The whole purpose of this blog is to show Christians who follow ‘Replacement Theology’ how wrong that theology is, according to the Holy Scriptures and the New Testament, particularly Romans chapter 11. Replacement Theology isn’t a term you will hear in churches, but in so many denominations it’s there behind the scenes, in that Israel and the Jews are counted as cast off by the Lord, and that all the promises made to them are now appointed to Christians. While it is true that Jews need to receive Yeshua (Jesus) as their Mashiach (Savior/Messiah), they have or WILL HAVE just as much opportunity for this salvation as gentiles. God is in ultimate control of history. His call and his gifts are irrevocable.
We gentile believers are the ‘wild olive branch’ which has been ‘grafted in’ to the cultivated natural olive tree. Rather than looking down on Israel and Jewish people, we are to honor them and value them as the ROOT supporting our faith! When the Jewish Jesus came to the earth to die for the sins of men, it was for all men, not only Jews and not only gentiles. The Law and the Prophets did not disappear; rather they remain the basis of all righteousness and truth. Yes, the LORD punished His children severely over the ages due to their ‘adultery’ with false gods, but He always forgave them and re-established His everlasting covenants with them. Note that a Jew who believes in Yeshua does not cease being Jewish – it’s his ethnicity in any case. He does not need to become a ‘Christian’ per se, but he becomes a ‘completed Jew’ just like Paul and the other early believers and apostles. He does not need to attend a church unless he wants to. He is better off attending a Messianic Synagogue where the Jewishness, the foundation, of the Christian faith is observed and practiced (Torah portions, mitzvahs, etc.), along with New Testament teachings. He does not discard the Torah, the law, but in Christ he receives forgiveness for disobedience to it. Read this chapter to see the basis from which I write:
Romans 11 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Remnant of Israel
11 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham,[a] a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written,
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that would not see
and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.”
9 And David says,
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and bend their backs forever.”
Gentiles Grafted In
11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion[b] mean!
13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root[c] of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.
The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation
25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers:[d] a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27 “and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”
28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now[e] receive mercy.32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
- Romans 11:1 Or one of the offspring of Abraham
- Romans 11:12 Greek their fullness
- Romans 11:17 Greek root of richness; some manuscripts richness
- Romans 11:25 Or brothers and sisters
- Romans 11:31 Some manuscripts omit now
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
The following is a commentary on verses 11-32 from You Version’s ‘Bible in One Year’ daily reading:
God’s promises to Israel will prevail
“As we have seen, in Romans 11 Paul is answering the question, ‘Has God rejected his people?’ His answer is, ‘No, no, no’: ‘God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable’ (v.29). As The Message version puts it, ‘God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty – never cancelled, never rescinded’ (v.29, MSG).
Yet Paul still grapples with the apparent reality that most have not accepted Jesus. He speaks about them ‘stumbling’ (v.11) and experiencing a ‘hardening’ (v.25). They are now like olive branches that have been ‘broken off’ (v.17). In this passage he tries to explain how this can fit with the unbreakable promises that God has made to the Jews. He highlights three key points:
- First, this hardening was only partial. There has always been a remnant, chosen by grace (vv.11-16).
- Second, the hardening was fruitful, since it led to riches for the Gentiles: ‘When they walked out, they left the door open and the outsiders walked in’ (v.11, MSG).
- Third, the hardening was temporary. ‘”Are they out of this for good?” And the answer is a clear-cut No’ (v.11, MSG). ‘This hardness on the part of insider Israel toward God is temporary’ (v.25, MSG). ‘Now, if their leaving triggered this worldwide coming of non-Jewish outsiders to God’s kingdom, just imagine the effect of their coming back! What a homecoming!’ (v.12, MSG).
This last point is particularly important to Paul, who cares passionately about his people. He eagerly anticipates the full inclusion of the people of Israel (v.12). He goes on to say that ‘all Israel will be saved’ (v.26). He does not say ‘if‘ this happens, but ‘when‘ this happens. He uses an olive tree as a picture of the Jewish nation (vv.17,24). Christ came. The nation rejected him. The tree was chopped down but the roots were left. The gardener grafts in the Gentiles (v.17).
The time is coming when the Jewish branches will be grafted back (vv.23-24, MSG). Then the whole tree will be complete. The Gentiles grow up out of the stump – they do not support the root (the Jews) but the root supports them (v.18). There are three successive stages in the fulfilment of the divine plan of salvation:
First, the unbelief of the greater part of Israel: ‘some of the tree’s branches were pruned’ (v,17, MSG)
Second, the inclusion of many outsiders through faith in Jesus: ‘you wild olive shoots were grafted in’ (v.17, MSG)
Third, the salvation of ‘all Israel’ (v.26)
But, what does ‘all Israel will be saved‘ mean? Some have argued that it means Israel can still be saved apart from Christ. However, this position is not credible. Paul has argued throughout the letter that Jesus is the way of salvation.
Others have argued that it meant the whole nation of Israel, including every single member, will put their faith in Jesus. However, ‘all Israel’ is a recurring expression in the Old Testament and other Jewish literature, where it need not mean ‘every Jew without a single exception’ but ‘Israel as a whole‘ (for example, 1 Samuel 7:5; 28:1; 1 Kings 12:1; Daniel 9:11). This also fits with the context of what Paul is saying here in Romans.
Paul is considering God’s dealing with the nation as a whole. Thus, ‘their fullness’ (Romans 11:12) is to be understood in the same sense as the fullness of the Gentiles. The large-scale conversion of the Gentile world is to be followed by the large-scale conversion of Israel.
Paul concludes: ‘There was a time not so long ago when you were on the outs with God. But then the Jews slammed the door on him and things opened up for you. Now they are on the outs. But with the door held wide open for you, they have a way back in. In one way or another, God makes sure that we all experience what it means to be outside so that he can personally open the door and welcome us back in’ (vv.30-32, MSG).
Thank you, Lord, that the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Thank you that you promise that, one day, all Israel will be saved. Lord, we pray for that day to come quickly, that we will see not only a large scale conversion of the Gentile world but also a large scale conversion of the people of Israel.