And as if to emphasize the point, Paul further states,

“For if you were 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, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree” (Romans 11:24).

In other words, it will be much easier for God to graft Israel to its own olive tree than it was to bring in the Gentiles, as a wild olive tree, to that same cultivated tree, representing the nourishing root of Israel.

Paul continues the explanation, urging humility upon the Gentiles who have faith in Christ. 

“Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob’; ‘and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins’”  (Romans 11:25-27).

The rest who were hardened” was only a partial hardening of Israel for a temporary period. During that time, the door of salvation was opened to the Gentiles who believed.

God’s purpose is that through the work of the Deliverer, “the rest who were hardened”—the natural Jews—will also be grafted into the olive tree when they gain their faith in Christ, at his coming. Messiah’s role and work is to bring national Israel back into their own olive tree and achieve their full acceptance with God.

As a necessary step to the second coming of Messiah, the Jewish people first needed to be gathered to their own land in significant numbers. Why? It is in Jerusalem where the Messiah will make himself known to them.

Are the Jews still God's people?(continued)