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Fruit Bearing After All

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by SueJLove, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 6:31 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put in mind this song:

    Great is The Lord / Ward, Asaph Alexander

    Great is the Lord, He is holy and just
    By His power we trust in his love
    Great is the Lord, He is faithful and true
    By his mercy he proves He is love
    Great is the Lord and worthy of glory
    Great is the Lord and worthy of praise
    Great is the Lord, now lift up your voice…


    Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Mark 11:12-26 (NIV).

    The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

    On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

    The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

    When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

    In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

    “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

    He is Hungry

    The fig tree was a symbol of the nation of Israel, which were God’s people at that time. Today it would be a symbol of the church, the Body of Christ – God’s chosen people today.

    I asked the Lord Jesus this morning for something fresh, and what immediately stood out to me was that Jesus was hungry. Now, I know this meant he was literally hungry, but going along with the symbolism of the story, I decided to look at the meaning of the word hungry. Besides meaning physical hunger, i.e. the craving for food, it can also mean “eager or desirous,” i.e. hopeful or wanting. I do believe this fits with the story and with the illustration. Jesus was and is definitely desirous and wanting his people to be fruit-bearing followers of Christ. Although he knows and sees everything, still, in a sense, he is presently looking (watchful; observing) to see if we are bearing spiritual fruit for his kingdom.

    From a distance, the tree had all the appearance of bearing fruit, but upon close examination, he saw that no fruit existed. Although it was not yet the season for figs, the tree did have leaves, so it was giving off the appearance of also having fruit. It was “all talk,” but “no walk.”

    In other words, this is illustrating the nation of Israel of that time, and the church of today, which gives off the appearance of bearing fruit in keeping with repentance, and for God’s kingdom work, but up close we realize that it is just a façade. And, that is where much of today’s church stands. The church looks good on the outside, and they go through their forms of worship, and some even preach some form of the gospel, but the Spirit of God is not among them, because they follow the teachings of humans instead of Christ.

    Just as Jesus cursed that fig tree, symbolic of God’s judgment upon the nation of Israel, Jesus will also judge his adulterous and idolatrous church of today which has all the appearance of righteousness, but denies the power of the Spirit of God in what they do.

    A House of Prayer?

    Next, Jesus went into the temple courts. There he began to drive out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned their tables, and he would not allow the transporting of merchandise through the temple courts. The temple was to be a house of prayer for all nations, but they had made it into a den of robbers.

    I remember when I was growing up in the church I attended in my early years, that there was a prohibition against the buying and selling of merchandise within the sanctuary and/or specifically on Sundays. This is how they had interpreted this passage of scripture. Yet, I believe they missed the point. This was to be a place of prayer for people of all nations (the temple courts) and yet they had turned it into a circus and a place to engage in all kinds of dishonest business practices, thus they were cheating and were taking advantage of the people who had come there for prayer and for worship of God. May that never be!

    And, today this continues, only I believe it is much worse, because the “robbers” are the church leaders, and this cheating and stealing from the people is taking place during times that are set aside for the worship of God, the study of his word, and for prayer. Truly much of the institutional church of today has turned the meetings of the church into a place of business, where they engage in lying, manipulation, cheating and taking advantage of people, stealing from people the truths of God’s word, and deceiving them into believing that their man-made lies are the truth. They follow books written by humans who teach them how to market their churches just like big business, which means they step over, abuse, discard, and/or take advantage of whomever they wish in order to meet their business goals and objectives.

    Need of Revival

    Many church leaders today are not unlike those of Jesus’ day. Many of them are so caught up in man-made religion that they deny and suppress the teachings of Christ and that of the apostles in order to make their followers feel more comfortable, and so they do not offend them with the truth of the gospel, because they want them to come back. They are even taught in their training to avoid, get rid of, filter out, and discourage participation of those who have strong convictions, or who might challenge their man-made teachings based upon the Word of Truth. We serve as a threat to them and their earthly kingdoms, much like Jesus posed a threat to the kingdoms built by the Pharisees and teachers of the law.

