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    A Garden in the Mind - Part 4
    The Vine Tree

    Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday 3 August 2002

    Click here for Part 3

    I am sure none of us here really believes in coincidence. Three days ago I received an e-mail from a Christian lady in the United States who wished me to interpret a dream she had had. I am going to share it with you not only because it is of great spiritual beauty but because it contains prophetic symbolism which you will at once recognise. To my knowledge, this woman has not been reading my sermons on this topic. This is the dream which she had:

      "I was walking on a dirt road between two beautiful groves of fruit trees. There were several people with me and we were all dressed in simple robes with draped-type head-dresses or shawls or something. My dress was soft blue and the head-dress was either pale grey or white, some kind of linen cloth. We were all happy and talking to each other as we walked to this green, grassy hill on the left-hand side of this road.

      "There were several men walking with us that all looked the same. They were tall, had sort of long, wavy white hair and white beards, had shepherd's staffs and were all dressed in the same kind of robes as we, but with no head-dresses. Their eyes and faces struck me and I couldn't help looking at them. They were old but didn't "look" old and their eyes were such a piercing blue that they swallowed you in the color alone.

      "In the groves of trees there were people picking something and putting it in baskets and they were happy about their work. The time of day was early in the morning, just before the sun actually came up visibly. There was such a cool, pleasant breeze and I could feel the dirt under my feet even though I was wearing sandals. We made it to this "hillside" and started up .... when we got to the top, the crowd was dispersing all over this hillside and I started to sit down halfway down the other side. Before I sat down, I was looking off in the distance at the city (which the Lord revealed to me later was Jerusalem) to the left of the mountain facing us as we sat on this hillside. It was so familiar and warm and I felt so peaceful and at ease.

      "Just then, one of the men with the blue eyes came to me and took my hand, stood me up and said, "This is not your spot ... your place is at the base of the hill, just as close as you can get"... So, he moved me there and I was a little aggravated because I couldn't see what everybody else was doing behind me as well as I could from my vantage point halfway down the hill! The mountain loomed bigger than life in front of me. The air was so sweet with morning flowers and the birds were singing ..... then, we all started to pray and as I started to raise my hands toward Heaven, the man came back and in the kindest but most stern way he got me by both shoulders and physically turned me toward the city and said "Child, when you pray, ALWAYS, ALWAYS FACE THE EAST" ... I did.

      "The sky was ablaze with the colors of the dawn, pink, blue, gold, lavender, etc. and as I was getting lost in praying, the colors themselves began to emanate the most beautiful music I ever heard. Each color separately had it's OWN MUSIC. To this moment, I get Holy Ghost shivers and tears when I think about it! I don't really know words to describe what I saw and felt and heard ... I began to feel light in body as if I could just lift off the ground, as if gravity had ceased or something.

      "Just at that moment, the sun started to come up from behind the mountain and it was so bright and luminous that it blinded me ... at that point I woke up and as I said, to this moment I stand in complete awe of this dream. Every time I recount it, I get all teary-eyed and have that unearthly sort of "absorbed" feeling. The Lord has revealed SOME of the dream to me since, mostly in puzzle pieces. The groves of trees were olive trees and people were picking fruit from them; not olives but huge, ripe figs and putting them in baskets. The mountain was Zion. No wonder I felt "at home"! I was home!"

    Now I want you to notice that the workers on Mount Zion were picking huge ripe figs from olive trees! In light of what I have revealed about the prophetic symbolism of olives and figs, who can tell me what this part of her dream means? [Pause for answers]

    You will find the answer in John 14:15 - "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (NKJV).

    The olive tree produces love, and the fruit of love is always obedience. Recall also that the road went between two groves of fruit trees, which were olive trees. Does this not remind you of the two olive trees we spoke of last week? Our journey in Christ is bound on either side by love, and the fruit of this love is obedience to the commandments - to the Torah. Those who walk upon Mount Zion, the home of the redeemed, are obedient to Yahweh. This should remind us of a passage I cited earlier on in this series wherein Christ said:

      "Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city" (Rev 22:14, NKJV).

    The fruit of love is obedience, and the reward of obedience is the right to partake of the Tree of Life!

