Romans 11:19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”
What is “grafted-in” according to the apostle Paul? Who exactly is Paul talking to? What are they grafted-in to? Why is it even important to be grafted-in, and who is not considered grafted-in? These are very important questions to ask for the sake of context.
Paul wasn’t just waxing lyrical and he didn’t just pull a nonsensical ‘olive tree’ analogy out of his hat for no good reason.
The “Cultivated Olive Tree” of Romans Chapter 11 has profound Scriptural meaning, with very specific prophetic fulfillments attached to it. Being grafted into this prophetic Olive Tree not only defines who those ‘in Christ’ are now, but it also defines who they are ‘no longer’.
We’ll be addressing all of the above stated questions, as well as, the Prophetic Scriptures that Paul is referring to in his ‘Grafted-In teaching’.
Context is paramount in any ‘real’ study of the Holy Scriptures, so let’s look at some of the surrounding verses as it relates to, and leads into Paul’s “Olive Tree” discourse.
Romans chapter 9 starts out with Paul heartbroken over the fact that not all of his brothers in Judea believed that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel; only some had believed ~
Romans 9:2-3 2that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.
He then states, unfortunately, not every descendant of Abraham will “belong to Israel”, but that it is the ‘children of promise’ who are counted as the offspring, the ‘children of God’ ~
Romans 9:6-8 6For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9For this is the “word of promise”: “at this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.”
It is very important to note that Paul himself is recognizing that it is “Israel” and not “the nations” that are the people of focus.
Then Paul says, it is through Jacob (Israel), that God’s “purpose of election” continues ~
Romans 9:10-11 10also when Rebekah had conceived children (Jacob) by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue
Next, we read Paul explaining that all things work to Gods will; desiring to reveal His power and wrath, through patience God makes known His ‘mercy’ ~
Romans 9:22-23 22What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy which he has prepared beforehand for glory
Paul is telling us that God has endured much patience; Patience with whom? When Paul wrote this letter in the 1st Century, who had God been ‘enduring patience’ with for hundreds and hundreds of years? Think about it, the God of Israel has only ever been dealing with His chosen/elect people “Israel”. Paul is explaining to these believers in Rome, that God has ‘endured patience’ with “someone” in order to show mercy that He has prepared beforehand for glory. Paul tells us who that “someone” is, in verses 24 through 26. The ‘apostle Paul’ quotes the prophet Hosea to reveal this information ~
Romans 9:24-26 24even us whom he has called, not from among the Jews (Judah) only but also “from among” the “gentiles” 25As 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.’” 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.’”
This is a CRITICAL juncture; Paul just quoted a ‘prophet of Israel’ to a bunch of people in ‘Rome’ as if they were supposed to know all about it.?.? Why would he do that?
In order to understand the correlation that Paul is making between those “among the gentiles” of Romans 9:24 and his reference to “not my people”, we have to go to ‘Hosea’ to find out who those “people” are.
The introduction at the beginning of ‘The Book of Hosea’ in any study bible will state that it’s about the transgressions of the Northern Kingdom (the House of Israel) that leads to its exile into captivity by Assyria.
Every reference bible has this Romans 9:25 verse steering the reader directly to Hosea 2:23, which is exactly what Paul is doing for these believers in Rome.
I strongly urge you to immediately pick up your bible and read the first 3 chapters of the Book of Hosea, with the understanding that it is written to and about the Northern Kingdom (the House of Israel), and not the Southern Kingdom (the House of Judah).
Please note how in Hosea 1:6, 8-10 that the Northern Kingdom (the House of Israel) is referred to as “No Mercy” and “Not My People” ~
Hosea 1:6 She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Call her name “No Mercy”, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel
Hosea 1:8-10 8When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. 9And the LORD said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” 10Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.”
And again in Hosea 2:23 ~
Hosea 2:23 and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to ‘Not My People’, You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’
Does that sound familiar?
Romans 9:24-26 24even us whom he has called, not from among the Jews only but also “from among” the Gentiles’ 25As 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.’”
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.’”
Now do you see who Paul is talking about?
Paul is telling us here in ‘Romans’ 9, that “those among“ the gentiles/nations in verse 24 are those ‘not my people’ from the book of ‘Hosea’, which is the scattered Northern Kingdom, ‘the House of Israel’.
When Paul wrote this letter to those in Rome, the ‘scattered’ House of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) had been exiled and dispersed “among“ the gentiles/nations for almost 800 years. The House of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) had come back from Babylon, but the ‘scattered’ House of Israel never came back to the land. As a result, the “House of Israel” still lived “out among“ the nations/gentiles. They looked like, acted like, and most certainly were considered to be ‘gentiles’ to Paul and his brothers in Judea. But, Paul knew the prophecies that some day the exiles from the Northern Kingdom would be called ‘My people’ once again.
