Today we are sitting at Jesus’ feet on the Mount of Olives as He continues to share about the end times. He chooses to use a parable to illustrate His point in our reading. The fig tree seems to be a favorite with Jesus and He uses it on more than one occasion in His teachings. This lesson deals with knowing the signs of the approaching end.
We looked at this parable in both Matthew and Mark. In Matthew the blog was titled “Lessons From The Fig Tree.” Not very original, but hey, it works. In that blog we looked at the different meanings for the phrase “this generation” that Jesus refers to in His story. I still have no more insight now than I did then on His actual meaning. Feel free to pop over and read the possibilities others suggested for us.
My favorite blog on this topic was in Mark and was titled, “You Know He Is Near.” I would like to suggest that you revisit that one because it applies to our lives every day. I found myself refreshed and reminded when I read it in preparation for seeing what God has for us today.
While reading our story I was drawn to two phrases today. I think that is where we are going to spend our time. The first phrase is, “…you see for yourselves and know…” and is found in verse 30. The second phrase is, “…when you see these things taking place, you know…” and it is found in the very next verse, 31. I believe my spirit was drawn here for a reason, so let’s get to examining these two gems.
Jesus tells His disciples that they KNOW what to expect when they see the signs from the tree; the budding, the new leaves, and the softening of the branches. They are familiar with these signs. They have seen these same signs each and every year. NEVER has the fruit started before the leaves or the leaves popped out in the dead of winter.
The same holds true for the signs Jesus was telling them about just prior to His parable. We have not been privy to seeing His “summer” come time and time again, as we do with the trees, but we see His faithfulness over and Over and OVER again. God started showing His faithfulness in the Garden of Eden and has not stopped since. EVERY word He has said is true and WILL come to pass. Jesus counts on our familiarity with God’s faithfulness when He shares the events right before His returning. He doesn’t clarify how many earthquakes will happen before the end, nor how widespread the famines and pestilence will be. He does point to one specific event which signals the end, like the tree leafing signals summer. That is the abomination of desolation spoken of in Daniel. This sign signals the coming of the last part of the time of tribulation. Jesus saves a lot of the detail for His revelation to John later on.
I believe the main point here is that it will be clear to those who know Him that things are heating up and moving towards His return. No, we won’t know the day any more than we know the day the fruit will first appear on the tree. We know the season and the signs. We also know the certainty once the signs appear. We can take Jesus at His word. We ARE headed for “summer!”
Father God You are faithful. There is NOT ONE promise in Your word that hasn’t or won’t come to pass. Just look at all the promises fulfilled in Jesus’ life. If You can bring ALL those prophecies into fulfillment in ONE Man You can do ANYTHING! Sometimes I wish I had a more precise understanding of “when” or “how many” of something to expect before Jesus’ final return, but if You aren’t telling Him then You certainly aren’t going to tell me. The signs that You are sharing with us now give me cause to hope for a quickly approaching return. I know we have at least seven more years because the Great Tribulation hasn’t begun yet. I believe those of us who are Your children now will miss that marker because we will be with You during it. I’m more than willing to miss the tribulation events!
Thank You Lord Jesus for Your warnings. I pray I heed every one of them. I want to live like You are coming now and work like You are a long way off. Help me stay the course in everything You have called me to. Thank You for Your faithfulness!