PARABLE OF THE FIGTREE = NATION OF ISRAEL
Matthew 24:32 “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.
Jeremiah 24:1-10 – The Sign of Two Baskets of Figs
Jeremiah 24:1 The Lord showed me, and there were two baskets of figs set before the temple of the Lord, … 2 One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are first ripe; and the other basket had very bad figs which could not be eaten, they were so bad. 3 Then the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “Figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad, very bad, which cannot be eaten, they are so bad.”
4 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “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. 6 For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. 7 Then I will give them a 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 to Me with their whole heart.
8 ‘And as the bad figs which cannot be eaten, they are so bad’—surely thus says the Lord—‘so will I give up Zedekiah the king of Judah, his princes, the residue of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt. 9 I will deliver them to trouble into all the kingdoms of the earth, for their harm, to be a reproach and a byword, a taunt and a curse, in all places where I shall drive them. 10 And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence among them, till they are consumed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.’ ”
Hosea 9:10 – Judgment of Israel’s Sin
Hosea 9:10 “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.
Jeremiah 29:15-20 – Jeremiah’s Letter to the Captives
Jeremiah 29:15 Because you have said, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon”— 16 therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, concerning all the people who dwell in this city, and concerning your brethren who have not gone out with you into captivity— 17 thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will send on them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like rotten figs that cannot be eaten, they are so bad. 18 And I will pursue them with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence; and I will deliver them to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth—to be a curse, an astonishment, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, 19 because they have not heeded My words, says the Lord, which I sent to them by My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; neither would you heed, says the Lord. 20 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, all you of the captivity, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon.
Joel 1:5-7 – The Land Laid Waste
Joel 1:5 Awake, you drunkards, and weep; And wail, all you drinkers of wine,
Because of the new wine, For it has been cut off from your mouth.
6 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.
7 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.
Israel as Trees
There are three trees that particularly fit symbols of Israel, for in Palestine the "Vine," the "Fig-tree," and the "Olive," stand for the fruitfulness of the land. And the "Vine" and "Fig-tree" prefigure the Millennial days when every man shall sit under his own "Vine" and "Fig-tree." (Micah 4:4 But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid; For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.).
The VINE is a symbol of Israel's Spiritual privileges
The FIG-TREE is a symbol of Israel's National privileges
The OLIVE TREE is a symbol of Israel's Religious privileges
Mark 11:12-14 – The Fig Tree Withered
Mk 11:12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.”
The presence of the leaves led Him to expect fruit, and when He found none, He cursed the tree for its fruitlessness. But if it was not the season for figs, then why then curse the tree? The early fruit, or blossoms, appear in spring before the leaves open, on branches of the last year's growth, and the first ripe fruit is ready in June or earlier. The late figs grow on the new wood, keep appearing during the season, and are ripe from August onward. The unripe fruit of autumn often survives the winter and ripens when vegetation revives in the spring. Now it was about the first of April that Jesus cursed the Fig-tree, and the time of figs was not yet, because they did not ripen before June. But fig-trees which have retained their leaves through the winter usually have some of the last year's figs also, and as April was too early for new leaves or fruit, Jesus knowing this, and seeing leaves on the tree, naturally expected to find some of last year's fruit, and when He found none. He cursed the tree because of its deceptive character.
The application of this incident to Israel is simple. Naturally Jesus from their "leafy profession" would expect to find fruit on the tree of their National life, and when He found none, He cursed them for their HYPOCRISY (Mt 23:1-33).
Luke 13:6-9 – The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
Lk 13:6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years [time of Jesus' ministry] I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ”
Isaiah 5:1-7 – God’s Disappointing Vineyard
Is 5:1 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard:
My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill.
2 He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine.
He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it;
So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes.
3 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.
4 What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it?
Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes?
5 And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard:
I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
6 I will lay it waste; It shall not be pruned or dug, But there shall come up briers and thorns.
I will also command the clouds That they rain no rain on it.”
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant.
He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.
The owner of the vineyard and of the fig-tree was God. He came in the person of His Son Jesus, and for three years of Jesus' ministry He had sought for fruit from the Jewish nation and found none. He therefore decided to cut down the tree, that is, remove the nation from the land. But the tree was not destroyed immediately, for intercession was made for it, and the day of grace was lengthened out for forty years (time of testing). And then the "axe-man" Titus, at the head of the Roman Army besieged Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and Israel (the fig-tree), was cut down and cast out of the land (vineyard) into the fields of the world.
But while the fig-tree was cut down and cast out of the vineyard, its root was not destroyed, the axe was only laid at the root of the "tree".
Luke 3:7-9 – John Preaches to the People
Lk 3:7 Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 9 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
The root itself was not killed or removed from the soil. It is clear then from the "Parable of the fig-tree," that a new tree will spring from the root, that is, the nation of Israel will revive.
Matthew 24:32-35 – The Parable of the Fig Tree
Matthew 24:32 “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 [convergence of prophecy], know that it [Coming of the Son of Man] 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.
What is a Generation?
The English word “generation” translates the Greek word genea (geneya), which can mean a variety of things, depending on the context. Its typical meaning is “age”—as in a time period in which a person or group of people live.
4 Possible Biblical definitions of a generation:
40 is a significant number in the Bible, usually referring to a time of testing
Nu 32:13 So the Lord’s anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone.
Many kings ruled for forty years and were considered a generation
Ps 90:7 For we have been consumed by Your anger, And by Your wrath we are terrified.
8 You have set our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.
9 For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; We finish our years like a sigh.
10 The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.
Joel 2 [The Day of the Lord] 2 A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains.
A people come, great and strong, The like of whom has never been;
Nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations.
Suggests 80 years
Ge 15:2 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
Ge 6:3 And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
It has been 120 Jubilees since Adam and Eve
How long is a generation in the Bible?
The Bible uses the term generation in some different ways. Normally, the word generation refers to all the people living at the same time—i.e., the word in the Bible has the same definition that we are used to in modern usage when we speak of Generation X or the Millennial Generation. Normally, a generation is about thirty years; one generation raises the next. However, in some biblical contexts, a “generation” can refer to a longer age or a group of people spanning a longer period of time.
In Genesis 2:4, “generations of the heavens and the earth” (ESV) seems to include all of human history—the era begun by the creation of the universe. In Exodus 1:6 the “generation” who dies refers to everyone who had been alive during the time that Joseph and his brothers lived. In Numbers 32:13, the “generation” is limited to Israelites—the group of them, twenty years old and older, at the time of their refusal to enter the Promised Land. That one generation was doomed to wander in the wilderness until they all died, except for Joshua and Caleb. When the plural word generations occurs in the Bible, as in Isaiah 51:9 and Acts 14:16, it refers to an indefinite period of time—many successive generations.
The original languages of the Bible used at least three different words that are translated “generation” in English. The Hebrew dor can refer to a normal, physical generation, as in Exodus 1:6. But it can also be used metaphorically to identify people of a distinguishable type. For example, Psalm 78:8 says, “They should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God” (ESV). Here the word dor is used twice to refer to a group of people through a long period of time who were characterized by rebellion and sin. The “generation” in Psalm 78:8 is not limited to a normal thirty-year period but stretches back through the history of Israel to include all who were stubborn against God.
The other Hebrew word we translate as “generation” is toledot. This doesn’t refer to the character of a group or an age but to how that age was generated. So the “generations of the heavens and the earth” in Genesis 2:4 refers to the time periods that started with creation and continued organically from that point. The “generations of Adam” in Genesis 5:1 means the civilization of people that began with him. The next “generation” is that of Noah, to include the flood and the civilizations that came after. Shem’s influence is marked as a “generation” as he was the father of the Semites (Genesis 11:10). And Terah’s, because he left Ur with his son Abram (Genesis 11:27). Later, Ishmael (Genesis 25:12) and Isaac (Genesis 25:19) were the source of new generations. In each case, the men either experienced or caused a significant event that changed the course of their family line. They generated a culture-altering event.
In the New Testament, the Greek genea is the source of generation. It is similar to both Hebrew words. Literally, it means “fathered, birthed, nativity,” referring to a genetic line. But it can be used as both the time frame characterized by a specific cultural attitude and the people in that culture. In Matthew 1:17, the generations are marked off by significant events and people—Abraham, David, Babylonian captivity—like the Hebrew toledot. But when Jesus calls the Pharisees and scribes a “wicked and perverse generation,” He is referring to the culture that they lived in and encouraged (Matthew 12:39; see also Matthew 17:17 and Acts 2:40).
So, when we read “generation” in the Bible, we have to consider the context. Usually, a generation in the Bible is roughly thirty years long or the people living during that time, the same as what we understand a generation to be in everyday talk. But there are times when generation is used poetically to refer to a class of people demarked by something other than age.
What did Jesus mean when He said, "this generation will not pass"?
This quote of Jesus in regards to the end times is found in Matthew 24:34; Mark 13:30; and Luke 21:32. Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” The things that Jesus had been speaking of—the rise of the Antichrist, the desolation of the Holy Place, and the darkening of the sun—did not happen during the lifespan of people alive in Jesus’ day. Obviously, Jesus meant something different when He spoke of “this generation.”
The key to understanding what Jesus meant by “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” is the context; that is, we must understand the verses that are surrounding Matthew 24:34, especially the verses prior to it. In Matthew 24:4–31, Jesus is clearly giving a prophecy; He is speaking of future events. Jesus had already told those living during His earthly ministry that the kingdom had been taken from them (Matthew 21:43). Therefore, it is imperative that Matthew 24–25 be seen as dealing with a future time. The generation that Jesus speaks of “not passing” until He returns is a future generation, namely, the people living when the predicted events occur. The word generation refers to the people alive in the future when the events of Matthew 24–25 take place.
Jesus’ point in His statement, “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place,” is that the events of the end times will happen quickly. Once the signs of the end begin to be observed, the end is well on the way—the second coming and the judgment will occur within that last generation. Jesus reinforced this meaning with a parable in Matthew 24:32–33: “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.” A sure sign of summer is the leafing of the fig tree; a sure sign of the end of the world is that “all these things” (of Matthew 24) are taking place. Those who are on the earth then will have only a short time left.
