Enduring Words and Wild Olives
By Jim Huskins
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
One of the core doctrines of the Bible is that God does not change and that what He says will never be rescinded. The devil approached Jesus at the end of His forty-day fast and tempted Him to sate His raging hunger by turning stones into bread. Jesus’ response, found in Matthew 4:4, is to quote Deuteronomy 8:3: “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
One lesson here is that we are better able to resist temptation when we know God’s perspective. Jesus was tempted three times. Three times He quoted the book of Deuteronomy. This is no surprise because Deuteronomy is part of the Torah: God’s instructions for living are found in the first five books of the Bible. Jesus knew that Torah defines what it means to live a Godly life.
This exchange between the devil and Jesus is, also. a powerful affirmation that all of God’s Word stands forever. Our sustenance is every word that comes from God’s mouth. Not some of them! This clear and powerful statement flies in the face of teaching promoted by many churches. Most modern doctrine is predicated on the assumption that major portions of God’s word were either changed or nullified by Jesus and/or the Apostles. One of the most deceptive devices for discarding so much of God’s Enduring Word is the false teaching that we are now living under a so-called “new” covenant.
In the book of Genesis, God offered Abraham a covenant relationship. Chapter 15 states terms under which He would set apart a people for a holy purpose. This group would be Abraham’s descendants through his grandson, Jacob. Verse 18 reads: “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land….” From that time, every promise of God is made to the Nation of Israel. Nowhere in scripture does God promise to redeem anyone other than Israel. God promised Abraham that his offspring would be a blessing to all nations.
During the Exodus, God expanded and clarified the covenant. He told Israel that if they would obey Him and walk in His ways, He would be a husband to them, bless them with every good thing, and settle them securely in the Land He promised to Abraham. The Israelites agreed to these terms, but they were quick to break their marriage contract. Over the next thousand years, Israel was unfaithful to its vows. God divorced and dispersed the Northern Kingdom, and He sent the Southern Kingdom into seventy years of Babylonian captivity. Throughout all their unfaithfulness, God sent prophets to call His people to repentance and restoration.
One of those prophets was Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 31:31-34, God says that He will make a “new” covenant with Israel. Nowhere does God say that He will change the terms of the existing covenant. Those terms are spelled out in Torah. The difference is that God’s Torah will be written on every person’s heart. “No longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me.” We are not yet living under that “new” covenant. If we were, everyone would know God and His instructions for living without being told. The fact that Jesus gave the Great Commission—our job is still to teach Christ’s ways—is proof that the “new” covenant is a future event.
The “new” covenant will begin after Jesus defeats the enemies of God and establishes His Millennial Reign. That Reign will begin with something called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The “new” covenant will start with marriage vows just as did the Sinai covenant. At the end of the Millennium, heaven and earth will vanish, and New Jerusalem will descend out of heaven. That Holy City has twelve gates, one for each tribe of Israel. It does not have a gentile gate, and no one will enter who is not part of the Nation of Israel. Thank God that Jesus—Abraham’s Offspring—became a blessing to all nations. His perfect sacrifice allows you and me to be adopted into God’s family.
Paul says in Ephesians 2:12, “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Galatians 3:7 says, “Those of faith are the sons of Abraham.” Through faith in Jesus, we are joined to the Nation of Israel and share in the promises made to Israel.
This divine adoption is called “grafted in.” Grafting is a horticultural term. Fruit trees are one type of plant in which branches of one variety can be joined to the rootstock of a different variety. Olives are a fruit that is dear to God’s heart. He compares Israel to an olive tree that He has long cultivated to produce good fruit. The fruit He desires is faithful obedience to His Son and His instructions for living. In Matthew 7:19, Jesus says, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Romans 11:17-23 makes it clear that being born into God’s cultivated olive tree—Israel—is not enough. Blood descent from Abraham will save no one who does not produce the good fruit of faithful obedience. Verse 24 says that faithful Gentiles—wild olives—are grafted into Israel.
“The word of our God will stand forever.” Jesus died to redeem Israel. Part of that redemption is making a way for us of the nations to become part of The Nation—“brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Jim & Beverly Huskins are members of Obedient Heart Fellowship in McDowell County. Beginning July 2, 2022 Obedient Heart Fellowship will meet at 10:00 Each Sabbath (Seventh Day) in space graciously shared by New Covenant Church in Christ. 2460 US 221 Business N. In Marion, NC. Call for info. 828-460-7913. You can read more good Christian news from Jim HERE.