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Israel's Election by God
Israel's Rejection of God
God's Ways Higher
God Not Rejecting Israel
piece of dough
Amplified: Now if the first handful of dough offered as the
firstfruits [Abraham and the patriarchs] is consecrated (holy), so is
the whole mass [the nation of Israel]; and if the root [Abraham] is
consecrated (holy), so are the branches.
ESV: If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the
whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
ICB: If the first piece of bread is offered to God, then the
whole loaf is made holy. If the roots of a tree are holy, then the
tree's branches are holy too.
NIV: If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy,
then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the
NKJV: For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and
if the root is holy, so are the branches.
NLT: And since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy,
their children will also be holy. For if the roots of the tree are
holy, the branches will be, too.
Phillips: If the flour is consecrated to God so is the whole
loaf, and if the roots of a tree are dedicated to God every branch
will belong to him also.
Wuest: Now, in view of the fact that the firstfruit is holy,
also the lump, and since the root is holy, also the branches.
Young's Literal: and if the first-fruit is holy, the lump also;
and if the root is holy, the branches also.
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Summary on the Attributes of God
Spurgeon on the Attributes of God
Israel of God - Is God "Finished"
with Israel in His prophetic plan?
Off Site - Table
Comparing/contrasting Israel & Church
Off Site - Does the Church Fulfill
Israel's Program? - John Walvoord
The Jewish People, Jesus Christ and World History
- S Lewis Johnson
Are you confused about God's plan for Israel?
Then I highly recommend Tony
12 Hour Course on Romans 9-11
in which he addresses in depth the question of What
Will Happen to Israel?
or see the individual lectures below)
Romans 9:1-5 Paul's Sorrow Concerning Israel
Children of the Promise
The Potter and the Clay
A Remnant Will be Saved
The Righteousness of God
Has Israel Not Heard?
God Has Not Cast Away The Jews
Life from the Dead
Two Olive Trees
The Salvation of Israel
Note that when you click the
preceding links, each link will in turn give you several choices
including an Mp3 message and brief transcript notes. The Mp3's
are long (avg 70+ min) but are in depth and thoroughly Scriptural with
many quotations from the Old Testament, which is often much less well
understood than the NT by many in the church today. Garland takes a
literal approach to Scripture, and his love for the Jews and passion to
see them saved comes through very clearly in these 12 hours of teaching!
Take your home Bible Study group through this series if you dare. Take
notes on the tapes as the transcripts are a very abbreviated version of
the audio messages. This course is highly recommended for all who love
Israel! I think you will agree that Tony Garland, despite coming to
faith after age 30 as an engineer, clearly has been given a special
anointing by God to promulgate the truth concerning Israel and God's
glorious future plan for the Jews. Garland has also produced more than
20 hours of superb audio teaching in his verse by verse commentary on
depth transcripts also available) which will unravel (in a way you did
not think was possible considering the plethora of divergent
interpretations) God's final message of the triumph and return of the
our Lord Jesus Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords! Maranatha!
AND IF THE FIRST PIECE OF DOUGH BE HOLY
THE LUMP IS ALSO: ei de e
aparche hagia kai to phurama: (Exodus 22:29; 23:16,19; Leviticus
23:10; Deuteronomy 18:4; 26:10; Nehemiah 10:35-37; Proverbs 3:9; Ezekiel
44:30; James 1:18; Revelation 14:4):
The Amplified Version helps
understand Paul's meaning translating this as...
Now if the first handful of dough
offered as the firstfruits [Abraham and the patriarchs] is consecrated
(holy), so is the whole mass [the nation of Israel]; and if the root
[Abraham] is consecrated (holy), so are the branches.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary
Paul was convinced that Israel’s
stumbling is temporary rather than permanent and that the nation will be
restored as God’s people. With two illustrations Paul showed why he
believed this. His first illustration was taken from God’s instructions
to Israel to take “a cake from the first of [their] ground meal and
present it as an offering” (Nu 15:20) after they entered the land of
Canaan and reaped their first wheat harvest. This offering was to be
repeated each year at their harvests. The cake made from the first
ground meal of the wheat harvest was sanctified or made holy by being
offered to God...Paul’s second illustration was that of a tree: If the
root is holy, so are the branches. In both illustrations the
principle is the same: what is considered first contributes its
character to what is related to it. With a tree, the root obviously
comes first and contributes the nature of that type of tree to the
branches that come later. With the cake presented to the Lord, the flour
for the cake is taken from the ground meal, but that cake is formed and
baked first and presented as a firstfruit. Since it is set apart to the
Lord first, it sanctifies the whole harvest. The firstfruits and
the root represent the patriarchs of Israel or Abraham
personally, and the lump and the branches represent the
people of Israel. As a result Israel is set apart (holy) to God, and her
“stumbling” (rejection of Christ) must therefore be temporary.
(Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible
knowledge commentary: An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL:
First piece (536)
(aparche from apó = away from + árchomai = to
begin) is the first fruit, which in Biblical terms describes an offering
of any kind, animal as well as grain. It represents the first portion of
offering set aside specifically for Lord. The first portion of the
harvest was regarded both as a first installment and as a pledge of the
final delivery of the whole. Here the first fruit and the lump
speak of dough, not of fruit or grain.
set apart (that's what "sanctify" means) from profane common use by God and for God.
Hagios is translated "saint" which describes every believer's position
in Christ - we are set apart from that which is secular, profane, and
evil on one hand and on the other hand dedicated to worship and service
of God. "Saints" are not some special, elite group of men and women!
Your name in fact is "St. ______."
Paul is alluding to the
practice of setting apart a portion of the dough in Numbers 15 where we read...
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
18 "Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, 'When you enter the
land where I bring you, 19 then it shall be, that when you eat of the
food of the land, you shall lift up an offering to the LORD. 20 'Of the
first of your dough you shall lift up a cake as an
offering; as the offering of the threshing floor, so you shall lift it
up. 21 'From the first of your dough you shall give to the LORD
an offering throughout your generations. (Numbers 15:17-21)
William MacDonald explains
The argument is that if the piece
of dough is set apart to the Lord, so is all the dough
that might be made from it (MacDonald, W., and Farstad, A. Believer's
Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
J Vernon McGee writes
“Dough,” of course, is bread
dough! A part of the dough was offered to God as a token that all
of it was acceptable. The “firstfruit” evidently refers to the
origin of the nation: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “Holy” has no
reference to any moral quality, but to the fact that it was set apart
for God. Now if the first fruit, or the first dough—that little
bit of dough—was set apart for God, what about the whole harvest? Since
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were set apart for God, what about the nation?
It all belongs to God, you see. God is not through with the nation
Israel. (McGee, J. V. Thru the Bible commentary. Based on the Thru
the Bible radio program. Vol. 4, Page 724. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Warren Wiersbe adds that...
The reference is to
The first part of the dough was to be offered up to God as
a symbol that the entire lump belonged to Him. The same idea was
involved in the Feast of Firstfruits, when the priest offered a sheaf to
the Lord as a token that the entire harvest was His (Lev 23:9-14). The basic idea is that when God accepts the
part He sanctifies the whole. Applying this to the history of Israel, we
understand Paul’s argument. God accepted the founder of the nation,
Abraham, and in so doing set apart his descendants as well. God also
accepted the other patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob, in spite of their sins
or failings. This means that God must accept the “rest of the lump”—the
nation of Israel.
AND IF THE ROOT BE HOLY, THE BRANCHES ARE TOO: kai ei e rhiza hagia, kai
oi kladoi: (Ro 1:17; Genesis 17:7; Jeremiah 2:21; 1Corinthians
Root = The patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
Branches = The patriarchs’
descendants: the nation of Israel.
If the foundational part of a plant (the
root) is holy, then
that which it produces (the branches) must likewise (too) be holy.
order to be faithful to His own Word, the Lord must provide a future
salvation for Israel. Israel has not yet completely fulfilled God’s
covenant promise to Abraham or His countless reiterations of that
promise to redeem and restore Abraham’s descendants. If the root,
Abraham and the other patriarchs, is holy, then the branches, their
descendants, are holy too. They were divinely called and set apart
before the foundation of the world and God’s work with those branches
will not be complete until they bear the spiritual fruit He intends to
produce in and through them, until the end of the age when Israel actually
becomes the holy people they were destined to be.
God did not judge Israel and offer the gospel to Gentiles because Jews
are inherently more unrighteous and unworthy or because Gentiles are
inherently more righteous and worthy (Ro 2:14-15). That is the reverse of
the view Jews had long had of Gentiles. It did not take long for early
Gentile Christians to be tempted to scorn the Jews because they had
scorned Christ. That notion poured fuel on the fire of anti-Semitism that
had existed in many Gentile nations and cultures for countless
centuries. And because many Gentile believers in the early church had
been raised in the midst of pagan anti-Semitism, it was not difficult for
Satan to tempt them to continued prejudice against Jews because of
Israel’s rejection and crucifixion of her own Messiah and Savior.
