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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tree of Romans 11

ROOT: The root of a tree is its origin. A root descends into the earth to provide sustenance (life-water) for the rest of the tree. Jesus left His place of glory in the heavenly throne room and descended to earth to bring new, spiritual life to all who believe in Him. Jesus on earth was full of the water of the Word and the Holy Spirit that gives life to all who drink of His life-giving water. Then He descended even further into the lowest parts of the earth after being crucified to preach the Truth of His salvation and freedom from sin and bondage to those dead in sin in the belly of the earth. This is the depth of God and Jesus' love for mankind.

Jesus is called the Root of David in Rev. 5:5 and the Root and Offspring of David in Rev. 22:16. Jesus in His flesh descended from David, yet He is also David's Lord in His divinity. (see Mt. 22:41-46) If the root is holy, so are the branches. v16 If the root Jesus is holy, then the branches will be holy also.

God is using an olive tree in this scripture to explain His plan and Kingdom. Olive trees are small (humble--not like the mighty oak) with deep roots that search for water for nourishment and life for the whole tree. The fruit of the olive tree is also small (humble) but produces oil when shaken to the ground and pressed. The best yields of fruit come from the mature trees. Olive trees are resilient, need little water and produce for decades.

TRUNK: The branches are the offshoot attached to the trunk. The trunk of a tree is fed by the root and upholds the branches. The root of this tree is Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit who are the Source of life. Jesus, the trunk had to die and be buried in order to be resurrected. His resurrected life gives spiritual life to all who become a part of Him--the Tree of Life. Jesus breathed the breath of the Holy Spirit into mankind once again as it was in the beginning with Adam. Without Jesus and the Divine Holy Spirit, there is no spiritual life. So you could say that the trunk is Jesus in His resurrection. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life." Jesus also used the Vine and the branches as an example of His spiritual life. Jesus used the things of the earth to illustrate spiritual truths. Jesus is the Tree of Life. Without Him, there is no spiritual life or sustenance to maintain that spiritual life. As the branches need the Vine to produce fruit, believers must be connected to Jesus and His Holy Spirit to bear fruit. We need His living, spiritual water (Holy Spirit) and the bread of His Living Word for spiritual food. It is the power of His resurrection life that upholds us between heaven and earth.

This tree in Romans 11 is an olive tree that produces fruit and that fruit produces olive oil through the pressing of the olive. The fruit is symbolic of the fruit of the Spirit and the oil represents the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the Tree of Life, was crushed on the cross of suffering so He could be resurrected and ascend to the Father to pour out the oil of the Holy Spirit on all who believe in Him so we can bear fruit for His Kingdom.

BRANCHES: Jesus is the first Branch. Jesus is always the First and the Last. The Bible says that Jesus is "all in all." Why? All things were created through Him. God speaks about the Man who is the Branch in Zechariah 6:9-15. God told the prophet Zechariah to make a crown out of silver and gold and place it on the head of the high priest Joshua. Joshua is a form of the name Yeshua who is Jesus. God is showing the prophet Zechariah a picture of Jesus and the spiritual temple He will build. Zechariah 6:11-15: "Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Here is the Man whose name is the Branch, and He will branch out from His place and build the temple of the Lord. It is He who will build the temple of the Lord, and He will be clothed in majesty and will sit and rule on His throne. And He will be a priest on His throne. And there will be harmony between the two (high priest and king)......those who are far away (Gentiles) will come and help to build the temple of the Lord, and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the Lord your God. " This happened in the "natural" when the Gentiles joined with the Jews in building the earthly temple of Solomon. But God was also painting a picture of the spiritual temple that will be built by Jesus, the High Priest and King of a heavenly Temple of God. Jesus is the Supreme Branch--offshoot of God--His Son. We are His branches and His priests and kings. Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus will build the spiritual temple of the Lord with Jesus as the Ruler and High Priest. The high priest in the Law did not wear a crown. Instead the high priest of the Older Testament wore a white turban around his head with a plate across his forehead that said "holy to the Lord." Jesus is the only Holy One to walk the earth and is our Great High Priest in His purity and Truth. He is also crowned with many crowns as King of kings and Lord of lords. (see Rev. 3:21)

Jesus is the Root, the Trunk and the first Branch as the Son of God. Believers in Christ are the transformed branches. It is the branches that bear fruit! Some of the"natural" branches of this tree of Romans 11 were broken off, but God saved a faithful remnant of Jews who believed in Jesus. Jesus began building His Kingdom on earth through 12 Jewish Apostles whom Jesus taught, trained and equipped as He walked the earth in public ministry for 3 1/2 years. The "natural" olive tree was a cultivated tree not a wild one. God had cultivated the Jews to be His light to the world. Some Jews, however, rejected Jesus so they were cut off of this Tree of Life and fruit until the fullness of the Gentiles is complete. God has not forgotten the cut off branches! The cut off branches will be given the chance to be grafted into the Tree of Life again when God once again reveals Jesus to them, and they receive Him. Then all Israel will be saved. Israel means "one who strives with God." All who strive with God and His Kingdom through Jesus Christ will be saved whether Jew or Gentile.

