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‘The sign of the fig tree that reveals when the summer is at hand’
How did Jesus confirm the prophecies concerning Israel turning to the Lord before the end of this present age?
A Bible Study to equip us with the Truth of the Scriptures about the Second Coming of Jesus which will be when all that has been written of Him will be fulfilled
To read the previous articles click on the links below
Part 1 – The Second Coming of Jesus
Part 2 – ‘The Earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord’
Part 3 – ‘The time is near, I am coming back quickly’
Overview of this study
As we said from the start, the purpose of this study is to equip the believers with Scriptural knowledge and understanding about “the end of the age”, when the rapture of the Body of Christ will take place at the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The goal is for the disciples of Jesus Christ to remain focused and motivated to do what is important, which is summarised in the Great Commission: to bring/manifest the Kingdom of God to the Earth in every place and make disciples of every tongue, tribe, nation and people group (see previous articles).
When the disciples of Jesus are equipped with the Truth of the Word of God, they will no longer be sidetracked by overwhelming stories about the end of the world, which (as we have seen in previous articles) according to the prophecies of the Bible is not going to happen in our generation or anytime soon.
Please note: the emphasis is NOT that Jesus is not coming back in our days, but that (the reason He is not coming back at this point is that) the Great Commission is not yet done, the work is not complete, Jesus has not yet obtained His full inheritance from among ALL the tongues, tribes, nations and peoples from EVERY place of the world.
At this point I think it is pertinent to say the obvious… all the prophecies, theories, theologies, and personal opinions about a supposedly “soon coming rapture” have no biblical support. No one who claims that Jesus is coming back in our generation has any scriptural evidence to back up such a statement.
Some claim that in our generation we are experiencing all the signs which are mentioned in the Bible as signs preceding the Second Coming of Jesus; the same is true of every generation over the last 2000 years! What was it that the previous generations did not have? Earthquakes, wars, rumors of wars, brother against brother, natural catastrophes?
All these signs have been evident in every generation without exception. Therefore to say that the end of the age will happen in OUR generation cannot be supported.
On the other hand, as we are seeing in this study which is based 100% on the written Word of God, there is ample biblical evidence that identifies the end of the age as a time when Islam will no longer dominate the nations in the Middle East, and Israel will welcome back their Messiah as a nation (see previous articles as well as future ones).
Today we shall study additional evidence through the words of Jesus below. In previous articles we have already worked on these words, which are key for the end of the age:
Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
All of chapter 24 of the Gospel of Matthew is a very important piece of the puzzle when trying to put together the bigger picture that the Bible is building concerning God’s timeline of the “age of the Ecclesia” – which is God’s Economy, or, dispensation of the New Testament, which will close when “the end will come” – see above reference.
There are various theological perspectives that interpret this chapter and the events of “the end of the age”, but we shall not look at any of them here – that is not the purpose of this study. We only want to know what the Bible teaches us about how to identify that the end of the age is near (or not). So we shall work only on a portion of the chapter which is informative about the end of the age.
Matthew 24:27 “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30 “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer [is] near. 33 “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near–at the doors!
We have already studied extensively in the previous articles the role of Israel for the end of the age, and have concluded that the closing part of the end times, according to many Biblical prophecies and words of Jesus and His first Apostles, is when Israel will receive Jesus as their promised Messiah. In Part 2 we concluded:
The words of Apostle Paul confirm the prophecy of Isaiah about the Middle-East. Israel will turn to the Lord and will be saved after Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Iran will have become Christian nations and will be extending a hand of friendship to the state of Israel.
As Paul said by quoting Deuteronomy 32:21, God will use these nations which will have turned from fanatic Muslim to Christian, and from enemies to friends, to provoke Israel to jealousy – that is when the fullness of the gentiles will have come in, and Israel which was originally the first, will be the last of the nations of the world that will bow the knee to Jesus Christ, and welcome Him as their Messiah.
This is what Jesus confirms in Matthew 24:32 above by using the parable of the fig tree, which is used symbolically in the Bible to refer to the nation of Israel, saying:
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer [is] near.”
In other words, when the spiritual situation in the state and nation of Israel appears to be ripe for their hearts to turn and be willing to accept Jesus as their Promised Messiah, then it will be but a matter of days before they proclaim as a nation:
“Baruch Haba B’shem Adonai”
‘Blessed [is] He who comes in the name of the LORD’!
That is when “the branch has become tender” and “the summer is near”.
Now this is a good time to do a little study on a Hellenic (Greek) word; I know many of you enjoy the opportunity to learn little “secrets” of the Hellenic language, through which we can understand more of the “hidden” messages of the NT Scriptures.
The Hellenic word for “summer” is “theros” (written in Latin letters). In English “summer” and “harvest” are completely different words; we can only associate the two through the fact that harvest takes place in the summer, but that is all.
But when the Bible reads in New Testament Hellenic “the summer is near” it is the same as saying “the HARVEST is near”, because the Hellenic word for “harvest” is “therismos”.
The ‘summer’ is “theros” and the ‘harvest’ is “therismos” – therefore you may say by implication that it is almost the same as saying:
“When Israel is no longer like hard woord in the winter when the fig tree looks like it is dead, but its branches have been filled with new life and have become soft and tender, then know that the time of the harvest of souls is at hand”!
Only the generation of believers who will be alive at that time will be entitled to believe that indeed the end of the age is imminent in their own lifetime! Even so, Jesus said:
“of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only”!
The following verse 34, in Matthew chapter 24, Jesus said:
“Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place”
But why did He say that 2000 years ago and still it has not happened?
This is what we shall study next week, along with a brief study on the word/concept of the “ages” in the Bible (“aion” in Hellenic, also “aeon” in English) …