We’re continuing to look at the relationship of Israel to the church. Paul is explaining it in the book of Romans. He gives us his perspective.
For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
He literally tells us that their rejection caused the world system to be restored. Since that was the case, then their readmission into God’s kingdom will be life from the dead. So it’s obvious that Paul considers the nation of Israel, without Christ, spiritually dead.
The apostle now give us an illustration.
If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
He uses a lump of dough as an example. He tells us that because the firstfruits are holy, set apart to God, everything else you make from the crop is holy. In talking about firstfruits, it’s possible that he’s referring back to James.
James wrote his book long before Paul wrote Romans. James wrote his epistle to the saved Jews all over the world.
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
At the birth of Christianity, James calls them the firstfruits of God’s created systems of order. He wrote this without even knowing that Gentiles would someday enter the mix. But the salvation of the Gentiles had its beginnings in saved Israel.
Originally, Israel was set apart as holy to God. After the resurrection of Christ, a remnant remained true to the Lord. These original Jewish believers accepted the Good News by faith in Christ.
I believe that these are the firstfruits both James and Paul are referring to. Then the Gentiles are mixed into the batch of holy dough. However, there’s more to this example.
When giving bread as an offering, leaven was allowed in firstfruits and tithes. Then they would hold back a little to leaven the next batch. It wasn’t like now where yeast is its own thing.
In those days it was fermented dough that was added to the new batch. We must ask then; what is the Kingdom of God about?
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
Look at what Paul said earlier about firstfruits.
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Jesus also said something along those lines.
Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Yeast, in this context, is the old dough from the firstfruits that’s now fermented. We can look at the large amount of flour as the Gentiles. Now the Holy Spirit has penetrated all peoples. Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit can flow to all races, generations, and peoples.
The fact is that there would be no chance at salvation for the Gentiles without the Jewish nation. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their part in keeping the Word of God pure.
Question: What’s our part in the plan of God towards Israel?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi