21. On the Fig Tree
Matthew 24:29 (Christ speaking on the events of the end times) “Immediately after the (great) tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven (I suspect this will be a giant cross, perhaps like Constantine, the soon-to-be Emperor of Rome, saw just before his victory at the Milvian Bridge circa 313 AD. Words underneath the cross were ‘In this sign, conquer’), and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (This is not the rapture, but Christ’s return to reign.). 31 “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32 (also Mark 13:28) "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 these things happening, 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. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."
Hence the final event that Christ lists is His return to reign, not rapture
Chuck Missler has said the rabbis say the fig tree is political Israel, the olive tree is genetic Israel, and the vine is spiritual Israel. I presume we become spiritual Israel when we partake in communion. If the rabbis are correct, then political Israel came into existence on at midnight on May 14- 15, 1948, or 71 years ago on May 15, 2019. If that is true, how long is a generation? I have read a generation is 20, 33, and 40 years in the past, but all those numbers have passed, since Israel became a state, meaning the generation that Christ is speaking of must be a larger number, if political Israel is the fig tree. In America, one lives to be on average 78, which I would expect to be the outside number, or at least close to it. Psalm 90:10 indicated to me that 70 is the correct number. It notes the average life span of a man is 70 but by virtue of strength, he might make it to 80. 70 is a repetitive number in the Bible, one that God likes. For example, Jacob went into Egypt with 66 persons (excluding himself), but Joseph was already there with two sons (Genesis 46:26-27) for a total of 70. Gideon had 70 sons (Judges 8:9). The table of nations after the Flood was 70 nations (Genesis 10). The nation of Judah was exiled to Babylon for 70 years. Daniel was given the 70 weeks prophecy in Daniel 9. Christ was asked if a man should forgive his brother 7 times. He replied 70 times 7 (Matthew 18:21-22). King David died at age 70. The Sanhedrin consisted of 70 elders plus the High Priest. 70 is a repetitive number in the Bible, one like 3, 7, 12, and 40 that God apparently favors.
If 70 is the number for a generation referred to in Matthew 24:34, then precisely 71 years were gone on 15 May, 2011, leaving the number 80 for the maximum life span of the generation that Christ was speaking of. This would have to encompass most, or perhaps all of the final or 70th week of Daniel 9:26, including the Great Tribulation’s 1260 days. I believe Christ will return to reign on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism to fulfill the first six of the seven Feasts of Moses given to Israel by God. The seventh and final feast, Tabernacles, is fulfilled during the millennium when all the nations come to Jerusalem to worship the LORD per Zechariah 14:16. I do not believe that Christ’s return to reign ends the final or 70th week of Daniel. Per Daniel 12:11 (Angel from God dispensing information to Daniel) ”And from the time the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. (But the Great Tribulation of 1260 days is clearly noted as 1260 days in Daniel 7:25, 12:7, and also Revelation 12:6, 14 and 13:5. Remember time, times, and half-a-time refers to periods of the old creation years of 360 days or 12 months of 30 days each, before it was changed to the present 365.2422 days per year circa 701 BC when the Assyrians besieged Hezekiah’s Jerusalem and on one night one angel of the LORD slew 185,000 Assyrian warriors per 2 Kings 19:35. The word times underlined above is a word that is not indefinite plural, but in the original language meant two times, or three and a half times of 360 equals 1260 days, the length of the Great Tribulation. The extra and final thirty days of the 1290 refers to the time it takes to cleanse the temple after it has been desecrated. On to Daniel 12:12 “Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.” Now, we have an additional 45 days- Why? Because Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish Feast of Lights always occurs 74 or 75 days after Yom Kippur. Hanukkah celebrated the end of the reign of the first abomination of desolation in the Jewish temple in the second century BC. It will also celebrate the end the reign of the second abomination of desolation after precisely 1260 days. I believe Daniel’s 70th week will end on Hanukkah, but the first or eighth day of the feast? Or even in between?
