Learn the parable of the fig tree.

We have had quite a bit of discussion in the comments section about the fig tree of Matthew chapter 24 and Mark chapter 13 because of certain teachers interpretations put on it that imply all end time events will be fulfilled by 2018 (a normal lifespan from Israel being back in the Land). It therefore probably should be something I should discuss in more depth since I do not agree that Jesus was saying that all will be fulfilled by 2018.

The Parable Jesus told us to learn is almost certainly referring to His cursing of the fig tree which also represented a curse on Israel. Both the tree and the nation of Israel were cursed because they did not know the time of the Messiah’s coming. So if that view is true and if we are going to learn about the parable we need to understand that the tree Jesus cursed is withered and it will remain withered until the time God restores it. According to the passage one day that withered tree (Israel) will put forth shoots or leaves but until then it is going to look like a barren dead tree spiritually. Other bible passages also imply that Israel was cut down but will one day be restored.

Israel became a nation again in 1948 but it is still a nation of dry bones in spiritual unbelief. So we see a spiritual withered Israel in the land today but even though it is now rooted back in God’s land where it belongs we are still looking for some signs of spiritual life on the tree. Once we see some signs of life we know that summer is coming and the time for Israel to bear fruit for God is near. So before we can say we are in the final generation that will not pass away until all is fulfilled I think we need to see some spiritual growth in Israel. I hardly think that is the case in Israel today although there may be a few buds here and there.

In Mt 24:33 Jesus said when you shall see all these things know that the time is near and that the generation seeing all these things would not pass away before all is fulfilled. What things did Jesus tell us they should see? We have to go back to what Jesus just said prior to this. In the earlier part of his discourse Jesus was explaining what must take place before the end. The hard part is determining at just what point that final generation starts in Jesus statement. I think it is clear that verse 9 through 15 of Jesus statement have to be in the first part of tribulation because the context in both Matthew and Mark make that abundantly clear (he that will endure to the end will be saved – the end of the tribulation). Also, right after this we see the 42 month period of the Antichrist. So the generation has to start before verse 9. Verse 8 just explains that verse 5 through 7 are the beginning of sorrows. So all we are left to deal with is verse 5 through 7 for the  signs.

I think the end time signs actually starts in verse 7 because verse 6 clearly says the end is not yet.

Verse 7 says nation will war against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there will be famines, pestilences and many earthquakes.  Where have we heard that describe elsewhere in the Bible? All that is described in the seals in Revelation. Once again verse 8 tells us that all these are but the beginning of sorrows and we see in verse 9 that we are in the tribulation. So the signs for that final generation start some time before the seven year tribulation and probably starts with the opening of the seals.

That only makes sense to me because John is describing these same signs as Jesus opens the seals. So it should not be unexpected that Jesus was also describing the seals when he gave the signs for the final generation to look for.  Therefore, without being dogmatic about this I think those living in the time of the seals will be the generation that will see all things fulfilled and that is what I think Jesus was inferring.

So when does Israel put forth leaves? The passage really does not say but I think we might believe it would be in the time of verse 7 which is also probably describing the Gog war as well as others.

In any case, nothing said in this passage really implies that the creation of Israel in 1948 started the final generation. The last generation more likely starts in the beginning of sorrows described in Math 24:7 and that is the generation that would not pass away before everything is fulfilled. The wording also could just  mean that everything will be fulfilled in the same generation that sees all the signs and might not even be inferring a generational time period or lifespan as many suggest

I will Post the Bible passage here so you can have them at hand and refer to them and form your own conclusions

Math 24:5  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:
etc.

Math 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.
37  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
etc.

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 Don Koenig founded www.thepropheticyears.com website in 1999 after almost thirty years of independent study on the Bible and learning from many astute teachers within Christendom. Don created his website to write about Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and his Christian worldviews. Don wrote a free Revelation commentary ebook in 2004 named "The Revelation of Jesus Christ Through The Ages". The World and Church and Bible Prophecy section of this website was started in 2007.


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20 thoughts on “Learn the parable of the fig tree.

  1. Matt 24:36 (King James) But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
    (New American Standard) But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
    I read somewhere that humans take the “nor the Son” as being Jesus and then later it explained that it could not be as they are the three in one (Trinity) so what God knows Jesus would know.
    Why, when they write different versions of the Bible they mix up the context? This verse would not need interpreting if it was put in the right context to start with like the King James version. Can you please give me your opinion on this.

    I really like the above article, makes more sense then 70 or 80 years from 1948 and no date setting and getting everyone in a commotion Christians will know when it is close. We need to pray for people to believe and accept Jesus and to spread His word.
    Thanks for all your knowledge on the Bible.

  2. Hi Annette,

    Mark 13:32 in the King James says neither the Son. I suppose in Matthew the King James translators omitted it or were using a text that omitted it but even in Matthew it say no man knows and Jesus was a man. So I think we have agreement here between the King James and the NAS.

    People have puzzled how Jesus being God could not know what the Father knows but I think the answer is that when He was on earth He emptied Himself and was living fully as a man and only doing and hearing what the Father reveled to Him through the Holy Spirit. Basically He was telling his apostles now don’t come and ask me the date that I will return because the Father did not reveal it to me.

