ALL THINGS IN CHRIST
In all wisdom and prudence making known to us the mystery of His will according to His
good pleasure which He purposed in Him the plan for the fullness of the times
TO HEAD UP THE ALL THINGS IN THE CHRIST ,
the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth, in Him ….
(Ephesians 1:8b-10)
By – Stuart H. Pouliot
Article #39
Dualism, Reversionism, Graftage
February 2012
Many years ago, I held the view that God is now working along two very distinct and different
lines that will also continue in the age to come: 1) the ecclesia of Christians [the church], and 2)
the present-day Jewish state of Israel comprised of Jews according to the flesh [bloodline].
However, quite a few years ago I became troubled in my spirit because it did not feel right to
me. Something was amiss in such thinking. After all, the dividing wall has been broken down
and there is now one new man (Ephesians 2:15), and we [commonwealth of Israel and the
nations] both have our access in one Spirit to the Father (Ephesians 2:18). This sure doesn't
sound like two distinct lines.
So, I began to inquire of the Lord and search for an answer to what was boiling inside me. As I
searched for the answer, the Holy Spirit began to gradually open my eyes to what I now believe
is a much more accurate truth of the Word of God.
The question that sat before me was this: Is God working on two distinct lines or one? The
answer I discovered is that God is working only on one line, and this line is based on His Son and
the New Covenant, and all, regardless of bloodline, are being grafted into this one line. This
might seem a bit too obvious, but it really isn't when you begin studying this subject and
discover that many seem to believe in a hybrid of the Old and the New Covenants.
To explain the results of my research, I have divided the various views on the subject into three
schools of thought and labeled them: Dualism , Reversionism , and Graftage . The latter two
terms may seem strange to some, but they are real words.
Dualism
Dualism is defined as "the state of being dual (two); duality; two basic entities; two natures."
This is a condensed definition, but the point is that it refers to two of something.
As such, dualism sees God working along two distinct lines of people. The first line involves the
unbelieving Jews based on the flesh, that is, ones born of a genealogical bloodline traced to the
seed of Jacob. The second line involves the ecclesia (church) of Christians based on the spirit,
that is, ones born from above with the seed of God.
As with most schools of thought, there are variations around a common theme. This school is
most associated with dispensationalism . The most prevalent form of this ism holds to a future
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pre-tribulation "rapture," followed by a 7-year tribulation, and then a 1000-year kingdom with
Christ ruling from ancient Jerusalem with a rebuilt temple and the Jews (Israel) heading up the
nations, with the church in heaven, meeting at the pearly gates, eating fruit from the tree of
life, walking on streets of pure gold, and living in mansions in a literal, heavenly city called the
new Jerusalem.
In other words, according to this school, there will be two groups of God's people living in two
distinct cities, one earthly and one heavenly, with both blessed of God for two different
reasons, one based on the physical seed of Jacob and the Old Covenant, and one based on the
spiritual seed of God and the New Covenant. At the same time, there will continue to be billions
of unbelievers, created to be in the image of Elohim , roasting and toasting in an eternal place of
fire and worms that many call hell . Ugh! This is straight out of paganism. Or, is it straight out of
hell?
Further, some within this school of thought see the church coming back to earth and residing in
the earthly Jerusalem with believing Jews, all united in Christ. Others in this school see the Jews
rebuilding a physical temple where God will place His name and glory and reinstitute the
Levitical priesthood and animal sacrifices. In other words, they replace Christianity with Judaism
that rises to its former grandeur of Solomon's day with Jesus seated on a throne in Jerusalem
and ministering through a rebuilt temple. To add to the confusion, some see King David,
literally, on the throne, and some believe that Jews do not have to believe Jesus is the Messiah
because the Jews are given special privilege to rule the world based simply on their bloodline
that is traced back to Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham. After all, as the thinking goes, they are God's
chosen people, and they can do no wrong, and God will protect them no matter what mischief
they create in the world. Of course, some rightly insist that the Jews must and will believe in
Jesus.
The point is that dualism sees God working on two distinct lines, some see both of these in
Christ, and others do not. Unfortunately, dualism seems to confuse or ignore Scripture on
several levels. A few are offered.