So is political Israel the fig tree? Christ entered Jerusalem on 10 Nisan, which, per Exodus 12:3 was the day the Passover lambs were presented to the priests to make sure they were perfect for sacrifice on 14 Nisan, Passover. If the 69 weeks of Daniel (9:24- 26)is put in Biblical or creation years of 360 days per year and began on 1 Nisan as noted in Nehemiah 2:1, then it would end on 10 Nisan in 32 AD or 14 March, 445 BC to 6 April, 32 AD. Remember there is no year zero. When he rode the donkey’s colt into Jerusalem on Nisan 10 in 32 AD, He was in effect declaring Himself to be the Messiah. In Luke 19:39, some of the Pharisees who realized what He was doing, admonished Him to rebuke His disciples. That same day after healing the blind and the lame in the temple, the Pharisees were indignant per Matthew 21:15. The next day, Nisan 11, Christ cursed the fruitless fig tree. Matthew 21:18 Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, he was hungry. 19 And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away. 20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?”
Also Mark 11:12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And his disciples heard it. (Christ then went to the temple and overthrew the moneychangers’ tables.)… Mark 11:20 When evening had come , He went out of the city. 20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”
The political establishment of Pharisees and Sadducees rejected Jesus as Messiah despite His healing and miracles and His fulfilling the 69 weeks prophecy. By withering the fig tree, He indicated He would destroy their political system.
Earlier in Matthew 12:22 Christ heals a demon-possessed, blind mute. In 12:24 Now when the Pharisees ( the political leaders of Israel) heard it they said, "This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of demons." The dye was cast. Judah's leaders, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, had rejected Him. From this point on, Christ spoke only in parables to the multitude, and without a parable, He did not speak to them per Matthew 13:34. And then the Pharisees rejected Him when He fulfilled the 69 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9 to the day, but the religious establishment was expecting him in calendar years, not Biblical or creation years of 360 days. They expected Him in 39 or 40 AD. He was early, but He held them accountable to know the change per Luke 19:41- 44.. They refused, and subsequently, Jerusalem and their temple were destroyed in 70 AD.
In Luke 13:6 He (Christ) also spoke this parable; "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down." I recall that Christ's ministry was 3 and 1/2 years. The fig tree did not bear fruit in that 4th year, but it was only cut down in 70 AD or about 38 years later.
Per Exodus 12:3, the Passover lamb was presented to the priests on Nisan 10 to make sure it was perfect for the sacrifice at Passover (Nisan 14) when its entire body was tied to a wooden spit (as Christ was attached to wood though by nails, and perhaps ropes also) and roasted over the fire.
Jeremiah 21;1 The LORD showed me, and there were two baskets of figs set before the temple of the LORD, after Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah with the craftsmen and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are first ripe; and the other basket had very bad figs which could not be eaten, they were so bad. Then the LORD said to me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?"
And I said, "Figs, the good figs, very good, and the bad, very bad, which cannot be eaten, they are so bad."
Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel" "Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans. For I will set 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.
'And as the bad figs which cannot be eaten, they are so bad'- surely thus says the LORD- 'so will I give up Zedekiah the king of Judah, his princes, the residue of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt. I will deliver them to trouble into all the kingdoms of the earth, for their harm, to be a reproach and a byword, a taunt and a curse, in all places where I shall drive them. And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence among them, till they are consumed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.'"
Hence, the good figs that make up a vibrant society were taken to Babylon, and the bad figs, society's dregs, left behind to face the destruction of Jerusalem by God through Nebuchadnezzar.
In 2 Kings 24:14 Also he (Nebuchadnezzar circa 597 BC) carried into captivity all Jerusalem; all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land. And he carried Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. The king's mother, the king's wives, his officers, and the mighty of the land he carried into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. All the valiant men, seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths, one thousand, all who were strong and fit for war, these the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.
