Grafted In Meaning – Jew and Gentile, One in Messiah

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The Apostle Paul, in Romans 11, speaks of the Gentiles being grafted into the olive tree, but many times people read these verses without really understanding their true meaning. We know that as Jew and Gentile, we are one in Messiah, but what is grafted in, and what does this mean for the gentile Christian?

Grafted in Meaning - flowers grafted in to a tree

Grafted In Meaning Inclusion, Joined to the Promise

Romans 11:11-14

I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their false step salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke Israel to jealousy. Now if their transgression leads to riches for the world, and their loss riches for the Gentiles, then how much more their fullness! 

But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Insofar as I am an emissary to the Gentiles, I spotlight my ministry if somehow I might provoke to jealousy my own flesh and blood and save some of them. 


Their Rejection

The rejection spoken of in these verses below does not refer to the rejection BY the God OF Israel. This is the rejection BY Israel, not of God but they did not recognize Messiah.

According to William S. Campbell in his essay in Introduction to Messianic Judaism:

“He [Paul] suggests that Israel has stumbled and thus failed to reach her goal. Later, in chapter 11 he also indicates that Israel has been hardened. These are images or metaphors used to explain what to Paul is almost inexplicable. But they are only images related to a temporary problem and do not denote any final destiny. Israel has failed to recognize Christ as the righteousness that comes from God and did not submit to him (or to this form of righteousness) but instead sought to establish a righteousness peculiar to Israel that excludes gentiles, who does not come within the sphere of the covenant. This failure can be interpreted as a failure by some Jews to recognize that in the new era that dawns in Christ, according to Paul’s gospel, gentiles need no longer be required to become proselytes and to keep the law in order to be righteous. They can now truly become righteous gentiles via Christ. Not to recognize this possibility means in Paul’s view an attempt to establish a righteousness for Jews only something that is foreign to the Shema, which claims that the God of Israel is the God of the whole world.”

William S. Campbell – The Relationship Between Israel and the Church (Introduction to Messianic Judaism)

These verses related to the grafting in of gentiles are often used to promote supersessionism or replacement theology, which is a belief that the church has replaced Israel and that the New Testament replaces the old.

This is a false doctrine and we will explore it more in a moment.

Romans 11:15-24 continues:

For if their rejection leads to the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

If the firstfruit is holy, so is the whole batch of dough; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off and you—being a wild olive—were grafted in among them and became a partaker of the root of the olive tree with its richness,  do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, it is not you who support the root but the root supports you. 

You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” True enough. They were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but fear —  for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. 

Notice then the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell; but God’s kindness toward you, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off! And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again.

For if you were cut out of that which by nature is a wild olive tree, and grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?


Grafted in Meaning

To understand what the grafted in meaning is in Romans, we first have to understand the meaning in general of being grafted.

Grafted, by definition, means to cause something to unite with a stock. It is a process within horticulture where the tissues of a plant are joined together so that they may continue to grow as one plant.

The grafted in plant has two parts; the scion, which is the upper part of the plant where you would normally see leaves, fruit, flowers, etc., and the lower part known as the rootstock.

The rootstock is what supports the plant and provides its nourishment.  The scion produces fruit and flowers! One plant was chosen for the strength of its rootstock while the other was chosen for what it produces.

Israel here is the rootstock. It gave the world their Messiah. It supports the branches. It supports you as a believer!

Grafted In – Joined to the Olive Tree

In the verses above, Paul is speaking to the Gentiles. He is explaining to them that salvation came to the Gentiles in order to provoke the Jews to jealousy so some of them would come to Yeshua.

He was cautioning them to not be haughty!

According to Campbell, this was not Paul writing to chastise Israel but to bring humility to the gentiles in order to prevent them from becoming “wise in your own eyes.” (Romans 11:25 TLV)

Paul asks in Romans 11:11 if God has rejected His people and, to that, he responds with “may it never be!”

Paul then goes on to indicate that he himself is an Israelite and describes how God has not rejected Israel but that Israel had heard yet not fully understood (this new way of righteousness coming to the gentiles outside of becoming proselytes).

