$igns of the Times
On Sunday, October 4th, the International Conference Center in Jerusalem was filled with thousands of Christian Pilgrims, who, as part of their week-long “Feast of Tabernacles” celebration, observed the international “Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem.” During this observance, Rabbi Riskin, Chief Rabbi of the community of Efrat made the following statement:
"Why do I believe God is with us? I have witnessed a new Christianity - one that observes the Covenant between God and Israel - between God and the Jewish people. It is a Christianity that proudly says to us that 'you are the root and we are the branch'...You stand with us, and for this we are eternally grateful."
The problem is, and this has been pointed out numerous times to Rabbi Riskin, who either refuses to listen or just “doesn’t get it”, that he misunderstands exactly what the root/branch teaching is in Christianity. The New Testament does NOT say that the Jews are the root and Christianity is the branch, it says that JESUS is the ROOT, Israel is the tree stump which remains after (according to some) supposedly losing their position as G-d’s chosen people, while Christians are the new branches grafted in, which replace the Jewish ones that were cut off.
Here is the passage from the New Testament which makes reference to this concept:
(16) If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.
(17) But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,
(18) do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.
(19) You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."
(20) Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;
(21) for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.
(22) Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.
(23) And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
(24) For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?
Who does the NT say the “root” is?
(12) And again, Isaiah says: "THERE SHALL BE A ROOT OF JESSE; AND HE WHO SHALL RISE TO REIGN OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM THE GENTILES SHALL HOPE."
(5) But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals."
(16) "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star."
The signs of the times are much clearer than some would like to think. Unfortunately, this author believes that the “signs” of the times are dollar signs. The optimist in me would like to believe that the rabbis of our community who are supporting evangelical Christianity are just not seeing the hidden agenda behind the evangelicals’ desire to become “bosom buddies” with the leadership of Israel.
However, I myself was an evangelical Christian for 17 years and I know precisely what they believe. I also see that those rabbis who support them always seem to receive both a lot of attention and financial support for their communities and causes. Do you think there might be a connection?