New Jerusalem – No Gentile Gate? + Rom 11 Olive Tree – Israel?

If you eavesdrop on Messianics long enough, eventually you may hear a little ditty like this one (found at a Messianic site ) on the true significance of the 12 gates of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:2):

In Revelation 21, there are 12 gates to the New Jerusalem for the 12 Tribes of Israel. There are no gates for “Gentiles.” Hence, Messiah cannot marry any Gentile woman until she joins his tribe! Ruth is a prophetic “type” of the remnant in the “Gentile” Christian Church who join the House of Judah and then she was able… to marry Boaz who is a “type” of Messiah.

Those outside of the gate are “dogs” and Yahushua (sic) called the Cannanite woman a “dog” which is a nick name for a “Gentile.” So those outside of the gate are Gentiles/Dogs. You cannot inherit the Kingdom as a Gentile, you must be converted by the Jewish Messiah to become like him—-a Jew!

Yes, you heard that right. It is believed by some Hebraic believers that you cannot be saved as a Gentile but must join/become Israel to be saved. (Note: sometimes, like above, people refer to Israel as Jews or Jewish, but technically only Judah, Benjamin and Levi fit the term Jewish). They prop up this heresy (as it is labeled by Acts 15 and Galatians about gentiles being saved as is) with many side arguments. The 12 gates of the New Jerusalem is one of them. It’s based on this passage about New Jerusalem:

Revelation 21:10-12 (NIV) — 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.

It’s an interesting theory about the purpose of the twelve tribal gates. It makes sense at first until you realized there is an assumption behind it that is neither provable nor sensible.

Wrong Assumption About Why the 12 Gates Are Named

The assumption is this: that each of the twelve gates is assigned to one of the twelve tribes for the exclusive passage of only that tribe and no one else. That’s quite silly if you imagine the scene that would play out:

“What tribe are you?

“Dan…”

Oh, well you can’t pass here, it’s Naphtali. Go through the gate to the right, please. Next!”

Instead, it’s more reasonable that the twelve gates are named for twelve tribes to *honor* them since Israel was called first. As a matter of fact, we find if we keep reading in Revelation 21 we find another similar endowment for the twelve apostles:

Revelation 21:14 (NIV) The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

In other words, each gate for each tribe is sitting a top a different foundation with the name of the assigned apostle. Obviously these are named to honor the twelve apostles, each of whom will rule one of the twelve tribes (Mt 19:28). Perhaps their name will be under the gate for the tribe they rule.

But using the logic above, only the twelve apostles can pass beyond the gate their name is written under. For that is what the naming of the of foundation must mean…exclusive access, right? Wrong.

The real problem with accepting that we all must be assigned to one of the tribes to be in the Kingdom and New Jerusalem is the many places where it is emphasized that “there is neither Jew nor Gentile in the Kingdom” (Gal 3:27-29). If we all must “become Israel,” then why did Paul look forward to when we are “in Christ” instead of once we are “in Israel” as Messianics teach?

Is the Olive Tree We Are Grafted Into “Israel?”

After I saw all the verses contradicting this “Become Israel for Salvation” theology, I took another look at the Romans 11 Olive Branches grafting. This is another passage often cited as proof that we must become Israel. It is believed that there is one olive tree described that we are grafted into as Gentiles and it is Israel and therefore we become Israel by being grafted there. But does it say that?

If you look closely, you find out that there is more than one olive tree. Olive branches are among them based on keeping the “holy root” tree pure and righteous; not for the purpose of making wild branches natural or Israel branches. It never says or implies that. In fact, the first olive tree we are grafted into is called the “elect” (Ro 11:7) or “righteous remnant according to grace” (Ro 11:5) by Paul, not “Israel.” If the hardened unrighteous original branches of this remnant tree are removed and the righteous wild branches from the other olive trees are added, this means we can’t have that olive tree be the “Israel tree.” It’s the righteous remnant tree, a tree of mixed olive branches; some natural to that tree, and some wild or cultivated. However, all are remnant righteous branches only “by grace” and not by nationality or being or becoming Israel. The root of the olive tree that sustains the righteous branches is Christ, not Israel (Jn 15:5).