  3. Thanks… I learn so much every time I visit… I was reading the “teen” chapters of Mark and, while it’s fresh in my mind, I noticed that Mark 13 is essentially the same content as Matt 24 (as referenced above); One thing that is impressed upon me more so in Mark is the use of the word “watch” by Jesus (not that I’m doing a side by side comparison, I’m just reading along); But the word “watch” appears numerous times, including that “watch” is also the last word in the chapter;

    This gets me thinking… So, the left and right battle it out, and neither side is really choosing Jesus (I always say Jesus is the center: “love the sinner, hate the sin”); It will be ugly, but my hunch is that the right is generally the victor; Which means that, ironically I guess, the “right” will be the ones perpetrating the bulk of the persecution; I could be wrong, just a hunch;

    The only reason I bring this up is that the above parable about the timing of the fig tree truly gives years to the “watch”, and that “extra time”, in my opinion, favors the above scenario I postulate; I’m starting to form my own opinion to do just as Jesus says (or commands): “watch and pray” and, sadly I guess, participate less (and prepare more);

    Sorry for rambling a bit there;

  4. The NT tells us to watch in relation to the end times over a dozen times. Also those not watching apparently miss the boat when Jesus comes as a thief. We who expect to be taken better be looking for the Lord and living like it. Those not looking for the Lord like Sardis will not know the time of His coming and they are not going to be taken.

    I do not think we can put end time events in Left and Right political categories. Better to stick with wheat and the tares. In other words those given to Jesus by the Father and accept Him and those put in the world by the enemy and reject Him.

    Let’s not judge what will happen in the end time through the lens of American politics. The Right in America may be on higher moral ground today but the scum always rises to the top of any political movement and the Right could bring in a jack booted self righteous dictatorship tomorrow. That is what is scary about Christian dominionism. Think of what happened when the Roman Catholic Church was the only moral and also a political authority on earth. There is nothing new under the sun. Revelation 17 tells me a religious Harlot will appear once again and ride in the Beast.

  5. Craig,you said, “…So, the left and right battle it out, and neither side is really choosing Jesus”.
    Martin Luther said something similar in his commentary on Romans. “” They are all gone out of the way, they are altogether become unprofitable” (Rom 3:12). The “all” here refers to those who have not yet become children of God through faith, or, who have not yet been born again “of water and of spirit” (John 3:5). Of these some go out of the way to the left, namely, those who serve mammon, honor, pleasure and the glory of this world. The others go out of the way to the right, namely those who hold to their own righteousness, virtue and wisdom. Neither of them cares for God’s righteousness nor obeys Him, but all fight the divine truth in its present humble form with spiritual deceit.”
    So you nailed it Jesus is in the center. Both yours and Don’s point,of “be wary of the Self-righteous right”, is warranted.

  6. The parable of the fig tree. I just wonder why Jesus cursed the fig tree and not the olive tree? I wonder if one is religious and the other political?
    When he says the fig tree blossems (and all the other trees) what are all the other trees?
    Thank you for any insight

  7. If He cursed the Olive Tree we would have no hope since we have been grafted into the Olive Tree.

    The fig tree was unbelieving Israel.

    The fig tree did not include true Jews within the state or religion since these were saved and they became the early Church.

    Why Jesus was telling us to learn the parable in relation to knowing the timing of His second coming is the real issue?

    I suppose the other trees are other nations or other religious of the earth and the now shooting forth could refer to all the nations moving into a one world system but all that is highly speculative.

    You might also read this post of mine on this subject.

    http://www.thepropheticyears.com/wordpress/2009/04/03/is-the-parable-of-the-fig-tree-about-the-generation-that-saw-the-rebirth-of-israel.html

  8. After careful study concerning the Parable of the Fig Tree and its subsequent blooming along with the other trees representing the Gentile nations, I believe we can arrive a an approximate timeline. I believe that the Fig Tree and all the Trees will be arriving at their prophetic destiny at the same moment during the expiration of this destined generation. Once we determine that the generation in question is represented by the Fig Tree, then we must determine at what age the Fig Tree matures. The Fig Tree in the region of the Middle East matures at age 50 when the branches become unfruitful. If we assume that the generation began at the capturing of Jerusalem in 1967, then we can arrive at the approximate year of 2017. This would suggest that prophesied events will rapidly ensue bringing us headlong into the Tribulation, the catalyst I believe is the soon to come Gog/Magog battle of Ezekiel 38-39, which will in turn make the construction of the Third Temple possible as well as the rise of the AntiChrist to power.

  9. Good try, but that makes no sense to me. Why should we assume that the generation started at the capturing of Jerusalem in 1967? I also do not see what a over mature fig tree has to do with the wording.

