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THE REAL CHOSEN PEOPLE: The Fig Tree (Part 5)

THE FIG TREE

         On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. [Mark 11:12-14]

         Why did the Lord curse the fig tree? The narrative said it was not the season for figs.

         Actually, a fig tree produced fruit three times a year. In about April, which was the time the Lord saw the tree in question, every healthy fig tree would bear what are known as “early figs,” also known as “unripe” or “untimely” figs. These immature figs were very small, were edible, though certainly not comparable to the full fruit which would come later, and most fell to the ground with the wind. They appeared as the first leaves appeared on the tree.

         In about June, the first mature figs appeared, the first actual crop, and were said to grow out of the “old wood,” or the shoots from the prior year.

         In August or so, the final crop of figs came forth, from the “new wood,” or new shoots of the present year.

         From this we know that if a tree will be fruitful and not barren, it will send forth fruit roughly at the same time, or very shortly thereafter, as it sends forth its first leaves, though the first fruit is a far cry from what will come later. The Lord Jesus knew, therefore, that because the tree He came upon already had leaves but no “early figs,” it would never produce any figs.

         Keep in mind also that He was hungry, that He saw the tree “at a distance,” that He had to put time and effort into reaching it, and that He expected to find food. This is obviously indicative of His long journey to visit and rescue His beloved people.

ISRAEL

         As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.”

         And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.” [Mark 11:20-23] [1]

         Mountains are associated with spiritual high places, places of great power. The little that was left of the Jewish nation in the first century had long since been subverted by a political association between the religious leaders and Rome. This was especially true of the Sadducees who had no belief in spiritual things whatsoever, not even the resurrection. It was also true of Annas and Caiphas, the High Priest. They were living only for this world, had achieved great wealth and power, and had joined “the mountain,” represented by the great earthly power of the Roman Empire.

         The fig tree was representative of the Israel of that time, which made an outward show of national legitimacy and religiosity, but was actually fruitless and spiritually barren. It is the same today.

         When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” [Luke 19:41-44]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

          Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

FURTHER PROOF:

THE REAL CHOSEN PEOPLE (Part 1)

THE REAL CHOSEN PEOPLE (Part 2)

THE REAL CHOSEN PEOPLE (Part 3)

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Defining “Fruit”: THE PARABLE OF THE TREES (3)

         Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’ But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my fatness with which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?’

         “Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come, reign over us!’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?’

         “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come, reign over us!’ But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave over the trees?’

         Finally all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come, reign over us!’ The bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon.’” [Judges 9:8-15]

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         The trees that produce good fruit never reign over other trees. Never. They refuse. It is not in their nature. It is not the will of God.

         The nature of good trees is to be what they are as God made them and produce good fruit. Good trees do not produce bad fruit. Good trees only produce good fruit.

         Only bad trees reign over other trees. Bad trees produce only bad fruit. Some of their bad fruit is the desire to reign over other trees. Only bad trees reign over other trees.

         In the above passage from the Book of Judges, three good trees are mentioned:

The Olive Tree

The Fig Tree

The Grape Vine

         One bad tree is mentioned: The Bramble

         The Bramble was a thorn bush. It produced no good fruit. It only produced bad fruit. It produced thorns.

         “For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit.

         “For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.” [Luke 6:43-44]

CHRISTIANS RULING OVER CHRISTIANS

         Good trees producing good fruit NEVER accept the reign over Christians. Only bad trees producing bad fruit reign over Christians.

         This is a very difficult concept to understand for Christians since the majority has always been ruled over by other Christians. It seems no matter how many times the Lord Jesus tells the story most Christians just don’t get it. They insist that they must be ruled over by one of their own.

ABIMELECH

         In the above passage from the Book of Judges, the people of Shechem chose Abimelech, The Bramble, as their king.

         The name Abimelech literally means, “father is king,” or “Melek (“king”) is father.”

         Abimelech was one of Gideon’s 70 sons. In his attempt to become the sole king and rightful heir of his father, he killed every single one of his brothers except one: Jotham escaped.

         It was Jotham, the lone survivor, who told the Parable of the Trees.

         Abimelech was eventually mortally wounded by a woman who dropped a big rock on his head, crushing it. Yet, so that it would not be said he was killed by a woman, he commanded his armor bearer to run him through with his sword.

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE WOMAN?

         But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull. [Judges 9:53]

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         “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” [Genesis 3:15]

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         “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

         “But the greatest among you shall be your servant.

         “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

         “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:10-13] [1]

            © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

One Fruit Two Fruit Good Fruit Bad Fruit

         “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.

         “Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” [Matthew 7:13-20]

         The gate to life is narrow. The Greek word for this gate is stenos. The way (road) to life is also narrow. The Greek word for this road is thlibo. The first Greek word portrays a small gate. This small, narrow gate contrasts with the wide gate that leads toward destruction. Anyone can enter the wide gate. It takes little effort. The narrow gate, however, forces a person to get real. It is the gate of the repentant, humble, disciplined, and committed. It is the gate associated with bravery and courage. It is difficult. There is opposition.

         The narrow road is also difficult. The Greek word defines it as compressed, as with pressure on all sides, as one may press grapes. It is constricted, and associated with affliction and distress. One must be very strong and valiant to walk this road. The Lord contrasts this road to life with the vast, wide way that leads to annihilation. There’s no pressure on Broadway. It’s a walk in the park on a sunny day.

         The false prophets hang out on the broad way. They are ravenous wolves disguised as sheep. The people on the broad way have no idea. To them, the false prophets are good guys. They look like sheep. They act like sheep. The people do not know they are deceived. They think they’re on the right road. They think the false prophets are real prophets. They support them. They honor them. They even love them. All is well on Broadway. There is little pressure, no affliction or opposition, and nothing to stop freedom of movement. At the end of the broad road is a cliff. At the bottom of the cliff is the lake of fire. The road to hell is comparatively easy. One needs zero courage or discipline to get there.

         The narrow road, by inference, is manned by true prophets—the ones who tell the whole truth and pay for it. Any study of Old Testament prophets reveals that they each shared very difficult lives. They were greatly opposed. Most were killed. True prophets are as spiritual sheep with absolutely no disguise or guile. They are real. They are not above suffering. They are known by their fruits. The apostle Paul describes spiritual fruit in the following passage:

         But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. [Galatians 5:22-26] [1]

         From this we get a clear indication of the contrasts between the true and false prophets. And though all believers are on the way toward being perfected by God, the above is also a guide toward perceiving the difference between Real Christians and Unreal Christians. The real guys are busy fighting the good fight of faith. Their road involves pressure from all sides. They have subjected themselves to the discipline and work of God. They fight against sin, instead of submitting to it. However, because the Lord grants spiritual strength, power, ability, and gifts, the end result is the carrying of an easy yoke and light burden. It is the Lord’s intention that this be a road of joy. But the narrow way is only possible for the fully committed. Whoever looks back goes back.

          Consider the lives of the Lord Jesus, the apostles, and the early believers. Consider what they were subjected to, what they endured, and what they achieved, both in their own spiritual lives and in the world. One is known by the fruit one produces, and the Lord is the only Judge.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church

[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.