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bkgrnd

06-Back from the Sword of War


Matthew 24:32-34,

32)"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When its branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near; 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."

The parable of the fig tree is the key to understanding end-time events. All other signs that Jesus gave us, when seen in current events, are meaningless until we understand the parable of the fig tree.

The fig tree symbolizes the people and nation of Israel, (Jeremiah 8:13, 24:1010, 29:17, Hosea 9:10, Joel 1:7, 2:21-23, Micah 4:4, Ezekiel 15, Luke 21:29). Israel is also God's prophetic timepiece. The prophet Daniel received from the angel Gabriel God's prophetic clock for Israel. Read Daniel 9:24-27, and you will see that one week or seven years is all that remains on this clock. This seven year period is described in detail in Revelation 6 through 19. We'll study what world event begins the countdown of this seven year period later. Just remember that at the cross of Jesus the clock stopped because the Jews rejected their Messiah. Listen and heed, as the Lord proclaims to Israel the consequences of rejecting Him.

Luke 19:42-44,

42)"Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hidden from thine eyes. 43)For the days shall come upon thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44)And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."

By 70 A.D., this prophecy of the Lord's became reality to the nation of Israel. For the armies of Rome invaded Israel and dispersed the people to all nations. This prophecy will be completely fulfilled during the 70th Week when the Neo-Roman empire again invades Israel.

Jesus said to learn a lesson from the fig tree. What is the lesson we are to understand? In the parable He is giving us some prophetic insight as to the meaning of the fig tree. The fruit or fig itself symbolizes the people with faith in Jesus. The tree, with its branches and leaves, symbolizes the nation and its developing stages. Jesus is saying that when the world sees that the Jews are returning to their homeland, the branch will be tender as in the spring when new life develops on the tree. The exile and long dispersion will soon be over. The spirit of life will then be pumped into the dry bones of God's people. You don't actually have the figs (people) returned with faith in Jesus, but when the first signs or declaration of a return are heard and observed, you know that summer is near.

Summer refers to two things. First, it means the complete return (with faith) of the Jews scattered throughout the world. Secondly, it refers to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to rule the nations from Jerusalem. Both will be fulfilled at the end of the 70th Week.

Read Ezekiel's prophecies of Israel being punished for its sin, scattered among the nations, brought back with none left among the nations, and exposed to the face of their God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Ezekiel 39:25-29,

25)"Therefore, thus saith the Lord God: Now I will bring again (cause to cease) the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name, 26)After they have borne their shame and all their trespasses by which they trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. 27)When I have brought them again from the peoples, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations, 28)Then shall they know that I am the Lord, their God, who caused them to be led into captivity among the nations; But I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. 29)Neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God."

Israel will be punished and scattered one more time during Daniel's 70th Week. For God said Israel sinned when they dwelt safely as a nation. As you'll see later, Israel to date has never dwelt safely. There is a time coming during the 70th Week when Israel will be a peace with the antichrist, and then be punished and purified. It is then that the saved remnant will flee to the city of Petra in Jordan, to escape the antichrist, (Revelation 12:14, Isaiah 16:1-5, 34:6, 11, 42:11, 43:20, 63:1, Jeremiah 48:28, 49:19-22, Amos 9:12).

Now let's return to the parable, for Israel must be a nation again before Ezekiel's prophecies can be completely fulfilled. Some may ask, "When did the declaration that the Jews were going to their homeland occur?" In 1918, as the result of the sword of World War I, the Balfour Declaration was offered and recognized by the Zionist organization (Jews). In this declaration the Jews were offered their homeland. The branch is yet tender, the leaves haven't budded, but the exiled nation of Israel was given a shot in the arm in their efforts to return home in 1918. The budding of the leaves would be the next developing stage of the fig tree. But in 1918 spring came to the Jews.

National Israel was resurrecting; a new tree was developing. God placed in the hearts of this last generation of Jews the desire to rise up and go home to Jerusalem. National Israel was in need of a resurrection, for Jesus cursed the generation which rejected Him at His first coming.

