The Two Olive Trees in Romans 11

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Dr. Walter, May 11, 2010.

  1. Dr. Walter

    Dr. Walter
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    16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
    17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
    18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
    19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
    20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
    21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

    The absolute confusion that exists among interpreters of this passage is mind boggling. Most see these two trees actually representing elect Jews and Gentiles or all the elect. This is fallacious as those grafted in can be broken off and those broken off can be grafted in and if the elect could be broken off and grafted in again that would teach saved today and lost tomorrow and saved again as Israel was the natural branches but then broken off and then to be grafted in again.

    Notice verse 16 that Paul begins with the "fruit" and works back to the root. The root represents the promises to Abraham. Not every branch of a tree produces fruit but every branch that does you know has a connection all the way to the root. Thus salvation is not by merely being grafted into the root but in actual production of fruit.

    The two trees represent two SPHERES of operation where God calls out an elect people. God has a people among Israel and God has a people among the gentile nations. God broke off the natural olive tree (nation of Israel) and grafted in the wild tree (gentile nations). The breaking off of national Israel does not mean they were saved and now lost nor does the grafting in of the Gentile nations mean they were formerly lost but are now saved by virture of being grafted in.

    No! It only means that gentiles are now in the position for God to call out of them a people for His name and when the gentile nations come to the same point as the nation of Israel where as a whole they reject Christ and thus when God is finished his redemptive work among the Gentile nations (Rom. 11:25) God will graft back in again the Nation of Israel and resume His saving activities among them (Rom. 11:25-28).

    Romans 11:28 should drive the final nail in the Preterist and A-mill interpretation of this chapter:

    As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.

    Who are your "enemies"? Can't be the elect "remnant" of Israel as God has never cut them off. Who represents the natural olive tree? Who has God cut off that the gentile nations may be grafted in? ANSWER: NATIONAL ETHNIC ISRAEL. They were the "enemies" - "concerning the gospel" not the elect remnant. What God cut off God will graft in "again" (v. 22). What God cut off for rejecting the gospel God will not only graft in "again" but "touching the election, they [cut off ethnic national Israel) are beloved for the Father's sake."

    "They" are the subjects discussed beginning in verse 25 and concluding in verse 28:

    25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
    26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
    27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
    28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
     
  2. J.D.

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    Sir, I don't see where you get two trees out of the passage. It looks like one tree to me.

    John Gill says that the tree represents the VISIBLE Church, both old and new. The natural branches are broken off as the Gospel is spread and rejected, while the wild branches are grafted in by the same Gospel. This coordinates perfectly with the spreading of the Gospel in Acts. The visible body of God's people transitions from National Israel to Gospel (Spiritual) Israel. I find his commentary on this flawless.

    The only ambiguity is over the nature of the grafting back in of Jews. I suppose one could speculate that if enough individual Jews were grafted back in, the tree would return to its natural state, generaly speaking. But I rather doubt that, seeing how it is impossible to reconstitute the Nation of Israel into the visible people of God as it was before the Church. The veil has been rent, the temple is destroyed, the priesthood serves no purpose, the sacrifice is finished once and for all, and most importantly, Hebrews tells us that there is a "better" way, why would God turn his people away from it? Unless it is a sweeping revival of repentance and faith in which the Jews are swept wholesale into the Church that you speak of? Yes, THAT might be possible, although I personally doubt it. I believe "all Israel" that shall be saved is all the elect, both gentile and jew, that God shall call into the fold.
     
  3. RAdam

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    The problem with your view is God didn't break off a tree, He broke off branches from a tree and graffed in other branches. The tree is a timely thing. I believe it is talking about the church. Individual Jews have been broken off because of unbelief and individual Gentiles graffed in. If the unbelieving Jews abide not in unbelief they will be graffed back in.
     
  4. Dr. Walter

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    Romans 11:17 specifices two trees. Gill is wrong. There is absolutely no mention of the term "church" in this whole chapter because it does not belong there. What is grafted in again is what was broken off. No one believes it was INDIVIDUAL Jews that were broken off. No one believes it is the REMNANT that is broken off. What was broken off according to all parties is NATIONAL ETHNIC ISRAEL.

    Gill's view will not harmonize with the data of this text nor will any A-millennial or Preterist view point! Why? Because their views are simply wrong.
     
  5. RAdam

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    I wasn't relying on Gill. By the way, Gill wasn't a-mill or preterist.