First, it retains the Old Covenant or some hybrid of it that, according to God's Word, has been
made obsolete and has been replaced with the New Covenant. When He said, "A new
covenant," He has made the first obsolete (Hebrews 8:13).
Second, Paul defines a true Jew. Based on his definition, an argument could be made that every
believing Christian is a Jew.
(28) For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the
flesh. (29) But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart,
by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. (Romans 2:28-29
NASB)
Third, in His letters to the ecclesias, Jesus exposed the synagogue of Satan and the lying Jew.
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(2:9) 'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those
who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.' … (3:9) 'Behold, I will cause
those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie―I will make
them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.'
(Revelation 2:9; 3:9 NASB)
Claiming one is a Jew based on ancestry and circumcision of the flesh and, on this basis alone,
has access to God the Father (God of Abraham) while rejecting His Son, Jesus the Christ, makes
one a liar. Jesus said that no one comes to the Father but through Me (John 14:6). If an
"outward" Jew rejects Christ and thus has an uncircumcised heart, then his claim to be a true
Jew is a lie.
Fourth, Paul made a clear distinction between the present Jerusalem and the Jerusalem above.
(25) Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for
she is in slavery with her children. (26) But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. …
(30) But what does the Scripture say? "CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON, FOR THE
SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE AN HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN."
(Galatians 4:25-26, 30 NASB)
The present or earthly Jerusalem must be cast out.
There is only one Jerusalem on God's heart; it is the city that Abraham sought, which has
foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10). It is called New Jerusalem.
For this reason, the Hebrew believers were exhorted: For here we do not have a lasting city,
but we are seeking the city which is to come (Hebrews 13:14).
Ancient Jerusalem was about to be destroyed by the Romans shortly after the letter to the
Hebrews was written, but notice that the Hebrews were never encouraged to hold to the
earthly city or, for that matter, a new and improved rebuilt one. It had to be destroyed so that
they would be released from any and all attachments to the present Jerusalem, the temple, and
Judaism. Instead, they were encouraged, as we are today: But you have come to Mount Zion
and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22).
Fifth, Paul tells us that Christians are the temple of the living God, and this temple is being built
into a dwelling of God in Spirit, which is corporately New Jerusalem.
And what agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are a temple of the living
God, even as God said, "I will" dwell in them and "walk among them, and I will be their God,
and they shall be My people." Lev. 26:12; Ezek. 37:27 (2 Corinthians 6:16 LITV)
(19) So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the
saints, and are of God's household, (20) having been built on the foundation of the apostles
and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, (21) in whom the whole building,
being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, (22) in whom you also are
being built together into a dwelling of God in [the] Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22 NASB)
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Sixth, the thought that a Levitical priesthood will be reinstituted to minister in a rebuilt temple
in Jerusalem during the next age seems contradictory to Scripture. The Word of God makes it
abundantly clear that there is a new priesthood, not based on a genealogical line traced to
Aaron and Levi, whose priests died every generation, but one based on an indestructible life
and the very oath of God to His Son. In other words, it is traced to and found in the Son of God.
(5) So also the Christ has not glorified Himself to become a high priest, but He speaking to
Him, "You are My Son; today I have begotten You." Psa. 2:7 (6) As He also says in another
place, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek," Psa. 110:4 (Hebrews
5:5-6 LITV)
(13) For the One of whom these things are said has partaken of another tribe, from which no
one has given devotion at the altar. (14) For it is clear that our Lord has risen out of Judah, as
to which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. (15) And it is still more
abundantly clear that if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, (16)
who has not become so according to a law of a fleshly command, but according to the power
of an indissoluble life. (17) For it is testified, "You are a priest to the age according to the
order of Melchizedek." Psa. 110:4 (Hebrews 7:13-17 LITV)
This priesthood traces back to Melchizedek, the king of righteousness and the king of peace,
who was a type of God's Son, the true King of Righteousness and of Peace. The first king-priest
according to the order of Melchizedek was Shem, who built the first Jerusalem, signifying the
Kingdom of God on earth. The last and preeminent King-Priest according to the order of
Melchizedek is Jesus, who is the very cornerstone, foundation, and builder of the second and
last Jerusalem, New Jerusalem, signifying the Kingdom of God in heaven and on earth, as
manifested in a people called the Body of Christ.