It was, after all, a foreign concept to them but this “hardening” resulted in a blessing for the nations FOR A TIME. Israel WILL be fully included.

Paul is telling the Gentiles that the Jews are in unbelief for a time so that salvation could be extended to the nations but, just as the “branches” were broken off to allow for the Gentiles to be grafted in, they too can be grafted back in at any time and since they are of the natural root, they will be easily brought back into the olive tree.

In this, he spoke of Gentiles being grafted in meaning an adoption into the root, but the natural descendants who were temporarily broken off are always able (and He desires them) to be grafted back in.

You see, Yeshua never came to form a new religion! He didn’t “create” Christianity! He lived as a Jew and died as a Jew. He studied the Torah, He kept the Law. The Jewish Messiah was meant for the Jewish people! Many are, like me, Messianic Jews. We are Jews who have accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah.

His Disciples and Apostles were Jews. There was no new religion. There was no conversion. There was no forsaking of Torah for them. They lived as Jews who found their Messiah.

Matthew 15:24 sees Jesus telling the Canaanite woman:

But He responded, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”


But as Paul explains in these verses, He was rejected as Messiah. While most regarded Him as a great teacher and Rabbi, many could not comprehend a suffering Messiah, a substitutionary atonement, even though they had just that in the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement and the idea of a righteous person (tzadik) making atonement for another is not a foreign concept in Judaism.

This is much like the parable in Matthew 22:1-10

Parable of the Wedding Feast

Matthew 22:1-10 says:

Yeshua answered and spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who made a wedding feast for his son. He sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they wouldn’t come. Again he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who were invited, “Look, I’ve prepared my meal. My oxen and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast!”’

“But paying no attention, they went away, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest grabbed his servants, humiliated them, and killed them. Now the king became furious! Sending his troops, he destroyed those murderers and set fire to their city.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. So go into the highways and byways, and invite everyone you find to the wedding feast.’ 

And those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all they found, both bad and good; and the wedding was filled with guests.


The God who was once the God of the Jews has now become the God of all nations. The olive tree made room for all those of the nations who would come to believe in the God of Israel and receive a place in the Olam Haba, the World to Come.

The Jewish people are under a covenant relationship with Hashem and always will be. The Lord is not a covenant breaker. He does not replace one covenant with another but He CAN add additional covenants, much like was done with the Abrahamic Covenant by then instituting the Sinai Covenant. The one did not negate the other. It established a relationship specifically with the people of Israel.

The Renewed Covenant allows for people among the nations to become of the family of God.

Remember, in this period most people outside the Jewish people worshipped foreign gods. They were deeply rooted in pagan worship so accepting the God of Israel involved rejecting the gods of their nation, their communities and their families. We see this pictured in the Book of Ruth where she decides for forsake the gods of Moab, the gods of her family and follow Naomi and her God.

She did not convert to Judaism. She was always known throughout the Bible as the Moabitess. She came to God as a Gentile just as we have Messianic Gentiles today.

So the Gentiles grafted in were brought into the family of Hashem and, through Yeshua, received the promises thereof.

Grafted In With, Not In Place Of

He spoke of being grafted in meaning ‘with’ and not ‘instead of’. As Paul said, they will easily be grafted back in as the natural branches!

Paul continues in verse 25:

For I do not want you, brothers and sisters, to be ignorant of this mystery—lest you be wise in your own eyes—that a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;



Paul is careful to point out that this was a partial hardening of Israel so that the Gentile nations could be saved!

It was to allow for all nations to know God of Israel, the Messiah, and His saving grace. This is why he gives his cautionary advice to not ever become haughty and think you replace the Jews in the heart of God.

The Jewish people are NOT cast off nor are they rejected! They are still under covenant! 

Believing they are cut off or somehow replaced by the Gentile Church is that supersessionism we spoke of and it is a dangerous tenet and an unbiblical one at that! God is NOT finished with the Jewish people and they have not been replaced! Far from it!

Gentiles have entered a covenant with God through the blood of Yeshua! You either accept Him or reject Him, but the choice is yours alone!

