Destiny of the Messianic Remnant of Israel in Romans 11
©February 14, 2010
I first started teaching on Romans 11 in 1978 as a new Jewish believer in Yeshua (Jesus). This passage of scripture describes the New Covenant view of the destiny of Israel. I was impressed then, and continue to be ever more so today, by the depth of this revelation.
Romans 11 teaches that the calling and chosen-ness of the Jewish people did not come to an end at the birth of Messiah two thousand years ago, but continues on in the present day and into the future. It further teaches that the destiny of Israel is primarily to be seen in the Messianic Jewish remnant of Israel, more than in the yet unsaved Jewish politicians, soldiers, rabbis, and scientists - no matter how talented they may be.
In response to the revelation of this chapter, I have dedicated most of my adult life as a believer to help build and strengthen the Messianic community in Israel. This Messianic remnant, though still small in number (around 15,000 today), has great significance in the kingdom of God. [According to Revelation 7:4-14, when this community grows to 144,000 in number, the last stages of the end times’ tribulation and revival will begin.]
Romans chapter 11 makes three enormous promises concerning the Messianic remnant of Israel. This seemingly insignificant group of people in the eyes of the world will actually be the key to:
Restoration in the Church
Revival in Israel
Resurrection of the Dead
I. Restoration in the Church
The international Church is described as being “grafted in” to the olive tree of Israel (verse 17). The Messianic remnant in Israel today is the covenantal link where the Church becomes grafted in. However, the Church is not to be grafted in only to the cultural elements of the faith, but to be grafted in as a “partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree” (verse 17). This is more than a celebration of the holy days; it is the recapturing of the prophetic revelation contained in those celebrations. It is more than the historical context of the first century Messianic community; it is the revival and power of that community.
“If the root is holy, so are the branches” (verse 16). What happens to the root affects the branches. If the Israeli Messianic community can return to the holiness of the original apostolic community, it will affect believers all over the world. Being “grafted in” to the root means being connected to that first apostolic community. It is a restoration of the Church to all of her apostolic foundations.
Another element of that restoration is the unity of the Church. The grafting in of the olive tree in Romans 11 is related to Yeshua’s prayer for unity in John 17. There are two levels of unity: one is in spirit (Acts 1:14); the second is in soul (Acts 4:32). Unity of spirit comes from prayer, faith in Yeshua, and Bible study.
Unity of soul is a more human level, which includes dialogue, cooperation, and common heritage. The original Messianic apostolic community and the history of ancient Israel contain the common heritage of all true Christians. Identification with both biblical and modern Israel provides an indispensable link of unity for the international Church. The Messianic Jewish remnant in Israel today is the only possible steward of this common heritage of the Church. In being connected and grafted in to this remnant, the Church will find a covenantal link for her own unity.
II. Revival in Israel
Romans chapter 11 also contains the great promise for a national revival in Israel. The “banner call” of all of our congregations is “All Israel shall be saved” – Romans 11:26. More and more Israelis are hearing of Yeshua everyday. Our congregations are growing. The reputation of love and integrity from the Messianic community is growing in the eyes of the Israeli public, despite and perhaps because of the continued persecution against us.
The progressive growth of the Messianic community in Israel is the first stage of the great revival soon to come. The daily witness now in the lives of housewives, soldiers, businessmen, students, etc. is how the light of Yeshua is spreading through our people.
III. Resurrection of the Dead
The third promise has to do with the Second Coming. “If their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” – Romans 11:15. Yeshua said He will not return until the Jewish people in Israel cry out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” – Matthew 23:39. This pre-requisite is part of Yeshua’s covenantal commitment to the Jewish people and an affirmation of their continuing role as the “chosen” people. He would not come the first time without His people. He will not come the second time without His people.
If the chosen-ness of the Jewish people could be seen in the ancient Israelites and in the early apostles, how much more will it be seen in the end times’ remnant. “If their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fullness be!” – Romans 11:12. The best is yet to come.
When Yeshua returns, a resurrection of the dead will take place. The current age will come to an end. The millennial reign of the kingdom of God on earth will begin. All that is a result of the restoration of the Messianic remnant. When the Messianic remnant in Israel is restored to its fullness, Yeshua will return and the dead will be raised.
To all true Christians, we say, “Please stand with us. We cannot do it without you.” The restoration of Israel is dependent on the restoration of the Church. Our people will remain blinded “until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in” – Romans 11:25. As we stand with you, and you stand with us, it will all happen just as prophesied.