Those “from among“ the gentiles/nations“ that Paul is writing to in ‘Romans’ 9 are those “not my people” of the House of Israel from Hosea. Paul is telling them that they can once again be called ‘My people’ because of the work of the Messiah!
Here is the disconnect: those “from among“ the gentiles/nations in Romans 9 are “not” the heathen or pagan population from “non-Israel” origins. They are “not” people from the “heathen/pagan nations” that had no connection to the lineage of the House of Israel. The pagan gentiles from “non-Israel” origins were “not” who Paul was writing to. The Promises/Prophecies of Hosea, that Paul quoted, were to the children of Jacob, specifically the House of Israel.
Most Christians have either never been taught about this “House of Israel Prophecy” or mistakenly thought that it had nothing to do with the ‘New Testament’.
However, as we will let the Scriptures prove, “this Prophecy” is not only stated in the ‘New Testament’, it was a PRIMARY mission of Jesus to fulfill it.
What does the text say?
Matthew 15:24 He (Jesus) answered, “I was sent ‘only’ to the lost sheep of the ‘house of Israel’.”
Luke 19:9-10 9And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, ‘since’ he also is a son of Abraham. 10‘For’ the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
You can only seek what was lost if at one time you had possession of it. Jesus blatantly tells us the “lost” of verse 10 that He came to “seek” is the “son of Abraham” of verse 9. As God-in-the-flesh, Jesus came to save and reconcile the “the 10 Tribes of the Northern Kingdom that were “lost”, the ‘lost sheep of the House of Israel’.
What do the prophetic texts say?
Isaiah 53:6 All we (Israel) like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Jeremiah 50:6 “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold.
Amos 9:9 “For surely I will command, and will sift the house of Israel “among“ all nations(gentiles), as grain is sifted in a sieve; Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground.
Ezekiel 11:14-21 14And the word of the LORD came to me: 15“Son of man, your brothers, even your brothers, your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those of whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Go far from the LORD; to us this land is given for a possession.’ 16Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: Though I removed them far off “among“ the gentiles/nations“, and though I scattered them “among“ the countries“, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.’ 17Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: I will gather you“from the“ peoples and assemble you “out of“ the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’
Ezekiel 34:15-16 15I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. 16I will seek “the lost”, and I will bring back the strayed
Ezekiel 34:22,23 22I will “save” my flock… 23And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David (Messiah), and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.
(again) Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
When Isaiah wrote this, who were the “we like sheep” that went astray? It was Israel. That’s the “lost sheep” that Jesus is referring to in ‘Matthew’ 15 above, this is who He came to “seek and save“.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos and Ezekiel were writing about Israel, they were not referring to the pagan/heathen nations who never knew the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
That’s why Paul states in the very next verse of ‘Romans’ 9, “concerning” the Sons of Israel that were numerous, that there would only be a remnant that would be saved ~
Romans 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,
Again, did you catch that? The ‘apostle Paul’ just told us, that the subject of his discussion regarding those “among the gentiles” from verse 24 is “concerning Israel”!
As the prophets Isaiah and Micah stated, only a ‘remnant’ shall be found, and they will be found “among” the nations/gentiles ~
Isaiah 10:21-22 21A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. 22For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return.
Micah 5:7-8 7Then the remnant of Jacob shall be “in the midst” of many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on the grass, which delay not for a man nor wait for the child0ren of man. 8And the remnant of Jacob shall be “among” the nations, in the midst of many peoples
Therefore, Paul and the prophets agree that the remnant of the House of Israel, the “Lost Sheep”, had been scattered among the ‘pagan or heathen gentiles/nations’. However, it was prophesied that they would be gathered in (grafted-in) again to the common-wealth of Israel ~
Ezekiel 37:15-22 15The word of the LORD came to me: 16“Son of man, take a tree and write on it, ‘For Judah, and the people of Israel associated with him’; then take another tree and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the tree of Ephraim, and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ 17And join them one to another into one tree, that they may become one in your hand. 18And when your people say to you, ‘Will you not tell us what you mean by these?’ 19say to them, Thus says the LORD God: Behold, I am about to take the tree of Joseph, that is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel associated with him. 20When the trees on which you write are in your hand before their eyes, 21then say to them, Thus says the LORD God: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all around, and bring them to their own land. 22And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.
