Latest News: The Great Trubulation

Olive Tree Symbolism
Author Message
Peace, baby!

Posts: 2,384
Group: Moderator
Joined: Dec 2006
Status: Offline
Post: #1
Olive Tree Symbolism

Borrowed this thread from e-w's db, which has had no comments - but the reasons for the changes might be of interest for us...? It's interesting to me anyway, lol.

This is from the 8/15/83 WT:



12 tribes of Israel

144,000 spiritual Israelites (secondary seed)


Isaac, Jacob and 12 patriarchs

Messiah Jesus (primary Seed)




'The Way': It has changed now. The Watchtower study article 'O the Depth of God's Wisdom!' in the Watchtower of May 15, 2011, p. 21-25 "updates" the explanation of 1983, which is a euphemism for making short shrift of the whole type-antitype idea and stripping away half of the previous explanation, that is all things having to do with the natural nation of Israel (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the 12 patriarchs, the 12 tribes of Israel).

An excerpt: The Symbolic Olive Tree

13 The apostle Paul goes on to compare those who become part of Abraham’s seed to branches on a symbolic olive tree.* (Rom. 11:21) This cultivated olive tree represents the fulfillment of God’s purpose with regard to the Abrahamic covenant. The root of the tree is holy and represents Jehovah as the one who gives life to spiritual Israel. (Isa. 10:20; Rom. 11:16) The trunk represents Jesus as the primary part of Abraham’s seed. The branches collectively represent “the full number” of those included in the secondary part of Abraham’s seed.
* Evidently, there is no typical or antitypical olive tree. Although natural Israel did produce kings and priests, the nation did not become a kingdom of priests. Kings in Israel were prevented by law from becoming priests. Therefore, natural Israel did not serve as a typical olive tree. Paul is illustrating how God’s purpose to produce “a kingdom of priests” is fulfilled in connection with spiritual Israel. This updates what was published in the August 15, 1983, Watchtower, pages 14-19.
13. What is represented by (a) the olive tree, (b) its root, © its trunk, and (d) its branches?

14 In the illustration of the olive tree, the natural Jews who rejected Jesus are likened
to olive branches that were “broken off.” (Rom.11:17)

Note how para. 13 does not even try anymore to give any Scriptural support or reasons WHY. It just says the root is this, the trunk is that, and apparently you have to accept this without further ado. The 1983 article at the least explored the scriptural support and tried to give Scriptural reasons (not that it was an entirely satisfying explanation either, but it contains interesting elements), but these were built in large part upon the whole type-antitype idea, which is now thrown in the dustbin. Talk about sawing the branch off the tree you're sitting on...

Let me just touch upon a few inconsistencies and paradoxes with this new explanation.
- "cultivated olive tree": If Jehovah is the root, then who is the cultivator of the tree? Who has planted the young tree with its root?
- The olive tree is said to depict the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. But where does Abraham come into the picture? Nowhere! Abraham is completely left out now!
- Natural Jews who rejected Jesus are likened to the natural branches that were "broken off". How then did these Jews who never believed in Jesus, grow on "their own" (Rom. 11:24) olive tree in the first place?? How did they naturally sprout from the trunk, who is said to be Jesus?? It does not make any sense!!
- Those who become part of Abraham's seed, HOW exactly can be said they descend or spring from Abraham? What does Paul say?
- Is there anyhow a certain continuity from the natural nation of Israel into "spiritual Israel" or the new "holy nation" (1 Peter 2:9)? Is the concept/term of "spiritual Israel" valid? or could it be misleading and in need of rethinking? See Perimeno's essay Did "Spiritual" Israel Replace Natural Israel?
- What was the quintessence of Paul's reasoning in Romans chapters 9-11 (or even 8-12)? (2 Peter 3:15-16)

PS: Maybe someone could upload a scan of the picture of the olive tree with the type-antitype in the Watchtower Aug. 15, 1983? That would be very interesting to see for all.

Replacement theology = natural Israel is OUT and the wtbts is IN. hmmmm...

:heartbeat: You are my friends! I don't think it just by chance, but by God's Grand Design, that He has guided both our steps... to let your paths cross mine. :heartbeat:
04-09-2011 11:35 AM
Find all posts by this user

Posts: 3,641
Group: Registered Plus
Joined: Apr 2007
Status: Offline
Post: #2
RE: Olive Tree Symbolism



Thanks for posting that.

I would like to read; The Watchtower study article 'O the Depth of God's Wisdom!' in the Watchtower of May 15, 2011.

Has it been posted anywhere?

In Christ


the spiritual man examines all things

Jehovah's Witnesses - The Bible Report
The Unforgivable Sin
04-09-2011 11:57 AM
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
This Space For Rent

Posts: 1,839
Group: Registered Plus
Joined: Dec 2006
Status: Offline
Post: #3
RE: Olive Tree Symbolism

I think the difficulty is because Paul is teaching a "sacred secret" or "mystery" that is not fully understood by many Christians.

Those teaching "replacement theology" argue that so-called "spiritual Israel" (i.e. the Christian church) REPLACED natural Israel.

However, Romans 11 shows this is not the case. Paul argues that God's plan includes the FULL salvation of the Jews.

This is clear if we do not pick quotes in isolation, but read the passage in context.

The stumbling block for many is THIS passage, that contains the mystery...

"Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob"; "and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins." (Romans 11:27)

Of course, many Christians believe this is talking about "spiritual" Israel. However, this does not fit with Paul's argument.

Firstly, he quotes a passage saying that "he will banish ungodliness from Jacob". This is a clear reference to physical Israel.

Furthermore, Paul then TELLS US what God intends to do with the Jews:

"As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may receive mercy. For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all." (Romans 11:28-32)

In other words... yes, the Jews collectively were disobedient and enemies of God at the time, but they were still beloved for the sake of their forefathers.

The whole context is about Jews vs Gentiles, and NOT about "spiritual Israel". It is a MYSTERY... a SACRED SECRET because many Christians do not believe Paul's words here... that they (the Jews) "are beloved for the sake of their forefathers".

Even the destruction of 70AD did not change this. That is why Jesus made so many CONDITIONAL statements about Jerusalem...

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

"...they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." (Luke 21:24)

This is different from God's condemnation of other cities (such as Babylon), which were often FINAL and ETERNAL. On the contrary, Jerusalem's condemnation was LIMITED.

True to history, Jerusalem was never totally destroyed, but has existed as a city until today, and is now part of Israel again.

I believe this is all part of Jehovah's plan, even though Israel as a nation does not currently worship God.

In the words of Paul... "O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!" (Romans 11:33)

My Blog: The Prophetic Word

Latest post: Daniel 9 And The Seventy (70) Weeks - How Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy was fulfilled.
04-09-2011 12:26 PM
Find all posts by this user

View a Printable Version
Send this Thread to a Friend
Subscribe to this Thread | Add Thread to Favorites

Forum Jump: