THE REMNANT, AND “THE GRAFTED IN,” 30.04.18
Romans chapter 11
Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.
Beth Tikkun Messianic Fellowship, Dr. Jeff Johnson, founder, https://bethtikkun.com/audio/romans/
Questions regarding whether the Jews have been deleted from God’s covenant, and replaced by the “church,” should easily be dispelled by even a quick look at Romans 11.
Paul offers himself as living proof that Yahweh’s covenant with the Jews has not been cancelled, when he says “I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He knew beforehand” (Rom.11:1,2). He is pointing out that, if God has rejected the Jewish people, why am I here? Why would he have become not only a believer in Messiah, but a teacher, and evangelist for the Gospel of Yeshua, a writer of more than half the NT?
“For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return” (Isa.10:22). “Though the number of B’nei-Israel be as the sand of the sea, only the remnant shall be saved” (Rom.9:27). “So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring/the remnant—those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Yeshua” (Rev.12:17). Throughout Scripture, in both *Tanakh and NT, we hear about the Jewish remnant that will be saved. Translated from Hebrew, Remnant means survivors (Gen.7:23 – Noah and his family were the remnant who survived the flood). “So in the same way also at this present time there has come to be a remnant according to God’s gracious choice” (Rom.11:5). There has always been salvation by grace (Beth Tikkun, https://bethtikkun.com/audio/romans/ ); and by God’s grace the Jewish remnant will be brought into the Kingdom. “There’s an undercurrent of Jewish people coming to believe in Messiah, in a very quiet way, but it is happening,” (Beth Tikkun, https://bethtikkun.com/audio/romans/ ). The remnant is presently being assembled.
“What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained; but the elect obtained it, and the rest were hardened— just as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes not to see and ears not to hear, until this very day” (Rom.11:7,8; Ps.69:24). Israel was seeking righteousness, but they were seeking it in the wrong way. It can only come by allowing HIS righteousness to come into our lives, not by anything we do, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves—it is the gift of God” (Eph.2:8). Salvation by grace has always been available to mankind, for to Abraham “it was credited to him as righteousness” (Rom.4:22) because he believed that Yahweh was able to do as He’d said He would.
“I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their false step salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke Israel to jealousy” (Rom.11:11). Yahweh’s never-ending forgiveness, upon our repentance, explains what Paul is saying. God is never taken aback by our sinful behaviour; so even though Israel sinned greatly, this stumbling would not necessitate an irreversible fall. “Now if their transgression leads to riches for the world, and their loss riches for the Gentiles, then how much more their fullness!” (Rom.11:12). If what Gentile believers have/do becomes enviable to the Jews, and to the rest of the world, then what the Jews rejected blesses the Gentiles, and ultimately leads them back to Messiah. What makes them most jealous is when they see Gentile believers following and embracing Torah. Paul says it therefore magnifies his ministry (Rom.11:13) because God is using him to bring Gentiles to Messiah.
“if somehow I might provoke to jealousy my own flesh and blood and save some of them. For if their rejection leads to the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” (Rom.11:14,15). “This is not God rejecting the Jews, this is His people rejecting Messiah,” instructs Beth Tikkun Messianic (https://bethtikkun.com/audio/romans/ ). “They were broken off for their unbelief;” and this means that anyone else who rejects Yeshua will also be broken off.
Gentile believers are a wild olive tree – “But if some of the branches were broken off and you—being a wild olive—were grafted in among them and became a partaker of the root of the olive tree with its richness,” (Rom.11:17). Beth Tikkun Messianic Instructor explains that “We were taken from a worldly olive tree; whereas Israel was taken from a cultivated olive tree. And then the branch from the wild olive tree was grafted into the cultivated olive tree. It is unnatural, but God did it by His Grace.” Paul says: “do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, it is not you who support the root but the root supports you” (Rom.11:18). “It takes time for a grafted branch to adhere” instructs Beth Tikkun Messianic Ministry, “but as time passes you cannot tell the difference between the original olive tree branch and the grafted-in branch . . . . Grafting the branch into the roots produces a healthier tree . . .”