    The Vine Tree

    Today we move on to the vine-tree. As we have already discovered, the vine is a symbol of the Messianic Community or Church, but that is not all it is a symbol of. There are at least four of them. First, it is a symbol of the Lord Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself; Second, of the Church or Community that receives Him as her life; Third, of each member of that Church or Assembly; and Fourth, of the principle of truth implanted in the minds of Yahweh's children.

    Now the last three are really just types of the first one. The Body of Christ - the Church or Messianic Community - lives, and each of its members lives, because Christ is in them, and He is the truth implanted, as it were, in our souls. Yah'shua (Jesus) is the "true vine" and Yahweh is the Vine-Dresser or Husbandman (John 15:1). The 80th Psalm tells us: "You have brought a vine out of Egypt; You have cast out the nations, and planted it" (NKJV). The history of the Vine is the history of the Israelite Nation which was delivered out of Egyptian bondage and planted in Canaan. Since the Messianic Community or Church is Israel, and vice versa, the vine is herein seen to be the Church.

    In Hosea we read: "Israel empties his vine" (Hos.10:1, NKJV) again showing us the same symbolism. Is not, by the same token, every Church member "an empty vine" (KJV) if he does not bring forth fruit, or, as the prophet says, if "he brings forth fruit for himself" (ibid.). If we serve ourselves, we are empty and spiritually profitless. And Hosea goes on to say that this was the cause of the downfall of the Jewish people. In the Song of Moses we read:

      "For their rock is not like our Rock,
      Even our enemies themselves being judges.
      For their vine is of the vine of Sodom
      And of the fields of Gomorrah;
      Their grapes are grapes of gall,
      Their clusters are bitter.
      Their wine is the poison of serpents,
      And the cruel venom of cobras"
      (Deut.32:31-33, NKJV)

    Here we see the vine being used as an emblem of the principle of faith rooted in people's minds. What, then, is the "vine of Sodom" which produces the "grapes of gall"? It is a false principle in the soul, which produces evil deeds. Fruits, as we have already learned, are symbols of our actions. People's actions or behaviour differ according to the different principles implanted within them.

    Just as olives are the symbols of actions that spring from love and which are full of the oil of love, so grapes are the symbols of the actions that spring from faith and which are full of the wine of faith. And if it is right faith, then it is faith in the truth. For when we receive the truth, we acquire faith. See how the prophet Isaiah puts it:

      "Now let me sing to my Well-beloved, a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: my Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill" (Isa.5:1, NKJV).

    He afterwards says:

      "So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes" (v.2).

    The vineyard is clearly the nation of Israel, the assembly of Yahweh's people, and the choice vine planted in it is the principle of truth which was given to them through the Torah or Law. As for the wild grapes, these were of course their evil deeds because they refused to be cultivated in the truth. They are similar to the "grapes of gall" produced by the vine of Sodom. And the vine of Sodom means falsehood, which necessarily produces the bitter fruits of an evil life. But the choicest vine that produces wild grapes is heavenly truth abused and perverted by those to whom it is revealed, and so resulting in deeds of wickedness.

    The vine is the emblem of Yah'shua (Jesus), or the truth planted within our souls. And clusters of grapes are emblems of those charitable deeds which cheer and delight the human race. Is it any accident, do you think, that the Song of Songs likens breasts to "clusters of the vine" (SS 7:8)?

    And so we come to the vine, a symbol used plentifully in scripture. As all things connected to the olive-tree have relation to love or goodness, so all the things connected to the vine have relation to truth or faith. Are these not the two grand principles of the Church or Messianic Community? Just as oil is the emblem of the delight and blessedness of love, so wine is the emblem of the delight and blessedness of truth.

    Now we are in a position to understand a mystery in the Book of Revelation wherein a voice in the midst of the four creatures says: "do not harm the oil and the wine" (Rev.6:6, NKJV). What does it mean? Quite simply, that Yahweh takes care that holy love and truth shall forever remain uninjured by men. Love and truth will always be present even in the midst of great darkness. What, then, does the prophet Isaiah mean when he says:

      "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isa.55:1, NKJV)?

