Summary: We were once all Wild Olive Trees in God's Eyes. First he created the Good Olive Tree in Israel through the promises of Abraham. Then God sent His Son, Jesus, so that we Gentiles, who were still Wild Olive Trees, could be grafted into the Good Tree
Wild Olive Trees
Sunday, February 16, 2014
By Rev. James May
Romans 11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
Romans 11:18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
Romans 11:19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
Romans 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
Romans 11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Romans 11:22 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.
Romans 11:23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
There is a mountain called the Mount of Olives, just a short distance from Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives was a place where Jesus often went to pray and to teach his disciples. It is fitting to note that the Mount of Olives was also a place where the olives were harvested and crushed to make the oil that was useful in making anointing oil and oil for the lamps of the Temple. Perhaps Jesus went there for some of the same reasons. Perhaps it was a place where, as a man, he often went to be crushed and prepared for the work he came to earth to accomplish.
Olive trees grow all over the land of Israel and are spoken of all throughout the Bible. They are one of the greatest sources export to neighboring countries under the reign of many of the kings of Israel in the Old Testament. Even today, its fruit is in high demand in Israel and around the world.
Concerning their symbolism in the spiritual context, there are many things that we can identify with in these olive trees, and the Lord has many things to teach us concerning these olives. I won’t have the time to go into tremendous detail, for there is more to learn than I can possibly give to you in one message. But I think we can learn a lot in the time we have.
The name of the Olive Tree means “tree of oil”; and comes from a primitive root phrase that means, “to shine”. When you look at the olive tree it doesn’t appear to be such a beautiful thing to see. At times it seems so ordinary in appearance and size and normally, it only grows to a height of about 16-20 feet. Some say that it’s not a pretty tree, and it can be very messy when the fruit that it bears litters the ground at its feet.
The tree has thick leaves, and as it ages, it often grows taller but becomes twisted badly, with knots and turns in its limbs that happen through the adversity that it has to grow under. A fully matured olive tree often has a very strange form. Many of the trees in the region around Israel have been around for over 1,000 years, and were possibly growing and producing fruit in the time of Christ, and are still producing olives today. Many of the trees have root systems that have been proven to be well over 2000 years old.
It’s hard to completely kill an olive tree. There have been many instances where the tree was cut down, and even burned, but its roots keep on growing and from the root a new tree came up in place of the old one. This fact will be important in our message for today.
The olive tree was one of the most valuable trees in ancient Israel. The first mention of it is after the great flood when the dove returned to Noah’s ark with an olive branch in its beak, letting Noah know that it was safe to leave the ark. Whatever else was destroyed in the great flood, the olive tree managed not only survive, but to be thriving and growing after the waters receded from the earth. Since the time of the Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar, the olive branch has often been used as a symbol of peace throughout the world.
Even today, if you were to take out a dollar bill and look at the front image on the Great Seal of the United States of America, you would see that there is an eagle that carries in its right talon an olive branch with 13 leaves and 13 olives. It’s hard to see the olives sometimes, but they are there. What these symbols say to the world is that America is a nation, created by 13 colonies, and that each of those colonies, which became states all have a desire for peace, and to see the fruits of peace among one another and the other nations of the world. America’s greatest hope is that the world would be at peace.