Consequently, the Levitical priesthood has been made obsolete. It seems untenable that it will
be revived as part of God's plan in order to offer daily sacrifices that have all been fulfilled in
Christ's one sacrifice for all times (Hebrews 10:9-10).
Just as the Old Covenant has been made obsolete, so has the old priesthood of men from the
loins of Aaron and Levi been made obsolete! God is raising up a new priesthood according to
the order of Melchizedek, born of the seed of God, indwelt with the Spirit of God, and they will
reign on the earth for 1,000 years (Revelation 5:10; 20:4-6), and beyond into God's Day.
Christian Zionism
Before moving on to the other schools of thought, prevalent in our day, dualism is most evident
in what is called Christian Zionism . This section might appear a bit redundant, but it cannot be
avoided in order to make the point.
I realize that there are some who will counter what I have written so far with the argument that
the Jews according to the flesh will come into the Kingdom of God the same way that Christians
do. Their eyes will be opened to Jesus as Messiah, and they will repent for their unbelief and
believe on Him. Up to this point, I am in full agreement, for this is the only way for anyone, Jew
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or gentile [nations], to come into the Kingdom of God. Again, the only way to God the Father is
through His Son, the Lord Jesus, who is the Savior of the world and the King of the nations.
Where I differ, and I also believe Scripture differs, is where those who state the above go on to
argue that the believing Jews, whose eyes are opened at the end of the age, generally through
and during what is called the great tribulation, are a special race of people destined to rule over
the nations in the age to come, based not only on their belief in Jesus but also on their
bloodline traced back through Jacob, to Isaac, to Abraham. In other words, in the age to come,
the believing Jews will be separated out from the ecclesia of believers [church] and given
special status as the nation of Israel that will rule over the nations on earth because they are
God's chosen.
The problem with such a doctrine is that it is contrary to Scripture, especially according to the
glorious gospel presented by Paul in his Ephesians epistle.
(13) But now, in Christ Jesus you who then were afar off, came to be near by the blood of
Christ. (14) For He is our peace, He making us both one, and breaking down the middle wall of
partition, (15) in His flesh causing to cease the enmity, the Law of the commandments in
decrees, that He might in Himself create the two into one new man, making peace, (16) and
might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, slaying the enmity in Himself. (17)
And coming, He proclaimed "peace to you, the ones afar off, and to the ones near." Isa. 57:19
(18) For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:13-18 LITV)
There are no longer two distinct lines but one line that God is working along that Paul calls the
One New Man in Christ . The wall that separated the nation of Israel from the rest of the
nations has been broken down by the Second Man, Christ, and all who believe on God's Son are
one and equal in the sight of God. All have the same access by one Spirit to one Father. Paul
makes it very clear in his letters that, in respect to God and His Son, there is only one distinct
line, not two.
(4) There is one body and one Spirit, even as you also were called in one hope of your calling;
(5) one Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6) one God and Father of all, the One above all and
through all and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6 LITV)
But to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him, and one Lord
Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we by Him. (1 Corinthians 8:6 LITV)
Unfortunately, it seems that many evangelical Christians have chosen to ignore the truth of
these verses, and more, as they support the current Jewish state of Israel solely on the basis, as
they see it, of them being God's chosen nation to rule the world in the age to come, no matter
what they do or think. It would be one thing, and a good thing at that, if they sought to simply
convert the Jews and the modern nation of Israel to Christ so that they would come out of
Judaism into Christianity, but this is not at the heart of Christian Zionism.
Like Esau who sold his birthright to Jacob for a pot of red stew, so are many Christians selling
their birthright to a people and a nation that have rejected Christ for the last 2,000 years and
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that Jesus Himself said would not inherit the Kingdom of God (Matthew 21:43). Believers are
the true Jew and the church of the conquerors is the true Israel of God because they have come
under the rule of God through His Son, are obedient to His will, and are in an intimate covenant
relationship with Christ.
Now, what is modern Zionism ? There are many definitions of it, some even sinister, but, at its
core, it holds that the Jews have the right to self-determination and to develop their national
culture in their own natural homeland, implemented through the creation and defense of the
Jewish state of Israel. Initially, Zionism was a national movement to return the Jewish people to
Palestine and to reestablish their sovereignty in "the land of Israel" through their own nation.
