Part 1 – Fallen Israel as a Broken-Off Branch

This Article is part of a multi-part Study Series called The Olive Tree of Romans 11.

Part 1 – Fallen Israel as a Broken-Off Branch

The vast majority of Bible believing Christians today think “the Olive Tree” of Romans 11 represents Israel and that “the church, the body of Christ” has been grafted into Israel. I will explain why this is not so. Once again, we need to see what exactly Romans 11 says in its full context. We can’t make doctrine from of a mere phrase taken out of context.  “(we) have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.”  (2 Corinthians 4:2).

Romans 11:11-15 here leads us into Paul’s Olive Tree discourse. It’s unmistakable that National Israel is presently “fallen,” and cut-off as a “natural (lineally racial) branch” cut out of the “the Olive Tree.”

11I say then, Have they (National Israel by lineal descent) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their (National Israel’s) FALL salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke (Israel) them to jealousy.

12Now if the FALL of them (Israel) be the riches of the world (mankind as Gentiles), and the diminishing of them (Israel) the riches of the Gentiles

13For I (Paul) speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I (Paul) am THE apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify (express) mine office: 14If by any means I (Paul) may provoke to emulation them (Israel) which are my flesh (racially), and might save some of them.

15 For if the casting away (Gk. apokole, rejection) of them (unbelieving Apostate Israel) be the reconciling (restoration) of the world (Gentiles), what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? (Rom. 11:11-15)

As we read and observe these stated facts of Romans 11 we might ask ourselves these two questions.

  1. If National Israel is “fallen” and “cast away” from God (cf. Romans 11:11-12, 15), and now as a “broken-off” “branch” (cf. Romans 11:17, 18, 20); How could National Israel be the Olive Tree if she is described as a broken-off “branch”?             That would be Ridiculous!
  2. And, since Israel remains “fallen” in God’s eyes today, what benefit would there be for the Gentile “the body of Christ” to be united or grafted into to a blinded(v25 below) andfallen” Israel, with her currently defunct program of ‘covenant and promise’ being today ‘of no effect.’

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.” (Rom. 11:25)

Israel today is “fallen” and set aside, but only “until” or temporarily. In the meantime, this is the Gentile age of “the grace of God” for people of all races who believe (trust in Christ), to be counted righteous and saved and have access to God, as Israel once had and will have again.

In Romans 11:11-12 and 15 (above) we see Paul’s words that tell us the Apostate Nation of Israel has in fact fallen” from its elevated position “above all nations” (Exo. 19:5). Verse 12 tells us, as a result of Israel’s “fall,” believing Gentiles, totally apart from Israel and her program, now have direct access to God.

“(Christ) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2)

We as believing Gentiles today have direct “access to God” because we have been “graffed in” - into Christ as the “Holy Root” the real “Olive Tree of Life.”  Jesus has always been the “root” of believers. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Revelation 22:16)

Note that “olive wood” in the Bible symbolizes access to God. The doors of the God’s Old Testament Temple, built by King Solomon, were made of olive tree wood. Thus, olive tree wood is a metaphor for access or entry into God’s fellowship and spiritual blessing. And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree…” (1 Kings 6:31). So, access into God’s glorious presence then involved passing through ‘olive-wood doors.

God in Christ has paid for our sins at Calvary and He given usaccess” to and fellowship with Him through Christ… without participation in Israel’s discontinued program of law and works plus faith (cf. James 2:26). We have “access” to Father God solely by faith in Jesus Christ’s finished Crosswork.

Thus, Gentiles today may now enjoy many of the “riches” (v12) that had been promised to Israel; i.e., justification, redemption, forgiveness of sins, and the deposit of His Holy Spirit. Yet, “the church the body of Christ” today is NOT Israel and does no replace Israel in God’s eternal plan. Israel will yet be restored!