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Old Mar 5, '12, 1:17 pm
DavidPalm DavidPalm is offline
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Join Date: October 17, 2006
Posts: 772
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Was Jesus also the Messiah for the Jews?

The Olive Tree

St. Paul’s treatment of the metaphor of the olive tree contains the most obvious evidence that you have misread Romans 11.

Notice that in vv. 16-24 he speaks of the Jews who were broken off [ἐξεκλάσθησαν]; thus he cannot be talking of those Jews who follow Jesus. They are indeed presented as branches broken off from the cultivated olive tree, as St. Paul says, and the wild branches, the Gentiles were then grafted in:
For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.
Notice that according to St. Paul, the Jewish people who do not believe in Christ as a whole remain the "natural branches" (τῶν κατὰ φύσιν κλάδων, literally "the branches according to nature"; Rom 11:21) and the olive tree is spoken of as "their own" [τῇ ἰδίᾳ ἐλαίᾳ], even in their separated state (Rom 11:24).

The Gentiles, the "wild olive shoots", are grafted on to their own tree - the Jews' tree. And precisely because the olive tree remains the Jews’ “own”, this grafting of the Gentiles is done “contrary to nature” [παρὰ φύσιν]. And it is also precisely why St. Paul states that Jews can more easily be grafted back in (v. 24). This runs contrary to what you have said in response to our article:
R. Sungenis: Hence, if anything, what Forrest, Palm and the National Catholic Register should be teaching is, according to 1 Peter 2:9-10, that it is mainly the Christian Gentiles who are the Chosen People and that Jewish converts can join with them, but certainly not teach that unconverted Jews are the Chosen People simply because they are Jews.
“Jewish converts can join with them”? First, it bears repeating that we have never said that Jews are “the Chosen People”, as if Israel according to the flesh is still God’s official representative on earth. That distinction now belongs solely to the Church, the New Israel (which is composed of both baptized Jews and baptized Gentiles). But by taking St. Peter’s epistle to mean that “Jewish converts can join with [the Gentiles]”, it appears you’re trying to invert St. Paul’s message in Romans 11. Again, St. Paul, writing after the giving of the New Covenant, makes it clear that it is the Gentiles, the “wild olive shoots”, who are grafted “contrary to nature” into the Jews’ tree. Jews who convert and accept their messiah are rejoining “their own olive tree.” While it is true that the tree is now mostly composed of adopted or “grafted in” Gentiles, Jews who convert are not therefore somehow transformed into the wild branches joining a Gentile tree. St. Paul teaches that the Jews remain the “natural branches” even in their separated state. Again, this is precisely why St. Paul says that they can be grafted in more easily than the Gentiles (cf. Rom 11:24).

And the Apostle specifically warns Gentiles like you, “do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you....So do not become proud, but stand in awe. . . Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off” (Rom 11:18, 20, 22).

We have already examined how your interpretation of Rom 11:26 runs contrary to literally dozens of Fathers, Doctors, Popes, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. And we have seen how your interpretation of Rom 11:28-29 runs contrary to how the Magisterium of the Church consistently applies those verses to the Jews of today who have not yet accepted Christ.

You break Rom 11:28 into two entirely different groups of people:
R. Sungenis: "As such, since verses 4-5 explain the “election” as the remnant of Jews who believed out of a nation that was largely in unbelief, so it is with the “election” in verse 28. There are Jews that are “enemies of the gospel” but there is a smaller group of “elect” Jews who are “beloved of God.”" (p. 18)
And in post #53 you wrote,

Originally Posted by Robert Sungenis View Post
If the “divine choice” refers to the elect Jews that are separated from non-elect Jews (as St. Paul clearly teaches in Roman 9:6 and 11:5-11) then you simply have no basis reading into Romans 11:28 that “the election” refers to all Jews.
I have already pointed out the exegetical difficulties of that approach here). But more importantly, as I have shown in this forum, the Magisterium has repeatedly spoken of Jews who have not yet received the Gospel as “beloved” and has cited Rom 11:28 as biblical support for this.

And in fact there is one other pertinent person in this discussion who has admitted that the Jews at large are “beloved” according to Rom 11:28, namely, you:

Originally Posted by Robert Sungenis View Post
You claim that I say “Rom 11:28 that you say only applies to Jews who have accepted Christ.” No I don’t. I said that the Jews, at large, are “beloved,” but only because they are given a chance to become saved, to become “the elect.”
The problem for you, of course, is that the very same group that is called "beloved for the sake of the fathers" is said to be so "according to the election". The election and being beloved have to apply to the same group. So you not only contradict the Magisterium, you contradict yourself as well.

Last edited by DavidPalm; Mar 5, '12 at 1:36 pm.