Note: 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 paramount 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 that must occur between Jew and Gentile members of the family of God, so that His end-time plan can be realized through us. We call this The Reconnection, where both groups are intricately linked and greatly in need of one another, yet presently, the family of God is quite 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 is to help bring the body of Messiah/Christ into a greater unity and depth of understanding of this mystery; not through a Gentile or Jewish lens, but rather through our Father's eyes and heart, who longs for His family to be one and to be united into His end-time purposes and plans—in order for us to be mobilized us into the fray (John 17:23).
If you haven't read part 1 of this article, which lays the foundation for a better understanding of Romans 11, please click here.
Romans 11 Continued
So, what is the first thing that the apostle Paul writes to us in Romans 11 about the people of Israel? He asks us a question. In fact in the first 11 verses he actually asks three questions and all of them refer to the fate, path and outcome of the Jewish people—each with a different consequence. The first relates to the part of Israel who believe in Yeshua, the second to those who do not and the blindness that is upon them, and the third speaks of the balance of Israel that is to be restored towards or near the end, who are still veiled.
Except with his third question and response, he uses the rest of the chapter to explain this complexity to the church (those who rejected and are still blinded), and God's redemptive heart and position toward His first-born children, who will ultimately be restored. Indeed I believe that everything he has written and explained to us thus far in these three vital chapters (9-11) of Romans concerning Israel and the church, is so that we may fully grasp and comprehend this mystery that surrounds Israel's spiritual restoration towards the end, as well as our most significant role to help in this process.
This is highly significant to us during these days that we gain a fresh understanding of these verses. For there are many of us in the church who have over spiritualized these Scriptures now believing that the Israel of God is found solely in the church. Actually downgrading Israel's role to that of any other nation or people, while Paul makes clear to us that they are a covenant people (verse 27), and that their call and gifts are irrevocable (verse 29), which is not only crucial to our understanding, but also to our eschatology.
With all due respect, I believe this theology to be incorrect, because the bride is not complete and ready until physical Israel is properly restored to the family of God, which is very different from what is mostly taught today in the church. For Israel is the missing piece of the puzzle, not only with the re-establishment of the Jewish branches with the current remnant of Jewish believers, but also with Israel's final spiritual awakening, which comes with the final harvest of souls toward the end of the age (Romans 11:25-27).
In fact, I believe that our reconnection to our Jewish roots is the final act of restoration for the church, which not only prepares us for His coming to establish a Messianic kingdom upon the earth, but also to aid in the balance of Israel's salvation. What an honor! For did not Jesus tell us that the first would be last and did He not tell them that you will not see me again until you say, "Baruch Haba B'Shem Adonai – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" (Matthew 23:39). In other words, it is not until they are spiritually awakened that they will be able to make such a comment.
So, let's take a look at these questions and responses and the three paths of the Jewish people with their ultimate journey to faith.
Path No. 1 and the First Question – the Remnant
"Did God reject His people? By no means!.... So too at this present time there is a remnant chosen by grace." Here, Paul addresses the first issue that relates to the Jewish remnant who believes in Yeshua. Through Elijah's experience with Israel's apostasy who thought he was the only one left who believed, Paul explains to us from the time of Jesus to this present day there would be a remnant of Jewish people who would believe.
Indeed, Jewish believers founded the church and they took the gospel out to the nations, so the rest of God's family could be grafted into the faith. And over the first century there were a decent number of Jewish people who actually believed. These Scriptures have also applied to a remnant of Jewish believers coming to faith over the centuries up until this modern day and from the time of Yeshua/Jesus to now, there have always been a small remnant of Jewish believers coming to faith.
Path No. 2 and the Second Question – Those Veiled
"What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written: 'God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.'"
Much can be said about this explanation, especially regarding our understanding of the timing of Israel's hardening. Did it come upon them, because they rejected Yeshua, or was it already on them before Messiah/Christ came? In my 2nd book The Ezekiel Generation, I dedicated a whole chapter to this subject, in our understanding of the different veils upon mankind (Chapter 8), and how they actually came about. I would encourage you to read it.
While we can trace the explanation to this hardening of Israel to the Torah (five books of Moses) in the book of Deuteronomy (29:4), we are also aware that all humankind's hearts are veiled to God as a result of sin, which naturally hardens. However, it is not until Israel and Judah totally abandoned God to their idols that the Lord commands Isaiah to proclaim a blindness and deafness upon them, which has remained to this day (Isaiah 6:9,10). And it is to this Scripture that I believe the apostle Paul is referring to here. Regardless, those of Israel whose eyes were not opened remained under this curse, up UNTIL the appointed time when this veil will be removed (verses 25-26).
Path No. 3 and the Third Question – Israel Restored
"Again I ask: Did they stumble beyond recovery? Not at all!"
Again Paul questions us, however this time it relates solely to those Jewish people who have still not believed and remain under the veil. Please note however, that they are still referred to as Israel in this text (verse 11).
Did they stumble beyond recovery? Not at all! And Paul makes clear to us that there is a future redemption for Israel that is still to come. For what else can these Scriptures refer to? And one must ask the question as to why the church fathers did not see this when Scripture is so clear concerning Israel's ultimate restoration. Paul writes ... "How much greater riches will their fullness bring! ... For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? ... And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. ... After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! ... I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening IN PART UNTIL the full number of Gentiles has come in, and IN THIS WAY all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11:11-27).
Unequivocally, the veil and hardening over Israel will be lifted. If we are willing to accept it, it is already begun through the Messianic Movement and the many thousands of Jewish believers who are now coming to faith during these days. Please note here that since Israel took back possession of Jerusalem in 1967, more Jewish souls have come to Messiah than in the last 1900 years put together.
This is the first part of this mystery to be revealed and according to Scripture there will be a mass awakening of Israel of a final remnant—a turning to the Lord with a great repentance (Zechariah 12:10). But will this happen between God and Israel alone, or is His church the catalyst to help bring this about? To be continued ...
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.