What were Gentile believers grafted into?

The latest misconception spreading within the ‘Messianic’ and ‘Hebrew Root’ movements is that Gentile Christians are being grafted into an ethnically defined, and predominantly unbelieving, ‘Israel’ at the present time – rather than historically, into the faithful remnant described in Romans chapter eleven. YHVH spoke of Israel as an olive tree whose branches would be cut off and thrown into the fire (Jeremiah 11:16). In Romans eleven, Paul used the imagery of Jeremiah’s prophecy to describe the reconstituted Israel under the New Covenant, on the criterion of faith in Messiah. Two processes took place concurrently:

  • Firstly, those Jews who rejected the Messiah (the Prophet like Moses) were cut off from Israel and ceased to be part of that nation. (The same were ‘in danger of being burnt’ unless they repented and were grafted in again.)
  • Secondly, Gentile believers were being joined in with the faithful remnant, and became part of Israel.

As under the Old Covenant, the Lord’s faithful are instructed to keep themselves separate – for the same reason as given under the Law, namely to avoid the contaminating influence of the unbeliever. ‘Do not be yoked together with unbelievers … For what fellowship is there between light and darkness, and what harmony between Christ and the Devil?’ (2 Cor. 6:14).

For a Christian to be yoked together with unconverted Jews is no less sinful than for a Jew under the Old Covenant to join himself with Moab. Nor is the contamination that enters the Camp of the Righteous through such an unholy union any less destructive!

Ironically, Paul warned Gentile believers that they were ‘grafted in’ on account of their faith in Messiah, but could just as readily lose their privileged position and be cut off again. Those who unbind themselves from the body of Messiah to stand in solidarity with unbelievers are clearly victims of such an apostasy.

Those of us moved by the love of God to labour for the salvation of the apostle Paul’s ‘ brothers after the flesh,’ must preserve our integrity and put forward a faithful witness of the hope that stems from our New Covenant faith. Those who think they can achieve Jewish salvation by participating in the religious observances of the Talmudic faith simply add credibility to that system, and can never – by the flattery of imitation – provoke anyone to jealousy. Only the new life by the Spirit of God, which manifests itself most profoundly through simple obedience, self-sacrifice, and by its fruits (Gal. 5:22), will produce such a result.