Premature Fruit From
Immature Trees
By Dale Whitworth

Isn’t it almost comical how, many times after some first come to True Worship out of (normally) nominal Christianity, and experience their first small tastes of Torah, even though these individuals may have little to no time in real-life application in/of Torah, these people will many times begin pointing fingers of accusation at those who have far more time and experience in the Faith. The new convert thinks he/she sees “violations” and “false doctrines” in their fellow-Believers.

But in almost all cases, the new convert’s judgments and accusations do not square with the total Torah and other Scriptures. Therefore, I am writing this short study to encourage those who are older and more experienced in the Faith to be patient, as much as is possible, with those younger in the Faith when these situations arise. There are Spiritual and Scriptural reasons as to “why” early attempts at doctrinal judgments by these new converts should be tempered with wisdom and accepted as inaccurate, though well-intended, OPINIONS at best.

The problem is that these new converts are experiencing the first buddings of “fruit.” Normally this would be a good thing…and, in a way, it is…however, Scripture tells us that the “first fruits” of a newly planted tree (new convert) is UNACCEPTABLE and to be considered as “uncircumcised.” In other words, the earliest fruit is IMMATURE and not properly ‘seasoned’ enough for ingestion. It is to be INSPECTED…BUT NOT INGESTED! Let us apply the following: Lev. 19:23-25:

(Lev 19:23 KJV)  "And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of."

(Lev 19:24 KJV)  "But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise Yahweh withal."

(Lev 19:25 KJV)  "And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you the increase thereof: I am Yahweh your Elohim.”

The Torah concerning fruit trees and their fruit is quite applicable to the new convert and his/her early attempts at judgments and/or teachings. The allegorical and Scriptural application is plainly evidenced in the Torah text quoted above.

Verse 23 “And when ye be come into the land [enter the covenant], and shall have planted all manner of trees for food [study Torah and other Scriptures], then ye shall count the fruit thereof [earliest understandings] as uncircumcised [unacceptable, premature]: it shall not be eaten of [ingested as sound doctrine].”

Verse 24 “But in the fourth year all fruit shall be holy to praise YAHWEH.”

Verse 25 “And in the fifth year shall ye [the Body of Messiah] eat of the fruit thereof [gleanings from study and application] that it may yield unto you the increase [blessings] thereof: I am Yahweh your Elohim.”

Maybe you are wondering if this Torah is applicable in this post-Apostolic age? You bet it is! We need only look to the FACT that the very disciples/Talmidim of the Messiah Himself had to each sit under the direct tutelage of the Master for three (3) solid years before they could receive the “Great Commission”! Why? Because their three years were spent in discipleship and proper application and they were not yet fit to produce acceptable fruit on their own…in perfect accordance with Leviticus 19:23-25!

For further proof from the Apostolic/Nazarene writings we find that the Messiah Himself declared that “…the tree is known by its fruit” (Mat. 12:33, Luke 6:44). While there is a great example to be found in these words, let us also look further and compare the parable of the fig tree from Luke 13:6-9:

(Luke 13:6-9 KJV)  "He [the Messiah] spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? [NOTE: Man is made from the dust of the ground!] And he [the vinedresser] answering said unto him, Master, let it alone this year (the FOURTH year) also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it [fertilize it]:

And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then AFTER THAT thou shalt cut it down."

Notice first the THREE (3) YEAR reference found in verse 7 which directly relates to Leviticus 19:23! Note also that the Master of the vineyard wanted to cut down the tree after only three years…but how did the vine-dresser respond? He requested the fourth year to work with the tree. Remembering that the fourth year is the year that ALL fruit would be set-apart unto Yahweh, thus, if Yahweh willed, the tree would produce ripe acceptable fruit in the fourth year (compare Luke 13:9 with Lev. 19:24). Ultimately He was saying “let Yahweh be the judge of the fourth year fruit…you are judging the tree before its appointed time!” Any fruit produced before the fourth year was unacceptable anyway.

The proper understanding is that UNTIL a new convert has seasoned a minimum of four (4) years of Torah study and application, any judgments he might make would be unacceptable to the Body of the Messiah because such would be premature fruit from a less than fully mature tree. As the student/disciple or talmid studies and applies Torah the first three years of his walk in True Worship, his “perceptions” and “judgments” of what is right or wrong, good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable may change several times over that three-year period as he learns to go from the elementary teachings (milk) of Torah and into the deeper understandings of Torah (meat) and its proper application to the lives of Believers. Notice again the words of the Messiah:

(Mat 13:23 KJV)  "But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."

As most brethren who have many years in the Faith behind them will attest, what a First-Year or so student of Torah might think he understands may be totally  opposite of what that same student professes to understand on that same subject a mere few years down the road!

So, when you encounter those who are only within their first three years of Torah application in their lives (like for example their first year or so of being Festival observant, and that new convert begins to make judgments and accusations which you know to be “less than accurate,” let us remember Yahweh’s fruit tree rules of Leviticus 19:23-25 and the parable of the fig tree in Luke 13:6-9, and try our best to “dig about and fertilize” the young tree (new convert) and see things for what they really are…premature fruit from an immature tree. Only with time, study, and application comes True Wisdom. ~