Some modern “Christian” cults are based on the notion of British
Israelism. They hold the totally unscriptural and unhistorical notion
that Anglo–Saxons comprise the ten so-called lost tribes of Israel—a
name to which they believe Jews have long lost all claim, because God
eternally rejected and condemned them for rejecting and putting Jesus
Christ to death. Anti-Semitism is the very underpinning of such cults.
Less extreme prejudice, often hidden and usually denied, is also
reflected in some Christian churches and organizations. It is not
impossible even for true believers to become infected with that age–old
spiritual disease which the Lord so intensely detests.
some of the
off, and you,
among them and
partaker with them of the
root of the
Amplified: But if some of the branches were broken off, while
you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them to share the
richness [of the root and sap] of the olive tree,
ESV: 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,
ICB: Some of the branches from an olive tree have been broken
off, and the branch of a wild olive tree has been joined to that first
tree. You non-Jews are the same as that wild branch, and you now share
the strength and life of the first tree, the Jews.
NIV: If some of the branches have been broken off, and you,
though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and
now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,
NKJV: And if some of the branches were broken off, and you,
being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them
became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,
NLT: But some of these branches from Abraham's tree, some of
the Jews, have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches
from a wild olive tree, were grafted in. So now you also receive the
blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in God's
rich nourishment of his special olive tree.
Phillips: But if some of the branches of the tree have been
broken off, while you, like shoots of wild-olive, have been grafted
in, and don't share like a natural branch the rich nourishment of the
Wuest: Now, since certain of the branches were broken off, and
you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became
joint-partaker with them of the root of the fatness of the olive,
Young's Literal: And if certain of the branches were broken
off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wast graffed in among them,
and a fellow-partaker of the root and of the fatness of the olive tree
BUT IF SOME OF THE BRANCHES WERE BROKEN OFF: Ei de tines ton kladon exeklasthesan (3PAPI):
(Psalms 80:11-16; Isaiah 6:13; 27:11; Jeremiah 11:16; Ezekiel 15:6-8;
Matthew 8:11,12; Matthew 21:43; John 15:6)
Branches...broken off ~
Wild Olive ~ believing Gentile
Rich root of the Olive Tree ~
The place of divine blessing. God’s covenant of salvation made with
Abraham (John MacArthur)
Ryrie agrees that...
The olive tree is the place of
privilege that was first occupied by the natural branches (the Jews).
The wild branches are Gentiles who, because of the unbelief of
Israel, now occupy the place of privilege. The root of the tree
is the Abrahamic covenant that promised blessing to both Jew and Gentile
through Christ. (Ryrie Study Bible)
If is a first class condition,
which assumes that what follows is a fact. Indeed some of the
branches, the natural Jews (Israel) were broken
off by their unbelief and rejection of the Messiah. Notice that Paul makes clear that not all of the branches
(the natural Jews) were broken off. This truth is also emphasized by his
use of the
phrase among them which refers to natural Jews who did believe in
Messiah. There always had been a believing remnant in Israel.
Notice that the term “Broken off” is the equivalent of “fall”
(Ro 11:11), “their failure” (Ro 11:12), and “their
rejection” (Ro 11:15).
AND YOU BEING A WILD OLIVE WERE GRAFTED IN AMONG THEM: su de agrielaios
on (PAPMSN) enekentristhes (2SAPI) en autois: (Psalms 80:11-16;
Isaiah 6:13; 27:11; Ezekiel 15:6-8; Matthew 8:11,12; ; John 15:6)
(Deuteronomy 8:8; Judges 9:8,9; Psalms 52:8; Zechariah 4:3; Jonah 1:16;
Wild Olive (65)
(agrielaios from ágrios = wild + elaía = olive
tree, olive) is Paul's metaphorical way of referring to the Gentiles who
had believed in Christ.
earlier God had warned His people through His prophet Jeremiah that
their continued unbelief and idolatry would reap an unwanted harvest ...
What right has My beloved (Israel who
was to have been His faithful wife) in My house when she has done many
vile deeds? Can the sacrificial flesh take away from you your disaster,
so that you can rejoice? (God was not interested in their sacrifices but
in their broken and contrite hearts)" 16 The LORD called your name, "A
green olive tree, beautiful in fruit and form"; With the noise of a
great tumult He has kindled fire on it, and its branches are worthless
(Paul has explained in Romans 11 these were broken off). 17 And the LORD
of hosts, who planted you, has pronounced evil against you because of
the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they
have done to provoke Me by offering up sacrifices to Baal. (Jeremiah 11:15-17)
Jesus over 600 years later warned His Israel
"the kingdom of God will be taken
away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it. (Matthew 21:43).
