As we quickly approach the last days before Yeshua/Jesus returns, the mystery to awaken and restore Israel into the family in the One New Man, becomes tantamount in God's glory plan to establish His kingdom upon the Earth.
In this light, the Holy Spirit is shifting His focus onto a very necessary spiritual restoration in God's family between Jew and Gentile, in order that His end-time plans may actually come about through us. I call this The Reconnection, and the truth is that both groups are intricately linked together into these plans and are actually in great need of one another. Yet presently, the family of God is divided and separate.
As a result, I am beginning a new series called "What Is the One New Man?" In these articles we will explore and re-examine the pertinent Scriptures on the One New Man, as well as issues relating to Israel and the church, and we will interview leaders from both sides of the family to gain a better understanding. However, the main goal here is to help bring the body of Messiah/Christ into a greater unity and depth of understanding of this mystery; not to necessarily see it anymore from either a Gentile or Jewish lens, but rather through the heart of the Father who longs for His family to be one; to be united into His end-time purposes and plans; and to mobilize us into the Frey (John 17:23).
ROMANS 11 – PART 1
To gain a full understanding of Romans 11, we must first read chapters 9-10, which lay a firm foundation for the apostle Paul's prophetic outline between Israel and the church, which also greatly relates to the end times. Romans 11 does not refer to Jewish believers per se, but rather to the rest of Israel (the Jewish people) who are still broken off due to a rejection of the gospel and, as a result, how the Gentiles in the church should relate to them.
Chapters 9-10 speak to us about God's election of promise and mercy for both Jew and Gentile. It is actually through Isaac that our offspring will be reckoned, that when it comes to the acceptance of the gospel, there is no difference between us. Both Jew and Gentile need to accept Yeshua/Jesus through faith, (the Isaac of God), to become children of the promise.
He reached out not only to those from Israel who came through the law, but to all of His children He was to call from the Nations, which God initiated shortly after the cross and resurrection through His Jewish apostles. It was always God's plan to reach out to gather His other children (John 10:16), and Paul quotes Hosea here to confirm God's calling to the Gentiles (Rom. 9:25).
However, this was a major challenge and stumbling block for Israel to accept, because of the law that they were given from God. Because they had learned to pursue it through works and not by faith, to attain a law of righteousness that had little room for the mercy of God, which was to be found in His only begotten Son, who was at the end of the law for all who believed. "Look! I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes in Him will not be ashamed" (Rom. 9:33).
The apostle Paul makes the sovereignty of God clear to us in these chapters: "Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" (9:20) In other words, who are we to question God in the scheme of things? But the religious leaders could not accept this and then led most of Israel astray. God had moved on from the old system of the law, which brought sin into account, into the New Covenant in which His law would be circumcised into our hearts through His Holy Spirit, where we would all know God for ourselves (Jer. 31:31-34).
Any of the Jewish people who accepted Yeshua/Jesus at this time, of whom there were many, helped to establish the new community of believers the world now calls the church. For all believers were now welcome into the kingdom of God, both Jew and Gentile alike. The playing field concerning its entrance had now been leveled. However, this did not wipe out Israel's heritage and covenants, of which believing Gentiles were now associated to through faith. Yeshua/Jesus transferred Israel's authority to the apostles, away from the Levitical priesthood and they took the gospel out to the nations so that all of the other children in the family could be grafted into Israel's covenants and promises. This is our destiny and God's ultimate plan to unite us and make us one.
This can be extremely confusing to us today, some 1,600 years later, in light of the fact that physical Israel is still broken off spiritually, and because the church severed its Jewish roots and heritage through the Roman assimilation (fourth century), establishing Christianity as a separate and distinct religion.
In so doing, the church disconnected itself from the very body it was grafted into in order to represent, and something huge was lost, fully replacing Israel with the church. In reality, according to Scripture, belief in Yeshua/Jesus became the only true and proper extension of Judaism and those of us who now believe in Him from the nations also belong to Israel, because we are grafted into their covenants and promises, and are now supposed to represent her as its commonwealth (Eph. 2:11-22). But we do not replace the natural branch, as ultimately Israel still needs to be grafted in to complete the bride and family of God, which Paul fully outlines in Romans 11 when he addresses their restoration.
Perhaps the apostle Paul had insight from the Holy Spirit as to how the church would turn against the Jews, that he writes this chapter specifically to the Gentile side of the family, "I am talking to you Gentiles" (verse 13). For while Paul made it clear to us about the entrance into the kingdom being the same for both groups and explaining how unbelieving Israel was now broken off, he never lost sight or desire for them to be grafted back in again. In fact, Paul goes as far as to say that he would be personally cut off and even cursed for the sake of his own brethren (Rom. 9:3). Can you imagine this with your own salvation?
However, now that he has imparted this background and laid this foundation, he is able to explain better the path of Israel and how we should relate to them, which he outlines in Romans 11. Please understand, as a Jew, no one had to tell Paul or give him a heart for his own people, as this was just natural for him. Even to suffer at their hands, their stonings and the like, especially with all of the revelation he had received from God concerning Israel, their rejection and their awakening.
But to the Gentiles, now coming into the faith and who were not blood brethren, he penned an outline of instruction from the Father in how to position themselves toward the firstborn in the faith, despite their current rejection, which we will address more fully in part two of this article. In addition, he makes it very clear that God has not forsaken Israel; that they can be grafted in again and he paints a prophetic picture of their future gathering and spiritual reconnection.
Tune in Wednesday for part two of this article.
Grant Berry is a Jewish believer in Yeshua/Jesus and author of The New Covenant Prophecy and The Ezekiel Generation. He has founded Reconnecting Ministries with the specific focus to help the church reconnect spiritually to Israel and considers it vital to the kingdom of God in the last days. His website is reconnectingministries.org.