Donna's Blog

Matthew 24:32-35

Posted by donnadawson on June 3, 2009 at 7:54 PM

"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree:  As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.  I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."  Matthew 24:32-35 NIV

 

I have seen this portion of scripture twisted and changed and manipulated in so many different ways it is mind boggling.  We have those who believe that Jesus' reference to the fig tree means that he is talking about the nation of Israel.  Could he have simply chosen the fig tree because they were so abundant in Israel at the time?  That's my guess.  And then there are those who believe he was talking to the disciples about his own generation when he said 'this generation will not pass...'.  I have some ideas on that one too.  So let's begin.

 

Jesus was fond of using parables and stories.  In this case, I am guessing two things.  He was passing a fig tree at the time he was speaking to his disciples and it was in spring time.  Jesus often drew on his surroundings to show living examples of what he was saying and this one was likely no different.  Any tree will go through a tenderizing process and then the leaves will come--and then summer.  We all know this.  As certainly as we know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, we know that once the leaves come out, summer is here.  That was Jesus' point.  He was declaring that the generation that would see all of the previous prophetic events that he described would be the generation that would see his coming. 

 

All through this chapter, Jesus was talking of end times and he was talking about the believers who will be there when the signs come.  He then goes on to say it again in a different way and this is where the confusion came into place for the disciples. Jesus seems to speak directly to us as future followers. It was as though he stopped talking to the crowd, turned his face to the years ahead and spoke to a different crowd--the one seeing the signs of the times--telling us that the end is near, right at the door.  And then he skips back to the disciples and finishes his thoughts (bear in mind that there is much speculation going on on my part).  "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened."  Imagine being a disciple hearing this.  You would assume he was referring to you--except for the fact that none of the end time signs had taken place.  It was no wonder that early theologians were trying to fit the times to the prophecies. 

 

This is why we must be very careful to let the times come as they will and recognize them for what they are.  Our key sign is the abomination that causes desolation standing in the temple.  This single act is the fig tree coming into leaf as a predecessor to the rapture.  All other signs are preliminary to this one.   Jesus finishes this verse with a declaration of his deity.  He makes the statement that Heaven and earth will pass away but not his words.  For this statement alone, Jesus could have been stoned for blasphemy.  And yet, in this statement, he was also declaring himself a prophet and in the Old Testament a prophet was proven by his prophecy.  Jesus was basically giving proof of his position.  If the prophecies come true then he really was the son of God.  A lot to think about.

 

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3 Comments

Reply Jim and Cathy Fox
1:34 AM on June 4, 2009 
Yes, there is a lot to think about. And yes the disciples thought He was talking about their generation. Every generation since then have thought they were truly in the end times. Personally I believe we need to prepare to be around for a while yet, but live each day as if Jesus is going to appear at any moment.
Reply Mary Haskett
9:28 PM on June 4, 2009 
That's right Jim! In fact Jesus instructs us to keep on keeping on!
Thanks Donna for some insightful thoughts
Blessings
Reply Peter Black
3:01 PM on June 5, 2009 
I like your phrase "we must be very careful to let the times come as they will and recognize them for what they are".
One cannot fault the disciples for thinking "these things" were all to be happening imminently. In fact, so many things did occur before their own generation had passed away -- the destruction of the temple "not one stone will be left upon another"; and the fall of Jerusalem (remember Jesus cried over the city shortly before His triumphal entry, knowing what would befall it and its people barely forty years later).
Donna, thank you again for such a stimulating piece.
Peter.