Romans 11: the Olive Tree

my notes from a teaching by Duane Gallentine

  1. Little Flock
  2. Majority of Israel blinded
  3. Season of Gentile Grace
  4. Restoration of Israel

5 Words to describe Israel:

  1. Stumbled
  2. Fallen
  3. Diminished - in Paul's time (Acts Period)
  4. Cast away
  5. Blinded

People today try to revive Israel’s program contrary to Paul’s teaching of Israel being set aside.

Satan’s policy of evil is to always exemplify and to raise up that which God does not recognize.

Season of Gentile Grace (Romans 11:16-24):

  • First fruits, holy
  • Root
  • Branches
  • Wild olive tree
  • Fatness of the olive tree
  • Natural branches
  • Good olive tree

For more information on the above words see: "Abraham, the Father of Us All"

Romans 11:11 KJV 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.

Israel is laid aside and salvation of God has gone to the Gentiles without Israel

Grafting

The nature of the dispensation of grace is temporary. Paul warned the Gentiles of the temporary nature of being grafted in

Romans 11:17-22 KJV 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. (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.

Verse 22 - take Israel and set aside; bring in Gentile salvation. Upon Israel falls the severity of God.

1 Thessalonians 2:15-16 KJV (15) Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: (16) Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

Verse 15 is speaking of Israel. Verse 16 - wrath come upon them for the uttermost - not prophetic wrath (not sending unbelievers to hell) Mystery form of adjudicating them and executing positive steps toward them: the casting away is for a season of grace while God grafts Gentiles into this olive tree.

The Gentiles are warned that God is not through with Israel. It is a season of Gentile grace. Paul shows this with the similarity between plant grafting and Gentiles being front stage enter concerning salvation in the dispensation of grace of God.

Terms used to illustrate this:

Olive tree

Romans 11 shows the removing of something from the olive tree and putting something in the olive tree, just as Psalms 52 shows the separation of the righteous and unrighteous. Notice that the one that trusts in the mercy of God is like a green olive tree.

Psalms 52:1-9 KJV Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually. (2) Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. (3) Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. (4) Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. (5) God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah. (6) The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: (7) Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. (8) But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. (9) I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.

In 1 Kings 6:30-33, we read of the material Solomon used for the building of the temple. The olive tree is symbolic in the Bible as representing the issue of entering in and being the vessel of God. The temple is to house God, but as seen in Ps 52 the righteous after the judgement, the unrighteous taken away, The right stand and will enter in this place where God is.

1 Kings 6:30-33 KJV And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without. (31) And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall. (32) The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees. (33) So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall.

Prophetic

Israel, with God in kingdom will become the vessel of blessing for the nations. In prophetic program, how do the nations find God? They come to Israel first.

An olive tree is often used to symbolic represent or show a spiritual capacity to be God’s channel of blessing.

Zechariah 8:20-23 KJV Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: (21) And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. (22) Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. (23) Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

Verse 22 - nations are uncircumcised Gentiles Verse 23 - how the Gentiles come: They grab hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew.

  • Skirt = priestly garment.
  • Jew - a knowing Hebrew, in order to communicate will need the operation of the gift of tongues because the Gentiles that come to him will not speak Hebrew. It is then that Israel will let God use them and give them a spiritual capacity to be God’s channel of blessing.
Psalms 52:8 KJV But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.

A green Olive tree has life in it; it can produce fruit. Paul understood this and used the olive tree in showing that Israel, the natural branch was broken off and the grafting in of the wild olive tree.

Wild

The issue of the Gentile being a wild olive tree represents that during the dispensation of the grace of God the Gentile will have the capacity to be the vessel of blessing. It is through the Gentile that God will give out His message to the world, and in a sense, blessing the world with salvation.

This is not to say Gentiles are fulfilling Israel’s role, but God is using the Gentiles to show the other Gentiles how to be blessed of God. The message of salvation today is Gentiles telling Gentiles about the salvation of God that has been sent to the nations.

When a Gentile hears and believes then that Gentile becomes as a wild olive branch grafted into the olive tree to be able to tell other Gentiles the goodness of God’s blessing of grace.