Conclusion

Gentiles are not called dogs in Revelation, the unrighteous are. Gentiles do not need to live in Israel or become Israel/House of Israel/House of Judah/Jewish/etc.  to be saved or blessed. They need to believe in the Word of God and do it just as Israelites need to (Lk 8:21; Gen 15:6). When they do, they are in Christ receiving his grace, and their Jewishness or Gentile-ness is not counted, as Paul said. In the New Jerusalem, all who have become righteous and have white clothing will be able to go through all the gates (not just “one gate” or “their own gate”).

Revelation 22:14 (NIV) “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.

 

19 thoughts on “New Jerusalem – No Gentile Gate? + Rom 11 Olive Tree – Israel?”

  1. I very much agree that the twelve gates will be there to simply honor the respective 12 tribes, but not sure how you can surmise “studying and trying to understand and practice the Law or Torah” as heresy. If the Torah is Light, how then is studying and walking in the Light… heretical?

    • That’s not the heresy I meant. Yet I can see how that section needed rework to make my meaning clear. I just moved the sentence about the heresy closer to what it was referring to, the teaching that we must be/become Israel/Jewish to be saved. Thanks for your helpful comment.

      What did you think about the Olive branches explanation not being Israel?

  2. Ahhhh… I see. Thank you for the correction.

    Well, the Olive tree? There is no disputing what Yeshua said regarding himself being the Vine. And I completely perceive him as such. Yet, there are places where the people of Israel are equated with a vine (Psalm 80:8) or trees (Ezekiel 37:16/Etzim,trees, sticks).

    Brad Scott’s teaching on the two Seeds is extremely interesting in this respect. If you think in terms of Yeshua as being the GoodSeed, who of course grows into a tree or vine… but that vine/tree reproduces after itself… and produce the live vines/trees and fruit. So… in my mind… there is One ultimate Source or Tree, the Tree of Life, but that Tree desires to reproduce Itself. For some reason my mind thinks of great Aspen forests… where there are many apparently separate trees, but they are all connected to the same root… or originated from the same root.

    However, we may be overlapping separate concepts/proverbs… and trying to force them into one single concept… and maybe we error in that… but it is an interesting discussion, none-the-less. =)

  3. Tim, I’m so glad you wrote on this. I read this on her fb page as well and felt it was yet another “exclusivity” clause. I do believe that we will all be united as one “Israel” both the natural and spiritual Israel but what I am seeing is that this whole teaching is becoming another doctrine to divide us. I don’t know if I am making any sense here, I’m new to all of this. Anyway thank you for taking this one on.

    • Laura, I understand your sentiments. Messianic Judaism has spawned an impressive body of Scriptural arguments to support their views and it takes a lot of expertise to debunk them. It took me years of learning them to finally one by one break them down. As far as divisive, well the truth is divisive, too, as Yeshua said he came as a sword, so that’s not a great criticism. The real problem is how their theories break some very plain teachings and verses of the Bible.

      Jason, I noticed about those verses you cited that none of them use Israel as roots/sticks in a parable where others are added to it, in contrast to Romans 11 and the wild and natural olive branches on the “remnant tree”. Instead, in those verses Israel grew (prospered) as a nation or was reunited with its long lost sister nation. I can’t think of a place where Israel is portrayed as something that assimilates other things to it, which is what some Messianic Judaism theories portray.

  4. Thanks tim for pointing this out-many christians believe jews are the “chosen race” since hebrews wrote the bible and since hebrews were gods people in the old testament. The problem with this is first, jews lost their genealogical records in 70AD when the temple was destroyed, second, 85 percent of jews in the world are ashkenazi jews and are descendants from the khazar empire and have no hebrew or semitic blood, and third the bible clearly states if you accept god the new covenant considers any christian a jew as long as they follow and believe god. This belief that the jews need a third temple to fulfill bible prophecy is ridiculous. Keep up the good work tim!

