In February, I began to share some of Jim Hutchen’s commentary on the “One New Man,” a teaching that is especially important for us in these unprecedented times. During March, I took a break from the series to do videos recognizing the series of holidays and remembrance days in Israel, and the breaking news of the discovery of more Dead Sea Scroll fragments. But now I want to finish it up the One New Man teaching over the next three weeks. If any of you are more visual learners and readers, we would love to email you a free copy of Jim’s small booklet One New Man.
Over these many years, we have built a community of Christian Zionists who are actively looking to the scriptures for answers. Jim’s One New Man teaching addresses some of the most important questions in many of our minds. We started by breaking down the intriguing and little understood verse in Ephesians 2:15 where Paul describes Jesus’s stated purpose as creating in himself “one new man.”
To further understand the “one new man,” we need to look to Romans 11:16. Paul writes, “If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.” What is the holy root?
Jim Hutchens believes the “holy root” of the Olive Tree in Romans 11:16 refers to the patriarchs and the unbreakable covenants God made with them and their seed.
Elsewhere, the Holy Spirit teaches through the Apostle Paul that the ultimate “seed” of Abraham the Patriarch, is the Messiah.
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. Galatians 3: 16.
Thus the “holy root” of verse 16 is the same root that both the Prophet Isaiah and the Apostle Paul speak of when they say: “The root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.” . In the last analysis then, the Root that gives life and sustains the olive tree is none other than the Messiah Jesus. What then, is “the olive tree”?
The “olive tree” represents the people of God – the people of faith throughout history. It stands for the people on whom the oil of the olive tree has been poured and who have been “grafted in” to the tree. The “olive tree” is a metaphor that represents the One New Man that Jesus is creating in himself.
The “olive tree” is not what we call today the “Church.” The “olive tree” is not something separate from Israel. It does not replace Israel, but is an expansion of Israel to include gentiles, or people from many nations, who have been “grafted-in.” It is in fact, the “Israel of God.” As a matter of fact, the word “church” is not even used in the book of Romans until chapter 16 where it means, as we noted, “congregation, community” or “assembly.”
The “olive tree” represents the “all Israel” of verse 26. It is the One New Man that God planned from the beginning and Jesus carried on toward completion in himself, joining together a believing remnant of Jews and “grafted-in” Gentiles. Truly, up to this point it was a mystery not completely known to the people of God. This is the mystery which Paul said was “made known to me by revelation.” . It is the mystery, “that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body and sharers together in the promise in Messiah Jesus.” .
This mystery, if not properly understood by all, can lead to “ignorance” and “conceit.” Listen to Paul’s admonition: I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved. . Paul, with his thorough knowledge of the Torah and with an amazing anticipation of what would take place through the centuries, issues a solemn warning to Gentile believers – those “grafted-in” to the Olive Tree.
“Do not boast … consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. Do not be arrogant but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.” .
Tragically, the history of the institutionalized Church is a shameful monument to its failure and refusal to heed the Apostle’s warning. “Ignorance and conceit” coupled with “boasting and arrogance” too often has been the predominant response of Christians to Jews from the Second Century to the present. Rather than accepting God’s conclusion that an Israel-based “root” supports the Gentiles who are “grafted in,” almost all of denominational Christianity has insisted it has “replaced” or “superseded” Israel. By and large, the Church’s stance on Israel is in direct opposition to what God’s Word declares.
Join me next week to try and understand what Paul means and who he is directing his admonishment to when he says Israel has experienced a hardening in part? Whose heart is it that is hardened?