Under the Old Testament, there were many Gentiles who became members of the nation of Israel.
And in EVERY PROVINCE, and in EVERY CITY, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And MANY OF THE PEOPLE OF THE LAND BECAME JEWS; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them (Esther 8:17).
These were Gentiles who became Jews. They were grafted in with the nation of Israel.
Under the Old Testament, Israel was not a race. Israel was a nation which began with the descendants of Jacob.
In Esther, the scripture says, “in every province, and in every city…many of the people of the land BECAME Jews.”
King Ahasuerus ruled over 127 provinces reaching from India to Ethiopia (Esther 1:1; 8:17).
Now consider how many Gentiles from 127 Provinces, reaching from India to Ethiopia, may have become Jews. The scripture says it was “many.” This is only one of the accounts of those mentioned in the Old Testament where Gentiles became Jews.
Furthermore, have you ever considered how many people were born with Jewish DNA, which resulted from the Israelites committing fornication or intermarrying with other nations?
Consider Judges 3:5-6
So the people of ISRAEL lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and they INTERMARRIED with them. Israelite sons married their daughters, and Israelite daughters were given in marriage to their sons. And the Israelites served their gods.
The descendants of these marriages had Jewish ancestors, but they were not pure blood Jews.
One of the misconceptions about the Old Testament Israel is that they were a pure race of people. They were not. In Matthew 1, for example, we read of two women in the genealogical record of Jesus (Rahab and Ruth) who were not Jews by blood lineage. They were Gentiles who were grafted into Israel.
Though Israel began with the descendants of Abraham, they increasingly became a nation with a mixture of Gentile DNA. Furthermore, according to scriptures, the descendants of Abraham were not recognized by their blood line. They were recognized by circumcision, the Law, and the tribes they belonged to. This is why Rahab and Ruth are mentioned in the ancestral lineage of Jesus dating back to Abraham.
At the foundation of the ideology which states that ethnic Israel maintains an ongoing covenant status with God, is the concept of Covenant with God based on Jewish DNA.
This concept, which is entirely unbiblical, breeds contempt towards those who believe God’s promises to Israel are fulfilled in Jesus Christ alone.
Jesus told Nicodemus, who was a leader in Israel, “I tell you the truth unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
DNA is of no value with regards to a relationship with God.
The accusation of being labeled as having a replacement theology for believing Jesus fulfilled God’s promises to Israel is simply unmerited. It is impossible that the church could have “replaced Israel,” because Israel has always been the church!
The church is NOT a new concept which began in the New Testament. In Acts 7 Stephen refers to Israel in the wilderness as “the church in the wilderness.” In fact, Jesus himself used the term “the church” in Matthew 16:18 and 18:17.
Israel is, and has always been “the church” in both the Old and New Testament. However, that which needs to be understood is Jews who reject the Messiah no longer have a covenant with God.
Jews who reject Jesus Christ are cut -off from the covenant with God as Moses said they would be (Acts 3:22-23). They are the branches of which Paul refers to as, cut off, in Romans 11. On the contrary, Gentiles who believe in Jesus are “grafted in.”
Grafted into what?
They are grafted into Israel with the believing Jews. Though the modern state of Israel may have the title, Israel, they are not God’s Israel. God’s Israel is “in Christ” who is both the King and Shepherd of Israel.