    Here we have three different substances for drinking - water, milk and wine - and they each symbolise the truth of different orders. Water is a symbol of cleansing and refreshing, and in this instance, the cleansing and refreshing of the mind. Wine symbolises the truth that cheers and exhilarates; and milk the truth that nourishes and satisfies. To buy wine, then, is to acquire of Yah'shua (Jesus) the cheering and exhilarating truth of His Word. His Word is spiritual wine. And so when we approach the Bible with a desire to receive its teaching, we are imbibing deep draughts of the wine of Yahweh's Kingdom. For it is written:

      "I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom" (Matt.26:29, NKJV).

    The fruit of the vine, which Yah'shua (Jesus) drinks in heaven with His disciples, is heavenly truth or wisdom, for of this all the faithful will participate with Him in the resurrection. This is one aspect of the symbolism of the wine which Christ gave to His disciples at the Last Supper, and which He called His Blood - the blood of the New Covenant. For the blood of the New Covenant (Mt.26:28; Mk.14:24; Lk.22:20; 1 Cor.11:25) is the truth of the New Covenant, and wine is the symbol of that truth.

    Which brings us to the New Testament concept of "new wine" which we are told should be put into new wineskins and not old ones, in order that both might be preserved. The wine is, of course, emblematical of the truth, and the wineskins of those things which contain the truth. The old wineskin is Old Covenant Torah (Law) with its Levitical Priesthood, and the new wineskin is New Covenant Torah (Law) with its Melchizedek Priesthood. The New Covenant is a completely new order. One of the errors of some forms of Messianic Judaism is the attempt to place the new wine in old wineskins, and the error of some forms of Protestantism is the attempt to do away with the wineskin altogether. The new wineskin consists of the Torah brought to completion and perfection by the news laws and precepts of Christ, with the removal of the ceremonial law and its defunct mediatory priesthood.

    This is what Yah'shua further meant when He said: "And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, 'The old is better'" (Luke 5:39, NKJV). The Jews continue to say this to the present day. So do the Christian sects who refuse to come to the fullness of the truth. They adhere to their old views and teachings, and prefer them to those of the Gospel. And in doing so they exemplify the truth of Yah'shua's (Jesus') statement, for they say: "The old wine is better than the new" (KJV).

    How many times have you heard people, who still cling to their old views and opinions - however erroneous - refuse to hear or embrace new views and opinions however true, and say: "The old is better"? And yet we do have a choice - it is not as though we are incapable of changing our views.

    I confess that it does bother me that we have a seeming inbuilt tendency to reject new wine. We prefer the things we are most comfortable with, that we have embraced or adhered to for a very long time. That is not, of course, to say that all "old" things are bad. Sometimes the old is better. We are remain on the "old paths, where the good way is" (Jer.6:16) but this is an entirely different symbol. The truth does not stand still. New aspects of it constantly present themselves to us. The revelation of Yahweh is never at an end but is continually unfolding. Yet people would rather box whatever truth they have and refuse to search further. And from this such mentalities as "I have all the truth and don't need any more" are often to be found. How many churches do you know claim to be the "one and only truth" or to be the exclusive repositories of truth? No man or collection of men or organisation can ever contain the whole truth any more than the Temple of Solomon could contain Yahweh!

    We end today with a beautiful prophetic passage from Joel to underscore the truth that new truth is always to come forth to those who will embrace it:

      "And it will come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drip with new wine, the hills shall flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water; A fountain shall flow from the house Yahweh and water the Valley of Acacias" (Joel 3:18, NKJV).

    The three familiar symbols - wine, milk, and water - again reappear, don't they? Look at the verbs employed - "drip", "flow" and "flood". This is a most important prophecy of the last days, for it is telling us that out of Yahweh's temple an abundance of truth in the form of revelation will flood the valley - the valley the lady in the opening dream was told to descend into and to not remain on the hill. To descend into a valley symbolises humility, the only spiritual position in which we can receive new truth. Such revelation is now plentiful among Yahweh's people - they who reap the figs of Torah-obedience from the olive tree of agapé love, who choose to face east where lies the city of Jerusalem - the place of peace, to which the Messiah will return and Whom it symbolises.

    Next week we shall look at the fig-tree, its fruit and its leaves. May our Father Yahweh bless you as you prepare to embrace them. Amen.

    Click here for Part 5

    This page was created on 1 August 2002
    Last updated on 1 August 2002

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