THE OLIVE, THE FIG, THE VINE (or) THE BRAMBLE
(from Matthew 20)
“But Jesus called them [unto him], and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Gideon was raised up in ancient Israel, to deliver them from their oppressors, the Midianites. Midian means “strife/contention”, and is a condition which is rampant today. It seems all flesh is in opposition to something…involved in some cause to stamp out or to impose upon others. The ancient Israelites were serving Baal, the “God” of the Midian (strife). It is impossible to view any form of media news, or peruse a social media site, without seeing a healthy dose of strife…the spirit now at work in the children of disobedience. When Gideon destroyed the altar of Baal (which simply means “Lord”) , and the people sought to kill Gideon, Joash his father reasoned, “Let Baal plead against Gideon”, in other words, if Baal is God, let him do his own contending….why are all of you set on contending for a “god”? Joash therefore called Gideon, “Jerubbaal”…”Let Baal contend”.
Gideon would have many wives and sons. He also had a concubine…a woman slave. It is worth recalling the principal set forth in the scripture, that a son of a slave can not be heir together with a son of a wife, as set forth in the case of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael and Isaac. This is a spiritual truth. Eventually a son of the concubine would rise up and ask the people whether it were better for seventy sons of Jerubbaal to rule over them, or one son? He, claiming common blood via Jerubbaal, this son of a bondwoman convinced them of his cause. They gave him money, with which he surrounded himself with hirelings, and they went and slew the sons of Jerubbaal, born of wives. Only one survived, named Jotham.
Jotham went and stood upon Mount Gerizim and spoke his parable. Gerizim is the Mount upon which blessings were spoken as Israel entered the land for the first time. Curses were spoken from Mount Ebal. The parable was spoken to the people in Shechem, a valley between Gerizim and Ebal…blessing and cursing. Obviously , a choice was being presented. Shechem means “Back/shoulder”…symbolically calling the multitude “followers”. The choice was of governance…leadership. Choose this day, as it is written, whom you will serve.
And when they told [it] to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. The trees went forth [on a time] to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, [and] reign over us. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, [and] reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, [and] reign over us. And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, [then] come [and] put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon. Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands; (For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian: And ye are risen up against my father’s house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he [is] your brother;) If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, [then] rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you: But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech. (Judges 9)
The parable speaks of how I may be governed. The Olive is the Spirit. The Fig is the Father. The vine is the Son. The these being three, are one. The resurrected, glorified Son of man, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and people complete in Him (Added in His resurrection ). All the promise of the Father, in Christ fulfilled, and in you, revealed and shared. But all are within. On the vine, while still on the vine…many branches…many Sons.
The bramble is thorny. It is the imposition of rule, externally applied, by punishing flesh. In this case, the bramble claimed the right of rule, by reason of the fact that Jerubbaal was his progenitor. But no such son of bondage may be an heir with Christ. In the book of the Revelation, it is said that the great whore, and all that are produced by them in bed with her, will be judged with fire (as said Jerubbaal)
The choice to the followers between the blessing and the curse…The Tree of Life or the Bramble.
The Lord within each, or the bramble over all.
From Jeremiah 30:
And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them. And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who [is] this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD. And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
The book of James is highly recommended as addressing the burning words of strife and contention at work in the world.