Fig, Olive & Vine
by Asher Intrater, , Revive Israel
Yeshua told a parable about the fig tree, which we understand to represent the nation of Israel.
"Learn this parable from the fig tree; when you see its branches growing soft and its leaves budding, know that the summer is near" (Matthew 24:32).
The softening of the branches can be seen as a softening of the heart toward Yeshua, and the budding of the leaves the renewal of Messianic faith in Israel. These things have been happening in our generation, especially since the year 2000. In the next verses, Yeshua indicates that this will be one of the signs of the generation of His return.
Matthew and Mark's gospels were written fairly soon after Yeshua's resurrection, before there was an expanded movement of faith among the Gentiles. Luke wrote his gospel after traveling with Paul and seeing the revival movement in other nations. His version of the parable adds a significant small phrase:
"... the fig tree and all the trees" (Luke 21:29).
The phrase "all the trees" refers to other nations outside of Israel. God has a plan for every nation. Each nation is like a tree. Each varies in fruit and form. Israel is the pattern nation, and what is written about Israel in the Bible has parallel meaning in other nations.
Paul had a revelation of even more than what Luke wrote. Not only would people in other nations receive the gospel, creating a unique tree of faith; but they would eventually be spiritually connected, "grafted in", to the remnant of believers within Israel. This is the olive tree parable.
"You branches of a wild olive tree have been grafted in among them and become partakers of the root" (Romans 11:17)
Matthew and Mark probably wrote around 35 AD; Luke and Paul around 60 AD. John's writings seem to be the latest, around 90 AD. Matthew and Mark emphasized Israel; Luke and Paul addressed the Gentile nations; John wrote after the destruction of Israel in 70 AD and tended to write from a heavenly viewpoint, less connected to nationalistic definitions. John chose a different parable – the vine.
"I am the vine and you are the branches" (John 15:5).
This describes a personal connection of faith to Yeshua. The vine may be seen as the spiritual Church and the fig tree as national Israel. The other trees are other nations. The olive tree is the unity of the remnants of Israel and the nations by faith.
Joel prophesied that the vine and the fig tree would bear fruit together in the end times (Joel 2:22). This may be a hint of the unprecedented cooperation we see between Israel and the Church today.
Habakkuk prophesied that even if we do not see fruit on the fig tree, the vine or the olive tree, we should still rejoice (Habakkuk 3:17). Haggai prophesied that on "this day", God would start to bless the fig tree, the vine and the olive tree, even though until now they had not borne fruit (Haggai 2:19).
What an encouragement! Let’s believe today for a breakthrough and a new period of fruitfulness for God’s purpose in Israel, the Church and the Messianic remnant.
Fig, Olive & Vine
by Ilana, , Revive Israel
So it was with joy and anticipation that I returned to Spain this February to participate in a conference Asher was leading in Burgos, a small city in the north. Mariana and Uziel, elders at Tiferet Yeshua congregation who are from Spanish speaking backgrounds, joined us as well.
We were shocked to discover that there is almost no Jewish population in modern Spain. Between the Inquisition, the 1492 AD expulsion, and Hitler's Holocaust, the Jewish community was virtually wiped out, standing at less than 0.1 % of the population today. My hosts told me I was the first Jewish person they had ever met!
Although there was very little knowledge among the attendees about Israel's role in the Bible, people were eager to learn, and many were touched by new revelation. Asher challenged the participants to note that Israel is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible, virtually on every page. He also assured them that the Lordship of Yeshua must remain central to any teaching about Jewish roots of the Bible.
Many came forward to express a desire to be in partnership with the Israeli branches of the Romans 11 olive tree. Uziel and Mariana, who minister to the Spanish speaking community in Israel, were encouraged by the response.
My return to Spain was indeed a blessing. We look forward to continuing in this partnership and pray for God's fullness for the Body in Spain.
Fig, Olive & Vine
by Cody and Youval, , Revive Israel
By Cody and Youval
Youval is the general manager of Revive Israel where he has been serving for the past eleven years. He has a vision for outreach to Muslim Arabs and recently participated in a three day conference on this subject in a European country. (Details of conference arrangements remain undisclosed for security reasons.)
Youval, an Israeli sabra, was the only Jewish Israeli representative in attendance. He accompanied 13 Arabic speaking church leaders from Israel and the territories. There were approximately 200 attendees, among them believers from a Muslim background, foreign workers reaching out to Muslims and some ministries looking to sponsor evangelistic work among Muslims.
The focus of the gathering was to pray together to receive a burden for the salvation of Muslims in Israel and the territories and to explore ways to work together. Currently there are 5 million Arabs in Israel and the territories. Approximately 170,000 of them consider themselves Christian, of which about 5,000 are "born-again" and actively seeking to advance the kingdom of God. Only about 300 of these are from a Muslim background.
This is the fourth consecutive year Youval has participated in this conference. The conference highlights for him were the times of fellowship, eating and laughing together. For the first time Youval was asked to give a morning devotional at the conference and spoke about God's covenant. He was also asked to bless the participants with the traditional Aaronic blessing in Hebrew. As he sang this blessing there was a strong presence of God in the room.
Youval considers it a great honor to be part of this group as it represents the greater Arab believing body in the conflict zone. These brothers work in difficult situations yet are filled with hope and joy in the Lord as they persevere in faithfulness. We have much to learn from them. He believes that joint work between Israeli Jewish believers and Arab believers is one of the keys for the salvation of Muslims.
Please pray for continued cooperation with Arab brothers and sisters and for more revelation of God's heart for Muslims.
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