When we investigate an issue, we don't just ask for a few details and then form our own interpretation of what's happened. As an example, when we see a news article we try to gleam as much information as possible, but we also access other news sources to bring more detail in our understanding of the issue and even to confirm whether what we've been told was the truth. The same is true about scripture. We look for other examples, we take scripture in context, and we look for a thread of consistency throughout the Bible.
I mention this, because today I'd like to share my thoughts on the fig tree parable. This parable can be found in Matthew 24:32-35, Mark 13:28-31, and Luke 21:29-33.
To set this up, the disciples have asked Jesus what would be the sign of His coming. The scriptures I just referenced are a sliver of Jesus' response, and sometimes people will pluck these few verses out and attempt to interpret their meaning away from the context of the discussion that Jesus is having with His disciples. To do that would be to distort the message, because there's no contextual basis for the discussion once the verses have been removed from context.
Now I've dealt with this type of issue in the past on this web site. In fact, I often receive negative and argumentative comments on my article about Nephilim in the end times, so I know that people can get heated when they don't agree with what I have to say. That's because I'm challenging their understanding by taking scripture in context and not apply meaning to scripture that it was never intended to have. You see, there's church tradition, there's false teaching, and there's just innocent misinterpretation of scripture.
Yes, there are times when the fig tree is representative of Israel, but there are also times when a fig tree is just a fig tree. A perfect example is Matthew 21:18-22. Jesus and the disciples were heading back to Bethany when Jesus became hungry. He came to a fig tree that was in season, but the tree had no fruit, so He cursed the fig tree and it withered. If you continue reading that portion of scripture, and take it in context, the fate of that fig tree was an example Jesus used to explain the power of faith. You HAVE to keep reading. It's like when people quote Matthew 7:1 and say that we can't judge them. They pluck a verse of scripture out of context and give it an interpretation that it was never meant to have. Then they neglect the following verses and neglect the thread of righteous judgment found throughout the bible, including multiple scriptures in the New Testament where we're instructed to judge situations and the actions of those in the church.
Just as the "do not judge" scripture, standing alone, has one meaning, and the "do not judge" scripture, taken in context, along with the following verses and viewed as a whole with other scripture concerning judging, has quite another meaning, so does the parable of the fig tree.
If you take the parable of the fig tree out of context, you can apply any meaning to it that you so desire. If you take the parable of the fig tree in context, you'll see that Jesus is comparing the leaves sprouting on a fig tree to seeing the signs of the end times. You know summer (His return) is near. When Jesus is referring to the "generation" that won't pass until He returns, He's referring to those living during these end time events. It has absolutely nothing to do with Israel becoming a nation, even though that is also part of end time prophecy. The prophecies of Israel's rebirth are totally separate prophecies. The fig tree in these portions of scripture, mentioned previously, doesn't have anything to do with the birth of Israel, but has everything to do with a lesson on faith, and as a sign of His imminent return in a generation experiencing end time events. Read it for yourself... in context.
Those attempting to calculate return of Christ have two things against them.
- They're attempting to base their calculations on the birth of Israel and the counting of one generation.
- They're ignoring scripture that states that no man will know the day nor the hour of Jesus' return.
Still not convinced that the fig tree in these portions of scripture don't relate to Israel? Then look at what happened to the fig tree. Jesus cursed it and it died. If the fig tree represented Israel, then we'd have to say that this portion of scripture prophesied the total destruction of Israel. Gone. Dead. Never to be revived. Withered to the root. Scripture tells us that this doesn't happen, so is this a contradiction? It can't be, because there are no contradictions in the bible. See? Take a verse out of context, forgetting everything else written in the word of God, and you can give that verse whatever meaning you choose. That's the danger of isolating verses and forming doctrine based on a flawed interpretation. The worst part of that are those who spread this false teaching to others, who then believe it and pass on this false teaching to others. It becomes a vicious cycle.
I hope you take the time to consider what I had to say. It's not easy having long held beliefs challenged, I know... I've experienced it myself... but if we don't take the time to reflect on what we believe and why we believe it, if we're not open to even considering the possibility that we could be standing on, and promoting, a misinterpretation of scripture, then we're shortchanging ourselves and robbing ourselves of the opportunity to grow as born again believers, and of growing closer to God in the process. We need to allow ourselves to be challenged, so we can either confirm our long held beliefs, or repent and correct our own flawed interpretation or understanding of scriptural truths. The Holy Spirit will confirm whether or not I'm speaking truth, but you can't let your pride get in the way of listening to Him.
If you made it to the end, thank you. Many will undoubtedly see where I'm heading and just stop reading. It's not a sin to listen to another interpretation of scripture, but as we're instructed to do, we must judge as to whether they are sound interpretations. Don't let pride or tradition prevent you from growing!!!
REPENT AND BE FORGIVEN! BELIEVE AND BE SAVED!