The symbolic language of Romans 11 has Old Testament definition:

(Judges 9:8-15 KJV) The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. {9} But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? {10} And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. {11} But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? {12} Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. {13} And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? {14} Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. {15} And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

4 types of trees: (present day scenario of the time when Judges written and is prophetic of Israel):

Olive tree -
speaks of the capacity to be God’s channel of blessing (Israel - Zechariah 8 to be fulfilled)
Fig tree -
symbolizes apostate Israel in their Jew’s religion.
Vine tree -
Israel as a nation before God
Bramble -
a fig tree that has given its capacity to the Antichrist. The bramble tree is the Antichrist ruling over the apostate fig tree religion of Israel.

The fig tree represents the human effort to cover sin. In Genesis 3:7, this is what Adam and Eve did to make them presentable to God: they sewed fig leaves together to make themselves presentable to God.

We need to think of the fig tree representing human effort to cover sin when we see the fig tree being mentioned in scripture. Jesus Christ cursed the fig tree because Israel’s religious life (traditions of men) has no capacity to make Israel the channel of blessing whereby one out of ten languages would grab hold of the olive tree.

Romans 11:19-22 is written to inform the Gentiles of the temporary nature of the dispensation of the grace of God.

Romans 11:19-22 KJV 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. (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.

What will happen after this dispensation? The rebirth of Israel.

Romans 11:15 KJV 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?

Verse 15 - "life from the dead": after our program is complete, God will bring back Israel; it will be like a dead man being raised.

Ezekiel 37:1-14 KJV The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, (2) And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. (3) And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. (4) Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. (5) Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: (6) And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. (7) So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. (8) And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. (9) Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. (10) So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. (11) Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. (12) Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (13) And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, (14) And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

Verses 11-14 are not describing the end time revival of the church today. Verses 11 and 12 say these bones are the whole house of Israel. The church, the body of Christ, is composed of GENTILES from among the nations.

When God revives Israel, it will be noticed that 1948 was not the revival of Israel. When the revival of Israel happens, the whole world will know that it has happened and that it was God who did it. There will then be peace, the 1000 year reign. This has not yet happened.

Romans 11:22 is conditional. Paul is teaching about the Gentile program, not of a Gentile individually (i.e. lack of eternal security). Paul is speaking of the program of the dispensation of grace. The nation of Israel has been set aside so the wild olive tree (Gentile nations) can be grafted in. For how long? As long as it serves God’s purpose. There is something about the condition of the nations that will be evident at the close of the dispensation of the grace of God.

Acts 13:44-48 KJV And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. (45) But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. (46) Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. (47) For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. (48) And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
T

he Gentiles received Paul’s message in the beginning with gladness. This is Paul’s first recorded incident of preaching. He preached first to the Jews. Verse 48 tells us Gentiles were present. It was a mixed multitude. What was the message being preached: forgiveness of sins. The Gentiles were glad, they were hearing the message of salvation, the forgiveness of sins, through Paul.

2 Timothy 4:3 KJV For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Some will not endure sound doctrine, that is sound doctrine according to godliness, if rejected ungodliness will be manifest.

2 Timothy 3:2-5 KJV For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

All these men taught against sound doctrine. If you hold to sound doctrine you cannot do any of these things.

2 Tim 4:3 speaks of saved men. At first the Gentiles were glad but at the end of Paul’s ministry they no longer wanted the goodness of God.

Romans 11:22 KJV 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.

When the dispensation of the grace of God comes to an end there will be an a coexisting of the despising of the grace of God and the receiving it of gladness. Many will, instead of receiving it will gladness, will despise it.

This happened in Paul’s time, all in Asia have left him and only Luke is with him. In light of that, we ought not say that today is that time we are in the end of the dispensation of the grace of God because we do not know.

Galatians 1:4 KJV Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
Ephesians 5:16 KJV Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 6:13 KJV Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Today is a “present evil day”. Tomorrow will be a “present evil day”. Don’t get discouraged when things get rough - when professing believers don’t want to endure sound doctrine.

Romans 11:22 tells of the goodness of God, that is the dispensation of the grace of God. If Gentiles don’t continue in the goodness of God, they too will be cut off just as Israel was cut off the olive tree.

   

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