  10. Israel is represented by the Fig Tree and the parable identifies the Fig Tree blooming as well as all the trees during the prophetic generation leading to the coming of the Messiah and all things being fulfilled. The suggestion is that Israel and the Gentile nations must come into prophetic maturity at the expiration of this generation. Therefore we look at a physical Fig Tree as representing this generation and we can determine that the maturity of an actual fig tree is 50 years, yet in addition it requires up to seven years before a Fig Tree bears fruit. In answer to your question Don, I would say that the Prophet Daniel clearly identifies that the prophetic clock began for this terminal generation with Jerusalem and will end with the return and annointing of the Messiah Yeshua. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to annoint the most Holy-Daniel 9:24. The clock began with the capturing of Jerusalem and will end at the moment the Messiah sits upon the Throne of David in Jerusalem after his descent upon the Mount of Olives. The clock is soon to begin turning again.

  11. You know Rodney, that is the third post you made in the last hour that tells me you have no understanding of Bible prophecy. The 70 weeks started when Daniel said it started back in BC. There was only one week of years for Israel left to be completed in 1967 and that week has not started yet.

    Here is a link that will explain the 70 weeks prophecy to you.

    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2004/552/

  12. I know 69 weeks have already been fulfilled, yet the final week or heptad begins during the culmination of the Tribulation of Time of Jacob’s Trouble. The generation however that will have witnessed Jerusalem in Israeli hands at the time of the Six Day War of 1967 will not pass away until they see all things be fulfilled, pertaining to the completion of this final week and the judgements that accompany it, along with the glorious and victorious return of Yeshua. The current generation we now live in will see the Tribulation begin and end, yet believers will however not be subject to this time of wrath and will be taken in the Rapture. Don, I am very much aware of the prophetic timeline, sorry I did not make that clear earlier.

  13. The identification of the particular generation used in this context is still currently a matter of debate and conjecture, yet I believe the Lord was seeking to identify it with the life span of the Fig Tree.

  14. Why would the Lord be talking about the span of the life of a Fig Tree? He was referring to people knowing that summer was near when they see the fig tree putting forth leaves, not a dying fig tree.

    I do not disagree that the generation that saw Jerusalem in Israeli hands will see all completed but not for the reasons you said here and elsewhere.

  15. If the Lord was addressing the Fig Tree to identify with the people and then making reference to the generation seeing it bloom then surely he would also be calling them to identify the life span of the Tree in question to determine the length of that particular generation. That generation that seen the great expansion in territory of Israel along with the capturing of Jerusalem the Holy City would not expire, without seeing all things fulfilled. The summer refered to the ripening time of the grapes, figs, and olives. Grapes identified with the time of wrath, figs identified with the restoration of Israel in the Land, olives identified with the spiritual restoration of Israel as found in Joel 2:28-29 as well as Ezekiel 39:29.

  16. mt24:32
    Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

    We see the fig tree from Gen. to Rev.
    Adam and Eve after eating the forbidden fruit cover in fig leaves.

    Gen.3:7
    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.
    I think we can safely assume the forbidden fruit was a fig and not an apple as we have been condition to think.
    I believe the fig tree represents Satan the false messiah.(2Cor.11:4)

    Christ came to destroy the works of Satan the fall of man.

    Heb.2:14
    Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is , the devil;

    I believe this is why Christ cruses the fig tree because of Adam and Eve & the cruse on mankind.(Gen.2:17) The tree he cruses has only leaves. The leaves that Adam & Eve cover represent another christ.2cor.11:1-4. That is why Christ was hung on a tree.(Acts 5:30)
    A tree represents people in scripture. There was the tree of life in the garden ( the true Christ) The tree of knowledge of good and evil( the false christ) the fruit Eve ate was not even really fruit it was knowledge. The doctrines of demons. Adam is a shadow and type of Christ in Ro.5:14. Eve overrides the her husbands authority. Eve is a shadow and type of the last day church overriding her husband taking part in the doctrines of demons. Were warned not to be like Eve 2Cor.11:3 Christ is the husband of the church as Adam was to Eve. Eve is the wife as the church is to Christ. God told us the end from the beginning in Is.46:10.

    Of crouse there is much more to the fig tree than I have stated. Once again we see Satan being compared to a fig tree in Rev.6:13
    And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
    Angels are referred to as stars in Rev.1:20. Satan and the angels are cast out of heaven in Rev.12:4&9. This why mens hearts will fail them in Lu.21:26.

    My suggestion to anyone seeking the truth to do word search on the words fig,figs, leaves,fig tree. you must pray for eye’s to see and ears that hear. I feel this is sadly over looked in the teaching of the fig tree.


  17. “My suggestion to anyone seeking the truth to do word search on the words fig,figs, leaves,fig tree. you must pray for eye’s to see and ears that hear. I feel this is sadly over looked in the teaching of the fig tree.”

    It seems to me that people claiming they have eyes to see and ears to hear but use word studies to mix apples oranges and figs also tend to grow on trees.

  18. Don, it’s Bryan again, other than disagreeing with you that the Fig Tree is not the nation of Israel, I enjoy reading your understanding of the end times and the other example “Cursing of the Fig Tree.” You have great insight and it challenges me to peruse deeper…

    I will read the other suggested article you mentioned in a previous post. Bryan

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