Jeremiah had been given words from the LORD regarding the terrible things that would happen to Judah written on a scroll in Jeremiah 36. Jehoiachin's father, Jehoiakim, had in Jeremiah 36:20, become so enraged over the words in the scroll that every few lines he would cut them out and cast them in the fire until the scroll was consumed. God's response was to rewrite the scroll and add more to include a curse on Jehoiakim's line in that he would have no one to sit on David's throne, and that his (Jehoiakim's) dead body would be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night per Jeremiah 36:30.
Though there is no further mention of this in the Bible, Josephus writes that Jehoiakim stopped paying tribute to Nebuchadnezzar after 3 years and intrigued with Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar brought his army to Jerusalem. Hoping in Nebuchadnezzar's mercy, Jehoiakim did not fight him, but opened the gates of the city to him. Despite this, Nebuchadnezzar killed Jehoiakim and threw his body outside the gates of Jerusalem, thus fulfilling Jeremiah's prophecy. Nebuchadnezzar made Jehoiakim's son, Jehoiachin, king of Judah, but carried him off to Babylon. I suspect Jehoiachin did not sit on David's throne. Because of the blood curse on Jehoiachin, this is why Joseph had to be the adopted father of Jesus, his line being noted in the opening verses of Matthew. Mary's genealogy is given in Luke 3:23-38. Her ancestry also dated back to King David, but through his son Nathan, rather than the royal line of Solomon. Christ was a son of David, but through Mary, but He was the adopted son of the royal line also. Of course, the true Royal line is found in the opening verse of John: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Luke recounts the parable of the fig tree a little differently per 22:29:
Then He spoke to them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer in now near. So you also when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
What does "all the trees" refer to from above? Ezekiel 31 refers to Egypt and Assyria as great trees, so trees refers to nations, but what nations? I believe part of the answer is in the 83rd Psalm.
Do not keep silent, O God!
Do not hold Your peace,
And do not be still, O God!
For behold, Your enemies make a tumult;
They have taken crafty counsel against Your people,
And consulted together against Your sheltered ones (America, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand)
They have said, "Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation,
That the name of Israel be remembered no more."
For they have consulted together with one consent;
They form a confederacy against You;
The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites (collectively Arab Islam, though Edom could also be construed to be southern Jordan. Edom means Esau, who married Ishmael's daughter per Genesis 36:3.)
Moab (Jordan) and the Hagrites (Hagar was Ishmael's mother, so Egypt, or, less likely to me, her son's offspring - the Arabs)
Gebal, Ammon, and the Amelek;
Philistia (the Palestinians) and the inhabitants of Tyre (Lebanon);
Assyria (Iraq and perhaps Syria) has also joined with them;
They have helped the children of Lot.
NOTE: I cannot find anywhere in the Bible of this combination of enemies coming against Israel. Hence, I believe it is a reference to a future confrontation though I do not believe they will all come against Israel at the same time, but in a brief span of time. Egypt would not come against Israel presently because America funds them with $1 to 2 billion a year. However, a mob surrounded the Israeli embassy in Cairo circa 11 September, 2011, and 6 or 7 Israelis fled to a 'safe room' in the embassy. When Netanyahu called to speak with the ruling Egyptian generals about getting these people out, the generals were unavailable, Netanyahu then called Obama who called the generals. After all at that time, we had just sold the Egyptians an additional top of the line American tanks in the number of 125 to go with their 1,000 presently held. Then Egyptian commandos were dispatched to safely remove the embassy personnel through the crowds and send them back to Israel on an Israeli plane. About the same time, Turkey told the Israeli ambassador not to return to Turkey from consultations in Israel. Turkey also pulled her ambassador from Israel citing Israel's failure to apologize for killing 9 Turks in the Gaza flotilla in which about a dozen Israelis were injured also. Turkey also threatened to send their warships with the next flotilla to Gaza. The king of Jordan has recently also noted his father, the previous king, made a mistake when he signed a peace treaty with Israel.