Another interpretation is that Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24 has a “double fulfillment.” In this view, “this generation” is the people Jesus was speaking to at that moment—some of what He predicted was going to occur during their lifetimes. So, when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70, Jesus’ prophecy was fulfilled in part; the fall of Jerusalem provided a foretaste of worse things to come. However, many aspects of Jesus’ prophecy did not occur in AD 70; for example, the celestial signs of Matthew 24:29–31.The main problem with the “dual-fulfillment” interpretation is that it does not harmonize with Jesus’ statement that “all” these things will take place in “this generation.” Therefore, it is better to understand “this generation” as referring to the generation alive when the end times events are actually occurring.
Essentially, Jesus is saying that, once the events of the end times begin, they will happen quickly. The age of grace has continued for a very long time. But when the time for judgment finally arrives, things will be wrapped up posthaste. This concept of God’s drawing things to a rapid close is echoed in many other passages of Scripture (Matthew 24:22; Mark 13:20; Revelation 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20).
The Three "Trees" of Israel: Olive, Fig and Vine (Judges 9)
Israel’s salvation – the OLIVE tree (Romans 11)
Israel as a nation – the FIG tree (Matthew 21)
Israel’s spiritual state – the VINE (Isaiah 5)
All earthly things are the shadows of heavenly realities… the expression in created visible forms, of the invisible glory of God. The Life and the Truth are in Heaven and on earth we have figures and shadows of the heavenly truths.
Israel is compared to three trees; the ‘Olive Tree’, the ‘Fig Tree’ and the Vine represent the "fruitfulness" of the Land. The "parable" of the three trees in Judges 9:1-21 …relates the ‘trees’ to a relationship between God and His people. While we as Christians can spiritualize these scriptures in a personal way …it is important to keep in mind that there is a natural and literal interpretation that always takes precedence. The interpretation of the "parable of the trees," by Jotham, in Judges 9, was local and historical to Israel at the time it was written …but the application of its fulfilment is prophetic in that it painted a picture of the Israelites (the ‘privileged’ trees) looking for a king to rule over them…
"The trees went forth to anoint a king over them. And they said to the olive tree, reign over us. But the olive tree said to them, Should I leave my fatness with which they honour God and man by me, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig tree, you come and reign over us. But the fig tree said to them, Should I forsake my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then the trees said to the vine, you come and reign over us. And the vine said to them, Should I leave my wine, which cheers God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then all the trees said to the bramble-bush, you come and reign over us. And the bramble-bush said to the trees, if you truly anoint me king over you, come put your trust in my shadow. And if not, let fire come out of the bramble and burn up the cedars of Lebanon," Judges 9:8-15.
Didn’t that form quite a humorous picture with all these trees interacting and speaking to each other…? They are actions not possible to be performed by a tree therefore we know it is symbolism for something else. Therefore we know we must study this logically …so can a tree move (walk) or speak or reign? The answer is NO …but people can do these things! Trees can sometimes represent people and other times nations.
The olive tree, fig tree and the vine are used to illustrate the religious, national and spiritual privileges afforded by God to the nation of Israel… God desired to be their king. God, therefore, gave Israel the privilege to worship Him through prescribed religious relationship (pictured in the Olive Tree). God gave them the privilege of being a nation in His sight (pictured in the Fig Tree). And, finally, He gave them the privilege of having a personal relationship with Him (pictured in the Vine). The Trees (privileged Israel) were meant to rule over the world under God’s absolute authority. But, sadly they wanted an earthly king just like the rest of the world and refused to take their place of authority in any capacity afforded by God.
The Olive Tree said… it wanted only to produce oil rather than take the responsibility of its privileged place at the ‘head’ of the trees (the world)! The olive tree is also a symbol of SHALOM ‘peace’ (Genesis 8:11) and light (Exodus 25:6; 35:8, 28) and is an illustration of God bringing peace between man and Himself through the sacrificial ways taught only to the people of Israel. They were cultivated to bring the ‘Light of Yeshua the Messiah,’ into the whole world. Yeshua (Jesus) would sacrificially fulfill this for all mankind.
Jeremiah records the Lord’s Words to Israel in which He calls her an olive tree… “The Lord called your name… Green Olive Tree, Lovely and of Good Fruit... For the Lord of hosts, has planted you...” Jeremiah 11:16, 17. And, Hosea also tells us the Lord’s words concerning Israel, the olive tree; “I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall grow like the lily, and lengthen his roots like Lebanon. His branches shall spread; his beauty shall be like an olive tree, and his fragrance like Lebanon,” Hosea 14:5, 6. The physical attributes of the olive tree mirror characteristics displayed by the Israelites (Jews) throughout the ages… Their history in (the Diaspora) exile from Israel into all the nations of the world testifies of their enduring nature in hostile, foreign Gentile lands (represented by wild olive trees). Israel’s branches though distorted and twisted and will grow where other trees CANNOT survive. It clings to life and is enduring.