Vine comments that...
the Gentile who, though now a believer, is, naturally, a
member of those nations which God had suffered to walk in their own ways
(Ac 14:16), and who therefore remained unfaithful to God. The wild olive
being a tree of comparatively little value, this part of the metaphor
sets in contrast the glorious position of relationship into which God
had brought Israel on the ground of covenant promise. The process of
grafting is almost invariably that of putting the good shoot into the
inferior stock. Whenever the reverse process was adopted it was to
invigorate the fruitful stock and not to fertilize the wild shoot. What
is set forth here, therefore, does not correspond actually to either
method, but is selected in order to suit the subject, namely, the
enrichment of individual Gentiles by their admission to the blessings
forfeited by some of God’s ancient people through their unbelief.
AND BECAME PARTAKER WITH THEM OF THE RICH ROOT OF THE OLIVE TREE: kai sugkoinonos tes rhizes tes piotetos tes elaias
(sugkoinonos from sun = with +
companion, partner) means co-participant or partaker together with
The New Living Translation
phrases this verse this way...
But some of these branches from
Abraham's tree, some of the Jews, have been broken off. And you
Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, were grafted in. So
now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his
children, sharing in God's rich nourishment of his special olive tree.
The discerning reader needs to
be careful when reading some of the commentaries on this section of
Romans. For example the respected devotional commentary by Matthew Henry
has some very confusing statements on Romans 11:17. Henry writes that...
"those that God grafts into the
church he finds wild and barren, and good for nothing. Men graft to
mend the tree; but God grafts to mend the branch. The church of God
is an olive-tree, flourishing and fruitful as an
olive (Ps. 52:8; Hos. 14:6)...The Gentiles, being grafted into the
church, partake of the same privileges that the Jews did, the
root and fatness. The olive-tree is the visible church
(Henry, M. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and
Henry is misinterpreting the rich root of the olive tree as the
church. Notice also that Henry goes so far as to find the "church"
in Old Testament passages like Hosea 14:6 which are clearly (in
speaking of the nation of Israel. In a sense Matthew Henry is
doing the very thing Paul warns Gentile believers against in this
section of Romans.
Wiersbe agrees and cautions that
To say that the olive tree,
with its natural and grafted branches, is a picture of the church
would be a great mistake. (Wiersbe, W. W. The Bible Exposition
Commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books) (Bolding added)
It should also be noted that the fact
that true believers living today are spiritual children of Abraham does
not mean that the church is "spiritual Israel." Yes as Paul said "if you
belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to
promise." (Gal 3:29) Gentile believers who are not physical
children of Abraham are his spiritual children in the sense that they
have followed the pattern of his faith. All believers, Jew or Gentile,
in fact are heirs of the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary (on Galatians 3:29) however
Any discussion of the seed
(offspring) of Abraham must first take into account his natural seed
(offspring), the descendants of Jacob in the 12 tribes. Within this
natural seed there is a believing
of Jews who will one
day inherit the Abrahamic promises directed specifically to them (cf. Ro
But there is also the spiritual
seed of Abraham who are not Jews. These are the Gentiles who believe
and become Abraham’s spiritual seed. They inherit the promise of
justification by faith as Paul explained... (cf. Gal. 3:6-9). To
suggest, as amillenarians do (Ed note: and as many of the older
commentators like Matthew Henry), that Gentile believers
inherit the national promises given to the believing Jewish remnant
(Ed note: e.g., the specific promises of the land in
promises which God has not yet literally fulfilled but which He will
fulfill in the
—that the church thus supplants Israel or is the “new Israel”—is
to read into these verses what is not there. (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck,
R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary.
Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) (Bolding added) (See also discussion of
Israel of God)
Paul will now go on to warn the Gentile
Christians of the danger of repeating the sin of the Jews--boasting of
their privileged position (Ro 11:18-21). He will also explain that if God, by
cutting off the branches of the natural olive, has made room for Gentile
believers, how much easier will it be for him to restore the natural
branches to their place in the cultivated olive (Ro 11:23-24)!
do not be
if you are
arrogant, remember that it is not you
root, but the
Amplified: Do not boast over the branches and pride yourself at
their expense. If you do boast and feel superior, remember it is not
you that support the root, but the root [that supports] you.
ESV: do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are,
remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that
ICB: So do not brag about those branches that were broken off.
You have no reason to brag. Why? You do not give life to the root. The
root gives life to you.