    After Jesus cursed the fig tree, it withered. To wither means to decline or to dry up. I believe God has already cursed (declared judgment) on the institutional church of today, particularly here in the west, because they are not bearing fruit for his kingdom, although they give off all the appearance of doing so. In reality, their religion is more man-based than it is based off the word of God. Often when the Word is taught, it is twisted and manipulated to serve the purposes and objectives of the “business” goals of those particular church congregations. Books written by humans are replacing the Word of God in Sunday school classes, in Bible studies and in small groups. Much music lyrics, which tickle itching ears, have replaced the timeless truths of old found in many of the old hymns.

    And, I do see that the church here in America is on a serious spiritual decline more like a free-fall, and that it is only a matter of time before God sends his judgment upon her, but not to destroy her, but to revive her, restore her, and to make her fruit bearing after all.

    Believe in Prayer

    When the disciples pointed out to Jesus that the fig tree he had cursed had withered, he told his disciples to have faith in God. He also told them that if they said to “this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’” in faith, believing and not doubting, that it would be done for them.

    I believe what the Lord Jesus is showing me here is that he is telling his disciples, not only that they can do great miracles in the physical realm, but of greater importance is that they can see great miracles of God in people’s lives in the spiritual realm if they just believe God and do not doubt. Amen! I am believing God for the revival of his church.

    We can, in faith, proclaim the whole gospel of Jesus Christ, which tells people that they are sinners in need of a Savior, and that they have to acknowledge that fact to God. We should teach them: We have to repent of (turn from) our sin, and we must die to our old lives (throw ourselves into the sea). A day of judgment (symbolized by the cursing of the fig tree) is coming. Jesus provided the way for us to be free of our sin - the penalty of sin (eternal separation from God in hell) and the bondage to and control of sin over our daily lives. True faith and belief in what Jesus did for us in dying on the cross for our sins means that we also must die with Christ to the sins which once enslaved us, so that we can live with Christ in the power of the Spirit in walking daily in his righteousness and holiness.

    The “mountain” that must be thrown into the sea, thus, represents all obstacles, present in our lives, to our faith and commitment to Jesus Christ, including the obstacle of having the appearance of righteousness but denying its power in our lives (not bearing fruit).

    Refresh My Spirit, Lord / An Original Work / August 8, 2011
    Based off of Psalm 51 & Matthew 11:28-30

    Refresh my spirit, Lord. Revive my heart today.
    Move me to serve You, Lord in all I do and say.
    Be my heart’s one desire; my spirit set on fire
    In pure devotion, Lord, to love you and obey.


    Create within me, Lord, a pure heart, this I pray,
    So I can worship You and yield to You always.
    May all Your love and pow’r be lived in me, I pray,
    So I might love as You; be Your witness today.


    Jesus says, “Come to me all you with heavy hearts,
    And find in me your peace, and give to me your all.
    My yoke is light to bear, ‘cause I paid for your sin,
    So you might be set free, and purified within.”


    http://originalworks.info/refresh-my-spirit-lord/
     
  2. There is something critical about the fig tree.... Fig trees bear figs. It is inherent in the fig tree to bear figs... That is what those trees do....

    It was NOT THE TIME for fig trees to bear figs..... This is a natural cycle.....

    When Jesus cursed it with "Let no man ever eat figs from you again" - what happened?
    Did it simply keep on growing as a green, leafy fig tree that bore no fruit?

    No. It did NOT do that.... There's not some huge, 2,000 year old fig tree that bears no figs on that spot of ground as a memorial to Jesus.....

    Instead - it withered... Dead from the roots.

    Why? The Live tree would bear fruit in it's season.... It's a fig tree - that's it's nature... That's what fig trees do....

    Jesus did not change the nature of the tree in the sense of making a Fig tree into a something different.... No - the only way THAT fig tree would never produce figs again is if it was dead..... and so it was.

    You see... A good tree bears good fruit.... That's what it does. God does not change good trees into bad trees... you don't somehow get Figs off one day and Thistles off the next day....

    Good trees produce good fruit... Bad trees produce bad fruit... You don't get thistles from fig trees... You don't get grapes from thorn bushes....
     
  3. On the "cleansing of the temple"

    If you follow Jewish temple history..... The High Priest followed the lineage of Aaron up till Alcimus the high priest during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (Of note for erecting the "Abomination of Desolation" in the holy place)... Alcimus tenure "Ended" in 157 BC or so.... He was the last of Aaron's decendants....

    So... From between Alcimus to Jesus (Nominally 30 AD) - we will call it approximately 187 years of Aaron's decendants were NOT high priests....

    But.. Under the "Maccabees" - they were still Jewish internally chosen/inherited..
    The Maccabees were Levites - but not of Aaron....
    Jonathan Apphus is recorded as only taking up the high priestly garments and position AFTER being appointed to do so by Alexander of Egypt

    Fast forward to the Romans.... When Herod the Great (an Edomite - not a Jew) was appointed King of Judea by the Romans in 37BC - he was given POWER to appoint the high priest.... and he DID.. His first appointee was "Hanameel the Egyptian" - an Egyptian born Levite.... Not of the lineage of Aaron either....

    From then on - the "Jewish" high priest was a Roman appointee.... They were APPOINTED and removed at the good pleasure of the Procurator - and confirmed by the Senate.... The Romans granted them license to do MANY things to keep the people "Under control" so that the Romans could rule unfettered - including..... License to allow sellers to sell "Official" sacrificial animals and conduct money changing.....

    These were the people Jesus ran off... Notice the question the Temple officials ask him... "By what authority do you do these things?".... Jesus action was a DIRECT challenge to the Roman authority of appointing High Priests... It's as if Jesus said "I don't care what the Romans say - YOU are not GOD'S High Priest! Only God can declare you High Priest - and HE didn't pick YOU!"
     
    R-C likes this.
  4. 1Co 9:7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

    Since we are God's husbandry and garden, he is the one who plants the seed. Does he not also want to eat from the fruit in which he planted? :)
     
    SueJLove likes this.
  5. John, I don't understand the point you are trying to make here. The tree represented the nation of Israel. Jesus judged them for their unbelief. He also judged them because they gave off the appearance of righteousness, yet it was appearance only. They honored him with their lips but their hearts were far from him, for their religion was teachings of men. It was not the season for the nation of Israel to turn to faith in Jesus Christ, yet he is not finished with them. A remnant will be saved. They can be grafted back in to the kingdom of heaven. They will never be what they were before. That is past. God destroyed the barrier between Jew and Gentile and made the two one in Christ.

    I believe there are many parallels between the unbelieving nation of Israel who denied Jesus Christ as her Messiah, and the institutional church of today, much of which gives off the appearance of righteousness but is really following man-made religion and humanistic philosophies over or in place of the teachings of Christ. The Bible says that Jesus will not return until there is a falling away from the faith. I believe we live in such a time. Scripture also teaches that the idolatrous and adulterous church at the end of time will be judged and will be revived through judgment. Life comes through death. Either we judge ourselves or we will be judged.

    Many within today's institutional church are not genuinely saved, although they give off an appearance of being so. Much of today's true believers within the institutional church here in America are living in spiritual adultery. They give off the appearance of walking with The Lord Jesus, but they are living for themselves. They are following humans instead of God. God has been calling them for a long time to repent and to return to their first love, but they are not listening. So, judgment is coming. We are not the same as the nation of Israel. We have a different kind of relationship. I do believe God will do to the institutional church (not his body) what he did to that fig tree. I believe he will destroy institutional religion based off the teachings of humans, in judgment, and I believe he will do so in order to revive his true church (to rescue her) and in order to bring professors of faith into genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.
     
  6. I don't see the good in destroying a healthy fig tree just because it was naturally out of season. All this did was prevent anyone from ever eating any of its fruit.

    Jesus made the fig tree to bear fruit seasonally and then destroyed it for existing the way he made it.
     
  7. Sue, please understand that I don't necessarily disagree with the point you are trying to make - just that it is not consistent with Jesus idiom here..

    If the Fig was producing Thistles or was barren in the season for producing figs - and Jesus cursed it - then yes... What you say would be consistent with the idiom....

    In this case - the fig was a Fig producing tree... it was just out of season...... The clear implication is that if it HAD been the season - the fig tree would have had figs on it... The tree Jesus cursed was a "Good Tree"....

    Now... Let's circle back to Mark 11:1-10... AKA the "Triumphal Entry"... This was the entry into Jerusalem prophesied by Daniel the Prophet several centuries previous.... and Jesus - the Messiah of Israel - was "Right on time".. He showed up Exactly on the day of his "Scheduled" appointment....

    Israel HAD "Born GOOD Fruit" - the Messiah - but the Roman appointed Temple Leadership made it a POINT to Reject that "Fruit" because it would challenge the Authority of ROME.....

    Was Israel a "Bad tree" because somehow it got "Infested" with Roman appointed temple leadership because of being Conquered? No. It was not a Bad tree... just a Sick tree..... But... What would have been the consequences if God had allowed Israel to continue - and to bear fruit as they were? It would have put Satan in charge of God's earthly ministry.....

    Now... The rest of the idiom...
    It is fully within God's right to curse who He will curse and bless who He will bless. God may well cut off a "Fruitful" ministry because that action is necessary to accomplish His greater purposes.... God is perfectly within His rights to DESTROY a "GOOD" ministry that is bearing "Good" fruit. He owes us no explanation for His reasons - though we often wish we could understand "Why"......

    God was FULLY within His sovereign right to curse Israel - EVEN THOUGH Israel HAD brought forth the Messiah - right on schedule! The tree was not a Bad Tree.... but it was NOT within God's purposes to allow Israel to continue.

    Thanks
     
  8. We must always remember Jesus operated outside the laws of nature, and physics. It is not normal for a person to spit in the eyes of a blind man and make him see again, or walk on water, or even raise the dead with just his words.
    Jesus was not subject to nature or its laws. Nature and it laws were subject to the creator.
    When Jesus was hungry and came to the fig tree he was expecting fruit to be there. It makes no difference if it was not the time of season for figs. The creator does not walk according to seasons or any natural laws of this universe as they are always subject to him.
     
  9. #9 ASUK, Aug 27, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
    Then why was he subjected to hunger?
    As the creator of the universe he should have known that it was out of season and that there was nothing to eat.
    He created the seasons and natural laws. While not subject to them he should have a clear understanding of them.
     
  10. Jesus was his name and he was the Christ. The Christ of Jesus does not need to eat anything to stay alive as that is God, and is not subject to any natural laws of this earth. The physical part of Jesus needed to eat to keep his body alive.
    Did Jesus fully understand that there was only a few fish, and bread in a small basket to feed the five thousand?
    There were no limitations to the Son of God nor did he ever misunderstand any thing he said or did.
     
  11. Then why did he think there was fruit on the fig tree?
     
  12. How does a spiritual being who knows all things relate to men who do not know all things? Jesus had to come down to the level of men and use things of this world to teach spiritual lessons. Jesus knew there was no fruit on the tree before he came to it, but he used this opportunity to teach his Apostles a lesson. I am sure Jesus must have pointed out this fig tree from a distance to his apostles and said lets go get something to eat. How else could this have this be written in the gospels if Jesus did not mention this to them?
    Fig trees usually do not produce fruit for the first three years, and when they do the fruit appears first, and then the leaves come forth indicating there was fruit there. Jesus was coming to the end of his life, and he had just finished preaching and teaching the Word of the Kingdom for three years to the Jews, yet no fruit had been brought forth in their lives. Leaves are only a deception to make men think they are Godly. The Church today is filled with trees having leaves but no fruit. What are they good for? Nothing!!
     
    SueJLove likes this.
  13. If Jesus just REALLY wanted fruit and wanted to show off - why not just command the tree to bring forth Fruit? He did it to Aaron's rod in Exodus.... Surely, a fig tree is no more complicated to make bear on command than an old dried out Almond wood staff for the God of the entire universe....