    Romans 11 doesn't say that a tree was broken off, but branches. In fact is says, "if some of the branches be broken off..." leading one to conclude that God didn't break off a whole tree but some branches from the tree. Later he says, "if they [the branches broken off for unbelief] abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contray to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree."

    Obviously, what he is talking about is a single tree, called a good tree, a natural olive tree. Some natural branches were broken off because of unbelief, meaning some Jews. They have rejected and been cast out of the church and the timely benefits of the new covenant. Some wild olive branches were cut out of the wild olive tree and graffed into the good olive tree, speaking of some Gentiles being converted into the church.
     
  6. Dr. Walter

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    What "church"? I see no mention of the "church" in chapters 9-11 do you?

    The "remnant" is not what is broken off! The remnant is never broken off! So, it is not "some" Jews who are broken off but the "nation" as a whole. Just as the nation as a whole rejected Christ. The "remnant" never rejected Christ in Paul's generation or any other generation.

    This is a silly point to argue over. You know and I know that salvation was primarily restricted to national ethnic Israel before the coming of Christ. Are you going to tell me that after the rejection of Christ by the nation of Israel AS A WHOLE that it is not ISRAEL AS A WHOLE that has been broken off in regard to the redemptive work of God?? I don't think you will tell me that. Particular if I ask you the purpose of the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem in the prophetic design of God!

    Soooo, what is cut off is the nation of ethnic Israel as a whole, not God's remnant people, not the elect of God!!! Therefore, what God cut off is what God grafts in again and it is what is grafted in again that God will save "all of Israel" in contrast to gentiles in verse 25. The gentiles in verse 25 has reference to ELECT GENTILES as "the fulness" or what God's elect among the gentiles.
     
  7. RAdam

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    What tree were the branches broken out of? The tree must signify something. What does it represent? There are a few views. Does it represent something eternal or timely? It must be something timely because one cannot lose eternal salvation. One can, however, be cast out in a timely sense. That tree represents what the Jewish people once had and the Gentiles didn't - the church, the truths of God, the scriptures, the true worship of God. These are timely blessings the Jew had but the Gentile didn't. Because of unbelief some Jews are now being cast out = some branches broken off. Because of belief some Gentiles are being brought in = some wild branches being graffed in contrary to nature. One entire nation wasn't broken off and another entire nation brought in. Individual Jews were broken off and individual Gentiles were graffed in. The destruction of Jerusalem hasn't happened yet, Paul is discussing God's present dealings with the Jews and Gentiles. Not all Israel is of Israel. Paul is not speaking of a nation, but of individuals among that nation.
     
  8. J.D.

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    RAdam said:
    I'm not ready to endorse that view, but I do think it makes a lot of sense.

    In any case, the idea that God will some day save people because of their blood line is contradictory to everything Jesus, John, and Paul said about salvation.
     
  9. Dr. Walter

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    Romans 11:17 mentions two different olive trees. (1) wild one; (2) cultured one. The branches are broken off of the wild tree and grafted into the cultured one while the cultured one has natural branches broken off and simply laid aside that are to be grafted back in "again" (v. 23).

    So the branches come from two different trees and yet it is only the natural tree that grafting in takes place.

    The branches of the natural olive tree refer to natural born Jews and their heritage as the restricted sphere of God's redemptive purposes. Being grafted in or broken off does not refer to either a saved or lost INDIVIDUAL condition but to privildges afforded to them by God's redemptive work among them. The same is true of the wild branches being grafted in or broken off.

    The trunk of the natural olive tree refers to the promises and convenants of the fathers.

    Neither tree represents the church or the family of God or the kingdom of God but rather represents the Jewish or Gentile nations as dispensations or spheres of God's redemptive activity. We live in a Gentile age or dispensation presently whereas the precross period was a Jewish dispensation or sphere of God's redemptive activities.

    What was "cut off" was not INDIVIDUAL Jews or gentiles any more than what was grafted in was INDIVIDUAL Jews or gentiles. What you see here is Jews being cut off versus gentiles being grafted in not as individuals but as CULTURES and spheres of the redemptive work of God.

    The contrast is never between INDIVIDUALS but between ISRAEL versus GENTILES. When Paul says "YOU" he is not referring to INDIVIDUALS but to GENTILES that can be "cut off" and when he refers to "THEY" can be cut off or grafted in "again" he is not speaking of INDIVIDUALS but ISRAEL as a nation.

