Today I want to look at the most common biblical metaphor that is applied to Israel, the Olive Tree, and show you how it is directly related to our discussion of Yeshua being our Kinsman Redeemer.
To prepare ourselves for this discussion, let us first read Romans 11:17-24:
But if some of the branches were broken off,
and you — a wild olive —
were grafted in among them
and have become equal sharers
in the rich root of the olive tree,
then don’t boast as if you
were better than the branches!
However, if you do boast,
remember that you are not supporting the root,
the root is supporting you.
So you will say,
“Branches were broken off
so that I might be grafted in.”
True, but so what?
They were broken off
because of their lack of trust.
However, you keep your place
only because of your trust.
So don’t be arrogant;
on the contrary, be terrified!
For if God did not spare the natural branches,
he certainly won’t spare you!
So take a good look at God’s kindness and his severity:
on the one hand, severity toward those who fell off;
but, on the other hand, God’s kindness toward you
— provided you maintain yourself in that kindness!
Otherwise, you too will be cut off!
Moreover, the others,
if they do not persist in their lack of trust,
will be grafted in;
because God is able to graft them back in.
For if you were cut out of what is
by nature a wild olive tree
and grafted, contrary to nature,
into a cultivated olive tree,
how much more will these
natural branches be grafted back
into their own olive tree!
There is so much rich theological insight packed into these verses that one could literally write hundreds of pages expounding on what Paul is saying here, but I’m going to keep things relatively short and just stick to the topic at hand which is the Kinsman Redeemer.
First, I think it’s pretty clear from these verses that gentiles or “foreigners” must be grafted INTO the Israel olive tree.
Paul equates “wild olive trees” to the pagan gentile world who we’re told are able to be grafted into the Israel olive tree because some of its branches have been torn off.
Why were those original members of the Israel Olive Tree torn off?
Because those particular Israelites refused to accept the chosen Kinsman Redeemer YHWH had sent to them.
In order to be redeemed by Yeshua, our Kinsman Redeemer, Paul says the following must take place.
If you are a gentile, you have to be grafted into the Israel Olive Tree even though it is a tree that is not natural to you.
If you are a Jew who is native to the Israel Olive Tree, in order to remain attached Paul maintains that you must remain true to God’s covenants WHICH INCLUDES THE REVELATION OF MESSIAH YESHUA.
This is the common denominator for BOTH Jew and Gentile.
In order to remain or be part of the Israel Olive Tree, one MUST accept the Messiah that YHWH has sent to Israel.
For he is the finisher of the Covenant that began with Abraham.
Understand that Yeshua is a Kinsman Redeemer because he redeems his kinsmen, period.
By means of faith in Yeshua, the door is opened for the gentile to become an adopted son or daughter of God’s chosen people, the Israelites.
Through faith in Yeshua, the gentile becomes a kinsmen and thus eligible for redemption.
If that doesn’t happen, the gentile remains a foreigner even if he is an alien living among the Israelites.
This is a pretty simple concept to understand I think.
If one is NOT a kinsmen of the Jewish people, one is not eligible to have a Jewish kinsmen redeemer.
A kinsmen redeemer is one who through great sacrifice purchases the freedom of another.
Finally, note the stern warning Paul gives to not boast or look down on the native olive branches that were torn off so you could be grafted in.
Remember, it is the Israel Olive Tree that nourishes and supports you, NOT vice versa.
As Paul so eloquently put it, if because of their lack of trust, God can break off the native members of the Israel olive tree, He can do the same to wild branches like you and then easily graft the native branches back into their native Israel Olive tree.