The Fullness of the Gentiles
"For I do not wish you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel, until..." (Rom 11:25a).
Put a circle around the word "until." There is a condition. and here is the point. It is a condition only the Church can meet. The issue of Israel becomes the issue of the Church.
"...until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in"(Rom 25a).
When God says 'fullness,' He means the completion of all that He has intended. There is a fullness for which God waits, the "calling out of a people for His name, from among every nation" (Acts 15:14). This has always been the mission mandate of the Church. But according to Paul's letter to the Romans, the greatest incentive that God gives the Church to go into all the world and proclaim the gospel is that,
"...the Deliverer will come from Zion" (Rom 9:26a).
When that mission is completed, something will happen independent of Israel's own spiritual condition. The Deliverer is released in the moment that the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Israel is delivered and the Deliverer takes His throne on the holy hill of Zion and rules over the nations. The world is in a hopeless condition until the Lord Himself comes. Only thereafter can there be a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness.
It is clear that this view opposes the "pre-tribulation" rapture mentality, a mentality that sees the Church as being removed before the tribulation. It is a widely accepted doctrine, but to challenge it is to be looked upon as challenging some sacrosanct foundational doctrine of the faith. It is as if you are introducing heresy, when it is not a doctrine of the faith at all. Nothing, in our opinion, has more disarmed the Church of the necessity for preparation, discipleship, maturity and of being the Church that can stand in the Last Days and overcome tribulation, than the misguided confidence that they will not have to face it!
It is because of this "pre-tribulation" rapture expectation that the Church is presently operating now toward Israel out of guilt in that the Church is removed while the Jew remains to face the music. Anything that issues from the Church that has an ulterior motive, that relieves our conscience, where we operate out of guilt rather than from a priestly place, is not a valid place of ministry. Only priestly ministry is valid. The heart of priestly ministry is that the priest derives no advantage or benefit for himself in his priestly ministration. However, if you are operating out of guilt and a bad conscience, than you are alleviating something for yourself by being condescending to Jews. A lot of the attitudes of the churches toward present Israel are of this condescending kind.
If we, as the Church, elevate and exalt ourselves as something separate, independent or superior to the Jew, then, by that one thing, we are no longer the Church. The Church loses its character when it loses its essential humility. The Church needs to be reminded that we are grafter into THEIR root and that we are made, by the gospel, partakers WITH them. The Church is not some phenomenon independent of Israel; it is the graciousness of God to allow Gentiles to come into THEIR promise, into THEIR hope and into THEIR expectation, which they themselves have lost by default and no longer know. Part of our task is to remind Israel, not verbally, but by being a demonstration of what it means to have been invited into the 'commonwealth of Israel' (Ephe 2:12).
(From "True Fellowship: To Him Be Glory In The Church" - ch 3 -"The Church and the Jew" - p53-55 - by Art Katz - Burning Bush Press - copyright 2003)