Of course, this took place in 1948.
One Jewish website included this in the definition of Zionism: "It is applied to Evangelical
Christians who want people of the Jewish religion to return to Israel in order to hasten the
second coming. 'Christian Zionism' is also used to describe any Christian support for Israel."
It is safe to say that Christian Zionists believe that modern Israel, along with its "eternal" capital,
Jerusalem, is the apple of God's eye and will never cease to exist, and any nation that opposes
Israel or attempts to give away its land will ultimately fail.
Again, some believe that the ones calling themselves Jews, who presently reject Christ Jesus
and remain enemies of His cross, must and will believe on Jesus as Messiah at the end of the
age in order to have this most-favored status in the world. However, others believe they will
come into this favor with God based simply on their ancestry. In addition, as the doctrine goes,
the ecclesia of Christ will be "raptured" off the earth and, "poof," the Jewish state will take
over.
Christian Zionists fail to see that, prophetically, the earthly Jerusalem must fall just as Shiloh
fell, never to be repaired again (Jeremiah 7:12-15; 19:11). Like a cat with nine lives, Jerusalem
has been rebuilt many times. Obviously, the destruction of the temple and the city in 70 AD was
only a precursor to a latter-day downfall of the great city, which mystically is associated with
Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified (Revelation 11:8).
A day must come when the prophecies of Jeremiah are fulfilled, and the city is never rebuilt
again. There is only one Jerusalem, just as there is only one God and one Lord.
People of God, we must make a clear distinction between the unbelieving Jew, who is one
according to the flesh, and the spiritual Jew, who is one inwardly with a circumcision of the
heart by the Spirit (Romans 2:29). We must see that modern Zionism is antichrist and not of
God but of man striving for power, control, and domination. The true Zion of God is not of this
earth or of man but of heaven. The Zion of God is Mount Zion and the city of the living God,
heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22). We must not confuse the revived, present Israel with the
spiritual Israel of God, which is New Jerusalem.
If we love the modern Jews in Israel who are still in unbelief and enemies of the cross, we
should be encouraging them to believe on Jesus, repent, and get out while they have time
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rather than buying Jews airfare to return to the Middle East and supporting them with foreign
aid.
Now, let us continue to reversionism, which could be likened to the outcome of Zionism if
carried to its full manifestation.
Reversionism
Reversionism is defined as a belief that one must "return to a former state, custom, or belief."
The Galatians and Hebrews epistles were both written to confront believers that were in
danger of reverting back to Judaism and the Old Covenant, in part or in whole.
This view is similar to dualism, and the same scriptural argument against dualism applies to
reversionism; however, it goes much further in its view of the Jew and Israel and what it sees as
the economy of God for the ages. We could say that reversionism is more insidious than
dualism, for it seeks to bring the New Covenant into the Old Covenant rather than spiritually
interpreting the new in light of the types and shadows of the old. The result is that, in the
extreme case, the New Covenant is abandoned in whole or in part, or perverted through some
hybrid theology to the point of either rejecting Christ or making Him prominent but not
preeminent.
Reversionism seeks to return to a former state that, in this case, is no longer in the economy of
God. Again, and as a reminder, the book of Hebrews was written for this very reason; it was a
warning to believing Hebrews (and now to all believers) of the danger of returning to Judaism
and the Old Covenant, exhorting them to press on in the New Covenant that is based on better
promises and a better resurrection.
Reversionists hold that believers must become like practicing Jews and hold to a form of
Judaism. They are judaizers. As they say, Christ is coming for a Jewish bride, so Christians must
be like a physical, practicing Jew. At best, it becomes a hybrid of Christianity and Judaism with
the Son of God in the midst of it in some measure; however, in the extreme it tramples under
foot the Son of God (Hebrews 10:29).
We need to be abundantly clear that, because of Calvary, Christ has done away with Judaism,
but this camp seeks to bring Christ into Judaism. Another way of stating this is that it seeks to
bring Christ Jesus into Judaism, something that He made obsolete with His very own blood
(Hebrews 9:12, 25; 13:12) and condemned and brought into death in 70 AD with the
destruction of Jerusalem and Herod's temple (Luke 19:14, 27; 22:7). Consider what the Word of
God says.