Rather than requiring circumcision and conversion to Judaism, Yeshua has made a way for Gentile Christians to come to Hashem right as they are.

I want to stress here that I am speaking of GENTILE Christians. Jews should be Jews and may continue to live as Jews. Gentiles should be Gentiles. To convert to Judaism in order to follow the God of Israel would have been to say He is still only the God of the Jews and NOT the God of all nations as well.

It is NOT to say that Jews who believe should stop being Jews.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:18-20, in one of the most misinterpreted verses I believe I have ever seen:

Was anyone called when he already had been circumcised? Let him not make himself uncircumcised. Has anyone been called while uncircumcised? Let him not allow himself to be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing—but keeping God’s commandments matters. Let each one remain in the calling in which he was called.


People read this and think Paul is speaking about the act of circumcision but Paul is referring to either being Jews or becoming Jews.

You see, in those times, as I briefly mentioned earlier, Gentile believers were brought into what was a primarily Jewish community of believers. They had come from pagan societies where their gods were everything. To leave their gods, like Ruth did, meant leaving their communities, their homes, their families in many cases and their jobs.

Their identification with their deities was identification with their communities as well.

They felt the need, now that they had surrendered all their gods and were following the God of Israel, to be like their fellow believers who were Messianic Jews. They still felt the need to be like the others in what was now their new community.

But what Paul is explaining here is that for them, circumcision profits them nothing. In fact, it is actually undoing what Yeshua came to do for them.

Yeshua came to bring the nations to Hashem. If they then were circumcised to “fit in”, they would in essence be converting to Judaism and thereby becoming Jews, making God the God of the Jews only as I mentioned earlier.

Paul is saying, if you are a Jew, continue to BE a Jew. Don’t seek to change who you are. And if you are a Gentile, continue to be a Gentile who follows Hashem AS a Gentile. He is the God of ALL people.

Be who you are. You don’t have to try to act or be Jewish if you are a Gentile! If you are Jewish, you do not have to abandon your Jewishness to follow a Jewish Messiah. You are not converting to anything new! You are simply a Jew following the Messiah.

Remain in the calling in which you were called!

Grafted In – Jew and Gentile One in Messiah

Being grafted in means Jew and Gentile are now one in union with Messiah. They are still distinct peoples, with one Lord. It doesn’t mean either is to abandon who God made them. They are just now seen as people of God who will inherit the Messianic Kingdom together.

So I will tell you this: if you are a Christian and you hate Israel or the Jewish people, you are hating the very heart of God, period!

If you dispute that, read those verses again! Israel IS at the center of God’s plan for the redemption of mankind and it IS where He will set up the Messianic Kingdom, in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2)!

Salvation came to you through the Jewish people in the Messiah, Son of David! Every Christian should have a heart for the Jewish people and for Israel.

The Torah is not done away with and neither is Israel. God does not break covenant nor does He change! The Torah does not save you but Yeshua did not do away with the Torah. In fact, He states in Matthew 5:18:

Amen, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or serif shall ever pass away from the Torah until all things come to pass.


A serif here refers to little markings that are made in the Torah in Hebrew and the ornate crown on some of the letters. These markings are important and they are there for various reasons and serve various purposes which is a whole other post completely!

But suffice it to say that Yeshua is stating that not even the smallest marking in Torah (and Torah means “teaching” and while the Law is IN Torah, Torah does not mean Law) should be disregarded or discarded. It is God’s special gift to His people.

But again, while the Torah is not to be discarded, it cannot save you.

You are saved by faith. Jews are not saved by Torah but by faith. This goes back to the faith of Abraham.

Jews never believed Torah is what saves them. They believe in faith, repentance, and atonement just as much as any Christian does. It may look different but those things are equally important in the life of the Jew.

Matthew 5:20:

For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees and Torah scholars, you shall never enter the kingdom of heaven!

Grafted in Meaning - a woman in a pink dress facing away in a field of pink flowers with Ephesians 2:13 in text

As I said, God does not break a covenant.

Israel IS the rootstock every Christian is grafted into so if you despise her, you despise the apple of God’s eye!

