Sunday, December 22, 2002

FIG TREE From Jack Van Impe dictionary of prophetic terms .

Joel pictures Israel as the fig tree (Joel 1:7).. Israel’s existence today is the fulfillment of the reference in Matthew 24:32 to the blossoming of the fig tree .


This a widely accepted view of what the fig tree is. Many of us grew up hearing that Israel becoming a nation in 1948 was the fulfillment of this prophesy. And that that generation, that saw Israel become a nation would not pass until all that has been written was fulfilled. At that time a generation was forty years, now there are estimates that a generation could be seventy years.

A careful study of the scriptures will reveal that although Joel 1:7 sees Israel as a fig tree, it is not a given that the fig tree in Matt 24:32 refers to Israel. In fact, I think the scriptures reveal the opposite. Jesus’ statement in Matt 24:32 is actually the severing of this symbols attachment to Israel. Jesus’ words are so well crafted it is as if he possessed the genius of God. Let me explain.
Matt.21:18-20. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.
At that time, the fig tree did represent Israel. When Jesus said “Never bear fruit again” he meant it. Since Jesus cannot contradict himself, lie, or be wrong, we must conclude that matt 24:32 was not referring to Israel.
Also, in Luke21:29. the parallel passage, It is recorded as Jesus saying: 29 He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees"
“All the trees” excludes this fig tree reference as representing Israel, for it unspecified the symbol, as was Jesus’ intent.
There is one more problem with the interpretation of this prophesy as referring to Israel becoming a nation again. It is NOT a prophesy. In both Matt 24 and Luke 21 Jesus identifies this scripture as not being a prophesy. Matt 24:32 “ Now learn a parable of the fig tree;…” Luke 21:29 “He told them this parable:…” The fig tree reference is not even part of the prophecy, it is a lesson, a parable, a key to understand the manner in which the prophesies of Luke 21 and Matt24 are going to be fulfilled, not part of the prophecy at all!

Jesus using the fig tree in this manner was the fulfillment of his own prophesy recorded in Luke 13:6-8 “So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, `For three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?”
The use of this previously reserved for Israel symbol in this manner,(Matt24 Luke21) was the cutting down of Israel’s own fig tree.

Dave’s final thought.
How it is that scripture is so easily misinterpreted? How it is that so many people believe exactly what Jack Van Impe says about this when elementary reading of the scripture concludes and displays the truth so plainly is simple. When a person is saved they trust those that converted them and justly love them. The bible, especially to a new Christian is to big to absorb, and so they rely on what they are told by those that converted them. Then as it takes the new Christian years to read the scriptures and then finally begin to understand them, by the time they reach this point they have loved a lie for so long that they either cant see it or refuse to reject it. And the cycle repeats it self, over and over.