The Budding of the Fig Tree
Many people are being greatly misled by sadly mistaken religious propaganda dealing with the Jewish nation which has been created, by violence, in Palestine. Clergymen who have never studied the subject are bubbling over with enthusiasm over what they regard as a great fulfillment of Bible prophecy. "The Budding of the Fig Tree," they say. "Israel being restored to its place!" You who listen to this program already know that no Jew is an Israelite and no Israelite is a Jew.
The Jews nation, in Palestine, has nothing to do with the real Israel at all. That is too big a subject to repeat here, but you have heard it and those of you who have written in for our literature have seen the proof of it. The establishment of the Jewish nation in Palestine is the fulfillment of certain Bible prophecies but, far different ones than these ignorant and misguided clergymen have in mind. Let's look them over. Nearly all Bible students agree on one thing, that the Fig Tree is the symbol of the Jewish nation, not Israel. Therefore, let's see what the Bible has to say about THE BUDDING OF THE FIG TREE.
Jesus Christ Himself told us about this one. It was so important, that He not only told a parable about it, but in order to emphasize it, He also acted out the parable. We find the parable in Luke 13:6‑9.
"He spake also this parable: a certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon and found none. Then he said to the dresser of his vineyard, 'Behold, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth the ground?' And he answering unto him, 'Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig around it and fertilize it: and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.'"
We know that Jesus Christ was the man who had come for the three years of His ministry and found no fruit on the Fig tree, the Jews.
They were offered only the brief time remaining through the crucifixion and resurrection for repentance: If they would not accept the truth then, they would soon be cut down. So important was this lesson that He dramatized it by action, so it could not be overlooked. Matthew 21:18‑19 tells it:
"Now in the morning, as He returned into the city, He hungered. And when He saw a fig tree in the way, He came up to it and found nothing thereon but leaves only; and He said unto it and said, LET NO FRUIT GROW ON THEE HENCE FORTH FOREVER."
And presently the Fig tree withered away. Mark 11:12‑14, 20‑21, tells the same incident with a little more detail. Remember, from the beginning, it has been well understood that THE FIG TREE SYMBOLIZED THE JEWISH NATION. Jesus Christ Himself said, "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth FOREVER." This is not the first time that He said this about the Jews.
In Matthew 21:43, Jesus Christ said to them,
"Therefore I say unto you, 'The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.'"
The Jews had occupied Palestine then, as now. The place where God had set up His Kingdom was in their hands, but they brought forth no fruit. The Kingdom must be in the hands of those who did produce good fruit, that is, restored to the real Israel, who were then hundreds of miles away on their migration to their new home in Europe, many having already arrived and settled there.
That ISRAEL brings forth God's fruit is clear. Isaiah 27:6 tells it.
"He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: ISRAEL shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit."
Again in Hosea 14:8, we read:
"Ephraim shall say, 'What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard Him and observed Him: I am like a green fir tree, FROM ME IS THE FRUIT FOUND."
But Jesus Himself said that the Jews WOULD NOT PRODUCE ANY FRUIT FOREVER. This is what these clergymen have overlooked.
What can they base their claims upon? They misapply Matthew 24:32‑33,
"Now learn a parable of the Fig tree; When his branch is yet tender and putteth forth LEAVES, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye see these things, know that it is near, even at the doors."
Jesus knew scripture too well to make any mistakes about it or use it inconsistently. Note that this "Budding of the Fig Tree," as the preachers love to call it, is still according to God's prophetic truth: it doesn't bring forth fruit, only leaves. "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth, FOREVER." It is not a thing of good, not bringing forth God's fruit but bringing forth wickedness, with the empty promise of leaves, but no fruit. True, its timing is important. It was a sign that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ "Is near, even at the doors." It fits into its place with the other prophecies. In this same 24th Chapter of Matthew 3:28, Jesus Christ states the seven signs which will indicate the approach of the Second Coming.
The first six of these, this present generation has already seen. These were:
First, false prophets and false christs;
Second, great wars of nation against nation and the kingdom of Satan against the Kingdom of God;
Third, great famines in several nations, notably Russia, India and China;
Fourth, pestilence; among them, the great influenza epidemic of 1917‑1918, which killed more people than any pestilence since the Black Death of the Middle Ages.
Fifth, earthquakes in diverse places. We have seen many, beginning with the San Francisco quake in 1906, earthquake and tidal wave in Messina, Italy. A few years later, one so severe in India in 1925 that an entire city had to be abandoned as the tomb of its population buried in the ruins, and several great quakes since then.
Sixth, that "THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM," not just the Gospel of Salvation, but THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Only in our generation have we seen the worldwide preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Now as confirmation of the timing, we do find the Fig Tree putting forth LEAVES, not fruit, but only leaves, in mockery of Him who sought fruit on it in vain. So, He tells us,
"When we have seen ALL THESE THINGS, we shall know that His return is near and even at the doors."
There remains only the seventh and last sign to watch for.
SEVENTH, "When the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stands in the Holy place." When we see this, the climax of the ages will be upon us so swiftly that we can't dawdle around, but must seek shelter quickly. This last sign, the ABOMINATION THAT MAKETH DESOLATE, is a big subject in itself, far too big for the time we have left for discussion of it. So, we will have to leave that for some other time. But note, that of all the signs of Jesus Christ's Second Coming, only one is in itself good. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God shall be preached. All of the others are bad. False Christs, false prophets, world wars, famines, pestilence and earthquakes. The Abomination of Desolation standing in the Holy Place and the Fig Tree putting forth LEAVES but NO FRUIT FOREVER.
These are all part of Jesus Christ's description of the conditions which would prevail in the world just before His return. "As it was in the days of Noah." Genesis 6:5,11 describes it.
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The earth also was corrupt before God and the earth was filled with violence."
Don't be surprised at this. God's word is always consistent with itself, if it were not it couldn't be true. So again Jesus Christ foretells the fate of the Fig Tree which can NEVER bear fruit. In Matthew 7:18‑20, He said:
"A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them."
So, the Fig Tree which is now putting forth only LEAVES, with OUR money, is a thing of evil, barren of any good, destined to be cut down and cast into the fire, because no fruit can grow on it FOREVER. None of God's people ISRAEL are in it. Then why are the Jews being thus gathered into Palestine? Jesus Christ stated the reason in Luke 19:27,
"But those mine enemies that would not that I should reign over them, BRING HITHER AND SLAY THEM BEFORE ME!!”
The fate of this abortive Jewish nation is included in Christ's words in Matthew 15:13,
"Every plant which My heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up."
Therefore, we see it in its true light, one of the manifestations of evil which mark the close of this age. (Taken, in part, from a study entitled “The Budding of the Fig Tree,” by Pastor Bertrand L. Comparet)