“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 3:10
The Olive Tree, specifically, comes to mind when talking about prophecy and about Israel. It is mentioned frequently in the Bible with regard to fruitfulness, health, and blessings. It is one of the seven species with which the land was blessed.
Jewish people associate it with the concept of “putting down roots” in the Holy Land. As such, olive trees appear in the emblems of both the State of Israel, as well as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The olive tree has also been used as a motif in many works of art and in Jewish culture throughout history.
Here are some specific examples of ways the symbolism of the olive tree is represented in the Jewish faith:
- Peace: The olive tree has become a consistent symbol of peace over the years, thanks to the story of Noah’s Ark and the dove that brings back an olive branch as a way to inform Noah that the rain had subsided. Olive branches even became used as a means of showing peace to other leaders/nations.
- Love and celebration: Olive branches were used to make wreaths for the heads of young people on their wedding days, and at festivals in biblical times. The pilgrims who brought their first fruits to Jerusalem decorated the horns of the bull that led the procession with olive branches.
- Life and vitality: Throughout the Bible there are consistent references to olive trees as symbols of life and vitality. For example, the people of Israel are referred to as “a green olive tree, beautiful with goodly fruit” in the book of Jeremiah. When King Solomon dies, the trees of the garden mourn, shedding their leaves.
“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees”. Verse 10 is saying judgment is now at hand. The prophesied Messiah is here. Your salvation is at hand. You cannot depend on your traditions, rituals, good works, heritage or lineage to be saved from the coming wrath. It is time to repent and bear fruit of Righteousness which is in Jesus the Christ, for your salvation, or you will perish.
“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11
John is pointing the way to Jesus. He baptizes with water for repentance which requires that you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, so you will be saved and escape the coming wrath; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
Interestingly and important to this prophetic word, is that it is binding. Jesus has told us that whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.
Baptism is a form of binding. Once complete, it is irreversible. We may fail to remember our oaths or to take them seriously, but God never forgets. God will remember the oath, and He will keep His Word. You and I are bound. The following words from the book of Matthew and the account of John the Baptist and of Jesus are a binding oath.
“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:12
THERE ARE FIVE POINTS GIVEN IN VERSE 12. THEY ENCAPSULATE THE ENTIRE TRIBULATION PERIOD, BEGINNING WITH THE BREAKING OF THE TRIBULATION SEALS, CONTINUING THROUGH THE TRUMPET AND BOWL JUDGMENTS, INCLUDING THE WHITE THRONE Judgment AND CULMINATING WITH THE DESTRUCTION OF THE 1ST HEAVEN AND THE FIRST EARTH WITH INTENSE HEAT. THEY ARE A BINDING OATH AND PROPHECY.
(a) “His winnowing fork is in His hand: Represents the cleansing, refining, purifying of His Bride, the Church.
(b) He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor: Represents the preparation purging and separating the believers from the unbelievers through tribulation.
(c) He will gather His wheat into the barn: Represents Jesus gathering His Church together by way of the rapture and taking us to our eternal Home.
(d) He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire: Represents the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord and the destruction of the first heavens and earth.
Jesus has told us that His coming will it be just like in the days of Noah. The days before the Great Flood people were eating and drinking, marrying, unconcerned about the warning of the coming wrath, that is until the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not understand the accuracy and the gravity of the warnings until the flood came and took them all away; so it will be with the return of Jesus.
So, what can you do with what you now know? Stay with me in this teaching and I will show you from scriptures how you not only can, but must, endure to the end of these days of trouble, and actually OVERCOME them. Stay with me on this, it’s important and could be lifesaving!
Your Brother and Friend,
The Next Teaching from Matthew 3:11
The Holy Spirit and Fire