THE ANALOGY OF THE OLIVE BRANCH
Paul starts a new strand of thought here in verse 13.
He had been addressing his attention mainly to the nation of
Now he is addressing the Gentile as the apostle to the Gentile nation.
He says he magnifies his office. By this he means simply that he is doing that which he is commanded to do by the Lord.
47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
verse 14 Paul says he is speaking to the Gentile, but he also hopes to emulate the Jew (his flesh).
The word “emulate” means “to stimulate along side”.
Although Paul is sent to the Gentile he has a burning desire to see his people saved.
He says if the setting aside of the Jew as the instrument of God’s use, is now the means of reconciling the world to Himself.
Then, what will receiving them be?
If they are set aside during this dispensation then they are as good as dead. They may receive Christ the same as the Gentile and be saved.
Let us look at the analogy that Paul is about to present to us.
I. THE ROOT (vs 16-18)
The root is holy.
Paul is talking about those who by faith first believed in God and in the prophecy of redemption in His Son Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
These are the first fruits and the root upon which the nation of
The root here is the Nation of Israel.
Many great men came before.
We read of Abel, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, the Judges, and David.
All these were leading to the beginning of the nation of
But, it is their faith that sets them apart and makes them the first fruit.
Hebrews chapter 11
It is God who is holy and faith in Him that brings His acceptance.
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
It is upon this faith that God will build His church.
II. THE BROKEN BRANCH (17,19-20)
19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Consequence of this breaking off.
God now works through the church.
2. The age of grace is ushered in.
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Having proven that man cannot live up to the holiness of the law, God now extends His grace to all that will receive it.
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
III. THE GRAFT (vs 17,19-24)
The grafted branch is partaker of the root (17)
All the benefits of those who died for their faith supplied.
We now have the privilege to worship because of those who died for their faith.
All the promises that were given them are given you and me.
We are grafted into the heritage of the Old Testament saints from Abel to John the Baptist and Christ Himself.
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
The grafted branch is warned against boasting. (18)
The grafted branch is placed by faith into its position. (20)
The branch is to behold God’s tolerance. (22)
God’s severity on them that fell.
They veered off course when they thought themselves to be righteous because of their works.
As a result God sits them aside while allowing the church to reach the world with the Gospel.
And all that reject throughout all ages will spend eternity in the lake of fire.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
God’s goodness on the grafted branch.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
The graft will be temporary the natural branch can and will be grafted back.
This is not to say that a saved person can or will ever be lost, but that God will again use
And God will deal severely with the apostate church.
1 Tim 4:1-3
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
2 Peter 2:1
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
A couple of things to point out in verse 25 Paul says he would not have us to be ignorant of this mystery, fearing that we would become wise in our own conceit.
A mystery in the Bible is a truth not revealed in the Old Testament, but declared and at times explained in the New Testament.
This mystery is that of
There are 12 such mysteries in the New Testament:
The mystery of the
The mystery of the rapture (1 Cor 15:51-52; 1 Thes 4:16)
The mystery of the church as the body of Christ (Eph 3, 6:19; Col 4:3; Rom 16:25)
The mystery of the church as the bride of Christ (Eph 5:28-32)
The mystery of the indwelling of Christ (Gal 2:20; Col 1:26-27)
The mystery of the incarnation of Christ (
The mystery of Godliness (1 Tim 3:16)
The mystery of iniquity (2 Thes 2:3-12; Matt 13:33)
The mystery of
The mystery of the seven stars (Rev 1:20)
The mystery of
The mystery of God (Rev 10:7, 11:15-19)
Paul’s fear that we would become wise in our own conceit is verified by Scripture.
29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
12 Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.
11 The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Finally, in the last part of verse 25 the “statement fulness of the Gentiles” is to be distinguished from the “times of the Gentiles”
24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and
The former is spiritual in nature and has to do with the church age or the dispensation of grace.
The latter is political in nature and has to do with that period of time between the Babylonian captivity and the second coming of Christ.