In the natural some olive trees live long and some are 3000 years old. Only one flower in 100 bear’s fruit …the others fall off. Cultivated olive tree branches can be grafted into wild olive trees to improve the wild olive tree …BUT rarely are the branches of the wild olive grafted into a cultivated olive tree! While it was rare for a wild olive branch to be grafted into a cultivated olive tree, the apostle Paul in Romans 11 uses just this illustration to demonstrate that God was bringing Gentiles (wild branches) into His cultivated olive tree (Israel’s religious privilege and favour) through the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus). He makes it clear that while Israel is not cast aside (vs. 1) only a remnant (vs. 5) believed and the rest fell in order to bring the richness of salvation to the Gentiles of the world. Vs. 17 and vs. 24 illustrate that Israel is the olive tree… “And if some of the branches be broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree (we became a partner in the religious privileges of Israel), do not boast against the branches (Israel). But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, (the Jewish religion established by God through the patriarchs) but the root supports you. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature …and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree (privileged Israel) how much more will these, who are natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree (be returned to God’s privilege and favour)…?” (Romans 9:24)
The Fig Tree said… it was more important to bear fruit than to rule as king! Again, we see Israel shunning its responsibility of authority over the trees (nations). The fig tree, symbolizing Israel’s national privilege, bears two crops annually… winter figs and summer figs. Figuratively, it speaks of the First Coming of the Messiah to the nation of Israel and as a whole they rejected Him. At His Second Coming, Israel (Jews), will receive Him and cry out… “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord,” Luke 13:35. The fruit of the fig tree appears first …before the flower. The fig is symbolic of the Jewish people and the flower illustrates the land of Israel. God acknowledged them as a nation before He gave them a land in which to live (Exodus 4:22).
The New Testament records several parables about “the fig tree” …but the passage in Luke clearly identifies the two advents of the Messiah in Luke 13:6-9; “A certain man (God) had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none (Yeshua/Jesus First Coming). Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years (the length of Yeshua’s reign on earth) I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’” (Speaking of His Second Coming) And, probably the most quoted parable about ‘the fig tree’ appears in Matthew 24:32-33, in the midst of Yeshua’s Olivet Discourse …His teaching about the End-of-the-Age; “Now learn this parable from the fig tree (Israel)… when its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it (the Coming of the Lord to ‘harvest’ the earth) is near …at the doors.” This parable connects the ‘blossoming’ of the fig tree with the coming of the Lord and the blossoming of the fig tree refers to Israel becoming a nation again (1948) after having not existed for almost 2000 years. Luke 1:68, “Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people.”
The Vine… in Judges 9 parable, the vine also abolishes its responsibility of leadership among ‘the trees.’ Psalm 80 describes Israel as the vine that the Lord brought out of Egypt …the vineyard, which God’s right hand planted. In Jeremiah 2:21, God says that He planted Israel as a "noble vine," "a seed of highest quality." The fruit of the vine produces wine, which is spiritually symbolic of joy. The grape vine, representing Israel’s spiritual privilege with God …has branches that wrap themselves around another, branches that depend upon the nourishment and strength of the vine.
Yeshua (Jesus) described Himself as the Vine and His followers as the branches… "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing," John 15:4, 5.
The Bramble… bears no fruit, only thorns and is the product of the curse pronounced by God on mankind in the Garden of Eden after the fall. It is such a low bush that one would have to stoop down low to get in its shadow as is suggested should be done in Judges 9:13. Although the bramble typifies un-regenerate man, features of the plant are sometimes seen in the lives of believers.
The bramble offers no service to …nor provision for the trees …but boasts of a false gift as it asks them to “trust in my shadow.” One could not possibly safely shelter under such a tree …it is more likely to hurt, injure, and suppress rather than comfort, heal, and protect. A worthless plant, the ambition of the bramble was to dominate!
The bramble (Abimelech) in the parable foreshadows the “antichrist,” the one whom Israel will in the end accept as king; and the one who will eventually attempt to devour that nation as described in Judges 9:20. Abimelech ruled for three years and was then killed by a woman (a type of the nation of Israel), indicating that Israel will be victorious in the end. Because Israel did not use her God-given authority, God allowed her to have kings… But, the kings abused her and rejected God. Eventually, Israel’s rebellion resulted in expulsion from the land. As the Second Coming of our Lord draws near, Israel is once again a nation (the fig tree) preparing to rebuild the “Temple” of God and resume through “peace” the sacrificial system (the olive tree). As she prepares for the Coming of the Messiah, Israel will again be tested to see if she has born fruit (the vine).
Interesting to note… Jotham was Gideon’s youngest son who escaped the massacre of his 69 brothers by Abimelech (Judges 9.1-6), who later returned to Mount Gerizim to tell out his prophetic parable under the guidance of the Lord. While the parable foretold the apostasy of the nation of Israel …Jotham himself represented “a faithful remnant.” The spiritual teaching of the parable not only has a serious lesson for us but also carries a warning for those who seek a name and power instead. Abimelech was Gideon’s son by one of his concubines and therefore a product of the flesh (8.31). He was a man devoid of godly principles, and in pursuing his selfish, personal ambition hired worthless and unimportant men of Shechem to commit a heinous crime to secure his anointing as king. The fall of those who unrighteously arrogate to themselves power and authority always comes in God’s time and in the case of Abimelech it was three years later. The spirit of dominance was an evil trait in the character of Abimelech. Let us not overlook the fact that the fall of Abimelech and the nation of Israel was occasioned by internal conflict. Are we not witnessing the weakening and destruction of the Christian message …not only by the world leaders but also through strife among the believers…?
Yeshua (Jesus) said ‘I am’ on seven occasions. ‘I am in Hebrew is ‘Hayah’ and means; "to be or to exist!" Each ‘I am’ is a description He gave of Himself and is recorded in John’s Gospel. The Seven ‘I am’ sayings help us better understand the divinity of Christ:
"I am the bread of life." John 6:35, 41, 48-51
"I am the light of the world." John 8:12, 9:5
"I am the gate for the sheep." John 10:7, 9
"I am the good shepherd." John 10:11, 14
"I am the resurrection, and the life." John 11:25
"I am the way, the truth, and the life." John 14:6
"I am the true vine." John 15:1, 5
The earlier sayings had focus on Yeshua as life-giver and include an invitation to come to Him and to believe in Him. In John 15 we have the last of these ‘I am’ sayings… ‘ I am the true vine’ and this time Yeshua (Jesus) is speaking to those who have already come to Him, and His message is to stay close and commit themselves to Him for the long term, to grow and become fruitful believers. It’s a symbolic story, which means that there’s meaning everywhere (some maybe lost to those of us from a different time and culture, but not to Yeshua’ listeners then), and He uses as the basis for this teaching a picture that would be familiar to all the people of Israel …‘’the vine!" In the Old Testament Israel is pictured as the vineyard of God…
"I planted you as a choice vine," (Jeremiah 2:21) God tells Israel this through the prophets Jeremiah and Hosea. ‘Israel is a luxuriant vine’ in Hosea 10:1.
The grapevine was a symbol of ancient Israel and is part of modern Israel’s national emblem… Grapes have always been central to Israel’s agriculture and economy. The climate of Israel is ideal for cultivating grapes. The grapevine represented Israel’s fruitfulness in doing God’s work on earth. This symbol was on Israel’s coins between the Old and New Testament period, at the time of the Maccabees. A very important product of ancient Israel was ‘grape-honey’ made by boiling the grapes into a molasses-like jelly, which was very sweet. When Israel is referred to as the "land of milk and honey", it is referring to this product rather than honey from beehives. In the time of Yeshua (Jesus), a golden vine hung over the entrance of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, a gift from Herod. It was made of delicately-twisted gold wire and beads. Israel appeared outwardly healthy …but was spiritually withered. Yeshua, declared in the last "I am" statement… "I am the true Vine!"
The true Vine… When Yeshua (Jesus) tells us; "I am the true Vine," He informs us that all the vines of earth are ‘pictures’ and ‘emblems’ of Himself. He is the divine reality, of which they are the created expression. They ALL point to Him, and preach Him, and reveal Him. If we would like to experience Yeshua (Jesus) all we need to do is study the vine. How many times have our eyes looked upon and admired a great vine with its beautiful fruit. Let us look to the ‘heavenly Vine’ until our eyes turns from ALL else to admire Him …"the true vine!"
The heavenly mystery… The earthly vine can teach you much about this Vine of Heaven. Many interesting and beautiful points of comparison suggest themselves, and help us to get conceptions of what Yeshua meant. But unfortunately such thoughts do not teach us to know what the heavenly Vine really is …in its cooling shade and its life-giving fruit. The experience of this is part of the hidden mystery …which none but Yeshua (Jesus) Himself, by His Holy Spirit, can unfold and impart. “I am the true Vine” is the vine and is the living Lord, who Himself speaks, and gives, and works ALL that He has for us. Yeshua alone can reveal Himself. He gives His Holy Spirit to open our eyes to look upon Him, to open our hearts to receive Him and He must speak the Word to us! The overshadowing of His holy love will give us the perfect calm and rest of knowing that “the Vine” will do all. He is the crucified One, who won a perfect righteousness and a divine life for us through His death. He is the glorified One, who from the throne gives His Spirit to make His presence real and true.
There is the “Husbandman” …This term is rather unknown in our modern culture. “Husbandman” does not signify a “husband,” but rather a tiller of the ground, a vinedresser, or a farmer. He is the one in charge of the vines and to whom ultimate accountability is to be rendered. He does everything within his power to see that the plant bears fruit. If it does not, the fault is not his. A vine must have a husbandman to plant and watch over it, to receive and rejoice in its fruit. Yeshua (Jesus) says… ”My Father is the husbandman.” (John 15:1) He was “the vine of God’s planting.” All He was and did, He owed to the Father; in all He only sought the Father's will and glory. He had become man to show us what a creature ought to be to its Creator. He took our place, and the spirit of His life before the Father. Of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. He became “the true Vine,” that we might be “true branches.”
