Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Fig Tree

The Fig Tree

In Jeremiah 24, God shows the prophet two baskets of figs:  "One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are first ripe..." verse 2.  The luscious figs pictured above were on display in a market we wandered through in Pisa, Italy.  I think they're a very good picture of what Jeremiah saw in that basket of good figs (the second basket had "bad figs").

God went on to tell Jeremiah that the good figs represented those Israelites that had been taken captive from Judah to the land of the Chaldeans.  He said, "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.  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" 24:6-7.

Various times in scripture, God likens the nation of Israel to a fig tree and its fruit.  In the New Testament, on two occasions, Jesus comes across fig trees that do not bear figs (Luke 13 & Matthew 21).  Both times, the fig tree and its fruit are symbols of the nation of Israel.

In Matthew 24, Jesus is telling His disciples about the signs of the end of the age, the tribulation and of His second coming.  He ended with the admonition, not only to those disciples, but to us as believers, that we could know when that time was near - that if we're paying close attention to His prompts, we will know His return is imminent -- and once again, it has to do with figs.

Jesus said, "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.  So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near - at the doors!  Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place" 24:32-34.

Here's what Britt Gillette writes in his book, Signs of the Second Coming, "Jesus said when we see the fig tree (Israel) grow leaves (regenerates), we should pay close attention.  Why?  Because when that happens, He will return within a single generation."

Britt also writes, "Just as the fig tree of Israel withered and died when it failed to recognize the Messiah, the fig tree of Israel will regenerate and sprout its leaves again just prior to His Second Coming.  In other words, Israel will be 'in season' once again, ready to receive her Messiah.'"

And when did this fig tree begin its regeneration?  On May 14, 1948.  In a single day (as prophesied by Isaiah), Israel was reborn as a nation for the first time in nearly 2,000 years.  Israel is a modern miracle, just as God foretold it would be.

Although we cannot know the day, nor the hour of Christ's return (only the Father is privy to that info), we can know the season.  In fact, several times Jesus made it plain that He wants us to watch and be ready and recognize the signs of that season.  And guess what?  We're in it.  The signs point to this being the season.  We are the generation.

Those beautiful, ripe figs are a reminder of the Lord's promise.  Just as God told Jeremiah He would bring His people back to the land, He promised to bring them back to the land in the last days as well.  We are seeing prophesy fulfilled before our very eyes.  In Luke 21, Jesus said, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."

I borrow words from our brother John as he ended the book of Revelation:  "..Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

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