About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Chapter 11:11 - 24
Branches (ch. 11:11 Ė 24)
me remind you that all the way through Paulís letter to the Romans he
presents a number of questions that he anticipates people asking.
Then he answers the questing. Paul is being very lawyerly like
that reason many laws schools have used Paul's letter to the Romans to
teach how the use of questions is a good way to make a legal point. Once
again Paul is building his case as if he were in a court room. He
makes a point.
He asks a logical question that one might ask in response to his
then answers the question and goes on to the next point, all in an attempt
to lay out in clear fashion what he wants to say.
here again in verse 11 we have another logical question.
"Did they (the Jews) stumble so far as to fall beyond
Paul answers by saying, "not at all."
Can you see the pattern Paul has been using?
He asks the question.
He gives a short and concise three word answer, and then he
proceeds to explain his answer.
answer to this question is important in the discussion of
hold to the idea that God is not finished with
11 tells us that Israel
indeed has a role to play in Godís plans in prophetic history.
The fact that
the singular noun "transgression" in verse 11.
It was of this transgression that paved the way for the salvation
of the Gentiles. The question
needs to be asked, "What transgression" did Paul have in mind.
Because transgression is a singular noun, I think it must be one
specific transgression, which I believe is the rejection of Jesus.
verse 12 Paul says, "How much greater riches will their fullness
you see what Paul is saying here?
He uses the word "fullness" in relation to the Jewish
restoration to their God.
He will also use the same word in relation to the Gentiles in
is saying that there is going to be a remnant of Jews who come to the Lord
and when the full number comes, their will be even greater riches for the
Jews than there were for the Gentile world.
I believe these riches will be realized when Jesus returns to
and makes His throne in Jerusalem. At
is important to understand, so I will say it again.
God rejected national
think it is important to note that concerning this end time revival (see
Revelation 5 - the great multitude) there is still a distinction between
Jew and Gentile in the mind of God at the end of this age. Yes, in one
sense of the word, we are all children of God.
There is no distinction between Jew and Gentile pertaining to
salvation, but there is a distinction when it comes to prophetic history
and the end of this age.
verse 13 Paul reminds his readers that he is speaking to Gentile believers
in Rome. Remember,
the Roman church is probably more Gentile than Jewish, but that doesn't
mean there were no Jews in the church.
Due to Jewish persecution by the Roman authorities, many Jews were
driven from the city of Rome
during the time of Paul's writing.
specifically states that he is an apostle to the Gentiles, something some
Jews, even some Jewish Christians struggled with.
God had called Paul to preach salvation to all people as we see in
Acts 9 where He gave his life to Jesus. Right from day one, God told Paul
that he would suffer many things as he preached the gospel all the way up
the Roman chain of authority, right up to Caesar Himself.
should note that even though Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, every
fact that Paul is speaking to Gentiles about Israel
is important to those holding to Replacement Theology.
This tells me that Gentile Christians must believe that God has not
with the church.
preaching to the Gentiles is spoken of in verse 14.
He hopes that the Jews, his own people, will be jealous of Gentiles
finding their God.
He hopes this jealousy will bring many Jews back to their God.
Paul has stated this a number of times before.
One thing to note here is that the Gentiles were being won over to
the Jewish God, not a Gentile god.
That is often missed in our modern Christian world.
Christians serve the God of the Jews.
That being said this Israeli God is thee God and Father of our Lord
verse 15 Paul repeats himself again, yet in another way.
He says, "For if their (IsraelĎs) rejection is the
reconciliation of the world, what will their (Israel's) acceptance be, but
life from the dead"?
When Paul uses the word "world" he is not implying that
the whole world will be saved; only those Gentiles with faith will be
been saying that all along.
see the words "life from the dead" to possibly mean the Jews
being resurrected from their unbelief unto faith.
However, I think it might well speak of "resurrection
day" when all saints of Christ will be raised from death to their new
heavenly eternal bodies. I
say this because of all of the Old Testament prophecies stating that
16 may be somewhat hard to understand. Paul
says that if part of the dough is holy, then the whole batch of dough is
says the same about a root of a tree.
If the root is holy, the branches will be holy.
This means that the dough and the root will affect the whole loaf
and all the branches.
In the end, God will have a holy loaf of bread, a holy tree.
I believe the dough and the root spoken of here by Paul is
relates all of this to an olive tree in verses 17 and 18.
The original tree is the family of God, consisting of Israelis,
children of Abraham.
Because of their unbelief some of the Jewish branches were cut off
the tree. This
made room for Gentile believers to be grafted into the Jewish tree.
