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Learn The Parable Of The Fig Tree

Friday, May 12th, is the first of several major milestones this year.  This day marks exactly 70 prophetic years since the rebirth of Israel on May 14th, 1948.  In the Bible, prophetic "days" or "times" appear to consist of 360 days each (e.g. Daniel 7:25, 9:24-27, 12:7, Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6, 12:14, 13:5).  In addition, this Sunday Israel celebrates its 69th anniversary, which means that Monday begins the 70th regular solar year since Israel became a nation.  Psalm 90:10 tells us that a generation is 70 or 80 years long.

From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.  So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.  Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
- Matthew 24:32-34

There is wide agreement among dispensationalist and futurist scholars that the Parable of the Fig Tree that Jesus told His disciples in His Olivet Discourse was a prophecy of the rebirth of Israel because the fig tree represents national Israel in Scripture (e.g. 1 Kings 4:25, Jeremiah 24:5, Hosea 9:10, Matthew 21:18-20, Mark 11:12-14, Luke 3:7-9, 13:6-9, John 1:47-49).  The immediate context of the parable was the Time of Jacob's Trouble, also known as the Tribulation.  In other words, the generation that sees Israel reborn and the fig tree "put out its leaves" is the same generation that will see the completion of the Tribulation and the return of Jesus Christ.

The fig tree withered during Jesus' first coming because the nation rejected their Messiah.  The Jewish people put to death their own King (Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:2, John 19:19, Acts 2:36).  And after Jesus' resurrection and ascension and the establishment of the Church on Pentecost, the Jewish authorities continued to persecute the Believers.  Most of the Believers in Judea and Samaria were scattered abroad because the persecution was so great.  In less than forty years' time there were no Believers left in Jerusalem and the city and Temple were utterly destroyed by the Romans.  Most of the Jewish people were either killed or exiled.  The fig tree was cut down.

For over 1,800 years the land remained a desolation and the Jewish people remained in exile in the Diaspora, yet throughout that two millennia period God continued to miraculously preserve and protect the Jewish people.  Their ethnicity, culture, traditions, and religion were largely preserved despite repeated attempts to destroy them by Islamic caliphates, the Roman Catholic Church, and more recently, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Arab nations.

Simultaneously, the institutional Church began a great doctrinal decline during the Middle Ages.  Beliefs that were central to the Christian faith in the first few centuries after Christ, such as the Gospel, Universal Priesthood, Sola Fide, confession to God, and premillennialism, were slowly replaced by ritualism, ornate liturgy, Works-righteousness, sacramentalism, indulgences, and allegorical hermeneutics.  The Reformation saw the reemergence of early Church soteriology, but the reformers largely carried over Roman Catholic eschatology.

But nearing the close of the 18th century, many Christian scholars began reading and interpreting unfulfilled prophetic Scriptures for their plain meaning, a hermeneutic fitting with how the prophecies of Christ's first coming came to pass.  Premillennialism, dispensationalism, and pre-tribulationism all saw a resurgence and found widespread acceptance in the Protestant/Evangelical churches.  In the midst of that eschatological revival, scholars began to recognize the clear distinction between the Church and national Israel.  They began to see that the Bible was replete with yet-to-be-fulfilled promises to the nation of Israel and the Jewish people.  The timing of this relearned knowledge was impeccable because within a century the ancient prophecies began to be fulfilled.

1897: The Fig Seed Is Planted

For centuries persecuted Jews around the world had dreamed of their homeland and a renewed covenant with Yahweh, but the spiritual and political obstacles to achieving those dreams seemed to be insurmountable.  Yet the dream took seed-form in 1897 when Theodor Herzl gathered a delegation of Jews from around the world to Basel, Switzerland and founded the World Zionist Organization.  There at the First Zionist Congress Zionism became a full-fledged political movement and the body adopted the Basel Declaration, which finally put the dream into words:

Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine. For the attainment of this purpose, the Congress considers the following means serviceable:

1. The promotion of the settlement of Jewish agriculturists, artisans, and tradesmen in Palestine.

2. The federation of all Jews into local or general groups, according to the laws of the various countries.

3. The strengthening of the Jewish feeling and consciousness.

4. Preparatory steps for the attainment of those governmental grants which are necessary to the achievement of the Zionist purpose.

1917: The Fig Seed Sprouts

Zionism continued to grow, spurred on by favorable sentiments among Evangelical leaders in Britain and the United States.  On November 2, 1917, the fig seed germinated when the Jewish people achieved their first major political victory in nearly two millennia.  British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour announced that the British government, which was soon to take possession of the Holy Land from the Ottomans, now favored the establishment of a Jewish homeland:

His Majesty's government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Just 15 days later British troops marched into Jerusalem and by the end of that year had captured the city.  The Ottoman Empire was soon defeated and the path was clear for the reestablishment of Israel.

1923: The Fig Shoot Appears

On September 29, 1923 the British Mandate for Palestine came into effect, which gave Jews full legal permission to return to Israel and international legal support for a Jewish homeland.  The seed was now a tree - albeit a small one with many things endangering it.  Notice again the year: 1923.

1947/48: The Fig Tree Puts Forth Leaves

Jews migrated to the Holy Land en masse, especially after the close of World War II.  Jewish settlements budded everywhere.  On November 29, 1947 the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 181, which formally established a Jewish nation in the land.  War broke out immediately between Jews and Palestinians, which culminated in the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.  The buds were now leaves and the terminal generation spoken of in Matthew 24:32-34 began.

1967: The Fig Tree Blossoms

Immediately after Israeli independence in 1948, all the neighboring Arab countries gathered together and attacked the tiny nation in what I personally believe was the best candidate war for Psalm 83 if indeed Psalm 83 was a prophecy.  The belligerents included the exact nations listed in Psalm 83 and excluded the exact nations listed in Ezekiel 38.  There is a lot of debate over Psalm 83's timing, and whether it is in fact an actual prophecy or not, so I'm not dogmatic about this, but it does appear to fit.

Initially, Israeli forces were outnumbered 2-to-1 and both the British Foreign Ministry and the CIA believed that Israel would lose the war.  Yet Israel miraculously prevailed and even gained back more of the land that God had allotted to Jacob.  The war lasted exactly 9 months, 2 days, and 3 weeks.

Then in 1967 Israel's Arab neighbors again attempted to destroy the Jewish nation.  This time Israeli forces were outnumbered nearly 3-to-1 in deployed troops, aircraft, and tanks, but the nation was miraculously preserved again.  Hundreds of Israeli troops were killed, but tens of thousands of Arab soldiers perished in the conflict.  The war lasted only six days, from June 5th to June 10th, and on June 7th Israeli forces captured the ancient city of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.  The Zionists now had military control of Zion.  The fig tree began to blossom.

2017 - 2024: Does The King Return To Tend His Fig Tree?

All that now remains is for the King of Israel to return and inspect the fig tree for fruit again.  We know from Scripture that this time He will find fruit because Israel will have placed their faith in Messiah having weathered the storms of the Tribulation and the relentless onslaught of the antichrist.  Perhaps 2017 is the year that the Tribulation begins.

Psalm 90:10 tells us a generation is 70 or 80 years in length.  If the Tribulation lasts from 2017 to 2024 that would be 70 to 77 prophetic years since the rebirth of Israel and 70 to 77 regular solar years since the international establishment of a Jewish homeland in 1947.  Both ranges fall right between 70 and 80 years.

In Genesis 6:3 God promised that mankind had 120 years left until the Flood came.  The Tribulation is the second cataclysmic global judgment and the beginning of the fulfillment of the Parable of the Fig Tree began when the seed was planted in 1897 - 120 years from this year.

Likewise, 100 years after the Jews were promised a future homeland by the British government is this year.  Abraham was 100 years old when his promised son was born (Genesis 21:5).  In turn we see a sign in the sky depicting the birth of another promised son this September.

A Jubilee period was 50 years in length.  On the fiftieth year the captives went free and the land was returned to its rightful owner.  50 years from the Israeli conquest of Jerusalem is also this year.  Perhaps the captives in this world are about to go free and are about to receive their promised inheritance.

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  1. Excellent summary Gary. Very clear. I will add, since the fall all we have to show a HOLY GOD is our sin.

    Adam and Eve showed Him their symbol - fig leaves.

    It is ours too.

    At the triumphal entry instead of showing God humility and brokenness for sin, they showed much sin and no fruit that comes with repentence.

    Worse still they waived their national pride symbol - the big palm branch.

    When Israel has humility and repentence (sorrow for sin), then know He is right at the door to welcome them home.