NIV: do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider
this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.
NKJV: do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast,
remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
NLT: But you must be careful not to brag about being grafted in
to replace the branches that were broken off. Remember, you are just a
branch, not the root.
Phillips: don't let yourself feel superior to those former
branches. (If you feel inclined that way, remind yourself that you do
not support the root, the root supports you.)
Wuest: stop boasting against the branches. But, assuming that
you are boasting, you are not sustaining the root, but the root you.
Young's Literal: do not boast against the branches; and if thou
dost boast, thou dost not bear the root, but the root thee!
DO NOT BE ARROGANT TOWARD THE BRANCHES: me katakaucho (2SPMM) ton kladon:
(Ro 1:20; 3:27; 1Kings 20:11; Proverbs 16:18; Matthew 26:33; Luke
18:9-11; 1Corinthians 10:12)
(katakauchaomai from katá = against +
boast over a privilege or possession. The root is auchen =
neck which vain persons are apt to carry in proud manner) means to exult
or boast against or to boast arrogantly. In Ro 11:18 the Gentile
believers are contrasted with the "branches" those Jews who
rejected Christ. The verb is in the with a negative which can be more
accurately translated as "stop being arrogant toward" the
unbelieving Jews. The point is that this aberrant attitude had already
begun to creep into the Roman church which by all of Paul's testimony
was a good church. How easily this leaven of subtle anti-Semitism can
begin to permeate even the best of churches today! We must diligently
guard against this attitude toward the Jews or the nation of Israel.
How could a Gentile, a wild olive,
who had been grafting in (by faith) demonstrate his or her arrogance?
One way is by saying that the Jews who did not believe should have
believed! Another way is to assume a holier-than-thou attitude
toward the Jews.
It is tragic
and lamentable that, throughout much of church history, Jewish converts
to Christ have often been subjected to attitudes of Gentile superiority
and been shunned or reluctantly accepted into Christian fellowship. Paul
anticipated that, in spite of this clear truth, some of his Gentile
readers would continue to argue against him (see Romans 11:19).
As an aside I would pose this
question: What happened in this regard to the Early Church Fathers? Why
did not many of them see this truth? Even Martin Luther in his latter
years wrote a vicious pamphlet vilifying the Jews because they would not
accept Messiah! (See a
from a non-believing Jewish source) If Martin Luther could fall into
such deception, let every man take heed lest he fall!
William Newell comments...
How few of us Gentile believers
understand and bear in mind that we are beneficiaries of those promises
which God lodged in Abraham as a root of promise, --all the promises we
inherit in Christ! (Romans 11).
BUT IF YOU ARE ARROGANT
THAT IT IS NOT YOU WHO SUPPORTS THE ROOT BUT THE ROOT SUPPORTS
YOU: ei de katakauchasai (2SPMI) ou su ten rhizan bastazeis (2SPAI) alla e rhiza se:
(Ro 4:16; Zechariah 8:20-23; John 10:16; Galatians 3:29; Ephesians
Root = spiritual promises and blessings that flow through the
Abrahamic Covenant. In a sense even the New Covenant was also actually
given to Israel first. E.g. Jeremiah writes...
"Behold, days are coming," declares
the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of
Israel and with the house of Judah, (with who? is it with the Gentiles?)
32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I
took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My
covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares
the LORD. (for more on this subject see the
New Covenant in the Old Testament)
And who did Jesus inaugurate the New Covenant with? Were there any
Gentiles present? And who did the Spirit Who was promised as part of the
blessing of the New Covenant first come upon in Acts 2? And who composed
the predominant makeup of disciples in the early church (probably until
about 100AD)? (Answer: Jewish believers). Clearly we Gentiles are
"Johnny come lately" and thus have no grounds whatsoever for spiritual
pride in regard to our salvation.
There is never any
ground for a believer from among the Gentiles to hold a Jew as such in
any measure of contempt or inferiority. Paul warned the Gentiles that
they were obligated to Israel, and therefore they dared not boast of
their new spiritual position (Ro 11:18-21). The Gentiles entered into God’s
plan because of faith, and not because of anything good they had done.
Paul was discussing the Gentiles collectively, and not the individual
experience of one believer or another.
No matter how far Israel may stray from the truth of God, the roots (the
covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were made by a covenant
keeping God!) are
still good. God is still the “God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and
the God of Jacob” (Ex 3:6 Mt 22:32). He will keep His promises to the
patriarchs and to any and all natural Jews who enter in by grace through
Praise God that His the keeping of
His covenants does not depend on us but is rooted in His attributes such