What on Earth have we done with the Teachings of Jesus?
Jesus often spoke in parables. Earthly stories with deep heavenly meanings. There are those in the world who are like lost sheep. Those who need to be restored back to the fold. As Jesus told these few parables, He spoke in the presence of the religious leaders of the day – the Pharisees. They, like many religious leaders today, thought they had the monopoly on the grace of God and believed their place was secure in heaven. But Jesus came to challenge their self-righteous beliefs and call the ones who felt they had been forgotten. The budding fig tree.
God is Faithful God will provide a way out With His loving arms of care He will certainly not let you be tempted Beyond what you can bear. God is faithful – believe it in your heart He knows what’s best for you Yours in only a temporary situation God will indeed bring you through. We can so easily be affected By what our tired eyes see But our faith is in a living God Who brings all things to be. You may be in a fiery furnace now But keep eternal values in view Look up a new day is dawning The gates of heaven are opening for you. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
The Budding Fig Tree
“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. Truly I tell you, 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.
Henry says – It is here given what we must expect and prepare for in the events foretold. We must expect them; “Now learn a parable of the fig-tree, Matt. 24:32, 33. Observe and understand the signs of the times, and compare them with the predictions in the Word. If you can foresee what is at the door, you can prepare accordingly.” The parable of the fig-tree is no more than this, that its budding and blossoming are a sign that summer is on its way. For all, such as the stork in the heaven and the trees of the field, know their appointed time.
When God begins to fulfil prophecies, He will make an end of it. There is a certain series in the works of providence, as there is in the works of nature. The signs of the times are compared with the signs of the sky (Matt. 16:3), so here with those on the face of the earth.
The things revealed must shortly come to pass
When renewal comes we foresee that summer is coming, not immediately, but at some point soon. After the branch grows tender, we expect the March winds, and the April showers, before the summer comes. However, we are sure it is coming “So likewise you can count upon it, that through this variety of events which I have told you of, the perfect day will come. The things revealed must shortly come to pass (Rev. 1:1).
They must come in their own order, in the order appointed for them. “Know that it is near.” He does not say what but it stirred the hearts of His disciples to be inquisitive after, and long for. The kingdom of God is near, so it is expressed in the parallel place, Luke 21:31.
When the trees of righteousness begin to bud and blossom, when God’s people promise faithfulness, it is a happy foretelling of good times. In them God begins His work. First He prepares their heart, and then He will go on with it. As for God, His work is perfect; and He will revive it in the midst of their years.
Christ assures us of the certainty of the days that will come. (Matt. 24:35) Heaven and earth shall pass away. They continue this day according to God’s ordinance, but they shall not continue forever. (Ps. 102:25, 26; 2 Pet. 3:10) But My words shall not pass away.
They shall never pass away
The Word of Christ is more sure and lasting than heaven and earth. Has He spoken? And shall He not do it? We may build with more assurance upon the Word of Christ than we can upon any strong foundations on the earth. For, when they shall be made to tremble and totter, and shall be no more, the Word of Christ shall remain and be in full force, power, and virtue. See 1 Pet. 1:24, 25.
It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than the Word of Christ, Luke 16:17. Compare (Isa. 54:10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you).
The accomplishment of these prophecies might seem to be delayed, and current events might seem to disagree with them. But do not think that the Word of Christ has fallen to the ground, for they shall never pass away. Though it is not yet fulfilled, either in the time or in the way that we have expected. Yet, in God’s time, which is the best time, and in God’s way, which is the best way, it shall certainly be fulfilled. Every word of Christ is very pure, and therefore very sure.
He instructs us in this passage as to the time of them, Matt. 24:34, 36. As to these things, the wars, seductions and persecutions, as here foretold, and especially the ruin of the Jewish nation; “This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be fulfilled (Matt. 24:34). There are those that were alive then, that went on to see Jerusalem destroyed, and the Jewish church brought to an end.”
It is called the day of the Lord
Because it might seem strange, He backs it with a solemn assertion; “Verily, I say to you. You may take My word for it, these things are at the door.” Christ often speaks of the nearness of that desolation, to affect people and quicken them to prepare for it. There may be greater trials and troubles yet before us, in our own day, than we are aware of. They that are old, know not what sons of Anak may be reserved for their last encounters.
But as to that day and hour which will give a specific period to time, no man knows Matt. 24:36. There is a certain day and hour fixed for the judgment to come. It is called the day of the Lord, and is so unalterably fixed. None of God’s judgments are adjourned without the appointment of a certain day. That day and hour are a great secret.
Heaven has wisely hid from human sight the dark decrees of future fate. No man knows it, not the wisest by their sagacity, not the best by any divine discovery. We all know that there shall be such a day, but no one knows when it shall be, not even the angels. Their capacities for knowledge are great, and their opportunities of knowing this advantageous (they dwell at the fountain-head of light). Yet they are not told when it shall be: none knows but my Father only. This is one of those secret things which belong to the Lord our God.
