The Vine Grafted In
I wrote this when we were living in the Land that G-d calls beautiful. In fact, we lived in one of the most beautiful parts of that land. The mountains of the Carmel range begin north of Haifa and extend south to just north of Caesarea. Less than 10 miles north of there is the village of Zichron Ya’acov. A town founded in 1882 and taken under the care of Baron Rothschild soon thereafter. The Baron made this into one of the two first wine producing villages in Israel. Today, the charm and beauty of 100 years ago has been re-established in a village of only 13,000 with cobblestone streets and tiny shops and cafes through the very center of town. Wine is still the chief produce here, and the Baron’s Carmel winery is a spot on everyone’s list of important spots to explore!
Carol and I moved into the house that the L-rd had prepared for us even before we committed to move to Israel. It sits on the side of the mountain and overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. The soil is very sandy and the sod, that will one day be our yard, is having trouble getting rooted. I spoke to a local man about growing grapes in this soil. He smiled and assured me that that is what this soil was put here for. So, continuing, I asked him what kind of vines would he recommend. You see, his great grandfather was in the First Aliyahto Zichron, a settler of the village over 100 years ago! Again, he smiled and said, "well the grapes for the wine are stronger than the ones for eating. But alas, the season for planting new cuttings is passed." He continued to explain, "If you take a local vine and put it into the soil, within five or six years, it will grow sick and die. You must graft a wild grape vine with it to make it strong enough to withstand the harsh times it will have in its infancy.
This was a revelation to me, of course; I thought "how appropriate that the wild branch is what makes the natural branch strong enough to survive. That will preach! Well, was I ever taken aback when I later asked this old wisened farmer, "That grafting in thing you do with grape vines; do you do it with Olive trees, too?" "Oh no," he answered. "If you do that, you spoil the crop. The olives will be too bitter to eat and even the oil is too dark and bitter to be of any use." Hmmm,
"So," I thought "How very gracious of G-d to sacrifice the crop of His own chosen people to save the ‘wild branches’ that He allowed to be fed from the rich root of Israel." How very great a sacrifice He made that the world would know His grace and His love. "
Then, I thought, "How very bitter and dark is the crop today. How very tragic that the crop that G-d planted for Himself is today so far removed from the natural root that it is too bitter to eat and too dark for oil."
The Church, the Gentile ‘wild branch’ has forsaken the root into which she is grafted and has, instead become, not an olive tree, but a Christmas tree. A Christmas tree is covered with bright lights and glitter but its root is cut off and it is dying! Oh, Church, wake up! You do not support the root, the root supports you. Oh Church, arise and become the bride of your Jewish Messiah. Make yourself ready to marry this very Jewish redeemer with whom you will live forever. You will not live in a Gentilized Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people; it is the center of Judaism and of G-d’s holy ways. It is to these ways that you must cling. It is of these ways that you must learn if you are to "make yourself ready" for the soon coming of your bridegroom. He is coming for a spotless bride who has prepared herself to live in accordance with His ways, not yours! His ways are ways of Torah, ways of the root of Israel.
Yes, the wild grape branch does strengthen the natural vine and keeps it healthy during its growing season. But the wild olive branch will destroy the natural crop. Oh, Church, repent and return to the L-rd, the G-d of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel.