And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
Ezekiel 37:17 (KJV)
Stick – Have you read this prophecy? God instructs Ezekiel to take two “sticks”. On one write the name of Judah (symbolizing the House of Judah, Judah being the dominant tribe of the southern kingdom) and on the other write Joseph (symbolizing the House of Israel, Joseph’s child, Ephraim being the dominating tribe of the northern kingdom). Then take these two “sticks” and join them together to become one “stick”. In a nutshell, God is prophecising about the reuniting of the kingdom – all 12 tribes. You see, Ezekiel lived about 400 years after the kingdom divided upon King Solomon’s death. His life existed in a time when the kingdom was still split in two. And the kingdom never came together again… it hasn’t happened yet. So this is clearly a prophecy of a future time.
The only problem here is that the word isn’t “stick” in the Hebrew – it’s ets which means “tree”. I know our imaginations can’t quite fathom someone joining two trees together in their hand, so we end up with the translation of “stick”. But try swapping out the word “stick” from all the passages with the word “tree”, do the words sound familiar?
It’s the same story from Romans 11. There are two trees, one wild and one tame. They are joined together and become one tree. Paul uses the same imagery to explain this mystery to the faithful in Rome. We know the wild tree represents the House of Israel, and the tame tree represents the House of Judah. The House of Israel is wild because they were divorced from God and completely assimilated into the Gentiles. They lost all trace of what they once were – a people holy unto God. The tame tree is the House of Judah because they were never divorced, and always remained aligned with God’s laws. The House of Judah are the current day Jews.
How can we be sure about this interpretation in Romans 11? Sure the words are similar, but how do we know Paul is talking about Israel – the 12 tribes? Well Paul refers to them as an olive tree. Can that reference be found elsewhere?
The Lord called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.
The olive tree is the name given to Israel – all 12 tribes. Everything always ties together. God is working a miracle among His people. He is bringing them together again and will be manifested fully when the Messiah returns. God never replaced His people, He only added to them, and is bringing them back into the fold by the works of Yeshua.
Do you consider yourself a Gentile? Then you are part of the wild tree that bears the name of Joseph. You are a part of the northern kingdom – a part of the 10 tribes – a part of the lost sheep of Israel. And through Yeshua, you have been grafted back into the tame tree. If you have been grafted back, then you are no longer a Gentile – you are Israel. Rejoice in knowing that the Father loved you so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Yeshua, to die and allow you entrance back into the kingdom.