Vine: Hugging and Turning
In John 15:1 Yeshua says: "I Am the True Vine". This establishes for us the identity of the One who is the only Foundation of the Body of Christ.
Have you ever stopped to contemplate why Yeshua didn't just say `I am the vine'? If Yeshua is the True Vine then it means there must be a false vine!
In Romans 11 Paul is speaking about olive trees, rather than grape vines, but he too makes this same distinction between the True and the false, but instead he uses the terms Good Olive and wild olive.
Romans 11: 17-18 & 24 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, do not boast against the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the Root, but the Root supports you.
For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a Good Olive Tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
These verses have much to say to us about the vital role that Israel has, and must continue to have, in the plans and purposes of God. It also speaks of an intimacy that should exist between Jews and non-Jews who have been grafted into the Good Olive, or the True Vine. But all these things I must put to one side for future study, because as yet I have not comprehended the richness of what the Spirit is saying to the Church about these things. But let me just note one thing; clearly Paul is stating that both Jews and non-Jews alike must be grafted into the Good Olive Tree (the True Vine).
Also, at this point, we wish only to establish that there is a wild olive/false vine. Moreover, you and I have been, or we currently are, attached to this wild olive/false vine.
The identity of this wild olive/false vine is, of course, prince of the power of the air.
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
The intimate relationship between humans and the false vine was established in the Garden of Eden. Indeed, there we also find two distinctive plants, or more precisely, trees: The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
It should not surprise us to discover both these trees in the midst of God's creation. But not only do we find them here, we also find them side by side, expressed in one form or another, throughout the pages of Scripture. That is, until we get to the Book of Revelation that speaks of The Tree of Life, but no longer do we find the tree of the knowledge of good and evil standing.
All this is to say that the decisions taken by Adam and Eve, in the Garden, resulted in humans becoming branches of the false vine, the prince of the power of the air; rather than people living in vital union with God. Before they made their decisions, Adam and Eve were able to walk with God, but afterwards this was no longer possible. God was the Tree of Life to them and they were abiding in His fellowship every day. However, it was God's desire that Adam, Eve and their children’s on-going fellowship with Him should be a choice which stemmed from their hearts, rather than being a matter of robotic compulsion.
The key components that describe our union with prince of the power of the air, are: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
John refers to these fundamentals in his letter; 1John 2:
16 For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world.
If you look again in Genesis 3:6 you will see these components at work in the decision-making processes of Eve.
So, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
To lust is to long for, or desire, that which is forbidden. It is interesting that in the Hebrew language the words “pleasant” and “desirable” are extensions of the meaning of “to lust”. We can quickly diagnose whether we are in relationship with the false vine by noting how often we lust: “good food”, or what is “pleasant to the eyes” or that which is “desirable to make us wise” (or at least appear to be wise!)
GOOD-PLEASANT-DESIRABLE are angels of light to us. Their apparent light hides the reality that they are in fact the operatives of the law of sin and death, the operatives of the prince of the power of the air. It is that which was good, pleasant and desirable in the opinion of Eve, Adam and the prince of the power of the air which led to humans being separated from the grace of God. It is that which, in our opinion, is good, pleasant and desirable which will keep us out of the protection of God and in union with the prince of the power of the air.
God knew, all too well, that the temptation to agree with the opinion of the prince of the power of the air would be too much for Eve, and in turn for Adam.
For God the Father, the only way back into fellowship with mankind was to plant out His own Son as the True Vine and thus make the way possible for people to be cut free from the false vine and be grafted into Christ, the True Vine.
What God foreordained and what God did through Yeshua is summed up in the words SALVATION and REDEMPTION.
In John 15 Jesus goes on to describe how He, and the Father, together, accomplished Salvation and Redemption for us. But Yeshua also goes on to explain, in plain language, what is required of us in entering the fullness of God’s salvation and redemption.
What is required is expressed in the key word of John 15: abiding, or to express it in other words to maintain a living common union.
I am convinced that the study of the meaning of this word, “abide”, as it exists in the heart of God, is fathomless! What we can learn about this word from our study of the Scriptures falls well short of all that God has ordained for us if we will abide in Christ.
Therefore, in the next chapters we will consider The Importance of Being Cut to The Heart followed by The Importance of Being Circumcised in Heart. These truths are indispensable; for the actions of “being cut to the heart” and “being circumcised in heart” prepare us to enter that place of abiding in Christ.
I realise we appear to be moving slowly, but it is difficult and slow work when you are crawling down around the foundations of a building! Just remember that the importance of the foundations rests in the fact that they (the foundations) ultimately determine what (fruit) can be built upon those foundations. Like Abraham we need to be certain that the Architect and Builder of these foundations is God and not man.