Isaiah 1:16-18 and fig trees by Pastor Don Moore
We did a Bible study within a Bible Study – so there are a lot of Scriptures – this text seems long, but a significant portion of it is Bible verses. It shows us how to study a particular word and make sense of it.
Isaiah 1:16-17 Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.
God is speaking through the prophet Isaiah, addressing Judah.
Isaiah 18 Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
This is an amazing Scripture! When we put pressure on the Word of God we will get more out of the Word. We need to pause to think. God is speaking with power and force, and God allows us the possibility to enter into discourse with Him and state our cause with Him.
A father will say to a child who disobeyed, state your cause, let’s reason together.
That is the position of God as Father. People are looking to God to strike them with a bolt of lightning. They hear the message of the punishing God stronger than the message of a loving God. But God is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes saying, “Come, let’s talk about it. I know you are an idiot. I am a loving Father who will listen to your excuses and take all of that into consideration.” Discuss it with God, make your excuses as to why you are disobedient, and then do it God’s way and God will wipe away the bad stuff – this is extraordinary!
David is an example of having a humble and contrite heart, a man after God’s own heart. He threw himself wholly without excuses on the mercy of God, even after he committed serious sins.
Why do we need to make our case if God knows all? When we speak with God we are also hearing our words. If the Father knows what you ask before you ask, why does Dad want me to say it? Dad wants you to hear what you are saying. Reason with Him. He wants us to see what is sense and what is nonsense. There is power in our wards.
Mark 11:11-14 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve. Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.
Jesus is about to make his entry at the temple at the appointed time. And he does this with the fig tree. Pastor Don explained that the problem about the fig tree was that the tree was in leaf and he expected to find figs on the tree and there were no figs. Israel had two growing seasons – the Former had harvest in April, May and the Latter had harvest in September, October. The fig tree blossoms two times, and in one growing season there are false figs (bitter and seedless) and in the other season there are real figs. You cannot tell if it they are false or true figs by sight. Jesus had an expectation for real figs. False figs are little, and bitter and taste awful.
Someone asked what the purpose of the false figs were, and Pastor Don shared that there are certain things in the Bible that are likened to other things in creation. Hebrews sets into earth samples and images of things in Heaven and a picture of other things to get the prophetic message across.
Then we spoke about astronomy, not astrology, and spoke about the stars in the sky and their names (knows as Mazzaroth). The big dipper is Ursa Major (a bear), and the stars represent countries and nations in earth. They point toward events in the earth. How do we know what Virgo is holding or what the dragon and serpent are? Just from the stars you do not see these images. The only thing that looks like what it is with the stars is the Southern cross looks like a cross. With the naked eye we can’t tell a planet, star, or moon at a distance.
Adam was given the job of naming the animals, and God told him the name of the stars. Virgo is a virgin with child (corn, sheath, wheat kernel). In the right hand she holds wheat and in the left corn. Throughout the worldwide culture Virgo is Virgo. Adam told Seth, Seth told Enosh, etc. Orion has a belt and is a hunter and in one hand has a lion and a scythe in the other hand. Pollox and Casper are twins. Water bearer -aquarius. God called it the Mazzaroth, and all the constellations have a scriptural meaning.
Job 38:31 Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion?
Revelation 12:1-6 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
What is this, but signs in the sky. What were the wise men doing? They were following the signs in the sky. All the stars are about the Messiah.
THE POWER OF WORDS DETERMINE THE OUTCOME OF PROPHECY.
What is the significance of the fig? Jesus expected the fig tree to have fruit (see above Bible Passage) and instead it didn’t so he cursed it.
To be good Bible scholars we need to use the tools, for the Bible is it’s own dictionary, and by reading other passages about figs we can begin to see what the fig is signifying. So, instead of telling us, we all looked in our concordances in the back of the Bible and looked up passages. Pastor Don wants us equipped to research things for ourselves in the Bible.
A discussion ensued while we were looking up passages about figs. Someone asked about replacement theology, the theory that Christians have replaced Jews in the covenant because the Jews rejected Jesus. And Pastor Don pointed out that God will not contradict Himself, and what happened permitted Jesus to go to a wider group of people. We as Gentiles would have been condemned if the Jews had accepted Jesus at that time. Read Romans to find out what God feels about the Jews – they are not being replaced.
The Spirit and the Word must agree, they will not contradict each other.
Sometimes figs in the Bible are just fruit, and other times they stand for something. So when you read the following passages decide if it is just fruit or something else.
1 Kings 4:25 And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, each man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan as far as Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.
There is a relationship between Judah and Israel in the Bible and the vine and the fig trees in the area are symbols of prosperity.