LEAVES: The leaves of a tree are a covering that provides shade from the hot sun. God illustrated this in the story of Jonah when He provided the shade of a plant God had planted to relieve Jonah from the heat of the hot sun. Jonah deserved God's punishment for disobeying God's Word, but instead God offered Jonah His grace and protection from the hot sun (His wrath). God wanted Jonah to offer the same to the wicked Ninevites, but Jonah had a wrong heart attitude toward the Ninevites who were arch enemies of the Jews. God had to turn the heart attitude of His prophet Jonah around so He removed the tree and then told Jonah the error of his ways.

In Revelation 22, the leaves of the two trees of life on each side of the river of life were for the healing of the nations. Our covering is God's Grace and Truth that keeps us from the fire (heat) of God's wrath. As we eat the pages of God's Truth and are covered by the Grace of God through Jesus Christ and His blood--the true Tree of Life--we are healed and become trees of life for others. These two trees of life on each side of the river in Revelation bore "twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month." In other words, eternal fruit that is produced by trees of life -- believers in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit--both Jew and Gentile. This fruit will never die but is eternal.

Leaves can be used in a wrong way as well. Adam and Eve used leaves to cover their shame and disobedience. This represents man's effort to cover sin and shame. Only grace and Truth through Jesus Christ can take away our sin and breathe new spiritual life into us which will bear spiritual, eternal fruit.

FRUIT: In the natural, the fruit of the wild olive tree is made better by grafting a cultivated olive branch into the stalk of a wild seedling. In the "natural," wild olive trees don't bear much fruit, but cultivated olive trees do. God will reverse the "natural" and graft wild shoots into this cultivated tree in Romans 11. The cultivated remnant of Jews and the wild olive branch --the Gentiles--grafted into the Tree of Life (Jesus) will bear fruit for Christ's Kingdom and cause others to become jealous and want to be grafted into this tree and bear fruit also.

The Israelites who rejected their Messiah Jesus must be grafted into this tree of life through Jesus. There is no other way to the Father except through His Son Jesus. God is no respecter of persons and wants that all would be saved. He provided the way, the truth and the life through His chosen and precious Son. God's grace through His Son extends to both Jews and Gentiles. God will graft both into this spiritual Tree of Life but they must come willingly and in faith that Jesus is who He says He is.

Grafting new branches into an olive tree is a shock to the tree. A hole is cut in the trunk, and seeps (bleeds). The bark at the end of the branch to be grafted is cut away so the water and nutrients can flow into the branch for life. This hole will also make it a perfect fit into the tree. This of course is a picture of the blood of Christ and His Truth that will strip away our outer (fleshly) nature so we are "fit" for His Kingdom. God's shaping and forming can be painful, but the suffering and pain of our transformation and maturation into a spiritual man and woman of God will do wonderful things in advancing God's Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus' suffering on the cross was more painful than any of us could ever bear, but it brought spiritual lilfe to all who receive and believe in His finished work. Jesus suffers with us as the work of transformation is taking place. God painted a picture of the authority, spiritual life and spiritual fruit of Jesus and His followers in the story of the high priest Aaron's rod (branch) that not only sprouted, but also budded, blossomed and produced ripe (mature) almonds (fruit).

An olive tree must also be pruned at the top so the sun and water will find the fruit-bearing branches. God must cut off our pride, arrogance and sin so the Son and the water of the Holy Spirit can reach us and others through us who will also bear spiritual fruit. It is the Son of God and the water of the Word anointed by the Holy Spirit of God that will prune us and cut off our fleshly ways so we bear spiritual fruit.

The tree begins with a seed and ends with fruit. This is the result of transformation and maturation of the tree. There are two types of spiritual trees and fruit: 1) a good tree that bears good fruit; and 2) a bad tree that bears bad fruit. Luke 6:43-44: For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. Jesus said that we would know who truly belong to Him by their fruit. Before coming to Jesus, we are all bad trees bearing bad fruit. Jesus, the Word and the Holy Spirit must transform us into good trees that bear good fruit for His Kingdom. God showed us in Jesus that Grace reigns in righteousness and truth because Jesus is Righteousness and Truth. The more we allow Jesus to transform us into His image and likeness, the more His grace and truth will live in us and produce spiritual fruit that will reproduce in others. The fruit of the Holy Spirit which is "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23) is manifested in and through us to others through the working of the Holy Spirit of God within us. Fruit comes from the mature tree.

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit want to conform us into the image of the Son so we bear eternal fruit for His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven illustrated by the trees of life and fruit in Revelation 22. By being in the Tree of Life--Jesus--and having the Living Water of the Holy Spirit and the Living Bread of the Word, we become trees of life for others. The works we do for God's Kingdom and the Divine Son and Holy Spirit within us are the only eternal things we carry into the Heavenly realm. All that is earthly and of the flesh will be burnt up. Therefore, store up treasures in heaven that last forever.

Blessings and shalom, Sandy

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