  5. John,
    That is utter rubbish! How can one claim the Khazar’s were not Hebrew or Semitic when they sprung up in one of the exact locations where 10-Israel (and even some of Jew-dah) were deported by Assyria? People forget that Sennacherib deported at least 200,000 from Jew-dah… 20 years after Samaria fell. Not to mention, Jews would have likely migrated to Khazaria easily and willingly after there was a national conversion to Judaism with all the national protections that would entail (we seem to forget the many exiles Jew-dah has experienced from “Christian” nations).

    People make these obscure claims about the Jews without even knowing what the Jewish DNA looks like. I’ve compiled a chart here: http://jewsandjoes.com/genetic-dna-haplogroups-of-jew-dah-judah.html

    Furthermore, we don’t know what Khazarian DNA actually is because we don’t have any modern day Khazar’s to test. Their empire disintegrated… but we can assume it was not a pure-race of people… especially since it was plopped right in the middle of a migrational super-highway. My suspicions are that they were made up of a mixture of Yehudi, 10-Israelites, and Japhathites… but this is unprovable currently. Circumstantial evidence seems to support the probability though.

  6. The Bible only speaks of one elect, both Jews and Gentiles together under the banner of Jesus Messiah(Christ) like in Eph 2:14-18. While it doesn’t hurt to gain knowledge about the Hebrew heritage to help better understand the Bible, do not be tempted to fall into the trap of Jewish traditionalists or modern pharisees, and their takanot – or oral traditions. What I mean is that you can learn about Israelite feasts, dietary and moral laws without converting to Judaism in order to be saved, this is what the Apostles debated in Acts 15 only that dispute was regarding circumcision, a favorite point of division back then. I never got the impression from Brad Scott that you have to become a Jew in order to be saved, only that it helps to learn the Bible from a Hebraic perspective or an eastern mind set.

  7. hanok,

    youre wrong-the jewish almanacs and encyclopedia of judaicca admit this fact as well-and the dna theory that jews can trace their lineages back to david and so on is ridiculous and unbiblical-the jews kept their records in the tempel that was destroyed in 70 AD. Also, if a person has jewish in them they are still gentile since they are not purebreed. And last, dna evidence shows present day palestinians have more of a dna link to ancient israelites than the current israelis! jesus was a semite with dark skin-not a white european russian from the khazarian empire like the jewish almanacs and excyclopedias admit! the jews lost their claim to the “chosen ones” according to the bible and what theyve done to the palestinians is disgusting!

  8. 3As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4nor to devote themselves to myths and ENDLESS GENEALOGIES, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

  9. John seems to think that his opinions are proven facts. He uses emotive words like “ridiculous” because it doesn’t agree with his views. A good book for John to read would be any one he can find on logic. It is virtually impossible to argue via emotions and be logical simultaneously.
    Facts must dictate the paradigms and not vice-versa. That can’t happen when you argue to make the facts fit the paradigms. The facts then become selective facts. Politicians and lawyers debate like that all the time. The difference between those people and the man-in-the-street who argues like that is that the former are doing so deliberately to confuse the latter. The latter do so because they don’t know any better.
    I suggest that John checks out The Berean Call on the net or Dave Hunt on You Tube. Having studied logic I can opine that Dave Hunt is one of the most objective Christian writers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Dave Hunt (via The Berean Call) has done his research thoroughtly, not because he wants to believe a matter but because he looks at it objectively. The Berean Call shows, indeed that the pro-Arab claims that modern Jews do not have the DNA of Jews who have lived in Israel from time immemorial is false. It has been checked objectively by scientists and show that Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews have the same DNA.
    Where does John get his facts regarding the “Palestinians”–a people never mentioned in the Bible;understandably so because they do not exist historically. Indeed in the mid 1950s the Arabs sent a delegation to the UN claiming that the term “Palestine” was a Zionist myth. Indeed, it wasn’t until after the Six Day war in 1967 that Arabs started to call themselves Palestinians. People my age, who were in our late teens and older can still remember it.
    It often baffles me why people would be willing to believe the claims of people who send their very own children across minefields and train them to become suicide bombers could possibly be true. If they would stoop to that how could I trust anything they say.
    John ought to look at the things that are being taught in “Palestinian” Schools regarding Jews. They themselves portray Jews in their Hitleresque cartoons as looking Semetic–just as they are portrayed in Eastern European cartooning. Why, if as John claims, Ashkenazic Jews look like Russians. I think the people who hate the Jews so much portrayed them to look like themselves, their own people would know it? Or does John imagine everyone else is illogical.
    To a Bible-believing Christian like myself, I have to say the Jewish DNA as mentioned on The Berean Call is only what I would have expected. It fulfils what was prophesied to happen to the Jewish folk collectively. Actually, if John were to scrutinize the Scriptures objectively, as the Bible itself tells us, he would see that people like himself who try to rob the Jews of their place in His plan are warned of–in the NEW Testament.
    I wonder if John is a Roman Catholic. His attitude reminds me of those priests and clergy who taught me as a schoolboy.