In Paul’s letter to these Romans he is stating that the fulfillment of this prophecy is ‘in progress’ at his telling. Through His death and resurrection the Messiah is offering deliverance, and the Lost Sheep can now be reconciled to their God. This is the main ‘prophetic‘ reason Jesus had to die and rise again; please read the study, ‘Why the Messiah Had to Die… and Rise Again‘.
This is why Jesus told all of the “Lost” parables; none more important than the ‘The Prodigal Son’ [Luke 15:11-32]. This is Jesus telling us about this prophesy and His mission to restore (graft back in) the Northern Kingdom with the Southern Kingdom ~
Luke 15:11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons.
The two sons are:
- the House of Israel and the House of Judah
- the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom
- the younger brother and the older brother
- Ephraim and Judah
Luke 15:12 And the younger (Ephraim) of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them
This is the 12 tribes of Israel divided into Northern Kingdom (10 tribes) and the Southern Kingdom (2 tribes) ~
1 King 11:11,30-31 11Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant… 30Then Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him and tore it into twelve pieces. 31And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and will give you ten tribes (the Northern Kingdom, House of Israel).
Next in the parable we see the younger son, the House of Israel, out among the nations/gentiles, joined to them and living in misery ~
Luke 15:13-16 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country (among the gentiles/nations), and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
Finally, he comes to his senses and sees the errors of his ways. He had sinned against his Father; i.e. the House of Israel broke covenant with God by breaking His Commandments and were scattered ‘among the gentiles’. Then he “repents”, wanting to come back to the Father ~
Luke 15:17-18 17“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.
The Father, in his compassion for his ‘lost’ son who was ‘dead’ in his sins, takes him back in ~
Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was ‘lost’, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
To reiterate, Paul distinctly tells us that those ‘among/out of the gentiles‘ from Romans 9:24-27 are those to whom Hosea and Isaiah are describing; they are ‘the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel’. I know we haven’t started chapter 11 where the Olive Tree is mentioned, but it’s critical to understand who Paul is talking to when we do get to that part of the study.
Paul is telling the exiled 10 tribes (“those among the gentiles” of verse 24) that they can now be gathered back in/grafted back into the Commonwealth of Israel. They can now be reconciled to God.
Amazingly, this was also prophesied by God through Moses almost 3,500 years ago. It was foreseen/prophesied that they would disobey, be driven out of the land, but then repent and return to the Law of God given through Moses ~
Deuteronomy 30:1-2, 1And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among ALL the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, 2and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in ALL that I command you ‘today’…
“Then” God would gather them from among the nations where they were ‘scattered’ ~
Deuteronomy 30:3 then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from ALL the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.
God then states He will circumcise their hearts (please read ‘Circumcision of the Heart’) causing them to love God with all their heart, and obey the Law of God given through Moses, which is written in the ‘Book of the Law’!
What does the text say?
Deuteronomy 3:6,8,10 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live… 8And you shall again obey the voice of the LORD and keep ALL his commandments that I command you “today”… 10when you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in THIS “Book of the Law”, when you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
This prophecy is ‘in progress’ at this writing…
It is critical to notice that when this prophecy takes place (which is NOW), the Commandments of the Creator “that are written in the Book of the Law” will be obeyed! Either that, or Moses and The LORD God are liars. Please, please read ‘The Sabbath: Forever Means Forever‘.
Final Thought: If, while reading this blog, you’ve been thinking “how does this apply to me then, as I can’t know if I’m from the lost 10 tribes of Israel?”, don’t panic.
In this ‘Grafted In’ study we’ll take an in-depth look at this. Again, don’t worry, God is pretty smart and He knew that His plan of salvation would work out like it has. In order for all of the ‘Lost Sheep of the House of Israel’ to get the good news, it has to be preached to all of the nations, everywhere. Paul’s missionary journeys were just the beginning. ‘All who hunger and thirst for righteousness’ can “choose” to covenant with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) to serve Him; even the stranger. So, “choose this day whom you will serve” ~
Isaiah 14:1 For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose (elect) Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.
Isaiah 56:6-86Also the sons of the stranger that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;7Even them will I bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people. The Lord GOD which gathers the outcasts of Israel says, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.
Joshua 24:15 choose this day whom you will serve…
- For further study of Paul’s teachings, as well as the original Greek, see the ‘Links’ at the top of this page or blog posts at the bottom. Be like the Bereans, and test Paul’s doctrines to the “Scriptures”; look up for yourself more than 60 of the “forever verses” listed directly below. Please ‘share’ this study. Thank you for your time!