The barrier between Jew and Gentile has been destroyed by the Blood of Yeshua. The vision and message from Cornelius (Acts 10:9-34)is about clean/unclean in terms of people who are believers, and has nothing to do with food. Gentiles who believe and follow (the ministry of reconciliation) are no longer considered unclean. “The Cross didn’t bridge the gap; through the Cross, the bridge is removed,” (Beth Tikkun Messianic). “Notice then the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell; but God’s kindness toward you, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off! And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again” (Rom.11:22-24). Even though most of the Jewish population has rejected Yeshua as Messiah, in other words, upon their confession of belief, and repentance for having rejected Him, they (Jews who rejected Yeshua) will be grafted in just as Gentiles being grafted in. And Paul is saying, why wouldn’t they be, “For if you were cut out of that which by nature is a wild olive tree, and grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?” (Rom.11:24).
14 For He is our shalom, the One who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation. Within His flesh He made powerless the hostility— 15 the law code of mitzvot contained in regulations. He did this in order to create within Himself one new man from the two groups, making shalom, 16 and to reconcile both to God in one body through the cross—by which He put the hostility to death. 17 And He came and proclaimed shalom to you who were far away and shalom to those who were near — 18 for through Him we both have access to the Father by the same Ruach. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.
Main points summarized from these previous passages are:
- We are a wild olive branch, from a wild olive tree, taken from the field, (equivalent to the world), in Scriptures, while Israel was a cultivated olive tree; they were planted, nurtured, fed, protected. A branch was taken from them, from unbelief, and grafted into them.
- It is uncomfortable to the ones grafted in because it is unnatural – i.e., grafted into a tree foreign to us. Any graft takes time. When you graft two branches together, in time you will not be able to identify the seam.
- “Scion” is the name for the branch that is grafted in. Grafting the branch into a new root is good for the branch. It does nothing for the root. For the sake of the Gentiles, God chose to graft them into the cultivated olive tree.
- Eph. 2 explains the wild olive tree as “excluded, strangers, having no hope, in the field (world)” – that’s who the Gentiles were. “But now in Messiah Yeshua, you who once were excluded/far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah” (Eph.2:13).
- The dividing wall (Eph.2:14) was there to keep the Gentiles out, not to keep the Jews out; however, Gentiles were grafted in through the cross (Eph.2:16). Now we are part of the Commonwealth of Messiah.
- “The enmity/hostility was put to death, not the Torah . . . and Israel is what is being referred to as the saints (Eph.2:16-19) . . . reference to apostles is intending the *Tanakh prophets, (Apostle = sent one, the prophets in OT), not only the NT apostles” (Beth Tikkun Messianic teaching). The Gentiles are fellow heirs of whatever applies to Israel. “Everything Israel has we are grafted into; Israel has not been grafted into us.”
“They were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but fear— for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you” (Rom.11:20,21). The same thing can happen to us.
“For I do not want you, brothers and sisters, to be ignorant of this mystery—lest you be wise in your own eyes—that a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom.11:25). He is saying that we must know this, in order to not make the same mistakes (idolatry, unbelief, disobedience) that the broken branch committed. “Concerning the Good News, they are hostile for your sake; but concerning chosenness, they are loved on account of the fathers — for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom.11:28,29). God’s covenants with the fathers of the faith (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) are irrevocable; He will not change His plan, or break His covenant, even though successive generations have been unfaithful. “For just as you once were disobedient to God but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, in like manner these also have now been disobedient with the result that, because of the mercy shown to you, they also may receive mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience, so that He might show mercy to all” (Rom.11:30-32).
“Satisfy your questions by standing in awe of Him” is Beth Tikkun Messianic’s way of answering questions on this difficult set of passages, for it is impossible to fully comprehend the Father’s rationale: “His thoughts are higher than our thoughts; His ways are higher . . . .” (Isa.55:8,9). My personal interpretation is this: He has basically reduced all to the same level, since all have been disobedient at some level/time, so that everyone is on a level playing field. By His own sovereign will He may dispense mercy at His discretion, to whomever He selects. None are exempt; to no one is He owing. This is part of God’s sovereign Justice System.
There has never been a question in Yahweh’s eyes as to His plan for His people. His plan to bless and to save a remnant has never been altered; and His will will be done in His time.
*Tanakh – the Jewish scriptures which consist of three divisions–the Torah and the Prophets and the Writings. Hebrew Scripture, Tanach. Laws, Pentateuch, Torah – the first of three divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures comprising the first five books of the Hebrew Bible considered as a unit.
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