The question of which vine is being contrasted when Jesus claims to be the "true vine" (John 15) received this answer that the vine contrasted with the "true" vine is Israel; taken from Egypt, planted in the promised land, grown great under God's faithfulness and yet uprooted and fruitless, cursed on account of their own faithlessness.

Psalm 80 describes Israel as a vine. Brought out of Egypt, and planted like a plant potted and travelled and transplanted in a foreign land. Grown vast, with boughs like cedars. But, latterly, burned with fire, in judgment. Wasted, and forlorn. Fruitless. Carried off to another land, uprooted. A similar figure is the fig tree, which Jesus cursed, which bore no figs at the proper season, that is to say the season of the coming of the Son of man. Thus, cursed. But He, himself, is the true vine. Not a figure of that which is yet to come. Not a figure which, itself, failed even to properly, in faithfulness, represent that which it was supposed to figure. But he, himself, is come, the true vine and the branches which are fixed in him shall be fruitful.

The answer builds upon the notion that those things which are intended to prefigure or foreshadow greater things have fulfilled their purpose once that which is foreshadowed arrives. This is carefully expounded in Hebrews chapters 7-10, summed up for example here:

Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. - Hebrews 9:23-28

What are the implications of this for those who hold that God has separate plans for Israel and for the Church (dispensationalism); who hold the eschatological idea that the Church will be raptured out of the world so that God can once again turn His attention toward Israel during 7 years of tribulation followed by a literal reign, of Christ on earth, from a Jerusalem with a rebuilt temple and a re-instituted sacrificial system?

  • That the new city has 12 gates with the names of the 12 tribes indicates they have a special place and role for eternity. You are suggesting that God is finished with them?
    – steveowen
    Oct 31, 2020 at 20:40
  • 1
    The gates are in the wall which sits on 12 foundations which are the apostles of the Lamb. I'm asking what further role does the type play once the anti-type has arrived. Nov 1, 2020 at 13:48

2 Answers 2


Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. [Acts 13:45,46 KJV.]

Paul made it very clear in Antioch (in Pisidia) that salvation is by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that if anyone (Jew or Gentile) rejects that gospel in unbelief, if they 'put it from them' then they have deemed themselves 'unworthy of eternal life'.

So saying, he shook off the dust from his feet (Acts 13:51) when he and Barnabus were expelled from the coasts of that place by the persecution of the Jews.

Again, at Corinth, when the Jews opposed themselves and blasphemed, Paul shook his raiment, and said :

Your blood be upon your own heads ; I am clean. From henceforth I go unto the Gentiles. [Acts 18:6]

This is hardly the behaviour of a man who expected the Jewish people to be gathered in, at some future event, as Jews, in some separate kind of in-gathering other than the repentance and faith set forth in the gospel.

What was demonstrated in Israel, in the wilderness and in the temple, was an everlasting testament, (Hebrews 13:20) and that everlasting testament was inaugurated with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Once the everlasting testament, in reality, was founded in the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, then all that was old - passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17).

If any man be in Christ, says the apostle, he is a new creation.

The individual Jew, who believes in Jesus Christ, is become a new creation.

But if anyone, Jew or gentile, rejects this gospel, they have rejected eternal life.

The fulfilment of all that was set forth in Israel, is the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.

If the fulfilment be rejected, then the whole purpose of the setting forth is nullified. It becomes pointless. That is to say, it is nullified and pointless in regard to the one who rejects it.

If I pay an architect to make a model of the building I want to be built, then once the building is built, I dispose of the model, for the reality stands before me and the reality was the point of the whole exercise.

I don't pay the architect the agreed fee and then attempt to live in the model.

But if the architect is agreeable then she may marry me and we can share the new building together. And we can keep the model in a cupboard, just as a fond memory of our introduction.

  • What of Jeremiah 31:31-34? Who is the house of Israel here? (+1, btw) Nov 4, 2020 at 12:43
  • @MikeBorden Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Romans 9:6. The promises are to the true Israel, the true vine. They are not all true 'Israel' who are merely (by nature) of (natural) Israel. This is a feature of Paul's doctrine and of the writer to the Hebrews. What natural Israel set forth (in a demonstration on earth) was something spiritual. But not all who assisted in demonstration did, in heart, believe unto the realisation of what they, themselves, were setting forth. Their corpses fell in the wilderness, unbelief.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 4, 2020 at 17:04
  • So...not 'replacement' theology. More like 'fulfillment' theology: "Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise." and "In this way all Israel will be saved.". Nov 4, 2020 at 23:28
  • @MikeBorden Yes. 'All Israel' being the true people of God, throughout the ages. Natural Israel being but a figure of that true people. Just as the first covenant (accompanied with ritual sacrifices and artefacts) was but a picture of the everlasting Testament, inaugurated with the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ, in reality.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 5, 2020 at 5:41

Romans 9-11 addresses this issue head on. The conclusion is found here, in Romans 11:25-28:

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion;
    he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this is my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.”

28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

If you look at the unfulfilled prophesies in Scripture, you will see Egypt, Syria, and several other ancient kingdoms mentioned. God still has future plans for them, for good or ill. Lilkewise, there are unfulfilled prophesies concerning Israel. God will fulfill them. Therefore Israel has not ceased to exist as a party to God's blessings, curses and prophesies. Indeed, the late Ellis Skolfield demonstrated how two of Daniel's prophesies predicted the rebirth of Israel in 1948 and its recapture of Jerusalem in 1967 to the exact year. If such ancient prophesies of Israel continue to be fulfilled even at this late date, will not the rest also be fulfilled?

  • What about Joshua 21:43-45? Nov 10, 2020 at 13:50
  • Additional promises were made to Israel after Joshua. Not all of them have been fulfilled. Nov 10, 2020 at 14:25
  • Didn't Skolfield predict the return of Christ to be sometime during 2009 based on 1967 being the beginning of the "time of the end". Nov 14, 2020 at 15:00
  • I have read three or four of his books, plus several articles and corresponded briefly with him via email before he died. I never read or heard him make a prediction of when the Lord would return. Nov 14, 2020 at 20:32
  • I'm not done digging but he definitely equates the "time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30)" with the Nazi death camps. Nov 17, 2020 at 21:22

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