  10. Enjoyed the article, thanks Tim.

    Just a couple of quick comments:

    1. It’s interesting that one of the 12 apostles could well have been a gentile (Dr Luke).

    2. I think Gal 3 brings together a lot of this teaching about the seed (Jesus) and Jew vs Gentile. Verse 16 ‘the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The scripture does not say “and to seeds” meaning many people, but “and to your seed” meaning one person, who is Christ’….vs 29 ‘If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise’.

  11. John is correct, however HANOK IS WRONG and he is also expressing with emotions by such words as RUBBISH. When you do your research, who bought the Israeli Jewish people into Jerusalem in 1948? God or the ROTHCHILD, top LUCIFERIAN/SATANISTand a 33rd degree freemason? The Rothchild also bought the letter “J”. What is Jewish or Jew it was created and so was the people in Israel today. NOW WHO ARE THE REAL ANCIENT HEBREWS WHO STEM FROM SHEM AND NOT JAPETH? WHO ARE THE HEBREW’S BY BIRTH? WHO ARE THE HEBREWS WHO WENT BACK INTO SLAVERY OR BONDAGE AGAIN AND IN SHIPS? WHO ARE THE HEBREWS WHO CONQUERED THE ANCIENT CAANANITES AND NOT THE ARABS? THOSE WHO CONQUERED THE CAANANITES ARE THE ANCIENT HEBREWS. THERE IS NO HISTORICAL RECORDS THAT STATES THE ISRAELI’S CONQUERED THE CAANANITES. ESAU/EDOM( MODERN DAY JEWRY, JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA) DESCENDANTS DID NOT LET MOSES/JACOB DESCENDANTS PASS THROUGH THEIR LAND AFTER THE HEBREWS SLAVERY IN EYGPT. THIS DOESN’T ADD UP THAT ESAU DESCENDANTS WOULD STOP THERE OWN PEOPLE FROM PASSING THROUGH THEIR, IF ANYTHING THEY WOULD BE ALLOW TO EAT, EVEN WELCOME THEM TO REFRESH THEMSELVES. HEY LOOK GUYS THE JIGG IS UP, THE HEBREWS OR SLAVES, EVEN JACOB DESCENDANTS KNOW WHO THEY ARE. SO NOW WHAT DO WE DO, AND WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? WELL WE ARE CHESS PIECES THAT ARE BEING MOVED AROUND BY THOSE IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM, SO WE WAIT TO SEE WHO’S TURN IT IS TO PLAY NEXT. IS IT LUCIFER TURN TO CHANGE THE COURSE OF THIS WORLD SYSTEM? OR IS IT THE TURN OF THE GOD OF THE HEBREW SLAVES TO RAISE UP OUT OF HIS HOLY HABITATION? WE WAIT!!

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