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Seven ways Messianic Jews fulfill the “Irrevocable Call” of Romans 11:29

Most believers have no issue with the idea that the Jewish people were the chosen people of the one true God in the Old Covenant. But what about today? What about the Jewish people who have embraced Jesus? Are they part of what Paul calls the “irrevocable call” in Romans 11:29? And, if so, what does that mean?

As leaders, in Israel, we have been discussing this issue.

There are three views:

  1. Replacement theology: The Church has wholly replaced Israel as the people of God. God is finished with Israel (which we all agree, is wrong—but this was the dominating church view for 1,900 years and goes all the way back to the book of Romans).

  2. God’s hand is on Israel, but Messianic Jews are no longer connected to that, as they are now part of the Church. This view holds that when a Jewish person embraces Jesus, he comes up higher, into the One New Man, and his identity as a Jew is no longer relevant. To make the claim that he is still “unique” as part of the chosen people can’t be legitimate because it excludes Gentile believers. Many Christian Zionists hold this view; they love unbelieving Israel but distance themselves from Jewish people who embrace Yeshua and continue to live as Jews. Many dispensationalists would claim that Israel will have a great role in the Tribulation—at the end of the Church age.

  3. Jewish believers are both connected to Israel and her irrevocable call, as well as part of the global ecclesia (body of believers). There is no racial superiority or special standing, just a unique role to play, particularly in the End Times.

Feelings over Theology

For those who oppose number three, which is our position, their opposition is almost always rooted in hurt feelings, misunderstanding, or jealousy of God’s amazing love for the Gentiles, not theology. Indeed, many people who have come to the conclusion that replacement theology is correct (that the church replaces Israel and receives all her promises—while Israel is stuck with the curses), got there because they were bothered by how much the Bible speaks of Israel. The idea that they are Israel is great news and makes them feel better—even if it is bad theology.

Non-Jewish believers sometimes read about God’s central role for Israel and feel left out. However, that central role is the foundation of God’s plan to save the Gentiles; it leads to the salvation and fullness of the nations (Rom. 11:25)—so they should not at all feel left out. God is building His “household” from every nation on earth. The primary reason that God called one nation, was to reach the whole world with the gospel.

“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is. 49:6)

The fact that God called Israel is proof of God’s great love for the nations.

The problem with the idea that Jewish believers are somehow cut off from Israel’s calling (the second view outlined above) is that we Israeli believers have citizenship in the modern state of Israel, from where I write, based on the fact that we are Jewish. Part of the irrevocable call is that God would draw us back here from all over the world in the End Times. Are Jewish believers not part of that ingathering? If not, how can we be a witness to our Israeli brothers and sisters?

Furthermore, the promise of land restoration to Israel is the hope that believers have been praying into for millennia, understanding that it leads to Romans 11:26, where all Israel is saved! In the very chapters where Jeremiah promises that God will make a new covenant with Israel, he speaks about God bringing the Jewish people home to Israel. You cannot separate God’s promise to bring the Jewish people back into their own land from His promise of End Time spiritual awakening in Israel.

Ezekiel 36:24-27 says when God brings the Jews back to Israel, her eyes will be opened. “I will sprinkle clean water on you…I will give you a heart of flesh.” It seems strange that once her eyes are opened, she is no longer connected to Israel’s chosenness or calling. Hosea foresees that after Israel suffers, she returns to her Messiah in the last days.

“For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.” (Hos. 3:4-5)

Obviously, King David is long dead, and this refers to Yeshua.

Calling, not Value

We believe that Messianic Jews have a unique role according to Scripture. This role is not an issue of value before God, but one of calling. Someone left a comment on our site regarding a recent article and said, “I feel like, as a Gentile follower, I’m supposed to not belong.”

It bothers me deeply that this person feels this way. I connect with Gentile leaders all over the world and I have never sought to make them feel “less than” and I don’t think they have ever felt that from me. We should not be jealous of each other’s calling but rejoice with each other as we succeed in our unique callings.

For example, Eitan Shishkoff is one of the godliest pastors I have ever met. He oozes mercy. Everyone loves him and feels the love from him. I can remember when I first started out in ministry, I was jealous. Why didn’t I have that gifting? Also, I had seen prophets move in the Spirit and longed to be able to see in the spirit and hear from God as they did. However, as I developed my gifting as a communicator, fundraiser, and writer, I was able to rejoice with others in their gifting and feel blessed in my own. No one in the kingdom of God should feel second class. However, if someone does feel that way, that doesn’t negate the fact that there are different gifts and callings.

Gentile believers are just as close to Yeshua as Jewish believers. “But now in Messiah Yeshua, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Messiah.” (Ephesians 2:13) That is the issue of intimacy with God. There is no difference. Gentiles followers of Yeshua “are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.” (Ephesians 2:19) Notice he says with God’s people, not instead of.

The Gentiles drawing close and becoming citizens of the commonwealth of Israel does not in any way negate the calling on Messianic Jews. We were already in the olive tree and they were grafted in. Jewish believers remain in the olive tree through faith, and Gentile believers join them there. But Romans 11 doesn’t intimate that the Jews who remain are no longer connected to the irrevocable call that he mentions just a few scriptures later.

Co-heir is not a small thing!

There are some aspects of Israel’s call that are now also on the entire Church. When Gentiles are grafted into the Jewish-rooted olive tree (Romans 11), they become co-heirs (Ephesians 2) and join in this calling, such as being a light to the nations (Matthew 5:14-16) and being a priestly nation (1 Peter 2:9).

Furthermore, in the age to come, we will rule and reign together. Revelation 5 begins by emphasizing the preeminence of Yeshua, the Jewish man/Messiah. He is the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” and the “Root of David”. But the people He has purchased with his blood (v. 9) are from every nation, and “they will reign on earth.”

Yes! One of the greatest mysteries revealed in the New Covenant is, “that through the gospel, the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Messiah Jesus.” We are equal in the Messiah! (And just in case you are still a proponent of replacement theology, it says WITH Israel, not in place of.) There are no second-class citizens in the kingdom!

The Irrevocable Call and Messianic Jews

But there are some aspects that only a Jewish believer can fulfill—just as there are certain things that only a pastor can do, as someone gifted as a pure evangelist would not be suited for.

1. Messianic Jews are said to sanctify the rest of the nation as the saved remnant of their people; foreshadowing the day when the rest of the nation will be saved.  (Romans 11:5, 16.) We see this principle in Sodom when God was willing to spare the city if He could find 10 righteous men—a godly remnant. Also, God blesses a whole family based on the faith of one believing spouse. (1 Corinthians 7:14)

2. Only Messianic Jews can show God’s