Right now, Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish people but, according to Revelation, when Yeshua returns there will be a New Jerusalem come out of Heaven that will be where Jew and Gentile alike dwell together with their Messiah in the Messianic Era!

If you are a Christian you worship a Jewish Messiah!

I will tell you this, if you are a Christian and you hate Israel, you are hating the very heart of God, period! Click To Tweet

Middle Wall of Separation

The middle wall of separation has been broken down! The Bible tells us that we are Jew and Gentile ONE in Messiah!

It means that the Jewish Messiah and the Kingdom to come belong to all those who believe.

Both, reconciled to HaShem (“The Name” – God). This does not mean you become a Jew! If you are a Jew you don’t become a Gentile! You are to remain, as Paul says in Paul’s Rule in All the Churches, as you were when you were saved. You are grafted in meaning you are together into the root! There is no “conversion”.

You do not have to all of a sudden shed your Jewishness to follow the Jewish Messiah and you do not shed your non-Jewishness and all of a sudden become like a Jew! (Please don’t…if you have a special calling to participate fully in the life and destiny of the Jewish people then please see my article What is a Messianic Gentile so you avoid falling into some wrong teachings and can be under the leadership of a Messianic Rabbi!)

Messiah meets you where you are and who you are!

You are part of that olive tree that is Israel because of the grace and mercy of HaShem who no longer makes a distinction between the two regarding salvation, but calls all His children who call upon His name and are redeemed by the blood of His Son, Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Messiah!

The Bible tells us that we are Jew and Gentile ONE in Messiah! Click To Tweet

GraceTruth Featured 1

Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society.  Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.

CJB – Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029.

Campbell, W. S. (2013). The Relationship Between Israel and the Church. In D. &. Rudolph, Introduction to Messianic Judaism (pp. 196-205). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.


  1. Ohhh!!! I LOVE word studies! I love finding out what words from the Bible truly mean. It makes Bible study so much richer. Thanks for this post, Diane. I have chosen it as my feature this week on G & T.

    1. Thank you so much Aimee!! I am so glad you enjoyed it and thank you so much for choosing it for Grace & Truth!!

    1. Thank you so much!! Yes I love digging into the meaning behind scripture, whether it’s really looking into the meaning of a word or digging into the original language!

    1. Down on the lower right side of the screen you will see an icon with a heart and then a symbol with a couple of lines with circles on the end? Click that and you will be able to sign up!

  2. I love your article but I have one question…what is “One New Man” in Christ. What does that mean. The Bible says there is neither Jew nor Greek…


  3. Even though I no longer see my first comment from today I just want to say that I do understand what you are saying about the one new man now. Thank you.

    1. Hi Marsha…your comment didn’t show after you submitted because they have to come to me for approval first to avoid spam comments. So I am just now getting to them.

      When the Bible says there is no longer Jew nor Greek, it means that there is no longer a relationship with God based on one’s standing as a Jew. When the Gentile believers in the first century came to Jesus, they came from pagan societies for the most part. In the ancient world, their gods were the center of their families, their communities and their lives. When they came to faith in Jesus, they had to give up their entire identity (not unlike some places in the world today) and were expelled from their societies so they became very much centered in the communities of their Jewish brethren. They felt like they were out of place and were lacking something if they too weren’t circumcised like their Jewish brothers. They felt (and some made them feel) as though they had to become Jews. That would have actually negated what Jesus accomplished by bringing all to God. So what is meant by no longer Jew nor Greek is that God is God of ALL people who come to Him and there is no distinction made based on whether you are Jewish or not. He is not only the God of the Jews but God of the nations and if believers in Jesus were circumcised it would be like saying He was still ONLY the God of the Jews. So it doesn’t imply that if you are Jewish you should all of a sudden lose your identity (much like I still have my Jewish identity while I follow Jesus) and it doesn’t mean if you are Gentile you need to become a Jew. It was written at a time when people were joining a faith that was new to them and it was to let them know you don’t have to become something else in order to follow the Lord.

      I know you said you understood it now but wanted to write that in case anyone else had a question about it too 🙂

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