Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
Romans 7:1 (KJV)
Know – Modern day Christianity loves to apply Paul’s writings as if he was speaking to us personally in our current day culture. But he wasn’t. He was speaking to a specific audience that had specific issues during a specific time period. He didn’t write his letters with the assumption that some group of people 2000 years from then would be reading them. For instance, in this chapter of Romans, Paul is writing to those who “know the law” – does that sound like mainstream Christianity?
The Greek word ginōskō involves more than just knowing, it’s about understanding. There are many things in life we might know, but fewer things we actually understand. So when Paul speaks to those who “know” the law, he’s addressing those who understand it, and understanding comes from practicing and being obedient to it. Paul then proceeds to write about the law of divorce and applies it to a greater concept – the house of Israel (Romans 9) – the very reason Yeshua came (Matthew 15:24).
So why was Yeshua sent for the house of Israel, and why were they considered lost? Well to understand, as Paul writes, you have to understand the law. Since this particular chapter deals with divorce, we need to dig into the law of divorce found in Deuteronomy 24. The law states clearly that if a man divorces his wife and she is married to another, she cannot ever return to her first husband. In fact it is forbidden for the first husband to take her back because she has been defiled. For the woman to ever be released from this law, the first husband has to die. Upon the first husband’s death the woman is free from the law of divorce and free to marry again.
So let’s apply this to the house of Israel. The house of Israel was divorced by God according to the prophet Jeremiah 3:8 (which this chapter also begins by reiterating the law of divorce) because they committed adultery against Him. Notice the house of Judah (the Jews) was not divorced, only the house of Israel. So by God’s own law the house of Israel can never again return to their husband. They are permenantly lost and cut off… unless their Creator dies. So Yeshua came for the house of Israel. He came to die as their first husband releasing them from the law of divorce and allowing them to marry again. They have been made neigh by the blood of Yeshua (Ephesians 2:13). They can now rejoin the kingdom and marry the resurrected Yeshua!
Do you see God working miracles among His people? Do you see Him tying it all together beautifully? Or do you see a division between the Old and the New and assume God replaced Israel with the church? Depending on how you see it depends on whether or not Paul is writing to you. It’s obvious this is still a misunderstood problem today, so maybe Paul is writing to you. Maybe this mystery hasn’t been explained to you yet, but first you need to understand the law. The fact remains, the house of Israel is betrothed to the Lamb of God, and we’re slowly being reunited with the house of Judah (our brethren) as more Christians realize we’re grafted into their tree, not the other way around. Are you going to be a part of it?