Wild and Natural Olive Trees
NCW 19, May 1995
Q. How do you know that what you call "Gentile Christianity" is not the true Christianity? Didn't Jewish Christianity become extinct?
We know because the apostle Paul tells us that true Christianity is Israelite Christianity and not the gentile versions that have swept the globe.
In his letter to the Romans he warns gentile converts not to become arrogant because the House of Israel has rejected the Gospel. It is perfectly true that the gentiles responded much more favourably to the Good News than the Hebrews did. However, he reminds them:
That root is the Law of Moses, the Covenant of Israel, its scriptures and its history. And ultimately, it is the God of Israel.
"If some of the branches have been broken off and you, a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in and are sharing the rich root of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches, and if you do remember that you are not supporting the root; instead, the root supports you" (Rom.11:17-18, RBV).
It is quite clear from this and other passages that Israel is the natural tree into which the gentiles are grafted. The gentiles and their gentile culture and religion are the "wild olive tree", Israel is the "natural olive tree". The gentiles are to be grafted into Israel, not the other way round.
"You will reply, 'The branches have been broken off so that I may be grafted in.' Well said! Through lack of faith they were broken off and through faith you remain in place. Be not haughty, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. So consider God's kindness and rigor -- on the one hand His rigor applied to those who failed, and on the other hand God's kindness to you, provided you continue in His kindness; else you too will be cut away. Besides they, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again. And if you have been cut off from a naturally wild olive tree and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, then how much more readily will these natural branches be grafted into their own original tree!" (v.19-24, RBV).
The Christian Churches are nearly all gentile today. They are the wild branches metaphorically grafted into the natural Israelite tree. That natural tree is the Old Testament and its culture. And yet the vast majority of them despise the natural tree and, in their arrogance, claim independence from Israelite history and culture. Theirs is essentially a gentile culture admixed, in different degrees, with the Israelite culture. In some cases the Israelite culture is totally absent.
The New Covenant Church of God is built upon the natural tree, the tree of Israel. The majority of its members are the gathered diaspora of the lost ten tribes of Israel. Ours is not a gentile church but an Israelite one.
Hebrew Christianity became extinct because of the hard-heartedness of our ancestors but that heard-heartedness is slowly giving way as Israel's people responds enthusiastically to the Gospel. We are not Messianic Jews either for they are a separate gathering, though a time is coming in which we will have much commonality and eventually union. We are the Messianic Tribes of the North, the Ten Tribes under the leadership of Joseph-Ephraim. We live the Hebrew culture as best we can because this is natural to us and because this is where the Gospel most naturally fits in. We have rejected the gentile system of things and are returning to our roots. And we praise God for it daily!
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Last updated on 2 May 1998
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