The Parables of Jesus # 4
The Parable of the Fig tree
Matthew 24:32-35; Mark 13:28-31; Luke 21:29-33

Matthew 24:32-35
  32. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that
        summer is nigh:
  33. So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
  34. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
  35. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Mark 13:28-21
  28. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that
        summer is near:
  29. So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
  30. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
  31. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

Luke 21:29-33
  29. And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
  30. When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
  31. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
  32. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
  33. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

I.
Parables.

  [A] The word parable is derived from a Greek word signifying to compare together, and denotes a similitude taken
          from a natural object to illustrate a spiritual or moral subject. It is a narrative of some fictitious or real event, in
          order to illustrate more clearly some truth that the speaker wished to communicate.

  [B] In early ages it was much used. Heathen writers, as AEsop, often employed it.

  [C] In the time of Christ it was in common use.
          [1] The prophets used it,
          [2] Christ employed it often in teaching his disciples.

  [E] It is not necessary to suppose that the narratives were strictly true. The main thing--the inculcation of spiritual
          truth--was gained equally, whether it was true, or was only a supposed case. Nor was there any dishonesty in  
          this. It was well understood. No person was deceived. The speaker was not understood to affirm the thing
          literally narrated, but only to fix the attention more firmly on the moral truth that he presented. The design of
          speaking in parables was the following:
  
  [F] Parables were used for several reasons
          [1] To convey truth in a more interesting manner to the mind; adding to the truth conveyed the beauty of a
                  lovely image or narrative.
          [2] To teach spiritual truth so as to arrest the attention of ignorant people, making an appeal to them through
                  the senses.
          [3] To convey some offensive truth, some pointed personal rebuke, in such a way as to bring it home to the
                  conscience. Of this kind was the parable which Nathan delivered to David, 2 Sa 12:1-7 and many of our
                  Saviour's parables addressed to the Jews.
          [4] To conceal from one part of his audience truths which he intended others should understand. Thus Christ
                  often, by this means, delivered truths to his disciples in the presence of the Jews, which he well knew the
                  Jews would not understand; truths pertaining to them particularly, and which he was under no obligations
                  to explain to the Jews.  

Matthew 24:32-35
  32. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that
       summer is nigh:
  33. So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
  34. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
  35. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

 [A] I have heard several interpretations for this passage of scripture.
         [1] Israel is sometimes referred to in scripture as the fig tree.
                  [a] Some commentators believe that Jesus is referring to the time when Israel becomes a Nation again, a
                          time when they come together and become a kingdom in the world.
                  [b] In 1947 this came to be when England convinced the United Nations to recognize Israel as a country.
                  [c] Since that time, people have been returning more and more every year, but the greatest migration has
                          happened in the past ten to fifteen years since Russia opened its borders.
                  [d] Considering then that Israel is the fig tree, she is putting forth her branches, meaning the end is nigh
          [2] The other interpretation is what we will be looking at tonight. I believe this to be the real interpretation, as
                  does many others, because prior to Jesus telling the disciples this parable, he has been telling them
                  things which will happen before he returns again.
 
  [B] This parable is a story Jesus used to tell the disciples and others who were listening that those things Jesus had
          told them were real and that they were to be looking for them.
          [1] The use of the fig tree in verse thirty-two is his way of showing them that those things he said were things
                  that would be happening before he come.
          [2] When the fig tree’s branches are tender – when they start to have new growth, and shoots coming out on
                  the branches.
          [3] When it starts forming leaves on its branches,
                  [a] Those were signs that summer was almost there
                  [b] That was a sign that spring was almost over.
                  [c] That was a sign that the tree was alive and that in a short time, fruit would start producing on the tree.
                  [d] That was a time when the owner started looking forward to the harvest and knew that he would have
                          figs to harvest in the not so far future.
          [4] Jesus was saying when the things he was speaking of began, when the signs he talked of started, it would
                  not be long before he came.
                 [a] The signs were being fulfilled,
                 [b] The earth was starting to groan in anticipation
                 [d] The heavens were shaking in inticipation
                 [e] The harvest would occur in a very short time
                 [f] The true believer should start looking forward to the coming of Jesus and prepare for it.
 
  [C] Lets take moment and look at those things Jesus said would happen.

Matthew 24:1-31
  1.   And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings
        of the temple.
  2.   And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one
        stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

  [A] At the time Jesus spoke this, no event was more improbable than what he said would happen
          [1] The temple was vast, rich, and splendid.
          [2] It was the pride of the nation, and the nation was at peace.

  [B] In the short space of forty years all this happened just as Jesus said.
          [1] Jerusalem was taken by the Roman armies, under the command of Titus, A. D. 70.
          [2] The account of the siege and destruction of the city is left us by Josephus, a historian. He was a Jewish
                  priest. In the wars of which he gives an account, he fell into the hands of the Romans, and remained with
                  them during the siege and destruction of the city. Being a Jew, he would of course say nothing designed
                  to confirm the prophecies of Jesus Christ. Yet his whole history appears-almost like a running
                  commentary on these predictions respecting the destruction of the temple.

  3.   And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall
        these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
  4.   And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
  5.   For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
 
  [A] There has been and still are those who claim to be the Christ. Even today there are several around the world
          who are claiming to be him
 
  [B] False prophets are everywhere, teaching that the bible is not the true word of God, and that Jesus is no whom
          he claimed to be.

