The Olive Tree (Romans #17)

The Olive Tree

Text: Romans 11:15-27

Exodus 27:20 The illustration of God’s light coming from the fruit of the olive tree is an illustration. Its practical value was that it provided light in the sanctuary. But the LORD was specific in these ingredients because he is telling a story about his own people. The point of this story will be that God’s people are those who receive the words of God and therefore bear fruit and produce light in the world.

Psalm 52:8 David sang about the truth that those who trust in God are like this olive tree of life. He said, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.

Solomon would say in Proverbs (11:30) that the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life…

Hosea 14:1-9 The prophets would pick up the theme of the olive tree and continue to apply it to faithful people. Hosea told the northern tribes to turn to the LORD in verse 2. The people cannot be idolaters and God’s people at the same time. Verses 1 and 9 explain that iniquity has separated many in Israel from their God, their Father. So Hosea explains the ones who will be like God’s olive tree producing fruit and light to the nations are those who have come to trust in the wings of the Almighty. They are the ones who hide themselves under his shadow in verses 6-7. And these are the ones whose iniquity is cleared and are gathered under one head who is Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 11:10-12 Isaiah explains the Root is the Messiah. And the gathering of all people is to this person who we know now as Jesus Christ. You begin to see the grafting in other nations. And the gathering of the nation under one head is not to land, but to a person. The highway that’s made to God’s house is explained by Jesus Christ; I am the way! Isaiah clearly makes Jesus Christ the center point of God’s work. Before we leave Isaiah look at chapter 53.

Jeremiah 11:14-17 Jeremiah is very clear in dealing with the negative aspects of this illustration. If branches will not produce fruit, they will be cut off. You’ll hear a lot of Paul in Jeremiah. Jesus uses this illustration as well.

Matthew 21:33-46 (vs 43) Jesus condemns the unfruitful branches.

John 8:39-47 Jesus condemns these unfruitful branches. So these are Israelites, but they’re not children of God.

John 15:1-8 Jesus continues to use this illustration to explain God’s work and purpose with his people.

Romans 11:15-27 Paul explains the mystery is that God’s true people have always been connected to God through His words and their faith in his words.

Romans 15:11-12 Paul brings back Isaiah’s prophecy as the explanation of this unity in Christ and the purpose of God to harvest fruit.

Galatians 3:26-29 Paul explains the grafting in unity in Christ.

Galatians 5:22-25 Paul explains the fruit of the Spirit that God produces in his people as the light of the world. And all of this is after image of Jesus Christ who carries the spiritual DNA that determines what God’s people will be.

Hebrews 6:1-8 The author issues the same warning Jesus and Paul issued except this is aimed at the Jewish community.

James 1:21-27 James is bold and direct in making a distinction between those who are familiar with God’s words versus those who practice God’s words, particularly among the Hebrew people.

Revelation 2:9 John would warn some early churches that these Pharisee types are still imposing themselves into Christianity and claiming to be connected to God when they are not related to God. Jeremiah said it. Hosea said it. Jesus said it. And Paul is going to explain this mystery of why some Israelites are children of the devil, but others are children of God. But not all are children of God as they keep saying they are.