I believe the destruction of Israel's enemies will occur in four steps:
1. Amos 1 and 2. A curse is pronounced on all of the immediately surrounding nations to Israel except for Egypt. This would include the Philistines (the Palestinians and Gaza), the Lebanese, the Syrians, and Jordan. Curiously, the LORD then curses Judah and Israel. In the opening verses, the prophecy refers to two years before the earthquake, so I expect these four destructions to occur within about two years, beginning about two years before the great earthquake of Ezekiel 38:19 when God deals with the Russo-Muslim invasion of Israel.
Likely Gaza (Hamas) and southern Lebanon (Hezbollah) will soon attack Israel with rockets, egged on by Syria, who will also attack. Gaza has 10,000 missiles and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, over a 100,000 which they got from Syria. Likely Gaza and southern Lebanon will be struck with neutron bombs that kill people, but my understanding is the radiation dissipates quickly allowing space for the soon to return Jews and lost tribes. Buildings are left intact. Syria is a special case. According to Isaiah 17:1, Damascus will be a heap of rubble. This is interesting, since it is supposedly the oldest continually inhabited city on earth. Likely, Israel will respond with a nuclear bomb to Damascus producing the required pile of rubble noted above.
Jordan will also be part of this attack. They will be taken over by Israel, but first by the men of the East, per Ezekiel 25:4, 10. Likely this refers to Iran, head of Shia Islam, about 15% of all Islam. In essence, Shia Islam is attacking Israel through funding of all the nations and areas participating in the assault on the Hebrew state. This includes Gaza which is Sunni. I suspect Israel will also attack Iran when attacked by Shia Islam. Why leave out the head of the snake?
The second attack will likely be Ezekiel 30:4-5 and Daniel 11:40- 41, when the king of the South (Egypt) attacks Israel with the king of the North (Turkey), black African Muslims, North African Muslims, and the mixed multitude which some believe will be Saudi Arabia, but could be jihadists from all over the world, and perhaps both. Israel and/or the anti-Christ, who will control Jerusalem at this time, will defeat them all. Before this attack on Israel, likely Sunni Islam (Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, etc. representing 85% of all Islam) will successfully attack Shia Islam (Iran representing less than 15% of Islam) to destroy its nuclear and rocket capabilities per Jeremiah 49:34-39.
The third attack (Ezekiel 29) will be on a recalcitrant Egypt likely by the anti-Christ to show Israel he is their friend, but also to show the world the cost of opposing the anti-Christ, i.e. Who is like the beast? (Revelation 13:4). Egypt will cease to exist as a nation for forty years by a nuclear bomb exploded on the Aswan Dam. Radioactivity will sweep the length of Egypt along the path of the Nile River, and the fish will be left on dry land. Aswan was formerly known as Syene. It is located at the southern border with Sudan. The Dam is 360 feet tall and 10,200 feet across. The lake behind it goes up the Nile River 340 miles to the border of Ethiopia and is the second largest manmade lake in the world.
The fourth attack will be on Israel by Russia, Iran, Turkey, the black African Muslims, and the North African Muslims per Ezekiel 38 and 39. God Himself will intervene to destroy this army. He will begin His onslaught with a great earthquake per Ezekiel 38:19, also noted at the opening of Amos 1. These armies come not only for religious reasons but for booty. Israel is now wealthy.
In the end times Ezekiel 38:15 notes Israel will face a king of the far north- Russia and the remnants of Islam. This defeat by God ends the two year period, begun in Amos 1 & 2. This leaves the kings (plural) of the east per Revelation and the revived Roman Empire of anti-Christ. This awesome display of power will lead to revival in Israel, and the temple will likely have been rebuilt, begun after the Amos 1 & 2 destruction of the immediately surrounding nations save Egypt. The first part of Daniel's 70th week will be to bring unbelieving Israel back to their God, YHWH; the following Great Tribulation of 1260 days will be to bring them to Christ.
