…the grafting of the "wild olive shoot" into the old stump enables the new shoot to now share in "the nourishing root of the olive tree"
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, 'Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.' That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if YHVH did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of YHVH: severity toward those who have fallen, but YHVH's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for YHVH has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree."
What does it mean to be "grafted into" something? The Greek word translated into the English "grafted" is egkentrizo (click on highlighted words to view content) and means "to cut into for the sake of inserting a scion (a young shoot or twig of a plant)" and clearly, indicated by the same usage given to it in Sha'ul's (the apostle Paul) letter above, does not mean a "replacing" or "negating" of the original as the religion Christianity asserts. Context is everything when trying to divide the Truth contained in scripture properly. Sha'ul says in the opening verses of this same chapter that the Father, YHVH, has not rejected His Family, Israel. In fact, he says a bit further in this same letter that the very reason the Messiah became a servant to the circumcised was "…to show YHVH's truthfulness in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs and in order that the Gentiles might glorify YHVH for his mercy" (Romans 15:8-12, quoting from 2Samuel 22:50 and Psalm 18:49 to support his conclusion). Contrarily, Christianity teaches that "all Jews rejected Jesus by crucifying Him" and, as a result, a "new" covenant was born on the day of Pentecost whereby Christianity is now the recipient of all the covenantal blessings and promises of God. Known as Replacement Theology, it has become the "mainstream" view of most Christian theologians today. However, both of these ideas are not consistent with scripture - as we shall see.
To say that "all Jews rejected the Messiah" (the underlying theme of Replacement Theology) is to ignore the masses of Jews that followed Him everywhere during His Life. To underscore their statement, most point to the episode in Pilate's courtyard to where those in attendance clamored for Barnabas' freedom thus sentencing Yeshua to death. But, "all the Jews" who rejected Him that day were, in fact, very few in numbers and did not comprise the whole of Israel. At the Gabbatha that day (since renamed the Lithostrotos, in Greek meaning "stone pavement" so called because of the carvings on the huge stones which made up the flooring) were the chief priests and elders of the Pharisees as Luke 23:13-18 and Luke 24:20 support. While there may have been some, generally speaking, it was not the common "men of the street" crowded into that plaza but those in league with those who had turned Yeshua over to Pilate to begin with (John 18:28-32). It was only a select few of the Jews comprising the ruling council of chief priests and Pharisees who felt threatened by Yeshua's presence with an agenda of seeing Him gone that were gathered to make sure He was crucified.
Most Christians have been taught that Christianity (the Church) was founded at Pentecost and will point to Acts 2 as the scriptural validation of this belief. What is interesting about that statement is that is not what those words of scripture say. Words mean things. So, if we can set aside all the theological rhetoric surrounding this subject for a brief moment and just look at the words on the page for what they say and mean - we find quite a different picture presented than what is commonly accepted.
|"And they were all filled with ruach hakodesh (Hebrew for the spirit of holiness) and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own dialect ." Acts 2:4-6|
Understanding that the reason there were Jews from every nation there that day is key to understanding what these words mean. This was the Hebrew Feast of Shavu'ot (replaced by the English word Pentecost) that Jews to this day travel great lengths to Jerusalem to attend. To know that simple fact puts a whole different light of perspective upon these words. It was here that 3000 Jews were added to that very day (verse 41). Each Hebrew community in each of those nations had a different dialect of Hebrew they spoke from the influence of the language of the nation they were in (click to see Acts 2:6 in the Original Greek Interlinear Version to verify it was Hebrew dialects - not different languages). According to the words written, even in the English translation - with the exception of a few proselytes to the Hebrew faith mentioned in verse 11, there is nothing mentioned about any Gentiles being in attendance that day. For us to arbitrarily place Gentiles into that context becomes eisegesis (reading into the text) rather than exegesis (reading out of the text). History tells us there were no "Christians" around for at least another 250 to 300 years. Peter's sermon on Yom Shavu'ot (day of Pentecost) was entirely Jewish, copiously quoting from the prophets and David, which would have meant little to any Gentiles in earshot (had there been any). To understand who the 5000 added to those of the Way mentioned in Acts 4:4 were, you need to begin in Acts 3 to see that Peter and John were addressing Jews assembled in Solomon's porch. It was 5000 Jews who were added to the Way that day - again, no mention of Gentiles being present.
When a person becomes a citizen of any kingdom in the world, there is no question about whether that citizenship includes a behavioral observance of the laws governing that kingdom. Why would anyone think that citizenship in YHVH's Kingdom is any different? Scripture tells us that Gentiles are grafted INTO the Hebrew Kingdom of YHVH of which Yeshua is presently the King of - not the other way around. Yeshua even proclaimed it to be His Father's Kingdom. If Christians say that they are citizens of YHVH's Kingdom, then what gives them the audacity to pick and choose which of His instructions and definitions apply to them? Could it be they are following the tradition of men instead of the Words of the Son? "But, what about all the millions who have followed Christianity for the past 1700 years - were they all deceived?" is often a common retort given by those who want to justify their position in defiance of the Words of YHVH. Just because a belief becomes popular does not make it Truth. Many millions of the Islamic religion over centuries have died believing Allah is a supreme god - are they also exempt from the Truth of scripture simply because they believe wholeheartedly in a popular cultural phenomena?
So, just where does Christianity come up with the idea it has a claim on the promises given to the patriarchs of Israel apart from that Family? For that answer, we have to research some history. In its earliest years, haderek nozerim (Hebrew for the Way of the Nazarene) composed a somewhat tolerated subset within larger Israel. After the national tragedy of the destruction of the Temple in 70CE, however, evidence of formal Jewish persecution of the followers of the Way by the religious rabbinical leaders can be detected. This included the addition of the (infamous) Birkat HaMinim, a "blessing" (composed by the Sanhedrin at Yavneh) that was added to the weekday Amidah which invoked a curse on followers of the Way of the Nozerim (as well as the Essenes). Jews unwilling to recite the Birkat HaMinim were suspected of heresy and subject to cherem (excommunication). This rift between the followers of Yeshua and Rabbinic Judaism was intensified during the bloodiest of the Jewish-Roman wars, the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-135 AD). The Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva convinced the Sanhedrin at Yavneh to support the revolt and actually regarded its leader (Simon Bar Kokhba) to be the Jewish Messiah. Since the Jewish followers of Yeshua could not support such a claim (and therefore could not support the war), the divide between Rabbinical Judaism and the early followers of the Way became sealed - each becoming cloistered in their respective communities.
Concurrent with the rejection of the Way of the Nazarene by the rabbinic leaders of ethnic Israel and, with more and more Gentiles coming to faith over the next several hundreds of years, the Jewish roots of Yeshua began to be forgotten. This "forgetfulness" was solidified by the aggressive promotion among various Gentile Christian teachers of the first few centuries who, influenced by Greek philosophy, advocated severing themselves from the historic Jewish root. The Gentile "Church" then came into prominence as a distinct entity from Israel, with its own mission and purpose - thus "replacing" the Hebrew root with a new religion. Sampling the teaching of many of the early Gentile Christian leaders, considered the "fathers" of modern Roman Catholicism reveals the "Gentilization" of what became known as the Greek ekklesia:
• Marcion of Sinope (110-160 AD) was a Hellenist steeped in the ideas of Plato and Gnosticism and wanted to separate Christianity from any connection with Judaism and the law.
• Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), an early Christian apologist, wrote his "Dialogue with Trypho the Jew" in which he claimed that God's covenant with Israel was no longer valid, and that the Gentiles had replaced them.
• Tertullian (160-220 AD) was another Gentile Christian apologist who blamed the Jews for the death of Jesus.
• Origen (263-339 AD) founded a school in Alexandria Egypt that taught the allegorical interpretation of Scripture. Origen was heavily influenced by neo-Platonic Gnosticism. He was also an anti-semite who accused the Jews of plotting to kill Christians.
• Eusebius (263-339 AD) wrote an influential history of the church that blamed the calamities which befell the Jewish nation on the Jews' role in the death of Jesus.
• John Chrysostom (344-407 AD) denounced Jews in a series of sermons to Christians who were taking part in Jewish festivals and other Jewish observances.
• Jerome (347-420 AD) produced the Latin translation of the Bible which became the official bible of the "Catholic Church" which had now become the sole patriarch of Christianity. He said, "Jews are incapable of understanding Scripture and should be severely punished until they confess the true faith."
• Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) spiritualized the kingdom of God and introduced amillennialism thinking into the Gentile Church. Augustine maintained that the Jews deserved death but were destined to wander the earth to witness the victory of "Church" over synagogue.
As you can see, these "fathers of Christianity" had a deliberate agenda of separation from anything Hebraic whose philosophies eventually became the foundation of that religion - something Yeshua absolutely denied Besides these Gentile "Church" leaders who rejected the Hebraic root of faith, various Church Councils of the third and fourth centuries likewise rejected Jewish influence within the Church, completely abandoning the Jewishness of the Way of Yeshua. These include the Council of Elvira (306 AD), the Council of Nicaea (325 AD), the Council of Antioch (341 AD), the Council of Laodicea (434 AD), and so on. These councils went so far as to forbid Jewish and Christian intermarriage, the observance of Passover and worship on the Sabbath day. The Reformers tried to return the Gentile Church to its early roots, but sadly this did not involve a return to the Hebrew roots of the original followers of The Way. For example, Martin Luther (1483-1586) became frustrated by Jewish unwillingness to embrace his own interpretation of Christianity and became one of the bitterest anti-Semites in history. His writings described Jews as "worse than devils." Jews were "poisoners," "ritual murderers," and "parasites," who should be expelled from Germany. His even went so far as to rouse the mob to "burn synagogues to the ground," and seize Jewish holy books. Later on, Adolf Hitler would tell Germany that his Final Solution was just an attempt to finish the work that Luther had begun.
You might say, "Well I don't believe what these guys say. I don't even know who they are"; but, if you believe there are two parts of the Book, a "new" covenant or testament and an "old" one, then you are operating under the influence of these men and their teaching because that concept did not exist prior to their injection of it into the Christian religion. It can not be found in the words of Yeshua or in any of the epistles. The subject of Christian anti-Semitism is vast and should be soberly studied by all serious seekers of Truth. In order for these "Christian" ideas of Replacement Theology to coincide with scripture so as to be accepted by their followers, a redefining of the words and terms contained in scripture becomes necessary - even to the extent of renaming their new replacement god to "Jesus" and the downplay of YHVH to a "God of mankind" instead of Who He is consistently called in scripture from Genesis to Revelation - the Holy One of Israel.
Part One: Scriptural Salvation
Part Two: Grafted In
Part Three: the Book Of Life
|"If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules, if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes, but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips. Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David. His offspring shall endure forever, his throne as long as the sun before me. Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies." Selah. Psalm 89:30-37|
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