Israel In Prophecy
Has God really said … that the natural olive tree will be replaced by the wild olive tree?
Paul's declaration that Replacement Theology is wrong is expressed in his doxology at the end of Romans 11 (Romans 11:33-36). This doxology recognizes the "mystery" of God's dealings with Jews and Gentiles, the mystery of His wisdom, knowledge, judgment and plan that Paul calls "unsearchable" and "unfathomable" (Romans 11:33). The fact is that both groups, Jews and Gentiles, have been equally disobedient. The disobedience of the Jews opened the door for the salvation of the Gentiles (namely through the self-giving sacrifice, the death and resurrection of the Messiah) and because the Gentiles are being shown God's mercy (in forgiving their own disobedience) the Jews "also may be shown mercy." (Romans 11:31).
What this amounts to is that there is finally no difference between Jews and Gentiles anymore. Both have been disobedient and both are saved by grace. The capstone of Paul's argument is Romans 11:32, "God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all."
His mercy is anchored in His covenant that God announced through His prophets (for which reason Paul quotes from Isaiah and Jeremiah in Romans 11), a covenant that He has declared to be eternal. Paul not only quotes his own example to show that God is not finished with the Jews, he also quotes the incident in the prophet Elijah's experience where God encourages him to let him know that 7000 others are part of that remnant of the faithful few that God has always preserved throughout history. Paul underlines that even in his time a remnant remained "according to God's gracious choice." (Rom 11:5)
Replacement theology is rooted in anti-Semitism (see XVI), yet it is also the result of a misunderstanding concerning the true nature of the Mystery of the Church as the new humanity' or 'the One New Man,' a composition of believing, Spirit-born Jews and Gentiles (see John 3:5-10,16. See especially VII.B.1?)
The MYSTERY of Messiah's Body, the Church, was revealed to the Apostle Paul (Eph 2-3). The biblical concept of mystery is significantly different from ours in that it refers to something that always existed in the mind of God, was hidden from the sight of man but has now been revealed, even though we may not have a full understanding of its significance yet. This is why Paul can claim that the mystery of Messiah's Body was not revealed to previous generations (Eph 3:4-6,10; Col 1:25-27.)
The mystery that God planned even before the creation of the world that the Gentiles should become joint- or fellow-heirs, fellow-citizens, fellow-partakers, fellow-members of the household of God is one of the greatest mysteries in Scripture. Gentiles should share in the promises that God had made to His Jewish people. This implies that the household of God (hebr. Kehila) was already there when the Gentiles who were "far off" were brought "near" and were joined to the "Commonwealth" of Israel (Eph:2:12). Jesus/Yeshua already referred to this in John 10:16 and in John 17:20-21. Although some theologians like Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum insist that there is no trace of any "third entity" apart from Israel and Gentiles in the OT/Tanakh, we submit that the roots of the Church are in the Old Testament, in the Tanakh. The prophets of old had hinted at what was to come, even if it remained hidden until the Church had been Spirit-born in Jerusalem. If that hint had not been there, why would James the half-brother of Jesus/Yeshua in Acts 15:16 have quoted Amos 9:11-12 in defense of accepting the converted Gentiles? The prophets predicted that there would be those from among the Gentiles that would be joined to the believing remnant of God's people. God had planned it from the beginning. The concept of the remnant (see for instance In-Depth site III.E.2.d? and VII.A.4.a?) already suggests a separate group within Israel as a nation, and if Zech 8:23predicts that Gentiles shall join themselves to Jews because they will see that God is with them, that remnant was by necessity to become a joint one. Another hint in line with a composite new humanity to come may be seen in the land partition of the messianic Kingdom Eze 47:21-23. (Also see , VI.E.3[[ and [[VIIB2|VII.B.2?)
The study of prophecy helps to see that the demonstration of the unity between Jews and Gentiles as a "third entity" is an event of unparalleled significance and will lead to "life from the dead" (Romans 11:15), to an event that corresponds to God's magnificent plan to declare God's victory over the principalities and powers in the invisible world. What the apostle Paul calls the "the middle-wall of partition" in Eph 2:14(KJV) (probably in allusion to the temple structure that separated the Jews from the Gentiles) will confirm that the enmity between the two groups (as evidenced by Christian anti-Semitism up to this day) is ended through the death and resurrection of the Messiah. The early Church in the time of the latter parts of Acts was just about to begin to give this testimony when the Christian part of the Church was misled to believe that God had rejected Israel. The time has come to hear God's call for repentance and reconciliation, for the formation of a reconciled Jewish-Gentile Body of the Messiah. This Body needs to make a declaration to the invisible world that God's plan has been and is being and will be fulfilled through the unification of believing Jews and Gentiles as the ultimate proof that the Father has sent the Son to die his sacrificial, substitutionary death for each and everyone who believes (John 17:21).
The visible foundation for a truly messianic Church was laid when Jewish thinking underwent a paradigm shift through the Apostle Peter's encounter with Cornelius (Acts 10:38). Peter realized that Gentiles were acceptable to God also, if they came to God in faith (Acts 15:15). The Council of Jerusalem then understood that the prophets had predicted this development (Amos 9:11-12 in line with Deut 10:12-19). A similar shift in reverse is needed today. Christian thinking also needs to undergo a paradigm shift in order to understand that God is fulfilling his plan for the Jews to be grafted back to form a reconciled, joint Body according to Romans 11. (Also see Further Reading, Don Finto 2001?, Appendix A, #1; see also the In-Depth section on Anti-Semitism (section VI?), and the article by Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Eight Mysteries in the NT.?)
For further evidence that God has not rejected or replaced the Jews and that a believing remnant has always existed see the Bibliography below:
Stern, David H. Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel?. 85 pp., 1989. (See Further Reading)