The Apostle Paul spoke about God’s promises to Israel in Romans chapter nine. He said:
“For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ [Yeshua] for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen” (Romans 9:3-5, NIV).[i]
Before we discuss the grafting into Israel of the Gentiles nations, we need to acknowledge God’s blessings and promises for Israel that we just read about in Romans. And we need to understand Israel’s symbiotic relationship with the Gentile nations, and how God is sharing their covenant promises with them.
Romans chapter nine gives us a summary. And we see that all of God’s promises, as Paul said, were for “[his] countrymen according to the flesh, whom he called Israelites.” There is not one single promise given for any other nation or people group on the face of the earth that does not somehow involve Israel.
Paul further articulates, “at that time you [Gentiles] were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). This alienation left the Gentiles without any hope for eternal life and salvation, and relationship with the God of Israel. Yeshua Himself said, “…salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).
Let us break down Romans chapter nine into the various aspects of God’s promises for the Jewish people. First, we see the promise of adoption. This promise is God’s assurance that He would draw Israel unto Himself and be their Father. The Lord said: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you” (Jeremiah 31:3). “For I am a Father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn” (Jeremiah 31:9).
Just as Adam and Eve were orphaned from God through their rebellion, now, all who are in Christ are given the Father’s Spirit of adoption.[ii] It is written, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6). God’s Spirit of adoption was promised to the sons of Israel.
Next, we see the promise of God’s glory. It is written, “I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory” (Isaiah 46:13). God’s glory was promised to the sons Israel.
Paul then mentions the covenants. I believe scripture speaks plainly for itself in this regard. Every covenant from Abraham forward was for and with the nation of Israel. Most importantly, it was the New Covenant that Yeshua made with His Jewish disciples. It is written, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Jeremiah 31:31). God’s covenants were given to the sons of Israel.
Next is the giving of the Law. There is much controversy on this subject regarding the Gentiles, and we address these issues in other teachings. Let me affirm that salvation is by grace through faith in Yeshua alone, and not in any works of the Law.[iii]
We need to understand that while the contractual terms of the Old Covenant—which contained blessings and curses—have been annulled by the New Covenant, God’s eternal Law cannot be invalidated by Israel’s failure to fulfill their end of the contract.[iv] Let me explain.
A covenant is similar to a legally binding contract. Under the old contract, when Israel failed to obey the Law, they were judged according to the Law.[v] But under the new deal, if anyone fails to follow the Law, there is grace. And Yeshua did not come to abolish the Law. It says He came to fulfill it.[vi] And since Yeshua fulfilled the Law perfectly, all who believe in His atoning works on the cross, both Jew and Gentile, now come under God’s grace.[vii] However, grace does not give us a license to sin.[viii]
In the giving of the New Covenant, God promised that He would write His Law on our hearts.[ix] Yeshua said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).
When Yeshua returns to Jerusalem to establish His Messianic kingdom, He will also restore the Temple and the Levitical priesthood. Israel will keep His Law, His appointed feasts, and His Sabbaths.[x]
Israel will also instruct the nations on how to walk in God’s Law. It is written, “Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).
Paul said, “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” (Romans 3:1-2). The Law of God is and remains for the sons of Israel.
Paul then mentions the service of God, which is the priesthood. The Lord had promised that Israel would be to Him a kingdom of priests.[xi] However, because of their rebellion, the Lord chose Aaron and his sons to hold this seat until Yeshua would come. Yeshua is called Melchizedek, which translates “King of righteousness.”
Now, all who are in Christ are priests and ministers unto the Lord. It is written, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). God promised His priesthood to the sons of Israel.
And, lastly, we see the promises. It is written, “In your seed [Abraham] all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:18). This verse speaks to the Messiah.
But the Lord also promised to bless the nations through Abraham’s descendants, Israel. The Lord said: “I will make you a great nation [which is Israel]… I will bless those who bless you [Israel], And I will curse him who curses you [Israel]; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3).
The Prophet Isaiah spoke this about Israel: “Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, And [Israel shall] fill the face of the world with fruit” (Isaiah 27:6). God promised His blessings to Israel. And He promised to make Israel a blessing to every nation on earth.
By now, you must be thinking this teaching is all about Israel. It is not. This teaching is about Yeshua and His earthly kingdom, which includes all the nations. As it is written, “God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name” (Acts 15:14).
But how do the gentiles become recipients of the promises that were for Israel?
