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474. Grafted-In and the Last Days

This post shows the connection between the spiritual grafting process and the Last Days.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
Some time ago, I posted an article comparing a horticulturist’s comments on the grafting

Olive Tree Grafting

process (of wild and cultivated olive trees) to the biblical account in Romans 11. Since things are winding down (and heating up) on planet earth, it seemed good to revisit this issue since the Church is running out of time to “get it right.” Since writing the article, I’ve had some additional insights I’d like to add (in italics). The horticulturist was not a believer and knew nothing about Romans 11. He was describing the process by which wild olive branches are grafted into cultivated olive trees. According to Romans 11, the wild branches represent Gentile believers. The cultivated olive tree represents Israel.

The cultivated tree, he explained, is planted by design just like Israel was established by God. The purpose of the grafting process is the production of wild olives just like God’s ultimate goal is spiritual fruit. The lone wild olive trees don’t produce olives. They look like productive olive trees, even producing blossoms, but no olives. Does this remind you of the typical American church with no concern for Israel or the church’s Jewish roots, looking like the real thing but producing nothing of value?

When a farmer wants to increase his production of olives, but has no space to plant more

A Grafted Olive Tree

cultivated trees, & doesn’t want to wait for a cultivated tree to grow to maturity, he follows some very specific steps. This reminds me of several parables pointing to God’s desire to reap the profits from His investment. The lack of space reminds me of tiny Israel. Not waiting for maturity reminds me of God taking action to enlarge His family before “Israel” finally believes (Zech. 12:10).

What follows describes what God is doing in the Church Age, the gap between the 69th and 70th week in Daniel’s prophecy. God is using the Gentile Church to draw Jewish Israel back to Himself:

He (the horticulturist) cuts off some good branches from a cultivated tree, and lays them on the ground at the base of the tree. He then takes branches from a wild olive tree and grafts them into the very place where the cultivated branches were removed. The tree doesn’t recognize the sap, since it’s from a different tree with different DNA. It has to force the sap from the roots into the wild branches. This reminds me of the way God has to force the appreciation of our Jewish roots into most Gentile Christians.

For 3 years this process continues with no visible results (fruit). Then the farmer drills holes along side the grafted-in wild branches, and inserts the cultivated ones. Remember, they have been lying on the ground for 3 years and are very dry. In the exact words of the horticulturist, when they are grafted back in, they become “jealous” of the wild branches, miraculously drawing the sap themselves. They actually start to come back to life after 3 years. Check out Romans 10:19; 11:11, 14.

For another 3 years the tree still bears no fruit as both wild and cultivated branches feed together on the sap from the roots of the cultivated olive tree. In the seventh year they start bearing fruit. Did you catch that? Neither the wild nor the cultivated branch (neither Gentiles nor Jews) can bear fruit without the other. When they are united (through grafting) they both become productive for God’s kingdom.

AS I SEE IT
What a real life explanation of Romans 11! This is why the Church must start appreciating her Jewish heritage and receiving nourishment from Israel’s deep and nutrient-rich roots. The account also reveals why we need to pray for Israel.

Before the cultivated branches could be inserted, they had become very dry. This certainly describes Israel today-spiritually dry. But God isn’t finished with them. He will use them as He will use us to produce fruit for the kingdom that will bring Him glory. If ever there was proof that God has not abandoned Israel, this is it. God has always been in the business of bringing life from the dead. He has done it for me and every other believer and He will do it for Israel.

The role of the Church is seen in Frodo and Sam in “Lord of the Rings.” Frodo is trying to reach the mountaintop where can pitch the ring and usher in a new kingdom. Sam is helping him to get there. Replace Frodo with Israel and Sam with the Church and you’ve got a unique illustration of God’s purpose behind this whole grafting process. How do you think the Church is doing in fulfilling its role?

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