  6.   And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to
       pass, but the end is not yet.
 
  [A] Since Jesus said these words, there had been only been approximately 200 years when there was no wars being
          fought in the world.
 
  [B] Just look at the wars that are being foungt around the world today.        

  7.   For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences,
        and earthquakes, in divers places.
 [A] Nation shall rise against Nation
 
  [B] There shall be famines
         [1] There is a much famine around the world.
         [2] With our farmland being swallowed up by house builders, and with the small farmers giving up, how long can
                  we feed the world? Much more famine is about to come. Right now, over half the people in the world are
                  malnourished.

 [C] There shall be pestilences
          [1] Many of the diseases we thought were extinct have resurfaced and they are now immune to our antibiotics
          [2] New diseases are popping up that we have no cure for.
          [3] Aids and cancer are rampant around the world

 [D] There shall be earthquakes in divers places
         [1] Man has always kept records of earthquakes,
         [2] Over the past 150 years, earthquakes have been increasing along with more hurricanes, tidal waves and so
              on.
 8.   All these are the beginning of sorrows.
 
  [A] This is onlt the beginning

  9.   Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my
        name's sake.

  [A] This has already happened to the Jews in the time of Hitler and since.

  [B] I believe it will soon happen to the Christian community as well        

  10. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

  [A] When the time of sorrow comes, there will be many who betray their friends and even their family to save their
         own hides,

  11. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

  [A] There will be false prophets, as I already said,
  [B] Today there are false prophets everywhere,
         [1] They are even in our churches                         

  12. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

  [A] There will be many who no longer lover Jesus
  [B] Many in the church who claim to be Christians will not be,
         [1] They will have a form of Godliness, but deny the power therof
         [2] They will fall under the category of being a carnal Christian

  13. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

  [A] Those who continue to follow and believe in the Christ will be saved in the end
  [B] Those whom keep on believing and adhering to the commands of God and follow Jesus will make it,

  14. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then
       shall the end come.

 [A] This has pretty well been accompolished
         [1] The gospel has been preached around the world
         [2] The bible has been translated in most, but not all languages.

  15. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the
        holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
 
  [A] The antichrist has not set up his kingdom – yet – but will soon

  16. Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
  17. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
  18. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
  19. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
  20. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
  21. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever
       shall be.
  22. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those
       days shall be shortened.
 
  [A] Things will become so bad that man will cry out to God to die – but death will not come

  23. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
  24. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch
        that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
  25. Behold, I have told you before.        
  26. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret
       chambers; believe it not.
  27. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the
       Son of man be.
 
  [A] Many will claim that Christ is here or that he has already come.
          [1] The bible tells us that He is coming in the clouds and will rapture the church away
          [2] He will not be in the desert or in the city. _ He will not set his feet down on the earth – until later  after the
                  earth has been cleansed          

  28. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
  29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her
       light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
  30. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn,
       and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
  31. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from
       the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
 
  [A] Then Jesus will come in the clouds and gather his people home, just like he said.
  [B] These are the things Jesus said we were to be looking for. And when we see them we will know that He is
          coming. Most of these things have happened and are happening right now.
  [C] Those, ready and watching will be taken with him when he comes, those who refuse to believe will be left behind.

Matthew 24:32-35
  32. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that
        summer is nigh:
 
  [A] Just as we know that Spring is arrived when we see the green shoots of grass begin to appear, so shall we know
          that Jesus is about to come.
  [B] Unlike Spring, there is no date to show us when he will come, only signs that point to his coming.

  33. So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
 
  [A] So likewise ye, - He’s speaking to his disciples
          [1] In the same manner, when you see what I have predicted, the signs around Jerusalem, then know that its
                  destruction is at hand.
          [2] Many of the signs that Jesus gave the disciples pointed to the destruction of the temple and the demise of
                  Israel in 70 A.D.
          [3] Yet we must not become confused and determine that was all they were, for there is also much sighs for us
                  to be looking for which point to the end of time and the coming of Jesus.
 
  [B] It is near, even at the doors.
          [1] Luke says, Luck 21:28 that "your redemption draweth nigh;"
          [2] And in Luke 21:31 "the kingdom of God is nigh at hand."
                  [a] Jesus was saying to the disciples your deliverance from the dangers that threaten the city approaches,
                          and the kingdom of God will be set up in the earth;
                  [b] Your everlasting redemption from sin and death will come at the day of judgment, and his eternal
                          kingdom is to be established in the heavens.        

  34. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
 
  [A] That generation did not pass away before the temple was destroyed
  [B] The generation of the church still awaits the coming of Jesus,

  35. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
 
  [A] This is a wonderful promise
         [1] You can count on the word of God,
         [2] Before one word of Jesus is changed, before one word of what he says is proved to be untrue, the heavens
                 and earth would pass away and there would be nothing left in the entire universe.
 
  [B] What this tells you and I is that the word of God is real, and it is something we are to cling too and believe.
          [1] There are no mistakes in the word
          [2] There is no new prophecy that we need to hear – for God has it all recorded for us in his word
          [3] There is no new revelations to come to man, - only understanding of the old
          [4] No matter what man tries to do to destroy God’s word, it will remain forever.

Questions:
 [A] Why is it so hard for mankind to believe in the word of God?
 [B] Why do so many in the Christian community pick and choose what they believe from the bible?
 [C] Why do so many in the Christian community not want to hear the signs of Christ’s coming?
 [D] What is it going to take to awaken people to the warnings God is giving us?