Well, the same way that an Israelite receives them. They must believe and accept Yeshua as their Lord and Savior, and they must be “born again” of the Spirit of God.[xii]
Now in Christ, we are adopted children of God, and we are called the descendants of Abraham and the seed of Isaac.[xiii] There is no distinction [spiritually] between Jew and Gentile, for we are spiritually one in Him.[xiv]
Peter said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” (Acts 10:34-35). And Paul said: “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).
When the Gentiles accept Christ, they are immediately grafted into Israel. Paul uses the analogy of a cultivated Olive tree, into which wild Olive trees were grafted. He says, “If some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree” (Romans 11:17).
Paul tells us that some of the natural branches—who are Israelites—have been removed from God’s kingdom because of their unbelief. Yeshua said: “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:11-12).
Paul says that the Gentiles, being wild Olive trees have been grafted in amongst them, which means they have been grafted in amongst the Israelites who are in Christ. And he says this is contrary to nature
So, what does the grafting of real Olive therefore imply? Simply, grafting brings two types of trees together as one species. Wild olive trees are known for having bitter-tasting fruit with large stony pits. While cultivated olive trees, on the other hand, produce fleshy, juicy, and pleasant-tasting fruit with smaller pits.[xv]
But there is another advantage. “In the olive oil industry, grafting extracts the hardy roots of one variety with the fecundity [fertility] of another variety. The whole point of grafting is that each part of the grafted tree keeps its original character.”
“[For example] the variety used for the rootstock may be resistant to fungus or other pests. The [grafted tree, on the other hand] may have weak roots but large fruit with high oil content. The resulting tree has the best of both varieties.”[xvi]
Wow! Could this have been God’s plan all along? That He would graft the nations into Israel—which is the root[xvii]— to create for Himself one people who would yield the best fruit by utilizing the spiritual gifts and the highest qualities He has given each nationality? I believe so.
In the second part of the version in Romans, notice Paul’s use of the word “partaker,” which means to share or participate along with others.[xviii] So, the nations get to share and participate in Israel’s promises and blessings by being grafted in amongst them.
These promises include:
- The adoption as sons of God,
- The glory of God,
- All of the covenants,
- The giving of the law and the oracles of God,
- The service of God which includes the feasts of the Lord and the Sabbath,
- And, the promise of resurrection and eternal life in Yeshua.
The Prophet Isaiah foretold this when he said:
“The sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants—Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And holds fast My covenant—Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:6-7).
Paul said: “Your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). If you are hidden in Yeshua, then you will be revealed in Israel because Yeshua, Himself, is an Israelite.[xix] You cannot be in the presence of Yeshua and not be in the mists of His people, Israel. God and His people are one.
That was Yeshua’s significant prayer to His Heavenly Father that we read about in John chapter seventeen. To become “one new man” in Yeshua,[xx] you must also become one with His people, Israel. Together, Jew and gentile—formerly called Gentiles in the flesh—are now called “the Israel of God.”[xxi] Formerly because, “You are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).
Together, we are called to provoke unsaved Israel to jealousy,[xxii] and together we will fulfill God’s call to restore Israel. Israel is the place of His inheritance, which now in Yeshua, encompasses all the nations.[xxiii]
The Lord declared: “When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance” (Deuteronomy 32:8-9). The inheritance of the nations, and therefore, the church, is intricately connected with Israel.
Dear brothers and sisters. As one new man in Christ, Jew and Gentile grafted together, let us advance the Kingdom of God by provoking Israel to jealousy. And let us share the great news with all who are perishing, making disciples of all nations,[xxiv] “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
[i] All Scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version Bible (NIV) unless otherwise noted, Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982.[ii] John 14:6.[iii] Ephesians 2:8.[iv] Revelation 13:8.[v] Romans 2:12.[vi] Matthew 5:17.[vii] John 1:17, Galatians 5:4.[viii] Romans 6:1.[ix] Jeremiah 31:33.[x] Ezekiel 43:11, 44:5, 44:24.[xi] Exodus 19:6.[xii] John 3:3.[xiii] Romans 9:7.[xiv] Romans 10:12.[xv] Metcalfe, Dan. Wild Olive Trees and Good Olive Branches. AskaBiologist.org.[xvi] What if you grafted a wild olive branch onto a cultivated olive tree? OliveOliSource.com.[xvii] Romans 11:18.[xviii] Dictionary.com.[xix] Deuteronomy 18:15.[xx] Ephesians 2:15.[xxi] Galatians 6:16.[xxii] Romans 11:11.[xxiii] Psalm 2:8.[xxiv] Matthew 28:19.
Republished with permission from Blogs.crossmap.com, featuring inspiring Bible verses about Grafted Into Israel — House of David Ministries.