(by Christopher Fredrickson from Brutal Planet)
In Luke 6:43 our Melech Messiah Yeshua tells us that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. In Matthew 7:17 Yeshua says the same thing just in a different way. Is it possible that Messiah Yeshua was pointing to an actual fruit that is mentioned in Jewish tradition as being the "good fruit"?
www.myjewishlearning.com says this on their website, "The product of the hadar trees was understood by the rabbis to be the etrog, a citrus fruit that looks like a lemon, and the boughs of leafy trees are understood to be myrtle branches. So on Sukkot we wave the palm branch, myrtle branch and willow branch together with the etrog. The Talmud specifies that these four species should be attractive and of good quality, but the etrog in particular should be beautiful (Sukkah 35a). As a result, there are many people willing to spend a lot of time and money acquiring an especially good specimen of the etrog.
Ok....so Christopher you think this may be an etrog that Yeshua was alluding to....do you have anything to back this up? Well we must go to the first century and ask, was the etrog a part of Sukkos during the 1st Century or was it just palm branches as the Karaites claim? The answer can be found in the accounts of Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews "During the celebration of Sukkot the offerings are waved with the branches of the palm tree, the lulav and the etrog". "Ok Christopher I am convinced you have my attention, but the question is....so what?"
What makes the etrog different than any other fruit? And what is it's message to us in terms of the words of Yeshua? The thing that is incredible about the etrog is it is in season for 5 years. The etrog will stay and grow on the tree for 5 years or until it is plucked. This amazing fruit will continue to grow and fertilize in any weather, in any season, no matter if there is heavy rain, or a drought, if temperatures are below freezing or top 100 degrees. The etrog is in season until the weight of the etrog is too heavy for the tree to continue to support it. This is much different than say an apple or banana or any other fruit that has a one season life cycle. The etrog consistently grows on the branch. Which should really be significant given what it is that we are as Netzari Jews. Given the fact that the root for Netzari is "branch" (Netzar). Given the fact that we profess this faith as Netzari Jews it is important to realize the attributes of the etrog is what we are called to be when we look at the Scripture given what the text says about "the branch" and the "branches" and how it relates to "the bride of Messiah" when we realize the significance of Sukkos.
This from www.NetzariJudaism.com
"For we have found this man to be an assassin, and one who does treasonous work among all Yehudeans in the whole land: for he is a ringleader of the sect of the Netzarim."
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Netzer (sprout) shall grow out of his sheresh (roots): And the spirit of Hashem shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Hashem; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of Hashem: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears” (Isaiah 11:1-3).
“Netzarim” is derived from the word “Netzer” in Isaiah. The Netzer represents the Kingdom of Elohim which is offered in Mashiyach Y’shua. These spirits (attributes) of Hashem are imparted into the souls of those who follow Mashiyach and permit the Ruach haKodesh to write Torah upon their hearts. These character attributes of Hashem are revealed by Mashiyach through the Torah (righteous instruction) of Hashem according to His Word. Hence the Kingdom is represented by a sprout that grows to fill the whole earth…which is why haSatan (the adversary) has counterfeited Netzarim Faith with all manner of religious substitutes. Y’shua said:
“I am the Vine and you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, this man will produce plentiful fruit because without me you are not able to do anything” (Yochanan 15:5)
Aramaic “shebista” is the word for “branches”; however, the Netzer/branch of Isaiah 11:1-2 is implied. Netzer word-plays with haNatzrati “the Nazarene” and haNetzarim, “the Netzarim.” Rav Shaul was branded a “ringleader” of the Netzarim: “For we have found this man to be an assassin, and a mover of sedition among all Jews in the whole land: for he is a ringleader of the sect of the Netzarim” (Acts 24:5). The Netzarim designation clearly implies the “Tree of Life” which serves as a reminder of the Eternal Kingdom that was offered to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The term netzer (sprout or branch) is also the root word for the City of the Branch Netzeret (Nazareth); “They said to him, ‘Y’shua the Nasraya.’ Y’shua said to them, ‘I am he’” (Yochanan 18:5). The designation of “Nasraya” serves as a reminder to his followers, not that he dwelled in Netzeret but that his “dwelling” (the Spirit of Mashiyach) is within his people.
“For, if the first-fruits (are) Set Apart, then the rest of the dough (it came from is) also: and if the root is Set Apart, then also the branches” (Romans 11:16)
This is the root of the Renewed Covenant that is altogether righteous, Set Apart, just and good, which is built according to the Spirit of Mashiyach that is the Word of Hashem which is forever revealed through the Father Hashem to mankind."
Therefore, was the "branch" of that of a random tree? Or would it be referring to the attributes of a tree that remained constant, who's faith weathers any storm, come times of plenty or times of drought an hunger. The sect of the Netzari are called to be "the good fruit" the etrog. The thing that is constant in observance, constant in loving kindness, constant in it's servitude. For the fruit Yeshua was talking about could not have been a fruit that was only good when the weather permits it to grow, that is dependent upon how comfortable it is. This would be like your believers who show up to the synagogue only during Yom Kippur and Pesach, these are your apples and bananas and limes and peaches. For these are not constant and they are unreliable. We are called to be "good fruit" we are called to be the etrog on the branch.
Theological Insights from Rabbi Eved Banah the North American Rebbe of Ani Judaism