In the context of our studies from the book of Exodus and this week’s parashah Yitro, we see Israel having come out of Egypt with a mixed multitude of those who wanted to identify with Israel and the God of Israel… and this the first example of people being “grafted in” to Israel, (like Pharaoh’s daughter who raised Moshe), leaving their paganism and converting to the God of Israel and receiving a new Hebrew name (Pharaoh’s daughter was then called “BatYah” meaning “daughter of Yah”)! It is said in addition to many Egyptians being grafted in that also many Midianites were grafted in, including Moshe’s father-in-law Yitro, setting the example for many others at the foot of Sinai entering into covenant with the Most High and receiving the gift of His Torah instructions for their lives and future progeny! It is recorded that Yitro like BatYah came to the realization that there is only One True God, the God of Israel saying, ““Now I know that YHVH is greater than all gods…” (Exodus 18:11)
So here is the symbolic pattern from which we derive our process of conversion and “grafting in” today:
The Realization and Declaration – ‘There is only One true God, the God of Israel”
The Mikvah – They all went through the waters of the Red Sea by faith in God’s saving grace!
Adopting the Covenant of Israel – The mixed multitude at Sinai all readily received the Torah
Receiving a New Hebrew Name – Like BatYah and Yitro, this identifies you and your character with the God of Israel (both had other given names before)
Living in community with the people of Israel – The people lived closely together and worshipped together through their wilderness sojourn as well as when they entered the promised land.
This established a principle for all from the nations in the future who wish to be in covenant with God, including the Messianic age and Millennial kingdom!
Did you know that there are only 12 gates into the New Jerusalem and each gate is for a different tribe of Israel to enter into the Most Highs presence through… This means that there is no way to God’s temple unless you are a part of the whole house of Israel! But praise Yah, even if you are not sure if you are a descendant of one of the tribes of Israel, He has made a way for those from the Nations (called “goyim” in Hebrew and often translated “Gentile”) to convert to the God of Israel and become a part of His people just like the example of the Egyptians, and Midianites who converted and stood with our fore-fathers receiving the covenant at Mount Sinai! If you cannot say for sure that you are Israel, consider coming into covenant with the God of Israel and being grafted-in and experience the blessings of being a part of God’s people! Here is what the Bible says about being Grafted in…
Rabbi Shaul says in Ephesians 2:11-16,
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without a Messiah being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”
If anyone has been converted from one thing to another, it is Gentiles who have been converted to the Jewish faith in the God of Israel. They have adopted the Jewish holy Scriptures, the Jewish understanding of God and his ways, and have an understanding of the Jewish Messiah. It is Gentiles who have left paganism with false ideas of God (or gods) into the truth about the One Living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who made heaven and earth, as revealed in the Jewish Scriptures.
The book of Romans likens this Gentile “conversion” to the agricultural grafting process:
“And you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree… remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.” (11:17-18)
The faith is rooted in Judaism. When a Jewish person accepts Yeshua they have a fuller understanding of their own faith, not somebody else’s.
At the beginning, the early believers were entirely Jewish. The disciples were all Jewish, the leaders were Jewish, the teaching was Jewish, and they were focusing only on Jews as their audience (Acts 11:19). The disciples were first known as “Christians” in Antioch, Greece (Acts 11:26) when Gentiles had also been brought into the kingdom. Were these “Christians” only Gentile? No. Did they believe something different theologically? No.
So in Yeshua the Messiah you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Yeshua the Messiah. If you belong to the Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
We can rejoice in the identity God gave us, knowing that we have been made ONE BODY together in Messiah. Men and women do not lose their gender because they have been made one flesh in marriage – rather it is their difference that makes their union so glorious, and Jews and Gentiles do not lose their ethnic identity because they have been made one body in Messiah. It is a glory and a marvel that God has brought us together as one.
Again, in Ephesians 2:14-18 shows us God’s plan, desire and intention that we would be ONE:
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”
What God has joined together, let not man separate! Years of persecution at the hands of the church has made it difficult for Jewish believers to relate to their “Christian” brothers (many of which are actually descendants of Israel whose families have assimilated through the last 2000 years) but God does not see two different streams in his body. He sees one body… but that body needs to be unified in Yah’s Torah covenant to be apart of covenant Israel. We might have different culture and terminology but the essence of our beliefs and the basis of our salvation is exactly the same. Gentiles are to be grafted in and a part of the same tree. Not a different one.
It is God’s desire to reach out to all nations with salvation and his way of accomplishing that was through the people of Israel carrying the Scriptures, the experiences and the precious Seed of God. It is through the Jews that salvation has come, but this salvation brings us all into the one root, as he purposed from the beginning of time! Hallelu Yah… Welcome to the Family!
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Study by Rabbi Isaac. © Assembly of Called-Out Believers.
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