The vine is the source of life for the branches… It provides the water and nutrients by which the grapes are produced. Without the vine, no fruit could ever result. Branches are utterly dependent upon the vine. A branch is simply a bit of wood, brought forth by the vine for the one purpose of serving it in bearing its fruit. It is of the very same nature as the vine, and has one life and one spirit with it. Without Christ, of course, there is NO spiritual life or hope of eternal reward (John 14:6; Acts 4:11-12). The branch has but one object for which it exists, one purpose to which it is entirely given up and that is, to bear the fruit "the vine" wishes to bring forth. And, so in the same way the believer has but one reason for his being a branch but one reason for his existence on earth that the "Heavenly Vine" may through him bring forth His fruit. It is interesting that Christ designates Himself as "the true vine." As dependent as a vine is on a husbandman for the place where it is to grow, for its fencing in and watering and pruning. Yeshua (Jesus) felt Himself entirely dependent on the Father every day for the wisdom and the strength to do the Father's will!
At the very root of all believers’ lives lies the thought that God is to do all …and to believe that our work is to give and leave ourselves in His Hands. We are to confess our utter helplessness and dependence and in the assured confidence that God gives us all we need. The great lack of Christianity is that …even where we trust Christ …we leave God out of the count! Christ came to bring us to God. Christ lived the life of a man exactly as we have to live it. Christ "the Vine" points to God "the Husbandman!" As Yeshua (Jesus) trusted God let us also trust God our Abba Father!
We are reminded that when most of Israel was taken out of the land (Leviticus 18:26-28; Deuteronomy 28:23-24) …no one could claim the people had not been warned, they were told specifically…. "There shall be no grapes on the vine, no figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade," Jeremiah 8:13. And, "There shall come up "briers and thorns," Isaiah 5:6. The land was described as in mourning… the herbs of every field withered, because of the wickedness of those who dwelt in its borders (Jeremiah 12:4). Our Creator speaks of the land of Israel as though it was a living thing… "They have made it desolate, and being desolate it mourns unto Me, Jeremiah 12:11. So we see that God the Father is the Owner of the vineyard, as well as the cultivator of the crop... Vines require constant, attentive care. A vineyard calls for harder and more regular labour than any other form of agriculture. The Israelites built watchtowers by their vineyards to guard against thieves and wild animals. The Father tends His grapes …waters and protects them, and cultivates a harvest so that it will produce a maximum yield. We can trust the Gardener to nurture and watch us. His eye is on every branch. God makes His garden grow (I Corinthians 3:6-9).
John refers to Yeshua (Jesus) in John 15:1 not simply as "the vine" …but more specifically as "the true vine." The implication is that in contrast to Israel, which became unfaithful and incurred the judgment of God, Yeshua (Jesus) remains faithful and thus fulfils Israel’s calling to be the vine of God. It is noteworthy that the contrast is between Israel and Yeshua (Jesus) and not between Israel and the Church. The Church is not "the true vine" …Yeshua/Jesus is. Furthermore, Yeshua is not the trunk or the root …He is "the vine!" He is the "true vine" who fulfilled the destiny to which Israel was called. The Church CAN be a part of that destiny only as branches "in the true vine" (Yeshua/Jesus) and branches in "the olive tree" (Israel). The Church CANNOT fulfill it’s destiny without Christ. Apart from Christ the Church is nothing but dead twigs! The Church MUST remain connected to its Hebraic roots (Olive tree/Israel)!
We hope that you enjoy and become more informed by our work. We serve an awesome God and we are humbled by this opportunity to bring you this information.
Alf & Julie Saunders
Behold the Fig Tree And All The Trees :: By Jack Kinsella
“And He spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees.” (Luke 21:30)
In the Scriptures, there are three specific trees that are used as euphemisms for Israel; the vine, the fig tree and the olive.
In Scripture, the vine is the symbol of Israel’s spiritual privileges; the fig tree symbolizes Israel’s national privileges and the olive tree symbolizes Israel’s religious privileges.
“Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. (Psalms 80:8-10)
The Psalmist is here painting a graphic picture of Israel being removed from the soil of Egypt and being transplanted into the fertile soil of Israel.
Once the “Vine” was transplanted it began to grow and spread over the land, until in the words of the Psalmist, it sent out its boughs unto the Mediterranean Sea, and its branches unto the Euphrates river, as in the reign of King Solomon.
“Now will I sing to my Well-Beloved a song of my Beloved touching His Vineyard. My Well-Beloved hath a VINEYARD in a very fruitful hill (Canaan): and He fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the CHOICEST VINE, and built a Tower in the midst of it, and also made a Winepress therein.” (Isaiah 5:1-2)
The olive tree is used to symbolize Israel and the Church by the Apostle Paul:
“For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.” (Romans 11:16-18)
The Apostle Paul refers to the good olive tree (Israel) and the wild olive tree (the Gentiles). The good olive tree was “good” because it was separated, or set apart, (holy), whereas branches from the wild olive tree (the Gentiles) are grafted in.