The uncertainty of the time of Christ’s coming, is to those who are watchful, a savour of life unto life, and makes them more watchful. But to those who are careless, it is a savour of death unto death, and makes them more careless.
It is given to serve to startle us
To this end we must expect these events, that we may prepare for them. But here also is a caution against security and sensuality, which will make it a dismal day indeed to us, (Matt. 24:37-41 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark). In these verses we have an idea given to us of the judgment day. It is given to serve to startle and awaken us, that we may not sleep as others do.
It will be a surprising day, and a separating day. It will be a surprising day, as the deluge was to the old world, Matt. 24:37-39. That which Christ intends to describe, is going to be the posture of the world at the forthcoming of the Son of Man. Besides His first coming, to save, He is coming again to judge. He says (John 9:39), For judgment I am come; and for judgment He will come. For all judgment is committed to Him, both that of the Word, and that of the sword.
It shall come when the people are crying Peace and safety, (1 Thess. 5:3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape). It came upon the Jews not longer after these words were spoken. Though they had fair warning given them of it. Plagues also come in a moment, in one day. Men’s unbelief shall not make God’s threatenings of no effect.
They were regardless of the Word of God
So the judgment of the great day is called, Heb. 6:2. Though notice has been given of it from Enoch, yet when it comes, it will be unlooked for by most men. The latter days will produce scoffers who say, Where is the promise of His coming? 2 Pet. 3:3, 4; Luke 18:8. Thus it will be when the world that now is shall be destroyed by fire. For so it was when the old world was overflowed by water, it perished, 2 Pet. 3:6, 7.
Christ here shows what were the temper and posture of the people of the old world when the deluge came. They were sensual and worldly; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. It is not said, they were killing and stealing, and whoring and swearing (these were indeed the horrid crimes of some of the worst of them; the earth was full of violence). But they were all of them, except Noah, over head and ears in the world, and regardless of the Word of God, and this ruined them.
Universal neglect of faith is a more dangerous symptom to any people than particular instances here and there of daring irreligion. Eating and drinking are necessary to the preservation of man’s life. Marrying and giving in marriage are necessary to the preservation of mankind. But these lawful things undo us if they are unlawfully managed.
So shall the coming of the Son of man be
If we do not mix faith with what we know of the things that belong to our everlasting peace and improve it, it is as though we did not know it at all. Their not knowing is joined with their eating and drinking and marrying. First, they were sensual, because they were secure. The reason why people are so eager in the pursuit, and so entangled in the pleasures of this world, is because they do not know, and believe, and consider, the eternity which they are upon the brink of.
If we truly know that all these things must shortly be dissolved, we would not set our eyes and hearts so much upon this world as we do. Secondly, Therefore they were secure, because they were sensual. They did not know that the flood was coming, because they were eating and drinking. They were so taken up with things seen and present, that they had neither time nor heart to mind the things not seen as yet, which they were warned of.
Security bolsters men up in their brutal sensuality and sensuality rocks them asleep in their carnal security. The evil day is never put off for men’s putting it far off from their minds. They did not know it till it was too late. Judgments are most terrible and amazing to the secure, and those that have made a jest of them.
All slumber and sleep
So shall the coming of the Son of man be. In the same manner Christ shall find people eating and drinking, and not expecting Him. Security and sensuality are likely to be the epidemical diseases of the latter days. All slumber and sleep, and at midnight the bridegroom comes. All are off their watch, and at their ease.
Just as the flood took away the sinners of the old world irresistibly and irrecoverably. So shall secure sinners, who mocked at Christ and His coming, be taken away by the wrath of the Lamb, when the great day of His wrath comes. It will be like the coming of the deluge, a destruction which there is no fleeing from. With such a power, and for such a purpose, He will come upon them.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Prayer for the Day
Father I come to You. I ask that You help me observe and understand the signs of the times, and compare them with the predictions in Your Word. Help me foresee what is at the door, and so prepare accordingly. May I be like a tree of righteousness budding and blossoming, faithful to You. I ask that You prepare my heart, and continue to work on it.
Cause me to build more assurance upon the Words of Christ than upon anything on earth. I pray that Your Words will affect me and quicken me to prepare. I know that greater trials and troubles are yet before us, in our own day. Help us be aware.
May the certainty of Christ’s coming be a savour of life unto life, and make me ever more watchful. Help me prepare for these events and help others to understand and prepare.
I pray against all carnal security and sensuality in my life. May the surety of judgment day to come serve to startle and awaken me. Let me be full of regard for Your Word. I pray that You will teach me to mix faith with what I know of the things that belong to my everlasting peace. May I be totally free from any entanglement in the pleasures of this world. But instead believe and consider the eternity which we are all on the brink of.
May I truly live like I know that all these things must shortly be dissolved. Help me not set my eyes and heart upon this world, but upon eternity. May I stand at my watch and not rest at ease. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.