Mark 11:13-14,

13)"And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if perhaps he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14)And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it."

Mark 11:20,

"And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots."

This tree represented the generation of Jews during our Lord's time. The tree was fruitless, having no faith in Jesus Christ as their long awaited Messiah. That's why the tree was cursed. He's telling us that that tree would never bear fruit. That generation of rebellious Jews would be destroyed, just as Jesus warned the Pharisees, "How can you escape the damnation of Hell?" This prophecy was fulfilled when Israel was overcome by the Romans in 70 A.D.

Will this curse again fall on this generation of Israel? Will the resurrected tree of 1918 wither and die? Will Jesus then resurrect yet another tree at the end of the 70th Week, which will produce the fruit of faith? Will this future tree consist of the remnant who survive the horrows of the Great Tribulation, who turn to Jesus as their Messiah?

That's the parable of the fig tree. All the saved surviving Jews will return in faith at the end of the 70th Week. Jesus couldn't eat from the other tree because it wasn't the right time. Jesus knew some day a new tree, a new generation, would bear fruit…for the time of figs was not yet.

Matthew 24:34,

"Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."

Jesus is revealing to us that this generation which is alive when the Jews begin returning home will witness the rapture, the 70th Week and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The key question is, "how long is a generation and when does it start, 1918, 1948, or 1967?" In Psalms 90:9-10, we find the life span of man to be 70-80 years. Seventy years is significant, for the Jews of Jeremiah's day were exiled to Babylon and were to remain there for seventy years.

Also, we know that World War I was the first sword of war which enveloped the entire earth. It placed kingdom against kingdom. From 1918 on, the conditions of the world rapidly worsened. The Great Depression was the prelude and preview to the economic disasters of the 70th Week. The sword of World War II was the preview of World War III, when the Russian-Arab armies invade Israel during the 70th Week. On May 14, 1948, as a result of World War II, the Jews became a nation and began to return to the land in great numbers. The sword of war was bringing God's people to their God-given homeland. More war is on the horizon. Russia will bring World War III to the land of Israel.

Ezekiel 38:8,

"After many days thou shalt be visited; in the latter years thou (Russia) shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many peoples, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste; but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely, all of them."

Was the dawning of 1948 the beginning of summer for the fig tree? The fig tree was blossoming and putting forth leaves, just as Jesus told us in the parable. Are forty to fifty years all that remain to be fulfilled of the generation that heard the declaration of Israel's return? It is interesting to see that from 1918 to 1948 is thirty years. What is the significance of thirty years? We know that thirty is the age of maturity for Jewish men. Jesus was thirty when He began His ministry. Was 1948 the maturing of the nation, Israel? Are forty to fifty years of testing all that remain? We just don't know. But it is interesting speculation that they wandered in the wilderness for forty years once they were delivered from Egypt. Didn't God refuse to allow that generation to enter the Promised Land? Didn't He resurrect a new generation under Joshua that would enter and occupy the land? Is there a spiritual relationship between that unbelieving generation and the generation of 1948? Is the millennium the Promised Land, that only a remnant of this unbelieving generation of Jews will enter and occupy?

The parable of the fig tree is easy to understand if you keep in mind that God is referring to the people and nation of Israel. Israel is like any tree with stages of growth and seasons of the year which affect its growth. The fig tree has three stages which must be understood:

When Its Branch Is Yet Tender: Tree Jesus cursed now being resurrected. A new generation of Jews. 1918 beginning of spring.
And Putteth Forth Leaves: Tree now gaining strength. In 1948 it became a nation. Like the tree Jesus cursed. It had leaves, but no fruit. Spring ending, summer approaching. The new tree is about to be cursed, to wither and die, except for the remnant of the latter rain. Two-thirds of Israel to die, (Zechariah 13:8-9).
Summer Is Near: Fruit appears on the tree. Israel's remnant will turn to the Lord Jesus. Takes place during 70th Week. New tree will enter and occupy center stage during the Millennial Kingdom. The generation that sees the fig tree grow will see the King descend from Heaven.

bkgrnd