“For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?” (Romans 11:24)
Notice carefully that the good olive tree (Israel) is NOT rooted up and destroyed with the wild olive tree planted in its place. That would be the case if the replacement theologians were right and that the Gentile Church has taken the place of Israel.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:” (Romans 11:25-26)
Instead, the good olive tree remains alive and gives life to both the good tree and the wild tree. The Church does not supplant or replace Israel, it is grafted in to the existing tree.
Paul explains that “blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
That is to say, during the Church Age, God’s attention is focused on the Gentiles until that last Gentile (whom God foreknew would be saved) has been saved, bringing in the full number of Gentile believers.
When every Gentile that is going to be saved has been saved, THEN. . .
“. . . 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.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
The fig tree is the third, and most often-used symbol for Israel. The Bible teaches that as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him to ask Him “what will be the sign of Thy coming?
In His reply, Jesus listed three major signs recognizable to the Jews.
The appearance of the “Abomination of Desolation” spoken of in Daniel 9:27 (the revelation of antichrist).
The sign of the Fig Tree – symbolizing the regathering of the Jews into their own land.
The fig tree is a particularly appropriate symbol in that on the fig tree, the fruit appears BEFORE the tree blossoms. The Bible says that first, Israel is regathered into her own land, and only after that does the nation “blossom” with the return of the Husbandman.
The restoration of Israel is like the budding of a fig tree in the springtime symbolizing a tree about to blossom — symbolic of Israel’s national privileges.
The “fig tree” began to put forth its leaves on May 14, 1948, beginning the countdown to the end of the Church Age at the Rapture and kicking off what the Prophet Jeremiah called “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble.”
But is there some way of confirming that?
According to Bible prophecy, in the last days, there will come into existence, a revived form of the political Roman Empire. The Prophet Daniel predicted that the antichrist will be a prince of the people that would destroy the city and the sanctuary (Jerusalem and the Temple).
In 1948, as Europe struggled to rebuild, six nations in Western Europe signed the Benelux Customs Union, beginning the process of European unification that was codified in March, 1957 with the treaty of Rome.
And so, a unified Europe looks back to its foundation on January 1, 1948. Is that significant? We’ve examined this question before, but it is worth going back to for another re-think.
The Bible also predicted the development of an apostate form of Christianity that will have world-wide authority. Revelation 13:11 describes this religious system as “having two horns like a lamb” — symbols of Christianity.
The World Council of Churches was born in Amsterdam in 1948. The WCC is not a ‘global religion’ but is the closest thing we currently have to a global religious authority that purports to speak for world-wide Christianity.
The Bible also predicts the rise of a centralized global economic authority that will become one of the antichrist’s principle methods of economic control.
The World Trade Organization — a trade organization empowered to regulate the global economy — saw its genesis in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, enacted by the UN in 1948.
The Bible predicted that global economy will fall under the control of a single individual who will be able to regulate commerce down to the individual level — “That no man might buy or sell” (Revelation 13:17). Such individual control was impossible before the advent of computers.
Although computers had been invented during World War II, they were huge, bulky monsters that used notoriously unreliable and hugely inefficient vacuum tubes. The first computers were slower than a pocket calculator, filled huge environmentally sealed rooms and required enough electricity to power a small city.
That all changed in 1948 when Bell Labs patented the transistor chip, signaling the official birth of the Computer Age.
That final age would be marked by ‘rumors of war’ – (Matthew 24:7).
The ultimate ‘rumor of war’ was the Cold War. It began with the Berlin Airlift of 1948. The Soviet collapse was a direct result of the cost of fighting the Cold War.
Earthquakes began to show a marked increase in size, scope and intensity in 1948.
The modern period of ethnic unrest can be traced to the death of colonialism beginning in 1948. Increasing ‘pestilence’ or deadly disease, can be traced to 1948, with the introduction of sulfa drugs and the over-prescription of antibiotics.
Economic ‘kingdoms’ began with the first multinational corporations in 1948.
The decline in world-wide morality can be traced to the moment that it became acceptable to use abortion as a method of birth control.
The Japanese Eugenics Act — the first legal abortion on demand legislation ever passed in modern society — was passed in 1948.
American Margaret Sanger was so impressed with the idea that she founded the premier abortion rights advocacy group — Planned Parenthood — in 1948.
The Supreme Court ruled for the first time, that public schools could not use taxpayer funds for religious purposes, discovering in the process, the modern principle of “separation of church and state” (McCollum v Board of Education, 1948)
In 1948, Mao Tse Tung’s Communists chased Chiang Kai Shek’s nationalists off the mainland to the Island of Formosa and renamed itself Taiwan, and declared itself the legitimate government of China.
The conflict between the two Chinas further rearranged regional political alliances until they fit the alignment foretold by the prophets.
Other related events that trace their roots to the same year as the budding of the fig tree include; commercial television, holography, cybernetics, meteorology, the nuclear arms race, microelectronics, the Big Bang, the birth of NATO, the Cold War, the UN adoption of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and the Kinsey Report that kicked off the “sexual revolution.”
Israel is the centerpiece of Bible prophecy. Its existence and history are proof positive of the accuracy of Bible prophecy. To this point in the historical record, Bible prophecy — where it can be proved at all — has proved to be 100% accurate, 100% of the time.
