Vines, Branches, Sticks and Trees

 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him—this one bears much fruit, for apart from me you are not able to do anything. If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown out as a branch, and dries up, and they gather them and throw them* into the fire, and they are burned.

John 15:5–6 (LEB)

The wonderful quality that scripture possesses is that it uses imagery we all can relate to in order to explain sometimes hard to understand concepts. It is two thousand years of man made doctrine and philosophy that so often cloud our minds when we read scripture. There is a major understanding that has been left behind by Christianity, which causes a type of identity crisis in the church. This has led to such theologies as replacement theology, dispensationalism and Calvinism.

John 5:19 (LEB)

19 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing from himself except what he sees the Father doing. For whatever that one does, these things also the Son does likewise.

Yeshua (Jesus, Yahusha or Joshua) called himself the vine and the Father the Vine Dresser. This imagery should tell us we need to be “dressed” by the Father, who is both the God of the old and new testaments, by being plugged in through the vine Yeshua.

John 15:1–8 (LEB)

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. 2 Every branch that does not bear fruit in me, he removes it, and every branch that bears fruit, he prunes it in order that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I in you. Just as the branch is not able to bear fruit from itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him—this one bears much fruit, for apart from me you are not able to do anything. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown out as a branch, and dries up, and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you bear much fruit, and prove to be my disciples.

Remaining plugged into the vine and listening to his word means that He will listen to us. Otherwise our prayer is called an abomination.

Proverbs 28:9 (LEB)

He who turns his ear from listening to instruction, even his prayer is an abomination.

In this translation, the Hebrew word “Torah” is translated to instruction. These are not referring to any instructions, but specifically the instruction of Yahuah, the God of the Old Testament.

The vine dresser will guide us with his instruction so long as we are in the vine of Yeshua. Otherwise we are an abomination only good for kindling wood. Yeshua was called the righteous branch by Isaiah.

Isaiah 11:1–5 (LEB)

11 And a shoot will come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from its roots will bear fruit And the spirit of Yahweh shall rest on him— a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and might, a spirit of knowledge and the fear of Yahweh. And his breath is in the fear of Yahweh. And he shall judge not by his eyesight, and he shall rebuke not by what he hears with his ears. But he shall judge the poor with righteousness, and he shall decide for the needy of the earth with rectitude. And he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and he shall kill the wicked person with the breath of his lips. And righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

We see that this branch will come from the stump of Jesse, who was king David’s father. Yahuah does not do anything unless He first tells the prophets. Amos 3:7 (LEB) “ Surely my Lord does not do anything unless he has revealed his secret to his servants the prophets”. How do we know which prophets to listen to? They must align with the words of Yahuah. This is how we know the Sabbaths were never done away with and that we should be eating as Yah told us through Moses. A person can ignore the Sabbaths, but their religion that promotes the practice of ignoring the Sabbaths is not worshiping the God of Abraham, Yahuah (YHWH), because He told us so. Please don’t take it personally. These are the lies that have been passed down to us through religion. One of the reasons the Christian church is so easily persuaded to abandon the instructions given by the vine dresser is that they do not understand the elect people of God and why Yeshua came.

Matthew 15:24 (LEB)

24 But he answered and* said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

The House of Israel can be all twelve tribes or the ten tribes of the Northern kingdom. Most of Christianity thinks Israel is simply “the Jews” , but this is not the case. There were twelve tribes, or children of Jacob, that Yahuah made a covenant with. Ten of them broke the covenant so badly Yahuah cast them out and cut them off from the promises.

Jeremiah 3:6–10 (LEB)

6 Then Yahweh said to me in the days of Josiah, the king, “Have you seen what apostate Israel has done? She has gone on every high hill and under every leafy tree and she has prostituted herself there. 7 And I thought, ‘After her doing all these things to me she will return,’ but she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 And I saw that for this very reason, that on account of apostate Israel committing adultery I divorced her and gave the letter of divorce to her. Yet her treacherous sister Judah was not afraid and she went and prostituted herself also. 9 And it was because of the frivolity of her fornication that she defiled the land and committed adultery with the stone and with the tree. 10 Yet even in all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares Yahweh.

Israel was referred to as an olive tree. This is important to understand when considering one’s identity in Messiah. The tree that we get grafted to as believers is the natural tree.

Jeremiah 11:15–17 (LEB)

15 What rights has my beloved in my house when she has done many wicked things? Can the flesh of holiness pass over you? For you engage in your wickedness, then you exult. 16 Yahweh called your name, ‘A leafy olive tree, beautiful with fine fruit.’ With the sound of a great storm he will set fire to it, and its branches will be good for nothing. 17 And Yahweh of hosts, the one who planted you, has spoken evil against you, because of the evil of the house of Israel and the house of Judah, that they have done to themselves, to provoke me to anger by making smoke offerings to Baal.”

Something that angers Yahuah is making offerings to Baal. Research your favorite “Christian” holiday and it will lead right back to Baal worship. Most of the broad path Christianity is Baal worship. As I said earlier, if it is contrary to the instructions of Yahuah, it is a different god.