    If he were speaking of INDIVIDUALS then we would have saved and lost individual conditions because the "you" that is grafted in is also the "you" that will be cut off and the "they" that has been part is now cut off but will be grafted in "again." And so it is perposterous to believe that he has individual Jews and Gentiles in mind.

    Romans 11:25-28 should put to rest the idea that he is talking about a MIXTURE of individual elect from all nations as there is a distinct contrast between gentiles and Israel from start (v. 25) to finish (v. 28).
     
  10. psalms109:31

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    Israel

    The tree that was chosen from the foundation of the world was the Jews. They were His. Jesus said He came into His own, but His own received Him not. So what Did God say. He said if you disown me I will disown you. That is what happened to the Jews. He cut them out for unbelief, but He will craft them back in if they do not continue in their unbelief. So we see they were not cut out because they were not chosen, but because of unbelief. Now we gentiles were included with the believing Jews when we heard the gospel of our salvation having believed. So we are grafted in because we heard and we believed. This tree was chosen before the foundation.

    Many have been cut out and crafted in, but the one who trust in the Lord, God said He will keep you and you will not be put to shame. God has given to Jesus those who trust in the Lord. They will never be cut out

    If you knew the end of the story, you will know who all will be in Christ. Who knows we might already be in heaven watching this all being played out
     
  11. RAdam

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    In verse 24 Paul explains what he meant in verst 17. When Paul said, "and thou being a wild olive tree" he meant them being a branch from a wild olive tree. This is manifest from verse 24 when he says, "for if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree."

    He didn't say an entire tree was uprooted and another entire tree replaced it. He said branches, individual branches, were cut out of the good olive tree. Those branches were natural olive branches, but now they've been broken off and cast out. Then he said individual brances from a wild olive tree were cut out of that wild olive tree and were graffed contrary to nature into the good olive tree from whence the natural branches were broken off. This is God dealing in an individual manner with people, not in a corporate manner. He is not talking about all Jews and all Gentiles. He is talking about His dealings with individuals in time.

    There is no guarantee to the natural branches being graffed in again. That is conditional. "If they abide not still in unbelief..."
     
  12. kyredneck

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    I suppose this is the intent of the OP and you are presenting your interpretation of the text as proof for the historic pre-mill position showing that there will somehow be a return to the [physical] Jewish 'sphere' of the redemptive work of God.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    I totally agree with this:

    ......which is in harmony with passages such as these:

    .....Let there be no fruit from thee henceforward for ever..... Mt 21:19

    20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye saints, and ye apostles, and ye prophets; for God hath judged your judgment on her.
    21 And a strong angel took up a stone as it were a great millstone and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with a mighty fall shall Babylon, the great city, be cast down, and shall be found no more at all.
    22 And the voice of harpers and minstrels and flute-players and trumpeters shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft, shall be found any more at all in thee; and the voice of a mill shall be heard no more at all in thee;
    23 and the light of a lamp shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the princes of the earth; for with thy sorcery were all the nations deceived.
    24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that have been slain upon the earth. Rev 18

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Personally, I expect that there will be a revival amongst the Jews (the first shall be last), and that they will come to the Church of Christ, where WE are now, not a return to some system of animal sacrifices and offerings that God had NEVER taken any pleasure in. There is no other 'sphere' of God's redemptive work:

    There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28

    where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all. Col 3:11

    Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the concision: for we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh: Phill 3:2,3

    ------------------------------------------------------

    The Jews being cut off and the gentiles being grafted in was the fulfillment of prophecies such as these:

    God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem.... Gen 9:27

    And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. Mt 8.11-12

    Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Mt 21:43

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    “The Scriptures are to be taken in the sense attached to them in the age and by the people to whom they were addressed.” - Charles Hodge.

    Concerning Ro 11:28: 'As touching the gospel, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers` sake (i.e., Abraham, Issac, and Jacob), I want to point out that the 'cutting off' of National Israel (AD 70) had not as yet occurred at the time of the writing. God was still dealing with the Jews as a nation and had not 'cut them off' as yet (compare 2 Ki 13:23). He gave them 40 years to repent (Rev 2:21; 2 Peter 3:9)) and they would not.
     
    #12 kyredneck, May 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2010
  13. kyredneck

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    .......and besides, 'the redemptive work of God' is DONE. Period.