(4) For it is impossible for those once having been enlightened, and having tasted of the
heavenly gift, and becoming sharers of the Holy Spirit, (5) and tasting the good Word of God,
and the works of power of a coming age, (6) and having fallen away, it is impossible for them
again to renew to repentance, crucifying again for themselves the Son of God, and putting
Him to open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6 LITV)
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(29) How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under
foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was
sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (30) For we know Him who said, "VENGEANCE
IS MINE, I WILL REPAY." And again, "THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE." (Hebrews 10:29-30
NASB)
This does not mean that a believer will lose his or her salvation and never reach immortality.
Immortality is a promise to all who believe. However, the timing is not based on a promise but
on being called, chosen, and faithful to the Lambkin (Revelation 17:14). Only conquerors will
receive immortal bodies in the first (better) resurrection and transfiguration. The rest will have
to wait for the second resurrection, when they will be saved, yet so as through fire (1
Corinthians 3:15), which speaks of the Great White Throne and the fiery, righteous law of God
that will go forth like a lake of fire to judge the works or deeds of the flesh of men for the
purpose of restitution and restoration at the consummation of the eons, not for eternal torture
and punishment (Revelation 20:11-15).
Those who seek to bring Christianity into Judaism, along with all its outward appearances and
forms and works of righteousness under the Law by which no man is justified (Acts 13:39;
Romans 3:20, 28; Galatians 2:16; 3:11; Philippians 3:9), are severing themselves from Christ and
disqualifying themselves from being an heir with the son of the free woman. They are in
bondage with the bondwoman, the present Jerusalem that needs to be cast out (Galatians
4:25-30).
(2) Behold, I, Paul, say to you that if you are circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. (3)
And I testify again to every man being circumcised, that he is a debtor to do all the Law, (4)
you whoever are justified by Law, you were severed from Christ; you fell from grace. (5) For
we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness out of faith. (6) For in Christ
Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any strength, but faith working through
love. (7) You were running well; who held you back that you do not obey the truth? (Galatians
5:2-7 LITV)
As the Hebrews letter asks: How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation (Hebrews
2:3)? Paul did not mince words when it came to any gospel that tried to revert Christians to
Judaism.
But even if we, or an angel out of Heaven, should preach a gospel to you beside the gospel we
preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8 LITV)
This leads to the third and most important school of thought on this matter.
Graftage
The noun graftage is defined as "the state of being grafted." The noun graft is defined as "a
shoot or bud of one plant or tree inserted or to be inserted into the stem or trunk of another,
where it continues to grow, becoming a permanent part; the act or process of inserting such a
bud or shoot." The same process can occur with skin, bone, or living tissue transplanted from
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one body to another body or from one part of a body to another part of the same body, where
it grows and becomes a permanent part. Another way of stating this is that "being grafted"
refers to the process of inserting, let's say, object B into object A so that object B becomes a
permanent part of object A. Once grafted, object B takes on the life of object A.
Graftage is a two-way process involving cutting or removing a part from one object and
inserting or grafting it into another object. Obviously, if something can be grafted in, it only
follows that it can also be cut out or pruned if it fails to root properly or bear fruit.
The fact of the matter is that, in order to bring forth the fruit of His Kingdom, God both prunes
(cuts out dead material and trims living material) out of and grafts (inserts living material) into
His tree. This is the job of a vinedresser.
The Word of God uses many agricultural or horticultural metaphors, most notably, those
involving trees and vines that, in the natural world, are grafted. The most recognizable one is
Jesus as the true vine and the Father as the vinedresser (John 15:1-6). But one that is not as
recognized is the good and the bad fig trees of Judah. To understand this, a little history is in
order.
