The Illustration of the Olive Tree (ROMANS 11:16 (The tree: the…
The Illustration of the Olive Tree
The trunk: Jesus, the principal part of Abraham’s offspring.
Jehovah has likewise shown considerable flexibility in working out his eternal purpose.
Was that stated purpose foiled by the rebellion in the garden of Eden?
Jehovah immediately reacted to that new situation by using an alternate “route” to achieve his purpose.
He foretold the appearance of a “seed” who would undo the damage done by the rebels.
Taking into consideration the free will of his intelligent creation, he readily adjusts the way he achieves his purpose.
The tree: the fulfillment of God’s purpose regarding the Abrahamic covenant.
as in the prophecy likening the fall of Pharaoh and his crowd to the cutting down of a lofty cedar,
Trees were used to symbolize individuals, rulers, and kingdoms,
The righteous man is likened to a tree planted by streams of water, whose foliage is luxuriant and whose fruit continues to grow even in drought.
as well as in Daniel’s prophecy regarding the mighty tree representing dominion “in the kingdom of mankind.”
What do the various features of the symbolic olive tree represent?
what does it mean for us?
Jehovah is a God of purpose, and the Bible speaks of his “eternal purpose.”
What does this expression really mean?
As used in the Bible, the word “purpose” refers to a specific goal that can be achieved in more than one way.
He may have different options with regard to the means of transportation and the routes he can take.
As he travels along his chosen route, he may be confronted with unexpected:
and road closures, requiring him to take an alternate route.
Getting to that destination then becomes his goal, or purpose.
Yet, no matter what adjustments he needs to make, he will still have accomplished his goal when he arrives at his destination.
A person may desire to travel to a specific destination.
Before we can understand the illustration of the olive tree, we need to know four facts concerning the development of Jehovah’s purpose with regard to the foretold seed.
Second, the nation of Israel that sprang from Abraham was offered the prospect of producing “a kingdom of priests.”
Third, when the majority of natural Israelites did not accept the Messiah, Jehovah took other steps to produce “a kingdom of priests.”
First, Jehovah promised Abraham that “all nations of the earth [would] certainly bless themselves” by means of his seed, or descendants.
Finally, although Jesus is the primary part of Abraham’s seed, others are given the privilege to become part of that seed.
Building on these four basic facts, we learn in the book of Revelation that a total of 144,000 individuals will rule with Jesus as kings and priests in heaven.
The answer to that question reveals Jehovah’s flexibility in fulfilling his purpose.
But are all of the 144,000 natural Israelites, or Jews?
What would happen when the promised Seed arrived?
As a nation, the first-century Jews rejected Jesus.
The branches: the full number of the secondary part of Abraham’s offspring.
The “grafted in” branches: spirit-anointed Christians out of the nations.
The apostle Paul goes on to compare those who become part of Abraham’s seed to branches on a symbolic olive tree.
The root of the tree is holy and represents Jehovah as the one who gives life to spiritual Israel.
The trunk represents Jesus as the primary part of Abraham’s seed.
The branches collectively represent “the full number” of those included in the secondary part of Abraham’s seed.
This cultivated olive tree represents the fulfillment of God’s purpose with regard to the Abrahamic covenant.
The “broken off” branches: natural Jews who rejected Jesus.
How, though, would Jehovah complete “the full number” of those who were to become Abraham’s seed?
Thus, spirit-anointed Christians of the nations, such as some in the congregation in Rome, were figuratively grafted onto this symbolic olive tree.
Originally, they were like wild olive branches, not having any opportunity to be a part of this special covenant
Paul explains that branches from a wild olive tree were grafted onto the cultivated olive tree to replace those broken off.
As foretold, Abraham’s seed—Jesus Christ along with the 144,000—will bring blessings to “people of the nations.”
In this way, all of God’s people benefit from this arrangement.
What do I learn about Jehovah from the way he fulfilled his purpose regarding Abraham’s offspring?