Let’s go back to Matt 21.10-12. Yeshua enters the Temple on Nisan 11 and he goes into the Royal Stoa and deals with the money-changers. The Royal Stoa is at the south end of the Temple complex, and it is divided into two sections. The western two thirds is called the “Bazaars of Chanan (Annas).” At the bottom of the Stoa on the south and west there were other spaces that were used by the merchants. Chanan sold concession space for the money-changers and charges high fees to use these spaces. The merchants then charged the worshipers a higher fee, so it became a den of thieves.
The Sanhedrin Gadol was banished from the Lishkat Ha Gazit (Chamber of Hewn Stone) in Beit Avtinas. The Talmud, in Sanhedrin 15a says, “Forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the Sanhedrin was banished (from the Chamber of Hewn Stone) and sat in the trading station (on the Temple Mount).” This was the eastern one-third of the Royal Stoa. So, two-thirds of this Stoa was the marketplace and the other one-third was for the Sanhedrin. They could only give a death penalty while in the Chamber of Hewn Stone, and that is why they could not sentence Yeshua.
Annas still presided over the Sanhedrin even though he was not High Priest (Acts 4.5-6). So, when Yeshua drives out the merchants and money-changers, in all likelihood, Annas and Caiaphas were right there in the Royal Stoa conducting court, and they could hear all the commotion. That is why in Matt 21.23 the elders of the people (some of the Sanhedrin, including those from Beit Shammai, who were known for confrontation) come to Yeshua and say, “By what authority are doing these things (overturning the tables, etc) and who gave you this authority?” Yeshua was attacking his wallet. The next morning, on Nisan 12 (Matt 21.18), Yeshua cursed a fig tree. The figs in Israel come before the leaves in Israel, so he expected to find fruit. So, why weren’t there any figs. Matt 24.32-33 gives us the Parable of the Fig Tree. The expression “puts forth its leaves” means it was to have fruit. We know from historians like Augustus Neander (1789-1850) that about one million Jews believed in Yeshua as Messiah, but there were over six million Jews at the time. Take New York, do you think one million people there are believers? We would be hard-pressed to find some place where one-sixth of the people were truly believers, not “professing believers” (there is a difference). Yet we say “Israel fell” or “Israel rejected the Messiah and didn’t believe based on Rom 11.11. Why don’t we say that about the United States? Do we have one-sixth of the population truly believing in Yeshua? Not hardly.
God required Israel to believe, all of them, not one out of six. In the Jewish Encyclopedia in the article “Antichrist” it talks about a midrash that says if Messiah came riding on a donkey, then all Israel is not righteous. However, if Messiah came riding on a horse, then all Israel is righteous. So, we see right in the middle of this midrash, we have the concept of “two comings.” The first time not all of Israel was righteous. In the second, they will be. Now, one-sixth of the population is still a lot of people in the first century and shows that many Jews believed in Yeshua, contrary to what is believed in Christianity. They teach “the Jews rejected him and the Gentiles accepted him.”
Now, many believe a “wild olive” tree mentioned in Rom 11.17 was an uncultivated olive tree, but it isn’t. It is an Oleaster tree. It has a bitter fruit and thorns, but an oleaster tree can be grafted into an Olive tree. So, in Rom 11.17, we have two tree’s. One tree is an olive tree, a picture of Israel. The oleaster tree (wild olive) is a picture of non-Jews and pagans. So, some of the olive tree branches were cut off and used for the fire. Then, oleaster branches are grafted in and live, and the rest of the oleaster tree is cut down and burned. The only branches that got “saved” were the ones grafted into the olive tree. The “saved ” oleaster branches remain the same, with bitter fruit and thorns, but it has a strong root and has life. However, it does not become an olive branch, producing olives.
In the same way, when a non-Jew is grafted into the Olive tree that is Israel, it does not mean they become Jewish (an oleaster branch remains an oleaster branch). But, it is grafted into a better tree and becomes part of the commonwealth of Israel (Eph 2.12). The “rich root” of v 17 is the same heritage and a partaker of the reward that was promised to the Jewish people. Non-Jews are not to boast or act arrogantly towards the Jewish branches. The rich root, which is the heritage God promised to the Jewish people, supports the non-Jew, now that he has been grafted in, it is not the other way around. To take a Jewish believer and make him reject his heritage and become a “Christian” goes against this whole analogy.
In Rom 11.18-25 we read about “the fullness of the Gentiles.” In Hebrew, this term is “M’loh ha Goyim.” We find this same term in Gen 48-19 and it refers to the Jews who are in the Diaspora, who have been scattered among the nations. They will return back to the land when Messiah returns, and this concept is an element of the Basar, which we have already covered (see also Isa 45.17; Ezek 37.15-23; Hos 1.10-11-the “true” Israel). In other words, when the exiles come back when Messiah returns, all Israel will be saved and delivered.
Now, let’s move on to another passage in Rom 13.8-10. Paul paraphrases Hillel on the essence of the Torah, where he said loving God and man is the fulfillment of the Torah, the rest is commentary. One thing we have not brought out here is Paul is dealing with a Roman set of congregations that have non-believing Jews, believing Jews and believing non-Jews all meeting and trying to get along in their synagogues. In many passages in Romans, he is trying to get these groups to get along. In this passage, he reveals his desire to have the believing non-Jews win the praise of the Jewish leadership in their synagogues, giving validation to his ministry and teaching, with the hope that many of his brethren would come to believe in Yeshua. That is the essence of Chapters 9 through 11. For more detail on this book verse by verse, go to “The Book of Romans” in our verse by verse menu on this website.
In Part 17, we will pick up in 1 Corinthians 6.1 and then continue to move through the Epistles, looking at other passages where Paul mentions the Torah and see what his real view was, which will be contrary to what many teach today. Paul was a Torah observant Jewish believer in Yeshua and was not anti-Torah, and as we go through these verses in the Epistles he wrote, you will see that some of his statements may look like anti-Torah statements on the surface, but they are really not that at all. However, if you do not have the proper background on Paul, then many of his writings can be taken to mean the opposite of what he really said, especially with our modern translations. That is why we are looking at the Torah and Paul.