Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Fig Tree

One sign often cited by Bible prophecy teachers that we are living in the last days is Israel becoming a nation again. This is interpreted through Jesus’ Parable of the Fig Tree in Matthew 24 (also mentioned in the gospels of Mark and Luke)…

32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 
33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! 
34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away

People have differences regarding how long a generation is in Scripture. Some have defined that as 40 years, 70 years, or 100 years. One fellow prophecy buff suggested it could last as long as the man’s lifespan during a particular time period.

Other Old Testament passages associated God’s people to fig trees…

“And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, each man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan as far as Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.” - 1 Kings 4:25

“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans.” - Jeremiah 24:5

“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season. But they went to Baal Peor, and separated themselves to that shame; They became an abomination like the thing they loved.” - Hosea 9:10

“For a nation has come up against My land, strong, and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he has the fangs of a fierce lion. He has laid waste My vine, and ruined My fig tree; He has stripped it bare and thrown it away; Its branches are made white.” - Joel 1:6-7

Another passage in Matthew 21 mentions a fig tree that Jesus cursed…

18 Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. 
19 And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away.
20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?”
21 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. 
22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

The main lesson we can learn from the withered fig tree is that our words have power in the spiritual realm. It can also be pointed out if our lives aren’t fruitful, it will eventually be exposed. Fig trees are unique in that they normally produce fruit before the leaves appear. It’s interesting that Adam and Eve tried using fig leaves to cover up their nakedness after eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:7). In other Bible verses, figs symbolize prosperity, wellbeing, and security.

What fruit are you bearing for the Lord? One of them should be a supportive attitude towards the nation of Israel and the Jewish people.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.’” - Psalm 122:6-7

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