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Romans 11- The Olive Tree

Romans 11- The Olive Tree

1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 

Paul was a Jew so obviously at his time God still saves Jews.

2 God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? How he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

3 "Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life."

The incident refereed to here is just after Elijah killed the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel; the time when fire came from God and burned up Elijah’s sacrifice, the alter, and the water soaking them both. Jezebel was now trying to find him to kill him.

4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? "I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal."
God has always had a people reserved to Himself.

5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Paul is saying that in just the same way God has kept part of Israel serving Him because He was giving them the grace to follow Him.

6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace otherwise work is no more work.
The works of following the Law is not what had retained them to God. It was God’s mercy.

7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
Israel was looking for Her Messiah but hadn’t found Him. They were blinded to the truth. However, a few were saved.

8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day,

9 And David saith, "Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them.

The majority of Jews were snared by their own pride and greed into not recognizing Christ.

10 "Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back always."

11 I say then, "Have they stumbled that they should fall?" God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

The Jew’s refusal of Christ was no surprise to God. He expected it from The Beginning and used it to carry out the plan of Salvation. He did hope jealousy of the relationship the gentiles had with God would bring some Jews to Him, and it did bring many (Read the book of Acts).

12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the gentiles; how much more their fullness?
The Jews refusal of Christ opened the door of salvation to everyone else. Now if their refusal brought so much good, how much more good would their salvation, (or anyone else’s salvation for that matter), bring?

13 For I speak to you gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the gentiles, I magnify mine office:
Paul’s special calling was to preach to the non-Jews.

14 if by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

He hopes his preaching Christ to the Gentiles will cause at least some of his countrymen to take notice and find Christ themselves.

15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

The Jews who did come to Christ (50,000 in Jerusalem alone) were the First- Fruits of the Christian Faith. If the foundation is solid, the building is solid. The Jews that came to Christ truly understood His Salvation and served Him. Because of this, the Gentiles that came after were taught to be holy also.

17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
When you graft branches onto a tree, you break off the old branches and bind broken branches from a different tree into their place. The tree will heal the “wound” and make the new branches part of the original tree, except that each branch produces it’s original fruit (making it possible for one tree to produce three to five different kinds of fruit such as plums, peaches, apricots and nectarines all on the same tree).

All fruit trees that is, except the olive. Olive branches produce whatever kind of fruit the trunk of the tree is bred for. So a wild olive branch will produce domestic olives if it is grafted onto a domestic trunk. The branch becomes like the trunk.

The Jews were broken off; they rejected their Messiah.

God took the believing Gentiles and bound them to Him and His Word, making them a part of the Tree of Life. We Gentiles are fed by the root of the Bible just like believing Jews. We are all the same tree, the same people, producing the same fruit.

We are all part of Israel.

18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
Paul is telling the Gentiles at Rome to not brag that they were saved and the Jews lost because they were being fed by the same root as the believing Jews. These people from the Mediterranean area certainly understood tree-grafting and the reasons Paul called Israel/The Christian Church an olive tree instead of some other kind of fruit tree.

19 Thou wilt say then, "The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in."

Some of these Gentile believers were evidently putting themselves above all Jews, even those who believed in Christ. Paul is explaining to them that they are wrong.

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.

Paul is warning that it would be just as easy for God to break these believing Gentiles off (if they quit following Him) and throw them away as it was for Him to break off the unbelieving Jews. They needed to be afraid and careful that they didn’t backslide.

22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
It is very simple: those who believe God receive His goodness and are part of Israel; part of the Olive Tree. Those who don’t are punished. It doesn’t matter what genetic material runs through their veins.

23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
Any Jew who decides to believe in Christ will be grafted back into the tree just like the Gentiles were.

24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
It is easier to graft the tree’s own branches back in because they are the same as the tree. Branches from different trees do risk rejection.

It is easier for a Jew (or someone who comes from a Christian culture) to become a Christian than for someone from a Pagan or Atheist culture (as these believing Gentiles did) because the change in lifestyle is not so different.

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 fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

Paul is telling them to not be proud of themselves for their belief because many Jews would still come to God. All those who believe God become part of The Tree, part of Israel.

26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away their sins.
God’s plan from the beginning was for Jesus to be crucified for the sins of the world. All those who accept God’s plan are part of Israel, always have been.

Before the Cross, if you accepted God’s plan, you became a Jew.

After the cross, you still became a Jew- spiritually, on the inside, where it matters, though it is no longer required to keep the Mosaic Law.

All those who reject Christ, are not Jews; they are not part of Israel because they are rejecting God’s plan.

27 For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

God promises to take away all the sins of Israel; all the sins of those who accept His plan, no matter what their blood lines.

28 As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the Fathers’ sakes.
The rejecting Jews are enemies of the Christians and of God. The believing Jews (the Election) are still loved by God.

29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
God has called them to Him and will not turn away from them just because they are biologically related to those who crucified Christ.

30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
“You used to be a sinner and converted to Christianity.”

31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through you mercy they also may obtain mercy.
“These Jews are being saved, just like you, because of your testimony.”

32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements, and His ways past finding out!

God is so wise we can’t even begin to understand why He does what He does nor how.

34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor?
We don’t tell God what to do. We don’t advise Him.

35 Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

36 For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Everything is from God. Period.

What is the center point of history?