Psalm 83 continued:
9 Deal with them as with Midian,
As with Sisera,
As with Jabin at the Brook Kishon,
Who perished at En Dor,
Who became as refuse on the earth.
Make their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb,
Yes, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
Who said, "Let us take for ourselves
The pastures of God for a possession."
NOTE: The above is recounted in Judges 8 and 9 when Gideon gets 32,000 Israelites to go against 135,000 of the enemy. God culls Gideon's forces to 10,000 and finally to 300 or odds of 450 to 1. With his 300 and, of course, God, Gideon defeats the hordes of the enemy. One Islamic imam (holy man) has noted: Isn't Allah great to bring all the Jews home to Israel so that we can kill them? Let's see. There are about 1.3 billion Muslims in the world opposing 5.7 million Jews presently in Israel. This means to me that Allah requires about 220 Muslims to kill each Jew. Allah is quite a god indeed. George W. Bush often said Muslims and Christians worshipped the same God. He was not well informed.
In Judges 8:26 , referred to by Psalm 83. it notes the crescent ornaments, part of the spoil from Israel's enemies. They worshipped the moon god, and Allah is the old moon god of Arabia. Islam is often represented symbolically as the crescent moon. And Gideon defeated the moon god of his enemies through YHWH, the God of Israel!
O my God, make them like the whirling dust,
Like the chaff before the wind!
As the fire burns the woods,
As the flame sets the mountains on fire,
So pursue them with Your tempest,
And frighten them with Your storm.
Fill their faces with shame,
That they may seek Your name, O LORD.
Let them be confounded and dismayed forever;
Yes, let them be put to shame and perish,
That they may know that You,
Whose name alone is the LORD,
Are the Most High over all the earth.
NOTE: The scenario noted above in Psalm 83 dispenses with the Islamic nations surrounding Israel, the small trees. Keep in mind that these nations ceased to exist millennia ago, being parts of the Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic empires. The Ottoman Empire controlled all these nations up to the end of World War I, meaning that they had no national identity till after 1918.
Egypt became an independent kingdom in 1922, and then a republic in 1953.
Lebanon became an independent republic in 1944.
Syria secured autonomy in 1943.
Modern Jordan secured independence in 1946.
Iraq became an independent kingdom in 1920 and a republic in 1958
Saudi Arabia secured its independence in 1927, as did Yemen in 1962.
But these nations are now back to play their part in the end times as the Biblical prophets had predicted.
What about the great trees? The Bible recounts in Ezekiel 38:15, a king of the far north- Russia and in Daniel 11:40-41 a king of the north- Turkey, and a king of the south (traditionally Egypt, or perhaps Islam in toto) In less than a century, they have come forth as powerful entities to play their parts in the end times. In Revelation 16:12, the kings of the east are noted, which would at minimum be China and India. They have come forward only in the last ten or twenty years.
Finally, there is the king of the west, the revived Roman Empire, never actually noted in the Bible, but clearly inferred from Daniel 9:36 and the people of the prince (anti-Christ) who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. (Rome 70 AD)
The end of it shall be with a flood.
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Then he (anti-Christ) shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.
The anti-Christ will come from the people who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD- Rome. He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week (7 years). This is generally considered to be Israel, but I sometimes wonder if the many refers to the G-20 of industrial nations, though perhaps the G-8.
Only recently could the above events occur? Only in the last century have Israel's surrounding enemies reappeared in history. It was difficult to see Mubarak bringing Egypt, the traditional king of the south, against Israel while getting huge sums annually from the U.S. But now Mubarak has fallen and all of North Africa, plus Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Syria are having new found fervor for Islam, which I believe is required for the above scenario, their god, Allah, against the Israeli God, YHWH. The destruction of Islam will leave the kings of the east, at least China and India, and the king of the west. Europe used to be a hodgepodge of nations from Portugal to the Russian border. Now save Norway, Switzerland, and parts of the former Yugoslavia, they are one. They only need a leader who will bring them to world prominence, and the anti-Christ's Great Tribulation of 1260 days