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What the Bible says about Root and Branch Analogy
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Isaiah 11:1

Several generations pass before God decrees the direction of Jesus' lineage: "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots" (Isaiah 11:1). Jesse lived at least eight generations after Judah during the days of the prophet Samuel. He and his family had lived in the town of Bethlehem in the territory of Judah for several generations—at least since the time of Boaz (Ruth 2:4). Matthew 1 and Luke 3 both mention Jesse in their genealogies.

In Romans 15:12, Paul connects Jesus descending from Jesse to the hope of the Gentiles: "And again, Isaiah [11:10] says: 'There shall be a root of Jesse; and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope.'" Jesse's female ancestors include three Gentiles—Tamar (Genesis 38), Rahab (Joshua 2; Matthew 1:5), and Ruth (Ruth 4:13-22)—who are also Jesus the Messiah's ancestors. As Paul says, Jesus Christ became a servant "that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy" (Romans 15:9).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman

Isaiah 60:21

God's people will be a branch that He plants; they will be the work of His own hands. He will ensure their righteousness and their eternal inheritance of the Promised Land, all to His glory.

The phrase “the branch of My planting” deserves a closer look. The Hebrew word translated “planting” is mattā' (Strong's Concordance #4302), meaning “an act of planting something.” The underlying root word is nāta' (Strong's #5193), which adds clarity. It means “to establish, to found,” but more fundamentally, “to strike in, fix, and be fastened.”

These definitions probably lead us to think of planting seeds, but Isaiah 60:21 states that God is planting a branch. The word's root helps clarify that the “planting” of a branch is what we would call grafting.

Bill Onisick
The Branch of God's Planting

John 15:1-8

Christ came to this earth as THE BRANCH and fulfilled all righteousness, qualifying to replace Satan and rule as King over all the earth. He proved His worthiness by remaining in full accord with His heavenly Father, and bearing the spiritual fruit that makes redemption and salvation possible.

Likewise, we - whether natural or grafted in (Romans 11:17-24) - are also branches attached to the solid trunk of the tree, Christ. It is only by our abiding in Him - our attachment to Him - our close relationship with Him - that we produce any growth or godly works. As Paul writes in Romans 11:16, "If the root is holy, so are the branches." Our righteousness, works, and holiness come to us only because of our connection to Him.

Jesus says that God, in love, prunes us, chastens us, tries us, so that we become more profitable (see also Hebrews 12:3-11). He will do what He must to make us yield. But if we resist and eventually sever our connection with Him, we are fit only to be burned. God has no use for dead wood.

God wants us to use this connection to His Son to "bear much fruit," just as Jesus Christ did. Doing so proves to Him, to ourselves, and to everyone else that we are true Christians, disciples of His Son, the Branch. By this, we will glorify God and secure our place in His Kingdom.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Branch

John 15:4-8

Grafting is the process of joining two plants together so tightly that they grow together into one. The upper branch, called a scion, is tightly bound to the trunk of another plant, the rootstock. The bark is peeled where the two plants join to expose and align the cambium, the thin ribbon of actively dividing cells that produce conductive tissue for the actively growing plant. The two plants' tightly compressed cambiums develop finger-like tissues that grow together into a grafted union.

The practice of grafting has been used to accelerate fruitfulness, improve growth rates, and increase hardiness. Three key factors will result in successful grafting:

  • The first factor is compatibility. The closer the two plants are alike, the higher the success rate. One cannot take a palm tree and successfully graft it to a grapevine.

  • The second factor is alignment and pressure. The two plants must remain tightly bound, and their cambiums must line up as closely as possible.

  • The third factor is proper care of the graft site. The grafter must keep the joint alive, hydrated, and free of disease while the two plants grow together.

These three key success factors of a physical graft are the same elements required for a successful spiritual graft. The first, compatibility and likeness: Paul tells us, as the root is holy, so too must the branches be holy. God has called us to become holy, and if we desire holiness, we must plant holiness! Growing holiness is expensive because it costs us our complete devotion. We must learn to love—as God so loves us—sacrificing and holding nothing back! We must lay down our lives for each other (John 15:13).

The second success factor, alignment and pressure: The more tightly pressed together we are to Christ—the more we love Him and strive to emulate Him—the more aligned we are with Him and His way of life and the tighter our grafted union grows.

The third success factor, keep the joint alive, hydrated, and free of disease: It takes daily care—prayer, meditation, study, and occasional fasting—to ensure our grafted union remains active, nourished, and healthy through the Spirit of God and His living Word. These things, along with putting the things of God into practice as we learn them, help us develop and maintain the right attitude to bear much fruit. Through our strengthening grafted union to Jesus Christ, we receive the nourishment to produce the daily fruit of self-sacrificial love. This is how we become holy and pleasing to God.

We were the wild, unfruitful branches with no potential. But God the Father, the Vinedresser, called us and peeled back our thick, carnal, and sinful bark. Through the sacrificial death of our Savior and the New Covenant, He bound us tightly together in a grafted union to the holy Root. Through Him, we receive the spiritual nourishment and water of life (see Revelation 22:1) required to grow together and produce fruit.

The apostle James uses a similar metaphor of implanting or engrafting, this time in reference to God's Word: “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted [engrafted, KJV] word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).

We must work harder to remain aligned with Him in all things. As mentioned, the cost of holiness is complete, self-sacrificial love. If we hold back love or forgiveness, we cannot be in Him. If we put anything in this world over our relationship with Him, we cannot be in Him. As James urges, we must repent of everything in us that is not like Christ.

We must reach out to Him with all our might and literally cling to Him! He is our everything, and without Him, we can do nothing! As we abide in Him, He abides in us. As we draw near to God, He draws near to us (James 4:8). In this way, our grafted union will grow strong as we produce the righteous fruit that pleases Him.

We are the branch of God's planting, grafted into His Family. As we humble ourselves and embrace His engrafted Word of life, we grow in union with Him, transformed into righteous, holy branches that produce the self-sacrificial fruit of love. One day soon, the branches of God's planting will inherit the land forever and glorify our great God and Father!

Bill Onisick
The Branch of God's Planting

Romans 11:17

Just as Isaiah prophesied long before (Isaiah 60:21; 61:3), Paul confirms here in Romans: We have been grafted into the God Family contrary to our nature and carnal mind. God the Father does the planting. Only those called by God the Father—whether Israelite or Gentile—have become “the branch of [God's] planting” grafted to “the righteous Branch” and into His Family through the grace of God under the New Covenant.

The rest of Israel was broken off because of unbelief. Paul warns in Romans 11:7 that Israel became blinded and hardened. Drawing back from God, they could not form a grafted union with Jesus Christ. God did not spare these natural (Israelite) branches that fell into unbelief and disobedience. They suffered His wrath for their consistent disobedience. Likewise, He will not spare us if we fall into similar disobedience and become fruitless.

Paul was clearly familiar with the practice of grafting, as was his Roman audience. He uses this beautiful illustration to draw attention to the fact that God has grafted us into His Family by a method contrary to nature. In the natural process of grafting, a branch capable of producing fruit is grafted to a rootstock that can improve fruitfulness and vigor. But Paul says that we were the unfruitful, wild branch grafted contrary to our nature into the holy root stock.

We are the branch of God's planting. He has stripped away our carnal, sinful bark through our Savior's sacrifice and His granting of repentance (Romans 2:4; Acts 11:18; II Timothy 2:25). God the Father Himself has grafted us in—tightly bound us—to His Son, the Righteous Branch and Holy Root. Through our grafted union, we receive the nourishment of His Holy Spirit.

Bill Onisick
The Branch of God's Planting


 




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