The Parable of the Fig Tree

“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.” – Matthew 24:32-35.

Jesus exhorts his disciples to be watchful in the situation leading up to the fall of Jerusalem [Matt. 24:32-35; Mark 13:28-31; Luke 21:29-33].

“the fig tree” (v.32) — This parable is paralleled in Mark 13:28-32 and Luke 21:29-33. The fig tree in this proverbial passage was apparently not a symbol of Israel as in Matt. 21:18-20 and Mark 11:12-14, but a way of assuring believers that although they cannot know the specific eschatological times, they can know the general time. The fig tree put out its leaves early and everyone knew spring was close.

“you know” (vv.32-33) You can discern the signs. The problem with every generation of believers is that they force the Bible into the history of their own day! All attempts have so far been wrong!

“when you see all these things” This could refer to (1) the destruction of Jerusalem; or (2) one of these specific signs of the Second Coming.

“this generation…take place” (v.34) — refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70 by the Roman legion under Titus. Jesus was merging the questions of Matt. 24:3: (1) the destruction of the temple, (2) the sign of His return at the end of the age, and (3) the end of the age.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (v.35). — What a strong statement of Jesus’ self-understanding! It surely relates to Matt. 5:17-19 or Isa. 40:8; 55:11. Jesus is the full revelation of the invisible God (i.e., Col. 1:15).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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