Journey through the Book of Romans
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Paul declares Israel’s Rejection is not Final Part 3
Romans 11:16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. KJV
Paul now begins to paint for us a picture of how God the Father sees Israel as a Nation in this world as compared to the other Nations of the world. As we stated in the last study, Israel is God’s firstfruit among Nations and people on the earth. Prior to our Lord Jesus coming to the earth to die for the sins of the world on the Cross, God the Father only saw two groups of people upon His earth and it was always Jew and Gentile and in that order. We see this idea and mind set expressed by Paul in his writing earlier in this very same epistle or letter when he made these statements first in Roman 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. NKJV and secondly in Romans 2:9-10 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. NKJV When Paul says “of the Greek” this is the same as saying “of the Gentile” because again every race or tribe of people that were not Jewish were referred to by God the Father as Gentiles or in cases as strangers or foreigners.
Therefore, Paul now begins to illustrate for us this theme of Israel as God’s firstfruit among all of humanity and he says that the Nation Israel (the lump) is holy before Him. The root Paul refers to here is Abraham whom God the Father called and made this everlasting covenant with and it was all of His doing to impart righteousness to Abraham’s account declaring him justified in His Sight (Romans 4:3). God the Father of His own will called and chose this one man Abram out of a pagan family, a pagan city, and a pagan country and gave him his new name Abraham signifying him belonging to a new owner and receiving a new life and became the root that sprang up by God’s power into a new Nation on the earth the firstfruit to Him (Genesis 17:7 & James 1:18). The English word holy is translated from the Greek word hagios which means sacred or physically pure or morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated. The Nation Israel was not literally any of these things, but because of the Covenant God the Father entered into with Abraham and re-affirmed with King David this Nation was blameless before God the Father, just remember from the last study how we documented this iron clad covenant with the words spoken by the Psalmist Ethan the Ezrahite in Psalms 89:20-37.
Listen to what the Prophet Jeremiah said of Israel and its relationship to God the Father, Jeremiah 2:3 Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of His increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD. NKJV This Nation is a special Nation to our Lord Jesus Christ and will in no way be left empty and helpless by Him. The branches Paul here speaks of are the individual Israelites who make up the whole Nation of Israel or the whole lump as Paul paints his word picture. Even the branches that wandered off into unbelief were still being sanctified to some degree by the root (Abraham) although not completely, as Paul said here of the believing spouse to the unbelieving spouse, 1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. NKJV Paul is now going to clarify this for us in the next verse.
Romans 11:17-18 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. NKJV
Paul now shows that the individual Israelites (who are the branches) many have been broken off by God the Father of His Heavenly and Holy Olive Tree (the Nation Israel). Paul pictures God’s own by way of an Olive Tree, which was so prevalent in that land then as well as today. There are some Olive Trees recorded to be over 2,000 years old in places like Crete where Paul traveled on his missionary journeys and this is why he found it so normal or easy to give us this word picture of God’s Kingdom being like an Olive Tree and the Olive Tree is the Nation Israel, no doubt Paul is taking his lesson from our Lord Jesus Himself who often used images of things or events that the people he spoke to would understand and picture what the Kingdom of Heaven was like. For example this is one of the parables He spoke picturing what the Kingdom of God is like, Mark 4:30-32 And He said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? “It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.” NKJV
Paul now refers to the Gentiles as branches from wild olive trees or oleaster trees which are found in nature and the definition of such trees is this, they are any of several shrubs of the genus Elaeagnus having silver-white twigs and yellow flowers followed by olive-like fruits. Paul used this picture of the Gentile comparing us to branches from an oleaster tree to show that before Christ we were aliens to the covenant of God and foreigners from all of His covenant promises made to Israel as Paul said in this manner to the Gentile believers in Ephesus, Ephesians 2:11-13 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands--remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. NKJV Paul went on to say later in that same passage of Scripture written to the Ephesian Gentile believers that through Christ Jesus our Lord God the Father is destroying the enmity that was once so prevalent between Jew and Gentile and in Christ He is making “two into one new man, thus establishing peace”.
This is what Paul meant by the branches from the wild olive tree being grafted into the true Olive Tree and becoming a partaker with the root of the rich Olive Tree (the Nation Israel) and he has already said the same earlier in this same epistle or letter in this manner here, Romans 4:16-17 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (as it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. NKJV Every Gentile during that time in human history was completely ignorant to the One True God (who only revealed Himself to Israel) and worshiping the stars, the moon, the sun, rocks and sticks, and other carved images of their own making which were nothing as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:4-7 and therefore, then and now have nothing to boast about because it is solely due to God the Father’s love and mercy for lost pagan Gentiles that some of the original branches were broken off of His True Olive Tree and we wild branches were grafted into it.
“Jews have God’s promise and if we Christians have it, too, then it is only as those chosen with them, as guests in their house, that we are new wood grafted onto their tree.” Karl Barth 1886-1968
“Conversion is the grafting in of wild branches into the good olive. We must be cut off from the old stock, and be brought into union with a new root.” Matthew Henry
“The enmity (a state of deep-seated ill-will) that has persisted between the Jew and Gentile (that still persist even today) has been abolished in Christ Body on the Cross and therefore, all of us Gentiles who know Him and love Him love Jews and long to see that great day when their eyes are opened to Christ Jesus our Lord as their only Messiah.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…
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