Does the Church Have a Responsibility toward Israel? - Part 6

Johannes Pflaum

Paul sees the need to discuss a wrong attitude among the believers toward the Jewish people, and he does this in chapters 9 through 11 of the letter to the Romans. He warns against boastfulness and an air of superiority concerning the un-repentance of Israel. Everything is a matter of God’s grace: the salvation of nations, which previously had not been His people and had not sought Him, as well as Israel’s redemption in the last days.

In this context, Paul speaks of the olive tree (beginning at Romans 11:17), its root and the natural branches that were broken off. The olive tree signifies Israel. Here it can be seen that a Jew is not automatically saved. He then talks about the wild branches that were grafted in: these are the people of Gentile nations who came to faith in Jesus Christ.

God’s promises and His plan of salvation flow through Israel. As the Lord Jesus says in the Gospel of John (4:22): “…for salvation is of the Jews.” God will keep His Word, will fulfill all remaining promises for Israel, and will save His people. An understanding of this truth fills us with profound gratitude for all that the Lord has done and will continue to accomplish through His people Israel…even though we know this nation is not yet saved. To live in thankfulness for what the Lord has done through His people, and for the promises of which we also became partakers—this  is another aspect of the responsibility and commission of the body of Christ.

To be grafted into the olive tree of course does not mean that we should become Jewish. Unfortunately, some misunderstand this. Nor is religious Judaism, with its observation of Old Testament feasts, a better way of discipleship. Rather, and this bears repeating, we should be gratefully conscious of the fact that because of the Lord Jesus, we—His Church—have become partakers of the promises given to Israel.

The root of the tree is Christ Himself. We find this in Romans 15:12, as well as in Revelation 5:5 and other references. Christ is the root, and Israel is the olive tree. In other words: Jesus is not here because of Israel, but Israel exists for the sake of Christ. He is the center; He is the zenith to which all Israel’s privileges (as listed in Romans 9:4-5) are oriented. And as Christ’s Church, we are amazed at what the Lord has done through His people Israel and will continue to do. It is a matter of His glory and honor. In the end, the word from John 10:16 will be fulfilled: that redeemed Israel and the body of Christ will be one people with one Shepherd.

News from Israel - 01/2020

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety