Lost Identity and the New Covenant

What is the new covenant and who is it with? If you are a Christian or were raised attending Sunday school, you have likely heard of the new covenant. Many times, terms are mentioned that were taught about years ago, and now, it is just assumed everyone knows what they mean, when in fact, many times they have just became terms no one really understands or cares about. If you go to church now, you may hear the phrase new covenant during communion or thrown about in a sermon. So the intent here is to define the new covenant based on scripture. Once we do that, it will raise some questions many of us in the church have never been asked. If a person does a search in the bible for the phrase new covenant, the first place we find the term is in Jeremiah.

Jer 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Jer 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jer 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Here the LORD Yahweh, tells us the new covenant is with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, and the problem with the old covenant, given at Mount Horeb, was that they broke it. The reference to marriage between Yahweh and his set apart or holy people is consistent through scripture. Yahweh goes on to say he will put his law in the inward parts and write it in the hearts of his people. So based on this scripture, the new covenant is with two people groups: the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Jesus mentions the new covenant at the last supper, which was presumably the Passover meal with his disciples.

Luk 22:14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him.
Luk 22:15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
Luk 22:16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Luk 22:17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.
Luk 22:18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
Luk 22:19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Luk 22:20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

The writer of Hebrews, who is thought to be Paul or possibly Barnabas, also speaks of the new covenant. He quotes Jeremiah essentially word for word, also adding commentary.

Heb 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.
Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
Heb 8:8 For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
Heb 8:9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Heb 8:11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
Heb 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away
.

After reading these verses in Hebrews, we can conclude the following:

  • The new covenant is better than the old.
  • The new covenant is still with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
  • The problem with the old covenant came from the fault of the people it was with.
  • The old covenant is obsolete.

In order to understand these points, we have to answer the following questions:

  • What is a covenant?
  • Who are the two people groups; house of Israel and house of Judah?
  • What was the old covenant?
  • What was done to cause the old covenant to become obsolete?

The word covenant used in the letter to the Hebrews is Strong’s G1242. The Hebrew word for covenant in Jeremiah is Strong’s H1285. Based on these two words and their definitions, we can conclude a covenant is a constitution, pledge or arrangement between two entities, in this case between Yahweh and a group of people.

G1242
διαθήκη
diathēkē
Thayer Definition:
1) a disposition, arrangement, of any sort, which one wishes to be valid, the last disposition which one makes of his earthly possessions after his death, a testament or will
2) a compact, a covenant, a testament
2a) God’s covenant with Noah, etc.
Part of Speech: noun feminine

H1285
בּרית
berı̂yth
BDB Definition:
1) covenant, alliance, pledge
1a) between men
1a1) treaty, alliance, league (man to man)
1a2) constitution, ordinance (monarch to subjects)
1a3) agreement, pledge (man to man)
1a4) alliance (of friendship)
1a5) alliance (of marriage)
1b) between God and man
1b1) alliance (of friendship)
1b2) covenant (divine ordinance with signs or pledges)

The people groups these covenants are made with are not hard to define. The new covenant is with the house of Judah and the house of Israel as described in Jeremiah and the letter to the Hebrews. In Jeremiah, Yahweh says the following concerning who he made the old covenant with, “Jer 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:”. So the old covenant was with the fathers of the house of Israel and the house of Judah who he brought out of Egypt. It should be clear that this is speaking of the twelve tribes of Israel, the children of Jacob. So what was the covenant or agreement that Yahweh God made with the twelve tribes?

Exo 19:2 For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.
Exo 19:3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
Exo 19:4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.
Exo 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
Exo 19:6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Exo 19:7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.
Exo 19:8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.

Here we see Yahweh presenting a covenant for the people. If they obey his voice, in return he will make them a treasured people, a kingdom of priests. They all agreed they would do what Yahweh God commanded. That is the old covenant; the children of Israel would become a holy or set apart nation from the rest of the nations of the world in exchange for obeying Yahweh’s voice and following the commands of his covenant. It is interesting to note that Peter uses the same language actually quoting Exodus 19:6:

1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
1Pe 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Where Peter is using the same language for those in the new covenant, does that mean it could be better called a renewed covenant? The Strong’s word for new is H2319, but look at the word it comes from, H2318. It has the same spelling in Hebrew with a slight difference in pronunciation.

H2319
חדשׁ
châdâsh
BDB Definition:
1) new, new thing, fresh
Part of Speech: adjective
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H2318

H2318
חדשׁ
châdash
BDB Definition:
1) to be new, renew, repair
1a) (Piel)
1a1) to renew, make anew
1a2) to repair
1b) (Hithpael) to renew oneself

It could be argued that the new covenant is a repaired old covenant, completely fresh yet renewed from something old. That is a thought that is not my own, but something I find worth considering.

The old covenant was made with the twelve tribes of Israel at Mount Horeb or Sinai. So who is the house of Israel and the house of Judah that the new covenant is made with, and where do we who have faith in Jesus fit in to this new covenant?

1Ki 11:31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:
1Ki 11:32 (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)

1Ki 11:33 Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.
1Ki 11:34 Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:
1Ki 11:35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.
1Ki 11:36 And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.
1Ki 11:37 And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.
1Ki 11:38 And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.
1Ki 11:39 And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.

The above passage in the book of 1st Kings, best summarizes where the house of Judah and the house of Israel originate. King Solomon, son of David in the tribe of Judah, sinned beyond what Yahweh could bare. Yahweh took ten of the twelve tribes and gave them to Jeroboam, which became the house of Israel, Ephraim or Joseph, and gave one tribe, Benjamin to Solomon’s son, which became the southern kingdom consisting of the tribe of Judah and Benjamin. So here he was giving Jeroboam a chance to carry on the covenant that was made at Mount Horeb. That didn’t last too long though. Jeroboam went and made up his own feast or holiday, which Yahweh never commanded along with using images and customs of the nations to worship Yahweh.

1Ki 12:25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.
1Ki 12:26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
1Ki 12:27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
1Ki 12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
1Ki 12:29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.

1Ki 12:30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
1Ki 12:31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
1Ki 12:32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.
1Ki 12:33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.

1Ki 14:15 For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.
1Ki 14:16 And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.

Yahweh scattered the house of Israel into the nations of the earth for their disobedience, making up their own holy days instead of following his holy days, using the symbols of the nations to worship Yahweh, which he forbid. With this he seeded the nations, as alluded to in Hosea.

Hos 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.
Hos 1:3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
Hos 1:4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
Hos 1:5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.
Hos 1:6 And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.
Hos 1:7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
Hos 1:8 Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.
Hos 1:9 Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.
Hos 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
Hos 1:11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

Jazreel, the name Yahweh tells Hosea to name his son representing the northern tribes of Israel, or the house of Israel, meaning God sow’s. Strong’s H3157.

H3157
יזרעאל
yizre‛ê’l
BDB Definition:
Jezreel = “God sows”
1) a descendant of the father or founder of Etam of Judah (noun proper masculine)
2) first son of Hosea the prophet (noun proper masculine)
3) a city in the Nekeb of Judah (noun proper locative)
4) a city in Issachar on the northwest spur of Mount Gilboa (noun proper locative

Paul refers to these scriptures in his letter to the Roman’s.

Rom 9:22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
Rom 9:23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—
Rom 9:24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
Rom 9:25 As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
Rom 9:26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

Rom 9:27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved,
Rom 9:28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.”
Rom 9:29 And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.”

Gentile, Strong’s G1484, is a made up word from the Latin which makes it sound like it is a special people group. It is just people who are not from the tribe of Judah, (Jews), and includes the house of Israel that was scattered into the nations as God’s seeds, to extend his covenant to all the nations of the world.

G1484
ἔθνος
ethnos
eth’-nos
Probably from G1486; a race (as of the same habit), that is, a tribe; specifically a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication pagan): – Gentile, heathen, nation, people.

To summarize what we know so far; the old covenant was with all twelve tribes of the the Israelite’s, and it consisted of a pact between the twelve tribes and Yahweh that they would do what he said and follow his instructions. The twelve tribes broke into two groups because of Solomon’s idolatry and sorcery. Ten tribes went under the leadership of Jeroboam and one tribe stayed with Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, and the tribe of Judea. These two groups were called the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Jeroboam lead the house of Israel astray, and they were scattered into the nations, seeding the nations as in Jazreel. The house of Judah remained for the sake of David because he followed Yahweh’s commandments. However, they had many trials due to their idolatry and lawlessness.