  2. Just another verse to add to your list that the fig tree represents Israel - see Joel 1:7.

    1. Wonderful well thought out article Gary! Damian great connection with Joel. The entire chapter has so much to connect with our current body of knowledge along with our Revelation 12 sign and the sixth seal. Our Lord told us to "learn" the parable of the fig tree.

      Joel 1:7-8 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white. Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth. Joel 1:15 Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

      John also revels to us a hint in Revelation 6. Furthermore, why does John add this last part about the stars falling?

      Rev. 6:12-13 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

      We can agree that many times in scripture stars and angels are synonymous. However, the flag of Israel contains "reportedly" the star of David.

      When the world see this event they know the Wrath of Lamb is here!

  3. Hi Gary,

    An analysis that should make us even more alert as to the return of the Lord Jesus. Let us seek the presence of the Father while it is possible.

    God bless you all.

  4. Great post, though I tend to see the fig tree related to Israel's spiritual rebirth rather than its national rebirth. National rebirth perhaps has to precede spiritual?

    1. Yes. The natural before the spiritual is a biblical precedent established from the early going (Adam formed from the ground and then given the breath of life). See Ezek. 37:7-14 in regard to "the whole house of Israel," where God brings dry bones together first (natural, national, physical, etc.) and then gives them spiritual life (echoed again after Gog/Magog victory - Ezek. 39:29).

  5. this post has something sooo right about it,...it hit me like a love letter from Gods heart! GOD IS GOOD!!! Greg, your comment is awesome! and now i'm heading for Joel 1:7 to see further, thanks Damian. Shalom people*,..tony in vt. Sweet post Gary,...WOW!

  6. Thank you for this great encouragement. I loved how you showed the development and growth of the fig tree. How exciting that May 12 is so near. God bless you. Maranatha!

  7. Friends,
    we have to carefully discern correctly between the whole of Israel (ie 12 tribes of Jacob/Israel); the house of Israel (ie Ephraim and the Ten Northern tribes) and Judah ( the three southern tribes ie Judah, Benjamin, Levi) when it comes to prophesy...

    Collectively, when Israel was still one nation under David, it was always referred to as the Vine and the Fig Tree in symbolism. When the tribes split in the time of Jerobeam (Solomon's son), Israel (ie Ephraim/Northern tribes) became the Vine, and Judah (Southern Tribes) the Fig tree. The Vine is also the emblem of the House of Israel/Joseph/Ephraim who received the birth right from Jacob/Israel on his deathbed. Judah received the Sceptre to rule, until Shiloh comes. Shiloh (Jesus) did come, but was rejected by Judah (the Jews).

    When the northern tribes (House of Israel/Ephraim) were conquered and carried away to Assyria, they were eventually assimilated into the Nations (Gentiles) and only the House of Judah (southern tribes) remained in their own land until the time of Nebuchadnezzar.
    In the time of the prophet Jeremiah, the esteemed of the House of Judah were captured and taken to Babylon, with the poorer people left behind to tend to the flocks and orchards. Eventually, after 70 years captivity, only a remnant returned once Cyrus (Medes & Persians) conquered Babylon and gave the Jews the choice to stay in Babylon or return to their ancestral lands.

    Now, in the time of Jesus, only the descendants of those House of Judah remnants who were taken away to Babylon and the poor left behind Jews, lived in the Roman provinces of Judeah, Galilee etc (previously the lands of Judah and Israel).
    So when Jesus speaks of the Fig tree, he speaks specifically of the House of Judah (the Jews). Also note that in the parable of the Fig Tree, the tree is situated in the midst of a Vineyard. The Fig tree specifically is condemned for not bearing fruit. Also when Jesus rebukes the fig tree (Judah/Jews) in Jerusalem, he says that it would NEVER again bear fruit, this in itself is a prophecy.
    Israel and Judah were always to be a blessing to all nations according to God's commands and wishes, even to treat the stranger in their lands as a brother.

    The return of the Jews to modern day Palestine has been everything but a blessing to the nations...
    The land of Palestine has been conquered by force, killing thousands of Palestinians and leaving many refugees in surrounding countries. The birth right and name of the House of Israel (Ephraim and ten northern tribes), have been usurped by a few. The current state of Israel has not been a blessing to anyone but themselves, only a curse. Together with the West, Israel has caused destruction on the nations of the Middle East....Iraq, Syria, Lebanon to name a few. This scenario is exactly predicted by the prophets, that the land will be reconquered by the sword and not the Spirit, and this would eventually turn out to be futile. Judah (the fig tree)/modern-day Israel state, have been given the chance again to be a blessing to all nations and to bear fruit, but this has not happened, exactly as per Jesus' prophecy and parable, it has only sprouted many leafs, but no fruit acceptable to the Lord.

