No Partiality with God
The Jews are no better than the Gentiles in God’s eyes, for the Bible makes it clear that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Therefore, He doesn’t favor a race above another for, “there is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:11). For He is the righteous Judge (Deuteronomy 10:17; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Job 34:19).
God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth… That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:26-27). Thus, the Bible stresses the oneness of men—through creation and through salvation.
God’s Covenant with the Jews
God chose Abraham and made a covenant with him and his descendants because of his faithfulness and unquestioning obedience (Genesis 12; 22:15-18; Genesis 17:2; Exodus 2:24). God chooses the faithful. Thus, the Jewish people became God’s chosen people and His treasured possession. They were commissioned to spread His truth to the nations of the world (Genesis 17:9-27). And to that end, He delivered them from the slavery of Egypt to be His holy nation (Deuteronomy 4:20).
At Mount Sinai, the Lord stressed to the people of Israel, “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 14:2; 2 Samuel 7:23; 1 Chronicles 17:21). There, He declared: “you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).
This covenant was to be shown externally by circumcision (Genesis 17:9–14) and internally by godliness (2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 2:9). A holy God demands holy people (Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:16). The words, “Ye shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 11:20; Jeremiah 7:23; 11:4; 30:22), show Israel’s relationship with God. This covenant covered the entire plan to make Israel the spiritual center of global missionary efforts to reach the world.
God’s covenant with the ancient Jews was conditional on their obedience to Him. The Lord instructed, “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth” (Deuteronomy 28:1 also Ezekiel 36:26-28). Had the necessary obedience been done, the Jews residence in their land would have been permanent. From Israel would have gone out the message of peace to bring the whole world to the truth.
So, based on the conditional promise, are the Jew’s still the chosen people? Sadly, the ancient Jews proved unfaithful. Therefore, the Lord had no choice but to respect their freedom of will. So, the nation was abandoned to the destiny it chose. Accordingly, they lost the glorious calling that might have been theirs, and the promises of the Lord’s covenant (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). The nation of Israel received the curses of the Lord. “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you…” (Deuteronomy 28:47,48).
Consequently, Israel’s enemies conquered them. Their kings and their people were taken into exile (Jeremiah 9:15, 16; 16:13). And even when they returned from exile, they again backslid. Their apostasy climaxed when they crucified the Son of God, the Savior of the world (Luke 23:26-43). “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12).
In response to their rejection, Jesus declared, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37,38). The ancient Jew’s probation ended. And they were finally destroyed as a nation by the Romans in 70 AD.
Spiritual Israel – Converted Jews and Gentiles
When Israel, as a nation, didn’t live up to her high privileges and carry on her responsibilities, her special position was taken from her and given to the spiritual family of God on earth (converted Jews and Gentiles) or the Christian church. Paul calls the Church “the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16).
Thus, God’s covenant to Israel was transferred to the New Testament believers who became Spiritual Israel and heirs of God’s promises (Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:6, 7). The “kingdom of God” was taken from the literal nation of the Jews and was “given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43). However, as individuals, the Jews may be saved by accepting Christ (Romans 11:23, 24).
In the future, God’s plan to save the world would no longer be dependent on the literal nation of Israel. In the New Testament, both Jews and Gentiles are brought into the family of God through submission to Christ. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26, 29).
Today, God the Father chooses everyone to be saved through faith in Christ. “By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4 also John 1:12, 13; 3:3). God’s grace makes the believers “sons of God” (1 John 3:1), “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17), and receivers of all the spiritual family privileges (Galatians 4:6, 7).
The Wild Branches Grafted into the Cultivated Tree
In Romans 11:11–24, Paul resembles Israel to the natural branches of a cultivated olive tree. And he resembles the Gentile believers to the branches of a wild olive tree. The natural branches (Israel) were broken off because of their unfaithfulness, and the wild branches (Gentiles) were grafted in (verse 17). Paul is speaking of something that had already happened in the experience of many Gentiles.
Paul expressly states, in verse 24, that the grafting of the Gentiles into the stock of Israel is “contrary to nature.” The call and conversion of the Gentiles was contrary to Jewish expectation. And thus, the Gentiles by their faith in Christ became the recipients of the promises of God’s salvation.
In His service,