who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! [Isa 5:20]
Creation testifies that the branches of the olive tree produce bitter fruit…so bitter, in fact, that the fruit is not palatable raw from the tree but only after fermentation or pickling. At the center of this bitter fruit is an inedible seed that is as hard as stone. Its flesh is plump and oily. The olive tree awakens or blossoms in the spring after other fruit trees have already awakened; the small blossoms are hidden by evergreen leaves. These small blossoms are largely wind-pollinated; most olive varieties are self-pollinating. The fruit is harvested in the “dark” portion of the year, after the intensity of the heat has passed, as the hours of the darkness of the night exceed the hours of the light of the day (see Prodigy of the Almond Tree: Part 1). The olive tree is described as having a graceful and billowing appearance; in other words, the olive tree has a beauty of its own. Furthermore, did you know that the olive tree is regarded as an invasive “weed” tree ?
- bitter fruit
- a seed as hard as stone
- plump and oily flesh
- small, hidden spring blossoms
- self-pollination by the wind
- a beauty of its own
In contrast, Messiah was not rebellious. He was not bitter. Rather the Righteous Branch from the stump of Jesse was the faithful, sweet, Seed of the Word of יהוה. He was not proud or arrogant. In fact, He did nothing of His own fleshly desire. His heart yielded to the desires of His Father. He was pollinated by the commands (“debar”) of His Father. He spoke nothing of His own accord but only what His Father commanded Him. There were no falsehood or lies in Him. He guarded or watched over His Father’s Words. Perfectly. As a result, He was stricken, beaten, shaken, crushed. But He wasn’t destroyed. He was the Firstfruit of the resurrection, the first to “awaken” from death or sleep. He was clothed in garments of righteousness and justice; He was called the “Just One” and the Righteous Branch. It is written that He had no form or comeliness, no beauty that we should desire Him.
Is there a tree that serves as an accurate witness testifying to these things?
- first to resurrect or awaken
- white garments of righteousness
- pollinated by the Word or “debar”
- flesh withering in the heat
- stricken…beaten…shaken…crushed but not destroyed
- sweet, single, edible seed
What do you think happened to cause many people to think of the olive tree when they think of Messiah? What do you think happened to cause many to think of the olive tree as the tree that believers will be grafted to? What do you think happened to cause many to regard the bitterness of the olive as sweet and good? Consider the olive tree throughout history. In Roman and Greek mythology, the olive tree was considered a sacred tree. Its leafy olive branches, or olive wreaths, were used to crown the victors of friendly games and bloody wars. Olive branches were ritually offered to deities and powerful figures as emblems of blessings and purification.
The drupe of the almond has a leathery covering, not pulpy or edible, like that of the peach. Its productive value lies in the well-known and much-valued sweet kernel of the stone, or nut. These kernels yield on expression one-half their weight of oil, the well-known oil of the almonds, which is more agreeable than the common expressed oils. It is remarkable that this oil is not once mentioned in the Scriptures. Indeed even olive oil is not very often mentioned by name; and we think that in many of the cases in which "oil," simply, is mentioned without the specification of its quality, it is wrong to suppose that olive-oil is always intended; for it is incredible that the oil of almonds could be unknown to, or unvalued by, a people who sought after and employed vegetable oils so largely as the Hebrews. (p. ccxii)
(Kitto, John. Palestine: The Physical Geography and Natural History of the Holy Land. London: Charles Knight & Co., 1841.)
Creation testifies that the parable of the olive tree is one of bitterness and rebellion. Figuratively, the olive tree represents a bitter and rebellious people with plump flesh that is full of grease and a heart as hard as stone. The olive tree does NOT accurately testify of Messiah, the Righteous Branch, the Firstfruit of the resurrection, the faithful Seed of the Word of יהוה, the Light of the world. The olive tree does NOT accurately testify of the One who guarded or watched over His Father’s commands to protect them from doctrines, traditions and lies of men. Neither do the branches of a tree which produce bitter fruit accurately testify of believers who are producing the fruit of repentance, receiving the Word of יהוה, producing the fruit of light, firstfruits of the resurrection. Our Heavenly Father created the sweet almond tree to serve as such a witness.
It is time for us to awaken and consider that traditions and doctrines surrounding the olive tree may be one of the lies that we have inherited. Considering the witnesses of our Heavenly Father’s creation, we are without excuse. Whether due to Hellenization, the lying pen of the scribes, or inherited lies [Jer 8:8, Jer 16:19, Amo 2:4], it appears that the truth has been suppressed. We may be guilty of calling something that stands for evil as good, darkness as light, bitter as sweet. We need to think about what we proclaim in saying that we are grafted into an olive tree: the proclamation of a rebellious people with hearts as hard as stone, not receiving the commands or “debar” of יהוה, not walking in His ways, receiving lies, traditions and doctrines of men, a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of יהוה. The attributes of the sweet almond tree bear witness to a faithful people, a faithful Israel, trees of righteousness, a people who are grafted into the Righteous Branch, a people who are walking in the ways of יהוה. Which tree best describes you?
As we continue in His Word, may we know His Truth and may His Truth set us free!
~ Followers of the Righteous Branch
Thompson, F. Neal. Assessing Individual Managerial Performance. Atlanta: Pub. Services Division, School of Business Administration, Georgia State U, 1967. TreesforLife.org. Feb. 2012. Web. 12 October 2015.<https://www.treesforlife.org.au/sites/default/files/BFL/Fact_Sheets
"Common Olive Olea Europaea Subsp. Europaea." Factsheet. The University of Queensland. Special Edition of Environmental Weeds of Australia for Biosecurity Queensland., 2011. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/080c0106-040c-4508-8300-0b0a06060e01/media/html/Olea_europaea_subsp._europaea.htm>.