Isaiah 34:4-5 All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; all their host shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree. For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; indeed it shall come down on Edom, and on the people of My curse, for judgment.
This is talking about judgment on the nations, the end of things, rolled up like a scroll. Fig trees, Israel and Judah, the fruit.
Nehemiah 13:15 In those days I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions.
This is just agricultural.
Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Pastor Don pointed out that in the time of Adam and Eve, due to the atmosphere, fig leaves were bigger. (That caused us all to laugh).
Luke 21:27-31 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
Parables are stories giving insight using real life examples. The figs in this parable are a sign of the times. When you see these things happening, pay attention.
John 1:48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Jeremiah 24:1 The LORD showed me, and there were two baskets of figs set before the temple of the LORD, after Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah with the craftsmen and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
After the captivity.
Jeremiah 24:2 One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are first ripe; and the other basket had very bad figs which could not be eaten, they were so bad.
Ripe and bad figs.
Jeremiah 24:3-5 Then the LORD said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
God explains that the figs symbolize the good people of Israel, those captive from Judah.
Jeremiah 24:8 ‘And as the bad figs which cannot be eaten, they are so bad’—surely thus says the LORD—‘so will I give up Zedekiah the king of Judah, his princes, the residue of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt.
The bad figs represent the bad leadership and those who are not obeying God. Egypt is a symbol of sin. The Kingdom of Israel divided, Rehoboam caused a civil war. The country divided and became Israel to the North and Judah to the South. Judah kept the laws and commandments better than the Northern nation of Israel, so they stayed in tact as a nation longer. But they also had their bad kings.
Luke 6:43-46 For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
Jesus is not talking about trees, trees are a symbol of people.
Luke 21:29 Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.
Fig tree is Jews, all the trees are the Gentiles. This is not speaking about revival but about harvest. The trees that produce no fruit will be killed, they will not be revived.
Luke 21:30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.
What is budding is the people – and summer, the season is near.
Luke 21:31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
When you see the budding of the trees (people) – not just Jews but also Gentiles.
Luke 13:6-9 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”
Jesus harvests EVERYONE, but separates the wheat from the chaff. Let’s the dead fruit die, for it won’t be brought to revival. God wants to restore to His ideas. When we are born again we are not made into a better who we used to be – the dead stuff in us is removed and we become renewed, new creations in Christ. God is calling for a harvest of things budding, not old time religion with dead hymns. God wants to restore us to what he originally wanted the Church to be – the Church as Jesus left it. The end of the book of Acts is not so pleasant. God asked Ezekiel, can these dead bones live again? God put new skins on the bones, and Ezekiel was told to prophesy to these bones – to breathe life into them. Jesus had his ministry at best 3 years, and during that time he dug around the nation of Israel, fertilized it with His Word and looked to see what would bear fruit and what wouldn’t.
Jeremiah 29:17-18 thus says the LORD of hosts: Behold, I will send on them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like rotten figs that cannot be eaten, they are so bad. And I will pursue them with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence; and I will deliver them to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth—to be a curse, an astonishment, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them,
Two realms are defined Israel and the real fruit. There is nothing in between. This is referring to the nation of Israel. Some try to change terminology or the definition of a word to change the interpretation of Scripture, but that is not of God.
Nahum 3:12-19 All your strongholds are fig trees with ripened figs: if they are shaken, they fall into the mouth of the eater. Surely, your people in your midst are women! The gates of your land are wide open for your enemies; fire shall devour the bars of your gates. Draw your water for the siege! Fortify your strongholds! Go into the clay and tread the mortar! Make strong the brick kiln! There the fire will devour you, the sword will cut you off; it will eat you up like a locust. Make yourself many—like the locust! Make yourself many— like the swarming locusts! You have multiplied your merchants more than the stars of heaven. The locust plunders and flies away. Your commanders are like swarming locusts, and your generals like great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges on a cold day; when the sun rises they flee away, and the place where they are is not known. Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; your nobles rest in the dust.Your people are scattered on the mountains, and no one gathers them. Your injury has no healing, your wound is severe. All who hear news of you will clap their hands over you, for upon whom has not your wickedness passed continually?
You can see all the metaphors used in this passage and how they describe people. Nahum 3 begins with a WOE to Nineveh – remember Jonah? The Ninevites did repent when Jonah brought them the message from God, they were real good for about 140 years, then reverted back to their old behaviors, came against the Jews and destroyed the Jews. So now they are receiving God’s judgment. Their nation now no longer exists.
Pastor Don asked us who speaks Hittite? Hivite? etc. No one. The last known famous Hittite was Uriah the Hittite. God protected the weakest of all the races, Israel, telling others, “Hey, these are My people.” There will always be a Jew on the earth, and that proves that God is God. The Jewish culture is the only one that came back after captivity, speaks the language it spoke before going into captivity, and returned to their land.
