The Mystery of the Parable of the Fig Tree
Jesus told us this is a sign of his second coming. Matthew 24:32-33 “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” (V.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.” What does this mean? This passage has to do with the signs of the times and of his second coming. This is different than the normal parables which are things about the kingdom< of God and the operation thereof.
So let us begin with some information about fig frees or actually fig leaves. First, in Genesis 2:25, we read something about Adam and Eve before their fall into sin; “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Then in Genesis 3:7, after the fall, we read “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” Certain fig trees have leaves that are 3 to 4 feet across and here they were first used to cover mans nakedness, until God stepped in and covered them.
Mark 11:13-21 “And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, …And when even was come, he went out of the city. And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.” It wasn’t the right time in the natural for the fig tree to have figs, but Jesus had a reason to look for them and then curse it for not having figs and that reason was to paint a spiritual picture, as He so often did with words and Parables, using the natural to teach something spiritual. This parable of the fig tree that Jesus cursed is a picture of Israel’s unbelief and that by their unbelief they would place themselves under a curse and would no longer produce fruit for the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 21:33-43 “Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom< of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” Jesus talked about a vineyard being lent out and that it would be taken from those people who were not faithful with it and give it to others who would produce the proper fruit in its season. The concept of His cursing the fig tree has to do with fruit that was supposed to be on the tree but wasn’t on the tree, speaking of natural Israel. Israel was supposed to bear fruit for the kingdom< of Heaven and they didn’t and so the nation came under a curse.
The next day the fig tree dried up. This happened on the edge of the Mount of Olives at a place known as the house of figs and there it was that Jesus cursed the fig tree. It is like he was saying, Adam you came to a fig tree thinking you could use it to cover your sin, but that didn’t work and won’t do you any good because that is a curse. I will be the one to go into this city and redeem mankind from their sins. No man can cover his own sins with his own efforts or religion. No man can redeem himself, but with my own blood I will redeem you. Quit tying to make your own way and put your faith in me. I am the way, the truth and the life and no man cometh unto the father, but by me.
Then we see that Peter could not believe how Jesus could curse the tree and it could totally dry up within one days time because he didn’t understand that it died from the roots which bear the tree. It’s the same relationship Paul spoke of in Romans 11:18 when he said, “thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.”
Matthew 21:19-21, “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. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.” Seems like an odd statement. Nobody in history has ever seen that one accomplished, but again, why would any man need to move a mountain bad enough to ask God for such a thing, believing that it would glorify God for Him to do it? Let’s look at it again from another witness.
Mark 11:12-23 “And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, … And when even was come, he went out of the city. And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” In Matthew 17:20 Jesus said’ “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Or it, the mountain, will obey you. Where was he standing when he said that? The Mount of Olives, which will split in half when He returns according to Zechariah 14:4. “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”
From Jerusalem there is water flowing down from the Mount of Olives, flowing through the Kidron Valley< and into the Dead Sea. In that day, when Jesus returns, water will carry part of that mountain into the Dead Sea Area. Literally, Jesus will come back, speak and there will be an earthquake and the Mountain will split and water from Jerusalem will take part of it into the Dead Sea. Mark 11:23 “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”
Jerusalem is 2500 feet above sea level and the Dead Sea is just below it, 1300 feet below Sea Level. That is a big difference, some 3800 feet. So we see how within the parables and teachings of Jesus are all these little interesting nuggets that are hidden within the text.
Judges chapter 9 has the story of a tree. Also there is a parable of a fig tree in the Song of Solomon, which is the one we are interested in. Why? What is it? Jesus is saying that His coming is comparable to the fig tree, and when summer is near you see the leaves on the tree. Song of Solomon contains some prophetic words and phrases that there hasn’t been much attention give to. Revelation 21:9 “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.”
The Song of Solomon is the story of a lover and his bride. It is a natural picture but also a spiritual picture. We, the body of believers are called the bride of Christ and Jesus will return for His bride. Song of Solomon 2:8-9 “The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice.” The lattice of heaven. V.10-11 “My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;” This is a picture of the rapture of the church, His bride. Again in V.12-13, “The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Again the bridegroom repeatts, arise and come away. Why?