    When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit. Jn 19:30

    ......when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Heb 1:3

    but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; Heb 10:12

    He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities. Isa 53:11

    Now in the things which we are saying the chief point is this: We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, Heb 8:1

    looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 12:2
     
  14. J.D.

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    kyredneck said:
    I want to thank you kyredneck for helping me understand that scripture.
     
  15. kyredneck

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    Why, your welcome Sir.

    Consider these passages concerning 'the enlargement':

    27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: For more are the children of the desolate than of her that hath the husband. Gal 4

    22 And no man putteth new wine into old wineskins; else the wine will burst the skins, and the wine perisheth, and the skins: but they put new wine into fresh wine-skins. Mark 2

    1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith Jehovah.
    2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare not: lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes.
    3 For thou shalt spread aboard on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall possess the nations, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Isa 54


    26 If therefore they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the wilderness; go not forth: Behold, he is in the inner chambers; believe it not.
    27 For as the lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto the west; so shall be *the coming of the Son of man (the presence of the Son of Man; YLT). Mt 24

    (And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, Lo, there! Lo, here! go not away, nor follow after them, for as the lightning, when it lighteneth out of the one part under the heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall the Son of man be in his day. Lu 17:22-24)

    And he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. v 3

    For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea. Hab 2:14

    So shall they fear the name of Jehovah from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come as a rushing stream, which the breath of Jehovah driveth. Isa 59:19

    For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the Gentiles, saith Jehovah of hosts. Mal 1:11

    Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass that, in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Hosea 1:10

    After these things I saw, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes, and palms in their hands; Rev 7:9

    And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of Jehovah`s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. Isa 2:2

    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Zech 9:9-10

    All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto Jehovah; And all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. Ps 22:27

    Jehovah will be terrible unto them; for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the nations. Zeph 2:11

    but in very deed, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Jehovah; Nu 14:21

    At that time will I bring you in, and at that time will I gather you; for I will make you a name and a praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I bring back your captivity before your eyes, saith Jehovah. Zeph 3:11

    But thanks be unto God, who always leadeth us in triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest through us the savor of his knowledge in every place. 2 Cor 2:14

    And he shall stand, and shall feed his flock in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God: and they shall abide; for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. Micah 5:4

    They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the root of Jesse, that standeth for an ensign of the peoples, unto him shall the nations seek; and his resting-place shall be glorious. Isa 11:9-10
     
  16. Dr. Walter

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    The salvation of "all Israel" will be under the new covenant (Ezek. 36:25-27; Jer. 31:32-34). That eliminates most of your arguments. Reinstitution of the temple and feasts will not be for salvation but for instructive purposes. The New Covenant is meticulously presented symbolically in every aspect of the tabernacle/temple and its ordinances and feasts. Truths we currently debate will be fully illustrated and explained by Christ to Israel and to the world.

    I don't think anyone living completely understands the new covenant symbolisms found in the books of Exodus and Leviticus which convey the technicalities of the temple structure, furniture, sacrifices and preisthood. The millennial temple (Ezek. 40-44) will illustrate these truths in technicolor.

    I personally believe that the writer of Hebrews sees the "blood of the everlasting covenant" (Heb. 13:20) in the "old" covenant and the "new" covenant but still awaiting the day when that covenant will be revealed in its fullness.

    My friend, if you imagine that God is completely finished with Israel as a nation in regard to election you are sadly mistaken.


     
  17. RAdam

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    God is not going to reestablish the temple services. Read Hebrews. Those things were shadows of good things to come, which Christ has fullfilled. "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second." Christ, according to prophecy in Daniel 9, caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease in the midst of the 70th week. No more animal sacrifices are pleasing to God in any way, shape, or form because what they pictured has come. They were never for salvation, only to picture Christ. Their function has, therefore, ceased. They've been fullfilled and taken away by Christ.
     
  18. MB

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    Your right it has been. However there are Jews preparing to re-establish animal sacrifice. My personal feelings are this may wind up being the abomination of desolation.
    MB
     
  19. RAdam

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    The abomination of desolation has already ocurred.
     
  20. Dr. Walter

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    They were preachments of the gospel looking forward to the cross just as our ordinances are preachments of the gospel looking back to the cross. Their design was to reveal sin and lead to Christ. In regard to Israel they did not accomplish that goal. However, with reborn and restored Israel during the millennium they will be used for instruction once again not to replace the cross but to illustrate it. In regard to the church age there are done away with in regard to administrations but they are not done away with in regard to teaching aids to illustrate the cross.
     

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