At the end of Jacob-Israel's life, he blessed his son Judah with the scepter [the King] (Genesis
49:10), Joseph with fruitfulness [the Kingdom] (Genesis 49:22-26), and the sons of Joseph,
Ephraim and Manasseh, with the birthright (Genesis 48; 1 Chronicles 5:1), who were also
blessed with his name Israel: "And may my name live on in them" (Genesis 48:16). Following
Solomon's death, the United Kingdom of Israel was divided into two nations (1 Kings 11:9-11; 2
Chronicles 10:15-11:4), the house of Judah, consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and
most of the Levites, and the house of Israel, consisting of the remaining ten tribes. The name of
Judah and the scepter remained in Jerusalem and formed the southern nation. The name of
Israel and the birthright took root in Samaria and formed the northern nation. Later, the nation
of Israel was taken into Assyrian captivity and dispersed northward. They ceased being a nation
and lost their national identity. They became the lost [i.e., no national identity] sheep of the
house of Israel and remain so to this very day. The birthright remains a treasure hidden in the
field [world] (Matthew 13:44). Modern Israel is not this house; it has unlawfully usurped the
name. The nation of Judah was also taken into captivity, but by the Babylonians. Later, a
remnant returned to rebuild the temple and Jerusalem, and with it, the hope of the scepter.
This is a very condensed history, but the point is: When Jesus came the first time, the house or
nation of Judah, not Israel, resided in Jerusalem. Jesus came the first time as the antitype of
Judah to take the scepter as the King of Judah. When He comes the second time, He will come
as the antitype of Joseph to establish His Kingdom through the birthright and, spiritually
speaking, reunite Judah and Israel.
Now, the nation of Judah was symbolized by the fig tree, but in the days of Jesus, there were
two fig trees present in Judea, a good fig tree and a bad fig tree. Jeremiah, a prophet of Judah,
was given revelation of two baskets of figs set before the temple of the Lord.
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(2) One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, and the other basket had very bad figs
which could not be eaten due to rottenness. (3) Then the LORD said to me, "What do you see,
Jeremiah?" And I said, "Figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad figs, very bad, which
cannot be eaten due to rottenness." (Jeremiah 24:2-3 NASB)
Then, the Lord went on to explain what would happen to the good figs and the bad figs.
(6) ''For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will
build them up and not overthrow them, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. (7) I will
give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be
their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.'" (Jeremiah 24:6-7 NASB)
(8) 'But like the bad figs which cannot be eaten due to rottenness … so I will abandon … the
remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land …. … (10) 'I will send the sword, the famine and
the pestilence upon them until they are destroyed from the land which I gave to them and
their forefathers.'" (Jeremiah 24:8, 10 NASB)
Drawing upon the word He gave to Jeremiah about 600 years earlier, Jesus clearly made the
point that the good figs could only come from a good fig tree and the bad figs from a bad fig
tree.
(17) "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. (18) A good tree
cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. (19) Every tree that does not
bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (20) So then, you will know them by
their fruits." (Matthew 7:17-20 NASB)
In other words, the nation of Judah was made up of two trees, a good one and a bad one, one
that had a heart for the Lord and one that did not. The good fig tree believed that Jesus was the
Messiah and the King of Judah and followed Him, even after His death on the cross and
resurrection. They recognized Him and loved Him. The bad fig tree refused to accept Jesus as
the Messiah and the King of Judah and rejected Him to the point of demanding His death on a
cross. They too recognized Him, for the parables tell us so, but they hated Him to the point of
becoming murderers (Matthew 21:38-39).
Because of this, Jesus declared to them: The kingdom of God will be taken from you [bad fig
tree] , and it will be given to a nation [good fig tree] producing the fruits of it (Matthew 21:43
LITV).
The bad fig tree would not inherit the Kingdom of God but instead be cast out because of its
rotten fruit. Just as Jeremiah had prophesied, so did Jesus: "But the king [God the Father] was
enraged, and he sent his [God's Roman] armies and destroyed those murderers [bad figs] and
set their city [Jerusalem] on fire" (Matthew 22:7 NASB). In 70 AD, God sent His Roman army to
destroy the great city Jerusalem and the temple, bringing a final blow to Judaism and the Old
Covenant.
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We need to realize that the good fig tree that followed Jesus lived on, and this tree was made
up of believing Judahites or Jews. To those who argue that the ecclesia of Christ is a Jewish
ecclesia; there is some truth to this. The early ecclesia was mostly of Judahites who followed
the King of Judah. After all, Paul declared: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the
power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek"
(Romans 1:16 NASB). Then he asked: "What advantage has the Jew?" ; to which he answered:
"Great in every respect" (Romans 3:1, 2). However, the advantage is of no value if a Jew
remains one outwardly, manifested through the flesh, and is not one inwardly, manifested
through faith and a circumcised heart.
