The Book of Luke, The Parable of the Fig Tree - Lesson 224
In our last lesson, three weeks ago, we examined Christís words as to what events precede his second coming.
Great cataclysmic occurrences are ordained by God to take place.
They will be judgment events for they will cause great commotion upon the earth.
The sun, the moon and the stars will do Godís bidding.
The sea will dance to the tune that God plays, for it will roar and cause menís hearts to fail for fear.
But the message to Godís children is to pay attention to the beginning of this judgment season for the beginning of this season calls for those who put their trust in God to look up.
It calls for those to lift up their heads for their redemption draweth nigh.
They are not to fear but they are to trust God for perfect love casteth out fear.
So to arm those who would be on earth during the beginning of these horrendous events Jesus Christ tells them this parable.
Luke 21:29-31, And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
Jesus Christ relates to his disciples this simple parable for he wishes them to know somewhat of the timing of His coming.
This is not a day and the hour of his coming but it is about the beginning of the season of his coming.
We must take this lesson from our Lord, for our Lord was not one to encourage the setting of dates.
And he did not give only a single sign which will accompany His coming, but gave many indicators that his coming is near.
He is wanting his disciples to have a knowledge as to the season of His coming.
Seasons are revealed by a combination of events.
The weather reveals the coming of a season, the trees and the plants and the grasses do likewise.
The activities of Godís creatures are an indicator of seasons as well as the position of the sun and the moon.
When you see certain birds in your yard you know that spring is near.
Jesus did not want his disciples to be ignorant of the approach of His return, as would be the case with unbelievers.
Believers are given ears to hear and God intends to fill those ears with his word.
So he gives this agricultural analogy which is the discerning of the season by observing the signs of its arrival.
When the fig tree as well as all the other trees, begin to put out leaves, we know that spring has come, and that summer cannot be too far away.
Seasons do not look at calendars so as to determine when they should come.
Calendars are for men. God does not care about calendars.
Men over the centuries have had to adjust calendars to conform to the signs of the seasons.
Leap days have been added to our year every four years so as to adjust to the seasons.
We even skip leap years in century years that are not divisible by four.
That is why we had a leap day in 2000 but not in 1900.
The farmer recognizes the season by noting those evidences of its arrival.
A wise farmer does not plant according to the calendar but plants according to the signs he sees in the field, the air he feels, the birds he sees.
Jesus has likewise just informed His disciples and us also, of the evidences of the "season" of His second coming.
Those who would like to know the exact time of His arrival will not be satisfied with our Lordís answer.
The nearness of His return will be sensed by those who are alert to and aware of the evidences of its impending arrival.
We can discern the season by the branch of the fig tree when it becomes soft and tender because of the sap that is swelling within it.
It is easy to discern that summer is near.
Similarly, when the signs in the sun, the moon and the stars take place and in the earth nations in distress, anxious over the roaring of the seas and the surging waves, believers, then living, will recognize that the kingdom of God which is to be on earth, is at the very door.
Christ is at the door and the door is ready to open with Christ taking control of this world as itís king.
Godís believerís will shout Hallelujah while those who believe not, will be having heart failure because of fear.
It all depends on whom you trust. If you trust in this world the world will be failing you and coming apart.
The Amplified Bible gives us verse 26 this way: Men swooning away or expiring with fear and dread and apprehension and expectation of the things that are coming on the world; for the very powers of the heavens will be shaken and caused to totter.
Jesus Christ is describing catastrophic events.
A commentator named Godet says it this way: "Like a ship creaking at every timber at the moment of its going to pieces, the globe which we inhabit, and our whole solar system, shall undergo unusual commotions."
And it will take the coming of our Lord to rescue this ship from the rocks and save this planet from utter destruction.
Jesus told the disciples to look for the signs which precede the fall of Jerusalem.
And here in our passage he provides all believers with latter day signs which indicate His imminent return.
When these become visible, believers should look up for their redemption will be drawing near.
If you are a believer you already have been redeemed from the guilt and penalty of sin but we still look for deliverance from the presence of sin.
For when Christ calls his church, our bodies shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye and the last trace of sin will be banished from the Christian.
Jesus Christ gives us a time of great anticipation by telling us of these great events which precede his coming.
And with this anticipation we are to lift up our heads because the final phase of our redemption, that is the deliverance from the presence of sin, is about to be accomplished.
And then he gives further information regarding a time line for these events.
Luke 21:32-33, Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. 33Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
There has been much controversy about the use of this word "generation."
Some relate it to the fig tree which they say represents Israel.
This interpretation is that when the fig tree buds, that is when Israel becomes a nation, that generation that lives at that time will see the fulfillment of these end time events.
In other words counting from 1948, when Israel became a nation again, all these end time events will be concluded during the generation that came on the scene at Israelís rebirth.
If you think of a generation as being 70 years then the end time events better be quick in their fulfillment for it is already 59 years since Israelís rebirth.
But I donít think that is what Christ meant.
He certainly did not mean those that were alive during his presence on earth for all those have died and these events have not all taken place.
What I think he means is that the generation that sees the signs of the end will also be around when the season judgment culminates or concludes.
When believers are to look up it means that their redemption will come within the timeframe of that generation that witnesses the beginning of the season.
I believe that Jesus is telling His disciples that there will not be hundreds or thousands of years of looking up for redemption will come in the timeframe of the generation that sees the beginning signs.
In other words once the movement to the return of Christ starts, all the events connected with it happen very quickly in rapid succession, within the time frame of, at the most, one generation.
After having given this valuable information to his disciples he includes this warning in:
34And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.