Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ingrafted Branches of Olives

Bible says …

In Romans 11:16-21, the apostle Paul ( 5 – 67 AD ) talks about grafting of olive.

“if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17If 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, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.” 22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!


What is Grafting ?

Grafting is a propagation technique of inserting a shoot from a desirable source ( scion ) into another tree ( stock ) of which is to support and nourish it. The two unite and become one tree. ( www.biology-online.org )

.A successful grafting requires a vascular cambium connection taken place between the stock and scion.


Purpose of Grafting

Grafting is very important in domestication of agricultural crops.

Planting of crop from seed takes longer time to mature. Often, plants planted from seed do not produce same desired quality of fruit.

.Thus, grafting of desired scion on rooted stock result in faster yield of expected crop quality. The rootstock continues to provide nutrient from the soil through vascular xylem.
. ..

History of Grafting

The exact origin of grafting of plants is unknown. The practice of grafting should have occurred independently, though no necessary the same time, in several parts of the world.

The earliest grating is believed to have originated from observation of the natural union of twig of closely growing trees.

The Chinese were thought to have practiced grafting as early as 2000 B.C.., but no records to support the claim. The earliest documented record was 汜胜, published in sometime between 32 BC – 7 AD , by 汜胜, of Han Dynasty, which documented technique of grafting in gourd cultivation.

Greek philosopher Aristotle ( 354-322 BC ) and Theophrastus ( 371 – 287 BC ) wrote about grafting too. Theophrastus wrote Enquiry into Plants, and On the Cause of Plants, about his observations on plants physiology.

Roman naturalist Gaius Plinius Sedundus ( 23 – 79 AD) wrote on his encyclopedic work, Naturalis Historia, of grafting.


The Wiersbe Bible Commentary : The Complete New Testament

The olive tree ( Rom 11:16b-24). This is a symbol of the nation of Israel ( Jer 11:16-17; Hos 14:4-6 ). Please keep in mind that Paul was not discussing the relationship of individual believers to God, but the place of Israel in the plan of God. The roots of the tree support the tree; again, this was a symbol of the patriarch who founded the nation. God made His covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and He cannot deny them or change them. Thus it is God’s promise to Abraham that sustains Israel even today.

Many of the Jewish people did not believe. Paul pictured them as branches broken off the tree. But he saw an amazing thing taking place : other branches were grafted into the tree to share in the life of the tree. These branches were the Gentiles. In Romans 11:24, Paul described this “grafting in” as “contrary to nature.” Usually a cultivated branch is grafted into a wild tree and shares its life without producing its poor fruit. But in this case, it was the ‘wild branch’ ( the Gentiles ) that was grafted into the good tree ! “Salvation is of the Jews” ( John 4:22 )

To say that the olive tree, with its natural and grafted branches, is a picture of the church would be a great mistake. In the church, ‘there is no difference”; believers are “all one in Christ Jesus” ( Gal.3:28 ). God does not look on the member of Christ’s body and se them as Jews or Gentiles. The olive tree illustrates the relationship between Jew and Gentiles in the program of God. The ‘breaking off of the branch” is the equivalent of “the fall” (Rom 11:11 ), “the diminishing” ( Rom 11:12 ), and the “casting away” ( Rom 11:15 ). To read into this illustration the matter of eternal destiny f the individual believer is to abuse the truth Paul was seeking to communicate.

Paul warned the Gentiles that they were obligated to Israel, and therefore they dared not boast of their new spiritual position ( Rom 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.

It is worth noting that, according to Bible prophecy, the professing Gentile church will be “cut off” because of apostasy. First Timothy 4 and 2 Timothy 3, along with 2 Thessalonians 2, all indicate that professing church in the last days will depart from the faith. There is no hope for the apostate church, but there is hope for apostate Israel ! Why ? Because of the roots of the olive tree. God will keep His promises to the patriarchs, but God will break off the Gentiles because of their unbelief.

No mater how far Israel may stray from the truth of God, the roots are still good. God is still the “God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” ( Ex 3:6; Matt 22:23 ). He will keep His promises to these patriarchs. This means that the olive tree will flourish again !

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Parable of the Mustard Seed

Bible says :
Jesus used mustard seed as he taught about Kingdom of God, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it ? It is a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that birds of the air can perch in its shade.” ( Mark 4:30-32, Bible - New International Version )
The parable is also mentioned in Matthew 13:31-32, and Luke 13:18-29.
Jesus in another occasion used mustard seed to describe how even a small faith can do great wanders. ( Matthew 17:19-21 & Luke 17:6, Bible – New International Version )
Despite numerous times of reading the Parable of Mustard Seed, I have not idea of how small a mustard seed is, or how big mustard plants can grows.
Some may say it is not necessary to know much about mustard seed, as long as we understand the essence of the parable. But, how to understand Jesus word without knowing what he says ?

So, I did a little bit of searching.

Mustard is …
Mustard refers to several plant species in the genera Sinapis and Brassica, whose small seeds are used as a spice and made into a yellowish paste condiment, or pressed to make mustard oil, and the edible leaves can be eaten as greens. ( www.en.wikipedia.org )
There are several known Sinapis and Brassica growing wild in Holy Land : Brassica napus, Brassica nigra, Brassica tournefortii, Sinapis alba and Sinapis arvensis. ( www.wildflowers.co.il ) . It is theorized that Brassica nigra is the one mentioned by Jesus, considering its cultivation history, uses in culinary and uses in daily life.

Mustard is … 
Mustard is cultivated in ancient Greek, Egyptian and Roman for use as spice. The exact uses of mustard can only be speculated as it was no detailed documented. We can only assume that the seeds are used as spice or medicine, while the leaves maybe eaten as greens.

Today, mustard is a popular condiment, made from seeds of Sinapis hirta, Brassica juncea or Brassica nigra. The seeds are ground with water or vinegar or wine to create a thick paste ranging in colour fro bright yellow to dark brown. ( www.saskmustard.ca )

Mustard is a popular condiment to hotdogs, burgers, and sandwiches.

Mustard is … the smallest seed ? the biggest tree ?
Mustard seed is about 1 – 2 mm in diameter. (http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/seedid ) It is botanically not the smallest seed, but in Jesus’ culture, mustard seed is the smallest among the plants familiar to them. In fact, it is often used to describe something small during the time.

Mustard is an annual shrub, a small tree that is, capable grow up to 8 feet in height, ( http://www.eol.org ) which is the tallest among other herbs in a Jewish’s garden.

The mustard seed represents the Gospel, starting very small but growing to reach millions throughout the world who will inherit the kingdom.

The birds’ of the air in this parable probably come from the Greek word “orneon,” signifying “to perceive, to hear.” The tree offers a refuge for His faithful to rest in Him.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Psalm 137 - By the Rivers of Babylon

1By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
2We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
3For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
4How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?
5If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
6If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
7Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.
8O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
9Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

.Bible · King James Version

By The Rivers of Babylon, 2009, by Barefoot Truth