It continues to unfold before our eyes. We’ve only touched on the high points in the Big Picture, but the pattern is unmistakable. Events foretold to take place in a single generation, somewhere in time — events that can only happen once — are coming together — all at once and in THIS generation.
The same God that predicted what has already occurred with such unerring accuracy will continue to perform His Will until His Purpose is accomplished. Bible prophecy proves God is still on His Throne and is intimately concerned with the affairs of men.
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” (Isaiah 46:9-10)
That promise has no expiration date. God’s blueprint for the future will continue to unfold with the same accuracy in the days ahead as it has in millennia past.
Prophecy is His signature of authenticity. And our confidence is well placed.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)
The 1948 Connection :: By Jack Kinsella
The restoration of the Jews to the Promised Land is one of the most staggeringly overt fulfillments of Bible prophecy to occur in the last 2,000 years.
The Hebrew prophets all foretold an eventual restoration of Israel, even addressing the future state by name, in some cases centuries after Israel had ceased to exist.
“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. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:32-34).
In his book, Personal Witness, Ambassador Abba Eban, one of Israel’s Founding Fathers and Israel’s first Foreign Minister, wrote;
“In accordance with our plan, a letter from [Chaim] Weizmann to [President] Truman had been sent on May 13 asking him to recognize our new state.”
The expected infant state was still nameless since the Zionist leaders were still characteristically arguing over the name (should it be “Judea,” “Zion,” [or]what about the name “Israel”)? Weizmann, for the first time in history, was asking for a nameless state to be recognized.
Although Ezekiel confidently wrote of the restored Jewish state as “Israel” 2,500 years before, those who actually served as midwives to the rebirth did not decide on the name until the very day before!
Hosea said of Israel,
“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time…” (Hosea 9:10)
Joel wrote of the northern invaders of Israel,
“He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree…” (Joel 1:7).
In 1948, the fig tree began to put forth leaves, so to speak, and Jesus said that generation would see “all these things” fulfilled.
The Bible said that pivotal event in history would take place simultaneously with the birth of a revived Roman Empire. A unified Europe looks back to its foundation as January 1, 1948.
It said an apostate world religion would develop at the same time. Revelation 13:11 describes this religious system as “having two horns like a lamb” — symbols of Christianity. The World Council of Churches was born in 1948.
It predicts that global political system will co-exist with a global economy. The World Trade Organization — a trade organization empowered to regulate the global economy — saw its genesis in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, enacted by the UN in 1948.
The Bible predicted that global economy will fall under the control of a single individual who will be able to regulate commerce down to the individual level — “That no man might buy or sell” (Rev 13:17). Such individual control was impossible before the advent of computers.
Although computers had been invented during World War II, they were huge, bulky monsters that used notoriously unreliable and hugely inefficient vacuum tubes. The first computers were slower than a pocket calculator, filled huge environmentally sealed rooms, and required enough electricity to power a small city.
That all changed in 1948 when Bell Labs invented the transistor chip, signaling the official birth of the Computer Age.
That final age would be marked by “rumors of war” (Matt 24:7). The ultimate ‘rumor of war’ was the Cold War. It began with the Berlin Airlift of 1948. The Soviet collapse was a direct result of the cost of fighting the Cold War. The ongoing decline of US influence in the world is also related to the costs of that ‘war.’ The power vacuum left by the simultaneous decline of each of these great powers is being filled by Europe, just as the Bible predicted.
Earthquakes began to show a marked increase in size, scope, and intensity in 1948. The modern period of ethnos [nation] against ethnos [nation] can be traced to the death of colonialism beginning in 1948. Increasing ‘pestilence’ or deadly disease, can be traced to 1948. Economic ‘kingdoms’ began with the first multinational corporations in 1948.
Legislation passed by the UN in 1948, like the UDHR and the UNCPR, function today as the legal cornerstones of our developing globalist worldview and the disintegration of US Constitutional guarantees.
The decline in morality — worldwide — can arguably be placed at the feet of the current trend of devaluing human life to the degree that legislation permitting abortion and euthanasia are evidences of an ‘advanced’ society.
The Japanese Eugenics Act — the first legal abortion on demand legislation ever passed in modern society — was passed in 1948. American Margaret Sanger was so impressed with the idea that she founded the premier abortion rights advocacy group — Planned Parenthood — in 1948.
Let’s not forget the other technological advances introduced in 1948 — commercial television, holography, cybernetics, meteorology, the nuclear arms race, microelectronics, and dozens of other advances that served to demystify the books of Daniel and the Revelation for this generation.
Add that to the social breakdown that followed the ouster of God from American education following McCollum vs. the board of education decision of 1948. Don’t forget the contribution made to evolutionary theory by the introduction of the ‘Big Bang’ theory of 1948. That served to further alienate the concept of a Creator God from the American worldview.
2 Peter 3:3 warns,
“that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”
All these things taken in context point to one logical conclusion. This is the generation of whom Jesus was speaking when He said,
“This generation shall not pass until ALL these things be fulfilled.”