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The Parable of the Fig Tree

Matthew 24

32) Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33) So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34) Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35) Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36) But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

We are left with no doubt about the importance of the Parable of the Fig Tree. Christ Himself told us to learn it! If we break these verses down we can gain a better understanding of all the things Christ wishes for us to understand. God has a very simple way of teaching us truth. Using symbolism helps us to picture the event in our mind and compare it to an event we are very familiar with. In verse 32 we are told when the fig tree putteth forth leaves we know that summer is near. We all can apply this to our own knowledge of how the seasons change. In the spring as the weather gets warmer we begin to see the trees shoot forth leaves and we know summer is not too far behind. 

Verse 33 tells us that in the same way we are able to gauge the seasons we should gauge the time of the end. When this chapter began,  the question was asked, when shall the end come.

1) And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2) And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3) And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately , saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

All the signs that Jesus gave us in this chapter are what we are to be looking for.  

4) And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6) And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7) For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8) All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9) Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
10) And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11) And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12) And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13) But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
15) When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other .

I have heard it said many times that these things have been going on for centuries and that every generation believes they are the last. How can we know that we are indeed in the last generation or generation of the Fig Tree? The Bible as well as history gives us many clues and there is only one generation that fits the mold for this prophetic teaching.

Matthew 21

10) And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
11) And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
12) And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13) And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
14) And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
15) And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased,
16) And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read , Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
17) And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
18) Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
19) And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon , but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
20) And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

When Jesus came into Jerusalem He saw how the religious leaders had perverted the temple with merchandising and caused the people to err with offerings that were not fit to offer to God. Having seen these things and returning in the morning,  He found that fig tree, having no fruit on it. Jesus knew the season for fruit was not yet. This is made clear in Mark 11:13, He never expected to find fruit there during that season but rather was teaching us that because the nation had failed to produce fruit it would wither away and cease to exist just as it happened in 70 A.D.

In 70 A.D. when Rome conquered Jerusalem, the residents were dispersed and the nation ceased to exist. Only once since that time has Israel established itself once again as a nation. This happened in 1948. This began the generation of the fig tree, to whom these prophecies are addressed to. The book of Jeremiah also gives us more insight into this parable and the nation of Israel in relation to the fig tree.

Jeremiah 24

1) The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
2) One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.
3) Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.
4) Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
5) Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.
6) For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.
7) And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
8) And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus saith the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt:
9) And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.
10) And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.

When Israel became a nation again in 1948 the good fig and the bad fig returned. The tribe of Judah being dispersed by Nebuchadrezzar and then again by Rome in 70 A.D. has mixed in with other peoples and many have simply lost their heritage. There are those there now who claim to be Jews but are not of that true line. 

This fig tree itself is an interesting study. It produces a male fig (caprice) and a female fig (smyrna). The male fig is inedible and is not good for fruit. The female fig on the other hand is very good fruit and used to make jams, cookies, etc. God's method of teaching reveals so much to us just from using nature as a teaching tool We were told in Matthew 7 we should always examine the fruit.

Matthew 7

15) Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16) Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19) Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20) Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

The reason those verses were included is because of what we find in Revelation 2:9 & 3:9. This ties the whole study together. 

Revelation 2

8) And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
9) I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 3

7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

God was only happy with 2 churches in the second and third chapters of Revelation, fitting that one would be Smyrna, the good fig. Here we see the good fig and bad fig together just as Jeremiah said it would be. This could not take place until that fig tree had been set out, we know that happened in 1948. It's the time to watch for those events that Jesus gave us, we are in the generation of the fig tree.

Once you know the generation and can pick up on the signs that Jesus gave us in Matthew 24, you are well on your way to understanding the parable. It's also important to understand the good fig and bad fig. Your church should be teaching the bad fig as mentioned here. If not, you are missing a big piece of the parable and God is not happy with your church. Those who claim to be Jews and are not are no doubt the Kenites. If you haven't read the parable of the tares study this will help explain who the Kenites are.

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