I'm An Olive Shoot? (Part of the One New Man Series)

Olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane
I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. ~ Rom. 11:13-20

In this post I will focus on the root into which we Gentiles have been grafted. In Paul’s writing to the Jews and Gentiles in Rome he clearly admonishes the Gentile believers against a superior attitude toward Jews. I find such an attitude is some sectors of the Gentile church.  Some tend to see the Jews as obstacles to peace or a problem in the world. Few see them as the completion of ‘one new man’ in Christ. Some look at Jews only from a natural perspective instead of a supernatural perspective.

In Romans 11:16 above the Word states that the first fruits of the olive tree were holy. The first fruits in this context are Abraham and the faithful heritage, those who believed God by FAITH! Some of them are listed in Hebrews 11, the hall of faith. These first fruits were holy because they had faith in what God the Father spoke and promised to them. They are the faith heritage of both Jew and Gentile. Every branch in the olive tree is therefore holy. Why? Because of faith! Gentiles are part of the olive tree, sustained by the root system which is Jesus, the Root of Jesse. There is no room for superiority within the gentile church because of numbers and visibility across the earth. However, many mainstream churches in America support those who advocate the annihilation of Israel. The Gentile arm of ‘one new man’ must not oppose the very nation that is called to be the other part of the body. We have the same root system which sustains us by faith.

The scripture describes Gentiles as a ‘wild olive shoot’. A shoot is a plant that springs up as though it is disconnected from the olive tree. It is not part of the main tree. It springs up as a surprise, unexpected, emerging separately. The Gentile church was not the first fruit of the olive tree. It popped up as nations began to accept Christ in large number. It was grafted in to the main tree and root system, a Jewish root, the Root of Jesse. It is time Gentile believers see themselves as part of the same faith tree as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Israel shall emerge to be fully part of that tree, the one new man…in Yeshua Messiah!

To read previous posts in Harvey's One New Man series, click here.


The Time of the Gentiles - The One New Man Series

For he himself {Jesus} is our peace, who has made the two groups {Jew and Gentile} one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace..Eph. 2:14, 15

In my last post I wrote of the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile through the cross to be ‘one new man’.  In this post I will elaborate on that in the context of the ‘last days’ and what Jesus and Paul have said about Jew and Gentile as a precursor of the second coming of the Messiah.

It is clear that only faith in Jesus will justify people before the Father. Paul said, 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith (Rom. 3:29, 30).  There are over 2.2 billion Christians in the world. Within that number is included about 80,000 Messianic Jews who have been justified and made righteous by their faith in Jesus. That is a very small number of Jewish believers!! Most Jewish people are secular in their world view and many are outright atheistic and hardened toward spiritual things. Within Israel there are only 15,000 Messianic believers in a nation of 6.5 million Jewish people. It seems as though Israel is spiritually desolate.  Only a small remnant of Israel accepts Jesus as Messiah by faith. It seems like an insurmountable wall of division remains even though Ephesians 2:16 says that Jew and Gentile have peace because a purpose of the resurrection was 16 to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. Yet that hostility continues because many Jews and Gentiles have not appropriated by faith the work of the cross in their lives.

A majority of the Gentile Christian church embraces replacement theology which erroneously claims that the church has replaced Israel in the promises and blessings given to Abraham and to Israel. All the land and blessings regarding Israel as a nation are spiritualized in this theology and have little relevance to end time events or conditions. However, there is clear scriptural revelation that Israel, with Jerusalem at the center, has a significant place in last days’ events and has not been replaced.

Jesus said in Luke 21:24(NKJV) 24 And they (Jerusalem) will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Since Jesus prophesied these words Jerusalem has been under the dominion of Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Crusaders, Turks, British, and Jordanians. While Israel as a nation has existed since 1948, parts of Jerusalem, including the temple mount, are under control of Muslims.  According to Jesus, this will continue UNTIL ‘the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled’.
We are still in the Gentile times, but I believe we are in transition, nearing the end of those times. One year ago this week I was in Jerusalem for a worship gathering. On November 7, 2016 Chuck Pierce, a respected prophetic voice, prophesied to that gathering from 40 nations that the ‘times of the Gentiles are now fulfilled’. He said this would begin the ‘dividing time’ of sheep and goat nations and separating the wheat from the tares. I am careful not to superimpose my western view of prophetic time by my wrist watch. Time from God’s perspective doesn’t align or synchronize with my digital clock. However, there is evidence worldwide, and particularly in the Middle East, of a transition of dispensations.

