Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.(Romans 11:22-25)
Israel is an ancient Olive tree. Israel was created by a miracle birth, at a time when all of the other trees (Nations) defected from God in the days of the Tower of Babel.
She was carefully cultivated by the hand of the original gardener. For centuries she was fertilized, dunged, pruned and nourished, in order to induce her to produce the finest of fruit and oil. The roots of this tree are Abraham,Isaac and Jacob, and the branches are mostly of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were of course other branches, such as Caleb and Ruth who were grafted in.
The time came when instead of the good fruit of repentance, the gardener only harvested pain, bitterness and rejection from the branches of this tree. Therefore he pruned those branches, and replaced them with the wayward branches of wild Olive trees. In God’s severity, he cut off some of the natural branches(Israel), and grafted wild branches into the stock of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob.
I have a dear Christian friend in England, Rod Boggia, who wrote a book about Olive trees, in the light of botany and scripture.
There are a number of physical attributes of the Olive Tree that have Spiritual parallels. The tree is almost indestructible and can shoot up again when cut down…Olive oil has seven uses;lighting,cooking,anointing,medicinal soaps,lubricants and cosmetics.
Finally the Olive tree has a unique property not shared by other trees;its ability to graft contrary to nature.
In horticulture,cultivated branches are always grafted onto wild,vigorous root stocks (i.e. roses) since grafting the other way around doesn’t work- except for the Olive tree. When wild olive branches are grafted onto a natural tree a remarkable change occurs; instead of a crop of olives small in number and size, the wild olive produces plentiful cultivated olives.
…When a farmer wants to increase his production of olives, but has no more space to plant additional trees, or doesn’t want to wait the many years for a sapling to grow into maturity, he does a remarkable thing.
He cuts off the perfectly healthy branches of a cultivated tree, and lays them on the ground at the base of the tree. Next, branches from a wild tree are grafted into the very places where the natural branches were cut off… Because these branches are from a different sort of tree and a different DNA, and do not recognize the sap as being theirs. Consequently the tree needs to literally force the sap into these wild branches…for three and a half years, this stage of the process continues without alteration and without visible fruit. Once this period of time is over, the farmer drills holes alongside of the grafted in branches, and inserts the cultivated branches that were cut off to make room for the wild ones.
My friend goes on to relate that though those branches had been cut off and had been laying on the ground for three and a half years and were dried out, an amazing thing takes place when the former branches are regrafted;
From a purely agricultural perspective and from the mouth of this unbelieving horticulturist, an amazing thing takes place; the engrafted cultivated branches become ‘jealous’ of the wild branches and begin to miraculously draw the sap- and come to life!(The Fig Tree, The Vine And the Olive Tree,Rod Boggia ,Old Mill Printers)
This is the mystery of the Olive tree, which Paul warned us not to be ignorant of. Israel is the planting of the LORD, her roots are deep, but some of her branches in history apostatized, and were cut off. In mercy God took branches off of wild trees and grafted us into the stock and heritage of Israel. We shouldn’t be proud, we should tremble! At the end God shall redraft into the tree, the branches that had been temporarily laid aside.
For a brief moment, did God turn away from Her, but at the end, when the last gentile is saved,God shall turn again in loving-kindness to his ancient people, and all of Israel will soon be saved.
Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.(Isaiah 54:1-8)