As the King and Lion from the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), Jesus is the trunk or, if you will,
the entire good fig tree, made up of many branches, called to bear the fruit of the Kingdom. The
genealogical Judahites that were good figs met Paul's definition of a true Jew, for they were
ones inwardly with a circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit (Romans 2:29).
Here is where graftage enters in. All who have believed on Jesus regardless of their genealogical
roots have been grafted into the good fig tree of Judah as spiritual Judahites. All are true Jews,
for they have united themselves with the King of Judah.
Again, let it be emphasized that the early church was most assuredly made up of genealogical
Jews or good figs. Over time, as the gospel went forth to the nations, other shoots were grafted
into this good fig tree to bear the fruit of the Kingdom. We could even say that those from the
nations produced other types of fruit, such as apples, oranges, pears, etc., metaphorically
speaking. God loves diversity!
The Kingdom of God produces all kinds of fruit; after all, consider what the tree(s) of life
produces in New Jerusalem. To be clear, the fruit bearers are people, for the city of God speaks
of the corporate Temple of the Lord, the Body of Christ.
(1) Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of
God and of the Lamb, (2) in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of
life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree
were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2 NASB)
Replacement Theology
Before concluding, there is one more point that needs to be made and it pertains to
replacement theology . This theology starts with the idea that the Jews are Israel, which is
incorrect.
The term Jew is a shortened version of the name Judah . Again, after Solomon's death, his
kingdom was split into two nations, Judah and Israel. By the time of Jesus' first advent, Israel
had already been scattered among the nations and had lost its national identity as Israel. This
occurred over 700 years earlier (2 Kings 17:18). So, when Jesus walked the ancient land, there
was no Israel to be replaced. At best, only Judah could be replaced, but there is a challenge to
this as well. As shown already, Judah consisted of good figs and bad figs. The good figs believed
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on Jesus, and the bad figs rejected Him as the Son of God and Messiah. The good figs did not
replace anyone; they simply became the true Judah in the sight of God, for they followed the
true King of Judah. In other words, in the sight of God, they carried on the name of Judah, not
because of their genealogy but because of their faith. The other Jews who were ones in
appearance only, that is, of the outward sign of the flesh, no longer were considered Jews in
the sight of God (Romans 2:28-29). To repeat, as far as God was concerned, they were not Jews,
and this has continued to our day for all who claim to be a Jew based on the flesh and who are
enemies of the cross.
After Calvary, the apparent Jews continued to claim their right to the name. The true Judah
nation, the one called to produce the fruit of the Kingdom, became known as the church, but
this did not change her roots, which leads to the second error.
Replacement theology also holds that the so-called gentile church of the last 2,000 years
completely replaced the Jew, as if the early church of Jews were insignificant. In other words, a
gentile church has fully replaced the Jews who no longer have a place in the economy of God,
of course, unless they repent and believe. By the way, the more accurate label to attach to the
church is the word nations ; for her building material has been taken from among the nations of
which Judah is included.
Graftage is not replacement, for it acknowledges that the good fig tree of the Old Testament
and the Old Covenant continued on as the good fig tree of the New Testament and the New
Covenant. In other words, its roots are in the ancient days of Judah, but its growth materially
increased after Calvary and the resurrection of Christ as not only genealogical, believing Jews
continued on as the tree but others not of the ancient tree were grafted into it. In like fashion,
many genealogical Jews were pruned out of the tree to become wild or bad figs and cannot be
grafted back in until they have faith to believe in Jesus, the Savior and Messiah.
But do not think for a minute that graftage involving the good fig tree means that there is a
reversion to any portion of the Old Covenant, for it does not. The first has been taken away to
establish the second (Hebrews 10:9). The genealogical Jew had an advantage, for the gospel
was presented to the Jew first; however, salvation is based on faith (Romans 1:16-17), not a
gene pool.
Today, there is no advantage to the genealogical Jew, for God only acknowledges the true Jew
who is one with a circumcised heart.
Conclusion
There is only one line upon which God is working today, and the good fig tree of Judah is one
type of this line that has remained unbroken since its inception. Another type is the olive tree
that speaks of spiritual Israelites who feed off the rich root of Christ as the Word of God.
Good news; we who believe have been grafted!
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