What is Grafting in?
Grafting in is a process where a plant is combined with another similar plant to create a kind of hybrid.
The process is rather simple, the planter cuts the bad or undesired sections off the plant and then attaches the new section with a similar but opposite cut and then secures the "grafted" area with string, tape or a similar method.
The two then grow together and the new feeds off the old. The old grows into the new and the two become a new kind of plant having some of the attributes of both.
What did Rav Sha'ul, (Paul) Mean?
Rav Sha'ul who is commonly known as the Apostle Paul, was using the agricultural grafting analogy to the Gentile world. He was trying to explain how they will fit into God's eternal Covenants within the concepts of the Tanak (Old Testament to some) and the Commonwealth of Israel.
In this analogy, Paul explains how those who had and have fallen away from faith and have not (as yet) come to faith in Yeshua as Messiah, would be "cut off" from the root (Israel) and replaced through the "grafting in" process, with Gentile believers.
He uses the analogy of Israel as the "natural" root and branches and the Gentiles as the "wild" branches which will be grafted into the natural.
This explanation comes up in his letter to the congregation in Rome, chapter 11, Ephesians 2:11-13, Ephesians 2:19, and Ephesians 3:6. He goes into great detail using this analogy of how Israel is the natural root, and through the holiness of the root, the rest of the [olive] tree is holy. However, within the context of this he points out how some of the branches have [spiritually] died and through the grace of God have been pruned or "trimmed" off and the Gentile believers are then ~grafted in~.
19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off,
Paul goes on with stern warnings to the Gentiles NOT to become complacent, arrogant, or self aggrandizing in this, puffing themselves up with pride, self assurance and vanities. Pointing out that if God was more than willing and capable of cutting off those already in the body of His people, they too could just as easily be cut off and thrown into the fires.
11 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.
17 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, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
It is obvious the Jews / Israel are not replaced by the Gentiles but in fact supports the Gentile inclusion. This is emphasized in these next verses where Paul tells of how when the end to their temporary blindness is removed they will become the stabilizing roots of the faith, supporting the Gentiles who have been brought in and out of the rest of the "pagan / secular" world.
“God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day.”
25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”
28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
All this to show God's mercy on all who have been disobedient. As the Gospel states "for God so loved the world that He gave His only son that all who believe in Him shall not die..." John 3:16
The Grafted in Symbol
The "Grafted-In" Symbol has reportedly been discovered, in recent years, on pottery in the Jerusalem area, believed to date from the 2nd Century A.D. Some experts have concluded that it was an identifying mark of the early Jewish Believers in Yeshua as a symbol that tied together their traditions and faith in a growing Messianic community.
This sign speaks of the process that is taking place in the lives of both Jew and Gentile. Even though the original branches were broken off and the wild olive shoot grafted in, it is a reminder that now Adonai is grafting back in the original branches and bringing His people Israel back to Himself!
The Menorah at the top represents the Torah, the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham and that special calling to the people of Israel. The Magen David is a symbol of the kingdom and a reminder that the son of David, Yeshua the King, will sit on the throne of David. The fish has a rich history of identification with the believer. It was a common symbol for believers because the Greek word for fish (ICHTHYS) was used as an acronym for "Yeshua, Son of God, Savior".
This three-part design beautifully illustrates the truth of Romans 11:17-18, that all believers are grafted into the Jewish Root through faith in Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, the Fulfiller of the Torah and the rightful King in the line of David. Notice that the symbol is "One" - completely fused together. The middle wall of partition has indeed been broken down and both Jew and Gentile can now come to the Lord and be reconciled through His Atonement. As the Lord is grafting us together and making us one people in Messiah.
Ancient Christian Symbol
Rediscovered On Mount Zion
AURORA, Colo. (EP) -- A Messianic Seal from the Christian church in ancient Jerusalem has been rediscovered after 2,000 years. This ancient symbol was found on Mount Zion. It is believed to have been created and used by the Jewish believers who called themselves Nazarenes in the first Messianic Church.
Three companies -- Olim Creative Products of Tiberias, News About Israel (NAI) of Jerusalem, and Christian Floral Delivery of Colorado -- jointly announced the discovery of this ancient symbol, which has been copyrighted by NAI. It consists of three separate but integrated symbols: a menorah at the top, a star of David in the middle, and a fish at the bottom. In each of the renditions of the three-part symbol the star is created by interlacing the stand of the menorah with the tail of the fish.
The Messianic Seal was found etched or inscribed on eight ancient artifacts. The artifacts were presented to Ludwig Schneider, editor in chief of NAI's magazine Israel Today, in 1990. They came from Tech Otecus, an elderly monk who lived as a hermit in the Old City of Jerusalem. Otecus said that in the 1960's he had personally excavated about 40 artifacts bearing the Messianic Seal from an ancient grotto located in the immediate vicinity of the Upper Room on Mount Zion.
What was once the main entrance to the grotto is now covered with a jail-like heavy wire mesh enclosure. Its door, leading down into the ancient baptismal place, is tightly secured with a heavy chain and lock. According to Schneider, the last remaining entry to the grotto was sealed shortly after he excitedly told the priests at the local monastery about the discovery of the Messianic Seal.
Schneider photographed eight artifacts which were given to him by Otecus, and showed the pictures to the curator of the Israel Museum. "When he had carefully studied my pictures," Schneider recalled, "the curator immediately promised me that these artifacts and their unique symbol were an important find. He told me that the museum already had seen other artifacts bearing the same three-part symbol from some other sources he did not specify."
According to Bob Fischer, president of Olim Creative Products and co-author with local historian and artist Reuven Schmalz of their book, The Messianic Seal of the Jerusalem Church, the ancient three-part symbol has, since 135 AD, been suppressed by various Israeli groups or agencies, such as the Israel Museum and Orthodox rabbis in the Old City of Jerusalem, while simultaneously being buried for these nearly two millennia by the church.
According to Fischer, at least two of the eight artifacts were obviously ceremonial pieces which may well have been used by James the Just, the brother of Jesus, who is said to be the first pastor of the church, or perhaps even by one or more of the Twelve Apostles.
One of the eight artifacts is a brick-sized block of well-worn local marble. This piece bears an etched version of the Messianic Seal with a Taw (the last letter in the ancient Hebrew alphabet that looks exactly like a sign of the cross) in the eye of the fish symbol, as well as the ancient Aramaic lettering proclaiming the use of this artifact as a stand to hold a vial of anointing oil. The ancient Aramaic is transliterated as, "La Shemen Ruehon" (For the Oil of the Spirit). Another of the eight artifacts is a small, almost intact, vial which could well have sat on top of the marble stand.
Commenting on what he characterized as the "monumental importance" of this archaeological discovery, Fischer said, "Beyond the historical background of the Nazarenes, the first Jewish believers who founded the Jerusalem Church, the Messianic Seal itself proclaims to the world the pervasive Jewishness of Jesus Christ and the decidedly Jewish foundation and roots of the church founded in His name."
"The Messianic Seal of the Jerusalem Church," Fischer continued, "strikes at the very roots of anti-Semitism while proclaiming a compelling message that restores unity: Jew with Jew, and Jew with Gentile. The importance of this discovery cannot be minimized. The Messianic Seal is not only just the key to understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls, it can and should shake the foundations of the church and orthodox Judaism with its incredible message of unity and love. It breaks down barriers that have existed for millennia and points the way toward restoration."
(EP - Evangelical Press News Service https://www.evangelicalpress.com ) (Post date: July 6, 1999)
Kahilat Ben David
Congregation Ben David