Old Testament prophets spoke of regathering a scattered Jewish people to their homeland before Israel would awake and arise to receive the Lord as Messiah. That ingathering has been happening steadily since 1948, particularly as Jews from Russia and Western European nations immigrate to Israel. By the time Jesus returns a significant portion of Israel will have accepted Him as Messiah. Without going into the various interpretations of the Book of Revelation, we can simply look to what Jesus said on the Mount of Olives prior to his crucifixion. 37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Baruch haba be Shem Adonai’ (‘Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord’)” Matthew 23:37-39(NIV)

There is coming a day when Jews in Jerusalem awaken and arise to the Messiah. There is coming an awakening to the degree that a sound will come forth from Jerusalem, a sound of one new man crying ‘Baruch haba be Shem Adonai’ to the Messiah!

In my next post I will reveal the grafting in of Gentiles to the Jewish and how the Gentile church can bless the Jewish people and Israel to help bring forth the sound of Matthew 23.


One New Man

Jews and Gentiles pray together at the Western Wall.
For He  himself is our peace, who has made the two groups (Jew and Gentile) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. Ephesians 2:14-16(NIV)

For over 3000 years there has been hostility between Jew and Gentile across the world. It began with the sons of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, and continued through Jacob and Esau and their descendants. The word for gentile in the New Testament means ‘other nations’ or ‘Hellenists’, describing those of the known Greek world and of pagan influence. In general in both Old and New Testament, it means anyone who is not of the 12 tribes of Israel.

But the Apostle Paul clearly indicates that ‘in Christ’ Jew and Gentile are ‘one new man’! Paul, of the Tribe of Benjamin, was passionate for the Jewish people to accept Christ even though his primary call was to the Gentiles.  For the Jew it was difficult to accept Jesus as Messiah. They believed in Yahweh and the words of the prophets of a coming messiah, but they were expecting someone much different than Jesus. For Gentiles it was the problem of only one God instead of many and the concepts of sin and righteousness. But the Gentile world embraced Jesus as Lord and Savior even as most of the Jewish world rejected him as Messiah. The hostility between Jews and the Gentile church increased over hundreds of years prior to the reformation.

Scripture is clear that all nations would be blessed by the seed of Abraham bringing salvation and deliverance, and that justification is by faith not through the Law of Moses. "For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith". Rom. 3:28-30.

Today we may look at the Jewish people who are vastly secular in belief. We look at Israel, while a Jewish state, has many non-practicing Jews is very secular in world view. How can all this come together to create the one new man?  

Even now I see a coming together of Jew and Gentile believers as the last days move forward. There are more and more Messianic fellowships rising up across the world. Israel had only a few dozen Jewish believers in Messiah in the 1970’s. Today there are about 15,000 Messianic believers in Israel gathering in 120 local fellowships. America and other nations are also seeing God moving the hearts of Jewish people to embrace Jesus as Messiah.  One of the reasons is found in Romans 11:11 where Paul says, "Again I ask: Did they (Israel/Jews) stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious". The Jewish people are becoming envious of believers in Jesus as we reveal the Father’s heart to Israel and to Jewish people. How we treat individual Jews and the nation of Israel is IMPORTANT to fulfilling scripture and prophetic words of the last days. Our treatment of Jews must pass through the cross. We have a role in appropriating the scripture that through the cross Jesus put to death the hostility. 

Both Jesus and Paul spoke of ‘the time of the Gentiles’, which is a time when non-Jewish governments and churches dominate the world scene. Both the hardened hearts of Jewish people and the dominion of gentiles are temporary!  In speaking to gentiles in Rome Paul says,  "Lest you be self-opinionated (wise in your own conceits), I do not want you to miss this hidden truth and mystery, brethren: a hardening (insensibility) has [temporarily] befallen a part of Israel [to last] until the full number of the ingathering of the Gentiles has come in…" Romans 11:25 (AMP). There will be a moment in time when the ingathering of non-Jews to Christ will be fulfilled, and then Israel will awaken to the truth of the Messiah! One new man will emerge in a fullness and strength not yet seen in the church and in the world.