Paul picks up on the olive tree analogy in his letter to the Romans. He is mostly talking to the lost sheep of the house of Israel who assimilated into the nations (gentiles).

Romans 11:13–24 (LEB)

13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Therefore, inasmuch as I am apostle to the Gentiles, I promote my ministry, 14 if somehow I may provoke my people to jealousy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean except life from the dead? 16 Now if the first fruits are holy, so also is the whole batch of dough, and if the root is holy, so also are the branches. 17 Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although you were a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them and became a sharer of the root of the olive tree’s richness, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you boast against them, you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off in order that I could be grafted in.” 20 Well said! They were broken off because of unbelief, but you stand firm because of faith. Do not think arrogant thoughts, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 See, then, the kindness and severity of God: severity upon those who have fallen, but upon you the kindness of God—if you continue in his kindness, for otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And those also, if they do not persist in unbelief, will be grafted in, because God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?

Yeshua was the one who made it possible for the two houses of Israel to be put back together. The northern ten tribes were mixed into the nations, thus seeding them and enabling them to be brought back. This is the blessing the world received through the Seed of Abraham, or Messiah. Much of the church is from the lost sheep of the house of Israel and does not believe Torah, many of the house of Judah, “the Jews” do not understand Messiah Yeshua.

Romans 11:2–4 (LEB)

2 God has not rejected his people, whom he foreknew! Or do you not know, in the passage about Elijah, what the scripture says—how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have torn down your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life!” 4 But what does the divine response say to him? “I have left for myself seven thousand people who have not bent the knee to Baal.”

This bending a knee to Baal business is very serious to the Creator. I suggest you learn His ways so you can distinguish a different god when one is presented. There is always a remnant that follows Yahuah. This is the narrow way.

The good news is that Yahuah has and is going to put the wild tree and cultivated tree together again. This is what Paul was referring to in Romans 11. What tree or vine are you plugged into?

Ezekiel 37:15–23 (LEB)

15 And the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 16 “And you, son of man, take for yourself a piece of wood, and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the Israelites his associates,’ and take another piece of wood, and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the piece of wood of Ephraim and all of the house of Israel his associates.’ 17 And join them one to the other with respect to you as one piece of wood, so that they may become one in your hand. 18 When your people say to you, saying, ‘Will you not inform us as to what these actions mean for you?’ 19 Then speak to them, ‘Thus says the Lord Yahweh: “Look! I am taking the piece of wood for Joseph that is in the hand of Ephraim and the tribes of Israel its associates, and I will put them on it, the piece of wood of Judah, and I will make them into one piece of wood, so that they be one in my hand.’ ” 20 And the pieces of wood on which you wrote will be in your hand before their eyes. 21 And speak to them, ‘Thus says the Lord Yahweh: “Look! I am taking the Israelites from among the nations to which they went, and I will gather them from everywhere, and I will bring them to their own soil. 22 And I will make them into one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel, and they will all have one king as their king, and they will not again be two nations and will not again divide into two kingdoms again. 23 And they will not defile themselves again with their idols and with vile idols and with all of their transgressions, and I will save them from all of their apostasy by which they sinned, and I will cleanse them and they will be for me as a people and I, I will be for them as God.

The Hebrew word for “piece of wood” is Strong’s H6086. This is what the Abridged Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon has for this word:

n.m. tree, trees, wood — 1. a. a standing tree; to be felled; of vine עֵץ הַגֶּפֶן; תַּחַת כָּל־עֵץ רַעֲנָן place of illicit worship. b. coll. trees; עֵץ פְּרִי fruit-bearing trees; עֵץ הַזַּיִת olive trees; סֲבָךְ־עֵץ thicket of trees. c. pl. of trees felled for building. 2. (pl., to denote pieces [or articles] of wood) a. wood, as material; for building; כְּלִי־עֵץ article of wood. Hence b. עֵצִים = articles of wood; specif. הָעֵץ = helve of axe; esp. timbers of a house, of a city; עֵץ of pole on which bodies of slain (criminals and others) were exposed; late (in Pers.) used for executing criminals (? by hanging = gallows). c. of idols, עֵץ וָאֶבֶן; so עֵץ alone. d. (fire-)wood; esp. for sacrifices. e. אֶרֶז(הָ) עֵץ cedar-wood, used in purifications. f. פִּשְׁתֵּי הָעֵץ woody-flax, i.e. flax on the stalk.

Richard Whitaker et al., The Abridged Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament: From A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament by Francis Brown, S.R. Driver and Charles Briggs, Based on the Lexicon of Wilhelm Gesenius (Boston; New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1906).

Studying Hebrew has its benefits. From these definitions one sees that it was two trees that were going to be put back together, and the relationship of the tree that Yeshua was placed on to make this happen.

If we want to be part of the “elect” that will be gathered and brought back to the land, we need to repent, be plugged into the vine of Yeshua, grafted into the natural tree and to listen and do the words of the Vine Dresser, Yahuah. Do not be a branch without fruit, cut off from the natural tree, that will be gathered and burned!

Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

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