Mark 11:12-13 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
The only way to know if the figs are good or bad is to examine or test them. It was NOT the season for figs and Jesus knew that, but the fig was not in blossom or budding.
Mark 11:14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.”
The disciples heard and then saw later that it was a prophetic revelation about the Jews. After that Jesus gets in trouble.
Mark 11:15-16 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.
This is a type and shadow of what is to come. In a way, just like in Passover the leaven is removed from the house, Jesus is removing the leaven (sin) from the Temple.
When our Lord comes to the earth and the Holy Spirit makes clear its mission and what to do, we need to do it. Jesus knew His mission and knew the response of those with whom He would deal. Those in the Sanhedrin were angered, they did not expect the Messiah to come the way he did and knew that they would lose power if they accepted Jesus as the Messiah. It would challenge what they taught and they did not want that.
Jesus was human and divine. Part of him knew that they would beat him up and spit on him, torturing him in the Roman way, and he asked if that cup could be taken from him, but when not, he told God, “Not my will but thine be done.”
Isaiah 53, Psalm 61 and Psalm 22 show that He knew what was prophesied concerning Himself. Jesus knew what He signed up for. In Zechariah it talks about taking the shepherd and the sheep are scattered.
The fig tree is much bigger – than we in our human condition can learn about it. He knew that he must curse and command it to die, based on reality. The tree was guilty for not producing. He let it survive for three years, trying to bring it to life.
The Bible speaks in clear prophecy that Jesus came to His own and His own did not receive Him, therefore he became a light to the Gentiles and in the last days He will gather the fig tree and the other trees. We are forced to do the right thing even though they do the wrong thing – people abuse, don’t always honor, and are not thoughtful. Jesus chose to do the right thing even when people did the wrong thing to Him. Jesus ministers to Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, Peter, James, John, etc, and they brought His message to the Jews. But the Jews in power and authority said, “Kill Him.” They did not honor Jesus, or respect Him, they killed Him.
Jesus is asking us to walk with the same power and authority and do all the steps, recognizing that many who we reach will abuse us, walk over us, and ignore us, but we are required to do the right thing. No matter how hard, we are to do the right thing.
Jesus has the goods, he could feed 5,000 (which with women and children was probably 15,000), raise the dead, heal the sick, blind to see, deaf to hear, lame to walk, etc. But at the time of Passover, where were the people to speak up for Him? At the cross were only a few people, his mother, a few women and John.
What are we signing up for as believers?
John 15:18 If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
The hatred of the world, destructive sin and behavior. If we stand in faith this will also affect us. If the Jews had accepted Jesus as Messiah then the only way for us to have salvation would have been to be a Jew, it would have been the end of the eon 2000 years or so ago, and the age would be over. The Jews at that time were 1% of the earth’s population and 99% of the population of the earth would have been without hope. If they had accepted Jesus, the book would have been done, everyone did not keep the Jewish law.
Even though they were with the Messiah, the disciples at first did not have a clue, a handful of people knew him and accepted him. The Gentiles had no hope of salvation.
Isaiah 9:1 Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, as when at first He lightly esteemed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward more heavily oppressed her, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the Gentiles.
Lightly esteemed the land of the Gentiles, what happened to Galilee of the Gentiles?
Isaiah 9:2-3 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy; they rejoice before You according to the joy of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
Harvest – they are dwelling in death and darkness, the light is shed, the nation is harvested into the Kingdom of God. He multiplied it and made a way for the Gentiles to come in, so the Gentiles did not have to be cut and burned.
Isaiah 9:4 For You have broken the yoke of his burden and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
Do something to save the Gentile.
Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Increased government to include Gentiles. He had established the Kingdom of God, did what He had to do and came back for the Gentiles. It was a Catch 22. He had to die for the sins of the world, not just the sins of the Jews. The reality is that the Jews rejected Him so the Gentiles were grafted in. Romans 11 speaks of this. If they had accepted Jesus there would be a propitiation of sins. The Jews sat in the law as Mercy, but Grace came and we are now under Mercy AND Grace. His heart is that we live under mercy and grace.
Isaiah 53:1-3 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
All of this is revealed and is there anything after this to come to pass? If He had not been rejected by men none of this would have made any sense. Because of this, the nations can all receive salvation, Jews and Gentiles.
Jesus cursed the tree, for He knew they would not accept Him. The Jews were responsible for what happened, they had free will. God blinded their eyes, and put salvation for both Jew and Gentiles. We are still grafted into the vine of Israel, and God is now seeking to spare billions, for He is still merciful and kind.
Praying this blesses you.
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