EMPTY VINE

 "Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images. For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us?" (Hosea 10:1-3)

Leslie M. John

 “Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images. For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us?” (Hosea 10:1-3)

In the sight of the Lord the “House of Israel” was an “empty vine” insomuch as it did not bring any fruit; rather the activities of leaders in that house, which is Northern Kingdom, caused much grief to Him. After the death of its king Jeroboam the subsequent kingdoms under other kingdoms went too far away from God worshipping the idols and, therefore, ended in anarchy.

 The vine and the vineyard have much significance in the scriptures. Lord Jesus Christ said He is the true vine and the Father is the husbandman. The branches of the vine are in the vine with the sole purpose of bringing fruit for the husbandman; otherwise they are of no use remaining in the vine. They could as well be cut off from the vine in order that other branches could bear abundant fruit. The branches that are cut off from the vine are not an indicative of loss of salvation. Such interpretation is “eisegesis” that is adding interpreter’s own ideas rather than exegesis, which is critical examination of Scriptures.

The branches could be different traits or parts in a man that could be removed from him in order that other traits or parts of the body would remain safe from infection and bear more fruit for the Lord. Other branches could be weaker believers who are fallible quickly yielding to false teachings and drift away from the Truth. They could be brought back to bear fruit to the LORD by consistent efforts to train him in the word of God.

The husbandman not only removes the unfruitful branches from the vine but also purges every branch that bears fruit in order that it may bring more fruit. He said to His disciples to bear fruit and He says to us that we, who are justified as righteous in His sight, to bear fruit unto the husbandman.

It is because we accepted Jesus as our Lord we are cleansed of our sins through the word that He spoke to us. He commands that if we should abide in him, then He will abide in us. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit except it remains in the vine we cannot bear fruit unless we remain in Him.

If any believer does not abide in Him, he is cast out as a branch which withers and men gather such unfruitful branches and cast them in the fire and they are burned. This passage does not mean that a believer is cast into the “lake of fire” or his salvation is lost, but it means he is cast out from being God’s trusted servant to bring fruit. He would be rewarded far lesser than the ones who bear fruit for Him.(Ref. John 15:1-7)

Apostle Paul questions in Romans Chapter 11 if God has cast away Israel and answers that He did not. God has blinded their eyes in order that Gentiles may be partakers of the blessings of Israel. Salvation is by grace through faith in Him and whoever accepts Jesus as Savior will receive salvation. It cannot be purchased either by silver or by gold or earned by doing any good works but it is a free gift from God to all those who believe Jesus is the Lord and believe in heart that God raised Him from the dead.