A critical examination of the parable should thoroughly convince any Bible student that the "branches" could in no way represent the five-or six-hundred different religious denominations of Christendom. At the time the parable was given, there were no denominations, and none were organized until several centuries afterward. The Lord never authorized the formation of these denominational systems, and furthermore, He has never recognized them as His representatives. If anything, they are of the "vine of the earth" (`Rev. 14:18`) for they are of an earthly or human origin. It is very evident that this fact is coming more and more to be recognized even by the representatives of the various religious bodies as, in general, they are advocating a federation of all the churches, and the eradication of denominational lines. See what the Apostle has to say about denominationalism, `1 Cor. 3:34`. The Master was addressing His disciples and telling them that they were the branches. His language is, "I am the true vine, ye are the branches." It becomes more apparent that He was referring to the individual when in the fifth verse, He says, "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch." This same intimate relationship existing between the Lord and His faithful followers is pictured by the Apostle when he uses the illustration of the natural body to show how the brethren in Christ are members in particular of the body of Christ, `1 Cor. 12:14-27`.