Paul tells the Gentile Christians not to be too arrogant about this
blessing, because if they lose their faith, they could be cut off from the
tree just as the original branches were cut off from the tree.
Even though some of the Jews were cut out of the tree, they can
still be grafted back into the tree.
This is what Paul says will happen.
This fact alone tells us that God is not finished with the Jews
yet. Replacement Theology is just bad doctrine.
18 states that the Gentile branches don't support the olive tree.
It's the other way around.
The root of the olive tree supports all the branches, which
includes the Gentile braches.
Paul says this to make sure the Gentiles don't go overboard and get
arrogant, which throughout church history has happened.
should also note that Gentile Christians are grafted into this Jewish
did not take the church long to forget about this truth.
Beginning in the second century the notion that Jews were no longer
significant in the mind of God began to take root in Christian teaching.
This can't be because of the nature of the tree.
It's a Jewish tree with Jewish roots.
You cannot divorce the Jewishness of this tree.
some Christian circles today people teach that all Christians, Israeli and
Gentile are saved by faith in Jesus, but once saved, must obey the Law of
Moses to stay saved.
They use this passage about the olive tree being Jewish with Jewish
roots to support their thinking.
They say that Gentiles have joined the Jewish tree.
Jews haven't joined a Gentile tree.
Therefore, Gentiles should take nourishment from the Jewish roots
and follow Jewish tradition as seen in the Law of Moses.
I don't believe this thinking to be Biblical.
You will notice in verse 18 the reason why the Jews were cut off
from the tree and the reason why the Gentiles were grafted into the tree.
It is a matter of faith, or, trusting Jesus with one's life.
The Jews were cut off because of unbelief in Jesus.
The Gentiles were grafted in because of faith in Jesus. Obedience
to the Law of Moses or even circumcision has nothing to do whether one is
a branch or not.
Again, it is all a matter of faith, that is, trusting your life
with Jesus. Paul
goes as far to tell the Gentiles who have been grafted into the Jewish
tree to be afraid.
I think to be afraid means to be afraid.
I don't think we should weaken this statement to mean anything
is a serious matter.
Gentile believers can be cut out of this Jewish tree, as many have
been over the centuries.
interesting to note that Jesus, in John 15:1 calls himself the vine.
Jesus isn't talking about a tree in John 15, but the idea is the
same. He tells the disciples
that He is the vine and they are the branches.
He also says that God the Father is the gardener who if necessary
will cut unbelievers off of the vine.
Jesus was talking to His Jewish disciples in John 15.
It sounds very similar to what Paul is saying here in Romans 7.
verse 21 Paul makes a bold statement.
The Greek verb tense makes it clear.
God will not spare any Gentile branch that rejects Jesus after
being grafted into the tree.
He will be cut off.
To me, this suggests a loss of salvation.
I don't believe in eternal security.
verse 22 Paul asks the Roman Gentile believers to consider both the
kindness and sternness of God.
The words "kindness" and "sternness" don't
exactly fit into our modern new age concept of God.
Yes, He is kind, but He is also stern.
Paul says that God's sternness is seen in the fact that He cut some
Jewish branches out of their own tree.
His kindness is seen in the fact that God has grafted some Gentile
branches into the Jewish tree.
verse 23 we see that if the Jews do not remain in unbelief they can be,
and really, will be, grafted back into their tree.
This is what will happen at the end of this age when Jesus returns
and the remnant of
verse 24 Paul compares the Gentiles to a wild olive tree and the Jews to a
cultivated olive tree.
He says that grafting a wild branch into a cultivated tree goes
against nature, but God can do it.
If this is the case, there is no problem with a cultivated branch
being grafted back in to its own cultivated tree.
this point we should know a bit about wild and cultivated olive trees.
Wild olive trees were almost like a bush.
Cultivated olive trees tended to grow taller.
They would produce much more olives and for that reason they were
of the cultivation process was grafting of branches.
By the time Paul wrote these words, cultivated olive trees were
well into existence.
To put a wild branch into a cultivated tree wasn't easy.
To put a cultivated branch into a cultivated tree was relatively
think Paul is making his point clear here.
God is not finished with the Jews. That was the question he began
chapter 11 with.
The family of God is seen by Paul here as an olive tree, a Jewish
believers are grafted into this Jewish tree while Jewish unbelievers are
cut out of the tree.
That being said, when Jews come back to faith in Jesus, they too
will be grafted into their own Jewish tree again.
As I've been saying all along, this really points out that
Replacement Theology, meaning, the church has replaced Israel
in prophetic history, is bad doctrine.