wild Olive Branches represent the believing Gentiles who are grafted into the tree of which Israel.
Both types of branches partake of the ONE Olive Tree! There is only one Israel. The wild Olive branches (believing Gentiles) have been grafted in through faith in the Messiah (Ephesians 2:13), so that they are now included in the commonwealth of Israel. But they are NOT, as Replacement Theology teaches, a “New Israel” that replaces the “Old Israel,” that God has forsaken. The two branches consisting of believing Jews and Gentiles do not make a “new tree, (a new Israel) for it is the same tree that existed since Abraham. The “cut off” or unfaithful branches are still identified as Israel. God has miraculously preserved them throughout history, as detached branches they are able to be grafted back in by faith.
A “mystery” is something that has not yet been revealed. This mystery has by the apostles and Paul does not want the church to be ignorant of it. Paul states that Israel would NOT come unto their fullness until first comes the fullness (completion) of the Gentiles. Israel will NOT come back to faith in God as nation until that last Gentile, somewhere in the world, is saved. This does not mean there will be a mass conversion of The Gentiles. When the times of the Gentile is over, then the blindness to Israel is lifted as God turns his favor toward them once more and will graft them in to the Olive tree.
As far as the church being in the Old Testament No Old Testament prophet spoke about the church
Notice obedience of faith to all nations, not just Israel and it is through Jesus Christ’s new covenant that this would be done- the Gospel.
What was made known? That both Jews and Gentiles would be of one body (assembly), the Church.
This is a clear refutation that the church that includes the fellowship of both Jew and Gentile together by the Holy Spirit existed in the Old Testament. However it was God’s plan executed at the right time.
Matthew 28:19 has this command to: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” which means gentiles. Before Jesus ascended his last words were a promise of power so that “you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). It began in Jerusalem and was to go out to the Gentiles. But what began in Jerusalem will end there in Jerusalem.
Paul taught the gospel is to the Jew first but he never said only to the Jew for he said he was commissioned by Christ to go to the Gentiles.
Paul summarizes his teaching stating that Israel will fully be restored thus making it clear that she was never fully hardened. The blindness is temporary and only in part. It was for a certain period of time that would end when the fullness of the Gentiles comes in. Once the completed number is grafted into the Olive tree then God will turn toward Israel the nation, not just as individuals. God is the covenant keeper, and the covenant made with Abraham is unconditional, it is not dependent on Abraham or any of his descendents.
Notice he qualifies whom Israel (that is to be saved), he makes the point of mentioning Jacob, which completes the line of posterity from Abraham, that which makes someone a Jew. He also names the place where the Messiah will save – ZION. The Holy City. For this to be fulfilled the Jews must in the land of Israel.
It is in that time (tribulation) those who survive will all be saved (Isaiah 59:20-21, 27:9). Zech 13:8-9 gives us details of this as does Isaiah 10:20-23. One third of Israel survives and this remnant believe.
The fact that Jews have continued to come to faith throughout the centuries and more so in the last 25 years proves this hardening was not total. In fact we know that Israel still exists and that God is still in covenant with them because of the apostles whose outreach was specifically to the their Jewish Brethren who made statements like, “James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (James 1:1). “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia,Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1). Both are writing to the Jewish membership of the church, the remnant of Israel. Revelation chapter seven it tells us that still in the future 144,000 Israelites are sealed from twelve tribes to do mission work that will be of greater proportion than any of the Jews in history.
God reaffirms his promise that is the covenant with Israel he made in Jeremiah 31:31.
Paul explains in the meantime Israel is our “enemy” for not accepting the Gospel, by their rejection of the Messiah...but through the original election they are loved. God's election and His pouring out of spiritual gifts fall under “grace”, it is free and the result of the new covenant. The Calling of God was on Israel and although it is not taking place it will in the future as Israel’s role increases. What God has promised will come to pass, not man or the Devils kingdom will stop it. So what he had promised in the past to the nation Israel will happen, therefore he never rejected the Jewish nation.
Romans 11:30-32: “For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. “For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.”
Paul reminds us that we all still remain in a “crippled” state, and that it is ONLY through God's grace that we are saved. Israel has yet to receive that grace through faith, but we are to show God's mercy in us, so that they may obtain God's mercy from Him personally. There was then, and is still now, a “remnant” in Israel. Jews who become believers in the Messiah do not lose their Jewishness and Gentiles who become believers do not become Jews.
In these last verses of the chapter Paul summarizes and completes his treatise on Israel, the Olive tree and the Gentiles by giving praise to the Wisdom of God's Divine Purpose. We can NEVER fully understand God's plans, or purposes this side of heaven. In other words we cannot delve to far into the why’s and how’s of the broken branches and the unnatural ones grafted in. All we can do is accept what God has said and praise him for his work now and what will take place in the future. We only know what God has revealed and he has made it clear that Israel is still going to be saved. The perpetuity of his church in general is guaranteed so is Israel his people.
The restoration of Israel is so plainly seen in the Scriptures which declare both their scattering from and regathering into the land. You cannot believe the Scripture without applying the same literal interpretation to all the apostle wrote. This same chapter refutes the replacement teaching; God has not cut off His people--- there is a remnant of Israel (vv. 1-6) even at this present time (the apostle Paul himself was one of them).
Who are we to question God's ways? We should be careful not to oppose what God has promised throughout his word!