The root — Who is the root in scripture and how are we as believers to apply this title to our understanding of scripture? I had posted this on a Facebook page several months ago, hopefully it is worthy of a repost here.
Isaiah 11:10 And there hath been, in that day, A root of Jesse that is standing for an ensign of peoples, Unto him do nations seek, And his rest hath been — honour!
Then in Matthew 13:21 Jesus is speaking in the parable of the sower about the sowers seed that fails to bear fruit. He says: “and he hath not root in himself, but is temporary, and persecution or tribulation having happened because of the word, immediately he is stumbled.”
So what or who is the root that this one “hath not”, which causes him to fall?
Paul says of the Olive tree in Romans 11 that it is the root that supports the branches. And we know when considering this passage that we as believers are individually the branches of this tree.
Romans 15:12-13 and again, Isaiah saith, `There shall be the root of Jesse, and he who is rising to rule nations — upon him shall nations hope;’ and the God of the hope shall fill you with all joy and peace in the believing, for your abounding in the hope in power of the Holy Spirit.
This root is obviously Jesus (he who is to rule the nations).
Revelation 5:5 and one of the elders saith to me, `Weep not; lo, overcome did the Lion, who is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, to open the scroll, and to loose the seven seals of it;
We know from this passage that the root of David is Jesus. He is the root.
Revelation 22:16 `I, Jesus did send my messenger to testify to you these things concerning the assemblies; I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright and morning star!
So, It becomes obvious to me that Jesus must be the root that supports the branches of the Olive Tree that Paul speaks of in Romans chapter 11.
Romans 11:16-20 If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. (Jesus must be the dough and the root in this verse because our righteousness or holiness as branches only comes from Him.) But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;
Paul has made clear in this chapter that the Jews (the natural branches, those who were not cut off) were joined by us in the Olive tree, so that we became part of the same tree that individuals from Israel had already been placed in by God. Israel was in this tree as individuals in a believing nation, and therefore the olive tree then must be the chosen of God. The Ekklesia* in both the old and New Testament represents God’s chosen, who are supported or given life by the root — He is the word of God, Messiah, who has been manifest in the NT as Jesus. Jesus is building His church (Ekklesia*) allegorically speaking one branch at a time, the natural branches representing believing individuals from Israel, and the unnatural branches believing individuals from the Gentiles. One new man.
Branches that are cut off from this tree are cut off for one reason only (unbelief or lack of faith). Romans 11:20-21 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.
The message here is sobering. It is obvious that individuals would be represented by these branches. But that is not how pre-Trib dispensationalists who attempt to separate the new covenant church from Israel see the branches. To them the natural branches are a group of branches that would represent Israel (the Old Testament Ekklesia*) and the unnatural branches would represent the Gentiles or the entire church as a body. But here is the problem. All of the natural branches were not cut off. The true believing Jews remained in the Olive tree (the *Ekklessia) and were joined by only believing Gentiles, not all Gentiles. And only unbelieving Jews and unbelieving Gentiles remain outside. So, should any within the tree lose faith they are then cut off.
The religious Jews of Jesus day were cut off and cast away from the Olive tree because of unbelief, and then the Gospel which they had rejected was carried to the Gentiles. But only believing Gentiles were and are being added to the Olive tree. Jesus says that before He returns there will be a falling away. Paul helps us understand this in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 when he says : “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it (the day of the Lord) will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,”. A falling away as Jesus put it or an apostasy as Paul put it can only occur from within the Olive tree, and this falling would create a renewed breaking off of branches would it not? Paul tells us that we can be broken off just as the Jews were.
But here is what the pre-Trib position states:
21, For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
Keep in mind, Paul is talking to Gentiles at the moment…
– He cannot be saying that saved Gentiles will be cut off…
– He is saying that unfaithful Gentiles will be cut off, just as God cut off unfaithful Israel.. Gentiles in General have nothing to boast of…(quoted from have-faith.org, Rom.11:6-21 The Nurseryman’s Choice!)
If natural branches (plural) that are not cut off represents a part of Israel that is faithful, and broken off branches represent unfaithful Israel what then do the grafted in unnatural branches represent?
Consider can the unnatural grafted in branches (plural) represent the entire Gentile population of earth? Was the entire Gentile population grafted into the Olive tree? This is what must be the case if Paul is speaking to unfaithful Gentiles who he says may be cut off from the Olive tree. But this is not who Paul is talking to at all. He says: vs 20, “but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you.” Who is Paul talking to? To us — men of faith.
So according to a pre-Trib dispensationalist reckoning– all Gentiles could be cut off from the offer of salvation. That is the warning from Paul — So they say. But they really don’t interpret it this way. They say that the mostly Gentile church will be raptured to make room for the Jews in what is their Olive tree. And then Gentiles instead of being cut off will continue to be offered salvation so that we the church have someone to rule over. Interesting.
Paul gives us further understanding of this time when he says: Romans 11:25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
Notice what Paul did not say here; he did not say until the Gentiles as an entire group fall away, and he did not say here until the completion of the church, nor did he say until the the Rapture of the church. What he said is specific down to the last Gentile who — has or will “come in”, into what? — (into the Olive tree) and further that that event will trigger the salvation of the Jews (who are of the nation Israel). These Jews are immediately before this time yet to be added to this same Olive Tree. Today Israel the nation is outside the Olive tree and unsaved.
But Paul further clarifies what that result will be listen: vs. 26 says: “and thus all Israel will be saved.” So what is the implication of the statement — all Israel. Certainly it cannot include the cut off branches. It would certainly include all Jews who are alive in Israel’s promised land at the time the last Gentile is saved.
But is it not also entirely possible that all Israel is meant to include all who have ever been allowed to remain in the Olive Tree, who have not been cut off? A study of Ephesians chapter 2 –, I believe, must lead us to this understanding.
In Ephesians Paul says that in Him (Messiah – the root) we possess eternal life, and with that position in Him we are now recipients of all that Israel was promised. In fact we are told by Paul that we are one with the saints, and that we are no longer outside looking in on these covenants or promises. We are in the Olive tree with believing Israel.
The reason I wrote this article is so that you can see that there is only one ekklessia of God as can be seen in the Olive tree. Messiah is and always was the root of that tree.
“Ekklessia — The word in the New Testament was also used to refer to any assembly of people. In his address to the Sanhedrin, Stephen calls the people of Israel “the assembly [ekklesia] in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). And in Acts 19:39, ekklesia refers to a convening of citizens to discuss legal matters. However, in most contexts, the word ekklesia is used to refer to the people who comprise the New Testament church.” (This paragraph taken from bibleodyssey.org ).
What this article implies but does not say specifically is that the ekklessia (translated church) was present before in Israel representing a Jewish remnant (Ekklessia means the called out). So before Jesus spoke of building His ekklessia (church) this ekklessia existed. We have been grafted into this already existing body.
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Posted by Jerry Parks, author — And Then The End Shall Come.