June 30th, 2016

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In Part I, we learned that according to the Bible, “Israel” can mean: a) the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–the Jewish people  b) the Jewish nation in its Land, and c) the Remnant of believers in Yeshua—Jew & Gentile together.

The Olive Tree metaphor of Romans 11 demands that Christians see themselves as “grafted in” (covenantally connected) to Israel in a way that reflects the fullness of all 3 dimensions of Biblical Israel.  This is God’s formula for bringing about the “fullness of the gentiles/nations,” “all Israel being saved,” and the 2nd Coming of Yeshua. (Rom 11:25-26)

Before we study what this full “grafting in” might look like in our day, I want to look at how Christians have been connecting to Israel in ways that are good, but stop short of the fullness that we are seeking.

1) A+B, without C – Connecting with Israel or the Jewish people OUTSIDE of Gospel faith

Over the last several generations, many Christians have discerned in Israel the fulfillment of the many Biblical prophecies concerning the ingathering of the Jewish people and the restoration of our nation.  After centuries of mis-treatment of the Jews, Christians have accepted the Biblical mandate to lovingly “provoke” unbelieving Israel “to jealousy” (Rom 11:12).  Many lead tours to the Land, visit the IDF, meet with politicians, rabbis, etc.; others have donated finances or planted trees to help the nation; and many take a strong pro-Israel political stance.  These are all good, but can totally miss “C”–the Israel that is the Israel of faith–the spiritual remnant of Israeli believers in Yeshua.

Romans 9:6 and 11:17-18 tell us that not all of Israel is fully Israel. If one’s primary mode of connecting, of grafting into the Olive Tree, is through the unsaved Jewish majority, then one is essentially grafting to branches which are (at least at this stage) cut off from the tree! That’s not a good formula for “partaking with them of the rich root of the olive tree!!”  It’s impossible to take blessing and nourishment from the root if your grafting into branches that aren’t even connected to the tree!  This error was quite forgivable a generation ago, when the believing remnant in Israel was so tiny as to be practically invisible, but today the Jewish nation is experiencing a spiritual restoration and a growing, maturing remnant of the faithful in Yeshua.  It’s time for the fullness of the Olive Tree grafting relationship!

2) Jewish/Hebrew “roots” Torah teaching
Today, there is much popular teaching about the “Jewish roots” of the faith.  Learning about the Hebraic background of the Scriptures, Jewish culture, the Feasts, etc. can be beneficial–as long as it does not come with a promise to find through their observance spiritual benefits that we already have in Messiah.  But connecting with the laws and culture of a people is different from actually connecting with them in a relational way.  Think of it like this: eating out regularly at a sushi restaurant may help you to appreciate Japanese food, but it may not help you actually connect with the reality that is Japan.  Of course, an appreciation of the national cuisine, or studying the language and history of Japan, can help foster deeper relationship with Japanese people—but it shouldn’t be mistaken for the relationship itself!

The Olive Tree of Romans 11 is a “people tree,” not a “Torah teaching/doctrine” tree.  According to Paul, the root of the tree (God’s covenant people) is to be identified more with the Abrahamic covenant of faith and promise, than with the later Torah-based religious practices that came to define the boundaries of Jewish identity (Gal 4-5; Rom 10:4).  In context, Paul’s whole point is about the right relationship with other peoples in the tree—not with observing Sabbaths or Feasts.

This “tree” of the people of God is also like a rainbow, demonstrating an incredible variety of the unique cultures and identities of the nations, whom John could visibly recognize in his vision. (Rev 7:9)  This mistaken way of “connecting” or “grafting” with Israel through Jewish roots teaching, can actually be a great deception: one may find himself with a supposedly “Jewish,” or “Biblical” way of living and practicing his faith, but without any of the Biblical connections with Israel—neither A, B nor C!  In the end, according to our experience, this can lead to a very unhealthy focus on the details of one’s own religious practice, identity and even the deception of thinking that you have Jewish or Israelite “blood.” (Rev 3:9)

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By |2016-06-30T00:00:00+00:00June 30th, 2016|2 Comments


  1. Sam Yoone September 4, 2017 at 12:36 am

    Reading the last paragraph, it sounds to me that you discourage Gentile believers keeping Sabbat & Feasts. In my understanding, Gentile believers also commanded to keep the Sabbat & Feasts of the Lord but not to the other Jewish feasts according to our Bible. Please explain more that there is a chance that my understanding of Scripture is not enough. Thank you.

    Exo:12:49 “One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.” Ezekiel: 44:9 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel.

    1Corinthians: 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

  2. Natalie Wiegmann November 25, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    In Part three could you please provide practical ways for Christians to develop relationships with messianic Jews in Israel. I’m from the USA and would very much like to visit with a messianic
    congregation in Israel and get to know believing Jews
    but not sure how to keep the grafting together once leaving the area. Also, would love to birth a
    “One New Man” kehila in my area- Madison WI
    If possible — so Jews and Christians can worship together- on the same day. Would love help from you all to do this.

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