Covenant and The Mystery #6. From Truth for Today Archives, Aug. 1964-July 1975, by Oscar M. Baker. Seven articles entitled, “Covenant and The Mystery” (From Vol. 22, #8, p. 269)
We have noted in Romans 11 that the Gentile believers are spoken of as wild olive branches that are grafted into the true olive tree, or Israel. We can better understand this picture if we go to Galatians where instead of the olive tree, we have Abraham, Gentiles finally can have a part in the promises made to Abraham. See the following:
- Gal. 3:9 blessed with faithful Abraham.
- Gal. 3:14. that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles.
- Gal. 3:29. If ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.
In the next chapter, verses 24-26 we have the New Jerusalem, the Jerusalem which is above and which Abraham looked for, as a mother to those that believe, both Jew and Gentile.
So beginning at Acts 10:24 and ending at Acts 28:28, the Gentile believer could partake of the promises to Abraham and come into covenant relationship with God. Before that, the Gentile was just a dog, that could only eat crumbs that fell from Israel’s table. But Paul shows in this attempt to make Israel jealous, Gentile believers can sit at the table with Israel and partake of all thereon.
But in being grafted in, the Gentiles had no equality with the natural branches in some ways. Rom. 9:3-5 shows how the Jew was superior in that respect. Dispensationally, the Jew was first. In his standing before God in Christ, the Gentile believer was equal. There was no difference. And there was another aspect in which they were equal. Both Jew and Gentile had both sinned and come short of the glory of God. We must notice these things.
We also might add there is a great deal of doctrinal truth in Romans repeated in the epistles written to us Gentiles today. But it is a waste of time to try to go through Romans, for example, and sort out these things. Those that are valid are repeated and we need not take the risk of making mistakes in sorting out the material.
Another thing we must keep in mind when reading Romans, or any other epistle of that era, is when Jewish and Gentile peoples are spoken of, usually it refers to believers. All too often people have thought that Gentiles in Romans always meant the Gentile world in general. That cannot be true. The whole of the Gentile world was not grafted into the olive tree; just such as believed.
We might add here that the Gentile believers were not obliged to observe any of the Jewish rituals or feasts. It was not necessary they be baptized in water or partake of the Passover. The council in Jerusalem had made a decision about these things (Acts 15:1-29). The council then made it plain there were 4 things the Gentile believers were required to do, and no more. To them was the gospel of the grace of God preached (Acts 20:24). This gospel was never preached to Israel, event though Paul was accused of it by his enemies (Acts 21:21).
According to Jer 31:31, the New Covenant was to be with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Did Gentiles partake of the new or the old?