Many Christians over the centuries, and even today, say that Israel was God’s chosen people until the moment they said “no” to Jesus. And then their place was taken by this new people of God, all those who believe in Jesus. The Apostle Paul, however, demonstrates that this is – and cannot be – the case.
I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. (Romans 11:1-2)
Paul comes to the conclusion that God still loves Israel and will be faithful to His promises to save “all Israel”. He uses the image of an olive tree to explain his point. He describes the Jewish people as the natural branches of the olive tree. The gentiles did not belong to this tree, but by God’s grace have been “grafted in”. They are now “sustained by the nourishing sap from the olive root”.
And God will regraft the nation of Israel back into their own olive tree, from which they have been cut off.
“If you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! (Romans 11: 24)