    Then... doesn't it strike you odd is that Jesus cursed a tree for not giving HIM something He wanted.... That's kinda odd considering Matt 4 - Jesus' temptation by the Devil where he specifically twice refuses to change the nature of things for His own benefit... So... Was Jesus just really hungry and was feeling extra self-absorbed and was having a temper tantrum and whomped an innocent tree with the Hand of God?

    There is a specific reason that Jesus did what he did.... A specific idea that Jesus was trying to get across....
     
  14. #14 JohnC, Aug 28, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
    My fig trees are nothing like that.... I have like 6 different varieties, and none do what you say....
    All of mine produced the very first year
    They leafed out - then made figs....
    I mostly get figs mid summer...

    Some make a "Breba crop" - which are little teeny figs that over-winter... but they don't ripen till the leaves come on and the tree starts growing again.... You may get to eat those in late spring....

    Do you have any fig trees?
     
  15. Jesus was teaching his Apostles that even though there should have been fruit on the fig tree because there were leaves indicating that fruit was there. It was all a deception in the same way the religious leaders did all the right things in their ministry, wearing all the right clothes, saying all the right things, but it was all a deception to those seeing them. Bearing leaves but having no fruit, whose end will be cursed.
     
    SueJLove likes this.
  16. I do. There are many types of fig trees in the world. Fig trees usually have a long juvenile period compared to other fruit trees. Most figs will not produce a crop for the first four to five years. This is according to Rutgers University. It also depends on the climate and how many hours a day of sunlight they get. In Israel it is usually around three years before a fig tree produces their first fruit.
     
  17. @SueJLove

    As I thought about your original post some more...
    It got me to thinking about Nebuchadnezzer's dream of the huge tree in Daniel 4

    Now... To us Gentiles... When we see Nebuchadnezzer's dream... We think - Wow, Majestic....
    This tree grows HUGE and tall... It covers the whole world in it's shade....
    The beasts of the field sleep in it's shade (Tabernacle under it)
    The birds of the Air nest in it (Tabernacle in it)
    The fruit feeds all living creatures....

    All those beautiful things... WHY would God want to chop down this tree?

    The Birds of the Air and the Beasts of the Field generally follow idioms for minions of Satan.....

    The ONLY thing that the Fruit feeds is the Beasts and the Birds..... It's fruit is theoretically good... but it's all consumed by the Minions of Satan..... The "fruit" this tree produces is only empowering and enabling the minions of Satan to grow and reproduce and spread.....

    We look at this "Tree" - and we see all the wonder and the majesty and we see all the beauty.... but we forget that top to bottom - it's full of unclean things... This "Tree" is such that it fills the earth with Unclean things!

    How sad that we see large Religious Organizations manifest this..... That what starts out with a Powerful message of God ends up building Edifices and Endowments... They grow rich financially... They grow Powerful and influential.....

    And... That power, influence, money, and massive edifice ATTRACTS everything that desires power and likes to subvert and frustrate God's plan....

    We aren't called to maintain and sustain churches and ministries for the purpose of Care and feeding the minions of Satan.... We should think Long and Hard about trying to stop the "destruction" of those places and try to "prop up" those churches and ministries that are filled to the brim with everything God detests.... Don't try to rescue that which God is trying to destroy.....
     
  18. John,

    I appreciate that you are making the effort here to communicate with me here about the tree. I believe we have differing views on some things and yet we see more eye to eye on other things. I don't, however, think that God looks at the size of the tree as much as he looks to see if it is bearing fruit for his kingdom, or if it is all fluff but nothing of substance. I don't believe God is more concerned about Mega church congregations, which are dishonoring him, than he is about smaller ones. He is concerned about them all, large and small. I agree, though, that we should not try to rescue what God is trying to destroy, I.e. we should not hold on to what is evil, but we should cling to the good. Yet, we should try to rescue them from hell and from continuing down a path of self destruction by sharing with them the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and by warning them of the dangers of remaining on the path they are on.
     
  19. How do you know this?
     

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