    So, to make a long story short, neither Israel (the Nations/Gentiles) nor Judah (the Jews) as collectives will establish God's Kingdom again , only a remnant will be called out by God Himself from both the Gentiles (Nations/Christians) and the Jews which will serve the Lord with their hearts and their minds and bear the required fruit.

    1. 888 very good points. Thus we see why there is a remnant that are sealed after the 6th seal with Judah named first.

      Rev.7:4-5 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand.

      We are also told later in chapter 14 of Revelation that they are the "firstfruits" of the Lamb.

      Rev. 14:3-5 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

      This establishes that they have been grafted back into the vine of Christ.
      God is not finished with them because they are beloved of God.

      Romans 11:25-28 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: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.

      Remember they will be grafted back in and they will produce the firstfruits unto the Lion from the tribe of Judah.

      Rev.5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. I totally disagree with 888’s comment and usage of Scripture. I firmly believe that the birth of the modern state of Israel in 1948 was the Lord's perfect will and actually a blessing to the world and the Church! This above mentioned event in 1948 is a crystal clear fulfillment of one of God’s greatest promises to Israel written in the prophetic books of the Old Testament thousands of years ago and a magnificent example of our Lord’s faithfulness and trust-worthiness for all to see in this world! Israel hasn't returned to the Lord yet but they will in the future and just like us they aren't prefect either! The problem is not their existence but how the world and even parts of Christendom and the Church relate to them and handle them.

    5. (correction: perfect)

  8. Thank you for that wonderfully informative article Gary! "Perhaps the captives in this world are about to go free and are about to receive their promised inheritance." Amen!

  9. Good article. I read one you posted in 2015 about how the second decree to restore Jerusalem was issued June 28, 1967. I agree and if that's correct then the final seven years began within 1-2 days of Oct 14 2015. On that day Iran confirmed their covenant with many, the Iranian Nuclear Deal. I know that it isn't what people expected but I think our expectations are mostly speculation. Not that I'm against speculating. But we need to keep in mind that we should never make speculation into facts. I have a small Web page that spells out how it fits together. www.62cutoff.com

    It's also interesting to note that if the final seven years starts there and you count forward 1260 days and then the 1290 days in Daniel, you come to the Day of Atonement in 2022

  10. Thank You dear children of YHWH let us rejoice with great, fruitful Joy. Be cause HE is faithful. Anonymous Daniel

  11. Excellent and resourceful article! Thought I'd mention the significance of the coming minor festival Tu Bi Shvat which falls on the same day as the super blue blood moon January 31, 2018, and correlates with the fig tree generation. Here's my take on it: http://lynmelvin.blogspot.com/2018/01/super-blue-blood-moon-israels-omen.html

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. It would be helpful to the passer by to see the comments which were removed. I think this article would be better if it were to include critical discussion and thought provoking, albeit non-congratulatory, comments were allowed to stand. My comment, which I can't imagine will be allowed to stay, seeing the above, is that this article does leave much OUT about the original creation of the State of Israel. In particular, I would like to have acknowledgement of a difference between Zionists and Jewish Persons. Not all Jewish Persons consider themselves to be, nor do they support Zionism. The elephant in the room is that Balfour secured the British Crown's support for the creation of this Jewish State with closed room discussions which included funding for war which came from the Rothschilds. That's kind of a major aspect of the creation of this state. Another question, as respectfully as I can proffer it, is this: Can anyone think of any other Nation of conquered or displaced People who have secured International financial, military, and legal support in creating their own Sovereign Country? And how do those compare? (For me, the Baltics come to mind, but their National Identity was not based in shared religious/scriptural history and faith.) I'd venture countless nations, from Celts to Mongols, to Rain Forest Tribes have all been conquered and subsumed into new Nations...their identities either melting away or being rebranded into other social constructs (think Christmas trees and ancient pagans). I'm wondering how and why the financial backing specifically for the creation of Israel has won out over the age old maxim, "All's Fair In Love and War?" Perhaps for some it is strictly and personally a spiritual matter. But not to examine that aspect would be practically convenient in the least, and hubris at the worst. It's worth examining and discussing.



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