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It is not you that bears the root
The root bears you!
By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman © April 04,2016 (last updated January 8, 2020)

Jewish doctrinal defense against heresy.
This section of LearnEmunah.com is intended only for Jewish education and defense.

Christian doctrine is frequently self contradictory. In this study we will consider one example of this.

We often hear Christians say that they are "grafted onto the Tree of Israel." Believing themselves to be the 'adopted' spiritual heirs of his proposed reforms they cite Paul in order to give support to their assumed place in biblical religion. But does Paul's analogy support this claim?

Here is the section of Paul's writings that discusses this idea.

Romans 11:1,2 I [Paul] say then, has God rejected His people? God forbid! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew...
11:11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid!...
11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them and became a partaker with them of the root and richness of the olive tree,
18 do not boast against the branches. If you boast, remember you do not sustain the root, but the root sustains you.

As a follower of Yeshua Paul believed that the Jewish authorities had erred in their rejection of Yeshua's proposed reforms. We wont debate this point in the present study. I have a lot material on that question elsewhere on the site. For now, let's focus on the tree analogy.

Paul is clear that HaShem has not rejected the Jewish people nor the Sinai Covenant (verses 1,2). He is also clear that God "foreknew" the Jewish rejection of Yeshua (verse 2) and maintains the Jewish Covenant anyway. Paul rejects Replacement Theology with the statment: It is not you that bears the root, the root bears you. So without contradicting Paul's statements one can not defend the notion that Jews must accept Jesus in order to be accepted by God, or in Christian parlance, "be saved."

Paul says: ... you do not sustain the root (i.e. the Jews and Torah), but the root sustains you. So the foundation of the "tree" is not Jesus according to Paul, it remained, in his generation, the Sinai Covenant as revealed in the Torah with the Jewish people (the "tree").

By the 3rd century CE the Christian Church had completely severed itself from Judaism. Using Paul's Romans 11 annalogy, since the nourishment of the "root" (the Sinai Covenant) passes to the "grafted on branches," through the "tree" (Judaism), the Christian religion had now removed itself from all ties with the Jewish "tree" and hence its "root." What the Church termed "Judaizing" was declared illegal. Without rabbinic guidence and nourishment the branches soon withered and lost Torah. Since the 3rd century CE at the latest, Christianity has existed as a completely separate religion from Judaism, with its roots in Paganism through Rome and Constantinople rather than from Torah.

Missionary Christian claims that Jews need to leave the "tree" and embrace their "grafted on branch" obviously contradicts the clear teachings of Paul as well as Torah. This teachings arose mucgh later. Again, "... you do not sustain the root, but the root sustains you." That was arguably the case in Paul's time when amost all the talmidim were still Jews and the rest were attaching themselves to them, but post Constantine it no longer is. The Church has divorced itself completely from Judaism, root, tree, and branch. To try and convert a Jew to another 'tree' is like standing on a tree limb while cutting it from the tree! The Church has no standing with the Tree of Israel. Were all the Jews to "accept Jesus" the "tree" would cease to exist, G-d forbid. Without nourishment from the "tree" the branches withered and died and fell to the ground.

To say that the Torah was "nailed to the cross," as some missionaries do, places the branches above the tree in defiance of Paul's Romans 11 doctrine. To say that Jesus was god incarnate places the New Testament above the Sinai Covenant/Torah "root" and that contradicts not only Romans eleven but Jesus himself:

Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law [the Torah], till all be fulfilled.

If Romans 11 is true then modern Christianity can not be.

For further study:

Etc.

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