Now we need to answer why the new covenant is better, and how do we fit into the new covenant as followers of Jesus. Notice there is no mention of the church in the new covenant, only the house of Israel and the house of Judah. This is not because the prophets did not see the church and Yahweh had to change his plans, as some doctrines suggest. Church is simply a word for congregation or a set apart people that I have defined in my other blogs. It is Ekklesia, Strong’s G1577.

G1577
ἐκκλησία
ekklēsia
Thayer Definition:
1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly
1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating
1b) the assembly of the Israelites
1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously
1d) in a Christian sense
1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting
1d2) a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake
1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body
1d4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth
1d5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven

Paul does a good job of explaining how we, as twenty first century Christians, are part of the new covenant through grafting into the green olive tree. We will look into that shortly. The old covenant grew old and vanished not because Yahweh changed his laws or commandments, or did away with anything, it is because the people who entered the agreement with Yahweh broke their end of the contract. The language that God uses is pretty clear. They broke the wedlock that they had on Mount Horeb where he was a husband to them. The new covenant is better because it opened up to all the nations through the scattering of the house of Israel and through the work on the cross that Jesus did. By the shed blood, he has made a way for us to keep his commandments by writing them on our hearts and sending his Holy Spirit to be a helper living inside of us. “Heb 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled
.

Mat 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Mat 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
Mat 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Based on the above scriptures, Jesus didn’t come to change any of the father Yahweh’s commandments. He intensified them, and gave us a way to be able to keep them through the power of the Holy Spirit. “Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”.

Next we will explore how the modern follower of Jesus is grafted into the new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In Jeremiah, we see more information regarding the old covenant. The old covenant was an agreement where the twelve tribes would follow Yahweh’s commandments, which in turn Yahweh would bring them into the promised land with blessings. If they failed to follow his word, the result would be curses and a broken covenant.

Jer 11:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
Jer 11:2 Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
Jer 11:3 And say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant,
Jer 11:4 Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God:

Jer 11:5 That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O LORD.
Jer 11:6 Then the LORD said unto me, Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them.
Jer 11:7 For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice.
Jer 11:8 Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not.
Jer 11:9 And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Jer 11:10 They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with th
eir fathers.
Jer 11:11 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.
Jer 11:12 Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble.
Jer 11:13 For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal.
Jer 11:14 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble.
Jer 11:15 What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest.
Jer 11:16 The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.
Jer 11:17 For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.

Israel was called a green olive tree that Yahweh planted. Now due to Israel breaking the covenant, branches have broken off of the tree. God also tells Jeremiah that he will bring them back together again.

Jer 16:14 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
Jer 16:15 But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.

We pick up the olive tree comparison with Paul in his letter to the Roman’s. I am using the Modern King James Version for their rendering of the Greek word ethnos as nations instead of the Latin word gentile with a capital g, which has grown into something more than it is. It is worth mentioning here that once we are grafted in, or back in to the root, we are no longer of the nations or “gentiles” any longer. Also, I am quoting more than needed just to provide the context.

Rom 11:1 I say then, Did not God put away His people? Let it not be said! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
Rom 11:2 God did not thrust out His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture said in Elijah, how he pleaded with God against Israel, saying,
Rom 11:3 “Lord, they killed Your prophets and dug down Your altars, and I am left alone, and they seek my life.”
Rom 11:4 But what does the Divine answer say to him? “I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
Rom 11:5 Even so then, also in this present time a remnant according to the election of grace has come into being.
Rom 11:6 But if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it is of works, then it is no more of grace; otherwise work is no more work.
Rom 11:7 What then? Israel has not obtained that which it seeks, but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened
Rom 11:8 even as it is written, “God gave to them a spirit of slumber, eyes not seeing, and ears not hearing” until this day.

Rom 11:9 And David said, “Let their table become for a snare and a trap and a stumbling block and a recompense to them.
Rom 11:10 Let their eyes be darkened so that they may not see, and their back always bowing.”
Rom 11:11 I say then, Did they not stumble that they fall? Let it not be! But by their slipping away came salvation to the nations, to provoke them to jealousy.
Rom 11:12 But if their slipping away is the riches of the world, and their default is the riches of the nations, how much more their fullness?
Rom 11:13 For I speak to you, the nations; since I am the apostle of the nations, I glorify my ministry;
Rom 11:14 if by any means I may provoke those who are my flesh to jealousy, and might save some of them.
Rom 11:15 For if their casting away is the reconciling of the world, what is the reception except life from the dead?
Rom 11:16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, also the branches.

Rom 11:17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and became a sharer of the root and the fatness of the olive tree with them,
Rom 11:18 do not boast against the branches. But if you boast, it is not you that bears the root, but the root bears you.
Rom 11:19 You will say then, The branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.

Rom 11:20 Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be high-minded, but fear.
Rom 11:21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, fear lest He also may not spare you either!
Rom 11:22 Behold then the kindness, and the severity of God; on those having fallen, severity; but on you, kindness, if you continue in the kindness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.
Rom 11:23 And those also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in. For God is able to graft them in again.

In order to make this clearer, let’s look at the root of this olive tree. Now would be a good time to read the parable of the prodigal son. It was never talking about what is typically assigned to it in modern sermons. Jesus was referring to the younger brother Ephraim coming home to the Father, and the older brother Judah having a problem with that.

Isa 11:10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
Isa 11:11 In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.
Isa 11:12 He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Isa 11:13 The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart, and those who harass Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.

Rom 15:8 And I say, Jesus Christ has become a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers,
Rom 15:9 and that the nations might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written, “For this cause I will confess to You in the nations, and I will praise Your name.”
Rom 15:10 And again He says, “Rejoice, O nations, with His people.”
Rom 15:11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all the nations, and praise Him, all the peoples.”
Rom 15:12 And again Isaiah says, “There shall be a root of Jesse, and He who shall rise to reign over the nations, in Him shall the nations trust.”
Rom 15:13 And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

As you can see, from the above passage in Roman’s, this is not my interpretation of Isaiah, but Paul’s. Jesse was King David’s father whose line brought forth the Messiah, Jesus. What does Jesus say about all of this?

Joh 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Joh 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Joh 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Joh 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Joh 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Joh 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
Joh 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Mat 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Joh 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Once we are grafted into the vine, we leave the nations and become part of the green olive tree. This is the new covenant. “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

Eph 2:11 Therefore remember that you, the nations, in time past were in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Eph 2:12 and that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who were once afar off are made near by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For He is our peace, He making us both one, and He has broken down the middle wall of partition between us,
Eph 2:15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity (the Law of commandments contained in ordinances) so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, making peace between them;
Eph 2:16 and so that He might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity in Himself.
Eph 2:17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to those who were near.
Eph 2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Eph 2:19 Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,
Eph 2:20 and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
Eph 2:21 in whom every building having been fitly framed together, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord;
Eph 2:22 in whom you also are built together for a dwelling place of God through the Spirit.

Through hundreds of years of replacement theology, dispensationalism theology, apostasy, lawlessness and anomianism, we as believers have lost our identity. We think we are “the church” on a separate journey with Yahweh, distinguished from the tribe of Judah, or we have replaced Judah. We still call ourselves “gentiles”, when if we are grafted back into the vine, we are part of the Commonwealth of Israel, because there are only two groups of people in the new covenant: the house of Israel and the house of Judah. However, we are all one now through Christ Jesus, being Abraham’s seed. There is only the olive tree, no walnuts, hickories or pines.

Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

What does this mean then? For one, it changes the end time prophecy narrative responsible for millions of dollars of book and movie sales. If the “church” is grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel, then there is no separate path for “Jews” and the “church”. This also makes the bible much easier to understand because we do not need charts and graphs to figure out what dispensation we are in or what group of people are doing what when. As followers of Jesus, we are grafted in to the good olive tree, the vine of which Jesus is, connected to the root, and we are all into the end times together.

Rev 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
Rev 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Rev 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
Rev 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Rev 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Rev 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

Rev 14:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
Rev 14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
Rev 14:16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
Rev 14:17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
Rev 14:18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
Rev 14:19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
Rev 14:20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

Mat 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
Mat 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
Mat 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Photo by Emma Vail

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