When Jesus said learn the parable of the fig tree you have to see it within the setting of which it was given. When you know what it meant to them, then you know what He intended for it to say to you. It is not the tree in Judges or other places in the Bible that talks about trees, but the tree found in the Song of Solomon.
(1) Song of Solomon 2:8a “The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh…”
John 14:2-3 “In my Father's house are many mansions (literally dwelling places): if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” This is the first comparison.
(2) Song of Solomon 2:8b “.. he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.” When Christ comes for the catching away of the church, called the rapture, he comes in the air, above the the ground of the mountains and gathers His bride.
(3) Song of Solomon 2:10 “My beloved spake and said…” Again, my beloved, the beloved of God, which is Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” So there is a voice involved in the catching away of the bride.
(4) Song of Solomon 2:13 “Arise my fair love and come away…” Come away – John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” We will go away with Him.
When Jesus said learn the parable of the fig tree, what parable of the fig tree would the disciples have been familiar with? The one in the Song of Solomon! Two times in that book, chapter 2:10, 2:13 he says arise my love and come away. Why does it say it twice? 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Because the dead in Christ shall rise first, then those who remain alive shall be caught up to meet them in the clouds. There are in essence two catching aways, though one directly follows the other, one is of the dead saints and then the second is that of the living saints.
In the parable there is a part to this. Hosea 6:2-3 “After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” This indicates that the return of the Lord is connected to the phrase early and latter rain. That comes from Joel 2:23. “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” Again in James 5:7. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” According to the prophets and other scriptures as in Joel and Acts 2:17 was that in the last days one of the great signs was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the end times, spoken of prophetically as water. Acts 2:17 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:”
In John 7:38 Jesus said, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Yet this symbolism doesn’t originate in the New Testament. Isaiah 12:3 “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 44:3 “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:” The Holy Spirit outpouring is compared to water.
Two of the signs the church has of the soon second coming of the Lord is Matthew 24:14. “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.” It is our responsibility to preach the gospel to all people, but the other sign is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the sons and daughters.
In Israel there are seasons of rain, an early and latter rain. The early is in the spring time and the latter is in the fall time of harvest. When God speaks of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, everything is centered around the feasts of Israel. Many people in America don’t believe in the Holy Spirit working today. They see the first century with miracles and power and then no longer after the apostles were their miracles so they must not have been needed anymore. Though they say we don’t need these things anymore, the real reason they don’t have them is because the church went dead spiritually and so they need a cover-up or excuse for not having the spirit and power of God. The church became ritualistic and formal. It was not that God took back the gifts of the Holy Spirit because they weren’t needed anymore. God can only work in the lives of people who are living right and believe the truth. So many today don’t believe in any early or latter rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit, yet like anything else of God, man’s unbelief doesn’t nullify the Word or the gifts of God.
We must understand that there are the Spring Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First fruits, a season when there is rain in Israel, then you come to Pentecost forty days later after the Spring Feasts. Then there is a dry spell and not much rain during the summer, but as you get closer to the fall Feasts, The Feasts of Trumpets, the atmosphere begins to change and the rain starts coming. The closer we get to the sounding of the Trumpets and the Great Trumpet or Great Blast known in the Hebrew as the “Takiah Hagadolah” the rain will reappear. The first rainn was in the First Century church to birth it and the latter rain is to bring in the fruit of the earth by the husbandman. God is waiting for the peoples hearts to get right. The fruit is not on a tree, but the hearts of people. He is waiting to pour out His Spirit upon hearts that Love Him, believe Him and obey Him.
Then in Song of Solomon 2:8-13 it tells us when the Lord will come back. “The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice. My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is compared to rain. When God is finished pouring out His Spirit, He will return. The latter rain speaks of the fall feasts, just as the early rain was compared to the early or spring feasts.
James 5:7 “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” At that time, the fruit of the earth, the wheat will be gathered into the Father’s house and the tares will be burned. Matthew 13:24-30 “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”
The parable of the fig tree in Matthew 24 is more than what we have seen on the surface and understood in the past. It is a sign of His second coming, to tell us that it is near, even at the door.
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